• Published 16th Apr 2020
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If You Would Friend a Tiger... - Coyote de La Mancha

Long ago, Princess Luna gave birth to a son from her own mystical essence. His name was Jack. She also made Jack a stuffed tiger to sleep and play with. This is his story.

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1) Preparations Are Made.

Celestia paused near the doorway of Luna’s chambers, glancing in.

Luna had been more secretive than usual of late, and Celestia herself had been frightfully busy with, well… everything.

Really, it didn’t seem fair that she would have to handle the ever-growing bureaucracy by herself, while Luna spent her nights flitting about in ponies’ dreams. Sometimes, she considered speaking to her sister about this. But Luna was so tired in the mornings; she, exhausted by nightfall.

But this morning, for all that Luna still seemed fatigued, she also seemed contented in a way Celestia hadn’t seen before. Quite pleased with herself, in fact.

“Luna?” Celestia asked. “I never knew thou dist sew…”

Luna smiled a secret smile, glancing down at the bright orange cloth in her lap, the black stripes pinned along one side.

“It took some practice,” she said. “But I think I have the knack.”

Intrigued, Celestia stepped to the room’s threshold. “May I enter?”

Luna brightened still further. “Of course!”

Stepping into Luna’s bed chamber, Celestia looked around. While the room itself hadn’t changed much, there had been a few additions since she’d last seen it. There was a mobile of mystical shapes hanging from the ceiling, and a variety of hoof-drawn patterns here and there on the delicate parchment that seamstresses seemed to prefer. A small stack of books from the Royal Library rested near Luna canopied bed, along with close to a dozen scrolls filled with notes.

But most of all, next to the bed proper…

Celestia blinked. “Wait, is that…?”

Luna nodded happily.

With a delighted gasp, Celestia hopped over to the small cradle, giving it an experimental nudge. Then, she whirled to her sister, beaming.

“When? Are they here now? Or are arrangements yet to be made? Thou spake before of adoption, but I always thought…”

Shaking her head, Luna went back to her sewing.

“And thou wert correct,” she said, biting off a thread. “In sooth, by the time Equestria was secure and we two had time for aught but breathing, how could any foal or weanling be unwanted?”

Taking up a small needle in her aura, she continued, “Abiogenesis is almost a thing of the past now, those rare weanlings being found only after the most violent of storms. And herds are now so extended and ponies’ lives so long that even after the toll of the Crystal War, any foal is easily taken in by their kin…”

Celestia nodded. “Yea, though methinks ‘herding’ is a word that is changing its meaning of late.”

Luna shrugged. “It matters little. Language hath changed before, and it shall change again. The point remains: across the ages, we have wrought our nation well. There are no parentless foals, therefore. Or, at least none without others nearby who can take them in.”

Celestia’s smile was filled with speculation. “Well, then?”

Luna continued to sew, more contented by the moment.

Finally, Celestia rolled her eyes.

Luna laughed merrily, holding up the cloth for inspection.

“Here,” she said. “Behold.”

Frowning, Celestia examined the multi-limbed shape her sister held. “What is it? Pajamas? It has zebra stripes…”

“It’s a tiger,” Luna pronounced with great dignity. “Tigers are a noble race, powerful warriors and feared hunters. Slow to anger, yet they are terrible when defending those they love—”

Celestia made a frustrated noise.

“Ugh! Luna, thou tease!”

Luna laughed again, a joyous, silver sound.

“Oh, very well. It’s a toy, my fay. A companion, to guard my child when he sleeps. At least, until he is old enough to come with me at night.”

She paused, looking at her sister fondly. “And yes, I shall birth my son soon enough. I shall be a mother within a fortnight. And thou, an aunt at last.”

Celestia made a circular gesture with her hoof. “And whence shall come this tiny miracle…?”

Almost absently, Luna gestured to the pile of scrolls atop the borrowed books.

Intrigued, Celestia went over and began to examine the scrolls. Then, frowning, to read them more thoroughly.

Finally, she dropped the last scroll and stared at her sister.

“Thou’rt serious.”

With a contented smile, Luna bit off another thread. “I am.”

“But… but surely, the risks in such a rite...?”

“Creation is never without risk,” Luna shrugged. “I shall be in my shadow-form, when I am most spirit. Then, within circle and spell, I shall pinch off a tiny bit of my own essence and set it free.”

Celestia’s eyes bugged. “Pinch off?!?”

“Spirit regrows well enough when the soul is healthy. And I have researched the matter thoroughly, as thou hast seen.”

Celestia stared. “But… Luna… to sever thyself thus…”

Luna gave another shrug, burying herself in her sewing.

“’Twill hurt some, of course,” she said. “But birth is rarely painless.”

For a few moments, the room was silent. Then, hesitantly, Celestia took a step forward. When she spoke again, her voice was quiet.

“Luna, such a dangerous undertaking… surely, thou wouldst not attempt it alone?”

The needle stopped.

“I had hoped thou wouldst be there when I did this,” Luna admitted, staring into the black and orange cloth in her lap. “But thou hast been so busy, for so long…”

Her voice trailed off.

Gently, Celestia cupped Luna’s chin, guiding her to look at her.

“Affairs of state are affairs of state,” the elder sister said with a loving smile. “And of course they will keep me occupied. But to midwife for thee, my fay? Yea. I can make the time.”