• Published 1st Feb 2017
  • 4,666 Views, 688 Comments

Knights of the Realm - Kinni


Sunset, Trixie and Twilight were chosen as Celestia's apprentices, but they also choose to become Knights, protectors of Equestria. They are prepared for that, but Equestria is probably not prepared for them.

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Interlude: Luna's Confession
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Author's Note:

Later than I had expected, but it is also longer than I had expected, so...

And with this, I break the thirty thousand words barrier!

Spike walked to the training ground. One thing that had become completely clear over his apprenticeship with Princess Luna was that she didn't like to be predictable. He could never be sure exactly what kind of training he would be receiving each day. One day, the Princess would put him under extraordinary magical pressure, enough to crack his scales, and order him to fight back with his own soul. Another day, he would sleep and pass through nightmarish trials in the dream world, utterly convinced it was all real until she finally allowed him to wake up. And another day, he would have to deliberatedly try casting spells beyond his own level, under Luna's supervision, in order to improve his magical control and will. The only thing he could be sure of was that the training would be tough, and he would come out of it stronger.

Still, even with that said, he was surprised to reach the scheduled place and not see the night princess. Instead, he saw her pegasus avatar, Lightning Chaser.

The dragon had thought the avatars were weird and puppetlike at first (Luna had quickly recreated Silver Soul and Dark Moon, the avatars who had fallen in battle to the Knight candidates), but Luna had explained that they were actually a lot more lively and free than they seemed, but they still had to recover completely from the influence of the combination of Sombra's mind control, her own use of black magic and simply not being able to actually express themselves for such a long time. Luna even told him that avatars have all the rights of a normal pony (and showed the relevant laws in several books), and she lets them have their own lives with no more interference than a particularly skilled and important royal guard would receive.

"They are part of me, but at the same time are their own ponies. The same way, I am a part of them, separate but connected."

And time showed that she was telling the truth. Silver Soul showed herself to be a jokester who also loved to cook and frequently made weird culinary experiments (there were a lot of new ingredients she didn't know about due to being isolated during Luna's stint as Sombra's slave), Dark Moon actually reminded him of Twilight and the others with her constant bragging about "the powers of darkness", so much that he intended to introduce them to each other and watch the show, and she was also quite smart and liked to tell stories. Lightning Chaser was the one who was most similar to the way they were before, and that was only because of her no-nonsense personality and a sense of duty that reminded Spike of Shining Armor, Twilight's older brother.

"You got here two minutes late." She said "What happened?"

"Erm..." Spike hesitated, she was always pretty hard to speak to "I was studying mystical forms and lost track of time." Then he decided to ask "What happened to Princess Luna?"

"Her meeting in the Crystal Empire has finally been set, and she had gone there." The pegasus said without much of an inflexion.

"Ah." Spike knew what that was about, so... "What is going to be the training today?"

"You need to be pushed harder in order to truly tap into your potential powers as a dragon. So, today we will be fighting seriously." That said, Lightning started to gather her namesake around herself, charging her own fur to the point where she began to glow.

Spike knew there was nothing else to say, and didn't want to be simply blasted while trying to talk, so he put his left arm up and tried to summon whatever energy he could muster in order to at least not lose too quickly.

The avatar charged like a bolt of lightning, and then the dragon was too busy trying to keep himself conscious to think about anything else.

-

The expression overcapacity is frequently used for situations in which an event venue contains more ponies than its specifications were supposed to allow. This word could technically be used to describe the state of the commercial plaza of the Crystal Empire, in front of the stage that had been erected there, however, it didn't seem entirely adequate. Perhaps if a few other adjectives including the word "over" were added it would represent things better, like overburdened, overloaded and overkill. But even then, perhaps you would need to add another adjective that doesn't quite fit but gives the right impression, like overemcumbered.

The only ponies who had more than the explicit minimum of space to themselves were the foals, mostly due to riding on their parent's backs. Even with the high number of multistage stands that had been constructed for the event, even with the pegasi sitting on their prepared cloud stands, even with many ponies looking from the windows of nearby buildings, there were just too many ponies in a single place. Even Luna, one of the immortal Princesses of Equetria, had rarely seen that many ponies all at once.

Before stepping on stage, the night alicorn looked to her sides. To one side was her dear sister, who had never stopped believing she could be saved, and had even trained those great knights for the purpose. On the other was the young Princess Cadance, whom Luna had met when she was still Nightmare Moon, and who did the impossible, surpassing life and magic to defeat Sombra. The princess still remembered with awe the scene of that small pegasus, having lost both her wings and one of her legs, but still grinning with the confidence of victory. Obviously, she had recovered with the ascension.

But all that was unimportant at the moment, she had a confession to make.

"Ponies of the Crystal Empire... I stand before you today because there are some things you should know.

"You know me as Nightmare Moon, the alicorn servant of King Sombra, who served as his enforced during centuries in which he oppressed you.

"You also know me as Luna, sister of Celestia and the Alicorn of the Night, who was mind-controlled by Sombra and only recently released from his yoke.

"However, what you don't know is how Luna turned into Nightmare Moon. And the most basic answer to that was envy. I was envious of my big sister, because the ponies seemed to love her day, while they didn't care about my night.

"I desired to force ponies to acknowledge my night, and for that I sought power in black magic. It is a kind of magic that is dangerous even at the best of times, and my feelings were too mixed up and confused for that to be anything but one of the worst possible times.

"I lost control and became Nightmare Moon, and in my madness, would have banished my sister and brought about eternal night. But before I could do that, Sombra managed to bring me under his control.

"The greatest truth is this, were it not for my weakness, for my having fallen into madness, I would never have ended up under his sway, and he wouldn't have been able to enslave you for so long.

"I may not have done it out of my own will, but in the end, it is still my fault. As such, I have come into the presence of you, the ponies who were most harmed due to my actions, to confess and receive your judgement."

Having said her piece, Luna went silent, and looked over the crowd, waiting to see what their reaction would be.

For the most part, the reaction was silence. The ponies looked at each other with a variety of expressions, and all of them seemed to have something to say, but none of them felt brave enough to speak in this kind of momentous occasion.

In this kind of silence, the sound of the clearing of a throat rang like thunder.

Everyone looked at the talker. It was a very old mare, who was sitting in one of the stands relatively close to the stage.

After clearing the throat she started to speak. At first her voice was too low to hear, but Cadance helpfully used a spell to amplify the sound and she started again.

"You say it is your fault that Sombra was able to take control, but while that may be true, I feel like there are some things that should be brought up before any decision is reached.

"You may not know it, Princess Luna, but even as Nightmare Moon, as the enforcer of the terrible King Sombra, we still had a lot to be thankful to you."

Somehow, the silence found a way to become even heavier and thicker, before the old mare resumed speaking.

"You were the one who did the job of tracking down, capturing and punishing rebels. But due to your actions, many ponies managed to avoid an even worse fate.

"You took them and tortured them with nightmares, but the ponies were then returned to their families. You may have put spies in their minds to prevent further rebellion, but you left them alive, something that Sombra wouldn't do. He would make examples of them.

"And it's not just that. You also took charge of the punishments for other offenses. And again, you let ponies live and stay unmaimed, things Sombra wouldn't do. Even when you were under Sombra's control and the black magic's influence, you still cared for us ponies.

"But above all else, there's one thing I think should be considered. You say it's your fault that you got caught by Sombra and made us suffer, but I say the pony that suffered the most under Sombra was you. There's no need to punish you any further."

The ponies gathered on the plaza considered this, and tried to decide how they felt about it. But somepony else had something to say. It was a small red filly with no cutie mark.

"I... I don't understand all that complicated stuff... But you did something bad and you're sorry, right? Then I forgive you."

The effects of those small words were, if anything, even greater. Soon, more and more ponies started saying "I forgive you", and the chorus spread through the crowd.

Luna couldn't stop her tears from flowing.

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