What Princesses Need
Part 4: Doctors
Several days later, Celestia had finally formulated a plan. The first part was the hardest, and from there it would hopefully get easier. As soon as the noonday court was over, she nodded to one of her guards. He stepped out briefly, and came back with a very specific pony named Deep Psyche. Sitting atop her throne like the regal Goddess she was, the solar alicorn gave a deep nod of respect. Psychology was a relatively new science, but it’s results couldn’t be denied for anypony that needed help overcoming trauma or mental injury. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, her little sister needed help. She’d thought perhaps she would be okay on her own, but her slow adjustment period combined with the display she saw last night... it was a lot to take in.
Clearing her throat just a little, she tapped her gilded hoof twice on the stone dais. The scribes, squires, and other staff knew to leave and did so respectfully. Doors were closed and locked, curtains drawn and windows closed. This was a private audience. The only ponies left in the room were Deep Psyche, Captain Grey of the royal guard, and Celestia herself. “Deep Psyche,” Celestia smiled in a motherly way, as she always did to a subject she’d never seen before.
The unicorn stallion bowed deeply as was expected of him, and Captain Grey stood at a safe distance. “Your majesty, I came as soon as I received your summons. I’m honored.” He was a young and slender M.D., probably fresh out of medical school—but that was what Celestia wanted. A fresh mind with no distractions, freshly steeped in the fires of high education. His slicked brown mane and caramel-colored coat was pleasant to look at, and the brain with a question mark on his flank was reassuring as well. “I’m Dr. Psyche.” He said, bowing a second time.
“I’ve called you on a very serious matter, doctor.” said Princess Celestia. “One that must remain secret and information about which must not ever leave this palace.”
“You can trust me, your Majesty! Doctor-patient confidentiality is one of the first things they teach us!” A notepad and sharpened pencil levitated out of his saddlebags in front of himself. He licked the end of the pencil to help the graphite, and then looked up at her. “Are you having night terrors? Unexplained fears or phobias? Maybe mood swings you can’t explain?” he looked at his Princess with a doctor’s eyes, and Captain Grey fought down a loud snort of disapproval.
“You are not here for my health, I’m afraid.” Celestia said gently. “It’s my sister. Let me tell you what’s happened.”
A few days Later…
“Thou art certain that we should be doing this, Tia?” Luna said in a small, shy voice. “Talk to a strange pony about our inner thoughts and secrets? It all seems so strange.”
“I have myself examined by several doctors every decade or so, Luna, it’s only healthy.” Celestia smiled, feeling very guilty on the inside about all of this. It was true, she did have royal physicians, but it was only now and then that she even gave them a thought. Usually it was their job to look after the hundreds of ponies running the palace. A psychologist, however, was not something that the goddess usually subjected herself to. She’d given Luna a simple, easy-to-read book about the fledgling science and its healing qualities. All it had taken was a short conversation about Luna’s shyness and integrating into society, and she was willing to pay the doctor a visit. Luna was still hesitant, though. Who was this strange stallion that was here to just… talk with her? It sounded so simple, but the concept that everything she said would be deconstructed and analyzed for her mental health seemed a little intimidating. Alicorn or no, it seemed like a very private matter.
“Sister, will thou be there with me?” Luna was such a nervous thing. She’d only been back for a few months, and often liked to use Celestia as a shield from others.
The solar alicorn shook her head. “No no, Luna, everything that goes on in there will be between you and Dr. Psyche. I promise you’ll be fine.” She stopped in front of the proper door, leaning and kissing her sister atop the head. “Go on now, I’ll even wait out here for you.” She smiled, conjuring a book from nowhere and sitting on a nearby loveseat.
Luna smiled uncertainly, then turned to face the door. Doctors, even back in the old times, gave her the willies. Stallions and mares that knew a little too much about the body for their own good—and now there were Doctors that knew a lot about the inner workings of the mind, as well? She shivered a little. It wasn’t that she was afraid to go to the doctor, but… well… that is… yes, yes she was. She was afraid. Did Tia think there was something wrong with her? She looked over her shoulder at her sister, still standing in front of the door. Celestia smiled encouragingly, making a go-on motion with one hoof. Luna heaved a deep sigh, magicking the door open and stepping inside.
Inside was quiet possibly one of the most pleasant-on-purpose rooms Princess Luna had ever seen. Bookshelves made up one wall, paintings on another, large windows overlooking Canterlot on the far wall enshrining a huge and crackling fireplace… and in the middle of it all was a pleasant-looking young stallion with glasses on his nose. He was sitting in a high-backed chair, scribbling furiously in a spiral-bound notebook. When the door opened he looked up and his face brightened. Rising, he bowed to her. “Princess! I’m Doctor Deep Psyche.” He introduced himself.
“We art Princess Luna.” She said a little lamely, lifting a hoof in greeting. He took it gingerly and, much to her surprise, he kissed it. Wasn’t he a charmer? She smirked just a little as he gestured to a red leather sofa. The alicorn clambered up onto it, laying on her belly and looking at him curiously. A growing sense of unease gathered in her chest while he got back into his chair. “Our sister says that it is healthy to be examined by doctors to make sure we are healthy in body and in mind once every decade or so.”
“She’d be right!” he said in a friendly way, smiling. “Preventative medicines and examinations catch all sorts of nasty things before they can spiral out of control. It’s like a preemptive strike against germs and sickness!” Luna had to smile at his youthful enthusiasm. Though she was several millennia his senior, one had to admire a pony that took such a difficult job and still had fun with it. It was refreshing. Dr. Psyche sat on his haunches, notebook and pencil at the ready as he pushed his little glasses up the ridge of his nose.
“Well, we art not ill, nor crazy-- so perhaps this visit shalt be short?” Luna said, trying not to insult him by sounding to hopeful. He smiled gently, understanding her intent. “What… what do we do now?” Luna wanted to know.
“Well, normally I would sit here and ask you about your problems, your daily life and so on. Can we start with that?” Dr. Psyche wanted her permission. She liked that. He was a very kind-hearted doctor, wanting her approval for where the visit was to go. Luna nodded. “Alright, tell me about yourself.” He said, pencil poised.
Several Hours Later…
“And then when we realized that a mortal pony could not withstand the awesome power of ourselves in the fury form, we took a semi-mortal body and helped our sister Celestia found Equestria.” Luna said with a fond smile.
“So that’s how Equestria was made.” Dr. Psyche smiled, adjusting his religious Dogma with startling speed. “Ahem, now I suppose we come to the hard part.” He flipped a few pages in his notebook to come to a clean sheet of paper. “I would like to hear about Nightmare Moon, and the era where she walked in Equestria.”
“Nightmare Moon.” Luna said vaguely, splayed out on her back and staring at the ceiling. “Nightmare Moon is not a separate entity like some ponies may think, merely a nickname we used to inspire terror in our enemies.”
“Is that so?” said Dr. Psyche with interest, his pencil dancing. Luna told him about her growing jealousy against her sister a thousand years ago, and gave him an extended account of how she’d turned to darkness. Then she grew quiet. The point in the story in which she’d been sealed in the moon for a thousand years. “Princess?” he said softly. “What happened to you on the moon?”
“Nothing.” Luna said vaguely, her eyes growing glassy. “Nothing at all. For a thousand years, nothing at all.” The very real brick wall hit Dr. Psyche. Of course. She’d been alone for all that time, it had torn her mind asunder. Nightmare Moon had manifested as more than just a nickname and a scary glamour spell, it was an alternate personality. A soft whimpering sound issued from Luna, and her hooves came up to cover her face. “Ask us no more today, please.”
“Just one more question, Princess Luna.” Dr. Psyche could see his patient was getting fatigue and becoming very upset. “Tell me about Twilight Sparkle, I’m curious to know about her.”
The fire died in the hearth like someone had thrown a bucket of ice water over it. The lights went out, and a very cold rush of air billowed through the room. Dr. Psyche blinked in shock when he was plunged into darkness. “Twilight Sparkle is none of thy business.” It wasn’t Luna’s voice he heard, nor her eyes that he saw glowing in the dark to look at him. They were green and draconic, slitted pupils and shining with dark intent. “She is mine, I have staked a Royal Claim on her.” The large form that was Luna rolled onto her hooves, stepping forward aggressively. Sterile white eyes glowed and magic surrounded the stallion. He gave a yelp as he was tugged from his seat and up to her eye level. “Got it?” Nightmare Moon swam into view, and Deep Psyche froze up in fear.
“N-nightmare Moon!” he said, stuttering in terror.
“Yes-sssss?” she said sweetly, setting him down and leaning into his face. Her smile was feral and filled with long, curved fangs. “What is it, doctor?”
“W-why Twilight Sparkle?” it took firm virility indeed to continue with his questions, so Nightmare Moon honored him with an answer.
“She is beautiful, smart, and honored us with her friendship.” The black goddess dropped him on his flank and he grunted when he hit the ground. “Tiz only fitting she be the object of our affections.” She jittered just a little, like any other normal mare with an infatuation. “We shall seduce Twilight Sparkle, and be happy with her friendship—and her adorable little backside.” She gave a long, salacious licking of her lips. The long forked tongue made the stallion shudder involuntarily. “Mhmhmhm, Twilight Sparkle.” She turned her great head, regarding the solar alicorn outside the room.
“Why do you say ‘we’?” Dr. Psyche braved, long-forgetting his notebook and just trying to get as much information as he could in case this was the only time he saw Nightmare Moon.
“We. Luna and I.” Nightmare Moon growled impatiently, rolling her eyes and considering the nearby windows. Could she fly out? No, Tia would notice. “G-g-g-gh.” She snarled a little ferally, turning her horrific gaze to the doctor again. “We grow impatient. We’ve been here for hours and both of us are tired. Bring Twilight Sparkle to us.” she commanded off-handedly.
“I-I’m just a doctor.” The stallion said, melting back into his chair when she leaned aggressively into his face. “I don’t know where she is.” She leaned closer, scowling angrily. “I don’t! I swear I don’t!” he yelped.
“Very well, we shalt send the royal guard to fetch her.” Nightmare Moon said with impatience. “Our meeting is over, doctor.” She turned for the door. “Good morrow.” She left Deep Psyche laying in his high-backed chair, splayed out like a used piece of twitching chewing gum.
The door opened and Princess Celestia looked up from her book. She gave a gasp when Nightmare Moon emerged into the hallway, mists of black magic swirling around her as the glamor spell dissipated like so much dark smoke. She winked slowly, and before long the image vanished entirely. Luna stood there, glassy-eyed, staring at nothing while he brain rebooted itself and gave her control again. Celestia waited patiently, her brow knitted in distress. Then, Luna blinked a few times and started walking forward again. “How did it go, Luna?” Celestia wanted to know.
“He’s a very good listener, Tia!” Luna said with affection, coming to embrace her sister and give nuzzles. Celestia sighed wearily, glad that at least part of her sister was happy at this point. “Perhaps we will visit Dr. Psyche more often than once per decade!” she tittered a little, heading down the hall.
Celestia looked in and found the glazed-over stallion just trying to sit there and breathe. “Are you okay, my little pony?” the alicorn lit the fireplace with a flick of magic, working all of the lanterns back to their regular glow. “What did you learn?”
The stallion swallowed a bit. “Nightmare Moon wants Twilight Sparkle, your Majesty.” He said vaguely, looking very much like he needed a stiff drink or something. “That much is clear. What is a Royal Claim?” he asked her, using air quotes.
Celestia flinched just a little, her mouth opening. She quickly closed it, a touch of color coming to her face. “In… in the old days, a Royal Claim meant that my sister or I wanted a specific pony for our own.” She said with an air of embarrassment. “I’ve not made one in centuries. It prevents marriage and often is the precursor to being a royal… erm… companion.” She said it very gently.
“Then that means Twilight Sparkle is-!”
“Is the target of Nightmare Moon’s lust, and is Luna’s only friend.” Celestia said softly, looking worried. Should she warn Twilight Sparkle directly? Hey, my sister has multiple personalities and one wants you in the worst carnal ways? That would probably traumatize the poor thing. She would have to be very, very careful about all this. Luna could truly hide from her when the moon was full enough, when her magicks were at their strongest. She imagined that Nightmare Moon would take full advantage of that if she got her hooves on Twilight Sparkle. “Captain Grey.” She called to one side. The large stallion stepped dutifully out from behind a column. “Send Captain Shining Armor to Ponyville at once. He is to protect Twilight Sparkle there.” She wisely chose the most powerful unicorn she had command of, Twilight’s brother to boot.
There was a loud knocking on Twilight’s door and she groaned. She knew the knock by now, and sighed deeply. Spike looked down from the ladder where he was shelving the last books of the day. “What?” she said in an annoyed way as she wrenched open the door. “Here to pony-nap me again?” she lit her horn in case she were about to be tackled.
A rather small and slender Lunar Stallion stood on her doorstep. “Private Melancholy,” he saluted her very seriously. “Delivering a message from her Majesty Princess Luna.” He smiled grandly, but Twilight only fixed him with a neutral glare and didn’t respond. “Er,” he wilted at her a little. “Sorry about the other day, we thought you were supposed to stay at the palace with Princess Luna.” He turned his ears back and stepped back just once.
“What’s the message?” Twilight asked, glad he was at least sorry for what had happened.
“Princess Luna says that you’re invited to go camping with her at the high mountain cave, where the dragon that terrorized Ponyville once was.” He unrolled a scroll and gave it to her. It was two sheets, one a map and the other a written letter.
Twilight scanned it quickly, frowning at the jagged and very aggressive lettering. She’d read enough books and written items to read emotion from the way letters were written. The pony that had written this had pressed hard, used way too much ink, and had been passionately scrawling in the heat of the moment. “Huhmmm…” the purple mare said suspiciously. The Lunar Stallion smiled politely, but only in such a way that he tried to make himself look a little less ‘there’. Twilight was no doubt furious with the Lunar Stallions right then, and he didn’t want to be the one she made an example of if she got mad again. “Dearest Twilight, We art going camping in the high mountain cave, we would like you to join us for the smore-making and campfire activities. The fun shall be doubled with thy presence since not many ponies would be able to relax around us. We await you on high in the cave, tomorrow morn. Signed, Princess Luna.” There was some furious scratching out above the signature, which Twilight squinted at. Was she about to say something else? She narrowed her eyes. Something starting with ‘Ni’…? Ah well. Perhaps she would say in person? The purple mare found herself smiling. Camping with the Princess did sound fun! She could certainly use some fresh air and friendly company after all of this craziness had happened. Plus, Luna could probably really use a good friend.
End of Part 4