• Published 25th Apr 2016
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For the Good of Equestria - brokenimage321

In the wake of a great tragedy, Celestia tells, for the first time, just how much she's had to sacrifice for the good of Equestria.

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Chapter 7: Aside

“...the… the Daughters of Harmony?” Posie asked uncertainly.

Celestia nodded. “Mh-hm.”

Posie swallowed. “Um… what did he mean by that?”

Celestia opened one eye. “Harmony,” she repeated. “The old pagan goddesses. Ever hear the stories?”

Posie slowly shook her head, “No,” she said. “I… I was never very good at history…”

“It’s not history,” Celestia said quietly. “At least, not like that…”

She closed her eye again, then sighed. “Harmony,” she said. “The name for the three goddesses. Each had horns, and wings, and long, strong legs. Together, the three of them birthed the world—mother, midwife, and nursemaid, all three—and suckled it until it grew great and strong. As time passed, they gave birth to more and more—the sun, the moon, the wind, the rain, the plants, the animals—but still, they knew there was something missing. And so, they made the ponies: they gave their horns to the unicorns, their wings to the pegasi, and their hooves to the earth ponies.” She paused. “Those were the stories, anyways.”

Posie nodded carefully. “So, when he called you the Daughters of Harmony,” she said slowly, “he was calling you—”

“Goddesses,” Celestia finished. “We had horns. We had wings. We had hooves. We had defeated chaos and restored order. And we, by ourselves, could move the sun and the moon. What else could we be?”

Celestia paused, then turned and looked at Posie. “Do you have any idea what it’s like?” she asked. “Every word that drops from your mouth is scripture. Every passing wish a divine command. You don’t have servants—you have priests. You don’t have friends—you have worshippers.” She settled back down again. “But we weren’t goddesses, no matter what they said. I was a small-town weather pony, barely out of fillyhood, and Luna—Luna was barely into it. We had no knowledge, no experience. I wasn’t fit to lead a game of tag, much less a civilization.” She sighed, heavily. “And yet…” she said slowly, “it was goddesses they expected. Goddesses they needed. And so… goddesses we became.”

She settled unhappily deeper into the bed. “It wasn’t our choice,” she said, “but there wasn’t much we could’ve done—we had swept in and saved everyone, put everything right—rather literal deae ex machina. Someone was going to put us on a pedestal.” She sighed. “I tried to be a good goddess,” she said. “I taught them the principles of Harmony, as well as I could…”

Celestia closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then began to speak in a low, level voice, as if reciting: “Be loyal to those who have earned it. Be generous with all you have and are. Be kind and honest to all you meet. Laugh, when you can, for time is a gift. And always, always respect the simple, undeniable magic of life itself.”

Celestia fell silent. After a moment, she shook her head a little—and the spell was broken.

“It helped,” she continued, after a moment. “Ponies always trying to do right by everyone else makes for good politics.” She sighed. “But… I don’t know that helped our image any. They kept on calling us goddesses, even after we asked they stop.” She sighed. “they even re-started the calendar from the date we... transformed. I mean, everything was so out of whack we needed to do something about the calendar—but I would have preferred we kept the things going the way they were. Luna and I finally had to put down our hooves when they started calling our palace a temple. It took a while,” she said, “but, within a generation or two, they seemed to let up.” She hesitated. “Though…” she said, slowly, “I think that’s about when the stories of Harmony started to fade… if we were not Their daughters, did we really need Them around to be our Mothers?”

She paused, then shook her head firmly. “But if that’s what we had to do, then so be it.” She sighed heavily. “I didn’t want to be a goddess—I didn’t want to be worshipped. And I didn’t want to be a queen—I didn’t want to that responsibility. So…” she shrugged. “We made them call us Princesses.”

Posie waited for her to continue, but she said nothing. After a long moment, Posie swallowed.

“Can I ask a question?” she asked.

“Mh-hm,” Celestia murmured.

“Was there ever…?” Posie trailed off, then shook her head. “Sorry, I don’t want to pry...”

“No,” Celestia said, looking at her. “Go ahead.”

Posie took a deep breath. “Did you, uh…” She blushed. “Did you ever have a prince?”

Celestia’s eyes snapped open, and she stared. “D-did I—?” she stammered, raising her head.

Posie flinched. “I’m sorry—”

Celestia stared at her, then turned away and collapsed heavily on the bed. Posie bit her lip, mentally kicking herself. Why’d you have to ask that question? Stupid, stupid—

Finally, Celestia spoke.

“No,” she said, in a tiny voice. “No, there never was a prince.” She swallowed. “When I was young, I would have liked…” She was silent for a moment, then shook her head. “But there wasn’t time. There was so much to do, so much at stake, I didn’t have time for—for things like that.” She heaved a sigh. “And, when things began to calm down, it was… different. I was so much older than the others… I had so much to lose…” She chuckled darkly. “The god-queen of half the world could have any stallion she wanted—but consorting with a mere mortal would ruin her reputation, her standing—everything she’d worked so hard for...” She trailed off. When she began again, her voice was thick. “...no matter what title she picked for herself…”

Celestia sniffled. “They tried to get me to marry someone… to seal an alliance, or just to make sure there was an heir… but, there was so much at risk—so many ponies and politicians to negotiate with—that I didn’t dare show favoritism. If I picked one over the other, what would that do to our little house of cards?” She took a deep breath. “So I had to teach everyone—had to teach myself—to seal my treaties with bonds of friendship. Not blood.” She sighed. “As much as I would have liked to.”

Celestia went quiet. Posie swallowed nervously, but said nothing. She’d said enough.

Finally, Celestia spoke again. “The Palace still gets lonely, sometimes,” she said, her voice level again. “Especially at nights. But…” She swallowed. “...it’s been so long that it doesn’t hurt so much.” She hesitated. “Not anymore.”

She lay still for a moment, then turned again to look at Posie. “Luna, though…” She swallowed. “Luna came from a big family. A mom, a dad, three or four siblings.” She sighed. “I think a dragon got them, before she joined our little group… Either way, Luna never forgot how happy she had been with them.” She sighed. “And I think that’s what she wanted most of all—to have a family of her own,” She said quietly. “Luna held out hope a lot longer than I did… Up until…” She fell silent, bit her lip, then began again. “She looked, but she was a good girl; if they weren’t in it for her… if they were after her position, or to stroke their own ego…” she smirked. “Well, she was firm, let me say that.” She paused. “That’s one thing that I loved about Luna,” she said. “I was so busy making sure the whole kingdom didn’t end up in a ditch that I didn’t have much time for the little things—for the individual.” She smiled, just a little. “But Luna—Luna could make anyone feel special—like she knew them, and she cared for them personally. And, quite often, she really did.” She smiled for another moment—but then her smile faltered. “But that was just the problem...”