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“So, let me see if I understand this correctly,” Princess Luna said as she pointed to Applejack, “You dressed up in costumes, posed as a superhero, and prevented several disasters just as an elaborate way to tell Rainbow Dash she was being a jerk?”
Applejack, placed her hoof behind her head, “Well when ya’ put it that way… maybe we did go a might overboard. But it was mostly Twilight’s idea. The superhero thing, that is.” Behind Luna, Twilight Sparkle was rapidly shaking her head and signaling Applejack to stop talking. Once Applejack finished speaking, Twilight threw herself on her back. She could not believe how much her friends were embarrassing her during her first date with Luna. This was probably the most important day of her life and they were doing their best to ruin it.
“It was Twilight’s idea?”
“Well, yeah,” Spike said, “In her quest to read everything ever printed Twi was delving into comic books at the time.”
Twilight sprang up from the ground and positioned herself in front of Luna, “What! No! I don’t read comic books! You know the books I like! Magic manuals, history textbooks, geographic reference guides!”
Luna giggled, “That’s okay, Twilight. We don’t have to like all the same kinds of reading material. If you don’t like comic books and I do, that’s not an issue.”
“You… Like comic books?”
“Do not misunderstand, I appreciate the stouter literature just as much as you, however history books are not as marvelous when you were actually there. Most magic manuals were written by me, and geographic references… well they’re just mind-numbing, actually. I much prefer fantasy tales. Do you have a favorite series?”
Twilight’s ears drooped and her eyes were shying away from Luna’s own, “Um… I like the Sir Lancer series….” She could not believe she had said that out loud.
“Oh, that’s a good one. I knew him personally, actually. The real Sir Lancer was even more fantastic if you can imagine.”
“He was real?!” Twilight’s eyes lit up, “I thought…. Wait a minute! The adventure with the Centaur! You were in that issue! Sir Lancer and the Princess of the Night delve into the forsaken ruins of Atteris! Did that really happen?”
“Oh that… if you mean did we meet a real Centaur like in the comic? No. But we did find a statue of one outside of Tartarus.”
“And the Amulet of Null? Was that real?” Twilight clapped her hooves together in excitement.
“Yes, and just like the story it was stolen by Diamond Dogs. Just as well, it would have been lost to history either way; Celestia confiscates all Centaurian artifacts because of… well… that’s really not important to the story.” Luna leaned in next to Twilight.
“That’s amazing! How come you never told me this before?” Twilight looked deep into Luna’s eyes.
“I’ve been alive a long time. It’s going to take a while to tell you all my stories.” The two ponies leaned in close and extended their lips only to meet a magic barrier blocking their kiss.
“That’s close enough!” Shining Armor shouted.
Twilight kicked her brother in the ribs, “Armor!”
Rarity began to whine, “Shining Armor, you’re spoiling everything for them! Can’t you just let your sister be happy? She let you be happy with your fillyfriend, why can’t you return the favor?”
Shining Armor crouched on the ground, “Oh great Celestia! Her voice hurts my ears! Fine, whatever, just stop whining!”
“Then it is agreed, Twilight and Princess Luna shall forever be a couple!”
“I’m not agreeing to that at all!
Pinkie Pie stood up and plopped a large cake down in the center of the bickering ponies, “Hey, come on everypony! Let’s turn those frowns the other which-a-way around and make this a real party!” Pinkie Pie shoved a piece of cake into Shining Armor’s mouth. She quickly scooped up another piece and turned to Rarity.
“Pinkie, no! Mfffgh!”
“There! You can’t fight if you can’t talk!”
Twilight smiled over at her pink friend, “Thanks, Pinkie.” Pinkie Pie returned the smile with a wink.
Luna shook her head. At this rate it was going to be a long day. At the very least, she had Twilight by her side. It was not that she disliked Twilight’s friends; it was just that, they were Twilight’s friends and not hers. The Alicorn watched the shadow of a nearby tree. As the sun was finishing its morning rise, the shadow was swinging around the base of the tree and creeping closer and closer to where she and Twilight were sitting. Just a few more minutes and they would be fully under the cool shade. Applejack and Pinkie Pie were busy talking about some harvest celebration. Did Pinkie Pie ever talk about things other than parties? Luna wondered. She glanced over at Twilight, who seemed to be the most embarrassed pony in all of Equestria at the moment. Luna was not very good in most social circumstances, her impatience tended to make most ponies avoid her, however she could still recognize when somepony was trying their absolute best to make a good impression. Luna gave Twilight a reassuring smile. Truth be told, there was practically nothing Twilight could ever do that would make Luna stop revering her so. In some part of her mind she acknowledged that the thought was probably very unhealthy. Still, if one lives forever, what would sixty or so years of devotion matter in the long run? That last thought saddened her though. Regardless of how much she cared for her new fillyfriend, she was still and Alicorn and she would still outlive everypony. Everypony except her sister at least. There was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Death was final, irrevocable. Her sister had learned that the hardest way possible. The Alicorns were beings of nigh unlimited power, physical gods, capable of housing the spirits of the sun and moon. But they could never conquer death; only hide form it while others succumbed. Such was their blessing. Such was their curse. Luna shook her head. Now was not the time for such thoughts.
“You may be her friend, but that doesn’t mean you know what’s best for her!” Shining Armor said.
Rarity let out an exasperated huff, “And you’re not her father! So stop acting like it!”
Twilight turned back to Luna, her eyes pleading for an escape. Luna gave Twilight a small nod and started hatching a plan. Luna turned to Pinkie Pie, “If this is a party, are there not supposed to be games?”
“Just who do you think I am? I’ve got the best party games ever!” Pinkie began to rapidly set up several games. Twilight gave Luna a worried look, but Luna just smiled.
Now all Luna needed was a distraction for Rarity and Shining Armor and she could act. “Pinkie Pie, could you do me a favor?” Luna gave Pinkie Pie a wink.
“A favor? What kind of… hold on a moment…” Pinkie Pie stained her neck upwards at the sky, as if she was trying to read something out of sight. “Oh…! A distraction for Rarity and Shining Armor. Got it, coming right up!” Pinkie Pie raced over to the two bickering ponies and pulled them into rousing game of pin the tail on pony. While Shining Armor and Rarity were busying forcefully playing a game, Luna used her wing to nudge Twilight underneath the shadow of the tree. Luna gave a brief wink to Pinkie Pie. She looked over at Twilight and smiled.
“Hold your breath.” Luna said.
“What?” Twilight gave Luna a confused look. Luna tired to give Twilight a reassuring look. Twilight began to inhale but was startled by the tree’s shadow creeping up her hooves. With a lurching motion, the shadow engulfed Twilight and Luna, and pulled them into the ground in a series of broken lines. Where Twilight found herself next was a strange place. Shifting shades of various grays and blues danced around as she was pulled by Luna through a tunnel of some kind. Sound was only series of humming and plinking noises. Every now and then a piece of the tunnel would break away and be pulled to the other side. Luna glanced back to see if Twilight was doing alright. With a sudden tug, Luna plunged both of them into the side of the tunnel. As they hit the wall, they fell into what at first seemed to be a cool murky liquid, but the substance soon shattered into a series of disconnected lines. Twilight’s eyes burned as the light assaulted her senses. When the world came back into focus, she appeared to be in a forest.
Luna watched Twilight gag. The Alicorn sighed, “You didn’t hold your breath, did you?”
Twilight coughed a few times, “What was that?”
“Shadow Walking, I can move to anywhere a shadow touches in nearly an instant. Tia can do something similar with light. Unlike your teleportation spell, this one isn’t limited by distance…. Are you alright? I’ve never taken another pony into the Meld before.”
Twilight staggered around slightly, “I’m a bit woozy, but I think I’m ok. Whoa!” Twilight tripped and crashed to the ground and let out a groan.
“Oh! Twilight! I’m sorry.” Luna bent down and helped Twilight stand. “Some first date, huh? First swarmed by bickering ponies, now I’ve gone and made my fillyfriend nauseous.”
Twilight shook her head to fix her mane, “At least the bickering ponies aren’t your brother and your closest friends. Still it could be worse.”
“Yes, I’m sure. I’m just hoping that I’m still delightfully adorably awkward enough that you forgive the nausea part of this.”
Twilight gave Luna a smile, “I thought adorably awkward was my thing?” Twilight looked around, “Hey… where are we?”
“The Everfree Forest, on the outskirts of it anyway.” Luna gestured behind her, “Horseshoe Pond is only about a mile that way; we didn’t come that far.”
“Teleporting a whole mile away! You’re so amazing Luna.” Twilight leaned against the Alicorn’s side.
Luna chuckled, “It will be a sad day when I run out of magic tricks to impress you with.”
“I think that will be a ways off, Luna.” Twilight nuzzled her head into Luna’s neck for a brief moment. The two ponies sat in a moment of tranquility. The birds of the forest, happily chirping away and busy ignoring the sight before them, were providing just the right amount of ambiance to make the moment perfect. Twilight had never thought the Everfree Forest to be a romantic place, but it had a certain mysterious appeal to it. It certainly helped that the dangers of it seems so far away whilst she was in Luna’s embrace. In a way, her view on the Everfree Forest was much like a metaphor to her relationship with Luna. At first she had been fearful of the place. It was dark and foreboding, cast aside by everypony. It was powerful and ancient and that scared most ponies away. But then after she braved a bit of time with it, she found it had its charm. Now she sat, staring at the treetops with her fillyfriend and it had become the most romantic place in all of Equestria. Twilight’s heart was beating faster than ever before. She looked into Luna’s eyes.
Luna sighed, “Twilight… I know this is all moving very fast but... I think that I…”
The ground rumbled and birds took flight from the sheer volume of the sound. Luna looked to the sky, “What was that?!” High in the air, whizzing past, was a blue blur trailed with a magnificent rainbow. “It that…?”
Twilight smiled and pointed to the sky, “Shh, just look!” So, Luna stared upwardly. In a moment, a wave of colors plumed out across the sky, casting shifting light in between the foliage of the trees. Luna had to admit, it was a fantastic sight. “Ladies and Gentlecolts, I give you Rainbow Dash’s Sonic Rainboom!”
“We admire its splendor…” Luna coughed, “I mean… it’s exquisite.”
Twilight smiled, “She won’t tell you so, but Rainbow Dash sure has a thing for beauty. I don’t care what anypony says, that’s art right there.” The edges of the phenomenon in the sky had just started to clear, bringing back the brilliant blue ever so slowly. “Have you ever seen a more amazing display in the sky?”
“Twilight Sparkle!” Luna said, slightly hurt, “Have you never laid eyes on the full moon in autumn? Have you not seen the brilliant twinkle of a billion stars?”
“Oh, no I didn’t mean….”
“You wait right there, little pony, I’ll be right back!” Luna stood up and raced off to one of the trees; she stood in the shadow of the tree and gave Twilight a wink, “I’ll show you real art!” The shadow crept up her hooves and in a second, she was gone. Twilight frowned, unsure if she had really offended Luna or if the Alicorn was just getting ready to show off again. Either way, a small part of Twilight was glad Luna was gone. Truth be told, Twilight was becoming a bit uncomfortable around the princess, her heart would not stop beating so rapidly and she was contently worried about what she was saying. In such a short time Luna had begun to consume all her thoughts. All of her dreams as well, and yet there was still so much she did not know about the pony that had enthralled her so. She would have delved deeper into those thoughts but a strong wind shook the area around her. Up above Rainbow Dash had circled back around and was buzzing the tree tops dangerously. The cyan pony did a roundabout and a flip to land gracefully next to Twilight.
“Hey ya, Twilight!”
“Hey Rainbow. Great display, today.” Twilight smiled.
Rainbow struck a pose, “Ya caught that, huh? Thanks, but it could have been so much more awesome. Princess Celestia only lets me make small ones over Everfree nowadays. Something about disturbing the peace.”
“Well we thought it looked great from down here!”
“Yeah, I saw you down here, whatcha up to out here in the forest? And wasn’t there another pony here too? Kind of big?” Rainbow glanced around.
“That was Princess Luna.”
“Luna? What was the princess of the night doing out here in Everfree during the daytime?”
“She’s here on a date with her fillyfriend. Or she was, until she just abruptly left…”
Rainbow Dash kicked Twilight playfully, “No way! The princess has a fillyfriend? Oh that’s rich! Her own sister sent her to the moon for a thousand years because she was unloved! She has got to be a needy piece of work! What mare would be dumb enough to want to date that amount of baggage?” Rainbow started laughing.
Twilight’s eyelids drooped and she stared at Rainbow skeptically. “Apparently me.” She said deadpan.
Rainbow quieted down quickly, “Oh, horseapples! She’s the mystery mare?” Rainbow slapped her face with her hoof, “Oh… I’m sorry. You know I was just kidding, right? I’m sure she’s great. Yeah, I mean, an Alicorn! Right? That’s gotta be awesome! ‘Cept she’s like a gajillamazillion years old, huh?”
“She’s only four thousand!”
Rainbow placed a hoof on the back of her head, “Well… you can’t tell. So… she’s got that going for her, right?” Twilight frowned at her friend. “No! I mean, she’s really pretty. Her mane does that… that… whoosh thing… and she’s got a great flank…” Twilight blinked a few times in irritation. Rainbow frantically rubbed her mane, “I mean, you know…. Honestly I’ve not really met her. I think we exchanged a few words last Nightmare Night and we both noted how your brother’s wedding reception was well catered. That’s like the only interaction I’ve had with her. So… you know.... If you think she’s great then she must be amazing! Tell you what, if you need any help or advice on anything, pure simple advice, not all that complicated romantic philosophy stuff Rarity has, I’ll be glad to help!”
“Thanks, Rainbow Dash.”
Rainbow Dash nodded, “Yup. I’m super loyal and all that. You know, it’s my element, blah blah blah and stuff. Still though, you and Luna. Guess you weren’t happy just being one princess’s favorite. Had to get the whole family. Come to think of it, Cadence likes you a lot too. Um… so if you’re dating Luna, and you brother is married to Cadence…”
Twilight scowled, “I know where that train of thought is going and you can stop that right now. They aren’t even blood relatives in the first place.”
Rainbow Dash laughed, “I know, but it’s so fun to tease you, egghead. You overreact to everything! But can I ask you a serious question?” Twilight nodded uneasily. “What’s up with her mane? Like what’s it made of?”
Twilight blushed, “You know, that’s one of those questions I’ve been dying to ask her and her sister forever, but I’m afraid I’ll offend them. It’s really peculiar up close too; it’s like a window into space or something… really beautiful and fascinating at the same time.”
“Yeah… Like, if you put your hoof in it, can you like feel the stars?”
“Well… I’ve only touched it a few times… but it’s weird. It’s like… I don’t know how to describe it… um… like mist… from a cloud, like cool mist from a cloud.” Twilight glanced around nervously.
“What’s the matter?”
“She said she’d be right back… I’m just… this isn’t a conversation that I would want her to walk in on.”
Rainbow nodded, “Right. We can talk about something else.”
“Is she great in the hay?”
“Oh, for the love of Celestia….”
“No wait, hear me out, ok? She’s like almost twice as tall as you. How does that work?”
Twilight turned her back to the Pegasus, “I’m not talking to you.”
“Oh and speaking of the mane, it’s so long it probably gets in the way, right?”
“Oh, for pony’s sake!” Twilight crouched to the ground and covered her ears. “We haven’t even… I’m still a… She’s probably still too…”
“Really?” Rainbow Dash fell to the ground laughing, “Leave it to Twilight Sparkle to find a forty hundred year old virgin! I bet you two wouldn’t even know where to start.” Twilight clenched her eyes shut and remained silent. Rainbow Dash’s laugh died down, “Oh… that’s true isn’t it?”
“I have a few books that….”
Rainbow Dash sighed, “Ok, look. She’s half Pegasus, right?”
“Technically she’s one-third Pegasus. See, Alicorns are an equal blend of all three tribes and…”
“Right, got it. Point is… she’s a pony with wings. So look, all you gotta do is, when the time is right, give her a small kiss right at the base of the wing. Absolute putty in your hooves after that.”
“It’s just advice, kid. Take it or leave it.” Rainbow Dash spread her wings and chambered for takeoff, “Anyway, I gotta get going to work, believe it or not. Still got a few clouds that need clearing. Today’s weather compensation day, didn’tcha know?” With a kick off the ground, Rainbow Dash was back in the air and soaring through the sky.
Twilight shook her head. She sometimes could not fathom how brash Rainbow Dash could be at times. She glanced around the woods waiting patiently for Luna to return. She wondered what was taking her so long. Well in reality it had only been about two minutes, but that was starting to seem like an eternity. The Everfree Forest was always a mystery to ponykind. Weather acting on its own, plants growing without the care of an Earth pony, it was something that was horrifying to Equestrians. Even though Twilight had become accustomed to it, she still felt a bit shaky when in the parts of the forest she did not travel often. All the parts besides the path to Zecora’s hut, actually. Still, Luna seemed quite at ease in the wood. She was an Alicorn, so perhaps it just did not bother her that there this place defied nature. Then again, as an Alicorn, she was nature. She rightfully would have felt that the Everfree Forest’s very existence was an insult to her being. She had read history books; she knew the Princess Celestia had, on several occasions, tried to burn the forest down. Which made sense for the most part, it was a dangerous place most of the time.
Twilight turned around, “Luna! What’s all that stuff?” The princess of the night was carrying painting supplies, and a lot of them. She had an easel, a dozen and a half paintbrushes, and several small canisters of paints.
“You seem to think Rainbow Dash is the only artist around. I’m going to prove you wrong.”
“You’re going to paint a Sonic Rainboom?”
“I’m going to paint you.”
Celestia was standing on one of the many balconies that lined the towers of Canterlot Castle. She was staring up at the sun in the sky. Normally a dangerous act, but not for her for she was the sun. With a small flexing of her magic she increased its brightness slightly for only a moment, and then let it return to normal. Her relationship with the heavenly body was not a pristine one. It had been the first object she laid eyes on, after her mother, when she was born. It had watched her grow. She had become friends with it in her later years. It taunted her in her darkest hour. Then she took its power for herself. With it at her command, she reshaped the world. She rounded the demons and monsters of the world and sealed them away in the pits of Tartarus. She covered the lands in idyllic plains of brilliant green grass and pastel flowers, all cradled by the sun’s warmth. She built fantastical cities in the skies, in the plains, and in the sides of mountains. She raised ponykind back from the brink of extinction and made them the dominate race in the world. Equestria, her country, was the jewel of creation. Other races, no matter how devoted to their own homelands, would always talk of Equestria as if it were heaven. Some Griffins even believed that when they died, their sprits would reincarnate as ponies in Equestira, the holy land, the land of the heavenly goddesses. Was there any truth behind that belief? Celestia did not know, death would always be something foreign to her. She was wrenched from her thoughts by the murmurs of the crowd at the base of the castle. What had she been doing again? Oh, right, addressing her subjects. She cleared her throat and poured a bit of magic into her voice to amplify her volume to be heard citywide.
“Citizens of our scared land! Ponies of all kinds! Beloved subjects! Your cries of concern have reached my ears. I hear tell of murmurs that there is fear in the streets. Baseless fear, I assure you! While it is true I have placed this city in lockdown, I promise as your princess that this event shall only last for three more days. Until, curfew and the gate restrictions shall remain in effect. I wish only to protect you. While it disturbs me greatly, I regretfully share with you that I fear our city may be at risk. Until the time when my sister, your Princess Luna returns from her mission in Griffica, I wish to take precautions. Rest soundly, my subjects, with the knowledge that my watchful eye will keep the threats on the horizon at bay. In three days, my little ponies, in three rises of my glorious sun. I only ask patience until that time. I will never let anything threaten our way of life. May peace find you, my subjects!” The ponies began to cheer in an eruption of praise and joy. Celestia nodded and smiled, as long as she had the devotion of her subjects, she would be happy. A few of the ponies began to sing:
From the plains of peace tended by the Earths to the skies of the Pegasi,
The spirits of the ethereal, Unicorn lead, together our oath to you we sing:
Adored land of Equestria!
Divine ground of the goddesses!
May our hymn enlighten,
The glory of the sun will brighten!
Celestia closed her eyes and hummed along with the crowd. The brass band sitting in the other balconies of the castle were taken by surprise. They had not counted on the crowd spontaneously deciding to sing the national anthem, and they struggled to begin to play along.
Celestia, goddess of the sun! Celestia our princess, divine!
From the ashes of chaos to the splendor of order, we sing:
Beloved land of Equestria!
Divine ground of the goddesses!
May our hymn enlighten,
The glory of the sun will brighten!
Save us from darkness, lead us from chaos!
For our devotion to our princess, we sing:
Our land of Equestria!
Divine ground of the goddesses!
May our hymn to thee enlighten,
Brighten others to the glory of the sun!
As the song continued, Celestia looked out to the horizon in the direction of Ponyville. “Worry not, my student; I will protect your home from this oncoming darkness.”
“Hold still!” Luna said with a hint of annoyance. She was busy levitating fifteen or so paintbrushes around her head, all of them frantically dabbing the canvas. She was meticulously manipulating a paintbrush of bright lavender in her mouth, as she worked on her model’s eyes. She was almost done with her labor, but it just was not turning out as magical as she would have hoped.
“I am holding still, aren’t I?” Twilight had never modeled for anything. Luna had requested that she just simply lie down on the grass and sit patiently for Luna to finish. “How’s it coming?”
“I don’t think I can do anything else to make it better. It’s not great, but you can look at it if you want.” Luna sighed. “This is the first time I’ve ever actually had you present for reference, but I couldn’t quite get your mane right in this light. Actually… you know what… I’ll just toss this one out and we’ll do another some other time.” Luna placed her hooves on the side of the canvas to pick it up.
“Wait! I want to see it first!” Twilight walked over and stared at the painting. “Luna!” She gasped. “This is…”
“I know, I tried to do too much with the shadows of the leaves and…”
Twilight gave her fillyfriend a smile, “You’re right. This is all wrong.” Luna winced. “You’ve gone and made me much too beautiful.”
“That’s how I see you though…” Luna blushed heavily. Twilight’s face flushed as well. The Unicorn gave Luna a kiss and the two ponies embraced. Twilight stared at Luna’s back as they hugged. Rainbow Dash’s words echoed in her mind. Twilight leaned down and kissed Luna’s wing. Luna shivered, “Ohhhhhhhhhhkay!” The Alicorn removed herself from Twilight’s embrace and staggered backwards. She slammed into a tree trunk and let out a small yelp. Twilight giggled. She levitated the portrait behind her.
“So… what next?”
“Follow me,” Luna said with a smile. Luna trotted off down a path, and Twilight raced after her. Twilight had to gallop to keep up with Luna’s trot. Eventually they made their way to a grand clearing in the forest.
“The Castle of the Two Sisters? What are we doing here?”
“You like history, right? Well this place is full of history, if you have the right tour guide.” Luna extended her wing and waited for Twilight to take cover under it. “So, what would you like to see first? The old library, the courtyard menagerie, or perhaps Starswrill the Bearded’s old alchemy laboratory?”
As they approached the entrance Twilight pointed with her hoof, “Actually, it looks like we’re not alone here…”
“I can’t believe I’m missing their date because you scared them off with all your over-protectiveness!” Rarity whined loudly.
Shining Armor grunted, “If you hadn’t distracted me, I could be making sure the princess is actually respecting…! Twily!” Shining Armor, Rarity, and Applejack all trotted over to Twilight and Luna.
“Nice job picking locations, Luna.” Twilight said with a heavy dose of sarcasm in her voice.
“How was I supposed to…?” As the three other ponies neared Luna put on a fake smile, “Oh! Captain, Rarity and Applejack! What brings you out here to the old Castle of the Two Sisters?”
Applejack tipped her hat, “RD said ya fellows were in the Everfree Forest. An’ Rar’ty figured that the only romantic place in the forest was right here.”
“That’s just wonderful…” Luna sighed.
“If you’ll excuse us, Luna was just about to give me a tour of the courtyard.” Twilight smiled at her friends and brother and skipped ahead inside the castle. Luna smiled sheepishly and raced after the Unicorn.
“So the courtyard menagerie then? It’s a marvel of engineering I think you’ll find fascinating. It was build to hold several types of exotic birds that Celestia used to keep. The cages that…”
“Show me where the library is; I only told them the courtyard so they’d leave us alone.”
“Oh, well done, that’s quick thinking! The library is this way.”
They made their way down several long corridors that Luna seemed to have memorized every detail of their pathways. It was in stark contrast to when they were walking through Canterlot Castle at night during the Celebration of Harmony. Luna seemed much more at home in the Castle of the Two Sisters than Canterlot. It only made sense. After all, the older castle had been Luna’s home for probably two thousand years or so, where as Canterlot was built after Luna had been banished. They passed several destroyed rooms. Twilight stopped at each one and glanced inside. “This place must have been so grand in its time. Too bad age has crumbled most of it.”
Luna hung her head, “’Twas not age that sankest its teeth of destruction into the heart of our fair home.”
The Alicorn glanced back at her fillyfriend, “What? Sorry. Nostalgia sometimes creeps up on me. It happens when you have so many years of memories.” Luna led them down another corridor.
“What was it then?” Twilight said as she rounded the corner.
“What was what?”
“You said it wasn’t age that destroyed the castle. What was it then?”
Luna sighed, “You stand in what was the first of many sites of destruction during Nightmare Moon’s…. during my little tantrum.” They passed several broken windows, what had most likely been filled with stained glass at some time.
“Luna…. This morning, you said there was something you wanted to tell me about Nightmare Moon. What was it?”
“Oh, right. And we were having such a nice time today too….” Luna said as she reached the end of the hallway. “I’ll tell you tonight. For now, look here. Behind this door is the old royal library.” Luna opened the door to a grand hall, significantly in better condition than the rest of the castle. A few sets of burned book covers, lacking the pages, were strewn about the room. Luna turned to face the center of the room, “And this is was the atrium to the royal library. You would have loved this place, Twilight. The bookshelves were kept in magic portals. You could grab on to one of the shelves and give it a tug and more and more shelves would fly past. Not all of the books made it to the new library. But it was one of the most spect…. And… You have never been so quiet when talking about books…” Luna looked around and Twilight was nowhere to be found. “Twilight? Twilight!” Luna galloped from one end of the room to the other. “Twilight?” She raced out of the room and back into the hallway. She glanced around and called out Twilight’s name once more. That’s when she noticed the painting she had done of Twilight earlier. The Unicorn had been levitating it alongside them since the Alicorn had painted it. Luna flipped the painting over and found a small note scribbled in ink.
Come find me in the courtyard.
Luna giggled seductively, “Well, Twilight… A game of hide and seek, is it?” Luna walked over to one of the broken windows and took flight. She soared over the castle grounds, spying the bright orange coat of Applejack walking around the, now roofless center ballroom. Rarity and Shining Armor were alongside her, exploring the castle as well. Luna gracefully banked a turn and landed in the center of the courtyard. She had loved this place as a young mare. It had an excellent view of her night sky. Not so much today. It was overcast above, which was odd because it was supposed to be clear all day. Somepony must have screwed up. Or perhaps Rainbow Dash had just lazily pushed all the clouds over Everfree instead of breaking them up like she was supposed to do. “Twilight?” Luna called out. A sound answered her, but it was not her fillyfriend’s voice. Instead she heard the loud ratcheting sound of the gates that provided land-bound ponies access to the courtyard. A large iron portcullis came crashing down with dust on the north entrance. A similar sound repeated from the west. Luna watched as the western gate closed shut. Then the eastern, and finally the southern gates all crashed against the ground with a loud echo. A louder cranking sound filled the courtyard. Up above her head, a metal mesh rose over the room and engulfed it. It had been used to cage in the birds back when the castle was still lived in, even the large ones like phoenixes. Luna glanced around frantically, until her eyes caught a glimpse of a pony by the northern entrance.
“Hello… princess of the night.”
Luna let out a horrified gasp, “Twilight!”