by cleverpun

7. Insincerity

Celestia took another sip of wine. She had far too much magic to ever be affected by alcohol; her natural defenses would never let such toxins impede her. The complexity of wine distracted her. Tasting and investigating the layers of a fine wine helped to take her mind off things.

Somepony knocked on her door. She had ordered the guards not to let anyone disturb her, so it had to be someone with authority.

“Come in,” she called.

Cadance walked in. “Good evening, auntie.”

“Hello, Cadance. Wine?”

“No, thank you.”

Celestia waved a hoof at the chair across from her desk. “Please, have a seat. I’m guessing something is on your mind, to show up this late.”

Cadance sat down. “I heard you forgave aunt Luna.”

“I did.” Celestia took another sip of wine. No point in asking how Cadance had heard it. “Is there something that concerned you?”

“After our…discussion, it seemed like an odd thing for you to do.”

“I thought you would be happy about it,” Celestia said. “You were defending her, during that discussion.”

“I would be happy, if you were being sincere.”

Celestia’s glass paused in front of her mouth. She set it on her desk. “Is that why you’re here so late? To lecture me?”

“No. I’m here to ask why.”

Celestia took a deep breath. No point in lying to Cadance. Or rather, Cadance saw through lies too easily for it to matter. “I thought it was for the best. She said a lot of things to me. Troubling things. I hoped that… I thought that, perhaps if we reconciled, she would not feel the need to resort to any more violence.”

“What sort of things did she say?” Cadance asked.

“She said that she needed me. That in all her time alone, I was the only thing she thought of.”

“And that scared you?” Cadance furrowed her brow. “I recall you said something very similar about her.”

“That was…is different. She’s not the same.”

“Neither are you,” Cadance said. “Nopony can be, after a thousand years apart.”

“The differences are not comparable. I did not go insane from isolation and dark magic.”

Cadance leaned forward. “And that justifies lying to your sister?”

“What would you have me do?” Celestia slammed a hoof on her desk, and the wine glass rattled. “Admit that she disgusts me?” She froze, retracted her hoof. “It is better this way. Safer. For everyone.”

Cadance had not reacted to the outburst. She sat there stoically, her eyes still fixed on Celestia. “You can’t fake love, auntie.”

Celestia leaned back in her chair. She folded her forelegs and then took a deep breath. “No, that is true. But sometimes, living a lie turns it into truth.”

“I see.” Cadance stood up. “I think I understand why you did it now.” She turned to leave. “I’ll leave you to your wine.”

“Cadance,” Celestia whispered. “Please don’t tell her.”

Cadance paused at the door. “I won’t. But I would think, after all this, that you would know how much secrets can fester.”

Cadance left. Celestia reached for her glass. She needed the distraction.