• 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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38: Rest Now, My Darling

In some respects, Luna did feel just the slightest bit guilty about letting her first date—such a silly term, really—last until well after midnight. An infinitesimally small, almost nonexistent portion of her mind, but the thought was there. And it was the thought that counted, as her sister would say.

The rest of her was only saddened that Twilight grew tired, a sign that their date must come to an end unless she wanted to carry around her beloved’s sleeping form. Adorable and endearing as that might be, her date would likely disagree, even if she would not vocalize her dissent.

Unless, of course, Luna could persuade her to open her dream realm up so they might enjoy one another’s company in the dream realm …

Nay. Luna scolded herself as they carriage thudded and bumped along the path up to the castle, her gaze flitted to the tired young mare tucked snugly beneath her wing. The tiniest of smiles graced her beautiful mulberry face as she yawned and tried to blink the sleep away, looking up at Luna through bleary eyes.

Twilight nosed against her shoulder and curled up, almost begging Luna to wrap her wing tighter. A request the Princess of the Night was delighted to fulfill.

“Tonight was fun,” Twilight murmured softly, her lips brushing against Luna’s midnight blue coat, sending shivers up her leg. With a content sigh, she planted a gentle kiss on her shoulder. “Thank you for dinner.”

Luna felt a flurry of butterflies flutter about in her chest and a broad smile tug at her lips. “I am gratified that you enjoyed it. Your company, as always, was a joy, my dear. I thank you for accepting my invitation.” With a smile, she dotted Twilight’s head with a gentle kiss. The scent of strawberries mingled with the familiar aroma of musty pages and the biting iron from ink.

It was her scent. Pure aroma of Twilight. If only somepony, a fragrance company perhaps, could bottle and sell it, Luna would be a happy mare. Eau de l’étudiante, they could call it.

Or, more preferably, she could hold Twilight tight, just as she was now. And never let go.

The carriage rolled to a halt, jostling the pair forward. Twilight stirred and let out a yawn. “Are we in Ponyville already?” she mumbled.

Luna shook her head. “Nay,” she replied, kissing her love’s nose. “I felt it would more prudent if I were to let you rest in your old room this night, lest you fall asleep on the flight home and catch cold.”

“Wouldn’t get sick,” came Twilight’s weak protest. She cracked open a bleary eye and leveled Luna with a playful glare, ruined by the tired smile upon her face. “Just want to keep me here all to yourself, don’t you?”

“I shan’t deny that the prospect is most appealing.” In fact, Luna wished she could claim it with honesty. “However, I would prefer that you rest well so we may return you to your lovely little town on the morrow. Mayhaps after breakfast, yes?”

An incomprehensible, sleepy mumble spilled forth from Twilight’s lips. She nodded into Luna’s side, then resumed nuzzling against her. “You smell nice,” she murmured, drinking in a deep breath through her nose and heaving a contented sigh. “Lilac?”

“One of my favorite fragrances. My sister gifted it to me upon my return.”

“Nice of her.” Another yawn escaped her lips. Twilight let out an irritable snuffling snort as Erebos tugged the carriage door open and lowered the steps. Blinking owlishly, she rose on wobbling knees and made to exit, but she stumbled a step.

Luna’s wing held her fast, but the Princess of the Night tightened her hold to steady her beloved. “Perhaps,” she mused, her voice full of amusement, “I should carry this exhausted beauty to her bed. What say you, Erebos?”

Her faithful captain gave a fanged grin. “You may be right, Princess. A most romantic gesture as well.”

“Splendid.” Without waiting for Twilight to consent, she lit her horn. A tendril of teal magic wrapped around her barrel and gently lifted her into the air, then laid the smaller mare upon her back, so her head rested upon Luna’s neck, and her chest settled between mighty wing joints.

Twilight let out a sound that seemed a mix between a grumble and a whine of protest, but did nothing to dislodge herself. Rather, she wrapped her hooves around Luna’s neck and nuzzled into her shoulder. Her soft, rhythmic breathing played across midnight coat, drawing a fluff of feathers and a merry swish of starry tail.

Luna carried her into the castle and down the corridor without complaint. Not a burden in the slightest, her weight more a reminder that there was somepony she could call hers.

Perhaps that was getting a bit too far ahead of herself. But who could fault her? She had the privilege of sharing her love with the mare who changed her life.

With a simple flick of magic, Luna pushed open the door to Twilight’s old room and trotted inside. She stopped by the bedside and tugged the covers down, then floated her dozing lover off her back and safely into her bed, and tucked her in. Not like mother and daughter or even teacher and student, she reminded herself with a smile as bright as the twinkling stars dancing in her night sky.

Just as her head hit the pillow, Twilight once again opened her eyes enough to peer at Luna. A tiny smile tugged at her lips, she leaned up to nuzzle a circle around Luna’s nose. “You’re going to spoil me doing things like this,” she mumbled before planting a soft, fluffy kiss on her midnight blue lips. “I’m going to get used to you carrying me around and letting me ride in carriages.”

“Perhaps this is my plan,” Luna whispered in reply. She pecked Twilight’s lips, then returned the nuzzle. “Perhaps it is my wish that you grow accustomed to the life of a princess’s suitor so that I might show you off at formal events across the land. Or so I might persuade you to take more permanent residence here, with me.”

A musical croon sounded from the back of her throat. Twilight shifted beneath the covers until she was comfortable, then snuggled into the pillow. “That’d be nice,” she replied. “Or you could come to Ponyville. The library is cozier.”

Luna did her best not to read into it. She took a deep breath, then another, and told herself that the words, though flattering, were the product of a date gone well, gentle kisses and snuggling, and the sleep-addled mind of a young mare whose brain had long stopped filtering between thoughts and mouth.

Oh, but what a lovely idea that would be. Herself and Twilight, together in Golden Oak Library. With little Spike for company as well.

Cozy. Quiet. Just them.

Be still her beating heart.

Twilight’s breathing quieted, her chest rose and fell in a slow, even rhythm as her eyes fluttered shut. “Night, Luna,” she mumbled.

“Sweet dreams, my dear,” Luna replied, dotting her cheek with a kiss. She thought for a moment, then leaned up to whisper in her ear, “As promised, I shan’t meddle. But if your dreams ever trouble you, call out. I will come without fail and banish any nightmares that haunt your slumber.”

Mulberry lips tugged into a sleepy smile. Twilight gave a happy hum, then relaxed. Within a few short moments, she drifted right off to sleep.

Luna stood silent watch, focusing a moment as she waited for Twilight to enter the dream realm. Her feathers twitched. There! There she was, safe and sound, and slumbering peacefully. With barely a thought, she sent a piece of her consciousness to stand watch over the door to her beloved’s dreams—not a tiny sliver as she did with others, but something more …

Active.

She stole a final kiss from her sleeping lover, then turned and exited the room, shutting the door behind her with a soft click of the latch. I may have promised not to enter her dreams without permission, she mused, but I made no bargain not to guard them like a dragon protecting her hoard.

The walk to her quarters was short, taking her from the more bright and sunny décor Celestia so favored in her wing into the soft shades of blue, high gothic arches, and flaming torches she adored. Her Night Guard was out in force, as per usual. Each greeted her with fanged smiles and bows, earning a nod in turn.

Cygnus and Cassius awaited her by her door. Without waiting for prompting, they pushed it open to admit her. Such well-mannered foals, all of them, albeit mischievous in their own right.

As the door shut behind her, Luna took a moment to reflect on the evening’s events. She drank in a deep breath through her nose and held it, her eyes wandered around her room to enjoy her private space a moment longer. And maybe, just maybe, she could imagine it may one day belong to another as well.

Bookshelves filled to the brim would go just perfectly with her old statues, paintings, full body mirror, and oaken desk. Certainly, another could fit somewhere.

Idly, she glanced at her desk, her eyes found the locked drawer on the lower right side. She let out the breath she held in a long, slow hiss through her teeth. “Perhaps,” she said, glowering at it as if hoping it might burst into flames, “I should simply be rid of you, and your contents. If I may have a clean slate, perhaps I should remove the memories you hold and gift it to her, and find peace that way.” Thinking on it a moment longer, she wrinkled her snout. “Nay. T’would burden her with my past. And I shan’t do that any further. Destroying you is far more fitting.” Her jaw set. “And then she may have the space for herself, if she wishes.”

And then, she called to her tormentor, smirking smugly as she thought of the voice trapped in its mental cage, I may finally say I am free of you as well.

No answer came.

Good.

A yawn forced its way up her throat, and through her lips. Luna blinked. When had she, the Princess of the Night, ever grown tired at such an early hour? Never in the years before her fall, and certainly not before courting Twilight …

Ah, yes. Of course. Her daily routine had been altered to accommodate Twilight in recent months.

She chuckled and shook her head, smiling despite herself. “Some sacrifices must be made,” she said. “T’is only natural when one is in love.”

Another yawn coaxed its way free, this one longer and deeper than the one before. Luna lit her horn and wrapped her regalia in the soft teal glow of her magic, removing it gently and floating it over to rest on a cushion set on a polished oak table near the door, right where Moondancer could easily see. Then she shuffled over to her large canopy bed, pulled back the comforter, and laid down on a mattress so soft, pegasi would forsake their clouds to lay upon it for but a moment.

With a contented sigh, she closed her eyes and allowed herself to drift off into the dream realm herself. Though, not without one final thought about the lovely mare just down the hall.

Perhaps she will be comfortable enough that our dreams might join someday. And then, I may enjoy her company and share a world of pure imagination—an artist’s delight.


Luna opened her eyes without feeling the slightest hint of sleep lingering in her body. No bleary eyes or dried mouth. Her body felt weightless, as if she hadn’t laid down hours ago for her slumber, yet she felt rested. Had she overslept? Why had Celestia not roused her to lower the moon?

Curious, she stole a glance toward her window. Her brows knit together.

No sunlight peeked through the curtains. Not a hint. Something was wrong. Something was out of sorts in her room. She new it, she could feel it within her, a cold shiver that ran down her spine as a tiny tickle, like a spider’s legs, crawled along her feathers and starry tail.

If only she could figure out what.

Feathers twitching anxiously, Luna threw off her covers and slid out of bed. Her teal eyes darted about each corner of her room, searching the shadows with her flawless vision. None could hide from the Princess of the Night when the sun set and Equestria became her domain, least of all in her own room.

Yet she found nothing.

But there was something.

Something was amiss. Something was in her room. But she saw neither hide nor hair of another pony, nor did she hear the familiar whump-whump-whump of an over-eager diamond dog’s tail wagging, or the low, throaty growl of a griffon waiting to pounce upon its prey.

She sniffed. There was no scent. Nothing. Not even a whiff of one of her faithful Night Guards hiding while they waited for her to stumble into whatever trick they set up for their beloved princess, the devious little foals.

Nothing.

But there was something.

Luna strode toward the window, her eyes narrowed into a glare at the thick curtains. If somepony or something dared to hide in her room, in such an obvious spot, they would find her most unaccommodating to intruders. No matter how good her mood might have been just a short while before.

Then there was a muffled click, like a key being turned in a lock.

A muffled click she knew all too well.

It was behind her.

Luna’s breath hitched in her throat. No. It couldn’t be.

She turned slowly, her ears pinned flat against her scalp. Her eyes were as wide as dinner plates as she looked over to her desk, and zeroed in on the drawer on the bottom right.

It was open. A key still hung in the hole.

A whimper tore from the back of her throat before she could stop herself. No. It couldn’t be! Only two possessed the keys—herself and Celestia. Her sister swore never to open the drawer again, she vowed upon the very sun she raised and set never to seek its contents without her permission!

The book!

With shaking hooves and trembling wings, she walked toward it. Her starry tail tucked between her legs, her breaths came ragged and short, like a mouse being hunted by a hawk. Luna bit her lip to hold a low, anxious whine that threatened to escape. She whispered frantic assurances under her breath.

“Nothing is wrong, it’s not missing. Nothing is wrong, it’s not missing.” She was two steps away now. A lump formed in the back of her throat. “I—I must have opened it last night,” she said. “I was trying … trying to take Tia’s advice. And Twilight’s. And then I faltered, and fled to bed. I merely forgot to close it.” Luna clenched her eyes shut and gave a stiff nod as she took those last two steps. “Yes, that’s right. I—”

The drawer was empty.

A strangled cry, something between a whimper and a sob, escaped her lips. No. No, no, no! Where was it?

Something thumped down upon the wooden table beside the mirror. Luna started, her wings flared out, ready to take flight from whatever knew her secret.

Again, there was nothing before her. Nothing but her statues, her bed, the table with her regalia, a covered full body mirror which stood beside another, smaller wooden table, and …

The cold claw of fear gripped her heart for the first time since she gazed upon Celestia after the Elements purified her of her darker trappings. Luna took backpedalled until her rump hit the wall hard.

The book.

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