• Published 7th Sep 2014
  • 10,523 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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03: Frustration, Conversation, and Observation

Author's Note:

** Heads up: As part of getting this chapter out I updated the previous three chapters. Nothing as far as key story elements was altered, but I tried to make it so that the story is only happening from one perspective at a time. I also tried to show how they look at each other so that the relationship can be seen developing instead of springing up out of nowhere.

Thank you all for the feedback you've given, and I hope you enjoy. Next chapter may be a little slower coming as it will be a very busy week for me.

Twilight was frustrated.

Last night, or day rather, had been wonderful, horrible, and blissful-yet-stressful. It was wonderful to be able to sleep without pain. At least, it was wonderful until she tried pulling a blanket over herself and was shocked back to full consciousness by the burning pain from blocking out Luna's moonlight. Blissful-yet-stressful? Well, that was when Luna moved to lay next to her and wrapped her in a wing. It felt so good to be held by the beautiful mare, but it was so hard to convince her heart and stomach to calm down - it was just a friendly gesture after all, nothing more.

So, she didn't sleep as well as she'd hoped. Additionally, she'd finished the two books Luna had provided with nothing useful to show for it, and now Luna wouldn't let her visit the library to search for more.

Twilight was frustrated. And now she found herself almost yelling at royalty.

Well, I'm royalty too, so maybe this doesn't count.

"I'm telling you I need to visit the library myself, I don't know what specific books I need yet, that's what I need to look through them for!"

Luna appeared to be getting frustrated herself, though she was much better at hiding it. "And I have told you that we cannot risk the possibility of infecting others. If you could just write down what it is you are looking for we can have the archivist search for likely books."

Twilight was pacing, just to be doing something, while Luna simply reclined on her favorite cushion. "I don't know what I'm looking for. This isn't like anything I've encountered before. I need to research, and the best way to do that is hooves-on. And we're not risking infecting other ponies: the library is always empty at night - I know, I've spent plenty of time there. Just have a servant or guard check before we go, then have them make sure others stay out while we're there. Besides, it's unlikely that this spreads through normal means, if it can spread at all. If it could, nearly all of Ponyville would already have it considering how many parties Pinky threw that first week after defeating Tirek."

She finally stopped pacing and just watched as Luna lay staring out the window, apparently thinking things over. Twilight was rapidly coming to the conclusion that it is very difficult to stay annoyed with someone while simultaneously appreciating how beautiful they are. It's just not fair, she thought sadly.

"You have made your point. I will send a scroll to the guards that we will require the library to be cleared within the hour. Though your point is a good one, we still don't know how you became affected and aren't going to risk contact with others based on the fact that nothing bad has yet happened."

She ran over and hugged Luna, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

"You are welcome," said Luna as she briefly returned the hug. "It does not make me happy to lock you away like this, nor to be locked away myself. I am just worried by what has happened to you and what could happen."

"I know," Twilight said quietly as her eyes turned to the moon. “I am too.”

Luna was frustrated.

It hadn't even been two full days and she already could feel the stress of being restricted in what she could do. She had hoped to never have her independence restricted again. She owed much to Twilight and would have done much more than what she was if needed, but the restrictions still chafed. Then there was the semi-argument over the library visit, and having to sit around with nothing to do while Twilight rapidly scanned through the books for anything of potential use.

Most of all, she hated not being able to hold her night court. As more and more ponies were coming to accept her for herself and not see her as Nightmare Moon, her courts had been attracting larger numbers. She enjoyed that time getting to know and help her subjects. Instead she was spending more time in the dreamscape - something she preferred to do only when truly necessary.

Luna was frustrated. And it didn't help that she worried what would happen to Twilight if they couldn't figure something out. They could not just stay in this room forever.

She extracted herself from the dreamscape and opened her eyes to find Twilight was floating in their dinner and smiled gratefully.

"Excellent timing, I am quite famished. Have you had any luck in your hunt?"

"Nothing yet," Twilight replied absently as she set the trays down. "Right now I'm just looking for anything to give me an idea what to look for. It makes things go slowly without a specific target."

She simply nodded in response and yawned lightly before starting on her meal.

Between mouthfuls Twilight asked, "Tired? Isn't going into the dreamscape basically sleeping?"

"Entering the dreamscape does mean going into a sleep state. However, navigating and interacting with it uses energy, and manipulating it uses magic. It is necessary to rest the mind as well as the body after such work."

"Oh." Twilight stared at her plate, not really seeing it. "Do you see all dreams?"

"Not at all. I could enter any dream if I needed to, but I don't like to do so." She frowned briefly, recalling some of the reactions she'd witnessed to ponies learning she could dream walk. "I generally only enter the dreams of the young."

"Just the young?"

"Yes." Seeing the questions in the back of Twilight's eyes she continued, "It's because entering a pony's dreams takes away their privacy. I can see their hopes, fears, desires...things that shouldn't be seen by others. Dreams reflect what is most important to a pony at that moment. Sometimes it is love, sometimes it is hate, and sometimes it is a reluctance to face something they need to. The young do not always have the knowledge or experience to know how to deal with the latter, so I step in to help guide them. Those who are older are both more capable of finding the way themselves, and more likely to react negatively to somepony sticking their nose in - even if it is a princess."

Luna thought that Twilight looked both relieved and sad at the explanation, but didn't understand either of those reactions.

It was quiet while they finished eating, but as Twilight returned her tray to the outer room she spoke up again. "You said the older are more likely not to want help, but what of those that do?"

Luna floated her own tray out and closed the doors. "That is what the night court is for. Business matters and matters concerning the kingdom are rare there, but it is a place where ponies may seek advice or help with something that is troubling them. With the night court unavailable I am having to seek out in dreams those who would otherwise come to me on their own. And that means seeing more than they or I would prefer I see."

Luna noticed that the sky was growing pink with the dawn and stood, beginning to glow. "Let us put aside this topic for now. The day comes and we must rest."

Normally Twilight wouldn't have been all that surprised in a dream to find herself sitting with Luna on a cloud under the night sky - she'd had them before. It didn't feel the same as the dreams she'd had in the past though, and Luna was only just holding back tears while looking at something down below.

"Luna? Are you okay?"

Luna jerked in surprise and looked over at her, "Twilight?! Why are you-" She paused and her eyes lost focus briefly before snapping back. "It really is you. How did you... Never mind, I must have accidently pulled you out of your corner of the dreamscape to join me."

Twilight processed this as Luna turned back to whatever was happening below. So I am sleeping, but I'm in Luna's dream?

She was trying to figure out if there were rules to follow about being in somepony else's dream when Luna broke her train of thought. "I could return you to your own dream if you like, but you wished to know how my sister and I learned about the Ursa..." The sadness was back on her face. "You may watch if you want to."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. Perhaps you will learn something that will help. But I warn you, it may not be easy to see, or forget."

They held eyes as Twilight tried to imagine what she might see, but all she could find was that sadness. Finally she simply nodded and shifted closer to the edge of the cloud next to Luna, and looked down.

Celestia and another Luna stood below. The former determined and confident, the latter scared and seeking reassurance. "What do you think we can do here sister?" the Luna below cried, "It's an Ursa Major! Do you truly think we have the strength to turn it back?"

"We will turn it back because we must Luna. We have no choice or the entire village may be lost."

"But no pony has ever had magic enough to turn back an Ursa Major. We could probably do something if it was an Ursa Minor, but-"

"Relax. I do not intend to use force at all. They shun the day, so I shall use sunlight to turn it back."

Rumbles, snaps, and cracks had been rapidly growing louder during the conversation, and from the higher vantage-point Twilight could see a massive Ursa Major pushing through the forest as easily as a pony might trot through a wheat field.

The two alicorns below stood their ground in a small meadow directly in the Ursa's path, and as it passed the tree line Celestia's body burst forth a blinding light. Golden light so much brighter than Luna's moonlight turned night to day on that meadow and the Ursa let forth a roar of pain so loud that Twilight slapped her hooves to her ears in a useless attempt to muffle the sound. The great form fell to the ground in a mighty crash and writhed madly in a way that Twilight immediately sympathized with.

Celestia had reduced her brilliance, but had not completely stopped it as she and her sister watched the Ursa's dark, blue-purple body dimming quickly to black and its stars fade out. When all its light had faded, the massive body went still and dissolved into nothing more than motes of shadow which rapidly scattered in the wind. The sister stood, mouths hanging open in shock, staring at the empty space before them.

The Luna beside her on the cloud could hold back her tears no longer, face buried in her hooves as sobs wracked her body. Twilight ignored what was happening below to instead try to provide comfort. With a leg over her shoulder and wing across her back, Twilight countered Luna's chants of "We killed her" with "It wasn't your fault" and "You didn't know." She didn't know if it helped at all, but she tried.

Eventually Luna managed to stop sobbing and simply lay with her head at the edge of the cloud, again watching below. The sight wrenched Twilight's heart, but she didn't know what more she could do for now and turned back again to the scene playing out below.

The dream, or memory, alicorn sisters were now standing across from a large cave entrance watching a black bear only slightly larger than Celestia and with a tiny, star-shaped splotch on it's forehead laying just outside it under the night sky. Given the trail of destruction, this must be were the Ursa Major had come from. Remembering the conversation she'd had with Luna upon first coming to Canterlot, Twilight realized the black bear must be an Ursa cub, not even large enough to be called an Ursa Minor yet.

The sisters simply stood and watched, unsure of what to do, as the bear played with logs and rocks on the ground around it. At one point it rolled into the shadow of the cave and let out a pitiful growl of pain. When it did, its body flickered with tiny specks of blue-white which went back out just as quickly. The cries of pain from the cub shocked the young Luna into motion and she rushed toward the youngling, the cry of "No Luna! Stop!" unheard or ignored.

Acting perhaps on instinct, upon reaching the cub Luna began to shine forth moonlight. Dimly at first, then stronger as the small Ursa calmed and nuzzled against her. She turned to her elder sister and said simply, "I will stay with it."

"Luna, you know you can't. It's too dangerous."

"No," Luna replied. "We owe a debt for what we did. You know we do."

"That was my fault, not yours. If anyone should stay, it should be me."

"You cannot call the moonlight for it, and we have already seen what the sunlight will do. I may not be able to help it in the end, but I must try. Now go, reassure the ponies."

Celestia looked like she wanted to argue more, but knew it would be no use. Instead she nodded and said, "I'll be back tomorrow night to check on you."

Then both turned away from each other. One to fly home, and the other to lead her charge into the darkness of the cave.

The scene faded away leaving Twilight with a grief-stricken Luna, and a lot to think about.