or The Night's Voice and the Sun
Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were together at a table for a meal, on one fine summer dawn. For Celestia, it was breakfast. For Luna, it was dinner. Nonetheless, it was a private time between the sisters, and naturally one of the two daily times it occurred. It was always over tea and whichever food was appropriate for what meal it was for each of them.
It had been a while since Luna's return from the moon, and though she was mostly rehabilitated back into modern life, there was always that lingering feeling that her sister was always above her in most ways. For no apparent reason, Luna decided to bring it up once more this fine morning.
"Sister, though I'm glad to finally be in Equestria after being on the moon so long, I feel as though the ponies still do not see us as equals."
Celestia gave a small laugh. "Why Luna, of course they wouldn't. I'm taller, larger, raise the sun, wasn't banished, for a millennium controlled the whole day-night cycle, and is generally known as the overall ruler of Equestria."
Simply said, Luna was shocked at the reply she received. Still, she did her best to come up with a rational argument. "My sister, Celestia, why would you say that? We are the two greatest beings in all of Equestria, and the government is split equally between us! As is the cycle of the sun and moon!"
"I'm only teasing, little sister. I can understand why you may feel that way, and know that even though I am the elder, I will treat you with as much respect as I to myself. The ponies have just yet to become accustomed to that. It is not normal occurrence to suddenly have two rulers, no less a sister, come out of thin air and no one, but my prized student of course, expecting the arrival, and have been used to only one for so long."
Luna seemed to brighten at that, but was still uneasy. Her sister's stature was slightly larger than her own, and many relate size to power. With the mental checklist of the day's events in mental hoof, she checked against the schedule to see if Celestia was to be anywhere important. As luck would have it, today was a day of rest, and so carried out a plan. "Celestia, I have a proposal. For fun."
Celestia approached the words with curiosity. "What is it Luna?" After all, the sun princess did encourage her sister to search for ways to have fun some time ago, as to transition her attitude from being uptight and strict, to the modern age where one could be more lax.
"I've always truly wondered. Which Princess is greater-"
"Sister, stop right there. We don't need any tension in between us about this. It's a petty matter. Let it go. It won't end well."
"Big sister, just please hear me out. It does not involve any harming each other in anyway, at the least."
"Alright Luna, carry on then."
"Now, what I'm thinking is a test of wits! Because power is nothing without knowledge-"
"You're starting to sound like Twilight," Celestia said with a giggle.
Luna smiled back. "I suppose I am. Anyways, I propose that we take a day off and go out and find a test that will suit this purpose. It must be crafty and unique! It must not be anything one would do ordinarily."
Celestia thought about it for a moment and reached a conclusion. "Well, because there is nothing to do today, I suppose we could do so. But just for fun."
Luna hopped in joy. "Great! Shall we set off now?"
"As you wish, Luna. How about we visit Twilight? She may be able to help us conjure up an idea. She's been around her friends enough to gain enough experience in... unordinary matters."
"No, we can not. For she will favor you, and it will be biased."
"Luna, by what you say, we can't ask anypony out there. As you mentioned before, they will all be biased towards me in some way."
"Celestia... that is true. But we may not have a free day such as this in a while, and so we will try to make the best of it. At least we can say we tried."
"Alright Luna... let's go."
The two ruling alicorns had taken flight, and searched over the land. Their path led them to the areas of Ponyville, where they started to lost hope, but then came a solution.
"Celestia, look! One who is not of Equestrian origins!"
The white alicorn followed the gaze of her sister, and it landed upon a cloaked figure walking. It was true; this one was not of Equestrian origin. They could see contrasting hues of black and white on the head, and gold rings worn on the body.
"Why Luna, I believe that is the zebra Zecora, the potion master that resides in the Everfree Forest, as was told by Twilight Sparkle through her letters."
"Ah, yes, I remember her from Nightmare Night. She will not favor either of us over another."
The two decided to fly down and approach her, to ask for a challenge, for Twilight's messages also told that she was also one with good wisdom.
On seeing two enlarging shadows, Zecora turned her head to track the two alicorns approaching her. "Ah, Princess Luna and Princess Celestia of night and day, how interesting to meet you on the road to Ponyville I might say," the zebra greeted in her rhyming fashion when they landed next to her.
"You are Zecora, the zebra potion master," Celestia said. "Twilight regards you highly in her letters."
"Yes, that is I. But you are here- why?"
Luna stepped forward to answer. "I have thought of using today to test who has more wits between my sister and I. We have searched for one who is not of Equestrian origin, and found you. With your great wisdom, would you be so kind to provide us with a test?"
Zecora shook her head. "I apologize greatly, because I can not. For today a matter occupies my mind and all my thoughts."
Luna frowned. "Oh, how unfortunate. Well, I apologize for taking up your time."
The zebra smiled. "Do not worry, Princess of the Night. You have not delayed my travel in the slight."
The two alicorns took to the air once again.
"Well what now Luna?"
"I will not give up easily. We have been flying for too long. There must be something we can do with this mare."
"Luna, do not try to disturb her anymore."
"Celestia, it'll be fine. Besides, when's the last time we spent time having fun with each other outside of the castle?"
"Alright Luna... just to prove that I'm better."
The white alicorn smiled. Her sister was too easy to irritate. She then looked down to the walking zebra, and started thinking of anything that could be done. Celestia, in all her years of living, could come up with solutions for anything, and this was no different. "Well, Luna, I have an idea."
"What is it, dear sister?"
"It is strange, possibly reckless, and is at the expense of the zebra."
"Alright then... so what is it?"
"Do you see the cloak she wears? Try and remove it from her without levitating it, teleporting it, or tearing it."
Luna stared at her sister. It was an outrageous idea, but it was the only one they had, and she was growing restless for a challenge. "Okay, I accept the challenge." She paused for a bit. "Do you already have an idea how to win?"
Celestia smiled. "I may."
"Well fine. I will go first then. If I win, I am the victor." Luna then thought of ways to go about winning. It was actually somewhat difficult, so she decided to just let common sense direct her. She then came up with the simplest answer. She flew back down to the zebra.
"Princess Luna, hello again. Is there any advice I may lend?"
"I ask you to remove your cloak."
"For what reason, may I ask? Because it is quite an unusual task."
"Because I have asked you to."
Zecora looked at the night-blue alicorn, and saw the intent in her eyes. She chuckled. "My dear princess, I will not because it is a test. Though I admit it is a noble solution, you will have to use more than just intuition. I remind you that the harder you try, the harder this cloak will be to pry."
Luna grew frustrated. "I ask you again to remove your cloak."
"I do not like to be delayed, so your antics I will try to evade."
Luna was getting quite irked. So she released her inner stress in the usual manner. The Royal Canterlot voice. "I HAVE ASKED YOU PEACEFULLY TO REMOVE YOUR CLOAK! DOES THOU REQURE ME TO SPEAK IT OFF?!"
It released quite some force, and the zebra was able to smile a little. "Much better, Princess, but still, no success."
"WHY MUST THIS BE SO DIFFICULT?!" Luna spoke even louder.
"It is quite humorous to me, because I am reminded of a fable from a tale so old. The gentleness of the sun won over the force of the winds, as I was told."
"WAS THOU SUPPOSED TO BE A MOCKERY?!!"
At that sentence, the zebra clung hard to her cloak, as so it wouldn't fly off.
"WE ARE WELL PRACTICED WITH THE ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE, AND ARE AWARE OF THE POWER AND FORCE WHEN USED!! DOES THOU WANT TO TRY IT??!!"
The zebra kept walking forward, as she did not want to be delayed to her destination. She was aware that the night princess could become... overly enthusiastic, but this was getting ridiculous.
"WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO DEFY OUR POWER??!!! WE HAVE ASKED YOU MULTIPLE TIMES TO REMOVE THY CLOAK!!! WHY DOES THOU NOT JUST COMPLY??!!!" Luna stopped to recollect her breath and composure. She had not used the RCV with that much force ever in her life. "AM I NOT PUTTING ENOUGH FORCE... *pant*...BEHIND MY VOICE??!! I AM *pant* REACHING MY LIMIT!! I DON'T THINK *pant* I CAN BE ANYMORE FORCEFUL!"
Luna gasped for air. "*Gasp* Alright, you win. Even the power of The Voice cannot rip off that confounded cloak."
Throughout the gale force winds, Zecora had steadfastly held on to her own cloak. She herself considered it quite a feat. Luna could be a weather hazard with enough motivation. Near the end, she was nearly knocked back by the power of the RCV, which had managed to uproot a couple of bushes and a tree. "That was good effort, but for naught. Brute force will not overcome the will I've brought. It seems that the tale holds true. Now let us see if the second part will too."
Luna looked up with defeat, and returned to her sister. "Well, it seems that I have lost, and it is your turn now."
Celestia wore a look of content. "Now, watch as I show you who has more wit." She raised her horn to the sun, and willed it to give off more heat. She watched the zebra down below continue walking. "Any minute now..."
After a couple moments, nothing different happened. Celestia commanded the ball of fire to give off even more heat.
"Sister, I hope the weatherponies don't mind your change in weather."
Celestia looked deep in concentration. "It's alright Luna. I'm the princess. I can do what I want."
The zebra had not even started faltering in her steps.
"Why is this not working?!" The sun princess commanded the celestial ball of light to give off more power. The zebra started slowing. "Yes! Now only a little bit more..."
But after that, the situation did not change. "Hmm. I thought that would work. Oh well, I guess I should just increase the warmth."
"Celestia, I can see smoke coming off of some shrubs."
The white alicorn noticed it, and was knocked back into a conscious state of mind returning the climate back to normal. "But... why?! It should've worked! I remember that fable myself!"
"Let us go ask, then." The two then flew down to Zecora.
Zecora had a grin when the two princesses landed. "I felt the weather increase in heat. But I am not so easily beat."
"But... but... how?" Celestia asked.
"You forget, from where I hail. In Zebrica, to heat, we don't fail. This is a special tribal cloak, made with special care. Whether cold or hot, it is easy to bear." With that said, Zecora left two dumbfounded alicorns in her wake. She turned back to give a parting message. "Do not worry. The experience was quite funny. You have made a great joke out of an old fable. Force of winds and gentle warmth of the sun, remove my cloak you were not able." And after those words, she continued her way to Ponyville.
Seeing that they basically took the day off, the two alicorns decided to follow the zebra from the air to see what she what her destination was. They ended up at a very familiar treehouse. Still interested in the zebra that caused them some trouble, Celestia and Luna peered through the balcony window to observe what was happening.
A purple unicorn went up to greet the zebra. "Oh, hello Zecora! How are you?"
"I am well, Twilight Sparkle, and hope I'm not late. On my way here, I had an interesting twist of fate."
"No, not at all! You're just on time," Twilight said. "Here, I'd like you to meet my sister-in-law, Princess Cadence. Cadence, this is Zecora. She's the potion master that lives in the Everfree Forest. She's a great friend."
"Hello there!" Cadence greeted. "Twilight's told me all the great things about you!"
"Ah, yes, and you are the one I'm here for! Rare berries from the forest, not able to be found in any store."
"Thank you very much, Zecora." Cadence gave one a taste. "These are delicious!"
"I agree, they're great!" Twilight agreed after eating one.
"Oh, and since you're indoors, why don't you take that cloak off?" Cadence suggested.
Zecora laughed. "My mistake, I must've forgotten about it and in addition, I had to hold fast to it for a petty competition." She took her cloak off and hung it on a coat rack by the door.
As soon as the action was finished however, a loud noise was heard inside the library. When the light subsided, two shocked alicorns were in their midst.
"WHAT?!" they simultaneously yelled. The zebra looked on with humorous understanding, while the remaining two just looked confused.
"So," Luna began, "Does this mean Princess Cadence wins?"