• Published 21st Oct 2014
  • 6,119 Views, 248 Comments

I Watch the Moon - zeus_tfc



Luna has been redeemed by the elements of harmony, but is finding that salvation is harder to come by. Perhaps the Moon, her prison for so very long, is truly where Luna belongs after all.

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Chapter 3: Corruption

Luna watched the Moon. During the week since Twilight had gone back to Ponyville, she’d been spending progressively more time on her perch. Oh, she’d tried to stay away at first. She’d even tried to be relatively social. Her attempts had all ended they same way, with awkward conversations, and mistrustful stares.

So she returned to her perch, and gave herself to the one thing that never betrayed her. That never judged her.

So there she sat, with the constant in her life above her.

The Moon.

And a rustle of wings.

And a sound.

“Luna.”

“Sister.”

“I’ve received a letter from my student. She asked if you might visit Ponyville. Discretely, of course. She thought you might like to meet some of her friends.”

Luna said nothing.

“Please, sister.”

“Of course, Celestia. Anything for thee. I will be there tomorrow evening. Would that appease thee?”

“This isn’t about me, Luna. It’s about you being happy.”

“Of course, sister.”

The sense of her sister’s essence receded, leaving Luna alone with her Moon.


Luna dropped from the sky like a comet, opening her wings at the last possible moment to slow her descent. It was a longer flight than she’d tried in some time, but worth it for the lack of attendants or guards. She angled her descent to aim for the center of Ponyville. There, near the center, was a large tree, which Luna understood to contain the town’s library, and Twilight Sparkle.

With one powerful wingsnap, Luna checked her descent, and alit on the top of the Library.

She steadied herself, and looked to her Moon. She inhaled deeply, trying to calm her nerves. Exhaling, she dropped herself off the side of the tree.

It was a pleasant looking library. It looked more like somepony’s house than a public building. There was a warm glow peeking through the cheerful curtains in the front windows.

Luna took one last deep breath before raising a hoof.

*Knock knock knock*

The door opened.

“Princess Luna, you came!”

“Of course, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight stepped back to allow Luna to enter. The interior of the library gave the same impression as the exterior. It looked more like somepony’s private library than a public space. It lacked the sterile inoffensive quality that most public works contained. Instead, it felt homey. Personal. Warm.

“I gave a lot of thought to which of my friends you might want to meet first. Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie are all wonderful friends, but they’re a bit… boisterous. Rarity would be understanding, but she also has a tendency to be… well… pushy. And she loves her smalltalk. That just leaves Fluttershy. She’s very quiet.”

“I see.”

Twilight’s verbal onslaught chafed against her. Luna knew it was unintentional, and tried to ignore the irritation, but it remained. Luna began to regret coming.

Any further thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Oh, that must be her now.”

Twilight opened the door, as Luna walked back into the main area of the Library, observing the rows of books, the obviously well-used center worktable, and breathing in the library smell that Twilight loved so much.

“Fluttershy! Thanks for coming over so late. There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

Luna turned to face the door as Twilight stepped aside to reveal a timid looking pegasus of pale yellow. She was quite lovely, and her mane and tale luxurious, but she carried herself like a frightened animal. Eyes darting back and forth, and head down, as though waiting for an attack.

“Fluttershy, you remember Princess Luna.”

Their eyes met. Fluttershy’s eyes widened, and she shrank back even more, something Luna would have thought impossible.

“Are we back to ‘Princess Luna’ now, Twilight Sparkle?” Luna asked.

“Sorry. Luna. Luna’s been having trouble readjusting now that she’s back, and I thought it might be good for her to make some friends.”

“...”

Luna swore she saw Fluttershy’s mouth move, but no sound reached her ears.

“A pleasure to meet you, Fluttershy,” she said with a bow.

“........................”

Luna began to get warm. Her skin prickled.

“I’m sorry? I didn’t quite catch that.”

“...............”

Again, there appeared to be speech, but Luna could hear nothing.

Fluttershy was trembling. Her eyes looked wild. They darted back and forth, looking for an exit.

The prickling of Luna’s skin slowly morphed to itching. She began plotting her own exit.

She exhaled a deep sigh.

“Twilight, perhaps this was a mistake.”

“Nonsense. Fluttershy is kindest, most patient pony I know. The two of you will be best of friends.”

Twilight shot a frustrated look at Fluttershy.

“Though it must might take some ‘encouragement’ on my part.”

“Twilight,” sighed Luna, “that’s really not nec-”

Luna was interrupted by a rainbow streaked ball of blue barreling through the front door.

“Hey, Twilight, what’s going on? I saw your light on and…”

The rainbow maned blue pegasus saw Luna. Quickly her head whipped around, gauging the situation. Her eyes landed on Fluttershy.

“Nightmare Moon! What are you doing to Fluttershy, ya big bully? Pick on somepony your own size!”

“Hold on, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said, placing herself between them. “It’s not like that. I was trying to introduce-”

Fluttershy took advantage of the distraction to flee out the door.

“Fluttershy,” groaned Twilight.

“Grrrr… If you put one hoof on her…”

“Hey, Twi,” a new arrival drawled. She was an orange earth pony wearing a stetson. “Just saw Fluttershy bolt outta here like a cat with… Uh…”

The words died in her mouth when she saw Luna.

“Applejack, thank goodness. A little help?”

“Uh…”

“That’s right, I’m talkin’ to you, Nightmare Moon. You want a piece of me?”

“Rainbow Dash, she really didn’t mean-”

“Like Twilight said. Calm down, sugarcube.”

“Hey, Everypony!” A new figure entered the fray. She was a pink ball of energy looking for an outlet. “Is this a party? Why wasn’t I invited?”

Luna’s skin felt hot. The bodies seemed to press in on her.

“But Fluttershy-”

“Luna was just-”

“Calm down and let her-”

“You don’t have nearly enough decora-”

Luna felt irritation rising up within her.

“-hit you so hard you’ll-”

“-don’t want no trouble-”

“-just really needs a friend, that’s-”

“-balloons! Why is everypony-”

“SILENCE!” Luna roared. “Your constant nattering is maddening, and you squabble like yearlings! Will you not be QUIET?!?”

The voices ceased.

Luna looked over the ponies before her. Wide, surprised eyes stared back at her. Twilight’s in particular shone with hurt.

Shame welled up in Luna, but for the moment, at least, the frustration was stronger.

“I’m sorry, Twilight Sparkle, but this was a mistake. Excuse me.”

With that, Luna pushed past the bewildered ponies, and exited the library.

Spreading her wings, she leapt into the air, and took flight. It was a long flight back to Canterlot, back to the palace, but it gave her time to lose some of the frustration, and cool her nerves.


Luna sat on her perch, watching the Moon glide toward the horizon. It was time.

She leapt into the air, and glided to where her sister was waiting. Wordlessly, she turned to face the Moon once again, this time reaching out with her magic.

She felt Celestia do the same.

Silently, the Sun rose, and the Moon set.

The task complete, Luna turned to face her sister.

“I received a message from Twilight,” Celestia said. “She was concerned. And hurt.”

The accusation was apparent in her voice

“I’m sorry, sister. I tried. I really did. I’ll make it up to Twilight.”

“But in the meantime you’re going to hide and stare at your damned Moon. Why? Why is that Moon more important than us?”

“Sometimes I wonder if that’s where I belong.” She regretted the words the moment they left her lips.

Celestia burst into tears.

“How can you say that? Now, after so long, I’ve finally gotten you back. How can you stand there and tell me that?”

Luna wished she hadn’t started crying. Anger would have been easier. She knew how to deal with anger. Rage was cake when compared to crying.

“Sister, please. I won’t lie to thee, but I can’t change how I feel.”

Tears, though. Tears she didn’t know how to handle. Tears just frustrated her.

“I don’t know you. I don’t know who you are. What happened to the sister that used to laugh and play with me in the fields? Who painted the night sky? Who pulled pranks on the most distinguished guests?”

Frustration always seemed to find a way out as anger.

“What would you have me do, sister? Change myself to please thee? If it were in my power I would do so.”

After all, had she not tried? Had she not spent those hours with her pupil?

“I don’t know. I was just so glad to have you back. I wanted us to be happy. But nothing pleases you. You avoid everypony like the plague. You won’t share in the land I tried to hard to keep safe for you. Why won’t you let them in?”

Had she not tried to be part of the court before the mistrustful looks and stares as though she were a performing animal?

Frustration always vented as anger.

“To hell with your ponies and your land. To hell with their constant prattling, and their incessant cheer, as though everything will always end well. As though anything matters. And if you can’t accept me, Celestia, then to hell with you, too.”

The words came unbidden. They weren’t truth, not as fact, but they were truth of the heart. Truth of the moment. Truth of emotion.

Yet as they were spoken, Luna knew they were too much. She’d gone too far. She saw it in her sister’s eyes.

The words couldn’t be unspoken. There was only one thing she could do. With a twist of her magic and a warping of space, she vanished.

There was only one place she could really teleport to without thought or preparation. Only one place that drew her. It was not the Moon. The Moon had been a prison, not a place of she’d flitted to repeatedly. No, there was only one place where the paths through reality were well worn enough that she didn’t even need to consciously decided to go there.

Luna collapsed onto the hard stone floor, heedless of wing and leg.

She sobbed.

She felt so empty. So broken. Nothing seemed to matter. Nothing could halt the tears.

There, on the floor in front of the dais where sat the two thrones in the castle of the pony sisters, in the Everfree forest, Luna cried, sprawled on the stone floor, until she was too exhausted to cry any more. Then she slept.


Luna walked into Ponyville. The Sun was low in the sky, but there was still time before she had to raise the Moon.

The gloom of the forest had suited her mood, but the waning light of day carried its own version of melancholy. It wasn’t quite the same, but it was sufficient.

The library lay ahead. Luna wasn’t even sure Twilight would be home, but she needed to make the effort.

She neared the door.

*Knock knock knock*

The door opened, revealing Twilight Sparkle.

“Princess Luna.” The voice was flat and unwelcoming. Luna flinched inside, but knew she deserved the slight.

“Twilight. I wish to apologize. My words were born of frustration and my flaws, not malice or spite. I’m sorry your friends and I…” Luna lost her words.

“I… I’m very sorry, Twilight Sparkle.”

She didn’t wait for a response. She wasn’t even sure it mattered, only that she’d accomplished her goal.

She leapt into the air, and beat her wings as hard as she could. The Moon was calling. It was nearing time.


Luna stood next to her sister, magic stretched in all directions, raising her Moon. This time, however, something was different. Something was wrong.

The Moon came up, just as it should, but it was wrong.

The Moon was green. Not a living vibrant green, either. No, it was a sickly green of decay. Of putridity.

“Luna, what’s wrong?” her sister asked.

“Nnnnothing,” she groaned through clenched teeth. She grit her teeth in frustration and effort, trying with all her might to purge the Moon of that hideous blight.

She sagged with a sigh, defeated. The color remained.

“Luna? Luna what’s wrong? Why does the Moon look diseased?”

“I don’t know!” she panted, trying to regain her strength. “There’s nothing wrong with it. Apparently I’ve just decided it should be green.”

“Luna?”

“It’s fine! Everything’s fine.”

Luna stomped away.

Everything was not fine.

Luna secured herself on her perch, and glared at the Moon, but now it gave no comfort. That sickeningly corrupt green leered back at her.

The next evening was the same.

As was the next.

The next evening, the Moon looked even worse.

As did the evening after that.

Luna glared at the Moon. She imagined it was laughing at her. It probably was. Luna deserved it. Her glare had long lost any real anger. Now it was just her sitting alone, staring at her latest failure. She felt foalish and useless, staring at that ugly wart on her sky. How many nights had it been now? It was hard to tell. They all ran together after while. Not that it mattered. Not that any of it mattered.

Her last refuge of peace was now lost to her.

She wondered how much she mattered.

Luna pondered if anypony would notice if she just disappeared...

She considered whether she dared.

She contemplated-

“HI LUNA!”

Luna jerked in surprise, losing her footing, and almost falling off the side of the tower.

She turned to glare at the interruption.

There was the pink ball of energy she’d last seen at Twilight’s library. The pink pony bounced up and down, pronking excitedly.

“I’m Pinkie Pie! You might not remember me. I was there at the castle when you were still Nightmare Moon. You might not remember, ‘cause you were kinda distracted at the time. You were all about to smite Twilight, but then we were all like Zzzzzeroooowmmmm and Twilight went all kaZAP and you went kerBLAM! I was at Twilight’s library with you last month, too. You might not remember that either. When I got there everypony was already there arguing, and you were all ‘SILENCE FOALS’ and we were all *gasp*! But now I’m here, and I can introduce myself so you know who I am, and Oh! Here comes Twilight!

Luna stared at the pony with increasing horror. Pinkie Pie appeared to not require oxygen like a normal pony. Luna had an absurd urge to search her back for secret air intakes, somehow justifying the ability to speak without inhaling.

Twilight then appeared, gasping for breath, and tired legs fumbling over each other.

“*pant* Sorry, *pant* Luna. *pant* Didn’t mean *pant* to leave *pant* you alone *pant* with Pinkie. *pant* She got *pant* away *pant* from me.”

“Yay! Twilight! Now it’s a party. Oh! Party! That means we need balloons, and confetti, and - Oh, darn! I forgot my party cannon! Hey, Twilight, do you think they’d let me use the kitchen for baking some cupcakes? What about balloons? Do you think they’ve got balloons anywhere? Oh! Do you think you could ask the Princess - I mean the other Princess- about balloons and confetti? Couldya? Huh? Huh? Please? Pretty please?”

Pinkie bounced, looking at Twilight expectantly.

Luna gaped at them. In the back of her mind, she was planning her escape. She didn’t think the pink pony could fly. Probably. She hoped.

“Uuuuuhhh…” Twilight looked at Pinkie in confusion.

“PSST!” Pinkie whispered. “Twilight, I need to talk to Luna alone. Please?”

“Uh… sure?” Twilight hazarded. She gave Luna one last worried look before making her way back inside the tower.

“Yay! Party for Luna!” Pinkie cheered.

Luna turned back to the Moon. Her ugly, defective Moon.

“Oh! I wonder if I could make Moon balloon animals. Would you still call them balloon animals if they’re not animals? Maybe balloon Moons? Oh! BallMoons!”

Luna braced herself. She was ready to leap at a moment’s notice. She felt the need to leave now, regardless of Pinkie’s attention, but part of her still wanted to leave politely. She simply didn’t see a way.

“The problem with BallMoons is that we can only use white balloons. Well, I guess we could use green now, too. Do you think you could make the Moon any other colors, ‘cause that would really open... up... our options. She’s gone.”

The change in tone drew Luna’s gaze. She stared into the pink party pony’s blue eyes. There was still a smile on her face, but her eyes held something else. Sadness?

“Luna, I just wanted you to know. I understand.”

“What?”

“I understand.”

“What? What do you understand?” Luna demanded.

“I understand how empty it feels.”

Luna froze.

“I understand how much it aches. How that ache just swallows everything. How you look for anything that will fill that emptiness and stop the aching. Books. Games. Parties. Anything that can trick you into feeling anything but that emptiness, at least for a little while.”

Luna began to tremble. Despite the movement, Luna felt oddly taut, like an over-coiled spring.

“But then the stories end, or the party’s over, and the ache comes back twice as bad, because you know it was a lie. You can fool yourself into believing the characters in the story, or the people at the party are your friends, but when it’s over, and you’re all alone, you realize how stupid it is. But then you get desperate to get rid of that ache, and you start all over again.

Luna’s trembling increased. She started having trouble maintaining her balance.

“I know that it feels like everything you touch falls apart. I know that you feel like you’re defective. Broken. I also know that you really want to run away right now. In fact, the only thing you want more is to chase me off, so you can wallow.”

Luna willed that pink, blue-eyed pony to move. To give her some excuse to leave. To do anything but talk and stare at her with those sad eyes.

“If you manage to chase me away, it’ll confirm everything you already suspect, that you aren’t worth my time. That you aren’t worth love. That you’re broken. But it’s not true, Luna. You are worth it.”

“I know that Princess Celestia will never understand, but she will love you no matter what. I know that Twilight will never understand either, but she loves you too, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. I do understand. I understand all too well, and even though I don’t know you that well, I love you too.”

Luna’s knees gave out, and she slumped over. Her sight left her, and it was only after blinking a few times she realized it was because her eyes were full of tears.

She felt her head being cradled.

“I know that right now, more than anything else, you need a friend. I’ll be your friend, Luna, and I’ll never leave you as long as you need.”

Luna sobbed into those legs cradling her head.

“That’s right, Luna. Let it all out. Auntie Pinkie Pie is here, and it’s going to be okay. I know it doesn’t seem like it, and I know it won’t be easy, either. It takes the right people to talk to, the right medicines, and it takes time, but it will be okay, I promise.”

Luna cried. She cried with all the pain that emptiness was causing her. She cried from the ache that consumed everything. The sobs tapered off gradually, until the were just hitches in her breathing.

“I think I hear Twilight coming back.”

Luna nodded blindly in the legs cradling her head. She pulled herself upright, slowly, unsteadily. She shook her head trying to clear the fog residing there.

“Luna, I’m here for you, but this isn’t a solution. Be strong. Ask the palace doctors what medicines they have. Talk to somepony if you can. Talk to me if you can’t.”

With that, Pinkie blinked, and everything changed. The smile brightened to almost manic intensity.

“And then I said ‘Oatmeal, are you crazy?’ which I guess really isn’t as funny when you try to give it context. I wonder why that is? Oh, do you like oatmeal? Did you know there’s different kinds of oats you can make oatmeal from? My favorite kind of oats are pinhead oats, mostly because I like the name. Pinhead! I wonder if the oats get insulted from being called pinhead all the time. Hey Twilight! How do you like your oatmeal?”

“Uh… with brown sugar?”

“That sounds yummy!”

“Uh… yeah. Anyway, I don’t think the palace cooks were very receptive to you making cupcakes. I’m afraid your party may be cupcakeless,” Twilight said.

“That’s okay,” Pinkie assured her. I think we’re going to hold off on the party until Luna’s ready for it. Ooh! I still need to scout party supplies, though. Be right back! Luna, you’ll let me know, right?”

Luna stared into those blue eyes. The sadness was still there, just less pronounced. Had it always been there, and she’d just been too oblivious to know?

“Yes. I’ll let you know.”

“Okie Dokie, Loki!”

With that, the pink terror flew into the tower faster than Luna had ever seen an earth pony move. She stared at the vanishing pony, speechless.

“Sorry about that,” Twilight said. “I hope Pinkie wasn’t too… well… Pinkie for you. She can be a bit much to take sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great friend, and always there when you need cheering up, but sometimes she doesn’t know when to quit. Rainbow Dash always tells her ‘Pinkie, you are so random.’”

“Yes,” Luna agreed, not really sure what she was agreeing to. “Random.”

The next night the Moon was still green.

The night after was the same.

As was the night after that.

And the night after that, as well.

The next night, however, it looked a little paler. A little clearer.

The night after that, even a little better.

Until little…

By little…

The Moon healed.

Author's Note:

"The Princess has no clothes," Pinkie cried.

"Oh, Pinkie," the crowd replied, "you're so random!"