• Published 14th May 2013
  • 6,262 Views, 316 Comments

A Glint of Light on Broken Glass - Dr_DeDeDe

Luna's has enough to deal with as Princess Twilight's student. Between nightly nightmares of moon princesses and the threat of an old enemy returning from Equestria's past, Luna isn't going to be getting any sleep any time soon

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Prologue: Uneasy Dreams and Inconvenient Truths

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me a glint of light on broken glass”
-Anton Chekhov

Princess Luna woke in darkness to the sound of her sister screaming for her to stop.

Through the cracks in her icy black prison, Luna heard her sister begging for her to just lower the moon and come home with her. Celestia tried to apologize, promising to appreciate the night more if she would just stop this madness and let the sun rise again. Outside the castle walls, Luna heard chaotic cries of anguish and confusion. Millions of ponies cowered in fear of a night that had gone too long and cried for a sun that had failed to rise.

Luna tried to tell her sister that she was sorry too; that she only wanted a little appreciation and that she never wanted things to go this badly. But something else's voice came out of her mouth, cruelly mocking the sun princess' pleas. Luna gagged as something dark slithered around her throat and squeezed ugly lies out of her mouth. The dark power that she conjured out of her own selfish misery had fully possessed her; she could not even blink an eye without the nightmarish entity violently seizing control of her again. She was powerless to stop herself from bearing down on Celestia, horn aglow with malicious magic.

Luna's head split open as dark magic flowed from her horn and snaked its way around Celestia's neck. She called out for her sister but all that came out of her mouth was a high pitched laugh that echoed in her mind as endless darkness once again overtook her.

Luna jerked awake violently, scattering her notes and knocking over a mug of tea long gone cold. Muttering darkly to herself, she fumbled around her desk for something to mop the spill up, finally settling for a t-shirt that should have gone to the laundry days ago.

How long was I asleep? Luna thought, opening the blinds above her desk and squinting out the window. The night sky began to turn pink at the horizon and a quick check of her clock on the wall showed it to be a little before four on a Saturday morning. Outside, construction crews were setting up tents and lining the buildings with flags in preparation for a celebration the likes of which Equestria had never seen. Even now, ponies were milling around in the predawn air, excitedly preparing for a party nearly one thousand years in the making.

And yet, Luna could not sleep.

Even before she dozed off into yet another nightmare, a small knot of concern had wormed its way into the back of the young unicorn's mind and refused to let go, no matter how hard she tried to forget about it. A tattered old book lay on her desk, open to the page that had first kindled her concern. Luna balled up her wet shirt and lobbed it into the overflowing laundry basket as she turned back to the book, quill ready to take notes.

...and so, at the edge of the Great Pit did the Princesses of Harmony and the Tyrant King Tirek do battle. Four score days and nights the Princesses hounded their foe until, at last, They smote the demon with all Their radiant power and broke him against his ruined Castle Midnight. With terrible chains of adamant and dragonsteel, the Duke of Canterlot bound the Tyrant tightly to his monstrous servants and cast them all down into the endless black that is Tartatus.

As he fell, Tirek swore that a day would come when the Princesses' power would fail Them and he would return to claim what was rightfully his. On the longest day, one thousand years after his demise, earth and sky would rebel against the false goddesses as storms and earthquakes ravaged the world. A dread legion of nightmarish minions would flock to his side as the Tyrant rises from the Pit to subjugate all ponykind.

Taken from a High Equestrian Ballad detailing the fall of Tirek the Terrible and the ascension of Their Royal Highnesses.

Translated by Dusty Tome, Royal Canterlot Archivist, RY665

“Storms...earthquakes...minions returning to his side...” Luna mumbled, chewing on the end of a quill thoughtfully.

She stood up quickly, acting on a sudden hunch. Crossing the room to a bulging bookcase, the small unicorn started pulling books and notes out at random. Everything from Pre-Equestrian History to A Geomagical Survey of Canterlot RY999 to Reports on Bestiary and Behavior of Common Equestrian Monstrosities, Vol. 157 No. 3 were pulled unceremoniously from their shelves and flung on her bed. Grabbing a quill, a highlighter, and spare scroll from her desk, Luna started paging through each book simultaneously with her magic, scanning the pages as fast as she could turn them, cross referencing dates and times, highlighting entire blocks of text with a practiced flick of a highlighter and copying them to a scroll with a simple Copycat Spell. The more weather almanacs and reports of monster sightings she read, the more she felt a growing sense of unease slither into the back of her mind.

Fishing her saddlebag out from under desk, she crammed her notes into her books and shoved them in the bag. She threw a light jacket over her sweats as she slammed the door to her dormroom behind her. Within moments, she was outside her dorm building, hooves crunching on frosty grass as she made her way across campus to the Duke's Archive at the center of the school.

The oldest and grandest library in Equestria, the Duke’s Archive towered over the heart of the Royal Canterlot University. More than twice the size of the most opulent royal palace, the Archive was the personal treasure trove of the Duke of Canterlot and every bit the grand hoard of knowledge befitting of a dragon of his position. Despite the fact that Luna had spent weeks of her free time browsing the bottomless stacks of books, Luna still hadn't seen a fraction of what the Archive had to offer and doubted she'd live to see it all.

Luna approached the massive library doors fixed with massive jade dragon head knockers, raising a hoof and knocking shortly. She stepped back as the jade dragon statues flared to life with a burst of green magic and regarded her with identical empty stares.

"The Archives are off limits to students until classes resume in the Fall. The right knocker said in a hollow voice that echoed throughout the empty courtyard.

"Please identify yourself and state your business or leave the way you came. The left knocker said.

"Luna. Sophmore. Unicorn." Luna recited mechanically. "Requesting permission to enter the archives under special authorization granted by Her Royal Highness Princess Twilight and His Grace The Duke of Canterlot."

There was a moment of silence as the dragons silently processed her command before great stone doors slid open, inch by thundering inch.

"Special access confirmed. The right dragon said as Luna passed into the Archive.

"Welcome back to the Duke's Archive, Luna. The left dragon added as the doors slid shut behind Luna with a deafening thud.

The high domed ceiling loomed above her, pale sunlight trickling through the eastern windows and shining on the forest of books before her. In the soft werelight coming from phantom candles hanging on the wall, Luna saw miles of bookshelves stretch out before her and rise dozens of stories in the air. Most days, the ancient mahogany tables were crammed with students studying for exams, conducting research, or working on special projects. But classes were over for the year and Luna’s hoovesteps echoed through the cavernous library uninterrupted by the chatter and clamor of her fellow classmates.

Just the way Luna liked it.

She would have liked to spend this Saturday morning perusing the older sections of the library as she always did but today she had business to do. Making her way over to an alcove on the side of the main floor, Luna set her bags down on a nearby table and approached the empty help desk. A long chain hung down from the ceiling beside a sign that read "Please Ring Bell for Spiders."

Luna took hold of the chain and gave it three sharp tugs.




Three light airy bell chimes echoed throughout the library followed by the sound of dozens of tiny mechanical legs scurrying about on the marble tiles. Within moments of ringing the bell, three crystal spiders slid down from the ceiling on spun silksteel strings and perched on a desk nearby. Eight delicately crafted green crystal legs supported a purple crystal body the size of a small music disc. They looked up at Luna with eight glowing green eyes, clacking their jaws together noisily and awaiting Luna’s request.

“I need Magical Seals and Barriers by St. Trixie the Great, Leylines of Equestria by Geo Maestro, and Canterlot: An Architectural History by Marble Arches 1st Edition.” Luna said without preamble. Wordlessly the book spiders scurried off in different directions in search of Luna’s requests and Luna herself flopped down in a nearby chair to organize her notes. Before she could even get her notes out, the spiders returned with books delicately clenched in their jaws. Luna tipped each spider a copper bit from her purse and dove right into her research as the spiders scurried away.
The rising sun crept into the library as Luna checked and cross checked reports of monster attacks with founts of magical energy. The more Luna read, the more that tiny little twinge of worry grew into mild concern which grew into serious preoccupation which finally evolved into full blown panic that set her teeth on edge. She double checked her research, cross referencing it against her findings from earlier and eloquently summarized her findings thusly;


Luna’s hooves clattered on the marble tile and echoed through the palace halls as she galloped towards Princess Twilight’s chambers. Her saddlebag stuffed with research thumped uncomfortably against her side as she tore through empty castle down familiar corridors with practiced efficiency. She had traveled these particular halls hundreds of times, up past the grand ballroom, right at the Hall of Records, taking a shortcut through the laundry room before dashing through the double doors leading to Princess Twilight Sparkle’s personal quarters.

A small mansion in its own right, the personal quarters of Princess Twilight were as familiar to Luna as was her own dormroom. The stately hardwood floors, crushed purple velvet curtains and the unmistakable aroma of books old and new helped set Luna at ease as she made her way to the princess’ office. She knew from habit that Princess Twilight was an early riser who liked to get the jump on the day’s work in an office overlooking the Canterlot Royal Gardens; the same office that doubled as a classroom for Luna's bi-weekly sorcery lessons.

She tore through the empty hallways with practiced speed, all the while fretting over how she was going to present her case to Princess Twilight. The evidence was irrefutable; Luna was sure of that. But needless to say, she wasn't exactly the most credible pony when it came to matters of national security. Luna was the first to admit that she had made some questionable calls in the past and more than once Luna's overreactions to "end of the world" scenarios had landed her in the Royal Guard holding cell until Princess Twilight picked her up. But Luna was confident that her teacher would look past these various mishaps and misdemeanors and judge her research on its own merits.

At least, Luna hoped she would.

Luna rounded the final corner leading to Princess Twilight’s office at full speed, bursting through the double doors and-


-ran headlong into a palace guard, armored and helmed in the purple and gold uniform of the Dusk Patrol.

“Apologies, miss, but I cannot let you pass at the moment.” The young guard said sternly, offering Luna a hoof up. “Princess Twilight is currently occupied with official business and won’t be receiving visitors until-” The guard lifted his visor, squinting at Luna in the early morning light. “Oh, hey LuLu! Sorry didn’t know it was you!”

“Lieutenant...how many times have I asked you not to call me that?” Luna sighed, cringing at his favorite nickname for her.

“Oh, I don't know." The guard said, doffing his golden helm and shaking his shaggy blue mane out. "I guess about as many times as I’ve asked you not to call me lieutenant.”

So apparently not enough for you to get the message then.” Luna mumbled, dusting herself off.

"You're up early." The guard said pleasantly. "Up late studying again? Or did you come to keep an old pal company as he patrols the lonely halls of the Twilight Palace?"

"No!" Luna said sharply. “I mean...sorry, I don't have time to talk right now; I need to see Princess Twilight right away!”

“Sorry, Luna.” The guard shrugged. “Aunt-sorry, Princess Twilight is out at the moment.”

What?!” Luna cried. “Wh-what do you mean she’s out?! Where could she possibly be this early on a Saturday morning?!”

“Weeeeellllllll...if I remember correctly, she’s out meeting the delegations from the Crystal Empire and the Seaponies for breakfast and then she’s overseeing the dedication of the Millennial Park in Trottingham and then she's approving the security forms for the pyrotechnic displays in the Butterfly Garden and then she’s back here to meet with the guards to sign off on the security details for the Canterlot Millennial Gala Parade and then she’s-”

“B-but I have to see her!” Luna cried. “This is a matter of-”

“National security?” The guard asked.

“It’s…yes, how did you know?” Luna said

“Shot in the dark.” The guard said. “Look, if you want to see Princess Twilight you’re going to have to get in line…a very long line. One thousand years of peaceful rule is kind of a big deal for Their Highnesses and everypony from here to Trottingham wants a piece of them before the anniversary party.”

“But I...ugh, fine." Luna sighed, rubbing her temples wearily. "Do you know when she’ll be back?”

“Not until after the party.” The guard said. “Her schedule is packed with appointments and I think she and the other Princesses are staying at Princess Rarity’s palace until tomorrow night.”

Tomorrow night?!” Luna said. “I can’t wait that long! Canterlot could be a smoldering pile of rubble by tomorrow night!”

“Uh huh.” The guard said flatly. “Of course it will be.”

“Do you really think I would trouble Princess Twilight on the eve of the biggest celebration of the millennium if I didn’t think the entire world was in mortal peril?!” Luna said.

“Well, given your definition mortal peril-”

“This is different!” Luna cried. “I’ve got real proof this time and I need to see Princess Twilight!”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Luna.” The guard sighed. “If you really think this is something to bother Princess Twilight about-”

“It is!” Luna said.

“Then you are welcome to track her down for a moment of her time.” The guard said. “Barring that, there’s nothing I can do for you.”

“You’re a lieutenant of the Dusk Patrol; there has to be something you can do!” Luna said. “Look…I know I may have given you reason to distrust me in the past but I promise you, something big is coming. The royal guards need to be on full alert for any sign of trouble!”

“The royal guards are always on full alert.” The guard said firmly. “It’s kind of in the job description. What exactly are we supposed to be on alert for?”

“Anything! Everything!” Luna took a deep breath, deciding to trust the lieutenant with this newfound secret. “Lieutenant…you need to warn the other guards that Tirek the Terrible is going to return tomorrow night!”

Luna paused to let the gravity of her mission impress itself on the guard. He stared at her mouth agape, no doubt completely horrified by her discovery and dumbstruck by the realization that his tiny world had been turned on its ear in just a few short moments. He was no doubt running through the list of things he had to do to protect Canterlot against its ancient enemy and the look of disbelief on his face was likely the result of complete and utter shock.

At least, that’s what Luna thought.

“Tirek?” The guard said flatly.

“Yes!” Luna said.

“The old tyrant from the dawn of Equestrian history?” The guard sighed, rubbing his eyes.

“Yes!” Luna cried.

“The one that hasn’t been seen or heard from since Their Highnesses rainbow blasted him into the bowels of the earth?” The guard said.

“Y…yes.” Luna said.

“And you think he’s going to show up tomorrow night based on what, exactly?” The guard said.

“A...a book.” Luna said.

“Which book?” The guard countered.

Dusty Tome’s Intro to Equestrian Lore and Legends Volume 1.” Luna mumbled.

“Come again?” The guard said.

“D-Dusty Tome’s Intro to Equestrian Lore and Legends Volume 1.” Luna said. “But it’s not just-”

“So let me see if I've got this right.” The guard said, cutting Luna off. “You want me to go to my superiors and tell them that they need to scramble the guards and cause complete and utter panic in the ranks on the eve of the biggest security detail in the past thousand years...because a fairy tale told you that a dead tyrant is coming back to life?”

“It sounds far fetched, I know, but-”

“It sounds insane, even for you Luna.” The guard groaned. “You do realize this sounds, insane don’t you?”

“I have proof!” Luna said, fumbling around in her saddlebags for her notes. “Monster encounter rates have been skyrocketing for the past six months! Weather anomalies have been wreaking havoc up and down the heartland! Canterlot has had more than ten minor earthquakes since-”

As if on cue, the palace rumbled and the ground beneath Luna’s hooves started quivering. By the time she stumbled over to an archway for support, the shaking stopped with only a few displaced pictures and books knocked from their shelves to show for it.

“See?!” Luna cried. “What do you call that?!”

“I call that an earthquake.” The guard said. “Canterlot’s built on the greatest nexus of magical energy in Equestria. There’ve been minor magical tremors for as long as there’s been a city here.”

“But what about the weather?!” Luna said. “You have to have noticed the increase in storm activity lately!”

"Do I look like a pegasus to you?" The guard said, turning around to display his lack of wings. "I'm just a simple earth pony; take it up with the Weather Department if you have a problem."

“Then what about all of the monster encounters?!” Luna said. “Orcs gathering in the Everfree Forest?! Reports of Cyclopes coming down from their mountain caves?! Wyrms tunneling under Fillydelphia and all of them happening at the same time or close to the earthquakes and storms! Don't you see what this means?!”

“Okay…I’ll admit there have been a few more ugly customers crawling around lately.” The guard conceded. “But that doesn’t mean some ancient undead monster who hasn't been so much as sighted for the past millennium is coming back to eat us all in our sleep!”

“But…you…and…” Luna stammered ineffectually, fumbling around for anything to convince the guard of her mission.

“Protip: you may want to work on that sales pitch if you’re intent on talking to Princess Twilight.” The guard said.

“Fine!” Luna groaned. “I can see I’m wasting my time here. If Princess Twilight comes back, tell her that-”

“Zombie King Tirek is returning from the grave to destroy ponykind?” The guard said.

“Just tell her I’m looking for her!” Luna said, cramming her notes back in her bag.

“Will do.” The guard said. “So…you want to stay and chat for a bit or-”

Can’t!” Luna said. “The fate of Equestria is resting in my hooves and I need to find Princess Twilight before we all end up dead or enslaved to madman!”

“Alrighty then.” The guard said pleasantly. “Have a good day!”

“So long.” Luna huffed, turning to leave. “Thanks for nothing Shining Armor!”

“You’re welcome LuLu!” Shining Armor called after her, chuckling at the exasperated groan she trailed down the hall.

Needless to say, Luna was in a foul mood as she left the palace. As much as she hated to admit it, her conversation with Shining Armor demonstrated that she wasn’t exactly the most…credible pony when it came to matters of national security. Princess Twilight had a remarkable amount of faith in her but Luna feared she had tested that faith more than she should have and her line of credit with the Princess had been effectively exhausted. Now that she had something provable, nopony would give her the chance to prove it. If any other pony or even one of the other princesses came to Princess Twilight with this information, she wouldn’t hesitate to-

Luna stopped dead in her tracks as the beginnings of an idea kindled in her mind. Alone, she was just the Mare Who Cried Timberwolf one too many times. But if she could somehow convince one of the other princesses to side with her…she might be able to convince Princess Twilight that she was telling the truth. But Luna wasn’t nearly as familiar with the other Princesses as she was with Princess Twilight. She rarely saw them at the few social events that she attended and didn’t know them well enough to barge in their homes and demand that they listen to her story. Nopony in the city could claim that they knew the Princesses well enough for that except for-

Luna sighed, racking her brain for any other alternative but quickly coming up short. There was one pony that could get her in to see the rest of the princesses; one pony whose penchant for small talk and extensive social circle brought her into contact with each Princess on more than one occasion...enough to get Luna a personal audience with each of them. There was one pony that could help Luna convince the others of Tirek’s threat in time to save Canterlot but enlisting her help would mean swallowing months of pride and waking a beast whose early morning mood rivaled Tirek’s threat in magnitude and ferocity.

As much as she loathed admitting it, she was going to need her sister’s help for this.

Author's Note:

Here we go again!

Welcome, to the first chapter of A Glint of Light on Broken Glass, an AU in which the world of FiM is turned on its head! Enemies become friends! Princesses have become regular ponies! Cats chase the mailmen and dogs climb trees...okay, maybe not that last part.

Luna, faced with a similar problem as Twilight was in the original series, must assemble a group of ponies to help her save Equestria, all the while battling strange dreams of forgotten princesshood and a world only she seems to remember.

Please read and review! I need to know whether or not to continue this story and I love to hear back from you guys! Let me know what is working and what I need to improve on! The first part is going to be fairly similar to the original show but as soon as Luna gets to Fillydelphia, we're into completely new territory

Next Chapter: A Matter of National Security