FridaySo, about that update.... 5 comments · 30 views
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12w, 20hI'd sooner forget my own name. 1 comments · 56 views
13w, 1dCEL-E-BRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!!! 5 comments · 68 views
The first thing that stuck Celestia was how dark it was when they emerged from the portal. Before her eyes began to adjust, she couldn't see anything. We must be in the Everfree Forest, that's the only place where tree cover is this thick. By the time her eyes had adjusted, Luna had left her side and was exploring their surroundings.
"Celestia, if he is here, Eclipse must be invisible. I don't see him anywhere, and my night vision is flawless." Luna walked back to her sister. "I'm going to raise the moon, now. It will be easier to find him by its light..." With a nod from her sister, Luna flew up through the trees to begin her nightly ritual, leaving Celestia alone on the ground.
With nothing to do but wait, Celestia decided to examine her surroundings a bit more, letting a warm glow emanate from her horn. The camp was rudimentary by her standards, with most objects carved from wood or made up of things that Eclipse seemed to be able to conjure up himself. At the very center was a campfire pit, surrounded by large stones to prevent the fire from spreading. Moving outward, There were chairs made from many small branches woven together, almost like wicker, but not made from willow branches. When she inspected one, the branches used to make it were still a little pliable, giving it a softer feel than it looked like it ought to have. Further outward, she found several dishes piled on a stump, along with a few pots and pans for cooking. This looks like pony craftsmanship. He must have had to steal them... She shrugged it off. He DID say that all he was trying to do was survive, I suppose he couldn't just walk into town and buy them. Then she saw his home: a small, dome-like fort made of playing cards. She could see no support for them, but they managed to stay in place on their own. She ducked through the small doorway to see inside. The light from her horn lit the room with ease, and the first thing that she noticed was that the cards all had the same picture on the inside: a draconequus dressed as a court jester, riding a unicycle, with the word JOKER printed at the bottom. The picture was chilling, to say the least, and the sheer number of pictures quickly convinced her to keep her eyes off of the walls. On the ground, there was an extra-long sleeping bag (to fit the serpentine body of a draconequus), an alarm clock, and... several parasprites, all dozing. Celestia smiled as she saw that the creatures would sleep next to Eclipse, keeping him company. Just because I'm lonely, doesn't mean I'm alone... That's what he meant. The parasprites. Making sure to not wake them up, Celestia backed out of the playing-card igloo.
"Do you know what it's like, Celestia? Of course not. You're the kind, all-knowing, beloved leader of Equestria. Do you know what it's like to have four words chase you throughout your entire life?" Eclipse's voice wound its way out of the dome, prompting Celestia to look back inside.
"Eclipse? Are you here?" Behind her, a fire sprang to life in the fire pit. When Celestia spun around again, Eclipse's face could be seen as a mirage in the flames.
"We don't want you... Those four words, Celestia, have chased me throughout my life. We don't want you."
"Eclipse, I'm sorry for what I did. I jumped to conclusions in a massive way. Luna's fine, in fact, she was working on a project that you inspired her to create!" Luna bowed her head. "I followed you here to apologize for my atrocious behavior."
"It drove Discord mad. Well, madder than he already was, and pummeled me to a pulp." Eclipse didn't seem to hear her. Without warning, the fire snuffed itself out, leaving Celestia in the dark again.
"Eclipse, please come out and talk to me..."
"I am talking. This time, YOU'RE the one who's not listening." This time, the voice seemed to come from right above Celestia's head. She ducked down out of surprise and looked upward, but didn't see him. "I've encountered a protective older sibling LONG before I met you, Celestia." The voice whispered in her right ear, making her flinch and look again, but there was nothing. "My big brother always kept me safe from the danger of those who hated us..." He left ear this time. Celestia didn't even bother to look. She was in his home, playing by his rules.
"He did all of the fighting for me. Won every time, too. Losing meant death for us, after all." The voice was right behind her head now, and the felt an unwelcome pressure on her back, as if Eclipse was reclining on her like some kind of chair. Chills ran down her body to her hooves as she could feel his spine through his skin running along her own. "And when he found out that I had been hurt while he was gone, he would go and wreak havoc on whoever had done it. Then, we would leave the country again. Together." Celestia was beyond uncomfortable with this bony creature laying along her spine, using her wings as armrests, but was more afraid of what would come next if she moved or tried to buck him off. All at once, he was gone. Celestia closed her eyes and let out a sigh of relief, ruffling her wings and wriggling her body a little to shake off the lingering feeling of the jabbing from his vertebrae. When she opened them again, Eclipse was standing directly in front of her, arms folded and unblinking eyes staring straight into hers.
"Believe it or not, Celestia, I see an awful lot of Discord in you..." Eclipse didn't sound accusative, his tone had softened and his voice had dropped to a whisper. "Not the egotistical blowhard you hated, but the protective older brother I knew... and loved." Eclipse's arms dropped to his sides, and Celestia could see tears glimmering in the moonlight. "Because of that, I can understand your reaction to Luna's condition. Because the same thing was done for me countless times, I can see your reason. I forgive you."
Celestia's eyes began to mist up a bit, as well. "Thank you, Eclipse." She felt as though a huge weight (Other than a draconequus) had been lifted off of her back. She couldn't think of the last time she had needed to apologize for anything other than courtesy. "Thank you for understanding." Once again, Eclipse had managed to show her a perspective so completely different, it had completely altered the way Celestia saw things. I'm... like Discord used to be?
"Yes, thank you, Eclipse." This time, Luna's unannounced arrival didn't frighten Eclipse. "I fear that my behavior may have left me just as much to blame as my sister... If would could find it in your heart to forgive-" She was cut off as Eclipse gave her a look that showed that the deed was already done.
"Eclipse, you told me that what happened to Discord was a long story. One that you wanted to tell me when Celestia was here, too. Was that it?"
Eclipse's eyes rolled upward, as if looking for the answer to Luna's question in the trees above. "Well, I suppose you could say so. An extremely watered-down version, but yes..."
"Well, we're both here, do you think that you could tell us the full version now?" Luna sounded like a little filly asking for a bedtime story.
Eclipse couldn't help but laugh. Luna's request seemed so innocent, but it was so monumental to ask. "Luna, not yet. It will take a long time, and it's late..." He snapped his fingers and a fire sprung to life in the fire pit. "And I was just about to have dinner. I can start tomorrow." He walked over to the campfire and sat in one of his woven chairs. He reached into his pocket and pulled out another parasprite fruit, impaling it on a stick and roasting it over the fire.
It was at that moment that Celestia had an idea. "Eclipse, I would be honored if you would come and join us for dinner at the castle. I don't think that we've had dinner, either." She looked over at Luna, who nodded.
"Nope!" Eclipse's reply was quick and without hesitation. "I am sorry, your highness, but I would rather not visit the castle, with its gazillion pony servants living inside and guards galore..." He inspected the fruit for a moment, then thrust it into a hotter part of the fire.
Luna walked over to another one of his chairs and sat next to him. "There wouldn't have to be any guards or servants. We could place the dining hall off-limits, say that we're discussing classified matters over dinner. No pony would ever know you're there."
"I appreciate the offer, really, Luna... But I'd rather stay here, far away from every pony I haven't had the privilege of meeting. You go ahead, go back and do your royal... princess... things." He inspected the fruit again, nodded to himself, and popped it into his mouth like a marshmallow. "OOH! OOH! Hot! Hot!" He grabbed a glass of chocolate milk that hadn't been there a few seconds ago and downed it in one gulp. Luna tried to see where it had come from, but it was hopeless. "Ah, sweet relief."
Seeing that there was one more chair, Celestia had an idea. She sat down in the third chair and picked up a roasting stick of her own. "Well, maybe Luna and I could eat here, with you!" She quickly spotted a nearby apple tree in the firelight, speared an apple, and began roasting it. She gave her sister a mischievous smile, prompting Luna to do the same. Eclipse's surprise was obvious.
"No, no no.This is my home! No ponies allowed, no girls allowed, and no girl ponies allowed!" He snapped his fingers and the fire snuffed out. "Just go back home, and you can see me tomorrow in the labyrinth." He was obviously getting agitated.
"But how are you going to cook yourself dinner without a fire?" Luna asked, trying to hold back a fit of giggles as she took a bite out of her warm apple.
"Simply enough..." Eclipse snapped his fingers and the fire leaped back to life, prompting both ponies to continue roasting their apples. "No, I didn't mean you could-"
"How long has it been since we went camping together, Luna?" Celestia asked with a huge grin, interrupting Eclipse's protests.
"Oh, it's been years, Tia! I took a good look around the sky while I was raising the moon, tonight looks perfect!" Luna was sporting an identical grin as the fire vanished once again.
"Fine, you can go camping, just not-"
"And Eclipse has such a nice campsite! We should camp right here!" Celestia was beginning to lose control of her laughter as she saw Eclipse getting more and more aggravated.
"I know what you're doing, and it's not going to-"
"Oh, and Eclipse could tell us campfire stories! Would you, Eclipse? Please?"
"Yes!" Celestia clapped her hooves. "Tell us one about Discord! I've read lots of them in the library, but you were there!"
"Or ghost stories! I love ghost stories!" Luna chimed in. "I bet you have some great ones from other countries!"
"Enough!" Eclipse finally snapped. His shoulders sagged as he acknowledged his defeat. "Fine. If I go with you to eat at the castle, would you please leave my home?"
"Yes!" Both sisters burst out laughing as they answered in sync.
Well, it's nice to see that they get along really well. They certainly seem to have learned the art of double-teaming. Eclipse grudgingly admitted to himself. Why do I feel like I'm going to regret this?