It had been six years since Luna took that sip of coffee. It was on a day when morning court bothered her with its looming presence. That day she desperately needed a cup of midnight black, sugary trap. It was that jittery concoction that had kept her up that night, thinking about what she could do to keep herself sane, how she needed to be uniform… how she needed to continue striving for a better Equestria, as a Princess, as Luna.
Now, with her retirement in full swing… her life was well. She did not have a need for coffee. In fact, she had given up on drinking it. For the past six years, Luna and her sister, Celestia, have kept each other in check, keeping each other company in a place that, well, they could finally relax and not be bothered by anypony.
That is, until Celestia died.
Luna stood on the balcony. In her grasp, that magical grasp, was that beverage. She got kept up at most nights, mostly because she had to stay awake to keep watch over her subjects in their dreams, but now, now…
...her dreams haunted her.
It’s only going to be a matter of time…
Luna shook her head. It was not time for her just yet! She had something that still kept her here. But what?
She took a sip of the beverage.
Slowly, the liquid slid down her throat. It burned hotly on her tongue, while the heat warmed her to her core. She took a deep, shaky breath, and let the drink consume her.
Luna hates death.
What about it made her so worried? Was it the fact that she, herself, did not know of what death entailed? Would her heart just stop beating while she rested? Or would she wake up to her body being sliced open in a painful death because somepony had a vendetta against her? She would like to not think of the second option, her insides bubbling at the thought of somepony doing this to her, but yet again, she did do terrible things in the past, especially to her sister.
Luna hated her past.
Well, hated might be a strong word here. It did help her make her who she was tonight. And hopefully the next few days—she didn’t know when she would die anyway. Why should she worry again? Eh, didn’t matter. Luna knew that she was proud of herself, proud of who she became: the pony that defied all odds; that became somepony who could help others, including herself, mind you; and of course, the pony who learned of her true role in Equestria. Her role? Rule Equestria with Celestia until her death.
Luna loved helping other ponies.
It was weird to think about, but her heart sang the truth of its magnificence. Friendship truly did shape her psyche: one of a ruler and of a pony whose heart was true to herself, true to others. She was willing to risk her sanity by taking a sip of the jittery concoction every day to help fuel her desire, this newfound fulfilling desire, of helping another pony. And if she had to die of a heart attack because she was too busy sipping on that gracious drink to save other ponies, then she will. She would do it thousands and thousands of times, until she could no longer respawn.
Luna took another sip of her coffee.
Milky substance maliciously sedating Luna’s stress. Meddling into affairs long gone, now reaping the benefits of its core: taking control and ceasing Nightmare Moon once more. Imagine a world without the bean, sitting alone without this treat, eyes focused on the moon in the sky, shifting attention, creeping tension, Luna’s apprehension. She would’ve been gone a long time ago if coffee had not been discovered. She was very grateful that this mighty drink could soothe her soul, even if it had been six years, six long, aching years.
Luna loves this feeling.
Coffee made her feel… alive. Granted, she had felt alive when Celestia was around. The two, unbeknownst to the rest of the kingdom, would play pranks, eat cupcakes filled with substances that, well, may not be safe for work, and even drunkenly creating new laws that might make the Equestrian population wheeze, while the nobles lay siege… in court.
Luna hated the nobles.
Those nobles. Oh, they were the worst. Besides the ranking system being absolutely atrocious, the attitudes that they exuded on the remaining population somedays was unacceptable. The nerve some of them had to turn the other cheek upon Twilight’s comeuppance. However, not all of them were completely ignorant. The Sparkle House…
Luna loved sparkles.
Back when she was the celestial holder of the moon, Luna loved casting her night sky for all to see. However, now, she could only bask in its light, those little stars twinkling like sparkles in a dress, flowing like a mane without duress. She could imagine it now, how she had six years ago, how she had before all this came crashing down, how life slowly took its toll, how it all made thinking of time a measure that never ended, a singular strand that tick-tocked to the sounds of weakness in breath.
Luna hated measuring.
Another sip ran down her gullet. She supposed it would be just enough for a teaspoon, but yet again, she couldn’t even gather the appropriate amount even if she wanted to. In the past, her sister, her dear, wonderful sister, decided that the world would be better if she had graced them with her flapjacks. Normally, her flapjacks were adequate, and some days, delightful. On others… when she decided to Tartarus with measuring, they were positively dreadful. At least they were made with kindness in mind, even if the nobles thought even less of their dear Princess. Actually, she hoped that maybe someday Twilight would utilize the excess of flour to clog the arteries of every inadequate piece of horse manure there was still left in the noble houses—Luna shivered.
Luna hates being cold.
For some reason, ever since her descent into retirement, things have gotten worse. Chilling winds could easily tear her down now, whereas before cold nights were even more-so welcoming than hot days. It baffled her, even now, with this drink still feeding her warmth and comfort, at how truly freezing she was, her fur inadequate protection from the night’s loving embrace.
Luna hates thinking.
She felt herself droning on about in her mind nowadays. Drifting between thought after thought after thought after thought after thought after thought after thought… until there was only one to remain: did she do her best? She did, Luna thought. Although, was it enough? Did Equestria need her? Or did Celestia need her now to rest too? Unlike her sister, though, Luna was strong, not strong in the sense of being able to deny an immortal death, but… did she think that maybe, just maybe, even in her final years, that this was how it would end? Drinking in her final moments, taking in warmth under a shroud of sparkles, and wondering was it all worth it?
She took a long, gracious sip of her coffee. Nice on the palate, tender on the maw, filtering through her like water in a lake, diving straight in to just feel something other than living above it—could she canter after tomorrow?—her eyes gaze upon the frontier.
Luna loves Equestria.
It was different now. Luna could feel it. That’s why Celestia and Luna had rescinded their power and cast it upon Twilight to handle the task. They were not needed anymore. In order to love someone you must learn to let go. That’s what she knew. That’s what she knows. She let go of the crown in order to let go of that responsibility. Luna had to let go to love it more, to appreciate the rolling hills, the tall mountain tops, the forests aplenty, the wildlife’s natural cycle, and the dedication to the cause: a more free Equestria, one where harmony can co-exist in disharmony… where Discord will learn his role too.
Luna twiddled her hooves. She cast the cup away from her, on a table nearby. It clinged against the surface, mostly because the table was a bit more… metallic than the ones in the Castle, but yet again, that wasn’t an issue. It was just a new sound amidst a modern world that no longer needed two to rule.
She sat on her flanks, reflected, let loose a bit of emotion, a tear cascading down her face and plopping in a small dollop on the concrete, lifeless floor.
She couldn’t stop it. The overflowing emotion, it was all coming out at once. The feeling of being lost, the feeling of being held hostage, the feeling of being reunited, ruling, keeping a watchful eye over others, maintaining balance in imbalance and measuring cups of flour for pancakes and…
...now Luna was alone.
She wiped her muzzle. There was snot on it, but she didn’t have a tissue. She’s been down this road before, even having just to deal with it and maybe let gravity take care of the rest. She wasn’t on the moon anymore. No longer was she a hostage waiting to be rescued from herself. She was just… alone.
She sniffled and got herself off her flanks. She needed to find a tissue before returning to bed. At least her muzzle would be clear of debris before attempting to sleep a restless one once more.
Luna left the balcony and returned to her chambers. The cup stayed there, without a drop left within it.
She’ll return to get the cup later. She’ll need another full one in the morning.