• Published 22nd Apr 2015
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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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4. Iniquity

Celestia did not lose track of the time. When an entire society kept time based on the sun, its ward did not have the luxury of dissociation. She had been staring at the moon for exactly one-hundred-and-forty-three minutes. She could pick out any of them and recall what position the sun or moon should be at in that sixty seconds.

The door opened. “You summoned me si—Celestia?”

“I did.” Celestia continued staring out the window. The moon was full as usual, the window too clear to reflect anything. “I see you put your mask back on.” Luna’s hoofsteps had sounded too light, her voice too high.

“I did not want to startle the guards.”

“Of course not.”

Silence filled the room. Luna took a step forward, and the sound overtook the room despite its quiet volume. Luna coughed.

“I was not entirely honest with you, earlier.”

Celestia finally turned from the window. “You mean the story of how you killed my sister and lied to me was not the entirety of it?”

Luna coughed again. “Well, in a sense. I told you that I wanted to save the planet, that I wanted to fix my mistake and make everything right again.” Luna sat down, shifted her gaze to the floor. “That wasn’t true, though. I…I spent so much time alone, Celestia. After all life went extinct I just sat in Canterlot, alone with books and statues.”

Luna looked up. “I didn’t think of Equestria, or ponies, or dragons, or anything like that. I only thought of you. All that effort to fix my mistake, and it was not some noble endeavor. I only wanted to revert everything so I could see you again.”

Celestia turned back to the window, silent.

“And after Discord sent me back and the Elements locked me on the moon, I was alone again. But I did not mind. I had seen you, knew that my plan had worked. The thought of you kept me going that entire time.”

“Do you remember the warning they gave us, all those years ago?” Celestia asked. “They said that living so long is dangerous, because the mind seeks constants. You were my constant for so long. I waited so long for that spell to release you from the moon, to give you back to me.” Celestia turned from the window. The edges of her eyes glistened. “And then you came back and revealed you were a liar and a murderer.”

Luna flinched. “Celestia…”

“How can I trust you after the things you’ve told me? How can I just accept that everything is different, that you are so dangerous and unstable?”

“I’m your sister!”

“My sister would never have done the things you have.”

“Wouldn’t I?” Luna glanced around the room. Celestia’s chambers were laden with knickknacks and artifacts of every possible description. She scanned shelf after shelf, and finally her eyes rested on a particular item. A piece of melted metal, the remnants of a helmet.

“Do you remember the time that the dragons sent those warriors to bully us?”

“Of course I do, they torched a large swath of forest on their way to our castle.”

“And do you remember how we scared them off?”

“Laser spells.”

“There is nothing we wouldn’t have done to protect our little ponies.” Luna pointed at the piece of metal. “When those dragons injured one of our guards, we both stopped firing warning shots.” Luna lowered her hoof. “I…I know it may not seem like it, but I did what was necessary. Asking Discord for help, killing myself, killing Tirek, it had to be done. I would do anything to protect Equestria…to protect you.”

“Luna, my Luna, once told me that the hardest part about policing the dreams of ponies was when she had to dispel, to kill something that looked like a pony,” Celestia said softly. “All the dream versions of pony’s enemies and rivals felt so real. She once told me that killing one felt like killing a real pony. Eventually, she had to adjust, to tell herself that they weren’t real. It needed to be done, no matter how uncomfortable it felt.”

Celestia turned from the window. Her tears had stopped, but the edges of her eyes still looked wet. “Is that how it felt when you killed her? A duty that needed to be done?”

“Yes.” Luna opened her mouth to continue, but stopped. She tried again, but nothing came out. She turned her gaze back to the shelf, the piece of melted armor. “I still remember it, you know, Even with all the whispers and ramblings, I still remember killing you.” Luna closed her eyes, ruffled her wings. “You didn’t fight back. I used a cutting spell, sliced off one of your wings. You screamed so loudly, it echoed through the throne room and I heard it a dozen times before it faded.”

Luna opened her eyes, and tears started to run down her cheeks. “We—I broke one of your legs next, pressed my hoof against it and pushed. You screamed again, quieter. You stared at me, mouthed some words I couldn’t understand. But you still didn’t fight back. I leaned in, pressed my hoof against your neck, whispered some insult or justification. And then I sliced open your…your chest, ripped out your heart. You didn’t scream, but the smell of blood filled the room.”

Luna looked back to Celestia, blinked slowly and forced her eyes open.“I would kill myself a thousand times, if I could avoid that moment. If I could prevent that from ever happening again, from seeing that look on your face, I would murder Tirek or Discord or Chrysalis or anypony else a hundred times over.”

Celestia turned back to the window. “That is what scares me,” she whispered.