• Published 23rd Apr 2012
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A Friend of the Night - Shotoman



Luna's depressed. She needs friends.

  • ...
18
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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

“Oh,” was all Discord had time to say before being blinded by a flash of magic from his opponent. When the flash died down Luna was nowhere to be seen. “Where are you my Loony Little LuGURK!” A sharp blow to the top of the head sent Discord crashing to the ground. He scrambled out of the way just in time to dodge a midnight blue blur, which caused a small explosion of moon dust as four hooves hit a single point on the ground at once. He rubbed his head and winced. “That actually hurt, you little...”

“WE HAVE YET TO EVEN BEGIN HURTING THEE!” Luna roared as her eyes and horn glowed with even more intensity.

Discord suddenly found himself floating in the air against his will a brief moment before his world became a blur. “Woahwoahwoahwoahwoahwoahwoah!” he shouted as he was spun around like at top. Then he was hurled through the thin air and felt himself hit something very solid that gave way with a shattering sound, and he bounced off the ground once on the other side before recovering enough to snap his talons and stop himself—and everything else for that matter.

Discord actually needed to take a second to calm himself down after that close call. Though it was only for a brief moment, Luna in her rage had actually managed to overpower him. That did not happen often. It elicited a feeling in Discord's chest that was so rare for him to feel that he had to consciously quantify it for a moment. Oh, it was fear. So that's what it felt like. Interesting.

Discord calmly lowered himself down to the ground and took in his time-stopped surroundings. He whistled at what he saw. He was in Celestia's bed chambers. There was a hole seemingly hovering in the middle of nothing in front of him and shattered glass littered the floor. Luna had already leaped through the shattered mirror and was frozen mid air, eyes still glowing. His composure regained, Discord smiled widely as he snapped his talons.

Luna yelped as her forward momentum was completely negated, but still managed to land on her hooves. Before she could continue her attack, Discord stuck a cork on the end of her horn, cutting off her flow of magic immediately. “That'll be enough of that,” he said. “And to save my eardrums...” A black strip of tape slapped itself over Luna's mouth.

“I must say I'm very impressed. Surprised even. That is something that doesn't happen often. I mean, look around you. You actually got yourself off the moon! By throwing me—me!—through my own magical mirror. Did you do that on purpose or was it just a fortuitous accident?” Discord stopped to give Luna a chance to respond, with which she took the opportunity to give him a glare that might actually have killed a lesser being. “Oh, right. I forgot. Anyway,” Discord said, putting an arm around Luna, causing her to shudder. “Do you know why you're the only one I always call little pet names, my Loony Widdle Woona? Because you're the fun one!”

Discord popped next to Celestia, who was still frozen in time, her gaze locked on the window past his shoulders. “Your sister here has always been so boring. So prim and proper and... calm. Always in control, even when angry. I think today was just about the angriest I've ever seen her and do you know what she did? She yelled at me. With that lovely Royal Canterlot Voice. That's it. Ah, but you. You've got a fire burning in there somewhere. Makes you unpredictable. My kind of pony. Your sister may have more raw power than you do—don't look at me like that; you know it's true—but you are the one who actually managed to overpower me for a moment. I'll even admit that you put some fear in me for the first time in... well, ever. Congratulations. That puts you in a very exclusive club.”

Discord's face suddenly appeared uncomfortably close to Luna's. “So, since you've impressed me so, I'm going to give you a reward. I'll let you stay here, with Celestia. You worked so hard for it after all. I'll even let you keep your little servant pony, just because I like you. Of course, I'm no fool. There is a small cost to my generosity. No more magic windows, no more links to the outside world. No more me. Fair deal, right? I think so anyway. I've got more fun waiting for me over in Ponyville anyway. Ta-ta, my Little Luna!”

A flash of light later, and Discord was gone. As was the cork and tape, the shattered mirror, and the window Celestia had been using. Luna quickly looked around to make sure Sugar Heart had indeed been brought back, and sighed with relief to see her calmly standing in an out of the way corner, unobtrusively waiting for an order. Luna turned back to see that Celestia's movement had been restored as well, though her despairing gray form brought that fire back to Luna's eyes.

“What does thou think thou art doing?” she asked as she approached her sister.

“Luna?” Celestia said in a tiny voice, as tears streaked down her grayed-out face.

“WE ASKED THEE WHAT THOU ART DOING!” Luna repeated, The Voice in full force, shocking her older sister into paying full attention. “THOU ART CELESTIA OF THE ETERNAL SUN! THE VERY HEAVENS BEND TO THY WILL! THOU HAST DEFENDED EQUESTRIA FROM DESTRUCTION SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL, NO MATTER THE PERSONAL COSTS! INNUMERABLE MONSTERS AND THREATS, FROM DISCORD TO THINE OWN SISTER THOU HAST FACED IN DEFENSE OF THY KINGDOM! THOU HAST RULED THIS LAND ALONE IN WISDOM AND GRACE FOR ONE THOUSAND YEARS! AND AFTER ALL THAT—ALL THAT—THOU ART NOW GOING TO JUST GIVE UP!? WE SAY THEE NAY! THOU DOES NOT GET TO GIVE UP!” The light in Luna's eyes dimmed back down to normal as new tears pooled in them, even as her expression remained resolute. “If you give up,” she said, her voice almost tiny in comparison to before, “where does that leave me?”

Celestia's face remained frozen in it's shocked expression for several moments, though the gray was quickly receding. Her expression changed to the motherly expression Luna had not seen since they were half-grown. “Oh, Lulu,” she said as she wrapped her expansive wings around her little sister, the last of the gray vanishing as she did so, leaving her once again a resplendent white.

Suddenly surrounded by the comforting presence, all the fear, anger, sadness, and hurt Luna had been experiencing, not just the last day but over the course of a thousand years, found escape. “Tia!” she cried, a whine entering her voice that had not been heard since she was a filly. Luna buried her face into her sister's chest, as Celestia brought her head down to her sister's level. For several minutes, the only sounds in the room were Luna's muffled sobbing and Celestia's gentle shushing.

When Luna finally calmed down some time later, Celestia disentangled herself from the hug. “Feel better?”

With a rather un-princesslike shnlork, Luna wiped her nose with a foreleg and nodded. “Yes. Yes we do.”

Celestia smiled a small smile as she nuzzled her sister one last time. “Then we've got work to do. Since we're not giving up, we'd best search for something we can do for our subjects from here. After all, neither of us became rulers by being pretty.” Celestia's smile turned teasing and she winked. “Pretty though we are.”

Luna giggled just a bit at the return of her sister's impish behavior. “Then, sister, the first thing we must do is look into our resources. What has Discord left us?”

Celestia closed her eyes in concentration, scanning the room with her magic. “Nothing much. It appears he was serious when he said he was leaving us here with no way out. Hold on a moment.” Her eyes then opened a moment later, and there was an almost wicked look in them. “He always was sloppier than he thinks he is. All of my means of magical correspondence have been left unmolested. We can at least communicate with the outside. But how to use it...?”

Celestia noticed that Luna wasn't quite listening, followed her gaze, and finally saw, standing unobtrusively in a corner, the grayed out form of a little pony. “Oh,” she let out softly.

“What is it, sister?”

“Is that... Sugar Heart, over there?”

Luna started a bit at the question, then dropped her head a little and answered. “Yes, it is. She has become a good and proper servant, thanks to Discord,” she said, with only a touch of bitterness creeping into her voice. As Celestia's eyes widened, Luna gave her sister a sad smile. “Let us deal with a single crisis at a time, dear sister.”

There was a moment of silence and then, “No.”

One of Luna's ears twitched at that. “No?”

Celestia smiled. “No. Tend to Sugar Heart. That is the first thing you must do.”

Luna fidgeted, uncertain. “But... but Discord. And Equestria...”

“Yes, the big picture, 'the needs of the many,' and all that. I know. But can you honestly, truly give your all to the big picture with this looming over your heart and head?” Luna sighed, her eyes squeezed shut, then cast an almost desperate look back at her sister, to find that Celestia had a small, kind, knowing smile on her face. “Trust your elder sister on this one,” she said softly. “Go to her.” And she gave Luna a little push for emphasis.

Luna took a deep breath to steel herself. By Tartarus this was going to be hard. But Celestia was right. She needed this. “Sugar Heart,” she called. “We would have words with thee.”

Sugar Heart obediently stepped out of the shadows and trotted up to her. “Yes, Princess. What is it?”

There was a silence, as Luna had little idea where to start. “What wouldst tho... you say you are to us?” she finally asked.

Confusion crossed Sugar Heart's face. “Your personal servant. Your hoofmaiden, I think the term was in the old days. Why do you ask?”

Luna couldn't help but snort out a brief huff of bitter laughter. “Because, Dear Sugar Heart, in addition to being our servant, you are also our most dear friend.”

Sugar Heart cocked her head slightly. "I'm sorry if I ever gave you that impression, my lady. But such a... relationship would be most improper between a princess and a servant."

That hurt, it was true. Sugar Heart was nothing but polite, apologetic, even, but she was still baldly refusing what had grown over the last year, and it hurt. Deep breath, 'tis no fault of her own. She is merely ailing, again. And this time... “Nay, Sugar Heart. A servant does not offer comfort to her charge because she senses loneliness. A servant does not accompany her princess on such improper activities as sabotaging bath salts and nailing furniture to the ceiling. A servant does not offer to stay up all day with her princess because of bad dreams. These are things that a friend does.”

For a moment, a brief moment, Luna thought she had gotten through to Sugar Heart, but...”I am sorry, Princess. But you've just got it wrong.”

Luna sighed. “Right.” Her frustration had reached a peak, and one new tear managed to trickle down her face. “Very well, then,” the disheartened princess said. She honestly had no idea where to go from here. Once again, she had failed as a friend. Once again, a malady had infected the second most important pony in the world to her, and she could do nothing against it. Once again, her friend had been struck down due to her own incompetence. What good was she anyway?

“Princess?” Sugar Heart's voice spoke up again, stopping Luna cold. “Are you...crying?” Luna turned to see tears streaming down Sugar Heart's cheeks. “Am... I...?” Sugar Heart squeezed her eyes shut and brought her forelegs to her head. Dull gray began to be replaced by vibrant green before Luna's eyes, and her heart skipped a beat. Could it really be that simple? Why would it not? a strangely logical corner of her brain asked. Was it not thine own dark mood which prompted her to approach thee in the first place all those months ago? After all, Discord may distort, but he cannot destroy that which makes a pony who they are.

“Ugh... What happened? Who's the jerk who bucked me in the head?” a once again green Sugar Heart muttered before falling to the ground and rubbing her temples. “Oh, never mind. He's in my head trying to get out.” After a moment, she opened one eye to see her friend Luna standing over her, a strange look on her face. “Luna? Are you okay?”

Luna's face split in a smile of absolute happiness. “SUGAR HEART!” The pony in question suddenly found herself wrapped up in Luna's forelegs in a spine cracking hug.

“Luna? Luna!?” Sugar Heart gurgled. “Can't breathe!”

Luna loosened—but did not relinquish—her hold. Sugar Heart cast a confused look at Celestia, who gave a small smile in return. “She's had an extraordinarily difficult day,” was all that she said.

After a few moments, Luna finally let go of her friend, who was blushing tremendously. “Er, I'm kinda, sorta... lost. Weren't we on the moon?”

Luna laughed, in spite of herself. “'Tis a long story, dear friend. For now, suffice it to say we are glad thou art back among us.”

Celestia had joined the other two in the middle of the room. “Yes, it is a relief for me as well. Well done, Luna. I've never seen Discord's influence on a pony broken so quickly. What was the secret?”

“Secret?” Luna asked, a thoughtful expression on her face. “In the end, there was no secret. Sugar Heart simply required a...” Luna's eyes widened here. “...reminder.”

Suddenly, Luna dashed off to Celestia's closet, rather startling both the other ponies present. Celestia maintained her serenity as a number of rather alarming crashes resonated from within, even as Sugar Hearts eyes widened in slight panic.

“Luna?” Celestia called, her smile still on her face, though Sugar Heart could see there was an ever so slight strain to it. “What are you doing?”

“We have an idea,” Luna called from within. “Our best hope even still remains the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Discord may have made them forget about the Magic of Friendship, but he can not destroy their friendship entirely, no matter what he believes. If we can but give them a reminder...” There was a brief silence, then...

“Oh, but there are a lot of them!” Moments later, a stack of papers floated out upon the winds of Luna's magic and settled in front of Celestia. She read the first page and smiled.

I have learned a very valuable lesson about friendship: I was so afraid of being thought of as a showoff that I was hiding a part of who I am. My friends helped me realize that it's okay to be proud of your talents, and there are times when it's appropriate to show them off... Especially when you're standing up for your friends.

“Lulu, you're a genius!” Celestia exclaimed.

Luna poked her head out of the closet and shook her head. “No, sister. 'Tis but a desperate gamble made by a pony with no other options. Yet how does that saying go we read? 'Any port in the storm?' Yes that is it. And our idea hinges entirely on our ability to get these letters to your student.”

Celestia smiled. “That will be no issue. I have access to little Spike's dragonfire.”

Luna nodded. “Then as our times are most desperate, we suggest sending them all.”

“Poor Spike,” Celestia said as she rolled up the first of the scrolls before making it vanish in a puff of green. “This is going to be most unpleasant.”

Luna, already vanished back into the closet, called back. “If we make it out of these dire straights, we will make recompense. SUGAR HEART! WE HAVE NEED OF THY ASSISTANCE!

“Right, okay. Coming, Luna!” Sugar Heart said as she dashed into the closet after her friend.

Moments later, Luna and Sugar Heart both came out of the closet, each hauling another stack of parchment. Luna sat next to Celestia and began rolling them into scrolls, to speed the process up a bit. Sugar heart dumped her pile and ran back into the closet to fetch more, which caused a small twitch to Celestia's eye. “There really are a lot of them, aren't there?”

Luna could only grin as she rolled up another scroll.

~FIM~

The once peaceful town of Ponyville was not even recognizable anymore. Between the purple skies, floating buildings, giant card castles, dancing buffalo, and flying pies, it was safe to say that the town had been completely overrun by the forces of chaos. In the center of it all, lounging on a throne of his own design, Discord laughed with wicked glee as he filled a glass with the chocolate rain that he'd become quite fond of. “Chaos is a wonderful, wonderful thing,“ he toasted to himself as he brought the glass to his lips.

“Not as wonderful as friendship!”

Discord was again given a mild surprise when he saw the six young mares once again gathered in front of him, the Elements glittering on their necks and Twilight Sparkle's Big Crown Thingie. “This again?” he scoffed before he drank the glass from around his chocolate milk and threw the chunk of chocolate behind himself where it exploded in an impressive display.

“That's right!” the orange one—Applejack, if memory served—said. “You couldn't break up our friendship fer long!”

Discord rolled his eyes. “Oh, Applejack. Don't lie to me. I'm the one who made you a liar.” With a flick of his talon, he pulled five of the six mares through the air to face him. “When will you ever learn?”

Twilight Sparkle suddenly popped into the center of the group, surrounding them in a bubble of protective magic that actually negated Discord's. When the bubble landed, depositing the mares on the ground, the checkerboard pattern beneath it transformed back into healthy green grass. Really, in hindsight, that should have been a hint. “I'll tell you what we've learned, Discord!” Twilight said in her best lecture voice. “We learned that friendship isn't always easy, but it's always worth fighting for!”

Discord stuck his tongue out in disgust. “Ugh, gag. Fine, go ahead. Use your little Elements. 'Friend me.' Just make it quick. I'm missing some excellent chaos here.” Also in hindsight, Pinkie Pie taking one last slurp of chocolate rain before gathering with the other Element Bearers should have also been a clue. Still, Discord was taken completely by surprise when the elements actually worked this time. As the rainbow engulfed him, fear overtook him, and when the stone statue that once was Discord fell over and hit the ground—well, this time its face was not smiling.