• Published 19th Feb 2024
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By the Will of the Council - Captain Neckbeard

Sent to Equestria by their tribe, Celestia and Luna have to uncover their kin's most sacred artifact. During the mission however, Luna starts to realize there might be more important things to find than a mere artifact.

  • ...

Chapter II: Landfall

On the eastern beach of Aeternum Island, two alicorns were ready to depart to a land yet unknown to them.

The younger one was flexing her wings and neck, obviously to warm them up for the long journey ahead.

The older one though, was just staring at the ocean, idly, seemingly mesmerized by the soft crashing of waves on the sandy beachhead. But her head was full of thoughts. Uncertainty. Doubt. Fear.

Suddenly, she felt something, as if someone was watching them. She turned back, and her instinct was proven to be right, much to her joy.

Further away from the seaside, their parents, Master Guardians Solus and Selena were waiting.

Celestia couldn't help it, but smile even along her distressed thoughts, and called out to Luna:

"Luna, look! Mother and Father came to say goodbye to us!"

"I see." said Luna, merely glancing back, then continued her warmup.

"Maybe we should say farewell? Our mission could get prolonged."

"I'll be fine."

Celestia's ears drooped, and let out a small sigh. She got in front of Luna, facing her.

"You haven't talked in months. This would be a good time for it. They love you so, Luna, and they just want us all to be a family."

Luna folded her wings, finishing its moves, and looked up at her sister.

"Well, I see you want to go there, so do it while you can. The Magikhan could lift the ward any moment now."

Celestia sighed yet again, now much more audibly, and walked past Luna. Even if she preferred a cold departure, Celestia didn't share that sentiment. But she only made a few steps, when Luna called her out:

"But... You can say goodbye for me, if you really wish, I guess."

Only a very slight longing poked through Luna's stoic and neutral tone, that Celestia just barely, but noticed. She answered, her mouth turned upside down into a smile now:

"I will, my sister."


A pained smile was plastered on Guardian Selena's face, framed by her blue-and-violet ethereal mane. Solus' expression was more enigmatic, but Celestia knew it would show some sorrow as well if he let it out.

"She didn't want to come over?" Selena started, revealing part of the reason for her expression.

"You know her." Celestia answered. "Angsty as ever. Buuut, she did say that I should pass over her goodbye. Which is something!"

Guardian Solus smirked, and turned to her lover:

"She just has your stubborn nature, my love."

Selena rolled her eyes.

"Do tell... Celestia, my daughter, you will look after her, right? She is so determined to achieve, that she could charge into danger headfirst."

"I will, mother." Celestia nodded, closing her eyes for a moment.

"I do not know what you will exactly face, but if my visions are correct, there is something much more sinister loose in Equestria than a band of rowdy ponies misusing the Teardrops."

"Did you see what it was?" Celestia raised an eyebrow, perking her ears.

"The full council would be needed for that, in a mass meditation session. But with Arcana's magic so corrupted, I don't know if it would yield a valid result."

"Then we're going into darkness. But at least, I will see Equestria!" Celestia answered, trying to feign as if nothing was wrong "You told me mother, the ponies moved to a beautiful land. I can't wait to see it. If nothing else, there is that."

Selena chuckled, and ruffled her wings. She looked at the sky momentarily, then back at her daughter.

"I'm glad you can see positivity even in such a situation."

"You told me: In darkness, every source of light glows brighter. Therefore it's easier to notice as well."

"Even still, do be careful out there."

"I'll try doing my best, just as you taught me."

Solus furrowed his brows, and took over the conversation:

"I have faith they will manage. Actually, I am more concerned what Arcana's agenda is, provided they indeed discover the Teardrops. Such power, at her disposal... I fear for the future of our tribe."

"What should we do? What should I do if we find the Teardrops? Should I just let Luna deliver them to Arcana?" Celestia asked, with her voice trembling, looking back and forth between her parents.

"Celestia." Selena looked at her daughter warmly "Whenever you're faced with a question that seemingly overwhelms you, let your instincts guide you. And if your heart is true, and your intentions pure, the great Creator will show the path."

"I indeed hope She will be gracious. For the sake of our tribe. And for the sake of Luna. But I should go now. I don't want to make this farewell anymore painful than it already is."

Solus and Selena shared a final neck-nuzzle with their daughter, then Celestia said one tearful goodbye, and returned to Luna.


The parents looked on as their daughters spread their wings, and took flight. As they gained altitude, and got farther from the island, Selena spoke, with her voice low:

"I can only hope they will find their destiny. That, when faced with the truths of the world, they'll do the right thing."

Solus draped a wing over his loved one, and leaned unto her:

"They'll have to deliver our tribe, and the whole of Equestria. Because if they can't, nopony will."


Celestia and Luna put considerable distance between themselves and the island. Celestia peeked back, and could see a dizzy opaqueness encircling the island again, the magical ward that was lifted for them just a few minutes ago.

Luna flapped her wings harder to get higher, and Celestia followed suit. They didn't exactly fly together, Luna preferred to always take the lead, as the rightful leader of their mission. Although Celestia would have preferred less distance than the few hundred yards that was between them, ultimately, she digressed. Nevertheless, she enjoyed soaring past the clouds, and occasionally busting through them, just like some pegasus weatherpony. That thought amused Celestia, and made her giggle some. Surely, they will meet ponies in Equestria, and despite the warnings, she had no doubt it would be a positive encounter.

After flying for about half an hour, the wind increased, just like Guardian Aura promised them, and all the effort they had to put into their flight was keeping their wings open. They glided effortlessly, and in the right direction, as the wind blew from the west to the east, towards the Middle Continent. Soon enough, the wind almost took on the power of a hurricane, and the sisters riding it were propelled forward at significant speeds.

Gliding over the seemingly endless ocean was eventless, save for the odd whale popping up, and the flocks of gulls escorting them for parts of their journey. Sometimes a pair of albatrosses showed up, and accompanying Celestia, it almost looked like as if they chose her because of their closely matching colors. But unlike them, the alicorn's long tail and mane created significant drag, so the majestic birds eventually took over, hurrying to their own destinations.

Hours must have passed. Celestia checked if they were still flying east (or east-southeast, to be very precise) by sensing the planet's magnetic poles. Using her earth pony powers, that was easy, and she could confirm they were indeed on the correct flight path.

Unlike sensing the earth, sensing the passage of time was harder. Although looking at the Sun would have been a dead giveaway regarding the hour of day, that wasn't the case right then. Celestia caught up to Luna, and gestured towards the sphere of light:

"The Sun is still up. But by my estimates, it should be evening already. Especially considering we've been constantly flying east."

"Father's correcting spell has failed again. If I'll get my chance to talk to the unicorns responsible, well, they're gonna get a piece of my mind."

Celestia steered a bit closer, and answered:

"Luna? I'm almost sure it's not the ponies causing this. And mother seemed to be sure too. She sensed something sinister causing these celestial irregularities."

"Which is...?" Luna asked, turning her head towards her sister, awaiting the answer.

"Well, she couldn't sense that exactly."

"Then thank you for the hot take, Celestia. Assumptions I can make myself."

With that, she distanced herself from Celestia, and the snooty alicorn flew alone for another good hour.


The Sun was still up when the sisters finally saw land on the horizon. Considering they kept their direction during the whole journey, they must've been looking at the Middle Continent.

Celestia, nevertheless, pointed out the obvious to her sister, who just nodded, and increased her speed. Soon enough, both alicorns could make out the details of the beach where they were going to land on, and it was a pretty place, at least in the opinion of Celestia. The palm trees and almost white sand definitely appealed to her.

A few minutes later, the sisters made landfall, touching the sand of the Middle Continent for the first time ever. The Sun behind them cast their long shadows on the beach, as they made their first steps. A bit further inland, palm groves dotted the landscape, and in the far distance, mountains with snowy caps could be seen.

Celestia and Luna both took a good look around. Celestia still admired the scenery, while Luna was scanning the horizon. About a minute later, the younger sister talked:

"Where are the ponies?"

"Hmm. They must live further inland. I mean, they probably didn't spread over the whole continent in just a decade."

"Then we might have a potentially long search ahead of us." Luna answered with a groan, and added "So let's head out. We shouldn't waste any time."

Luna started to trot towards the tree groves, but Celestia's pace indicated a different intention than the previously stated. Luna noticing, turned back with anger:

"Why are you stalling, Celestia? We should be searching for the Teardrops of Creation, not just moping around!"

The older sister shot back a somewhat pained smile, and answered:

"Luna, don't you think we should rest a bit before undertaking any serious search? After all, we've just flown for hundreds of miles."

Luna's breath hung up for a moment, then squinted at her sister with baggy eyes.

"Gah, rest?! It seems to me you're indeed not too dedicated to this mission. Just as the Magikhan implied."

Celestia tried to emulate Luna's expression to show how her serious looks was in contrast with her very apparent fatigue, but she just ended up with a smirk.

"Oh. And I guess the Magikhan herself never sleeps, and gets rest through overindulgence in magic?"

"Such disrespect! You are indeed a defiant fool Celestia, but I'll take care of your issue. I AM the leader of this mission, and we're moving out NOW!"

Luna even tapped a hoof on the ground for emphasis, but it ended up comically subtle as the thick sheet of sand muffled the stomp, and only a very soft "thud" could be heard. Celestia brought up the tip of her wing in front of her mouth, so her even wider smirk would be hidden.

"Alright then, little magikhan. Lead the way!"


After some more huffing and puffing on the part of Luna, both sisters moved on, on hoof, as slight wing cramps were kicking in. Even Luna admitted that. But she cited they still had four legs, so making progress wouldn't be an issue.

So walking on, they did, through some dry fields, then passing a small forest, to some more dry fields. The landscape didn't show much more variance, and the sisters didn't talk to each other either. Therefore, Celestia was bored, and tired, and even though she could manage, it would've been easier if she could've shared a few words with her sister.

The sister, who by the looks of it, managed even worse than Celestia. She was dragging her hooves across the field they were walking, her otherwise proud stature slouched into the form of some sneaking predator.

"She never took the heat as well as I did." Celestia thought, as she reflected on the unnaturally long-lasting day. The Sun was still clinging to the horizon, when by her estimates, it should have been nighttime already for hours. So no wonder the heat built up more throughout the day than it would've been otherwise.

Then, Celestia felt a tingle in her horn. Though its origins were distant, a gigantic amount of magic washed over her, and the Sun, finally, managed to finish its journey, and made way for the Moon.

Both sisters stopped, and as the Moon was rising, Celestia could notice a little smile forming on Luna's face. With nothing to interrupt her, Luna was basking in the sight for minutes, her smile growing wider. And Celestia smiled, too, in turn. She knew Luna always appreciated nighttime, and had some fascination with the Moon, although she always waved off that notion when confronted with it. Celestia often wondered if Luna was capable of a celestial spell with enough yield that was required to move a heavenly body. She was pretty sure of it though. She was her mother's blood, she had her temper, she even had many of her habits. Luna just didn't want to realize any of that. She was trained to be the Magikhan's assassin from an early age. She considered that her destiny.

Finally, Celestia talked some:

"It seems Father and Mother finally managed to wrangle back the control of the heavenlies. Good thing too, the heat really started to get unbearable, didn't it?"

Celestia raised an eyebrow in a somewhat flamboyant manner. Luna let out a long sigh, and fully straightened herself. She seemed rejuvenated somewhat.

"Yes, the heat... It was indeed a tiny bit of a bother. But as they have such issues with the very spheres they are the guardians of, it is all the more imperative we find the artifact quickly."

"So, we're moving out I guess?"


That was the extent of Luna's answer, as she pointed a hoof to the east, and they continued their journey.

Now being nighttime, the colder air helped Luna put a pep into her steps. Celestia followed, and although she was really longing for some time out at that point, she promised herself she won't vocalize her desire until Luna won't say so.

And that moment inevitably came by, about two hours after moonrise.

"Hey Celestia... How about some rest?" Luna said, turning back.

"It seems your aching muscles caught up to you too, huh?"

"Oh, nonononono! I'm offering this for YOUR sake. I just don't want you to think of me as a completely awful si... mission leader."

Celestia was too tired to smile as Luna tried to say all that with a completely straight face, especially considering the little slip at the end. But she surely smiled on the inside.

"Thank you for the offer then, Mission Leader! I could really use a quick nap."

And right then and there, Celestia plopped to the ground, and stretched her used up appendages.


Luna settled down more gracefully, some distance away from Celestia.

Both sisters lay there for some time peacefully, motionless, without talking to each other. Luna was gazing at the Moon, almost mesmerized by its beauty. While she was aware she was her mother's child, who was the Guardian of the Moon, she herself felt little aptitude at using celestial spells. Unlike her sister, who had a very fitting name, and dabbled in making micro-adjustments to the Sun, assisted by their father. But she had a higher purpose, one much more important than to try doing something she might not even be good at. And that was serving the Magikhan's, and therefore, the council's will.

But sometimes, even Luna had the slightest hint of doubt, the smallest hitch in her conviction: Is it really her eventual destiny to become Arcana's right hoof? To have so much power and influence to outrank everyone, even the councilors? Arcana's secret promises rang in her head, yet sometimes, just a little bit, she felt like an errand pony. Like a t...



She wasn't anyone's tool! She served her Magikhan, because she wanted to become an important part of the tribe, an alicorn the others could look upon, despite her modest number of years.

And yet...

"Celestia? Celestia, are you sleeping already?"

No answer came. Luna crept closer, and she heard the rhythmic breathing of her sister.

"Oh, whatever." Luna said to herself, quietly.

She scooped up fresher-looking tufts of grass, and formed a little makeshift pillow from them. Then she put her head down on it. She wasn't terribly bothered by this lack of luxury. As a foal, they were both taught to appreciate what nature and magic can give to them, and that would be all they needed for comfort.

Luna looked upon the Moon one more time, then up at the night sky. She appreciated that kind of beauty as well, even if somewhat less than the Moon's.

"I have to admit, Master Guardian Stella's work is outstanding. Good thing she doesn't have to deal with any corruption in her domain."

Luna then imagined herself arranging the stars upon the night sky. That must be such a relaxing and comfortable task. But Guardian Stella was made to do that, with the appropriate mark of destiny signifying that on her flanks.

And Luna had no such luck as having a mark of destiny. With that, she made herself a bit sad, but luckily, her mind went idle soon, and her eyelids droopy.

Soon, she was sleeping, right next to Celestia.