• 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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30: Where I Found Friendship and Acceptance Again

Wind whipped through her starry mane, Luna closed her eyes and smiled. If there was any time she felt so at peace other than her beautiful nights, it was the way Celestia slowly lowered the sun in the late afternoon to begin the evening and let the land cool as the twilight neared.

Like the passing of the proverbial mantle from one sister to the next, for all the land to see.

Luna cracked open an eye to peer at Twilight beside her, the smile on her muzzle broadened. She unfurled her wing to trace her feathers along the smaller mare’s back.

Warmth flooded her chest, her heart raced as though she were a young filly fleeing from Celestia in the rolling green fields of their ancient home, long before ponies even knew their names.

When was the last time she had felt like this for another pony? Or, rather, when was the last time she allowed herself to act upon them?

There had been many over her long life. Artists, musicians, writers, noble ponies, farmers—those always caused such a lovely little scandal when they came out—and a few guards as well. Both Day and Night.

Her ears twitched. The last had been one of her Night Guards. It wasn’t so much love, either, as it was two ponies in desperate need of companionship coming together to support each other. Those first years had been hard on all of them, none so much as Luna herself.

Luna squeezed her eyes shut and gave her head a shake to banish the images that leapt to the forefront of her mind. The faces of her old allies and foes long since departed from the land flitted before her very eye.

Silent Night, with the dark coat on his leg and the obsidian hoof guard that hid his blade both splattered with blood as he tried to stay stoic, betrayed by the tightening of his jaw and the quiver in his voice when he delivered his report. Captain Noir as she held her blade to a diamond dog’s throat, her eyes brimmed with tears before she closed them and flicked her wrist to send him on his journey to the next life.

So many of her Children of the Night had lost themselves and become specters hiding in the shadows.

Because of her.

“Luna?”

She started. Twilight’s voice cut through the haze of events long passed and brought her to present again. Luna glanced around, her breath quickened as she checked her surroundings.

They were flying, no. Riding in her chariot toward Ponyville so they could attend Golden Harvest’s party, with Strider and Shooting Star dutifully pulling and Captain Erebos and Moondancer close by her side, as always.

Luna let out a breath. “Forgive me, Twilight, I was lost in memory. I am afraid I find myself wandering off every now and again.” Not entirely untrue, but not entirely true either. “What were you saying?”

Twilight regarded her with a raised eyebrow, wrinkling her snout. “I was asking if you were excited,” she said, her voice tinged with amusement. “You’re not having second thoughts, are you? It’s just a birthday party.”

“I was thinking about something else.” With a roll of her eyes, she reached out and booped Twilight’s nose. “And I would be lying if I said no. You know that full well saying it is ‘just a birthday party’ does not help when I have yet to take part in any but my own or Tia’s since my return.”

Twilight sucked in her lips. “Ah. Well, this’ll be a bit different, but not that out of the ordinary.”

Scoffing, Luna fixed her with a flat look. “Will there be ponies in fancy dress, nobles milling about, and my insufferable nephew latched onto my sister’s side like a leach while he simpers about some proposed law forbidding foals from smiling in his presence, or whatever imbecilic thought enters his empty head?”

A snort of amusement escaped Twilight’s lips, she clapped a hoof over her mouth to try and stave off her laughter.

Luna allowed herself a smirk. “Perhaps next he will try to pass legislation on the proper way to greet friends.” She wiped any trace of emotion from her muzzle and fixed the blank stare of a Day Guard in place. “No emotion, rigid adherence to all the rules of propriety, and the stiffest of upper lips.”

Another snort, Twilights shoulders shook. Her muffled laughter tickled Luna’s ears, bringing the smile back to her muzzle.

Letting her midnight blue feathers trail along Twilight’s back, Luna wrapped her in a gentle wing hug. “I take it by your reaction, you have not had favorable interaction with him?”

“Not me,” Twilight forced out between bouts of laughter. “Rarity thought he’d be her Prince Charming when we went to the Grant Galloping Gala!”

“Oh my!” Luna cringed. “I can imagine her opinion soured since.”

“You might say that.” Twilight’s eyes shone with mirth. “Never say his name around her or you’re in for a rant like no other.”

Luna drew in a sharp breath. What a lovely endorsement, and something she would have to do her very best to avoid.

She fixed a smile in place, fluffing her feathers. “Well, let us focus on the party this eve, then. What am I to expect? Similar fare to when I visited on Nightmare Night?”

As Twilight made to reply, Luna caught sight of Strider and Shooting Star angling to bank left for their final approach. Thinking quickly, she threw a hoof around Twilight’s shoulders and held her tight, drawing a surprised squeak as she leaned into the turn. To her left, she noticed Erebos doing the same for Moondancer.

“Call out turns, if you please,” Luna chided her guards. “We have ground bound passengers who are unaccustomed to travel by flying chariot.”

“Yes, Princess!” They called back in unison, both at least had the decency to shoot sheepish smiles toward Twilight and Moondancer.

Erebos snorted and shook his head. “Foals,” he muttered, shifting his wing a little to hide Moondancer’s head in its leathery embrace.

“An honest mistake, Captain,” Luna said. “No harm done but a little scare.” She stole a glance to Twilight and loosened her grip a little. “My apologies. You were saying?”

Twilight gave a weak smile, rubbing her shoulder against Luna’s side in silent thanks. “I was going to say that this will probably be a bit smaller, more subdued. There probably won’t be as many games or events, but you’ll have a chance to talk with some ponies and there’ll be plenty of food.” She waggled her ears, then added, “And you’ll get to see the foals again.”

A wicked grin crossed Luna’s muzzle. “Will I?” she mused. “Had I known, I would have brought my cloak and let it dissolve into bats.”

“Princess Celestia said that used to be your favorite party trick.”

“She speaks truth. It remains my favorite to this day.” Bringing a hoof to her chin, she thought a moment. “Though, perhaps it is for the best that I went ‘casual’ as it were. This is another mare’s birthday, not Nightmare Night. The focus should hardly be on me.”

Twilight frowned. “Fair point. Perhaps it’s best that we just use this as a chance to let you mingle in a more casual setting.” Her eyes lit up. She clapped her hooves together and gave a happy squeal. “This is actually perfect for that sort of thing! You can talk to the girls again, meet everypony out of costume, and—oh. Oh dear.”

Confused, Luna looked down and furrowed her brows. She watched as Twilight’s ears drooped, her cheeks colored a deep pinkish hue. “Is something the matter?”

Shifting in place, Twilight ducked her head low and muttered something under her breath. She looked nervous, like she was expecting some sort of surprise test.

Celestia’s smiling face floated to the forefront of her mind, those deep purple eyes shone with mirth and poorly hidden mischief.

Oh, of course. Tia’s teaching methods. Luna wrinkled her snout. Tia wouldn’t do such a thing—well, not during a party, at least. And not while I am present and expecting to spend time with her.

She waited a moment longer until her impatience finally got the better of her. Luna leaned down to nuzzle Twilight. “Twilight,” she said softly, brushing her lips against the mare’s cheek. “Tell me what vexes you.”

Twilight replied with a laugh so forced, Luna couldn’t help but draw back.

That wasn’t mirth. Not even close.

Out of touch though she might have been, Luna was not dense. Something had caused her special somepony stress and she intended to find out what.

Twilight ducked lower as if to hide herself in Luna’s downy embrace. “I-I may have just remembered that my friends have no idea that you and I are … um, well, dating. Or courting. Either.” She glanced up at Luna, giving a nervous smile. “I’m not sure if I should expect teasing or an inquisition.” After a beat, she added, “Any advice?”

Slowly, Luna returned her smile with a wicked grin. It was all she could do not to throw back her head and cackle madly at the way Twilight’s adorable purple ears drooped.

She pressed a hoof against Twilight’s snout. “My dear, I am afraid that in this regard, you are—as my niece might say—quite thoroughly screwed.” Leaning forward, she kissed Twilight’s forehead. “Besides, I would be remiss to interject into your friendships and deny them the chance to hear—or you the chance to tell them.”

A low whine sounded from the back of Twilight’s throat. “I’m doomed!” she wailed.

Luna chuckled. “You will survive. Of that, I am quite certain.” Stealing another kiss to her forehead, Luna steadied herself as the twins began their descent.

Then a thought occurred to her.

Oh yes.

“You know this Golden Harvest well, yes?”

She felt Twilight turn to look up at her. “Relatively. Why do you ask?”

Slowly, Luna turned to give her most mischievous smirk. “I have just had a wonderful idea for a gift, but first I must ask your opinion on it.”

“Of course. What is it?”

“Do you think she would enjoy being a princess for one night?”

Luna wasn’t entirely sure whose reaction she found more entertaining: Moondancer balking, Erebos throwing back his head and howling with laughter, or Twilight gaping at her with eyes as wide as dinner plates and her jaw hanging low.

Clearly, her gift would be perfect.


Fortunately, the twins’ landing was quite a bit more smooth than their banking, though Luna had a sneaking suspicion that they took extra care to make it as comfortable as possible for their passengers.

The way they kept glancing between Erebos—who fixed them with a stern glare before he made to help Moondancer out of the chariot and onto solid ground once more—and herself was a might indicative, as was the way Strider scuffed his hoof and bowed his head low in silent apology to Twilight.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Twilight smile as she returned his bow with a nod of her own. “It’s fine, Strider,” she said. “I’ve been flying before, I just wasn’t paying attention this time.”

He bowed lower, a gesture his twin was quick to imitate. “Still our fault for not calling, all the same.”

“Won’t happen again, miss,” Shooting Star added.

“Well, I appreciate that, but I’m not going to lodge a complaint or anything.” Twilight glanced over her shoulder at Luna and cast a wink before turning to face them again. “Even if I know your boss pretty well!”

Standing just behind Twilight, Luna inclined her head to get their attention. When twin sets of amber eyes flitted to her, she smiled and nodded once.

A silent message that any offense on her part was forgiven.

They both relaxed and stood up straight. Their matching smiles were back in place as if they’d never been missed.

Such a pair of foals, those two.

Luna stepped forward, laying her wing upon Twilight’s back once again. “Shall we?” she asked, gesturing around Ponyville’s empty square before settling on Sugarcube Corner, the lone building with lights and a big, yellow banner that read “Happy Birthday, Goldie!” in orange and green lettering. “I do believe I can guess where tonight’s festivities shall take place.”

Twilight smiled back at her. “I’d say it’s a safe bet.” She took a step closer, pressing herself up against Luna so their sides touched. “After you, then.”

Nodding, Luna guided her toward the sweet shop with a bounce in her step and a none-too-subtle swish in her tail. No doubt Erebos would have a comment or two for her later, but she could happily ignore him for now.

Although …

Luna stole a glance out of the corner of her eye just in time to catch Erebos nose against Moondancer’s cheek. She fought to withhold a deep chuckle, instead turning toward the door.

If Erebos had anything to say on her relationship with Twilight, then she would simply have to take a page out of Tia’s book.

Not that she would ever admit it, of course. Heavens no.

Luna hummed to herself and lit up her horn, wrapping her magic around the doorhandle to tug it open. The familiar sounds of ponies talking and laughing while music played in the background floated to her ears, she managed to spy balloons of all sorts of colors and sizes floating up to touch the ceiling. Some were even twisted into shapes that vaguely resembled animals, or tangled with streamers of goldenrod, green, and orange.

Somepony had gone to great lengths to make the party quite the spectacle, and Luna had a faint idea who.

The very instant she stepped inside, a pink pony with bright blue eyes and a far-too-wide grin appeared before her as if out of thin air.

She smiled. “Good evening, Miss Pie.”

Pinkie Pie gasped and let out a big squeal. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” She darted toward Twilight and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Why didn’t you tell me you were bringing Princess Luna? We could’ve made this party even bigger and better!

Twilight ducked. “I was thinking we could just keep it like a normal party as planned, since it was for Golden Harvest and all.”

“Oh!” Pinkie thought for a moment, then gasped and grabbed Twilight’s face, her hooves smushed those purple-coated cheeks. “Well, that does make sense in terms of the party, but still! I could’ve made those cookies she liked!”

Unable to reply, Twilight could only struggle and flail her hooves about as she tried to escape. Her eyes met Luna’s for the briefest of seconds, a silent plea for help easily read.

Dutifully, Luna cleared her throat. “I think,” she began as she placed a gentle hoof on Pinkie Pie’s shoulders and gave her a light push away from Twilight, “that Twilight wished to ensure that tonight’s festivities remain focused on the mare of the day.”

She shifted her gaze away from Pinkie in favor of searching the room as if she knew which mare was Golden Harvest, a trick she’d learned through years of showmareship and tutelage under Celestia. Her eyes flitted from mare to stallion, from filly to colt, all in search of one pony.

Luna caught sight of a small colt with white and brown splotched coat. She gave a merry swish of her tail.

My young admirer, she thought. I will have to greet him after I have spoken with Golden Harvest.

She resumed her search a moment longer before she found her target.

Off to the side of the dining space, standing by the sales counter—which had a bowl of chips and several different types of dip instead of the register—with a sky blue unicorn mare and a pegasus with a pink and green mane, was a mare of goldenrod coat and orange mane, with a pair of ripened carrots emblazoned on her flank.

As Luna’s gaze lingered upon her, the mare seemed to freeze up, almost torn between hiding behind the pair she’d been chatting with or bowing.

Luna smiled. I do believe I have my mare. “Come, Twilight,” she called so all could hear. “I wish to meet Golden Harvest myself so I may extend my wishes to her before we are all busied with celebrating!”

Nodding, Twilight guided her toward the gaping mare, happily rolling her shoulder as if to tug on Luna’s wing like a foal tugging her mother’s leg.

No, not a foal and her mother. Luna laughed to herself. An excited lover guiding her special somepony.

The mother side could be left to Tia.

Twilight stopped in front of Golden Harvest and gestured to her with a hoof. “Luna, this is Golden Harvest, our local carrot farmer and a rather good hoof when it comes to construction. Goldie, well …” She chuckled. “You know Princess Luna, of course.”

Her introduction jolted Golden Harvest out of her stupor. The mare bowed low enough that her forehead almost touched the wooden floor. “O-Of course!” she stammered. “I—oh gosh! I’m so sorry, Your Highness! It’s truly an honor to have you—”

Luna held up a hoof. “Please. The honor is mine, Miss Harvest. As for the surprise, well, the fault is my own.” Her wing’s grip around Twilight tightened. “When our mutual friend mentioned your party and extended an invitation to join her, I allowed myself to get a bit caught up in the excitement and did not stop to consider possible consequences.” Her ear flicked at the sound of a low hum of chatter sweeping through the crowd. She gave a slight bow of her head. “I hope you can find it in yourself to forgive this old mare for her folly.”

Golden Harvest balked. “Wha—I mean, it’s not a problem! I didn’t mean anything of the sort, Your Highness!”

“I appreciate you saying so.” Luna made a show of looking down at her free wing before meeting Golden Harvest’s eye again. “Unfortunately, I do not have a gift selected personally for you, Miss Harvest.”

“Princess, that’s not necessary, really! I don’t expect—”

“However!” Luna spoke over her, smiling slyly at Twilight, who did her best to stifle a fit of giggles behind her hoof. “I do have something in mind as a gift for this night only.”

Before anypony could question her, Luna floated the polished obsidian from her head and laid it atop Golden Harvest’s. Then she stepped back, removing her wing from Twilight’s back, and smiled. “Consider this a token of my gratitude for allowing me to remain though I was not on the guest list.”

The mare before her trembled, her face turned a deep red as she worked her jaw wordlessly.

Luna turned to meet Twilight’s gaze, giving a tiny smirk and a little raise of her eyebrows before tilting her head toward Golden Harvest.

Twilight’s ears perked up. She returned Luna’s smile and nodded once.

Very good.

Twilight stepped back to stand at Luna’s side. Then, in near perfect unison, both bowed low.

Pricking up her ears, Luna heard Golden Harvest gave a startled squeak while the pair beside her giggled.

Then there was a startled gasp. “No, don’t!” Golden Harvest cried. “Minnie! Blossom! Don’t you dare!”

Luna glanced out of the corner of her eye to find a set of four cream white hooves beside hers. She smirked, looking up to find the pegasus mare struggling to hold back laughter as she bowed her head.

“Princess Harvest!” Blossom chirped.

“Bringing of Plentiful Harvests and Matron of Carrots!” Minnie added through her mirth.

Like they’d flipped a switch, the pair’s antics drew a wave of laughter from the crowd. The guests each shot Golden Harvest a cheeky grin before bowing and hailing her as “Princess Harvest” and tacked on whatever flowery titles they could conjure.

At the sound of Pip chiming in with “Princess Golden Harvest, Maiden of the Rolling Green Fields,” Luna’s ears twitched.

“Twilight,” she said out of the side of her mouth, standing to her full height. “Do you mind if I take care of a bit of … personal business?”

Twilight stood up straight, tilting her head. “I guess. What sort of business?”

Luna put on her best imitation of the stoic face Celestia put on in court. “Business of a very important nature.” She subtly gestured in the direction of Pip’s voice. “There is a young colt who claimed that I am his favorite princess, and he is in dire need of being scared out of his wits. If you have no objection, that is?”

With a roll of her eyes, Twilight smiled and nodded. “Go ahead.”

Beaming, Luna lit her horn, then dissolved into a cloud of stars and swept through the crowd, drawing squeaks and startled gasps as she darted between their hooves like a snake until she reached her goal.

The cloud of stars wrapped around Pip like a miniature tornado, pulling the squirming colt into the air as she materialized again and caught him in her hooves.

Luna fixed a wicked grin on her muzzle. “Hello, little one,” she greeted.

Pip stopped squirming and gave a little smile in return. “‘Lo, Princess! How’ve you been?”

“Quite well, thank you.” She unfurled her wings and trailed her feathers down his sides, drawing a fit of giggles and another bout of squirming from the poor colt. Nickering, she cast a wink. “Am I still thy favored princess?”

“Ye—pfft! Stoppit!—yes!”

She waggled her ears. Her thoughts flitted to the night she spent with Cadence and Shining Armor, an idea came to her. “Excellent! And no. No I shan’t stop, for I am quite famished and I feel the need to gobble up some poor little colt!” Taking a page from Cadence’s book, she sucked in a deep breath, then darted forward and pressed her lips against his tiny belly and blew hard.

Pip’s shrieks of laughter filled the room, he flailed his hooves. “Help! Help!” he cried. “I’m being gobbled! Somepony save me!”

Luna paused her torture to fix all his little friends with a raised eyebrow. Slowly, she smirked and tossed her mane. “If you dare.”

Though she was a mare of many regrets in her long life, Luna held none for this. Not when the foals looked to one another, then their parents, then back at her, with excited grins spreading across their little faces. Not when a young charcoal coated pegasus colt called “Charge!” and took to the air with a flying leap, heralding an onslaught of tiny ponies. Not even when she found herself buried under a laughing, teasing pile of foals while Pipsqueak tried to take vengeance by prodding her with a tiny hoof as he searched for her tickle spots.

None at all.

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