Cupid Mark Crusaders

by Coyote de La Mancha


As the sun had lowered in the sky, The Lady of Night had managed to rouse herself enough to join in the games. The Bandersnatch having been long defeated, a new foe had arisen, in the form of the Terrible Sky Pirate. Needless to say, Scootaloo had immensely enjoyed flying about and harrying the foes of her sinister schemes, buoyed up and propelled by the blue and ebony mist that was Luna.
Sometime around then, Sunrise had thrown in the towel. Stopping by the tables for one more round of goodies, she had surrendered herself to the inevitable, and curled up beneath the same apple tree Luna had enjoyed earlier. She therefore missed it entirely when The Terrible Sky Pirate (now tired of being the bad guy) was overthrown by the power of the Ebony Sorceress, thus becoming a good guy again… the Ebony Sorceress being, in turn, overthrown by the power of tickles.
(“Aaaaaack!” the Ebony Sorceress had cried, six limbs flailing helplessly in the air. “Wait! Stop! No fair!”
“Get’er!” the Apple Knight had crowed in victory, as she and her brave allies of freedom had pounced upon the vulnerable underbelly of tyranny. “Get’er, get’er, get’er, get’er, get’er…!”)
Since then, various other guests (Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, the Wonderbolts, musical mice, the opossums, and others) had also given in, and made their way to their respective homes.
Now, at dusk, Luna found herself beset by forces almost beyond even her ken, and certainly beyond any of her expectations.
“Pleeeeeeeease?” the foals begged in chorus.
At length, Luna lowered her head in defeat, smiling. Then, eyes closed, she began to rise into the air, wings outstretched.
The orchard became just a little quieter then, the air just a little more still, as even the trees seemed to hold their breath in the glow of her magic. The evening breeze wafted gently about her as she worked, stirring her mane as she sang gently to the sky. Foals and grown-ups alike fell silent, watching, listening. When was the last time this had happened, the Night Queen bringing forth her sky while away from the palace? Not since her exile… probably long before that.
Slowly, stars began to appear, each one silently answering to their princess’ call. One by one, unhurried, tiny jewels shone against the deepening velvet of the night, as the ponies around her slowly realized…
Names, thought Twilight in wonder. The stars have names! And she’s calling them each by name, one by one, to awaken above us.
The moonrise lasted something over an hour, all told. By the time it was done, a crescent moon shone in mithril splendor above the orchard. It glowed in its endless serenity, surrounded by the scattered jewels whose secrets were known only to their loving princess.
At length, Luna came to light in the grass near where the CMC still remained, now asleep in a pile. She smiled again. One could hardly expect them to stay awake through it all, especially after such a day as this had been. And there was another pony there besides, waiting for her to land.
“Hello love,” said Luna as she approached. “I hope I did not wake thee?”
But Sunrise shook her head. “Nah, just napping. Besides, I got to wake up to you singing. Never got to wake up to you before.” She kissed Luna briefly, then smiled. “It was nice.”
Carefully, so as not to wake them, Luna levitated the foals onto her and Sunrise’s backs. Then, the two of them made their way to where the few remaining ponies stood.
“Yep, I’ll take it from here,” Applejack grinned. “One of ‘em’s mine anyway.”
“Am I sensing an impromptu sleepover?” Rarity queried.
Applejack paused, then cocked an eyebrow, her smile becoming more inviting. “I’m game if you are.”
The fashionista’s glance had a bit of mischief in it as she levitated Scootaloo onto her own back, saying “Oh, I do believe I am.”
As the pair made their way to the house, the foals opened bleary eyes and looked around.
“Awww,” said Apple Bloom, “We missed the last part.”
“Shoot,” said Scootaloo. “That was so cool, too. Maybe next time we can stay up later?”
“Yeah,” said Sweetie Belle. “But wow, I can see why ponies thought she was a goddess for a while.”
“Uh-huh,” yawned Scootaloo. “I wouldn’t call her that, though.”
“’Course not,” Apple Bloom’s voice was heard as they faded into the distance. “She’s a friend…”
Luna and Sunrise exchanged a smile, then chuckled.
“Well, alas, I should be leaving,” Luna said. “Much as I would love to remain with thee…”
Sunrise nodded. “Yeah. Duty calls.”
“See thee in the morning?”
Sunrise looked askance at her. “You sure you won’t be too tired?”
Another smile. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
They kissed again, and then Princess Luna dissolved away into mist, the mist vanishing into the night.
Sunrise gave a contented sigh, then turned to Pinkie. “So, need any help cleaning up?”
Pinkie Pie shook her head. “Nah. Some friends of Fluttershy’s are coming by to take care of the rest.” She grinned. “Thanks, though!”
“Hey, no problem. Twilight, I’m heading home. That cool?”
“Sure. I’ll catch up later.”
There were parting hugs, and then Sunrise was trotting contentedly back towards Ponyville proper, humming to herself.
And then, there were two.
While Twilight gathered the various dishes and cutlery and organized them by type and degree of cleaning involved, Pinkie contemplated the moon hanging in the Eastern sky. After a while, she spoke.
“Do you ever… you know, wonder what it’s like? To be like Sunrise and Luna? Or like Applejack and Rarity?”
Twilight considered this.
“Not really,” she said at last, separating large spoons from small. “I have read about it, of course. And I’ll admit I had some curiosity, when I was little. But romantic relationships involve so much… else. Things that don’t interest me.
“And besides,” she smiled at Pinkie, “I have my friends. And frankly, from what I can tell, we’re closer than most married couples tend to be anyway. Much less dating couples, and all the social ritual that implies.”
Twilight went on with a thoughtful frown, pausing in her alphabetical cross-referencing arrangement of cutlery. “Even if I were to try such an experiment, it would have to be with a friend… but then, that also brings up the dangers involved, since apparently adding romance can jeopardize a friendship.” Her frown deepened. “I’m not sure how it would, or why, but from what I’ve read…” She shrugged. “I dunno. It just doesn’t sound worth it to me.”
Then, Twilight glanced over at her friend as a new thought struck her. “Why, are you curious?”
“Nah, not me,” Pinkie casually waved off the notion.
Twilight raised an eyebrow.
“I mean, sure, someday, maybe,” Pinkie considered. Then, she shook her head, pink curls flying. “But c’mon, this is me. Family life would just slow me down, you know?”
“Keep that swinger lifestyle, you mean.” Twilight deadpanned.
Pinkie nodded, keeping her face straight. “Oh, yeah. You know it, sister.”
“Count Baise, Colt Calloway…”
“…Duke Estonian, Caravan Palace…” Pinkie said. “Sure. All the big band names.”
There was a pause as the two of them looked at one another, then started to laugh.
After a while, Twilight shrugged, smiling. “Well, you might be right. But I think if anypony could be a family mare and a party pony, it would be you.”
“Aw, thanks, Twilight,” Pinkie grinned. “And someday, who knows? Maybe I will settle down. Someday, I may meet that right group of ponies, the dozen or so mares and stallions who are right for me…”
“…and then your wandering days are over?” Twilight finished for her, amused.
The two of them chuckled a little, Pinkie shoving Twilight playfully.
“You get me,” she grinned.
They enjoyed a companionable silence for a while. Eventually, Twilight looked up at the purpling sky.
“Well, I’d better be getting back home,” she said. She looked down at her adopted brother fondly. “Spike is down for the count, I think. And Sunrise had asked me to help her with some research tomorrow.”
“Ooo, what kind?”
“Educational. She’s applying for a position as teacher’s assistant with Cheerilee. She’s actually pretty qualified, from what I can tell. But you know: different world, different traditions and histories. She just wants to be sure she’s ready.”
Pinkie Pie was nodding. “Uh-huh.”
Twilight stood, and gathered up Spike in her magic. The little hatchling twitched a little, but remained asleep as she placed him gently on her back. Then, she glanced back at Pinkie.
“So, walk you home?”
Pinkie considered, then shook her head, smiling. “Nah. It’s nice here. I’ll head back later.”
“Okay. See you tomorrow.”
“See ya!”
They exchanged a quick hug, and Twilight trotted off into the growing night.
At length, Twilight’s hoofsteps could no longer be heard.
Pinkie Pie relaxed, her face falling out of the smile she had maintained with such practiced ease throughout her discussion with Twilight. Looking at the ground, she let out the mournful sigh she had been holding in for so long, ultimately collapsing into a prone position. She lay there, chin between her hooves, looking out at the star-filled sky with sad, blue eyes.
Eventually, the last dim radiance of dusk gave way into the deep velvet of night, the opalescent moon shining down upon the world. Behind her, an assortment of forest creatures chatted amongst themselves, happily divvying up the remaining goodies and carrying them back to their respective homes and families. Soon, the table was clean, the creatures returned to their lairs.
Through it all, Pinkie Pie continued to watch the moon’s gradual ascent. It was nightly proof that, even as she guarded and guided dreaming folk across the world, Luna occasionally exited dream time to attend to her celestial duties, as well. All this, and still ready to protect ponies during the day, from whatever may come. There was no doubt about it, she was one awesome princess.
Of course, none of that held a candle to the grace she had when she moved, the secret shine in her eyes when she smiled, the silver bells in her laugh.
Pinkie Pie sighed again. She looked up at the distant moon, forever out of reach. Then, rousing herself, she turned away, finally beginning the long trek home. Had there been anyone to hear, her voice would have been little more than a whisper.
“Maybe someday.”