The party had been worse than she could have possibly imagined.
Luna's excitement at meeting new ponies dwindled after the first few minutes of meeting the party guests. Being introduced to the abundance of snobby elitist ponies by her sister was not how she had pictured her night to go. The uptight ponies treated her as if she were only their future princess. Some tried to ingratiate themselves with her, offering praise for her beautiful mane and attire, but they quickly lost interest in her once she rebuked their advances.
Luna watched as they all eventually turned towards her sister, mouthing the same praises they had given her. They molded their features to express their fake interest at whatever Celestia had to say, agreeing with each and every thing that came out of her mouth.
"Thank you for coming. I shall see you inside." These words escaped from Luna's lips in endless repetition as each pony introduced themselves to her, expecting polite appreciation for their attire and carefully chosen words. The phrase had been perfected after listening to an egotistical pony go on and on about how well he knew Celestia.
Hours of standing by her sister's side slowly eroded Luna's hopes for anything fun to happen tonight. Her patience had disappeared as the last of the stragglers had been introduced to her, and Celestia finally decided it was time that they go inside.
Ponies were scattered across the floor of the hall in mismatched groups of the inner circles of politics. Celestia left her to fend for herself when she spied a pony waving a hoof from the other side grand ballroom.
"Remember. These are our subjects. You will treat them equally and with respect. Listen to them, and try to enjoy yourself," Celestia added quietly before walking away from Luna.
The sea of ponies parted before Celestia, leaving Luna alone to follow their presently reigning monarch. Luna immediately began pushing her way through any pony in her way as soon as her sister had turned away. She slowly made her way towards the enormous windows placed along the rear of the ballroom, where a set of open doors sat invitingly. They overlooked an enormous garden that she had made note of when they had arrived.
Stepping outside into the fresh night air, Luna let out a sigh of relief as she escaped the chaotic party. The noise behind her slowly quieted as she made her down the perfectly crafted white marble steps towards the utopia below. Her hoof slid along the exquisite railing as she walked, enjoying the feel of the cool rock as she put tonight's event out of her mind.
Luna basked in the silence of the green garden as her hooves stepped onto the grass somepony had given a great amount of care for. This was much better than being surrounded by haughty ponies vying for her attention. She strolled through the maze of vegetation, the only source of light to show her the way being her moon high above her.
The simple sound of a twig breaking into pieces was enough to startle Luna out of her reverie. She looked down, pulling back her hoof to reveal the culprit. She let out a breath she hadn't realized was being held back.
Only I would be able to scare myself so foolishly, she thought as she raised her head. She froze as she looked up.
A pony was standing in front of her. She jumped back in alarm as she realized it was the same... thing from when she was a foal. The pony was ignoring her, though. Its head was turned towards the hedge beside them, staring at something Luna couldn't see.
Luna managed to force out a question as she slowly edged towards the unmoving pony, noticing the soft deep dark glow of magic running along its frame.
"Answer me. Why are you here?"
The pony turned toward her silently. It pointed a hoof towards her, and an eerie voice whispered from beneath the cloth covering its head. Its voice was monotonous and eerie at the same time.
"For you, Princess."
"What do you want with me?" Luna demanded.
"I have been waiting a long time for this." The voice had changed, and was strangely happy. Luna could almost feel another set of eyes looking at her through the thing in front of her.
It stepped towards her menacingly, before shrinking back as a loud whirring noise came from the hedge beside them.
"Back away from it, Luna. Slowly," a familiar voice said as a section of the hedge pivoted, swinging open to reveal the Doctor. It moved swiftly behind him once he had moved away from it, closing with a dull clunk.
"No. I need to know what it wants with me," Luna said. She moved closer, unafraid now that somepony else was there to help. If only she could see what was beneath the mask...
As her hoof brushed the dark lace covering the stranger's head, it emitted a low hum. The dark thin aura around the strange pony intensified and began expanding as it jumped away from her. The light grew and grew, finally stopping when it was large enough for a pony to easily step through.
Before Luna could react, the mysterious pony disappeared through the magical creation. Once it had gone through the portal, it began to slowly shrink before her eyes. She wanted to jump through it while it was still large enough, but felt a hoof lightly pushing her back.
"I think it's time you went back to the party, Luna," the Doctor said. He had moved closer while she had been so entranced by the magical portal.
He was holding in his hoof the same makeshift device she had seen before, and he pointed it towards the opening. it beeped even louder than before, and the doorway stopped getting smaller, momentarily stabilized. He pulled the contraption towards himself, looking at it sideways as his head twisted to read something along it.
"Of course. Same as the fireplace," he mumbled. Luna was confused by his words. They looked nothing alike. And how had he appeared from behind the hedge?
"What is the same, Doctor?"
"I know you want answers," he continued as he stepped between her and the portal. He walked closer to it before turning back to her, a deadly serious expression on his face.
"But something on that side wants to meet you. Don't let it." He thrust a hoof into the opening experimentally, and the black aura began collapsing even faster than before.
"Wait! Tell me what you know," Luna shouted as the Doctor deftly dived into the doorway to someplace else.
His voice arced out from the other side before it shut, disappearing as the top and bottom edge touched each other.
"Try to stay with your sister at all times. I will tell you what I know if I see you again."
Luna stamped her hooves angrily as she shouted into the night sky, hoping he could still hear.
"I'll be waiting! But I want to know everything, Doctor! You hear me? Everything!"