• Published 19th Mar 2020
  • 1,187 Views, 30 Comments

Lunar Rosemary - Liquid Truth



Luna journeyed through bizarre worlds to find and bring Twilight back.

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11 - History

A stream of light slid through the slits of the sage’s curtains, dashing through the air and shamelessly scattering itself about the colloid, forming a weightless beam connecting the window to a pair of eyelids and burrowed its way through the skin and into the pupils between the beautiful lavender irises, ramming relentlessly into the retinas of a not-quite-awakened lavender unicorn.

Twilight Sparkle spun on her makeshift bed, groaning and covering her face with her hooves to protect her remaining seconds of sleep from the tyranny of Undrykken Valley’s Sun Flower.

“Wake up, Twilight.”

Twilight groaned.

“Twilight~”

“Mhm. Five minutes.”

A chuckle resounded, followed by the extinction of her cuddly warm blanket. “There’s no such thing as ‘minutes’ here.”

Twilight cuddled into a ball of warmth. “Mhm. Whatever. Aren’t you supposed to be nocturnal?”

A giggle. “I suppose I should be.”

“Right. Go back to—” Twilight jolted up, hitting her head on the ceiling of the alcove containing her bed, eliciting a painful yelp from the now-fully-awakened unicorn.

Another giggle.

Twilight turned to her side. There, standing by her side with a goofy grin and soul intact to her body, was silky smooth dark blue fur and feathers, a flowing mane full of the night stars, and aquamarine eyes full of amusement.

Luna gently tapped her muzzle. “Good afternoon, sleepyhead.”

Twilight jumped and wrapped her hooves around her newly revived beloved, sinking her face into the soft cuddly chest and smiling underneath it, content to enjoy the moment without spoken words needed.

Luna sank her muzzle likewise to Twilight’s mane, drinking in the sweet smell of lavender and the distinctive vanilla of old books. “Thank you.”

And time passed between them before Undrykken’s guitar strums brought them back from the world of fuzzy cuddly love and into the not-world once again.

Luna stared at Twilight’s flickering ears.

Twilight raised an eyebrow and touched her ears. “Is something wrong?”

“You…” Luna’s mouth visibly struggled not to smile. “You can hear the Worldsbridge’s song?”

Twilight paused, then smiled, then grinned. “Yes, I have!” She giggled and blushed. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe how it happened! First, I—”

Luna put a hoof on her muzzle. “As much as I’d love to hear it, Twilight, we’ll have to quickly journey again now.”

“What? Why?”

“Evermoor Fair.” Luna stared at the window overlooking the horizon. “It starts in a few verses; no more than two songs.”

Twilight scrambled from her bed. “Oh, no! We have to hurry!” She took her scarf hanging from a wall. “There’s time, isn’t there!? We can take one of the ships from the docks! Or-or—”

Luna kissed her cheek, stopping Twilight’s erratic movement and bringing down her frazzled hair back to its neat and orderly fashion. “Calm down, Twilight.”

“But we’re going to be late! We’re—”

“Twilight.”

Twilight shut her mouth. “...Yes?”

Luna chuckled. “There’s a train waiting for us at the nearby station. It can take us just in time before the fair starts.”

Twilight let out a long breath. “Thank goodness.” She looked up at Luna. “But isn’t that halfway across the village?”

“That’s why we have to start walking now.” She took her scarf from the wall and tied it around her neck. “Come on, Gus and the crewman had left when you were asleep to catch the last vessel for Evermoor.” She dipped her head to the sage, sitting on his rocking chair and fast asleep, then sang a soft thank you. “We’ve planned this all. Rafflesia here won’t be seeing us leave, but he’s been informed of our upcoming departure.”

“We’re on that tight of a schedule?”

“And more if we don’t leave now.”

Twilight sang a thank you to the sleeping Rafflesia as well. “Alright, let’s go!”

Luna exited the sage’s hut and basked herself under the bright Sun Flower hanging in the sky. “You can tell me all about what I’d missed as we walk.”


“You didn’t!”

“I did!” Twilight laughed. “Oh, it was horrifying. But I managed! And we all danced like drunken ponies. Er, creatures.”

Luna laughed and pulled Twilight closer under her wing. “I’m so proud of you, Twilight.”

Twilight sank her blushing face deeper under Luna’s sides. “Oh, shut up.”

“But I am! You don’t know how much I’ve worried about your demotivation, especially with—”

“Look, we’re here!” Twilight said as she pointed at the Timestation. “Let’s not waste more time!”

Luna ruffled Twilight’s mane with her wing. “We’re not done with this conversation, young lady.”

Twilight huffed as she felt the heat travel from her cheeks to her ears.

And so the lovestruck pair jumped aboard the locomotive, floating passively with the rail attached to its bottom as a sleigh would. A Verenigost engineer was there before them, preheating the engines. He turned around and squinted at them.

Luna greeted him with a song.

The engineer smiled. “Alright. The Nostaltrain isn’t that hard to drive as long as you can speak in music.” He jumped off to the station’s board and tipped his hat. “Just be careful of It.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Is there anything we should know about this ‘It’?”

He chuckled grimly. “You’ll know when you meet It. But don’t worry!” He slapped the nose of the locomotive. “This beauty here can outrun It easily. Just make sure you’ve ears on the timelane.”

The two sang to the engineer as Luna pulled the gas’ lever, jolting them and shooting into the sky in an instant. Twilight laughed as she calmed her heartbeat down and tightened her scarf.

“Take the wheel, Twilight. We’ll have to steer this together.”

Twilight nodded and gripped the large wheel in the middle, mirroring Luna from the other side.

The mountains of Undrykken Valley gave way to a glittering milky-white river of stars. The Worldsbridge, Honeymilk River, greeted them with a soft flowing flute.

The locomotive jumped from Undrykken Valley and splashed down to the river, its runner sliding along the river like it was snow and ethereal wheels pushing them forward on a nonexistent rail that was the timelane. Twilight pulled a lever, making the locomotive go Choo-choo! and giggled as the river started to rise from its slumber.

Ding

Twilight’s ears flicked. “Did you hear that?”

Ding

Luna whipped her head around. “A… bell?”

Ding ding ding

Twilight stared at the locomotive’s bells in front of them, still locked to their frames. “Not ours.”

Ding ding ding dingdingdingding

More of the bells joined, out of sync with the rest of Honeymilk’s music. It came from all around, rolling under the dark silhouettes of the land around them and from the pitch-black sky above them and the shining stream below them.

Luna nearly jumped as she felt her hoof being held tight, then stared at Twilight, her eyes darting all over and muscles tense and ready for anything. Her breathing was ragged and her forehead was full of sweat, glittering like gemstones above the glowing river. Luna gripped her hoof back.

The bells kept on ringing as they shot through the river, the land around them getting closer and closer as the bells got louder. They turned the wheel right and left along with the winding of the river, and after a while, it got harder and harder to avoid hitting the riverbanks.

Twilight grunted. “Why won’t these bells go away!?”

Luna huffed. “Whatever it is, it’s following us.” She stared down at the river and the land, only a meter away from their train. “And the river’s getting narrower. It’s almost like—” She stared again at the dark silhouette of the land, then raised her ears and listened to the bells instead of the Worldsbridge’s music. “It’s—” Closer now, the river was almost as narrow as their locomotive.

Her eyes bulged. “Twilight, hold on tight!”

Twilight opened her mouth, but Luna’s hooves were faster to pull the levers for the gas. She jerked back as the locomotive lurched forward at thrice their original speed. Wind whipped around her and the river suddenly widened, even wider than when they first arrived, and the landscapes around them rose and fell out of sync with Honeymilk’s rhythms.

“Don’t look back.”

And Twilight looked back, and her breath caught in a hitch and her heart stopped.

Luna grabbed Twilight’s face in her telekinetic grip and whipped it away from the It, and forced her eyes to look at her. “Look at me, Twilight.”

Twilight’s face paled.

“Look at me, Twilight!”

Twilight blinked, and some colors started getting back to her face.

Luna kissed her lightly, then shook her. “Twilight!

Twilight shook her head, and her heart started beating again and she hyperventilated. “I-I w-what’s that!?

“It.” Luna flicked her ears, listening closely to the bells. “Listen closely. Don’t. Look. Back.”

Twilight gulped and forced her eyes to stay looking forward.

The landscape gave way to a rocky mountain, and the Worldsbridge wasn’t spared any chance to greet them before the song of the It took over with quickening drums and a heavy trombone.

As the train ran as fast as possible, ignoring the scenery, Luna aimed its trajectory to the sides of a mountain, then jerked the wheel to her side just before they fell off the cliff.

Dingdingdingdingdingdingdingding!

Twilight closed her eyes and flattened her ears as the bells rang louder and faster, seemingly encroaching on her from all sides. She gripped tight to the wheel and clamped her mouth shut, lest her screaming distract Luna.

As the bells’ chiming almost reached her ears, Luna jerked the wheel to Twilight’s side, just in time before they fell off another cliff. The train tilted to Twilight’s side as the rails desperately clung to the rocky road underneath it, the centripetal force acting against them and eagerly waiting below the fall to consume them whole. Luna’s horn shone bright and sweat ran down her brows as she struggled to keep the Nostaltrain upright.

Eventually, the train slammed back upright, and the scenery gave way to rolling hills that looped like roller coasters here and there, and the music of the It played a terrifying roar, overshadowing any other orchestra the Worldsbridges tried to sing.

Twilight let out a small scream and quickly shut it back, taking deep breaths and trying to be as small as possible, eyes still tightly shut and ears flat.

Luna swept her brows and raised her ears again, eyes darting to keep the train on the right timelane. The train took a spin on one of the loops, and for a second, Luna saw the bubbling mass of It chasing them, ringing and tolling bells in Its wake. Her pupils dilated, and she held her breath as she deliberately clenched her eyes shut with her telekinesis.

The train fell back into the timeline as it dropped from the loop, and Luna blew her breath away and opened her eyes again. She took quick breaths and swallowed her dry throat to bring back her senses.

“Luna?”

No answer.

“Luna!”

Luna answered between gritted teeth, “Y-yes, Twilight?”

“You’re still there, aren’t you?”

“I-I-I—” Luna sucked in a deep breath. Then, voice cracking, she answered, “I’m h-here. I-I’m okay.”

Twilight opened an eye, peeking at Luna’s colorless face. “Y-you don’t seem okay.”

Luna took another breath, and some color returned to her face. “N-no, not really.” She forced a smile. “But we’re going to be okay.” She stared back at the road and scowled. “Just hold on tight.”

Twilight closed her eyes back and gripped harder against the wheel.

They jumped from the biome and slammed into liquid air, the train now chugging along like a submarine, yet the bells still rang around them, unmuffled.

Ethereal fishes and jellyfishes swam away from them, the slow ones’ fate unknown as they got consumed by the It.

“Luna!”

“Yes, Twilight?”

Twilight swallowed a lungful of the liquid air. “How much longer?”

Luna jerked the wheel upward, aiming the locomotive at the surface. “Just hold on tight!”

And the bells rang closer, and the Nostaltrain surfaced to the gaseous water and above, and as the train broke the barrier into another biome, the bells got slightly slower and lower before starting to rise in volume again.

Their locomotive chugged along the snowy dunescapes and jumped the dunes like a ramp, slamming into the snow with a splash of snowflakes and rocky ice just before a loud bell tolled right above them. Luna then jerked the wheel and slid the Nostaltrain between the dunes, and her ears flattened for a split second as the It roared a bell right next to their locomotive.

Twilight whimpered.

Luna gritted her teeth. “Hold on, Twilight!”

Frozen dunes ran past them as the bells kept on ringing, and Luna slammed the Nostaltrain into a wall of stone, breaking it and making way for the wind tunnels. As they entered, the locomotive gained twice more speed as the wind swept them away from the It, the bells fading away slowly but surely.

The wind tunnels brought them slithering right and left and up and down the underground biome, pillars of ice and crystal swept by Luna’s vision and she desperately tried to keep the Nostaltrain away from hitting the cavern walls.

As the wind took them to another turn, a sudden wall appeared right on their face. Luna’s pupils went pinprick just before she snapped it shut and flinched back, bracing for the hit.

Slam! went their locomotive, and Twilight screamed. They tumbled down the caverns and broke the ice sheet underneath, and down, down, down they went, sinking away and away from the It.

As fast as it came, they resurfaced down, and their tumbling came to a slow descent down a tunnel.

Deep breath, let it out.

“Twilight?”

Twilight whimpered.

“You can open your eyes now, Twilight.”

Twilight peeked, then she opened her eyes wide.

Luna let out a long breath as she collapsed, then stared at Twilight.

Twilight grinned. “That was…”

“...Amazing.” Luna laughed. “Whew.”

Twilight giggled.

They were in a bottomless hole, the locomotive falling slower than a feather. All around them the jagged nooks and crannies of the hole’s walls glittered softly of gemstones and crystals. As Twilight squinted at the gems, she sometimes found a memory of hers flashing between their twinkling. There was not a single sound of chiming bells around, and Twilight let her muscles relax.

Twilight felt a soft touch against her shoulder, and she glanced back, finding Luna with a worried look. She frowned. “Luna?”

Luna wrapped her hooves and wings around her. “When you saw It, what did you see?”

Twilight took a sudden breath. “I… Luna, I—”

Luna hugged her tighter. “Don’t worry, love. I’m listening.”

Twilight let out a shuddered breath. “My… I saw my friends.”

“And?”

“No, that’s not it, I… I saw their tombstones. I saw their names written clearly next to each other. I saw that possibility, Luna, that it’s very likely that I’d outlive some of them.”

“Go on, I’m listening.”

“The ‘It’ is Time, isn’t It?”

“I guess it is.”

Twilight turned around, her eyes meeting Luna’s own. “Well, it’s something I should be worried about later, isn’t it?” She snuggled into Luna’s scarf. “Right now, I have you.”

Luna chuckled. “Yes. Right now, we have each other.”

A few moments passed before Twilight asked, “What did you see?”

Luna sucked in a deep breath between her teeth. “Death, obviously.” She caressed Twilight’s mane. “But I’ve seen a lot of those. I was over a hundred years old before I was banished, and, returning home, I found a lot of my loved ones dead. I’ve come to terms with that.”

“Even me?”

Luna didn’t answer.

“Luna…” Twilight pecked her chin and stared lovingly at her eyes. “It’s okay. I won’t be upset as long as you’re honest.”

“I…” Luna let out her breath. “I know for certain that I’d outlive you. I don’t like that, but the other choice was to never experience it.” Luna brushed her lips against Twilight’s and, just as she was about to lean in, Luna pulled back and tapped her muzzle her. She giggled. “Or this.”

Twilight, face red all over to the tip of her ears, huffed. “Hey!”

Luna laughed, then leaned back, this time kissing her for real.

A moment passed before they let go, and Twilight stared back at Luna, frowning. “Luna?”

Luna raised an eyebrow. “Yes, Twilight?”

“You haven’t answered my question.” She put a hoof against Luna’s chin. “What did you see?”

“I told you—”

Twilight shook her head. “Answer me honestly, Luna. What did you see?”

Luna jerked her head away from Twilight’s touch. “It’s not a problem, Twilight.”

“Really, now?” Twilight shifted herself to stay in Luna’s vision. “Then why won’t you talk about it?”

“Because, Twilight,” Luna said in a rising tone, pushing Twilight lightly back. “You don’t have to worry about it. You’ve been worrying about me too much over the years, and it’s now time for me to take care of myself.”

Twilight grunted. “Well, yes, but sometimes you’re still going to need somepony to help you!”

Luna whirled around, away from Twilight. “Yes, yes, not this one.”

“Luna,” Twilight said annoyedly. “Come on! Is it—”

“Hard? Yes, it is.” She glared at her. “So let me think about it first! I’ll tell you about it once I understand so you won’t have to needlessly worry over me!”

“But then—”

“That’s enough.” Luna glared away from her, at the twinkling of the rising walls. “I’ve said what needs to be said.”

Twilight growled. “Oh, really?” She put a hoof on her shoulder. “Care to share, then?”

“I said, that’s enough!”

“No, it’s not!” Twilight jabbed a hoof at Luna’s side. “Hey, look at me!”

“To argue more? No.”

“Luna—”

“That’s. Enough.”

No! Luna—

“I said,” she growled and pushed her away. “That’s enough!” Too hard, with her wings all sprung up and agitated.

Twilight staggered back from her push, hoof slipping, and her head hit the wheel with a resounding metallic clank!

Twilight!

Twilight groaned and curled into a ball, covering her head with her hoof.

Luna jumped. “Twilight, I—”

“Go away,” she said weakly.

Luna pulled herself back. “T-Twilight, I—”

Twilight sniffed. “Go away.”

Luna opened her mouth, then shut it back. She dipped her head, and let time pass between them in silence.

Twilight broke the silence slowly, saying, “I just wanted to help.”

Luna shrunk and whimpered. “I… I don’t want you to worry about me so much.” She moved forward again. “I’m sorry. Please, forgive me.”

Twilight felt feathers brushing against her sides, and she took it with her hoof. With Luna’s help, she sat back up and looked at her swollen eyes. She sighed. “I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have been so stubborn.”

And they fell into an embrace once again, and they forgot that they were falling endlessly down a timeless hole and were in a hurry to get somewhere.

Twilight perked up all of a sudden. “I—” She stared at Luna’s questioning gaze. “It was your sister—” And she instantly regretted ever opening her mouth.

Luna gaped, staring at the distance and opening and closing her mouth in a vain attempt to form any kind of words.

Twilight wrapped her hooves around her and squeezed tight. “No! I’m sorry, you don’t need to say anything about it!”

At last her voice returned, and Luna stared down at Twilight. “H-how did you—”

Twilight squeezed tighter, sniffing and ignoring the stream of tears flowing down her cheeks. “Stop it.”

“It is…” Luna’s gaze stayed blank and unfocused. “Celly…”

“Don’t say anything anymore. Please.”

“I left her for a thousand years.”

“Luna, stop.”

“One thousand years… she’s old now. She won’t admit it, but I can see it in her eyes: she’s old. It won’t be long until she has to retire.”

“Please, Luna, stop.”

“And it won’t be that long before she’d be too old to fly. And then to walk. And then to remember. I’m going to live through it all, and I’m going to live a thousand years more without her.” Luna looked down at the sobbing Twilight, clinging to her like her life depended on it. “I saw her rotting away, Twilight.”

“Stop.”

Luna hugged her back. “It’s inevitable. She has even planned how she’s going to pass on the crown.”

“Luna…”

“I can’t think of a future without her, Twilight.”

“I’m sorry I asked.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”

“N-no, you don’t need to—”

“Hush, Twilight. We’re both stupid in our own way.” She looked up and saw that light had started to shine over the walls. “And it looks like we’re about to be out of this hole soon.”

Twilight wiped away her tears and put a hoof on Luna’s cheek. “Forgive me, Luna.”

Luna held her hoof with her own, then planted a kiss on her lips, and as she pulled back, she smiled. “Don’t worry, Twilight. This conversation was going to happen sooner or later, anyway.”

Twilight smiled back. “We have much to learn.”

Luna nodded. “Much to learn about love.” A branch fell into their locomotive, and Luna took it. “At least we still have it.”

“Love?” Twilight stared at the rosemary on Luna’s grip. “Yes.”

Luna snapped the rosemary in two and gave the other half to Twilight.

And so, as the Nostaltrain fell away from the hole, Luna and Twilight drank the Sun shining over them, chewing on bits of rosemary as the locomotive splashed silently down to the sea of Evermoor, joining the multitudes of waterborne and airborne vessels carrying creatures and commodities alike to the long-awaited Fair of All Trades, Evermoor Fair.