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“Hey. Wake up sleepy head!” Princess Luna groaned. Somepony was poking her with a hoof. The Alicorn stirred slightly before letting out a monstrous yawn. She could not remember the last time she had been this tired. She felt a hoof poke into her side once more. Luna tried her best to ignore the other pony in the bed but it became difficult once she felt a light nibble on her ear. “Oh, princess!” The other pony’s voice teased in singsong. Luna covered her ears with her hooves and used her wings to shoo away the other pony. She did however, even in her sleepy state, not want to be so dismissive of her bedmate so she did extend her wing around the Unicorn. It felt nice to have her Unicorn so close to her. If she could just get back to sleep now….
Luna gasped, “By Dagr and Nótt!” She sprang out of bed, startled by Twilight Sparkle kissing her the base of wing. “Don’t do that without telling me first!”
Twilight giggled, “Oh, but the look of surprise on your face is half the fun!”
Luna shook her head. “If you weren’t so cute….” Twilight let out a giggle. Luna playfully nudged Twilight with her hoof.
“How are you feeling today?” Luna said with another yawn.
Twilight smiled. “Much better. What about you? You seem to have your strength back now that night has passed.” Twilight nudged her way up to the edge of the bed and with a bit of a leap, she plopped onto the floor. “Ugh. I’m so sore…”
Luna chuckled. “That’s what happens when you are brought back from the brink of death using only magic.”
Twilight stretched her hind legs. “Actually I think it’s much more from lying in bed all of yesterday.” Twilight twisted her body around in an attempt to ease her stiff muscles.
Luna chuckled, “You didn’t have to stay by my side the whole day. You could have done other things if you were feeling up to it.”
Twilight levitated a brush from her desk and began to fix her mane. “I couldn’t leave my heroine all alone while she was recovering from saving my life!”
Luna tilted her head. “How long to plan to keep calling me your ‘heroine’?”
Twilight approached the side of the bed with the brush. “Is there something else you would have me call you?” Her voice clearly gave away her teasing intent. “What about Cutesy Moon?” Twilight barely withheld a laugh.
The Alicorn sighed, “Just call me Luna…”
Twilight clapped her hooves together, “OH! I’ve got it! Crescent Flank!”
Luna gave Twilight a chilling scowl. “Don’t you dare….”
“Oh lighten up, Crescent Flank.” Twilight levitated the brush to Luna.
“This is payback for encouraging Rarity isn’t it?”
“Maybe,” Twilight chuckled. “Now hold still so I can brush your bed-mane.” Twilight took Luna’s long mane in her hooves and began to brush in long strokes down the misty entity. Alicorn manes, or at least the mane of a true Alicorn, had always fascinated the young Unicorn. She had spent quite a bit of time near Luna lately but out of respect she had avoided messing with her fillyfriend’s mane just because she knew many ponies must have asked her about already.
Luna chuckled, “Having fun?” Twilight let out a small inquisitive noise. “Oh don’t deny it. Eveypony is always curious about it. I think there was a law some two thousand years ago that Tia passed forbidding ponies from asking about our manes. It’s the only frivolous law she’s ever made and it was just because everypony would ask about them. We just got tired of answering.”
“Oh I wasn’t…”
“It is akin to tangible magic. I mean, it’s not like we’ve done extensive studies on it or anything, but we think it is best described as the venting of the extra power from the heavenly essence we control. It’s essentially Nightmare Moon’s extra power flowing off like the whistle for a teakettle.”
“If it’s related to Nightmare Moon… How come Princess Celestia has a…”
“That’s a very long story. You probably wouldn’t find it interesting anyway...”
“Actually I really would be….”
Luna sat up and nudged Twilight, “Hey! Let’s go do something today! Let’s go on a proper date, you know, alone. Without any tagalong friends, siblings, or ponies that are trying to kill us. What do you say?”
Twilight noted that Luna did not want to talk about Celestia and decided to let the issue drop. “That sounds nice. Do you have anything in mind for an activity? The book said we needed an activity. Preferably a romantic one.”
“Actually I do have something in mind! Come on, let’s go down stairs and I’ll show you.” Luna hopped out of bed. Twilight followed suit after carefully placing the brush back on the vanity before rushing after Luna who was heading downstairs. As they approached the stairwell, the noise of the lower level’s occupants engulfed their ears. Twilight half wondered if she was running a hotel instead of a library lately. Shining Armor was still sitting on the reading couch, although he was now actually sitting up instead of laying down, which must have been a good sign with regards to his recovery. As of yesterday, with the help of all of the other ponies he had even begun to gain some of his magical strength back. However, as Luna had informed him, the potion of the Magus Thief would not give his gift back so soon. It would be years before his casting would be at full strength, and currently all he could manage was a few simple levitations.
Tending to practically his every whim at the moment was Fluttershy and Princess Cadence. Fluttershy had been spending time tending to herbal pain relievers for his injuries as well as keeping his tea cup ever full. Cadence, who had arrived on the first train possible once she heard from Princess Celestia that Shining Armor had been hurt, had spent the night as well. Thankfully Rarity, who was also helping Spike out with keeping the place clean despite all the residents at the moment, had elected to still sleep at home. However, the real reason Rarity was around was that she was still enthralled at the concept of Luna and Twilight’s relationship. A fact that was confirmed as Luna and Twilight arrived at the bottom of the stairs to be greeted by Rarity.
“Oh good morning, darlings, have a good sleep? Or hardly any at all?!” Rarity let out a very loud snicker. “Oh, I’m absolutely dreadful!”
“We slept just fine.” Twilight said with a stern look. “How’s my brother?”
Princess Cadence gave her sister-in-law a smile. “He’s getting better, Twilight. He can levitate things again, but I’m still a tad worried. I guess I should have prepared better for this, knowing I married the Captain of the Guard….”
Luna nodded to the winged Unicorn. “Princess Cadence.” The tone was reeking of disinterest.
“Aunt Luna.” Cadence’s reply was equally a mere formality. The two princesses had participated in a heated discussion soon after Cadence had arrived in Ponyville. Cadence had blamed Luna in some part for Shining Armor’s current state. Only at Twilight’s request had the argument subsided and Cadence grudgingly accepted the relationship between her aunt and the little filly she used to foalsit. “Are you two going somewhere?”
Twilight smiled. “On a date, since our last one ended in a Pegasus trying to kill us.”
“I see.” Cadence shook her head and went back to Shining Armor’s side. “Try not to get killed out there….”
Twilight closed the door to the library behind her and glanced up at the sky. It was another beautiful day in Ponyville. “So, Crescent Flank, what did you have in mind for our date?”
Luna yawned, “I’m serious about you not calling me that. Anyway…. I had a thought: it’s such a nice day out, we should do something outside.” Luna stopped for a moment to let out a large yawn.
“Are you going to fall asleep?”
“I’m just not used to being up during the day. Not to mention I’ve been casting the rejuvenation spell absolutely nonstop in order to spend time with you…” Luna yawned again. “Anyway… have you ever been flying, Twilight?”
“I’ve been in a hot-air balloon before. Hm… that certainly sounds romantic.”
“Oh no, I didn’t mean a balloon ride. Here…” Luna knelt down and spread her wings. “Come on, hop on.”
Twilight laughed, “You’re joking right? Right?”
“You’ve yet to live until you’ve soared through the skies like a Pegasus. I’m not sure I’d trade magic for it, but it certainly is thrilling.” Luna lowered a wing.
Still thinking Luna was joking in some capacity, Twilight shook her head and laughed, “Sure, why not?” Twilight climbed up on Luna’s back and wrapped her hooves around the princess’s neck. “Can you even lift me?” She giggled slightly.
“I have the strength of an Earth pony. I most certainly can lift a little Unicorn.”
“Are you calling me short?” Twilight said in a mock stern voice.
“No! I just….” Luna shook her head. “Just hold on….” Luna’s wings flapped with a sudden jolt. Twilight wrapped her hooves tighter around Luna’s neck as they lifted off into the air. It was not a voluntary motion. Luna’s wings flapped furiously as she climbed. It looked exhausting. Twilight glanced over to the side and felt dizzy as she soon realized how high she was in the air. She had been at this altitude before, perhaps even a bit higher, but that was in the hot-air balloon. Being on Luna’s back had an entirely different feel. With the balloon it felt safe as long as you did not lean too far out of the basket. Now the thought hit her suddenly that her life was completely in Luna’s control. It was a thought that should have frightened her, but instead it simply exhilarated her. They soared higher and higher until they were at the cloud level. Luna extended her wings and fell into a glide. “How are you back there?”
Twilight gripped Luna’s neck tighter. “I’m a little frightened and just a tad glorious!” Luna chuckled. Twilight could not hear her over the wind, but she felt the chuckle rattle Luna’s ribcage. Luna dived down and threw herself into a spiral for which Twilight was not prepared. The young Unicorn clenched her eyes shut and hugged her fillyfriend tightly. To be honest, she did not enjoy the aero-acrobatics very much and Luna seemed to pick up on that very quickly. When it became clear that Twilight was getting just a little bit nauseous, Luna spotted a cloud and glided in for a landing. Flaring her wings to slow her movement, she gently touched her hooves against the cloud. “Oh good! You’re landing!” She tilted to the side to let Twilight roll off her back. Without thinking, Twilight’s took a step and her hooves passed right through the cloud. She let out a small yelp as she fell.
“Twilight!” Luna yelled. The terrified Unicorn felt herself enveloped in warm sensation as Luna’s magic enveloped her. “I have you! Don’t worry!”
“It might have helped if I had cast a cloud-walking spell first.” Twilight focused magic in her horn and with a dull flash, she suddenly felt lighter.
“Indeed.” Luna set Twilight down on the surface of the cloud hesitantly. “Better?”
“Yes. Much less terrifying. Still fun though. You’re right about soaring through the air as a Pegasus. I kind of wish I had wings….”
Luna flexed her wings almost tauntingly. “They are quite useful.”
“It must be great to be an Alicorn. I’ve often wondered what it would be like. I kind of wish…”
Luna shook her head. “No you don’t. Trust me.” Luna sighed, “Being immortal is not as fun as you think. It’s actually… quite horrible….” Luna yawned. “It’s really…” Luna let out another yawn.
“Are you alright?”
Luna yawned again, “Sorry. I guess carrying you around was more tiring than I thought it would be…”
Twilight chuckled. “You’re not going to fall asleep on me are you?”
“No, no. I’m just not used to being up during the day so much. And the rejuvenation spell wore off.” Luna set her head down on the fluffy cloud. “When it wears off it makes you feel even more tired than…” Luna yawned loudly. “Let me just…” Another yawn escaped her lips as her eyes drooped. “Recast the…”
“Luna?” Twilight peered over at her fillyfriend. Luna let out a cute little snore. “Asleep.” Twilight laughed. “How very romantic!” Twilight peered over the side of the cloud. “And now I’m trapped here…” She looked back at Luna, who was fast asleep. “If you didn’t look so adorable, I’d wake you up, Crescent Flank….” Twilight sighed and wedged herself underneath Luna’s wing. Still, it was a beautiful day and the flying had been fun. She decided that she would wake Luna up in a few minutes, but for now the Alicorn could rest. After all, it was not completely fair that she kept asking Luna to be on her sleep schedule. Of course now she was terribly bored. Idly trying to pass the time she attempted to experiment with the consistency of the cloud’s surface tension by pressing her hooves into fluffy white entity. Without a set of writing supplies to properly track the results that activity wore thin quickly. As if to answer her thoughts, she saw a colorful streak race across the sky. Twilight focused magic in her horn and then fired a few fireworks into the sky. The Unicorn waited a few moments as Rainbow Dash circled around.
The cyan Pegasus laughed as she approached, “Oh my gosh! What is this? Why are you up here on a cloud?”
Twilight smiled. “Luna brought me up here. It’s a date.”
“And she’s asleep? Did you two tussle on cloud? I had no idea you liked to live so… dangerously, Twi.”
“No we didn’t… tussle! We just landed here to take in the view, but then she fell asleep!”
Rainbow Dash laughed. “You must be a really boring date.”
“Yeah, whatever. Just get your laughs in. Bottom line is… I’m bored. And stuck. Could you go get me a book from the library?”
“Sure thing.” Rainbow Dash laughed heavily as she flew away. “Put her date to sleep! That’s priceless!” Twilight waited a little bit and attempted to whistle. Eventually Rainbow Dash came soaring back into view with a tome in her mouth. The Pegasus dropped the book on the cloud. “I’m back. You time me? I think that was like twenty seconds tops.”
“It took nearly twice that long. What is this book? Did you get this from the library?”
“Yeah. It was just sitting atop your vanity. Right next to the mirror.”
“Huh. I’ve not read this one. Daring Do and Discord’s Dastardly Diabolical Departure. I thought I’ve read everything Compass Rose ever wrote.”
“Yeah, when you’re done with it, I’d like a peek. I’ve not read that one yet either. It looks great though. You read the back yet? ‘Daring Do ventures into the depths of Tartarus to uncover an artifact that is the only hope for saving her home!’ That’s like grade ‘A’ there. Where the ‘A’ stands for awesomenessity. Anyway, you know the drill, weather doesn’t move itself. Later, Twi. Pleasure talking to ya, Princess!” Rainbow Dash gave a quick salute and then vanished in a streak of color.
Twilight cracked the cover open. “Go figure she’d bring me a Daring Do book. Hm…” There she stood, wind billowing in her mane as she faced the fearsome inner gates of Tartarus. “Oh, in media res. Compass Rose wastes no time getting to the action.” Getting past Cerberus wasn’t easy. Thankfully her old friend, Zerafin, the wise Zebra shaman, was able to give her a sleeping potion to quiet the beast. “I think I’ve lived this plotline….” Now nothing stood in Daring Do’s way. Except for the hoards of demons and their spawn that line the passageways ahead, but other than that there was nothing barring her from her goal. Well, there were also the traps of the ancients that guarded the way forward, but other than the demons and that, there was nothing that stopped her from progressing. Then there also was the steadily increasing danger of just the terrain as it wound deeper into the earth, but other than the… “Oh for the love of Luna! Get on with it! Wait… that phrase may have lost some meaning as of late…” Now she stood at a glowing passageway. The fires of the brimstone pits were burning hot tonight it seemed. The hot air here was doing terrible things to her feathers and it would seem that flying down the throat of the pit would be impossible. “So she’ll use her rope like always. I don’t know why Compass Rose wrote her as a Pegasus; it just means she has to keep coming up with more and more ridiculous situations so that she can’t use her wings.” Luckily her trusty rope… “Called it.” As she descended into the harsh glow of the pit she tugged at her hat. Her thoughts turned back to her home, the small village of Ponytown. There was little hope for her friends if she didn’t hurry back soon with the Icosaflux. “The what? Oh, it must be the artifact she wants.” Yes only the power of the mystical Icosaflux would be able to banish the chaotic evil plaguing her humble town. It was said to be even more powerful than the Elements of Harmony that had been used to quell Nightmare Moon. Legend told of the ancient Centaurian artifact that could only be obtained by those with true perseverance. Many had tried but none ever returned from the pits of Tartarus. “If no pony ever returned, how could there be a legend?” But Zerafin had warned her why the Icosaflux was impossible to obtain. The ancient Centaurs had placed a mighty guardian that was undefeatable. The guardian would only allow those who where pure of heart to enter the artifact chamber. Daring Do wasn’t sure if she was pure of heart, but the thoughts of her town burning in chaos was enough of a fire under her hooves for her to attempt it. When she reached the bottom of the pit there she found the guardian. In all her years as an adventurer she had not been prepared for this. A swirling mass of stars and fangs, no beast would be fit to guard such a treasure as the fearsome Ursa Major! As the beast rose to its full height, it opened its mouth to speak. In a voice rivaling the low rumblings of an earthquake, the Ursa Major began to cast its judgment upon the lowly pony’s soul. “Whoa!”
Twilight suddenly realized that in her involvement in the book she had failed to notice that she was sinking. Her cloud-walking charm was wearing off rather quicker than she was expecting. Twilight quickly tugged on Luna’s wing rather harshly. The Alicorn attempted to swat the pony away and return to sleep. “Luna! Help!” Luna mumbled something but otherwise ignored Twilight. Twilight soon found her body deep in the cloudy mist. Her head struggling to remain on the top of the cloud, she focused magic in her horn. With a flash of light a loud bang, a firework detonated right next to Luna’s ear. The Alicorn quickly jolted awake. “Oh good you’re up. If it’s not too much trouble, Crescent Flank, I’m just falling to my death. So… feel free to stretch and whatever before you save me. I’m not going anywhere except… well… down.”
Luna yawned and wrapped Twilight in her magic. She glided to the ground and gently set Twilight down on the dirt road. “Sorry. Dozed off for a moment.”
Luna yawned, “My we are snarky today.”
“You fell asleep during our date….”
Luna blushed and looked down at the ground. “Again, I’m sorry for that. Why don’t we do something else? Perhaps we could eat lunch somewhere romantic?”
“Are you going to fall asleep again?” Luna shook her head. Twilight laughed, “Pinkie Promise?”
“I’m not familiar with that…”
“It’s ok. I wouldn’t make you take an oath that serious unless I was sure you would be able to keep it. Anyway if we’re going to go out to lunch, we’re going to have to get money. I’ll need to grab my bit bag from home, since I’m fairly certain you don’t even know what a bit looks like.”
Luna scoffed, “I do too! They have my picture on one side. I just don’t think I’ve ever touched one.”
“Hello, everypony!” Twilight said as she opened the door. She was immediately greeted by Pinkie Pie and shortly thereafter by Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Spike, Shining Armor, Cadence, and lastly Fluttershy. “Oh, I guess everypony is here. I’m going to need a bigger library if I’m going to keep entertaining so many friends and family members.” Twilight walked over to Spike. “We were just about to go out for lunch. Maybe Paisleys’ place? You would want to join us? Is that alright, Luna?”
“The more the merrier.” Luna smiled, but deep down she was growling. If she was honest with herself, she absolutely hated sharing Twilight’s attention with another pony. On the other hoof, she did find Twilight’s friends to be good company; she just wished they did not take so much of Twilight’s time. Throughout the room, murmurs of agreement spread.
“Great! Spike could you fetch my bit bag?”
Spike gave a quick salute. “Sure th… urk!” The young dragon coughed and hacked. A few of the ponies in the room encircled him.
Rarity bent down and gave him a worried frown. “Are you alright, Spikey-wikey?”
The dragon nodded in reply and clutched as his throat. With a loud burp, a puff of smoke expelled out of his mouth and formed into a scroll.
Twilight gasped. “It’s a letter from the princess!” She levitated the scroll with her magic and cleared her throat. “Dear Twilight Sparkle, your presence is requested at the throne room in Canterlot Castle immediately. I expect your arrival no later than seven this evening…. Princess Celestia…” Twilight rotated the letter and looked perplexed. “That’s it?” She flipped the page over and squinted. “I don’t think she’s ever written a letter so short.”
“What could possibly be wrong that she would need you to be there so quickly? If you want to get there by seven you’re going to have to catch the very next train!” Rarity said as she placed a hoof on her chin. A crash of thunder rattled the library. With a swirling mass of smoke and brilliant light a scroll with a midnight blue seal appeared next to Luna.
Luna stamped her hoof. “By bucking Dagr and Nótt!” Luna looked at the rolled up scroll and shivered slightly. “There is no possible way that this is good.”
“Aren’t you going to read it?”
Luna inhaled with a bit of catch in her throat. “Luna, your presence is required at the throne room immediately. Arrive before seven this evening. Celestia.” Luna’s eyes widened and she clenched her jaw. The letter exploded in a brilliant flare of fire. The crowd of ponies gasped. “I hate her so much! It’s not fair!”
Spike covered his mouth. “What’s going on?”
Twilight attempted to nuzzle up against her fillyfriend. “Luna?”
“Don’t you see what this means?! These letters! Somehow she found out about us and now she’s going to try to separate us!”
Twilight shook her head. “It doesn’t say anything about us being together in those letters at all…”
“What else could it possibly be? One for you one for me, both the same message, sent at the same time. You don’t understand! There are rules! I can’t just… It’s not fair! It’s not fair! I won’t let her! I won’t! I won’t! I won’t!” Luna slammed her hoof into the table and overturned it. The ponies of the room shrunk back to the walls as the Alicorn flipped the central reading table. Princess Cadence and Shining Armor seemed the least horrified of the princess of the night’s actions. In truth, Luna’s tantrums were not unheard of at the castle. “I hate her so much! She’s so stubborn and set in the old ways!” A crack of thunder rumbled outside. A storm cloud gathered above the library and it began to pour rain.
Twilight approached the Alicorn carefully, “Luna, calm down. Everything will be alright.”
“No! No it won’t! It’s not fair! I just want one pony to myself! Why can’t she just let me be happy?! Well that’s it then! We’ve had a good couple of days but its all over now! Does Tia even care? No! Of course not!” Luna was heaving heavy sobs.
“Luna, she was always going to find out about us eventually.”
“Twilight! Let’s just run away! We can go to Quagga and live with the Zebras! Just you and me!”
“We can’t just run away. Luna, you’re acting crazy.”
“You don’t know her like I do….”
“Luna, I’ve known Celestia almost my whole life. I can’t speak for what she was like during the old times, but I assure you I know how she is now and she’ll be happy for us.”
Luna kicked her hooves against the ground. “It’s just not possible…. It’s no use…. It’s just no use….” Luna’s face was streamed with tears.
Princess Cadence approached Luna and pinned her tail against the floor. “Oh would you just grow up!”
Luna glanced upwards to the winged Unicorn. “Ex-excuse me?”
Cadence scowled. “You’re a grown mare of who knows how old and here you are throwing a fit like a little foal. Running away to Quagga! Inconceivable! Grow up and confront your sister if you need to. Tell her how you feel about Twilight and where you stand on the matter. But for pony’s sake don’t roll around on the floor here.” Cadence removed her hoof from Luna’s tail. Luna let out a small whimper, but was silenced by Cadence quickly. “I understand you’ve been through a rough time. I know things haven’t been completely pleasant between you two since your return. I honestly have no idea if you two ever could be in the same room without all that tension. But she is your sister. And she does care for you. A lot. I know. I know because I can sense these things.”
“You two avoid each other so much in the hallways at the castle. She avoids you out of remorse and you avoid her out of fear. Frankly I’m sick of seeing it every day! When it comes to each other, you two act like misbehaving blank flank fillies. I don’t know how Celestia feels about your relationship with Twilight but if Twilight is important to you then you have every right to go and explain things to Celestia. The bottom line is you are just as much the ruler of Equestria as she is and you can make the rules as well.”
Twilight extended her hoof to help the princess off the ground. “Luna, I’ll be there by your side. And I’m telling you, it’s not going to be bad at all…”
Rainbow Dash pumped her hoof in the air. “And we’ll all come as well to support you! That's what friends do!”
Fluttershy smiled, “I’ll help… if you want me to as well.”
“Shoot, you got my support too. I reckon it won’t be any worse than a squirrel with its tail caught in tree branch!” Applejack received a few confused looks from around the room. “And by that I mean it will be as easy as pie.”
“And speaking of pie, you’ll have Pinkie Pie, that is to say me, that is to say the best pony at cheering ponies up ever, there if you need cheering up when things go bad!”
Rarity gasped, “Pinkie! Ignore her, darling. We’ll all be there for you two.”
Princess Cadence tapped her hoof on the ground. “Now pick your flank up off the floor and go get on that train.”
The Friendship Express steadily climbed the mountain. Luna stared out the window at the outline of Canterlot as she approached. Apparently Celestia had ordered a lockdown and had encased the whole city in a shield. Great. She thought. If the city was under threat, there was absolutely no hope of the elder Alicorn being in a good mood. Still, it comforted her that Twilight was by her side, gazing out the same window as her. Then again, Twilight was the problem. “I cannot believe I’m on this train….”
Twilight rested her head on her hooves. “Where do you think I learned how to lecture? Cadence is a great persuasive speaker.” Twilight sighed. “Luna…. Why do you think Celestia won’t approve of our relationship?”
Luna mimicked her fillyfriend’s pose and sighed as well. “Because it is forbidden.”
Twilight glanced up at Luna. “Forbidden? Is it a punishment for Nightmare Night?”
“No. You see… there are certain rules for those who are immortal. There has to be. Otherwise you end up with beings like Discord, who cause nothing but terror and torment wherever they go….”
“We call ours the Code of the Alicorns.”
“And this code forbids you from having relationships?” Twilight placed her hoof against her chin. “With mortals I assume.”
“The code covers many things: how we should act, what our role in the world is, what our role is not, and of course ways to help prevent us from straying from the path. The code was never written down, but each stanza was memorized thoroughly. And we made an oath to follow it. Forever.”
“But why can’t you have a relationship?”
“It is because all those we interact with will eventually pass, while we must endure and live on. It is a fact of the world. A fact of reality as it exists. We are cursed to watch every pony we care about fade away whilst we must continue. We must continue because the world needs the sun and the moon. It was thought that if we became too attached to a mortal, a pony we could not truly have, then we would fall into despair and fail our duties to the world.”
“But how do you know if that’s even true? It’s just an assumption.”
“Experience is a harsh teacher, Twilight. We’ve lived a long time, and we had already even before the code was drafted. This particular part of the code was to prevent disasters on the scale of Nightmare Night. You need to understand that while Celestia would have ponies think otherwise, we are just as fallible as every pony else. We feel happiness and regret and despair and loneliness, but unlike others, the power to cause harm is so well within our reach it is fairly easy to slip and cause countless others harm in a single lapse in judgment.”
“But you followed the code a thousand years ago, right? And loneliness took your heart and Nightmare Night still happened. It seems the code does not even work.”
“Nightmare Night happened because I let jealously in my heart. I was lonely beyond all compare, and perhaps you are right, if I had found somepony like you back then I might have acted differently. But Nightmare Night was not the fault of the Code of the Alicorns, it was my issue entirely.”
“Who wrote the code?”
“We did. My sister and I came up with it once it became clear that we had a responsibility to the world. We needed to make sure that both of us would always act in the interest of others. It was our way of redemption….”
“That’s not important. The point is we made an oath. And I broke it by being with you. I don’t know why I went against the code. I knew I was doing it. But… my heart just didn’t give me a choice.” Luna sighed. “I wish it did…. Perhaps things wouldn’t be coming to what there are now.”
“What’s the worst Celestia could even do? Like Cadence said, you make up the rules too. Don’t you have some say?”
“The worst? I don’t even want to think about the worst she could do. At best she’ll restrict me to my room for the next hundred years until you pass on. But it’s not about who makes up the rules. The code was decided upon long ago at the sundial and it will never change. No matter how much I want it to, Celestia would never agree. She has lived her whole life by what we decided that day. Every action she takes is carefully scripted within those bounds, each step furthering the goals outlined by the Code of the Alicorns.”
“Is it that important to her?”
“We drafted it and swore by it upon the sundial!”
“I don’t understand. What does that even mean?”
“The sundial is a consecrated place for us.”
“But it’s just a sundial right? I mean is it still consecrated all these years later?”
“It was there that Celestia took control of the sun for the first time and it was then that we sought our path of redemption for our sins against the world. Any words spoken in the presence of that sundial are not just law, but a commandment unbreakable. I… care deeply for you… but I still feel the horrible shame for placing such a blemish on the sundial’s significance.”
“Wait, what do you mean ‘took control of the sun for the first time’?”
“We are only four thousand years old, Twilight. The world is much older; therefore we were not the first to move the sun and moon.”
“But times have changed. What sense does it make for a four-thousand year old code to dictate how you live now?”
“I agree the code has perhaps outlived its usefulness. But we swore on the sundial. It cannot be revoked.”
“I don’t give a buck about the sundial! It’s just an ancient clock made of stone!”
Luna buried her head in her hooves and let her mane cover her face. “Perhaps I should have also mentioned that the sundial is mounted on a stone pedestal.”
“That pedestal is a headstone. It marks our mother’s grave.” Luna looked up and faced Twilight with teary eyes. “Twilight, if it came down to it….” Luna’s eyes wondered away for a moment before finding Twilight’s pupils again. Twilight felt a little dizzy. Luna’s face twisted. Her coat above her neck turned gray. A fang extended from her upper lip and her eyes turned yellow became uneven. Beady red pupils burned into Twilight’s eyes. Mismatched horns grew out of her skull and her voice changed, “If it came down to it…. whose side would you choose?”
“What?!” Twilight shook her head at the monstrous face she was looking at. In an instant Luna’s face appeared normal. Twilight blinked a few times to be sure. “What…! What did you say?”
“If it came to it, whose side would you choose? Mine or my sister’s?”
Twilight crossed her hooves against the window and pressed her forehead against the glass. “I guess if I had to choose, I would pick the pony I love.”
“I under…. What? You…! You…! Lo…” Luna’s face lit up bright red. She quickly wrapped her hooves around the Unicorn and brought her into a tight embrace. “I see.” Luna’s eyes were wet with tear as she spoke. “Well then…” Luna’s irises turned a bright green and her voice dropped nearly an octave as she spoke in a sultry tone, “Then as long as you feel that way, I will never let us be apart.” Nightmare Moon giggled.