Chilly air ruled over Canterlot as sundown set in. Another long day of work, play or any other daytime activity you could imagine had passed. Everypony had already returned to their homes, some lit an open fire to warm themselves, others were already sleeping or having a pretty late dinner. But the troubled thoughts of a certain royal mare kept her from doing that of her subjects
This certain mare, Alicorn of the Night, had been lying on a large blue cushion at the center of her wide-open balcony for a long time, doing nothing more than gazing into the distance - not moving a muscle otherwise. She just let her eyes wander, from one end of the horizon to the other, sometimes watching just the dusky sky above. Either way, she was lost in deep thoughts.
From time to time, she abruptly snapped out of them; it always felt like waking up despite already being completely awake. She always attempted to figure out how she got into that state of trance, but to no avail. No matter how often she tried, she couldn't remember those few moments when the trance set in.
But it ceased to bother her as time moved on. Afterall, she was an alicorn and the Princess of the Moon - she had all the time in the world. But the woeful mare was alone, and there was nopony with whom she could share her time, and nothing was going to change that. A heavy sigh escaped her lungs. She just felt... glum.
What is this... feeling? I am not sure. But what I do know is that I want it to be gone.
Princess Luna was waiting for Celestia's sun to finally set. The duty of raising her moon every night, exactly when the sun vanished under the horizon so far away, was for her the only reason to be alive.
"Why am I even here again? 'Tia could handle things on her own for the last thousand years, so..." her lips and her voice began to quiver, "what is the reason for me to be here again? To... to raise my former prison which no one really appreciated? Is this all there is to it? For... for whom...?"
Tears began to flow over her cheeks. Eyes closed, Luna buried her muzzle under her hooves. She sniffed.
Do. Not. Cry!
But the more Luna tried to suppress it, the more grew the pressure inside of her. It pushed against her mind, her very soul, almost screaming to get out.
No! I... I must not cry...
But Luna couldn't deny it. The coat on the underside of her hooves, with which she was still covering her face, was slowly but surely moistened with tears.
Oh for pony's sake, she whimpered, with a quiet voice, into her hooves. The lunar princess, powerful enough to move an entire satellite, couldn't prevail over her own feelings. Finally, she yielded to her emotions. They overwhelmed her, the tearful sobbing increasing with every breath Luna took. She was crying, tears were slowly running down her cheeks. Sniffling, she levitated a blanket over from her room behind. She curled up on her cushion and covered herself with the silky blanket up to the neck, only her head and the tips of her hooves remained visible.
It did not often come to pass that an alicorn cried, but when it did, the entire land of Equestria seemed to notice. The sun didn't shine as brightly as normal that evening. It didn't emit its usual warmth either. It was like the sphere of pure light had lost its energy - and that was due to only one reason: the solar princess was able to feel the sadness and loneliness of her sister, even if she was not right by her side.
Being creatures of such an ancient era, the first ponies ever to exist in the land now known as Equestria, it was only natural that the goddesses were linked together deep inside their hearts - much to Luna's misfortune, as she didn't want to make her sister worry anymore.
But even being able to tell how the other princess felt didn't mean that Celestia could actually do something about it, and that drove the Sun Princess almost crazy. She didn't want to see her sister so hurt, so downcast! Her feelings were mirrored by the sun, thus it didn't shine so brightly that day.
Celestia knew that if she didn't do anything to help her sister something terrible was going to happen – once again. These feelings Luna was going through were the exact same feelings before the incident with Nightmare Moon. Luna feels forsaken by her subjects, and it was only a matter of time before the Nightmare regained control. Unfortunately it was the very memory of that would-be tyrant that caused ponies to avoid Luna, even after her eventual rescue. It was a vicious circle.
If the Sun Princess wasn't able to help soon, Nightmare Moon would certainly-
Stop. Celestia didn't want to think about that any more.
"How can I just pull her out of her solitude? I have to do something... but what?! Not long, and I'm afraid I'll lose her a second time."
Celestia, sitting upon her throne, gathered her thoughts - or at least she tried to. The day was not over yet, and her royal duties didn't stop just because she felt... well, she was almost as unsure about her feelings as Luna was with hers. But time went on, and when the last duties of the day were done late in the night, she accompanied the last few ponies out of the lobby and made her way to Luna's tower. Right then Celestia just wanted to comfort and be with her sister.
Sobbing, though muted by the thick walls of the passageway leading to the Nocturnal Spire, as Luna's tower was called, could already be heard. She came to a dark corridor which, as high and wide as it was, felt uncomfortably small. She still wasn't used to the dark ceiling, corners and floor that tended to make the whole path seem more confined. Afterall, she was the Princess of Light.
Her thoughts soon wandered, from the time thousand years ago, when she had last defeated Nightmare Moon, to now. What could I have done differently? Was there another way, one I was too blind to see? At the end of her inner time lapse, a certain picture was still burnt into her mind - Nightmare Moon, just taunting Celestia with an evil smile that she would reappear yet another time.
The white princess came to a halt. A huge wooden door now stood in front of her, a huge motif of Luna's cutie mark covering it from top down to bottom. The entrance to Luna's rooms. She opened the gate with her magic, the door swinging leasuirely open with a faint creaking noise.
Celestia trotted as silently as she could through her sister's chambers. Dark blue curtains hung all over it, leaving an almost sinister atmosphere in the chilly air of the room. There, behind a gap in the curtains, two glass doors swung wide open. There was Celestia's destination. Her steps lead her to the balcony, where she found her sister. She was curled up in her selfmade bed, lying on her side. The sniffling now and then confirmed that the lunar princess was still awake, and crying.
"Luna. My dear sister, please stop your weeping. I am here with you," Celestia said with a gentle voice, even more gentle than her usual tone.
The alabaster alicorn slowly sat on the cushion next to her sister. She spread her graceful white wing and placed it tenderly on Luna's back, like a mother keeping her daughter safe from all the fears in the world.
"It's okay. There is no need to cry." Celestia couldn't think of anything else to say. If only she could do more, something to make Luna feel better! But instead she just told her what not to do.
What a sister I am.
Meanwhile, Luna had raised herself into a seated position on her cushion. She looked up into Celestia's magenta eyes. Those eyes, that tried to understand, that tried to see the world from her perspective. Though she was too ashamed to hold the gaze and turned around again to lower her head back onto her hooves.
The sobbing and sniffing of Luna had decreased, much to Celestia's relief. But still, tears were shimmering in the bloodshot, turquoise eyes.
"I... I don't know," the lunar princess mumbled quietly. Luna was plainly unable to talk to her sister. Was it because she just doesn't want to worry her sister, or is it that she doesn't actually know what's troubling her?
For Luna, both were in fact true.
She was caught off-guard as she felt a weight on top of her head, soft and warm fur touching her own through her mane. She looked up - Celestia had laid her head on hers.
They stayed that way for several moments, until Celestia slowly lifted her head again, and broke the silence. "You still have something to do, don't you think?"
Luna's sniffling and sobbing had completely died down as they rested together, however her eyes were still filled with the salty liquid. With a blink, the tear fell to the ground, echoing in the stillness of the balcony.
"Wh... What do you mean?" The darker alicorn asked her older sister obliviously.
"Don't you want to raise your lovely moon for Equestria once more?" Celestia replied with her typical, but sincere smile. "Please. Do it for us..."
The lunar princess looked to the horizon once more. The sun had almost completely set, only a small arc at the tip remaining above the horizontal line, coloring the sky a dusky red-orange. Has really so much time passed? Luna had lost her catch of time.
"I... I will."
Slowly getting up again, Luna snodded slightly at her sister, took a deep breath and sighed it out afterwards. The lunar princess looked up into the sky, the red mixing with her turquoise eyes. She began to channel her magic through her horn, which slowly began to glow. An aura the same colour as her coat blossomed into life around it. With the smoothness of magic flowing through her body, Luna closed her eyes.
With her magic, she searched for the moon that was hidden beyond the horizon, and it didn't take her long to seek it out. She concentrated, and in her mind she enclosed the moon with her blue magic aura, building up enough pressure to lift it. Simultaneously, but she unaware of it, her wings began to flap, taking her a few feet above the ground. Still with eyes closed, the princess stretched her limbs, her front hooves pointing up to the sky. Another few flaps of her wings, and she raised - and so did the moon, exaclty following her motion - leaving a black silhouette of Princess Luna in front of the glowing white orb now visible in the night sky.
She floated back down, and now finished with her task, Luna opened her eyes. She was on the balcony again, standing next to her sister.
The moon had risen, and with it, billions of stars lit up the dark blue sky. It was a beautiful sight, anew every time, even if Luna thought nopony else would think so. She wasn't aware of the lavender unicorn living in Ponyville - sitting on her own little wooden balcony at the top of a tree, watching the rising of the moon in awe - that will change not only this fact, but also her life forever.
Luna slowly stepped in front of her bigger sister, with a pleading look in her eyes.
"Can you please just hold me now?"
With a soft smile, Celestia nodded and leaned forward to embrace her sister. She wrapped her forehooves around her neck, and her large white wings folded over Luna's back, pulling the lunar princess gently against her. Luna hadn't expected it to be so emotional, but eagerly returned it as she swung her own hooves around Celestia.
"Thank you, 'Tia. For always being there for me," said Luna in a quiet voice, pressing one side of her face against Celestia's neck.
They both enjoyed their embrace for quite a while.
Celestia noticed a small spot on her neck getting moist after some time. Luna had begun to cry again, now into her coat. At least I can be here for her, she thought.
"It's a wonderful night, Luna. You know I have always loved them, and I can assure you, I always will."
Luna couldn't suppress the small smile spreading over her muzzle. At least her sister was grateful for the nights only she could call forth. She opened her mouth to speak. Her voice was low, every word like a whisper.
"Th... Thank you, 'Tia. Though I would like to... to share it with a few more ponies," Luna sighed, "but there are none with whom I can do so, are there?"
"You never know," Celestia responded, not breaking their embrace. Luna was rather confused by that answer, but she was too tired to think about it now. The Princess of the Night felt quite exhausted after another day spent alone. The relaxed, steady breathing and the warmth spreading from her sister over to her, wasn't helping to stay awake either. But at least it comforted her.
"Rest. You've earned it, Luna," Celestia slowly pushed her sister away from her, but let her hooves rest on Luna's shoulders. She chuckled at the puzzled look on Luna's face.
Princess Luna opened her mouth to argue with the last statement, which was simply not true.
"I... I haven't earned-"
"Shhhh. It's okay."
Celestia leaned forward and pulled her sister a little closer to her, nuzzling the spot right under her ears. Luna knew there was no sense in arguing now.
She was too tired to argue with her sister anyway. Her gaze eased, as she gave in. Her eyelids were too heavy for her to hold them up. Stifling a last yawn, Luna drifted off to sleep, right in Celestia's hooves.
"What am I going to do with you, Luna?" Celestia whispered in the cold air. She gave her little sister a gentle kiss on her forehead, before she placed her down on the cushion, and covered her with the blanket again.
The Princess of the Sun had had enough. She couldn't bear the burden of seeing her own sister so sad, so lonely anymore. She had to do something... but what?
There was only one thing left.