• Published 15th Aug 2013
  • 9,300 Views, 95 Comments

Xenophilia: Plague's End - SpinelStride



The Blank Plague has burned out in Canterlot and Ponyville, but one alicorn must still undergo its ravages. But the Princess of Dreams has duties that cannot be left untended, and dreams will not bear the sun's light...

  • ...
29
 95
 9,300

Chapter 3: Recovery

Lero was helplessly clinging to Luna's side, the two of them laughing so hard they were crying.

"And then!" gasped out Luna when she could find a breath. "And then I said to Tia, I said, 'Oh, that must have been the Alfalfa Monster!'"

Lero let out a fresh whoop and fell to the ground, slapping it with his palm. Luna fell over onto her back, hugging herself with her wings and wailing with laughter herself. It took ages for them to settle, both flopped on their backs.

"What did she do to get you back?" asked Lero, while Chancellor Puddinghead and Commander Hurricane walked by, arguing about Clause Seven of the Unification Protocols.

Luna waved a hoof. "Oh, she was always lacking in her creativity for pranks. Willing, but the true spark of genius was never hers. But she tried, and she had her confidants who gave her suggestions. She arranged to start a rumor that I was going into a once-in-a-hundred-years heat and sought some way to sate myself without the service of a stallion. This was long before the invention of the modern cooler, you understand. And so the Night Court was clogged with hopeful inventors with their bevy of devices of exceptionally personal nature." She giggled. "That did not last long. I told them, 'Fools! 'Tis not the moon that suffers from heat! To the Day Court with you!'" She giggled harder. "And she will never if she burns a trillion years admit it, Lero, but I do believe that Tia kept one!" And she broke down in hilarity again.

Lero was back to howling with laughter as well, and dream or not, his chest was hurting.

Luna nudged him with a hoof, mischief twinkling in her eyes. "I have not told her of your dream of her, of course."

Lero blinked away tears of laughter, then sat up. "My dream of her? I don't remember one."

Luna's smile grew wider. "Oh, you do not?"

Lero leaned away. "I'm guessing it's at least not a nightmare?"

Luna's teeth were very, very bright as she smiled. Lero wondered briefly if Luna might somehow be one of Pinkie Pie's ancestors. "Oh, no, Lero. Not a nightmare at all! I had no idea you thought of my sister that way!"

Lero's face fell. "You're kidding."

Luna could not possibly have been smiling that widely outside of a dream. "And such an exotic outfit, too!"

"An... outfit," Lero repeated. He put his hand to his face. "I probably don't want to know, but what was I wearing?"

He could feel her smiling. "Did I say it was your outfit?"

Lero attempted to dig a hole and hide in it. If Luna had allowed it, he probably could have. "What was she wearing, then?" he asked anyway.

"A home-made Daring Do outfit, of course!" Luna rolled onto her back again, clutching at her barrel. "Ink on her horn! Such an expression! Priceless! A prize beyond measure! I shall have it commissioned in glass and a thousand years from now have it secretly installed, and see how long it takes her to notice!"

Lero groaned and put his other hand to his face too. "Aren't there laws about dream privacy in this country?"

Luna pulled him against her side, still chortling. "Strangely enough, I have somehow never gotten around to making any," she cheerfully informed him.

***

Rarity concentrated carefully on her stitchwork. Every thread needle-pulled by horn for this particular dress; even her trusty sewing machine simply could not be given the charge of ensuring that everything was utterly perfect. This was the most important outfit she had ever designed. This was the outfit that any mare from Rainbow Dash to Fleur De Lis to Princess Celestia herself would beg to try on, and she would smile graciously at them and decline, and all of Canterlot society would be crawling at her hooves to beg her to attend all their noble functions, and she would pick and choose, and her dress would stand alone, sole owner of the very concept of fashion for all time to come! But, really, most important of all... it would be her dress.

The design alone had taken two days, and the stitching would take at the very least another week to do properly. Her customers would understand, she was sure. After all, the muse was upon her!

And this dress was for her. Surely they'd see.

"Rarity?"

They'd see if she ever could finish it, with all these interruptions.

"Your sister is working, Sweetie Belle," Rarity sang out to her, not taking her eye off of the stitching line.

"My brush is stuck, Rarity! Pleeeeease?"

Rarity sighed and set the needle down, then turned.

And promptly shrieked, pulled over her nearest fainting couch, and sprawled upon it. When she had gathered herself, she sat up and breathed, "Oh, Sweetie, what has happened to your mane?"

Her adorable little sister's pink and purple curls had turned themselves into something resembling a mix between Rainbow Dash's constantly windswept style, if style it could be called when really it was a deliberate lack of proper style in the name of 'coolness,' and Pinkie Pie's impossible tangles. Her brush was the least that was stuck in it; sticks and leaves and a straw were caught up in it as well.

"You said it was okay," Sweetie protested, and batted at the handle of her brush.

Rarity's eyes widened. "When did I ever say such a thing? And what happened?"

Sweetie came over to present the brush to Rarity. Rarity began carefully untangling her sister's hair from the brush, and feared she might have to employ her scissors. "Yesterday, when I came back from being Cutie Mark Crusaders Mane Stylists, you said it was just fine. Then this morning when I asked you to help me wash it, you said it looked stunning. You didn't even look!"

Rarity let go of the brush, and pulled Sweetie Belle up against her quietly. She looked at that hideous manestyle. She looked up at her dress.

"Sweetie, have I been acting strangely?"

"You let me do this," she pointed out. "And you told Spike he could have all the ice cream two days ago when he asked."

Rarity swallowed. "I am so, so sorry, Sweetie Belle. I... fear I have been paying you less attention than you deserve. I've simply had this... inspiration, and you do know how I am when that happens."

Sweetie leaned against Rarity's side. "It's okay, Rarity. I know you have lots to do for work." She turned to smile hopefully up at her sister's face. "When you finish it, can I have one like it?"

The word 'NO' with a great many exclamation points surged to Rarity's throat. She quashed it down with a tremendous lack of mercy.

"Of course you can, Sweetie," she promised. "I will always, always share everything with you."

Sweetie looked up higher. "Rarity? What happened to your horn?"

Rarity hugged her. "Princess Luna asked me to do something for her, Sweetie. It seems to have changed the color of my horn. Temporarily, I'm sure."

"No, no, you told me that," Sweetie said. "Just now. Look at it! It's all sparkly."

Rarity looked blankly down at her, then floated a mirror over. Instead of deep, inky blackness, it was a translucent deep blue, with tiny points of light that moved slowly within. She touched her horn with a hoof. Then she sent magic through it and really felt it, this time.

"I think perhaps you've helped me do something wonderful, Sweetie," she said softly. "Is Spike here?"

"He's upstairs, taking a hot bath," the little filly said. "Do you want me to get him?"

"If you would be so kind, dear," Rarity said.

"SPIIIIIIIIKE! RARITY WANTS YOU!" Sweetie Belle yelled at the top of her lungs.

There was a large amount of crashing and banging upstairs, and then a wet dragon with a towel wrapped around him came tumbling down the stairs, ending up on his back looking worshipfully up at Rarity. He scrambled to get to his feet, and with exceptionally belated efforts at suavity asked, "Is there anything I can do for you, ladies?"

Rarity smiled at him. He really was so very adorable, too. And so much stronger than he showed, when he had to stand on his own.

"Spike, did I tell you about my dream recently? The one where Luna asked Twilight and the rest of us to help her with something, and I woke up with my horn turned black?"

"And you made it look so good," he said dreamily, then blinked and gaped. "Wow! Did... did you polish it or something? That looks amazing!"

Rarity laughed and pulled Spike up onto her fainting couch with Sweetie, and hugged them both. "You always know just what to say, Spike. But I need to ask you for some advice."

"Anything for you," he breathed, still staring at her horn.

"I believe I have been... chosen to carry a portion of Luna's burden that you might be uniquely qualified to help with, Spike," she said softly. "Once upon a time, Princess Luna wanted, for reasons she thought were good enough at the time, distraught as she was, to have all Equestria and all its ponies be hers and hers alone."

"All of Equestria?" Spike said in a small voice.

"All of it," Rarity confirmed. "And that part of her, she feared might cause harm while she suffers the plague. I can feel her magic in me now, and if you and Sweetie will help me..." She trailed off and closed her eyes, trying to encapsulate the enormity of it all. "Spike... How do you deal with it? I know it's, well, somewhat of a sensitive subject, and I hate to bring it up, but the situation has become rather critical. Luna is counting on me to carry this for her, and I'm simply not sure I can. She wanted all of Equestria for her own. How can I resist that kind of greed?"

Spike looked down at the floor. His scaly little shoulders shook as he wrestled with some hidden demon. And then he looked back to her.

"By caring more about somepony else than you do about yourself."

She pulled him into a tight hug against herself. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she whispered, "Oh, Spike..."

***

Pinkie Pie sat in the kitchen of Sugarcube Corner curled up into a ball and whimpering to herself. Alone. All alone. All alone. The Cakes were getting groceries. They took the baby Cakes with them. Gummy was in his watery bed. She was all alone. Alone. All alone. Alone.

She couldn't wait ten years for Cranky's dragon friend to wake up and write her a letter. That was waaaaaaay too long. It was already the longest ten minutes of her entire life. And she was alone. All alone. Nopony was really her friend after all. Nopony liked her. She was by herself. Just herself.

Her head snapped up. By herself. Of course! She could be by herself and she knew she liked herself at least most of the time and if she had enough of herself then she'd never be lonely again and then everything would be one hundred percent okie-dokie-loki all the time and she knew just how to do it! She was in too much of a hurry for bouncing so she galloped instead and she'd totally make up for not opening the door first but the Cakes knew how that worked and Mrs. Cake had done it that one time too when she tried one of Pinkie's cupcakes with hot sauce so they kept a backup door in the basement for just such an occasion!

The Mirror Pool! Sure they weren't supposed to use it and Twilight put that big rock over it but Pinkie was an earth pony and even if she didn't work on a farm all day like Applejack she was still strong and she broke right through that door just fine so she should be able to shove a big rock out of the way or she could maybe dig around it or maybe she could get Rocky to talk him into moving for her or something even if Rocky didn't like her anymore either but she'd figure something out! She always figured something out like that time Fluttershy brought Parasprites into town and Pinkie had saved the day even though everypony was mad at her all day and yelling at her and didn't like her and she'd saved Ponyville all on her own anyhow because it was her town even if nopony liked her and she was a good pony who did things like that!

And then she was there already because she knew right where it was and she was going to have so many Pinkie friends to be with her forever and ever and ever and ever this time only her hooves hit the rock and bounced right off without moving it one little bit and she saw all the magic stuff Twilight had done to it and her mood went all the way from totally curly to saggystraight with nothing in the middle.

She couldn't move that rock. It wasn't just dropped into place. It was sealed in with magic, hard. It was anchoring all the ground around it so nothing could get around it either. She might not even have been able to get in even if half of Ponyville had been down there talking about secrets all at once. Maybe. Twilight was good. Really good.

She tried kicking the rock anyway because she had planned on moving it and she didn't have any other ideas yet and nothing else was coming to her mind except for sitting down and crying and she'd done that before and this time Cranky and Matilda weren't here and they'd left her all alone too so they didn't like her either they were just being polite because they were nice donkeys and she didn't tell anyone about their secret super powers because she was a good pony even if nobody liked her so maybe they weren't even being polite to be nice but because they thought she wasn't a good pony and might tell their secret and that made her sad and now she did sit down and cry.

Sitting down to cry helped for a little bit, and then at some point she got up and started to run even though she was still crying. She didn't know where she was running, but her legs wanted to run because there was something bad nearby and running was what ponies were supposed to do when bad things were nearby, even brave ponies who were heroes of Equestria that nopony liked anymore.

She stopped running and crying, but only because of the cockatrice.

She kept trying, only now she was trying to scream too.

***

Lero sat on the wooden bench staring blankly forward. Twilight was laying across his lap, her head down. Rarity's letter was barely staying in his hand.

Dear Bellerophon and Twilight Sparkle,

I do hope Canterlot is doing well, now that that dreadful plague has moved along. The few cases remaining in Ponyville are well on their way to recovery, and the town itself has come through swimmingly. Spike informs me that there was a brief moment of worry about the town's fiscal outlook, what with the unexpected expenses and all, but Princess Celestia has apparently paid off some long-forgotten debt owed to Town Hall and everything is looking positively rosy in that regard now.

I positively abhor being the bearer of bad news, but I fear I must, and isn't it better to hear these things from a friend? I'm terribly sorry to have to inform you, but both Lyra and Rainbow Dash are in Ponyville General Hospital, along with Applejack. Nopony knows quite what happened, but it seems Applejack suffered some sort of severe accident and was rescued by Rainbow Dash, gallantly flying her across town with her customary loyalty and skill. I'm afraid I was inattentive at the time, but Spike and Sweetie Belle tell me that there was an all-red Rainboom shortly thereafter, and then Lyra sent flares up from the edge of the Everfree.

The best guess anyone in town has offered thus far is perhaps somewhat worrisome, Lero. Mayor Mare has put in a request to Canterlot for an expanded Guard contingent. We really don't know, but the speculation at the moment is that, given where Rainbow Dash and Lyra were, well, perhaps the unknown assailants who were responsible for your own arrival in Equestria may have assaulted Applejack as well, and that the town's pre-eminent martial experts pursued the perpetrators and drove them off, suffering their own injuries in the process.

The good news is that everypony is expected to make a full recovery, in time. Naturally the hospital is not providing any further details on precisely what their injuries are.

I have some other news you may wish to share with Princess Luna as well. With the help of my darling sister and Spike, I have identified which portion of Luna's burden is mine to bear, and I believe I shall be able to endure with their ongoing aid. If to be an alicorn is to harbor such powerful passions and urges, my respect for our beloved princesses attains new heights.

I promise, I shall attend faithfully to our injured friends, as much so as the hospital will permit, and I shall send word when I have any more information for you. Lero, Twilight, they are going to be all right. You must attend to Princess Luna and to Princess Luna's duties, I am entirely sure of that. Be strong.

With love and friendship,

Rarity

***

Fluttershy happily pranced through the fringe of the Everfree. Oh, such a wonderful, brave, talented pegasus she was! Going so far out of her way into such a very dangerous place all to help her friends, who needed her, as of course they always did, but sometimes they recognized it moreso than others. Poor poor Applejack! The hospital still wouldn't say just what happened to her, but Dew Care, the hospital's potion expert, had asked Fluttershy if she had any cockatrice venom. That wasn't the sort of thing Fluttershy tended to keep around her cottage, where all of her perfect little animal friends might accidentally get into it and have all sorts of trouble. So off she went without a second thought to go fetch some!

And the only place to get it was the Everfree Forest, which wasn't really such a bad little forest, it just needed somepony to take care of it all properly. With a week or two of really buckling down and concentrating, she was sure she could have the entire place all cozy and happy. But first, the cockatrice. She knew just where she could find one, and he already knew her, so of course he knew what a wonderful pony she was and would be happy to help, the dear.

And there he was, right where she expected him! She really was so very, very good with animals. Being a cockatrice, of course, he couldn't completely be helpful, it simply wasn't in his nature. So with utterly sublime grace, she picked up a stick and smacked him just so on the back of the head. Not enough to knock him out, but more than enough to lay him flat on the ground where she could put a hoof on his back and Stare at him upside-down. It wasn't a terribly common bit of knowledge, but a cockatrice's adorable power to turn things to stone only worked right side up! But she knew that, of course, because she was Fluttershy, and she knew simply everything important there was to know about all her animal friends, even the grouchy ones like this particular cockatrice.

Milking his venom gland into a vial was no trouble at all, once she'd given him a good Stare, and she had far more than enough for whatever Dew Care might need, she was sure. So to make sure there were no hard feelings, because she couldn't leave such a cute little creature mad at her, she had a lovely conversation with the cockatrice when she was done.

He wasn't happy about being hit in the head, and Fluttershy completely forgave him for being so unreasonable, and suggested that perhaps if he was the teeniest bit friendlier to ponies, he might improve himself ever so slightly. She thought he was amenable to that idea, and of course he would be, because she was just the most diplomatic pony Equestria had ever seen. If only she weren't always so busy taking care of her animal friends, and all of Ponyville, really, why, she could probably have done a little diplomatic tour for Princess Celestia and resolved any little foreign policy issues that the princess hadn't been able to deal with on her own.

He warmed up to her after a little bit of coaxing, and she knew he would, and told her about a strange pink thing that ran into him just the day before. It was making all sorts of noise and running very quickly, and it had given it a very good stoning to make it very clear to any other fast noisy pink things not to bother cockatrices anymore.

Fluttershy was a very clever pony, and she knew Pinkie Pie was missing, so she asked the cockatrice to lead her back to the pink thing, and of course he obliged her very simple request. And sure enough, there was Pinkie Pie, turned to stone in full gallop. And that simply wouldn't do, so she politely asked him to turn her back, and he was so kind now that he knew her that he did. And then Pinkie was perfectly all right, and even suitably grateful for being saved!

"FLUTTERSHY!" she wailed out, much more loudly than she really needed to, but Fluttershy was used to ponies doing that all the time and wouldn't dream of commenting on it at all. "THOU HAST SAVEDEST US! THOU ART OUR FRIEND! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON'T LEAVEST US!"

That must have been very scary for her, being held in stone like that! Fluttershy of course gave her an incredibly perfect hug and told her just what she needed to hear. "I'm here with you." She always knew just the right thing to say, even if her friends sometimes weren't bright enough to listen to her, but she always forgave them.

Pinkie hugged her very hard, too hard, really, but Fluttershy endured with her usual utter grace and stunning beauty. The pink pony was crying, and Fluttershy was far too humble to think for more than a moment that it was tears of sheer delight at being in her presence. No, no, those could come later. She was still so obviously traumatized and needed the sort of tender loving care that only Fluttershy could really provide.

So off they went to Fluttershy's cottage, and Pinkie joined all of Fluttershy's animal friends in being taken good care of. Pinkie was always so happy to have all of Fluttershy's animal friends around, and Fluttershy simply adored how well Pinkie had learned to listen, always nodding and agreeing so fervently with everything Fluttershy had to tell her about her most favorite subject in the world.

That being Fluttershy, of course. Nothing else could possibly compare.

***

Luna danced across the endless fields of ice. It was a dream, and it was her dream, and she didn't have to share with anypony, she didn't have to worry about tending to other dreams, or have any regrets at all about the ponies who needed help. She wasn't supposed to be taking care of all that right now, her sister's Faithful Student was doing it for her. Oh, she'd have to do something wonderful to thank Twilight later! A party, perhaps. Canterlot hadn't seen a proper party in far too long. Even the Gala was nothing but a boring ball these days, so depressing to see that Luna hadn't even bothered to attend, and once the Gala was her domain.

Her skates sang with her as she moved, a wordless, joyous, endless note of freedom. A long, sweeping curve, then a tight curl there, and she leaped to begin the next line. She could have flown, of course, and she had flown more in her dreams these last few weeks than in all the time since Twilight Sparkle and her friends had saved her from her own darkness the first time. And now they were relieving her of the last dregs of it, those lingering troubles that she was working through on her own, freeing her from herself once more. It was like being a filly again, carefree, happy, secure in the knowledge that she could do no wrong, that others were taking care of everything for her.

Most everything, at least. There were other duties, and she had parts of herself tending to those. The Field of Foals would not be truly empty for a long, long time, and she could not possibly have given up her compassion and her sorrow without breaking herself, but even that part of her was able now to play with them, not simply watch and weep. Beautiful things, even ones that never had a chance to dance beneath the moon, deserved to be celebrated for what they were. And there were the other duties.

But the core of her, the Luna that was at the heart of her, sweet star-dancing Moonshine, that was free. The night danced with her, shadows that comforted woes and cooled unbearable heat, concealed away worries and cared for wounds. She leaped again, a single tight curl and then out again, a series of stutter-steps with the blades below her hooves.

There. Now to see it.

She spread her wings and lifted into the sky above her private world of perfect ice, and looked down. Yes. It was just right.

There, she and her sister raised their heads together and led the united tribes in the true Song of Harmony, a song that had endured without ever really ending, even if the ponies only saw it now and then.

There, the sun and moon loved the world between them.

There, seven brave mares and their alien friend waved to her.

And the last. An abstract, almost, a stallion she almost but could not quite remember. But she knew his name. Sable Shield. She knew she loved him, but her dream did not remind her who he was. Only that he was important to her and she would remember later.

She hid that dream away in a secret special place with the precious few others she had chosen to keep. She was waxing now, still a sliver but waxing, but one day she would wane, and perhaps be darkened again, and then she would need those dreams once more.

***

Rainbow Dash looked up at the white ceiling tiles. She felt very distant. Her whole body felt sluggish. She could turn her head, so she did. Huh. That wasn't a normal hospital bed. She spent enough time in one last time to know what they looked like. This one was a lot heavier and had her legs cuffed to it. She gave a lazy tug and saw how her hooves didn't move at all. Wow, that was a weird bed.

There were a bunch of tubes in her, too. She must really be messed up. She didn't remember running into any mountains. She'd have to go find where she hit. There was probably like a crater ten feet deep. That'd be kind of awesome.

After a while her head started feeling a little less fuzzy. Not totally better, but not so off-floating-in-the-clouds sort of feeling. Enough to try harder to remember why she was in the hospital. Had to have been a crash. Or a fight? Maybe a fight. Had she ticked off Twilight really hard? No, she was in Canterlot. There weren't many ponies who could mess her up like this. Ganged up on? Jumped? Even then she probably could fly away. And that didn't explain why she was bound to the bed. Both left legs broken, yeah, maybe those needed to be held still, but why the right?

She found enough concentration to explore the room. She was sharing it with somepony. What the hay happened to Applejack?

Wait, she remembered that. She'd been going to Sweet Apple Acres and...

... and Applejack was there, hurt. So AJ was alive and getting healed. That was good. Looked like a lot of broken bones and a big patch over half of her face, and a bunch of hoofmarks on her, but the doctors were good with that kind of stuff. So she'd saved AJ. Good. And then... then she'd flown off to look for whoever beat up AJ, right? So... maybe she found them. And got pounded herself. That made sense. Yeah. That's the kind of thing Rainbow Dash would do. She was a good friend like that.

Some nurses and doctors and stuff came by, and they fussed over her, and she really didn't pay them all that much attention. She was still pretty fuzzy. Just not as fuzzy. But whatever was making her fuzzy was wearing off when the doctors left, so they maybe turned it down.

She was starting to feel more normal, if really really sore all over, when the door opened again.

"Hey, Lyra," Rainbow Dash croaked. Her aqua herdmate was in a wheelchair with a big thick cast from chin to waist on her. An orderly was pushing her. "Somepony got you too?"

"Privacy, please," Lyra said, and the orderly nodded and backed out, closing the door. "What do you remember, Rainbow Dash?" she asked, once they were alone with Applejack.

"I found AJ beat up and got her to the hospital, then went to go find who did it," Rainbow replied. "Then it's... just sort of hazy. Were you there too? Did we get 'em?"

"You could say that," Lyra said quietly. "Can you see Applejack from your bed?"

"Well, yeah," said Rainbow. "Somepony really beat her up bad. They knew what they were doing."

"You could say that," Lyra repeated. "All four legs, her tailbone, one eyesocket, broken ribs, crushed hoof, multiple internal injuries, and somepony decided she needed to spend her next heat asking somepony to be extremely gentle."

Rainbow Dash winced. "That's a hay of a beating."

"She's a tough pony," Lyra said neutrally. "Most unicorns and pegasi couldn't hit hard enough to hurt her that much."

"So she got beat up by another earth pony?" Rainbow Dash asked incredulously. "No way they could have done all that!"

"It does seem a lot for an earth pony style to inflict," Lyra commented. "And those aren't earth pony shoes."

Rainbow Dash peered over. Pegasus vision and hearing were very good. She could see what Lyra meant. The hoofmark bruises showing through AJ's coat were way too narrow to be heavy earth pony shoes.

Rainbow Dash's eyes widened. Her heart felt like it stopped. She turned her head to stare at Lyra.

"I only know one pony who uses pegasus styles but hits like an earth pony," Lyra agreed.

Rainbow Dash's mouth hung open. She couldn't breathe. No. No way. Not possible. She couldn't have.

Lyra waited.

Rainbow Dash didn't breathe. Couldn't breathe. She couldn't have done that to AJ. It wasn't possible. Beating another pony like that in a competition was one of her worst nightmares. This? This was beyond nightmare. This was... this wasn't even on the 'uncool' scale. This was ... this was something only a monster would do.

A freak.

Lyra's ears rang from the volume of Rainbow Dash's wail. A voice designed by nature to shout across thunderstorms and from cloud to ground had a lot of power behind it. One with that kind of inner horror and despair could outblast a hurricane. She locked the door and waited.

The screams of misery eventually quieted to deep, body-wracking sobs.

"It wasn't your fault, Rainbow," she said once her voice could be heard. "You have to know that you did it, or you won't heal. But it wasn't your fault. You're carrying Luna's rage. All that anger, everything the Princess of the Night was afraid of spilling out through the dreams of everypony in Equestria, that's in you. You were controlling it. I don't know what happened to make it break, but you were carrying the anger that made Nightmare Moon for days."

Sobs were all that responded to her.

Lyra sighed softly. "I'll tell you again when you can listen, Dashie." Her horn glowed, and her clarsach floated out of the pocket on the back of her wheelchair. She strummed the strings and began to sing one of the songs Lero brought with him. Slightly adjusted. But on her own, like he would sing, without Harmony behind her.

When I think of all the wrong I've done,
I can't believe it's me that I'm talking about.
I bet the same goes for you.

There is plenty of goodness in this world
I hope some day to find it all.
I hope the same goes for you.
I hope the same goes for you.

We all need forgiveness.
I don't know how else we could get along
Without forgiveness
Without forgiveness

Sometime while Lyra was singing, the sobs ended, but only because Rainbow Dash collapsed into unconsciousness.

When she woke up, Lyra was still there.

"Are you ready to learn, Rainbow Dash?" Lyra asked her.

"Learn what?" she asked miserably. "How to hurt my friends? I already know that, don't I?"

"How to be still," Lyra said. "You have a lot of control, Rainbow Dash. More than you get credit for."

"Not enough," she choked out.

"I see the way you move," Lyra said calmly. "You guide every step, every flap of your wings. You have more control and more sheer power than any pony I have ever met. You could reach master ranks in a number of styles if you had the patience. And then you would learn more control yet."

"I never could stand for all that meditating and stuff, though," Rainbow Dash reminded her, still slumped. "I'm... I'm just too dangerous..."

"You have lots of time to learn patience now," Lyra patiently continued. "As long as you wear that helmet, you are dangerous. But it will go, and you will remain. Be here now, and do what the moment allows."

Dash stayed slumped against the heavy cuffs holding her to the bed. "Okay," she said, in a very small voice. "Okay."

Lyra smiled. "Sometimes we have to fall to move forward," she said. "Close your eyes. We'll begin where all things begin. With the first breath."

***

Luna watched the clouds roll by. Not a single pegasus touched them. The wind carried them alone. The sun shone down on her with no magic to guide it. It would never be possible to move that sun. It would be like trying to squeeze the ocean. Bigger. Uncaring. Softer and harder at the same time than Equestria's sun. But still, it shared its warmth as though it cared.

"There are places like this on Equestria," she said idly. It was an idle dream. "Where the weather runs wild and if the sun is under Tia's command, it does not pay much attention to those places. No more than it notices the tops of the waves, for all it warms them too."

Lero sat next to her, his arms around his knees. He wasn't looking up at the clouds. He watched an endless wave of grains twisting in the breezes. "I should be with them," he said.

"Many a stallion has made that claim, Lero," she told him. "Few in modern times, but in other ages, stallions wept in the fields that their herds lay far from them in the tents of their armies, too soon to face battles, or returned wounded from others."

"I'm not a stallion," he said. He couldn't raise up any anger. It was an idle dream. "I should be with them."

"And instead you serve your country, as those mares did," she reminded him. "Beyond my appreciation, Lero, were you not tending to my body, I would be weaker yet than I am now. To raise and lower the moon, my sister may substitute for me in times of great need. But there are other tasks she could never take up, not and be the shining sun Equestria needs."

"Guarding the borders of the world from Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones, I'm sure," he suggested.

She was quiet for a moment, then said, "Your people are sometimes disturbing, Bellerophon. You did not know love, so you invented it. And you did not know horror, so you invented that too."

"Wait, you actually do something like that?" Lero asked. "I was joking."

"Tread lightly alongside the Princess of Dreams, Bellerophon," she said. "There are things the waking world can never know."

He looked out over the grain again. "I just want to know my girls will be all right."

She rolled over and brushed a wing against his shoulder. "They will be."

"How do you know?" he asked.

The ghost of a familiar smile rested on her face for him. "It could be called a hunch."

He looked at her smile, then up to her eyes.

"Tia and I once bore the Elements," she reminded him. "Some things leave their mark."

***

Applejack didn't want to open her eyes. She'd failed. Again. Couldn't even get that right. Now she was jes' addin' a big expensive hospital bill an' th' whole farm'd go under an' her whole family'd die an' ever'pony'd run out of food an' starve an' die next winter an' it was all her fault.

"You done feelin' sorry for yerself yet, Applejack?" she heard Granny Smith ask. "On accounta you jes' said all that out loud an' yer bein' a darn fool."

She opened her eyes. There was Granny Smith at her side. There was Big Mac next to her. There was Applebloom on Big Mac's back. And across the room, there was Rainbow Dash, lyin' in a hospital bed of her own. She couldn't see anything on the other side.

"Aw, no," Applejack groaned. "Ain't nopony s'posed to get hurt. I messed it all up again."

"Applejack, you didn't mess anything up!" Apple Bloom protested. "You're the best farmpony there ever was!"

"Ayup," agreed Big Mac.

Applejack let her eyes close rather than look at her family. Tryin' so hard to cheer her up like she didn't remotely deserve, pretendin' she wasn't a complete an' total failure at ever'thin' she'd ever done.

"Ya said that out loud again, Applejack," Granny Smith's voice said, more sharply this time.

"An' I wouldn't blame y'all if ya jes' go ahead an' disown me right now," Applejack mumbled. "Then at least y'all don't gotta pay for all this an' they can jes' toss me out."

Something warm pressed against the end of her nose. She opened her eyes. Granny Smith was bendin' over her bed, muzzle-to-muzzle with her. Fires were burnin' in dark red eyes.

"You. Tell. Me. That. Again," she demanded, bitin' off every word like it was a nail to chew on. "You tell me, Applejack, that you believe jes' one word of that hogwash. You tell me an Apple ain't worth her family. You tell me Sweet Apple Acres ain't the best farm in all Equestria. You. Just. Tell. Me."

Applejack looked into those eyes. The one she could see, at any rate. Her jaw worked.

"Ah'm sorry," she whispered. "Ah... Ah know it ain't true. Ah know it." She swallowed. She could feel tears runnin' down her face, and she could see them on her kin too. "Ah cain't stop. Ah cain't stop believin' it. Ah cain't stop thinkin' it. Ah cain't stop, Ah cain't stop..."

Granny bent down just a little further, and the fires were replaced by warmth. AJ felt jes' for a moment like she was back in th' kitchen, a little filly, her first time makin' an apple pie, an' she made a right mess of it, but Granny loved her anyhow, and helped her, an' the next one came out mighty fine.

"We'll be right here with you, then," she said. "Whatever princessy things you and your friends are doin', y'all don't got to do them alone. We're your family, Applejack. That ain't ever gonna change."

"Ah'm sorry, Granny," AJ whispered. "Ah'm so sorry."

Big Mac looked down at her, and then he turned his head. Applejack couldn't see what he did, but after a moment she started feelin' maybe a mite less like her heart was breakin' for no good reason.

"That better?" he asked her.

"Much," she told him, and gave him as much of a smile as she could find in her mouth. Ever'thin' was better, an' gettin' even better. Maybe the lights were gettin' a little swimmery an' shimmery an' so on, but they could do that if they wanted to.

Granny looked into her eyes a mite longer, then pulled back. "Well, all right, then. Yer friends told us all about what happened, an' Rainbow Dash tells us she's gonna make it up to you, her fault or not. Ah don't know what kinda crazy magic things y'all got goin' on, but nopony's gonna go around disownin' or hatin' anypony. We're gonna get through this, an' anythin' else we get thrown at us."

Big Mac an' Apple Bloom didn't have anythin' to say after that, but Rainbow Dash did. She was clamped into that bed like a shoe gettin' pounded straight, no foolin'. "I'm sorry, Applejack," she said, and her voice was as miserable as could be. "I know I had like a zillion years of alicorn magic stuff in me, but I still did it. I'm gonna help with the bucking trees and all the other stuff I can until you say it's okay. First thing every day. Not even any practice until everything's totally done." A tiny bit of hope crawled into her voice. "Maybe I could teach you some stuff too? You could probably do Shattered Stone easy, but I don't know that one, but I could totally teach you Rolling Earth style."

Applejack giggled. Didn't sound like her usual laugh, but she just kept feelin' better. "Aw, sugarcube, you don't gotta do anythin' to make up for it. Ah was tellin' y'all all that stuff jes' so you'd do ezzactly what you did." Whoo, that bed was starting to rock or maybe sway something fierce under her, but it felt kinda funny. "Ah wouldn't hardly have said any of that if I wasn't tryin' to hurt you so's you'd hurt me," she happily reassured her friend. She didn't even notice the looks of shock on ever'pony's faces. "Ponyville needs you here, an' you're a great flyer, an' if you said you'd help buck trees, Ah know you'd help buck trees. But Ah ain't got time to go learnin' your fancy kickin' ways, so Ah'll jes' let you do 'em for me."

She closed her eyes again. Golllllee, but it felt good to make up for somethin' she'd screwed up. Gonna be a lot more where that one came from, but she knew her friends an' family were gonna put up with all her failures 'cause they loved her even though she didn't deserve any of it. She had the best darn friends and family anypony could ever hope for. An' she was gettin' mighty tired all the sudden. She could hear Big Mac's big comfortable voice sayin' somethin' to Rainbow Dash, talkin' about cockatrice venom an' painkillers an' somepony named Aunty Depress Ant only she didn't know any auntie by that name but it didn't hardly matter none.

***

Dear Princess Celestia,

As Princess Luna's duly appointed viceroy for the Town of Ponyville, I do hereby pardon unconditionally the pegasus Rainbow Dash for her crimes against your subject, Applejack of Sweet Apple Acres. This pardon is granted on the grounds that the perpetrator was non compos mentis at the time of the deed, subject to magical influences beyond her control. Said magical influences were willingly accepted by the perpetrator without foreknowledge of their nature in an effort to protect all Equestria. As the perpetrator remains under these magical influences, she has accepted the need for ongoing physical restraint, which shall be considered to constitute personal protection rather than any form of arrest.

As Princess Luna's duly appointed viceroy for the Town of Ponyville, I do hereby pardon unconditionally the earth pony Applejack for attempted suicide. This pardon is granted on the grounds that the perpetrator was non compos mentis at the time of the deed, subject to magical influences beyond her control. Said magical influences were willingly accepted by the perpetrator without foreknowledge of their nature in an effort to protect all Equestria. The perpetrator is under heavy medical supervision and is being kept partially sedated until said magical influence has receded to the point where she can withstand its effects on her own.

As Princess Luna's duly appointed viceroy for the Town of Ponyville, I do hereby assume on behalf of the Night Court any expenses incurred in the hospitalization and subsequent care of Rainbow Dash, Lyra Heartstrings and Applejack, as their injuries were sustained in the service of the Night Court. Such expenses shall include medical care, such counseling or therapy as may be needed after the conclusion of medical costs, costs to Sweet Apple Acres in retaining temporary assistance, costs to the Town of Ponyville in temporarily replacing the town's weather coordinator, lost wages to Rainbow Dash resulting from her hospitalization, and any costs resulting from the inevitable celebration coordinated by Pinkie Pie when everyone is all right again.

As Princess Luna's duly appointed viceroy for the Town of Ponyville, I do hereby assume on behalf of the Night Court the expenses incurred by Sugarcube Corner resultant from the uncompensated consumption of their stock in trade, damage to their premises, and loss of assistance resultant from the extended absence of their employee, the earth pony Pinkie Pie. Further, any lost wages to Pinkie Pie are also assumed by the Night Court, as are any costs of tenancy imposed by her temporary host, the pegasus Fluttershy. This assumption is made on the grounds that said employee was non compos mentis at the time of the deed, subject to magical influences beyond her control. Said magical influences were willingly accepted by the perpetrator without foreknowledge of their nature in an effort to protect all Equestria. Pinkie Pie has found a stable location in which her magical condition can be kept under her control, with the assistance of Fluttershy.

Finally, as Princess Luna's duly appointed viceroy for the Town of Ponyville, I do hereby place an order with the Carousel Boutique for one dress, to the specifications and tailoring of the unicorn Rarity's choice, at such rate as she shall find fair compensation. I further declare that Rarity shall be named Hostess of the Night Court at this year's Grand Galloping Gala, and in such capacity she is to display said dress to its greatest potential, as she sees fit.

Your loyal subject,

Lyra Heartstrings,
Viceroy for the Night Court, Ponyville

***

Once Luna could walk again, the end of the plague was nigh, at least in Canterlot. It was still spreading through the buffalo tribes, and beyond Equestria's borders, but the sun and the moon were safe, commanded by their proper guides. Reclaiming her sorrows from her friends was like taking up a heavy load she had almost forgotten she put down, but she took it gladly. It was lighter than it had been. Something of it was tamed and something of it was nearly defeated.

For the first time in a long while, Princess Luna could look out from her balcony and really, truly know that she did not want all she saw; they were their own, as she should have always known.

She did not, in her heart of hearts, rage at a society that had left her behind. There were frustrations, yes, no doubt some things she had missed and would never understand until they passed away and were replaced. But those were her own, bound within herself.

She felt proud that she was becoming a better princess, becoming the Luna she ought to be. But she had a long way yet to go. But she was working on it.

She looked down at the ponies in the streets, and knew that even if they slept through her nights, even if they were not always with her in body, they were still there. She knew there were ponies who might not be with her at her Court, but whose absence would make their reunions all the sweeter.

She put the moon down on her own, and she watched the sun rise, and she knew her sister had long forgiven her for her crimes. Even if she did not, could not deserve forgiveness, she had her sister, she had her new friends, who forgave her anyhow.

Lero left on the first train from Canterlot once she assured him she was well enough, and after a brave servant had come to prove that she was no longer contagious. Twilight Sparkle left with him, and if the waking world could not endure the memories she had made, taking on a duty no mortal should ever have to bear, there was that within her that would never quite forget the dreams of Equestria.

She kept two guards at her sides - and she kept quiet her personal amusement at Celestia's tradition being transferred to her as well, of a personal guard comprised solely of the most attractive of stallions - and made her way to the Grand Throne Room, the one with the Thrones of Day and Night, instead of the separate rooms for the courts. She would see her sister, for the first time in months, and together they would reassure their ponies that everything was perfectly fine.

The doors opened, and her eyes widened. The ranks of guards were gone; the milling herd of nobles anxious to see and be seen at a grand affair of the court were nowhere.

Her sharp eyes could read the cards hung on the walls, dangling from streamers from above. "Get well soon, Princess Luna!" exhorted one, and "Please feel better!" another, and "Thank you, Princess Luna" many more. Moons and stars and dark-barreled bodies were drawn in pencils and crayons across this colorful paper stocks. And their artists came charging from the throne room to swarm about her legs, their little bodies bouncing in glee at getting to surprise a princess, their sweet voices welcoming her back, thanking her for keeping the sun going while Princess Celestia was away, thanking her for dreaming with them, some few exclaiming in surprise at how large her wings were.

She dropped to her knees, tears running down her face, and hugged the nearest four, three fillies and a colt, against her. "Thank you," she said. "Thank you."

Before the Throne of the Sun, her sister sat, and there, sitting next to her, in her spot, in front of the Throne of the Moon, sat her darling Pipsqueak, wearing the most adorable tie and jacket. The crowd of foals danced around her, cheering their welcome to her, and she had to walk slowly to avoid stepping on any little tails. Pip moved aside to let her take her seat, and then hugged her flank with all his might.

"I'm glad you're back, Princess!" he told her, and pressed his face against her side. She felt wetness, and stroked a wingtip down his back.

Her sister smiled at her, then, her usual propriety and reserve set aside, pulled her into a hug with all the strength she had. "Welcome back again, little sister," she said.

"Thank you," Luna whispered again.

And then she raised her head, and addressed her youngest of subjects.

"Thank you all! Now! Let us have FUN!"

***

Rainbow Dash, in defiance of all her usual distaste for public displays of affection, was snuggled right up to Lero's side, and Twilight was on the other. Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Spike and Lyra were all seated with them. Sugarcube Corner didn't have a table big enough for them all to sit together, but they crowded together anyhow. Pinkie's platter of cupcakes occupied the entire table anyhow; there wasn't room for any other dishes. Chocolate cupcakes with dark blue frosting and a sugar moon atop each one. They tasted, well, dreamy.

"I'm so glad everypony's back together," Pinkie said happily, then gave Fluttershy a surprise hug, which not unexpectedly brought a squeak and an attempt to hide in her own wings from the yellow pegasus. "No offense, Fluttershy, but all your squirrels and your bunnies and your beavers and your kitties and your doggies and your bear and your birds and your chipmunks and your other bunnies and your aardvark and your chickens and your..." She stuck her hoof in her mouth, then pulled it out. "Hey, that works here too! Anyway! They're just not very much into parties and jokes, even if they are good at keeping company."

"I'm sorry," Fluttershy apologized, blushing. "I know I wasn't a very good hostess for you. I just can't believe I was being so rude. You couldn't get a word in edgewise. I won't do it again."

Everyone else at the table naturally discounted Fluttershy's apology to 'Fluttershy probably asked Pinkie to pass the salt once.' Town gossip said she'd put up a much better show at the market with her bargaining for a while, but even by Ponyville standards that wasn't much of a rumor. Her taking in Pinkie when the town's party pony was flipping out more than usual wasn't exactly unexpected, nor was it too much of a surprise that Pinkie got back to... if not normal, then at least back to being Pinkie again, after being in Fluttershy's care.

"Don't you worry about a thing, Fluttershy!" Pinkie happily told her, and let go of the hug so Fluttershy could uncringe. "Now I've got a whole new project! I can find a way to make a party that your animal friends will like, to thank them!"

Mental images around the table of what that might entail varied, but the pony consensus involved swollen-bellied forest creatures sprawled around town wearing party hats. Unusually enough, Lero was the only one to envision a musical number. It was set to Hakuna Matata.

"I'm sure we'll all do what we can to help, Pinkie," Rarity said, nibbling daintily on the edge of one of the cupcakes. "Speaking of which, I have been meaning to ask and simply haven't found a moment. Did I do all right with your party? I wouldn't dream of stepping on your tail like that normally, but you weren't in shape to throw it yourself at the time."

Pinkie thought about it at lightning speed and how there weren't enough balloons but there were never enough balloons even when she threw the party herself because then there wouldn't be room for the guests and the streamers were all tucked up instead of dangling where they could remind everypony they were there by brushing on your mane when you went by and the cake was superspledaroonies but should have had swirls and loops and extra cupcakes on top instead of being all fancy around the edges and the whole darn thing was just a little too restrained instead of being a total explosion of fun the whole way around. And then she threw all of that out because that was a Pinkie Pie Party and this was a Rarity Party For Pinkie Pie and that meant way more than anything about being decorated properly. "It was the most perfectest party I ever partied!" Pinkie declared, and bounded over the table to give Rarity a hug too. Rarity laughed and hugged her back, even, instead of being all respectable and society!

"It was a heckuva shindig," Applejack agreed. She still had one hoof in a cast and an eyepatch on, and didn't have to take no more of that cockatrice-venom potion th' hospital'd had her on. Comin' off had been a bad couple'a days, but nothin' like the way she'd been when she needed the stuff. Soon as she got back to the farm, she'd sent a package on up to Canterlot for Princess Luna. Long letter with it, too. Kinda private what it said, but the general gist of it was an invitation to come on over to Sweet Apple Acres sometime and bake a pie together. An' if it went wrong the first time, then they could keep goin' an' make it right.

"Yeah, it was," Rainbow Dash agreed. Everyone waited for more. None was forthcoming.

Rarity disentangled herself from Pinkie Pie enough to sit up again. "Rainbow, darling, are you feeling all right?"

"Never better," the cyan pegasus gladly declared. "Why?"

"Well, it's just that it was rather unlike the sort of soiree I do normally prefer to host," Rarity said. "And I suppose I expected some sort of... ribbing, on that account?"

Rainbow Dash chuckled. "Maybe later. I'm in way too good a mood right now. Lero's back, everypony's okay again, and with all this meditation stuff Lyra's been teaching me I'm kinda feeling mellow." Then she stuck out her tongue. "I can go put on a stunt display and start pranking you any time you want if 'mellow' isn't working for you though."

Rarity laughed, and the table developed into a spontaneous group hug. Spike ended up in the middle of it, suspended by pony squeezes (and one set of human arms) over the cupcakes. Twilight's magic tugged him to safety on the side when the hug split up.

"You've been quiet today, Twilight," the little dragon mentioned.

Twilight smiled at him and gave him another hug. "I must be a little tired, I guess," she admitted. "I don't remember what it was like or what I did, being Luna's stand-in for a little while, but it took a lot out of me. It's a lot to ask a unicorn, taking on even a little bit of being an alicorn. I need a while to just be Twilight Sparkle." She kissed him on the forehead. "And that includes you. And Lero, and Rainbow Dash, and Lyra, and everypony. I need all my friends and family to be me."
There was another group hug. Twilight was in the middle this time. And she had everything she needed.

Comments ( 68 )

Oh yes yes yes! Reading this will be the first thing I do tomorrow morning.

(Cracks his knuckles) Starting tomorrow, I shall make this story my bitch.
Adding this fic to my favorites will surely be inevitable.
Onwards, you handsome devil!

Excellent!

The brief glimpse before, of Luna doing what she could for the final moments of the very young and very old was heartbreaking. Here, in this story, we get to see other sides of Luna, and the complex pony behind the facade of the Princess of the Moon.

VERY well done.

Later a stain-glass window was made.

so now we have a spinoff of a spinoff of a fanfic of a fanfic... where's that blasted inception audio clip when i need it?!

It's like a dream come true...

She was quiet for a moment, then said, "Your people are sometimes disturbing, Bellerophon. You did not know love, so you invented it. And you did not know horror, so you invented that too."

My favorite line in the story. This is the sort of thing I expect a millennial ruler to say.

I agree with EdBecerra statements Excellent!! I do marvel at the description of Luna. I found the last moments of the young and old heartbreaking to see. The grate response of the young ponys to Luna hart worming to see. I can't put it in words to ex plane the death of sorrow and Joy I felt when reading this story. You have a grate talent, the ability to put in words, a story that can move people in the way they think.

I wood like to know, who are the ones who made this virus? Who are the ones behind the seen doing this eval? Princess Celestia and Luna have made points about them, regarding humans loosing there Magic? Are they the ones who rip Lero to the Everfree Forest? Are they trying to soften Equestria and the world. so it wood be ripe for the taking? You are painting a vary deadly and dangerous enemy. One that hides in the back ground that stabs you when you are not looking.

I do hope you write more storys base off this framework. Keep up the grate job you are doing.

Dragonfox

This was exquisite. The burdens were handled excellently in all cases, the hints of Luna's portfolio were wonderfully ominous, and it was, in all, an exquisitely done piece of literature. I especially loved just how much of the characters' personalities oozed into the narration.
Also, I have to wonder, if all of this falls under Luna's domain, just what else is Celestia responsible for?

In any case, thank you for this, Spinel. Magnificently done.

3053116
No one but Luna really understood it, though that didn't stop art historians from discussing the inner symbolism for generations.

Blargh, we still didn't get to see Lero's (and everyone else's) reaction to having his own stained-glass window!

3052431
3052605
What's up with this holding off until tomorrow bit? It's getting to be about time for me to be asleep and I'm diving in now. :yay:

Well story seemed pretty good. Honestly, the Twi-Lyra-Dash-Lero thing just doesn't work for me at all. For one it just seems weird and wrongish, but worse it feels kinda forced into the story. Good job on giving him something legitimate to be doing instead of just twiddling his thumbs through this plague thing. The plague idea was pretty good even if it didn't get much direct development.

3053190
Well, you could try out some of these -> http://www.moviesoundclips.net/sound.php?id=205

This one seems like it might have some relevance -> http://goo.gl/frGIw

Comment posted by yawkat deleted Jan 20th, 2015

and thus ends the saga were Lero has a magical music moment of his own.

I bet Fluttershy would have loved it

3054907
Which line would that be? :scootangel:

Comment posted by yawkat deleted Jan 20th, 2015
Comment posted by SpinelStride deleted Jan 22nd, 2015
Comment posted by yawkat deleted Jan 20th, 2015
Comment posted by SpinelStride deleted Jan 22nd, 2015
Comment posted by yawkat deleted Jan 20th, 2015
Comment posted by SpinelStride deleted Jan 22nd, 2015

read it in one go,and it was totally worth it.

i am also tired as hell and my grammar is slipping.

oh, and both the stories were generally magnificent as well, thank you for writing them and sharing them with us.

3054305
I was dead on my feet, else I would certainly have stayed up to read this.:twilightsheepish:

*Spoilerific*

If I could properly critique I would, but as I can't you will have to live with simple praise.

I loved it. Your stories just improve continuously, and are of the highest quality. You managed to flesh out and make a deep story out of what could have been a mundane and simple affair. The new insight into Luna and her burdens makes my inner pony squee with delight as it gives her a depth she has needed to make my headcanon more complete. At the same time, the atrocity (yes that's the only word for it) that Rainbow commits and the graphic nature of how you present it really hits home. That was brutal, and I could almost feel the pain as Lyra took the brunt and could only marvel at how she even managed to operate after. I also love the inner workings of the mind of Grandmaster Lyra, which you pulled off so well. Rainbow will not have an easy time of life for a while after this I fear, and her realization made my heart almost break as I could no nothing but be completely engrossed in your artistry.

this story was so awesome!!:rainbowkiss: and this part:

"Guarding the borders of the world from Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones, I'm sure," he suggested.

She was quiet for a moment, then said, "Your people are sometimes disturbing, Bellerophon. You did not know love, so you invented it. And you did not know horror, so you invented that too."

:pinkiegasp: this fits into my headcannon so well it, I just want to EXPLODE!!:yay:

3055865
Fair enough. Truth be told, I had to finish the finale this morning after having fallen asleep last night. :derpytongue2:

I must also thank you for expressing my reaction far more eloquently than what's currently possible. :twilightsmile:

Alright. Wow... just... wow.

I gotta say, I enjoyed this story's prequel. It was good. Very good, even.

This... this was something else. Something about your interpretation of Luna - her duties and her history - perhaps (which is one of my favorite interpretations I've yet to see). Maybe the characterizations and brilliant little moments all the characters had with themselves and with each other. Or even those incredibly emotionally poignant moments of self-discovery from various members of the mane 6. That scene with Applejack and her family brought me to tears.

Something about all of those things, or perhaps a combination of all of those things, left me feeling as few stories on this site have managed to. This clearly belongs in my favorites list. It clearly belongs in everyone's favorites list.

I can't emphasize enough how much I enjoyed almost every aspect of this story. And maybe I'm gushing a little, having just read it... I know I tend to do that.

Nevertheless: thank you for writing it. Stories like these are why I continue searching through the site on a regular basis.

3056546
Everyone in Equestria loves Princess Celestia. More or less 100% Approval Rating. Lero doesn't. Lero is afraid of Celestia, due to a very bad first meeting with her and due to her mane greatly resembling a being called 'Lady' with whom Lero had some very bad experiences on his way to Equestria.

Luna does not have a 100% Approval Rating. She's working on it, but there are still a lot of ponies out there who think of Nightmare Moon. So for Celestia to have even one subject who doesn't love her makes Luna feel better about her own imperfections.

"He's upstairs, taking a hot bath," the little filly said. "Do you want me to get him?"
"If you would be so kind, dear," Rarity said.
"SPIIIIIIIIKE! RARITY WANTS YOU!" Sweetie Belle yelled at the top of her lungs.

Oh my god, I nearly died. I suspect that the same may hold true for Spike.

"By caring more about somepony else than you do about yourself."
She pulled him into a tight hug against herself. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she whispered, "Oh, Spike..."

Spike is forever best dragon. :moustache:

Gah, Pinkie! :pinkiecrazy: Thank Celestia for Fluttershy. Er, more or less.

There, she and her sister raised their heads together and led the united tribes in the true Song of Harmony, a song that had endured without ever really ending, even if the ponies only saw it now and then.

Love it!

Daaaang, poor Dash. Poor AJ too, but seriously, poor Dash.

Nice work with that letter, Lyra. Especially the bit at the end about Rarity.

Another excellent story, great job.

Very nice - but I don't understand the "tragedy" tag... it does have a rather positive ending (though I'd support the "Dark" tag in a heartbeat, with RD and AJ - oh Celestia - AJ...)

3056678
You're right; I clicked on the wrong one. Thanks!

The ghost of a familiar smile rested on her face for him. "It could be called a hunch."

This kind of reminded me of Gus from your other story.

Oof. I'm glad to see this story come to a happy conclusion, since between this and Divided Rainbow, the Xenoverse Mane Six have their hooves full of traumatic problems these days.

Wonderful, though Rainbow seemed to get over thing a little too quickly and easily.

3062916 well mainly because it was caused by luna's burdens, and secondly because i am guessing some stuff was not written down in the story.

D48

This was very good, although I must admit I was hoping to see more of the relationship between Lero and Luna after the last story.

I almost gave up on this story when rainbow dash was acting like a caveman:pinkiecrazy: but then I kept reading and found this quite enjoyable :moustache:

3074547
To be fair, the narrator isn't particularly reliable or neutral when Discord is the viewpoint character. :raritywink:

3074683

Yeah I figured Discord was narrating the portion of the story he was involved in, seemed like something he would do...

anyway, it was an enjoyable read, thank you for writing this piece

I'm surprised Lero did not take his golden opportunity to ask about what Luna muttered.

well. done.

Fantastic story!

The way Luna was portrayed was very interesting. I think I found new headcannon.
Lyra is now in my favorite ponies list she's cool, collected, and a total badass.

3069041
Though most of us would like that... there has been enough cannon for the Leroverse set in stone to prevent that from happening. If the writer went that route, he would have to make this a AU spinoff instead of a side story.

D48

3233292 I meant general interaction, not sex. They barely talked to each other which is rather disappointing given that this is a very defining stage in their relationship.

3233764
...Okay, coming from that point of view, yes, I complete agree with you. There should be more off-shots that have the two just hanging out and talking. Weather it is in his dreams or in life, they do make for what would be the best of friends.

~Hearn

> when Celestia is ill, she is in heat

Hah, and when Luna is ill, she is so cool!

3053607

I wood like to know, who are the ones who made this virus? Who are the ones behind the seen doing this eval? Princess Celestia and Luna have made points about them, regarding humans loosing there Magic? Are they the ones who rip Lero to the Everfree Forest?

Welcome to the Unselee Court. The worst of the True Fae, bansidhe one and all.

Are they trying to soften Equestria and the world. so it wood be ripe for the taking? You are painting a vary deadly and dangerous enemy. One that hides in the back ground that stabs you when you are not looking.

If they are anything like the Terran myths they're based on, there is no plan or goal. It's all a game, and one which cannot have any winner at that. And the worst part is that it cannot be rightfully called evil because the Game is the closest thing to a sense of morality that they are capable of.

3685284
There are things Luna handles that she would not willingly expose any other being to. If she needed the Elements of Harmony to defeat something, she would have to bring in their Bearers to a battle they could never leave again. Even the light only reaches so far...

3233764

Look in the Further Tales stories, which continues after this. there's several Lero/Luna interaction pieces, and seems more to come.

Login or register to comment