• Published 27th Dec 2014
  • 2,183 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.

  • ...

Trail of Despair


Luna gasped, bolting upright in bed. Her heart pounded inside her chest, like a prisoner slamming itself against its cage. That voice she had dreaded for so long echoed in her mind.

She jumped out of her bed and galloped through the door. "Guards," she commanded without looking back, "if my sister asks, I'm off to Ponyville."

Running as fast as she could, Luna leapt out of one of the castle's open windows. She flapped her wings to gain altitude and cast a teleportation spell.

Bystanders scattered like leaves as Luna appeared in the air in front of Sugarcube Corner and landed, skidding to a halt. Ignoring the surprised looks of the ponies around her, she marched into the sweet shop.

"Good afternoon. Welcome to Sugarcub— oh my!" A motherly pony from behind the counter stepped out and bowed. "Princess Luna! We had no idea you would be visiting!"

"You are Mrs. Cake, I assume. I apologize, but I am in a hurry. I must speak with Pinkie Pie."

Mrs. Cake's face fell. "I'm sorry, but I don't know where she is. She left here earlier without a word. The poor dear was quite upset. I don't know where she went."

Luna turned and walked out without another word. Though Ponyville was a small town, it was still positively huge if you were trying to find one pony.

I guess I have no choice.

Luna closed her eyes and let her senses awaken. There were many conflicting emotions battering around in a town like this, but she was soon able to untangle them. She quickly found a trail of depression. She jumped to her hooves and followed it. Twisting and turning, the scent led her through back alleys and tight spots she could barely squeeze through.

She didn't want anypony else to see her… or perhaps she didn't want to see anypony else.

Luna galloped away from town, past the outskirts of Ponyville. The plains gave way to tall grass, and soon, trees as she followed the scent into Whitetail Woods.

No other scents with her. She must be alone. I have to find her, quickly!

She flapped her wings and left the ground, hoping she could cover the distance quicker. Putting her flight skills to the test, she zigzagged through the trees and foliage. The scent got stronger and she flew even faster, disregarding her own safety.

There she is!

The trees grew further apart, allowing Luna to see through them. She gasped when she saw Pinkie sitting on the edge of a cliff.

She slammed her hooves into the ground and skidded to a halt. "Pinkie Pie! You musn't!" she cried out.

Deep ruts of dirt formed where Luna's hooves had dragged through the soil. Pinkie turned slowly. Her hair lay flat, and her face lacked the smile that made her the mare everypony knew and loved.

"What are you doing here?" Pinkie asked, her voice flat—lacking the spark she normally had.

"Pinkie, don't do it!" Luna pleaded.

Pinkie stared at Luna quizzically, and then turned her head to face the rocky cliff in front of her.

Her eyes widened, and her mouth twisted in disgust. "You think I would... over you? Hah! You're not worth it! You're just a... a snobby princess! I have rocks I care about more than you!"

Luna recoiled at Pinkie's outburst.

Okay, I probably had that coming.

"I'm sorry, Pinkie. I had a dream—no, a nightmare—where you had... taken your own life. I fell to the darkness in my heart. I thought I had lost you," Luna said as she approached Pinkie and lay a hoof upon her shoulder.

"Go away!"

Luna flinched as the pink mare lashed out, striking her hoof away.

"I'm useless! You said it yourself! Everypony else has special talents that actually mean something! Not me! Not old Pinkie Pie! Applejack grows food, Twilight studies magic and saves the world, Rainbow Dash makes the weather. I just make ponies smile. You can't eat a smile, It doesn't save the world, it can't control the weather. I might as well not even exist. Who needs a dumb party pony anyw—"

"Stop it!" Luna grabbed Pinkie by the shoulders, forcing her eyes open in shock.

Seeing that she finally had Pinkie's attention, Luna drew a heavy breath. "There has been much pain and suffering in my life, but to this day the times that meant the most were when Celestia and I were smiling. So many ponies rely on smiling to get by in life, even when their life is coming to an end, like... like Crosswind."

Pinkie stared at her. So many emotions played on the mare's face, the most prominent being hope.

"Then... why did you say that stuff? Why did you want me to go away?"

Luna hung her head. "I realized why you had spent so much time with me. My thoughts soon turned to you more often than I care to admit. I was told having such a relationship would be wrong. Most importantly, I was scared."

Pinkie raised her hoof to Luna's side. "Scared? What do you mean?"

The last barrier had fallen. Luna gathered her courage to find the words she had never given to anypony else.

"I hate being around other ponies."

Pinkie's ears flattened on top of her head. "But... why?"

"I have been alone for a very long time,” Luna admitted. "It's easier to just be by myself. I'm always afraid when I'm with other ponies. What if I say the wrong thing? What will they think of me? Do they still see me as a horrible monster that eats other ponies? I simply don't know. Given how I've handled our relationship, I believe it's true." Luna lowered her head and closed her eyes.

“That’s not true!”

Luna lifted her head and met the pink pony’s fierce gaze.

“Nopony thinks you’re a monster. We danced with you at parties. The foals at the hospital didn’t think you were a monster! You're a princess. Everypony loves you!"

"Maybe I'm tired of being a princess," Luna fired back. "Ponies only like me because I am royalty. As if such a word gilded everything in gold. Truth be told, that's why I enjoyed our time together."

Pinkie stared at her curiously.

"I mean to say, you don't treat me like a princess. You don't bow down like a dog. You dare to touch or hug me without asking permission first. You see me as I am: a pony."

Pinkie sat down on the grass, idly scratching the ground, perhaps out of nervousness, or maybe just to occupy herself. "I don't think anypony should be treated like their job. I wouldn't like it if somepony treated me like a cake, or a streamer."

Luna sat down in front of Pinkie, attracting the pony's wary gaze. "I have been advised repeatedly that this is not perhaps the best idea, but I would continue to see you, if you wish. Maybe in a more romantic capacity."

Pinkie's eyes shifted away. "I don't know. You said a lot of mean things last night. I thought..." tears filled Pinkie's eyes, "I thought I was useless."

Luna slowly lifted her head. "You're not useless. I could think of no other way to make you leave. Truth be told, I didn't try. I thought to send you away and never think of you again. I grossly underestimated how impossible that would be. When I dreamt of your passing, I fell to the darkness in my heart once again.”

Luna extended her hoof toward the pink pony. "It's time I stopped hiding in the darkness, and I know you're just the pony to guide me."

Pinkie looked at Luna's hoof, her expression unreadable.

"I know I'm not smart like my friends are. Sometimes I sit down and concentrate really really hard and just end up daydreaming... but I need some time to think."

Luna watched in shock as Pinkie turned away and sat down at the edge of the cliff. She stared at her hoof, still outstretched, and slowly pulled it back.

'No' wasn't a word Luna was accustomed to hearing, and yet, that's exactly what Pinkie said by turning her back. Pinkie's willingness to treat her like any other pony was the one thing Luna enjoyed the most of her recent companion.

And now it was the trait which hurt her the most.

Unfurling her wings, Luna turned and took to the sky. While it would have been a simple matter to teleport back to the castle, the evening air flowing through her mane gave her a calming sensation. Seeing Pinkie alive and well eased her anguish, but her heart still felt like a lead weight.