• Published 13th Feb 2015
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Twilight, Good Night - Carapace



To better herself, Luna has studied Twilight's actions and friendship reports. She never expected to find herself under the microscope in turn.

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17: Time Takes Away Everything

Few ponies could claim the honor of invitation to a private dinner with Princess Celestia, let alone sitting with her on one of the castle’s splendorous balconies.

Should Twilight ever wish to venture into the higher circles of the upper crust, she would, of course, garner plenty of attention the very instant she mentioned her place among those on that short list. Attention which would only double or triple in scrutiny should she identify herself as the Twilight Sparkle, personal student of Princess Celestia.

The privilege itself was not lost on her as she chewed on a bit of steamed broccoli. I wonder how things would have been if I’d strayed from Princess Celestia’s side during some of those events, she thought, flashing back to several charity galas and award ceremonies for the school. Each time, she’d kept herself close by Princess Celestia, smiling dutifully and nodding to each guest who stepped forward to greet the princess.

How things changed when she moved to Ponyville. Certainly, her status earned her awed stares and excited whispers at first, but the ponies living on the edge of the Everfree were more interested in what she did than the title she wore.

There’s something Applejack would say to that. Actions speak loudest, I’m sure. A smile played upon her lips as she speared a carrot with her fork and brought it to her mouth.

Even when she wasn’t there, her friend’s more down-to-earth manner of thinking proved to be grounding for her.

Though Canterlot was where her family had lived for generations, Ponyville was home, and nothing would change that. The warm smiles, friendly greetings as ponies passed in the marketplace, and the tight-knit community called to her so.

But so too did her family and mentor.

“Your friendship with my sister has been good for her,” Celestia began. “I hear tell from her faithful Night Guard that she could walk on water each time she returns from her visits. She made mention of a certain pair of foals, I recall—the Cakes’, I believe.”

Twilight nodded, lowering her fork down to the plate. “Yes, that’s right! Pound and Pumpkin Cake!”

“Yes, she was quite taken by them it seems.” A smile played upon her lips Celestia raised a glass of wine to hover before her muzzle. “I do believe they’re the first to refer to Luna as ‘big pony princess’, though.”

Snorting, Twilight quickly covered her mouth with a hoof. “I don’t doubt it! I’ve never seen her laugh so hard in the time I’ve known her!”

“You would have loved to see her antics before her banishment! Loathe though I was to admit it at the time, her pranks were the life of the party.” Celestia turned to look toward the moon, sighing wistfully. “The stories I could tell you, my dear. From casting color swap spells on Tempo Rubato’s mischievous colts, to scaring poor Private Pansy in the old Hall of Pony Hooves...”

“Hall of what?” Twilight blanched. “Pony hooves?”

“Oh, not real ones. Dear heavens, no!” she said through a bout of giggles. “Luna designed a hallway with a few rather frightening displays, to help her play tricks on our visitors. A pipe organ that played and echoed throughout the castle, stone hooves that seemed to reach out of the walls, and the like.”

Cringing, Twilight bit into a carrot. The familiar taste brought a bit of solace, though the haunting vision of stone hooves reaching out of the walls to grab made shivers run down her spine. “Awful macabre, isn’t it? I’d hardly imagine Luna today enjoying something like that!”

Celestia raised an eyebrow. “Macabre? To a point, yes, I suppose it is. But you’ve seen my sister’s sense of style, haven’t you? Her chariot, her Night Guards’ armor, her cloak, all very much different in design than mine. Speaking of, if I recall correctly she left the castle to celebrate Nightmare Night in Ponyville with her old cloak in hoof.” She leaned forward, resting her chin on the back of her hoof and propping her elbow on the table in a manner that would’ve had any etiquette instructors tearing their manes out.

Not that any would dare do so in her presence.

“Did she let it dissolve into a flurry of bats?” she asked, her eyes half-lidded. “That was one of her favorite parlor tricks back then, you know. Oh, how the foals used to squeal—she would chase them around the room with her conjures, and then scoop them up and proclaim them as her ‘Children of the Night!’” Another wistful sigh escaped, before she shook her head and brought her fork to her lips. “Forgive me. Since her return, I seem to find myself lost in memories more and more with each passing day.”

Twilight offered a small in turn. “I would say I understand, but that would be rather facetious. I can’t imagine what it was like.”

“You should never have to,” came the retort. Celestia’s smile fell, a tiny frown marring her features—but it was gone in an instant, as if she’d wiped the slate clean. “That aside, this is a nice point to transition to your research, I think. So, tell me, what have you found out about my little sister since that surprise visit?”

Lowering her fork to rest on the plate, Twilight weaved tendrils of magic to rifle through her bag and take hold of her notepad. She brought it forward, placing it by the right side of her plate. “Let me see.” She flipped it open, squinting at the notes she’d so hastily jotted down. “Well, we discussed her tastes in music and compared them to my own.”

“So I heard. She took a few records with her that night, if I recall.” She hummed and swished her prismatic tail. “From her first edition collection, too. Tempo Rubato was among them, I presume?”

“As a matter of fact, yes!” Twilight squealed, bouncing in her seat. “Song of the Meadowlark, first edition from the original concert! I didn’t even know copies from that far back were still around!”

“Frightfully few are, I’m afraid. Time takes its toll on everything.” Another sigh, another wistful look toward the moon hanging in the sky.

It seemed brighter tonight, for some reason. As if joyful.

But that’s silly, Twilight thought, furrowing her brow. The moon and sun are inanimate, celestial bodies, incapable of feeling… well, anything.

Then again, until a short while ago, The Tale of the Mare in the Moon was thought to be nothing more than an old wive’s tale. Nightmare Moon was nothing more than a poltergeist used to scare naughty little foals into behaving properly.

If it were possible, only they would know.

Celestia’s voice pulled Twilight out of her thoughts. “Luna collected the greatest pieces of art in that age. From Tempo Rubato and Werner, to Fortissimo, Sforzando, and Fil di Voce, she went to all their performances and made certain to acquire the first recordings.”

Twilight’s ear flicked. If other recordings had been lost or rendered unusable, how had she listened to Luna’s? “Princess?”

“Yes?”

“You said something about most of the other copies being lost to time. How could Luna’s still be in such good condition, then? They were pristine!”

“Indeed.” The corners of her mouth tugged upward. Twilight could’ve sworn there was a hint of playfulness in those ageless purple eyes. “A trick I’ll teach you. Someday,” she said, holding up a hoof to forestall any argument, “But not tonight. Let’s not beat around the bush any further than we already have. I assume that you used the composers’ names to link back to a certain time period in history?”

“Yes,” Twilight replied, glancing down at her notes again. “Luna mentioned an old name she went by in the artist community. Rather surprising, really, I never imagined Luna having a name like—"

“The Matron of the Arts,” Celestia cut her off, speaking in a hushed tone. “That is a name I haven’t heard her go by in a long time. A very long time.”

Blinking, Twilight looked up from her notepad, a pang of concern deep in her chest. A question formed on her lips, but it died with one look into Celestia’s eyes.

The playfulness in her eyes was gone, the smile ran away from her face. Pain, years of regret and loneliness shone in her eyes—a thousand years spent as Equestria’s sole ruler, a tale told by the lines of melancholy that ran down her muzzle, the slow pinning back of her ears to lay against her scalp.

“Princess?” Twilight’s voice seemed small. She thought to stand and go to her teacher’s side and offer comfort, but her legs wouldn’t obey.

“Over a thousand years,” Celestia muttered. “Forgive me, Twilight. I forgot myself.” She shook her head, averting her eyes and biting down on her lip. When she looked back, a smile graced her beautiful muzzle once more, though not nearly as bright as Twilight was accustomed. “Though the memories of those years without her are painful, I’m quite happy to hear that name spoken by another pony. It does my heart well. ” With a choked laugh, the back of her hoof across her eyes.

Unable to speak, Twilight allowed her a moment’s pause to collect herself.

Celestia’s eyes, typically warm and inviting like an open campfire or candlelight, brimming with joyful tears—more raw emotion than Twilight had ever seen.

Except for the night Luna returned, she thought, recalling the warm hug the pair shared when Celestia met her sister out of her nightmarish form for the first time in a thousand years. Twilight stayed silent out of respect, waiting for Celestia to compose herself. If it were Cadence or Shining, I would, too.

One last brush of her hoof against her cheeks, and Celestia fixed her gaze on Twilight again. “So, then,” she resumed as if there had been no lapse, “you connected Luna to her old moniker and tried to find a link to other periods throughout history?”

“Hmm? I-I mean, yes!” Again, she flipped through her notes and came upon a section marked IMPORTANT. “I found a few mentions of her as the Matron, most notable is that the author described her in a rather reverent manner, recalling a tale in which Tempo Rubato and Werner of the North both stood on stage, sweating nervously as they waited for her permission to begin a concert.” Her eyes flitted up to meet Celestia’s again. “I have… so many questions about that I’m not even sure I can get to them all.”

“Then perhaps it would be best if we covered the most pertinent of the bunch,” Celestia replied. “That might lead us to answer those other questions cluttering things up.”

A fair point. Answering the bigger questions would at least help them get the conversation going, logically. Twilight took a quick drink of wine to wet her throat, parched as it. She was getting closer. A primary source, her own mentor, was right here in front of her.

The first and most obvious came from another source. Applejack and Rainbow. “The way they revered her in that age,” Twilight began, “it’s almost like…” her voice faltered and trailed off. Twilight chewed on her lip, and gave a little flick of her tail.

A well-trimmed eyebrow raised. “Yes?” Celestia prompted her, rolling a hoof through the air. Her eyes locked onto Twilight’s, as if trying to look into her to coax the words forth.

Shifting in place, Twilight glanced down at her notepad to escape. “It’s like how ponies today look at you,” she finished. “Like she could make mountains move and oceans calm—speaking figuratively of the community, I mean. The idea that Tempo Rubato and Werner of the North were awestruck in her presence, given how they were known for bickering and debating over their pieces, and stood at the pinnacle of the music world, is just so foreign to me!”

“Ah.” Celestia raised her fork and brought a carrot to her lips. She chewed slowly, the gears turning behind those purple eyes almost visible to Twilight. As she swallowed, soft golden glow wreathed her napkin and raised it to her lips to dab away a crumb. “That is an astute observation, one which requires me to go into a bit of backstory of my own in order to help you along.” Wrapping her magic around her wine glass, Celestia brought it to hover before her. “I trust you brought something to write with?”

“Of course.” Twilight floated a pencil from her bag.

“Very good. Now, as you’re well aware, perceptions of history change with the time. Since her fall from grace, Luna has been the subject of quite a bit of apprehension from the public, despite my endorsement.” Her brow twitched as she gave a little wince. “And her retreat into what she found familiar—Night Court and the companionship of her faithful Night Guard—hasn’t helped. I firmly believe she’ll earn the love and admiration of our subjects back someday, but I worry that her newfound awkwardness amongst ponies may prolong the issue.”

Twilight’s pencil danced across the page in a blur, noting implications and questions that came to mind. “Luna mentioned that, actually. The night she first visited me in the library.” She pointed to a note at the top of the page. “She told me how much she wanted to earn back everypony’s trust and return to her old duties.”

“I don’t doubt it, though she’s been hesitant to jump straight into it. To be perfectly honest, her efforts have been focused more on Night Court and her not-so-secret project.” Celestia grinned. “I would say the latter has proven successful, given your relationship with her.”

Smiling nervously, Twilight rubbed her shoulder. “I’m certainly happy it did! She’s quite a wonderful friend once you get her to open up!”

Celestia’s eyes seemed to twinkle, dancing with merriment. “You have no idea just how right you are. Ponies those days loved her quite dearly; Night Court used to draw crowds of petitioners rivaling Day Court.” She waved her hoof, sweeping it over the castle grounds. “Ponies as far as the eye could see would come visit. Similar to Day Court, some sought council or brought forth legal matters. But, admittedly, I dealt with the majority of the latter—maintaining law and order was my domain. It still is, in a way, though I would not be averse to her input.” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “I digress. Naturally, the artists were her main visitors. They came from far and wide to see their dear Matron when she wasn’t attending one of their lovely plays or concerts, or presiding as the guest of honor at an art gallery.”

The pencil moved in a blur across the page, Twilight couldn’t help but bounce in place as Luna’s past was laid bare to her. “So, that was her primary function? Other than raising and lowering the moon, and placing the stars in the night sky, I mean.”

“Primary?” Chuckling, Celestia shook her head again. “Oh, my dear Twilight, we both had many duties. But her connection with the arts was a part of her, so much like her wonderful nights.”

Her pencil stopped abruptly. “How do you mean? Can she control the different styles of art similar in manner to—"

“Oh, heavens no!” She laughed, waving a hoof. “You’re thinking a bit too literally. Yes, Luna does move the moon and place the stars in the sky, but that’s not her only connection to the night. Unfortunately, if you want an elaboration on that, you’ll have to consult Luna herself. Her description will do it far more justice than mine—er, you may want to make note of that.”

“O-Oh?” Twilight asked, though she obeyed and made a quick note of it. “Why would she tell me?”

Celestia simply raised an eyebrow. “There are seven ponies alive today who have witnessed one of Luna’s Dusk Ceremonies—you, your friends, and me. If there were ever a pony she would explain this to, it’s you. Now, back to the subject at hoof, the arts community.” Her flowing tail swished as she took a sip of wine. “When I say she had a connection to the arts, I mean she could feel the music, and appreciate the colors and abstracts of a painting in ways I simply couldn’t. It took her ages to teach me, centuries even!”

Words spilled onto the page. Twilight’s hoof jittered, her tail wagging like a happy puppy. A thousand years of mystery surrounding Luna, Princess of the Night and Matron of the Arts, pulled back before her eyes! For any researcher, it would be their claim to fame, the stepping stone to the top of the academic world. To Twilight, it was a step closer to understanding Luna, and finding a way to help.

The knowledge itself could be her own, private feather in her cap.

“She was a constant face in the community back then,” Celestia continued. “The artists, musicians, and sculptors would grow old and pass on, leaving behind their apprentices, who would follow along the same. But Luna and I remained. More importantly to them, Luna was always there to welcome the apprentices and behold the first work they brought before her. A rite of passage, if you will.”

“Really? So she would judge their prospects? And tell them if they were on the right track?”

“In a way, yes, but more critiquing their work. Appreciation of the arts isn’t necessarily objective, it’s all a matter of how the individual perceives it. Luna would always let them come forward and stand by the Throne as she looked over their work. She would make note of what she found pleasant, what she wasn’t as enamored with, and how they could improve.” Another sip of her wine, Celestia hummed in appreciation and gave a little smack of her lips. She tilted her head, bringing a hoof to her chin in thought. “Of course, there were a few apprentices who took her word a bit too harshly and scrapped their work. Not unlike a few students of mine, come to think of it.”

Twilight bit her lip and glanced down at her plate. Her cheeks burned, her ears laid flat against her scalp. “I could imagine that they felt rather intimidated in her presence,” she replied, keeping her tone level and choice of words diplomatic. “And based on what I’ve read about their perception of her, it’s almost like she was seen as the central authority figure, really.”

Celestia hummed, nodding as she brought a fork full of string beans to her lips. “Indeed. She used to throw such a fit in private. Especially if one of them decided to scrap one of their creations, and never let it see the light of day.” Screwing up her muzzle, she spoke in a lighter tone, but with a bit of a dramatic flair to it. “Confound these ponies! Do they not understand my want for them to improve and develop their skills? Every artist must start somewhere, original works are to be cherished as the first step toward mastery!”

Her ears twitched. Luna said something similar:

“I suppose an informal judge would be the best way to explain it; I was often invited to opening performances, as a sort of tribute to the dual crown.”


It is… well, I do not believe it is something that I would listen to on my own. However, given that Beethooven was considered innovative in his time… he, most likely, would have been honored to have inspired somepony in such a manner. All the same, it just is not for me, I fear.”

Everything Luna said that night hinted at it; her appreciation was her own opinion on the imagery and music was offered as critique, not absolute. Her authority was derived more in her constant presence, like a mother watching over her foals as they played and grew into their craft.

So much like Celestia today—watching over Twilight as she grew and learned magic, then discovered friendship and came into her own.

The sisters were so alike in that regard, yet so very different. Much like the day and night they heralded, they taught lessons and offered aid in little ways, then stepped back and allowed their ponies to make of their advice what they could.

“How long ago was that?” Twilight asked, finally. “The height of the Night Court’s influence, it’s something I’d not considered looking into.”

Celestia’s smile was as bright as the morning sun. “I was hoping you’d ask, the answer will help you find more information on her Dusk Ceremonies as well. The Night Court’s influence was at its peak fifteen-hundred years ago, and waned three centuries before Luna’s fall.”

Perplexed, Twilight scribbled down the dates. But she had to ask, “Three hundred years prior? Forgive me if I sound a bit ignorant of the matter—”

“Hardly your fault, most books on the subject are either lost or in the archives.”

“True. But if three hundred years passed before Luna fell… what did she do during that time between?”

The smile fell from Celestia’s face. She looked down at the table, her eyes showing hurt and something else. Something Twilight had never seen before and couldn’t quite identify.

All the same, the look in Celestia’s eyes didn’t belong.

“I let her take on burdens I should’ve kept for myself,” she admitted, her voice weak. Sighing, she slumped in her seat. “And I did nothing as I watched her connections break, one by one, until she was distant from our ponies. By the time I decided to act, it was too late. My sister lost her bright, cheery smile and way of finding kinship, our ponies rejected her nights and trembled in fear of her presence, and, in the end, Equestria lost a wonderful mare for a thousand years.”

A heavy silence fell over the pair. Rather than take note, Twilight laid her pencil down. There was too much raw emotion in those eyes, and in her mentor’s voice, for her taste.

The information given was more than enough, as it was. Out of respect, she flipped her notebook shut and cancelled her spell, patiently waiting for Celestia to look up again.

When she did so, Celestia had a smile pasted on her muzzle once more. Though not nearly as bright as before. “The specifics are something I must insist you wait to read until after you’ve investigated the Night Court.”

“I suppose it would make sense to focus on that first, since it was part of my original plan,” Twilight began slowly. “If you don’t mind my asking, though, why?”

If it were possible, the pain in her eyes seemed to grow. “Because it’s important to understand Luna’s nature in order to see just how far she fell,” she replied, her voice straining with raw emotion. “And how foolish I was in allowing my sister to destroy herself.”

The words hit Twilight like a ton of bricks. Respect for her mentor’s pain stopped her from taking up her pencil once more to hastily write everything down again. Every book, every story made it sound like Luna stamped her hoof and became Nightmare Moon in one night, she thought. The Legend of the Mare in the Moon only mentioned that Luna was jealous of Princess Celestia because the ponies loved the daytime and looked to her as a guiding light, while shying away from the night.

Though her inner researcher screamed for clarification, Twilight smiled and bowed her head. “Yes, Princess,” she replied dutifully. “If you think that’s the best course to take, I’ll follow your guidance.”

Celestia game a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Twilight. You have no idea how much that means to me. Nor how much it will mean to Luna down the line.” Her eyes flitted to Twilight’s plate, then met her gaze again. With a playful glare, she cleared her throat. “I believe, young lady, we agreed that you would eat up in exchange for this information! Why, you’ve hardly even touched your steamed vegetables!”

Chagrined, Twilight gave a sheepish chuckle. “I’m sorry. I was just so distracted by—” Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her fork was wreathed in a golden glow, hovering near her muzzle with a carrot speared on it.

“Clearly,” Celestia said, amused. “Perhaps I need to feed you like a little filly, then, since you’re so easily distracted by our talk.”

“Er, no, Princess.” She lit her horn, wrapping her magic around the fork and doing her best to ignore the oppressive feeling of Princess Celestia’s magic upon her own, like a veritable ocean crashing down upon her shoulders. “I’ll just feed myself.”

The golden glow flickered and dissolved. “Good girl. Now, onto happier things, I think. Tell me, what sort of fun have you been up to with those friends of yours?”


Twilight let out a contented sigh, and sat back in her chair. She folded her hooves over her stomach, laughing with Celestia. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten so much! No, wait!” She giggled, bringing a hoof to her forehead. “Twice! This past Hearth’s Warming and at the Apple family’s reunion right before the Summer Sun Celebration!”

“Well, I’m glad it was to your enjoyment,” Celestia said, nodding happily. “I didn’t even have to fight you to eat your cake. I’m impressed. Though I wonder if you might need a bit more, dear. You still look so peckish!”

Giggling, she let out a mock groan and pushed her plate away. “Oh, please no more! If I take another bite, I might explode!”

Celestia wrinkled her nose. “Hmm, that would be a bit of a bad note to end such a lovely evening. And I shudder to think of the poor castle staff’s faces when I asked them to clean bits and pieces of my faithful student off the nice, white walls…”

“Oh, yes, those poor staff ponies! Not your poor student, who you so cruelly stuffed full of food and cake!”

“I don’t recall hearing you complain, Twilight.” Her brow arched. “Though I’m sure we could always give you a bit more if you still feel so free with your mouth.”

The pair devolved into snickers, Twilight had to hold her sides in pain both from the food she’d eaten and her amusement. “Your jokes are just as wicked as ever!” she teased. “All the same, that was delicious! Please send my regards to Chef Al Dente—his cooking is still some of the best I’ve ever had!”

Some of the best?” Celestia parroted. “I’ll have you know I pay him good money to be the best, Twilight Sparkle! If you’ve found some diamond in the rough down in Ponyville and have been hiding a culinary genius of a pony from me, I shall be most disappointed!”

“You already know Applejack and Pinkie can cook circles around most ponies, but I was talking about my mom!” Snickering, she stuck her tongue out at Celestia. “You should know! She had to teach Al how to make her secret pancake recipe! She’s been right under your nose the whole time!”

With a derisive snort, Celestia folded her hooves over her chest. “Well, then! I suppose you have me there.” Pausing a moment to allow Twilight to get her laughter under control, she dropped the act, smiling fondly. “Ah, this has been a wonderful night. All teasing aside, you know you may visit whenever you please, Twilight. I’d be happy to do this more often.”

Twilight nodded. “I’ll be sure to do so, Princess. Thank you. I’ll be sure to bring Spike along next time.”

“Please do. It would be a delight to have the two of you here again. Perhaps we can all dine together—the pair of you, Luna, Cadence, Shining Armor and I, like old times.” She stopped a moment, chuckling. “Well, old times plus Luna, that is.”

Her eyes lit up and tail swished merrily. “That would be wonderful! I’d definitely be open to that!”

“Then we’ll all have to arrange something. For now, however—hmm?” Celestia’s left ear flicked toward the balcony doorway. She turned, smiling brightly. “Ah! Luna and Captain Erebos! You came back just in time, little sister! Twilight and I only just finished dinner.”

Twilight’s ears perked up. She turned so quickly her neck muscles strained, a small, easily ignorable pain as she was greeted by the sight of Captain Erebos and a very perplexed Luna, whose eyes seemed locked with hers. “Hello, Luna,” she greeted with a small bow of her head, then turning to offer the same to the captain. “And you too, Captain Erebos.”

Captain Erebos saluted Princess Celestia first, then nodded to Twilight. “Good evening, Princess, Miss Sparkle.” He turned to Luna and bowed low. “With your permission, My Princess, I shall take my leave and return to my duties.”

“Yes, of course, Captain. Thank you,” Luna replied, her teal eyes never leaving Twilight’s as he trotted off. “Sister,” she began, her tone even, “I did not realize that you made plans to receive and dine with our mutual friend this evening. I would have happily stayed in and joined—”

“Oh, no, Lulu!” Twilight noticed a little wince and embarrassed smile, a slight drooping of Luna’s ears at the use of her apparent nickname. “You misunderstand! You had already readied to visit our niece when Spike sent word that Twilight was on her way—I had no intent of keeping you out, but I didn’t want to ruin your plans for the evening!”

Before Luna could object further, Celestia stood, prompting Twilight to jolt and make to stand as well. But a raised hoof stopped her. “Oh, don’t stand on my account, dear. I’ve kept you to myself quite a bit tonight, and I already have plans to do so again at dawn. Although…” she smiled, glancing between Luna and Twilight. “I would not be averse to sharing company with the two of you. How does that sound? The three of us, up early for dawn, and breakfast?”

Twilight met Luna’s gaze again, and smiled. “I’d be happy to. If it’s okay with you, Luna.”

A moment’s hesitation. Luna glanced between Celestia and Twilight, almost as though she were nervous. “I… suppose it would be agreeable,” she said. “Perhaps we might partake in the pancake tradition, as established by Twilight Velvet?”

“My thoughts exactly.” Celestia trotted around the table to catch Twilight in a tight embrace. “I shall see you in the morning, dear. Try not to stay up too late, or I shall think my sister has stolen you away!”

Shaking her head, Twilight returned the hug. “I won’t. Goodnight, Princess. Sleep well.”

“With my sister and my favorite student under the same roof, I’ll sleep better than I have in a thousand years.” She then trotted over to Luna and hugged her as well, whispering something to the younger princess.

At first, Luna merely chuckled and returned the hug. But then, Celestia made another comment, earning a startled gasp and shove toward the door. “Away with you, thou ancient, cheeky mare!” Luna commanded. “Or thou shalt wake to find spiders in thine covers and bats in thy bathing room!”

With one final giggle and a kiss to the top of Luna’s head, Celestia swept from the balcony and off to bed.

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