As Twilight shared a solemn moment with her sleeping love, a dark presence observed them from afar. Deep azure eyes pierced the darkness, glaring begrudgingly at the two from across the castle. The dark form continued to survey the two for a short time, its seed of hatred growing within. Princess Luna eventually grew weary of watching and slunk back from her balcony into the darkness of her room. “We have finally returned to our former glory, yet still they shun Us! Why does Our Sister receive all the reverence of our subjects, while We are left on our own?” she cursed, dragging her bitter self over to the bed.
Luna fell over onto her bedspread with a loud thud. Drearily, she viewed her surroundings. The dark of the night was thick and heavy, sparing few precious beams of starlight that peered in through the balcony. Not that it had mattered much, as her room was almost completely bare. Aside from the large, round bed white ornately sown sheets she had been laying on, only a dresser and cold fireplace added their company to her solitude. It had almost been as lonely as when she was on the moon, only now she had a clearer view of the inhabitants of Equestria. Eventually, her wistful eyes came upon the same portrait that decorated her sister’s fireplace mantle, but over the thousand or so years, it had collected a thick layer of dust which Luna neglected to clean. “’Tis but a distant memory that I fear We shall never share again.” She sighed, allowing her neck to lazily fall over the edge of the bed.
Memories of Luna’s beloved sister began to swirl about in her mind. Celestia had always cared for her, ever since she was a filly; and she had nothing but hazy memories of her parents. Tia was always very sweet to her and took very lovingly to her. Back then, she remembered the world being emptier as well as colder, but Tia was always by her side to accompany her. This was the only comfort she had ever truly known, and for that she was always grateful to her sister. Luna recalled one of her dearest memories with her sister, the night she had earned her cutie mark.
Celestia approached Luna, presenting her with a beautiful, deep blue crown and ornate baby blue shoes. “Today marks the date of your birth, dearest sister, and I believe you have finally come upon the age of which you should be taking on our royal responsibilities.”
Luna’s eyes glowed with surprise and excitement. She was still quite a small filly, but trusted in her beloved sister’s decision. She did not respond, but merely nodded quietly. Luna quickly shuffled her hooves into each shoe, surprised at how well they fit, and knelt before her sister. Celestia gently levitated the ornate three-pronged crown from its cushion, slowly placing it upon Luna’s head. Luna shut her eyes in anticipation, expecting something to follow, only to open them in response to her sister’s muffled giggling.
“W-what is so funny Sister?” Luna pouted as she blushed, her sister’s mock of the situation both annoying and embarrassing her.
“Nothing at all, young filly, but you still have much to do this day.” Celestia responded confidently, kneeling down and craning around the small filly in an attempt to alleviate her frustration. “Come! Let us engage in today’s true endeavor.”
Luna followed her sister through the castle’s halls while the sun slowly set behind the mountains. The orange light shone brightly through the windows littering the halls, casting a brilliant light throughout the entire castle. Luna admired her sister’s beauty in the light, for she had a much more mature and curvaceous body than her own little filly self. She might even go so far as to say she was envious of how beautiful her sister was. It was almost as if she glowed in the warm tangerine light. She was most jealous, however, of her sister’s giant solar cutie mark, but that mattered not, for tonight was hers.
Eventually they came upon an empty room in the castle. Celestia nudged the large door open and urged her sister to enter. Nervous at first, Luna gulped before she trotted in. As she approached the balcony her sister had directed her to, Luna could feel her stomach begin to churn with anxiety. Celestia eventually joined her on the terrace. Luna looked up fearfully at her sister, overcome with dread. Celestia returned her stare with an encouraging smile.
“Go on, sister. Show me how much you have learned and how far you have come.” Celestia cooed with a gentle smile.
“U-um, o-okay, but only because you said you think I can do it!” Luna shakily replied.
“Oh, I’m quite sure that after all that practice you are up to the task at hoof.” Celestia reassured her.
Luna flinched at her sister’s words. Unsteadily, she approached the edge, each hoof shaking as she stepped forward. Once more she looked back at her sister, who only smiled in reply. “This is it,” she thought, staring out to the bare line of light the sun had made as it was almost completely hidden by the mountain tops, “Time to earn your place and show Tia you are just as strong as she is!”
With that, she braced herself, placing her hooves apart as if preparing for an impact she could never endure. Then, slowly, a dim, blue light began to appear from her horn. As the grim sneer on her face begins to twist into a cringe, the light grew greater and greater. Eventually, the soft blue aura completely enveloped her horn, causing beams to spray off in random directions and sparks to follow. Beads of sweat rolled down her body, as she poured every ounce of her being into focusing her magic.
It was then that the crown slowly began to glow as well. Her attention was directed her eyes to the symbol sitting upon her head. It was not just some regal icon, it was granting her greater focus! Luna drew great power from a well deep within that she had never know existed. Her eyes were then quickly drawn to her hooves, which remained firmly planted on the ground, despite the fact that it was deteriorating all around her. The raw magic coursing through her was causing the platform to slowly shatter into small pieces as if it were made of glass.
“FOCUS SISTER!” she heard Celestia shout in the Royal Canterlot Voice, her own mind clouded by the sounds of her untamed magic thrashing about, “YOU MUST FOCUS!”
Luna closed her eyes, attempting to comply, and directed her magic even more. She bit her lip as a tear of pain rolled down her cheek. That’s when it happened. Slowly, a bright orb began to peak out from behind the mountain top. The sky grew a deep violet, as the orb continued to rise, showering the land in a soft light. At first, its path was unsteady, but eventually it found its natural course.
“ENOUGH SISTER,” Celestia shouted in The Royal Canterlot Voice again, “YOUR WORK IS DONE!”
Luna let go of her focus, waves of energy rippling through her body. She felt her body give way and collapse in place, exhausted from the exertion. She was completely drenched in sweat, and she could still feel light surges of pain caused by her tense muscles. What little energy she had, Luna used to lift her head and look back her sister. Her stalwart sister replied with a small, proud smile. A soft smile found its way on Luna face as well, despite the tension she felt. She had done it; she had raised the moon.
Luna felt her body lift off the ground, alarmed to discover it beginning to float all on its own. She glanced over at Celestia with large, fearful eyes, but her sister seemed completely unfazed as her smiling expression remaining unchanged. A brilliant light enveloped her, forming a cocoon of radiance her eyes could no longer see through. Luna’s body was overcome with a cool, soothing feeling. The tension was released from her body, and all the sweat died instantly as well. Letting go of her fears, Luna closed her eyes and let the flowing light take her, but as soon as she did so the light let her go, causing her to gently drift her back to the ground.
Luna opened her eyes and surveyed herself for any injury. Instead, she came to study her form, shocked by her new visage. Her mane and tail had grown significantly in both volume and length. They had also become a dark blue, much like the night sky, and were littered with little sparkles resembling the bright stars that populated the sky. The outer strands now shone a beautiful translucent blue, highlighting her features. In fact, her whole coat had grown a darker blue. Luna craned her head back to admire her newly acquired cutie mark, but found her view to be obscured by newly acquired wings. Delighted, she made for her sister, who was tearing up at the sight of her, only to trip over her own hooves. She gazed down, also shocked by her now elongated, beautiful legs. She gazed up her sister and began to cry as a grin of delight spread across her face. Luna had ascended her unicorn body to become one of the most powerful creatures in the land, an alicorn!
She would be more shocked by the transformation, had she not witnessed her sister’s ascension personally. The two had shared one of the most sacred moments of their lives. Celestia quickly trotted up to the collapsed Luna and hugged her, both sisters sharing tears of joy for Luna’s success.
This moment instantly became one of her most precious memories.
Luna gazed back down at her body. It was no longer that of the filly she had been reduced to after the Elements freed her heart from the clutches of the darkness that was Nightmare Moon. It had returned to the mature alicorn she remembered it to be. Her mane and tail were luscious again, just as before, and her legs had become long and slender once more. Her coat, too, had returned to its glory, the midnight blue hiding her well toned muscles.
The transformation was largely due to her sister restoring some of her powers. However, since Celestia had no true control over the moon, the amount of power she could grant to Luna was sparse. Her body was complete visibly; however, she had been direly weakened by the Nightmare Moon incident. She had gone through several months of physical therapy, but even then, she was in nowhere near the form she used to be. She could not move as fast as she used to be able to, nor as far, and despite developing her wings, they were still quite flimsy and could not be trusted for long and strenuous flights. It had been especially hard to face these facts whilst everypony still treated her as a monster; as even the doctors who understood her situation still greatly feared her. It had become impossible to make friends with anypony.
Luna got up slowly and approached the balcony once more, viewing the Element called “Twilight” still sharing a tender and tranquil moment with her beloved sister. The two ponies were deeply entwined, sharing a tight embrace. Luna let out a deep, lonesome sigh.
“We wouldst enjoy thy company as well, my little ponies. We art equally sad and lonely,” she began, “But thou continueth to deny Us thy companionship! Thou hast even gone so far as to shun Us, calling Us a “monster”, despite the knowledge of Our change. And now thou dareth make off with Our own sister?! How dareth thee! HOW DARETH THEE!!!”
“WE ARE THE PRINCESS OF THE DARKNESS THAT IS THE NIGHT, HER MAJESTY PRINCESS LUNA! WE DEMAND THAT THOU TREATETH US WITH THE SAME REVERENCE AS OUR OWN SISTER!!!” Luna bellowed into darkness of her room.
She felt a twinge. An inexplicable surge of hatred and anger rose from within her as she finished her decree to the empty room. The jealousy and madness of the events she had been witnessing began to swell within her, growing ferociously. An evil that had been suppressed was rising again. It was Nightmare Moon.
Luna fell over, writhing in agony and thrashing about. “NO! I WILL NOT LET YOU CONTROL ME AGAIN!” she howled, every ounce of her being fighting to push back the darkness consuming her. Searing pain continued to wash over her as her body thrashed violently. Her flailing outbursts and screams of affliction echoed through the empty halls, falling upon deaf ears. As she continued to combat her affliction, cloudy images played through her mind. They were memories from when she had been Nightmare Moon.
A lavender pony stood before Luna, challenging her. She was shocked to find the same small foal charging viciously at her. Burning pain caused the images within her clouded mind shift. Suddenly, six foals stood before her, their lavender leader triumphantly grinning at her. She had witnessed the foals successfully gather the Elements of Harmony, and reeled in horror as they fired the fully charged, rainbow colored beam at her. The instant the multicolored beam collided with her, unfamiliar feelings washed over her. When she had expected to severely wound her instead had warmed and soothed her wretched soul.
The feelings Luna remembered from that moment transcended images and memories, jumping between the past and the present, immersing her in a whirlwind of emotional intensity. Confusion steadily settled into clarity as the distinctions between the feelings became more and more obvious. Kindness, laughter, generosity, loyalty, honesty, and the magic of friendship, these we’re being expressed to her in their purest form. It reminded her that the Elements of Harmony was not simply a raw tool of destruction, like that which had banished her, but a means of conveying sincere hopes and feelings to other poor souls lost to the darkness. The Elements had shown her something she had long forgotten through their heartfelt wishes to grant harmony to her twisted mind. Their power had momentarily given her mind peace, causing her to realize once more that which she truly desired in the first place. Something she longed for so much, she couldn’t stand to live without it, thus, driving her into the darkest corners of her mind. Luna desired friendship, more than anything, and the Elements showed her through their power that she could still find it.
Slowly, she regained control of herself as the darkness faded away. This was not the first time she had fought the darkness back, but it had never been such an intense and exhaustive experience as that one had just been. As Luna rose to her hooves, her knees buckled and her legs shook. The moment had obviously taken its toll on her, but she did her best to ignore it. Once again, she shuffled towards the balcony, peering into her sister’s chamber. To her surprise, however, the chamber was void of the silhouettes of the two.
Luna let out a deep sigh. Once again she was alone. Luna hung her neck down and slowly stammered back into her room. Eventually, she came upon her bed, throwing her body down upon the mattress harshly. Luna could feel her eyes slowly glazing over as tears began to come upon them, but a sudden spark ignited deep with her. She could feel it, somepony reaching out to her, longing for her friendship just as she had. It had given her a reason to carry on, something to believe in and chase after. It had given her hope.
“We must remain resolute if we wish to reclaim these feelings once more!” Luna began with a newfound resolve, “If only we could meet with the Elements, then surely… THAT’S IT!”
Just then, it struck Luna. When she returned to her proper state, her sister had instructed her many times on how to make friends and gain the subjects trust once more. Specifically, she directed Luna towards the direction of the Elements. They had even held several private briefings, Celestia teaching Luna of each of the Elements. Luna slowly began to recount the details aloud to herself.
“Let Us see,” she began. “There is the one called ‘Apple Jack’ and she is the Element of Honesty. No, honesty will do us little good in a situation like this. There is also the Element of Loyalty. I believe she was called ‘Rainbow Dash’. She could be quite helpful as We are always in search of new loyal servants. Oh, but We do not need more servants in this case…” Luna pouted in frustration as she continued to ponder her options. “Sister told Us there is one dubbed ‘Rarity’, the Element of Generosity. We need not generosity, either. Nor do We need laughter. The one called ‘Fluttershy’ is the Element of Kindness. Yes, she will certainly be able to help us! One who specializes in kindness will certainly be able to aid Us in Our quest for friendship! She is the one We must seek and she is surely here, tonight!”
With that, Luna picked her tired self up and charged out the doors of her chamber. If she could just meet with the Element called “Fluttershy”, then they could surely show her how to capture the hearts of their subjects. She galloped through the dark empty halls, cheerfully reinvigorated once more, her excited stomps echoed deep into the hall. However, nopony was alerted, as the dimly lit corridors remained empty save her. This was it, finally, a chance to win back the hearts of everypony! They would come to worship the night just as they do the day.
Luna nearly stopped dead in her tracks. “We mustn’t be too hasty! If we show ourselves to be far too eager to please everypony, they will mistake us to be foal hearted!” she whispered to herself quietly as she slowly trotted towards the massive foreboding twin doors leading to the main hall. “We must make an attempt to ease our way in, lest we wish to cause a stir at the Gala.”
Slowly, Luna nudged the creaky door open. As they gradually opened, slight rays of light snuck between the cracks until a brilliant light shone forth. Luna flinched at the blinding light as the dimly lit hall behind her flooded with radiant luminescence. It was impossible to see through the starry vision caused by the shining rays at first, however, Luna’s eyes eventually adjusted to reveal to her the stunning room. The Grand Hall had been more beautifully and elegantly decorated than she had ever imagined! As she peered around, Luna marveled at the glimmering lights and intricate banners that decorated walls and ceiling. Momentarily, she had wondered if the Element they called “Rarity” had been involved in such an activity, as she had heard from her sister that decorations had been somewhat of Rarity’s specialty. As she continued to gaze into the room, a frown slowly crept upon her face. The Grand Hall was completely devoid of ponies.
“What is the meaning of this?!” Luna spoke softly to herself in disappointment. “Surely the festivities could have not possibly ended so early!”
Luna continued into the hall from the top of the grand stairs, slowly inching her way in hopes to avoid detection from any remaining parties. Her efforts were in vain, however, as she came to realize the grand hall had completely emptied itself. Still, she continued to search for signs of life.
“Perhaps thou have all moved on to the Grand Ballroom?” Luna worriedly mused to herself. “…Yes, surely this must be the case.”
Wearily, Luna made her way towards the Grand Ballroom. Doubt and anxiety slowly crept upon her as she drew closer to her destination, which quickly changed when she came upon her sister and the Element they called “Twilight Sparkle.” She seemed quite stricken by the oddly heavy silence filling the ballroom before them, but quickly reassured herself, “Sister must simply be addressing Our subjects. We shall make Our way around to the rear entrance so as not to disturb them. ”
Lady Sparkle, the Element of Magic. Luna thought to herself. While We can understand magic’s practical uses, We do not see what purpose it shall serve in Our quest for friendship. Still, the fact that she is Sister’s private student must mean she bears some significance. I have never seen Sister so close to any other pony since the banishment of Nightmare Moon either. There's something about her... Luna quickly shrugged it off and continued on her way.
Luna continued to creep around behind her sister and Twilight, hugging the wall to avoid being spotted by the Gala guests. She tried to calmly make her way towards the door around the corner leading into the Grand Ballroom, but her excitement quickly lead her into a softly progressing gallop. She eagerly flung the large doors open, causing a loud ruckus. Luna noted that the door to the Royal Gardens were also open at the opposite end of the ballroom and there seemed to be a small commotion going on as well, but her view was obstructed by the massive crowd of ponies. Unconcerned by this unknown, she swiftly trotted her way in past some awestruck guards and into the crowd of guests. Luna continued to survey the guests for a moment, searching for the Element of Kindness. However, she came upon the Element they called 'Pinkie Pie' instead.
It seems the one called 'Fluttershy' is not currently present, but surely the Element of laughter, one who values friendship as highly as spreading joy, would be willing to aide in our quest for friendship! She quickly thought to herself. This is it Luna She assured to herself. Let them know of your intentions of sharing love and friendship once more and we are sure to win them over! She drew in a deep breath, closing her eyes as she began…
“YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE ME!!!” a roar bellowed out, echoing across the entire hall. Luna jumped back, startled by her own outburst. Just as soon, the entire room burst into utter chaos. Pillars fell and statues crumbled as ponies and creatures of the gardens fled in all directions away from her.
“…No, what have I done?!” she whispered quietly in despair to herself. She stood still in dread and shame amongst the crowd of chaos. “Please… Wait… I’m sorry!” she whimpered out towards her frantic and frightened subjects, but to no avail. The guests paid her no heed as they continued to scream and flee from her.
Devastated by her massive failure, she sought somepony, anypony, to comfort her. Eventually, her eyes met with her sister’s and Twilight on the far side of the hall. She reeled as Twilight made a horrified face at her and began muttering unintelligible words to her sister. Luna’s eyes quickly shifted to her sisters, who had been glaring back at her this entire time. Oh no… Sister is furious at Us… she thought in terror and dismay. She was certain Celestia would chastise her for her insolence later, but for now it appeared that she was whispering a message at her.
Celestia’s eyes grew narrow with what Luna assumed was disgust as she slowly mouthed a single word at her from across the room, “…Run.”
Luna reared back in total and utter horror. She could do nothing but utter nonsensically at her sister’s command. She felt her stomach sink as she dreaded the wrath her sister was soon going to unleash upon her. Mortified and heartbroken, she burst into tears, galloping back to her chamber as fast as she could. It was at the door that Luna happened upon one of her Dusk Guards, Eventide.
“Faithful Dusk Guard Eventide, you must help Us!” Luna cried.
“P-p-princess Luna, wh-what is the m-meaning of this?!” he stuttered out, clearly shocked by Luna’s distraught state.
“Sister, she is out to punish Us in, and it shall be far more sever then you could ever imagine!” she yelped. “Please, just divert her away from Us!”
“P-punish you? S-stop her? B-but how am I supposed to do something like that?” he reeled in confusion. “I can’t just lie to Princess Celestia! That would be treachery on a national level! I could very well be labeled a traitor. I’d be exiled from the kingdom. I’d have nowhere to go! What about my family?! Okay, so I don’t have a family, but what if I found one? Where would we go? What would we do? How can we survive out in the cruel worl..”
“SILENCE, THOU ART OUR ROYAL GUARD AND THOU SHALL DO AS WE COMMAND!” Luna interrupted in The Royal Canterlot Voice. “So please, just tell a small fib on Our behalf. Just this once.” She pleaded with a soft yet desperate smile.
Eventide’s panicked tone quickly changed into a much more serious one as his eyes grew cold and he struck a militantly attentive pose. “Very well Princess. We shall divert our lady Princess Celestia’s attention away from you, just as you command. We shall face what disciplinary actions may come with dignity, proud that we have served you to the fullest since your return.”
“Thank you, Eventide. You make Us proud to have you as Our Dusk Guard. Your valor and heroism shall be rewarded greatly if we meet again.” Luna replied sternly, causing Eventide’s eyes to widen and jaw to drop in horror. Upon finishing her last words a familiar sound echoed throughout the halls.
Luna could hear the powerful hooves striking stone as her sister swiftly strode towards her chamber from down the hall. It was the kind of canter Celestia trotted in when she was intent on confrontation. Luna rammed her door open and slammed it closed behind her. She then threw herself onto her bed and scrambled under the cover in an attempt to hide. The distinctive stomping grew louder and fiercer until it finally stopped just outside and she could make out mumbling between the two. She continued to whimper, letting out soft cries from under the covers. She feared the wrath of her sister more than anything in all of Equestria, but she had to know how it was going. Luna did her best to listen, the sound of her own sniveling making it harder to discern.
“Where is she? Have you seen her Eventide?” Celestia demanded.
“N-no Princess, I have no seen her all ni-ni-night!” he replied, his voice trembling in fear. “At any rate, she is most certainly not here!”
“Are you certain Eventide? You are a faithful and loyal Dusk Guard. You see all that moves about the night, so surely you must have seen where she has run off to!” Celestia retorted forcefully.
“N-no, no I haven’t seen her at all Princess. I just got back from my b-b-break and haven’t seen any p-p-pony yet. Not even the other D-d-dusk Guards!” he quickly replied, wincing at the realization at how careless he had been at his job during his break.
“Urgh, where could she have gone to?!” Celestia stamped her hoof. “Very well, inform me immediately if you become aware of her location. That is an order. Do you understand?”
“Y-yes P-p-princess! I will l-l-let you know r-r-right away!” the words fumbling from his mouth. Clearly Eventide was just as horrified of receiving Celestia’s wrath as Luna.
“I am off to continue my search for her then. Her actions led to this… catastrophe, and the situation must be rectified!” Celestia commanded in a stout tone as she trailed off down the hall again.
Eventide collapsed in a pool or sweat, trembling for dear life. He had never seen Princess Celestia in such a state that even making eye contact sent shivers down his spine. Grateful his traumatizing ordeal was over, he peered down the hall to be sure the Princess of the Sun had left. With the coast clear he let out a deep sigh of relief and tapped on the doors to the chamber.
“P-p-princess Celestia has passed, P-p-princess Luna. I believe you are s-s-safe for now, but please, exercise caution. I fear for your safety.” Eventide whispered shakily, seemingly still traumatized from his encounter. With that, he trotted down the hall and off to his post.
Meanwhile, in the chamber, Luna was busy losing herself. “I’ve made a complete and total foal of myself!” she cried into her pillows, losing all her royal composure. “Not only does the entirety of Equestria now hate me, but my own sister has joined in their alienation of me! Surely she will banish me once again for my stupidity!” Luna continued to cry endless pools into her sheets. She had spoiled her chances at finding friendship once again over some foolish outburst, all because she could not control herself! “The Elements will never want to see me ever again after that, if not just to banish me to the moon once more!” she cried out into the empty chamber, her sobbing echoing throughout. She thrust her hooves upward, reaching into the empty air longingly for some clasp in comfort. “The Elements will never want to help someone as stupid and foolish as me...”
Luna desperately longed to be held and feel any sort of affection or comfort in this, her most awful of moments. Slowly, she recalled her empty hooves, placing them over her pounding heart in attempts to soothe it. It was no use however, and she brought her hooves up to continue crying into them once more. Betrayed and forsaken, Luna continued to cry, tossing and turning in sadness and torment.
Celestia was now on a war path with Luna. The only person in Equestria she could speak with without being feared as a monster now completely and utterly hated her for ruining the Gala. The one friend she had left had abandoned her and now she had nothing left. The Dusk Guards were nothing to her but royal guards, and she considered none of them to actually want to be her friend. Everypony else could not see her as anything but Nightmare Moon, and would never accept her friendship. To top it off, Luna’s only hope, the Elements, probably hated her as well. All of her chances had vanished into the night with one fell swoop.
Celestia never appeared again to deliver punishment Luna had expected, nor did she ever come to comfort Luna. Luna simply just remained in her quiet, solemn chambers undisturbed once more. She hadn’t felt so alone in over a thousand years. Being shunned and hated by everyone she had cared for was far worse than being imprisoned in the moon itself. Luna continued to sob and wail as she watched the moon set…
<The Moon fell silently as the Sun rose to grant the new day>