“Are you ready, Dawn?”
The little filly nodded, snuggling down deeper into the covers in her bed. “I’m ready, mommy,” she told the Princess of the Moon.
Luna smiled, bending to kiss her daughter tenderly on the forehead, moving a stray lock of deep blue hair aside. Hair that matched her own body's color, set against a small curved, blood red unicorn horn that had only recently grown tall enough to tower over Dawn's pony ears. Sweet, teal blue eyes that matched Luna’s looked trustingly into the hovering alicorn's above her.
“Now remember, my little one, tomorrow is your fifth birthday. I want you to wish very, very hard and dream of what you want most in this world,“ instructed her mother. “Perhaps tomorrow you might find it will come true.”
Dawn nodded. “Okay,” she said slowly, emphasizing each syllable in a very adorable way. Eyes watched from the bed as the Princess moved to the door, turning the light out. Once the door shut behind the alicorn, the filly turned onto her side and went to sleep.
Outside Luna sighed heavily. It had been a brutally emotional week. She secretly dreaded what Dawn was going to wish for, knowing that even though her mother bore the title of Princess of Equestria, there were some things she simply could not give her child that she needed the most.
Luna was weaving her psychic tethers to the minds and dreams of ponies all over Equestria when she felt the tears coursing down her own face. Setting their feel aside for the moment, it had only taken an instant in reality to address the fears and monsters in her subject’s minds throughout the land, then she came back to the odd sensation that had distracted her earlier.
Reversing the spell of dream walking, the Princess floated back down to the palace floor in the Room of Dreams where she nightly tended to her ponies nocturnal needs. A hoof came to her cheek and came away wet and salty. Tears, definitely tears of pain, of longing and of sorrow.
It only took as long as wondering why she was crying before she realized her daughter Dawn was their source. Wasting not a moment, Luna trotted out of the room and headed for hers and her little one’s chambers.
“I got you!”
Dawn giggled madly as the levitation spell of the unicorn stallion snatched her from the ground as she galloped away from him. She was deposited onto his broad back where she grabbed hold around his neck to hang on for dear life as he increased his speed across the lawns of the royal palace of Canterlot.
“No!” she screamed, laughing. “You’re going too fast!”
“I take no orders from prisoners, little mare!” he said in a mock sinister voice. He slowed down anyway. “But I will slow down because it pleases me.” He glanced back at her with red crystal eyes, a smile stealing across his features at the sight of her laughing, eyes tightly shut. The charcoal grey bodied stallion seemed not to react to the tiny tears gathering at the edges of her eyes for he said nothing, though, to her relief, he was slowing his gait until it was no more than a gentle trot across the manicured grounds.
“So, do you yield, beautiful maiden?”
Dawn’s eyes popped open at the question. “Yeah,” she relented. “but only if you carry me to the lake.”
“What, am I a royal carriage now?” he said in mock disgust. “Is my fate to be bossed around by a miniature tyrant?”
“Yes,” she said without hesitation. “I am a crystal tyrant and I command you to carry me around the castle.”
The stallion stopped, bowing. “As you command, my Moon Princess!” As he planned, the act of bowing with his head touching the ground caused Dawn to topple giggling over his head and luxurious black mane, landing with a gentle bump onto the soft grass.
“Ah!!! I’ve been overthrown,” she cried out, attempting to grab onto his mane to stop her fall, but to no avail.
Luna watched the tender scene between her daughter and father, a wistful smile falling to her lips as well as a deep ache in her heart. Tears came to her eyes as they had to her little one’s, despite the happiness she felt the child experiencing in her dreamland slumber. It was a sign of a budding dream walking talent that her body reacted to the deeper, more true emotions in her dreams than the false joy her mind was attempting to fool her with. Some grew out of such a rare gift, but others, like Princess Luna herself, found it was her true calling - and at times like this, a deep curse that would never let her forget the heartaches of real life.
‘Is this what you want for your birthday, little one,’ she sighed. ‘Of course. I should have known. Once you saw him by my side in my dream - our dream,’ she corrected herself. ‘There could be no other wish in yours or my heart!’
Making a decision, Luna crossed the dimension of reality and stepped lightly into her daughter’s dream. The two grey ponies were laughing and giggling, her father - Luna’s mate - gently nuzzling his cold, wet nose into Dawn’s belly fur as he had her pinned upturned in the grass. She was currently begging him to release her between gasps and giggle fits, but he was relentless.
As if sensing her presence, the handsome stallion ceased his tickle attack and looked up. His attentiveness to her presence made Luna canter back a step, suddenly embarrassed to intrude. ‘Does he know this is just a dream? she wondered. ‘Is he just a product of her imagination this time or is it really - ‘ she trailed off the thought, not daring to hope. ‘If it be him, can he have that much awareness in his thousand year slumber?‘
Dawn grew quiet, no longer being assaulted and lay catching her breath in the grass. Her father finally looked away from Luna and across Canterlot Gardens. “So this is Canterlot?”
Luna followed his gaze. “Yes,” was all she replied.
“It is quite lovely,” he replied conversationally, then paused. “Though I still prefer my kingdom.” His ears laid back. “My old kingdom,” he corrected softly.
The subtle sadness in his tone made her heart ache.
“You did not know you were with foal when we fought, did you?”
Throat tightening violently from emotion, she found herself choking on the reply. “I - no. If I had - ” she said impulsively.
He turned and lay a gentle, unshod hoof against her lips. “You do not need to pretend with me, beloved. I know it would have changed nothing.”
Eyes widening, she gasped. “Oh Goddess, it is you, isn’t it?” She dissolved into great, heaving sobs into his hooves as he gently held her.