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ObabScribbler


Author and dramatic reader from YouTube. All your pony are belong to us.

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'All the world’s a stage,
And all the mares and stallions merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one pony in her time plays many parts,
Her acts being seven ages.' ~ William Shakespony

In the aftermath of banishing her corrupted sister, Celestia is left to tend to a land ravaged by fear of their own rulers, political discontent, racial tensions between the three tribes and her own crushing loneliness. A thousand years is a long time to wait for the return of the pony she was closer to than anyone else in the world; long enough that she needs to make other connections with other ponies to prevent herself from going mad and following her sister into corruption. The question is, can one pony ever be strong enough to rule a land for a thousand years and be both a good ruler and a good pony?

Written as a Patreon reward for Echo Located, who asked for a first person story about Celestia during the period of Luna's absence based on the poem 'The Seven Ages of Man' by William Shakespeare.

Chapters (10)
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Comments ( 48 )

Damn, that's a great look into Celestia's mind and the aftermath of the battle.

“Princess Luna…” The Night Guard captain continues to whisper. “Dead? I cannot be. It simply … cannot be!”

I’d find that hard to believe too if I was in that guards position:rainbowderp:.

Great start:twilightsmile:!

That was a cute scene with those two foals:heart:.

She does. Another great chapter, here. Wish I could say more, but you've got Celestia's internal voice pitch-perfect.

Amazing start!
Looking forward to the rest of the story!

Beautifully written and very atmospheric.
Great work!

So, I take it this is going to be written in seven chapters? I always like it when a story is thematic.

This is a very good start. I never thought the show did justice to the toll banishing Luna would take on her sister, so I always appreciate it when authors delve into the subject. I'd be very interested to see what kind of stories you'll be able to tell in such a short narrative structure, and where the Romance tag fits into it.

Or maybe this is the life of Ginger Root as told by Celestia?

In any case, I'll certainly be watching. I hope it all turns out well.

This shall be an interesting story.

A new world cannot be achieved without sacrifice.

That is true, unfortunately...:ajsleepy:.

It's good... although a meddling council is not something I've liked before. Sorry, old memories of otherwise good fics that are ruined by playing up the worst fanon stereotypes of Canterlot. For this fic, it's not so bad.

Wing clipping.

That is... disturbingly realistic. Although I must wonder what became of this addendum to the proposal.

A bit of unwarranted editing advice; recognise and avoid redundant words.

“Are you sure, your highness?” asked the same stallion who had already spoken.

"Who had already spoken" is unnecessary if you've already mentioned the speaker is the same person.

Sorry.

Good chapter, by the way, and I'm not sad to see that I was wrong about the Ginger Root storyline.

Wow, what an origin story for Celestia's school.

“Will Luna come back to me in the future?” I asked despite myself. I hadn’t seen Starswirl since her banishment and had fought with myself over whether I would ask the question if I ever see him again.

Of course she will Celly...it just takes time:pinkiesad2:.

ah, canon is overrated when it comes to fanfic. I vastly prefer Starswirl here than what we've seen of the old coot in the show.

Oh, I do like this. And I agree, canon is overrated, in particular when the fanfic is this good.

Immortality seems great for a while, but then I remember that there was this awkward social encounter in Disneyland four years ago that I'm still beating myself up over. I'm only in my 40s and already sometimes I think I have too much baggage to bear--and this from a relatively uneventful life. I don't know how immortals would even manage it.

There's just so much sadness one can take, I guess.

What is canon? Seriously? In the new Star Trek movies Vulcan was destroyed. That didn't happen in TOS and it was okay in Next Generation. So now what is canon? Apparently even waiting until the series is over might not work. To me EVERYTHING is canon and NOTHING is canon. Somewhere/somewhen anything goes. Stories are stories. Canon is an ephemeral dream to chase. If I like a story, to me, it's canon. If I don't it isn't. It doesn't matter what anybody else says and my opinion on it shouldn't matter to anyone else, either. If I like the story and I don't like a particular twist, I say to myself, "Alternate Universe" and presto it's now okay.

Oh, wow. This is just great, Scribbler.

“And you don’t take enough, Celestia! The world is not made by cowardice - it is forged in battle and doing what must be done by those who can do it!”

Luna doing what Celestia cannot...:ajsleepy:.

“You must return him to the bears ... he is why they are attacking. They think ... Equestria has stolen their prince. They will stop ... at nothing ... to get him back. Return him and their entire army will ... retreat back to the frozen north beyond the Forgotten Empire.”

Oh crap...:rainbowderp:.

“Princes of the Frozen North possess powerful magic.” Starswirl breathed in heavily, the air rasping in his throat. “This one is ... more powerful than most … he’ll be a great king someday …” He closed his eyes. “I have seen it. I have seen such things, Celestia …” He trailed off. His eyelids fluttered and then stilled.

Celestia, you better return that bear cub back pronto:twilightoops:!

Two pegasi mares joined me a while later. Firefly and Whizzer flanked me all the way to the front line, their presence buoying me up. They reminded me why I was doing what I was doing. My little ponies trusted in me to keep them safe. Starswirl trusted me to finish the task he had started. I would be worthy of that trust.

Hopefully she won't...:applecry:.

Amazing job as always Scribber:twilightsmile:. I eagerly await for more:scootangel:!

9087755

Well as far as the recent Star Trek movies go they are officially set in an alternate timeline (Spock says so in the first movie at one point), but I also get what you are getting at and I agree.

I came here because I recognized the Shakespeare quote.

“Begging your pardon, your majesty, but I’m not in perfect agreement with that statement, as t’were. I’m a simply country pony. Simple country ponies like me don’t get destined for great things. That’s just not how it’s done. Unicorns get great big special gilded destinies. Maybe even pegasi. But not earth ponies. Our destinies are all fields and fetlocks, so they are.”

Well you know what they say Purple, nothing lasts forever, and destinies can change:twilightsmile:. Who knows...maybe yours will change as well:twilightsmile:.

I sighed before departing myself. In truth, the offer to tutor him had passed my lips with no real forethought. Rash decisions often led to disaster and I was already so busy - yet I could not bring myself to regret the action. There was something to that little colt; a spark I had not seem in a very long time.

A spark …

Spark...wait, you mean...:pinkiegasp:!

One small typo I noticed...

For someone reason, however, the fact that I would have to be featured in at least one had slipped my mind.

Should be 'some'.

And... okay, I'm sorry, but Celestia came off as pretty damned... petty and immature at the beginning, How dare ponies admire her and paint her portrait! You'd think they like her or something! Also, Purple Pumpkin comes off more a thug with preferring to knock the other guy down.

I patted the mattress idly, as if testing its springiness. Long past were the days of straw filled beds and scratchy cloth. These days my bed smelled of wildflowers and was so stuffed with feathers I could have fashioned a new pair of alicorn wings from them and still had enough leftover for a battalion of pegasi.

A new pair of alicorn wings …

Oh Celestia...:applecry:.

I stopped my patting and stared at my own hooves like they were the most interesting thing in the world.

“There’s … a way to finish this,” Pumpkin murmured. “If I could just … figure it out. Starswirl the Bearded wouldn’t half-write a spell that couldn’t be finished.” He lifted his gaze to me. “Would he?”

“Starswirl was not always understandable, even to me,” I shrugged. “I once heard him described as ‘possessing thoughts that circled in ever-decreasing loops within each other.’ That always struck me as very accurate for him.”

“Hmm. I prefer more straightforward folks, so I do.” Pumpkin pulled at his chin again. “Life’s complicated enough as ‘tis without adding obfuscation for the sake of it.”

Yes it is:ajsleepy:.

“Imagine … a world where one’s cutie mark need not be a noose around one’s neck ... “

My head jerked up. “Excuse me?”

What:rainbowderp:???

“A pony with a break cutie mark need not be a baker all his life,” Pumpkin continued as if he hadn’t heard me. “A gem cutie mark need not consign a soul to working in dark mines the rest of their days. A pegasus with a ground-bound cutie mark may exchange it for one with wings, so they might! Or -”

“Or an earth pony with a magical cutie mark need not live the life of a hornless unicorn,” I whispered, more to myself than to him.

His ears flicked back at me. “Well … yes, as t’were.”

Oh...I see now:pinkiesad2:.

“You still have regrets. Even after all these years, all you have learned, all you have achieved because of your cutie mark … you still regret it.”

He bowed his head. “I cannot lie to you, my princess.”

“Please. Don’t call me that when it’s just the two of us.” Mercifully I kept the crack from my voice. “If you had not gained your cutie mark … you would never have come to my school. We would never have met.”

He paused before replying, “I know.”

“And yet you still regret it?”

“Not entirely, Not anymore. I’m proud of what good I’ve done in the world and I’m aware I was only able to do that because of what’s on my rump, so I do.. But … I would have liked an option when I was a colt, so I would. It was hard … being the only one in my family not … ‘normal’.” He paused and I knew he was thinking about the empty reserved seats at his graduation ceremony. For some ponies it was just too hard to come to terms with a life that did not follow the patterns it had followed for generations. When Pumpkin spoke again, his voice was soft and wistful. “Sometimes I dream of tilling fields. I wake up and I could swear my fur is still flattened and sweat-drenched from wearing a yoke. But when I touch it …”

...it's not there anymore...and all you feel now is the warmth of the Sun:pinkiesad2:.

Silence rested between us, heavy and full of meaning either of us wanted to voice.

“I am sorry,” I said at last.

“No,” Pumpkin responded quickly. “Do not be sorry, my - ah, my Celestia. I may have regrets but you are surely not one of them, so you’re not.”

But I was never more aware than in that moment how much I couldn’t not replace the life he had lost. My wings flexed on their own accord. My gaze fell upon his bare shoulders, so often covered in a cape, now decorated only by a wisp of bedsheet. The expanse of his back that I could see looked … far too empty. Or maybe it was I who was far too empty.

Pumpkin let out a small noise of surprise when I closed the distance between us and pressed my lips to his. He tasted vaguely of mead from a long past dinner but as I explore his mouth I tasted something more: dreams and plans and crushing disappointment. When we broke apart we were both quite breathless.

He smiled up at me. I realised I had forced him onto his back, hiding the bare expanse. Starswirl’s scroll had rolled off the bed and onto the floor. Pumpkin’s face, framed by my own white hooves either side of him, creased into a familiar expression.

“If you wanted me to stop, ah, studying all you had to do was ask, as t’were.”

I laughed and bent to kiss him again.

“I do not regret you at all, my Celestia,” Pumpkin murmured into my ear as we moved together, becoming one in the pale moonlight coming through my chamber window. I revelled in the sensations he awoke within my body and my heart, even as the latter broke at his words.

“Stay with me,” I whispered desperately. A ragged gasp caught in my throat, swallowed moments later by his kiss. The rest of what I wanted to say disappeared into his mouth. Stay with me forever. Be more than just a mortal. Be by my side forever. You’ve come such a long, long way. Let me give you wings so you can stay with me.

“Yes,” he replied to the wrong thing. “I’ll stay. My sweet Celestia, I’ll stay with you.”

The cry I let out mingled with his, but as we collapsed together in a tangle of limbs and sweat-drenched hair, the echo of mine sounded more like crying than passion.

Love leaves a memory, no one can heal...but it leaves a memory, no one can steal...:ajsleepy:.

“Are you enjoying yourself?”

“Of course I am.”

His smile said ‘liar’ so loudly he did not need to give it voice.

Oh he is SO not:rainbowlaugh:!

“Purple Pumpkin,” I said evenly. “As your mentor and princess I order you to go and mingle with the other partygoers.”

“What? I -”

“I order it, Pumpkin. Go.”

Just like Twilight...all that anti-socialness:ajsmug:.

I scanned the party. Everypony - no, everyone, I corrected myself, spying several other dignitaries in the crowd - was having what appeared to be a good time. Lord Puddinghead himself was in the bandstand, a trumpet pressed to his lips. His feathered hat bounced jauntily. He was a darn sight more handsome than his ancestor - and had more brains too. That he had chosen to turn them to party-planning did not diminish his intellect one iota. As I watched, he tossed the trumpet into the air, spun in a pirouette, caught it and continued playing, purple mane bobbing in perfect rhythm.

Purple...

My eyes sought Purple Pumpkin out without permission. I almost cursed them when they found him. He was not in the middle of the dancefloor but somewhat to the edge, a circle of irritated partygoers giving him and his dancing partner a wide berth. I recognised the pretty white mare as Writing Desk, a usually demure daughter of the Minister of Finance. Her face was a mask of delight it never usually wore as she stood on her hind hooves and moved jerkily to the music. She danced like a pony who had never done so before but the sheer enjoyment in her every movement was almost palpable. And beside her, dancing only marginally better, Pumpkin was … smiling at her.

I looked away, a lump in my throat, and when the ambassador from Griffinstone hailed me I greeted her with far too much enthusiasm.

Jealousy rearing its ugly head, huh Celestia:applejackunsure:?

“Pumpkin.” I raised one horseshoe, paused for a moment, and then removed it with a flare of my horn. His hoof felt paper-fragile in mine. Gently, scared I would hurt him, I stroked the back of it the way I had done for years. Another tremor ran through him. “I will remember you forever.”

“Forever is a long time, Celestia, so it is.” He fixed me with one rheumy eye. The other was milky white but moved in my direction anyway. “Nopony can be expected to remember a whole lifetime of recollections forever. Not even you.” His mouth quirked. “Sun goddess.”

He will eventually fade form your memory Celestia...but until then, you have all of the memories you and Purple shared together:pinkiesad2:.

“Stop that.”

“What?”

“To you I am and will always be just Celestia.”

“You’re never just anything, Celestia.” Pumpkin paused as if thinking. “For a long time … you were my everything. I thought I would pull down the stars from the star and gift them to you if you’d asked me to. Whatever you’d have asked of me, I would have done for you.”

As would many:twilightsmile:.

“Let me speak. Please.” He stared at me so hard that it rendered me silent. “I did not understand why you gave me that spell at the time. It took me a long time to hear the request you kept not saying.”

No no no no -

“And once I understood … I kept waiting for you to ask me. And waiting. And waiting. For years, I waited for you to ask. But you never did.”

Yet...you didnt want her to, did you:fluttershysad:?

I swallowed, my mouth dry as a desert. “I … I did try. Several times.”

“But?”

“But each time … I thought about what your answer might be.”

“And the thought of that stilled your tongue?”

The lack of his usual verbal tics made me stutter. “Y-yes.”

“You were so afeared of rejection you did not ask at all?”

“Partially.”

“Partially?”

“I … did not want to inflict this life on you.” My wings twitched open slightly. “This burden.”

It is a heavy burden indeed...one that Twilight will soon carry:ajsleepy:.

“Oh my Celestia.” Pumpkin’s one good eye softened and his hoof turning upward in my grasp, holding me as tight as he was able.

For a moment my heart lifted back into my chest, still dripping acid but spurred on by hope.

“As I said, whatever you’d have asked of me, I would have done for you.”

“You would have done it.” I paused. “But would you have wanted to do it?”

“And therein lies the rub. I would have done whatever you wanted me to do because you wanted me to do it.” His gaze sharpened, becoming the incisive look I knew of old. “Even become an alicorn.” He nodded at my expression. “So. I was indeed correct. Until this very moment part of me wondered if it was even possible.”

“It … it is possible,” I whispered.

“At what cost though?”

“It is not dark magic. No sacrifices or blood pacts or selling your soul. Alicornhood is earned. Anypony can become one if they prove themselves worthy enough in the presence of a pre-existing alicorn. The magic is ancient - far more ancient than I - but benign.” My chin dipped. “But there is still a cost. Outliving those you love most. Being a stone lodged in place in the river of time. Seeing everypony carry on without you. Having a responsibility thrust upon you that does not care whether you wanted it or not.”

Again, a heavy burden with an equally heavy cost:fluttercry:.

“You have regrets.”

“Don’t we all?”

Indeed we do:ajsleepy:.

A little laugh whooped past his lips. “That we do.” He shifted his gaze to the ceiling, his focus somewhere beyond it. “I … am not sure I could have coped with such regrets as well as you.”

“But you would have let me ascend you into alicornhood regardless.”

“I loved you, Celestia. Adored you. Worshipped you. Not as the Sun Goddess, but for being you: the kind, generous, funny, witty, honest, desirable mare you are down to your core.” He sighed. “But … over time … as I kept waiting for you to ask me that question … to give Starswirl’s scrolls back to me … I began to realise that might not be enough. I once heard one of those playwrights in Trottingham say that hate is merely love with its back turned. I realised that my love for you, however strong, would not be enough to sustain me through eternity on its own. I realised I had no other reason for wishing to ascend other than to be with you and because you wanted me to ascend. And … that is not a good enough reason to commit oneself to eternity. There needs to be more reasons for a pony to make that choice.”

Ineed there does..only then...:pinkiesad2:.

I nodded. Tears beaded at the corners of my eyes but everything he said held true.

“I realised that I am better suited to mortality. Your memories of me, for as long as you retain them, will be of me loving you. I will be immortalised that way. Well, that and my literary legacy, as t’were. I appreciate the dedicated section in the royal library, by the way.”

I smiled. A tear slid past the corner of my mouth. I tasted salt but kept up that rigid smile. “You are most welcome. Your work has become the backbone for so many avenues of research that I could do nothing less.”

“Ironic. So much magical and technological advancement because of a little earth pony who should have grown up a farmer working the fields.” Pumpkin closed his eyes and smiled. “Not bad. Not bad at all.”

“You will be remembered, Pumpkin.” I held his hoof tighter. “I will not ever forget you. Not ever.”

You say that now, but you will eventually:fluttershyouch:.

“Thank you.” His breathing lengthened. Each breath seemed to rattle a little more in his chest. “Thank you … for not asking me that question now. Thank you for not making me say no to you on my deathbed. I’ve lived a good life, Celestia. I’m proud of what I’m leaving behind. Everypony has regrets but I like to think I have fewer than most.” He turned his head and looked at me, though clearly the effort was become greater with each passing second. “You will find somepony someday who is better suited to ascension, Celestia. Somepony whose whole focus is not you and pleasing you alone. Somepony who values friendship and love and learning in equal measure. Somepony whose ascension would be beneficial to all Equestria, to you and to him or herself.” His grip slackened. “I … love … you … my … Celesssssssssss …”

Farewell Purple Pumpkin...may you find eternal rest in Paradise:heart:.

I stayed at that bedside for a long time. Eventually I placed Pumpkin’s limp foreleg across his chest, placed my golden horseshoes back on my feet and left to tell the nurses that it was time.

“Goodbye, Purple Pumpkin,” I murmured. “I … hope you’re right.”

Purple has no idea how right he is:raritywink:.

Wow. I honestly don't think Celestia has ever been portrayed so well in a first-person perspective as in this fic.

Hate is merely love with its back turned.

Good words.
In this situation Luna and Twilight are best companions for Celestia

9619536
I know one.
Try "Wayward Sun",
Very good fic with similiar Celestia

Yeah... I'm sorry, but I don't really feel sorry for Celestia during the party. At all. Or having to do necessary duties.

As for that thrice-damned spell? I still don't get how one earns anything by solving it, especially the way Twilight bungled it.

Well this was sad. Immortality. It always is a two edged sword. Who Wants To Live Forever? I liked the stone in the river part. The older she gets the faster the river seems to flow, too, I bet. I can't imagine what a relief it was to finally have Luna back, even though Cadance finally came along. Good stories make you think, so this is a very good story.

You really outdone yourself this time dear sister. Your fingers are nimble things that create art. I only made one story afraid to try again fearing that others would hate what I create.

Wow. So Starswirl hid her in the sun to keep her safe from Nightmare Moon. Now it's up to the Elements to restore Luna. I look forward to the reunion, but mourn the coming ending of this wonderful tale.

An interesting take on the behind-the-scenes of the pilot that I've never quite seen fine before.

I sighed. One thousand years. The number has seemed interminable at first but now I stood on the cusp of the final morning and I … was not sure if I was ready. I had set into motion all I could think of to safeguard my little ponies while also healing my poor sister and returning her to me as she once was. Right now Twilight Sparkle, my latest student, was in Ponyville meeting with ponies I hoped would be suitable candidates to wield the Elements of Harmony. They seemed to embody the various attributes necessary, plus after extensive investigations into their histories they all seemed to be good ponies. Twilight herself I did not doubt would do her best to achieve the most optimal outcome. Her nature was rather bookish and a little too introverted but she had an inner strength I had seen only a few times in my long life. Something in her chimed with a part of my soul I had not heard in … well, in far too long. Since before Equestria made peace with its political enemies; before my beloved school was broken into factions while I brokered that peace in distant lands; since before the council ate its own tail and collapsed, only to be born anew as the Equestrian Parliament. Decades had passed like eyeblinks, it seemed, and yet they had also crawled by, allowing me to absorb my triumphs and tragedies in excruciating detail. So much had been done and yet there was still so much to do.

So much to do, so little time:ajsleepy:.

Would I get the chance to do it all?

Would I continue to shape our nation alone from my pedestal of memories?

If you hold onto them, and keep holding onto hope, you will:pinkiesad2:.

Thoughts of the future dominated my mind tonight. When I pushed them aside, however, thoughts of the past rushed to take their place. It seemed I was caught in an unending nexus of ‘never was’, ‘never will be’ and tentatively hopeful ‘maybes’ that grew only more insistent as the minutes ticked by.

Luna…

:applecry:.

The sudden detonation of magic behind me was almost welcome in its distraction. When I turned to see the cause, however, I did not welcome it at all.

“Celes … tia…” Starswirl stumbled towards me, dripping blood, his beard and cloak stained angry red in far too many places.

I dived forward to catch him as he crumpled like a puppet with all its strings cut. “Starswirl!” He weighed practically nothing. He was so old, so thin and sickly looking. I immediately thought of that long ago time with the bear prince and my confusion of his departing words abated.

“I will be there … at the end … I promise you.”

Starswirl:applecry::raritycry:!!!

At the end of a thousand years of waiting. All this time and he had not forgotten. “Starswirl, old friend, can you hear me?” His breathing was shallow and when I felt his pulse it flickered under my magic. “I shall fetch a doctor, you must -”

“No …” His hoof shot out and grasped mine much tighter than I expected. “This is as it should be.” His eyes when they met mine were bright and alert, albeit full of pain at his injuries. “I’m full of manticore poison, Celestia, and half of my guts rotted away long ago on the floor of the Everfree Forest. I know I’m dying. Medical science has improved much in this time but not enough for me. This is the when and where I have chosen for my end. Here, with you, so you aren’t alone as you wait for the dawn.”

You've been a wonderful mentor and friend Starswirl:fluttershysad:...we'll never forget you:raritydespair:!!!

“Starswirl.” A lump caught in my throat. This was hardly the first death of a loved one I had ever endured but it cut deeper than any other. Even Purple Pumpkin has not hurt this much. I had known his end was nearing for weeks before it came and had made use of the time to make my peace with it. This was an unexpected blow. “Can I at least make you more comfortable?”

“I’m as comfortable as I’m going to be, girl.” He coughed, flecking me with red. I did not care. I cradled him like a nursing foal, heedless of the mess he made of my regalia. “H-how long … until the dawn now? Did I … did I make it in time?”

I tried to swallow. “Mere minutes. The time is nearly up. Luna will return soon and I …”

Luna will return soon, and reclaim her title as the Queen of the Night once again:ajsleepy::pinkiesad2:.

“You will not face her yet,” Starswirl said softly. “First … your student and her … h-her f-friends will … will meet her in Ponyville. But not you. You will see her when she ...is Luna … again …”

I gasped. “She will not be the Nightmare when I see her?”

Starswirl smiled. “I have … seen it … in my travels ...”

Joy blossomed in my heart unlike anything I had ever thought I could feel again. Luna - the true Luna - was going to come back to me. I could hardly believe it.

“Why did you not tell me this before?”

“Because … what has happened … must happen no matter what I … d-do … time is not … is not …” He closed his eyes.

Of the essence:unsuresweetie:?

“Starswirl?” Joy ceded to desperation. “Starswirl!?”

“I’m not … dead … y-yet,” he wheezed. “My molecules … all scrambled from time-shifting … when I go … no body … I’ll become one w-with … with the t-timestream …” He smiled as if at some private joke. “And then I shall know all its secrets at l-last …”

The world broke apart into wet fragments. I felt the tears pour down my cheeks. I was no longer sure who or what they were for. I held my oldest, dearest friend and choked down my sobs. “I’m sorry, Starswirl. I’ve made so many mistakes in these thousand years - ”

“Pshaw. You made the mistakes you were meant to. Even one thing different and this m-moment right n-now might not have happened.” He opened his eyes and stared piercingly at me. “And this moment … this moment is … what was meant to … m-meant t-to …”

On the other side of my chambers the grandfather clock began to chime the hour. A bright white light shone through the open window. I heard an echoing laughter, cruel and mocking, that I had last heard a millenia ago.

“I’m coming, sister dear!”

Oh Celestia...Starswirl:applecry:!!!

“Do not give up hope, Celestia.” Starswirl’s breathing hitched and slowed. His horn ignited. I felt myself lift off the floor and was surprised when the dark shadow riding into the room on a beam of moonlight screamed in anger.

“No! She is mine! I have waited too long for this!”

“You cannot have her, Nightmare. I am hiding her where shadows dare not go for fear of being snuffed out of existence.” His eyes met mine one last time. “In the heart of the sun itself.”

You get away from her Nightmare:flutterrage:!!!

The Nightmare’s voice laughed. “You think you hide her but I will chain her to the sun so she can never be free of her hiding place - just as she bound me to the moon! Enjoy your exile, dear sister. Only you will ever see the sun again.”

“So you think, Nightmare.” Starswirl grunted and slipped from my grasp. His hooves dissolved into glowing pinpricks of light. Each pinprick darted away, becoming lost in the shadows filling my room. “My time has come. Goodbye Celestia. Goodbye, Luna.”

“You dare call me by that name!” screeched the darkness.

Yes, because you are not Luna, Nightmare:twilightangry2:!!!

Also, probably should've added 'Nightmare screeched in the darkness':raritywink:.

Starswirl exploded into white light. For an instant the room was as bright as day. The curtain next to the window blew back, revealing a much younger bearded face, expression a mask of horror. His horn was already glowing to whisk him away from this time and place. I caught a glimpse of slitted turquoise eyes in the shrieking shadows before the world became nothing but heat and fire and the peace of oblivion.

Goodbye Starswirl...may you rest in peace in Paradise:ajsleepy:.

Damned fine ending, Scribbler. You're as fine a writer as you are a voice-actress, and that's a lot of talent.

It wasn't your fault, Celestia.

This is really nice. I liked the little glimpses of Celestia as Luna sees her. How strange Celestia must seem to her...

“Mine heart did house such envy for thee a thousand years hence...”

I don't usually point out mistakes, but I think you should replace "hence" with "agone." Hence implies 'future' while 'agone' implies past.
I am loving this story. Seriously.

So! Another moment I wish we'd have seen in canon. Lovely work with this and with the story as a whole. Glad to see it completed!

Well, I thought it was great! With the remark about it was out of your comfort zone, I hate to chant sequel, but I will anyhow because I liked it that much. Seeing more interaction between Luna and Cadance would be cool.

“We … I …. do not deserve to rule over anypony.” Luna gulps audibly but swallows the sudden onset of emotion. Or maybe she simply hates using singulars instead of royal plurals. Nonetheless, I watch her eyes glitter from the corner of my own. “I did squander that right when I did take up the mantle of darkness and the helm of fear.”

“That’s in the past, Luna. I have forgiven you.”

We all have:pinkiesad2:.

“That is folly!” Her shout echoes off the brickwork. It is a good thing I informed the guards of the castle not to interfere if they heard raised voices. I can more than handle Luna in her weakened state. This is no Nightmare Moon I am facing now.

I had hoped our conversation would remain civil but … I am done pretending I know my own sister as well as I thought I did. A thousand years ago I chose to believe what I wanted about Luna. I chose to think I knew her hopes and dreams, her thought processes and her opinions better than she did. My arrogance left her vulnerable to the insidious darkness that stole her from me for hundreds of lifetimes. I thought I knew best back then. I harbour no such vanity now. This time I will not acknowledge only the parts of her that appeal to me. I will accept her whole, as she is, all her beauty and ugliness, all her strengths and weaknesses, not just as I want her to be.

So I do not raise my voice in return to her. I do not turn and walk away, calling her behaviour unfit for a princess, as I might have done when I was young and foolish. Instead, softly, I ask: “Why do you think that, Luna?”

“I did endeavour to slay thee!” Luna snaps as if I am being particularly stupid. “I did attempt to usurp thine place and add it to mine own. I did wish to douse thy mighty sun and claim its place with my own moon, no matter the cost to our ponies or our country.” Luna bites her lip, still unable to look directly at me. “I am unfit to rule.”

You were fit to rule Luna, and you still are...you just had unfortunate circumstances happen to you:pinkiesad2:.

“Do you think you would ever do it again?”

Though turned from me, I can tell that her expression is one of pure horror. “Nay! Never again!”

“Then you are fit to rule, Luna. Nopony is perfect. We all make mistakes. It’s how we deal with them and learn from them that makes us who and what we are.” I stare out at the distant mountains and the undulating green of the Everfree Forest. It is a pretty place from a distance, though its wildness up close is to be respected more than admired. “I have had a thousand years to learn that lesson. Truthfully, I had to learn it a few times. I made many mistakes while you were gone, Luna. I regret a lot of them. Some still hurt to think about - and probably will for the rest of my life - but each one shaped me into the kind of ruler …” I trail off. “No, into the kind of ponyI am today. Equestria is prosperous. Its denizens are happy and safe. Each new generation makes it a better place. Yet none of them are perfect and I would not wish for them to be so. Our imperfections, our mistakes, our tragedies and our triumphs all contribute to the tapestry of our lives. And a tapestry made up of only one colour thread would be a very boring thing.”

Very well said Celestia:twilightsmile:.

Luna shifts her shoulders, her head still drooping but her ears pricked. “Thou art … so much older than I now, dear sister. So much the wiser than I. For thee … a thousand years did pass … but for me ‘twas was but the blink of an eye since last we ill-met by moonlight.” She winces at her own words. “Thy will hath endured the tests of time and softened to forgiveness but … mine own wounds do remain fresh. I do see myself with eyes clear as morning dew where before they were clouded as … a stormy night. I do behold mine own failures, my own frailties and … and I do not possess strength enough to forgive myself for what I have done to thee and to thy … our ponies.”

“It will come in time, Luna.”

All of it will happen in time:twilightsmile:.

“I wouldst pray that thou art correct, dear sister, but there remaineth a part of me that doth wish for naught but censure and continued punishment for crimes committed by mine own hoof.”

“A millennia away from Equestria is punishment enough, I think, and though I wish you wouldn’t, I think you’ve lavishing enough censure on yourself that nopony else need add to it.” I want so badly to nuzzle her and give her the physical comfort that should go along with my words. That short embrace in the ruins of our old home was not nearly enough. “Self-flagellation may seem like a good idea but it won’t help you to become a better pony. Though it might seem like a good idea, heaping punishment upon yourself won’t change the past and will only change your future for the worse.”

Luna hunches. “We shall see, dear sister.”

Only time will tell:ajsleepy:.

“Luna, would you please answer me one question?”

She stiffens, clearly expecting the worst. “O-of course.”

“Why won’t you use my name?”

Tension hangs thick in the air. “I … know not of which thou doth speak.”

“Yes you do. Ever since Twilight and her friends brought me back to you, and you to me, you’ve called me ‘dear sister’ and nothing else. Why?”

Luna swallows audibly. “I … have missed thee. I wish to … re-establish our sisterly bond …”

Well, go for it Luna:twilightsmile:.

She can tell I’m not buying it.

“Tell me the truth, Luna. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. I refused to listen to you a thousand years ago. I will not do so again - not ever. Not even if what you have to say to me is something you think will anger or hurt me.”

“I … it is difficult to … be so familiar with thee now.” Luna pauses. I don’t press her to go on but eventually she does anyway. “Thou hath grown, both in body and mind. Thou doth possess such wisdom and thou art so much more majestic and regal than the pony I knew before my … translation unto darkness. When I do look upon thee I do not see Celestia, the pony who did tease me as a filly and carry me upon her back as a mewling foal. I do address thee as sister to remind myself that this … be what you are to me.”

My heart clenches. “Oh Luna...”

:applecry:.

“Mine heart did house such envy for thee a thousand years hence. I could not bear for it to do so again. Thou art my dear sister. I do not ever wish to forget that in favour of the dark thoughts that did once plague me.” She sniffs. “They were not all the Nightmare’s. They did begin as my own. My own jealousy and … petty hatred that did grow to become its full-fledged cousin.” She gulps wetly and pauses before continuing. “I am … afraid. I am afraid that the soil within this heart and mind of mine is still nourishing to such terrible thoughts. That I shall begin to see thee once again as my superior … not as family.”

“That will not happen.” I clomp my hoof down sternly, making her jump. “You say I’m so much wiser now but so are you, Luna! Listen to yourself! Would the old Luna from a thousand years ago be second-guessing herself like this? Would she be examining her own thoughts and feelings with this level of maturity? No, she would not. But you are because you’ve grown Luna. You’ve been changed by your experiences and you’re changing still. You’re not the pony you once were. None of us are. You won’t slide backwards into old habits or old grievances because we’ve both matured and learned from what happened last time. Neither of us will let the other slip.”

“Thou wouldst be mine guardian?”

“If you’ll be mine. I treated you terribly, Luna. I didn’t act like your sister. I acted like an an arrogant fool and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t see how you were feeling or help you deal with your insecurities. But this is not that time anymore, Luna. Things will be different this time.”

“Thou doth speak with such conviction.”

“Warranted conviction. We’ll look after each other, Luna.” I extend a wing, letting it hover over her shrunken back. “I … I need you, Luna. I can’t do this alone. What kept me going these past thousand years was the thought of seeing you again. I need you … dear sister.”

You both need each other:ajsleepy:.

With something like a sigh, she leans back into my wing’s embrace. I close it around her, holding her close to me. She is stiff at first, but softens and finally melts against my side in a hug I have waited a millennia to enjoy.

“I missed you, Luna.”

“I did miss thee also, Celestia.”

:rainbowkiss::heart:!!!

“Cadence,” she says warmly. “Thank you for coming.”

“It is an honour, your majesty,” I say woodenly, like I learned my lines. Which, well, I kind of did.

I can tell she knows it, too. She gives me that smile she used to give me during our lessons when she knew I was lying about having done my homework. “So formal,” she chides.

I wilt. “Sorry. I just … it’s all a bit much, y’know?”

She nods. Boy, I bet she knows better than anyone else.

That she does:twilightsmile:.

“Sorry!” I would smack my own forehead if I wasn’t pretty sure the stupid metal shoe would knock me out. “Of course you know. You were there. I mean … I just … I never expected to ....”

“Breathe, Cadence.” The barest hint of a laugh. I am instantly soothed. How does she do that? I need to learn how, stat.

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. There’s nothing to be sorry for. You’re nervous. That’s understandable. It’s not every day a figure from childhood legend comes to life and comes to live in your castle.”

I nod. “To be honest, Auntie … calling it ‘my castle’ is still pretty surreal too.” My wings flutter anxiously. “I’m still not sure why the magic chose me.”

“Equestria’s very fabric is made up of magic, Cadence. Sometimes it works in mysterious ways that not even I, with all my years of experience, can fathom.”

That it does:twilightsmile:.

“Yeah. I guess.”

“Are you ready?”

“No.” I take a breath. Let it out slowly. “But I’m not getting any readier so I guess now is as good a time as any.”

“It’s going to be fine.”

I make a noise that was meant to be assent but sounds more like someone strangling a weasel with a trumpet. Why do so many of my inner thoughts about myself involve violence to small fuzzy animals? That can’t be a good sign. Can it?

Aunt Celestia laughs. “Come along. She’s waiting in my chambers.”

“Meep.”

“I have a feeling she’s going to like you.”

Who wouldn't be like by Luna except those who are able to get her to like them:ajsmug:.

“I’m glad you think that.” Because I am about to soil myself in a very unprincessly way.

We go to her chambers. I recognise the study from our lessons but we don’t stop there. Instead, we go through to the little antechamber I used to think of as the reading nook. There has always been a tray of tea and cake on the little table in there for as long as I have been here. This time is no exception. What is different is the alicorn sitting by it. Instead of Celestia’s tall, regal figure I am confronted by a stunted little blue pony whose wings and horn as way, way smaller than mine. I’m so startled that I stop and gape. This can’t be Nightmare Moon. Standing up, she wouldn’t even reach my shoulder!

The filly - she must be a filly - looks up from the book she has spread out across literally her entire lap and then some. Her eyes … she doesn’t have the eyes of a regular filly. They look old and wise and so, so sad that I want to take a step back. I probably would, except Aunt Celestia is behind me and I’d crash into her. The filly’s eyes are ancient, just like Celestia’s.

“P-Princess Luna?” I stutter, because there’s no doubt who this is.

“Ah. You must be Cadence.” Her voice is old too - not scratchy or anything, but full of something I can’t put a name to that makes me think she knows way more than she could ever put into words for someone like me to understand. She closes the book, puts it to one side using her hooves and hops off her seat. I was right. She has to look up at me as she comes closer. “We are pleased to make thy acquaintance.”

“Um … me too. Uh, to you,” I hastily add. Great, Cadence, a wonderful first impression there. “I am - we are, uh, please to … thy … it’s …” I drop to one knee. “Nice to meet you?”

I hear Luna chuckle. I’m staring too hard at the floor to look up at her and see her expression. “Thou art correct, Celestia. We … I do like her.”

Told you so Cadence:twilightsmile:.

“Told you,” Celestia says smugly. “Ah, I see Juniper brought up the tray already. Shall I serve? We have a lot to talk about, after all, and talking over cold tea is beastly.”

I’m welcomed into the nook and take my favourite comfy seat. Celestia floats a cup of steaming hot tea over to me but I watch Luna accept hers with her hooves.

Her … bare hooves.

She catches me looking and smiles, nodding her head to the little pile of glittering metal behind her seat.

“Pretty but uncomfortable,” Celestia chimes in, holding her own teacup and a large slice of cake in her magic as she prises her own shoes off her feet and tosses them into the pile with a happy sigh. “Sometimes a princess must look the part but sometimes … a princess just has to be a pony.”

Without her finery, she looks softer. She’s still tall and beautiful and impressive as all get out, but she is just Auntie Celestia, not Princess of the Sun. She is ... yeah. Just a pony.

I smile as I take off my own shoes and throw them in the pile.

Maybe I can handle this princess thing after all.

Don't get too ahead of yourself Cadence...this is just the beginning:raritywink:.

A great read, Scribbler. Well-done. :)

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hey don't underestimate yourself, at least you finished a story, I have dabbled in fan-fic writing, and aside from a re-make of "the night before christmas" and a handful of chapters from several different fandoms, I have yet to actually complete a story at all.

When Cadence first meets Luna I was reminded of a scene from a bugs bunny cartoon: "I like him, he's silly"
also, I hope that you or someone does a reading of this most excellent story.

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