• 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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32: The Stars Smile Upon Us

Luna sat on the cool grass just a short trot away from Sugarcube Corner’s back door, the obsidian tiara rested atop her head once more. She spared herself an amused snort. Golden Harvest had been all too happy to dart over and return her gift once the party ended—her cheeks still tinged a rosy pink as she bowed and stammered her thanks.

And then, it came time to clean everything up. Naturally, Luna had offered her aid, as well as that of her compatriots, but it was refused quite vehemently. No matter how she tried, one of the Cakes or the other adults was there to “relieve” her of her burden so she might relax.

The final straw came when she offered to simply levitate all the food off the table and bring it into the kitchen. Pinkie had promptly pointed her outside to sit down, relax, and, most importantly, bring forth her night.

Truthfully, she had delayed a bit, but Celestia surely would not begrudge her an extra hour of fun. Call it back pay for the eclipse she cast during her attempted insurrection.

In any case, Luna could only sit and chuckle to herself. Despite being cast out so she would not do something so … what was it? Tedious? Menial? It certainly was not too difficult, if she were to be honest. Compared to raising the moon, lifting a table took about as much effort as rolling out of bed.

Menial, then. Perhaps they felt it beneath her.

What silly ponies they were.

Still, she had fun. That was all that really mattered.

This was a most prosperous endeavor. She hummed an old tune as she gazed up at her night sky. Tonight was a Werner night, she decided. He would love to know that she hummed Flug der Greife to herself while putting her lovely stars in place.

Almost on cue, Werner’s star gave a merry twinkle while Tempo’s flickered dimly, like a foal turning its back on its mother.

Frowning, Luna fixed Tempo’s star with a stern glare. “Don’t you start,” she scolded. “I shared your music with Twilight first and you know full well that you hold a place in my heart. Don’t be a brat, or I shan’t play another of your songs for her.”

Tempo’s star blinked at her.

“I am well aware that you have lovely music suitable for a romantic evening, but your attitude is worse than Sforzando when he did not get sweets.” Luna paused a moment as she watched Werner’s give a cheeky little shimmer. “None of your cheek, Werner! Do not antagonize!”

The pair had the decency to give a remorseful blink, then returned to shining brightly in her night sky. Luna could only shake her head. They were both still just as troublesome as they were in life.

“Foals,” she muttered.

“What was that, My Princess?” Erebos asked.

Flicking her ear toward him, Luna turned to her left to face her guards. A smirk played upon her lips when she noticed that Erebos sat with his wing was still wrapped tight around Moondancer.

She returned her attention to the stars above. “Werner and Tempo are being difficult, as usual,” Luna replied.

Erebos snorted. “Any particular reason why this time? Or just the normal?”

“I chose to hum one of Werner’s songs. Tempo objects and Werner preens.”

“Ah, I see.” He paused to allow the twins a chance to snigger quietly. “Well, I suppose you’ll have to hum in alternating melodies to appease them both.”

Luna rolled her eyes and shook her head. Cheeky ponies in life and cheeky ponies and griffons teasing her from beyond the veil of death through her own stars.

Her lips tugged into a smile. How else would her Children of the Night be, but exactly as she raised them?

Or, in her mischievous guards’ cases, how they had been raised in her stead.

Truly, Celestia had gone out of her way to ensure that her legacy survived in some fashion. Little hints, hidden in plain sight for those who looked close enough.

The crescent moon engraved above the balcony.

Her Night Guard maintaining the spirit of the bat ponies who originally filled her ranks, even though pegasi, unicorns, and even a few earth ponies had trickled in over the centuries to wander the halls of Canterlot Castle and protect those within whenever night fell.

Celestia herself in how she played tricks and enjoyed her own manner of doublespeak to tease those around her. Cadence with her passion for romance and the arts. Twilight in her appreciation for any little thing that sparked her interest, regardless of whether it were basked in the sun’s glow or bathed in the darkness of night.

Her attention turned to the star closest to the moon. It had been shining quite brightly since she’d placed it up, curious since it lacked a name.

Or, rather, it lacked one that she knew of. Her stars could be fickle like that. She had named most of them, but there were a few which picked their own names before she had the chance, and seemed to delight in teasing her until she figured it out.

Luna frowned at the star. It was shining almost as bright as her moon, like it wanted everypony to see its splendor.

Werner and Tempo were starting to get jealous.

“Will you tell me your name?” she asked softly. “I have not seen you shine so bright in all our years together, little one.”

The star flickered and danced, like a naughty foal laughing as it darted behind a bush to hide from her.

Snorting, Luna let her shoulders relax. “I thought not. You wish to make me guess, do you not?”

It twinkled, quite impudently at that.

“Cheeky thing. Why can you not cooperate? Surely you must be somepony close to me, and happy if you shine so bright.”

Again, the star defied her. It gave a noncommittal blink, then returned to its boastful shining.

She sighed. One of these days, she would write a book. Something about how maddening an alicorn’s domain could be, even to the one who held it in hoof. Her sister had the nebulous gray areas of law and philosophy, her niece the strange, tumultuous dominion of love and sexuality, and she had the arts and her night sky.

The sound of grass rustling and hooves thudding against the ground made her ears stand up. Luna looked over her shoulder, smiling as she found Twilight headed toward them. She nodded once. “I take it cleaning is finished and I may return?”

Twilight laughed and shook her head. “Not quite. I’ve been banished from the kitchen because I dared try to organize Mrs. Cake’s cabinets. Apparently, that breaks all of the most sacred and noble laws of the kitchen, or so I’m told.” She sat down on Luna’s right, leaning against her. “So, it looks like we’ve both been forbidden to help with the cleanup process.”

“Truly, we are criminals of the worst sort.”

“Oh, yes!” Twilight met her gaze, those beautiful purple eyes danced with mirth. “I can only imagine what Princess Celestia hears about it! Do you think we’ll get names?”

“Names?” Luna parroted, wrinkling her snout. “Why should we have names? We already have names. Quite lovely ones, at that.”

For reasons unknown to Luna, Twilight brought a hoof to her mouth in a rather poor attempt to stifle her giggles. “Never mind,” she said after a moment, her voice strained. Clearing her throat, Twilight turned her attention to Luna’s sky and smiled. “It’s just as beautiful as the first time I saw you bring it.”

Luna felt her heart do a backflip, her cheeks burned. “Thank you. I am glad to hear you say so.”

Giving a big smile, Twilight leaned up to rub her cheek against Luna’s. “I heard you talking to them,” she whispered.

“My loved ones are always with me. Even when their lives come to an end.”

She felt Twilight turn to nose against her cheek. “Do they ever talk back?”

Luna chuckled. “Always.” She dotted Twilight’s nose with a kiss. “Tempo was just complaining that I favored Werner’s music while I was putting their brethren up in the sky, while my griffon friend chose to tease him for it in kind.” Turning, she fixed her gaze on the star beside her moon. It shone more brilliantly than before.

How very curious.

Twilight hummed, drawing her attention once again. Luna blinked at the sight of a playful smirk gracing the younger mare’s features.

What ever could she be thinking?

“Are you sure you’re not just playing to pass the time?” Twilight asked with an almost saccharine tone in her voice, betraying her false innocence. “Princess Celestia likes to pass off her fascination with cakes as her little eccentricity that came with age, so I guess it’s not completely out of the ordinary …”

Luna pursed her lips. Cheeky little mare!

There would be retribution for the slight. Whenever the opportune moment presented itself, Twilight would rue the moment she thought to tease the Mistress of the Night.

Outwardly, Luna simply forced a smile. “Perhaps I am. More’s the pity for the mare who attracts my attention, then.” She drew in close, cupping Twilight’s chin with her hoof. “I do so hope she can appreciate a good courting, though. T’would be most distressing if the old ways had fallen so out of fashion that my efforts to ensure she knew she held a place among the very ponies for whom my stars were named.”

Twilight’s blush returned in full force. The lovely purple coat covering her face darkened, she gaped wide-eyed and jaw slackened, her mouth worked wordlessly as the brilliant mind behind those beautiful eyes went into overdrive trying to think of a suitable reply.

Oh, my dear, you are far too easy! Luna nuzzled her nose, then tilted her head to the side to steal a quick kiss.

It would be far too fun to see how Twilight reacted to just a few of her plans. While Cadence was certainly the Princess of Love, Romance, and Sexuality, Luna was quite certain she could give her a good run for her money. Especially when it came to courtship.

Oh, yes.

The kiss ended all too soon. But Luna smiled all the same.

She had promised to take things nice and slow. It would hardly do for her to pounce upon Twilight and smother her with kisses. Or simply guide her to lay back on the grass so she could kiss her with all the passion and love Luna held for her, the same with which she crafted her night sky.

I promised.

Luna stood, offering a hoof to help Twilight up. A gesture the mare was happy to accept, the rosy hue spread across her face made its way to the very tips of her ears.

Stealing another quick kiss, Luna draped a wing across Twilight’s withers and led her inside. It was getting late. Soon enough, it would be time for all her little ponies to go to bed and enjoy her beautiful dream realm.

And loathe though she was to let Twilight go, Luna could hardly rob her of yet another night of rest.

With her entourage following close behind, they entered through the kitchen. Luna paused to give praise to the Cakes as they juggled—in Pinkie’s case, quite literally—putting away their utensils with peeking over to make sure their foals were occupied by their toys.

She bade them good night, of course. She even made sure to take a few seconds to nuzzle Pound and Pumpkin, whispering a promise of sweet dreams to each, even though they couldn’t understand the meaning.

All they knew was that their big pony princess was leaving, and that simply did not sit well.

So, it was only mildly surprising when Luna found herself with a pair of rather clingy weights wrapped around her legs, babbling pleas that she not leave.

Were it not for Pound having chosen her right forehoof, she would have brought it to her chest to steady her beating heart. Adorable. Her one weakness, really, aside from good music and painting.

Along with the mare wrapped snuggly beneath her wing, giggling shamelessly at her plight.

There would be retribution. And it would be glorious, truly worthy of the Mistress of the Night, Matron of the Arts, Defender of the Dream Realm, and Trickster Princess.

Luna frowned. Maybe it was time to shed a couple of those old titles. She had yet to hear Celestia or Cadence refer to themselves with such things. Had that, too, been a casualty of the change in culture she missed during her exile?

Food for thought.

With a bit of coaxing, and some assurance that she would visit again soon, Luna managed to free herself from her tiny captors so she could make her way out to the main dining area, where the last remnants of the party were still being cleaned up.

Luna trotted straight over to Golden Harvest and offered her hoof so she might bid the mare a happy birthday one last time before leaving for the night, which had the rather unintended effect of drawing a small crowd, headed by Golden herself, as she made for her chariot.

Doing her best to hide a grimace, Luna forced her smile to remain in place as she nodded and said goodnight to the towns ponies while Strider and Shooting Star hitched themselves up, under Erebos’ watchful eye. Though, she did allow herself a more genuine grin when she exchanged a polite hoofshake with Rarity and Octavia, then what she came to know as a “hoof bump” from Vinyl Scratch, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie.

She sniggered at how Rarity gaped, aghast that anypony would dare do such a thing, while Octavia sucked in her lips and closed her eyes while she drew in a sharp breath before marching up to Vinyl and launching into a rather heated exchange—if the rapid fire signing the pair were doing was any indication at all.

Her wing tightened around Twilight’s barrel. “T’would seem that I have made myself quite the spectacle this eve,” Luna noted. “I do hope Golden Harvest does not feel upstaged.”

Twilight made a point of turning to look at Golden Harvest. The carrot farmer seemed to alternate between prancing in place or trying to feign some semblance of propriety in Luna’s presence.

“I would say she’s still walking on sunshine right about now,” Twilight said happily. “Or perhaps it’s moonlight. Hmm.”

“Oh, good. That is quite a relief.” Luna gave one final nod to Golden Harvest and said, “Many thanks for allowing me the pleasure of sharing this night with you, Golden Harvest. T’was a privilege to celebrate with you.” She looked out to the crowd, beaming at the towns ponies. “All of you.”

They bowed in reply. Luna flicked her ears up as she heard a series of thumps against the ground, then noticed Vinyl brushing the side of her snout and touching either shoulder.

She looked to Octavia for translation. The mare smiled. “Vinyl says it was nice to have a chance to talk with you, and she hopes to see you again soon.”

Vinyl went through a few more signs.

Octavia groaned. “I’m not saying that.”

More signing. Vinyl waggled her ears and jumped a few times.

“I don’t care if you think she’ll find it funny, I am not saying it!”

Luna raised an eyebrow. She just had to know. “What is she saying?”

A low whine escaped Octavia’s lips. “Do I really have to translate?”

“It would please me, yes.”

“Very well. She also says—everypony, please forgive me in advance—” with a heavy sigh, brought a hoof to her forehead. “Peace out, catch you on the flippity-flip.”

A wave of laughter and groaning swept through the crowd. Luna only barely withheld a snort of amusement as she noticed Rarity swaying as though she were about to faint.

One last bit of entertainment before she went home and took care of business with her sister and niece. Not to mention a little insight into how some of these ponies spoke and acted.

Returning her attention to Twilight, Luna went to hug her, but stopped short. Thinking a moment, she considered her options. She had a nice, big audience, eager to see her off, and she had personalized her farewells a bit. And she did owe Twilight for that little crack about her eccentricities.

A smile spread across her muzzle.

Luna turned Twilight’s head with a gentle hoof, her eyes lidded. Oh, yes. She knew exactly how to even the score. All she had to do was make sure she kept it clean.

Her promise had been to take it slow.

Never once did Luna say she would not lavish Twilight with her affections in public.

There was no doubt in her mind that Ponyville’s denizens would be talking about the eve they witnessed a crown princess swoop down and kiss their bookish librarian for years.

Loopholes, like her night sky, were a beautiful thing.

Though nowhere near as beautiful as the way Twilight froze up, blushing bright red and gaping in muted horror while Luna bid the crowd of shocked ponies one final farewell and stepped into her chariot.

It took all her self-control not to burst into maniacal laughter as she turned to Erebos and gave the command.

“Take me home, Captain,” she said. Her thoughts turned away from her stunned suitor and the gaping crowd, focusing in on two ponies she owed so much.

One she had been unfair to upon her return.

And the other who never stopped loving her, even in her darkest hour.

Luna closed her eyes and fought against the familiar sting of tears as she heard Erebos call out for Strider and Shooting Star to take flight. She was so lost in thought that she barely even noticed their hooves thundering against the ground, the wind whipping through her mane, or the chariot lurching back as they took off.

Her thoughts were with her sister and niece.

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