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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)


For nearly every citizen of Equestria, it's a holiday: a chance to get together with friends, gather a few treats, and laugh in defiance of the darkness.

For Celestia, Nightmare Night is something else entirely.

(Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group: new members and trope edits are welcome.)

Now with author Patreon page.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 30 )

I want to go on record and say what so many have said about your continum; Your world-building is amazing! You bring these characters, these friends we've made over the last seven years come alive, breathe, and thrive. Stories like this are some of the best works from you, when we see into the lives of the Main 6, the Princesses, and so many others, canon and OC. Thank you for your storytelling, and sharing these tales (tails?) with us. My wife is an aspiring writer, and I give her a sounding board to work off of, in telling her stories. She just returned from Colorado from a writer's conference she has attended for the last several years. One of the mottos for the conference (which is on a t-shirt she was wearing when she returned) says "When we tell the story, We Are The Revolution". Keep up the great storytelling, for you are truly wonderful. Peace.

"Hello, my littlest ponies!" Celestia beamed. "Yes, I know, I'm late, but I'm guessing that a few of you got stuck in your bathrooms while your parents assembled the last tenth-bits of your disguises. In my case, I have to dress up as a Princess , and I think you can imagine that takes a lot of work..."

very cute.

Wow. This is beautiful. Congratulations.

I hope that someday you write about Luna's first day back. We may have seen the initial tearful reunion on the show, but I bet that first week would be one hell of an emotional roller coaster in your 'verse.

Because I screwed up. I found the wrong answer.

From her perspective, I'm sure; for my part, I don't know what a better alternative would have been, given that she couldn't do alone what the Six would end up doing. She couldn't simply let the Nightmare have its desire, and she wouldn't want to kill Luna even if it had to be done, if it could be done in the first place. Pleasant the choice was not, but she could have done worse than sticking the source of the problem away until there were ponies who could deal with it the way she would have wanted to be able to.

This story brought this video to mind
IMO, one of the ten best ever (IDK if I'd call it the best -but IDK that I wouldn't. Partly depends on my mood)

I wonder if Twilight is ever going to realize how much of a disappointment she is right now. She NEEDS to learn to interact with others but, for reasons that escape Celestia, she cannot.

Very beautiful and haunting.

If only Coordinator was aware of just how close he came to ruining Celestia's plans for Luna's return. He wouldn't have to be worried about Twilight's retribution; the shadow of a much larger set of wings would slowly drive him mad.

Of course, if Celestia ever found out...

Raising Moon wasn't the only time Celestia had to stab herself in the heart that day.

Incredible stuff all around, capturing the thoughts of a pony who has hoped and dreamed and dreaded and been almost alone for too damn long. The triggers, the memories, the data on the time before—both italicized and not—comes together into a story that's equal parts fascinating and devastating.

Twilight definitely falls into the latter. I knew seeing her at this point in her life would hurt, and it was about as bad as I expected. That didn't lessen the pain any.

Great work, Estee. Thank you as always.

Jesus, Estee. That's a thing of beauty. I adore your take on the Princesses, and this gets Celestia so right that it hurts to read, just because of how much she is hurting.


Absolutely. I would love to see that first day back, and the little moments as Luna comes back into herself. The first evening where Celestia finds another's touch softly bidding Moon to rise. The moment for Luna when she first hears the call again, and lets herself reaffirm that bond.

It needs to happen.


I also concur on seeing that first few days; I was thinking the same thing as I was reading this.

Maybe if we all grovel real nice...?

Also, having read the latest chapter of Triptych this morning, the contrast between Twilight then and now couldn't be sharper.

This is beautiful. The struggles of immortality, the struggle with sorrow, blaming oneself for past events... Celestia is undeniably understandable in this story, and it, though it is sorrowful, is also beautiful.

While that sounds like a fine idea I think it might be fun to do a variant that to my knowledge hasn't been done before.

Luna's first day back from the perspective of the Canterlot Castle staff. The collective"of course! Now it makes sense," realizations from the veterans could be priceless to see.

Bulkhead lost the princess one time?


Bulkhead, we needed that!

For the record, I didn't even see the author before I started reading the story (having found it on the front page)... and yet, before I was halfway through, I knew it was an Estee story. Not because of the writing style or the references (though noticing the name Murdoch cemented it beyond doubt), but because of the portrayal of Twilight. Your characters have a life of their own, enough so that I can recognize them even when I'm not expecting them.

And you know, as moving as Celestia's grief here is, the one I felt worst for was the research assistant. Poor Spike.

Wonderful, if sad as heck.

"Princess," the lone unicorn in the group said -- Bulkhead, wasn't it? He was one of those for whom she'd been thinking --

As in, Transformers Bulkhead? Between him and Rachette, I think you're a Prime fan.

Interesting story, and I'll second the requests for seeing what happens after the Return.

I really enjoyed this story. The dream scene really took me off guard with its violence. That's an effective way to show how badly Luna wanted to go back and how Celestia feels she let her sister destroy herself.
Tragedy was all over this piece. Twilight was a mess and had no idea how close she was to destroying the world. Let's hope she never finds out, too, because that retroactive guilt and anxiety could kill her. Everypony in Equestria was inadvertently throwing Celestia's biggest mistake in her face.

It was so good. Fantastic stuff.

Potent. I regret I only have one upvote to give.

Poor Celestia. She just wants to eat cake all day but she's too compelling a character when she's drowning in angst.

Seriously though this was awesome. Loved the horrifying dream of Luna not taking well to her ascension.

Quite a moving tale.I hope someday Celestia apologizes to Spike for letting him grow up a neglected child.

I don't often think about Celestia's state of mind before Luna's return- or just how worried she might have been about Twilight's development- perhaps because it's more pleasant not to. But that doesn't make this ring any less true, though the first half or so dragged the issue out a bit.

Maybe knowing that it does turn out well helps.

Very nice. I'm so, so fascinated by your portrayals of the princesses and your ideas about the *before* and the *after*. All those hints and tidbits of the ancient times. I always hope there's going to be more about that and I'm happy every time more about it comes up. I agree that seeing some of Luna's first days back would be fascinating to read about; it may have been done by other authors in different ways, but I think that your portrayal would add new interesting things to the concept with how you've built this verse. (The opening of the other half of the palace alone would be cool. )

This story also leaves me with a lot of questions. When Celestia moves Moon... Luna doesn't seem to be there, does she? Otherwise why would Moon long for a proper connection and ask where the other (Luna) is? From what we've seen in A Mark of Appeal, whenever Celestia fully merges with Sun, Sun feels whole and doesn't miss her and tries to make her stay. So Luna can't be merged with Moon during her abeyance, but what else does banished to the moon mean in this verse (like the series first said)? And why would there be scars on Moon that vanish after Luna returns if there's no real indication here that Luna is on/in Moon? Or am I overthinking this? Where the hay is Luna???

Anyway, great story, I'll happily take more like this any day.

Well done. The show spends so little effort on Celestia and Luna that – spread out over seven seasons – they're very nearly flat, so it's great to see you giving them life. Even though this is a tough read, the tenor of this is how I've imagined Celestia to be while Luna is in abeyance. Realistically there doesn't seem to be another choice.

Honestly, between this and Triptych, it's obvious that Clear Coordinator got off WAY too easy...for now.

Oh hey. I was just re-reading this for the umpteenth time (because I love it) and spotted what looks like a typo:

there's a little flash of white in the center of the deepest grove just before blood covers the bone.

The bolded 'grove' is meant to be groove isn't it?

I enjoyed this piece. The direction was laid out early and the narrative marched forward relentlessly, with growing tension. The fragmented sentences revealed a bit of Celestia's mind. Delightful.

Please,please,please make a story showing Luna first week back like I would kill to hear you tell it! Im trying to write myself and reading your work makes me a better author. Your like writing Jesus!♥️

damn it all that i can only upvote once!

There were only a few ways left into the shutdown half of the palace.

Shutdown or shut-down?

Dark forelegs are scrapping at the horn.

Should this be "scraping"?

This was magnificent and heart-wrenching. Thank you.

Lovely work on this one. I'm glad I'm not the only one who refers to the banishment marks as 'scars' and it's good to see such a thorough character piece. The dreaming segments and use of the gore tag was a vivid, morbid delight.

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