A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fanfiction
Whose Reflection She Hates
the characters and creations are the property rights of Hasbro, Inc.
and the MLP: FiM writers, producers, etc.
Eighteen Months Later...
“Celest! Celest!” Luna cried. Before Celestia had a chance to answer her bedroom door, Luna came barreling in with fluttering wings and sparkling eyes. Her hind legs hovered in the hair as her wings held her, but she still had to trot her front hooves.
“Luna, what is it?” Celestia laughed. She closed her grimoire, resting the quill she had been using in the inkpot. Luna zoomed up to Celestia. The blue alicorn was a veritable juggernaut at times, undeterred by anything if she was excited enough about something.
“Father said you can fly me up to a cloud! A cloud! I get to go on a cloud!” Luna cheered, fluttering around the room with her hind legs kicking in the air excitedly. Celestia laughed and pulled herself away from her desk. While it was true she had many notes to take for Master Equuleus, it was also true having a break could do wonders for the mind. At least, this is the logic that Celestia used for herself.
“Are you sure he said yes?”
Nubulis laughed and walked into the bedroom and said, “I am quite sure he said yes.”
“See? See! Celest, you never believe me!”
“It’s not a matter of belief, just that you tend to get hyped up,” Celestia said. She gave a respectful nod to her father. He returned the gesture. His deep violet coat was groomed well, and his dark mane tamed beneath his helmet. The sun was to set soon, and his post as a midnight sentry would begin. It was the summer, when new sentry recruits were trained -- the nights were shorter, giving the new stallions and mares a chance to ease into the position of guarding Canterlot from the many dangers that still thrived in Equestria.
“Cloud! Cloud, cloud, cloud! Does it feel like a pillow? No -- softer, I bet!” Luna cheered, zooming in a circle with her blank flank in the air and front legs trotting on the ground happily. Nubulis smiled sincerely as he gazed at his two daughters. When he looked back to Celestia, he noticed a drape hung over her dressing mirror.
“Again?” He sighed.
Celestia bit her lip, managing a calm expression. “I’m afraid so; I think something must be wrong with the dressing table,” she said.
“Well, perhaps your mother can look into the furniture. Goodness knows I cannot be trusted with the aesthetic of this house,” he joked. Celestia glanced at the embroidered drape she had hung over the mirror. Another one, shattered. Beneath the drape, the once unblemished glass spider-webbed into hundreds of shards. This would be the ninth time the mirror had to be replaced (but only the second time either of her parents knew of).
“Can we go now? Please please please?” Luna beamed. She stopped her circling around the room, planting all of her hooves on the ground. Her soft sky eyes were wide and wings extended in quivering excitement. Nubulis began to walk down to the foyer. Celestia smiled and put her gold slippers onto her hooves as she followed her father. Luna composed herself, swiftly shedding her youthful chatter for a regal posture. Once the three left the manor, however, Luna’s wings were fluttering, with fluffy down feathers floating off every minute.
“Do not take her very high; just a low, white cumulus. Understood?” Nubulis instructed.
“Understood!” Celestia said, saluting. Luna, vibrating with energy, was lifted onto Celestia’s back with a vibrant green haze of magic. She clung to her sister’s pink mane, letting it curl and tickle her nose. Nubulis was airborne in one flap of his wings, hovering to watch his eldest take off, slowly, with Luna shivering in anticipation on her back.
“Woohoo!” Luna cried. Nubulis watched until Celestia landed on a wide, roiling cumulus. With that, he left for the Midnight Sentries headquarters in Cloudsdale.
“We are so high! So high!” Luna breathed. She jumped up and down, little feathered wings fluttering constantly. She giggled; the sound was silver-sweet in Celestia’s ear. Celestia playfully levitated a piece of cloud, and clung it to Luna’s face like a moustache.
“I don’t have any hay, little sister. You should have eaten before you came.”
“Not that again!” Luna stuck her tongue out. Celestia did the same. Luna stroked her cloud-mustache with one hoof and gave a haughty laugh. “Look at me! Who am I?” Luna balanced herself on her hind legs and massaged the cloud-mustache while winking at Celestia repeatedly.
“You’re the baker from the first tier!” Celestia laughed. The moustache dissipated, and Luna fell onto the cloud laughing. She rolled around in its plush curves.
“I love clouds! They feel like...like...”
“Like clouds. There is really no other way to describe it,” Celestia said. She flapped her wings once and crashed beside Luna. Her little sister sighed, snuggling into the talcum folds of the white fluff. Overhead, in the sun-setting sky, a few stars started to peer out from the blue. Larger clouds floated above them wistfully, scurrying onwards across Equestria and lands beyond. For a time, the two sisters just watched the clouds float and the stars grow stronger.
Celestia rolled over and noticed Luna was flirting with sleep. Grinning mischievously, Celestia jabbed her sister’s side with her horn.
“No falling asleep!”
“I was not falling asleep,” Luna said indignantly, voice matching the general eloquence Solaria usually spoke with.
“Then what were you doing?”
“Meditating,” Luna answered. Celestia laughed. She noticed Luna was staring upwards. Following her gaze, she found a waxing moon, nearly full. Its pale light was still eaten and smothered by the garish golds of the sun. Soon, though, silver would reign and pave the night with light. It was beautiful, watching the sky change from day to night. Celestia felt that of all magic in the world, nothing could compare with the changing of time and the changing of the seasons.
“Sister...” Luna began. Her voice was not the cheerful staccatos from earlier.
“Did you break your mirror, again?”
“...” Celestia didn’t answer. How could she? She...Luna couldn’t know. No one could ever know. She still wished she had not discovered the fey pony hiding beneath her familiar skin. That night...that night changed her reality.
Celestia roused groggily from a nightmare, only to realize the terror of her dream had been a reality. Pooled around her were chunks of her pink mane, white coat, and flakes of her once pearly white horn. She weakly brought herself to her driftwood legs and rushed to the barrel at her bedside, retching violently.
“This...is this...what I really am?” She whispered to herself, shaking, stomach sore from heaving. Her mouth tasted sour. It was the purification spell that started this horrid process. One crack that unraveled to reveal this...this monster.
A knock came to her door. Celestia’s chest spiked with hot fear.
“M’lady? Are you alright?” Flora asked. Celestia’s eyes watered with tears. She was frightened. She was disgusted. She was confused. All Celestia wanted to do was go back to how she was. She pleaded with her magic to let things be as they were...just to return her to her old self. A bright green light engulfed her, and she collapsed, exhausted, just as Flora came in to find her pink-maned alicorn quivering on the ground. The debris was gone, puzzled back over the black body and crooked horn Celestia truly had.
“Why do you break your mirror, Celest? You’re so pretty.”
“How does anypony know that I’m pretty?” Celestia mused darkly. Luna got up on her hooves and frowned at her sister.
“You are! You are, you are!”
“Sure,” Celestia dismissed. The conversation could go nowhere, and she wasn’t about to argue with a little filly. Luna snorted in frustration and trotted around the cloud, angry with Celestia. At the edge, she looked down.
“Hey,” Luna said, “isn’t that you’re coltfriend?”
“He is not my coltfriend!” Celestia said defensively. She flew over to the edge of the cloud. Indeed, just beneath them, was the familiar teal unicorn, Lute. Celestia giggled as a mischevious thought wriggled itself into her mind.
“Luna,” she began, “doesn’t he look like he needs a shower?”
“Huh, but...ooohhhhh,” Luna said. Her smile curled into a devilish smirk. The sisters closed their eyes, and Celestia’s horn glowed bright green. A weak bright white-blue shimmered over Luna’s small horn as well. Together, the two colors seeped into the cloud. The white cumulus churned and darkened until it vibrated with potential thunder. The folds of the cloud squished now beneath their hooves. Once the cloud was saturated with water, Luna and Celestia clung to the fluff. Celestia used her wings to push them down and over Lute, who was walking to Master Equuleus’s study in the Archives Tower at the edge of the third tier.
“Now!” Celestia whispered. The two jumped up-and-down feverishly. The cloud rumbled with thunder and poured below them.
“Ugh! My mane!” Lute cried. Celestia and Luna laughed. Once drained of the summoned rainwater, the cumulus was shriveled and an off-white.
“Celestia! Luna!” He called angrily. The two alicorns poked their heads through the bottom of the cloud.
“Yes?” Celestia said. Luna burst out into a fit of giggles -- Lute’s mane was soaked and snaked around his neck and face. He looked like an angry wet cat, glaring up between seafoam-green bangs that hung like seaweed over his eyes.
“That was not funny,” he said.
“I beg to differ,” Celestia smirked. Luna was tearing up with laughter. Lute shook himself of the excess rain. Celestia used her wings to push the cloud down to the ground. Luna rolled off the cloud, holding her stomach.
“It hurts!” she laughed, “it hurts!”
“You two are nothing but trouble,” Lute said. Although once angry, a small smile couldn’t help but bloom on his young face.
“You’re one to talk,” Celestia returned. She leapt gracefully from the cloud, letting the cumulus float back up to its place in the sky. The sun was mostly set, leaving the street lamps to be lit by unicorn attendants. The fire of the lanterns glowed brightly, like a false day.
“What were you doing?”
“I took Luna up to her first cloud,” Celestia said. Luna finally composed herself and came to stand beside her sister.
“Well, that’s nice, I guess -- despite my unexpected shower,” Lute said. He laughed lightly, though. He glanced at his saddlebag and unclasped the top to check the contents. He sighed with relief when he found his scrolls and lute unharmed by the downpour.
“Why are you going to Master Equuleus’s study so late?” Celestia asked.
“Oh, I finished some of my scrolls on advanced telekinetic practices late, so I need to get them to her before she leaves for her Unicornia Grimoire Conference tomorrow,” Lute said. He began to walk once more, his mane drying in a fluffed, unkempt manner. Even so, Celestia couldn’t help but find him charming. His coat glistened now in the lamplight, still slick with rain. Celestia realized she was staring when Luna began to giggle under her breath again.
Celestia and Lute began to talk about their studies and shenanigans as they walked. Luna smiled and kept up with the older unicorn and alicorn well. She laughed at the stories they told her -- the time when Lute had an allergic reaction to an invisibility potion and turned a fluorescent shade of pink, or when Celestia and Lute animated the books in Master Equuleus’s study and ended up having to chase them down as they escaped with some Equestrian birds.
Celestia and Lute’s reminiscing continued until they got to the Archives Tower.
“Master Equuleus?” Lute called. He knocked on the door to the tower with his hoof. At no answer, he opened the door with his magic. Although the candles and lanterns were still lit, Magie Equuleus was no where to be seen.
“Strange,” he said, “the master told me she wasn’t leaving until tomorrow.”
“Maybe she left to get dinner? You know how she forgets to eat at times,” Celestia said. Luna gasped as she walked into the study. Walls extended to incredible heights, with book-stocked shelves lining almost every inch. A staircase wound along the edge of the tour to help a pony reach the many books. A dais stood at the edge of the room, where Master Equuleus’s desk sat, littered with quills, books, papers, and potions. An alchemy table was in a nook in the back as well, bubbling a peculiar green liquid on a simmering flame.
Lute trotted to Master Equuleus’s desk and placed his scrolls gently on her desk. As he did so, Celestia let herself browse the titles of the books’ spines.
“Celestia, are you doing anything tonight?” Lute asked suddenly.
“Sister! He’s going to ask you on a date!” Luna whispered happily. Celestia shushed her, blushing.
“No,” Celestia coughed.
“Maybe we could grab dinner? I know a nice cafe with the best daisy sandwiches down in the second tier,” he grinned. Although always suave and confident, Celestia thought she recognized a blush in his cheeks.
“Alright,” Celestia said.
“Finally!” Luna exclaimed.
“Luna!” Celestia and Lute said simultaneously, blushing. The three ponies laughed.
“Did I miss the joke again?” Master Equuleus said. The three ponies turned to find the white-cloaked unicorn enter the tower, smiling. Beside her hovered a large bag of groceries, filled with fruits and stalks of hay.
“Master Equuleus,” Lute and Celestia said. They bowed respectfully to their master. Luna yelped and quickly followed suit.
“It’s quite alright. I left the door open hoping you would hand in those scrolls, Lord Heartstrings. I was also hoping to have a few words with you?”
“Yes, Master,” Lute said. He paused to give a light wink to Celestia before he followed Master Equuleus into the back kitchen. Celestia’s heart pattered pleasantly as she waited.
“Don’t touch anything, Luna,” Celestia said. The little blue alicorn retracted a hoof from poking a glass bottle on the alchemy table. Celestia trotted over to her master’s desk, scanning the many pages, notes, and references. Although just passing over, an image caught her eye. Celestia’s horn summoned magic with its green aura to gently pull over a book.
Celestia felt a surge of cold overtake her. Nausea bubbled in her stomach.
“What’re you lookin’ at?” Luna asked. She leaned on the master’s desk to look at the book entry Celestia’s attention was fixated on.
“Eww,” Luna said. The book was the one Celestia had never been brave enough to open herself -- Equestria: A Guide of Sentient Creatures. The passage was opened among the entries for the letter “C”. Before her was an illustration of the fey ponies that plagued her dreams, and was her actual self -- her secret and terrifying reality. The passage was compact:
“C -- Changeling. Sentient equine, fey nature. Typically deemed solitary. Can take on any pony form it has seen. It thrives on positive emotions of others, particularly love, in order to survive. Legends say that changelings swap their offspring with that of mortal ponies so that their child feeds off the love of the unassuming mortal pony parents, and the mortal pony child can provide love to feed the changeling parents. No changeling has been sufficiently observed to confirm or deny these claims.”
“What is that pony, Celestia? It looks like a bug,” Luna said with disgust. Celestia pushed the book back in place. She then began to trot out of the tower.
“Sister!” Luna called. She followed her sibling out of the tower, little legs pushing hard to keep up with Celestia as she began to canter.
“Sister, what about your date!”
“He doesn’t deserve to date a monster,” Celestia muttered to herself. That night, she would reserve herself to her bedroom. Lute would call on her several times, and each time he would be rebuked by the valet. And when everyone slept, Celestia would purify herself and stare in the dressing table mirror, still broken. Though her image spider-webbed and folded, the hideous black of her stretched skin would disgust her. The bright green-spring eyes would unnerve her. She would look at the broken reflection of a filthy truth and sob.
And that night, as she sobbed at her putrid reflection, Luna peered in the bedroom door.