• Published 18th May 2013
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Phases of the Moon - Jade Ring



Sequel to 'Lost in the Night.' Shining Armor seeks more information about Luna's past lovers and uncovers some shocking truths.

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Chapter 3- Crescent: Busara

The stately ambassador from Zebora watched the sun set from his opulent quarters in Canterlot Castle. He closed his eyes and filtered out the sounds of the city below and imagined he could hear the sounds of his village; playing children… singing women… the elders discussing the day’s issues…

“Forgive our intrusion, Master Busara.”

The melodic voice of one of his hostess’ broke the ambassador’s concentration. He turned, the ornaments tied to his close-cropped mane jingling with movement. “Hakuna kosa, Princess Luna.” He said in native Zeboran before remembering his location. “Please to forgive me.” He tried in broken Equestrian. “This speak is strange to my tongue.”

Luna entered the quarters with a smile. “No forgiveness necessary, I assure you. Your grasp of our language is improving every day.”

Busara shook his head. “There is no need to spare my feelings, high one. In my land, I am considered wise, but here… what is the phrase? A little pony among big horses.”

Luna laughed, a strange, high-pitched, but oddly attractive sound that appealed to Busara’s ears. “We can honestly say that we have never heard such a phrase in all our years.”

Busara’s gaze fell to the window again. The sun was nearly gone. “Your sister does quick work.”

Luna nodded and stood by his side. “I believe your mind was on more than my sister’s work.”

Busara shook his head sadly. “I do not yet know the word for how I am feeling. I… miss my home. My family.”

“Thou art home-sick, Master Busara.”

Busara smiled. “Yes, home-sick.”

“Thou mentioned a family? Art thou married?”

“Are you?”

Luna suppressed a smirk. “In Equestria, we have… other possible arrangements. We have no husband.”

“I have seven wives.” Busara replied in a flat tone.

Luna hid her gasp with a hoof. “Why so many?”

Busara shrugged. “In Zebora, the number of wives is seen as a… as a…” He struggled to find the words. “…a symbol of status?”

“A status symbol.”

“Yes. Thank you. The more wives you have, the more productive and resourceful you seem to be.”

“And dost thou love them? Thine wives?”

Busara chuckled sadly. “I don’t like any of them. They are good mothers to my children at least.”

The princess of the night crossed the chamber and, in a move that startled them both, laid her muzzle next to his. “I pity thee, Busara. One so kind should not be denied love.”

Busara found himself breathing in the smell of Luna’s mane. It had a strange, otherworldly scent, so unlike anything in his homeland. “I have known love, Princess Luna. But my love was taken from me.”

“Why?”

“She was promised to another. I had no say in the matter.”

“Is that why thou has so many wives? Dost thou hope to replace her?”

Busara felt his eyelids growing heavy as he stared at the constantly flowing mane of the night goddess. “Yes…”

“Have we… depressed thee, Master Busara?”

His powers of speech gone, Busara could only nod.

“Then allow us to cheer thee up.”

Busara found himself dragged roughly back to consciousness as Luna pulled away and headed back towards the door. His eyes fell on her swaying rear on their own accord. “Princess Luna?”

Luna looked back with hooded eyes. “With seven wives, Master Busara, we trust thou art well versed in the… conjugal arts.”

Busara, the wisest zebra in his village could only shake his head dumbly. “I do not… understand the words.”

The moon princess rolled her eyes. “In thine own tongue then; ‘Sisi imani yako anajua jinsi ya kutomba sisi vizuri.’

Busara felt both his blush and excitement rising from the vulgarity of the phrase. His hooves propelled him forward, slowly at first but gaining in determined stride with each step. “No. There will be no problem there.”

////////////////////////////////

Shining Armor put the scroll aside and looked questioningly at Veritas. “Is… is that it?”

Veritas shrugged. “Busara was never comfortable with writing Equestrian. Be thankful we have that at least.”

“That choice of lover seems… random.”

Veritas laughed as he reclined on his sofa and sipped from his glass. “Look at it this way, Shining Armor. Immortality almost certainly breeds a certain taste for the… exotic. And even today zebras are considered quite exotic.”

“You certainly don’t see very many of them around Equestria these days.”

Also Princess Luna’s fault.”

Shining Armor looked over sharply. “Why’s that?”

Veritas stretched. His hood fell back for a moment revealing a shock of silver hair. Reflexively he pulled the hood back up. “Upon returning to Zebora, Busara took an eighth wife; a Zeboran princess named Mpira Mhalifu. According to most texts, Mpira was a controlling, vain mare that grew suspicious of Busara’s frequent visits to Equestria. Eventually, she bribed one of Busara’s servants to spy on the wise ambassador and discover the truth.”

“What happened?”

“Mpira was naturally furious and demanded that Busara end the affair. Busara was so enamored with Princess Luna that he made the single dumbest decision of his whole life.”

“Which was?”

“He suggested that Luna become his ninth wife.”

Shining Armor cracked up, his laughter echoing on the stone walls. “I can’t imagine Mpira took that well.” He chuckled, wiping a tear from his eye.

“Not well at all, I’m afraid. She had him gelded.”

The laughter died in Shining Armor’s chest and he reflexively crossed his back legs. “Ouch.”

Veritas nodded. “Indeed. Afterwards, Mpira told all who would listen that Equestria was a bad place filled with seductress mares with loose morals. Since then, most zebras have just stayed away.”

Shining Armor ran a hoof through his mane. “My granddad used to tell me we had zebra in our blood.”

“I suspected as much. Your mane is a dead giveaway. Your mother or father’s side?”

“My mother’s.” Shining Armor smiled as he remembered the stories his grandfather used to tell him. “Apparently my great-great grandmother was quite the traveler back in the day. She met and fell in love with a zebra during one of her travels. Once she had children, she decided to settle down and do something else with her time.”

“Which was?”

“Writing adventure stories.”

Veritas’ ears perked up. “You don’t mean to tell me that your great-great grandmother was Dazzle Dawn? The author of the ‘Daring Do’ adventures?”

“The same.”

Veritas laughed. “I used to love those books! The very first book I ever personally brought into the archive was ‘the Ghoulish Griffon’s Grin.’

They shared a laugh before Veritas went to refill their glasses and Shining Armor floated over the next scroll. “So… how much further have I jumped in time here?”

“Many, many years. That scroll was written just several short years before Princess Luna’s banishment.” He returned to his seat and looked at the ceiling. “’The Testimony of Esmeralda of the Crystal Empire.’

Shining Armor found his gaze drifting to the bemused face of the keeper of the archives. “Esmeralda? A mare?”

Veritas nodded sagely. “It’s as I said, Shining Armor; immortality breeds exotic tastes.”