Luna’s Story 3: Long Live the Night
Part 4: Raze to Ruin
“Thou realizes we art intruding?” Mumbled the exhausted Princess Luna as Aegis Shield guided her to the couch. “This is not our home.” She peered around slowly, looking at the rustic furniture and humble bookshelf. The home was maybe four rooms total, plus a storage room.
“I’m sure if we’d asked whomever lived here would’ve let us in.” Aegis said gently, going into the bathroom. Luna heard the water turn on, and the shuffle of the shower curtain. The plonk of the drain stopper was loud, and when he returned he had a cool washcloth for her.
“We art not a foal.” She said, turning her muzzle up at him. Snorting, Aegis pressed it to her face and she yelped a little at the chill.
“You need to look your best when you come back out.” The stallion said. “You’re the corps’ morale. If you look sick and miserable, they will be too.” Luna knew he had a point and sighed, leaning down a bit. He lifted her bangs, wiping firmly at the sweat and grime that had gathered since the start of the night.
“This is all our fault, Aegis.” She mumbled after a long time, staring at the floor. “If only we’d destroyed the black medallion, perhaps at the same time as the Moon Champion’s, none of this would’ve—!” she was silenced when he pushed the cool cloth to her lips.
“If Equestria worked on should-haves and could-haves, it would be a very different place, Princess.” Aegis said. “Let’s just focus on the solution, not the problem, huh?” he soothed, drawing the cloth across her cheek a few times. Luna sighed guiltily.
“But we feel as though, over and over, we are causing the greater problems.” The dark alicorn sighed sadly. “The Moon Champion was a product of Nightmare Moon’s poison, and we had to kill her for something that was partially my fault as well.” She wilted with guilt, a haunted look in her eyes.
“We can’t put you on the chopping block for one mistake.” Aegis said, holding the side of her head so he could get at her ears. She felt like a foal, though truly she was thousands of years older than him. Her insecurity made her feel so much younger and ignorant. “What would we have done with the Moon Champion? Tossed her in a cement box for the rest of her life? Community service?” It had been almost six months since the incident with the Moon Champion, but it greatly bothered his Princess and he knew it.
“And now it is happening again. A poisonous relic of mine is twisting somepony into a monster.” She hung her head. “And this time it is our sister. We cannot put Celestia herself on the chopping bl-!”
“Hey.” He said, holding her face with both hooves. “This is different. She’s been like that less than a day. Not a lifetime like the Moon Champion. We can save her.” Luna smiled uncertainly, looking at him. There was a long silence, and he continued to scrub gently at her face with the cool rag. Finally he smirked a little and spoke, “You... don’t have any other magic necklaces laying around that turn ponies into monsters, do you? This is the last one?”
“Aegis!” Luna shrieked, wounded by his words. He snickered a little, turning to go back to the bathroom. “How could you say such things?!”
“We’re on the eve of battle, gotta keep our spirits up somehow.” Aegis Shield gestured that she come to the bathroom. A cool bath awaited her. Luna bobbed her head slowly in agreement. She was, however, a little distracted by the framed picture of a blueberry muffin on the wall. Who on Equestria framed a picture of a muffin? “Ahem.” Aegis Shield said, calling her back to herself. She cantered slowly down the hall and into the bathroom. The bath did look inviting. “Looks like a mare’s bathroom.” Aegis mumbled, peeking into the medicine cabinet and a few other places. “I’m sure we can brush you and such when you get out. You’ll look like a million bits when we set out.” He smiled encouragingly.
Luna dipped a slow hoof into the waters, then daintily settled down on her belly while she removed her horse shoes, regalia, and crown. The waters made her sigh softly when she finally settled into them. The quiet murr made Aegis smile, and he backed out of the bathroom to let her bathe in peace. “Aegis?” she asked.
“Huhm?” he was out in the hall, sitting on his haunches and leaning against the wall.
“Dost thou…” She paused and then tried again. “Do you really think we can stop Celestia?” Luna asked quietly.
“If not Princess Luna and the Lunar Stallions, then who?” he said confidently. Luna stared at her rippling reflection in the water. Who indeed.
Meanwhile, outside, the Lunar Stallion corps had settled into clusters all around Ponyville. Some had started little campfires. Others had gone into stores and left money for the food they’d taken. Others still camped out in or under trees, preferring to be alone before the ordeal that was to come.
Pen Maker, a unicorn of no small magical prowess, had borrowed somepony’s laundry right off the line and was using a set of sheets like a hammock. Deactivating his regalia and pawing at it with a hoof, he tested his weight and then flung himself up into it. Sighing, he stared up at the moon and stars. He’d never been in a battle before. Then again, nopony had been in a battle since the great wars over a thousand years ago. Sure, the Lunar Stallions dueled and had physical training every day, but going hoof-to-hoof with Celestia… he frowned worriedly, and he felt a coming headache.
“Hey.” Hammershot was leaning out of the tree above him. Every since the incident with Stalwart Hide being attacked in the alley, they’d been very close friends. “Thought I’d find you scarfing food with the rest of the guys.” He smiled playfully.
Pen Maker shrugged a little, turning to lay on his back. Hammershot’s eyes flicked up and down him. “Who can eat at a time like this?”
“Well, Lunar Stallions of course.” Hammershot nickered, laughing nervously as he slid out of the tree and glided to the ground. “Everypony knows we eat like teenage colts, and then some.” Both stallions laughed, knowing it true. The Pegasus deactivated his Lunar Stallion armor, turning back to his natural orange with blonde mane. He leaned over Pen Maker. “C’monnnn, you gotta eat something.” He said, leaning to one side and waving cornbread over Pen Maker’s nose. “I got it from the palace kitchens before we left for the festiv-uhhhh-l.” He teased his friend with the long syllable, waggling it back and forth. Pen Maker rolled his eyes and smiled, leaning up and grabbing the block of corn bread with his teeth. His friend nickered, bobbing his head at his victory. Producing another block for himself, he lay on his belly next to his friend’s hammock.
“So.” Pen Maker said after a long time, looking at the sky while he chewed.
“So.” Said Hammershot softly, feeling a bit awkward.
“What kind'a name is Hammershot, anyway?” Pen Maker asked. “It’s been bothering me for ages. Does it mean something in particular?” the unicorn turned on his side to look down at his friend. It was now or never to learn such things.
Hammershot laughed, looking up at him. “It’s an old pony’s phrase. It means ‘to knock down whatever is standing the tallest’.” He inflated with pride, just a little bit, wings lifting.
“Like the tallest nail gets the hammer?” Pen Maker mulled it over in his brain. The orange Pegasus nodded at him. It sounded rebellious and energetic, when he put it that way. Like one would always aim for the greatest challenge. And, surely enough, this Hammershot was a Lunar Stallion.
“What kind of name is Pen Maker?” Hammershot snickered, firing the question back. “And don’t tell me you actually made quills your whole life. No parent would name their foal after a job he didn’t have yet.”
“It’s not that literal.” Pen Maker’s cheeks colored a little. Hammershot put his chin on the lip of the hammock so he could listen more closely. “You know the phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’?” he asked. His friend nodded. “Well, if you’re a pen maker, you’re solving problems without violence. You bring the tools to solve things peacefully.”
“And yet you became a soldier!” Hammershot burst into laughter, falling on his side and kicking his legs. Pen Maker’s blush deepened. “That’s just priceless!”
“I’ve never studied attacking magic, it’s a legitimate name even for a soldier.” Pen Maker turned away from his friend grouchily.
“Ohhh, hey now.” Hammershot rose up again to prod his friend with a hoof. “I was just pokin’ fun.” He smiled apologetically. “We’re chargin’ into battle soon, we’ve gotta have a few good laughs, right?” He stood over Pen Maker’s hammock, rousing him until he turned on his back again. “There y’are.” He said, flaring his wings out and grinning.
“You’re right, we could both be dead by tomorrow evening.” Pen Maker said somberly. Hammershot’s smile fell like a ton of bricks, the happy mood gone. “This could be the last moon we ever see.” The unicorn said softly, eyebrows tilted up into a worried and miserable expression. He turned and looked at his friend quietly. “What’re you supposed to do the night before you’re prolly gonna die?”
“Hey now, don’t talk like that.” Hammershot said, wings wilting down. “We’ll make it out jus--”
“What’re you supposed to DO on your last night, if you might die?!” Pen Maker said angrily, trying to force an answer out of his friend. They glared at each other. “Huh?!” he demanded.
“Whatever you want I guess!” said Hammershot defensively, backing up and lifting a hoof. “You do whatever you want!”
“I want to take a nap!” Pen Maker said loudly, turning away from his best friend. “Go do whatever you want someplace else!” he was shaking just a little, Hammershot could see it in the tip of his horn. The Pegasus wilted a bit, staring at his comrade’s back. The stress was getting to him. The anticipation of battle could do bad things to a pony.
Hammershot pressed his chest to the lip of the hammock, and with some strength pulled his friend back to lay on his back again. Pen Maker glared up at him, then yelped softly when his best friend leaned down and kissed him right on the mouth! His wings flipped up and open, and he pulled away before the unicorn tried to gore him or punch him in the head. Backing up several steps and red in the face, he gave Pen Maker a quick salute. “Whatever I want.” He held the phrase up like a shield, smiling nervously. “Have a good nap.” Hammershot flared his wings and took off hard, running for his life. Pen Maker scrubbed hard at his mouth, alone and confused now.
Big Macintosh tried to ignore the grumbling in his belly. He’d been awake all night, and his situation had only seemed to have gotten worse and worse as time went on. The throne room was doused in a magical red light, and was now dotted with a series of ponies the likes of which he’d not even seen in his nightmares. Then again, the monster had haulked them up like loogies, and then positioned them about like guards. Were they her children? Somepony else? Not ponies at all? He couldn’t tell, their armor was thick and covered them almost entirely. But, that wasn’t what was worse about his situation. After the first six or so, he’d almost gotten used to the sickening birthing process. After that, the beast that used to be Celestia decided it was time to rest.
And by rest it meant to go and lay next to her pet and show him her plush belly. After he’d found that her mane and tail wouldn’t set him ablaze, he’d patted it a couple of times. When he stopped, she’d savagely growled at him and showed her teeth. So, of course, he rubbed her belly some more. Then, he’d stopped again, and gotten the same result. So, he’d decided to rub her belly with his massive hoof until she got bored of it, for his own safety. That had been over two hours ago.
The apocalyptic creature seemed frozen in place, head tilted back and all four hooves in the air. Now and then she would purr-growl. Big Macintosh could only think of a large, terrifying dog at this point. That’s what she was acting like. Feral. Hungry. Animalistic. Now? Belly rubs. He sighed a little, turning his ears back. She leaned and liiiiicksh’d his face before flopping back down again. She liked her pet. He could find all the right spots t—
Suddenly a pony appeared in the doorway of the great throne room, garbed in thick black robes and hood. “I’ve come to stop you, demon!” He pushed his hood back when the guards spotted him. They screeched like angry fruit bats, rushing to rip him limb from limb. Leaping wildly, he threw his cloak over their heads and hoof-stomped two of them into submission. The beast turned her head, ears perking. Pitching her pet off of herself and almost hanging him on the chain, she ruffled to her hooves and hissed shrilly. Spreading her fiery wings she leapt from the dais with her teeth out.
The pony looked like some sort of clergy, for a book-with-holy-symbol was on his flank. Plucking something from his saddlebag he tossed holy water over one of the charging guards. It struck him in the face and the glass got into his eyes. Blinded and whinnying, the poor creature ran face first into a wall and stunned itself. Turning quickly, he tossed a pair of phials into two more guards. They were hit in the chest, and were un-phased by the blessed water. The brave-- or perhaps very stupid-- stallion saw his plan fall apart just as both the guards tackled him to the ground in a flash of piranha teeth. He whinnied in agony, blood spurting to one side then the other.
The great beast lunged forward before they simply ended him, pushing them roughly aside with her armored head. She peered down at the bleeding stallion with interest. Cocking her head, she snarled when he jingled a series of necklaces with his hooves. She cocked her head, for the sound was pleasing. “Celestia s-save me, the sun watches over her crops.” He said, hoof shaking as he held up the symbol for the sun on the end of one necklace. The beast’s jowls lifted, exposing no less than three rows of metal teeth. He tried another necklace. “L-L-Lady Luna compels you! The night suffers no demons!” he showed the monster the symbol of the moon. She hisssssed again, coming closer and pressing a hot hoof on his chest. She could crush him in an instant, just use her weight and end his ribcage. The stallion jingled his medallions about, holding up a square with zebra stripes painted on it. “Mumbuh-jiggga-waka no deeb-bee-doo! Dasta-gan ooh-chii-wa!” he rambled out a prayer in Zafrican instead. No reaction, but her jaws drew nearer to rip his head off. Reaching desperately into his saddlebag, he found a last phial of holy water and SMASHED it on her cheek when she got close enough!
The beast shrieked in shock more than pain, but her mane hisssssed as the water quenched part of her. Recoiling in surprise, she shook her head. Super-heating herself in mere moments, her whole body caught fire with a roar of rage! He cried out, covering his face with both forelegs. That didn’t keep her from twisting his head off with her teeth. Nor tossing the body to her guards. Her little minions rushed forward like savage animals to fight over the corpse. They didn’t want to eat it, per say, just play with it and lord over it and rip it into tiny bloody pieces. The fiery mistress of the room cantered, tossing her head several times to right her molten mane. Nickering, she watched her guards fight over the body. Leaning, she took the necklaces in her teeth. Nodding rapidly, she made them jingle-jingle-jingle. She liked the sound, she decided.
Big Macintosh watched in horror as the remains of the would-be demonslayer were torn asunder. He squeezed his eyes shut and looked away, trying not to shake. When he looked again, there were medallions of various holy symbols jingling in his face. The beast set the prize down in her nest atop the dais, throwing her chest out and looking proud of herself. Laying on her belly, she gloated with a series of snarling sounds, flapping her fiery wings. Big Mac had to move to dodge the embers she sent into the air.
Hundreds of yards away, under cover of night, a group of solar guards spied on the throne room from the clouds. Laying on their bellies and using telescopes to the see the scene more closely, they all frowned in distress. So, it wasn’t anything demonic. But it was certainly more serious than they’d thought. The youngest of the group leaned to throw up over the side of the cloud, unable to look at the gruesome scene anymore. “Golden Cross gave his life for that tidbit of information. We need to adjust our strategy.” Said one of them with a low growl.
“She reacted pretty violently to the water. Maybe we could… I dunno, put her out?” said another. “I mean, she’s on fire all the time. Maybe if we could get enough water, just--”
“Can you get enough water into the throne room to put THAT out?” the third interrupted. “Much less get it past all those little gremlins she’s got in there.” He said, eyeing the armored monsters the beast had spawned from her throat. There was a long silence, and the same one spoke again. “What about him? The stallion she’s got chained up?” she gestured to the barrel-chested prisoner.
“I don’t know.” said the leader with a frown. “He’s going to get hungry and thirsty eventually. Maybe we can air-drop something. If we’re lucky, maybe she’d let him have it?” he rubbed his chin with a hoof thoughtfully. “She’d keeping him like a pet, but it hasn’t occurred to her to feed him yet.”
“Not sure anything’s occurred to her, really.” The first guard was peering through her scope again. “She’s acting like a…” she paused for the right word. “Like a dog, or a beast or something.” Her gaze suddenly flicked to one side. There was a flickering light in one of the buildings on one of the lower teirs of Canterlot. She watched it flicker some sort of code, silent until it was done. “The evacuation is done. Canterlot is empty.” She gestured to the signaler. “What do we do now?”
“Stay and keep observe. Pray she doesn't go out and raze the whole city to ruin.” said one of them firmly. “We’ve gotta gather all the info we can.” As a group, the four pegasi sighed. Pulling fluffy clouds up around themselves for better cover, they stayed on their bellies to observe the monster further without being seen.
“Mhhh, what was that called again?” Luna purred quietly, curling up on her side.
“Missionary style.” Aegis chuckled softly, stroking her mane while she rested. They’d stolen the home-owner’s bed for a bit of stress relief after Luna’s bath, and it had of course gone swimmingly.
“We have never heard of these ‘missionaries’.” Luna said, pushing a ragged strand of mane out of her face. “But they certainly knew how to get things done!” She murred aloud, closing her eyes to nuzzle his chest.
“Your pillow talk is adorable.” Aegis Shield shook his head with a laugh.
“Thou bit the pillow in half mid-way through.” Luna snarked, gesturing to the pile of feathers and fluff on the floor.
“You wouldn’t let me take my armor off till after. I could’a gone for your neck instead. Lunar Stallion teeth.” He gummed at her playfully, and she giggled.
“Well, if thou art to follow me into battle tomorrow, I had to try it at least once.” Luna giggled, pinkening in the cheeks. “Atop that, thy strange face-to-face mounting.” She flushed at the very thought. Whoever heard of ponies making love face-to-face? It was just silly! But ohhhh, it had been very nice. Aegis’….’face’ had been worth every red-faced second of it. She laughed a little louder, rubbing her forehead and grinning at the ceiling. Turning to face him, she sidled closer until they were pressed together again. “Mhhh, my stallion.” She mumbled, resting her head under his chin.
There was something very satisfying about a lover that took charge, in Luna’s mind. Perhaps it was because she was a Princess and ponies were always seeing to her wishes first. Perhaps it was because she was in charge of just about everything during the night. Having somepony to just whisk it all away, even for just a little while, was its own bliss to Luna. Not that Aegis Shield was a selfish lover, oh no, but he didn’t treat her like glass or trip over himself to ask permission for every little thing. He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t afraid to rut it out of her like a spring-ready beast. Given her life, her responsibilities, she was more than happy to be submissive in bed. She’d felt the muscle, smelled the sweat, and heard the feral groans of a stallion having his delicious, vicious way with her—and she loved it. Aegis was the only sort of stallion to make those noises and smell like those smells. She moaned a little, content, when he kissed the top of her head. “Ohhh Luna…” he said in his syrupy, post-love purr.
“I shalt need another bath when we rise.” Luna said thoughtfully, twisting her mane a little on a hoof. “I cannot charge into battle looking as though I’ve been ravaged by a beast.” Aegis burst into laughter, face-hoofing. She snickered at him, smiling.
End of Part 4