• Published 21st Sep 2015
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Muffins for Luna - Feenkatze



Luna doesn't seem to have a lot in common with Derpy. So, why does she enjoy spending time with her so much?

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Chapter 3: Luna’s Day Off

Luna walked down the street, smiling grimly at herself. She knew that Celestia would understand her need to take a break, but that didn’t make her feel better about this. She couldn’t get rid of the feeling that she was letting her down once again.

So, why had she still decided to take the day off? Why now, why here?

In front of her, the town hall appeared. It reminded her of when she had first come to Ponyville, less than two years ago on the night of the Summer Sun Celebration, hiding in a cloud of purple smoke. Her sister had been waiting for her. There had been no fight – Celestia had known that she was no match for the dark powers that Luna had unleashed, not without the Elements of Harmony. Instead, she had looked at Luna – at Nightmare Moon – with tired eyes and surrendered herself.

Luna shivered, turning away from the sight.

She headed towards the library, not sure where else to go until Derpy was done with her work. Maybe she would have a talk with Twilight Sparkle once she was there. The unicorn’s advice had proven helpful to her before. Alternatively, she could always pass the time just reading. Her studies of the modern world had gotten completely neglected in the stress of the past weeks, so this might be a chance to catch up a bit.

The street lead her to a small park, which she remembered from Nightmare Night, even if it now lacked the festive decorations. A cobbled path ran around it, seamed by small bushes. Old rowan trees grew at its side, each one with a bench at its foot, one of which was occupied by two mares: a unicorn with a mint-colored coat, and an earth pony who was resting her head on the unicorn’s lap. Luna blinked and looked again. The way the unicorn petted the earth pony’s neck and played with her mane looked so tender, so loving. And the look in her eyes …

Were those two a couple? Openly engaging is such activities, in a public place, in bright daylight? Then again, the way society viewed relationships had obviously changed in her absence, so maybe it was possible for a mare and another mare to openly have a relationship. She decided to do some research on that, just to avoid awkward situations. As she passed them, Luna threw another glance at the mares, a smile sneaking onto her lips. That did look comfortable.

Leaving the park, she noticed pegasi working in the sky above, pulling together large chunks of clouds. One of them Luna recognized as Rainbow Dash, the Element of Loyalty, flying back and forth and yelling orders towards her coworkers. Telling from the size of the gray bulk, there had to be a particularly heavy rainfall scheduled for this afternoon. She hoped Derpy would be fine.

Still in thought, Luna arrived at the foot of the big tree that was the library.

“Princess Luna!” Twilight gasped as she opened the door. “What brings you here? Is everything alright? Did something happen to Princess Celestia?”

“Do not worry, Twilight Sparkle, everything is in order. I am just taking a day off.”

She reached out a foreleg with the intention to bump hooves with Twilight, as she understood was the common greeting nowadays. Twilight didn’t answer the gesture though, instead shaking the hoof formally. Perhaps, Luna should do research on that as well some time.

“Your visit is certainly an honor,” Twilight said, gesturing for her to come in. “Please make yourself at home. Can I get you anything?”

“Thank you, I was just hoping to do a little research.”

The word research had an interesting effect on Twilight: her eyes widened, and a grin appeared on her face that was just adorable. Luna could suddenly understand her sister’s obsession with the unicorn a lot better.

“You're here to research? In my library?”

“Right now I’m trying to understand the modern concept of romance. Tell me: is it accepted in today’s society to be in a relationship with a pony of the same gender?”

Twilight blushed, very slightly. “Um, yes, I’d say it’s perfectly normal even. When I think of the books that some ponies ask for … but that’s a different story.”

“What kind of books are you referring to?” Luna asked, puzzled. Twilight's blush deepened.

“Um. You know, those kind of books. The ones in the restricted section.”

Now Luna’s interest was roused. What kind of restricted knowledge was Twilight referring to? It had to be highly magical and dangerous.

“Can you recommend one of those?”

Unable to answer properly, a now very awkward Twilight went away to a hidden corner of the room and returned with a thin tome. Scarlet’s Sweet Secret was the title that was emblazoned on it in red letters.

“I guess it makes sense that you would want to research the topic as thoroughly as possible. For science.”

“And are there any other books that you can recommend?”

“Oh, there are plenty … maybe you’d also be interested in something, well, safer?”

Twilight walked along the shelves and pulled out tomes, and before Luna knew it, a tower of books was growing before her eyes. Twilight grabbed a scroll and a quill and noted down the titles.

“I’ll mark them as temporarily unavailable, so you can take your time and return them whenever you want to.”

Luna stepped forward to hug her. “I cannot thank you enough, Twilight Sparkle.”

“It’s fine, don't worry. Just doing my job.” She still seemed flustered.

Confused by her reluctance, Luna let go of her – had she done something wrong? But Twilight didn’t say anything, so she assumed that it was alright.

Luna sat down in an armchair and picked up the book on top of the stack. The Mare from the End of the Street – that sounded like fiction. Since her banishment, she had not granted herself the luxury of reading anything outside of textbooks, but it was her day off, and if Twilight had suggested it, she was convinced that it had to be helpful in some way.

She started reading the first pages. The prose was a lot different from what she was used to, but she had to admit that it was enjoyable. Soon, she found herself deeply immersed in the book, eager to get to the next chapter, and the next …

It told the tale of a young mare who fell in love with another mare. Her family, however, tried to keep them from seeing each other. The book took the reader through the ups and downs of their lives, until, after a heartbreaking scene in which they confessed their love, everything turned out well.

Luna didn’t look up from her lecture until finishing the very last paragraph. This had been quite a read – looking at the clock, she realized that she was running late to meet Derpy in time, so absorbed in the story had she been. She couldn’t wait to read those other books, but for now, she used a quick spell to send them to her room in Canterlot.

Twilight looked up from her own book. “You have to go? Feel free to come by again at any time. It’s always fun to have a reading buddy!”

Luna was unsure about whether or not to hug the unicorn this time, but Twilight walked her to the door and bowed, so she left her be.

“Goodbye, Twilight Sparkle. It was a delight.”

“Take care! And have fun with your books!”

When Luna stepped outside, she noticed the puddles in the street. Apparently, she had missed the big downpour. As she hurried to get to Sugarcube Corner, the pegasi were still busy with driving away the remains of the rain clouds. The Sun sent its beams through a crack in the gray curtains and let Sugarcube Corner shine in even brighter colors than before.

“Luna! Luna!”

Derpy glided down from above the rooftops and spread her wings to more or less gracefully land in front of her. Her mane was still a little wet from the rain, and her coat had become shaggy. Luna turned towards her and hugged her, though a bit reluctantly after her experience with Twilight. Derpy didn’t seem to mind, though, gently squeezing her and not letting go before Luna did.

“Is it okay if we go to my place?” Derpy asked. “I feel like taking a good brush; I’m all sticky from the rain.”

“Of course. I would like to see where you live, for that matter.”

Derpy took Luna down the street and around a corner, into a small alley. “That rain really got me by surprise. I don’t know who’s responsible for the schedule this week, but I’m sure that they’ve never carried mail. Some of the letters got wet even, and of course everypony is blaming me.”

“That sounds unpleasant. Do you have to deal with conditions like this often?”

“If it’s too bad we don’t have to work. But I always fly out anyway, even in thunder or hail. I mean, the mail has to be delivered somehow. And I am a mailmare, right?”

She spoke with so much pride that it sent shivers down Luna’s back.

“Also,” Derpy continued, “it makes ponies happy. When I deliver in a blizzard, they ask me to come in, and I get muffins and hot chocolate, and everypony is smiling at me, and there’s this fuzzy feeling, you know. That’s a great reward.”

They came into a bigger street and stopped in front of one of the houses. It looked rather old, the yellow paint scaling off the walls.

“Here we are!” Derpy gently pushed Luna through the entrance door and up the slim wooden stairs. Luna had to duck her head and be careful not to trip on the small steps. Unlike the castle, this building was clearly not designed with alicorns in mind.

“Turn left,” Derpy directed as they reached the first floor. “It’s open. I always lose my keys anyway, so I figured I’d just leave the door unlocked.”

Luna opened the wooden door and ducked her head again. She barely fit through the frame.

While the house didn’t seem to be in too good a state overall, the room she entered looked much nicer. The walls were painted orange, giving it a warm, welcoming atmosphere. In one corner stood a wooden table with two chairs, the other had a small kitchenette, and a single, wide-open window faced the street. Derpy passed Luna to close it.

“I’ll be with you in a second.”

She went off through a door. Luna gave the apartment one last look and settled down on one of the chairs, crossing her forelegs on the table. She liked it in here, she decided. It was cozy.

Derpy returned, a brush in her mouth, and sat down on the floor. As she brushed herself, she had to stretch in impressive ways to reach every part of her body, holding the tool in her mouth. Only when it came to the parts where she had to operate it with her hooves, she struggled.

“May I help you?” Luna offered.

“Oh, that would actually make it a lot easier.”

Without getting up, Luna took the brush with her magic and began to gently stroke with it along the grain of Derpy’s hair. At first it felt a little strange to Luna to do this, but as Derpy hummed in contentment and leaned into the brushing, she pushed away any reluctance there might have been.

As they were finished and Luna laid down the brush, Derpy pounced at her without warning, almost knocking her off the chair.

“That felt sooo good, thank you!”

“You’re quite welcome.”

Now that they were this close, Luna couldn’t resist running a hoof through Derpy’s coat. She was so soft!

“So, what do you wanna do now?” Derpy asked, drawing back.

“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

“Hm. We already ate muffins. I don’t know, maybe we could do something like bowling?”

“Bowling?”

“It’s a game where you roll a ball over the floor and hit stuff. I’ve never played it myself, but I’ve heard that it’s fun. Hey, it would make it a fair game if we’re both new to it!”

“Then we shall try it together.”

When they left Bill’s Bowling Bar two hours later, Luna giggled like a madmare. Derpy on the other hoof was silent, walking beside her and looking on the ground in shame.

“Oh, I am so terribly sorry,” Luna managed to get out, catching her breath. “This is unbecoming of me. But his face was hilarious!”

Derpy didn’t look up. “At least you had fun.”

Luna laughed again. Bowling had been great, even though she doubted they would be welcome at this particular establishment a second time. If she weren’t Princess of Equestria, they probably wouldn’t have been allowed to stay even this long. But as she had made it clear that she wanted Derpy to stay with her, nopony had dared to stand up against that.

Of course she would pay for the damages later.

“Do not fret, my dear. It was worth giving a try, was it not?”

Derpy shook her head. “I should’ve known better. You saw how the other ponies looked at me. Do you know what they call me? A catastrophe.”

Luna’s smile faded. She only knew Derpy with a cheery grin on her face, but now she looked so miserable that it broke her heart.

“Derpy, look at me. I think you’re a wonderful pony, and I don’t care if you break things on occasion.”

“But I care. I can ignore what they say, but I can’t ignore how I feel about myself. I just don’t want to always be the one screwing up.”

Luna, following some sort of intuition, offered her a hug. That seemed to become a habit of theirs, she thought. She wrapped her wings around Derpy protectively, feeling the pegasus’s body press against her.

“I’m sorry,” Derpy sobbed. “I wanted you to have a good day.”

“So far this has been the best day of my last one thousand and … oh, way too many years. What are we doing next?”

“I don’t know if I’m up for anything big right now.”

“That’s fine. We can always return to your place if you want to.”

Derpy thoughtfully nuzzled Luna’s chest, before pulling out of the embrace. “Maybe we can take a walk at the riverside? It’s a nice place to go.”

“That certainly sounds pleasant.”

Derpy took off in a running start, and with one wing beat Luna followed her, glad to see that a small smile had returned to her face. At least there seemed to be one thing she was doing right.

They soared across Ponyville, Derpy taking the lead at a comfortable pace. Soon, they reached the edge of the town. In the distance, they could see a farm, with a mud road running through a cluster of apple orchards. Their heading was a different one though: towards the Everfree Forest, which seamed the horizon in its unfathomable depth. At its border, there was a small cottage, where Luna knew Fluttershy, the Element of Kindness, lived.

The river was running near the cottage, a blue band stretching across the patchwork of fields and meadows. Derpy started descending gently, and soon approached a small bridge. When she got close to the ground, Luna did a quarter turn and took a big load of air into her wings to slow down, gently dropping onto the river bank.

She turned towards Derpy, who apparently had a bit more trouble. Her glide angle was too steep as she came down, and so she hit the ground too hard, tripping forwards. Luna reached out a hoof, barely getting a hold of her before she fell into the water.

“Thanks for the save,” Derpy said.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I think so. This happens to me a lot. It’s a thing with my eyes. I can’t estimate distances very well, so that’s pretty bad for flying.”

“I see. It must be hard for you to do a landing at all then.”

Derpy nodded. “But I have a lot of practice, so most times I manage.”

She ruffled her wings and folded them back to her sides, then stepped onto the trail that went alongside the river. Luna followed her, walking up to her side.

The ground was soft, and high grass tickled Luna’s legs. A choir of birds sang in a multitude of voices, while the stream rippled next to them. It was a peaceful place, away from the bustle of the town, away from other ponies. She could see why Derpy wanted to come here.

Luna walked quietly, observing her companion from the corner of her eye. One of Derpy’s eyes was turned towards her, never leaving her; the other one, though, looked forwards. Luna still hadn’t gotten quite used to that.

“Say, Derpy.”

“Hm?”

“Can you really see two things at a time?”

Derpy nodded. “I can. But it’s hard to concentrate on two things at once, so most of the time it’s more distracting than helpful. Can’t do much about it though, they have a life of their own.”

“How interesting.”

“That’s one way to say it. Most ponies call me weird for it.”

“But you’re not. You just have very special eyes.”

“I know. And I’m happy that you think about it that way, too.”

They fell into silence again. Luna enjoyed the sensation of grass beneath her hooves, the warm tingling of the Sun on her back. She had missed those things during her banishment, and even the soft smell of rain and the sound that it made when it poured onto the ground. But that was over now. She was back in Equestria, and right now, she was enjoying a nice day. It suddenly seemed unreal how much she had worried about some paperwork this very morning.

She was a free mare. This was her day off, and she was happy.

It took them over an hour of walking to get back to Ponyville, and by the time they returned to Derpy’s apartment, it was already dusk. Derpy fetched them muffins for dinner, and they sat together and talked until it was time to raise the Moon.

Luna got up and headed for the window. There was no need to see the sky for what she was about to do, but she liked to have a good view regardless. Luna could feel her sister pulling at the Sun ever so gently, so that the day would make room for Luna’s night. She could feel her through the connection, standing on her balcony back in Canterlot and looking at her sunset.

Letting her know that she was there, Luna got a hold of the Moon and brought it into position. Celestia had just been waiting for that cue. She moved the Sun out of the way, slowly pushing it past the horizon, painting the sky in hues of orange and purple. In the distance, the first stars lit up. Finally, Luna dragged the Moon onto the sky, where it remained on its path, locked in the ancient mechanism that drove it ever forwards.

The Moon looked so tiny from down here.

“Luna?” Derpy said, and as Luna turned around, she could see her watching in awe. “I have a question, but I don’t know if it’s a weird thing to ask.”

“Just go ahead.”

“How exactly did you get to be in charge of the Moon? I mean, it doesn’t seem like a job you’d just apply for, right?”

“Indeed it is not – this duty is one that I had been chosen for before I was even born. But if you really want to hear about that, we will have to start at the very beginning.”

“Yay, story time!”

Derpy lay down on the floor and rested her head on her forelegs, looking at Luna expectantly. Luna sat down, folding her hooves.

“Back when the world was young …”

Luna hadn’t told the story to anypony in a long time. With it, memories came back: memories of her mother, the lovely Princess Laurentia, all-mother of ponies, with her pristine coat and her mane that shone like liquid copper. Princess Laurentia, the first alicorn, who had created day and night, making the Earth inhabitable for creatures of all kinds.

She told Derpy the whole story. Of the Ancients, most of whom, seeing how much the world was changing, had decided that it was time to pass away. How her mother had created the pegasi, unicorns, and earth ponies, to fill the world with harmony. And how, eventually, she had decided to create herself two daughters, Celestia and her, to fill her place, so that she, too, could go in peace. By the end, Luna had to fight back tears.

Derpy crawled up to her, offering a hoof around her shoulders. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. For every being, even immortals, comes the time when their time in this world is over. I can accept that. But I have failed her. I have abandoned everything that Mother wanted me to care for.”

“You made some mistakes. But that’s in the past now. I think your mom would understand what you have gone through.”

“It doesn’t matter. For a millennium, I left my sister with a burden she was never meant to bear on her own. What if it happens again? What if Nightmare Moon is still there, deep inside of me?”

“You’re scared, and that’s okay! But you’re better than what you’re making yourself out to be. I believe in you!”

Luna buried her head in Derpy’s shoulder. “Thank you. You don’t know how much that means.”

Derpy gently stroked her back.

“Thank you for being a friend,” Luna muttered.

They sat together like that for several minutes, until Luna realized how late it had become. She shook herself and got up.

“I should leave soon. The way back to Canterlot takes some time.”

“You could always stay over night, friend.” Derpy grinned as she said the word ‘friend’. “If you want to.”

The invitation was tempting. Too tempting, Luna decided, to decline at such an hour, as the sheer thought of flying made her yawn.

“So be it.”

Derpy beamed at her, but then she had to yawn, too.

“Do you wanna go to bed now? Because I’m kind of tired.”

“If you do not mind. It is going to be a long day tomorrow.”

Derpy guided her into the bedroom, which, in contrast to the orange living room, was painted dark blue, reminding Luna of the night sky. A massive bed was squeezed into a corner, laden with a mountain of pillows. The floor was covered with a fluffy, light blue carpet, onto which Derpy collapsed immediately.

“You can have the bed, Luna.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely sure. Could you just throw some of those pillows at me?”

Luna took about half of them with her magic and shoved them onto the floor.

“I’ll be up kind of early tomorrow,” Derpy said, “but I guess you’ll have to set the moon anyway.”

“Yes, and then I have to leave.”

“Right. So … good night?”

Luna knelt down to give her one last hug. The gesture already felt familiar: the warmth of Derpy’s body, the softness of her coat. Luna gave all of her gratefulness into the embrace, for all the things she had experienced that day.

Then she let go and climbed into the bed. It was nice and cozy, and smelled just like Derpy. She snuggled herself into the pillows. They were quite soft, but they could never substitute the mare lying on the floor.