• 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 5- Full: Nevermore

Careful, Nevermore.” Princess Luna ordered, watching the levitating orb of water with concern. “You mustn’t allow it to lose consistency.”

The young, dark coated unicorn with an hour-glass cutie-mark did his best to ignore her, choosing instead to focus on the task at hand.

“Easy…easy…”

Nevermore closed his eyes and concentrated. His horn flared to life with the magic within and encompassed the floating sphere of liquid. With a sound like the fall of winter, the sphere became glassy ice, so smooth and round that Luna could see her reflection within.

“Well done, Nevermore.” She exclaimed, clapping her hooves together in delight. “Transmutative magic! Quite the feat indeed.”

Nevermore opened his eyes and surveyed his handiwork. “Thank you, majesty.”

The pair of magical beings gazed upon the flawless sphere, admiring its perfect symmetry, its flawless form…

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything important.”

The voice, warm and silky as sunlight, startled Nevermore. His magic shorted out and the icy sphere fell to the floor and shattered into millions of tiny ice crystals.

Luna turned to face the intruder in the door-way. “Sister! What brings you out at this hour?”

Princess Celestia, the sun goddess herself, stepped into the tower’s antechamber, a small smile on her face. “Just taking a stroll before I take to my bed.” Her gaze fell upon Luna’s young student as she evaporated the ice with the slightest use of her magic. “Making some… magic with your pupil, Luna?”

Luna and Nevermore looked away from each other hurriedly. “Tia, you know that anything like you’re implying would violate the delicate trust between teacher and student.”

“Oh please, Luna. You and Nevermore’s relationship is the second worst kept secret in the kingdom.”

Luna’s blush nearly showed through the darkness of her fur.

“Uh…” Nevermore spoke up. “Second worst kept secret?”

“Nevermore!”

The sharp tone in his teacher/lover’s voice made Nevermore shrink.

Celestia laughed and kissed the top of her smaller sister’s head. “You are so adorable when you’re embarrassed, little sister.”

Luna waved her sister’s affections away with a hoof and headed to the other side of the spacious chamber. “What brings you here? To my tower.” She added at the end, trying to put a slight edge into her voice.

“The Summer Sun Celebration is next week. I came to see if you were planning to attend this year.”

Luna snorted. “You ask me every year, Tia. Does my answer ever change?” She looked out the window at the sleeping land below. “A whole festival dedicated to your precious day-light? I will pass, thank you.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow. “Are you still upset that nopony wanted to attend your Full Moon Festival?”

Luna glared daggers at her sister from across the room. “How would you feel if nopony attended your celebration?”

“I would…”

“Every year.”

“Luna…”

“For the past century.”

“Luna, stop acting foalish!”

I AM NOT ACTING FOALISH!” Luna bellowed, her eyes alight and her power making a strong wind whip through the chamber. “BUT IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WISH, PERHAPS I SHOULD SHOW YOU HOW FOALISH I CAN BE!

Nevermore bolted across the room and put a hoof around his beloved. “Luna, please calm down…”

The soft words of her lover spoke to the rage in Luna’s heart and quieted it… at least for the time being. Her eyes faded and the winds died. “The answer is still no.” She muttered, looking away.

Celestia nodded sadly and headed for the exit. A thought occurred to her and she looked back at the pair. “And you, Nevermore?”

The black unicorn looked up. “Majesty?”

“Will you be attending the celebration?”

Something in the elder goddess’ eyes, some strange unfathomable warmth, made the answer as natural as breathing. “Of course, your highness.”

Celestia smiled, nodded slightly, and left the chamber.

Once the sound of her hooves on the cobblestones had faded, Luna pulled away from Nevermore and stepped out onto the balcony. “How long?”

Nevermore, not usually this confused this many times in a single evening, cocked his head. “How long what?”

“How long have you been sleeping with my sister?”

Nevermore actually did a double-take. “What in blazes are you…?”

“Oh, please Nevermore. Give me some credit.” Luna looked back at him with a withering gaze. “I’ve seen the way you look at her. It’s the same way you look at me.”

The absurdity of it almost made Nevermore laugh. “Luna… beloved, you’re being paranoid.” Before he’d finished the sentence, his entire body was surrounded by the night goddess’ magic. He felt himself propelled across the chamber and smashed into the wall hard enough to knock the air from his lungs. Luna approached him, her eyes alight… but not the way they usually were. There was something new there.

Something… evil.

“The least you could do is own up to it. I’d hardly be surprised. Is my sister not the most beloved pony in Equestria? Do you think I don’t know that most ponies prefer her to myself? Why should I be surprised that my own lover feels the same way?”

Nevermore felt his chest constricting. “Luna… Luna… I can’t breathe…”

“Her celebration is attended by all. They come near and far for her little party… and yet NOT ONE was there for my own festival. They’d all rather sleep, wasting my beautiful night away and dreaming of her and her sun.” She spat out the last word as though it were a rotten piece of food.

“Luna…”

“Can you name one, Nevermore? One pony who put aside their love for the day to attend my festival? To partake in my gifts? Can you name even one?”

Nevermore’s answer was a gurgled choke.

“What was that?” She asked, drawing closer and releasing her hold ever so slightly.

Her forced his eyes to meet hers and hissed a single word. “Me.”

Something flickered behind Luna’s eyes and her magic faded.

Nevermore landed on the cold stone floor swallowing air as deeply as his lungs would allow.

The light faded from Luna’s eyes and she looked down with concern at her pupil. She reached a hoof out to help him. “Nevermore, are you…?”

He slapped her hoof away and forced himself to his hooves. “Don’t touch me.” He panted as he started for the door.

“Nevermore, I’m sorry.”

Nevermore looked back at the goddess that had stolen his heart. “I’m sorry too. I’m sorry that your jealousy of Celestia has driven you mad. I’m sorry that you never realized how much I’ve given to you.” His eyes narrowed. “I’m sorry I ever gave into you.”

His words hit Luna like a slap to the face. “Nevermore, what are you…?”

“When you chose me as your pupil, I was thrilled. For the first time in my life, somepony made me feel special. And not just anypony; a princess!” His gaze drifted over to the open window and the full moon in the sky. “The first time you seduced me, I thought that the feelings I’d always felt for you were being genuinely returned. Now I see the truth.” He closed his eyes and sighed. “You never loved me at all.”

“That’s not true, Nevermore.”

He glared at her. “Then say it. Let me hear the words from your mouth. Say that you love me.”

Luna opened her mouth, paused, and then closed it again.

Nevermore chuckled darkly and turned to the door once again. “I should’ve known.”

“Nevermore, please don’t do this.”

Despite everything, something in Nevermore’s heart made him pause. “You won’t say you love me? Then beg me to stay.”

The edge in his voice, the commanding tone of it, made some small part of Luna quiver with a pleasure she’d never felt before. “What did you say?”

“Beg me to stay. Or cry that you don’t want to be alone. Say anything that will prove to me that you appreciate me, that you love me. Anything!”

For some reason, in a moment she would reflect upon for the rest of her life, Luna could do nothing. Her tongue remained still, her muscles remained locked.

Her silence was all the answer he needed. “Good-bye Princess Luna. I resign from my position as your student.” He headed for the door. “I’ll find somepony else to complete my studies.”

“Art thou going to bow to us?”

Nevermore froze. She’d spoken to him as though he were a commoner, using the royal ‘us’ and using the old speak. He turned to find her drawn to her full height. She looked down at him with cool detachment. Suppressing the urge to vomit, Nevermore knelt until his forehead touched the floor. “Am I excused, your majesty?”

“Go.”

Not looking at her, Nevermore turned and left the chamber. He heard the door slam shut behind him… and only then did he allow the tears to fall.

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

His jaw hanging open, Shining Armor let the last testimony fall to the floor.

Veritas snatched it quickly and whisked it back down the hall to its rightful place on the shelves. “Well?”

“So… the uprising… Luna’s banishment… it was all over a stallion?”

Veritas laughed as he observed the now empty bottle he was holding. “What a remarkably simplistic way of looking at things.” He returned the bottle to the cabinet and looked at the other labels. “No. Luna’s paranoia and jealousy had been building for centuries. It began when she lost Esmeralda. Nevermore’s supposed betrayal was merely the proverbial last straw.”

Shining Armor looked to the hooded stallion across from him. “Was it true?”

“Was what true?”

Was Nevermore sleeping with them both?”

Veritas snorted. “No. Celestia and Luna shared many things, but a lover? Never. In fact, Celestia blamed Nevermore for her sister’s madness and sent guards to arrest him shortly after the banishment of Nightmare Moon.”

“What happened to him?”

“Nopony knows. The guards had him cornered when there was a brilliant flash of light. They said the air smelled of lightning and there was a strange rhythmic hum in the air. When their vision cleared, Nevermore was gone. Nopony ever saw him again.”

“It sounded like Nevermore had a thing for Celestia.”

Veritas laughed. “I think he had a thing for alicorns. In any case, he wasn’t Celestia’s type.”

“So Celestia did have lovers?”

“Of course, but hers were shorter in duration and much fewer and far between. She devoted most of her time to ruling. Her lovers were so secretive that we only know of one.”

“How?” Shining Armor looked down the hall as though he expected another scroll to come floating his way.

“There was a foal.”

Shining Armor’s glass shattered on the floor. “Celestia… had a foal?”

Veritas nodded sagely. “Not that long ago either. Less than a hundred years I believe.”

“Who was the father?”

“He was a simple earth pony in search of a home for his family. Apple farmer, I believe. Married, a foal… who knows what Celestia saw in him.” Veritas lifted the broken pieces of glass and moved them into a nearby waste-basket. “They only shared one night together. In return for his services to the crown, she gave the family a large plot of land right on the edge of the Everfree Forest. Not too long thereafter, the foal arrived.”

“What happened to it?”

“She sent it to the apple farmer for him to raise. She had to. Imagine the scandal if anypony had found out.” Veritas offered the stunned prince a small smile. “To the best of my knowledge, nopony ever found out.”

“Surely somepony would have questioned an alicorn born to earth ponies?”

“She wasn’t an alicorn. She appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be a perfectly normal earth pony. As did her children. And her grandchildren.” Veritas started back towards the archives, beckoning the white unicorn to follow him. “In a little town called Ponyville, there walk earth ponies with the blood of a goddess inside them. And they have no idea at all.”