She wondered, idly, why there were so many mirrors around. It was one of the many things that she wondered about her little world. It seemed that every new bit of knowledge came with yet more questions. Had they always been there, or did they grow there? She had never seen one grow. Maybe it just took a very long time. She examined herself in the nearest one, a small thing laying on the ground, squinting to make out her figure in the semi-reflective surface.
In all her time scavenging away from her nest, she had never encountered anything like herself. She walked on four legs, like many of the other scavengers and predators she shared the world with, but none of the other creatures had the hard hooves she had at the ends of them, but toes and claws. She had wings, but they weren't like those of the skittish creatures which squeaked and fluttered along the ceilings, either. They were made of many different pieces, and each piece had its own fur. Nothing else had what she had on her head, either. It was a horn, like an extra tooth, as sharp as a predator's, not like the blunt ones that lined her mouth.
And truly, she mused, she was the most beautiful of all the creatures. Her shiny, hanging on its silvery chain around her neck, illuminated a coat of gorgeous gray-blue, and sparkling teal eyes. The mane on her head, and the tail behind her, were a gentle light blue, contrasting the darker coat they sat against. True, her fur was matted and tangled, torn short from fighting in some places, and grown long from neglect in others, but it was blue. And that alone made her unique among all the others. A queen among the common riffraff.
She flicked her tail primly as she became caught up in her self-examination. She loved colors. She had picked this room to house her nest specifically because it had so many. Pink all across the walls, with patterns of white and occasional yellow. Objects she had never seen in the other rooms dangled from the ceiling or hung on the walls, a variety of shapes in every color imaginable.
The centerpiece of the room, of course, was her bed. It had high bars for walls, almost like a cage, but there was no top. She could enter and exit easily just by jumping up and flapping her wings a bit, but none of the land-bound predators could get at her. And any that dared try soon found that her horn fit between the bars just fine. She had moved it there from the side of the room using her own hooves, and surrounded it with all of the shinies she had gathered during her scavenging. If she was a queen, then her bed was her throne.
A smile spread across her lips as her thoughts drifted around the room. Her nest. Her throne room. She turned toward the bed, and her hoof came down on the frame of the mirror she had been examining herself in. A piece of the frame, a large red square, seemed to give under the weight, and a sudden glow came from the surface of the mirror.
She leaped away at the unexpected sound, wings flared and horn sparking with power. The power came when she was frightened. She wished that she could control it, but even so, she was glad to have it. She eyed the mirror warily, but no further sounds came from it. She approached it, cautious. There were lines on the reflection that hadn't been there before. Two lines angled toward each other, meeting near the top of the mirror, and another that ran between them, from the center of one line to the center of the other. The surface was still glowing, but it showed no other signs of animation. She reached a hoof out and forced down the red square again.
"Ey," the mirror repeated. She jumped slightly, but held her ground.
"...eh...ey?" She mouthed the sound questioningly, trying it out herself. It felt nice. It was a nice sound to make. She committed it to memory for later use. "Ey!" she announced proudly.
Much to her surprise, the mirror replied to her proclamation. It made several more sounds. She didn't know what they meant, but the voice sounded just as proud of her as she was of herself. Her eyes brightened. She liked the sound of that voice! She pressed down the red square again, and repeated the sound again, bouncing on her hooves as the mirror told her how proud it was of her. Then she noticed a light coming from the green triangle next to the red square. Curious, she reached out and pressed that.
The sound was different this time. The lines on the mirror's surface had changed as well. She considered them. A single straight line across the left side, and two curves, starting on either end of the line and meeting it again in its center. Maybe it was some sort of hint about how to make the sound? The curved lines looked a bit like lips, so she pursed hers together.
"Mm... mpp... ff... b... bee!" she exclaimed happily. "Bee!" The mirror offered its congratulations, and the triangle lit up again. She grinned widely and scooped the mirror up into her forelegs. This was far too precious a treasure to leave on the ground. She jumped and spread her wings again, flapping over into her bed, and settled down beside her new toy to conduct a thorough investigation of the wonders it held.
The time passed quickly for her, enamored as she was with the seemingly endless font of knowledge that now resided in the center of her nest. She stayed there for what may have been days or weeks. Her fervent curiosity about the world around her was temporarily satiated by the device, and with no other hunger to motivate her to leave, she was content to remain there, conversing in simple syllables with the encouraging voice, occasionally drifting off to sleep when she felt that it was time to pause and let new knowledge settle.
A flashing light behind the final shape on the device, an orange circle, prompted her to new challenges. Soon the device did not speak the sounds at all, but only showed her the symbols, and waited for her to tell it what they were, only reminding her if she asked for its help by pressing the red square. It showed her twenty-six letters in all, and the numbers to count them with. Then it started to combine them to make new sounds, again speaking them before prompting her to repeat them. The lines had become letters, the letters sounds, and before the eyes of the amazed little foal, the sounds became words, and the words became images. Soon she could conjure images as easily on the mirror as she could in her mind, simply by speaking the name of the thing she wanted to see.
"Bird," she commanded with a frown. It was a picture she looked at often. A beautiful red creature, with an angular head and skinny legs, but most importantly... wings. Wings like hers. But she knew that she wasn't a bird.
"Horse," she stated, switching the picture. Another that she kept going back to. Her body was a lot like the horse's, but it had no horn, and no wings. And it was a boring brown, like the huge "rat" creatures that hunted her in the corridors outside of her room. She had already firmly decided that she could not be a horse.
"Unicorn." She spoke the complex word carefully. This one was her favorite, and it seemed so close. It was like the horse, but its coat was a beautiful, pure white, and it had a horn just like hers. But no wings.
"Unicorn bird?" she suggested hopefully. To her disappointment, but not to her surprise, the image remained unchanged. It always did. She felt like she was on the verge of finally answering the question of what sort of creature she was, and yet still so very far away...
Time continued to pass around the tiny blue foal, and she soon moved beyond the words and their images. Despite not being able to answer her most burning question, the device never seemed to run out of things to show her. Single words came together into phrases, and finally into sentences. Soon she was able to engage it in simple conversation, and it answered questions with seemingly limitless patience.
It told her about the different sounds the animals could make, the names of the different colors and how they could mix together, and taught her how to manipulate numbers. The latter amazed her to no end. Mathematics, it seemed, could divine the results of a scenario before it happened, simply by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.
Yet every time she asked a question about herself, or the world around her, the device would sadly tell her that it didn't know anything about what she was asking.
"I'm sorry, but I don't know that." The calm voice of the device apologized for what must have been the thousandth time, and the filly stamped her hoof on the bed.
"But why? You know so much, why don't you know anything about me?" she asked, frustrated.
"I'm sorry," it repeated, "but I don't know that."
She glared at it. "But I need to know," she argued. "What am I? Who am I? Where did I come from? Are there others like me? Do I have a name?"
The device seemed like it was going to remain silent under the barrage of questions, but after a moment passed, its voice responded, "Everyone has a name. What's your name?"
She blinked, realizing that she had never asked the last question before. A name. It had told her that some special things had their own names, to set them apart from other things that were like them. Like places, and "people", and "pets". Was she something that could have a name? Of course she had a name. She was special, unlike anything else in the world, so she must have one. But what was it?
Her eyes fell upon her shiny, the glowing white crescent set down near her to illuminate the room. As if seeing it for the first time, they traced along the curved edge, and she spoke the names of the letters that adorned it.
"El. Yu. En. Ey." She stared at her shiny for a long while, before murmuring, "Luna." She smiled and raised her voice, stating it firmly. "I am Luna."