• Published 10th Jul 2013
  • 2,804 Views, 49 Comments

Special Case - Bookish



It's Nightmare Night once again, and Rarity has a plan for Princess Luna. All she'll need to carry it out is one of Princess Celestia's most prized possessions.

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Special Case (Hyper Drive Edition!)

"Are you sure you wish to do this?"

Princess Celestia looked down at the unicorn in front of her. She had dealt with this unicorn before, and could only remember one time when doing so had ever turned out badly.

Even then, it hadn't really been the unicorn's fault — Grand Galloping Galas never turned out well. It was a known issue that Celestia was still looking into how to fix.

"More than sure." Rarity looked back up to Celestia with a determined yet content expression. "Remember, Princess, we are ever in your service. And by 'your', I naturally mean all of the Canterlot royal house. Indeed, I am beyond honored that you are even considering my offer."

The two ponies walked, with Celestia leading Rarity down several of Canterlot Castle's hallways. "Honestly, when Twilight told me of it, I was at first quite surprised. Then I thought about it, and it did not take me long to understand." She stopped and looked back at Rarity. "Given past events, you certainly have your reasons for this, don't you?"

Rarity stopped as well, letting out a slow breath. "I do, Your Highness. And I have a feeling that you already know what they are."

"Indeed. Anypony who had been there would." Princess Celestia nodded, and Rarity could see her expression soften. "And I find those reasons not only sound, but very brave under the circumstances."

"Princess, I..." Rarity trailed off, her face showing worry despite her best efforts. Seeing this, Celestia knelt down to Rarity's level, and placed a hoof on her cheek.

Due to the late hour, Celestia had foregone her golden horseshoes, and Rarity could feel the softness and warmth of that hoof the moment it made contact. It brushed and soothed in the cool of the evening, exactly what she needed right now to keep herself at ease.

"But those circumstances cause me to ask again. Are you absolutely sure you wish to do this? And not out of any sort of fealty to the Royal House of Canterlot either, but out of duty to Rarity the Unicorn, who I consider far more important at this very moment."

Rarity's face visibly flushed. "Princess, it's hardly as serious as all tha-"

Celestia's eyes darted to meet Rarity's in an instant — and in that instant, she saw the same tinges of sadness and regret that had overtaken them scant few months ago.

A few months ago... when Rarity had been on the other side of the issue.

Rarity sobered, redoubling her resolve. "Y-yes, Princess. It's time both she and I put this behind us. I've seen her try to cope by herself for months, yet never known just how to help until I at last walked a mile in her-"

"Shhh." Celestia's hoof moved ever-so-gently from Rarity's cheek to her muzzle, quieting her. "There is no need to delve further into painful memories. You've already convinced me."

Celestia stood, and their walk resumed, leading up several steps, into Celestia's chambers. Further into the room they went, until reaching an intimidatingly large sealed door etched into the back wall. With a small application of magic from the princess, it opened without so much as a creak, revealing a darkness Rarity's vision simply couldn't penetrate.

The castle vault, perhaps? No, Rarity mused. General-purpose storage would hardly be housed within Her Majesty's inner sanctum. Whatever this was, it had to serve a far more personal agenda.

"While I would normally question Twilight for divulging enough castle secrets for you to make this offer at all..." Celestia trotted into the darkness, and thirty seconds later came back with an object floating beside her. "...I suppose this case is the very definition of special."

Rarity looked at the object — a rock. She would have felt a sense of sardonic deja vu, but as she took hold of the rock with her own magic and rotated it in the air, she knew she agreed with Celestia's words.

"A keepsake from when my sister and I were..." Celestia hesitated, taking a single moment to choose her words. "...first separated. A shame it doesn't work for either of us, I suppose."

Rarity levitated the rock out of a nearby window, observing effects which became apparent as soon as it was allowed to float freely in the nighttime sky. A short time later, she gave a satisfied nod.

"It only has to work for one. And I can make that happen. On that, Princess, you have my word."

Rarity and Princess Celestia met eyes and exchanged their first smiles of the night — one confident, the other trusting.

"Then take it," said Celestia, "with my blessing."

---
"Special Case"
(Hyper Drive Edition)
A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction
by Bookish Delight, 2012-2013
All characters and referred properties belong to Hasbro.
---

Two nights later, Princess Luna answered a knock at the her room's door.

Upon opening it, she saw the same unicorn which had been in Celestia's audience, now staring up at her. She looked at the unicorn quizzically... then her face lightened. "Rarity of Ponyville? This is a pleasant surprise."

Rarity smiled. "The honor is mine, Princess. Pray tell, how are you this lovely night?"

Luna pursed her lips, letting forth a wistful exhale. "The night is indeed lovely — and therefore, so am I." She walked towards her balcony, stopping at its arch, and looked up at the sky. "I simply wish I could be out in it. Behold the moon, right now at its fullest. I do so enjoy when this is the case. However, Sister insisted I stay indoors until somepony of 'great importance' arrived."

Rarity willed herself not to blush.

Luna turned back to Rarity. "Though now that I see who that somepony is, I am inclined to agree. I already owe you and your friends so many unrepayable debts." She gestured with a single hoof. "Please, enter."

Rarity did so, levitating a clear plastic bag behind her in a rigid upright position. "My apologies for taking up your quality nighttime — but rest assured, I would not have asked for that time if I did not think what I had to offer would be worth it."

Rarity saw Luna's muzzle curl into the smallest of smiles, and she froze for a second, wondering if perhaps that last sentence had come off as boastful. If it had, there was no taking it back now. Confidence, Rarity. Confidence. It was the only way she'd be able to move up in society, in her business... anywhere.

"Your offer, then," said Luna, in a bemused, almost singing, tone of voice. "Please, share it."

Rarity didn't skip a beat. "Twilight Sparkle related to me the many... insecurities, if you will, which you harbored last Nightmare Night."

Luna's muzzle now curled in the opposite direction as she rolled her eyes. "The ones that were on display for all to see, or the ones I confided in her once I was done being humiliated in front of the populace?"

Rarity nodded. "Yes."

Luna was silent for a few moments. "Fair. Pray, continue."

Rarity hesitated, took a deep breath, and did so. "And some time after that... well..." she lowered her head and closed her eyes. "I came face-to-face with my own, and got a first-hoof taste of what you might have gone through."

"And then some, if I recall," Luna replied.

Rarity nodded silently. When she opened her eyes, she nearly jumped back at the sight of Luna, kneeling at her level, just as Celestia had done before.

"Rarity," said the princess. "Listen to me, and listen well."

Her mane sparkled in the moonlight and wafted in the breeze, trailing across Rarity's face, soft as satin to the touch. "Princess Luna..." Rarity trailed off.

"Do you remember the changelings which invaded our fair kingdom? Do you remember how they operate?" Luna's voice was soft as well. "They look into your heart, become that which you most love, and feed off of your joy, your elation, your happiness. The more you indulge, the more power you afford them, which makes them formidable foes. But even in the face of all that, the nightmare forces are far worse.

"For they take that which you love, that which defines you... and subtly push you, until you yourself have constructed a world where it feels as if that is the one thing about you which nopony cares about... or worse, the one thing everypony despises about you. And when your sadness becomes deeper than any sadness you've ever known... only then do they they truly strike."

"An all-reaching consumption," Rarity whispered, trying not to sniffle.

"Yes. The greatest fear a pony can have — the fear that you have absolutely no place in this universe, regardless of what even your cutie mark tells you — is the exact fear they use as their portal. It is also the greatest lie a pony can believe, but it took centuries for me to realize that. You? Days. You are to be commended."

"Thank you, Princess," Rarity uttered softly after a long silence.

"You're quite welcome," Luna replied. "So, if you were wondering: no, I do not blame you one bit for what happened back then. Nor do I blame you as you struggle to forgive yourself even now. I only hope you've learned from it. The healing will happen in time. Speaking of which..." Luna's sly smile returned as she stood back up. "...it's strange. I thought you were here to help me."

"I... oh! Yes, of course!" With deep breaths and a couple of shakes, Rarity stood back up. Once at full composure, she continued her presentation as planned. "R-right, then. By my calendar, and everypony else's in Equestria, this year's Nightmare Night is in exactly one week."

"Indeed it is." Luna stepped fully onto to her balcony this time and looked up at the full moon, a baleful look crossing her face. "I may or may not have been trying to forget that very fact. I admit nothing, except perhaps my surprise that we did not have this conversation earlier."

"Quality takes time, Your Highness." A now calmer Rarity rested the bag on the bed. "Twilight and I figured — correctly, it seems — that perhaps old fears might have carried over from last year to this. And my experience certainly couldn't have helped matters. To that end, I thought that perhaps before this Nightmare Night, we could, well, do something about all of that."

Luna looked at her bed. "And I suppose what is in that bag is key?"

Rarity willed the plastic away, revealing an elaborate piece of fabric. "That is our hope. But whether it does or not, it is yours to do with as you please, now and always."

Luna looked at the fabric on the bed, then back at Rarity, who was wearing an expectant grin, and sighed. "Rarity, I appreciate the thought. I truly do. Tales of your generosity have been told far and wide and I am flattered that I can finally witness it first hand. But any personal problems I may have with this year's holiday of the night? As I've just told you, I can deal with them."

Rarity shook her head. "Yes, I am aware that you 'solved' your problem last year by allowing the myth of the monster you once were to become one of Nightmare Night's star attractions." She met Luna's eyes. "But what of the mare, Princess?"

Luna's face fell — subtly, but just enough for Rarity to notice when she'd found an opening. She pressed further.

"How is it fair that the Princess of the Night herself not also get the attention she deserves, simply for being the Princess of the Night? The one who moves the moon, guards our dreams, and keeps us safe in our most vulnerable of hours? Why shouldn't she be celebrated, rather than feared?"

Both ponies shivered in the cool of the autumn night. Luna's muzzle, however, took on an extra quiver as she inwardly struggled to maintain calmness in the face of Rarity's words. When she spoke, her voice was soft again.

"You ask these questions, knowing full well the road they once led me down."

Rarity stood her ground. "I do."

"Even now, after having been where I have."

"Even so. And while what I've experienced still sometimes haunts, I've also had time to think on how to respond to it. In the end, I decided to do so the only way I know how. Because we wish for your healing as well."

Luna raised an eyebrow. "'We'?"

Without a reply, Rarity levitated the fabric in front of Luna, the planet's gravity unfurling it to reveal a frilled black and navy dress in the princess's exact size.

"Since your return to Equestria, I know you've mastered one side of yourself. Please allow me," said Rarity, "to help you master the other."

---

A changing screen materialized close to Luna, who took the dress and stepped in from the right. Several seconds, ruffles and magic sparkles later, she emerged from the left in an ensemble which, to both mares' surprise, left Luna gaping and near-breathless.

"Rarity, I must admit... this is beautiful." Luna ran a hoof over the fabric. "The texture, so soft, the frills, light in the breeze." She closed her eyes and slowly twirled, a jubilant exhale escaping her lips. "In my youth, I would see Celestia wear elaborate pieces such as this." Her small, genuine smile had returned. "Only in far brighter colors."

"Your sister did collaborate with me during the design process. If I may..." Rarity reached up and placed a hoof on Luna's shoulder. "...she loves you more than words ever could say."

Luna sighed. "Which is why she always appears afraid to say them."

"Being able to read appearances is important," said Rarity. "It lets one know when one must take the initiative themselves." Silence hung over the room until Rarity decided to pull back. "Forgive me. I think I may finally have spoken out of turn."

"No, no," said Luna, shaking her head with a chuckle. "Not only are you generous, but you have proven your wisdom as well. Thank you, Rarity. I shall hang this dress in a safe place until the appointed time-"

"Princess?" Rarity held up a hoof. "There is one last thing."

Luna stopped. "Which is?"

Rarity's smile now matched Luna's of minutes past. "A mere request. Use your magic, and will the moon. To move, to shine, anything you wish."

"Hmm?" Confusion crossed Luna's face. "But my moon is already in perfect position and brightness."

"Please," said Rarity. "Humor me."

"Hmm. Well, 'tis an odd request, but..." Her horn glowed. The moon outside shone brighter than usual upon Equestria, to the point where the balcony might as well have had a chandelier hung directly over it.

And then it happened.

White stars and curved designs appeared everywhere along Luna's new dress, causing its wearer to let out a gasp louder than either party in the room had ever expected. "Rarity, this... this is...!"

The short, quick breaths punctuating Luna's words let Rarity know that she'd gotten her exact desired effect. It was now time for the clincher.

"I've been thinking for days now how best to word my thoughts on the matter you and I share, Princess. But in my heart of hearts, I knew Twilight always had the right idea."

As Luna remained in stunned silence, Rarity closed her eyes once more.

"Dear Princess Luna: you and I have something in common. While that something may not have been our first choice, it still affords us a most unique bond."

Rarity opened her eyes, pacing around Luna and her dress. Her horn lit, shifting some of the lights along the navy fabric, prompting Luna to try the same. The Moon Princess's eyebrows shot up as she realized the full extent of the power she had over the dress's aesthetic even after completion.

"I understand," Rarity continued, "how it feels to be deathly scared of being taken advantage of. To be taken for granted. I know how it feels to forever want to live up to one's station, but never quite know if you truly are."

Crescent moons, hearts, swirls, stars, anything she wished. The full beauty of the night, now closer to herself than ever before... Luna's eyes quivered as she created design after design, doing her best to swallow the lump in her throat.

"But whether or not my generosity — my greatest strength, my element — one day proves to also be my greatest weakness... I can't not do what I do. And now more than ever, I know that if I tried to stop doing what I do, I would be far from the only pony who suffered."

Rarity, having now made a complete revolution around Luna's frame, stood up on her hind legs, and placed her own hoof on Luna's cheek, wiping away half-formed tears. "No matter how anxious it makes us, neither of us can stop doing what makes us special, can we?"

Luna simply smiled in reply. It was a large, radiant smile, saying far more by its mere presence than words ever could. Satisfied, Rarity stepped back onto all fours, and took one step away from her Princess in final presentation.

"In light of things, I attach to this letter a gift — the one which you currently wear. I call it 'Moonglow Fabric,' for obvious reasons. Ground up material from the very moon itself, salvaged from a different time, and woven into a one-of-a-kind dress. I do hope it is to your liking. As has been said before, we're glad you're back. The night just wasn't the same without you.

"Sincerely, Rarity," she finished with a slight bow.

---

A thick silence ruled the room as Luna looked directly at Rarity, unblinking, her eyes still shaking just the same.

Then, without warning, Rarity found herself levitated onto Luna's back.

"P-Princess?" Rarity managed — a full second before Luna took off in a gallop onto the balcony, jumped off, and rendered the both of them airborne with a mighty flap of her wings.

Higher Luna flew, and lower became the angle required for Rarity to crane her neck to get a view of the moon above. When Luna finally stopped, the moon was closer than ever, but when Rarity looked down, she could see all of Canterlot, and several neighboring territories besides.

"Earlier," said Luna, "I told you that I was at my happiest when closest to my moon. As reward for your deeds, and your friendship... I wish to share that joy with you now. And with no changelings about," she added with a wink.

"Princess..." Rarity said, marveling at how closely the moonlight matched her own coat's hue. "It's beautiful. All of this is."

"As are you. Before tonight," said Luna, "I knew you and your friends were Equestria's grand heroines. As of this moment, however, I realize you have always been far more. You are gems, pure and genuine. Let none — not even any silly notions of 'modesty' — tell you otherwise. So your Princess demands."

At those words, Rarity was levitated in mid air, and to direct face's level with the Princess of the Night. She was only able to let out a quick, "Thank you, I-" before being enveloped, and cuddled, in twin, fabric-covered forelegs.

This close, Rarity could see the glitter of the fabric she'd crafted. Between her mane and dress, the Princess now blended almost perfectly into the infinite sky. To think, then, that the sky could possess such a warm, gentle touch.

As Rarity settled into it, the sky brought forth whispers into her ear:

"This is the first time I've ever said this to somepony and been glad to do so... but welcome to my world."

"I am glad to be here." Rarity returned the embrace. "I shall be ever willing to keep you company in it if you so wish. And so would another certain somepony, if you're willing."

Rarity cast eyes back down at one of Canterlot Castle's towers. Luna followed, to see Twilight Sparkle standing on a balcony... as well as Princess Celestia, returning her sister's gaze with a longing smile.

Warmth washed over Luna as realization came from all sides.

"Yes," she said. "I think I'd like that."

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Comments ( 27 )

Overall, I enjoyed this, totally keeps in character with rarity's element.
Didn't like the part where we zoomed in on celestia's feet in the hyper version. Edgar Allen Poe said that everything in a short story should need to be there. And that felt... unneeded, when I read it just kind of snapped me out of my immersion.

But other than that, no problems.

2952187

I must say, of all the possible criticisms I could have anticipated (and am still anticipating!), that was one I never would have seen coming. :rainbowlaugh: I personally didn't really see it as "zooming in on feet" as I was mainly referencing forehooves but I guess it could be interpreted as such? Your quote's a great point, though. I'll keep it in mind.

I'm glad you liked it otherwise! Thanks a lot for commenting. :twilightsmile:

Welp, only on thing to say to that...

THE FEELS HAVE BEEN DOUBLED!!!

Seriously, I thought the previous chapter was good, then you went and MADE IT BETTER!!! HOW DID YOU EVEN DO THAT!?!?!?

But I digress, excellent work, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I cannot gush ENOUGH about how wonderful this story is. The feels, and she sheer emotion that passed between both characters was so sweet and so genuine I could re-read this for days and never tire. Thank you so much for writing this, and I welcome any other works coming up with eagerness and anticipation.

I liked your original.

But this is better, faster, stronger.

Especially the line about 'Welcome to my world."

2953235
That'll be six million bits please. :pinkiehappy: Seriously, thanks!

...also, I really miss your game.

I like it, originally.

But now? Well, now I have to favorite it. I do so hope you're pleased with your product (I know I am).

2952858

Well, now that I've finally managed to drain the blood from my face, thanks a lot! :rainbowlaugh: Rarely can I tap into the ultra-feels, as it were, but that comic arc inspired me like crazy and the rest wrote itself! They really can be quite nice things, those "comics."

I'm doubly glad that I've made something re-readable, as I consider that to be one of the best compliments one can give a creative work -- be it a book, game, movie, what have you. :twilightsmile:

Much appreciated! And I have zero plans to stop doing what I do, so stay tuned. :raritywink:

2953358

I do too. There have been none like it since, especially not the blend of image, light and sound.

Also, seriously, the feels with this. Reading it again, the idea that only they know each others pain. Woof.

I know this isn't a shipping story, but just a gentle push could send a followup down d'aww alley, and I'd read the hell out of it.

2953479
Awww, thank you! And hey, nothing ventured and all that -- go ahead and give it a shot! :pinkiesmile:

2953387
Thanks! I'd say I'm fairly pleased with how this turned out, though I did learn one thing while writing it: toss enough of it in, and it's really easy to get lost in one's own fluff. :rainbowlaugh:

2953475
Yep, pretty much what I wanted to try to communicate, re: the pain thing. :)

I've been told I'm a notorious tease, yes. :pinkiesmile: Alas, I tend to only break out the full-on shipping arsenal when I think I really have something, or like a challenge. Hence that Nerdy!Vinyl thing you see over to the right. :rainbowlaugh: Flattered by the sentiment, though, truly.

(Oh, and still have your PSX? Take two doses of Gradius Gaiden and call me in the morning. :raritywink:)

2953621 I think this is the first time I've seen a Luna/Rarity that was up to the challenge of shipping, but ah well. Maybe a non shipping sequel? Moar, please.

Also Gaiden is a better game, but Einhander is a piece of art. If I may say so.

2953685
You may. I agree on both counts. :twilightsmile:

2953685
The Einhander soundtrack is also a piece of art. I don't have a PSX anymore, but I still have a copy of the game.

I really appreciate the fact that you went back and revised and expanded the story. I also agree with Einhander that a sequel would be most sufficient. :twilightsmile:

This was an amazing expansion on what was already a solid story in my book. :twilightsmile: The addition of the elements the comic introduced didn't feel forced at all and flowed so naturally that it felt like something that had been established for ages! Keep up the fantastic work man and I can't wait for your next story! :pinkiehappy:

Excellent work here with this story. I love how you included the comic elements and made it woven into the cartoon canon so naturally. I hope to see more. :)

3092670

Thanks a lot! :twilightsmile:

No clue if I'll return to this particular situation, but I do like the comic so far, so there's a good chance you'll see more things based on it.

Definitely a nice expansion on what was already a sweet story. (Was that from the second comic arc? I haven't read it yet but I long since spoiled myself for it. :rainbowlaugh:)

I really do think Rarity is underutilized sometimes. She's got this great spirit about her that I can't quite put my finger on. But great job! :raritywink:

3164013

Thanks! And yeah, second comic arc. It's absolutely worth reading if you can -- so sweet. (I usually just go the Comixology route, myself.)

((Cross-posted from deviantART))


You've always been a winner as far as I'm concerned, so I always considered it a matter of "when", not "if", you would walk away a First Place award like the one this story received, especially after "Holding On" netted you a Silver Medal not too long ago. Even taking that into consideration, however, this is an immensely satisfying and impressively elegant piece of work. Like "Holding On" before it, it takes a premise many have worked with before-in this case, helping Princess Luna to cope with life after Nightmare Moon (indeed, coping with life after the Nightmare period, but I'll get to that later)-and finds something new and compelling to say about it.

Right off the bat, I'm struck by your dialogue. You've always been great with it in the past, but here in particular not a single line is wasted; not even a single word. Every instant a character speaks in this story, it really adds something, whether it's a keen feeling of just who they are and what they're feeling ("The night is indeed lovely -- and therefore, so am I"), a showcase of just how they are processing themselves and their situation ("...I suppose this case is the very definition of special"), or a straightforward yet compelling summation of what they truly want ("But what of the mare, Princess?", not only my favorite line of the story but possibly my favorite little bit of dialogue you've yet written). And you do it all with a commanding grasp of these characters and their particular voices. Celestia, protective and powerful but also gentle and understanding; Luna, regal in all things but nursing deeper emotions than she dares to show; and most of all, Rarity, more than a little overwhelmed in their presence but bound and determined to do right by them both. Again, that ability to get right down to the core of these character and let them interact together has always been a strong-suit of yours, but this time especially you have simply knocked it out of the park. It is such a potent combination of Who, What, and Why (and one that the edited version improves on even further, but again I'll get to that later), and you let it play out so perfectly, with a wholly natural rhythm that manages to build up so strongly without ever feeling rushed or overbearing.
That applies to your prose, too. Word choice, ebb and flow, Showing vs. Telling...in all respects, it strikes the right balance with a kind of elegant character befitting the nature of the story. It is that last part in particular I found most interesting. You've been getting better and better about it lately, but you really have found a certain ability to mold your narrative voice and techniques to the specific story you're writing, and "Special Case" showcases that very fact well, coming so soon after "The Best Smiles" as it does. Because where "The Best Smiles" moved lightly and quickly, again in keeping with its themes and emotional ideas, here the writing is no less sleek, but achieves a very different kind of pace, something decidedly calmer and more introspective. It all serves to highlight the best emotional beats of the story in just the right way, allowing them all to unfold as fully and richly as possible.

Which is what it really boils down to: the emotional arcs and dynamics of this story are, and I do not say this lightly given your considerable level of success in this respect in pretty much all your work, among the best-conceived and most powerfully executed you have ever done. Part of that is that, in a way, it's a real risk to engage the idea you do here; if one were to select the single story pretty much every author of Pony 'fic on the face of the Earth has tackled at least once to one degree or another, it is the matter of Luna's struggle with her past, both her time as Nightmare Moon and the feelings of isolation and frustration that led to her fall from grace. But as you always do, you manage to find a new way to express that idea, a new angle from which to explore it, while still respecting and honoring the fundamental truth and emotion behind it. The key element, for me at least, is that it's all expressed so...gently. That is not to be confused, necessarily, with it being dispassionate; there is no denying the powerful feelings behind both of the lovely ladies who drive this story. But you wisely express those feelings in a gentler manner than some, myself included, might be naturally inclined to do, and it works brilliantly. It's the way you use the narrative's graceful momentum, the way that the emotion comes through in small-but-striking moments in the dialogue (those little moments where we see Luna's multifaceted feelings for Celestia peek out, for example, are especially powerful) or in the actual realization and impact of Rarity's gift. It's the unmistakable and keen dynamic that emerges as we see Luna engage Rarity, at first from a slightly-defensive but overtly-respectful stance only for it to transition into something far less guarded but far more affectionate, and the naturalistic back-and-forth between them that develops as a result. Everything, in other words, moves at a pace and in a way that feels entirely believable, allowing us to relate to emotions and ideas that might otherwise seem too Mythic to fully grasp without sapping them at all of their power. That right there may be the most crucial aspect, in fact, that choice to explore this idea from a more personal, more intimate perspective than it is usually handled with. Such a choice may sound simple, even obvious, but when we truly get to see Luna, vulnerable and happy and truly freed, at the very end it all makes sense, and no matter how simple it may seem at the outset, its effect is simply too profound to ignore or dismiss.

All of which brings me, at last, to Rarity herself. Even before the edit, I sincerely adored your portrayal of her in this story. That unique mixture of grace, poise, and even a slight but unmistakable trace of cunning all captured what are, for me, the very best elements of her character. Likewise, the central conceit, of Rarity choosing to apply her artistic skills to help Luna cope with her doubts and fears, is simply perfect, the sort of thing I wish other writers (including those on the show) would use more often. And just as Luna's dialogue helped establish one half of the story's core dynamic so well, Rarity finished the job with her expected flair; like I said already, she gets one of my very favorite lines in your entire body of work thus far.
But then you edited the story to incorporate the IDW comic's second story-arc, and managed to improve on perfection.
Like the choice to look at Luna's emotional issues through a more close-up lens than is customary, the decision to add that element of Rarity's own struggle with the Nightmare is a seemingly-simple choice on the surface that nonetheless has far-reaching, deeply profound, and incredibly powerful effects on the story. Just to start with, the chilling summation Luna gives of just what the Nightmare is, the insidious ways in which it corrupts and corrodes its victims, paints one of the best pictures I've ever seen of its particular brand of Evil and thus heightens the story's emotional stakes by reminding us just what kind of trauma both these poor Ponies have had to struggle with. More importantly, it adds a new and even more powerful level to the very nature of Rarity's actions without detracting from the already-existing ones it operated so well on. Because now, in addition to being a gift forged from sincere generosity to give help to a Princess in need, it also becomes Rarity's own way of coping, of working through the very same pain Luna has had to deal with. Again, it's that wonderful dialogue of yours that puts it best: "I can't not do what I do. And now more than ever, I know that if I tried to stop doing what I do, I would be far from the only pony who suffered." That is about the best, most beautiful expression of who Rarity truly is in her heart of hearts, of what her craft truly means to her, that I have ever seen.

So again, congratulations on your win. You more than deserved it, because this is a story that not only showcases what Pony 'fic can be at its best, but what makes you such a wonderful author of it. You understand, so well and so strongly, what it is about these characters that gives them such a special place in our hearts, and you use that understanding to tell stories that feel every bit as true and important as the ones that inspired them. :raritystarry::heart:

A brutal punch to the feels, combined with master-work quality storytelling. The way you use your words is astounding.

Woo! Leave it to Rarity to incorporate ithildin embroidery into her dress for Luna. :raritystarry:

5106094

I feel honored to have thought of in 25 minutes what likely took Tolkien years. :trollestia:

2953235
I liked this the most. This is a true gem. A masterpiece of storytelling.
And, just like Rarity, you, dear Bookish, have been absolutely true to your Element.
The Element of Heartwarming :twilightsmile:

Thank you *bows*

5618570

D'awwwww, thanks! :twilightsmile:

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