• Member Since 25th Aug, 2019
  • offline last seen Yesterday

Sunlight Rays

Love is Love, Pride is Pride, People is People. Be who you are, for there are no wrong answers in who you want to be. 21 yo trans girl, bi/poly.


Celestia has sent her sister to the Moon. It had to be done; she could not risk Nightmare Moon destroying everything they had achieved together. Yet the events of that fateful day haunt her, reminding her of what her negligence led to, what pain it brought upon herself and her sister. Without her sister to ward away the nightmares, she wakes up screaming every night, having witnessed the Elements banish Nightmare Moon.

Yet, tonight's dreams are worse.

Rated Teen for descriptions of violence and blood.

Inspired by Mourning Zephyr's A Sun Without A Moon and On Wings Of Moonlight by Aurelleah.

Cover art by the talented applejackofalltrades.

Special thanks to AuroraDawn, applejackofalltrades, Dewdrops on the Grass, Emotion Nexus, Salespony, Sledge115, and Xrevias for proofreading, and to HapHazred, Shaslan, The Sleepless Beholder, Stinium_Ruide, and Speccer for editing. This story wouldn't be as half as good without all of your help.

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 21 )

This is an incredible story and I'm glad to see it out after all this time. Honestly some of the best prose I've ever seen, and the time spent on it was well worth.

Anyone who likes the princesses should give this a read, because it's one of the best portrayals of them on FimFic.

Thank you for the kind words, Nexus. Glad you enjoyed it! And yes, I'm glad my year's work on this story finally paid off.

Sometimes family can be the greatest thing for you, and yet the hardest obstacle that anyone has to face. This story portrays that.

Celestia in this story is written well - giving the character time to flourish even in the space of four thousand words. She made the decision herself, no one else did. She chose pragmacy over family. Whatever happened next, she chose it.

What I really like about the story is that it has a certain feeling about it. That Luna fell not because of simply not enough love from the ponies, but the lack of love from her own sister. I can see why that would be a painful experience. The pony you bled for, the pony who shared your troubles and fought with. Your own kin and blood who seemed as if they didn't care about you. Anyone would have taken a hit to their heart.

All in all, a job well done. If you excuse me, I'm gonna go and spam you with emoticons in Discord for this amazing story.

Awww, thanks Sin! And yeah, the feeling of betrayal and abandonment is something I really aimed to capture in this story. I'm quite satisfied with the result myself. A lot of people have gone through that in their lives, myself included, and I wanted to tell a story that people could relate to.

Also, oh no not the emojis! Not the emojis! NOT THE EMOJIS! Noooo! ALsdfaldsmklajsdlfo—

Howdy, hi!

Solid. I love the emotional turmoil and beats in the story. It was a really great throughline on Celestia's regret and her sorrow at the loss of her sister (hopefully temporary). The writing was solid, the fighting felt impactful (a difficult feat), and the payoff was grand. A wonderfully bittersweet story to read.

Thank you so much for the read, Sun~!

Excellent work. I think the title "Walk a Thousand Nights" captures the events in the story well; notice how Celestia had to live with her guilt, sorrow and regret for at least a thousand times in that thousand years of separation. The story accentuates Celestia's own remorse by showing her dreamscape and her conscience biting at her. There is a clear juxtaposition between how Celestia and Luna's relationship COULD have been, or WAS before and what it had degraded into. It shows how much Celestia had longed for her sister, and how she imagined their relationship to be. The mind is a strange object; it is capable of extrapolating and interpolating from past events.

Celestia's desire and pragmatism to think of herself as leader of Equestria first, and her sister second perhaps conveys how much she values the society she had a stake in and a responsibility for, relative to the memories of her sister she had once treasured. I might question why, but the answer is fairly obvious, and it was hinted in the prose; Celestia was too caught up with the events and demands of leadership, she had forgotten how it was like to be with her sister. And this was true for centuries.

So when Celestia said that "I didn't want to break your feelings", it was well-intentioned, but it explicitly told Luna that Celestia didn't know her sister as well as Luna thought she would, in spite of years and decades. But, on a more surface level, it simply depicts how Celestia didn't necessarily care about Luna as much as some yaks negotiating in Canterlot. It was betrayal.

Therefore, there are many dimensions to this piece. You have the clash between family, the clash between choosing family over work, and the internal struggle Celestia had longing for her sister. Frankly, many authors I have seen could do this relatively well; many could show the despair, sadness and grief, the anxiety and so on.

What sealed the deal for me was the fight between Celestia and Luna. It is a perfect complement to the emotional aspect of things; it was sharp, punctuated and strong. Word economy was ensured. Word choice was precise. Short paragraphs helped to speed up the reading of this section, helping to increase the pacing of the scene and build tension. There was a balance between reflecting and fighting. Even if the fight was canon, the execution was worthy of much appreciation. Converting something we knew well into something exhilarating and thrilling is a great feat.

But it wasn't just how the fight was being portrayed, but the clear purpose the fight sought to achieve. The fight exemplifies the mental struggle Celestia had; in fact, the sharper descriptors could even imply that the fight was imagined by Celestia's mindscape to be more intense than it was in reality.

Kudos, Sunlight. An exceptional piece. But I must wonder, if Celestia had walked a thousand nights, would Luna have walked a thousand moons?

Very well written. The emotions in this one hit like a truck.

Well i’m not sure exactly what i can say that hasn’t been said. This was a feels trip from start to finish, and executed in a manner that i can only describe as elegant and well done, like the chewiest of steaks except this time it’s actually good. The fight scene of Celestia getting the absolute crap beat out of her hits you about as hard as a truck with every comment NMM makes. You can only wonder what exactly she must have felt all that time, and wonder why Celestia was acting that way. Then you find out it’s a dream and realize the guilt she holds.

And that ending… wow. Just nicely done. I dont read many princess stories but im glad i read this one. nice job rays

I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was a fun experience writing this story, and working on it for a year has certainly helped me reach the quality it has right now. Once again, thank you for the kind words, and I'm happy you enjoyed this fic.

“How many times did I ask you to help ponies appreciate my nights? How many times did I ask you to add an astronomy course to that wretched school of yours? How many times did you actually accept my request, Celestia? You always put yourself and your nation as your top priority, while I, your only kin, was shoved aside. You even denied me of my birthday event! How could you ever—” Nightmare Moon paused before swallowing hard.

Honestly, at this point I wanted Celestia to banish her just for being a whiny child.

I like this, the story is beautiful, the characters realistic, the emotions very real. Stop making me feel feelings. :heart:

I like how you missed the entire point of the rant and focused on that one little fact.

That one little fact is the entire point of the rant. Celestia, make everyone like me. Celestia, I want to have a birthday party instead of that boring old diplomatic meeting with a foreign head of state. Celestia, stop performing essential state functions, and pay attention to me. Celestia, do this. Celestia, do that. Luna here sounds like a child who is angry with her mother except that she is a centuries-old adult and Celestia is not her mother. Luna the adult should be running her own PR campaign. She should be performing her own share of those state functions that keep pre-empting her parties. She should be self-sufficient enough to not need her sister to coddle her through a life of idle luxury. An adult really has no excuse to be an emotional albatross around her sister's neck.

Read between the lines, my friend. Look at the context here. Luna has waited for over a century for her subjects to like her nights. It is natural to think she would have put effort into it in her way, which I have not shown in this story because it is not relevant to what I was trying to say. And when Luna couldn't do it on her own, she asked for help. She didn't ask Celestia to do it for her. There's a difference between the two.

As for diplomacy and delegacy issues, Luna leaves her sister to the negotiations because they clearly distinguish between their areas of jurisdiction. Celestia strictly works with issues happening during the day, while Luna works with her nightly duties. I'm not going to say this is the best way to take care of things because it is not. But then again, they've been rulers of Equestria for a little over a century now. You can't expect them to be perfect. Even if they had noticed the inefficiency of such methods of ruling, they didn't have the opportunity nor heart to suggest the way of ruling to one another. Especially when they haven't been on good terms in the years and possibly decades leading up to the story, something I showed with the following paragraph:

Luna turned to meet her sister's eyes. Icy blue pierced into magenta. "What is it, sister?" Luna said flatly, but her tone carried a certain ire to it, like the edge of a well-sharpened blade.

She asked Celestia for help (which, again, is different from telling Celestia what to do) over and over and over for the past hundred years. And her pleas and requests were shot down time and again as Celestia prioritized the nation before herself and her sister.

I wanted to show with that flashback the breaking point, the last straw on the camel's back that made everything snap. This entire story focuses on Celestia torturing herself, asking herself what she could have done differently. She torments herself to relive that day every night. She lives out the last mistake she made towards her sister. She wishes she could take it all back. She can't, so she instead agonizes over the past. At the center of all that lies the one last denial Celestia made: turning down Luna's birthday event, which was scheduled before the meeting with the Yak delegates even was a thing.

To Luna, the canceled event was more than just a birthday party. It was her last hope, one last chance she would give herself at the love and attention she desired so much. Luna didn't wish to be betrayed anymore by her sister or her subjects. Celestia took that away from her. To Luna, that was when she had had enough. After a century of feeling sorrow, isolation, and betrayal, she decided if she couldn't gain love from her subjects, she would force it from them. True, her logic is flimsy at best, and Luna's actions are mostly driven by emotion rather than rational thinking. But she's put plenty of logical thinking and planning into her efforts for her nights for the past hundred years. She's now out of options, and when the last vestige of hope is stolen from her, she finally snaps.

I hope this explains Luna's actions. One needs to read between the lines carefully to reach this conclusion, so I hope this lengthy comment helps people understand my intentions with this story.

None of that is not spelled out plainly in the story. To the point about asking not being the same thing as telling, that is true until a negative response results in a violent reaction like the one in the story. It puts the lie to the notion that it was ever a request and not a demand. When a responsable person receives a negative response to a request for help, that person does what she reasonably can in the time that ahe has.

That's another thing that makes Luna unsympathetic: that hundred years that she spent waiting for people to like her, waiting for Celestia to fix a problem that Luna herself created. A century is a long time to get people skills and statecraft down. In the story, it looks like Celestia spent that hundred years working on things that would endear herself to her subjects. Luna brooded while Celestia got gud. Luna's unpopularity would seem to owe more to that than to the night's lack of kickin' parties with fireworks.

Now, a lot of this narrative is baked into the canon story. Luna is the villian of the pilot. Her banishment was a necessary action, and Luna was repentant at the end. Luna has to be at least somewhat unsympathetic in this time period within the limitations of canon. Personally, I have a particular distate for emotionally needy individuals who feel entitled to the affections of others.

First things first: there is much more to literature than reading the words spelled out on the page. Reading between the lines, a.k.a. subtext, is a major aspect of literature. Just because it is not explicitly stated in the story does not mean it is not implied between the lines, nor does it justify failing to figure out the subtext.

Now, on to the main argument.

What is the difference between a request and a demand? The nature of wanting something is the same; the manner of asking makes all the difference. Luna asked politely for the first century. She requested Celestia for help. She was denied that help every time. And, as I stated previously, it's not that she didn't try to solve the issue herself. She tried everything she could, and when that didn't fix things, she turned to her sister.

Another thing to point out is that the problem of citizens of Equestria not loving Luna's nights isn't something Luna caused. It's the citizens who decided not to like her nights. Luna worked as hard as she could to make Equestria and its night safe and beautiful, and all she wanted was the least bit of appreciation for her work. She didn't get it from her subjects, which is why she sought it out in the first place.

Now, did Celestia enact policies that would make her ponies love her? Maybe, maybe not. She most certainly worked to keep her subjects safe from dangers outside of the nation, just like Luna did. So, what's the difference between Celestia and Luna? They both worked hard to keep their subjects safe, yet ponies only love Celestia and not Luna. Sure, one could argue that the citizens prefer Celestia because she rules fairly, but I imagine Luna would have done the same. Rule according to the law, work for the citizens and not the aristocrats, the whole shebang.

So I strongly disagree with one not sympathizing with Luna in this story. She has her reasons to be jealous of her sister. To Luna, because she worked just as hard as her sister did, her unpopularity is unfair. Her ponies have no reason to shun her nights, yet they do. And when Luna asked her sister for help despite her jealousy, Celestia turned down her requests every single time. Rationally, Luna understands they should put the nation before them. Emotionally, her sorrow and jealousy cloud her emotions, which turn into anger, distrust, and hatred for her sister as the rejections are repeated.

And the thing is, most of the story's audience seems to resonate with Luna's actions. Sure, they agree that it is wrong, but they also understand Luna's motives. That is a comment I have been receiving since I began working on this story over a year ago. From the moment I got my first prereader to the moment I released this story, almost everyone who read the story has resonated with Luna's actions. They do not think Luna/Nightmare Moon was unsympathetic. They praised the plot point of Luna's denial of her birthday event (which, again, meant so much more than just a birthday party to her) acting as a breaking point for Luna.

Thank you for reading, and if you have more to say about this discussion, please bring it to PMs, as my friends have expressed displeasure at reading your arguments.

Comment posted by zx29b deleted Dec 31st, 2021

Beautiful. So beautiful.

Every part of this story is wonderfully and masterfully crafted. Excellent work, Sunlight Rays!


Through her tears, Celestia saw Nightmare Moon’s pupils shrink as the beam from the Elements neared her. The light struck her, and at that very moment, Celestia saw her sister’s eyes turn back into Luna’s, into those twinkling, ocean-blue eyes that always looked into hers with mischief and love in their childhood.

aww heartbreaking

She had seen the representatives off on their way, maintaining her smile even as they smashed up the floor tiles on their departure.

aww, what a great gesture of respect from the yaks!

“You. Are. A. Coward! A coward, who is afraid to stand up to the Yaks, who is afraid to break her oh-so-fragile younger sister’s heart that she didn’t tell her the news she needs to know, who is afraid of running the risk of a single diplomatic failure—”

oof, this works too well with how aloof Celestia tends to be in the show. an avoidant personality that paralyzes her when juggling the many conflicting interests in her responsibility makes a lot of sense. and it’s easy to understand Luna seeing this as another heartbreaking sign that she isn’t given any of the power and respect a co-ruler would have, but just as easy to see Celestia weighing her disappointment against the lives of her subjects and finding the latter so important that she doesn’t even think of including Luna in the process 

Nightmare Moon’s screams built to a crescendo. “And I don’t need a sister who deems everything to be of higher importance than her own kin!” She hurled Celestia across the room.

oof, classic conundrum of power

You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine… you make me happy, when skies are grey… you never know dear, how much I love you… please don’t take my Sunshine away…” Luna draped a wing over Celestia’s withers, the feathery appendage serving as an extra blanket.

Celestia let out a soft giggle, then murmured, “Mother used to sing that song to us so often…”

aww, very cute! (but also yet another subtle way that ponies delight more in the sun and light than the moon and night)

When she finally ran out of energy, she lay quiet and still, curled up into a ball with a pillow clutched close to her chest. Her body shook with every cry as she wrapped her wings around herself, desperately seeking the condolence and warmth she had felt in her blissful dream. The warmth did not return, however, and all Celestia could do was to lie in bed, shivering and sobbing as she felt the cold emptiness envelop her in its deathly grasp.

and oof, poor Tia!

ah, so many possibilities to come from Celestia's dreams torturing her with visions of a Luna she never banished! i did wonder if this was somehow the Luna still inside the banished Nightmare Moon trying to give Celestia a moment of peace in her dreams, but the dream-Luna trying to convince Celestia that she is real made me think of What Dreams May Come, with Celestia being convinced in the moment each time.

in any case, a beautiful story of guilt and healing, thank you for it

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