• Published 23rd Dec 2011
  • 3,825 Views, 37 Comments

Under Cover of Night - Gordon_Blue_4



A look at Luna's experience later on Nightmare Night

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Chapter 2


Big Macintosh looked on fondly as Luna seemed to get a little lost in looking at the night sky, observing it as a mother would her foal. Then for the second time, Macintosh was privy to a demonstration of Luna’s great power: there seemed to be some stars out of alignment. All it took was a slight tilt of the Princess’s head and the offending stars streaked from one place to another.

“Something else on your mind, Luna?” Big Macintosh asked, remembering the princess’s current dislike of her title.

“I must sound like an ungrateful filly sometimes” Luna stated cryptically.

“In what way?” Goddesses it seemed had a talent for cryptic ramblings.

“All that cacophony before, and even recently, about ponies not enjoying my night. Seems like selfishness of the worst kind the more I dwell on it” Luna turned and looked at Macintosh, taking another swig of the hard cider.

Luna took in every detail of the red stallion before her: he was powerfully built and well sculpted. She recalled her earlier thought that he was carved from the stones of the Earth itself...yet unlike that stone, he did not seem unyielding or cold. He was certainly warm-hearted, having listened calmly and even supportively to some of her ramblings.

“Well, a certain degree of selfishness is good, generosity to tha point of personal neglect is just as bad” Macintosh had a feeling he knew what the Princess was getting towards.

Luna’s ultimate goal had been forgiveness; not from her sister or the Elements of Harmony who knew her situation better than most, but from the average pony. However, that forgiveness was harder to obtain due to her rather bombastic nature, and the out-dated protocol covered up a young mare that had made a terrible mistake and wished to make amends.

‘But when you’re a Goddess of time and space, those mistakes are likely to be bigger than that time I threw out ma back workin’ to hard’ Macintosh cleared his throat to get Luna’s attention.

“Luna...for what it’s worth” he paused to make sure he had her attention.

“Yes?” she tilted her head again, teal eyes glowing with starlight.

“Ah forgive you” Macintosh braced himself for a blasting.

Instead he got something very different. He felt a swift brush of air and then a pair of lips covering his own. Macintosh felt as if he’d been plugged into a power socket: his blood began racing and buzzing with a fire he had never felt in his life. It lasted a scant few seconds before Luna broke the kiss, blushing fiercely. However before the moment could progress further, Luna’s two personal guards landed and began eyeing Big Macintosh with a mix of respect and wariness.

“Princess, are you alright?” Starburst began shifting his head to check every inch of Luna.

‘Oh spare me’ Luna thought as Shadow Step created a rather unnecessary (to say nothing of ineffectual) barrier between the Princess and the Farmer.

“We are fine, Starburst. Shadow Step, please do not menace Mr. Macintosh” Luna turned her attention to the loyal and sometimes overbearing pair of guards.

“I heard a lot about you in town” Shadow Step looked Big Macintosh in the eyes.

“Ponies talk, don’t make what I did wrong” Macintosh bristled.

“You misunderstand me; Sugar Lump had nothing but praise for you. Said most mares you’ve known would say the same” the guard stepped closer.

“Mah affairs as a young colt are mah business” he was starting to get angry.

There was a quiet rumble of thunder and a slight tremor beneath the earth. All three stallions turned to regard Equestria’s younger regent. Luna was glowing slightly, not just her horn but her whole body: it didn’t last long, but it didn’t need to.

“I think I’ve made my point, thank you both. We shall join you at the Royal Carriage in a moment” Luna dismissed her two guards with a stern look.

The two Pegasus dutifully trotted away, feeling somewhat chastised by their protectorate. Luna smiled after them, laughing quietly as they kept shooting back wary eyes at Big Macintosh. The Farmer responded only by narrowing his eyes slightly; the motion making his face go from a half lidded and relaxed gaze to a hard, penetrating stare. Careers in the Royal Guards had been built on lesser efforts.

“They mean well, as I said. Although those two are perhaps a bit...eccentric” Luna admitted.

“Ah reckon they treat you more like a sister; I’ve given that look to a couple of ponies that come ‘round tryin’ to hit on Applejack” Big Macintosh didn’t like being suspected of such wrong doings, but he appreciated the position the guards were in: his reputation around town had caused his family some grief in the past.

“Perhaps you are right. Farewell Big Macintosh, and...Thank you” Luna stood to her full height, smiling as wide a smile as Big Macintosh had ever seen.

“It was mah pleasure M’Lady” Big Macintosh bowed his head and swept his right hoof beneath him.

Luna felt bittersweet as she left the large farmer to his own devices. She entertained the idea of coming back to visit, but quickly decided would be awkward and needlessly disrupt both their lives. Besides, any but the most innocent of activities seemed to elude Luna whilst Starburst and Shadow Step were her two guards.

Luna’s trip back to Canterlot Castle was uneventful and swift; just how she liked her trips to be. Though she did wish that she’d had longer to steel herself before seeing her sister again; not because she’d undoubtedly have to ask how her little sister enjoyed Nightmare Night. Oh no, it was because Celestia was an insatiable gossip with a talent for ferreting out all but the most hidden of information; even before their Master of Spies, Smiley, got to her.

“Ooooooh Luuuuuuuna” to the Moon Princess’s great surprise, she had made it thirty steps into the castle before Celestia pounced, poking her head from behind a doorframe.

Luna knew that look; her sister was feeling mischievous and playful. That was the smile that as fillies, ended with Luna with a mane full of treacle. With a comically sneaky canter, Celestia quickly made her way to Luna’s side and rubbed the side of her sister’s face affectionately.

“So, I heard you met a stallion...” Celestia started with her trump card; giddy with triumph and Luna noted happily, excitement.

‘It is going to be a long day’ Luna thought and surrendered herself to the sisterly bonding exercise of gossiping.

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Applejack woke up to the crowing of a rooster, as she did most days, although this time there was a strange feeling in her bones. Last night she’d been fully prepared for Rainbow Dash and herself to do...something. Instead, she’d found her friend doing press-ups and deciding on rules for an eating contest.

‘Wah do ah feel like ah missed something?’ Applejack wondered as she got her hat and tied her mane into its customary ponytail.

Humming a reasonably jaunty tune, Applejack made her way down to the breakfast table to find Granny Smith and Applebloom leering at Big Macintosh in a way that made her nervous. Rainbow Dash, who ended up spending the night in the barn; passing out from the effects of too much chocolate and press-ups, was there too and she looked...slightly off.

“So, Big Mac, word on the grapevine is that you met a mare last night” Rainbow Dash took a small bite of her apples and oats, casting a strange at the large stallion who was looking put upon.

“Tends to happen at dances” Big Macintosh was trying to keep a straight face, irritation radiating off him.

“Morning big brother, did ya’ have a good night?” Applejack asked honestly.

“Eeeyup” Macintosh took one last bite of his breakfast and got up to leave and start his chores.

“She nice?” Granny Smith asked, looking serious.

“Once you get past the somewhat, boisterous personality, yeah” Big Macintosh smiled as he walked out the door.

Granny Smith and Applebloom cleared the table, Rainbow Dash keeping a keen eye on Applejack with a level of focus that made Applejack’s mane stand up on the back of her neck. After everyone else had left the room, Rainbow Dash spoke.

“Applejack, you okay?” Rainbow got down from the table and cantered over to her.

“Wha wouldn’t ah be?” the orange mare asked nervously.

‘Okay, the classic Rainbow Dash approach required’ Rainbow rolled her eyes and leaned in quickly, planting a kiss on Applejack’s jaw.

Applejack turned an impressive shade of red, almost as red as her brother. Rainbow just chuckled well naturedly as Applejack slowly began to regain her ability to speak.

“How? What?” the farmer was feeling a bit confused.

“I think I got my signals crossed at the dance so I took a gamble this morning…Did I come up snake eyes?” Rainbow Dash asked, pawing at the floor.

Applejack decided to throw caution to the wind: honesty was always the best policy and a powerful, ancient magical artefact had declared her the most honest pony in all Equestria last year. So with that in mind, Applejack leaned back in to return Rainbow Dash’s kiss. In true spirit to their long running game of one-upping one another, her kiss was on Rainbow’s lips.

“Ah’d say more like lucky seven” Applejack smiled, still blushing.


Outside in the field, Big Macintosh looked to the sky as he ploughed the new field for planting. He swore he could still see a few stubborn stars, just faintly behind the blue morning sky. He smiled despite himself; his chances of seeing Luna again we’re slim to none: last night’s dance had been a gift literally from the heavens.

“Still, a pony can dream can’t he” he said, adding a little spring to his step as he moved forward to plough another row.

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Life in Ponyville went on as it was wont to do; there was no big announcement of the newly minted relationship between Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Those that cared to know figured it out and those that didn’t care to know said nothing. How a pony gave their love was their own business in Ponyville.

The town however did have an odd ability to attract danger and disaster: if it wasn’t napping dragons, angry Ursa’s or Parasprites it was the Cutie Mark Crusader’s latest effort of Cutie Mark Attainment or general mischief making as foals are found to do. This time however, the terror had been visited upon the town by their very own deputy librarian, Spike.

Dragons were primordial creatures, prone to the vices of the long lived and powerful. Strongest among those was avarice: the legendary desire for a horde of treasure to call one’s own. The desire had hit the young, ill prepared hatchling with all the fury of a typhoon and he’d responded in kind.

Right now, he sat huddled in a secret corner of the library: abject misery racking him as strongly as the sobs of remorse. He’d been in here for a while, a couple of unpleasant encounters in the village post his return to normal had frightened him into submission.

“Spike, please, come out. You haven’t eaten in nearly a day and a half” Twilight was pleading through the door.

“I’m not hungry Twilight, leave me alone!” Spike responded, his voice broken and a little hoarse from his crying.

Twilight was sick with worry; the little dragon had been holed up in the broom closed for close to 72 hours and the only sounds had been crying and fitful sleep. He’d not once come out to eat or do anything other than use the bathroom. Not even Rarity had been able to get him to come out, which was a huge warning flare in Twilight’s mind.

‘I think I should write to the Princesses about this’ Twilight trotted down stairs to retrieve a quill and parchment from her vast stores.

‘Dear Princess Celestia,

I write to you now not as a student, but a friend in need of help. Spike is sick with himself for the incident. He has locked himself away and I don’t know what to do. Please, help me: he’s my family and I can’t lose him.

Twilight Sparkle’

Without the little dragon to use his magic breath to send the letter, Twilight opted to send it via her own magic. Hopefully, the Princess wasn’t in the middle of something important and could read the letter.

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Celestia sat in her private quarters, reviewing the reports from Ponyville regarding poor Spike’s first encounter with draconic urges. It was mainly trivial; complaints from over-anxious parents who thought that Spike would eat their children in the night or steal them. She understood their fears but still found them frustrating, especially since Spike’s species of dragon only ate gems or vegetation. There was a gentle knock on the door, but the massive aura of power she could feel meant that it was Luna.

‘Still so bound by protocol’ Celestia smiled and bid her sister to enter.

“Sister, this missive arrived for you” Luna levitated a scroll bearing Twilight’s seal towards her.

“When did this arrive?” normally Twilight’s letters arrived directly.

“A few moments ago” Luna answered as Celestia opened and read the letter.

“Oh no” Celestia looked crestfallen, raising Luna’s concern.

“What vexes you?” she asked the elder Alicorn.

“Spike; it seems he has locked himself in seclusion and Twilight is very upset” Luna could see the conflict brewing behind Celestia’s eyes.

The elder of the two Princesses wanted to go to her favourite student, but felt duty bound to remain in Canterlot as there was much to be done in Government, especially as the reigning monarch. Luna had begun to suspect that Celestia felt a greater connection to the powerful young mare than that of mentor and student and this was only solidifying that belief.

‘We need a dragon expert’ Luna thought, leaving the room quietly to allow her sister to stew

As the lunar princess strode through the ancient halls of Canterlot Palace, her eye was caught by one of the stained glass windows. It was of a dragon, as majestic as a mountain range and older than both her and Celestia. Underneath the image, the name was printed in Royal Canterlot font.

Kerastran: that was a name Luna had not thought of in three millennia. That was her given name, for the old Dragon had amassed titles enough to shame even the most audacious of heroes: The Life Bringer, Warden of the Flame and other relics of ancient pomposity. To Celestia and Luna however, there was a title she preferred, a token of respect rather than ego stroking: Matriarch.

“Guard!” Luna summoned one of the Unicorn guards, a mare by her reckoning.

“Princess, what do you require?” the guardsmare dropped into a bow.

“Tell the Night Steward to meet me in my office, I am going to take a journey and am not sure when I will return” Luna explained.

“Princess, do you need us to come?” the guardsmare looked up in surprise.

“Nay, I shall travel unfettered by the guard. My destination is not for ordinary mortals” Luna smiled at the guard.

“Aye, the Night Steward will be sent for, Your Hi-“ she stopped when Luna threw her a warning look.

“Yes Luna, right away” the guard managed to blurt out awkwardly.

Luna trotted to her office, passing by the Selenic Guard barracks as she did so and stuck her head into see what her off duty guards were up to. Starburst was preening himself and Shadow Step was trying to read a book, but his partner in crimes against grammar was talking loudly about the ‘hot date’ that he had in Ponyville.

‘Of course, I make a comment about my guards not being well received, and he manages to court a mare into a rendezvous’ Luna rolled her eyes; it was like Starburst lived to prove her wrong.

Luna then turned her gaze to the strangest pair of guards she had: Lock On and Drakestone. Lock On was a Pegasus mare, although only according to science someone had said. She was built powerfully for a Pegasus and right now was doing a sort of pull up: there were two large weights strapped one a side to her body and Lock On was hovering while keeping her hind legs on a table. Then she’d gently lower herself while her body was ramrod straight, until her snout touched the ground and then back up again.

‘An impressive physical feat’ Luna smiled.

Drakestone on the other hand was a Unicorn stallion and right now he had a look of extreme concentration on his face as he was levitating about two feet off the ground with three large silver globes circling him.

With a devious look on her face, Lock On retrieved a smaller ball and threw it with as much force as she could across the room at Drakestone. Quick as lightning, two the three globes around Drakestone collided with the smaller globe at high speed, shattering it into dust.

“They’re flirting again” Shadow Step observed dryly

Lock On snorted and unclipped the weights, letting them drop to the floor with a loud clang. She nimbly hopped down from her perch and began stretching her wings to cool down the muscles as Drakestone lowered himself down to earth, unfurling his legs and placing his large steel globes into a foot locker. He purposefully sauntered over to Lock On, a teasing grin all over his face.

“Close but no clover” he muttered.

Luna rolled her eyes and continued down to her office, hearing one final exchange between the off duty guards. Starburst asked Lock On if she had ever in fact, been mistaken for a stallion.

“No, have you?” was her response.


------Author’s Note------

We all know exactly where I cribbed that last scene from more or less wholesale. I’m not exactly ashamed since it’s damn awesome, that line especially. It’s just my little shout-out