Of course fate would try to stop Luna from leaving Canterlot on time. The nobles, Celestia, and the universe itself had this awful habit of making her want to strangle somepony, or whatever class of demon Prince Blueblood fell under.
After the Wedding, or rather, after the false wedding and the Changeling Invasion, Luna was haunted by a stack of paperwork that would put mountains to shame. Every craven lord and pompous lady in the city was assaulting her and Tia with requests for maximized security, going so far as to suggest brining in soldiers from other towns that needed them far more. Not only that, but there were also her beloved sister's ungodly pranks. Just this morning she'd replaced her vanity mirror with one enchanted so those who looked upon it's surface looked like Nightmare Moon. They had to use a battering ram to get her door open and a squadron of guards to restrain her as she hysterically begged not to be sent back to the moon.
"Ah yes, that is Tia for thee...." Luna said through grit teeth, giving the mental image of her sister a look that would make everything in a room just fall over and die.
Fortunately, Luna was not in a room, or anywhere near Canterlot and it's multitude of rooms. She was soaring through the night sky, black cloak flapping behind her. Her old friend Selena looked down from the heavens, smiling on her as she flew to the one time of night she looked forward to more than her idle chats with Celestia. Soon she'd be with the nice stallion from Ponyville, singing like she did when she was younger. After flying to that secluded spot every night for two weeks straight, hardly a tick in her eternal lifespan, she could safely say it was among the few things that gave her pleasure.
Few realized it but despite her two billionth birthday a mere one hundred and sixty two years away, Luna was mentally still a teenager. Sure, raising the moon, managing the entire universe to keep up the beauty of the night sky, and joint-ruling a nation had forced her to mature quickly, yet there was still a carefree, youthful side of Luna only Celestia knew about. It was this immature, jealous side that caused the events that led to Luna's banishment for 1000 years.
"No, we are not going to linger on that. After a long day," the queen of the night thought out loud," ...this night is going to be perfect."
* * *
Mac waited by the pond, still in the same sitting position he'd been in for roughly two hours.
Maybe she just got held up? He thought, catching his own reflection in the pond. Every night for two weeks, he came to this part of the farm, and it was starting to take it's toll. The first hints of bags were forming beneath his eyes, and his mane was more disheveled than it usually was. Still, he enjoyed it, sneaking out at night to meet a mysterious mare. And somehow these nightly meetings gave him new energy durring the day. Even AJ had commented on how quickly and easilly he'd get his choores and farmwork done nowadays. She thought he just wanted to get in as many apples as possible before winter, but Mac knew he had to make sure there was absolutely no work left to keep him from meeting the strange night mare.
Yet tonight, she was late. It made sense, everypony gets caught up in work or their everyday lives and sometimes things just don't work out.
* * *
Sure enough, he was still waiting, his mere pressence enough to cause her heart to leap. Maybe she was just a hopeless romantic deep down. Maybe it was sneaking out, keeping her nighttime meeting a secret to everypony else, even Celestia. But whatever the reason, Luna was glad to finally be out of the old castle and back at the tiny pond.
Luna realised on that first night that her lone audience member thought she was a unicorn, so to save suspision the alicorn glided into a clearing nearby, where she could simply trot to the pond as if she lived within walking distance from the place. Ever so gracefully, she emerged from the forest, taking a place just behind the workhorse. It took her a bit to form the correct words to say sorry for being late, but once she did, she put on a goofy smile and said," We apologize for our late arrival."
Or, that's what she meant to say.
"We apologi-" was all Luna could work out before fate gave her another slap to the face. Of all things, a firefly had lodged itself in her throat.
No! Luna thought, cursing all insects to be banished to the sun to burn, No please, just give me this one night! Just a few hours where things go right! She coughed, gasped for air, the nice colt facing her with concern. Luna had her head down, so fortunately he could not see her features. More ponies than she dared think about either fled or became stone rigid upon learning her identity. This pony would NOT be one of them! Not until Luna decided to let him know.
With as much grace as a chariot rolling down the side of a mountain, the insect left Luna's nasal cavity, exiting her nose like nothing had happened. Both she and the stallion watched it for a few moments, both just trying to process what on Celestia's green earth had just happened.
* * *
Mac watched helplessly as the poor pony clutched her muzzle, as if somehow the flat hooves could will the bug out of her airways. It was one of the scariest moments of his life. For once, he was useless, he couldn't do anything. A big pony like him could move a crashed cart out of the way so not to block traffic. He could climb up and reach any of Applebloom's toys that got caught in the many trees of Sweet Apple Acres. Even if he couldn't do anything on his own, he could still help. But this girl was all on her own, struggling for oxygen and there was nothing he could do to fix the problem.
And then with a snort, the bug just...flew out of her nose. It shot through the air for about two seconds before finding it's bearings and flying off, it's flank lit up like Hearth's Warming Eve.
Well...ah recon that was a tad strange....Mac though to himself.
* * *
"We...a-apologize..." Luna said, still a bit dumbfounded. Still, she tried to compose herself, putting on a formal tone as she said," We apologize for that...odd incident."
"Ee'yup," was the only answer her companion gave.
Luna tried to think of something, anything to say, but she was at a loss. The colt went back and took a seat beside the pristine waters. The radiant, tranquil surface drawing her with it's sweet promise of normalcy and fond memories. So it was that Luna took a step forward...
...and stepped on a sixteen inch snake.
She let out a shrill, ear deafening scream as it hissed at her. The stallion turned immediately, but before he could do anything, she was already backing up from the slithery beast. It made another hissing noise, threatening to strike. But just as it started to curl up and open it's fangs, Luna's horn glew white hot...
* * *
To Mac, it sounded like thunder. Or an explosion? Whatever the noise was, the result was much more...impressive. Where there was once a harmless, non-poisonous snake on the ground, there was now a smoldering crater. He was slightly blinded by the sudden flash, but he could still tell the hole was big enough to fit roughly three baskets of apples.
What have ah gotten mahself into?
* * *
No one threatens harm upon a Princess of Equestria! Luna thought to herself, a bit too satisfied with her victory. She then proceeded to take up the spot she previously intended to sit before the reptilian monstrocity threatened her. The stallion (Hmm, we suppose we never asked his name) was still looking at her with concern. But instead of adressing his worry, she simply took in a deep breath, and tried to get a nice melody going.
Sure enough, yet another obstacle stood in the way of her enjoyment. A small, brown and white dog tugged on her mane. Normally, she'd just shoo it away, but if her friend saw her obviously unnaturally magical mane, her disguise would crumble faster than a Cloud Cake in Tia's line of sight. Desperately, she pulled the wavy mass, praying to whatever godly being not intent on ruining her attempt at peace might assist.
* * *
"Ah said git!" Mac scolded the dog.
At first Winona didn't seem to hear him. She was growling too loudly, which made sense. Winona acted not just as AJ's pet and a help on the farm, but she was also a bit of a guard dog that keep wild critters from eating any of their precious fruit from the trees. To the dog, his friend was trespassing, and she intended to stop her from tresspassing as soon as possible.
* * *
With a bit more tugging, and a few orders from her friend, the dog realised it had done wrong. After a bit of sniffing to get this new pony's smell, the dog bounded back to the farm. That didn't mean the end of Luna's troubles though.
As the dog chewed into her tail, something inside Luna just broke. She was crying now, at the uselessness of it all. Why had she thought, after everything else that day, that tonight would be better? Unable to bear the weight of her sadness, she just hung her head long and wept. Cool rivers sent warming sensations over the cheeks, and she could see through hazy eyes as the tears transformed into diamonds for a few short seconds before crashing on the blades of grass.
If the colt left, she wouldn't blame him. Besides, she knew deep down she'd do everything to get here on time tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, she'd be able to sing and be happy for a few brief minutes. Maybe tomorrow she'd work up the courage to ask for his name. Maybe....who knew, maybe she'd work up the courage to give him her name-
Luna was broken out of her latest episode of self-pity when a coarse but gentle hoof brushed against her cheek. He...is he...wiping away the tears? she asked herself. Indeed, when she opened her eyes, she caught his other foreleg reaching in to brush the sadness from her other cheek. It was a simple gesture, but so very appreciated Luna let herself grin for the first time since arriving.
"Thank you...We're sorry this evening has been so strange," Luna said, still smiling, even giggling a bit," I did not think it would be so-"
Oh thou MUST be jesting! she wanted to scream. When Luna tried to raise her head to face her savior, she didn't realise how close he must have been. Her horn not only hit his chin and jaw, but continued upwards to scratch his cheek and even a bit of his eye. He winced and reared back before rubbing his face with his hoof, as if the pain were just a bit of dirt one could wipe off.
Not willing to let herself break down again, Luna strolled up to him and said," Please, hold still."
"Ee'nope!" was all he said, eyes shut and waving his arm to keep her away. Luna simply raised an eyebrow and said," Please, trust us?"
The boy opened his good eye, looking straight into her eyes. Althought most of her face was obscured by the cloak, Luna still gave a kind smile that told him it would be okay. With a gulp, he surrendered himself to the mare. Horn glowing and healing spell readied, Luna pressed her horn against his cheek, warning him" This may just tingle a bit."
As the edges of the cut began to vanish, the big workhorse started to flinch and shy away from the spell. "Do not be such a foal! Art thou or art thou not a grown pony?"
With that, the stallion just sighed and let her do her work. In less than a minute, the scratch was gone. The two let out sighs of relief, Mac happy that the cut was gone, Luna pleased that nary a meteor or UFO had come to crash into her as she healed her friend.
"Well, this has been a most strange of nights," Luna admitted.
"We suppose thou wishes to rest after such a display?'
He just nodded.
"Very well then," Luna said, smiling sheepishly before adding," Thou...thou never told us thy name before. It is most awkward simply reffering to thee as 'the stallion'."
"Name's Macintosh. Some call me Big Macintosh, other Big Mac, some just Mac."
"I see," Makes sense she thought, looking over his large build," Well, Macintosh...We hope to see thee tomorrow night."
"You too, ma'am," he replied.
After a kind smile and a few waves, Luna left the pond. Mac left too, whistling a tune as he trotted between dense apple trees. In one last joke, courtesy of the wheels of fate, Luna tripped into the crater she created earlier, covering herself with dirt and grass. After spitting out the now Royal Grass (for it has entered her Royal Mouth), she proceeded to remove the Royal Grass Stains and cleanse the Royal Soil from her coat. With that, she glided back towards Canterlot, always keeping an eye on the sky in case she ran into an airship or another Changeling Army.