The frigid vacuum burned her skin, blackening it further.
That was good. It meant she was still here. There were times, increasingly frequent, where she couldn’t quite tell.
The black expanse of her fate had mocked her, at first. Now it simply pressed down on her, body and soul, heavier and heavier, silently and efficiently crushing her.
She yearned for the mockery.
Now, at least, the dull blue-green glow of her horn—duller than yesterday, brighter than tomorrow, if there was one—kept her company in her final days. Not even the Nightmare, with all its charm and guile, had remained; it had fled long ago, escaping her frail, dying body to find another victim. She could see every bone, now, with what vision she had left; every rattling expansion of her ribcage was a losing battle with death.
She deserved it all. She knew this, for her sister had said so.
“Luna! You must lower the moon! It is your duty!”
The Nightmare laughed. “Duty, Sister? I have but one duty now: to destroy you!”
They battled under the full moon. When Celestia was finally cornered, the Elements appeared betwixt them in a flash of yellow. The Sun looked at the Moon and said, “I will send you away to your fate, Sister, to a place where you will learn your lesson.”
And so it was done.
Luna—just Luna, for she no longer deserved her title of Princess—groaned in the dull, numb pain of freezing as her blue-green life slipped further, up to the tip of her horn, barely a spark. It had been keeping her alive these past three weeks; air, warmth, water. Including food would have meant losing energy much more quickly. Now she was certain she would rather have done so. Better that than to lie alone, looking up towards the sun with her starved body’s dying strength.
She had screamed and cried and begged for forgiveness, at first. It had soon become very clear that the sun wasn’t listening.
The sun shone strong and bright above her. “Oh, yes, you deserve this,” it said. “This is your punishment.”
Or perhaps it had said nothing at all.
The light was so bright. Could it melt the ice from her breath? She could almost touch it…she reached out, shackled dark blue hoof quivering in the airless atmosphere.
It fell back with a thud as the black closed in and the blue-green died.
Princess Celestia was practically giddy as she trotted towards the throne room. A thousand years of waiting and wishing and hoping and planning had finally come to fruition. She had never meant to send Luna away for so long—only a few years, but she had accidentally pushed too much power into the Elements, and the surge had resulted in a much longer sentence that Celestia had meticulously planned an extensive apology for, after the Nightmare was purged from her body. But no matter—the Elements’ lock would expire very, very soon, and the moon would send her back.
She had her star pupil, her most faithful student; and the new Bearers were all picked out. Twilight had already left for Ponyville earlier that day. Now all that needed to be done was wait for the stars to align and reform Luna at last.
She moved to the moonlit window and silently waited. A few minutes passed, then a few more. Almost time now…there.
Four stars surrounded the moon in a perfect square and flashed. The Mare in the Moon disappeared and a rush of energy blitzed towards the castle, straight for the throne room. The Princess of the Sun sat upon her throne and prepared to be ‘defeated’ by the Nightmare, having already safely cleared the area of all castle staff.
She couldn’t wait to see her sister again.
A moment later, a perfectly preserved, frozen body lay in the center of the throne room.
“Luna? Can you hear me?”