Luna’s Story 3: Long Live the Night
Part 8: Stomp the Embers
Luna found herself staring at her sister as they walked in slow, cautious circles around one another. The battle raged around them, but neither side dared step into the alicorn conflicts. The Princess of the night eyed her sister up and down. So this was her ‘nightmare’ form, when all the hate and frustration SHE had ever felt got forced onto her sister. The armor was beautiful, the fur a shimmering orange, and the eyes pink. Why her teeth had turned into a silvery, metallic color she’d never know. The row and rows of teeth reminded her of the Lunar Stallions. Well, the magic was similar, so perhaps the reaction would just be on a grander scale. Frowning into the beast’s hungry pink eyes, she shook her head softly. “I hid that necklace for a reason sister.” She whispered. “I should’ve destroyed it when I had the chance. I’m so sorry.” She gazed piteously upon the monster that Celestia had become. “I’m going to fix this, I swear it.” She eyed the black bauble that had dug itself into Celestia’s neck and chest. The chain didn’t matter so much, but the bauble did. If she could just rip it off, or blast it off, her sister would be free.
The beast wasn’t sure what to make of Princess Luna. Was she mother? Was she friend? Was she food? Did she need to be eaten? They were of similar size and body makeup, long legs and certainly greater magics. She leaned forward, snffing at her curiously. Cocking her head, she came closer slowly, head low so she chould inspect the strange creature’s chest. She did seem familiar, but she couldn’t figure out why. Sniff-sniff. Sniff-sniff.
Luna looked down at her, the muzzle of the beast only inches from her armored chest. Licking her lips for a moment, she reached up to stroke the fiery mane. The monster flinched back a little, threatening her with teeth. The dark alicorn suddenly saw all the similiarities. Celestia had donned a medallion similar to that of the Lunar Stallions. She was frenzied. Making sure not to move too quickly and panick the animal, Luna offered her hoof out and was sniff-sniff-sniff’d animatedly. When she passed that inspection, she purred softly and tried to stroke the mane again. The beast bit her on the leg, crunching heavily into her gauntlets! Luna yelped and recoiled, staggering back. The flames of the monster’s mane and tail ignited, sending a new wave of heat that pressed her back. Trash and refuse in the alleyway began to burst into flame all on its own. Concentrating hard and surrounding herself with a soothing aura, Luna withstood the heat and stood stubborn against the waves of solar magic. It pulsed at her, wave after wave of probing heat and light. Each one was like a solar flare of cautious magic, trying to figure out just how much intensity would be needed to make her burst into ash. She wasn’t so fragile. “Don’t make me hurt you, Celestia.” Luna said, scowling at last. The beast snarled savagely, picking up on the threatening tone and baring its fangs at her. “If I must strike you down to end this madness, I will!” Luna snapped.
The monster tossed her head a few times, waving her horn at the stranger. How DARE she stand there and growl at her like that?! She would have to be taught a lesson and shown who was the alpha around here. Her jowls lifted high to put all her fangs on display, and she suddenly charged forward. Luna barely had time to react, igniting her horn just in time as their horns clashed together. The crackle of opposing magicks sent ripples away from them, rushing away dust and pebbles in the recoil. Suddenly, it was like fencing, for they arched their heads back and forth, horn’s snapping wildly back and forth. Solar clashed with Lunar, gold against midnight. Crash! Crackle! Pshht! Crackle! Sparks and bolts of magic rushed away from their opposing horns, blasting small holes in the walls of the buildings they stood between. The ground they stood upon began to heat up. Luna’s stance was that of a practiced horn-fencer but Celestia was a wild animal, thrashing erratically back and forth. With no discernible style or pattern to follow, Luna was forced to parry and step back and forth while the beast tried its best to put her eye out. They met again, pressing hard at each other, muscles quivering with powerful effort. Sparks of magick sprayed back and forth, igniting the ground into a furious gold and purplish flame. A vague circle of fire formed as they danced around each other, flailing their hooves and crashing horns over and over. Nearby, a dumpster collapsed into itself from the sheer magical pressure. One solar soldier was unlucky enough to get thrown into the fray and he burst into ash with a short cry. Luna turned a wild parry suddenly and, not to waste the chance, jabbed her sister in her armored chest! The beast screeched, rearing back and knocked down by the zap of furious Lunar magic. Bolts of electricity played across her and she was driven briefly to her knees. Luna backed off, panting heavily. “Sister.” She said. “You’re not well! Come back to us!” She cursed herself for missing the bauble, but it was so very small it was a hard target.
The beast rose with a growl, more than just a little annoyed. Spreading her wings threateningly, she sent embers across the ground and then shot skyward with one powerful pump of her wings. Luna’s wings snapped open and she followed. The monster led her from rooftop to rooftop until deciding on one and turning around. Luna yelped as a blast of pure heat and light drove her off course and forced her to land. She’d barely managed to deflect it skyward, and no doubt anypony that looked at Canterlot would be able to see the rebound of the beam. Landing hard, Luna brushed at her smoking shoulder before it caught flame. She was thankful she’d donned armor for this.
Just as her hooves touched the rooftop the creature heaved a great breath and roared! Her mouth lit up like the sun herself and Luna barely had time to raise a shield. She groaned with effort, driven to her knees as the fires and flames consumed the tiles around her hooves. The shield began to bend and she was driven back against a chimney. Yelping when she crashed into it, she tumbled end over end when the blast ended and her sister rushed forward wildly. She didn’t have time to recover, and was rammed off the rooftop! Crashing through a shop window with a cry, Luna found herself laying on a display of Lunar Stallion action figures. Snorting, she rose and shook like a dog. The beast landed hard, cracking the sidewalk with her weight. Luna lowered her horn, blasting wildly out the window display. Kicking the door down she boiled out into the street and rammed into the beast. Tumbling over each other, they wrestled wildly in the street until Luna’s wings took her skyward. The beast followed.
Trying to control her breathing, Luna pressed her diaphragm animatedly. “K’AHHH!” It was a wordless, feral belt of a shout in the Royal Canterlot Voice. The beast’s wings suddenly locked up and she fell with a shriek, crashing to the ground. Luna landed hard, panting and rushing to press her opponent.
The beast that used to be Celestia caught her sister in her momentum, grabbed her around her middle and SMASHED her into the road. Luna cried out, blood exploding from her nose. She lay there, stunned, the beast looming over her. Turning over onto her back, Luna looked up at her, panting. She was strong. She was so strong. The Princess of the Night glanced over at the streets and buildings. The Lunar Stallions were fighting for their lives, she could do no less. The beast reared up to hoofstomp Luna, but she rolled out of the way and slapped the beast with her wings, launching skyward. “Come on! Follow me, sister!” She shouted over her shoulder. The beast narrowed her eyes, watching the black alicorn climb skyward. Igniting her fiery wings from orange to yellow, she roared up at her and shot upwards after her like a rocket mare. Luna’s entire body shuddered at the vibration of air that followed her sister’s roar. The prickle of solar magic suddenly spiked and she DOVE out of the way as blasts of heat and light split the air like thunder. Flying in wild loop-dee-loops, dives and between buildings the alicorns chased each other like fighter jets, blasting back and forth with beams of magic. Luna turned in a moment of desperation, saw her sister coming and illuminated an entire building in her magic. Wrenching at it with all her might, she brought the whole thing down on the beast. It screeched in surprise, pressed under the tons of stone.
Luna landed, panting hard and wiping the blood from her muzzle. Praying hard that the beast would stay down, she stared hard at the wreckage. A few stones shifted and the dark alicorn moaned, trying to ignore the ache in her lungs and injured leg. The beast exploded from the rubble with a concussion of solar magic, boulders and debris spraying in all directions. Spreading her wings, Luna launched herself skyward again. The beast followed.
The two alicorns circle-strafed each other from a great distance, blasting back and forth with wild bolts of magic. Explosions lit the sky like fireworks when they clashed with horns instead of magic. It was like thunder on the breeze. Luna yelped when a massive hoof struck her chest and she pinwheeled through the air until she was grabbed around the middle and slammed into the mountainside. She cried out into the night, turning the ears of many Lunar Stallions. While the royal sisters struggled and wrestled against the sheer cliffs, pebbles rained down around them. The beast’s teeth found Luna’s exposed shoulder and sank savagely into her. Blood bloomed from the wound and she screamed in white hot agony. The cry echoed over Canterlot. Pinned to the cliff it was all she could do to head-butt her sister and twist the teeth in her own flesh. “K’AHHH!” The Royal Canterlot Voice blasted into the beast’s ear at point blank. It screeched, body seizing up and hooves coming up to clutch at its head. Wings flapping out of sync it fell, tumbling over itself and crashing through a rooftop. Luna landed hard, nursing her bleeding shoulder.
After a short silence, Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide swooped in. “Princess, you’re injured!” Stalwart Hide said, eyes wide.
“That tends to happen. In. Battles.” Luna panted, glaring at the hole she’d just launched her sister into. “She’s very strong, I’m not sure I can keep this up.” The Princess of the Night admitted. “How goes the battle on the wayside?”
“We’re holding them, but frankly there’s only seventy Lunar Stallions to start with.” Aegis said wearily, rubbing at his bleeding ear. He’d been cuffed hard by a pegasi solar beast, and it had split his right ear into three tufts. It pained him, but he could still stand. “We need to end this as soon as we can.”
“I don’t suppose you can banish your sister to the moon?” Stalwart Hide chuckled bitterly. Luna glared at him, and he quickly apologized. “It’s just a thought. Containing an alicorn has never really crossed my mind until n--!” the beast suddenly exploded from the roof underneath their hooves, long horn aimed for Luna’s neck. Seeing no other option, Stalwart Hide dove into the way and knocked his Princess aside like a rag doll. Luna yelped, falling flank-over-tea-kettle and down into the alleyway below. Lunar armor was no match for angry solar magic, and the horn pierced Stalwart Hide’s breastplate. He cried out, impaled in the most gruesome way imaginable as the beast lifted him high! Writhing as blood dripped from his armor, he yelped when the monster tossed him aside to tumble over the roof like a skipping stone. A flicker of lunar magic followed him, and Princess Luna's Nightmare Night blessing snapped like a twig.
“Stalwart Hi-iiiide!” Aegis Shield roared as his comrade landed in a heap. The beast advanced on the fallen Princess Luna, but Aegis squared his shoulders. “Th-that’s as far as you go!” the Pegasus threw his chest out and reared up, whinnying his challenge. The beast gave pause and cocked her head. With a flick of powerful solar magic, she crushed him through the roof he was standing on so hard he ended up on the ground floor of the two story building. He cried out and lay there, stunned.
Stalwart Hide suddenly sat up, clutching his chest. He reached inside the hole in his breastplate, pulling out the broken pieces of a Lunar Stallion action figure. The one the Moon Champion had given him on their date. He smiled bitterly, tossing the pieces aside. He was bleeding from the chest, but not dying. Lady luck, it seemed, had a sick sense of humor. Spreading his wings, he launched himself skyward and dive-bombed at the beast. She didn’t see him coming, and he got a free four-hoof’d shot right at her head. The beast yelped, turning with a snarl of pain. Igniting her horn she blasted at him like a wild gatling gun! While he dived and looped around the sky to distract her, Luna turned over and groaned. Pulling herself to her hooves, she wiped her mouth again and looked up. The beast was perched on the edge of the roof.
Her horn lighting with dark magicks she blasted the roof’s edge apart, watching the beast lose its balance and fall. Before she could open her wings and fly away Luna seized her around the middle, pinned her wings and rode her like a living sled into the pavement. The shudder of the ground was felt by many. The Princess of the Night rose, panting and backing away while the beast thrashed to her hooves again. No matter what she did to her, she kept getting up again! “Why won’t you just stay down!?” Luna roared, high on the thrill and terror of the battlefield.
The beast roared back at her, slathering liquid metal onto the pavement and working herself into a frenzy. Her wings grew in size and heat, the tail bursting into wilder flames as the orange fur rippled with insurmountable heat! Luna groaned, pouring more of her magicks into shielding herself from the fire. She backed away slowly, and the monster followed her with a hiss. They emerged into a street, and she almost tripped over a fire hydrant. Lunar Stallions and Solar minions alike gave them a wide berth, for none could withstand the heat. Suddenly Luna’s eyes flicked at the fire hydrant. Gritting her teeth with concentration, her horn lit up and she ripped it out of the ground. The geyser of water sprayed in all directions. The beast screeched, staggering sideways to get away from the water that was already quenching her mane and tail. She hisssssed, walking quickly backward.
“You don’t like the water, do you?” Luna suddenly smiled, angling a light shield to send the spray at her. The beast spread her wings, much smaller because of the water spraying at her, and labored into the air. “Get back here!’ Luna grabbed a few gallons of water, molded it into a sphere and launched it at her sister! Psh-sshhhhh! The solar beast roared, forced to the ground and laboring with her wings. Whirling about she blasted the pavement open, showering Luna in rocks and debris. Suddenly it all made sense. Celestia, at her core, was a creature of air and fire. Robbing her of either would weaken her. She watched the beast heave herself weakly into the air, trying to get away from the sprays of water and reignite herself.
Luna followed, dousing herself in the spray as she went. Was she fleeing the city? Following her higher and higher, Luna put everything she had into her wings. Sparkles of her magick made her eyes white out entirely and begin to glow. Sparkles began to rain in the trail of her wings while she followed the steaming monster higher and higher, beyond the clouds. She would only get one chance, and this idea was the most mad thing she’d ever done. Swooping harder, harder, faster than she’d ever done, Luna SLAMMED into her fleeing sister and drove her ever skyward with all her might! The monster flailed and screeched, the flames of her body growing hotter and hotter with her anger. Luna gritted her teeth, trying hard to balance between her heat shielding and her wing propulsion. Roaring with effort she pressed higher, higher, HIGHER!
The air was growing thinner, colder, and less forgiving of anypony that was gasping from effort. Luna clung to her sister from behind, and they fought into the upper ozone of Equestria herself. Wrestling wildly and trying to hold onto consciousness, Luna saw what she wanted at last. Her sister’s fiery wings began to choke out, frost inching its way over their bodies. Metallic teeth snapped back and forth, but Luna held her all the firmer. She didn’t have much magic left in her, she was about to pass out. Just— a little— higher! Just! A little bit! Higher! The beast head-butted her wildly, blasting Luna right in the face with bolts of magic. The close proximity of the super powers fighting each other for so long began to rip at the fabric of time and space. Goddesses like they were not meant to clash like they were, the universe could not handle it! Luna recoiled, clutching desperately at the alicorn while they began to freeze in place. They blasted eachother, point blank, back and forth in desperation. Luna quite suddenly blacked out.
Almost one year ago, Luna pitched over as though struck down in the middle of the Midnight Court and fell into a coma.
“Princess…” Twilight whispered in fearful awe. She was watching the gold and purple speck of light travel high into the sky, and then out of sight. She couldn’t sense the waves of solar magic anymore.
Luna was aware that she was falling. When had she passed out? She didn’t know. Loosely entangled with the beast, she looked at its fearsome face and the long tongue the flapped in the wind. Moaning softly, she embraced the beast that was once Celestia. She couldn’t move much, she hurt all over. Pawing weakly at her sister she found the black bauble and, unceremoniously, ripped it from her chest. Golden blood flowed, but not much. It was like removing a surface cyst or a wart. Crushing it between her hooves, Luna could finally relax. The wind whistling in her ears, she looked down at the ground. She couldn’t find the strength to resist the wind. Ohhh, she hurt so much…
“Oh sister…” Luna pulled the monster’s head to her breast. “I’m so, so sorry…” She could see the ground rushing up to meet them. She held her close, gritting her teeth and waiting for the bone-crunching impact.
Suddenly the beast woke, locking her teeth onto Luna’s shoulder. She cried out and thrashed, but it only held her firmly. All four of the massive, muscled legs wrapped around her like a claw machine, and suddenly wings made of feathers (not fire) exploded from the beast’s back. Banking hard and brunting the speed of falling, they flared with all their might as the powerful muscles screamed against the wind and gravity. The wind whistled around them, screeching like a falling bomb, until they crashed hard into the ground, carving an earthen path in the Royal Gardens. Both alicorns screamed in pain while they tumbled through bushes, a tree, seven flower beds, and finally ground to a halt at the edge of a pond. Landing in a mess of feathers and hooves and bits of armor, they couldn’t move much. The beast groaned, shifted her weight, and rolled off of Luna. They lay there, panting, splayed out.
Celestia turned, curling on her side and clutching at her chest. She coughed up something black, some sort of terrible goo, into the pond. It disintegrated in moments. Her armor began to crack like a fragile candy shell, falling into little pieces around her. Her metallic teeth fell out one by one, and she spat them upon the ground while her real ones began to shove themselves back into her mouth. Her muscles shrank, and the fearful orange began to fade from her body. She clutched at her stomach, vomiting blackness again while her mane exploded with length behind her in all its normal pastel colors. Her eyes flickered, flashed, then flickered back to their normal royal purple. Moaning and holding herself, Celestia flopped down into blessed darkness. Luna was already there.
All over Canterlot, solar beasts and minions froze in place, their armor falling off like so many Hearth’s Warming Eve ornaments from a tree. Then, they flopped over. Lunar Stallions peered around in awe, ears perked. Aegis Shield limped into the moonlight, looking around at the quiet that had befallen the city. “Is it over?” Stalwart Hide whispered, limping into view.
“I... think so…” Aegis Shield whispered.
End of Part 8