• Published 3rd Feb 2015
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Sleep - Dark Avenger

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"...but it's of her I dream"

The small radio on the desk quietly hums a mellow tune. The Princess of the Night sighs and dips her quill in the inkwell again.

"...do not let my efforts go to waste. To my night, beauty is secondary."

She lifts a forehoof to rub her eyes. Despite being a mare who works while the sun sleeps, for the first time after countless years, she feels exhausted. Even before her banishment, when she had toiled away through the whole night, she never yearned so much for dawn to bring her respite.

But the letter must be finished. Somepony else out there, a friend, is forced to stay awake, all but praying for a response.

"Thank you again for writing to me. I hope I have been able to help.

Your grateful friend,

Luna"

Her horn lights up, and the letter lifts into the air, curls up, and dissolves into a cloud of sparkling blue vapor. It lingers in her grip for a moment before zooming off toward its destination.

Luna smiles and gives a sigh of relief. Her hooves stretch and brace themselves on the desk as she prepares to stand up. But at the last second, she hesitates. The fatigue from before now creeps over her even stronger. It seeps into her mind faster than she can react. Yawning, she rests her head on the desk and closes her eyes for a moment, only wanting to give them a few minutes in blissful darkness.



An odd noise rings out from above her. She jolts awake, looks up, and notices a small mote of light drifting above. It slowly weaves back and forth, almost in a hypnotic way. Her eyes follow its every move, and her jaw drops slowly, entranced by the motions. The mote dances about for a minute or two, and eventually flies off toward the windows near the ceiling, as though it were trying to escape.

Curious, she pushes herself off the desk and floats up after it. Her motions are slow and deliberate, something inside telling her to be careful, lest she scare it away. The two of them hover near the window, the mote just a few feet from her face. She reaches out, only for the light to scurry away, the windows sliding open to let it pass through. Luna blinks, a smile tugging on her lips, and she drifts after it.

The cool night air caresses her coat as she floats outside to chase the dot of light. It weaves between the tall spires of Canterlot, staying just out of her reach while going ever higher. Luna huffs in frustration and follows. Before long, the towers disappear, and the lights of the city fade around them, revealing the pure darkness of the night sky, pockmarked by countless stars.

The mote of light flickers and appears to stop moving. Luna grins victoriously and drifts closer. She tries to reach for it, only for her hoof to wave in front of her face, not touching anything. She moves closer, but the dot does not change in size nor shape, not to mention distance. She blinks, and as her gaze wanders, she notices that the light is now exactly like all the others around it.

"Huh..."

Luna stops and opens her wings to keep her afloat, only to gasp when she realizes they had been folded up the whole time. She kicks out with her legs in surprise, eyes widening as her body accelerates and spins in response, as though she were swimming in some invisible ocean.

Looking down, she gasps again, finding herself in high orbit above the planet. Her limbs flail in confusion and slight panic, since her short ascent did not seem fast enough to get her all the way up here. To her left, the moon drifts calmly, bright and soothing light radiating off its surface. The sun is nowhere to be seen, except for a few rays of its light poking out to her right, just beyond the edge of the globe.

Luna stares in awe, both at the blue and green giant beneath her, and at the silver orb that circles around it. Stifling a laugh, she stretches out her hoof toward the moon, feeling an odd urge to do so, but not actually expecting to touch it.

Something feels different again. She is small now. Her forelegs are short and stubby, not unlike those of a filly. Her eyes widen as the tip of her hoof meets a cool, hard surface. She caresses the moon and slowly brings it back toward her, turning it into a little ball in her hooves. Sitting down in the invisible aether, she rolls the orb around in front of her and giggles to herself.

A voice makes her ears twitch, and she looks up. Another pony is there, smiling at her from afar. A familiar face. Pink mane and bright white coat. Something round and shiny is among her hooves, much like her own ball, except a different color, along with what looks like tiny flames all over its surface. Luna gasps when she feels warmth radiate from it, even at such a distance.

The other filly trots up to her with a wide smile, and the two sit down face to face. The newcomer smiles and rolls her ball toward Luna. She gasps and rolls her own back in response. The toys trade hooves.

Both fillies gawk at the new things once they arrive. Luna spins the fiery sphere for a while, marveling at its sight. But the sun feels very hot, making her hooves hurt. She yelps and quickly rolls it back.

Looking over, she can see that the other is struggling as well. She shivers with the moon in her grasp, one hoof trying to hold on while her breath tries to warm up the other. Before long, she gives up, sends it on its way, and welcomes the returning sun to take in its warmth again. Luna grabs the moon, its cool surface soothing after the strong heat.

They giggle and trade the sun and moon a few more times, curious about each other and the things they possess, but not wanting to keep each other's toys for long. Eventually, they agree to stick to their own, and the sunny filly waves her goodbye. Luna grins and waves back. She puts the moon back in its place and paddles in the aether with her hooves, drifting onward playfully.

Stars drift past all around her. At first they appear to be spread at random, like tiny specks on a dirty floor. Then she sees them gathered into clouds of all shapes and sizes. Some of the clouds look like wild animals. She sees whole flocks of birds lined up, a big whale chasing them. Other clouds look like ponies, most of them playing around or sleeping. Some of the shapes even seem to be letters, though no actual words are formed.

One of the clouds, as though to mock the whole idea, just forms a "star" shape.

Luna giggles and reaches out again. Her legs are bigger that before, and now they can actually touch the motes of light. She gathers a hoofful and holds them against her chest. The stars are like tiny fireflies in her embrace. They buzz and make her coat tingle slightly.

She yelps and lets go when they zap her a bit stronger. Blinking, she watches as they coalesce into a strange creature that vaguely resembles a serpent. It points at her, throws its head back, mouth open, and shakes uncontrollably.

"Heeey!" She pouts. "Stop laughing at me!"

The serpent drifts away, its tail stirring up the clouds along the way, turning animals into furniture and letters into literal "letters," the sight of which brings a laugh out of the alicorn. She waves goodbye to the creature and moves on.

Luna drifts toward a large cloud of gas now, a few bright lamps hanging within. Bathed in their light, the nebula looks as though somepony had managed to spill a great load of colorful dust all over the otherwise pristine aether.

"Wow, it's so messy in here..." she mutters. "Somepony should really clean up..."

The gas swirls at the tips of her hooves as she swims through it. The shape seems familiar, yet all the more confounding: wide and rounded toward the top and bottom, thinning almost to a single point near the middle, a small amount of dust streaming down through it. Luna thinks for a moment and gasps in realization, which she follows up with a soft chuckle.

"Ohhh, I get it! That explains all the dust. It must have broken somehow." She taps her chin. "But... why did somepony leave an hourglass way out here?"

Once through, the void of space surrounds her again. Giant globules of water drift past, nearly invisible in the darkness. She giggles and watches the light of the stars waver through them. The blobs look like big soap bubbles. She wants to make a few of her own, maybe to respond to whoever sent these ones, but she has neither soap, nor a bubble ring.

Another cloud of stars is up ahead, this one forming a wide disk. As she gets closer, she notices that the disk is actually a spiral with a black marble at the center. A long jet of bright fire shoots out from the heart of the swirling mass. Combined with the bright cloud and the jet, it all looks a bit like a giant, flat birthday cake with a candle on top. Grinning, she smiles and plops down next to it, as though the candle were a campfire.

Another pony approaches from the darkness. She gives a deep sigh and sits beside Luna. The young mare gives the newcomer a confused look. She seems strange. Her mane and tail are odd, puffy black clouds, and she is wearing bright blue socks for no apparent reason.

"Such a shame..." the stranger mutters. A look of deep sorrow is written on her face. "All I wanted was what belongs to me."

Luna nods, leaning a bit closer.

"Was I wrong to do so? I mean, it was going to be the perfect night. I even booked a table for two. I brought flowers, she wrote a poem..."

"Maybe you should have just cancelled," Luna replies. "Or asked the plumbers to take another look."

The newcomer sighs again. "That's true... I suppose I'll just have to try again... Maybe add more fireworks..."

Luna smiles and scoots over, pulling the bigger pony into a tight hug. She gasps and tenses up, but does not try to break away.

"Don't feel bad." The princess cuddles even more tightly. "There's always next time, and the band is still here. I'll... I'll even bake you a cake!"

The mare blushes a little and tries to break out of the hug. "Come on... I'm trying to take this seriously!" She huffs and frowns at Luna.

The smaller mare pouts. "Aww! Why are you such a meanie grumpypants?"

"Oh, really? I'm the meanie here?"

"Yeah, you..." Luna cocks her head to the side as she looks up. "I don't even get you. You dress like a clown, yet you don't want to look happy? I thought that was the whole point: look happy and make happy!"

"I'm not a clown! I'm just..." A grin tugs on her lips, though she tries to fight it back. "I like dressing like this, okay?"

Luna gives her a smug look and snuggles again. "Sure you do..."

The mare gives in, returns the hug, and they laugh a little. The campfire slowly goes out, shrouding the two in darkness.

-----

"Luna?"

She groans, the hard wooden surface biting into her face, yet she cannot force herself to tear away from it.

"Sister? Are you all right?"

A warm hoof gently touches her shoulder. Luna gasps, awakening with a jolt, and looks up. The loving smile of her sister greets her, a hint of worry in her eyes, along with fatigue.

"I had to lower the moon in your stead..." Celestia adds. Her smile widens, and she leans in, her voice dropping to a whisper. "Would you... like to raise the sun in mine?"

Author's Note:

Inspired by this. I rip it off pretty much at every turn...

Whatever you may think, there is no message here.