• Published 30th Sep 2015
  • 2,846 Views, 35 Comments

Cruel Beauty - ObabScribbler

Deep in the catacombs beneath the Crystal Castle, Cadence and Shining Armour discover something that brings Luna running.

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5. Questions

“He is safe!”

“He nearly killed Twilight and Cadence! He is dangerous!”

“And what would you have me do, sister? Banish him to the moon?”

Celestia reeled back. “That is a low blow, Luna.”

Luna’s stricken expression told her that she thought so too. She dropped her head. “The question remains a pertinent one, Celestia. What would you have me do? He recovered his memories and I was not around. His last thoughts before he was frozen in crystal were of me and the encounter with Sombra. He was my bodyguard. He … panicked.” Her voice had become so soft by the end of her explanation that it was unclear whether she even believed it herself. “He was worried about me.”

“And his solution was to attack anypony who came near him and destroy as much of the castle as his magic could reach. That is not the Mystic I remember.” Celestia stepped closer to Luna and placed a gentle hoof on her shoulder. “Cadence is pregnant, Luna. Visibly so. He cannot have failed to notice that. And yet –”

“Yet he attacked her. I know,” Luna replied brokenly. “I know…”

Mystic was now with the castle physicians, being checked over after the fight. Cadence and Twilight were in the medical wing, each recovering well but shaken up by the experience. Twilight, in particular, worried Celestia. Some of it was the eternal soft spot she held for her faithful student but most originated from the way Twilight’s gaze had kept flicking around the room as she spoke to her former teacher, as if she was constantly worried somepony was about to knock down the door or wall. For a pony who had once taken on Tirek alone, the behaviour was worrisome.

“You need to talk to Twilight.”

For a moment Luna seemed to bristle. Celestia wondered if she was going to accuse her of caring more for her former student than her own flesh and blood. Then Luna’s shoulders lowered and the moment passed.

“I will.”

“Good. Mystic frightened her very badly.”

“Twilight Sparkle is a very resilient pony.”

“Be that as it may, you are not going to send Mystic away. You will want to keep him close because you know who he was and who you want him to be again. She does not. Before, she has faced opponents who tried to kill her by defeating them and moving on. Getting over a bad experience is helped immeasurably by having closure on the matter. But Mystic will be in her life if you choose to keep him in yours.”

“Which I do,” Luna replied sharply.

Celestia nodded. “This whole situation is going to take work, Luna. I hope you understand how much.”

“I do.”

Celestia held in her last ‘I hope so’. Instead, she pulled Luna in for a hug with both wings and forelegs. “The heart wants what the heart wants, Luna, but remember that there are others who care for you also and they need to be considered too.”

“I understand, sister.” Luna returned the hug before pulling away. “I need to go and see him now.”

Celestia watched her sister depart, alabaster face showing only a fraction of what she was thinking.

“Twilight!” Rarity descended on her on a cloud of perfume and tightly clasped forelegs. “Darling, I was so worried about you! Oh, are you all right? You look positively peaky!”

“I’m fine. Ow!”

Rarity drew back in alarm. Twilight winced, moving her ice-pack back into place.


Rarity’s beautiful face crumpled into an expression of total and absolute woe. Nopony could do emotional outbursts like she could. “Oh, darling!” she wailed. “You must come and sit down immediately!”

“Rarity! Seriously, I’m fine. Applejack is a pretty good calliper.”

Applejack blinked. “Huh?”

“A crutch, darling,” Rarity supplied.

“Oh.” She blinked again. “Should I be insulted at that?”

Mystic waylaid the question by trotting past them. Princess Luna still sat that the small wrought iron table outside the café tent. She and Rarity had picked a peripheral spot and it was clear from the two cups on the table that the fashionista had taken the rather Trottingham-esque approach of ‘tea makes everything better’. Luna stared at her cup, a faint blush colouring her cheeks.

“My princess,” Mystic said softly. “Friend Twilight has returned.”

“I can see that, Mystic,” she replied, equally soft but with something like a snap in her voice, as though during their absence a light frost had settled over her vocal chords.

“I’m fine,” Twilight called. “No permanent damage.”

Luna’s gaze slid barely sideways, teetering on the rim of her cup. “That is … good.”

Her answer was not as pleased as Twilight might have expected. She frowned and trotted forward, Applejack keeping pace beside her as though she had spent years matching their hoof-falls.

“Princess Luna? Are you okay?” Twilight asked.

“I am fine,” Luna retorted. “Why would I not be fine?” She swallowed visibly. “It is good that you are … not permanently damaged, Twilight.”

Behind them, Twilight heard Rarity reach Mystic and whisper, “This is the most she’s said since you left, poor dear.”

“Hmm.” His response remained deep in his throat and Twilight didn’t know him well enough to interpret the noise as good or bad.

“Princess Luna, what’s wrong?” Twilight tried again.

“Wrong?” Luna’s eyes finally flashed up at her. She saw them take in the ice-pack, Applejack’s braced form and Twilight’s extended wing spread over the earth pony’s back. They seemed to widen briefly and then narrowed almost to slits. “Why would anything be wrong? This day has been just … perfect!” She spat out the last word like it burned her tongue.

Twilight arched her neck instinctively, pulling her head away from the angry alicorn. “Princess L-”

Luna slammed both forehooves down on the table-top. “Just … perfect!” she boomed, the Royal Canterlot Voice seeping into her tone and upsetting both teacups. Warm liquid spattered over her silver horseshoes and dribbled into her lap but she barely seemed to notice. Instead, her horn glowed and she vanished in a blaze of light.

“What the hoo-haa –” Applejack started.

“She teleported,” Twilight gasped. “Why … where …? I don’t understand.”

As with so many crises in her life, Twilight wished Princess Celestia was here. Though she had long since learned that her mentor was not infallible, and that she did not always have all the answers to every problem, Twilight had spent too much of her youth looking up and knowing the comforting presence of Celestia would keep her safe no matter what. Logic collided with childhood certainty and they fell together in a tangled, contradictory heap in her head.

Yet the burst of light that followed her thoughts did not come from the arrival of a tall white princess. It came from behind her, and when she turned her head, it was to see Rarity blinking spots from her eyes.

You’re supposed to warn somepony if you plan to teleport that close to them, Twilight thought distantly. Her closer thoughts redirected themselves into more pressing matters. Mystic teleported too?

“What is going on here?”

Unfortunately, neither of her friends had an answer for her.

Comments ( 2 )

keep up the good work :yay:

I absolutely love that this is continuing! I really hope that the rest of it is finished too. It’s one of my favorite stories that you have written (in its original form) so the chance for Luna to get a happy ending in the extended version has me jumping with joy.

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