• Published 23rd Apr 2012
  • 19,404 Views, 334 Comments

A Friend of the Night - Shotoman



Luna's depressed. She needs friends.

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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

“This is such a bad idea,” Sugar Heart moaned as she looked up at her 'handiwork.'

Luna laughed in rare unbridled glee. “Oh, do not be such a poor sport,” she said. The two ponies were standing in the middle of Celestia's bed chambers, though the room at first glance appeared completely bare. That was, until one looked up. Then one would find every piece of furniture perfectly arranged on the ceiling. The bed was made, with the blankets tucked in extra tight. The bookshelf was just as meticulously organized as before. Everything was in its proper place—except that everything was now hanging upside down above the ponies' heads. As an extra touch, Luna had enchanted all the nails used so that they could only be removed one at a time and only by an exceptionally talented magic user.

“I still can't believe we were able to pull it off without Princess Celestia showing up,” Sugar Heart admitted while the beginnings of a smile began to tug at her mouth.

“'Tis midday, when Celestia is at her most busy. Also, it is amazing how simple it is to find other ponies willing to participate in our frivolity when given an opportunity.”

“You gave some poor ponies royal commands to keep her busy, didn't you?”

Luna's smile turned mischievous. “They were but small commands,” she said. “Now, let us leave. It is quite late and I must get at least a few hours sleep before the night falls.”

~FIM~

The Canterlot Royal Gardens were quiet this early afternoon. Finally. That brown pony finally seemed to have completed what he had been coming for—whatever that was—and, with the Running of the Leaves having been just a few days prior, the gardens were now at the beginning of their off season. The guards were able to, if not relax, then to at least perform their duties in peace. The hours passed in near silence, so one of the guards was quite surprised when his partner tapped him in the side.

“What the hay are you...?” He stopped when his partner pointed up a the sky. He looked in the direction that was being indicated and gasped. From the mountains past Ponyville, a dark black cloud was spreading, threatening to cover the entire sky. At the moment, it had yet to reach Canterlot, but even from the distance, the two guards could see that it was spreading quickly. After a shared glance and a nod, the first guard spread his wings and flew off to warn the rest of the squad, while his partner, as per protocol, stayed on course.

The grounded guardpony thought he caught movement out of the corner of his eye and quickly turned to face the threat. All he found was that creepy statue. Just looking at the thing rather unnerved him, if he was honest. Not that he'd ever admit that aloud, of course. It was just... unsettling. It was such a chaotic mismatch of so many different animals that even in this land of manticores and griffons it looked fundamentally unnatural. And its pose—standing on its hind legs, one arm thrown up dramatically, its mouth open in a wide grin, as if performing for an audience—somehow managed to add to its unsettling appearance. Unnerving though the statue was, however, it was hardly a threat to anyone, and there did not seem to be anypony else around. So the guard continued with his rounds, his back turned when a circle of red light throbbed into being briefly in the center of the statue's chest before burning out like a snuffed candle.

~FIM~

Luna burst into the throne room and almost slid across the well-maintained tile flooring as she came to a stop in front of Celestia's throne. “Why Luna, this is a surprise,” Celestia—her coat once again its usual brilliant white—said. “Why ever are you still awake? It's two hours past midday.” Celestia bore a smile that suggested she could at least guess at the reason and was already formulating countermeasures. Oh, it had been so long since she had a willing opponent in these games.

“Never mind that, sister,” Luna gasped. “What of this foul cloud that covers the land?”

Celestia's smile shifted slightly, but only from that of mischief to one of understanding. “It's a dragon, that's all. A dragon has taken up roost and has begun one of those century long naps they are so fond of.”

Luna sighed with relief. “Then the solution is simple, is it not? Between the two of us there should be little difficulty in excising the threat.”

“I have already taken measures, sister. I have sent my student and her friends to take care of him.”

The look on Luna's face was, in Celestia's honest opinion, priceless. If only she had a camera. “Ti—ahem. Sister. They are barely older than fillies!”

“And yet they have already accomplished some rather remarkable things, haven't they?”

“Well...”

“Don't worry yourself, sister. I'm monitoring the situation very closely.” This was when Luna noticed the special full body mirror that Celestia had hovering next to her throne. Instead of a natural reflection there was an image of six little ponies climbing a sheer mountain face. “I will intervene before anypony gets seriously hurt.”

“But... why wouldst thou send these ponies in rather than remove the threat thyself?”

Celestia smiled. “I could certainly do that. In the short term it would solve the problem quickly and cleanly. However, in the long term—both for Equestria and these mares in particular—this is the better choice.”

Luna raised an eyebrow, but she chose not to question further. Celestia had always been a rather insufferable manipulator at times, though Luna knew that she always had her reasons, and they were always good ones, so she let the matter drop. “If thou art certain that the situation is under control, we will retire for the day. HOWEVER! If the situation should sour, we expect to be awoken to help deal with the threat!”

Celestia nodded. “Of course.”

With the matter settled, Luna left to find her bed. It was far too late for a nocturnal pony such as her to be awake.

~FIM~

The Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters lay in ruins. Nightmare Moon stood triumphantly as her gaze shifted around the group of ponies around her. Some were hurt, others were lying motionless on the ground, but most of them were just afraid. Afraid of her power and majesty. There was one, however, that was none of the above, and the type of hurt in her eyes was most satisfying indeed.

“Remember this day, little ponies," Nightmare Moon bellowed. "For it was your last. From this moment forth, the night will last forever!”

Celestia stood before Nightmare Moon defiantly, the Elements of Harmony floating around her head in formation. “Do not make me do this, sister! There is still time for you to concede. We can work this out!”

“There is nothing to 'work out', 'dear sister!' The day has ruled over and above the night for far too long. The time has come to usher in ETERNAL NIIIIIIIIIGHT!”

Celestia let a single tear fall, before her expression hardened. “Very well.”

There were no more words to share. The two goddesses charged each other, discharging enough magical energy that the Everfree Forest would be wild for generations to come.

~FIM~

Luna screamed and bucked her leg hard. She made solid contact against something, and heard somepony grunt in pain. This was enough to make Luna fully awaken and her eyes shot open. She was back in her room. The one in Canterlot. In bed. Luna sighed in relief, but then remembered that she bucked somepony and quickly spun to see what she'd done. What she saw was her sister, a bruise forming on her shoulder, hunched protectively in front of Sugar Heart, whose green mane was disheveled and whose eyes were pink and bloodshot. Older sister and loyal servant both were staring at Luna, nothing but concern in their eyes.

“Oh, Tia!” Luna leaped out of bed to examine the bruise. “We are so sorry!”

Celestia smiled. “It's okay, really. It's only a bruise. What's more important is you. Are you okay?”

The panic was already beginning to die down and her breathing had already slowed down to a normal rate. “Yes. We are, ah, fine. It was simply a nigh... bad dream.”

“Oh, Luna...” Celestia wrapped her wings around her little sister in a hug, just like she used to do all those years ago before the Nightmare.

“... but enough about us,” Luna said after a moment. “Is the dragon still there?”

“Yes, but...”

BUT NOTHING! The dragon represents a problem for the whole of Equestria. It is far more important than a foal's nightmares. Even an immortal one.”

“Are you sure?”

Luna smiled. “Yes we are. It was a bad dream. Nothing more. Go. Take care of our subjects.”

Celestia hesitated for a moment more, but Luna was right, so with a nod she left. Luna crawled back into bed and prepared for a long day of tossing and turning. She felt a presence still in the room, looking on her in concern. “Thou shouldst go as well, Miss Sugar Heart. We both have a long night ahead of us.”

“Actually, Princess, no offense, but I think this is more important.”

Luna curled up in a ball, her back to her servant. “No, Miss Sugar Heart. It is nothing. We had a simple bad dream.”

Sugar Heart walked around Luna's bed and put her face inches away from the princess's. “Princess Luna. I could hear you screaming from my room. It was not 'just' a nightmare.” Luna shuddered at the word. “That was a full blown night terror. There's no way you're going to get back to sleep at least until you talk it out with somepony. Well, I'm somepony, and I'm here to listen.”

Luna opened one eye and glared at the impertinent little pony in front of her. “Thou art, without a doubt, the least proper servant in this entire castle.”

Sugar Heart grinned. “Princess, you held me in a levitation spell for over two hours so I could nail another pony's bed to the ceiling. 'Proper' has been thrown out the window.”

Luna smiled as she sat up. “Thou does have a forked tongue on thee when thou desires it.”

“You should see me when I'm really cranky.”

Luna's smile deepened for a moment before dropping to a frown. “We are not sure if thou would be able to understand our fears or even if we could properly give voice to them. It... has to do with our time as her. We are not even sure if Celestia would be able to truly understand, though she has suffered a different kind of pain as a result of it all.”

Sugar Heart harrumphed with a playful smile. “Well, at least your greatest fear isn't something ridiculous. I'm afraid of clowns.”

Luna laughed. “No.”

“Yes. My parents hired one for my cutesinera. I hid under my bed for the whole day.” Sugar Heart sat down on Luna's reading couch. “C'mon. Tell me about it. I might not be able to understand, but I can provide a shoulder to cry on, and we have the whole day ahead of us.”

“Thou wouldst tarry the entire day? For us?”

“Sure. What are friends for?”

Luna's eyes widened for a second. “Friends? Yes. We are friends. We are friends!”

~FIM~

It was now an hour before sunset, and Celestia sighed with relief. The dragon had been dispensed with no real harm done, and from the looks of things Twilight Sparkle and her friends had learned a valuable new lesson that she was certain write about upon their return. For now, however, it was time to check in on her little sister. When she reached the door to Luna's chambers, there was a surprise waiting for her, pinned to the door. She removed the note with her magic and held it up to her face to read it. It said:

Princess Celestia:

I really really really apologize for asking this. I know it's an entirely improper thing for a simple servant such as myself, but do you suppose you could raise the moon on your own? Just for tonight. Princess Luna, as you might imagine, had a very long day, and I think she might do with a few extra hours of sleep. If you could do that I would be eternally grateful.

Sincerely,

Sugar Heart

P.S. If you've already seen your room, she made me do it.

Celestia read the note and pushed open the door, just enough to peek in. The sight made her smile. Luna was curled up on her reading couch, fast asleep, Sugar Heart curled up on the floor, her back against the chair. Both ponies were breathing in synch with each other. Celestia chuckled to herself and closed the door. Now she just had to see what damage those two did to her bedroom.

Dear Princess Celestia,

I am happy to report that the dragon has departed our fair country, and that it was my good friend Fluttershy who convinced him to go. This adventure has taught me to never lose faith in your friends. They can be an amazing source of strength, and can help you overcome even your greatest fears.

Always your faithful student,

Twilight Sparkle.