The skies of Equestria are beautiful at night. The glow of the moon is unmatched in it's splendor, and the stars adorn it's gown. With the light she provides, the little ponies of this land can feel safe at night, instead of fearing it. The mare in the moon is gone, and the mistress of the night has returned after her long exile. To have been forgiven and allowed a second chance is more than she could have hoped for. All she could do now to show her thanks, was what she would always do from now until forever. To watch over every living thing, and swear to herself that nothing would happen to her little ponies while she yet lived. So to that end, she made her moon to shine upon the land, so that danger could not hide. Be it day or night.
A silvery glow to caress the tallest towers of Canterlot Castle in a shining brilliance. The shimmering tendrils of light begin to move down the walls, and the gold and silver trim of the many windows, statues, and parapets capture the light and give it life. The walls seem to be dancing with flowing water, as the glow of the moon reaches the tallest of the windows.
The light of the moon. A light of the purest white, and softest shades of blue, shines through the stained glass windows and casts a multi-hued light throughout the throne room, that could not be rivaled by the sun. Colors so sharp and clear, they looked like they could be touched. Kaleidoscopes of color and light on a cold night to warm the soul.
To swim in an ocean of stars across the sky, that was her destiny. Always escorted by her shining friends, and secure in the knowledge she would always rise again. To a certain alicorn, the nights would always be the most beautiful, and cherished, times of her life.
The blue nimbus surrounding her writing quill ceased, as it came to rest in it's bottle of ink. The afternoon sun was shining through her bedroom window, bathing her room in the glow of the setting sun. An alicorn of midnight blue was sitting at her desk, as she scanned what she had just written. 'It's not my best work, but it will do.' Getting up at mid afternoon was not the best way to help her creativity, but finding time during the night just didn't seem possible. 'I'm certainly not going to win a Ponitzer this way,' She thought, as she lifted the book up to eye level. 'But that matters little, as no one is likely to see this. After all, what would I, 'Princess Luna: Mistress of the Night' be, without a few secrets?' Luna threw her head back, and did her best to laugh diabolically, but it was far to melodic and full of mirth to scare anyone.
"What has you in such a happy mood, my dearest sister?"
Luna jumped and dropped the book on the floor, where it fell open to her latest verse. There was only one voice that could make her jump like that, and for some reason she never could hear her coming.
"Hello sister," Luna said with a sigh to her elder. "Must you always sneak up on me?"
"I was simply passing by when I heard you laughing, and you know it is not my fault you don't pay attention" Celestia said while smiling widely. "Why are you up so early, anyway?"
"Well, I wanted to get this written down before my royal duty's begin." the alicorn paused. "I think it turned out good, but I would still like to give it some more polish."
"What are you working on?" Celestia asked of her sister while trying to sneak a peek at the book.
The younger of the sisters quickly picked up the book and hid it behind her. "I'm not sure if I'm ready to let anyone see it yet," She said with a hint of nervousness. "It's really just a way to help me look at things from a new perspective." Luna loved her sister dearly, but the 'Princess of the Sun' casts a long shadow. And it's all to easy to get lost in said shadow, when your the 'Mistress of the Night'. However, it was nice of her sister to show an interest in her writing, for no other reason than being her sister.
"Luna, it's ok," Her sister said, possibly sounding more reassuring than she needed to. "I promise I won't laugh."
The midnight alicorn gasped, before saying, "Why would you use a word like 'laugh'," Said Luna, with her best hurt expression. "My own sister thinks something I wrote could be laughable. How will I ever face society again?" She lamented, as she collapsed on her bed in shame. This quickly turned into fits of giggles as she failed to keep up the act. Causing the stars in her ethereal mane to flair with each laugh.
"Oh, just give me the book you silly filly," Celestia said while laughing. "You only wish you could act that well."
"Yes, I know," The younger mare said between laughs. "I always was a terrible liar."
"Too true!" her sister said, as she picked up the book.
"Although some would consider that a good quality," Luna smirked, as she poked her sister in the side with a hoof.
Celestia only rolled her eyes as she began to read.
The dark colored mare eyed her sister carefully. Her sister's opinion was important to her, even if it was over something so small, and she knew Celestia would try to hide her feelings behind the royal mask. The white alicorn had always been a master of her emotions, and the last thousand years had only served to hone this talent. But Luna still knew her sister well enough to read how she really felt about something. She was still as a statue, but the relaxing of her shoulders told her she was really paying attention to what she was reading, the slight shift of her wings meant her interest was peaked, and the way her right ear tilted to the outside, was the sign she really liked what she saw.
So it was that when Celestia finished reading, she was met with a widely grinning sister than seemed to be ready to take flight.
"What?" the elder sister said while trying to sound nonplussed.
"You liked it," was said as if revealing a great secret.
"I didn't say that."
"Yes you did!"
"No I did not!"
"You were thinking it," Luna said, in a singsong voice.
"You can't know that."
"So you admit it?" the younger said while still grinning.
"I, no, I mean. How would you know what I'm thinking?"
"Oh, I can read you like an open book," she said as she hopped down from her bed.
"Ok, I'll admit it. I liked it." But before Luna could respond, the sun princess said, "I do have one question though."
"Oh? Was something wrong? Because it is a work in progress, and I still have to-."
"No, nothings wrong," Celestia interrupted her sister before she could finish. "I am wondering why you have not tried finding a publisher for this?"
"A publisher?" Said Luna while raising an eyebrow. "I don't think I could find one that would take it on."
"Sure you could." She thought for a moment before saying, "In fact I know one that would be perfect."
"What I mean is, how would I find one that will accept my work because it is worthy, and not for the sake of me being a princess?"
"Oh." Celestia pondered this for a moment. "Well, why don't you submit it under a pen name?"
The younger mare seemed to take this in before saying, "Allowing mine works to be judged by their greatness, and not by mine..." Luna trailed off as she realized that in her excitement she had lapsed into ancient Equestrian. "I mean, by my status," she said with a sheepish grin.
"And I think I have the perfect pen name for you."
"Yes, what is it?
"How about 'Mystery Moon'."
"Oh dear, I forgot," Luna said with a sigh.
"What is it?"
"I should never let you name anything," She said while looking at the sun sister pointedly. "Ever."
"Oh come on," She pleaded. "It's catchy!"
"It. Is. Ridiculous."
"Well, I could continue to argue the merits of my name idea, but 'Mystery Moon' has a case to solve," Celestia said with a sly smile.
"Yeah, what's that?" She said, not even attempting to hide her disdain for her sisters choice of pen name.
"Who is going raise the moon if we are in here?"
As she said this, Luna finally noticed that the room was almost dark. Looking out the window, she could see the sun as it was just beginning to touch the horizon. "Sister!" she said as she fixed Celestia with an accusing stare.
"What?" she said innocently, as she watched her turn and race for the balcony door.
"You always do this!" Luna said as the balcony doors were flung open by her magic. "I don't know how you do it, but one day I'm going to find out, and the tables will be turned!"
Luna reached the balcony and closed her eyes. Peace of mind was needed for the act of raising the moon. For it did not require power, so much as loosing ones self to the natural flows of energy. The celestial sisters both were aware that neither of them had the power to move the sun nor moon. It was more like meeting an old friend, where all you had to do was ask and it would be done.
A blue aura seemed to emanate from every part of Luna's body, as she spread her great wings and rose into the air. She began to access that ancient energy within that was her connection to the moon and heavens. The power flowed through her and overwhelmed her senses, causing all else to melt away into insignificance. Where Celestia would burst into a silhouette of burning light, Luna seemed to fade into nothing. And as her aura reached for the sky, she became little more than a window to the heavens. The stars and moon in all their glory, could be seen through the void where Luna used to be. Those that bore witness to this event, would realize that what they saw through her, could only ever be seen from outside the world of Equestria. A sight that could only be viewed from the moon itself.
Then, with a rush that came from everywhere and nowhere. Luna was back, and floating to the ground as her blue aura dissipated.
"That was more flashy than usual," Celestia observed, as her sister turned to walk in from the balcony. "Is it a special occasion?"
"I, don't know," Luna said as she ducked her head. "I have this sense that something important is going to happen tonight, and the sky should be at it's brightest. Also, Twilight is still working on the new star charts."
"Wait, you sense it to?" Luna perked up greatly at this. "Like the sensation you get just before a huge storm?"
"Y-yes. Yes! Exactly!" The smaller of the two practically melted with relief. "I thought I was just imagining it."
"Well, it's possible we are both imagining things," at this Luna fixed her sister with a flat stare
"Tia. That's not funny," she said, not sounding the least bit amused.
"All I'm saying, is that there is no way to know what will come of this," Said the elder, as she fixed her sister with an even gaze. "It's best not to worry until we know. Ok?"
"Yes, yes, I get it," she said with a gleam in her eye. "Never worry until it's too late."
"Luna, you know that's not what I me-," But she was stopped short as Luna burst out laughing.
Celestia could not help but smile as her sister said, "I understand what you mean sister." she paused for a moment as if to collect her thoughts. "I just can't help but feel that I should somehow be ready."
"Your right sister. We do have to be ready," At this, the Princess of the Sun stopped smiling and looked her sister in the eye. "I trust that no matter what happens, you will always make the wise decision. In the best interests of Equestria, and of it's citizens. I have faith in you, and so do all the little ponies of this land"
At this, Luna finally managed to relax. "Thank you, sister. It's nice to hear that from you"
"It's easy to say when it's true." she said, in a far more casual tone. "Now you should get going. Night court will be starting soon."
"Right." Luna closed the balcony doors and put away her writing gear before heading out the door. "Good night Celestia," She said as she headed for the door.
Celestia smiled before responding,"Good morning Luna."
The two guards posted at her door, turned and fell into formation on either side of the moon princess. As she began making her way to the throne room, she thought about how boring tonight was likely to be. Luckily, there were only a few scheduled audiences for tonight, and baring any emergencies, it was hoped things would go off somewhat uneventfully. The only thing that seemed like it could present a problem, was a feud going on between two farming clans south of Fillydephia. 'Of course, after all that, I still have to attend the opening of a new night club.' She still wasn't sure how she had gotten roped into that. Maybe it had something to do with it being named in her honor, after all 'The Mare in the Moon' did have a nice ring to it. As she was mulling this over, the princess and her two escorts arrived at the throne room.
"Are there any changes to the itinerary Sky Canter?" She asked of the night guard captain, as she began her accent to the throne.
"Only two your majesty." The unicorn pulled out several sheets of paper from a pocket in his armor. "Apparently the clan feud south of Fillydephia has been settled. It would seem that it was some sort of misunderstanding about who had rights to plant on certain parts of the land"
"And?" The Alicorn asked as she got settled.
"They found some old family records that cleared up the issue," He said, as he turned to another page. "Also the mayor of Manehatin, a Mr. Big Apple, wants to speak with you about some new zoning laws on the outskirts of the city."
"Is there something wrong?"
"Well, He claims they are getting in the way of some new city development, and wants to know what his options are of trying to find a way around the new restrictions, and or, getting the city council to change their minds."
"Very well," Luna said with a nod. "Thank you Sky Canter. You may send in the first Subjects."
"Yes your majesty." With a quick salute, he put away his notes and turned on one hoof fast enough to cause his flaxen mane to hang on his opposite side. He then began to move at a brisk trot for the palace doors.
After four and a half hours, and holding seven audiences, Luna was finding herself increasingly distracted. She could not shake a sense of foreshadowing, and now it felt like it was coming from above.
She kept glancing up whenever nopony was looking, as if she was expecting to see something come shooting straight through the ceiling. 'This can't be right,' She thought as the next ponies were ushered in. 'I feel as if I am in a storm. Nothing wants to line up right, and magic itself feels as if it is being twisted into strange new shapes.'Her nerves were beginning to fray when she finally realized where she had felt something like this before. 'Oh no!' Lunas eyes widened as a horrible thought crossed her mind.
"If you will excuse me for a moment," she said to the two earth ponies standing at the base of the thrones stairs. "I must go check on something." Luna tried to remain as calm as possible when she left the throne room at a fast walk, causing her two guards to break into a trot to keep up.
"Is something wrong your majesty?" The guard to her left asked as she broke into an even faster walk.
"I have to check on something. I have to check. I have to check right now!" The princess said in a slightly panicked tone.
The two guards exchanged worried glances over Luna's back, but continued to follow their charge in silence from then on.
Luna had broken into a barely restrained gallop by the time she reached the royal gardens. 'This can't be happening!' The strange 'not magic' in the air was getting stronger the closer she got. Causing her panic to rise still further. 'He can't be loose, not now. Not so soon!' But when they rounded the last corner, Discord was still there. The Spirit of Chaos was still trapped in his stone prison. Still with the same horrified expression. Still a danger to nopony.
"I don't understand," The alicorn said, as she continued stare at the statue. "I was so sure it had something to do with him."
"What had something to do him your majesty?" One of the guards asked, as carefully as possible.
Luna rounded on the guard. "I have not the slightest idea!" She said with far more anger than she intended. "Something is out of place. The order of things is wrong, and mine ability to find out why is not being assisted by thou tiresome!... Questions?...
Her anger left her as she felt the strange presence from above again, stronger than ever. Luna slowly raised her head and looked up into the night sky for only the second time that night. The princess' mouth fell open as she spotted what she new was the source of her unexplained fears.
"Princess?" The two guards said in unison. "What is that?"
The sky was bathed in the soft glow of twilight, and the air felt crisp and clean. For a moment, as the sun was setting and the moon began it's rise, the two celestial entities could regard each other as equals. For but a short time, twice a day, they could gaze over the land of Equestria and it's inhabitants together. But time goes on, and the sun began it's decent beyond the horizon, ushering in the night as the solar sister took her rest.
The moon and stars seemed to be trying to compete with the sun tonight. Luna had caused them to burn so bright, that one wondered if the stars meant to fall, and set themselves amongst the very trees like some great shining fruit. Was such a thing possible? Are the stars so very far away as all that? Or are they more like fiery gems that could be brought down to our level, if only we could reach but a little higher? I hope they are the former. That such things are beyond the grasp of mortal ponies, forever mysterious and foreign, yet familiar all the same. Should all the mystery's of the world be solved, then there would be nothing keeping us grounded.
Twilight Sparkle had to stop looking through her telescope long enough to stop giggling at her horrible pun. "I must not be getting enough sleep if I'm cracking myself up," Said the purple unicorn. For the last three days, she had been updating the current star charts to reflect their new positions. When the stars had helped 'Nightmare Moon' escape, they had not returned to their original places. So, Twilight had taken it upon herself to update all the star charts of the night sky.
'I do hope Luna approves of the new charts,' She thought as she added more stars to the piece of parchment floating in front of her. 'Although she seemed to be the most excited about the new lunar charts I'm working on.' Ever since Luna returned, and found that all old charts depicting the moon had been lost, (save for some ancient tapestry's,) she had seemed rather sad while discussing anything to do with the moon. Nothing was stopping Luna from remaking the charts herself, but what would be the point, if all the ponies of Equestria wanted to remember were the results of her banishment, then who was she to stop them? It had seemed to Twilight, that she still felt tremendous guilt over her behavior of the past. Of course if she had been anything like her sister, (with her habit of hiding her emotions behind the royal mask,) Twilight would have never known how she really felt on the matter.
It was a secret hope that maybe one day, she could be close friends with Luna. She loved and respected Celestia, but it always felt like they would never move beyond teacher and student. She didn't want to ever be seen as her equal, but sometimes, 'I just wish that we could relax around each other,' She had thought to herself on more than one occasion. Maybe one day It could happen. just a quiet conversation about life in general, and their mutual friends. It was such a small thing, but it felt important none the less.
She had never realized how much she was missing, not having any friends growing up. It had seemed like such a foreign idea at the time. Friends would only get in the way of her study's, and why would she want that, when her best friends were her books? Always ready when she was, always willing to entertain, and always ready to provide her with answers, if only she would look. Now however, she would turn to her friends first. With her concerns and worries, her accomplishments and failures, and now, her new found need for companionship. It still felt odd at times having somepony care about her, just for being Twilight. Not Twilight the student, or Twilight the daughter, or even Twilight the gifted mage.
'Stop getting lost in thought Twilight!' She mentally chided herself 'You said you would have this done by tomorrow!' The unicorn paused for a moment 'On second thought. I'm clearly to distracted right now to be of any use.' With an audibal sigh, she got up from her sitting position and began to walk away. Before going through the balcony door back into the library however, she stopped her self short and looked over her shoulder. "Maybe starting work on the Lunar charts will help me focus," The purple unicorn muttered to herself as she began walking back to her spot at the telescope.
Normally a telescope of this size would not be of much use when trying to chart the moons surface, but a couple nights ago Twilight had found a simple yet efficient spell that would increase the magnification of objects viewed through a lens. 'It certainly saved me some bits, not having to buy a larger Telescope,' She observed as she took her position in front of the telescope. Luna would have to help with the other side of the moon, as she would be the only one familiar with it. But hopefully that could be a time to find out more about the princess, and how she has continued to adjust to life after a thousand years alone.
'Why am I so distracted tonight?' Twilight thought to herself for the seventh time that night. 'Normally I can remain focused, but tonight I feel like I'm waiting for something to happen.' It had already been four and a half hours, and she had only managed to do an hours worth of work. Maybe it was the strange feeling of static electricity in the air, like how you feel just before a really big storm. 'It feels like my mane is going to stand on end' The purple unicorn thought to herself. 'How can it feel like a storm is coming, when the forecast calls for clear skies?'
She put the right-angle eye piece on the scope and positioned the swivel so it would be easy to track the moon across the sky. As Twilight settled herself in, she used her magic to levitate a pencil and a piece of white paper that was divided into an 8x8 grid. 'Let's see' the unicorn thought to herself, as she began to move the telescope into position. 'I'll need to start with sector 3-A, then I can mo-.' Twilight was interrupted mid thought as she noticed a star that seemed to be pulsing with a bright yellow light. 'Now what could that be?' Thought the mare, as she took a closer look at this strange star. 'I know that wasn't there just a moment ago.' Twilight knew things such as dust in the air could cause stars to twinkle at night, but this did not look like anything she had ever seen before. It seemed to pulse at regular intervals, and was far brighter than the other stars in the sky. 'How is this possible?' She thought, as she centered the star in the viewfinder. 'I wonder if this is only temporary?' Twilight began taking notes at a feverish pace. "Maybe I'll be the first to document this!" The unicorn said as she began to almost vibrate in place. 'I wonder if they'll name it after me?' She mussed as she continued to take notes on the star.
Her excitement was cut short however, when the star stopped pulsing, and began to move. "Huh?" She said, feeling completely confused. Never in her life had she heard of a star just appearing, and then moving around for no reason. 'Could this be the work of Luna?' The purple mare thought. 'I think I remember Princess Celestia saying something about Luna controlling the night sky, not just the moon.' While she was thinking this the star continued moving and began to pick speed. It was flaring up even brighter now, to the point of being almost painful to look at.
"SPIIIIIKE!" Twilight yelled. "Spike, get up! GET UP! You have to see this!" after a startled yelp, a thud, and some words she couldn't make out, Spike stumbled onto the balcony, looking for all the world like he was still asleep.
"What is it Twi?" He said, tiredly. "I was dreaming about gems, a house made of gems as a matter of fact, and Rarity, and how much she lov-."
"Yes Spike, I know you're tired, but this is important!" Twilight interrupted before he could really get going.
"What could be more important than gems, and eating them?"
"Well, maybe stars that move around on their own, for no apparent reason, and seem to be speeding up?"
Spike scratched his head and stared at her for a moment, as if he wasn't sure he'd heard her right, before saying, "Okay, I guess that's interesting enough," The Purple dragon said as he glanced up at the sky. "Where is it?"
"Just to the left of the moon," She said. "At least it was a moment ago." Twilight paused long enough to find it again. "Now it's just below it," She said, pointing with a hoof.
"Wow, it's really bright Twilight," He said, as he scratched at one of his head frills with a claw. "How long has it been there?"
"Only a few minutes, I'm sure of it," Twilight said, sounding slightly frazzled. "Does it seem to be speeding up?"
"I don't know Twi, but it sure is getting bright," He said guardedly "In fact it almost looks like it's... Whoa!"
As he said this, the star flared to such a brilliant level, that one wondered if Celestia was starting the day early. The ground and all of Ponyville was bathed in a deep yellow glow that seemed to pierce every shadow. The star flashed several times, dazzling the eyes of anypony that was out that night. Finally it flashed again to a level that hurt, even with your eyes closed. When the unicorn and dragon opened their eyes again, they saw a ring of emerald green spreading outward from the star as it began to streak toward the Everfree Forest. It left a contrail of clouds and lightning behind, as it sped through the sky. In fact if Rainbow Dash were watching, she would probably think the Wonderbolts were putting on a late night show. It was now visible as a burning fireball moving with alarming speed toward the ground. It made a sound like a banshees scream as it hurtled toward them. They could feel the heat coming off it in waves as it passed overhead. But by the time it occurred to either of them that this could present a real danger to them and the residents of Ponyville, It was too late. Too late to run. Too late to warn the others. All she could do was look on in horror, as she realized these could be the last seconds of her and her friends lives.
The impact was less catastrophic than Twilight had feared, but still terrifying all the same. It hit with a blinding flash, and threw up a cloud of dust that could be seen for miles. Followed seconds later by a deafening boom that broke windows all over Ponyville in a shower of glass, and threw ponies off their hooves. Twilight and Spike were hit with such force, that if it were not for the rail of the balcony, they would have been doing their best imitations of pegasus ponies. The sound of the explosion continued to echo across the valley for over a minute, while on lookers stood in muted silence.
As the last echoes of the explosion died down, Spike finally managed to find his voice. "Twilight?" He asked nervously. "Wha-what? What was that?"
"I don't know Spike," She said. "I'm not even sure why we're still alive."
There was a pause before Spike asked, "What do you mean Twi?"
"According to the books I've read, that was a meteor, not a star," The unicorn paused for thought.
"And?" He said, as he rubbed at his eyes.
"Well, Based on it's appearance, and how bright it burned, it should have been large enough to wipe out most of Ponyville!"
"Oh no!" The young mare cried out, as her eyes widened in horror.
"What is it Twilight?"
"The meteor landed close to Fluttershy's!" The unicorn said as she turned and galloped into the library.
"You think something might have happened to her?" The purple dragon said, not looking the least bit tired anymore.
"Her house was much closer to the impact, Spike. Of course I think something happened to her," she said as she hurried down the steps to the ground floor of the library.
"W-what do you want me to do?"
"Gather the others, and have them meet here," Twilight managed as she landed on the floor. "If I'm not back in half an hour, send a doctor, Fluttershy may be hurt!" She managed to call over her shoulder, as she sprinted out the front door.
"Ok Twilight, I'll get right on it," He called after her. "Good luck!"