• Published 2nd Aug 2018
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Acolyte of the Lunar Court - Lets Do This



"The Night is not as forgiving as the Day." -- Twilight finds out the hard way what Luna's night is like.

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From the Sun to the Moon

The wings of the two nightmares churned through the night sky, hauling the heavy Chariot at breakneck speed. Twilight clung to the railing, buffeted by flight winds. She couldn't begrudge the flyers their desire to get home before the sunrise blinded their sensitive eyes, yet she was really glad she'd thought to throw a cloak on against the chill.

Spike, her assistant and scribe, peered out from his hiding place beneath the cloak.

"D-d-do you know what this is about, Twi?"

"Only what I saw in my dream!" Twilight raised her voice to be heard over the wind. "Luna asked for my help!"

"Yeah, well, why'd she tell you in a dream? And how's that even work anyhow? I mean, couldn't she just send you a letter?"

"I don't think she meant to do it," Twilight said. "She said she normally doesn't reveal herself. But this time she did!"

"Creepy!" Spike shuddered. "Not sure I'd want her roaming around in my dreams!"

"C'mon, Spike!" Twilight chided him. "It's Princess Luna! We can trust her! She cares about us just as much as Princess Celestia does!"

"Yeah, well. I mean, dreams are supposed to be private!" Spike said. "At least I thought they were!"

Twilight stared ahead at the approaching city of Canterlot. She could understand Spike's reluctance. She shared it to some extent. Yet she also felt strongly that she could trust Luna. She just needed to find out what this was all about.

The Chariot swept down to settle heavily on the upper landing platform of the Palace, and Twilight and Spike hurriedly dismounted. The flyers did not wait a moment. Wings already flapping, they lifted off at once and the Chariot swept away, dropping downwards towards the palace mews.

There were white-coated guards standing to either side of the doorway leading in, who snapped to attention. They wore the gold armor and plumes of Princess Celestia's personal retinue.

"This way, ma'am!" the right-hand guard said to her. They fell in to either side and led the way down the stairs to the main Audience Chamber.

The tall, intricately scroll-worked doors swept open. Twilight cautiously stepped through, and then advanced up the long red carpet leading up to the dais. She heard the doors swing gently shut behind her.

Seated upon the Sun Throne was the towering, radiantly shining, ethereal-maned Princess Celestia... who smiled down at Twilight in glad welcome. "Twilight Sparkle!" she said, her large, gentle eyes shining with pleasure, her warm voice settling about Twilight like a comfortable blanket. "Thank you for coming so quickly!"

"Of course, Princess!" Twilight smiled back, relieved.

"And Spike! It's good to see you too!"

Spike bowed formally. "My Lady!"

"And we too are here!" said Princess Luna, stalking from the shadows to the left. "We greet thee both, with thanks for thy swift arrival!" She sat down near the base of the dais, a few steps from Twilight.

"So..." Twilight said, looking up at Celestia, "Um. Princess Luna asked for my help with... something important?"

"Yes, Twilight, I know. Before we get to that, there is something equally important that I need to ask of you."

"Well, of course, your Majesty! What is it?"

"I need you to stop being my student..."

Twilight's blood ran cold, her eyes went wide. She reflexively sucked in a rough, ragged breath. Her knees trembled, threatening to give way.

NO! PLEASE NOOOO...

Celestia had paused, startled by Twilight's reaction. Then she went on.

"... temporarily! I'll explain why in a moment. But first... Twilight, will you please take a breath? You're beginning to seriously worry me!"

Twilight gasped hoarsely, then cleared her throat and tried to calm her nerves. "Sorry! I... had a rough night. Didn't sleep too well!"

"Tell me about it! This is me before my first cup of coffee!" Celestia said with feeling. And indeed she did look a little drowsy, as if she had only awakened a short while ago herself. "But I did wish to discuss this with you both before things got hectic and Luna had to retire for the day."

Twilight glanced at Luna, and saw the Night Princess staring back at her, a deeply concerned look in her eyes. She knows! Twilight thought. Having seen my dream, she knows just how scared I was! Yet Luna had given no other indication of that knowledge. Because it's privileged information, Twilight realized. My dreams are private, and she can't reveal them.

She began to understand the Princess's cold aloofness a little better. Luna had to be careful not to give away something private or personal by laughing or smiling at the wrong moment, or at the wrong thing.

Celestia went on, drawing Twilight's attention back to her.

"Now what we have in mind, Twilight, is this. Princess Luna has been gradually re-assuming her share of our royal duties. It's important to her to demonstrate to our subjects that she is a fully capable co-ruler. As part of that, she has also expressed an interest in taking on a personal student of her own. I have discussed this with her, and we have both agreed it would be a good idea for her to begin with someone whom we both know is already an excellent and capable student -- namely you, Twilight!"

Twilight looked at Luna, then back to Celestia. "So... you'd like me to make my friendship reports to Luna for a while?"

"Much more than that, Twilight! Princess Luna has also kindly reminded me that while I have taught you a great deal, there are aspects to the Magic of Friendship that we have not covered fully, for which she is uniquely qualified to be your teacher. So, for the near term, you will report to her directly, and consider yourself to be her personal student."

Pausing, Celestia looked troubled for a moment.

"Twilight, I would never ask you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. But Princess Luna's responsibilities, and her methods, are very different from my own. Some of these will no doubt take you by surprise! I would ask you to approach this in all seriousness, and render my sister the very same respect, obedience, and diligence you have always shown to me!"

"I will, your Majesty!" Twilight said solemnly. "Um, will I still have Spike helping me?"

"Absolutely!" Celestia replied, with a laugh. "We'll adjust Spike's transference spell so his missives go to Luna rather than to me. But otherwise he is still your assistant! I don't think even I could change that!"

"Phew!" said Spike, who had been silently staring at the three of them in rising anxiety. "That's a relief! Er... m'lady!"

"Okay, then! Count me in!" Twilight said. "Um... for how long?"

"That's something you and Luna will need to determine as you go, I think." Celestia looked to Luna. "Sister, is now a good time?"

"We are prepared, Sister!" Luna replied.

Celestia nodded, and then spoke in a ringing, formal tone:

"My Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle! We hereby proclaim that until such time as is determined by the three of us, you will no longer be our personal student, and will henceforth be the personal student of Luna, Princess of the Night, the Moon, and the Stars! Sister, do you concur with our proclamation?"

"We concur!" Luna replied, in a cold, booming tone, not quite the Voice, but not far from it. "And we welcome thee, Acolyte Twilight Sparkle!"

Stirred by the ceremony, Twilight stood tall and proud and smiled up at Luna, as Princess Celestia had commanded her to do from the very first day of her lessons in magic.

Yet for some reason this appeared to displease Luna. Her eyes widened, affronted.

"Dost thou take this honor lightly, Acolyte? Does thou think thyself our equal? Where is the respect shown thy teacher?"

Uncertain, Twilight hastily knelt to the Princess, her eyes lowered. She was very much out of practice and made an ungraceful hash of it.

"Hmph! We shall overlook thy clumsiness... this time! Now, attend! There are things we must see to before thou wilt be ready to be presented to our Lunar Court! Come!"

She swept about and stalked down the length of the room toward the main doors. Belatedly, Twilight hurried to follow her, and heard Spike's feet pattering rapidly along behind her.

As she ran, she glanced over her shoulder at Celestia. She thought she saw the Princess give her a reassuring wink, but couldn't be sure. And then she had to watch where she was going to make sure she didn't trip on the carpet, and earn herself another unexpected tongue-lashing from her new teacher.

Princess Luna's way is different, she reminded herself. Just gotta roll with it! I know I can trust her!

She hoped she wouldn't find herself proven wrong.