I'm so sorry! I've missed you so much, big sister!
Luna collapsed to the floor of her ivory tower; flowing, translucent mane draped over her defeated husk of a body like a well-worn blanket. An exhausted sigh attempted to heave its way out of her, but the sharp inhalation sent an unpleasant jolt through her system. The room dimmed and grew blurry as she momentarily teetered on the brink of unconsciousness. The very blood in her veins was kerosene; her every muscle an open flame.
Had it really been so long? One millennium. 365, 242 days. 31.5 billion seconds. There had been ample time for mental calculations in the moon, though modern conveniences like an abacus would have been much appreciated. During her imprisonment, Luna had found ascribing concrete values to the amount of time passed helped maintain her sanity. By itself, a millennium was too amorphous a concept even for an alicorn. With numbers attached, each day was progress, no matter how small. So she filled her head with numbers.
Numbers and hatred.
But that’s in the past, the royal princess thought, her head drooping even further to the floor. But the seeds of doubt had already been planted. The idea had lodged itself in her mind and stubbornly refused to leave, like a sliver of apple caught just right in the back of her teeth. Perhaps it wasn’t the passage of time that had left her frail and useless. Perhaps the overwhelming negativity and violence of Nightmare Moon had left irreversible scars inside her body, felt but never seen.
Perhaps she alone was to blame for her current inability to raise the moon.
Luna struggled to her hooves, failing once and crashing back to the ground, legs splayed in front of her, before successfully positioning herself upright. She hobbled to the balcony, wincing through the pain with every step. A gentle evening breeze gently whipped against her face as the princess of the night watched the sunset; the sky ablaze with a particularly vibrant shade of fuchsia.
“Please, just rise,” she whispered.
But of course, the world didn’t work that way. Luna turned away. She knew what would happen next. Just like every night since her return, Big Sister Celestia would walk to the castle grounds, wings outstretched for no reason other than to project presence and charisma. She would charge her horn, letting the magic sparks dance gracefully around any passersby. Finally Celestia, princess of the sun, would bring forth the moon and bathe Equestria in resplendent starlight.
Relinquishing control of her body, Luna fell into her opulent bed; too exhausted even for envy.
Why does Equestria even need two princesses, the battered mare thought to herself as sleep rapidly overtook her. They seemed to get along just fine with one.
Luna rolled over on her side and adjusted the gemstone-adorned covers, pretending such halfhearted actions would trick her body into falling asleep. Yet another day of attempting to dissuade Celestia from her deplorable “Dragon War” plans had left the night princess with a host of lingering thoughts and concerns, all of which lacked the common courtesy to vacate her head in the presence of a pillow.
“I really thought she’d have moved on by now,” Luna muttered to herself.
Suddenly, the tall crimson doors of her royal bedroom were thrown open and Luna found herself with a most unwelcome houseguest.
“Luna!” Celestia whispered, a mockery in and of itself after the cacophony generated by the metal doors. “Did I wake you?”
“No,” Luna answered truthfully.
“Oh,” under the dim glow of moonlight, Luna could almost make out her sister’s face falling at the sound of her response. “Doesn’t matter. Come on, we’re going to the barracks.” Celestia was downright giddy. “The guards are all asleep!”
In that instant, the bed sheets felt warmer and more inviting than they ever had before. The moonlight kissed her heavy eyelids, whispering promises in her ear to resolve all her troubles, even to restore her long-shattered circadian rhythm, if she just stayed in bed.
But with Celestia, there was no rational thought. Luna did not want to leave the comfort of her room, she did not want to tip-hoof to the guards’ barracks, nor did she want to delicately creak open the heavily bolted door. But HER desires had been shackled the moment she claimed the Elements of Harmony; the moment her sister revealed her true colors. There was simply no telling what damage Celestia could unleash without Luna around to babysit.
After all, what are little sisters for?