This story is a fan-fiction of MLP:FiM. I don't own any of it. It belongs to Hasbro, etc, etc.
Don't sue. Seriously. That would be so uncouth.
I walked on down the hall and I stopped at the room the Princess's had let me use ever since I got out of the hospital. I could see why Luna was so worried about me. This thing affecting me was all but incurable and ponykind hadn't seen the disease in such a long time, that only four letters remained as a name. It took the royal doctors working with the royal Canterlot librarian three whole weeks just to find out the name after my bodily wounds had been cured.
I opened the door to my room and went inside. The small room was well kept, but it felt empty. But then again, so had every room that I'd stayed in felt this way. Empty. Cold. Without solace. I sighed as I closed the door and sat on the bed. I looked down at my hooves. I tried to force all my emotion into the ends of them, hoping all the anger, shame, and uncertainty would go there and leave my body, like an arc of static electricity. When that didn't happen, I ran my hooves through my mane and grabbed my suitcase from beneath the bed.
“PTSD? Huh.” I said while I placed the suitcase on the bed and opened it. The four letters lingered on my tongue as I pulled the drawers from the dresser and deposited their contents next to the suitcase. The neatly folded fancy clothes feel into a disheveled mess, some of it falling off the bed. I took no real notice of it. I needed something menial to do. Something to bide away the time, since I knew I wouldn't get any sleep tonight. My body worked off of muscle memory, folding the clothes again next to my suitcase. I stopped once to look up at the ceiling and say “PTSD....”
The librarian, a bespectacled old mare had found the disease in one of the oldest books in Equestria. It was from before the joining of the three pony races and it came from the homeland of the pegasi. It was an ancient field doctor's notebook, or so said the librarian. The problem was that the only parts of the page were legible. And even then, it was written in ancient version of neightalian. But from what the librarian and doctors could expunge from the words, were that pegasi on the battlefield used to get this sickness all the time.
“Buck it all!” I shouted as I picked up the suitcase and threw it at the wall. “Why couldn't the rest of the page be legible!”
The doctors had explained that the book was too old, that the page had deteriorated too much. And even if it hadn't the cure was probably only found where the ancient pegasi led their military campaigns, far out of Equestria's borders. When they told me that all I they could do was hope for the best, I became so angry I went into another fit.
So now I was stuck with only the hope that Shining's little sister could save my poor flank. Buck, what was I doing? I'm going to Ponyville just to lay all my problems on another?
I went over to my suitcase and picked it up from against the wall. It had closed on impact, so all my dress clothes were still in there, albeit them being a little shaken up. I smirked at this as I put it back on my bed to continue to pack.
So some greater pony was able to make sure my clothes didn't get mussed up, but my mind didn't matter that much?
I kept folding my clothes and packing them away, until my civilian clothes were all in the suitcase. I took a deep breath, and went over to the locked closet.
The closet was locked because I was scared of the monster in it. Like a little filly, I locked the closet so the monster couldn't escape and eat me up. The only problems were that the “monster” in the closet was actually my closest friend I had during my time in the Battalion. He always had my back, literally. Secondly, the monster wasn't truly in the closet; it was in me.
I unlocked the door and steeled my thoughts.
Inside was a dark gray uniform. On it were many badges signaling not only my rank, but my various “acts of valor”, years of duty, and finally the unit I belonged to.
We were the Lunar Battalion. 70 ponies strong and ready for action. The battalion was, of course, a mix of the three pony races, but it looked like there were much fewer unicorns and earth ponies to pegasi. But simple amounts didn't count for much. There was some whisperings in the beginning about the Princess of the night favoring the pegasi, but that stopped as soon as Luna found out about these rumors. Whoo boy. A whole month of intensive overhaul training, meant to turn a group to inexperienced fools into trained warriors quells all petty mumblings. We worked every night starting at 17:00 hours and ended at 07:00. And after a month of this, followed by specialized combative, intelligence gathering, and stealth, we were a special force to be proud of. Eventually, Luna decided to break the Battalion up into seven units of ten.
“Soldiers, today you will be split up into your units. You are all still part of the Battalion as a whole, if if used as such, you will all come under my command. However, your units will be like a family. I will select your leader, but you will all work together to keep another going, whether it be in the middle of a battlefield, or at home. Now form into a line.”
We broke our position of seven rows by ten ponies, and formed into one line.
Luna trotted in front of us. She raised small patches into the air with her magic and gave a sharp laugh.
“These, my little ponies, are the badges that will assign you to your unit. They are moons. You may not be able to see them with the naked eye, but they are there, up in the night sky. Believe me, when you're on a moon for 1000 years you tend to notice other heavenly bodies.”
“They differ in size, but are all moons none the less. They are all celestial bodies much like my own, and each are part of the moon family. Do you understand what we are getting at?” Luna finished with a wink. “Each of you will meet with me alone, and then I will give you your unit assignment.”
“Come along fillys and foals. First in line, come to the great hall. Rest of you stay here.”
With that the first in line, a unicorn named Abacus cram went with Luna. Each pony that returned had a new badge, and looked very happy. After the A's and B's I was finally next to go. I went into the castle following Luna, and we turned into a small corridor that came to an end. There was one door on the far end of the corridor, but it was a broom closet. Luna strode up to it and started to open the door.
“Umm...Princess. That's a broom closet. Do you expect to have a conversation with me in there?”
Luna turned and gave me her manic smile. “What”she said playfully “Does being that close to me make you uncomfortable?”
I pulled the straightest face I could. “No, but you might be. I've been told I perform much rougher in tighter spaces. If you know what I mean.”
Luna's jaw almost touched the floor. She stood there looking at me in shock for a minute, and I really re-thought the sanity in me saying such a thing to a commanding officer. Commanding officer? She was a mother-bucking princess!
Then Luna started laughing. She started rolling on the floor grabbing her sides. When she finally stopped, she wiped some tears from her eyes and punched my shoulder playfully.
“Ow.” I said as I rubbed my shoulder.
“No one has had the gall to talk to me in such a way in over 1000 years. I like you foal. What is your name?”
“Crimson moon, princess.”
“A fitting name for a Lunar soldier. Now come, you'll like this.” she said with a smile as she opened up the closet door and stepped through. I followed her in and closed the door.
It was my turn to wonder in amazement and have my jaw drop to the floor. The closet.....it was impossibly larger on the inside than it appeared on the outside. The room was extravagantly decorated and the pinnacle of opulence. In the middle of the plush room sat two couches on opposite sides of a table with tea and some sort of cookies.
“A very old friend of mine designed this room for me.” Luna said as she eased her self into one of the couches and served herself to some tea and cookies. “Try the jammy dodgers, they are fantastic.”
“Ok......” I said as I sat myself across from her in the other couch. I waited for her to finish her tea and jammy dodger before I asked “So what unit am I in?”
“Oh that depends on you” Luna said between bites of jammy dodger.
“That's it? No intense personal questions? No secret princess power to find out where I should belong?”
Luna looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “We don't have any 'princess powers' but we will take your decision into consideration and then we will re-arrange you into a different unit if need be. So where do you want to go?”
“What choices do I got?”
“That's a good question...” she said as she bit into a jammy dodger. “Sho we hhave made sheven unitsh. Eachh one a moon.” she said with a full mouth.
“There'sh Charon, Phobos, Tethys, Ganymede, Callisto, Proteus, and Puck. All moonsh.”
“Was the last one actually called 'Buck'?” I asked.
She finished her dodger. “No. Puck. Just like I said it.”
I rolled my eyes. “So what do I pick.”
Luna shrugged. “Go with the one with which thy heart desires.” she said as she dangled a jammy dodger over her open mouth.
I grabbed the jammy dodger before it could fall into her maw. “I'll go with Puck.” I replied as I bit into the dodger. “Well, buck me from two sides! These are delicious.”
“We told you. Now thy must rise, Crimson Moon. You are now assigned to Unit Puck.” she turned me around and I could feel her magics working on my back. From the very center of my back, between my shoulder blades, there was a very small, yet incredibly cold spot. I looked around to get a glimpse at it. I was a very small moon-patch that was now magically sewn into my uniform.
“I will walk you back, and no telling anyone about my little hideaway. Not even Tia knows about our home within our home. Now, any questions?”
“Yeah. Where in tartarus do you get these? There out of this world!”
“Out of this dimension actually, but that is a story for later.” Luna said as she pushed me out the door.
After all this time, the patch still feels cold. Not uncomfortably cold, just cold enough to let you know it is there. It never made me feel cold which was the best part. It was a sign from Luna that let you keep your head during a battle, a covert op, or even just guard duty. One of the reasons these badges symbolized us as a whole rather than our unit was that we were always ready, always cool in the face of danger, always there but not, much like our moons.
I hoofed at the badge as I held it above my suitcase. No, I told myself. I wasn't going to put one of my closest friends in a suitcase. I knew what I would do with it, even if it did send me into another attack. I looked over to my clock. 02:35 was emblazoned on the front. I moved my packed suitcase off my bed, hung my uniform back up in the closet. I turned off the lights and went to sleep with the closet open, my friend and terror staring me right in the face.
When the sun arose, I still felt groggy. It's to be expected when you live as a nocturnal creature for 2 years of your life. The rays of Celestia's sun mercilessly beat down upon my face.
“All right, all right, I'll wake up, just buck off...” I muttered from under my pillow.
“Good, I wouldn't want you to miss your train to Ponyville.” said a gentle voice from beside my bed.
I toppled out of bed in a jumble of sheets and pony limbs right at the hooves of a gently laughing, pristine white alicorn.
“Oh, Princess Celestia. Good morning, I didn't mean to tell you to buck off. Yeah, I really didn't mean it.” I said sheepishly.
“I would hope not. Luna wants you to join us for breakfast before you leave for Ponyville, so I told her I'd wake you.”
“Um, thanks. I'll be there in just a moment. I just need to get dressed and grab my suitcase.”
Princess Celestia looked taken aback. “Dressed? For what? I would understand looking good on arrival, but Twilight Sparkle a very casual pony....”
Then she saw me head for the closet and take down my uniform.
Her eyes widened. “Are you sure? The last time you put that on, you went straight into a fit. If you go into one of those seizures on the train, you could hurt somepony, and I. Will. NOT. Be. Amused.” she said threateningly.
“Don't worry princess. I've already thought about this. Now let's go get some breakfast.” I grabbed my suitcase and we cordially walked down to the princess' dining room.
The dining room is quite the large room for just two ponies to eat in. Luna told me that it was just her and her sister, but whenever they could they would have snobby prince Blueblood or the lovely princess Cadence join them. Today, it appeared it was just Celestia, Luna, and I.
Luna first glimpsed at me wearing my uniform, shocked for a spell, then gave me a smile and a wave. She motioned for me to come and sit towards her. I happily obliged, for anything that would get me away from the now freezingly- cold sun princess was little short of a blessing.
“Good morning Crimson.” Luna said in a hoarse whisper. “It was a long night after you left. I got into an argument with the Griffon ambassador and may have strained my voice by using the Royal Canterlot voice at the top of my lungs.” she gave out a husky chuckle.
“How did I sleep through that?”
“You slept? Through my night? Oh naughty foal. I thought I had that imprinted in you at training. That.....”
“......sigh, You only sleep when there is no more darkness to cover us. Then the Solar guards will take up their mantle,yada yada yada.....”
“That's a good little foal.” Luna said as she put my face between her hooves.
“Sister, if you'd like to stop acting like a love-struck schoolfilly, I'd love to have breakfast.”
“Oh Tia, you're just bitter because you haven't gotten laid in 100 years.” Luna said with my face still in her hooves.
I fell out of my chair laughing as Princess Celestia turned the cutest shade of pink.
Breakfast was brought out by the various cookmares and stallions. There was almost an obnoxious amount of dishes to choose from, so I settled for a fruit salad. Celestia, now rigidly quiet, sat eating a salad, while Luna had a large muffin.
Luna broke the silence first. For one who advocated silence throughout training, she was not one to follow her own rules.
“So sister, did you hear Crimson is going to stay with Twilight in Ponyville?”
At this Celestia's eyes went as large as dinner plates, and a horrible glare with the all the condensed heat of the sun bore into my mind.
“Oh, really?” she said between clenched teeth. “Did you know she is my prized student? So. Don't. Try. ANYTHING.”
“Sister, you're driving your fork into your leg.”
“Ah. So I am, Luna dearest. Hahahahahahhah.”
I almost fainted from a mix of holding in my laughter and being deadly afraid of what would happen next.
That's when I felt it. The panic. That racing pain which was not pain at all. It seeped into me from the deepest part of my heart. I stiffened up from shock. Deep breaths, Come on damn it! Deep breaths!
Luna noticed my actions first. She held my right hoof in both of hers.
“Calm down little one, calm down.. You are not on the field of battle. You are here safe with us.”
I didn't notice it, but Celestia had risen from her seat. When she placed her horn on my head, I almost snapped, but then I felt a warm soothing sensation. I felt another sensation wash over me, this one cooling and relaxing. After what seemed like millennium to me was truthfully over in just a few moments. The princesses pulled away from me, leaving me in control of my body once again. However, their magic wasn't enough to completely stop the PTSD. Even though I could control my self again, I could still feel it on the edge of my mind. It was a vulture waiting to strike me when I was weak.
“Thank you.” I said to the princesses.
“Maybe I should escort you to the train....” Luna dithered.
“Sister, do not worry about it. I have asked Shining Armor to help Crimson Moon to the train. If you are truly scared for him on the train, I will ask Shining to perform a sleep spell on him when he's on the train.”
“Yes, please.” I pleaded before Luna could protest.
We finished our meal in silence. And I hugged Luna before I rose to leave.
I grabbed my suitcase and then nodded to Celestia who returned the gesture; and then I left the dining room. I turned the corner to enter the grand atrium and saw Shining Armor by the door. I reached him and we strolled out into Canterlot. The streets shone in the mid-morning sunlight, showing off the new and the old. The thing that really made Canterlot stand apart from other cities. In Stalliongrad, everything looks dark, the gray factories and dingy brick apartments. Yet, the darkness of their exterior made the lights on the inside of them glow even brighter.
We walked in stride for stride quiet for a bit. Until, we were almost at the station.
“Sherry fer making yoush eshcourt me an shtuff.” I said around my suitcase.
“It's no problem buddy. I'd do anything for you. Not only have you been one of my greatst friends since the Gala, but you also set me up with Cadence.”
He turned to me. We were at the train station. “I owe you bid time for that one.”
“Oh pleash. You were making fasches at hers all nightmare night. I jusht told you to go dansh with her. You did everything elesh. Plush you two made quite the chouple. The gahmblerpony and the firery devil? Pretty hard to mish.”
“Ha! Still the scoundrel you always were.”
At that the conductor of the train made his final call.
“Come on! Let's get you situated before it leaves.”
We galloped onto the train, gave my ticket to the conductor, and found a place where I could sleep in peace. I stored my suitcase above my seat and thanked Shining again.
“It's nothing for a friend. Now sit down, I'm gonna put you to sleep.” His horn started to glow. “This spell will wear off right before you reach Ponyville. Remember, my sister will be at the station waiting for you. Have a good time, and I hope you get better.”
“Thanks Shining. You're a good friend. I can't wait until you visit.”
Shining smiled and hit me with the spell.
“Yeah?” I said before sleep took hold of me.
“You look awesome in uniform.”
Sleep luckily held no dreams for me, and I slept soundly all the way to Ponyville.