• Published 28th Dec 2011
  • 1,831 Views, 68 Comments

The Night's Companion - BrookwoodBronco



An OC character becomes Luna's friend, but trouble is afoot

  • ...
4
 68
 1,831

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

----------

Sleepy Head’s face slammed into the front of the chariot as they grinded to a halt. Princess Celestia stifled a snicker as the maroon pony shook his head to disperse the dizziness. He had his rude awakening, and they had finally arrived at the Princess’s castle. The white alicorn dismissed the chariot drivers as Sleepy Head jumped out of the carriage. Once they had flown away, the princess and the stallion started walking toward the main entrance to her castle.

The castle was huge; bigger than what the books had shown him. He gawked at the size of Celestia’s home as she used her magic to bring the drawbridge down. Sleepy Head was checking to see if there were alligators in the moat when the rugged wooden overpass finally creaked down with a thud. It was only slight, but the maroon stallion thought he had heard the white goddess lightly catching her breath. Those thoughts were quickly diminished when he saw how the door towered over him. It wasn’t just the size that amazed the pony, but the details too: the fine grain sanded to perfection made it seem like it was brand new, and at the border were carvings of magnificent gold ponies of all races. If the door was this great, he couldn’t imagine what the inside was like.

He had heard about the magnificence of the castle from Applejack in the Ponyville market. About a year ago, after The Grand Galloping Gala, Sleepy Head had entered town for a bite to eat. Applejack’s fresh apples were always the best treat, so he usually headed over there for lunch. There, while browsing the Apple Family selection, he had overheard Applejack talking to another customer about her night at the Gala. Even though she was working most of the time, she spoke of the amazing garden where ‘them fancy ponies’ mingled and visited. The ballroom was also a sight of wonder, even though it got trashed soon after she had entered. “Heh, look at me now Ponyville. I’m staying at the place where you only dreamed of visiting for just a night,” Sleepy Head thought, gloating to himself.

As they approached the door, it began to groan as two guards slowly pulled it ajar. When it was open enough for the alicorn and Earth pony to pass, the two entered side by side. Princess Celestia nodded at the guards when she passed through, but Sleepy Head didn’t notice. He was too busy gaping at amazing beauty of the entrance room. The tiles shined so much that you could see your face in them, and the pristine velvet carpet led into all the rooms and up the main staircase. The room was decorated with all sorts of banners on the walls, and at the top of the staircase were shimmering stain glass windows. There, the stairs split off in opposite directions and Sleepy Head guessed that they led to rooms for the princess’s and guests alike.

“This place only gets cleaned two times a year, so right now it may look a bit shoddy,” the white mare said with a smile.

“You have got to be kidding me… Your Highness. I don’t even need a mirror; I can just look down!” the maroon stallion exclaimed. He couldn’t believe he would be staying at a place like this. This doesn’t just beat his shabby apartment in Ponyville, it knocks it to the ground and curb-stomps the crap out of it.

Some butlers had come from the side entrances to the room and bowed before the sun goddess. She began sending them to do tasks, “I would like a room made ready for my guest tonight, as well as accommodations for a meal at midnight. You can feed him the same food you feed Luna, just make a portion for him as well. Also I’d like-”

“Tia! You’re finally back!” the white alicorn looked up to see Princess Luna galloping from the stairs toward them. Sleepy Head, who was previously rolling on the carpet like a dog, jumped up in surprise. Princess Celestia caught Luna in her hooves and they gave each other a warm hug. Sleepy Head’s grey eyes widened as he saw the royal blue princess in the arms of her sister.

“Ok… what?” the maroon pony shook his head as if to dispel an enchantment. Princess Luna looked nothing like she did when she was at Nightmare Night. Now, her body was about his size and her coat was a lighter shade of blue. Her mane seemed normal, in contrast to the starry, ever flowing mane she wore the night he saw her. At that time, she had looked a little similar to her sister; now though she seemed smaller and more fragile. “Now… now she’s kinda cut-” Sleepy Head shook the thought away. This was his employer, and nothing about doing work for someone is attractive.

After they had finished hugging it out, the night princess finally spotted Sleepy Head. The maroon pony gave a nervous smile, but Princess Luna quickly hid behind her sister. His smile quickly turned into an agitated glower. He could already see how troublesome this job would be.

Princess Celestia gave him a warm smile and said, “Don’t worry. Luna is not used to personal guests. She’ll warm up to you soon,” the sun goddess gave the maroon stallion a wink.

“Uh huh…” Sleepy Head cocked an eyebrow at the Queen of the Night, who was peeking out from behind her big sis’. She quickly went back to hiding when the two made eye contact, and Sleepy Head let out an annoyed sigh. Looks like her personality had also changed, but he decided to worry about that later as the bigger of the sisters continued speaking.

“Now Sleepy Head, you will be on the same schedule as my sister here. Accompany her throughout the night and go to bed a little after sunrise. Then, you will wake up when it is sunset and the cycle will continue.”

The maroon pony shrugged, “Works for me.” His schedule wasn’t really changing all that much. In the past he had to wake up every so often during the day to get food if he hadn’t found enough the night before. Now, his schedule was even better, so he had no complaints.

Princess Celestia nodded to her servants, “My butlers will provide you with food and a room. Now, if you will excuse me, the sun is almost set and I need to head to my quarters.” At this point, she looked a little drained from the day’s activities.

The sun goddess turned, whispered a few words to Princess Luna, and began trotting off.

“Wait, so am I just suppose to know where everything is? This place is huge,” Sleepy Head interjected. The white alicorn stopped and turned back toward him.

“Well put. I think Luna would be happy to show you around the house,” she said with smile. Luna looked at her sister with a disheartened expression. Sleepy Head rolled his eyes, “Awesome, this is gonna be swell,”

“B-b-b-but wait! Sister!” but the blue princess’s plea fell on deaf ears as Princess Celestia had vanished to her quarters.

Once the butlers had departed, only Princess Luna and Sleepy Head were left in the entrance room. An awkward silence hung in the air as the two ponies stood there without a word. Princess Luna kept her eyes on the ground to the left in obvious shy embarrassment. Sleepy Head kind of felt sorry for her, and definitely wanted to break the silence.

“Sooo… how are you? My name is Sleepy Head. I’m going to be staying here for a while… so… do you wanna show me around?” The maroon stallion was finding it hard to talk to her when she flinched every time he made even the slightest gesture. She didn’t say a word and still would not make eye contact with him. “Is this how a princess is supposed to act? I wouldn’t want any leader of mine being this timid! She’s almost as bad as Fluttershy… almost,” the stallion thought while suppressing his frustration.

Suddenly, the moon princess squeaked out some words, “Sorry, but I have to go do my nightly duties now.” She immediately bolted away, and just like that, left him in the room. Her sudden outburst surprised the often calm stallion, but he quickly sighed heavily. Why was he here to improve her pony skills when he clearly had none? Sleepy Head yawned a little and realized that he was still exhausted. He wanted to find a balcony or something to soak in the night, but had no clue where to look. Then he remembered which way the butler that was told to fix his room went, so he decided to head in that direction.

----------

Wandering through the corridors, hallways, and spiral stairs of the great castle was straining on the mind. Still, he finally found a door agape and in there was the butler he had seen before. The unicorn butler bowed as he came in and told him she was freshening up the place for him to stay there. Sleepy Head nodded and began inspecting his room. It seems his room was at the top of one of the many towers in the castle. His room was huge: big bed, big artwork, big wardrobe. There was a dresser in the corner for all his supplies, but since he didn’t come with any bags he didn’t really need it. Now that he thought about it, he really didn’t own anything that he held at high value. “Princess Celestia didn’t even ask if I wanted to bring anything… it’s like she knew…” He hoped she wasn’t always spying on him.

The butler had finished prepping his room and quickly shuffled out. Finally, Sleepy Head was alone. He opened the balcony window in his suite and walked onto the portico. The maroon stallion slowly breathed in and closed his eyes. His fiery red hair gently swayed in the breeze as he focused on his senses. He smelled the leaves in the breeze, tasted the crisp night air, felt the warm glow of the stars. He opened his eyes slowly to see the moon peeking out over the horizon. Eventually, he felt the energy flow through his whole body, and he smiled genuinely for the first time today.

“HOW ART THOU STALLION!?” Sleepy Head planted his foot into the ground to steady himself from the force of the voice. He groaned and turned around to see a looming dark figure inside his room. He wasn’t surprised this time because he knew full well who was behind him.

“Ya wanna tone down your volume a bit?” the maroon pony asked bitterly. He rubbed his ears with his hoof as she apologized. Now fully energized, he could tolerate some commotion without getting cranky; plus this version of Princess Luna was way better than the shy version.

“We art sorry. We often find ourselves using the Royal Equestrian Voice when we art excited,” she said, bowing her head in pardon.

“Still using the second person when you talk too, huh? You haven’t changed a bit in a year’s time,” Sleepy Head stated with a clever smile. He walked passed her and jumped on the bed to test it. Dang, was it soft; the softest bed the maroon stallion had ever felt.

The moon goddess looked at him with surprise, like she hadn’t noticed she was speaking that way. Then she slowed down and stammered, “W-I-I have been working on it. Big sister has been trying to practice with us- I mean me… when we get to see each other.” While she was speaking, Sleepy Head was jumping on his bed in delight. When the night queen gave him a quizzical look, he smiled sheepishly and jumped off.

“Welp, I guess your sister hired me so she won’t have to give you those lessons anymore. When I’m through with you, you’ll be as normal as me,” Sleepy Head said with a grin, “Oh, and don’t get your hopes up, ‘cause I’m kind of a weirdo.” Princess Luna looked at him with a cocked eyebrow. The maroon stallion sighed and added, “That was joke. You’re supposed to laugh at them.”

“Oh… HA. HA. HAAA!!!” Princess Luna yelled in her Equestrian Voice. Sleepy Head’s hair blew back with each ‘ha’ she shouted. He shook his head to help his mane fall back in place and glared at the moon princess.

“Looks like we have a lot of work to do,” he muttered, turning toward the door. The princess apologized again as the two made their way down the tower.

----------

After Princess Luna had shown him around the castle, the two settled down in the garden for their early night meal. Sleepy Head was still amazed at how big the castle was, for it took them about an hour to scope the entire place out. The moon princess had told him that this once was the home to an old Equestrian king, but it was long since abandoned when the Princesses had arrived. Sleepy Head thought in interesting that the ponies still carried on without a leader, but he guessed they had some sort of counsel after that, like in the Hearth Warming play.

Princess Luna smiled happily as the food had arrived, and Sleepy Head was just as happy. When the servants opened the lid to the food, the sweet aroma of boiled carrots and onions wafted into his nose. The food smelled delicious, “Now THIS is the high life.”

They both dug into the meal, Princess Luna more enthusiastically then the maroon stallion. He stifled a chuckle as he watched the dark blue mare eat messily; very unlike a princess. He gave her leeway on it, since she hasn’t been in public much. His grey eyes closed and he decided that he would have to teach her proper edict also. At that moment, his mind was flooded with thoughts about the Queen of the Night,

“Alright. Princess Luna. Kind of intimidating in size. She wasn’t nearly that tall when I saw her at the beginning of this night. She was my size then, but now she’s way bigger than I am. She’s a little smaller than Celestia, but her whole presence has changed too. She seems more powerful now, and I can see why people feared her at Nightmare Night. Hell, I didn’t even go near her then… now look at me!” Sleepy Head opened his grey eyes and looked at Princess Luna. She was still too absorbed by her meal to notice him staring. “How did she change forms? Is this even the same Luna from before? If this isn’t the same Luna, where is the other one? Is this one-”

Princess Luna stopped eating and finally noticed Sleepy Head, “Why art thou staring at me so? Is there something on my face?” She was looking at her muzzle cross eyed when Sleepy Head had snapped back into reality.

“…Oh! No, I was just... just noticing how you ate. If you were to eat like that in public, some people might be worried that Celestia starves you or something!” He laughed as the moon princess blushed and levitated a napkin to wipe her mouth.

“My sister tells us- I mean me… she tells me that when we eat together. I feel that it should not matter since this is my house,” she declared, trying to sound dignified.

Sleepy Head winked at her, “As the saying goes, ‘Practice like you play.’ We’ll work on your eating edict later though. What would you like to do tonight, Your Clumsy-ness.” At this point, the maroon pony had stood up and was taking a mocking bow.

Princess Luna giggled a little, “Hehe, I think I am catching on to this joking business. Oh, I know! LET US PLAY A GAME!!” She covered her mouth too late and the voice had blown Sleepy Head on his back. But this time, the maroon stallion just laughed on the ground. The night goddess helped him up with her magic and laughed on with him. The magic that had surrounded Sleepy Head was warm and caring, and he was actually laughing honestly. Usually the only time he laughed was in sarcastic contempt or in mocking annoyance. Suddenly, he realized that he wasn’t the only one being taught here: Princess Luna was teaching him to lighten up.

“Haha, so what game shall we play?”

----------

The two companions spent the night playing all sorts of games. Princess Luna noticed that the games she played by herself were doubly fun with another person. Sleepy Head wasn’t complaining either, and since the moon was out, he had boundless amounts of energy. They played hopscotch, pin-the-tail on the pony, and tic-tac-toe. They drew pictures, read stories, and even did the maze in the garden. Sleepy Head couldn’t remember the last time he had this much fun and Luna was loving every bit of it too.

Finally, the pair found themselves back in the entrance room with some time to spare. Sleepy Head was bursting with energy, but the Princess seemed a little fatigued.

The maroon pony was excited, “So Luna, what should we do next?”

The princess smiled at him faintly and said, “Well, I am becoming tired. I have not had this much fun in a while… and it seems to have taken a toll on me.”

Sleepy Head sat on his plot and put a hoof to his chin, “Hmm… Well, how about this. Let’s play hide and seek. If you hide first, you’ll be able to find a good hiding spot and rest for a bit while I search for you.”

Her cyan eyes became dull, but she nodded in agreement. “That sounds like a wonderful idea,” she heaved. She began trotting off and Sleepy Head quickly turned the other way to count.

“I’ll count really slow for you, alright?” Sleepy Head shouted behind him. The lunar princess gave no reply but the maroon pony could faintly hear the clip-clopping of the alicorn’s hooves leaving him.

“One!”

“I wonder what’s wrong…”

“Two!”

“I didn’t hurt her did I…?”

“Three!”

“That’s silly. I didn’t even touch her.”

“Four!”

“She isn’t mad at me, is she?”

“Five!”

“Why would she be mad? We’ve been doing fun things all day!”

“Six!”

“She’s just tired, like Princess Celestia was earlier tonight.”

“Seven!”

“She said herself that this was a new experience. She just needs some rest is all.”

“Eight!”

“I should just trot around slow so she has more time to rest.”

“Nine!”

“There’s no doubt that this has been the best night ever… for the both of us.”

“Ten!! Ready or not, here I come!”

Sleepy Head opened his eyes and looked around the room. Alone in the huge entrance room made him feel small compared to everything around him. The darkness inside the castle was eerie; not like the night outside. Still, he was a stallion and would brave this castle to find his friend. With two alicorns and a bunch of guards, he should have no worries about being alone in the fortress.

He climbed the steps to the right and entered a long hallway. The candles lit on the sides of the hall gave off a spooky glow, and the shadows made by the faint light were long and ghastly. True to his promise, he trotted along slow through each hall, admiring the paintings on the walls and other items in the house. He entered every guest room he could find, just to take his time and search thoroughly. His red mane seemed to glow with the reflection of the candle light, and he smiled while he reflected on the night he just had.

“Wow, today was amazing! I had no idea Princess Luna was so much fun. Sure, at first she was kind of awkward and intimidating, but once you get to know her, wow, she’s something else. Princess Celestia was right; this doesn’t feel like a job at all. I wouldn’t mind doing this all my life!”

While he was thinking, he peeked his head into another guest room. There he immediately spotted the starry, flowing mane of the princess coming out an open wardrobe. The mane seemed to drift out like smoke, and it was easy to spot in the moonlight that shone through the window. Sleepy Head felt he had given her enough time to rest and entered the room confidently. The doors of the wardrobe were in the way, but the maroon pony knew who it was and trotted toward the opening.

“Ya know, if you had closed those doors, I probably wouldn’t have found you soooo… ooooohh no,” the stallion’s grey eyes widened in horror as he saw what was in the armoire.

She was lying on her legs in the giant wardrobe, but when Sleepy Head spotted her, her cat-like eyes shot open. She rose and stretched as the maroon stallion backed up in terror.

She gave him a wicked smile and said, “Finally you found me. So, I guess it’s my turn now?”

“N-n-n-n-n-nightmare M-m-moon?!”

“You might want to hide well, ‘cause ya never know what will happen if I find you,” the demon said smiling down at her upturned hoof.

“B-but the Elements of Harmony destroy-”

“One!”

“You should be de-”

“Two!”

He didn’t need another hint. Sleepy Head bolted out of there with a flash. He ran. Ran as fast as his legs could run. The halls seemed even scarier now that he was running for dear life in them. Even though he had galloped far away from the room, he could still hear Nightmare Moon’s frightening voice. Her voice seemed to penetrate his very soul, but still the questions flooded him.

“Three!”

“What’s going on?! How is she still alive?!”

“Four!”

“More importantly, where is Luna?”

“Five!”

“I hope she’s safe…”

“Ten!!”

Sleepy Head panicked. He looked around desperately for some place to hide. He ran to the nearest guest room and shot under the bed. His whole body shook while he was prone under the mattress. He couldn’t for the life of him control his breathing, and it seemed like his breath was the loudest thing on the planet. His heart was pounding, his mind was racing… And Nightmare Moon was right outside the door. Sleepy Head guessed it took her at least five seconds to actually find the room he was in, but calculations weren’t important now.

“Ya know, if you had closed that door, I probably wouldn’t have found this room so easily,” she said in a mocking tone. The cowering stallion spotted her hooves, iron clad with sharp metal horseshoes. He held his breath as she searched the room for him. The few seconds he hid there felt like hours, and his blood was pounding in his head so hard that he was sure she could hear it.

Finally, she had given up and stomped out of the room in disgust. Sleepy Head waited for a moment… and then breathed out to catch his breath. As soon as he did, the bed over him flew off and he was exposed in the pale moonlight.

“Did you really think I didn’t know you were in this room?” Nightmare Moon sneered. Sleepy Head started to crawl away, but as the demon trotted closer to him, he flipped onto his back to confront her.

“Looks like I found you, Night Lover,” she said triumphantly, “In the end, this was probably how you wanted to die anyway!” As soon as she said that, she surged at his underbelly with her spear-like horn. He quickly dodged to the left as she penetrated the wood floor instead. The stallion hastily scrambled to his feet, shoved Nightmare Moon to the side, and dashed out of the room. He found the entrance room, darted down the stairs and out into the garden again. His grey eyes searched behind him to see if his Nightmare was following. As he was looking, the stallion ran right into strong, black legs.

“Looking for me?” Nightmare Moon asked, now in front of the maroon pony. He stumbled back, shook his head, and looked at the towering mare. He couldn’t run anymore, now that he knew there was nowhere to run to. Nightmare Moon stamped the ground as he slowly backed away in fright. “This time I won’t miss,” she stated definitely.

As she charged him, he got on his hind legs and shut his eyes, “So this is how it ends: killed by a pony that’s supposed to be dead…”

Sleepy Head braced himself as a body rammed into his chest. He flew backward a few feet and landed on his plot, catching a pony. He groaned as he opened his eyes to see the smaller Luna in his arms. At first, he couldn’t believe that he was still alive, but quickly checked to see if Luna was still alive too. Luckily, she was just unconscious and breathed lightly in his lap. His heart was still racing when he pushed himself back to his feet. The maroon stallion placed her limp body on his back and started back toward the castle. Sleepy Head had only one thing left to do.

----------

After carrying the smaller, lighter Luna to her quarters, Sleepy Head quickly tucked her into her bed and made his way toward Princess Celestia’s room. It was sunrise, so the maroon stallion figured that the sun goddess would be risen as well. He was clearly freaking out and questioned his sanity, “If anyone can tell me what’s going on, it’s Princess Celestia.” He was determined to get some answers after almost getting killed by a supposed ghost.

Sleepy Head burst into the princess’s room to see her prepping herself for another day’s work. She turned in surprise when he entered and started talking a million miles a minute.

“Princess! Your sister… I have no idea what’s wrong, but she keeps on changing forms or something! First she was my size, and then-”

Princess Celestia didn’t seem to care about what he was saying, “Sleepy Head, you seem a little tired.”

“Oh, don’t worry about me, I’m wide awake! After fighting Nightmare Moon-”

As he rambled, the sun goddess had glided over to him. She put a hoof lightly on his mouth, “Shh… you are just tired is all. You look like you need some rest.”

“Don’t ‘shh’ me! We have a crisis in this very castle! Don’t you-”

Princess Celestia seemed to be ignoring him and a bright glow began to shine at the tip of her horn. She touched his head with the light and stepped back a bit. He was still shouting even when he felt the effects of her magic.

“Wha-what did you do to me?” He heaved, for his eyelids began to get heavy.

“I didn’t do anything; you are just sleepy. Here let me carry you to your room.”

“No… wait… … … … stop.” He couldn’t hold on anymore, and fell into a deep sleep…