by CrimsonWolf360

Chapter 19

The Following Week

At the local café in Ponyville's main street, five mares sat around their favorite table, a delectable spread of lunch laid out before them. However, much as the group would usually be devouring their food, there was a distinct lack of appetite this beautiful spring morning. All five mares stared off in random directions, almost as if they were trying to avoid the purpose of their gathering in the first place. Finally, it became too much for the orange earth pony to bear, and she spoke up.

"Ah'm callin' a meetin', ya'll." AppleJack announced, gaining the attention of her gathered friends.

"Whatever for?" Fluttershy inquired, nibbling on her sandwich as she looked up to the farmer pony.

"I think the answer to that one is pretty obvious, darling." Rarity replied, nodding toward the castle in the distance.

AppleJack nodded in agreement, "After last week, I think we'd be darned foals to not address what's happenin' with Twilight and Cooper."

"Yeah... it's starting to get really concerning." Rainbow admitted.

"Ah don't think I have to remind ya'll of the trouble that came from when Pinkie spooked 'im and he ran off into the forest. Now just the other day, Rainbow spooked him and he tackled his guard like he was tryin' to protect her from something." AppleJack recounted.

"Not to mention Twilight and how she reacted when Pinkie startled him." Fluttershy added.

A chorus of agreement rang out from the group as they looked over to their pink friend, who was sipping on a smoothie in a much more subdued manner than any of them were used to seeing.

"Oh, it's okay, girls. Twilight apologized to me for it. There's no hard feelings between us over that." Pinkie responded.

"Regardless of that, don't you think she reacted a bit too harshly, darling?' Rarity pried.

"Twi's gotten mad at'cha before, but never as much as I heard. Pretty sure ah' could hear her screamin' from Sweet Apple Acres. AppleJack chimed in.

Pinkie seemed to deflate even further into her seat, "Yeah... I know."

A sad silence overcame the group as they thought over the predicament they found themselves in. All of their minds drifted to the inevitable conclusion that they were all dreading within minutes.

"After everything that happened to the both of them in that other world... ya think it's a safe bet that..." Rainbow trailed off.

"There's something wrong with the two of them?" Rarity finished.

"I don't know if I'd use the word 'wrong'... but yeah, something like that." Rainbow sighed.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to think that the two of them are completely traumatized by what happened." Fluttershy stated.

"Then how do we help them? Twilight is one thing, but Cooper is another animal entirely. Quite literally, even." Rarity responded.

The group's collective brows dipped in thought as they all pondered over what they could possibly do to help their friends.

"A party is out of the question." Pinkie muttered.

"Well... not necessarily. Maybe just not a 'surprise' party." AppleJack snorted.

Pinkie dryly chuckled, "Fair point."

Rarity cleared her throat, directing all eyes over to her, "I hate to say it, I truly do... but perhaps some kind of intervention is in order." She suggested.

"For both of 'em?" AppleJack raised an eyebrow.

Rarity shook her head, "I don't believe we'll be getting through to Cooper any time soon. He's just been through too much and we all know so little about him in the grand scheme of things. He may very well take it the wrong way if we try to intervene in his life like that so soon. Twilight, on the other hoof..."

Rainbow squinted slightly, "So... what? We take Twilight and give her an intervention? What does that even mean? Like... are we trying to get her to confess to something?"

AppleJack rolled her eyes, "No, Dash. We're trying to get the both of 'em to go to therapy. There ain't nothin' to confess to. Rarity's got a good idea though. The two of them are mighty close after what they went through together. If we can help Twilight, she'll be on our side to help Cooper. At least that way, we've got the pony he trusts most, on our side." She explained.

"That... sounds like a pretty good plan." Fluttershy smiled, hopefully.

"Why, thank you, Fluttershy." Rarity beamed.

"So how do we separate them? Twilight's been practically attached to Cooper the whole last week. Even more than after I scared him." Pinkie noted, still sounding somewhat downtrodden by the situation.

Once more, the group collectively dipped their heads in thought as they pondered over the pink mare's point. It took some time, but eventually, it was Fluttershy that spoke up.

"Well... what if we called in some help?" She suggested.

"Some help from whom, dear?" Rarity tilted her head to the side.

"Well... the princesses seemed like they'd be willing to help when they last saw him." Fluttershy offered.

"The princesses? What exactly could they even do? I mean... aside from like, just ordering Twilight back to Canterlot without Cooper. I don't think either of them would even go for that." Rainbow replied.

"Plus Ah don't feel right sending a letter to Celestia about Twilight behind her back. I feel like that could backfire on us mighty fierce if we aren't careful. Those two share everything." AppleJack added.

"Well what about Princess Luna?" Fluttershy offered.

"Luna? What could Luna do to help?" Pinkie questioned.

"She could ask Twilight to go somewhere and we could meet her there to talk with her. Or better yet, she could help Twilight with her nightmares. She's been much more irritable lately, and I'm sure that's got something to do with a lack of sleep." Fluttershy reasoned.

AppleJack scratched her chin in thought, "That... that's actually a darn good point, Flutters. Ah can't imagine goin' through what Twi went through and not coming out with some terrible nightmares."

"Then it sounds like we've got our plan." Rainbow announced, smacking her hooves together.

"Anypony think they can get Spike over here?" AppleJack inquired.

All eyes subconsciously drifted over to Rarity, who blushed slightly at the sudden spotlight she was forced into. After nearly thirty seconds of all ponies staring straight at her, she finally sighed.

"Just because he has a crush on me doesn't mean I want to lead him on and use him whenever I want something." She huffed.

AppleJack and Rainbow both raised an eyebrow.

"Oh hush, you two. I'll go get Spike over here. Give me twenty minutes." She relented, getting out of her chair.

As Celestia sat on her throne, a bored look on her face as the noble before her droned on about some manner of government expansion or other issue that she couldn't be bothered with paying attention too. As had become custom during her reign over Equestria, Celestia tended to tune out the more mundane nobles as they usually only came to day court to complain over issues she had little to no actual control over.

"-and so that's why I think my manor should be able to expand out into the neighboring property, your highness. It was ours until my great great great grandmare sold it to those griffons next door." The noble finished, waiting for a response.

Just as Celestia opened her mouth to reply, a swirling vortex of green flame whooshed in through the window, spiraling into a puff of smoke that revealed a letter. Her eyes widened slightly as she immediately recognized Spike's dragon breath, and without another moment's hesitation, she took the scroll out of the air with her magic.

"A thousand pardons, Jet Stream. I've received an urgent letter that I must attend to. I will look over this issue as soon as I can. In the meantime, could you reschedule with my secretary, Raven?" Celestia said, quickly unfurling the scroll.

"Of course, your highness." Jet Stream replied, bowing slightly before exiting.

"I'll go tend to that, Princess." Raven added, before heading after the noble.

"Thank you, Raven." Celestia nodded, before opening the scroll and reading its contents.

After less than a minute, her brow furrowed as she rose from her throne and turned toward the exit. The two guards at the base of the staircase making up her throne immediately fell into step as Celestia made her way out to the hall leading back to her and her sister's shared section of the castle. They quickly arrived at Luna's tower and ascended the staircase leading to her bedroom.

Upon arriving, Celestia politely knocked several times on the door, prompting a loud snort and groan from the night alicorn inside. Celestia suppressed a snicker at her sister's very unprincess-like behavior as she waited for her to open the door. She didn't have to wait long, and as Luna opened her bedroom door, her groggy eyes greeted her with a frown.

"Sister? What is it?" Luna questioned, before yawning.

"I'm sorry to wake you, sister, but I've just received a letter from Twilight's friends. They want you to see it, specifically." Celestia explained.

The sleepiness in Luna's eyes quickly vanished as she took the letter with her magic and read through it. Her eyes darted back and forth as she read the letter, a look of concern slowly weeding its way onto her face as she read. Finally, once she was finished, she looked up to Celestia, finding a questioning look on her sister's face.

"Well, what did it say?" She asked.

"You mean you didn't read it?" Luna tilted her head to the side.

Celestia shook her head, "It was addressed to you, sister, not me."

Luna pursed her lips, "It appears that Twilight has been suffering in her slumber recently. No doubt due to the events she survived when she went to Cooper's world. I regret to admit that... I haven't entered her dreams to help her yet. This is something I must rectify immediately." She admitted.

Celestia gave her sister a disarming smile, "It's alright, sister. You can't be everywhere in Equestria at once. I'm sure Twilight would love to see you tonight."

Luna nodded, "Thank you. I will visit her tonight and ensure her rest is not disturbed by nightmares of the event..."

Celestia smiled and nodded, though, at the pensive look still on her sister's face, she frowned, "What is the matter, sister? You look as if there's still something else on your mind."

Luna sighed, "Well... the truth of the matter is... nevermind, sister. It's rather... personal."

Celestia opened her mouth to protest, but quickly thought better of it. She gave her sister a small nod and turned away, "Very well, sister. I wish you a good rest. I'll see you tonight."

Luna smiled, "Thank you, sister. I will see you tonight."

With that, the solar alicorn and her entourage departed, leaving her lunar sister alone once more. With her solitude now restored, Luna looked over the letter once more, her brow furrowing even further in concern.

"I am sorry, Twilight Sparkle... I've been so busy trying to enter Cooper's dreams that I didn't stop to think about how you might be fairing after everything. It's gotten so bad that even your friends are greatly concerned for your well-being... I will rectify this tonight." She declared, before setting the letter down and making her way back to her bed.







As night fell over Equestria and the gentle star-lit sky covered the world in darkness, Luna stepped out onto her balcony, her horn alight to raise her respective celestial body. Similarly, her sister finished lowering her blazing sun just moments earlier, prompting the lapse into darkness that Luna was so accustomed to. The sisters shared a few words about their days before the elder of the two headed to her room for sleep.

With her solitude restored once more, Luna headed to her bedroom, where she sat on her haunches, her eyes closing in concentration. The spirals of her horn illuminated in white light as she entered the dream realm, soon finding herself in the mysterious world of dreams that floated by in bright white bubbles. She slowly glanced back and forth as her eyes squinted in a search for a specific dream, and within a few moments, her practiced eyes found the dream in question.

Luna trotted over to Twilight's dream, finding her starburst cutie mark glowing inside of the little bubble. A distinct red hue surrounded it, giving much credence to the claims of her friends, much to Luna's disappointment.

"It seems your friends are right, Twilight Sparkle. I wish that weren't the case... but for now, I can at least rectify this nightmare." Luna quietly said to herself, before entering the dream.

Upon entering the nightmare, Luna was immediately greeted by white, and cold. A bristling wind hit her coat, making her feathers furl in discomfort. Her fur bristled in the frigid wind, and her eyes stung ever so slightly as she squinted in the harsh wind to see what was in front of her. She could just barely make out the jagged shapes of a city off in the distance, against the fog of the blizzard around her. Sending out a small pulse of energy with her magic, she quickly found Twilight off in the direction of the city, and promptly headed that way.

Unfurling her wings, Luna took to the air and quickly make her way over to where she knew Twilight's approximate location to be. She landed atop a snow covered rooftop, her ears quickly perking up to the sound of lightning ahead. Her ears splayed back and she winced as the thunderous sound assaulted her over and over in rapid succession. Each acoustic blast trailed after a flash of light off in the distance, making Luna's heart race as a primal instinct of fear took hold of her.

Only through her centuries of life, could she overcome the instinctual desire to flee from the sounds that raked at her ears and make her skin crawl. She managed to find the reason for her visit just a few hundred feet in front of her, her purple fur standing out slightly against the white around her. With her mission now clearly before her, Luna took to the sky once more and softly glided toward Twilight.

Her hooves landed in the snow with a distinct crunching sound, but that was easily drowned out by the sound of Twilight sobbing. Luna found her heart breaking at the sounds and sight before her, but in spite of the many questions she felt forming on her brain, she quickly got her answer.

Held in Twilight's forelegs, his body limp and covered in blood, lay Cooper. The human was clearly dead or dying, just from the sight of him, and even though she'd only met him once, Luna couldn't help but feel her stomach sink at the sight of the human dying before her.

"Cooper... please... no." Twilight whimpered, hugging his head against her chest.

Luna watched from her position, tears threatening to spill from her eyes as the pain in Twilight's voice reached her ears. She quickly blinked them back and shook her head, breaking her mind free to do what needed to be done. Her horn glowed in a bright white light, quickly enveloping the world around her, including Twilight. The smaller lavender alicorn gasped in shock as she realized that something was happening to her, but before she could speak, Luna's magical spell exploded outward, wiping the entirety of the nightmare away and leaving only a blank white slate for her to sit in.

Twilight owlishly blinked as Cooper's body disappeared before her very eyes, and she blinked away the last of her tears, she finally looked up to the world around her. She slowly turned around to find Luna, giving her a warm smile that seemed to radiate relief upon seeing her.

"P-Princess Luna?" Twilight asked, incredulously.

Luna nodded, "Indeed. It appears I have done you a great disservice by not coming to your dreams sooner, dear Twilight.

Twilight glanced around quickly, "A dream... of course... huh... I should have realized sooner." She sighed, shaking her head slightly.

Luna frowned, "You don't seem to be very relieved that this is merely a dream, Twilight Sparkle... I believe we have much to discuss."

Twilight gave a sad nod, "I'm guessing you've heard about how I've been acting lately, haven't you?"

Luna nodded, "Your friends have expressed concern about your behavior lately. After what you've been through... it's not hard to imagine why."

Twilight sighed once more, "Yeah... I know. Things have been getting worse with both me and Cooper, haven't they?"

Luna chewed on her cheek, "From what I've heard today... yes, they have. I wish to help you both, but your friends and I appear to share the sentiment that Cooper isn't going to take our advice or help easily."

"I figured as much... it's not that he doesn't want help or anything... he's just gone so long without anypony else in his life. I don't think he wants to trust anypony or let them in. Not to mention the fact that loud noises send him into flashbacks and I've almost lost him once already." Twilight explained.

"I received the report from his guards... Twilight, you know that we can't have him running around having flashbacks every time something startles him. As much as I don't want to say it... Cooper is dangerous. Our scientists have analyzed his weapon and determined that it could be replicated within just a few decades by our enemies. That's not even considering the fact that he's twice the size of a pony in his already emaciated state. I want to help him, I do... but I need your help to do that, Twilight." Luna offered

Twilight pursed her lips as her eyes fell the infinite floor below her. For some time, her silence was the only response Luna received. Eventually though, she did respond.

"What do you need from me?"