• Published 27th Dec 2014
  • 2,181 Views, 104 Comments

Laughter or Darkness - Starlitomega

It seems like an easy choice, doesn't it? However, when you've spent a thousand years away from other ponies, the darkness can be comforting. It will take a lot of work to drag Luna out of the darkness, but one pink pony is up to the task.

  • ...

A Romp in the Castle.

And that’s done.

Luna set the quill next to a flickering candle on her desk. Hours had passed since she started writing that evening, a fact made clear by the painful tingling as she rose from her seat.

Luna's quarters were by no means 'normal', but they didn't exactly have a royal feel to them either. She did not care to display fancy baubles or knick-knacks. Apart from a bed, her royal cushion, a wardrobe, and some extravagant curtains, she did not have much in the way of decorations, giving her room a spartan feel.

Stretching her legs to get her blood flowing again, Luna quickly decided to look out at the city to ensure its safety. Her hooves echoed softly against the marble floor as she made her way out onto the balcony. Taking a deep breath of the cool night air, the tension that had built up inside her vanished instantly.

There seems to be a prevailing wind from the east tonight.

Being mostly made of wood, the looking glass on her balcony had stood the test of time fairly well. Sure, it had been reinforced by magic, but mahogany usually only lasted a couple hundred years, even with such an enchantment. The only explanation for its immaculate condition had to be careful cleaning and maintenance during her absence. Peering through the lens, she scanned the streets and rooftops for potential danger.

Pegasi on the weather team moved clouds in for morning showers above the Canterlot skyline. The streets were empty, well illustrated by the absence of the telltale clopping of hooves that would accompany anypony who would be out for a stroll. All in all, another quiet Canterlot night as usual.

"Whatcha doin?"

Luna didn't jump. Jumping in fright was something normal ponies did. Luna just reacted swiftly. So swiftly, in fact, that she fell against the railing on her balcony.

"M-Miss Pie?" Luna asked incredulously.

Behind her on the balcony stood a familiar pink pony with unruly hair and a prizewinning smile.

Pinkie gasped in response. "Me? Miss pie? No way! Especially if it's cherry," she said, licking her lips with a dreamy smile.

Luna frowned, unamused. “That's not what I mea—never mind. What brings you here to Canterlot... trespassing in my quarters... past all of the armed guards?”

Pinkie's lips curled into an infectious, yet innocent smile. “I played hide and seek with them, but they aren't very good. I also forgot to tell them we were playing.”

Luna raised an eyebrow in bewilderment. "You came all the way to Canterlot to play hide and seek with the guards?"

"Nuh-uh. I just got side-tracked. I actually came to see you,” Pinkie explained, pointing a hoof at the princess. “It's been awhile since the Chuckle-lot Show, and I wanted to see if you still smiled.”

Luna rolled her eyes and walked back inside her quarters. "That hardly seems like an adequate reason to break into the castle,” Luna said, before returning to her desk. “I'm afraid I can't entertain you tonight. I have much to do."

"And what exactly do you have to do?" Pinkie asked suspiciously.

Luna struggled for an appropriate excuse, her eyes darting around the room for any scapegoat she could find. "I need to... uhh... fill out these reports," she said, holding up the papers she had finished earlier for Pinkie to see.

The pink pony walked over and snatched the papers out of her hooves, causing Luna to flinch. "Wait a minute... these reports are all finished! Do you know what this means?"


"I'm afraid not, Miss Pie..."

"You have a magical report fairy!" Pinkie exclaimed, tossing the papers wildly into the air. "You should convince it to help Twilight sometime. This also means you have plenty of time to play with me."

Staring at the scattered papers drifting to the floor, Luna sighed. "Okay, I give. What did you have in mind?"

Pinkie bounced by the door excitedly. “Let’s go explore the castle!”

Lighting her horn, the princess collected the scattered papers with her magic. “I know the castle inside out. I doubt there’s much left for me to discover."

"Then we make our own fun! Come on, just try, please?" Pinkie pleaded, dancing in place.

"Really, Miss Pie, we shouldn't be doing anything that might disrupt the guards..." Luna's voice trailed off as the pink pony stared at her with wide and bright blue eyes and trembling lips.

"Alright," Luna sighed in resignation. "I suppose it couldn't hurt to go for a walk."

Pinkie bounced happily in place. "Yay! This is going to be so fun!"

Nighttime at the castle meant no crowds, but fewer, more strategically placed guards. Pinkie stealthily poked her head around the corner, apparently having memorized all their locations.

"Forgive my ignorance, but why are we sneaking around our very own castle?” Luna asked with a huff. A pink hoof covered her mouth abruptly.

"Because it's fun," Pinkie whispered.

Luna rolled her eyes and reluctantly followed. The pair weaved their way through the pillars and hallways, avoiding the diligent, yet sorely out-classed guards. Sniffing the air, Pinkie pivoted her head in seemingly random directions, searching for who knows what.

"I think this is it," Pinkie whispered, before diving toward a door with a glimmering light beneath it, knocking it open.

Luna shook her head and followed the pink mare inside. "Congratulations, Miss Pie. You found the kitchen,” Luna announced sarcastically, throwing out her hoof for effect.

Pinkie scrambled to a nearby cabinet and pulled out a heavy bag of flour, hoisting it above her head like a triumphant hunter. "It's cookie time!"

Luna stared at Pinkie, her eyes half-lidded in annoyance. "You came all the way to Canterlot just to bake cookies?"

Pinkie shook her head dismissively. "Of course not! I came here to make you smile. I just chose cookies because they're dee-lish, and because I forgot to bring marbles to roll under the guards’ hooves."

Luna cringed. She thought back to the nights leading up to the Chuckle-lot Show. The last thing they needed was to have the castle's psychiatrist swamped by guards with low self-esteem having been made a fool of single-hoofedly by such a simple pony... again.

"Does this oven have a timer?"

Luna snapped back to reality. A pair of blue eyes stared back at her questioningly. While Luna had spaced out, Pinkie apparently gathered and mixed everything she needed to make cookies.

"Oh! Uhhh, no. The head cook uses his own timer."

Reaching into the bowl with a spoon, Pinkie scooped out pile after gooey pile of cookie dough, slamming them on the cookie sheet.

"That's alright. I'll just watch them like a bird," Pinkie said as she stared at the oven.

"Like a hawk," Luna corrected.

Pinkie turned to look at Luna. "Huh?"

"I think you meant ‘watch them like a hawk’,” she repeated.

Pinkie shook her head. "Silly Luna, haven't you ever heard of bird watchers?"

How can she be so wrong and still manage to be right?

Luna thought Pinkie’s feat of sneaking past the guards earlier was impressive enough. Sneaking back to her royal chambers with the pink pony and a giant, garishly colored bowl filled with freshly baked cookies was downright silly.

And yet, they managed to do so, following Pinkie's lead, of course. Luna and Pinkie sat against the side of the bed, nursing stomachs full of chocolate chip cookies and trading stories.

"Twilight thought we were doomed, but crazily enough, Miss Harshwhinny was at the spa getting a massage the whole time! Twilight worries too much."

Luna nodded in agreement. "My sister says much of the same. Still, there is no replacement for due diligence. Perhaps it's for the best that she has friends like you to take her mind off of her studies now and then."

Pinkie fell quiet. She seemed preoccupied, distant perhaps? Luna couldn't tell. Many ponies were open books to her, but Pinkie was quite different.

"Who are your friends?" the pink mare asked abruptly.

Luna's mind came to a screeching halt at the unusual question. "W-well, I do have Tiberius," she said, pointing a hoof toward her pet possum.

“That's a pet, not a friend. Pets can’t do the things friends do, like read a book, or throw waterballoons at seagulls."

"I suppose that's true," Luna admitted, dodging Pinkie's insensitivity to beach wildlife. "My sister and I are quite close now. I trust her with my issues."

"But she's your sister. Don't you have any regular friends?" Pinkie asked, turning to look at the princess.

Luna's nights were mostly consumed by her duties. Duties she didn't really have to perform, but chose to anyway.

"I suppose the closest friend I have is Twilight Sparkle, though we don't see each other much," Luna answered after some thought.

Pinkie’s ears folded back. "You need more friends. You don't smile enough," she said as she reached up and tugged at the edge of Luna's mouth gently.

It had been quite awhile since a pony touched her in such an informal manner. Indeed, some ponies offered her large sums of bits to touch her, a few of them even deluded enough to believe that doing so would bring them good luck, or cure impossible diseases.

And here was a simple earth pony, touching her as if she were anypony on the street. Not in reverence, not for greed, but simply to say she should smile more.

"I suppose you're right," Luna admitted.

Pinkie's eyes brightened. "Can I be your new friend? I can show you so much cool stuff! I can put a smile on your face like chalk on a sidewalk!"

A small smile crested Luna’s features. "I suppose we could give such an arrangement a chance.”

The pink pony squealed, leaping to her hooves. "Yay! I'm friends with Princess Luna! This is so great! We're going to do so many fun things together!"

Luna cleared her throat. “There is just one small problem.”

Pinkie stopped her frenetic bouncing in mid-air, hovering in place for moment before hitting the ground softly. "Problem? What kinda problem?”

"I don't really know what friends do," Luna admitted sheepishly.

Pinkie waved dismissively. "Pssh. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Friends just hang out and talk, play pranks on other ponies, throw marshmallows at birds..."

It's probably for the best if I don't ask too much about that last suggestion.

Luna gave a forced smile. "Right. Well, the very next time I think of a friendship activity for us to do, I shall pass a note along."

Pinkie Pie snorted in a way that Luna could only describe as happy, yet ominous. "Don't be silly, Luna. I'll take us on a friendship quest next weekend!"

Uh-oh. I should think of something quickly.

“I'm afraid that's not possible. You see, I have a uhhhh..." Luna's eye's danced wildly until they rested upon her own hooves, before blurting out, "I have a hooficure next weekend!"

"Oh, goody! I could use one myself,” Pinkie replied, holding up her hooves. “You have no clue what digging holes does to your hoofsies!"

Drat! Perhaps it would be better to simply give in to her request. Maybe she'll find me so uninteresting that she won't come back.

Lifting the calendar off the wall, Luna flipped it open to a random page. "Whoops. I completely messed up. My hooficure isn't next weekend, it's tomorrow. Silly me. I suppose I'm free after all."

Pinkie let out a joyous squeal, clopping her hooves together. "Yes! We're going to have so much fun! You'll see!"

I can only imagine...

Stretching her hooves high above her head, Pinkie yawned deeply as she made her way to Luna’s bedside and plopped down onto the floor. "Those cookies sure were delicious, but I think I'm too pooped to party anymore tonight. Good night, Luna," Pinkie said as she closed her eyes.

Luna narrowed her eyes at the pink mare. "And just what do you think you're doing?"

Pinkie's eyes fluttered open. "It's a slumber party. Duh!” she stated matter-of-factually “Can't have a slumber party without the slumber."

"I would be remiss if I made a guest sleep on the floor. You may use my cushion for the night," Luna said, gesturing toward her royal pillow.

"Thank you! I don't mind sleeping on the floor, but it's always nice to have something soft to lay on."

Luna watched as Pinkie trotted over to her cushion, spun around in place three times, and then laid down, shutting her eyes.

Ponies all over Equestria would pay thousands of bits for the privilege of sleeping on one of the royal sisters’ cushions. Few ponies even knew what they looked like, but just knowing they existed was enough to form a mystique about them. Some rumors claimed they were filled with clouds shaped by the finest weather ponies in Equestria. Others claimed they were actually filled with magic made corporeal.

Goose feathers.

Plain goose feathers collected from the royal geese that lived by the royal river running through the royal garden. It was quite irritating to Luna how something became much more mysterious and desirable simply by adding that word—royal—to it.

The geese that supplied the material for her pillows? No different than any other goose that honked, squawked, or strutted around like a self-important noble.

The true nature of her royal pillow aside, the truth was, plenty of ponies would give up quite a lot to sit where Pinkie sat right this very moment, and yet, she didn't grovel.

She didn't placate, she didn't tiptoe, beat around the bush, or step lightly around Luna.

At a time in her life where every word was put under scrutiny and not a single pony that she surrounded herself with seemed genuine, that meant quite a lot to her.

Luna walked out on her balcony to her looking glass and peered out at the streets. Just as every night for the last five hundred and twenty-three days, nothing was wrong. Perhaps a little change might be good for her.

"Good night, Pinkie Pie," Luna whispered under her breath.

Stepping out of her quarters, Luna began her morning trek to the dining hall as usual.

"Good morning, sister."

Luna turned back to the voice, slowing her pace to allow her sister to catch up. "Good morning, Celie. Sleep well?"

Celestia nodded. "I did, in fact... despite being interrupted by a letter from Twilight.” Celestia paused, a grin creeping up her lips. “You had company last night.”

Luna paled. "I-It's, it's not what you think!"

Celestia giggled and shook her hoof. "It's alright. I know it was just Pinkie Pie. Quite frankly, I'm glad she visited. I must admit I’m a little disappointed she didn’t drop off a slice of cake for me though."

As the pair of ponies approached the dining hall, two guards stationed at the entrance pushed the doors open allowing them through.

The dining hall looked pretty much like what ponies expected an opulent room built for royalty would look like. Floors of marble stretched out for more than a hundred feet, pillars lined either side of the room, banners hung from the ceiling depicting "The Celestial Sisters" every twenty five feet or so.

Truth be told, Luna didn't quite understand the artist's depiction of her of her sister. The rail-thin depiction and strange art style seemed unusual to her. Especially given the flank on her sister.

Right. I've been awake for less than twenty minutes and I'm pondering the proper portrayal of my sister's butt. Fantastic.

The only other items to note were the ridiculously oversized dining room table and the stained glass windows that lined either side. It was morning, well after Celestia had done her part in raising the sun, but the paltry amount of sunlight streaming through the windows seemed to spit in the face of her sister's efforts of bringing forth morning.

"We must be due for a storm," Celestia commented.

Luna nodded. "The pegasi were hard at work during the night in preparation. Doesn't seem worth it to raise the sun on a day like today, does it?" The princess took her seat at the table, firing a smirk at her sister.

"Do you feel that way when the clouds cover the moon at night?" Celestia fired back.

Luna smiled. "Touché."

Two hoofmaidens entered, carrying trays with Luna and Celestia's dinner and breakfast respectively.

Luna smiled and nodded appreciatively toward her server. "Thank you."

Celestia’s hoofmaiden placed her trays on the table as well, but left her hoof on the cloche cover. "Princess, we found something in the fridge this morning. We were going to throw it out to be safe, but the chef insisted we send it to you." The server pulled off the top to reveal a rather large slice of yellow cake with white frosting and strawberries. A card sat next to it.

"From PP, to PC," Celestia read out loud.

"Looks like you got your wish after all,” Luna said with a sly grin.

"Tell the chef he made the right choice. Thank you."

The hoof maiden smiled and walked out the door, leaving the sisters to themselves. Using her magic, Celestia snatched a fork and cut off a piece of the cake.

Celestia hummed contently. "Mmm. If Pinkie Pie's insistence on being your friend means more cake for me, I'm all for it," she said around a mouthful of the spongy food.

"Don't get too attached," Luna said dryly.

Celestia quickly downed her bite of cake. "What do you mean?"

Luna pushed the food around her plate disinterestedly. "I mean, I'm probably going to step up patrols next weekend. She won't find it as easy to sneak in as she did last night."

It was then that Luna saw it. Celestia bore a frown. It wasn't any normal frown either. It was a special frown that she'd only seen when they discussed her progress since being freed from the grips of Nightmare Moon.

"Luna. Far be it for me to decide how you should live, but maybe this would be a step in the right direction," Celestia stated, wiping her mouth with a napkin.

"And just what is that supposed to mean?" Luna asked, leveling a glare at her sister.

Celestia calmly spoke with her eyes shut. "It means that you sit in your room and never meet anypony. You've done little in the way of socializing since your return. If anypony can teach you what it means to make friends or have fun, it's probably Pinkie Pie."

Luna scowled and picked away at her dinner. "Maybe I'm just not meant to be a social butterfly like you. It's not like many ponies are out during the night anyway."

Celestia looked up at her with a smile. "You might be surprised..."