• Published 12th Dec 2013
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Lingering Shadows - Yoru-the-Rogue



Love can be one of the most powerful forces in the world...but it's also a deadly, sweet poison, as Princess Luna is about to learn...

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The Worries Of Sisters

Dusk had descended upon Equestria once again, and Celestia dismissed herself from her duties for the day. The princesses rarely had a day truly free from their duties. They had to move the celestial orbs as always, and both had a strong sense of duty to their people. There were, however, days that they each enjoyed more so than usual. And today had been one such day for Princess Celestia.

“Shall I have your sunshine cake delivered to your private chambers, Your Highness?” The head of the royal kitchens asked, trotting beside the towering Princess of the Day. She let out a small chuckle, giving the stout earth pony an appreciative smile.

“Thank you, Bon Appétit, but that won't be necessary,” she replied, “I should like to eat the cake in the Room of Reclining this evening. I want to commune with my sister.”

He glanced up at her, looking a touch concerned.

“O-of course, Your Highness. But...your sister was not able to attend the dessert-tasting competition as a judge, like you were. What if she dislikes the sunshine cake? Do you know of any alternative desserts I can have sent to the Room of Reclining as well that may please Princess Luna?”

“Why, yes!” She answered, a twinkle in her magenta eyes. “If I remember correctly, Luna loves those rich, no-bake, cookies-and-cream pies that Crumble Crust is so good at making. If you could possibly have one made and sent up...?”

“Of course, Princess! In fact, I believe there should already be one or two of the pies made. I'll get on that right away!” He answered, turning and darting off in the direction of the kitchens. Celestia gave another warm laugh, her walk taking her to the tall, open windows that looked out on the royal gardens. She paused to stand near one of the windows to watch and wait as her sister raised the moon. Over a thousand years ago, she had had to take responsibility for both of the celestial orbs and the duties of both night and day. And though she would never tell anyone, the return of Luna had eased the weight and weariness upon her heart immensely.

She gazed out at the rapidly darkening sky. The twilight was a fleeting, ambiguous time, often not even lasting a full hour. It was a time now where she could finally begin to relax, and it gave Luna time to ascend to her observatory tower and prepare her night. In secret, Celestia loved watching her younger sister bring the night to Equestria. Luna was a pony of great passion in all that she did, and she threw all of her heart and artistic spirit into weaving her tapestry of stars every night.

“Oh, Luna.” She murmured, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth as she caught sight of her sister on the balcony. The younger princess strode to the edge of the observatory deck, her jaw set in a determined way as her teal eyes rose to the sky. Her horn glowed as she reared up on her hind legs, forehooves dancing before her.

Celestia let out a soft giggle. Years ago, she had asked Luna why she threw her hooves about so when she brought forth the night. To the elder princess's surprise, she had answered, “Sister, the moon and the stars harmonize their own music, and I am bestowed with the honor of conducting their symphony.”

Slowly, the moon began to climb under Luna's magical summons, and one by one, the stars started to wink into view, shining a soft silver many miles away. The locks of the younger princess's starry mane ebbed and flowed like waves crashing and receding upon a beach, and slowly, the sky began to mirror her mane.

“Well done, little sister.” Celestia said, turning away from the window, her heart brimming with pride as she walked toward her destination. The Room of Reclining wasn't far from the base of the observatory tower, and she left a magical symbol outside the tower door, a sign for her sister to join her if she so wished.

We've been doing our best to catch up every night since her return and it still feels like it is never enough time to reconnect. She thought, turning away from the tower and resuming her trek to the room where she and her sister would be able to relax and commune together.

To her delight, she found the room with its plush pillow-cushions ready and waiting, with the cake and pie waiting on a low table, accompanied with dishes and utensils. She was going to have to remember to give thanks to Bon Appétit, Crumble Crust, and the Cakes for all of this. She settled down onto one of the large cushions, and delicately lifting the utensils on the table with her magic, began to slice herself a generous piece of the sunshine cake.

She was about five bites into the piece of cake when the doors opened, parting to reveal her younger sister's approach. She watched as Luna raised each of her hooves one by one with a sort of strained grace. Celestia could not bring herself to mention it; Luna's instinct had always been to rush headlong to any threat, to charge into battle as a mighty warrior-princess, not to conduct herself with elegance. But perhaps because of this, she was always worrying about trying to appear as graceful as her elder sister before their subjects. And perhaps that was what other ponies saw, a mare of nighttime and power and elegance. But it was with a sort of sad fondness that Celestia was able to see her sister's lingering insecurities in the way Luna moved and how she acted and reacted.

“You summoned me, sister?” She asked, her posture stiff with practiced formality. Celestia offered her a loving smile.

“Relax, little sister.” She answered, her voice kind and gentle. “It is only you and I here. You need not worry about anypony else right now. You may always be yourself around me.”

The younger alicorn paused, her expression uncertain. After a moment's hesitation, she alighted upon the pillow-cushion opposite her elder sister, letting out a sigh of releasing tension.

“Forgive me my strict formality, Tia.” She mumbled, casting her gaze down as Celestia began cutting a slice of pie for her. “My mind is troubled with anxieties that I cannot bring myself to so easily dismiss.”

The Princess of the Day furrowed her brow in worry, levitating the small dessert dish to her sister, who swept it up absentmindedly in her blue mists of magic.

“Please, Luna,” she said gently, “You can speak freely to me about anything on your mind. You know this. What troubles you?”

For a long time, the younger princess gave no answer. Conflict glittered in the depths of her teal eyes, and Celestia knew patience would be essential in getting her sister to speak. She watched as Luna picked at her slice of pie, the passing moments marked only by the constant soft ticking of an old mantle clock that rested above an unused fireplace.

And Celestia waited.

“I have recently had a most disturbing dream, sister.” Luna finally spoke. “It has left my heart awash in dread, and I fear its message bears ill for all Equestria.”

Celestia's brows shot up and her eyes widened in shock. Luna had an unsettling dream? Her sister was just as prone to dreaming as anyone else, especially since she alone had the power to move through the dreamscape freely and enter the dreams of all ponies. But Luna was not given to having nightmares, much less any dreams of a remotely prophetic nature. Whatever her dream had been, it certainly had to be ominous indeed, if it weighed upon her mind and prompted her to fear so.

Regaining her composure, the elder alicorn gave a solemn nod.

“Please continue, little sister.”

“I believe my dream is a warning.”

“A warning?”

“About King Sombra.”

The fork that had been floating, held aloft by Celestia's magic, fell to the floor with a low, metallic tone against the tiles. Luna noticed at once, winced, and looked at her sister anxiously.

“Please, do not be quick to judge my actions, my sister, but I visited the Prison of Shadows before bringing about my nightfall. I went there to confront Sombra.” She confessed.

Celestia's eyebrows climbed even higher. “You attempted to interrogate him?”

“Yes,” Luna grumbled bitterly, glaring down at her pie, “But he kept attempting to divert the subject. I learned nothing from him.”

Silence fell once again, for a brief moment. Celestia closed her eyes in thought, a pensive frown on her features, and for a time, she was as still and unmoving as a mountain. But before long, she opened her eyes and looked at her sister.

“Your dream?” She prompted.

“I do not care to discuss it in detail at the moment,” came the swift reply, “But I am positive Sombra is behind it, and that he is scheming something against us all!”

Luna punctuated this with a stomp of a hoof against the floor, and when her sister did not respond, she settled down again, instantly self-conscious.

“Please, forgive my outburst, Tia.”

“Already forgiven and forgotten, dear one. But you are sure about this?”

“Quite. And I shall continue with my efforts. I intend to try to question Sombra again. Perhaps, given time, I shall wear down his resolve and he will confess about his plans. I know he is hiding something.”

Something overcame Celestia's heart at those words, an emotion she had felt only once or twice before in her life: Fear. Her sister had been freed from the influence and possession of the Nightmare-spirit that had plagued her for so long, but the elder princess had seen many a pony over the years reform from dark behavior, only to once again find themselves endangered by evil influences. It took willpower, constant vigilance, and strength of heart to resist those influences and prevent oneself from falling back into darkness. To her credit, Luna possessed all of those traits in abundance. Celestia knew of nopony else with such a noble warrior's heart and the spirit of a valiant defender, save Prince Shining Armor.

But King Sombra was unpredictably dangerous. Celestia and Luna had faced him once before, many years ago, and the Princess of the Day knew from experience that his power only grew stronger in the presence of negative feelings, especially fear.

“Do you disapprove?” Luna asked, snapping her out of her thoughts. Something in the way she voiced the question indicated she worried about what her sister would say, and Celestia exhaled a quiet sigh.

“No, I do not disapprove. But Luna...please, please be careful. Whether or not he is a prisoner in the Shadow, Sombra will always be far more dangerous and cunning than many give him credit for. He will try to manipulate you, to warp your perception and twist your mind to darkness. He will look for any weakness or opening in your resolve that he can use as a chance to break down your strength. You must not let down your guard around him, sister.”

“Of course, Tia. I will remain vigilant and unyielding as ever in his presence.” Luna replied in the most reassuring tone she could manage. “After all, you and our entire kingdom are relying upon me.”

Then for a while, there was silence. However, Celestia was able to get her sister talking before long, and their conversations turned to more light-hearted matters. Soon they were laughing together again, as they had hundreds of years ago.

Yet the elder princess worried in secret, fearing for her bold sister.

Oh please, Luna...please be careful...I worry you know not the danger you face...

Author's Note:

I present to you the currently unedited second chapter of this story and my first try at writing Celestia. Please, let me know what you think and don't be afraid to point out any editing errors I may have missed on my own. Also...yeah, sunshine cake is a legit thing. The pie that I had them refer to is actually a no-bake Oreo pie recipe that you serve frozen, but sunshine cake actually is a thing, and it's one of the most amazing cakes you could ever eat.

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