Princess Luna blinked and groaned. She felt like she had just flown to the moon and back 10 times over without a single break.
Slowly her eyes creaked open and she realized that she was in bed, her own bed in fact, in her own room. She had been apparently laid down to rest by somepony after the Elements had banished all the changelings.
Luna glanced out of the window and to her relief, saw not a speck of black in the sky or on the ground. Not a single Changeling was in sight.
Then she heard the door open and she glanced towards it. A guard was peaking in and Luna quickly verified that his eyes were clear and free of any indicators of hypnosis.
“Princess! Your awake!”
“I most certainly am. Please inform me of what has happened while I recuperated. The last thing your Princess remembers is the Elements of Harmony curing everypony and expelling the Changelings.”
The guard quickly turned and called another stallion to him. He gave an order for the guard to get some food from the kitchens and then stepped into the room.
“After you lost consciousness Princess Celestia had you checked over by the best doctors to be found. They determined that, while the Elements healed your injuries sustained in battle, your body was suffering from exhaustion after fighting Princess Celestia and taking such a beating.”
Luna looked away out the window, noting that the sun was still in the sky. She guessed it must be about afternoon.
“How long was I unconscious?”
“A few hours.”
“Where is my sister at the moment?”
The guard looked at her confusedly, but answered nonetheless “I believe she is in the great hall of the castle, she is preparing for the wedding.”
“The wedding is still on for today?!” Luna asked incredulously.
The guard nodded “at first Shining Armor wished to delay the ceremony, but I believe it was his sister Twilight Sparkle who said “let’s just get it over with before something else happens!””
Luna smirked. Then the other stallion entered, bringing with him a platter full of food.
The first guard explained as his companion set the food down in front of Luna, “the doctors recommend that you eat a good deal in order to regain your strength.”
After a moment, Luna nodded and began eating. She couldn’t help but admit that she rather relished the opportunity to eat so much in one go.
After she was finally done, she rose and began to get out of bed. The guard however, looked alarmed.
“Princess Luna, the doctors suggest that you stay in bed at least a full day in order to recuperate!”
Luna shook her head “I must see my sister before I do anything else. I understand that I need rest and I fully intend to get it, but not quite yet. First I must see to a certain matter that needs to be cleared up between my sister and I.”
She strode forward and, after a few seconds hesitation, the guard let her pass.
Princess Celestia was in the grand hall finalizing the wedding. She’d only been persuaded to leave her sister’s side with the combined efforts of Twilight Sparkle, Princess Cadence, and Shining Armor together.
She was currently alone, which was alright. She preferred to be alone for now, with less people around she could try and keep her mind off how she’d betrayed them all so easily to the Queen of the Changelings.
She remembered it clearly now. It was only a little while after she had had her argument with Luna. The fake Princess Cadance had come to her and asked, very sweetly and politely, for her to come to her private quarters for her opinion on the new dress she’d been considering. At the time Celestia had merely been happy to see that Cadance was acting herself again, she’d been mostly cold and distant the past few days due to wedding stress she presumed.
But once she’d entered the room she had heard the sound of spell charging up and had turned, only to be hit full in the face by the Changeling Queen’s spell. Celestia supposed that in a way it was heartwarming because normally Alicorns could shrug spells like that off without a second thought. But Queen Chrysalis had been feeding on Shining Armor’s love for Princess Cadance and so Shining Armor loved Cadance so much that the Changeling Queen was able to harness enough power from him that she could enslave Celestia with it.
After that, she had systematically, under Chrysalis’s orders, brainwashed all the guards and magicians. Then she had sent them out to brainwash the whole population of Canterlot while Shining Armor’s protection spell turned into a prison to prevent anypony from getting away.
Where it not for the heroics of her sister, Equestria itself might be under the thrall of the Changelings by now.
A sound of hooves echoing off the marble alerted Celestia to the fact that somepony was coming.
Celestia turned and saw Luna in the doorway. Both sisters stared awkwardly at each other. Then, Luna looked at the floor with a guilty expression on her face.
“What is it Luna?”
“I am . . . sorry sister.”
Celestia stared at her sister in confusion.
“For what, if anyone should be apologizing, it’s me.”
Luna looked her sister in the eyes. “Before I went to sleep the morning before this whole incident began. I . . . said some very hurtful things. I accused you of using me as a scapegoat and for that I am sorry.”
Luna’s eyes began to water as she stared at her sister “I have just been thinking, what if I had failed and those were the last words we ever spoke to one another while in our right minds. I don’t think I could’ve born it for your last memories of me to be ones of hatred! I had already forced you to live through that a thousand years ago!!!”
Celestia walked over to her sister and put her wing around her, drawing her close. Both of them took comfort in each other’s presence.
“Luna . . . about what you said that night . . . about how I allowed you to pass into legend in favor of Nightmare Moon. Well, you were right.”
Celestia’s own eyes began to water as she stared down at her sister “I was heartbroken after you were gone. I had lost the last member of my family and was forced to continue on running Equestria in spite of how much I was hurting. I think part of me knew what was happening, but couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it.”
Tears were now leaking out of Celestia’s eyes as she finally faced one of her past demons.
“I did not know if I’d ever see the real you again. I didn’t know if even the Elements were enough to make you see reason. Or perhaps I knew that my neglect of you in favor of perfecting my precious day was the root of our conflict. I think that I was simply afraid to even think of you if I didn’t have to. To banish you nearly destroyed me and I never wanted to experience that pain again. So in reality, it was my fault that you were forgotten.”
Neither sister spoke. Then Celestia sniffed and continued on.
“And I’ve proven that I’m not even fit to be the Queen of Equestria!”
Luna’s face became confused “how can you say that sister?”
“I was taken in by a simple hypnosis spell. I in turn did everything Queen Chrysalis told me. I NEARLY KILLED YOU LUNA!!!”
Luna flinched as her sister shouted the final sentence. Celestia looked away, her shame building inside of her. Then she felt her sister wiping her eyes off with one of her black wings.
“I do not think you give yourself enough credit sister.”
“You are too kind Luna.”
“No, I am not” Luna said with a firm enough voice to make Celestia look at her in confusion. Luna continued before Celestia could speak again.
“Do not underestimate yourself sister. You had almost a full 12 hours in which I was asleep on my bed, utterly defenseless. And I know that you can be an extremely good marksmare. I think . . . no, I know that you are the reason I survived the day without being brainwashed.”
Celestia contemplated this as Luna continued.
“You chased me for a long enough time that you should’ve been able to hit me. And where did you drive me to? The Crystal Mines, right into the only other two people who had escaped this madness. I even wonder if I could’ve done as well as I did in our final battle if you hadn’t been holding back.”
Celestia looked slightly comforted, but she still looked sad.
“But Luna, what about the way I treated your memory?”
Luna wiped her sister’s tears away once again. “I think now I understand your actions better than ever. I never knew how lonely it could be when you are immortal and all those that you know will eventually die. When I was planning with the others, a part of me wondered if worst came to worst, whether I would simply have to leave and establish a kingdom somewhere else without you. And the thought of that, of living alone without you and trying to run everything, it was the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Luna looked her sister straight in the eye; Celestia flinched, and then looked back.
“So, I think I can forgive you sister, for not wishing to stir memories of me during my thousand year banishment.”
Luna smiled and after a moment, Celestia smiled as well. Both sisters wrapped their wings around each other in a tight embrace. Neither ever wanted to be separated from the other again. For in the end, they were two of a kind, immortal and noble creatures. Only they could truly understand each other like only sisters can. And while they may not be perfect, they were willing to look past any angry comment or mistake the other made when forgiveness was so much more rewarding.
Twilight was about to barge into the main hall when she heard the sound of voices. She stopped and cautiously looked around the door. Both Princess Luna and Princess Celestia were speaking with each other and though she didn’t quite understand some of it, Twilight could see by the tears that it was a very emotional time for both Alicorns.
Then they wrapped their wings around each other and embraced. Twilight smiled, not quite sure if she’d ever seen anything as touching before. She slowly backed away, taking great care not to be heard. She could wait, right now, both sisters needed each other and Twilight would make sure that they got that time.
The wedding was glorious, as it should be. Luna did not know if she’d ever seen any married couple look so joyous as Shining Armor and Princess Cadance did when Celestia declared them married.
As Luna brought the moon up to start its journey through the sky, the wedding moved out into the courtyard of the castle.
But, as Luna finished her ritual with the moon and flew down to join in the festivities, she was astonished to see that everyone appeared to be waiting on her. As soon as she landed, Shining Armor called everyone’s attention.
“*ahem* I believe, that these festivities should not just be dedicated to my wedding to the beautiful Princess Cadance, but also in honor of another Princess whom we all owe our lives to.”
All eyes turned to Luna who found herself blushing at the sudden attention she was getting.
“Princess Luna bravely led the bearers of the Elements of Harmony to victory over the vile Queen of the Changelings. I think it only fair that she shares our appreciation and that we honor her for her great accomplishment.”
He picked up a glass of wine, everyone else followed suit (except for those underage, who quickly had plastic cups of apple juice shoved into their hooves). Shining Armor lifted his glass and proclaimed, “to Princess Luna! Savior of Equestria!”
His proclamation was echoed by all those in attendance and they all drank their toast to the Princess of the Moon.
Luna smiled meekly, unsure of how to respond to this sudden display of appreciation. She was spared the trouble by Pinkie Pie who started music to a song. A microphone was tossed to Twilight Sparkle and Princess Luna had to marvel at the singing skill of Celestia’s student.
Immediately Luna found herself socializing with various ponies, all of which seemed dead set on telling her how wonderful they thought she was and how fascinating her night sky and moon were.
To her great delight, Luna found herself soon with a sizable audience who would like nothing more than for her to point out the heavenly wonders that she was steward over.
As she corrected a pony who had mistaken a comet for a star, she mused that things were starting to work out for her after all.
Luna looked around at the party full of happy ponies, then towards her sister who was chatting animatedly with Twilight Sparkle, at the bride and the groom who were currently dancing to a lively tune, and finally, back to the group of ponies who were currently enraptured by a meteor they had found.
And she smiled more widely than she had in over a thousand years.