• Published 17th Sep 2013
  • 7,261 Views, 262 Comments

Celestia Sleeps In with a Vengeance - Admiral Biscuit

Celestia is so tired, she sleeps through her alarm.

  • ...

In Which the Moon Fails to Set

Celestia Sleeps In With A Vengeance

In Which the Moon Fails to Set

Admiral Biscuit

For Shachza

The moon hung low on the horizon, bathing Ponyville in harsh silver light and deep shadow. A few lights could be seen in the homes of the early risers—and the bakeries' ovens had been fired for hours. A slightly confused newspaper pony stood at the end of his route, saddlebags empty. He never finished his route before sunrise.

And in the Golden Oaks Treebrary, a lavender alicorn paced the floor, her hoofbeats clopping out an agitated tempo. She'd just heard the town clock chime out eight times, and she knew that the sun should be up.

At first, Twilight thought she'd really overslept, wasting away the entire day in bed. It had happened occasionally. She worked on projects late into the night, and when she finally finished, dragging herself to bed totally exhausted, she'd collapse into a senseless lump in her bed, unaware of the cock crowing, the town clock chiming . . . or frustrated patrons knocking on the door. While Spike usually handled the latter, there were times he was off with the Crusaders, or having a sleepover with the Crusaders at Rarity's. Enough times, in fact, that Mayor Mare had finally put her hoof down and threatened to fire Twilight if she couldn't open the library on time.

Of course, she didn't actually have the authority to fire Twilight, since the post came by royal writ; she did, however, have the ability to mention it in a report to the Nobles' Council, and Twilight could be sure that eventually Celestia would hear of it, and Celestia would not be pleased.

With that thought in mind, she'd gone to Spatulas and Alarm Clocks and bought herself a genuine wind-up alarm clock with two silver bells on the top and a little clapper which was—she was assured of this point—enough to wake up the soundest of sleepers.

She'd been skeptical. If a cock couldn't wake her up, what chance did an alarm clock have, shiny chrome case or no? Still, other Ponyvillians had given the alarm clock rave reviews, so she’d given it a try.

When Twilight had gotten back to the library, she'd carefully unwrapped it, read all four pages of instructions—including the first three pages which were simply warnings and did nothing to explain how the clock worked. It was interesting to note that it was not to be used as a flotation device, nor was it intended for fillies under the age of three.

The key fit into the slot in the back just like it was supposed to, and she’d wound it exactly 143½ times, which she'd calculated would allow the clock to keep proper time throughout the night without causing undue stress on the mainspring. The instructions had been adamant on that point—the clock was not to be overwound.

The minute and hour talon had been simple enough to set; the Ponyville clock had both. The second talon, on the other hoof, had been more of a challenge. She’d had no way of knowing exactly where the village clock was in its sweep of the dial, so she’d simply had to wait until she’d seen the minute talon click forward one step, and that would tell her it was the top of the minute. Unfortunately, to see that kind of detail, Twilight had had to rely on her telescope, and it had taken time—two seconds—to switch from looking through the telescope to pushing in the knob on the clock. Two seconds was, of course, an average; like any good scientist, Twilight had gathered numerous data points and graphed them out before she’d been satisfied. Forty minutes later, her alarm clock had been marching in lockstep with the Ponyville clock. She’d set the alarm for six AM, and had gently placed it on her bedstand, confident that she would arise on time.

The next morning, she’d discovered that she could—while still mostly asleep—fling an alarm-clock sized object across her loft with sufficient force to completely disassemble it, and yet not awaken sufficiently to realize she had done it. Only the insistent knocking of Rainbow Dash on her window—Rainbow Dash, of all ponieshad finally roused her from her slumber.

Five alarm clocks later, she had written a letter to the Celestia about the ability of high-level unicorns to sleep-cast, and had purchased the Super-Deluxe model, which was resistant to most direct-cast unicorn spells, would not fall through clouds, and was impervious to an earth pony's bucking magic. She had also written a strongly-worded letter to the Great Canterlot & Manehattan Alarm-Clock & Fire-Hose Company, indicating in no uncertain terms her displeasure with their product. They had responded by adding another page of warnings and cautions to the owner's manual, and had sent her a voucher for 5% off her next purchase of a fire hose.

She was reasonably confident in the Super-Deluxe’s durability. It has lasted an entire month longer than its predecessor, despite having had a plethora of spells cast upon it, and—in the last part of the month—several wing-buffets and an earth-pony style bucking. Despite her lackluster performance as a librarian, she had been promoted to Princess, a position which had come with some unusual perks.

And here it sat, ticking merrily away. She'd verified that it was keeping correct time with two egg-timers, a time candle, and a water clock. She would have used a sundial, too—but sundials don't work in the dark. Incidentally, her alarm clock also still perfectly matched the Ponyville clock.

Twilight considered the evidence before her carefully. Even with the addition of a pegasus' wings and an earth pony's mighty strength, she was still a scientist at heart, and a scientist never jumped to conclusions.

After an hour of thoughtful deliberation—assisted by two books on philosophy, a poorly-written research paper, and a small tipple of applejack, she came to her conclusion: ponies make clocks, and ponies are fallible. Celestia raises the sun, and Celestia is infallible. Thus, it stood to reason that—as unlikely a coincidence as this was—the egg-timers, water clock, candle, and town clock had all failed in exactly the same manner, and therefore were not reliable time-keeping devices. She vowed to write another letter . . . just as soon as the sun came up. Twilight fully intended to go back to bed in the interim. She'd just have to rely on the somewhat unreliable performance of a cock to wake her.

As well-reasoned as Twilight's hypothesis was, it was unfortunately in error. All the clocks in Ponyville—yea, throughout Equestria—were keeping time as well as they had on the day they were manufactured. Except, of course, for the sundials. And in the halls of the Canterlot castle, chaos reigned.

Luna's attempt to lower the moon had failed. Selene had gotten stuck just above the horizon. Frowning, Luna looked over at the elaborate armillary sphere that graced her balcony. It appeared that it was time . . . but perhaps she'd miscalculated. Without any wasted effort, she drew forth her sextant and her torquetum, re-calculating a hooffull of variables. The beads flew so fast on her abacus that they threatened to set the wires aflame.

She re-checked her lunation calendar. That took a quarter of an hour. It was possible that she'd made a mistake, somehow: an earlier miscalculation could have thrown the entire schedule off. But no; there were no mistakes.

Next, she mentally reviewed every holiday that she knew of. There were days—such as April Foal's Day—when ponies played tricks on each other; if that were the case, perhaps Celestia was having a simple jape. However, a review of Equestrian Holidays Through the Ages made no mention of this day having any especial import. Her planner showed that she had lowered the moon on schedule on this day for the last three years, which made it even more unlikely that Celestia was pulling her leg.

Now annoyed, she tried to bump the moon below the horizon a few more times, but it was still stuck. Even when she lifted it a few degrees and slammed it down, it would not cross the horizon.

Now thoroughly annoyed, she leapt off her balcony and soared over the castle. Instinctively, her first stop was the Royal Stone Statue Gardens—informally known as 'Those Who Annoyed Celestia'—to make certain that Discord was still on his plinth.

He wasn't, of course, and it was only after a full five minutes of swearing eloquently enough to wilt a hundred square feet of hedgemaze that she remembered Fluttershy had reformed him. Cursing more quietly, she teleported herself to Ponyville, determined to get to the bottom of this. Whenever the heavenly bodies misbehaved, it was a good bet Discord had a claw, paw, talon, or hoof in it.

She crept up to Fluttershy's window, cloaking herself in darkness, prepared for the worst. Her teeth were clenched at the memory of his laugh. However, when she finally peeked her head above the sill, instead of seeing a restrained Fluttershy and no Discord, she instead observed the two, working side-by-side to feed the animals. While it was true that Discord was transmogrifying the carrot Angel held every time the rabbit tried to take a bite, he was causing no other mischief. She almost—almost felt a pang of guilt at suspecting him. Then she remembered chocolate rain coming from cotton-candy clouds, and the moment passed.

Luna stomped away from Fluttershy’s cottage, finally teleporting back to the castle when she was out of earshot. Even if Discord had nothing to do with the current malfunction of the heavenly bodies, he'd harass her to no end if he thought she thought he was responsible.

Appearing above the castle, she resolved to do what she should have done right away. She soared to Celestia's balcony, landing lightly on the slippery marble. Why in Tartarus did Celestia insist on marble floors for the castle? Wood would have been less slippery, and so much quieter.

Luna cautiously eased open the great Prench doors. If somepony nefarious was in Celestia's chambers, she wanted to sneak up on her. Or him.

As soon as she eased open the door to Celestia's sleeping chambers, a strange soft growling greeted her. She perked up her ears, attempting to locate the source of the noise. It appeared to be coming from Celestia's bed. . . .

Slowly sliding her hooves forward so as to not give away her presence, she crept towards the gigantic four-poster bed. All the while, her ears were swiveling to gather the faintest noise, and her eyes darted around the room, looking for a single object out of place.

She noticed that Celestia's peytral was hanging neatly from its hook, but her crown was lying on the floor, and her golden horseshoes were lying on their sides, almost as if they had been pulled off in a great hurry. Her hoof on the curtain, she hesitated, a blush coming to her cheeks. What if her sister were . . . being intimate with another pony? Such a thing is perfectly normal, she reminded herself. Princesses have needs, too, just like anypony else. It was hard to keep that in mind, though; shortly after she'd discovered that she could view other ponies' dreams, she'd made the terrible mistake of viewing Celestia's. All these centuries later, the images were still vivid in her mind, so is it any wonder that she hesitated as she pulled back the curtain?

Her sister was decidedly not being intimate with anypony else. Instead, she was sprawled across her bed, her chin resting on her forelegs, while her hind legs were somewhat awkwardly stretched out to one side. It was a manner in which Luna had seen innumerable cats doze; it was not a position which was normally comfortable for ponies.

It was unlikely Celestia was feeling any discomfort, though. Not if the shallow rise and fall of her barrel was any indication—a motion which coincided with the noise Luna had heard earlier. She held a hoof up to her mouth to cover an un-princessly giggle; her big sister snored.

She could have gently nuzzled her sister’s cheek to wake her, or taken a more direct route with a hoof-prod, or even a bucket of water. Such were devices Celestia had utilized to wake her when she was but a foal, and everypony knew turnabout was fair play. Luna did none of those things. Instead, she simply watched her sister sleep.

This is who she really is, Luna thought. With all the cares and the regalia stripped away. Absently, she righted her sister’s golden shoes and placed them in a neat line next to her bed. Celestia’s mane and tail were barely flowing; the everpresent shifting aurora had slowed to a pace which matched her breathing.

She levitated Celestia’s golden crown to the top of her nightstand. She hated an untidy room. Clothing and regalia should be put away when not in use. Everything must be in order.

When did I last see Celestia sleep? Like filings to a magnet, Luna’s eyes were drawn back to her sister. She sighed. She couldn’t bring herself to wake her sister. Instead, she gently tip-hooved out of the room, only pausing once to admire a very realistic stone alarm clock which was seated in a slight depression in the wall.

She yawned. It was nearly time for her to go to bed, but there were things she still had to do. There was likely already a line of ponies outside the throne room, all demanding to know why the sun hadn’t risen on schedule. Fortunately, she knew just the words to reassure them.

Unsurprisingly, the chambers outside the great throne room were full to overflowing. Luna slowly made her way to the dais, checking to make certain everything was in order. As soon as she had reached a position at the base of the throne—actually sitting on it would send the wrong signal, she reasoned—she nodded her head at the guard, who ordered the the doors be opened.

A great flood of ponies spilled through the door, pausing in confusion as they saw that the younger Princess was at the throne. They were quickly pushed forward by the seething mass behind them, until the room was nearly completely full. She could see that there were more ponies in the antechamber, craning their necks to get a view within.

She just stood, waiting patiently, until the babble of the crowd died down.

“Now hear me,” Luna’s voice boomed over the gathered crowd. “We know that thou hast come to complain that thy timepieces no longer function correctly.”

“Excuse me, Princess,” Blueblood interrupted. “But the newspaper said that sunrise would be at 6:51 this morning, and the sun hasn’t risen yet.”

“If the sun has not risen, then it is not 6:51,” Luna decreed in a voice that would brook no argument. “Does anypony else have a question?”

Meekly shaken heads were her only answer.

“Very well then. It is decided that it is not yet time for the sun to rise. When the sun does rise, it shall be 6:51 am. Set your clocks accordingly. I have spoken.”

And Celestia slept on.

Author's Note:

For more information about the tools Luna uses, click this convenient LINK.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!