~With my Head in the Clouds~
In a not so quiet and quaint castle lied a very quiet and very quaint place. A place where anypony who desired more insight on the past was able to quench their minds with the very juices that keeps them running-
“Pfft! Heh, boring!”
“Hey!” one of the royal guards hissed. “SHHHH!”
Everyone in the building, who was more or less a student, looked at the nonbeliever and either laughed or turned their heads back to their previous positions; most of them pretended to ignore the student as they knew who she was. The tallest mare in the group that remained in the room commented to the student's own comment.
“Woona,” she stated sternly. “Meet me out in the courtyard when class is through.”
Normally, a museum full of colt-made artifacts followed by a scavenger hunt would be enough to entrance the young children of Canterlot. And normally, living authority would keep them in check, too.
“Ugh fiiine, but let’s make it quick.” The child named Woona showed no fear in the face of that aforementioned authority. She made a face at the instructor; a sly grin. “Shall we?”
Only scarce clouds and the beautiful sun were at play in the present hour. The largest star was seen at the pinnacle of the mountainside behind the castle, and it cast forth a lustrously-dimmed shadow across the high plateau raised above the ocean. At first, the little light that looked to be circumventing the rough edges of the mountain was enough to blind anyone who looked in any part of the sky, but it died down in no time afterward, along with the shadow it brought.
“Woona.” The instructor who scolded her before used the same stern voice when she addressed the student. The child directed her attention from the ocean to her teacher. “You know we have business to discuss.”
Woona was the name of Princess Luna’s first and only born child. Her mother had raised her well, though a bit too well in terms of her school behavior when she would take time to tell some of her own crazy childhood stories. There was one incident where Luna had literally made out an event that included her sister Celestia miss almost half a year’s worth of ‘girl business’.
Woona was a very rebellious child, and that was also thanks to Luna, in addition to her father Veritus. However, the DeadBloods had something special about them: and that was a certain belief about their genetics. For whatever reason, the family bloodline was infamous about the proven theory that their next of kin was to be cursed for all their lives.
But this little girl, Woona, daughter of the night, didn't have a single thing wrong with her in that sense. This beautiful child carried almost every trait that her mother gave her, but not a thing from her father, thankfully for her. She carried the same turquoise mane that her mother once had, beautiful green eyes, no Cutie Mark, and a whole lot of heart beneath her.
Woona took away from her ocean gaze and once again acknowledged her teacher who looked to be lost in thought, looking out at the same body of water.
“Miss Jubilee?” she started. “I know why you're angry with me...”
Miss Jubilee, Woona’s seventh-grade history teacher was a tall, cream-colored mare with bright yellow-and-peach themed hair. She was a Pegasus, and with her left wing she reached up to her head and adjusted the thick framed glasses that she wore.
She was a very smart mare (that being a teacher and all), but ultimately the fact remained that she had no Cutie Mark to show.
She raised her head a bit and glanced at Woona with a different expression than normal.
“I can't focus on anything about school, cuz I wanna be...”
Jubilee, doing what she did best, listened to every word she had to say, but when Woona abruptly paused, she looked at her and she was startled to see her most hardened student, the toughest one she had ever supervised, curled up in a ball face down and bawling her eyes out, poetically near a bigger body of water than what she had to offer
“Hey hey! What’s the matter??” Jubilee had never witnesses a single moment in which Woona would be submissive.
“I just wanna be liked!” Woona lost all control and continued to sob. School had just let out, and a few clusters of kids, including some that were in class with her, saw her vulnerability and laughed loud enough to where she could hear them over her own muffled head. She further covered her face with her wings. She was so upset...
“You are liked Woona.” Jubilee reassured her. “In fact, you're loved most dearly.”
“No I’m not!!”
“Those kids only laugh at you because you're special.”
“Special Ed that’s for sure!”
“There’s no reason to bring yourself down like that. Listen to what I'm going to tell you."
Woona gave herself some time to catch her breath as she was interested in what Jubilee had to say.
“I’m certainly lesser than you, by far.” Woona lifted her face from the ground and revealed her flooded face to her teacher. Their eyes met and her mouth gaped open a little.
“But...how could I be?” Woona pursed her lips. “But how could you say that Mrs. Jubilee. You’re a teacher! AND an adult, too.”
“And like I said, you're special. You're a young Alicorn, and only princesses are born as Alicorns.”
Upon emphasizing thought on that last part, Woona returned her wings, as she knew all along that she didn't have much to hide from anymore. “You’re the princess’s daughter. Everyone likes you and you know it.” As the sun dove deeper behind the mountains, light grew faint, but Woona grew to realize that she was in fact wanted in the world despite her social status. Jubilee’s words greatly inspired her.
“...I, I know...” Woona sniffled and cried no longer. “I just don't know why I can’t always see it.” Jubilee sat down on the bed of green grass along with her pupil. She put her hoof on Woona’s head and ran it over her mane.
“Because these kinds of surrounding aren’t helping you at all and doing just the opposite.”
“You mean, I don't belong in Canterlot?” Woona asked with much worry in her words.
The teacher giggled softly. “No no, not at all. I’m very aware of all my student’s backgrounds, but especially yours, your highness."
“...It’s horrible isn't it?” Woona added. The temperature had dropped considerably since the sun descended and she shuddered little before she warmed her body with her wings. Just looking at the one loose feather that flew off was enough meaning to get her to start to understand what her teacher was telling her.
“It’s a real shame that you can’t live the life that a princess should, even in youth.” Jubilee paused for Woona to be able to understand her clearly. “What you need to do is what you want to do, and just leave, but it’s not because you're being kicked out of school. It'll be because you're the bigger more here and you can walk away from everything here. Your family, this cruel government. Everything, and just start new."
“I can't tell you how much I'd like that...” Woona agreed, despite the tone of her voice. “But, but where do you think I should start?”
Jubilee looked at Woona’s head, now raised and meeting a bittersweet stare of adoration. “I don’t really know...”
In sync with the encroaching darkness, Woona was assuring herself, along with Jubilee’s continued faith in her, that she would be fine on her own even without guidance.
“But you've taught me so much, this is kind of ironic. And I can't just say goodbye to you.”
They had moved, less visited and less visible area; some backtrails underneath a couple of streetlights on each side. As with the rest of the metropolis, the road was both spotless and flawless in design. The bricks planted in the Earth were painted white and the light from the overhead lamps highlighted their impeccable jointing and cleanliness. The lush environment around her wasn't anything similar to the ones she had to live with before, during three different trips to three different elementary schools.
“I’m only thirteen. I feel like I should be ready to find my own way through life, but...I don’t know. I guess I feel like something’s holding me back.”
Woona sat next to her teacher on a waxed wooden bench a few feet in between two of the overhead lights. Engraved in its structure was an empty space set for a memorial, for whom it tolled for was unknown. She laid up against Jubilee’s side, with the instructor’s right wing acting as a large feathery blanket just as the temperature dropped a little more.
“And what’s that?” she asked. “Have you made a friend?” Almost immediately, Woona reacted by turning her face away as her turquoise colored mane took its place in the same instant. Secretly, she was smiling uncontrollably, but she tried to act tough.
“Heh, no...” She turned her smile into a smirk and leaned back into Jubilee, where her façade was broken.
“Oh I know that face to well after a few decades of doing this. How did you meet him?"
Woona felt almost completely comfortable around Jubilee, even when she was being scolded by her directly, something that made her attitude quickly change.
“He doesn't go here.” She snuggled herself under Jubilee’s wing again. “I know him in town... I really wish he went here though.”
Jubilee’s heart was sent aflutter to hear everything Woona had to say so far, but this especially. Never before had she seen her open up to anyone in their acquainted years. Despite her rough and hardened exterior, Woona was able to develop a love so strong for someone that it was claimed to ‘consume her thoughts’. “I never stop thinking about him.” she said, wanting to climb on Jubilee’s back. “I wanna marry him when I grow up, and I’m serious about that.” Jubilee gently wriggled Woona off of her and chuckled.
“Don’t let those bugs get in your eyes, they’re quick.” Woona glanced up and took full notice to the flying insects above her.
They were fireflies, outshining even the bright artificial light that showered them. “Have you thought this out?” Woona watched them flutter in the air, she stared at them as their layer of light followed them. She wanted to get lost in the dreams she had about him; he was the only hope for her, it seemed as truth.
Woona’s dilated eyes strayed away from the insects. “And yeah, I have plans, but they’re super-secret.” Jubilee raised her head and looked out at the ocean that shimmered in the starlight. Woona also delved deeper into her thoughts as well. “Can I tell you a secret?” she asked politely. At that moment, Jubilee had her eyes on a firefly that landed at the tip of her muzzle a few seconds ago. It flew off along with the others as she answered her.
“Sure. You can trust me.”
And until midnight, Woona imbued her confidence from her mother’s beautiful night into explaining how she planned to escape her cruel life situations while taking herself on an amazing journey.
“I’m going to run away and never come back, but only after he agrees to come with me.” Jubilee listened with care.
An amazing journey through Equestria and possibly beyond, to carry on a goal that she hadn't yet realized she had set yet. She would attempt to discover who she really was; to find herself, and her partner would help her do this.
“You know my condition, Miss Jubilee, I wouldn't be able to do it by myself.”
“That I do. Is that why you care so deeply for him?”
“Well...I’m more worried about him than anything now that I think about it.”
“You know, I might get a little out of control...”
“Well then, if he truly loves you back, he’ll be able to look past that.” Woona was about to reply to her, but a loss for words arose. “Trust me.” Jubilee continued. “I know boys like him.”
Woona imagined how her love interest would accept her proposal, to the point that she would even fantasize about it. The constant thought made her want to squeal in excitement, and the thought of her trip with him would make her do so.
But there was one tear in her fold-
“After tonight, you should ask him as soon as you can. The next time you see him.” suggested Jubilee
Woona hadn't really talked to him about anything hinting to feelings for him yet. “I think you've got a pretty good plan here.”
-And suddenly Woona had millions of butterflies in her stomach.
“I’m not scared to do this at all. I hate my family, I hate where I have to live, I hate everything about my life right now except him.” Woona stated. Jubilee touched the child’s chin and raised her head, moving her hoof to the back of it, ruffling her mane playfully.
“You don’t hate me, do you?” she winked at her when Woona let out an immediate defiant hum.
“Never.” Jubilee smiled and nodded at her. “I never would. You’re like, my mom and my dad, except you know how to be a mom, and maybe even a dad too.” Jubilee started blushing and turned a cheek to her.
“Hehe, this guy’s really lucky to have you.”
“Yeah I know. Thanks teach.”
Woona felt a load better now that she was able to tell someone about her problems and her interests, which at the time highly consisted of getting herself out of her house, and colts.
“You sound like you’re a lot more confident now young lady.” said the eldest of the two.
“Oh I am. Thanks for cheering me up.”
“You’re very welcome Woona. Now, look up at the stars with me. What do you see?” Woona, a little late, followed her instructor’s lead, her gaze supported by the body behind her.
“It’s really late.” Woona mourned distantly. Even with the reassurance given by her teacher, the thought of her being caught out late by her father was menacing.
“I’m sorry, but I think I should go.” With that, she reluctantly rose from her comfortable seat and left Jubilee by herself. But before she walked away and gave her traditional goodbye, her teacher had something important to say.
“Woona.” Her student stopped in her tracks and turned around.
“I know how I can get you out of that place. With what I know about your dad, he won’t mind if you’re gone.” She closed her eyes and walked up to Woona, who stood in awe. She stood before the one mare in the world who made her feel like she was a living being with real emotions, with all the works. Just because Woona wasn't good at standing up for herself didn’t have to mean that ponies lesser of her status should take advantage of that and bully her.
Woona looked at Jubilee as a mother. She wasn’t married, and she had so much love to give; it was as if she was trying to reach out to Woona. At least, that’s what she thought, and probably hoped for.
The truth was, Woona didn't really care if she would never be able to see her parents again. As much as she loved her mother Luna, it was her father that was the cause of both of their issues, but mainly Woona’s. A father should be a figure who is reliable and trustworthy enough to feed his family. It should be someone who is caring and loving enough to have his child feel safe at home, and want to think of their father as a saint who could make everything better when times are troubles. Veritus wasn't a shred of any of that.
“How?” Woona sounded a little shocked. “What are you gonna do?”
“Expel you from school.”
“Indeed it is. Meet me after school tomorrow, but out in the garden instead. With tomorrow being the last day of school, it’ll let out early, and there will be more security.” She paused. “You know, you look really tired.” Jubilee found it funny how Woona started squinting her eyes during her explanation.
“You've got that right.” she replied slower than normal. “I just hope they’ll still be asleep when I get back.” Finally, she started walking away, out of the circle of light she stood under. She departed in her usual manner
“Night, Little Moon.”
After she was out of sight, Wooma looked back for the last time and saw Jubilee still seated on the bench and looking up at the sky.
“Man, she’s really lonely it looks like,” she said to herself. "A lot like me..."
From Canterlot’s inner prospects, Woona needed to assure that she would return home quickly, before her father would wake. Luna was already awake, but away on the complete opposite side of the city, visiting other ponies in their dreams, she believed. Veritus would need to wake up early to commute to his area of work, if that wasn't another lie that he told her.
Outside the gates and down-and-around a lengthy mountain trail was a fork in the road; one leading to another fork about thirty-nine meters in, and one that continued to descend. Woona was never able to set foot in Canterlot’s residential district down the other route, so she continued down the mountain. A couple of miles ahead of her, she would reach the slum camp where she unfortunately had to live. ‘Camp’ meaning that the area was directly managed and controlled by a few of the royal city’s officials. Woona thought of the long and eager trek that she had to take every day and night and started running home, in hopes of going completely unnoticed.
Over the course of her trip home, Woona encountered little to none of her neighborhood bullies. It was really late and they might have been asleep. Only a few ponies were out, silhouetted with the darkness and minding their own business. Thankfully, Woona was slightly assured of safety since she remained in the outskirts.
“Nice to know that they’re all the way out there.” she said to herself nervously. The strangers in the distance weren’t her problem.
The small town in which she lived didn't have a name, or a desirable reputation, and though it was easy to navigate due to its size, it was a dangerous place. Crime was among the highest issues the area had among any other barbaric act anyone could think of, partly because, with the lack of sunlight it received, the general consensus was that no one would stop the criminals. The town was at an angle below a looming hill buried deep under the same one that her and Woona looked the ocean over. The blueprinting for the organization of the grounds and the homes built upon it were poor; all of the houses were cramped so tightly together, and the quality of the foundations were horrible and falling apart, literally. The only time it would get any non-artificial light was when it was time for the sun to rise.
As Woona walked along the outskirts, rays of light beamed diagonally from the sky, compensating the angle of the cliff above the shore. Woona saw, and soon heard water thrusting between cavities in the wall she saw in the back of the town. It was an aqueduct that was almost strategically built for the poor’s district.
In addition to the beach-like surroundings, Woona enjoyed the sound of the water, even when pulsating through steel pipes at the bottom of the country. Her house was among the few that were in presentable shape. Woona walked up to the front door and of her generic house and found that it was locked. In a sudden excitement, she scurried around to the back, opened a window, and fell clumsily inside of her bedroom.
“Hey.” A male voice whispered from atop her bed.
“Hey Flame.” she responded just as softly. She smiled at her friend and got up, brushing herself off. “Oh yeah, we planned that sleepover for tonight. I’m sorry I’m late.” She leaned over the top frame of her bed and gave her colt friend a kiss on the cheek. “I’ll be back in a second.” She walked out of the room through her bedroom door and locked the front door from the inside out in the living room, then returned in the same quick fashion. She closed the door behind her. The colt still had a confused look on his face when she returned.
NightFlame didn't like to think of himself as cool, but Woona would always assure him that he was. He was a very modest, moderately laid-back, and strictly a ’live free or die hard’ kind of guy, (or at least when he would get inspired by something). He didn't really care too much about what others thought of him—all except for the fillies. He was always open to talking with girls, and maybe he wanted to be an elusive figure to those who would have an interest in him; he wasn't really sure about that part.
The slightly muscular colt was an Earth pony with a blue coat and a mane and edged tail that resembled fire. With a deep blue foundation and a red layer surrounding it, his name was appropriately tied to his appearance. He had a few freckles on his muzzle and yellow-orange eyes who’s thickness in color was leveled opposite from Woona’s. Standing at exactly five feet, with the help from the bunked bed her stood on, he was truly a small guy for his early double digits, but he made up for it with the attitude and confidence of a real leader.
“How long have you been here?”
“About an hour.” He answered her with a repressed yawn. “He’s not here.”
“Even if he was, he’d either be asleep or busy watching his lame-ass comedies on the TV. He wouldn’t be able to hear us.”
“Hell yeah! Cuz we’re totally awesome ninjas!” As he quietly exclaimed, Woona picked up a lone pillow from the middle of the room and threw it at him playfully. It breezed across his head in to to the corner of the room. He laughed. “What was that for?”
“For being you, that’s what.”
“For being me?” His edgy tail swiped to the left.
“Yeah! You know, you’re smart and kind, and you wait here an hour in a place that’s out of your comfort zone...” NightFlame gave Woona a savory smile.
“Thanks, and I’m not really out of my comfort zone, but thanks for worrying.” Woona pretended to investigate the window and make sure it fell completely shut when she entered. She was totally blushing. “So anyway,” she started. “Do you wanna take the bed tonight? I can sleep on my ultimate plethora of pillows and not cuddly doom.” He dismissed her offer when he climbed down the bed and sat on a pile of pillows to Woona’s right.
“What kind of a man sleeps on a bed when a woman sleeps on the floor, huh?”
Woona giggled. “But I’m not even tired yet.” Regardless, she climbed up to the top bunk as he got back up and joined her. He sat at the end of it facing her while she threw a blanket over herself and sunk into yet another composition of pillows.
“Is everything okay here? asked NightFlame. “I mean, out of the ordinary?”
“I had a serious talk with my history arts and sciences teacher...about my expulsion.”
“Why would they kick you out?? If anything, you’re probably the school’s best student! Besides, you’re the princess’s daughter; there’s no way they can do that to you.”
“It’s not like they look at that anymore. My mom did the worst thing ever, you know that, sometimes even more than I do sometimes.”
For the remainder of his stay on the bed, she kept a sad and depressed tone of voice and her face was similar to the feeling. She had her head pulled back into her pillows and looked up at the dirty ceiling the whole time she reminisced about her mother’s most recent history.
Princess Luna, at one point in time, was far more of a godly and powerful figure than her sister Celestia. Though she didn't abuse her power, she could have easily ‘thrown the entire land and even the world into a state of unending poverty, and bring forth an immortal servitude of relentless shadows’. The very verse had been locked away in Luna’s personal diaries, and later discovered by her nosy sister.
Apparently, upon reading only a little bit further, Luna had a deep hatred for her dead-end duty as the bringer of night. She mentioned how she was trapped in an endless cycle of merely prolonging the time that she and Celestia had before their kingdom would be attacked or overthrown by malcontent. Celestia got carried away at that point and stumbled upon a younger entry about a wedding, and why she didn't attend.
She was envious of Celestia’s niece Cadence. She had found the love of her life, and it just so happened to be Celestia’s student’s brother, Shining Armor. Luna would hear almost nothing but how anxious and excited everyone was for the ceremony; she felt like she needed a break. The pages had no more to say, but the truth was that she went to a bar in Trottingham to miserably try to find of her own special somepony. That’s exactly what happened over numerous drinks and a night together.
When Woona was born nine months later, the paranoia Luna wrote about began to affect her. She was reminded of her terrorist desires and acts of dishonor among the royal family, most notably what caused her to carry a child. Eventually, she was exiled from the majority of Equestria, and the other halves of it rejected her presence, dragging her child and reluctant spouse along with her. The final option for her unintended family was to take up residence beneath Canterlot; in the slums that never saw sun.
Luna didn't even remember going to that bar that day...
“He’s the reason why me and my mom are suffering. I could give less than a crap about him.” Woona referred to her father in such a negative sense. She pitted Veritus with the blame for their misery.
“I didn't know that much.” said NightFlame. “She has no memory at all?”
“She kept on saying her conscience wouldn't let her be happy as some kind of punishment. That’s the clearest she’s ever put it for me.”
“Damn.” he hissed.
“But anyway, cuz my wannabe dad’s not worth our breath, I was talking to my teacher about why I’m doing so poorly in school.” She paused. “ Cuz of this whole thing, and maybe how I worry about what others think of me.
“Well if anyone should worry about that, it shouldn't be you. So what if everyone hates your mom...and your wannabe dad, just cuz they’re a little infamous doesn't mean you’ll turn out the same way.”
“You’re right.” She sighed deeply, then closed her eyes for a second and reopened them, smiling at her best friend. “You're all right.”
It was a daring move, she thought, but she quickly leaned toward NightFlame and placed a kiss on his right cheek, then went back to her former position in a flash. NightFlame stared at her with a blank face, but slightly blushing. She cut him off as he took in breath to speak. “Thanks for being such a great friend.”
“Oh, that’s what that was for? Ehehe...” Nervous, he looked for a distraction, a diversion; something to move out of an awkward moment with. Luckily, sunlight appeared to be ready to magnify itself through the window and onto the walls of Woona’s room. “Hey uhm...I think it’d be a good idea if I go. Your mom’ll probably be back soon.”
Woona looked down and shook her head, as if reluctantly pained by something. She got back up and took his left leg, clutching his hoof to her chest, right below her head, cuddling it. “No. I want you to stay. You’re the only person I talk to when you’re kind enough to visit me in this hellhole.” NightFlame realized that conditions with his own life left him with nowhere else to go anyway, so he fulfilled her wish happily.
“I’ll take the corner so you can see how I won’t be going anywhere.” He walked over to the corner behind Woona’s bedroom door, directly across from her. He started to prod the pillow that was tossed in that direction earlier “You sure you’re okay?”
“I’m sure, Flame.” She told him after she dozed off for a few seconds. “Good morning.” She fell victim to fatigue once again.
“Good morning.” he replied as he curled up and got comfortable.
“I love you.” she told him. He didn't respond, since he was just as tired as she was (he’s just more energetic) and fell asleep instantly. Woona took hold of one of the pillows out from behind her head and wrapped her forelegs around it, not giving it any room to breathe.
“I love you so much.”