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Let's Talk About "The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon" (Chp 15 & 16) · 7:55pm Apr 30th, 2017

The grand finale, this is Part Six of my follow-up for "The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon!" This part covers the final two chapters The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon & The Stars Will Aid in Her Escape. If you want to start at Part One, you can find it right here!

The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon

And finally… we get to the namesake of the story. What we’ve been driving toward for so very long. I don’t want to prep. I don’t want to summarize. I want to just dive right in and blast right off again. I want to strap down and enough the ride one more time.

Screw it. We came here to escape prison and free Princesses from the Moon.

And we’re all out of prison.

“...it’s all so stupid.”
“What’s stupid?”
“War. And stuff. Like, how many ponies died for that bit over there, which is about the same as that bit over there? And you couldn’t even tell what belongs to who. Like, when you look at a map, they draw the borders nice and neat for you.”
“You thought you’d be able to see them from up here?”
“No, I didn’t.” Dash tried to shake her head, her neck cracking for the attempt. A hoof rose to massage it as she winced. “I just... didn’t realize what that would be like.”

If only… If only...

Enough is said in this to get to mind going. I don’t have anything to add, save to highlight that it’s here.

“...and Rarity preferred to be flexible in every way she could.”

I’m sure she does.

“I said nopony else would die because of me, and that includes you. Especially you!” Twilight snapped. Snapped! Please, Rarity could keep her composure and she was being shot at. Well, Twilight had been shot, perhaps some nerves would be appropriate.

Damn right! On all counts!

(By the way, did you mean to say “Fluttershy says hello” twice in the next paragraph?)

Great tension with Twilight doubting and Rainbow going “Make the freaking call!” I loved the description of the engine, though I felt later this should have been set up better for what it’s ultimately used for. Even with all the description though… I still had a little trouble imagining it in my head. But that’s probably just me.

“The theory, as she knew it to be, was sound. However, there was also the distinct realization that she had tried to invent the internal combustion engine after a lifetime around matches and having once seen a barrel of nitroglycerine go off, and surmising the two to be similar enough in theory.
All of this was an incredibly verbose way to say;
Don’t blow up, don’t blow up, please let the math be right and I don’t blow up.”

Here they were, in a submarine fired out of a cannon, and Rainbow looked more at home here than she ever had in the library.
The only question was, why did that surprise Twilight in the slightest?

...seriously Twi, you should have seen this one coming.

She fought back the giggle threatening to rise from her throat. This was a very serious scientific accomplishment, tremendous, and to giggle at it would—
She giggled.

I’m so disappointed, Twi. So very disappointed. And no. I’m not giggling. Why would you say that? You can’t prove anything! Go away!

“Pinkie taught me how, anyway.”
“She did? She’s surprisingly good.”
Rainbow smiled happily to herself. “Yeah, she’s a clever clogs alright. Like you, you’re a brainiac and a half, and make no mistake, but you think straight. Pinkie’s just all... corkscrews and sidewinders.”
“Miss her?”
“Yeah. She’ll be alright though.”

I ship this so very hard.

I know I already used this. I don't care.

“I was thinking of being an actress you know. Explore the wild new frontiers of cinema!”
“Oh, yeah?”
“I don’t think I’m theatrical enough.” Twilight bit the inside of her cheek hard, because Rainbow’s sombre expression made her think it would be a very bad idea to laugh at that.

...okay, she has more willpower than me by far.

“A method of courtship focused far more on wit and cleverness than on rehearsed gestures and practiced manners. Thanks, Mirth.
She hoped he was safe.”

Me too.

(And an excellent transition point)

Then the Princess of Mourning herself appeared from the scaffolding, wordlessly striding to the center of the cavern, moving to the great cannon in silent wonder.

Gods above…

A shadow passed over Celestia’s face. The madness in her eyes softened, and she looked... scared? Fluttershy had seen fear enough times to recognize it, but this kind of fear was almost  childlike. “Why did I do that?”
It seemed like a bad idea to answer that.

Because you still have a tiny fraction of your soul… I hope.

“Guards, we’re done here. Escort these ponies off the premises and get the engineer corp in to study the work done here. Twilight Sparkle is no longer of any threat or consequence to us.”

Oh fuck.

“Couldn’t you, like, try to throw the moon down instead?”
Twilight was so shocked by that, she moved her threatened pawn instead of her queen. Didn’t even flinch when Dash triumphantly took advantage, huzzah! “Dash, that might be the smartest dumb thing you’ve ever said.”

“Pinkie Pie, you’re a genius!”
“Yeah, I get that a lot… NOW ABOUT THOSE BUBBLES!”

Four ponies sat in the dungeons, unharmed, because Rarity had known to give Celestia her handwritten notes from before Twilight corrected them.

...clever girl. Clever girl.

This was a terrible idea. She still didn’t know for sure how she’d get back, just a really, really stupid idea that worked mathematically, but just because it worked mathematically didn’t make it any less stupid. It was ridiculous. It was childish. It was something Dash would think of.

Just do it, dammit! No memes, just go!

“Rainbow! I think I’ve changed my mind!” She shouted into the airlock.
Dash didn’t hear her, because it was an airlock. She just smiled, gave her a big hooves up, and pushed the button that dumped Twilight into the aether. ”

Good girl, Rainbow. Good girl.

Twilight had just learned a very important lesson about vacuums: In the aether, nopony can hear you scream this is a bad idea.

Important lesson that.

The brass, cigar shaped core with fins gleamed unnaturally bright in the light of the sun, in the light of the violet magic ripples. Like a bullet, travelling through the still waters of heaven itself. It felt almost wrong to Twilight that she didn’t leave a trail herself...

I’m glad Twilight doesn’t actually have to be there to power it… (I think. I’m not aether-engineer!)

Far below she saw a blue speck, running towards her. Racing towards her.
I’m really falling for her.
Twilight’s legs flailed a little more as she giggled helplessly at that.


She was falling to the moon. To meet her girlfriend. Was that presumptuous? She was more scared of being presumptuous than the fall.

God, I love over-analytical adorkable Twilight. I love her so damn much.

Original Quote: “That’s love, baby!”

She laughed, wildly and manically and happily and all those wonderfully wonderful ‘ly’s.

Incoherent squealing. Just… incoherent squee-like squealing.

“She was barely a step back when Twilight leapt forward and swept her up in another hug.
I came a long way for this, she whispered into the suit, I’m not done with you yet.”

Damn right!

It is a creature of dark magic that rots the mind. It makes a pony jealous and hateful. It is subtle, so subtle you do not even know it is there at first, but it makes you bitter, and hurt the ones you love.
Oh, no.


But the Nightmare was not hers. Luna was safe. So Twilight approached her again, and Luna flinched for a moment when Twilight leaned in close. But that was before she realized, realized there was no longer a reason to be afraid. There hadn’t been for a very long time.
So for a little while, Twilight just held her.
That was nice.

“That was nice.” What a freaking epic counterpoint to the bombshell that’s been slowly whistling toward us this entire freaking time.

I can’t wait to get out of this suit and be close to you. Speak to you.
Luna started writing, hesitated. Then grinned mischievously and wrote it anyway.
I can’t wait to get you out of that suit either.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… /ahem. *Cough* No... no idea what that noise was. Carry on.

Twilight cheeks burned hotly, even in the cold. Then Luna decided to push it that little bit further still, and ridiculous smile on her face she wiggled her eyebrows. Twice. Emphatically.

The italics is what finally sold this. Oh, good gracious me… ./vapors

That did it. The awkwardness, the amazingness, but above all the surrealness of it knocked Twilight on her side, kicking pinwheels in the air, laughing.

Well, we have hours. Practice on me! Twilight beamed through the visor.
Luna wiggled her eyebrows, twice, and again came the blush. Now it was Luna’s turn to fall over laughing while Twilight furiously erased her last message, scrawling over it—
You know what I meant!

Oh Goodness…

We shall use your warrior’s physique together? I have no complaints.

Yes please? ./cough

Solution is workable but silly.
Am okay with silly.
Remember you said that.

If you fall I will catch you.
If I don’t, I will catch you.

Heh. Symmetry.

So you know I saw the calzone before you erased it, then?
Not until now, no. Luna’s stoic and stone-faced expression would have been unreadable if not for the fantastic blush that threatened to turn her whole face red.

(More incoherent squeeing)

(Side note: I really want to read this thing now! Stop that!)

“It’s okay, Luna. I’m here. You’re safe.”
And that was how Twilight was blessed with her first kiss.

./swoon… happy sigh… Excuse me, I’ll be grinning like an idiot on Rarity’s fainting couch for a while.

That was fine. All high-order functions of her mind were black, blank, electric, and drunk in a way her recent foray into hardened alcoholism hadn’t prepared her for.

(Various giggles occasionally flipping to strange ‘eeeeeee’ like squees are heard)

ALL SEEMS TO BE WELL.” Luna shouted. Tingles gone. If Twilight’s ears hadn’t popped from the depressurization they surely did now. “YOU WOULD BE RAINBOW DASH, I PRESUME?

Nice job. I really didn’t see that one coming.

Her voice was beautiful and regal when it wasn’t being projected with the force of a locomotive.
“That’s just lovely. We’ll have to practice that.”
“I had... not anticipated... this problem... I’m afraid.”


With a flap of her wings, Luna was beside her again, nibbling on one of Twilight’s ears in a way that made her melt just so.

Eeeee… Someone’s definitely got some pent up issues.

“You... have a beautiful mind, little one... I’d love to explore it. Just how creative would it be... if put to—”


“Hate to interrupt!” Dash added hotly, “But I’m still... here. There isn’t very much else I’d be able to go, I’m afraid. Not much options in terms of giving you two some alone time.”

Dammit, Dash! I mean, yeah, seriously, you two. Settle down. /cough

Luna was already sitting in the airlock, sitting, looking nothing more than an excited puppy holding its leash, ready to be walked. It wasn’t a face Twilight could say no to.

What. The. Hell. Luna’s not allowed to be that cute. There’s laws against that! You could kill someone with these words?! What sort of creature are you to be able to survive writing this?!

“You should go with her.” Dash added, “Be romantic. Isn’t stargazing such a spiffing idea for a proper first date? And what a view for it!”
There was a little sniffle.
“Dash, are you... crying?”
“No,” she lied, wiping her eyes with the back of her hoof. “Maybe a little.”
“You are!” Twilight accused. “Why?”
“It’s stupid.”

D’awwww at Maximum Charge.

For the rest of the long trip back to the planet, Rainbow was sure to throw the pair out the airlock whenever they got too... happy to be united.


Rainbow was captain of this mare’s ship, what ho, and there’d be order! No hanky panky under her roof, consarnit!
She wondered how Pinkie was.

Awww… seriously?! How many “awws” have you extracted from me today? This is lunacy!

“Did you say that was Twilight Sparkle up there?” The Princess asked, warmly. “You’re saying she’s safe?” She sounded... hopeful?
“Yeah.” Pinkie nodded, because it was all she could do pinned to the ground as she was. Pew, more sparks, more fireworks. “She’s home!”
The Princess howled like a rabid dog, rearing up her hooves.

Coming to save your flank, Celestia. And kick somepony else’s into the netherworld.

“Dash, please.”
She was laughing.
That was different then.

You’re just racking up the “death-by-cute” and “death-by-laughter” count, arent’cha? Enjoying yourself? Hmmm? :moustache:

“Just thinking.”
“Good. You have a plan?”
“ She’s so beautiful when she thinks, is she not?”
“Luna, you’re strapped in behind the seat. You can’t even see me.”
“ As if I need to.”


She was sick of being scared about falling to her death, she had decided as soon as the laser struck. This time? This time let Celestia be scared about it.

Honey, I’m hoooooooooomeeeeee!

And the Mourning Princess, Sol Invictus, The Unconquered Sun, opened her dread wings to face it.

./cracks-hooves. Let’s do this thing.

What? Oh yeah, the summary. Seriously, I was just going “eeeeeeee” for so much of the Luna and Twilight thing. I have never been more sold on a TwiLuna story in my life. Seriously. Epic levels of ship. Epic levels of… everything. Just… gah! I don’t even have words.

Oh screw this. I don’t want to do a summary! I want to finish this baby!

We got a boss battle to fight!

The Stars Will Aid in her Escape

Okay. It’s time. The final showdown. Luna’s home. Twilight’s back. We know what’s wrong with Celestia. We’ve gone to the moon and back and lived to talk about it! It is time to kick flank and take names. Serious showdown time.

Oooh… this is gunna be good!

Sister!” Luna the Betrayer cried, “you must listen!”
“We know the truth about the Nightmare,” Twilight Sparkle, her beloved studentthe False Prophet who scorned us stated calmly.

And here it finally is. The glimpse into Celesta’s poor tortured mind. The battle that’s constantly waging. Has been waging for a thousand years. A thousand years of mental warfare. Endless, unstoppable and inconceivable to mortal minds.

I’ve written mental warfare before. It’s one of the most brutal forms of combat there is… because anything goes. To have an entity literally rewriting your thoughts as you think them. I’ve never seen strikethroughs used in prose so effectively. There wasn’t any other way you could have used them either. Not to give the impression. Not to show that there still was a Celestia in there. She was buried and sandbagged and barely breathing… but she was there.

Twilight’s regalia weapon glowed, charged with potent magic, magic that could cleanse herkill her.
Like the magic of the Elements that had been used to banish her sister.
defeat the great evil
What then?
What will this magic do?
Destroy us!
But we are innocent
They are Evil.
“We destroyed the Elements!” Celestia roared spoke calmly. “What magic do you have that would match it?”
That’s the thing I never understood about magical artefacts. Someone had to make them the first time. It’s not like we have fewer tools now than we did then.” Twilight tapped her golden tiara and smiled sneered. “Besides, I think mine’s probably going to work better anyway.”

And here it is. I have a feeling you’ve taken some heat for this. And… well, it may have been deserved. This felt like a handwave for something pretty dang critical. We don’t get an explanation on how she set things up so quickly (or if we did, I seriously missed it). And considering how powerful the Elements of Harmony are… the idea that any sort of magical tech could equal it is quite a stretch.

However, the Nightmare would undoubtedly destroy the Elements. So… how do you defeat Nightmare Moon without the Elements of Harmony? Another set of artifacts. Hell, the Hard Reset trilogy did something all too similar by making the Elements of Harmony out to be something different than what we believed them to be.

So, I think I can accept another set of artifacts to do it. That the engine itself happened to have them all… ehh?

I think the one thing that really bothered me is that Twilight ended up using them alone. If she had somehow used them with even just Dash or just Luna. Or if her friends had managed some sort of breakout--but then again, even that would have been a hard sell.

This one’s hard. This is a hard fix and I don’t think there’s an easy way out of it. In the end, I think you did the best with the situation.

And you did better by not making it that simple a single blast from Twilight’s magical engine.

Light burned through cracks in her mind, rending from it some great parasite that... There was no beat in her thoughts, no feeling of the eraser catching as the pen passes back, no skip in the record. It was a parasite. The great parasite was ripped from her mind, excruciatingly, blessedly.

Sic semper tyrannus, bitch.

A few things stopped her at once.
Twilight lived a lot of her life inside her own head. She was very familiar with intrusive thoughts she didn’t particularly want to think about, but now there as an unusual feeling to them. It couldn’t have just been from firing so much magic at Celestia.

Oooh… I so wanted the file cabinet to come back here.

If she focused it inward she could destroy the Nightmare Herself the Nightmare for good.

Go Twi!

She was winning, or at least learning, but it was becoming harder and harder every time. Because the Nightmare was feeding on her strength, was growing from her. And if she resisted it, the more willpower it would gain for itself, the easier it would win each time.

Okay, yeah. This is a problem.

“And Twilight’s head filled with blood and tearing and anger at this mare that had stopped her before, who she had tossed like a broken ragdoll already and just came back, and Twilight didn’t fight it.
The Nightmare was curious why Twilight so readily kicked Dash in the shin, hard, but was delighted all the same.
When Twilight ducked and weaved all of Rainbow’s clumsy, feigned blows, it cackled in delight. When another punch connected with Dash’s gut, it roared in her head with triumph.
So when Twilight had the idea to taunt the scared and surprised little pegasus, she let the notion pass unhindered.
“You aren’t powerful enough to beat me, Dash.”

Damn, you’re good Twi.

No, I think that’s enough of that, Twilight agreed as tendrils seared the Nightmare away from her thoughts.

You ain’t going anywhere, chump.

The last of the Nightmare howled, then whined, then hissed and fizzled like a drop of oil on a cast iron skillet, and then it was no more.

Goodbye, you motherbucking bitch. Burn. In. Hell. :flutterrage:

She’d still been struck by lightning, unfortunately. Rather took the legs out from under her.
Fainting seemed the right way to go.

You did good, Twi.

And so ends the Nightmare. I’ll admit the transition on the second readthrough felt a little odd, but in the first, I was flipping pages so fast devouring the words I didn’t mind in the slightest. It was a nice cooldown from the frantic intensity of the end of the last chapter and the beginning of this.

“Don’t worry about anyone thinking you’re doing something wrong. None of this has ever happened before, to any of us. They don’t know what the right way to go about this whole mess is, and it is up to you and you alone to decide it. So no matter if you think what you are doing is right, or what you are doing is wrong, you will always be correct.”

When you’re in command, whatever you decide, make that decision and stick to it. Even if it’s a mistake. Own up to it and face it. Nothing hurts the chain-of-command like waffling. This is a good lesson.

“Good. I still have all the measurements. So you have no objections to me designing your wedding dress?”
Twilight blushed furiously. “Rarity! That was supposed to be a secret!”
“Twilight, half of Canterlot heard Luna scream ‘yes’. If you wished for it to remain a secret, you had two options; either don’t propose from a balloon, or propose to a quieter fiance.”

And yes, I did intentionally not use this one until now.

“Besides, I already said this was an engagement party on all the invitations. So it’s rather too late to be coy about it now.”
“You did what?!”


“A beautiful long line of columns joined by their entablature. Oh! The portico is going to have the most beautiful triangular marble pediment placed above its entablature.”
For the first time in her life, Twilight decided it was better to stop asking questions. And there again was the smile with teeth.

Even if it’s a bit shocking… it’s a good call. She’s a good student.

“I’ll leave you to your blackmail, extortion, and fashion sniping, then.” Twilight nodded, making to split the crowd again. Rarity tittered.
“And I’ll look fabulous doing it, I assure you. Go, go, you have your fun and leave me to mine, then? Meet up again when all’s said and done?”

God, she is good at this, isn’t she?

This time Cadance was watching her too, and she practically bounced on her hooves waving back and blowing kisses until her doting husband pointed out she was making a scene.
Then Cadance started blowing even more kisses and giggling louder, because Cadance didn’t give a damn.

...I like her.

“Congratulations, by the way. I was on Flinders street when I heard the news.”
“Who told you?”
“Well, your balloon was over Somersby...” Fluttershy trailed off, smiling even wider.
“ Right.”
“Princess Luna’s very lovely. I can see why you fell for her.”
“Far too much of that, actually.”
“Just a... private joke,” Twilight coughed.

So many rimshots. So many rimshots...

“Yes, well... uh... do you know what a union is?”
“You’re joking.”


The cheap wooden prosthetic that looked like it had been part of a barstool at one point had been replaced by... would you look at that as well, a scroll case, just like the one Applejack and Pinkie had talked about when she broke her leg.

So… awesome…

“...Flatcap’s been reading some science books, too. Shared that one with us. Great word, innit?”
“Reckon so,” Twilight said before catching herself. Their vocabulary appeared to be colliding. Oh, dear.

“How many you reckon it’d take before she tried to snog ya?”
“Mirth!” Twilight hissed, holding back the giggles.
“Because I reckon five’s the lucky number.”
“Only take four before she tries to snog Ms Rarity again, just you watch. Or Applejack’s brother if he were around, way Applebloom tells it.”

And here I thought I was done with the inarticulate squeaking of squee!

She didn’t have the fondest memories of her time in the dungeon, admittedly, but it hadn’t been exactly bad either. Productive! Productive was good. The great thing about books is they read the same no matter where you are, as long as you have good light.

Even now… she’s still our Twi.

Time slowed as Twilight’s mind pored through the evidence, her entire filing cabinet on Celestia spilled upon mental carpeting and scattered, new connections being drawn.

Well, while I would have liked to see this during the Nightmare attack scene… this was a very good use of it.

“...And I think she was fighting it in ways the Nightmare didn’t understand it could be fought. I might even have been a weapon she was using against it...”

This makes me incredibly happy to know that Celestia still is a good pony, even after everything. That it was all lies and twists and pain… a poor ruler tormented by a demon they couldn’t even speak about.

It was never locked. It never needed to be.

Wonderful touch.

“And to you, Princess.” Celestia smiled shyly, nervously, her eyes going to the floor at Twilight’s feet, at the wall just above her head, but never quite at her. She was terrified.

I didn’t register that Twilight was Princess until this moment, even though you’d said it earlier. Darn you for making me read so fast.

“It’s nice to finally meet, for the first time,” Twilight said calmly. Celestia weighed the implications of that, let the layered significance of it unfurl, like reading a scroll as fast as it could be pulled, while being careful not to tear it. “Would you like me to get you anything?”

...wow. I don’t have anything else to say but just “wow.”

“How much alcohol can I have in the form of cake and it still not count as a relapse or remission?”

So yeah… she was an alcoholic. A real one. Wow.

“Don’t think I haven’t been noticing your attempts to bury that delicious body you worked so hard for,” Luna accused sternly. “Though we appreciate a little bit of softness, one cake should be plenty regardless of its alcohol content.”
“Well, your sister has all my exercise equipment now, so—” Twilight stuck her tongue out and made raspberry noises over her shoulder as she left, because Luna had already said yes. She didn’t need to try to impress her anymore.
Stars above, she loved her.

Remember all the times I pointed out how freaking magnificent something was? This. This magnificent too. And a freaking epic conclusion to their story.

“Well, s’cuse me, Princess. Ain’t my fault hard work pays off.” Applejack’s hat swung off her head and clutched to her breast in the biggest ‘aw, shucks’ gesture Twilight had ever seen.

Oh golly, I can picture this so perfectly in my head. But she’s smirking like a lunatic in my head.

“Got a good chuckle, you betcha crown on it.”
Gah. Ack. Moving on, then.

I love this. I’m going to find a way to use this. And that it’s not direct mental dialogue? I love it!

Ignoring the Princess might have been treason, but overcooking tourin d'ail doux was heresy.

Amen! (I have no idea what that is, but still amen).

“Ten percent, and I’ll let you be a maid of honour.”
Applejack grinned and they shook on it. “Ha! I’d have gone down to five.”

Damn, filly. Flim and Flam’s got nothing on you.

“And that’s weird! It’s weird, and it’s strange, and it’s taking me a while to process. Because you did terrible, awful things, but it wasn’t you, so it feels wrong to be mad at you, or angry, even though I am! But the thing I was angry at, that thing I killed. Obliterated honestly. So the part of you I am actually angry at, I fixed. So why can’t I just not be mad at you?”
“For the same reasons I can’t forgive myself, Twilight.” Celestia nodded, no sadness in her voice, just a matter of fact statement and another serene bite of cake. “That’s not how this works. So long as my actions still cause pain in this world, I cannot be absolved of my crimes. Which is why I’m so proud of for you for taking my place on the throne.”

I have nothing to add here. No pithy comments. Only that this shows that you’re letting the emotional turmoil and pain continue. We don’t get a perfect happily-ever-after. Because in truth… there’s no such thing. Happy ever after is something you need to work at every day. Someday, Celestia will forgive herself. Someday, Twilight will work out her feelings.

That day’s not today. But it is someday. And for today… that’s all that matters.

“It... it really sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into this.”
“Of course I have!” Celestia exclaimed with a light chuckle, “Why else do you think the Nightmare was so terrified of you?”

Smile. Happy smiles.

“Now, running my Empire? That I trust you with in the space of a breath, Princess. But my sister’s heart? I might need some more reassurances.”
There was a spray of chocolate milk from her nose as Twilight died that moment. Certainly her heart stopped in her chest, as did her breathing. There was a spike of neural activity, then that too was blank.”

“It was very unfortunate that it was temporary. Everything kicked back in.
“Gurk,” Twilight said. “Ack.”
More or less.
“Gracious me. And here we had discussed what a poet you had become.”
“Truly, a ballad for the ages,” Celestia said without a hint of sarcasm, which somehow made it more sarcastic. Not helping.

She’s not trying to, Twi. She’s not trying to. I’m so glad we got to see a little of the prankster Celestia we know and love. Just a little. Too much would have been wrong. But this is just right.

“...Also, apparently you bite, and Luna hasn’t thought to cover her neck.”
Twilight had chosen the wrong moment to take a reassuring sip of milk. It, too, went up and down her nose. She spluttered on that again.


“Another time. When I’m not saving the world,” Twilight agreed.
“Or marking your girlfriend,” Celestia added slyly, just the hint of a raised eyebrow Twilight recognized well on that face. Smugness! That’s what it was.
Well, it seemed this conversation had been a little one-sided in that regard. And she was leaving...
To hell with it.
“I’ll mark my fiance as much as I darn well want, thank you very much,” Twilight declared, spinning on a hoof to leave the room. A quick look back over her shoulder and Celestia had the most wonderfully blank expression, slack-jawed and drunken blinking.

Win! Hell yeah! You go girl!

As Twilight got through the door, two realizations hit her at once:
Celestia was going to be her sister-in-law , and she’d left the cake behind. Ah, drat. There was about a quarter left, and she’d only gotten two slices in...
Wait, what was that first one again?

Squees Intensify.

“Its sky-blue painted hull, invisible against the clear sky, had two giant electric-motor propellers at the front in steel cowling, humming and thrumming like a heavy stormcloud, and two more in the rear were much smaller and flatter, barely the size of big bass drums tipped on their sides, their energy more like a whine.”

I imagine this a lot like the Alliance airships in World of Warcraft, save, of course, for the color.

“Laying it on a bit thick, aren’t we?” Dash shouted back, leaning lazily against the big wheel. She was loving the sap, though, Twilight could tell. Was just playing things up for the crowd.
Well, both could play that game.

Thank you for that, Rainbow.

He’d been carrying a large, curved sword.
“Heard you can’t be a proper Captain without it, Miss,” he explained, kneeling down, presenting it above him. Dash took it graciously.
Rainbow started blubbing like a little baby, and swept him up in a big hug. Another roar rose up from the crowd, and Mirth got a hero’s welcome as he was sent back up, hoisted over a sea of shoulders towards the Princess’s pulpit in the center.

I had totally forgotten. And to have Rainbow blubbering…

“Nobody noticed Scootaloo stow away at all, then? Can’t believe that worked. If Matron asks, I had nothing to do with it. Speaking of—”

HA! I wondered…

The Princess of Equestria wondered if that was a problem that could at least wait until after her wedding.

With your luck… probably not.

And so we finally come to the end of it.

I’ve been working on this follow-up for weeks now. Taking the time to get down all the little bits and pieces. It’s almost three times the length of my follow-up to Sunset of Time (still probably my favorite FimFiction story of all time).

So now, I have to look back and ask why?

First of all, what I actually wrote and what are quotes… well, I have no idea how big the difference is. The words I used are probably a tenth of the total text of this. But I think I quoted more from this story because of just the language, the environment and the sheer comedy (and romance) of it.

Sunset of Time was a gorgeous story, but a very deep and personal one. It was about the war within ourselves, if we can truly ever be forgiven and about characters we know in a world we already know. It’s about the deepest kinds of friendships and relationships you can have… and friendships that literally defy the laws of nature itself. Yes, there’s expansion and growth in this world… but it isn’t a whole new universe. It doesn’t need to be. That’s not what the story is about.

The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon is a completely new playing field. It transplants the characters we know and love into a landscape that seems almost incompatible with them. One with a corrupted Princess Celestia, a land ruled by steam and gunpowder. A world where creatures like Bright Spark can exist (I still want him shot). A world where ponies can secretly create rocketships to go to the Moon and Canterlot mountain is a dormant volcano. Where laser beams cross space to create a line of communication between two of the loneliest creatures in existence.

And I think… that’s why I loved this story.

This story is not without its flaws. It’s in serious need of a good editing polish pass. There’s spacing and formatting oddities all over the place. Wrong words, mixed up words (probably from edits) and other such things. There’s a few missing passages. There’s even a few plot holes here and there. And I didn’t even realize until this moment that Spike was pretty much forgotten shortly around Twilight’s arrest. He was mentioned a few times… but I’m fairly sure he didn’t appear once after the breakout. So yeah, there are issues.

But in the end… to focus on these things would be like pointing out every crack and chipped stone on the Empire State Building. It would be ignoring the fact that the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world for forty years. It was designed for airships. It’s one of the most iconic buildings in New York City. It is an amazing feat of human engineering, one that was unsurpassed for years.

You don’t count the cracks. You take a step back and do your best to take in the glory, knowing that you really can’t capture it all in a moment. You need to study it. Enjoy it. Embrace it.

Because this living, breathing world we see through Twilight’s eyes is truly unlike any other we’ve ever seen. Twilight’s internal thoughts were sardonic, witty and simply brilliant. We have Applejack, the dependable and stubborn farmpony, Pinkie Pie, the brilliant misunderstood genius, Rainbow Dash, the steadfast explorer, Rarity, the deliciously sultry socialite (and seriously, I couldn’t get enough of her chasing Applejack) and Fluttershy, the furious and fierce protector. We’ve seen the corrupted and tormented Celestia. The battleworn Shining Armor.

And of course… we’ve seen Luna.

...I don’t even know how to begin describing Luna in this story. Let’s just say that yes, she had some repressed needs, as Twilight surmised early in the story. But aside from that, Luna gives so much magic and mystery to this world. She somehow grounds it… by being on the freaking moon. She grounds it by being the Luna we actually already know. How weird is that?

We have a unicorn race barely capable of the most basic of levitation. We have the coming rise of electrical power, even if driven by pegasi. We have the birth of a new arcane/electric-hybrid engine system. We have a culture who thinks cutie marks are an intensely private thing and ponies have the same view on clothes as humans do. An Equestria at war with most of the world in a drive for imperialistic conquest.

In the end, I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with the story. I fell in love with the world. And I fell in love with the love between Twilight and Luna. Rarity was right. It was the most cliche, over-the-top, ridiculous, insane, absurd love story ever. And that’s why is was <BUY SOME APPLES> magnificent.

It helped that this love happened to have saved Celestia, Equestria and probably the world.

I fell in love with the whole thing. I waited for a long time for this story to finish… and it was worth it.

At the end of this long journey, what’s left to say? Well, I’ll say that this story earned its spot in my Legends Bookshelf. I’ll say that I’ll be following MrNumbers quite closely from here on out, always secretly (read: not secretly at all) praying for a return to a world of steam and brass.

And I’ll say that this was a wonderful, marvelous, magnificent ride.

Because it was.

And if you actually were crazy enough to make it this far… I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Until next time, this has been Novel Idea.

Have fun out there! :twilightsmile:


The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon Follow-Up:

Chapter 1 through 3: The Mare Who Lives On The Moon, The Farmer who Builds, The Mare Who Runs On The Moon
Chapter 4 through 6: The Madmare Who Invents, The Mare Who Writes On The Moon, The Explorer who Dreams
Chapter 7 through 9: The Mare Who Would Gift Twilight The Moon, The Socialite who Schemes, The Mare Who Would Escape The Moon
Chapter 10 through 12: The Guardian Who Loves, The Mare Who Would Love The Moon, The Science of Magic
Chapter 13 and 14: To Love the Moon, To Love the Moonshine & The Student who Defies
Chapter 15 and 16: The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon & The Stars Will Aid in her Escape

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Comments ( 8 )

I’ll say that I’ll be following MrNumbers quite closely from here on out, always secretly (read: not secretly at all) praying for a return to a world of steam and brass.

This. I want to see more of this AU.

I think the one thing that really bothered me is that Twilight ended up using them alone. If she had somehow used them with even just Dash or just Luna. Or if her friends had managed some sort of breakout--but then again, even that would have been a hard sell.

It's frustrating, because I personally believed at the time I'd foreshadowed this hard.

The thing about the engine, right, isn't that it's wielded by all the elements; It's that all the mane 6 contributed their element to its creation.

All Twilight did at the end was move some pieces around and power it.

The engine itself, a complex almost-pentagram made of gold and crystals, was always meant to be... well?


Yeah. This was literally the engine from the beginning.

I noticed that in retrospect, at the time of first reading I didn't due to this being one of those stories where I get so completely swept up in it I start reading too fast. The last two chapters felt a bit compressed, but that's the only criticism I have on the story.


The thing about the engine, right, isn't that it's wielded by all the elements; It's that all the mane 6 contributed their element to its creation.
All Twilight did at the end was move some pieces around and power it.
The engine itself, a complex almost-pentagram made of gold and crystals, was always meant to be... well?

I'm afraid I never got this. While yes, they all were instrumental in the building of the ship, we never learned if they were instrumental in placing the components of the Engine. Perhaps a scene where the delicate operation requires that each of the free Mane 5 places a crystal into the core would help people make a better connection. You could even have Rarity ask Pinkie why each Arcane Diode/Crystal/Etc is a different color and her respond with something like "Just seemed right. And because they're pretty!" Just off the top of my head.

Of course, now that you point it out, I definitely see where it was going. I should have caught it from the gold, but we actually never see that symbol outside of the opening sequence of the book Twilight's reading in the opening. I normally think of the orrery-style display device we see in Castle of the Two Sisters (A combination of the two might be cool, with components spinning arcane spheres).

Fair warning, Numbers takes a while to finish his stuff.

4515149 I've never met any author like that before. :rainbowderp:

Looks at the four first drafts currently in his own editing queue.

Eh-heh... :facehoof:

4514905 Sorry man, didn't catch it at all. The part where Twilight whips that thing out reads like a literal deus ex machina.

Maybe it'll be clearer on a re-read, but I barely remember anything about the structure of the engine, or even when you mentioned that.

What chapter was that even in?

Edit: Also yeah, what Novel said. I often forget that picture exists. It was shown once ever that I can remember, and never referenced again in the show.

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