• Published 24th Oct 2016
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Dreams of a Princess - Feenkatze

Ponies dream of the oddest things. For Celestia, kissing her sister is one of those things.

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Chapter 4: Dreams of Guilt

Celestia greeted Peachy casually as she entered the baths, covering her mouth when a long yawn escaped her.

“Good morning, Princess,” the maid responded. “Would you like any assistance today?”

But Celestia was already arranging herself on the massage table. Its wooden surface was covered with only a thin towel, but this morning, it might as well have been made out of clouds.

“You look tired,” Peachy commented.

“I am the Princess of the Day, Peachy Sweet, not the Princess of Mornings.”

The truth was that she had worked until far too late the past evening. She wasn’t eight hundred anymore, and so the effects hit her with full force.

But despite her tiredness, she also felt good, much better than she had before. The dream had returned once again, but somewhere between the fluffy white cloud of half-awakeness this morning and the knowledge of how much work she had to do, she had stopped caring. So what if she kissed her sister? It was only a dream, so she might as well make the most out of it and enjoy it.

As usual, a bath followed the massage. This time, Celestia made sure to pin up her mane to protect it from the water, securing it with two large wooden needles. They had been a gift from Luna for her last birthday, with stylized heads of ponies carved into the knobs at the ends, one happy, and one sad. Celestia usually had little appreciation for her own birthdays, but this gift she kept as a treasure.

While she soaked in the tub, she talked to Peachy about the last details concerning the wedding. She had offered to be the officiant and, as a wedding gift to her two loyal subordinates, also payed some of the bills.

“I saw the invitation list,” Celestia remarked. “Is it true that you are only inviting the staff? Not even your parents?”

Peachy shook her head. She sat next to the tub, thoughtfully dipping a hoof in the water. “It wouldn’t feel right to have my parents there. I haven’t talked to them in years.”

“That is sad to hear,” Celestia said, but Peachy waved her hoof dismissively.

“It’s alright, really. I have a new home and family here in the castle, and for that I consider myself very lucky.”

She was indeed lucky, Celestia thought. Discovering this world with young, naive eyes. She would even get to marry the love of her life. What more could a pony wish for?

Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door. Without waiting for a response, a guard entered the room.

“Goldie!” Peachy jumped to her hooves to greet her fiancée. Golden Banner kissed her and stroked her cheek for a second, but Celestia could feel that something was not right.

“Princess,” Golden said, “we have a bit of a mess up there. The griffin ambassador just landed on castle ground, and nopony knows what to do with her.”

“Ambassador Perr?” Celestia asked in surprise. “She was not supposed to be here until next week.”

She stood up, water dripping out of her coat with a splash. “I will talk to her.”

“Now that I’m here, there’s one more thing, Princess. I just found out that I’m scheduled for guard duty tomorrow. I wouldn’t normally bother you with it, but I can’t find anypony who’s responsible and, you know, it sort of is my wedding day …”

Celestia nodded quickly. “Don’t worry. I will personally make sure you can take leave as originally scheduled.”

Of course they would not be stripped of their special day. She would never allow for that. She remembered once marrying a couple under siege, a young general and a Wonderbolt. They died two days later as enemy reinforcements arrived and overrun the gates.

A frown crossed Celestia’s lips. She dried herself off and hurried upstairs.

Half a day later, Celestia sat in front of her desk and let her eyes wander over the cluster of parchment and history books.

The ambassador, it had turned out, had antedated her visit so that she and Celestia could go through Celestia’s speech together. It had taken a while to find out why nopony knew about it, but it appeared that the assistant who had organized the visit recently resigned, and had been replaced by a young stallion who could not tell his left hoof from his right. He was also the one who had put Golden Banner on guard detail for the same ambassador. But all that was sorted out now.

The other side, though, was that she needed a speech to discuss, and so she had sat down right after court to work on it, tossing aside her other obligations for the day. It helped that she had witnessed the events of the Griffin Revolution firsthoof, even though she found that her memories had faded to a surprising degree over the centuries. Seven hundred years were a long time, even for her, and thus, knowing how sensitive Griffins could be when it came to these things, she had spent most of the day doing research.

Celestia yawned and looked out of the window at the Moon that shone bright into her room. She had set the Sun hours ago. Her work was progressing much slower than she had hoped. Maybe she should just call it a day and finish the rest tomorrow. The last thing she wanted was to fall asleep at the wedding.

She put down the quill and got up, stretching her sore limbs. She put out the oil lamp with a flick of her magic, then walked over to her bed, crawling under the blanket.

It was so soft after the long day of work. Almost as soft as Luna’s wings. She fell asleep immediately.

Celestia found herself in the ancient Griffinid Empire.

She was standing at the edge of Emperor’s Square, a large square in the Emerald City district, surrounded by buildings painted in radiant colors. This was where the oldest and most powerful griffin families lived. Uphill, their domes and pointed roofs peeked over the town hall, looking down on the lives of the less privileged. Behind them, on the very top of the hill, was the Emperor’s Palace, visible from everywhere in the city. It was a constant reminder that the citizens’ lives lay in the Emperor’s very claw.

Usually, the Emperor’s Square was not a busy place. No markets were held in Emerald City, since the griffin nobles had merchants delivering to them personally, receiving only the finest, most exclusive goods.

On this particular day, however, the place was flooded with ponies from Equestria.

The crowd filled the space from the center all the way back to the walls of the mansions and towers. A few of them who were especially eager jumped on the spot to try and catch a glimpse of what was going on, but most were standing still.

In the center of the square, on a wooden stage, stood Twilight Sparkle, speaking with a magically amplified voice. She wore a suit of polished plate armor that shimmered in the light of the Sun. Her crown she had taken off. Behind her was a pony wearing a plump leather mask, fumbling with the mechanisms of two guillotines.

“… during many years of their unrighteous rule,” Twilight’s voice wavered across the place. “Their guilt is unforgivable. Therefore, in the name of the ponies of Equestria, the sentence shall be the following: Princess Celestia of the Day, and Princess Luna of the Night, shall be decapitated. May Faust, our All-Mother, have mercy on their souls.”

The crowd cheered. Celestia looked at Peachy Sweet, who was standing at her side, holding her hoof. The mare looked straight forward towards Twilight, just like everypony else – Princess Twilight Sparkle, her new mistress. Celestia saw a hint of regret in Peachy’s eyes, but then, to judge was not the place of a maid. She was living to serve the crown, and serve whomever was wearing it.

Celestia started forwards. Peachy released her hoof, whispering a goodbye as the ponies stepped aside to make way for their former sovereign. Luna walked at her side, searching her gaze.

They had lived together. They had ruled together. And now they would die together.

Thick magical chains dragged over the ground behind them with each one of their steps, keeping them grounded. Twilight looked down at them from the stage with gratification.

“My little ponies. After all those years, today is the day on which we shall finally receive justice!”

The executioner offered Celestia a hoof when she climbed up the stairs, but she refused to take it, lifting the heavy chains on her own.

“Justice!” the ponies shouted. “Justice! Justice!”

Next to Celestia, Luna had reached the top of the stairs as well. They looked at each other one last time. Celestia dipped her head at her. Luna should know that she was ready. Ready to follow her wherever she went. Then they stepped forwards and bent their necks, resting them on the round cut-out of the lunette.

The headspony closed the upper half of the lunette, locking Celestia in place. The crowd fell silent.

A sharp noise cleaved the air.