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TodayAudio Reading of Aegis Shield's Book? 9 comments · 140 views
FridayMy Thoughts on "A Brother's Fury" 2 comments · 280 views
4w, 18hLet's Chat, everypony! (closed) 53 comments · 380 views
10w, 4dRecovered, Now Stuck 16 comments · 383 views
12w, 2dDelays :( 44 comments · 356 views
14w, 2dLet's Chat, Everpony! (closed!!!) 75 comments · 415 views
15w, 1dReturn of Princess Nightmare Moon Audio Reading (complete!) 2 comments · 229 views
16w, 4hApparently this needs addressing O.o 31 comments · 478 views
18w, 5dMy Thoughts on "An Escort's Journal" 9 comments · 466 views
19w, 3dA New Mane Six? 27 comments · 869 views
Tough Love: Luna vs. Celestia
Part 9: Argue and Duel
The Lunar Stallions were seventy ponies strong. A pretty pathetic number, to be quite honest. There were hundreds upon hundreds of solar guards for Celestia, but Princess Luna had hoof-picked every single one of her own forces. She’d pulled depressed alcoholics from bars and shown them the glorious moonlight. She’d taken forgotten soldiers that sat itching in outposts on the edges of the world. She snuck away with underappreciated stallions who just couldn’t seem to get ahead in life. The Princess scoured the darker parts of Canterlot and all of Equestria for several years, gathering those who needed to be loved. She gave them a path.
Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide had been the first. Aegis Shield was pulled from a prison cell, where he’d been sent to rot on a false charge after fraternizing with the wrong noble mare under her father’s nose. Now he was one of the top-ranked Lunar Stallions to serve her Majesty, and he’d even been graced to her bed a few times. Stalwart Hide was a fallen Solar guard, dismissed by Celestia herself for his lack of discipline upon review. Now, he was more than he could’ve ever been standing in the light. Solar Guard be damned.
The stallions that came after them were greeted with open arms, all of them down on their luck and needing a family that cared for them. Former drunks. Failed athletes. Business owners with need to invest in something greater than themselves. Blind ambition and powerful thirst to prove themselves, every single one of the seventy Lunar Stallions was ironclad in the cause to serve her Majesty Princess Luna… and nopony else. She molded them with fierce training and merciless discipline, until they became the superior fighting force they were today. They guarded her. They spied for her. They loved her deeply. She’d saved them from the darkness of their own hearts, and for it they would gladly die for her.
She asked them to dye their coats grey. Yes, Princess Luna. She asked them to submit to turning their eyes golden. Of course, Princess Luna. She told them to operate in shadow, to complete subtle missions of information and security. Gladly, Princess Luna. Eventually, she’d even gotten some of them to file their front teeth like fangs. Our bodies are yours to mold and command, Princess Luna! She’d rewarded them with excellent pay, willing mares, lodging, armor, and any worldly thing that was within her power to grant. Being so small in number compared to the solar guard, she could treat them like kings and solidify her grasp over them all the more firmly. The perfect storm.
Sixty-eight of them were gathered in the Lunar Chapel, dressed in full armor and murmuring amongst themselves. A meeting had been called, and all of them had stealthed away from their usual assignments to answer. Suddenly, the double doors groaned open and the Princess of the Night herself came in. Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide flanked her, eyes closed and noses tilted upward. The doors closed by magic behind them, the great log coming across it. There was happy murmuring in the pews of the chapel, which instantly halted when Luna mounted the little stage and turned about. Many, many golden eyes looked up at her eagerly. She favored them with a quiet smile and moved over behind a little podium to speak. “Stand!” barked Aegis Shield. They stood from the pews as one. “Recite!”
“VIVAS NOCTUS!” boomed the entire room. ‘Long live the night’, in Ancient Equestrian.
“Settle down, my stallions. Be seated.” Luna said in a silky, bemused voice. They did so, smiling eagerly. The Princess didn’t often call a meeting of the entire Lunar Stallion Corps. This must’ve been very, very important! Luna looked about, meeting the gazes of many stallions directly and smiling. Some jittered with excitement. “I’m sure you’ve all heard about my sister’s recent changes in behavior.” She started with it, right out of the gate. There was troubled murmuring and lots of nodding. “I come before you as a concerned sister, and ruler of Equestria…” Luna launched into a long, complex, and very practiced speech. She informed them all of all the strange little things that had been happening for the past few months around the palace. She thanked her spies for looking out for her sister’s well-being, in the meantime, but the stories got more and more terrifying as time went on. Who put a colt into a flashbang circle!? That was terrible! What about that politician, threatened with a dungeon cell for merely presenting a new idea? And Celestia even chased her most prized student out of the palace? Was she a madmare?! The Lunar Stallions got more nervous and shifty as Luna did her very, very best to make Celestia look like a budding tyrant. They began to murmur angrily and scowl at each other. Aegis Shield could barely keep them under control.
“Be silent!” he commanded roughly. “The Princess still speaks!”
Luna leaned over the podium, her face wrought with worry and distress. “Please listen to me, my stallions!” she called out in such a way that their protective natures kicked in and they fell silent. “My sister is slowly going out of control, and before long she may morph into something far worse than an aggressive alicorn!” Turning with a flourish, she produced a long wall scroll and flipped it over the podium. It unfurled by gravity to reveal a stylized picture of an alicorn. It had a fiery pink mane, golden armor and eyes, and was surrounded by flames and destruction. The more shocked Lunar Stallions in the chapel stood in abject horror. That looked almost like-! “Nightmare Moon?” Luna asked, smiling on the inside as she once again complimented herself on her beautiful acting skills. “Neigh, Lunar Stallions. Something far worse. I call this creature… Daymare Sun.” There was a long, terrible silence in the room. They looked at the picture in complete terror, like it might spring off the parchment and burn them all to ash in an instant. They looked at their Princess, silently pleading for instructions or mercy or something. Anything to stay the beast. “It hasn’t happened yet, but it may happen soon.” Luna told her troops. “She’s been getting worse by the day, and more accounts are pouring in each day of my sister’s increasingly draconian ways. She’s becoming a terror to herself and every pony around her!” Luna banged a hoof on the podium, startling the gathering.
“What can we do?” Aegis Shield turned to ask.
Luna smiled on the inside. Count on her Captain to lead with the group’s thoughts. They looked to he and Stalwart Hide as their alpha males, and to her as the leader. “Twilight Sparkle, my sister’s former protégé, has gone into hiding. If we’re lucky, she will return with the other chosen ones bearing the Elements of Harmony.”
“Aren’t those locked in a vault?” Aegis asked with concern. “Under Princess Celestia’s spells and incantations?” The room deflated and the feeling of despair spiked.
“The elemental necklaces merely represent the powers they project.” Luna said. “If the element bearers need them they will appear, drawn to their owners.” She tried to explain. “It is how they bested Nightmare Moon, after all. They’ve taken many forms. For my sister, they were all together as a yoke around her neck. For the bearers after her, they were orbs of glowing magic. The latest incarnations that you know are necklaces.” She said in brief explanation.
“We’re going to send Princess Celestia to the moon, then?” one brave stallion ventured. There was a collective, shocked gasp from the room. Turn against Celestia?! The Princess that brought the day?! How could they?! She’d been leading Equestria in an era of peace for over a thousand years!
“My stallions.” Luna said quietly, her eyes soft with worry and distress. “I do not know if we have a choice. Celestia is steadily growing more powerful, changing into something she is not. But, she cannot be allowed to continue treating her subjects this way.” There was worried agreement in the ranks. “If she assumes this final form at the peak of her strength? This… this ‘Daymare Sun’? I fear none will be able to stop her.” The dark alicorn let her chin hit her chest and a slow tear seeped out. Hearts quivered at the sight of the weeping Princess, and many stallions fought the urge to rush the stage and embrace her—tell her everything was going to be okay.
Stalwart Hide spoke for the first time. “We shall have to halt your exercises and training with her as soon as possible, Princess. She can’t get any stronger without your excellent techniques, surely.” The stallion said officially. “Maybe you can tell her you’ve taught her all you know? Pander to her growing ego?”
Luna made a thoughtful face, then nodded. “Yes. That would be best.” She looked out over the crowd to explain. “Princess Celestia and I have been training together for a few months now.” She explained to them rather openly. “After her defeat at the royal wedding, which I’m sure you all heard about, her ego was shattered. I offered a helping hoof to exercise with her, but she’s grown so strong she’s gone mad with power.” She made a show of wilting down a bit. “It’s all my fault…”
“Neigh!” said an angry stallion in the center of the chapel crowd. “Never, Princess! You set out to help her get strong again and this is how she repays you?! Turning into a mean-streaked madpony?! Neigh! It’s not your fault!”
“Not her fault!”
“She was trying to help!”
“Rabble-rabble-rabble! Rabble-rabble!” The crowd of stallions were on their hooves, arguing back and forth about how nasty Celestia had become. Rumors circulated as Aegis Shield went to put a comforting hoof around her Majesty’s shoulders. He smiled gently, pulling her cloak up about her shoulders. She smiled weakly, nodding her thanks.
Luna hobbled upright while Aegis Shield nursed her supposedly failed sense of balance. “For now we must be patient, my stallions. Twilight Sparkle will come to help us save the day. Until then, we must all act as if it were business as usual.” There were roars up upheaval and cries for immediate revenge against the solar tyrant. “Neigh!” she shouted, just shy of the Royal Canterlot Voice. “We must wait until we are all mustered if we are to stop my sister. Bide your time, my Lunar Stallions.” She bid them, slowly smiling in a motherly, encouraging way. “Bide.”
“For her Majesty!”
“Down with the tyrant!”
“A lunar empire!”
Twilight Sparkle woke in the wee hours of the morning, feeling heavy and a little pressed. She lifted her head and her horn poked against something fleshy and firm. She blink-blinked blearily. This wasn’t her room, nor her bed. The neurons finally started firing again and she gave a jerk. This woke Big Macintosh, who was quietly curled up with her on the sofa, covered in a thick autumn-time blanket. “B-big Macintosh!” she whispered, for it was still only just past dawn.
“Eyuup?” he asked softly, yawning. He shifted a little to rest her head on the crook of his arm.
The purple mare flushed deeply, looking up at him. “It’s all gone really really wrong, hasn’t it?” she whispered miserably. “If we go to stop Princess Celestia, even if we win—what will happen?” she whimpered a little at the very idea. “She’s been a fixture of all of Ponydom for over a thousand years! Leading us in peace and prosperity and--!” she yipped a little, for Big Mac’s massive hoof was stroking her mane comfortingly. He blinked in a slow, gentle way that made Twilight wonder if he was even listening to her.
“Eyuu-u-up.” He said a little throatily, eyeing her like a starving pony eyes a fat daisy sandwich. He looked hungry. The mild musk of stallion’s desire touched her nose.
Twilight turned on her side to face him, just a little bit entranced. Sure, just about every red-blooded mare in Ponyville had fantasies about Big Macintosh, but she’d never considered… the moon dust that had spilled on her made her hesitate and give it very real thought. If the world was basically going to end soon, surely some self indulgence could be excused? She didn’t want to die a vir-!
“Twilight.” His deep, southern accent made her heart quiver just a little. She looked up into his big expressive eyes. Her hooves slowly came up to rest on his massive barrel chest. “You worry ‘bout tomorrow, tomorrow.” It was a short, simple sentence, but it was like a lover’s erotic whisper. She felt her face fill up with heat. Big Mac NEVER spoke so many words to her before. And the words themselves! Like sagely poetry! Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow! How kind and generous of him, to soothe her like that.
Twilight Sparkle considered him for a long and breathy silence. She leaned up, slowly. Well, rather, she awkwardly sidled upward, so they could be eye to eye. “B-Big Mac?” she whispered.
“Yup?” he asked, eyeing her hooves. They were making little circles on his muscled chest, rather greedily feeling him out. It felt good, the red stallion decided. More please.
Their muzzles drew close. “If Celestia decides to set her sights on somepony besides Luna, we could be in for a lot of troub—mmph!” Big Macintosh cut her off with a powerful kiss. She flushed, her arms wrapping firmly around him. She felt the coil of muscle, smelled the spike of stallion hormones and shuddered under the purr of deep desire. He wanted her. Well, he wanted her to hush and stop making herself sick with worry. Maybe a nice furious rutting would calm her the buck d-?
The sun rose above the horizon, casting both lusting ponies in its orange light. Twilight flinched like she’d been struck, pulling out of the kiss and falling hard onto the floor. “I-I’ve got to go and gather the others!” she said, her eyes flickering gold for a few moments before returning to their normal hue. Big Macintosh thought it was just the glare of the dawn light in her massive orbs. He sat there on his belly, looking at her pathetically. Don’t go, his face said. I want you. He looked a little glazed, his mouth working itself a little. He smiled at her in a sultry, happy way that invited the mare back to the makeshift bed. All the powerful virility of an Apple family stallion, all hers, if she would come back to bed. He wilted when she tore away from him, flopping down depressedly like somepony had just gravely insulted his deceased mother.
“To my faithful student Twilight Sparkle,” Celestia recited for the eleventh time, pacing worriedly back and forth in the grand conference. Captain Grey scribbled on the new piece of parchment for her as she spoke. “I’m terribly sorry for the grave misunderstanding between us in our recent meeting. No no, that seems too formal. The poor thing is frightened of me,” the white alicorn mumbled, stopping and frowning. Captain Grey balled up the letter and tossed it into the pile behind him. “To my faithful student Twilight Sparkle,” she tried again, rubbing her chin idly. “I’m so sorry things got so out of control during our last visit. It really isn’t what it looks like. No no…” she sighed, not liking that line either. “Captain Grey, what do you think?” she asked a mortal pony, he would know a better way to soothe a panicked mare.
“I think you should go in person, you Majesty. Nothing solves a problem like facing it directly.” The Pegasus said with a sniff. “Letter-writing seems a little distant.”
“Perhaps, but she ran from me when I tried to explain. A letter will look less threatening. And after she reads it, she’ll come back to me.” The Princess said it like she was writing to an angry marefriend, but he knew what she meant. Fretting while she walked back and forth, the white alicorn tried again. “Dearest Twilight Sparkle--!”
“Good morrow, sister!” Luna swept into the room, all smiles. “How fair you?”
“I’m trying to write a good letter to Twilight Sparkle.” Celestia confessed when the double doors shut behind her. “I’m very worried for my faithful student. She must think me a monster.” She wilted a little, but Luna put a hoof on her shoulder for comfort.
“If she were truly your faithful student, she would not think such things of you.” Luna said seriously. “Perhaps she’s merely rattled at your changing appearance and… eyes?” The dark alicorn made a show of leaning and looking closely into her sister’s face. “Golden eyes…” she whispered with a look of awe.
“Interesting, no?” Celestia brightened just a little. She fluttered her lashes at her sister, who giggled. The Princess of the day’s eyes were a rather bright yellow-orange, golden and shining with raw magical power. “I kind of like them, to be honest.” She paused, grinning at her sister. “They look a bit like your Lunar Stallions’ eyes.”
Luna squinted a little, as though to check, then chuckled. “They do! You’re right!” she checked over her shoulder to look cautiously at Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide. They nodded dumbly, their expressions neutral. They didn’t trust themselves to speak around the solar tyrant. Mean ol’ bitch. Luna turned back around. “Er, anyway. I came with a purpose this evening, sister. One I think you’ll be excited to hear.”
“Oh?” Celestia stopped her pacing, pushing Twilight from her mind for a moment. “What’s that?”
“Well, I think we’re just about done with our training regiment.” Luna smiled sheepishly. “You have surpassed me, I think. We’ve only one more thing to do before I think you’ll be done.”
“What?” Celestia said eagerly. Her goal was in sight!
“Why, a no-holds-barred duel, sister!” Luna smiled impishly, lifting her hoof to show off the special horse shoes she wore. They inhibited her magic quite a bit, both sisters knew. If she took them off for a duel, it would be serious business. Celestia’s mouth made a little o-shape, her golden eyes glittering with excitement and just a little bit of battle-lust. A fight with her sister, to see just how strong she’d become over the months? Glorious!
“Very well then!” Celestia found herself smiling grandly, golden eyes glittering. “I look forward to it!” she smiled, then glanced over at the curious Captain Grey. “Er, I’ve been training with Luna in the evenings, since the royal wedding.” She admitted with a guilty smile.
“You’ve been sneaking out every night?” Captain Grey stood so hard his chair toppled over. “Your Majesty! That is so incredibly risky it’s not even funny! What if you were captured by someone? Or assassinated? Or worse?!”
Celestia stopped his tantrum by pressing a massive hoof over most of his muzzle. “Peace, stallion. I’ve become much, much stronger for it.” She turned sideways and, with a rather naughty chuckle, shook her toned hips a little. His cheeks colored, and Luna fought down a barking laugh. Her sister, completely uninhibited thanks to the moon dust, was a sassy little thing wasn’t she?! Hah! “Thank you, Luna.” Celestia said with a smile. “We’ll meet in our usual place then? At the usual time?”
“Of course, sister. As your teacher I looked forward to measuring everything you’ve got to give.” Luna smiled confidently from under her eyebrows. With that, she nodded to her Lunar Stallions and they were away. Aegis Shield opened his mouth to voice his disapproval, but she shushed him until they were out of earshot and among shadows in a deep corridor. “I know you worry for me, my stallions, but I spoke the truth.” Luna said with a soft growl. “I must measure how strong my sister has become. With that information, we can plan more thoroughly.” She didn’t voice what the plan was in such a public place, in case there were ears listening. Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide nodded, though both grandly disapproved of this. Celestia had become very powerful. If she hurt their Princess, they would have to step in and try to stop her themselves. They promised this with a look at each other, and nodded.
Big Macintosh was sitting around a grand table with six mares and a baby dragon. They argued animatedly back and forth, comparing stories and rumors they’d heard about Celestia. They were trying to figure out which ones were true by origin, when they’d heard them, and how much merit the sources gave. Twilight’s conversation with the Princess and learning that she was abusing her sister had sent all of them into a frenzy. The stallion was glad he wasn’t known for talking very much, and when he was asked anything he could nod or shake his head. It had been going on for hours and hours, from early that morning until well after dusk. Everypony had taken the day off work for the very serious summit.
“I just don’t know if this really warrants rebellion, Twilight!” Rarity said, scrubbing her hoof through her mane. “Perhaps Luna did something to deserve it? I mean, who better to punish an alicorn than one strong enough to inflict pain? It’s no different than spanking a foal, right?”
“Rarity she had a laceration scar a foot long on her side!” Twilight argued, slamming her hoof down on the table. “That’s not a spanking!”
“T’ain’t right to put your hooves on your siblings.” Applejack agreed. “One time ah thought to put Applebloom over mah knee? Granny Smith made me sleep out in the barn fer a week!” she admitted it to her friends, turning her ears back in shame. The six mares chattered back and forth some more at the thought.
“What about the gardener?” Fluttershy said meekly. “And the chef we heard about? Are they still there at the palace?” she wondered. “Nothing back happened to them… I hope?” she said even more softly.
“Dunno.” Rainbow Dash said. “All I heard was that Celestia terrorized an orphanage recently, and put a foal in a flashbang circle. You know they use those to keep captured criminals from fleeing?! That’s sick!” The prismatic-maned mare whapped a hoof loudly on the table. “This can’t go on!”
“But she’s the Princess!” Rarity wanted to defend her Majesty so much, didn’t want it to be true. “There’s always nasty rumors flying around about the upper class! Surely there’s been some misunderstanding!”
“There’s never been nasty rumors about Princess Celestia.” Twilight murmured, staring at the table. “I grew up in and around the palace. Ponies gossiped about everything EXCEPT her.” She told her friends. “She was always perfect, shining, and happy. We loved her…” she trailed off, wilting down further and trying not to cry.
“If she’s turned into a big fat meanie-pants, I-I dunno what we should do!” Pinkie Pie had an army helmet covered with leaves in one hoof, and a party hat in the other hoof. “I mean, she’s the Princess so she knows best, right? She’s over a thousand years old!”
“Good Princesses don’t terrorize foals like hardened criminals!” Applejack argued.
“Umg, Good Princesses don’t dismiss their staff for such tiny slip-ups… I think…” Fluttershy mumbled.
“Good Princesses don’t show their political opponents a jail cell to scare them! Or throw foals in jail either, for that matter!” Applejack was perhaps the most gung-ho to stop Celestia, for the worst crimes she’d committed all had Applebloom’s face, in her mind’s eye. She saw her little sister trapped in a flashbang circle. Then, sitting in a jail cell while criminals leered at her. She couldn’t take it.
“Good Princesses don’t beat their sisters.” Twilight whispered quietly, hanging her head. Everypony present looked at her. She opened her mouth to speak, eyes soft, but suddenly Spike stood up glutching his throat. Belch! A scroll burst from his mouth in a flash of fire. Twilight Sparkle seized it. “It’s from Princess Celestia!” she gasped. Gulping, she unrolled it. “Dearest Twilight Sparkle. I hope this letter finds you well, and I want to extend my deepest apologies. Our conversation last night was not as it seems. You see, Luna has been training me in the ways of combat, and I only recently became strong enough to best her on the field of combat. I am not abusing her, I merely defeated her and felt very good about myself for having improved so well.” Twilight’s brow was slowly rising in surprise, her mouth gaping open. One by one the elements stood up, leaning forward with growing smiles. “So you see, there’s nothing to fear, my most faithful student. I am not a sister-beating tyrant, as seemed to go through everyone’s head recently. I hope you come to visit me soon, so that we can make amends and visit. Your mentor, Princess Celestia.” Twilight Sparkle sat down hard. “W… why, this explains everything!” she said, pressing the letter down over the table.
“Wait, what about all that other stuff? The gardener? The foal in the flash-bang circle? All the rest?” Rainbow Dash wanted to know, leaning over the letter with a frown. “She might be lying to get you to come back!”
Twilight’s shields had already come up, though. A golden straw had appeared for her to grasp at. “Don’t talk about the Princess that way!” she said with a scowl. “This was obviously some sort of massive misunderstanding!” she leaned forward aggressively, pressing her nose up against Rainbow Dash’s. The Pegasus growled and pressed back at her. “She’s not a tyrant, she’s just been exercising privately under--!”
Princess Luna’s body popped into existence, crashing hard onto the table they all sat around. She was followed shortly by a pair of brutally beaten Lunar Stallions, who fell in a tangled heap of bent armor and moaning. Everypony, even Big Macintosh, shoved themselves away from the table with a cry as their chairs toppled over. “Luna!” The entire group shouted.
Princess Luna was covered with hoof prints, especially over her chest and flank. Her horse shoes were missing, and her regalia gone as well. Where were all of her royal trappings? What was worse, though, was her face! She had one eye swollen shut, and a silvery line of blood escaping one of her nostrils. Her tongue lolled out just a bit, and her hooves kicked weakly. Fluttershy fainted in distress.
“Princess Luna!” Applejack was the first to gain her voice, rushing over and clambering onto the table to get to her faster. “Speak to us!” She turned the wounded alicorn over, cradling her head and shaking her a little.
Luna moaned weakly, her forearm coming over her face for a bit. “Wh-when I refused to yield in our duel, my stallions tried to save me.” She whispered gutturally. “Sh-she wouldn’t stop!” She began to cry a little. “Sh-she wouldn’t stop…”
Applejack pulled the ailing alicorn off of the table, gently easing her onto a sofa. “You call this exersizin’, Twilight?” she said softly, gesturing to the massive bruises and silvery blood. Twilight Sparkle stood there, mouth agape. She began to shake. She looked at the letter lying innocently on the table. Seizing it with her magic, she tore it in half, then in half again.
“Forgive me, sir… easy does it…” Rarity was doing her best to drag Aegis Shield off of the table to the floor, where he could rest a little easier. He grunted in pain when he hit the ground, and she winced until he got him down onto his belly. Rainbow Dash was doing the same with Stalwart Hide, who moaned incoherently. When he flopped onto his back, the Wonderbolt-in-training recoiled in horror. The massive hoof print on his chest had turned his armor concave. How was he not dead?
“She’s strong… she’s so strong…” Luna whispered in a weak rant, staring at the ceiling with soft eyes. Applejack and Pinkie Pie quickly reclined her onto a sofa, hushing her gently.
“Save yer strength, Princess. You’ve done enough.” Applejack said, trying not to look at the hoof-shaped bruises all over her slender, beautiful dark body. “Whatever happened it’s over now, ‘kay?”
“Twilight…?” Pinkie Pie said, her poofy hair falling into its straight and curtain-y shape. Everypony looked to the purple unicorn, including Luna. They looked to her for leadership.
Twilight was shaking with visible anger, tears gathering in her eyes as she ripped the letter into smaller and smaller pieces. She let out little squeaking, whistling sounds while she tried to fretfully breathe.
Luna looked at her from where she lay, smiling on the inside. It was true she’d dueled with her sister, the ‘final exam’ of her training. She’d even taken her horse shoes off to fight at full strength… then leaned into every punch and kick and blast of magic. One night of pain was more than worth it to make it genuinely look like Celestia had beaten the ever-loving buck out of her little sister without mercy. And for her guards to have leapt in like that? Even better. Her sister thought it part of the test. When Luna had refused to yield during the duel, Celestia had kept going without qualm. Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide rushed to her aide, briefly throwing down with the Goddess of the day. But even at their full strength they were no match for Celestia. After Luna yielded, while her guards drifted in and out of consciousness, she’d declared Celestia fit as could be and let her leave early, as per usual. The Princess of the day left her behind without question, off to celebrate herself. The fact that she didn’t voice concern about her sister or her guards’ injuries spoke VOLUMES—much to Luna’s delight. She really had turned just a little bit selfish and wicked. That had given Luna ample opportunity to wait for a bit, then teleport straight to Twilight Sparkle and show off her wounds. Checkmate, Tia, she thought.
Twilight looked at the others, dropping the pieces of the letter all over the floor like confetti. The decision was made. “Okie dokie lokie…” said Pinkie Pie slowly, putting away her party hat and slapping on her leafy army helmet. She frowned in such a way that the others around the room could only nod their agreement. It was time to go to war against Princess Celestia.
On the ethereal plain, Luna saw the egg-like spell wrapped around Twilight Sparkle crack just a little. She again wondered what it was and why it was there.
End of Part 9