• Published 22nd Apr 2015
  • 16,568 Views, 271 Comments

Inexcusable - cleverpun

Princess Nightmare Moon had tried to keep it secret. She had feigned ignorance, but the charade could not last. She nocked the arrow. Tirek was a large target; he would fall easily. Then the true challenge would come: explaining herself to Celestia.

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3. Irrational

“So, let me get this straight…” Cadance leaned forward, rubbed her chin. “Aunt Luna is some sort of doppelganger from the future?”

“I think multiversal imposter would be a more accurate term,” Twilight said. “I mean, if she killed herself, then it may have split the timeline somehow.”

“That sounds rather complicated,” Cadance said. “Doesn’t time magic always stabilize or something?”

“All pony-made spells do.” Twilight rubbed her chin, and for a moment the two ponies synced up perfectly. “There’s no telling how Discord’s magic works, though. I doubt it follows the same rules.”

“You two are missing the point.” Celestia barely whispered it, but the other two stopped talking and chin-rubbing immediately. She didn’t look up from the table, but her face reflected clearly in the marble. “She claimed she was some sort of…amalgamation of Luna and Nightmare Moon. That she caused the entire planet to go extinct, and that she came to the conclusion that killing herself was the best way to undo it all.”

Celestia looked up. “Doesn’t that disturb either of you?”

Twilight glanced to the side, blushed slightly. “Honestly, I’m not sure it does.”

Celestia’s glare still made Twilight uncomfortable whenever it came out. Celestia silently reprimanded herself, sheathed her unpleasant stare. She occasionally forgot that Twilight was her equal now.

Twilight coughed into her hoof. “I mean, yes, obviously she lied about it, but now that I think about it, it makes sense. When we confronted her in Ponyville, all that time ago, I never really felt like I was in danger. She never felt like a threat, even though I knew she was dangerous.”

Cadance nodded. “And she does love all of us. I can sense it every time I’m near her. Obviously we don’t know her as well as you, auntie, but—”

Celestia’s hooves slammed onto the table. The sharp clack echoed through the room. “Do you mean to tell me, that both of you are perfectly alright with a murderer going unnoticed in our midst for so long? With betraying all of our trust? The trust of all our subjects?”

Her mane rippled, she leaned forward. “What if she were to decide somepony else was a threat to Equestria? What if she murdered them too? Would she be dangerous then?”

“She didn’t interrupt my wedding, even when it had been infiltrated by destructive insects,” Cadance said. “I’m not condoning what she did, but it’s not the same. Tirek… Tirek came very close to winning…”

Celestia turned to Twilight. “And what about you, Twilight? Do you agree with Cadance that Luna’s actions were reasonable? That taking a life was a justifiable response?”

“I…I don’t know.”

Celestia leaned over the table, and it creaked under weight. “You two are so forgiving, despite the scale of her treason. Perhaps you two are colluding with her? Perhaps you are amalgamations from another time as well?”

“Aunt Celestia!” Cadance stood up, and slammed her own hooves on the table. The marble shuddered, nearly broke, but stayed resolute despite the two alicorns pressing onto it. “I know you are upset, but think about what you just said!”

Celestia glanced down at the table. Her reflection stared back at her: hairs askew in her mane, her teeth clenched.

“I…I’m sorry, you’re right. It’s just, I don’t…” Celestia slumped back into her chair, cradled her head with one hoof. Her mane rippled and spilt across the table. “I don’t know how to react to this, how to handle it, what to say.” She shifted her head, rested it on her other hoof as well. “It’s like that changeling attack all over again. The unknown has paralyzed me, crippled me, except now it involves my sister.”

Celestia saw Twilight and Cadance share a look. Even without years of reading body language, the pity felt like a kick to the stomach.

“We understand, auntie.”

“Yes, it’s certainly a difficult situation.”

“Don’t lie to me,” Celestia snapped. “You don’t understand, you can’t understand.” She wrenched her head out of her hooves, forced herself to look at the other two. “When you are immortal, there are precious few constants. Luna and I have spent eons together, and now, suddenly, she isn’t who she was. All that trust and all those memories have been shattered in an instant. If she’s a lie then…then everything else might be.”

Silence soaked the room. Twilight and Cadance glanced at each other again. Celestia saw pity mingle with confusion and sadness in their faces.

Twilight tried to say something, but her sentence came out as a stutter. She swallowed and tried again, her still voice cracking. “What about us? Are we inconstant lies, too?”

The pain in Twilight’s voice sounded genuine enough. Celestia lowered her head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean, I don’t…” She stood up. “I’m sorry, telling the both of you this was a mistake. I should have composed my own feelings better before burdening you with this. I need to be alone.” She rushed out the explanation, then rushed out the door, slammed it behind her. She leaned against the wall, and she could hear Cadance and Twilight whispering in the room. She tried to imagine what they were saying, but nothing came to her. Just a memory of the pain in Twilight’s voice.

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