• Published 10th Sep 2016
  • 1,939 Views, 26 Comments

A Moon in a Box - vorxil



Princess Luna finds herself in a box. How or why, she doesn't know. All she knows, is that it's cramped and uncomfortable. Oh and there's this human thing that knows her but won't tell her how. At least until Saturday.

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A Mad Moon in a Box

Vibrant stars flickered in the dark-blue space, basking any object nearby in multicolored light. For some time, there had only been two colors, white and smokey gray. But with the return of the shepherdess of the orbs of lights, the Dreamscape was no longer a hollow shell of its former glory. Triumphantly, ponies could now rest easily and vibrantly with more colors than the rainbow itself.

It had been with nostalgic pride that Luna had surveyed the Dreamscape so long after her unfortunate absence. Oh, her return to Canterlot had been quite the fanfare. Her sister, Celestia, wouldn't have had it otherwise. But if there was one thing that never changed, it would be politics and the masks that accompanied it. Here, however, ponies lay bare and they were her responsibility, her subjects. Their protection in this realm was consequentially hers.

Filled with renewed purpose, Luna had swept over the Dreamscape to join on a hunt. Celestia had done an admirable job taking over Luna's duties, but she lacked the finesse and skill to take on a Nightmare properly. Nightmares were tricksters and would latch onto ponies' smallest fears, which made Nightmares exceedingly difficult to banish without excessive force. Hence, all Celestia had been able to do was to smother the Nightmares into muteness, unable to hurt her subjects but still latched onto ponies' fears.

With military precision, Luna had pounced on any smokey gray light and ripped out the Nightmare contained within, letting out the pure light of a pony's hope and ambitions to sparkle in the Dreamscape once more.

It had been hard work, but simultaneously it had also been the first real hard work for Luna since her banishment. It was thus why she now stood proudly watching over the field of sparkling colors with a smile on her face. It had been a long time coming but she nevertheless felt the joy of being free in her own element. Free from the Nightmare that had possessed her in her moment of weakness.

A weakness she had allowed, a weakness unpunished. She would not let that happen again. Celestia had not deemed it necessary to punish her for it, but Luna was a different mare. If not punished, then at least she could atone. To work on never letting that same weakness crop up again. To do that, she would need discipline. Banishing Nightmares had seemed like a good start.

With her work done, however, she felt it necessary to see how much had changed. The masks of politics had told her she was in ponies' good books, but she knew better. Surely there were those out there that looked down on her, if only for bringing Nightmare Moon down upon them. But at the moment, those she was most worried about were the thestrals. Their association to her might have led to their carrying a stigma when Nightmare Moon attacked. They certainly had kept their distance from her after her return.

Unfortunately, many of them served as Lunar Guards and were thus currently awake, save for workaholics who had been ordered to rest. She had found a few of them, more so than expected. She suspected they were frightened of what the Solar Guards might think of them. A thestral's appearance was known to occasionally put off other ponies. Now that Nightmare Moon had been proven to be more than just a legend, the thestrals would naturally want to keep their distance and prove their loyalty. Apparently, working harder than it was healthy was their way of dealing with the social pressure. Or so Luna thought, anyway.

If only to keep up her own penance, she decided she would find a way to help bring the thestrals back into ponies' good graces, to ensure they were not to be feared. She knew just the way. If what Celestia told her was correct, the upcoming Nightmare Night would be an excellent time to reintroduce and reeducate ponies on thestrals, if only in small numbers—she knew ponies were notoriously skittish.

Nightmare Night had originally been an unofficial celebration of Celestia's victory over Nightmare Moon, complete with burnings of effigies and stories meant to scare off ponies as cautionary tales. Luna had at least been grateful for Celestia turning a festivity of scorn to one of harmless fun. Soon, she would have her own perspective on it.

As the night was coming to its end, Luna made one final checkup of the Dreamscape. Colorful lights of great contrast glittered before her eyes. Not a speck of gray was withing sight. She contemplated on indulging herself for once, if only for a job well done. Something small, like enjoying a foal's dream on the sidelines.

There were plenty of foals to choose from, but as school time approached, she had to be quick. The closest foal's dream emitted a hazelnut-brown color. With a skip, she dived inside and appeared over a meadow as an inaudible pop reverberated the Dreamscape. Green grass and yellow flowers stretched onwards to the horizon. Wisps of clouds floated lazily above her.

It didn't take long for her to spot the earth pony colt making exaggerated jumps from the meadow. He reached up higher and higher with each jump. He reminded her of her younger self, whose only desire had been to reach the sky when her wings hadn't been fully developed. Agelessness made it easy to find oneself drowning in nostalgia. She had wondered how Celestia had managed it the past thousand years.

She kept on watching as the foal was reaching higher and higher beyond the clouds. Perhaps he aspired to pilot a balloon? Or perhaps reach even farther out? The moon had been the farthest ponykind had gone. If only its last and only occupant hadn't been—

Luna shook her head, not desiring to go down that path. Not now, not here. She looked back up at the colt, his silhouette slowly appearing before the sun. And growing bigger. Bigger and bigger, it didn't stop until the colt eclipsed the sun, casting the meadow and Luna in darkness.

Luna was confused.

Then the world shook. Luna watched with widened eyes as the Dreamscape collapsed before her, revealing nothing but a dark, cramp, oblong room. She was lying on the floor, she presumed, her back and neck bent uncomfortably for her to fit in it. The ceiling was low. She could've sworn it would crash into her any second. The walls were rough, not quite like stone but not like parquet floor either. Her long legs were struggling to fit inside the room, bent to not break through the floor and walls. She noticed the air felt more and more choking and warm.

Her heart raced.

"What?"

***

Sebastian was not having a good day. This had been the third internship he had been denied. One he desperately needed to complete his bachelor's degree in Software Engineering. The economic downturn wasn't helping him either. With only a bit more than a year's worth of right to study, his plans were falling apart.

He sulked as he walked the rest of the way home from the last appointment, not having the money to afford a bus ride home. It was going to be a long walk. His family had been helping him out financially to pay for his rent. His student allowance had dried up and the housing benefits were simply not cutting it.

Five kilometers in, his legs were feeling the burn. At least his claudication was getting better. All the walking had helped his overweight lifestyle. But it wasn't paying him any bills, thus he merely filed it away in the 'Good, but meh' mental file cabinet.

The sun had already set and the temperature showed. His dark-blue fleece jacket held away the cold amicably. He couldn't wait to get home and have something in his belly, even if was a day-old tomato-tuna stew with macaroni. The slop was cheap as hell and filled the gaping hole hunger left, but eating the same food day-in and day-out got old after a while and would make you desire anything but that. The alternatives were premade meatballs or fish fingers or some other poor man's meal. If it could be made in bulk, even better. He had, however, sworn off instant noodles years ago. That way lay only broken dreams and despair.

The winds started picking up. Just perfect. As if losing his dark-gray mildew-infested straw fedora, trilby or whatever it was called, wasn't a bad enough prospect. He had had it for years since he moved out of his parents' to study. It looked silly and stereotypical and someone would probably call the fashion police just to prosecute him at the Hague for the sheer genocide of the fashion-aware, but dammit it was his and he liked it. Besides, it kept his long hair from getting in his face and he would rather be caught dead than to be seen wearing a hairband.

He was on the last stretch as the winds reached gale force, his black sweat pants swaying in the winds. He was getting really tired from all the walking. Desiring to know the time, he reached down with his hand into his pockets and brought out his ancient Nokia 6700 Classic, which replaced his prehistoric Nokia 1100. It was well past nine pm by now. His black farm cat would be furious from the lack of food and he knew he would pay for it.

He lambasted the long distance he had to walk. If only employers weren't situated hours away from the residential area. At least when walking. He swore he would one day force the industry to spread out better.

Unfortunately, as he placed the phone back into the pocket, a particularly strong wind knocked his hat off. He startled and flailed helplessly after it but only achieved in knocking it farther away. He quickly picked up his pace and chased after it, cursing his poor condition, as he hoped one of his few prized possessions hadn't fallen into the nearby river.

As he reached the crest overlooking the riverbank, he looked out into the darkness with hair flinging into his eyes. Barely, he could spot the hat had landed in a nearby rose hip bush. He calmed down, joyed that his hat had survived. He quickly knocked on the nearest tree to stave off the omnipotent Murphy. A folly, truly, given the definition of omnipotent, but maybe the dread god would take heed and show Sebastian some mercy. Or at least delay the god's amusement, like his apartment suddenly bursting into flame.

As it turned out, Sebastian reached the bush without issue and grabbed his hat, holding it close to him like a fragile child. It had been saved. Now he just had to worry about his cat going on a rampage.

Resting on the crest he had come across, he noticed the wind had died off to the usual nightly breeze. He noted it as strange, but then again he was living near the coast. Weather could be crazy, like that one time he had been promised open skies but on his way to solve bureaucracy issues he had found himself drenched in a torrential thunderstorm. His other fleece jacket still smelled of being drenched, no matter what brand of laundry detergent he used.

Deciding to move on, he continued down the river path, figuring it wouldn't make that big of a difference. Oddly enough, he hadn't seen any of the late-night dog walkers he usually expected to see. The river path was quite popular. He remember walking his own dog before cancer got the better of it. The path had almost always had people on it at this hour but now it was empty, save for a cardboard box to the side of the path.

He noted it odd that someone would leave a box out here. It wasn't like the city had any problem with homeless people. He paid the box no further mind and walked past it.

A slight movement was caught in his peripheral vision. All he could see was the box, though. He figured the wind was picking up again and he was not going to risk losing his hat again.

Just a few steps forwards, he now heard thumping noises to his right, slightly behind him. He didn't see anyone or any animal. Just the box. As he stared at it further, he noticed the box hopping forward ever so slightly in a periodic movement, the thumping following in step.

With a deadpan look on his face, he silently praised the powers that be that the box seemed to be sealed up. He quickly deduced the box wasn't a cosplayer. Not that the city had any relevant convention centers to begin with. Not that he knew anyway. Determined, he put on his best no-nonsense face, broke off a branch from a nearby willow and approached the box.

Using the perfect agility and adeptness of an overweight mid-twenties man, he slotted the branch in-between the top cover and opened the box from a distance, or so he hoped.

Out of the box burst a dark-blue... thingie—he wasn't sure what—gasping for air. As the thingie stopped moving, the details got clearer. Wings, horn and an ethereal mane blowing in a silent wind.

What, Sebastian's brain noted before shutting down.

"Foul beast!" the thingie shouted in an all-too familiar voice. It was decisively staring down at what was clearly a mortal foe. "Thy scheming hath been foiled! Thy folly of gobbling up the Princess of the Night hath been thwarted!"

What. Sebastian pinched his arm in a split-second decision. Nope, not dreaming, buddy. That left drugs and insanity. As the air started to pick up again, he held onto his hat as he watched the Luna-mirage rise into the sky. Dark stormy clouds manifested in the sky and even the moonlight darkened.

"Now, crumble neath the Wrath of the Night!" Her eyes were glowing like burning magnesium. "Have at thee!"

Just as he wasn't sure what he was seeing, he jumped as several bolts of lightning struck the box. It was on fire now. And yep, that was smoke he was smelling. Either he had tossed off his teetotaling ways and gotten his hands on the best drugs on the market or he had clearly lost his mind. He couldn't be lucky and just get depression from his economic woes, nope, it had to be full-on, pure insanity.

As the Luna-hallucination lowered herself onto the ashes of the box, she proclaimed with a hoof reached out, "Huzzah! Victory at last!" and struck with the hoof the remains of the box. "We smite thy smoldering ruins!"

Sebastian decided there was only one course of action to save his fragile sanity. He strengthened his grip on the branch and slowly sneaked forward.

The Luna-hallucination struck a determined pose. "Now, to find thy co-conspirators—" She stared flabbergasted at her surroundings. This was clearly not her bed chambers. She stared down her downed opponent with renewed fury. "Even in death, thou hauntest us.

"What Tartarian and Discordian bastard lovechild of a nightmare is this, to which thou hast taken Us?"

Why she was expecting an answer, Sebastian didn't know. He still had a thing to do, in order to be certain.

She continued staring at the ashes as a rumbling noise echoed in the distance. She glimpsed something fast moving, something bulky with a metallic sheen. "What art these metallic beasts that make such an infernal noise? No matter, thy infernal nightmare creatures will not best—"

Poke.

Luna flinched as something tapped her back. Not waiting to be undone, she twisted around and saw the most hideous thing. It appeared to be a furless diamond dog crossed with a minotaur, but dressed in strange clothes and a hat. It was taller than she was but also wider and its legs bent it ways that shouldn't be possible. Its face was a pale beige and flat with what appeared to be a considerable brown beard running down the sides and below the face. "Who dareth touch Our Royal back—"

She didn't get to finish that question as the creature poked her again. She clearly noted he was wielding a branch. A weapon perhaps, but foolish. She was about to retaliate when a beige paw, talon thing poked her on the nose. Her Royal nose.

"Cease thy prodding, foul beast, lest I smite thee as well!" she snarled.

"Holy fuck, you're real," the creature spoke, bizarre amazement in its voice.

Luna's ears folded at the foul language. "Watch thy tongue, creature, thou art speaking to—" It was then it dawned on her. "Wait, thou speakest?!"

See, Nightmares didn't speak unless attached to a pony and only then, they could only speak to those inside the pony's dream in the Dreamscape unless the pony was possessed. This meant either two things. A Nightmare had latched onto her, or this was not the Dreamscape. Considering she recalled the Dreamscape collapsing, the latter was far more likely and thus this was clearly a creature not from Equestria. Unless Celestia had been withholding information.

Sebastian, of course, was at a loss for words. A pony, a real-life talking pony from a cartoon, found inside a box. That was something you'd only see in fan fictions and yet here it was. Princess Bloody Luna in all her glory.

Thankfully, he wasn't raving mad for ponies and thus wasn't full of glee. No, he'd like to think he was a rational man, albeit rationality had been thrown out the window when the literally impossible was standing before him. Still, there had to have been rules that had allowed this to happen, because making sense out of chaos was what humans did. And one of the rules he knew still applied was politics.

"Shit," he breathed out, not caring the slightest about the princess's twitching eye. He had shit to do. "Hey, could you, like, you know, repair that box?"

Luna stared in bafflement. "Box? What box? Who art thou?! What art thou?!"

Not wanting to stick around for long, he picked up the pace. "Sebastian. Human. Also, that box," he noted by pointing at the ashes.

Luna's gaze followed where the finger was pointing. She blinked, not once but twice, before bringing her gaze back up again. "'Twas a box?"

Sebastian gave her a sagely nod.

Luna eyes found the nearby rose hip far more interesting and narrowed in contempt. "Who dareth put Royalty in a box?!"

Sebastian wasn't boarding that train of thought and rolled his eyes. Sighing, he wanted to wrap this up. "Yes, yes, blue-blooded mare. Questions for later. Just put that box back together, alright?!"

Luna glanced back at him, still miffed about the lack of an honorific. "For what purpose?"

Sebastian merely glanced around in slight nervousness. "Reasons."

Turned out, Luna wasn't having that and stared unamused.

"It's important, I'll explain later," he told her, sidestepping a length explanation. "Trust me on this."

"We do not," Luna deadpanned.

He pursed his lips in thought, thinking of a way to quickly settle this predicament. A few seconds later, he found one. "I'll make you some food?"

Luna almost looked insulted. "Thou thinkest bribing Us like peasantry—"

It was at that moment, her stomach decided to betray her and gurgled loudly. Her stay in the box had been longer than she thought. She scowled at the traitor, before looking up at what must had been a smirking face. Honestly, it was difficult for her to tell.

"Fine," she settled, "but We expect food worthy of Royalty!"

Sebastian grimaced with a sidelong glance. "Yeah... outside my paycheck I'm afraid."

Luna snorted in response. "Then thou willest make Us food as though thy life depended on it!"

"No promises."

Luna stepped away from the box slightly and worked the magic. A pale blue shimmer erupted from her horn as the ashes begun to reassemble themselves into her previous prison.

At the end, she sighed. "There. Thy menial task is done." She turned to face the creature. "Bring Us food at once—"

She never finished that sentence as Sebastian pounced on her, shoving her back into the box. It wasn't a fairly large box and he was surprised she was able to fit in it before. Still, if it worked once...

"How darest thou!" Luna shrieked. "Unhoof Us at once!"

He should have seen this coming. Thankfully, he had closed the distance fast enough that whatever leverage her leg strength had was virtually nullified. With a hand underneath her muzzle, he also managed to point her horn away. He didn't trust science to contain that one. Finally, her wings were already compromised by the box.

"It's for your own good, Luna!" he shouted in vain.

"Thou art marehandling Our Royal person!"

Luckily, he was heavy enough that he could force her back in and seal the box. It didn't look pretty, but then again it didn't have to. Luna was furious, however, and started bucking. Or at least what could be classified as bucking when all your legs can move only a total of two centimeters.

"Let Us out!" The box managed to muffle her shouting somewhat. "We have endured terrors uncounted in this Tartarian cage!"

He breathed deeply as he stared at the box in bewilderment of its capability to contain an alicorn. "You have survived the existential dread of a solipsistic nightmare on the moon for a thousand years. You can survive the box for a while longer."

"We will put thou in a box! See how thou likest it!"

He facepalmed. "Look, I'm just taking you somewhere safer than here. Once there, I'll let you out, we'll have a nice long chat and lay down some ground rules for your potentially indefinite stay here." Up until the heat death of the universe, or so. Fuck do I know if your agelessness carried over like your magic did.

Inside the box, however, Luna gasped. "Slaver!"

"Not what I meant!"

"Brigand! Marenapper!"

"Only temporarily! Now hush and stay quiet, okay?" There really ought to be dog walkers passing by soon.

He struggled to find a sure grip on the box, so he hoped a fireman's carry was enough. It wasn't easy.

"Fuck, you're heavy."

"'Tis a lie! Lies and slander!"

"Oh, grow up. I'm not physically fit, alright? Besides, I'm pretty sure the Cake Monster Celly's heavier than you are, Luna."

It was at this point that something clicked inside Luna. And it wasn't good.

"How dost thou know Our name?" If this was a creature not from Equestria—or its known neighbors for that matter— then how did this creature, this human, know of her? It wasn't like Celestia had spread the knowledge of Luna's existence around. Especially after Nightmare Moon and that was a thousand years ago.

"I'm sure you'll find out on Saturday," he said. "Suggest you seal off a part of your sanity before that though, for safety's sake. It gets freaky."

"We demand an explanation now, creature!"

Yeah, I'm not having that. Not now, not here. "Later! Trust me, it's easier this way. To explain and for your sanity. Now quiet before you make a scene."

Of course, reverse psychology was a thing for ponies, apparently. "Oh, is that so?"

"Luna, so help me God, I will pluck your every feather and tickle your horn with them until my last dying breath if you don't shut up!"

She gasped. "Thou threatenest to torture Our Royal person?! Cruel and unusual punishment, forsooth!"

"Luna..." he said through gritted teeth.

Let it be known, Luna whinnied like a pony of her stature. Anything else was naught but lies. "Fine. Have it thy way. Do thy worst. Our spirit wilt rise to haunt thee every night!"

Sebastian praised every moment that remained silent. Especially when a dog walker did pass by. He got a few stares but nothing more.

As he reached the apartment complex, he realized he had made a big mistake. A huge miscalculation in his planning that no optimization software could save him from. See, he lived on the third floor. He was overweight, out of shape, and with a luggage that—while surprisingly light for a pony of her size—was fucking heavy. And there was no elevator.

It went about as well as one could have expected: resounding heaving and cursing. At some point, he reached his door. He had against all odds survived the most terrible ordeal in his life yet. With a use of his key, he opened the door and dragged the box in before closing the door and collapsing on the floor.

"Finally." He regathered his breath, searched for his second wind, before standing up again. Then he realized something.

"So, um, Luna, mind telling me why you didn't simply teleport? Or blast the box apart?"

The silence was deafening.

"You forgot, didn't you?"

"N-No?"

Rolling his eyes, he sighed. "And here I thought it was only Twilight..."

"'Tis not Our fault! This box is clearly made of teleport-blocking material. Magic-blocking, even!"

"It's a cardboard box, Luna. Besides you had already blasted it apart with your god mode."

A moment of silence reverberated. "W-We know not of what thou speakest! 'Tis clearly foul trickery!

"AND WE ART STILL IN THE BOX!" she shouted in the Royal Canterlot Voice.

He figured she was bound to wake up the whole neighborhood at this point. "Alright, alright, gees. I'll let you out, just be quiet."

And so he opened the box. Big mistake. A dark-blue roaring rampage of revenge emerged from the box and tackled him to the ground.

"Hey—"

He didn't get much out before a armored hoof was pushed against his throat.

Luna stared triumphantly at her foe. "Now, beast, thy doom is at Our hoof—"

"Meow."

Luna stared blankly at the black cat sitting in the hallway.

Oh great, he didn't burn down the apartment, Sebastian thought.

Luna, however, was focused on the apartment itself, before turning her eyes to her captive.

"What manner of torture chamber is this?" she asked in bewilderment and let off a smidgen of the pressure on his throat. Just enough to speak. And breathe.

"This is my apartment," he deadpanned. "Welcome to the Man Cave, Luna."

"'Tis filthy!" She blanched at the littering dust and detritus on the floor.

"I wasn't expecting guests?" He was already dead man walking anyway, right? What was the worst that could happen?

Luna shook with unbridled fury.

He gulped. "I'll go clean it up."

Author's Note:

So. Apparently some mad ponies thought this was worth writing. What do you guys think?

Let's see what kind of madness I can squeeze out of this.