• Published 15th Oct 2012
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The Masterpiece - McPoodle

Twilight must step in to prevent Pinkie Pie's mental disintegration

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Chapter 2: Professional Help

The Masterpiece

Chapter 2: Professional Help

The morning meal of the Royal Pony Sisters was usually a quiet affair. Ministers and secretaries always had a million pieces of business for the Princess of the Sun, but they were strictly forbidden from approaching her for any but the gravest of reasons before Celestia had ingested the royal coffee.

Princess Luna on the other hoof would usually be drinking some chamomile tea to calm her down for her daily rest. This contrast in dispositions meant that on those few occasions when she wished to use this time to speak with her elder sister, she was able to dominate the conversations, a rare occurrence for her.

This was one of those occasions.

“I witnessed a most-disturbing dream last night,” Luna began. “It belonged to—”

She was interrupted by the sight of Celestia raising a hoof while using her magic to sip her coffee. “You shouldn’t be discussing another pony’s dreams with a third party,” she said gently.

Luna’s brows knitted. This must be one of those “millennial changes”, she decided. “And why not?”

“Pony society has become much more focused on the individual over the centuries,” Celestia explained. “It’s the reason why the ‘Royal We’ has dropped out of use. As a result, there is a great deal of concern about privacy.”

“Interesting,” observed Luna. “And yet I’ve also noticed that we two, who used to have the most-private lives of any pony, now have next to no privacy at all.”

Celestia shrugged her wings and took a bite of toast.

“So should I stop visiting the dreams of our little ponies?” Luna asked herself out loud. She swiftly answered herself. “No. My power serves a need. Through it, I can connect to our subjects during a time when I am unable to speak with most of them directly. It was because of this gift that I was able to learn that the ponies had started to forgive, that convinced me that I could come out in public again during the recent Nightmare Night festivities. If the ponies value their privacy, then I will respect that. But if they would allow me, I would wish to extend that power.”

“What do you have in mind?” asked Celestia with a raised brow.

“There are many ponies who castigate themselves with no cause. Blame themselves for losses they had no control over. They rehearse these imaginary crimes again and again in their dreams. I think maybe I can help. If they will grant me permission, then I can help them untangle their dreams, and discover the true cause of their unhappiness.”

Celestia raised a hoof to her lip in thought. “That might be a more difficult task than you imagine, dear Sister.”

Luna nodded. “I understand dreams instinctually, but I am totally ignorant of how the waking pony’s mind functions. As a result, I can’t open my mouth without putting my hoof in it.”

Celestia’s hoof was now trying in vain to hide her smile. “I certainly would not have phrased it quite like that,” she said.

“Nevertheless, it is true. If I can barely converse with a waking pony, how can I convince them to allow me to interact with something so revealing as their dream?”

“It seems to me,” said Celestia, “that you need to learn the art of making friends. I would recommend you travel to Ponyville to visit my student.”

“No, no, no,” replied Luna, rapidly shaking her head. “I don’t need art, I need science! I have heard that there are individuals dedicated to the study of the pony mind. If I could submit to an accelerated apprenticeship under one of these masters, let’s say for ten years or so, then I am confident that I would gain the tools I would need to engage in my chosen endeavor! I’m not sure what kind of masterpiece would be appropriate afterwards, however...”

Celestia thought it was adorable how her little sister’s language would descend into technospeak whenever she got excited, at least since she had trained herself away from the Royal Canterlot Voice. “Yes, well coincidentally,” she said, “Twilight Sparkle herself would not be a bad choice of...master, to train under. She minored in Pony Psychology at the Academy.”

Celestia neglected to mention that this particular choice of minor lasted until half-way through the first session, when Twilight fled out of the classroom screaming. Nevertheless, she knew that the unicorn had maintained an interest in the subject despite that humiliation.

Luna nodded in satisfaction. “A mentor I am already acquainted with—excellent! I shall send her word that I’ll be visiting her tonight.”

“So soon?” asked Princess Celestia. “So this dream you saw was really that worrying to you?”

“Indeed,” said Princess Luna, as she lowered her head in remembrance. She decided that revealing a non-identifying part of what she saw would be acceptable. “In the dream, I saw the pony turn herself into a Nightmare.”

“A Nightmare!” exclaimed Celestia, startling the maids who were clearing her plates. “Was this pony an alicorn?”

“No, she was not,” Luna assured her.

This answer confused Celestia. “Then why are you worried?” she asked. “Only alicorns are susceptible to corruption by the Nightmare.”

“The Nightmare is but a symbol,” explained Luna, grinning despite herself at finding a subject where she was clearly more knowledgeable than her sister, even after the long banishment. “I do not fear that this pony’s dreams will endanger Equestria. What is at stake is a single pony’s mind, and the effect this mind’s potential damage will have on her friends. But isn’t that enough for me to do everything in my power to help her?”

“It is,” said Celestia proudly. “It is indeed. Go to Twilight Sparkle for advice, with my blessing.”

It was only then that Luna remembered the date. “But what about the Summer Sun Ceremony? It’s only two days away!”

“It’s alright,” Celestia said with a small smile. “I’ll be in Canterlot today and tomorrow, and in Fillydelphia on the 45th. I trust in your judgment, Sister.”

“If it is at all in my power to be by your side at the ceremony without hurting this pony, then rest assured, Tia, I will be there.”

The two ponies embraced, before separating for their separate spheres: Luna to write a letter to Twilight Sparkle and then get some sleep, and Celestia to open the Day Court and begin the business of the day.