The Taste Of Blood

by Shrink Laureate


6. Epilogue

Celestia sat at the table and watched her student leave.

Luna trotted up to the table, her expression dour. Her eyes followed the dejected young princess winding through the gardens to her tower. “I believe you may have broken her heart.”

“I have no doubt that I did,” said Celestia with a sigh, allowing her façade to fall and dropping her head in dejection.

“Was that strictly necessary? You realise that her nightmares will only get worse now.”

“For a few short years, yes. And some of them will inevitably contain myself, cast as an agent of destruction. I shall have to entrust the care of her during those times to you, dear sister. But some day, when the time comes for her to defend this land against a true threat, one beyond the reach of mercy, she will be better prepared for it.” She turned to look into Luna’s eyes. “More prepared than we ever were.”

“You would inflict such hardship on her now to save her from worse in the future?”

“I would do what a princess must.”

“’Tis a ruthless gamble. You realise that the repercussions of this choice will affect to the other five bearers of the Elements, and through them countless other ponies. Though they may never understand why, they shan’t be the same again.”

“Even so, dear sister. As before, as always, I will do whatever I must to safeguard the future of my children.”

“Even at the cost of Twilight's heart?”

“Even so.”

Luna sat down in the adjacent seat. “You have become altogether too cunning your dotage, sister. I cannot say that I approve. But tell me something.” She leaned close to her sister's ear. “What truly happened on the field of battle that day?”

A small smile returned to Celestia's downcast features. “I reminded Prince Nebula of his embarrassing infatuation with one of my hoofmaidens some years previously, and General White Rainbow of the quite substantial amount of money she owed me. Under the circumstances, they both reluctantly agreed to stand down. No battle was fought, and nopony died on that field.”

Luna released the nervous breath she was holding. “I am much relieved to hear it. I remember young Nebula as a colt, chasing butterflies amid our legs.” They shared a nostalgic smile.

“He went on to chair the reformed Equestrian Council, which helped to restore peace to the land.”

“And why did you choose to relate to her a false incident, when there are enough real ones you could have used? For example, during the gryphon war you mentioned. Some day she is sure to realise your deceit.”

“That is precisely why. When that day comes, her fear of me will be shaken, allowing us to gain a degree of reconciliation.”

“You are ever optimistic, sister.”

Celestia nodded, her expression serious. “I do believe in ponies. And particularly, I believe in her.”

“I can see why. Still, I fear your memory may have betrayed you over one trifling matter.”

“Oh?”

“’Twas one of my hoofmaidens with whom he was enamoured, not thine,” replied Luna playfully.

“I think not,” cautioned Celestia.

“Ah, ’tis such a shame when an old nag’s memory fails her,” lamented Luna.