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It was the 1000th anniversary of the Summer Sun Celebration, and Ponyville – the lucky town selected by Princess Celestia herself to host the millennial celebration – had pulled out all the stops. If the garish but charmingly enthusiastic hoof-painted murals and colorful streamers put up by Cheerilee’s 2nd year class clashed a bit with the classical music tinkling from Heartstrings’ lyre, or if the pre-dawn starlight twinkling through the windows was occasionally obscured by high, wispy clouds missed by Ponyville’s famously lackadaisical weather squad, it was more than made up for by the cheerful anticipation of the colorful crowd of ponies packed into the town hall to await Celestia’s arrival.
A fanfare quieted the crowd, as the mayor began to speak. “Fillies and gentlecolts! As the mayor of Ponyville it is my great pleasure to announce the beginning of the Summer Sun Celebration! In just a few moments, our town will witness the magic of the sunrise, and celebrate this, the longest day of the year! And now it is my great pleasure to introduce to you the ruler of our land, the very pony who gives us the sun and moon each day, the great, the wise, the bringer of harmony to all of Equestria --”
“Princess Celestia,” said a quiet voice backstage, as the swirling blue mists emerged from the room’s shadows to congeal into a towering mare of darkness. “I’m afraid this year’s celebration will have to be cancelled.”
The princess of the sun looked up from the couch where she’d been waiting, tears in her eyes.
Nightmare Moon laughed bitterly. “It’s too late to beg for mercy, Celestia. 1000 years must have seemed like forever when you banished me so long ago. You never expected to see me again, did you?”
Celestia met her gaze. “How could you hold on to your anger for 1000 years? All you had to do to end it early was to calm down and forgive me, Luna.”
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” snarled the black-coated alicorn as her ghostly mane and tail swirled into an angry tornado above her. “I am Luna no more!”
Celestia’s horn began to glow. “Then I have no choice,” she said.
Nightmare Moon recoiled as she recognized the spell of Banishment. “N- no! Not that spell –“ she cried, diverting what might have been a fatal attack into a desperate defense. “That won’t work! You can’t hope to pierce my defenses without the Elements of Harmony!”
“The spell will work,” Celestia said calmly, as her horn flashed brighter, washing the room in blinding light. When Nightmare Moon uncurled from her defensive posture, Celestia was nowhere to be found.
“You banished yourself?” she said, laughing. “A wise choice! But I will never forgive you, Celestia. Enjoy 1000 years of solitude!”