"Incredible! A land governed by peace, love, and kindness, rather than the broken planet governed mostly by corruption and greed in which my fellow human beings live today!" said an excitable, yet boring, new-to-the-herd teenage brony named only Jason Doe, seated in front of a computer screen. "Wow, what if I were to cross the barrier between fiction and reality, the "fourth wall", as it were, like Pinkie Pie? That would probably be so cool! I'd get to be an Equestrian and meet all the main characters and everything would be delightful! Then there could be angst as I miss home, but I'd have to get over it, and then all sorts of chaos and discord would unfold! And I would save the day with my amazing skills! But how...? And besides that, why am I talking to myself?"
His soliloquy was interrupted, however, by his horrid older brother, John Doe. Ever since childhood, John had always found a reason to pick on, tease, mock, or generally just be a horrible sibling, in every way imaginable. Everything from swirlies to noogies to full nelsons, or any other obscure form of familial torture.
After bursting into the room, John Doe punched his brother on the arm a few times, a bit too hard to just be friendly. After a typical bout of ridiculous insults such as "gay little moron" and "girly dweeb dorkface", Jason was more bemused than offended. His brother had absolutely no creativity.
Tiredly, Jason only ignored his brother's jabs, returning to the interesting fanfiction which he was reading.
Suddenly, lightning flashed and an enormous thud seemed to echo throughout the horrid older brother's entire being, as if his heart had just been hooked directly up to a high-quality sub woofer blaring out heavy bass riffs. John Doe gasped in surprise, but nothing happened. Angrily, he shouted at his brother, as usual. "What the heck are you doing to me, horse banger? Stop it right now!" A quizzical look now crossed Jason's face. Just what was going on? He decided to mess around with his brother a bit. Just a tiny bit.
"Well, all you have to do is look into a mirror. That always solves everything. Sometimes they're portals to parallel universes, but in your case I'm sure it will fix whatever problem you're having," he said, the tiniest hint of a smirk crossing Jason's face.
But in the reflection of his mirror, young John Doe saw only his own acme-dotted, gaunt, pale, sleep-deprived face, in all its completely credible regularity. A bit disappointed, the young terror hopped onto his brother's fluffy bed, with the custom-made quilt featuring virtually every pony in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic universe, and promptly attempted to stomp on the faces and bodies of the peaceful depictions within. However, he eventually grew bored at Jason's unresponsiveness, and decided that maybe he should sleep on his strange condition of echoing existence thuds.
And although that night he slept soundly, dreamlessly, and woke up just as solidly human as ever, by now the strange, thudding sound was growing in intensity, rather than abating. Grunting in frustration, he began to walk back to Jason's room, hoping that maybe his strange pony knowledge would help him out. But then he felt a sneeze coming on. His nose tingled, his eyes scrunched up, and an explosive sneeze suddenly tore apart a hole into the fabric of the universe itself, and John Doe finally gained entrance to Equestria. But when he arrived... just how much havoc would this villain wreak?
"Ah-choo!" Princess Celestia delicately sneezed. "Excuse me," she apologized to her younger sister, Princess Luna.
"WE SHALL ALWAYS EXCUSE THEE, BIG SISTER!" shouted Luna accidentally in the Royal Canterlot Voice. "HOWEVER, WE FEAR THAT THOU MIGHT HAVE A COLD. PLEASE, DO GET SOME REST. AFTER ALL, WE KNOW THAT THY PRESENCE WILL BE NEEDED IN ATTENDING TO MANY AFFAIRS OF CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE!"
Celestia, even as accustomed as she was to the Royal Canterlot Voice, couldn't help but wince just a little bit at her sister's slip up. "Now, Luna, remember what I said about trying to keep your voice low enough that it doesn't cause the same repercussions as a sonic rainboom in terms of violent vibrations which may or may not disrupt the integrity of the palace in which we live? Please, do keep your voice down, sister."
Luna could only blush in embarrassment as she realized her mistake, but she continued to voice her concerns. "We've never seen you sneeze before, Tia. Are you sure you're okay? Maybe we could make you some tea to help soothe you. It would not trouble us at all."
The alicorn of the sun gratefully accepted the offer, and soon levitated the tea and began sipping ever so politely. The tea was of course top notch, harvested by the finest of Earth pony labor, in exchange for only the most reasonable price. Everything from the tea leaves to the set in which the tea was served screamed of royalty and wealth, but all Celestia really noticed was how pleasant the warm brew felt going down her throat, alleviating her fears that she might be getting a cold. It just wouldn't do to succumb to illness. She never allowed herself to entrust her responsibilities to others, and it wouldn't be fair to pile more work upon Luna. Still, being immortal normally meant immunity to most standard diseases. What could be causing this?
No, she mustn't over think it. Only a simple sneeze. What's there to worry about?
"Is this an out of body experience?" said John Doe to himself while somehow breaking laws of physics and traversing into an alternate universe, but his words were lost to an uncaring void. Disappointingly, all he witnessed was his own regular body, slowly floating forward towards a faint light, while everything else was mere darkness. Then inexplicably, he sneezed yet again. What could possibly cause a sneeze while in transit to Equestria, nopony could say, but all thoughts were put to an end as suddenly the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to grow only fainter and fainter, and soon had dimmed to nothing.
All was blackness. Night eternal. Void, empty, vacuum-packed space with not even a hint of a photon. John Doe blinked his eyes several times but nothing happened, and his confused panic began to grow like a malignant tumor. The non-light remained absolute, immutable, impenetrable. Growing panicked, John Doe the Evil screamed out concentrated anguish, and he was glad somewhere that at least sound still worked in this god-forsaken black hole of a transit system. And suddenly there came upon him a voice, soft and gentle, yet wise and firm, evoking feelings of shock and awe instantaneously. It was the voice of none other than Princess Celestia. Or was it? He, being a non-brony, had no idea what the hell was going on. And rather than understanding, his mind only produced fury.
Please remain calm, my little brony. The voice you are currently hearing is merely Celestia's subconscious mind responding to your intrusion. However, if you intend ill, then you would be wise only to fear for yourself, because that would not make me a happy alicorn.
Dumbfounded, John Doe tried to search out the origin of the voice, but it seemed to emanate from everywhere all at once. And what the heck did it mean, with minds and intrusion? All he had done was sneeze a rift in the space-time continuum, and completely accidentally at that. Was that really all so bad?
Yes, it is bad. If you had entered into the mind of a weaker-willed pony, no doubt you would wreak havoc across the land, controlling their actions and only arousing suspicion around you. But as it seems that whenever a person somehow becomes a pony, there is an element of randomness to it, we are fortunate for the way things have turned out. Princess Celestia's mere subconscious mind is enough to shut you out completely. You will do no rabble-rousing here! I'll do my best to keep you from interfering with her ever-important duties. Do you understand?
"No I don't understand!" John exclaimed. "And how are you reading my thoughts? Actually, that doesn't even matter. Just shut up and... I don't know... quit being all insubstantial and crap! Wait a minute... how do you even... what are you talking about? Bah! My head hurts."
Nonsense. You don't even have a head. All that you are currently experiencing is intangible. An extension of your consciousness trying to make sense of everything and failing to do so. Not everything can be summed up logically, I'm sure you know. Wait a minute, what are you doing?
"I'm trying to break your control you meanie! Honestly, couldn't you at least pretend to care about my well-being? Some Princess you are!" spouted out an impetuous teenager, going through a sudden rebellious phase.
No, stop! You're going to cause problems for the Princess's conscious mind if you struggle too hard! There's only so much I can do against your concentrated efforts to break free of my grip. But beware... you would do well to heed my words with solemnity. I ask only this, that you remain calm and... quit doing that!
The brony known as John Doe was too far gone at this point, disgruntled, angry, confused. He tried to twiddle his thumbs but noticed no feeling. Two senses down, sight and feeling. Only three more were left. He began to grow hysterical. He screamed for all his worth, but the only tastes and scents he could detect were from his own body. How strange it was to be there, but not there, real, but not real. However, even in whatever strange state he was in, he eventually grew tired even of his own ramblings, his wailing and screams against the unfairness of it all. But from that moment, he made a terrible mistake. He mistook the care and sympathy of Celestia's subconscious mind as suppression and antipathy.
From that moment on, he began plotting ways to overthrow the control that Celestia now had on his entire being, and the first idea he stumbled upon was to hit her while her defenses were down. And he predicted that her conscious mind would of course be most vulnerable while she was sleeping. An evil grin beginning to grow on his imagined face, he plotted destruction for only the most benevolent of beings. John Doe the brony was becoming John Doe the nuisance... or would things escalate until he was John Doe, chaos incarnate? Only time would tell.
When the Sun Princess of Equestria woke up to commence with the crack of dawn, raising the sun to spread its exuberant rays, her mood was anything but pleasant. First of all, she felt utterly exhausted, as though she had been sleepwalking for hours and doing strenuous activity rather than calmly resting in her bed. Additionally, for some entirely unknown reason, her head was pounding with a fierce migraine, the likes of which was devastating. The last time she had felt such significant pain was when she was shot down by Chrysalis, the Changeling Queen, and even that was more of a brief, temporary damage.
This, however, this was practically debilitating, and never seemed to end. Every minor light was a million suns burning out her corneas and vaporizing her irises. Every squeak, crack, and subtle noise was a cacophonous roar of gongs, cymbals, and combustion. Still sleeping in her royal bed, however, Princess Celestia knew she must find a way to trudge through her pain, displaying only calm, serene confidence. For such was the lot of a ruler, to be for the ponies what was needed for the ponies. She had to be strong, but the pain was unbearable. What could possibly be causing such pain?
Regardless, Celestia had her duties to attend to, and they could not be excused no matter how much she was suffering.
Walking out to the Royal Balcony, her hoof steps echoing as loudly as if the universe desired only to destroy her eardrums, Princess Celestia gazed out at the horizon with concentration. A warm golden glow enveloped her horn, though even the mere act of concentrating on a single task sent stakes of pain jabbing through her brain. Gritting her teeth and bearing it as best she could, she set the sun to rise from the horizon, and started the day off on its way. But never before had she had such difficulty in performing what was by now one of the spells that she was most familiar with, most comfortable with, most capable with. What was causing this disaster of a headache, and why did it have to be her?
While rubbing her hooves into her temples and a pointless attempt to alleviate some of the pain, Princess Celestia spotted a letter out of the corner of her eye. Assuming it was some sudden letter from Twilight which had somehow escaped her notice, she walked over to her bed where it was lying unassumingly on one of the many pillows. Yet something was a bit off about this letter. It was in neither Spike's nor Twilight Sparkle's hoofwriting. Was it...her hoofwriting? What?!
She snatched up the letter with her warm golden glow of levitation magic and quickly scanned the contents, her face morphing into a visage of shock and distress.
"Good morning, Princess Celestia. Or should I say, myself? Hahaha, guess what? You're possessed! And whenever you go to sleep, I can control your body. That's probably why you feel so poorly right now. I used your sleeping body to write this note. What will I do next? Luckily for you, your subconscious mind is strong enough to keep me at bay while you're awake, but eventually your defenses will fall. And I will take over your body, holding you prisoner in your own mind. So the next time you rest your head upon this pillow...think of me, and wish for happy dreams!"
She noticed some indecipherable scribbles at the top, along with a few small drops of saliva and ink on the page, as if she was just learning to use her mouth to write, and getting the hang of things before launching into the message. At the end of the note, it seemed as though she saw the beginnings of a smiley face, but it transformed into a grimace as though the quill had been wrenched off of the paper at the last minute.
Overcome with disbelief, she re-read the message again and again, trying to make sense of it all, but she just couldn't. Eventually she decided on chalking it up to an overactive imagination. Maybe this was just her mind playing a trick on her, through somnambulism brought on by stress. And could this be in any way related to that strange sneeze from earlier? No, that didn't make any sense. Nothing made any sense! It was as though all logic had suddenly been cast away from the world, replacing it with something even more bewildering. This couldn't be happening.
Was it Discord up to no good again? No, that was impossible. He was imprisoned by the Elements of Harmony. And so was the evil maleficence of Nightmare Moon removed from her younger sister, Luna. Or was there a weakness to the Elements? Whatever was going on, it signaled only pending trouble. She didn't like to admit it, but she needed help. So she decided to take this problem to her sister, Luna. If anyone would understand her, it was her little immortal alicorn sister.
"Oh, hello, sister. Is something wrong?" asked the tired Luna. Being essentially nocturnal, she was usually sleeping during the day, and always a bit slow to wake up. A little bit groggy, a little bit angry, a little bit short-fused. But still kind, throughout it all. Celestia had just woken her up, gently as possible, but nopony could say that Luna was a morning person. This was a task to be handled with delicacy.
"Sorry to have woken you up Luna, but there's a matter of pressing importance which I must discuss with you. But before we start, would you like a cup of coffee? I made a cup for you, black as night and sweet as pie, just the way you like it."
The Sun Princess levitated a simple mug over to her sister, who accepted it gratefully, but with a hint of suspicion. Much as Luna enjoyed getting her morning coffee in bed, as she always needed whenever up and about during the daytime, normally she had servants fetch it for her. Why did her sister Celestia bring it this time? Yet she put her worries aside and enjoyed gulping down the rich blend, almost but not quite burning her tongue as the scalding brew invigorated her.
"Mmmm...thank you for the coffee, you're a goddess if ever there was one," replied Luna gratefully, a hint of a smirk gracing her features. "But what is the occassion? And why did you see fit to awaken me from my slumber?"
"Well...it's just something that I have to tell you about, and I don't think it can wait. I'm sorry to have cut into your dreaming hours, but I would greatly appreciate it if you'd just hear me out."
Luna seemed slightly surprised at the request. "Of course, Tia! I'm your sister. I couldn't possibly withhold assistance from you. I know we may have had our differences, but you should know by now that you can trust me with anything." She finished her statement by looking her elder sister straight in the eyes, attempting to convey as much sincerity and fortitude in that gaze as she could possibly muster.
Reassured, Celestia nodded and decided to reveal to her sister what was going on. "Well, realize that this is tough for me to say, but something is seriously wrong. I think my mind is playing tricks on me. At least, I hope that's what is happening. Otherwise, things might be far more serious than I fear. As it is, I found a note on my pillow today, in my own hoofwriting, and I think you should read it." She floated the letter over to her sister, grimacing at it in distaste for what it meant, what it represented.
Luna took it with her own magic and quickly analyzed the words. They indeed seemed to be in Celestia's hoofwriting, but somehow more...flawed. But as she continued reading, the seriousness of the matter at hand thrust all trivial details such as that aside in her mind. "But...this...this is...but..how can it be? What's going on? I just don't understand! We have to do something, but I don't know what to do! Should we find some way to monitor you during your sleep? Strap you down in bed? Oh, what to do, what to do!" When Luna finished her speech, which was loud but not ridiculously so, Celestia's migraine struck again in full force.
Celestia groaned pressed a hoof to her forehead, closing her eyes in pain as a grimace crossed her face. "Please...speak a little quieter. I have a terrible headache which causes extreme sensitivity to sights and sounds," she murmured in a near whisper. "But you're right, we have to do something. For now, I don't think we should resort to too extreme of measures. I have an idea, though."
"And what would that idea be?" queried Luna, eager to help her sister in her time of need.
"Well," Celestia responded, "perhaps we should rely on your skewed sleep schedule. When I need to sleep, I'll ask you to come to my room and watch over me. If I seem to awaken, or act strangely, you'll be there and hopefully you'll figure out what's going on. I know that I needn't tell you the crucial importance of this matter. We're not at all sure what we're dealing with, so you'd do best to exercise extreme caution. We want to understand the possible creature in my mind, so please try all you can to reason with it, help it calm down. Because I think it may be what's causing this migraine, and I'd like to make that stop, if possible."
The Moon Princess nodded in understanding. "I shall watch over your sleeping form with vigilance. Please try and rest easy, if possible. I promise you... I will protect you."
"Thank you, Luna. You're a good sister, and I love you," Celestia said, embracing her sister softly.
The younger alicorn returned the embrace and replied "Love you too, Tia."
"Are you fully prepared, sister?" queried the Sun Princess of her younger sibling, eyeing her warily from her palatial bed.
"As I'll ever be, Tia," the Moon Princess responded, a look of confident calm displayed on her face.
"Well then... good luck, and good night, I suppose. I shall expect a report when I awaken as myself," Celestia finished, shuffling and shifting a bit to try and find the perfect position for peaceful sleep.
"I know, big sis. Like I said earlier, thou can trust me with anything," Luna continued, a gentle smile upon her visage. "Anything at all."
A few hours had passed by, given willingly to the all-consuming night, but so far Luna had detected no change in the behavior of her big sister. Her nightly vigil began to seem a lot more boring than she had anticipated, but it was quite peaceful. Although being banished to the moon for a thousand years had caused her to consider being alone in an entirely different light, right now it was actually... somewhat pleasant. Celestia's bedchambers were currently pervaded by a pleasant kind of silence.
After all, there were many different kinds of silences. The silence of the night was common enough. Though sometimes punctuated with an interesting breeze or two, it was the kind of silence which laid over the land like a warm, comforting blanket, only accentuating the half-hearted attempts that some might make to dissipate it. Then, there was the silence of frustration. A silence when you desired, to the point of anger, a disruption, but nothing you can do combats it. A silence so loud that it practically yells at you, taunting you, trying to get a rise out of you. Definitely not a silence she preferred. No, this pleasant kind of silence, it was the restful period after the others had gone to sleep. A respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday activities. The kind of silence in which subtle inspiration can be born. The kind of silence in which you can take a moment to admire the world around you, and marvel at its intricacies, without your thoughts descending into a jumbled entanglement.
Yet despite being pleasant, even a comfortable kind of silence can generate ennui after a long enough period of time. It would be great if Tia wasn't possessed at all, but Luna couldn't help the fact that staying up all night looking at a sleeping body was a bit more interesting if said body was actually responding to outside stimuli.
Still, she did have an adorable sleeping face. And it was interesting to see her face actually calm, her breathing deep and measured, simply relaxed. She was almost like a different pony when asleep. No longer the wise, stoic ruler, she even snored a bit, and might have let just the tiniest bit of drool escape from her otherwise-immutable control. Luna gently wiped that off of her sister's face with tender, sisterly affection, and then jolted in surprise when suddenly her sister's calm, resting demeanor evaporated. Her sister's eyes flicked open, but within their depths Luna did not find the kind, loving patience of Princess Celestia. Rather, it seemed that Celestia's face bore a look of surprise, as if she had never before seen Luna in person.
With a gasp, the formerly sleeping alicorn exclaimed "Whoa! Princess Luna, in the flesh!" An almost sinister smile seemed to spread across her normally gentle features, and she continued "You know, I think I've always liked you more than your sister. I'm not entirely sure why, though. Sure Celestia's nice but Luna...I mean you...you're just kind of more cool, y'know? Heheh."
Baffled, Luna decided to try and rely on her sister's instructions, which generally boiled down to "Please stay nice with the malevolent spirit currently possessing my body". Awkwardly, Luna tried to dredge up an amicable smile, but it far more closely resembled a grimace. "We...we are pleased to meet thee, kind spirit. Dost...thou have a name with which thee refer to thyself?"
Only chuckling more, the unknown entity responded with a smirk. "Oh, you didn't get my letter? What a shame. The name's John Doe. Pleased to meet your acquaintance, Princess of the Moon. But gosh, you're just so darn cute when you're flustered! Quick, say something else.
Now more baffled than ever, Luna had no idea what to say. "Art thou saying that you...likest me to speak to you?"
And giggling like a filly, not-Celestia only replied "See? That right there. The formal speech, the slight awkwardness in meeting someone new... it's just so... D'awwwww! But uh...ahem... Oh! I know! Let's have a cup of tea! You like tea, right?"
Unsure of herself, the dark blue alicorn only nodded slowly.
"Excellent! Where's the kitchen? What kinds of tea do we have at our disposal? Do you like yours with milk and sugar? Or maybe honey? Wait a minute... why were you watching me... I mean us... sleep?" responded the possessed Celestia, the subject of hot beverages vanishing from the possessed mind like a feather before an infernal incinerator, as curiosity warped into suspicion.
Realizing that she would only make John Doe more suspicious were she to lie, she decided to wing it and simply tell the truth. "I'm merely observing my elder sister's sleep to safeguard against any anomalies. And as... pleasant... as it is to converse with you, you are most certainly not Tia, and therefore are most definitely an anomaly."
"An anomaly, huh? Why, you make it sound as though I'm the bad guy! That's just not nice at all."
With that ludicrous response, Luna's scorn began to rise at this... ridiculous being residing in her sister. Her temper, though normally slow to ignite, flared up instantaneously, and the Princess of the Moon threw caution to the wind.
"What business have thee to declare me unpleasant, after what you have done, so infesting my sister's mind? How dare thee invade her so thoroughly as to disturb her otherwise peaceful slumber? And how dare thee pretend to feel so comfortable within her skin, after causing her so much pain? If I could safely do so, I would not even banish thee to the moon. I would tear thine essence from my sister as desperately as an Ursa Major protecting her cub. And before washing my hands until these hooves were raw, to get the filth of your existence off of them, I would thrust you so far into the vacuum of space that thy spirit would never be found, doomed forever to float in desolate loneliness and to contemplate only suicide!" With a huff, Luna did feel better after her outburst.
But only too late did she realize what a mistake she had made. By inviting this demon's displeasure, she would almost certainly guarantee her sister a world of pain when she awoke. Suddenly unsure of herself, Luna could only tear her gaze away from her not-sister, fearful of what would happen next. Would Tia's reward in entrusting her safety to her younger sister only result in more horribly painful migraines? Would Tia ever trust her again? Self-doubt upon self-doubt weighed heavily upon the relatively young alicorn's psyche, inducing a pain not of the body, but of the mind and spirit. Still, after saying so much, she could hardly retract her statements. She meant every biting word of her monologue and retained her anger, but by now it had become far less potent than before, tempered by uncertainty.
"Please," Luna now demanded with only the semblance of politeness upon her scowling face, "Leave my sister. Return to the accursed place from whence you came."
Now bearing what was definitely an evil grin, the Celestia impostor only seemed wickedly delighted at her outburst, as if it had given him license to torture Celestia however he pleased.
"My my, quite a temper we've got on us, haven't we?" smirked John Doe. "Just so you know, I couldn't return to my world even if I wanted to. I haven't the faintest idea how I got here, other than that it was somehow related to a sneeze. Before you get any ideas, I can assure you that putting spices up your sister's nose to induce one will only cause her unnecessary respiratory distress. It won't send me back; trust me, I've tried. But rest assured, your sister will pay for your outburst. I will take her over after she raises the sun tomorrow. That's a task which I'm sure will remain within her hooves for the time being, as I do not care to destroy this world through my incompetence. Still, I will take control of her. I will subjugate her will to mine. I will become more powerful than any other pony. And even if I don't succeed in leading this body, I will wear your sister down until her defenses crumble like so much gossamer and morning dew. Until I get my way, her life shall be a living hell, consequences be damned. And she'll have only you to thank, my little alicorn princess. For your rude words, the only one to suffer will be your dear, sweet sister Celestia."
Now unable to even muster up even the tiniest hint of decency to John Doe, Luna could only spit out her frustration in two carefully chosen words, dripping with as much malice as she could conjure. "You...monster!"
Responding with feigned affront, Celestia's warped visage only replied with further spite. "Perhaps. But as long as I'm here, your words can hardly hurt me. The only way to get rid of me right now would be to get rid of Celestia. Oh, the delightful tragedy! I, despite my position of tenuous power, am still leagues ahead of you in leverage. Within my hands, as control over you, I hold your sister's life. All you have to throw at me are words which can only worsen the situation. Ponder that until my next return, Luna." After finishing with his soliloquizing, John Doe walked Celestia's body back to the bed and laid upon it. Before leaving, though, he turned Celestia's face towards Luna and muttered in as insulting a voice he could muster, only two words. Two very haunting words. "Sweet dreams." Celestia returned to her slumber, but rather than a look of calm, she wore an expression of pain and torment.
Now weeping in terror, in fear, in sadness, and in angst, Luna could only question herself.
"What have I done?"
For the remainder of the night, Luna made sure to be swift when tending to her regular duties, so that she could keep a keen eye on her sister. But the strange, evil demon named John Doe did not rear his head again for the remainder of the night, which only put Luna more on edge. The night's silence, previously a comfort, now only invited self doubt and stress, anxiety and discomfort.
Eventually, it was time for the moon to set. This meant that the sun would soon need to be lifted into the sky, sent on its regularly scheduled celestial journey. Luna dreaded the moment when when she'd have to alert her sister to her own failure... granted, her sister was a kind and benevolent one, but who in their right mind enjoyed disappointing a damsel in distress?
Celestia woke up, bleary-eyed and yet again exhausted. Hopefully Luna would have some good news. She painfully sat up in bed, only to see her younger sister trembling in the corner of her room, huddled into a fetal position and muttering "This is not good, this is not good, this is not good..."
Thus encouraged, Celestia tried to make her way over to comfort her, but found every step an arduous struggle. The pounding on her head increased, and she fell to the floor heavily. Her mental tenant was jack-hammering away at the walls of her mind, and suddenly everything was just pain.
She couldn't take it. She pleaded aloud to the malevolent entity inside her, to stop, to die, to fade, to escape, to do anything to lessen the pain. She just couldn't take it.
Her internal mental defenses came crumbling down, and the demon John Doe only gained a sinister grin, brightening up the dark oubliette he had created for himself to inhabit, within Celestia's mind. He could feel the constant pressure of her subconscious vanish as if it had never existed. He was temporarily taken aback by surprise; had her subconscious fortitude really fallen so quickly? He was only putting forth about fifty percent of his maximum effort in order to force the alicorn goddess to yield, but he wasn't too terribly worried. He was just pleasantly surprised. Amazing the kind of luck you can have when you do nothing but hate and discriminate.
Luna had been startled from her self-deprecating reverie only by the loud thump caused when Celestia's formidable body hit the floor hard. "Tiaaa!!" Luna galloped over to the princess of the sun, and held her now lifeless eyes up to meet her own. "What's wrong? What happened? John Doe, are you in there? Whatever you're doing, stop it! Stop it right now!"
A subtly dark aura began to envelop the normally bright white mare, and she began levitating off the ground by sheer negative energy. Her eyes opened to reveal only blackness and hatred. Luna only gave them a glance and nearly lost her sanity.
Her voice took on a deeper, echoing, sinister tone, as if the demonic force within her had possessed her completely. John Doe's warped voice mixed with Celestia's and uttered forth a terrifying proclamation. "Luna, you have failed to protect your sister. Her mental defenses have crumbled into nothing. I am in complete control, and you are the only one to blame, you pathetic little whelp. Never again will you hear your sister's voice, or receive from her a tender embrace. She is mine, and I say that her brain has lived on for long enough. So here's your last chance to say goodbye, Luna. I honestly don't even care about my life, or this land, right now. It's all nothing but nonsense anyways. I'm going to destroy this mind, and myself, and your sanity. And there's nothing you can do about it. Have a terrible life."
Celestia's eyes rolled backward into her skull, no pupils and irises left; just blank, white nothingness. She crumpled into the ground in a heap, shallowly breathing, but alive. Luna just broke mentally; she couldn't be strong anymore. Her sister had just been taken away from her for no bucking reason at all! She wrapped her hooves around Celestia's body, and mumbled sweet nothings into her ear. "No, you're all right, it's all right. It's going to be okay. You'll be fine tomorrow. This is just a bad dream. Nothing bad is happening. It's all fine. You're not gone. You're right here. You're my sister. You can't leave me. This can't be happening. It's just not fair. You'll be fine."
Her pointless meandering words trailed into incomprehensible nonsense. She was babbling forth, her thoughts all jumbled into inexplicable gobbledygook. A Royal Guard, hearing the commotion, crashed through the door to see what all the hullabaloo was about, only to be literally blown back by the force of Luna's Royal Canterlot Voice. "GET THE BUCK AWAY FROM US!" The guard was used to the voice normally, but this one was even stronger than usual. He flew at a breakneck pace backwards into a wall, crashing through and landing in an unconscious pile of limp limbs, out for the count.
Luna slapped Celestia. She poured buckets of water over her face. She spun her about with her dark blue magical levitation. She even tried tickling her, but nothing worked. Celestia would forever gaze, unblinking, uncomprehending, and absentminded, for the rest of eternity. Eventually resigned to defeat, Luna carefully set Celestia back in her bed, tucked her in, and closed her eyes.
Not knowing what else to do, she began brokenly singing a lullaby, pretending that her elder sister had only gone to sleep. Yes, she looked calm in bed. She was just sleeping.
"H-h-hush, n-now, quiet now, i-i-it's time to l-lay your, your sleepy h-head. H-h-hush, n-now, quiet now, it's time, it's time, it's time to go to... to bed.." Fat, salty tears ran down Luna's face like rivers of melancholy. Her runny nose sent mucus drifting down into her coat, and she tore at her mane with her hooves, large swathes of ethereal and flowing hair cast to the ground, now still and lifeless. Bald patches appeared on her head, and she ended up wailing like a banshee, lamenting the loss of her sister and, unknowingly, the loss of her peaceful mind. Forevermore she would be a turbulent loner.
Somehow, despite her current state of mind, she realized she would have to cover for her sister's disappearance from the public eye. Later that day she ruthlessly tortured one of the changeling prisoners which had been captured during their invasion of Canterlot earlier. It had taken them a while, but by now they understood the hissing, harsh language of the changelings. Luna eventually figured out how to adapt her own magic to transform her body into that of Celestia, and also used the magic to restore her appearance to one more befitting a princess. It might not be a perfect solution, but it would have to do. She couldn't trust anypony else with this task. It was her responsibility, and hers alone.
The next day the sun rose just as it always did, but it almost seemed more somber in a way, to all those who were awake at the crack of dawn. Somehow, even though it still shone with its regular warmth, everyone its rays touched felt just a little bit sad on the inside.
Luna stood on a castle balcony, focusing her efforts on dealing with two celestial objects at the same time. It had to be done. Even if her world had crumbled, it did not allow her to forsake her sister's subjects. A sad sigh escaped her lips, but this was the only evidence of emotion she allowed herself. She had to be strong.
A knock on the door drew her attention away from the sunrise and sunset. She made sure the day was well on its way before she went to answer it.
Twilight Sparkle stood at the door, her mane unkempt, her eyes twitching from lack of sleep, sunken into her skull. Clearly, something was worrying her.
"Hi, Princess Luna, I think there's something wrong with Princess Celestia! She won't answer any of my letters. What's going on?"
Luna took a deep breath, and prepared to begin a life of lies, all to carry on in her sister's memory. Her face became one to bear moderately bad news, a mask for the shattered and broken character within. "Calm down, Twilight, everything's fine. I'm afraid Celestia's just not feeling very well today. I'm sure it's nothing though; there's no need to worry. What she needs is just to be alone for a while. If she gets better, I promise I'll send you a letter as soon as possible. I'm certain everything will be fine. Here, let's go to the kitchens and get a cup of tea. I know it always makes me feel better."
Twilight took Luna's words not quite at face value; she detected that something was a bit off about the princess of the night, but discounted it as nonsense.
Over a warm cup of tea with milk and sugar, inside Luna's enormous quarters, Twilight attempted to make small talk with Luna, in order to decipher what was wrong. "So... how have things been lately? You seem just a little bit worried. Are you sure Celestia's going to be okay?"
Luna was staring off into the distance, only barely conscious of the conversation taking place. She blinked a few times and turned her attention back to her sister's former protege. "I'm sorry, I was just thinking about something. What was it you said?"
"I was asking how you're doing, Princess Luna. Is everything all right?"
"...yes, yes I suppose it is. I was just feeling... a little bit lonely. But it's quite all right. Nothing to be worried about. Please, don't tell anypony about Celestia's status. I'm sure it would just cause undue worry. Can I trust you not to worry, Twilight?"
"Sure thing, Princess! You can count on me."
"Thank you, Twilight." Luna gazed out the window, and it was as though she looked not at the land, but beyond it.
Sensing that perhaps Luna just didn't want to talk about whatever was going on, Twilight decided to give her some space. She figured that sometimes a bit of solitude was necessary to sort out one's thoughts. She politely excused herself from the table, made her way over to the exit, and parted with a final farewell. "Have a nice day, Luna! And tell Celestia she's got the support of me and all my friends, wishing her to get better!"
Luna quickly wiped a tear away from her eye before it betrayed her true feelings on the matter. Celestia wouldn't hear any well-wishing, or speak any kind words ever again. "Yes, I'll carry on your message. Have a... a bright day."
As soon as Twilight was out the door, Luna walked over to her sister and removed a few strands of hair, a bit of DNA to grasp onto in order to ensure the transformation process worked properly.
In a moment of bright light, Princess Luna seemingly vanished, and in her place stood once again the regal and royal Princess Celestia. Luna looked in the mirror, and try as she might, she couldn't pull off a genuine smile, the kind that warmed the heart like they should. She took a deep breath, though, steeled herself, solidified her will, and went outside the room to carry on in her sister's hoofsteps.
She had a feeling that this would be but the first of many long days. Many very long, sad, lonely, and melancholy days.