• Published 10th Sep 2016
  • 1,934 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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Sebastian had most of the times been a smart kid. Sure, his first school years had been slow. He had loathed it, preferring to rather stay at home with whatever game system he had at the time: Sega Genesis, PlayStation and a few Nintendo console varieties whenever they had been released, though he had almost always been a late adopter. One could say he had been a spoiled brat, who at the very least didn't get himself into trouble. He had been shy, lazy and had the start of some pudginess here and there. Finishing homework had been an impossibility sometimes; he had often been bailed out by family members instead. That had not been to say he hadn't had some athletic interests. Ask him to play floorball and he would have been game. Heaven had forbidden anyone to get him to skate on ice, though.

The pain he had felt in his feet was a common complaint. Nevermind the price of the ice skates. Or his inability to actually skate.

But still, he had been smart. It had manifested itself in maths, when the dreaded multiplication table test had come up in primary education. Horrors such as seven times eight and... well multiplication with seven was pretty much the horror column. Still, he faced and aced it.

Next year had brought division and oh dear had that been a mind twister. Specifically long division, for which the general algorithm had been well known, but the execution he had been taught at the time had never stuck. Usually, a stairs-like contraption would be used with the denominator on the left on the stairs and the numerator to the right below the step; the quotient ended up above the step and the remainder was buried somewhere with the dinosaurs. The method Sebastian had first been taught put everything on a single horizontal line, like a fraction, and the quotient ended up after an equal sign. The calculations had been, to put it bluntly, a clusterfuck of chicken scratches above the numerator.

Later, when his family had moved and he had been placed in another school, had he finally learnt the more standardized approach. And it had stuck.

None of that helped him now as he found dividing the bed in two was an impossibility when standing next to what was essentially a goddess to a puny human.

In fact, what he found more helpful right now was the chilling ice on his face, putting down the swelling from having been royally slapped across the room. "Perhaps we can be a bit more civil this time around," he said, nursing his cheek.

Luna had resigned herself into a state of shame and regret. At least she had mended the broken bones. As for how such a thing had arisen, well... ponies weren't dogs. And no, it hadn't been petting. Instead, before Luna had had a chance to claim the one and only bed, he had entered the walk-in closet and brought an old memoir: his late dog's bed. Offering the gray, faux leather bed up to Luna, who definitely would have fit in it, had not amused her. He was, after all, only smart most of the time.

On second thought, he could have been more tactful. Though seeing her in her current state, he figured mentioning the original owner of the bed would have been a bad idea. Passing up a bed because it didn't meet one's standards and then slapping the offerer, was one thing. Doing so when the bed had the significant sentimental value of a loyal companion long since passed? Definitely a bad idea to tell someone with her history.

Still, having her wallow in her self-hatred was not productive. So he chose another approach to coax her out of her shell, so to speak. Trial and error, no?

"You could always sleep in the box, I suppose." Again, not the smartest.

If there was anything that could at least temporarily stop someone from hating oneself for ones own actions, the prospect of facing one's own personal hell that one abhorred far more than anything in existence surely would stop them, no? For Luna, it started out subtly, her mumbling stopping before her head slowly rose with the fury of a thousand suns. Faster than lightning, her horn powered itself to its maximum before unleashing an apocalyptic bolt of magical energies at the cardboard box on the other side of the room.

Sebastian had no time to react as the bolt slammed into the box. For approximately two hundred milliseconds, his brain cells worked overtime to interpret the incoming data before slamming his body into 'OH SHIT'-gear.

"HOLY FUCK!" he screamed as his eyes tried to recover from overexposure. He couldn't pick up the heaving breaths from Luna, which he found odd. A spell of such magnitude surely would have drained a lot of energy. Still, he could hear his own breathing, so he wasn't deaf. Perhaps the spell had been sufficiently energy efficient on vaporizing its target that little energy had been turned into sound?

Well, either that or Luna was a tactful master of stealth archery. Implications unpleasant.

As he regained his vision, he put on a scornful frown. "Luna, what the fuck?! You can't just go around blasting whatever you want with your God Mode in my... apartment..." His attempt at berating the Princess of the Night turned to confusion as all he saw in front of him was not a vengeful goddess but a cardboard box.

Completely unscathed.

His brain did not compute.

Restarting with a shake of his head, he stared in befuddlement at the silent cardboard box. "What." He turned his gaze to where the ashes of a box and hole in the wall should have been and found none. That section of the apartment was perfectly unharmed. He glanced back at the box then back at the hallway back and forth several times. "What the fuck?"

Still, the question of Luna remained. Chancing it, he gently opened the box.

In less than a heartbeat, his world tumbled to the floor into a field of constricting blue. A whispering mantra reached his ears. "We have walked the edge of the abyss. We have seen the errors of Our ways and We have learnt." Over and over, it was almost religious. At the very least, it was ridiculous. And choking.

"Cant. Breathe." He hoped his prayers would reach the goddess's ears.

Luna, once more having forgotten her own strength, relaxed her grip on Sebastian's torso. Her eyes met his. A distant, shell-shocked stare bore into his. "We will accept whatever sleeping arrangements thou deemest adequate." She leaned in closer, her manic eyes reminding him of a certain tardy unicorn. "Just. Get. That. THING. Away from Us!"

Sebastian tried to check in on the state of the box only to find it more or less the same as it were before. "What... kind of spell did you cast?"

"...Disintegration."

"It didn't work?"

"We know not why."

"..."

"'Tis thy doing, is it not? As punishment?"

He was tempted to say 'no', but given her reaction, it could prove useful. Then again, it could backfire. Either way, one thing was starting to make sense. Or rather, not make sense.

Discord. You fucker.

Luna, noticing the indecision on Sebastian's face, tried to be diplomatic, if only to save herself from political embarrassment. Being in the human's good books sounded nice. "We humbly apologize for our actions on thy body. It seemeth We have underestimated thee."

"Apology accepted," he answered. "Please get off of me, your position is sending all kinds of weird signals to my brain and I'm not that far off the deep end just yet."

Luna frowned, curious as to what he was alluding to, but did as he requested. She deftly avoided the Box of Terrors as she backed away, watching Sebastian rise up from his position on the floor.

Sebastian, on the other hand, kept his stare on the box, not sure what to do with it. She destroyed it before, why didn't it work now? As magic was completely lacking in humans, he had no knowledge of how magic worked. That didn't stop him from making hypotheses, however. Making sense out of chaos was what humanity had done for its entire existence. So, he guessed that something that shouldn't have happened now but in the end did meant that one or more variables had changed.

For one, he wasn't outside anymore. He was in a different location. Maybe magic worked off of ley lines, he didn't know, but it was always a common explanation for magic in fictional works. The change of ley lines could have altered the effect. Or maybe Equestria completely lacked said ley lines but they somehow existed here and their presence would make Equestrian magic unpredictable? Unlikely, given the plenty of occasions where Luna's magic worked as intended. So unless ley lines moved around and this was just a fluke, it didn't seem the likely explanation.

His programming mind, however, thought another approach. See, in several programming you had things, objects or types of sorts. A variable could be declared or assumed a certain type, but without initialization, the behavior of a type could be undefined or defined, such as assuming a default initial value. The box had already been around and working as well as a box should have, so some default behavior was already in place. The only reasonable difference between then and now was that before, Luna, presumably, had not cast any spells on it prior. This time, it already had a record of Luna's spell casting. Perhaps her magic had triggered something.

Well, either that or it was random. Only one way to test it though.

"Luna?" he eased her.

"Yes?" she responded, shifting her gaze to the floor.

"Do you... think you could levitate the box?"

Luna frowned at him and pulled her head towards her body in a somewhat wary manner. "Why?"

"I just want to check something. Please."

She risked a glance at the box, before gazing back at him. "Willest thou force Our Royal Person back into the box?" she asked, glaring daggers.

"I promise I won't put you into the box while you do this for me. Pinkie promise," he said, doing the motion as shown on the show.

"And what, pray tell, is a 'Pinkie promise'?"

"Think of it as an oath."

A few moments passed before Luna sighed and put her trust on his word. Gently, she lit her horn with levitation, a light-blue aura enveloping the cardboard box.

For about a second, before the box jumped at Luna, who screamed in horror as the box enveloped her like a tatzlwurm.

So that's what happened, Sebastian thought as the box landed on the floor, all sealed up. Realizing another royal panic attack was coming, he quickly moved to open the box and, having strategically placed himself on the other side this time, avoided the oncoming blue cannonball that collided with the wall.

Luna was in a ragged state on the floor, petting her tail in a fetal position. "T-Thou promised! Thou swore an oath!"

Raising his hands innocently, he rebutted, "And I kept my word. I didn't do anything but observe."

"We will not be fooled by thy trickery!" She stared sternly.

Placing a hand over his face, he sighed. He figured his experiment would come with a cost. Breathing deeply, he leveled his eyes at Luna's. He walked up to her, aware she was trying to back away like he was a monster from a horror flick but failing due to her fetal position. As he reached her, he sat down on his knees and grabbed the struggling princess into a hug.

"I did not intend to hurt you, Luna, no matter what you think," he tried to comfort her. "I'm sorry you had to go through that again but I had to know."

"Know what?" she asked in a whisper.

"Luna..." he began. "Luna, I know nothing of magic—"

"Preposterous!"

"Let me finish," he said, reeling in his annoyance at being interrupted. "Humans are not creatures of magic. We possess no magic, we know nothing of magic other than what we fantasize as magic, which is most likely incorrect by Equestrian standards.

"That said, we are a clever bunch. Stupid at times, but also brilliant. Despite lacking the arcane, we try to master the mundane. To understand the world around us, how it works and what best explains its mechanisms. A tried and true method is to interact with a system and see what happens, testing hypotheses as you go."

Staring at the box, he finished, "The box was one such system. One not of my design or that of any human."

"'Twas not thy doing? Is this what thou art saying?"

"No, it wasn't my doing."

"So thou used Us."

He winced. "Not one of my best ideas but I doubt you would have agreed if I told you I suspected you might end up in the box again."

"Thou art correct. We would not."

They sat there in a moment of silence.

"Shall I let go of you, Luna?" he asked.

"...Yes." Her answer was short and fast once it came.

Whether or not it was an attempt to save face, Sebastian did not ponder. Even the strongest have their moments of weakness. Letting go of her, he offered a hand in helping her up, which she stubbornly refused. There was the mare he had grown accustomed to. As they stood there, awkwardness abound, the unanswered question sprung into existence.

"What didst thou find?" Luna asked, throwing daggers at the cardboard box.

"First, let me ask you something, just to clarify," he stated. "Is magic unique to the user?"

"Unique?"

"Does it have something like a personal signature."

She glanced out to the moon. "Star Swirl had once invented a few tracking spells based on something similar, yes." The memory of her old friend stymied her thoughts for a moment before she asked Sebastian, "What of it?"

"Well," he began, "I'm not a wizard or anything, but based on the chain of events it's possible the box of unknown origins have had your signature imprinted on it when you destroyed it the first time and reconstructed it. I think it reacts only to your magic, or if it reacts to other magic then it reacts more harshly to yours.

"Or just magic in general, for all I know. I don't have a good sample size."

"Who would design such a thing?" she asked.

Bobbing his head up and down, he answered, "I have a few suspicions. No proof, though."

Luna shook her head. "It mattereth not. Thou shalt destroy it."

"Might not be the best thing to do—and let me finish," he stated as daggers were stared his way. "Think about it, Luna. You arrived here in a box. That box. I don't know your way home, I doubt you'll find anyone here that can."

"Surely somepony must—"

"Maybe, maybe not. Vivisection, remember? Either way, that box may be your ride home."

"Ride?"

"Transportation."

"Ah. But how?"

He smiled. "The human way, Luna."

Luna deadpanned. "We will not be thy test subject."

"Not now, perhaps, but keep it in mind. Think about it." Glancing outside, he noticed just how late it was. "But for now, I could really use some sleep. I have early business to deal with."

Glancing at the dog's bed, Luna winced. "Must We?"

Sebastian considered once more telling her of the bed's sentimental value, but seeing as Luna was finally on the mend from her little 'adventure', he thought better of it. "You know my bed is too small to fit both of us."

"We do."

He really wanted to sleep in the bed. He really did. But what kind of host would he be to treat a guest—a princess—like an animal, even if she technically was an animal in the eyes of the world. His mother had taught him better. After a minute of silence, he sighed and glumly faced the future, rubbing his eyes with both of his hands. "If it makes you feel any better, you can have the bed. I can sleep on the floor."

Luna whipped her head at him with a look of surprise. "Truly? Thou wouldst surrender thy own bed for Us?"

"Yeah, why not? For this night at least. Maybe we can take turns or something."

"We..." she began, glancing to her side. "We are grateful for thy hospitality despite Our actions this night."

"Think nothing of it, Lulu," he said, turning to the bathroom. "I'm gonna fix myself up, you might wanna do the same. You know how to use a toilet, right?" Did they even show any of that in the show? I don't really remember.

"Thou meanest the privy?"

"Toilet, privy, water closet, loo, the porcelain throne; a sweet child has many names."

"Ah, then yes, We do. Our sister might have mentioned one of them."

"Oh, thank goodness," he sighed in relief. "I'll be just a minute. There's a shower in here if you need to use it; towels in the closet." He pointed to said walk-in closet and opened the bathroom door. Luna took note of how the handle was pushed down like a wrench.

"Meow!"

"Been busy, have you?" Sebastian petted the cat as it stroked his legs. Or probably been hiding from Luna's kamehameha. Entering the bathroom, he left Luna with the cat.

Luna had not forgotten the Night Terror. "So." Her eyes narrowed. "We meet once more, beast."

"Meow."

"Were it not for thy master's generosity, We would have slain thee now that We have the chance."

"Luna, be nice!" Sebastian shouted.

Luna snorted. "Even the walls have ears."

"Nah, solid cement walls. The door is just rather thin. Also, you need to learn some volume control."

"But this is—"

"The Royal Canterlot Voice, I know." No Luna Eclipsed yet, it seems. Huh, I wonder how much time has really passed in Equestria if she's from just before season two? Considering the show was well into the sixth season already, this gave Sebastian pause for concern. How long was she in the box? Does time pass differently in Equestria? Maybe there's a delay? Or maybe her Equestria is different from the show?

It must be different. If she's here, her Equestria mustn't have followed the show's timeline. Unless there's a significant time interval between the two seasons. Pondering further, he wondered what the hiatus would be like in Equestria. Finishing up, he flushed the toilet.

After washing his hands, he came out of the bathroom with a toothbrush in hand. "I'm afraid I only have the one toothbrush," he said and brushed his teeth. He was relieved the second battle of his apartment hadn't started.

"We will manage," she said, taking her turn for the bathroom. For a moment, everything was silent on the bathroom front, until a blue head popped out of the doorway. "Art thou certain thou hast a privy?"

"It's the white hollow chair with water in it," he answered, hoping against hope he wouldn't need to teach her.

"'Tis different."

"Good different or bad different?"

"'Tis taller."

Oh god. "It's not a squat toilet, Luna. You sit on it—hooves off the rim—you let it all out, then you either wipe yourself with the sheets of paper hanging in a roll on the wall opposite you or you turn on the faucet and use the bidet shower on your left."

"Why mustest thou complicate it so much?"

"Because reasons."

With that said, Luna went back inside, hopefully coming out when she was done. Sebastian, in the meanwhile, finished brushing his teeth, placing the brush in a mug on the kitchen counter, and brought out a blanket from the closet. At least he would stay warm in the night.

"Vexation!" Luna shouted.

"Everything alright in there, Luna?" Sebastian asked.

"Thy privy is inadequate for Our Royal Tail! 'Tis all wet!"

He winced. "Have you tried keeping your tail to the side? Or sitting a bit forward?"

"..."

"Luna?"

"We can manage."

"If you say so."

It took a few minutes, but eventually Sebastian heard the faucet turn on. Soon enough, a relieved Luna exited, though she had to go back shortly upon being told how to flush. Apparently, a pedal was used in Equestria, in contrast to knob sitting on top of the water tank that one pulled upwards.

Seeing as Sebastian was already on his way to the Dreamscape on the floor, leaning his back against the wall and with the Night Terror in his lap, Luna took off her regalia with her magic and hopped into bed. It wasn't as soft as her own bed, but it would do.

"One more thing, Luna," Sebastian said, startling the princess. "I said I was going to lay down some ground rules."

Luna didn't seem pleased by it but listened intently regardless.

"One, you mustn't be seen. Most humans would react... poorly upon seeing you. That means outside is off limits, at least during day time. However, I don't want to keep you here as a prisoner. Just make sure to stay out of sight when I'm not the only one around.

"Two, keep your magic to a minimum. If the box is anything to go by, who knows if there are any other items here that react similarly.

"Three, don't break my stuff. Especially the apartment as it's technically a rental. Things are a lot more expensive here and any bits you carry—if any—are only going to be worth the metal they were minted from.

"And finally, four. Stay out of people's dreams—"

"Thou canst not expect Us to stray from Our duty!" she said.

"Duty or not, human dreams and the human mind in general are extremely private and sacred. I also have no idea if people will notice you but I don't want to take the chance. So no matter how obliged, tempted or worried you are, stay out of them. Humans' dreams at the very least.

"Understood?"

Her eyes narrowed. "And if We do not agree?"

Raising his brows, he pointed his gaze to the box. "I think the prospect of staying inside the box should be enough deterrent, no?"

Luna shuddered. "Thou drivest a hard bargain, human."

"Sebastian."

"Huh?"

"Please use my name, Luna. It would be the polite thing to do."

Luna shifted, but eventually sighed. "Very well... Sebastian."

"And with that, I'm off to wonderland. Good night, Luna."

"Good night."

***

"This is nice of you. I never thought I'd see the day."

"Times change, Discord."

"Still, it had seemed for a while that Fluttershy was the only one inviting me to tea. Especially after Tirek.

"I'm glad to be wrong."

"It is a wonderful feeling, is it not?"

"Oh, you have no idea. Everything is looking so up, these days. Looking so me!"

"Indeed." A door opened. "Ah, that would be dinner."

"A special main course of yours, I presume? Ha, do surprise me further, Lulu. I love it!"

Author's Note:

Happy New Year, everypony.

It's been a while, but I finally found some time get this thing out. Autumn was chock-full of course work. I'm not sure when the next one's coming out, but hopefully I can finish another one before the holidays end.

Personally, I felt Sebastian's comforting to be a bit cheesy or cliché, but what do I know? I needed something there.

And before you get fancy ideas, the tags have still not changed.

Comments ( 7 )

Nice chapter.
And no, I didn't think it is too cheesy.

Did he take a look at the toilet after Luna used it?
Otherwise he might have an 'interesting' surprise next morning.

But somehow I didn't understand what happened in the ending of this chapter.

confusing ending but awesome story!!!!

I believe I would act more suicidal and less patient if I were experience such things.

Your stories are good.

Well now, colour me intrigued. Good story, good writing, and some excellent plot hooks.
I'm definitely following this one.

More please

Just noticed there was a chapter update - from 2017! I enjoy seeing snarky, Old Ponish-accented Luna interacting with a genre-aware human, so hopefully you'll continue this at some point.

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