• Published 7th Sep 2014
  • 10,553 Views, 272 Comments

All for One - One for Luna - Wodahseht

A strange condition has Twilight courting death in the wake of her battle with Tirek. Now her life depends on Luna, and both lives will be affected. Hopefully for the best.

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02: Explanations …and Embarrassment

The trip to Canterlot was by cloud, a method Twilight wouldn't have even considered as an option before experiencing it. Luna had simply grabbed a decent sized cloud from those in the area, gotten them both settled on it, and pushed it along with her magic. It was relaxing, and altogether too much like a dream. In fact, Twilight was considering that possibility as she stood alone on Luna's balcony.

She had imagined sitting on a cloud and watching the night sky with Luna before, so it was easy to accept that a dream might include that feature. They hadn't spoken on the journey either. Twilight because she was lost in thought and reveling in the lack of pain, and Luna... she looked to be lost in thoughts of her own. The lack of burning and feel of being rested were what made it feel so surreal. Feeling normal again, after the experience of the past few weeks, didn't feel normal and left her with the sensation of being disconnected from her body.

Luna had dropped her off, asked that she wait here, and flown off to another part of the castle. Figuring that "here" included the room from which the balcony extended, Twilight turned to walk inside as she tried to organize and focus her thoughts. First, something was making her ill during the day. No, that wasn't accurate. It was worst during the day, especially if she became exposed to sunlight, but night wasn't always a sanctuary. Second, Luna seemed to know what it is and said that it could kill. Third, there isn't a known cure, but-

Pain! Burning!

Twilight jerked back in shock at the sudden recurrence of the pain. It stopped almost as quickly as it had come, and she stood trembling in the aftermath. She consciously willed muscles to relax which had tensed in that brief moment, then carefully reached forward with one hoof. When nothing happened, she cautiously stepped forward - and scrambled backward as the burning shot through her again. She moved back out to the center of the balcony and stared toward the invisible barrier.

Why would there be wards inside the room instead of at the balcony doors?

Twilight knew there was something obvious that she was missing, but having faced that burning again had undone the efforts to organize her thoughts. Though, one thing she was fairly certain of now is that this wasn't a dream.

When Luna returned to her balcony she was greeted with the sight of Twilight sitting and staring into her room with unfocused eyes. She thought about asking Twilight if something was wrong, but decided it was probably just a case of having a lot to think about.

Landing next to her friend snapped her out of the daze and drew her attention. "My apologies for the delay Twilight, but I needed to arrange matters with the servants and collect a few books for you." She nodded her head at the pair of books floating along beside her. "I am sure you wish for some answers. Let us get comfortable and I shall tell you what I know."

She made her way into the room, using her magic to simultaneously open the curtains over the windows and placing the books on a low table, and settled onto a body-sized cushion. She looked around and was surprised to see that Twilight hadn't followed her.

"Twilight? Are you not coming?"

A flicker of something that looked like fear crossed the younger alicorn’s face as she asked, "What about the burning?"

"You need not fear that while I am here. Please, join me."

Twilight finally moved forward, but paused and took slow steps at one point before resuming her usual pace. Luna chose to ignore the strange behavior for the moment and waited for Twilight to get settled. She had just opened her mouth to speak when three knocks sounded from the door. She closed her mouth and waited for the second, quieter, set of knocks shortly after and opened the doors to the outer chamber. Deciding against moving from where they had already arranged themselves, she floated in the meal trays from the table where the servants had left them.

"I do not believe you need my encouragement to eat something, do you?" she asked of her companion.

A rumble from Twilight's stomach was answer enough, but the suddenly blushing purple pony also shook her head before digging in. While Twilight ate heartily and fairly quickly, Luna took her time and tried to determine if she had forgotten anything. She had checked the weather schedule, instructed the servants on the change in meal structure, announced that night court would be temporarily suspended, and left a note for her sister on what she had done so far. She couldn't think of anything else at the moment, and Celestia would no doubt inform her or take care of anything she had forgotten.

She brought her attention back to Twilight, who was staring quietly at her empty tray. "Do you wish for more food?"

Twilight's head jerked up as though she had forgotten she wasn't alone. "Oh, no. Sorry. I was just thinking."

"Very well." Luna returned the trays to the outer room and closed the doors. "Perhaps now is the time to explain what I do and do not know of your condition."

With Twilight watching her closely, she began, "I suppose the place to start is explain what your condition is, or at least what it seems to be. Ursa are, as I am sure you are aware, creatures of the night. What you may not know is that daylight is fatal to them. They require moonlight or starlight to function and remain healthy. Early in their life each Ursa develops the ability to produce their own starlight - just enough to support their self. A newborn Ursa cub is unable to produce its own light and relies on its parent...or parent surrogate."

She trailed off as her memories took hold. Twilight brought her back to the present with a quiet, "Princess Luna? Are you alright?"

She smiled at Twilight - a royal smile her sister called it, all show and no heart - and replied, "I am fine. And please, just call me Luna. After all, you are a princess as well, and more importantly a friend."

Twilight looked down in embarrassment. "Sorry. Habit, I guess." She took a deep breath and looked back up, "So what I have is related to the Ursas? I've never read anything like what you're talking about, and I studied them when we had the incident with the Ursa Minor in Ponyville."

"Right, the Ursas." Luna shook her head and continued, "Celestia and I call it lunar dependency. And it does seem to match the condition you have developed, though we thought it unique to the Ursa. We discovered it by accident in our youth, and no pony has researched the matter since to my knowledge. I do not particularly blame them given the dangers of attempting close study of them."

Luna's gaze wandered to the books she had brought with her. "Those books are the most complete I am aware on the topic of Ursa. Even though they do not cover this condition, perhaps there is something that can be used to figure out why you now have it. It is something like having an allergy to the sun and a dependence on the moon at the same time. Constant exposure to moonlight, or strong enough starlight, is essential or the body begins to attack itself. However, direct exposure to too much sunlight can be fatal, even if enough moon- or starlight is available to normally allow survival."

The two sat in silence for a few minutes before Twilight asked, "Why do you think it's the same thing?"

"The symptoms you listed in your letter. I also cast a diagnostic spell on you when I first arrived at your castle. Your body was attacking itself in the same manner that Celestia and I saw in the Ursa, and you responded to the same treatment."

"Wait, you tried treating an Ursa? What happened?"

"That is not a story for tonight."

"Oh." Twilight looked disappointed for a moment then seemed to snap back to herself. "You said treatment! What treatment? I thought there wasn't a cure?"

"There is no cure that I know. As for treatment, I exposed you to moonlight. Do you not recall?" A blank stare provided the answer, so she began to channel moonlight through herself once more. She couldn't help letting slip a giggle as Twilight's eyes widened and jaw dropped open.

After a short while Twilight snapped her mouth shut and turned slightly away with a mumbled, "I see." Luna thought her cheeks looked a little pink, but she could have been mistaken. Having answered the question, she cut off the moonlight and adjusted herself on the cushion.

"Have you any questions to ask? If not then I should be about my duties."

"No. Well, yes, I have questions, but I think I'll read first to see if what I want is there."

"Very well." With a glance through the windows at the moon and clear sky, Luna rested her head on her forelegs and closed her eyes. "The weather schedule called for clear skies all week, so you should be fine while I check in on the dreamscape. If I am needed, just call my name."

She was about to invoke her magic when she heard Twilight stand and begin walking in the direction of the doors. Raising her head she asked, "Twilight? Do you need something?"

Twilight turned to face her with the books held aloft in a purple glow, "No. I was just going to my room to read while you work."

Luna sighed and shook her head, "I'm afraid you can't do that. You need to stay nearby in case the moon gets blocked and I need to provide moonlight for you myself. And we don't know how you got this condition and if it is contagious. I would be unable to help all who were in need if too many ponies developed it. We cannot risk exposing others until we know more. That is why the servants left the food instead of staying to serve it."

Twilight turned completely toward her with a look that she couldn't interpret. "If you're worried I'll infect others, what about you?"

"I can produce my own moonlight. Even were I to become affected I could care for myself. And, I have to be near you to keep you alive."

They held each other's eyes for a minute or two before Twilight gave in to the inevitable and returned to her cushion.

The sudden closing of all the curtains in the room shook Twilight from her reading trance. Looking around she saw Luna standing by the doors to the balcony, glowing once again as she lowered the moon. She let that image drift across her tired mind for a few moments before standing and stretching out the kinks of extended inactivity.

Luna closed the balcony doors and reclaimed her cushion before turning her attention to the tray of food beside it. Twilight, who had been completely oblivious to the one beside her up to the point, immediately dug in as well. Again they ate in silence, but it was a comfortable silence as each allowed their mind to rest.

When both had been returned to the outer room, Twilight stood and started for the bath chamber. She was surprised when she arrived at the arched doorway to find that Luna had followed her. "Oh, sorry Luna. You can go first, I'll wait."

Unaccountably the blue alicorn blushed before responding, "I already took care of matters for myself before lowering the moon. Twilight... The lunar dependency means that you have to have constant exposure to moonlight, especially during the day. I have to be with you any time you're somewhere the moon's light can't reach..."

Now it was Twilight's turn to become a pony of a different color. "You mean...?"

"Yes... Everywhere..."


It really didn't matter that Luna had faced away in an attempt to give her some privacy while she took care of necessities. In Twilight's mind, that was one of the most uncomfortable experiences she could remember. And it certainly hadn't helped when she'd realized that Luna facing away from her meant she had a perfect view of her crush's flank.

It was just a silly crush that would never amount to anything and she knew it, but a visual feast like that did not help her resolve to keep that in mind. At least it was over.

For now. Her all-too-observant mind piped up.

She sighed to herself as she arranged herself on the opposite side of the sizable bed from Luna. She was certain that Luna couldn't have been comfortable being there either, but she was being a good friend and helping her through this mess. So, as a good friend it was Twilight's job in return to keep her hormones in check and find some way to fix things as quickly as possible.

I just hope I can...

Author's Note:

So, there's the gist. At least for now Twilight requires constant moonlight to function, and that means lots of time with Luna. Poor Twilight, almost no privacy until she figures something out.