• Published 23rd Apr 2012
  • 19,351 Views, 334 Comments

A Friend of the Night - Shotoman



Luna's depressed. She needs friends.

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Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Luna let loose a wide, unprincesslike yawn as she and Sugar Heart climbed the stairs leading up to her tower. Sugar Heart grinned. “Busy night again?”

Luna glowered at the entirely obvious question. “How is it possible for one single party to take up so much of our time? We have spent more time and energy on this 'Grand Galloping Gala' over this last month than all other matters of state combined. Our sister has been in the exact same situation from what she has said to us. And we have another month to go.” The frustration in Luna's voice was almost palpable. “What we do not understand is that if this is a celebration of our sister, why is it so contrary to what she would prefer to do?”

Sugar Heart laughed. “You know, I've had to work the Gala before. Catering.” She shuddered. “From what I saw, the party is less about celebrating Celestia's reign and more about the upper crust phonies finding an excuse to show off for themselves.”

Luna raised an eyebrow. “Then why does our sister put up with it all?”

“Because... she's Celestia, I guess?”

Luna actually laughed. “Yes, we suppose that may just be the answer.” She nodded at the two guards standing on either side of her door as she and Sugar Heart entered her chambers. A few moments passed uneventfully before the peace was interrupted by a loud “fwoosh” sound that ripped through the hallway and a flash of red light which erupted from the room. This was followed shortly by one very scared green pony scrambling out of the room for her life and skidding to a stop in front of the guards.

Sugar Heart looked in the general location of the guards, but the pinpricks that her irises had become did not seem to focus on either of them. “Well I just learned something interesting just now did you know that when a pony gets mad enough fast enough her mane and tail will actually spontaneously combust I didn't by the way Luna wants to see the two of you.”

The guards shared uncertain glances, but immediately complied. When they saw the room, it took the considerable willpower trained into the Royal Guard to keep their jaws from dropping. Apart from the Princess Luna herself, the room was completely bare. Not one piece of furniture, paper, or personal effect was to be found, except for the single paper held in Luna's magical grip. Visible on the page was a beautifully rendered letter 'C'.

Luna's expression was unreadable as she turned her gaze to the guards. “We have a few questions for the two of you, and we expect them to be answered honestly. Do you understand?” The guards nodded simultaneously.

“Did our sister appear before the two of you and give an order to leave her alone?”

One of the guards answered in the negative.

“Did you hear or see anything throughout the day that may have caused suspicion?”

Again, negative.

“And you two performed your duties as was expected of you?”

An emphatic positive.

A smirk began to appear on Luna's face. “Thank you. You may go.” As the guards turned to leave, she chuckled to herself. “She is good. SUGAR HEART!” she called with the full force of The Voice. “IT APPEARS AS THOUGH WE ARE GOING ON A SCAVENGER HUNT!”

~FIM~

Dusk was settling over Canterlot a few nights later as Luna cheerfully entered the dining room she shared with Celestia. True, Luna was going in for breakfast, while Celestia was having dinner, but it was the time spent together that was important, not the meal itself. The shared meal time was so special to the two of them that even Sugar Heart did not join in. “Good evening, Tia,” Luna, completely ignoring the fact that where Celestia normally sat was now a large pile of whipped cream which was glaring at her with one visible violet eye.

Several minutes passed in silence, as Luna ate her simple oats and apple. Finally, from within the sugary mound, Celestia's voice asked, “Where did you even get one hundred gallons of whipped cream, Lulu?”

Luna finally smiled with unrestrained glee. “'Twas a small pink earth pony from Ponyville. We do not know where she got a hold of the cream, and we decided it best not to ask.”

“A pink earth pony.”

“Yes.”

“From Ponyville.”

“Yes.”

“Huh.”

Silence reigned for another few minutes, until Luna began to chuckle. Celestia then joined in. Moments later, both princesses were sharing an almost hysterical laugh.

~FIM~

Several nights later, the peace of the castle was shattered by the sound of several explosions which tore through the hallways. The guards scrambled every which way trying to find the source, while the visiting nobles dove for cover. Just a couple of minutes later, the guards found the source of the noise in Celestia's day study. No amount of trained discipline could keep the guards' jaws from dropping this time. The walls of the study, not to mention the pair of princesses that were occupying the room, were splotched with every color of the rainbow, as if one had exploded in the room. The most startling sight, however, was the fact that Luna was stuck, upside-down, to Celestia's side by a sticky pink substance, her legs wheeling about in the air. The shocked expression on their faces indicated that they were rather taken by surprise as well.

A second or two later, several servants, Sugar Heart included, came running into the room. All the servants except for Sugar Heart dropped their jaws. She just laughed. “Let me guess—two pranks went off simultaneously?”

The two princesses looked each other in the eye and laughed themselves. “Yes, that is indeed what happened,” Celestia said, her smile widening. “And it does appear as though we've escalated far beyond the time to call a cease-fire. What do you think, Luna?”

“We most certainly agree,” Luna replied. Sugar Heart had to stifle another laugh. Luna's dazed but delighted smile, coupled with her face flushing from the blood rushing to her head, was simply adorable. The guards and servants, however, released almost comical sighs of relief.

Celestia resumed her regal facade—or as close to it as she could reach with her sister stuck to her side. “Well, then,” she said to the guards in the calming tone she almost always had when in court and other such affairs. “Could the two of you set things in motion to delay my appointments for a half hour? My sister and I quite obviously need some time to be presentable.”

As the sisters left to clean up and the guards left to fulfill their orders, Sugar Heart and the other servants were left in the study. Sugar Heart sighed and chuckled at the same time—a rather impressive feat to be honest. She turned to the still shell-shocked servants. “Well, what are we standing around for? Cleaning messes like this is in our job description, isn't it? Let's get to work.”

~FIM~

The days passed peacefully from then on, and soon enough the night of the Gala had arrived. As it was one of the biggest nights of the year, Luna's approach at building the night sky was a bit more hooves on than usual. Her large elegant wings beat furiously as she gained ever greater altitude, then she tucked them to her sides and launched into a spiraling dive that would have driven any pegasus—legendary fliers like the Wonderbolts included—green with envy. She pulled out of the dive and turned to give a critical eye to the mists and clouds she was manipulating. Satisfied that all was as she wished, she flew off to the next portion of her current project.

Miles down below, perched on her princess's balcony, Sugar Heart watched in awe. From where she sat, it was as if a shooting star had taken up a mind of its own and was painting the sky. It was one of the most beautiful things she'd ever seen.

“I haven't seen Luna paint the sky like that in ages!” The sudden voice behind Sugar Heart made her jump. She turned to find Celestia herself standing behind her.

“Oh ah Princess Celestia what are you doing here shouldn't you be down at the gala oh it's not gonna start for another hour yet is it ahahahaha.”

Celesita could not help but smirk. “You are so comfortable with my sister, yet I still cause you to ramble?”

Sugar Heart blushed. “Ah, well, er...”

Celestia chuckled. “I'm teasing, Miss Sugar Heart. You of all ponies should know I do that. You and my sister share something very special and I have to admit I'm a bit jealous.”

Sugar Heart raised an eyebrow. “Jealous? Of us?”

Celestia smiled, though there was some sadness there. “Yes, just a bit. Friends like you are a rare thing. Especially for princesses.” Celestia paused for a moment, as if considering whether to say what she had on her mind or not. “While we are here alone, I would like to thank you for your influence on my sister. Do you have any idea how long it had been since Luna and I engaged in one of our little...” Celestia's smile grew mischievous. “...competitions?”

“Uh, a thousand years?” Sugar Heart guessed.

Celestia shook her head. “Much, much longer than that. Luna's fall was a gradual process. We had drifted apart some time before Nightmare Moon's attack. You were able to do something I do not think I ever could have. The Elements of Harmony may have freed Luna from the Nightmare, but it was you who brought her home to me. And for that I am eternally grateful.”

Sugar Heart lowered her head as her blush intensified. “I haven't done anything all that special, your highness.”

That sadness returned to Celestia's smile. “You call Luna by her name. You have no idea how special that is.” She turned to leave. “As you said earlier, I really must go report in on the Gala.” Sugar Heart noticed the smile became slightly strained. “I don't suppose you can convince her to join me?”

Sugar Heart laughed. “After all the complaining she's made about it just this last month? I really don't think so.” A sigh escaped her lips. “Besides, she still seems a bit reluctant to make any public appearances yet.”

Celestia nodded, and left without another word. Sugar Heart looked up and saw that the shooting star that was Luna was now heading straight for the balcony. Sugar Heart retreated back into the room, though she should not have worried. Luna came to a perfect, graceful landing moments later, ruffling the feathers of her wings for a moment before folding them to her sides. Her mist-like mane waved in a nonexistent breeze, a field of stars glittering from within. “Sugar Heart,”she asked. “Was that our sister just now?”

“That it was, Luna. She wanted to invite you to go down to the Gala. Again.” Luna made a face that made Sugar Heart laugh. “That's what I kind of figured.”

Luna sat down at her desk and dipped her pen into the ink well. “There's no reason for thee to miss out just because we are not going. We are sure it will be more enjoyable than just sitting here while we plan out next month's meteor shower.”

“Luna. I've been, remember? I'd have no reason to go if you weren't there.”

Luna simply smiled.

The Gala that year was, of course, a complete disaster. Priceless pillars and sculptures were broken, an animal stampede somehow happened in the ballroom, and a far distant nephew was covered in cake—something Luna would admit the little cad probably deserved upon having the story related to her. Luna would not learn of any of this until the next morning, over the dinner table with Celestia. And though the story would eventually cause her to consider attending the next year, she and her best friend enjoyed a perfectly quiet, mundane night to themselves and let the Gala go on without them.

Pardon me, Princess, but tonight was just... awful.

Oh, Twilight. The Grand Galloping Gala is always awful.

It is?

That is why I was thrilled you were all attending. I was hoping you could liven things up a bit. And while the evening may not have gone as you planned, I'm sure you'll agree that in the end it didn't turn out so bad for this group of friends.

You're right, Princess. Friends have a way of making even the worst of times into something pretty great.

~FIM~

The Gala had been over for weeks, and life at the palace had returned to normal. The gardens, however, were a bit busier than usual this fine afternoon. It was field trip day for a certain class of school foals from Ponyville.

The grape colored teacher of the class, Miss Cheerilee, stood before a strange and unnerving statue which was posed as if singing opera. “This creature is called a draconequus. He has the head of a pony and a body of all sorts of other things. What do you suppose that represents?”

A yellow earth filly with an apple red mane piped up her guess: “Confusion!”

A pretty little unicorn threw in her two bits: “Evil!”

Not to be outdone, an orange pegasus filly tried: “Chaos!”

“It's not chaos you dodo!” the unicorn snapped.

“Don't call me things I don't understand and it is too chaos!”

“Is not!”

“You're both wrong!”

Cheerilee rolled her eyes as the three rambunctious fillies began tussling with each other in the grass. Calmly splitting the trio up she explained, “Actually, in a way, you're all right. This statue represents 'discord', which means a lack of harmony between ponies. In fact, you three have demonstrated discord so well that you're each going to write me an essay explaining it.”

As the class moved on to discuss the other statues and what they represented and symbolized, a red light began throbbing on the draconequus's chest, beating out the rhythm of a heartbeat. A crack appeared, running up the statue's chest, and if anypony had been there to listen, they would have heard a deep, ominous chuckle.