A Monster In Thine Image

by Foals Errand


Story

Celtor, I’m not certain about this. We barely made it through that mountain even with each other to rely on.

Have no fear, my dear little brother, Nightshade, this is only a exploration of a new world.

You are right, of course, big brother. And together, we can overcome our obstacles and unde—

Luna’s ear flicked as she heard the sound of quiet hoofsteps outside her door. Quickly, she pushed the smooth stones under the bed, yanking a history tome out just as the door opened. She forced her eyes onto the words she could no longer read as she heard the hoofsteps creep closer. Luna forced herself to breath easy even as her tail attempted to tuck under her legs blocking her marehood from sight.

She’ll-leave-soon-she’ll-leave-soon-she’ll-leave-soon.

“Luna? How are you doing this evening?” Celestia smiled looking down at where her beloved little sister was laying on her belly dutifully studying. “It’s a bit early for you to be awake; didn’t you sleep well?” She frowned. Maybe Luna is having nightmares about what that monster did to her…

Luna didn’t say anything just continued to mime reading. Go-away-go-away-go-away.

Celestia watched her for a few moments before swallowing. “A bad dream about the moon?” She watched as a chill ran down Luna’s back and gritted her teeth. That damned Nightmare. If Twilight had not destroyed it, I’d do so again! What I did to it on the moon would be nothing! “It’s all right. You don’t have to be afraid of her anymore. Big sister is here; I’ll protect you.” She laid on her stomach next to Luna wrapping her large, white wing around Luna’s little, blue body. “What is it you are reading, Lulu?”

Luna froze as Celestia’s wing folded around her. It felt so gentle so loving. M-maybe she has changed… Ma-maybe I am safe here like Nightshade is with Celtor… “I… We art not reading…”

Celestia frowned, glancing over at Luna, who had her eyes turned away and focused on the large book. “What do you mean you aren’t reading, Luna? That is a history book you’ve been staring at since I came in, isn’t it?”

Luna shrugged “We doth not know We art not able to read its words in any meaningful manner. ‘Tis a tome of child scribbles to Our eyes.”

Celestia’s eyes grew wide. “You can’t read? I— Why haven’t you said anything, Luna? If I had known earlier, I would never have given you so many books…”

Luna swallowed hard; she still wasn’t certain if Celestia wouldn’t just return to how she had been. Luna was so thankful of the elements being able to regress her body back to the one she had as a filly. She dreaded how Celestia may have treated her if she was still grown. “‘T-’tis all right. I like all of your many gifts.” Luna, in fact, used the books as obstacles for Celtor and his little brother, Nightshade, to transverse and conquer.

“I’m glad that you like them, Luna.” Celestia smiled as she tried reaching to nuzzle Luna with her muzzle only to frown as Luna pulled away. Oh, Luna… what did she do to you…? “Luna, the books were given as not only as a gift but also to help you get used to how much our home has changed since you left a millenia ago… It’s very important that you read these books, though, so I’ll find a tutor to help you”

Luna closed her eyes and nodded, trying not to shiver at the idea of another tutor mocking her as she tried to learn to speak Modern Equestrian. “Thou hath our thanks, sister. We will work hard with Our tutors to learn what you wish Us to.”

Celestia smiled and nuzzled into Luna’s neck, but stopped as she felt her body stiffen. Celestia pulled back biting her lip. “Well, if you were not reading, what is it you were doing in here, Luna? Would you be willing to share with me?”

Luna froze, her eyes glancing toward her bed where her beloved Celtor and Nightshade were. Can I trust Celestia? She seems to be different now that I am back on Equestria and once more appear as a filly… “...toys.”

“You have been playing with toys, Luna? What type?” Celestia smiled gently. Oh, dear, I wonder if being possessed by that monster left her… touched.

Luna’s ear flicked “... Dolls… in a manner of speech.”

“Will you show me? Maybe I can play with you?” Celestia cocked her head, speaking in a soft, loving manner as she began thinking of all the doctors she would have to contact once she left Luna’s room.

Luna hesitated before she reached a hoof under her bed. “Thou will not tease upon seeing them?” Luna forced her hoof not to shake; Celestia had not been like that since her return.

“I’d never tease you, Luna. I’d be honored if you would show me your dolls.” Celestia smiled, placing her hoof on Luna’s foreleg.

Luna nodded and silently pulled out the two moon rocks, which had helped keep her sane the thousand years she was alone.

Celestia’s teeth clenched together as Luna pulled out two moon rocks that seemed very familiar to her. They were smooth, likely from a hoof manipulating them for days upon days. A large-ish stone, which was ash gray, and a pebble, which was coal gray. “... Do they have names, Luna?” It’s only a coincidence…

“Celtor—” Luna nodded toward the stone “—and his little brother, Nightshade…” Luna rubbed her hoof over the pebble.

Celestia pulled back her wing and stared at Luna. “Luna…” She watched as her little sister trembled taking in a few things she had not allowed herself to notice.

The way Luna kept her wings tightly folded to her sides.

How Luna kept her head down her eyes looking at the floor.

How her tail tucked itself between her legs.

Celestia’s eyes widened as she pulled back. No… It… It was Nightmare Moon!

“Celestia, ‘tis something the matter?” Luna looked over at where Celestia seemed to be just staring at her. Or through me… oh no… “No, Celestia! Please, ‘tis no trick! We art not the Nightmare!” Had Luna not already been on her belly she would have lowered herself onto it as it was, she lowered her head, keeping her eyes down her body shivering.

Celestia watched as Luna shivered and closed her eyes, remembering her monthly trip to the moon. Seeing Nightmare Moon and the punishment she gave her. Stop lying to yourself, Celestia. What you did was not punishment; it was torture… “Luna, show me your horn.”

Luna froze even her shivers ceased as a whimper escaped her muzzle her eyes closed tight she extended her neck out to Celestia.

Celestia took in the sight of Luna’s horn and really looked at it. The tip of Luna’s horn was rounded, not sharp like Celestia remembered it. She closed her eyes for a moment and breathed out before taking Luna’s horn in her forehooves.

Luna’s eyes snapped open as she felt Celestia’s hooves on her horn and yanked back, falling back onto her back “No, no, please. Please, sister, Our horn is still tender. We will not use it! We will not please! Thou hath our word!”

Celestia stared and swallowed hard. “Let me see your wing. Luna, let me see it.”

Another whimper met Celestia’s ears as slowly Luna unfolded her right wing to reveal a un-preened mess of feathers. Celestia walked over to look at it. It doesn’t look right… “Luna, did you go to the doctor like I asked you to?”

“We were unable to find this doctor, so We did not.” Luna breathed out, folding her wing back to her side.

Celestia nodded and got up, went to the door, and opened it to reveal a solar guard. “Retrieve a doctor as fast as you can.”

The guard saluted before running down the hall. Celestia closed the door and rested against it her eyes closed. Please, oh please, don’t let it be true… Celestia was not certain how long she stayed like that until she heard a knock on the door. She opened it to reveal a brown unicorn mare with an orange mane wearing a lab coat.

“Your Highness, I am Doctor Atlas.”

Celestia nodded. “My sister is in need of a physical. It seems the doctor I sent her to was not thorough enough in his exam when she arrived.”

Doctor Atlas nodded and smiled at Luna, who was trembling “Of course. Although, I need to ask you to wait outside for all of this, Princess Celestia.”

Celestia swallowed, but opened the door and sat down with her back against it, not caring how she might look to any pony with her head lowered, staring at her front hooves, oblivious to everything around her. Unsure how much time had past, she felt the door open and stood up to see Doctor Atlas frowning.

“Luna? How is my sister, Doctor?” Celestia tried not to sound worried, but at that moment, her time as princess may as well not have existed as she tried to peer around the doctor into Luna’s room. Everything about her at the moment screamed worried older sister.

Doctor Atlas soundlessly shut the door behind her. “Princess Luna is asleep. I gave her a mild sedative. Is there some place close that we may speak in private?”

Celestia wordlessly opened her mouth then nodded. “Yes, of course. We can use the room next door. I was thinking of having it outfitted to function as an office for Luna.”

“You were only thinking about it, Your Highness?” Doctor Atlas asked as she followed behind Celestia, who was opening the door.

“No, not exactly. I was simply trying to give Luna time to get reaquainted with being home before any such decisions were made is all.”

Doctor Atlas walked into the room with a small frown as she waited for Celestia to once again shut the door. “How do you wish me to discuss Luna’s case with you, Your Highness? Like I would to a family member, or how I would speak to my ruler?”

Celestia’s mouth fell open, and she quickly shook herself. “L-like a family member, of course! Whatever else I may be, I am Luna’s older sister first.”

“As you wish, Celestia. Your younger sister, Luna, has several injuries, so forgive me for starting at the least damaging and working my way up.” Doctor Atlas glanced up long enough to see Celestia nod before sighing. “First of all, her bone density has become very weak. It’s about on par of what I’d expect of one of my geriatric patients, not the ones who appear to be in their teenage years. Her muscles are also very weak, and even standing becomes painful after but a few moments. Her weight is also a concern: she doesn’t appear to have much fat anywhere on her body. When I asked how long it has been since she ate, she did not have a ready answer for me. Because of this, and the other symptoms I found, I’m recommending that Princess Luna be put on an IV drip immediately while we slowly increase her intake of broth and other clear liquids. I worry about refeeding syndrome.”

“Wait! Doctor, you said you were starting with the least damaging all of that…” Celestia’s ears pinned back. “Is… is this from her time on the moon?”

“I cannot say for certain, Celestia, though I would suspect her… sentence has played some part in this. Now, if I may continue?” Upon no answer from Celestia, Doctor Atlas took out a few X-Rays. “These are X-Rays taken of Luna’s wings. Some severe damage was done to them, and I must insist upon surgery, during which time, I’ll need to break each bone and place a thin light weight rod in the larger bones.”

“Break Luna’s bones? Why? I don’t understand how that will help!” Celestia stood up, towering over the doctor, who didn’t seem to notice.

“Celestia, if you look closely at the X-Rays, you can see that several of Luna’s bones were broken and did not heal back together properly. If we let this continue, she will be completely unable to fly. Already her wings hurt her as it is. Also, she seems to have a fear of preening herself or being preened by another.”

As Doctor Atlas continued to talk about the procedure to repair Luna’s wings, Celestia looked down and shivered. She could almost taste Luna’s blood in her mouth as she ripped the newly grown feather out. Luna… Luna you tried to tell me…

“... Her horn will need medicated cream to seal in the cracks, but even with it, she may always experience discomfort when using her magic or even just being touched. It’s obvious tha—”

Celestia’s ears pinned back, and she wanted to cover them, pretending that none of this was happening. She could feel the horn cracking under her hooves and hear Luna’s screams. The pain I caused you… I’m a monster.

“... And, of course, along with the fear of the dark, she also is afraid to be touched. She also has a severe fear of you, Celestia.” Doctor Atlas looked up at Celestia, her ears pinned back and a scowl covering her face. “A very severe fear. Any time I asked her to do something, she seemed certain you would cause her harm.” She shook her head. “But, at the same time, she wanted to be with you.”

“W-what can I do?” Celestia tasted bile in her throat. She wanted to throw up; she wanted to go back in time and knock her past self down a flight of stairs a few thousand times. She wanted to lay down in front of Luna and allow her do whatever she wished… She wanted… she wanted…

“Love Luna. She needs to heal and needs your help to do so. I’m sure you can get Princess Mi Amore Cadenza to act as regent for a little while. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Celestia, I need to get these orders filled and Luna started on her IV and medications.” With that said, Doctor Atlas left the room, and Celestia knew she would never see her in the same light again.

Oh, Harmony… What have I done?