• Published 3rd Apr 2014
  • 4,470 Views, 153 Comments

The Dark Side Of The Sun - ocalhoun

Celestia will always struggle with the pain and shame of what happened that fateful night, but it's nothing compared to what happened next.

  • ...

Chapter 3 ~ Memory Lane

Luna sat at the table with her little hooves crossed in front of her chest. “Celly! I don't wanna eat my 'falfa!”

Celestia just nudged the bowl a little closer. “Come on now, Lulu. You know it's good for you, and you can have cake when you're finished.”

“I want my cake now!” Luna slammed her hooves down onto the table.

Celestia glared at her. “Oh come on. How old are you? Are you really going to throw a tantrum?”

Luna just stared at her, daring Celestia to make a move.

Turning her back to her sister, Celestia took a mouthful of alfalfa. She whirled back around, letting it hang out of her mouth. “Alfalfa monster!” she yelled, launching into a vicious tickle attack.

Luna squealed and squirmed, but she couldn't escape her older sister's onslaught. Her voice squeaking, she called for mercy, “Okay! Okay! I'll eat it! Just don't–” she burst into another squeal of laughter “–tickle me any more!”

~ ~ ~

A series of knocks at my door woke me. I could still hear the distant echoes of Luna's laughter.

The knocks came again, more insistent this time.

I groaned. Why did I have to be trapped in this awful, lonely world when I could be escaping into the one place I still felt happy?

The pony outside must have mistaken my groan for permission to enter. The doorknob turned.

“She's in a very fragile emotional state,” I overheard somepony saying just outside the door, “so let me do the talking, okay?”

A heavyset earth pony pushed in a cart full of covered trays. A doctor and two nurses followed closely behind her.

“Good evening, Princess.” The stallion stepped out in front. “I'm Doctor Heartstitch. I'm here to check up on you and see how your wounds are healing.”

He obviously expected some sort of reply. I just glared at him from my charred bed, not even lifting my head up.

“Ah, yes... well...” He took a hesitant step back, glancing to the side. “We've also brought you some refreshments. You'll need to keep up your strength for the most effective recovery.”

He nodded toward the pony with the cart. She shook her head and cringed away behind him. Her wide-open eyes never left me for an instant.

With a stern glance at the cowering mare, the doctor used his magic to wheel the cart over to my bedside.

The food did smell lovely. I sat up in bed, leaning close to the cart.

Heartstitch's eyes brightened. “Good, good. So you're feeling better?” He approached me with an exaggerated smile that never quite reached his eyes. “So, shall we take a look and change your bandages?”

My frown deepened.

“Ah, right. Perhaps not just yet.” His horn lit up, and one of the covers on the cart lifted away from the plate underneath.

My heart dropped out of my chest. The plate was full of alfalfa sprouts. Of course. I just stared at it, too empty inside to respond.

The doctor uncovered more trays, but my eyes were locked onto the first. I struggled for every breath. My lip trembled as I heard the ghost of an alicorn filly's laughter, and I could feel a familiar burning in my eyes.

“Princess? Princess Celestia? Are you feeling okay?” Heartstitch moved even closer, putting a hoof up on the bed.

I grimaced, struggling to hold back the tears that wanted to escape. “Get away,” I whispered. My whole body tensed up. All the happy memories I had with Luna caused me nothing but pain now. I had betrayed her, taken her for granted, left her without–

“Princess, if you need to talk about–”

The cart flattened, smashed under the power of my magic. Shards of fine crystal and splatters of food sprayed across the room. My gaze turned to Heartstitch, and he jumped backward. I could barely control my breathing, and my control of magic wore dangerously thin. I hadn't meant to crush the tray. I stomped a hoof to the floor, just inches away from the doctor. “Go away! Leave me alone!” I had intended a commanding shout, but it came out as more of a sob. My horn lit up again, pulling in an even greater charge of magic.

Heartstitch rushed out through the door, slamming it shut behind him. The other ponies were nowhere to be seen – they must have already fled.

Finally, I was alone. I collapsed onto the soft remnants of my bed, my hoof still hanging off the edge. My face flopped down just inches away from the crushed plate of alfalfa.

Nopony was here to see me now. I squeezed my eyes shut and felt the warm streaks run down my face.

Another loving memory of Luna crushed... how fitting. I had destroyed her, I knew. A thousand years of isolation in the clutches of Nightmare Moon would obliterate any trace of the sister I once knew and loved.

Why had I done that to her? Because she rebelled? But I had ignored her, smothered her with my apathy when she went unloved for centuries. How could she not? What choice had I given her? I knew she put more effort into her night sky than I put into the sun. I knew that it all went unnoticed. I knew ponies cringed away in fear of her... and I did nothing. All I could do now was let the tears flow.

My eyes caught the old photo album, lying abandoned on the floor. A fresh hoofprint had been smeared onto the cover. One of the servants must have stepped on it.

I levitated it over to myself, ready to crack it open again. I didn't need to, of course. Those memories burned in my mind more fiercely than ever.

~ ~ ~

“Sister, may I have a word?”

Celestia pushed aside one of the papers on her desk and slid up another one. “Of course,” she said, not even looking up.

Luna stepped up next to her, looking across the crowded but tidy desk. “I was wondering if we could introduce a new field of study at your school for gifted unicorns.”

“Hm...” Celestia didn't look up from the page.

The corners of Luna's mouth creased, showing the slightest hint of a smile. “Well, it's called 'astronomy', and it's the study of stars, planets, moons, and everything in the night sky.”

Celestia flipped the page over. “Isn't that just a little self-serving, sister?”

Luna groaned and rolled her eyes. “It's important! And... and I just want somepony to notice. That's all.”

Shaking her head, Celestia sighed. Maybe if she just humored her sister, she would be able to get back to the reports from the western expansion survey. “The school year is already in session. I won't be able to change the curriculum until next fall.” She scribbled a note about buffalo territories into her summary report.

Luna's face exploded with joy. “You will?” She latched onto her sister in an unrequited hug. “Thank you, Celly! This is going to be perfect!” Releasing her hold and falling back onto her hooves, she danced back and forth where she stood. “You're the best sister ever!” Her eyes opened wide. “I've got to get started on the lesson plans! See you later, Celly!”

Celestia rolled her eyes as Luna shot out through the door. She looked up at her bookshelf. She was sure she had an old book about buffalo customs somewhere. It could be useful to know which territory claims would be the most problematic with their tribal...

~ ~ ~

I flopped back down on my blackened bed. I never had gotten around to creating that astronomy department, not the first year... or the second... or the third... I groaned. That had been eighty-two years ago. How many times had she asked? How many times had I decided something else was more important?

Why had I never done it? Why did I keep stabbing my sister in the back, year after year? Because of the endless trivia of running a kingdom? I shredded the old album with my magic, sending bits of yellowed photos fluttering all over my chambers. The kingdom could burn for all I cared. I had already destroyed the one pony I truly loved.