“She hasn’t come out of her room in over a week,” Spike said nervously as he poured out two glasses of orange juice. “I’m starting to get really worried.”
Twilight Sparkle sighed and took a sip of her juice, gazing out the window of their Canterlot home. “Me too, Spike. I just wish she would tell us what happened…”
Honestly, she had no idea what could have made Princess Celestia act like this. Before leaving to oversee the Summer Sun Celebration preparations in Ponyville, her mentor had been perfectly fine.
But then the Princess had never showed up for her appearance at Ponyville’s Town Hall. No one could get in contact with her, not even Twilight herself. The Princess just didn’t answer any of the two dozen letters she’d had Spike send, after she’d gotten over her paranoia of Nightmare Moon returning. She guessed it really was just an old mare’s tale, even if the Mare in the Moon had somehow vanished.
In any case, Twilight had been forced to make excuses for Princess Celestia and return to Canterlot early, where the first thing she did was go to check on her teacher. She had barely stepped into the throne room when Raven Inkwell, Princess Celestia’s private secretary, had stopped her.
“Hello, Twilight! Is Princess Celestia with you?”
“Wha—no! She never came to Ponyville, I thought she was still here!”
“What!? We all thought she’d gone to Ponyville!”
Together, they had informed the Royal Guard and had everypony frantically searching the castle until Twilight and Raven eventually found the Princess sitting silently in a janitor’s closet, staring blankly at the wall. It had taken nearly twenty minutes to get her to leave the closet, during which she hadn’t spoken a word.
Then it had taken over an hour to convince her to lower the moon and raise the sun. Afterwards, her mentor just quietly walked to her private bedchambers, ignoring everypony around her, and laid down on the bed. That was when she sent them away and the castle’s Royal Guard took over watching her.
Since then, Twilight and Spike had been coming by every morning and evening to remind her to move the sun and moon. And to try to get her to eat something. Then they would ask Princess Celestia what was wrong, and she would just stare at them with haunted eyes and send them away again. They’d just gotten back from today’s morning trip.
Spike wrung his claws, snapping Twilight out of her thoughts. “Exactly! We don’t know how to help her! We can’t even find anypony who can!”
“We’ll try again this evening,” Twilight assured him, not feeling very assured at all. “I’m sure she’ll tell us what happened this time.”
Just as the pair was finishing their toast in uneasy silence, they were startled by a burst of yellow in the center of the room, revealing a haggard white alicorn without her usual royal adornments.
“P-Princess Celestia!” Twilight exclaimed, quickly recovering from the shock. “Are you…feeling any better?”
A very soft word, one Twilight could barely hear. “No.”
“Do you need a doctor?” she asked worriedly for the twentieth time. “Spike and I can recommend some really good ones—"
With that, another flash of yellow teleported the trio away.
Twilight found herself in Princess Celestia’s bedchambers. After checking that Spike was alright—teleportation didn’t always agree with him—she took a quick glance around the room and confirmed that it looked no different than it had an hour ago.
Except for one thing.
A dark blue deep freezer, sitting innocuously in the corner. The top lid was printed with a symbol Twilight had never seen before: a splotch of black with a white crescent moon overlaid.
“I brought her in from my closet just a few minutes ago,” Princess Celestia suddenly said from behind Twilight, making her jump. “She deserves a proper place in the main bedchambers.”
“What? Who does? Princess, what’s going on?”
Silence curled around Twilight, slowly enveloping her. The air suddenly felt like it was weighing down on her back.
Twilight felt a shiver of irrational fear run up her spine and settle in her chest. “Princess Celestia, what is going on?” she demanded.
“She looks exactly the same as she did a thousand years ago—well, except for the visible bones. But still just as beautiful.”
“…What do you mean?” Spike’s anxious voice almost seemed to drown in the heavy air as the small dragon huddled behind Twilight.
A bare white hoof waved at the freezer. “Go on. Say hello. I don’t believe you’ve ever been properly introduced.”
Twilight looked at the freezer and took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. “Spike, stay here.”
Spike nodded, still looking on edge.
As the unicorn slowly approached the freezer, the trickling feeling of something being horribly, horribly wrong grew stronger. It was near unbearable when she was standing right in front of it a moment later.
Telling herself it would be fine, she lit her horn and slowly lifted the lid with a soft creak.
Twilight stared in mute horror at the dead body laying inside.
She almost looked as if she were asleep, if ponies could sleep with their eyes open. A razor-thin layer of ice smoothly coated her, casting a shimmery sheen over her deep blue coat. Her long horn nearly touched the side of the freezer, and her wings were neatly folded at her sides. A small jet-black tiara sat in her cloudy blue mane. A peytral of the same color, though with a white crescent moon, wrapped around the base of her neck. Trails of tears were forever frozen on her cheeks.
Twilight barely heard Spike call out to her as she met the body’s eyes. Blue-green despair and regret bored into her soul, paired with quiet acceptance.
The body would have been beautiful, if every bone in her body weren’t prominently visible. It twisted her beauty into something unsettling and grotesque.
Twilight jerked violently when a hoof fell on her shoulder and snapped her head around to look up into Princess Celestia’s face.
The Princess’ smile didn’t quite reach her empty eyes. “Her name is Princess Luna, and she’s my sister. I’m sure you’ll all be great friends.”