Hundreds of ponies gathered along the tip of a lush peninsula jutting into the dark sapphire waters of the North and South Luna Seas. A few dozen dragonflies stood sentry a short distance from the beach, left behind by the remnants of the Atlantean Royal Guard.
The first light of an irrevocably changed world crept up from the horizon, held at bay by the twilight. The soft glow of Galloway swept across the peninsula and the ponies below the star.
One spot stood out from the rest of the beach. Silver flecks ebbed in Galloway's light, a glimmering beacon to those drawn to the peninsula far, far away from the scarred remains of Ponyville and Canterlot.
The quiet wind carried a whispering howl from ear to ear.
The silver beach reflected off of Luna's eyes.
"There! That's where we're supposed to land!"
"Are those... ponies?" said Star Tracer.
"I don't think I've seen so many gathered in one spot before."
"It's only the biggest welcoming party ever!" said Pinkie Pie. "Those are your ponies, Star Tracer!"
"Welcome home, General," Luna said.
The dragonfly gently settled halfway between the glittering beach and the breaking waves as twilight collapsed into the first gold dawn of the new world to come. The last whispered howl faded into the song of the sea, Luna and Star Tracer led the rest of the crew to the remnant of Atlantis gathered under the light of Galloway.
"Where are the Princesses?" one pony said.
"Is General Firestorm with you?" said another.
Star Tracer turned to Celestia and Luna.
"It's your time to take the reins," Celestia said.
"My fellow Atlanteans," said Star Tracer, "it is with great sadness that I must inform you all that General Firestorm and our Princesses Minerva and Pandora made the ultimate sacrifice against Tirek."
Waves of sadness and breaking hearts swept through the crowd, only for hope and the rising sun to drive the pain into the shadows.
"But let it be known that their sacrifice, along with the sacrifice made by those left behind, was not for nothing. Though we have lost so much--our leaders, our loved ones, even our very home--and though our allies have lost what we have lost and more, we are still here.
"We all woke to a new gold dawn, one where the sun and the moon, the day and the night, are free of our control, a control which was not our to have at all. But we... we all... woke to a new destiny.
"It was destiny which brought my new friends and allies here. It was destiny which called you all to gather upon the shores of new land which did not exist before, and yet, always has. It was destiny which placed the reins of power into my hooves...
"And now, it is destiny which mandates I give those reins to their rightful inheritor."
From Firestorm's saddlebag rose a scroll sealed with the royal colors of both Minerva and Pandora, held aloft in the deep pink aura from Star Tracer's magic.
"Princess Luna," Star Tracer said, "a long time ago, your godmothers carved out a destiny for our empire. In the event of their passing, whether together or one after the other, whomever was in command of the Atlantean Royal Guard at that moment was to reveal their destiny for Atlantis to its successor.
"That honor falls now to me, Your Grace."
Luna took hold of the scroll, carefully breaking the seals, then gently unfurled the document with her magic.
"'To our dearest Luna,'" Luna said, "'If you are reading this, it is because we have returned to Avalon once and for all. Whatever events transpired to grant us our exit from the stage of life, it leaves our kingdom with no one to govern.
"'No one but you.'"
Luna's eyes widened.
"'From the time of your return from exile, we knew you would be the one to rule in our place. Like you, we've existed in shadow and starlight for many, many moons, distant from the rest of the world.
"'It is time for Atlantis to return to the light. You are the only pony meant to guide our kingdom to it.
"'Therefore, as of the day the seals are broken, you are now and forever Luna, Princess of Atlantis.'"
"Brand New Princess Party!" said Pinkie, firing a barrage of confetti and streamers upon the gathering from her party cannon.
"Congratulations, dear sister," said Celestia, tightly hugging Luna amid the cheering crowd.
Luna looked around at the happy faces gathered upon a single, silver spot on the tip of a western peninsula between two seas under the light of the sun and a star that would not set, a place that that, as her new general had said, both did not exist before the events tied to her godmothers and Tirek, and always did exist.
'Am I ready?' she thought. 'Is this truly meant to be? All of these ponies... under... my rule?'
"Speech! Speech!" said Rainbow Dash, bringing Luna back to the present.
"Speech! Speech!" said Pinkie, getting everypony to chant with her.
"You've got this, Princess," said Applejack.
Blushing from the encouragement, Luna stepped forward from the rest of her friends. Silence rushed over the crowd like the waters upon the glimmering beach.
"I don't know where to begin," Luna said. "Am I really meant to govern over all of you? And Celestia, if I do leave to rule my own empire, what will happen if I'm not at your side to rule Equestria?"
"Luna, for a thousand years, I've done exactly that," Celestia said. "Every day and every night, I raised and lowered the sun and moon, and took care of everypony under my rule. It was hard at times, but I think you see how everything turned out. I can rule on my own once more, and I think it might even be a bit easier this time.
"When Twilight and her friends brought you back from the possession of Nightmare Moon through the magic of friendship, it was not only the best day of my life, but the start of the journey toward this moment."
"You... you knew?"
"Our godmothers and I spent a good while sorting the details of when Atlantis would become yours from just before... before the Nightmare began. Everything after was a plan to release you from your darkness so that you would one day release Atlantis from its own shadows.
"Today is that day."
"But... there's no Atlantis to free from the shadows now," Luna said.
"The island may be no more, but Atlantis is still here, Your Grace," Star Tracer said. "Look upon the eyes of everyone before you, and see in their hearts the spirit of our empire. No beast or eldritch abomination or army, no corruption of any kind, can ever snuff out the flame began in Palladia so many millennia ago.
"Take hold of the flame, Princess Luna of Atlantis."
Luna looked toward the silver star still maintaining its place in the morning sky.
"How did everypony happen upon this spot?"
"We followed Galloway from Equestria," a random pony said.
"A voice told us to follow the star to the beam of light in the horizon," said another.
"All of us arrived a few moments before you all did," a third pony said.
Luna continued to look upon the star when a flash of light raced across her eyes.
"Did the voice say anything else?"
Everypony shook their heads.
"Everypony, I cannot be your Princess of Atlantis," Luna said. "We must start anew. Therefore, as my first and final act as Princess of Atlantis, I declare Atlantis to be renamed in honor of the star above us now, Galloway."
"And, since I am still General of the Royal Guard, Your Grace," Star Tracer said, "my second act is to dub thee Luna, the first Princess of Galloway."
"Are there any objections?" Luna and Star Tracer asked to a resounding "no" from the crowd.
"Then let us begin again," Luna said, "and let us build Galloway upon this spot."
Pinkie gasped. "A new empire! A new princess and general! A sunny beach? Do you know what this means?"
"I think we all do, but we'll let you say it, Pinkie" Twilight Sparkle said.
"A New Princess, New General, New Empire Beach Party!"
Twenty-one party cannons from nowhere showered everypony in glitter, cakes, streamers and confetti, kicking off the celebration.
The party was still going strong as the sun gave way for the moon. Galloway continued its watch over the ponies below, glowing brighter than it ever did before.
"How long do you think it will take to build a proper capital for Galloway?" asked Luna.
"A few moons, perhaps," said Star Tracer. "How long did it take to build Canterlot?"
Luna gasped. "That's right! Canterlot! All of Equestria! They need to be rebuilt, too!"
"We can certainly use the help, dear sister," Celestia said, "but I think we've got it under control."
"Although, there's a lot of us who can help get ya up to speed here, too," Applejack said. "If us Apples can raise a barn in a day, a new castle and town shouldn't be too much to handle, Princess Luna."
"Indeed, Your Grace," Rarity said. "I can come up with ideas on decor and livery that would be suitable for such an endeavor."
"I'm sure some of the woodland animals can help wherever they could," said Fluttershy.
"And somepony's going to have to organize your new library," said Twilight Sparkle.
"And I'll definitely plan a big party for the grand opening of Galloway's new castle and town," said Pinkie.
"Just one piece of advice, New Princess: Leave the creepy stuff behind," Rainbow said.
"And no city-sized bombs, either," Spike said.
Luna chuckled. "I think I can do that."
"Speaking of libraries, Your Grace, our vaults were aboard the Aria before she was possessed," said Star Tracer. "We're not sure if they were cast out like we were, but we will need to search for them either way."
"If we find the vaults, what should we do with them?"
Star Tracer looked toward the east. "Not keep it to ourselves... if Princess Celestia allows for our knowledge to spread, of course."
Celestia nodded. "I won't make that mistake again, Luna. I always feared Equestria would lose its magic if it became anything like Atlantis, but I can see that fear was unfounded. Our godmothers proved magic and technology can co-exist, and so as it will be in Galloway, shall it be in Equestria."
"Your Grace, I have one more thing for you."
Star Tracer lifted out an amethyst top from Firestorm's saddle bags.
"Princess Minerva said you might know what this is."
Luna's magic interacted with the top, causing both to glow violet in harmony.
"Minerva... this is you giving me the key to your world, isn't it?"
"Take hold of the flame, Dreamwalker," Star Tracer said.
"Need help reaching those clouds, Scootaloo?"
Shrouded in the rainbow mist enveloping the Winsome Falls gazebo, Luna watched the pegasus attempt to take flight to be with her idol, her wings struggling to lift her body only a few inches off the ground.
"Princess Luna?" Scootaloo asked. "What are you doing here?
"Getting used to one of my new roles. What about you?"
"I just want to be up there with Rainbow Dash," tears welling up beneath her eyes, "but my wings are too small to fly with her."
"I think I can fix that," Luna said, directing her subject's attention to a descending Rainbow.
"Hey kid!" Rainbow said. "Would you like to come fly with me around Winsome Falls?"
"Would I?" Scootaloo's eyes widened.
"Come on! I can carry you on my hoof so you can let those bad boys gets some air," pointing to her admirer's wings as they rapidly buzzed in excitement.
Luna watched her subject beam with pure joy as the pegasi duo zoomed and arced through the rainbows and clouds of the falls, her heart warmed by the feelings of Scootaloo's dream.
"I'll catch ya later, kid!" Rainbow said after dropping Scootaloo off at the gazebo moments later before departing back to Cloudsdale.
"Isn't she amazing!" Scootaloo said.
"She definitely is," Luna said.
"Thank you so much for making this happen! I don't know how you did it, but thank you!"
"You are quite welcome, Scootaloo."
"Will I see you again?"
"For as long as I'm needed," Luna said, wrapping Scootaloo in her wing.
"For as long as I'm needed."
A rainbow-feathered phoenix and a silver-feathered dragon flew toward the rising sun, looking briefly upon the two ponies before vanishing in a flash of violet light.