• Published 20th Dec 2020
  • 7,496 Views, 138 Comments

Deep Freeze - Goldfinch142



On the longest day of the thousandth year, Nightmare Moon did not return.

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Sunspot

“She hasn’t come out of her room in over a week,” Spike said nervously as he poured out two glasses of orange juice. “I’m starting to get really worried.”

Twilight Sparkle sighed and took a sip of her juice, gazing out the window of their Canterlot home. “Me too, Spike. I just wish she would tell us what happened…”

Honestly, she had no idea what could have made Princess Celestia act like this. Before leaving to oversee the Summer Sun Celebration preparations in Ponyville, her mentor had been perfectly fine.

But then the Princess had never showed up for her appearance at Ponyville’s Town Hall. No one could get in contact with her, not even Twilight herself. The Princess just didn’t answer any of the two dozen letters she’d had Spike send, after she’d gotten over her paranoia of Nightmare Moon returning. She guessed it really was just an old mare’s tale, even if the Mare in the Moon had somehow vanished.

In any case, Twilight had been forced to make excuses for Princess Celestia and return to Canterlot early, where the first thing she did was go to check on her teacher. She had barely stepped into the throne room when Raven Inkwell, Princess Celestia’s private secretary, had stopped her.

“Hello, Twilight! Is Princess Celestia with you?”

“Wha—no! She never came to Ponyville, I thought she was still here!”

“What!? We all thought she’d gone to Ponyville!”

Together, they had informed the Royal Guard and had everypony frantically searching the castle until Twilight and Raven eventually found the Princess sitting silently in a janitor’s closet, staring blankly at the wall. It had taken nearly twenty minutes to get her to leave the closet, during which she hadn’t spoken a word.

Then it had taken over an hour to convince her to lower the moon and raise the sun. Afterwards, her mentor just quietly walked to her private bedchambers, ignoring everypony around her, and laid down on the bed. That was when she sent them away and the castle’s Royal Guard took over watching her.

Since then, Twilight and Spike had been coming by every morning and evening to remind her to move the sun and moon. And to try to get her to eat something. Then they would ask Princess Celestia what was wrong, and she would just stare at them with haunted eyes and send them away again. They’d just gotten back from today’s morning trip.

Spike wrung his claws, snapping Twilight out of her thoughts. “Exactly! We don’t know how to help her! We can’t even find anypony who can!”

“We’ll try again this evening,” Twilight assured him, not feeling very assured at all. “I’m sure she’ll tell us what happened this time.”

Just as the pair was finishing their toast in uneasy silence, they were startled by a burst of yellow in the center of the room, revealing a haggard white alicorn without her usual royal adornments.

“P-Princess Celestia!” Twilight exclaimed, quickly recovering from the shock. “Are you…feeling any better?”

A very soft word, one Twilight could barely hear. “No.”

“Do you need a doctor?” she asked worriedly for the twentieth time. “Spike and I can recommend some really good ones—"

“No.”

With that, another flash of yellow teleported the trio away.


Twilight found herself in Princess Celestia’s bedchambers. After checking that Spike was alright—teleportation didn’t always agree with him—she took a quick glance around the room and confirmed that it looked no different than it had an hour ago.

Except for one thing.

A dark blue deep freezer, sitting innocuously in the corner. The top lid was printed with a symbol Twilight had never seen before: a splotch of black with a white crescent moon overlaid.

“I brought her in from my closet just a few minutes ago,” Princess Celestia suddenly said from behind Twilight, making her jump. “She deserves a proper place in the main bedchambers.”

“What? Who does? Princess, what’s going on?”

Silence curled around Twilight, slowly enveloping her. The air suddenly felt like it was weighing down on her back.

Twilight felt a shiver of irrational fear run up her spine and settle in her chest. “Princess Celestia, what is going on?” she demanded.

“She looks exactly the same as she did a thousand years ago—well, except for the visible bones. But still just as beautiful.”

“…What do you mean?” Spike’s anxious voice almost seemed to drown in the heavy air as the small dragon huddled behind Twilight.

A bare white hoof waved at the freezer. “Go on. Say hello. I don’t believe you’ve ever been properly introduced.”

Twilight looked at the freezer and took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. “Spike, stay here.”

Spike nodded, still looking on edge.

As the unicorn slowly approached the freezer, the trickling feeling of something being horribly, horribly wrong grew stronger. It was near unbearable when she was standing right in front of it a moment later.

Telling herself it would be fine, she lit her horn and slowly lifted the lid with a soft creak.


Twilight stared in mute horror at the dead body laying inside.

She almost looked as if she were asleep, if ponies could sleep with their eyes open. A razor-thin layer of ice smoothly coated her, casting a shimmery sheen over her deep blue coat. Her long horn nearly touched the side of the freezer, and her wings were neatly folded at her sides. A small jet-black tiara sat in her cloudy blue mane. A peytral of the same color, though with a white crescent moon, wrapped around the base of her neck. Trails of tears were forever frozen on her cheeks.

Twilight barely heard Spike call out to her as she met the body’s eyes. Blue-green despair and regret bored into her soul, paired with quiet acceptance.

The body would have been beautiful, if every bone in her body weren’t prominently visible. It twisted her beauty into something unsettling and grotesque.

Twilight jerked violently when a hoof fell on her shoulder and snapped her head around to look up into Princess Celestia’s face.

The Princess’ smile didn’t quite reach her empty eyes. “Her name is Princess Luna, and she’s my sister. I’m sure you’ll all be great friends.”

Comments ( 120 )

Wow... It was very short, but it was a perfectly written story that sent chills through my spine. It wasn't a gore fest like most "horror" stories on Fimfic, and everything just felt like a poem of nightmares. It wasn't, "Jumpscare, and then the veins popped as her head was violently torn from her neck and spilled blood everywhere." This was slow, methodical, and set up a genuinely chilling story that will stick with me. Great job!

Now this is how you do a first publish.

Simple in concept, haunting in execution. Well done.

Wait this was supposed to be horror? I just felt sad. It was dark but not horror to me.

An intriguing premise that was executed in a very effective manner. Kudos, and congrats on the successful debut!

Also, just curious: was the implication supposed to be that Celestia killed Twilight at the end, or am I just reading it completely wrong?

10590080
I was thinking more along the lines of playing dress up with a corpse.

The story and the artwork are both exquisite!

10590104
I get the whole "dress-up" thing, but the wording at the end is kinda throwing me off regardless:

Twilight jerked violently when a hoof fell on her shoulder and snapped her head around to look up into Princess Celestia’s face.

The Princess’ smile didn’t quite reach her empty eyes
.

My problem is that I can't tell which "her" the empty eyes belong to. If they're Celestia's—which, for now, I'm assuming was what the author intended—then it's just a physical representation of her insanity. But if Twilight's eyes are the ones that went empty, I'm left with the implication that Celestia "snapping her head around" broke her neck and killed her.

I know I'm probably overthinking this, but I just wanted to double-check.

10590151
I think it's the princess' empty eyes, like there's no emotion in them since she's mentally broken now.

10590155
I've seen some authors use "empty" as a synonym for "lifeless" when referring to eyes (which is probably what's throwing me off so much), but yeah, I'm willing to bet you've hit the nail on the head.
:)

I also like the ideas that The Nightmare ran away once it realized it would spend 1,000 years on the moon, and that Celestia only meant to banish her for a while, and that an accident caused her to supercharge the spell and set it to 1,000 years. Really nice pieces of world building that were easy to accept and fit well into the universe.

Then, with Twilight's help, Celestia used the ancient art of necromancy to revive Luna as a draugr, and they all became great friends, going on to have many zany adventures.
That's my headcannon, and I'm sticking to it.

Well that there is a broken bird if I ever saw one.

ARRughhhhhhh my heart has been butchered :applecry:

10590173
When I was first learning Shakespearean Middle English in high school, I had a crazy misinterpretation of a story based on language.

The story was about was this guy who was really good at making birdcall, and he was calling out to some owls. I read the part about "his greatest skill betraying him," as "the owls betraying him," and apparently "jocund din" means "playful noise" instead of the loud noise I thought it did, and finally when he saw his reflection in the pond, I thought that it was his own lifeless body.

Basically I misinterpreted a story about a man learning to appreciate the quiet and gentle beauty of nature as a story where a bunch of owls tear a guy apart with their claws and cast his dying body into the lake.

10590080
I think its more about Celestia going bat crap crazy. The loss of her sister unhinged her and we refiuses to see her as dead.

Its my opinion that Celestia is going to continue treating her sister as alive. Body in a chair for a tea party, combing the bodies hair and telling it about her day, tucking it into bed at night.

You know, Unhinged things.

The Monk
“Because we killed all of the monsters we ever ran into, save for ourselves and Death. What better way to respect death than to give it the form of the only monster we could never kill?" - WhatMustIDo

As for this story,

Sometimes its the short ones that are the best stories. A skilled Author can paint a perfect masterpiece in the shortest of stories.

This IS one such example.

To the Author, and make no mistake, you earned the A in author that I give truly skilled writers. This is well done and a fantastic example of short fiction.

The Monk
"Knowledge is power and power corrupts, so study hard and be evil." - Reykan

This was a very good story. I really have a hard time reading stories like this where Luna's time on the moon is just unbearable. For me, my head-cannon is that she essentially spent the entire time up there in a dream. I have a very hard time liking stories where Luna dies, but this one was done very well. As sad as it makes me, it was a very good read.

10590197
Yes, but Nightmare didn’t know how long they would be banished, and Celestia planned for a banishment of a few years.

And Luna was dead in a month. This story would have ended the same no matter when it would have happened.

Dang... so much story in under 2000 words. The messages were literal wrecking balls, each one striking with more force than the last one. This truly does justice in showing us an alternative timeline, where things went from bad to tragic. Imagine the thoughts running through Celestia's mind, that haunting image of Luna's frozen corpse forever symbolizing her sorrow and regret. Not only could she see that her sister had realized her wrongdoings and would never be able to show Equestria who she truly was. But she'd also been sent to the moon alone in isolation for a thousand years in constant pain and torture, both physically and mentally.

Not only that, but Celestia knew she'd been the one who'd set Luna on her deathbed, the one who pulled the trigger without even realizing it. Then at the end, seeing Celestia's mindset only cemented just how shattered she truly was over her actions.

This is a magnificently well made story. Rest In Peace Princess Luna... :fluttercry:

Short and packed with emotion. I love how you portrayed unhinged Celesta, solid 10/10

Thanks I hate it

Reality Ensues in the worst possible way.

The Princess’ smile didn’t quite reach her empty eyes. “Her name is Princess Luna, and she’s my sister. I’m sure you’ll all be great friends.”

Nothing good can come from this line.

10590466
I'm not trying to argue against those points or say Luna had a chance at surviving. I'm just saying that, in-universe, it makes sense. The Nightmare didn't know how long they'd be trapped up there, it saw that their host was dying and fucked off. As for Celestia, I only meant that in it made sense that she didn't want it to be a 1,000 year trip. I always thought that was a weird punishment for Luna, like 100-150 years should have been enough in my opinion. Now, Luna would have still been dead given that, in this universe, Celestia didn't have the foresight to add spells for healing, giving nutrients, or providing warmth, but I just thought it was interesting that the 1,000 years part of her banishment was a fuck up on Celestia's part.

Thought one of the tags was labeled 'Comedy' and clicked it thinking, "Oh, this seems like it could be a funny scenario." with no regard for the front cover and well. . . I got hit with the feels.

i.ibb.co/GCbXNGy/hq70664l6dt21.jpg

Edit: Oh shit, that made it sound like I hated it! Fuck! I loved the story, short and compacted with a lot of emotions. 10/10.

Celestia could do with a changeling to be Luna for her-or even a pony made to look like her and dressed in her royal jewels and peytral.

Brilliantly well executed. Short, snappy, and to the point, but with just enough zing to really give the story a kick. Well done!

Though I admit I too am wondering if Celestia killed Twilight at the end. But perhaps that's the point, the ambiguity. Leaves you wondering. Good horror does that, by letting the imagination of the reader fill in the blanks.

10590151
I didn't intend to imply that Celestia killed Twilight, but I honestly loved your interpretation! It could definitely go either way! :raritywink:

10590200
:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

That's definitely one way to go!

Tia has come unhinged.

What I would love is a spin-off, where Celestia is going mad. So mad as she starts spinning the lie on how Luna has returned, but can never be seen or something. Kinda like the Dragon Emperor of China, who had his body paraded around in a royal carriage. Idk but that would be cool, especially if it became even worse. Celestia starts using her magic to make Luna's corpse walk around, drink tea, that kinda thing. Idk, all I know is THIS is the story I was waiting forever for, and I'm so glad I got it.

Wow, so much said and done in only a little under two thousand words. Bravo!

10590742

Sounds like a royal version of Pinkie Pie's private party of one [pony]

10590535
There are really six possible ways things went down.

1. Celestia banished Luna for 1000 years on accident.
2. Celestia banished Luna for 1000 years on purpose.
3. The Elements banished Luna for 1000 years on accident.
4. The Elements banished Luna for 1000 years on purpose.
5. Harmony itself banished Luna for 1000 years on accident.
6. Harmony itself banished Luna for 1000 years on purpose.

I think that all possible ways it went down suck pretty bad, especially since I take the explanation for her banishment at face value from Twilight's visions using Zecora's potion. That Luna got in one little fight and her mom sister got scared.

That was disturbing as hell..

I like it.

This was equal parts sad and horrifying, and didn't rely on cheap cliches that horrorfics normally go for. Celestia's quiet madness at what she'd done really sells it.

10590802
While there wouldn't be any normal type of rot that we know of, the radiation from space without an atmosphere would most certainly affect the corpse, also over a thousand years there is bound to be some interference with asteroids. but this is a magical world so I guess none of that would really matter since it could easily just be expand away as magic or things working differently.

10590807
I would say magic in banishment preserved body not life or nightmare runing away tampered with said magic and made it so that it drains luna but preserves her corpse as a final F U to Celestia

10590826
yeah that works. frankly it's up too whatever you want it to be since the author didn't give us an explanation.

That was disturbing enough that I can't honestly say I liked it, but I admire it for being a job well done.

Ah, ponies can be foolish at time. How do you expect one to last in the freezing expanse of space. I'm just surprised Luna lasted as long as she did. Without air of course.

Short but effective. A well witten case of ”reality ensues” in a tragic way.
And Celestia does seems a”little” unhinged at the end. Like in a ”the hinges left and took the door with them” kind a way... With the frame still holding the remnants of sanity together.

Keep up the writing.

10590802
Solar radiation...?

Hmmm, an alterante take from the show & comics, though I can respect the theme and message along with the underlinning that the elements are not some form of harmony, order, or chaos. They are tools forged from magic imbued with a single characteristic from seven former protectors of Equestria, a land whose residents, the ponies, are far more blind to their behavior and actions until a few realize & learn they messed up when it bites them in the butt.
So Celestia seeing the results of her reckless actions with relying on artifacts of percieved order is something quite real and believeable when not restricted by a child rating.

Is there to be a successor to this alternate timeline story you've crafted? I'm quite certain with Celestia's current mental state alongside Twilight's mental stress at seeing Luna's corpse in Celestia's room and the emotional conflict she would feel on how to handle Celestia's situation would be enough discord to free Discord of his stone prison. From there you'd have a range of story with the Spirit of Chaos possibly taking on something of a hollow humor, after all there are only a few who could comprehend the punishment Luna went through and Discord is certainly one of them.
So I am hoping to see this go further.

Good pony words, and very effective hook to do pretty much any kind of a story.

PS:
I could not help but to write one possible future... i am deeply sorry.


Public notice

After thorough examination of all the facts given and unfortunate circumstances of Princess Luna, Beloved Diarch of Equestria blessed be her name it has been decided that often sadly shunned art of Necromancy is no longer forbidden, to educate the Ponykind of this folly it will now be made compulsory subject in the school curriculum.

While the Crown understand this might come as a shock to secret cults and practitioners of the said art and that there will be suspicion that this is an indeed a trap. It is not. To facilitate this understanding all masters, novices or other fellows of the craft on any level are required by law to report to the Lunar school of necromancy or set up their own EEA accredited institution or they WILL be hunted down dragged to the nearest school in chains to share their great wisdom and understanding.

Any creature that previously would have been deemed as Level 2 intelligent aberration, or above, that has any links to dead, undead, shadow magic, soul magic or in any other force that might be of value in resurrection, life extension, healing, time travel or any other craft or similar will be granted immediate pardon of past misunderstandings and are invited to become Citizen of Equestria with stipend and their special needs met in sufficient manner.

Any and objections to this proclamation should be directed to the Solar bureau of investigations.

By my hoof and will
Princess Celestia, new friend to all who dwell in the dark

It was all building up to that last line, and it was totally worth it.

Incredible what-if.

10590993
Great ending. I kind of thought it was going the opposite way. “Soon all of ponykind will join Luna in the afterlife, for my name is Daybreaker” or something like that. And this was Celestia telling Twilight she was about to die.

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