Celestia breathed a heavy sigh,
“What is happening to the young foals?”
She looked over the few ponies who occupied the royal chamber,
“Do we have anything? Any witnesses to what happens at night?”
Her voice rang empty in the large chamber. The guards and detective ponies gathered bowed their heads and scrapped the ground their their hoofs. One let a cough echo.
“I must know the cause of the disappearances of my subjects, I care about you all, and I know it concerns you. I have called you all here to get to the bottom of this mystery: you are the best in Canterlot.”
Each pony seemed to straighten up, receiving an ego boost from Princess Celestia was exactly what they had needed,
“we wont let you down Princess! We will work together and find out what is happening.”
With that they left the chamber, onward to their duties. “It saddens me that fillies are disappearing night after night. Only at night...” Celestia thought to herself, then made her way to the window overlooking Canterlot.
“Where are you going at night my little ponies?”
She posed the question for herself as she scanned the bustling city.
A deep voice echoed in the chamber, ripping Celestia from her thoughts.
She turned to see the voice. It made her smile to see Starswirl, with his large pointed hat with multitudes of stars sewed and matched the cloak he wore. His face was creased with old age and a long white beard hung from his chin, but his dull brown eyes shone with youth.
“Oh. Wizard Star--”
He raised a hoof,
“Princess there is no need for formalities, I have told you many times to call me Alexander. I knew you when you yourself was but a young foal...”
That brought a smile to the old wizard. She gave a weak smile,
“I know but its what I have always called you Wizard Starswirl.”
She gave a small giggle. Starswirl walked slowly beside Celestia, and gazed over Canterlot with her,
“You know as well as I that there is only one mare who is active at night...”
The old pony said with a heavy sigh,
Celestia started, but quickly adjusted her tone,
“I will not believe my sister Luna is involved in this until I can see it with my own eyes.”
“I understand Princess. But I am only laying the possibility on the table, she is the one who raises the moon every night.” He turned from the window. “I have been working on a new spell to travel backwards in time for a brief period. It is all theory at the moment--”
“Travel back in time?”
Celestia asked surprised,
“is that even a reality?”
The old pony nodded his head.
“Like I said, its all theory right now, but as I work out the kinks it would allow one to travel back one full week. And remain long enough to deliver a message...”
Starswirl raised an eyebrow,
“Or witness an event.”
Celestia had a sudden explosion of thought,
“Of course! The fillies started disappearing about a week ago! Wizard Starswirl!”
Her face shone with excitement,
“How long until your spell is complete?!”
The old pony gave a smile,
“I will work on it right away Princess, it should be completed in two days. You must know this type of magic can be extremely dangerous, not just to the past but also the future. It could threaten your rule over Equestria.”
She gave a quick nod,
“I understand Starswirl, it will be under lock and key in the Canterlot Library. You need not concern yourself with any disastrous results.”
Starswirl nodded, making his way slowly to the large chamber doors,
“You will hear from me in two days Princess.”
With that, he gave a bow and left the room, leaving Celestia with her thoughts. “I cannot even think for one moment that my sister is behind this. She has been diligent every night searching for the culprit.” She thought to herself as the left the chamber and slowly made her way to the royal dining room.
“But Starswirl has never given bad advice, but the thought of Luna taking--”
She instantly stopped, her thoughts bringing her usual routine to a standstill. “No. I cant think that way. Luna is my sister and would not steal young foals in the night...” The thoughts battled in Celestia's mind as she began walking again.
"Princess, there you are..."
A royal guard unicorn approached her,
"your presence is requested at the balcony. They demand to see you and Luna..."
She nodded her head,
Angry screams assaulted Celestia's ears as she came to the edge of the balcony, thousands of ponies were down below, making awful chants and screams, many throwing their hooves in the air demanding to see Luna.
"LISTEN TO ME, FOR I AM CELESTIA!"
She spoke with the Royal Canterlot Voice, easily quieting the roaring crowd,
"I UNDERSTAND YOUR ANGER AND FEAR FOR YOUR YOUNG BEING TAKEN INTO THE NIGHT. I HAVE PUT MY ROYAL GUARD AND MANY DETECTIVE PONIES TO TASK ON THIS ISSUE--"
Celestia stopped speaking, her eyes wide as she felt pain on her left cheek, with a splat the object fell to Celestia's feet: a tomato.
"We want results, its been a week already and what do you have to show for it!?"
A lone pegasus floated above the rest of the crowd. Feeling the juice run down her muzzle Celestia focused her eyes on the pegasus,
"How dare you..."
She said to herself, then her anger quickly rose,
"YOU DARE DEFY ME!? I HAVE GIVEN YOU PONIES FAR MORE THAN YOU EVER DREAMED! MY SISTER AND I HAVE CONQUERED DISCORD AND BROUGHT HARMONY TO EQUESTRIA AND MADE PEACE WITH THE GRYPHON'S!"
Her anger reaching a boiling point,
"Luna must be brought to justice! She's the one we want!"
A female pony's voice echoed through the crowd, activating the mob's anger again. Celestia narrowed her eyes.
"TO ACCUSE ROYALTY IS AN OFFENCE WORTHY OF DEATH IF THE CLAIM IS FALSE...Remember that my subjects. If you have proof that it is in fact my sister who is stealing the young then come forward and enlighten us all!"
The mob fell silent and slowly began to disperse. Celestia turned and walked from the balcony tears streaming down her face.
"You did what you had to do Princess..."
Starswirl stood before her,
"I just...I just threatened my citizens...how am I different from Discord? I am to rule with love and compassion, not hatred and fear..."
The old pony lifted her head meeting his gaze,
"You and Luna have done amazing things for this kingdom, I know! I witnessed most of them, and you will get through this one as well."
"Thank you Starswirl, I would be lost without your guidance.”
He gave a smile and together they wandered towards the banquet hall.
As the sun began to set in the west, Celestia made her way to Luna's chamber, surprised to hear voices.
She asked and gave a quick knock on the door,
“Are you awake?”
Suddenly the door swung open, revealing Luna in the doorway.
“Hello Celestia, I am surprised that you are still awake. You hardly watch me raise the moon anymore...”
Luna quieted herself fearing she was rambling.
“I thought I heard different voices coming from your chamber. Are you all right?”
Celestia cranked her head, trying to see past her sister,
“Of course I’m all right, and alone. Just me.”
Luna said, blocking Celestia's view of the room. “Why do I feel strange energy coming from her room?” Celestia questioned as her advances were blocked time and time again.
“All right, I'll drop it for now, but you must be wary tonight my sister...”
She said with a worried tone,
“What do you mean Celestia? Are the townspeople getting aggressive about the children?”
She nodded her head,
“I was hit with a tomato while addressing them; it was a lone pegasus.”
Luna's mouth hung open,
she started, but Celestia put a hoof on her shoulder,
“You are my sister, I believe that you are innocent with all my heart; nothing can change that.”
Tears started welling up under Luna's eyes,
“Thank you sister, that means more than you will ever know...”
They embraced each other in a hug,
“You had better get going on raising the moon my sister.”
Celestia broke the hug first, wiping a tear from her face with her wing she watched Luna trot down the hall. Slowly walking toward her bedchamber, Celestia stopped and starred out the window to watch Luna's handy work. Slowly the light of day was replaced with the eerie glow from the moon, and the world took on a much darker shade of blue. “I believe you sister with all my heart, but I cant help but wonder what goes on while the world sleeps...” Celestia thought as she resumed her walk to the bedchamber.