• Published 28th Oct 2012
  • 2,661 Views, 108 Comments

What The Night Remembers - TCSNxs



After a successful festival for Nightmare Night, Luna comes to terms with a pony she feels a longing for, both in the past and in the present. What happens when she realizes she isn't just waxing nostalgia?

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4. The Night's Lament

What The Night Remembers
By: TCSNxs

Chapter Four
The Night's Lament

We should all be so fortunate as the Princess of the Sun!
The whim and beck and call of her masses is born of
the principles of adoration and revelry. A tyrant? No.
She simply seeks out the good of the many. Let us
not question that inherent drive of her will.
~ Excerpt from Whargarble's "In Defense of The Righteous."

A few weeks passed but the dream played on whenever Luna slept. Even though the dreams of others were within the Lunar Regent's purview, she had little control over dreams in general. While she appreciated the irony of it, such appreciation seldom contributed to resolutions. Luna ran through the motions of her Night Court, but found herself even less indulgent than usual.

Luna pressed on though. Despite the near-ceremonial nature of their positions, the buck did usually stop with the princesses. A lot of the tedium was simply paperwork. Ledgers, analyses, intelligence reports, and all matters of important sounding minutiae passed over the sisters' desks at any point. In her comparatively short time back, Luna got a first hand reminder of why she sometimes loathed being royalty.

The morose nature of the Lunar Regent stuck with her throughout those days, even into the private mealtimes the sisters shared. The most recent occasion saw Luna lazily working a hay fry through a small container of ketchup. Celestia didn't want to press the matter much, but she couldn't sit idly by anymore.

"A bit for your thoughts, Luna?" Celestia offered while magically jamming a fork into her spinach salad. Luna moved to speak, but just sighed. Of the two, the Lunar Regent was always the more dramatic one. Celestia continued, "You know Lulu, it doesn't do a pony any good to go through life in such a state."

"And suppose I wanted to?" Luna spoke, a little more harshly then intended, "I could be the Princess of Midnight Melancholy."

"It might improve your image."

Luna shot her sister a look before resuming her fry's dance in the ketchup, "Sister, I know the plebiscite is a few days away. I don't find my heart in it though."

"Understandable," the Solar Regent gave a single nod as she spoke, somehow expecting it.

This sisters agreed to put the best face forward on the Crystal Empire question. Until now, the once great home of the crystal ponies was held as a Protectorate. Celestia and Luna agreed that it was time for them to make a choice. That being to either go it alone or become part of Equestria. Though the sisters didn't bother hiding the fact that they wanted the bastion of paradise in the north for multiple reasons, they would put the will of the crystal ponies first. After all, going that route would be good for public relations. Luna, however, had lost her zest for that as well as other things recently.

"Then perhaps you should stay here," Celestia offered after munching on part of salad.

"But we agreed that it would be best if we went north together for the vote," Luna reminded her sister. She was about to take a bit out of the floppy hay fry, but dropped it. To Luna, the lack of crispness equated with betrayal.

"True, but you are obviously in need of collecting your thoughts," Celestia spoke as if it were a matter-of-fact, "And I could take Twilight and Spike with me. It would accomplish the same thing and besides, it is time she become familiar with politics."

"Perhaps you are right," Luna said as she seized upon the out she was offered, "She will need that education."

"Indeed," Celestia was smiling despite herself. The agreement went someway to redressing Luna's mood. She kept her calender cleared in anticipation of the trek north. It would almost be a vacation! Celestia then offered, "This would also be a chance to get the meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture out of the way."

"Sister, you know agricultural matters were never my forte," Luna pleaded as she pictured her downtime crashing onto the jagged rocks of responsibility, "Don't you remember when I thought a plowshare was a rental agreement?"

"Perhaps, but maybe you could call in outside assistance." Celestia remarked offhoofedly, "As in somepony who is intimately familiar with the matters at hand."

"Perhaps I could use somepony who would be honest, no matter what," Luna saw where her sister was going. The Lunar Regent eyes regained some of their lost luster. Celestia simply smiled before snapping off the end of a cucumber.

~(o)~

The flight to Canterlot was a little colder than Applejack anticipated. Even the heavy coat she wore was barely enough to keep the chill wind at bay. Spike and Twilight seemed more adjusted to it. Then again, Twilight's horn had a subtle glow probably due to a warmth spell and Spike was, after all, a dragon. The team of six pegasi Royal Guards kept on in rhythm as they neared the castle. Applejack, chilled and not accustomed to flight, watched as they approached the high buildings and mountain of Canterlot with forced fascination. Her visioned stayed forward while she pictured herself already within the warm confines of the castle.

As the chariot landed within the castle's courtyard, a brass fanfare erupted from the battlements high on the castle. Celestia and Luna were waiting in full regalia atop the stairs leading into the castle proper. The whole thing struck Applejack as odd, but she could blame Luna later. Applejack, Twilight and Spike stepped off the chariot as the fanfare echoed again. The farmer was stiff from the cold, so her movements were stilted.

"Follow my lead," Twilight whispered to Applejack before cantering to the front of the stairs. Applejack and Spike followed suit to either side of Celestia's student. The trio approached the bottom of the stairs where Twilight broke into a deep bow, as did Spike and an achy Applejack.

"Announcing Lady Twilight Sparkle and Lady Applejack, Advisors to the Her Majesties, Fourfold Heroes of Equestria, Bearers of the Elements of Magic and Honesty," announced a unicorn, his voice amplified via magic. As he rattled off a few other appellations, Applejack and Twilight looked to each other. Spike got his run as well, puffing his chest out at "Twice Hero of Equestria" in particular. As the list of titles and accomplishments concluded, Celestia and Luna trotted off the stairs while the trio rose. Twilight seemed a little lost, which made Applejack more than confused. The situation wasn't helped by the fact her hoofs were numb.

"My faithful student," Celestia leaned a bit and nuzzled Twilight, "It's so good to see you."

"Oh Princess Celestia," Twilight leaned into Celestia's nuzzle with a smile that reached the edges of her face, "I've missed you so much!"

"Fair Applejack, I've missed you so," Luna put a forehoof around her friend.

"Ah've missed you to Luna," Applejack was a bit overwhelmed and confused, but decided to play along. She leaned into the Luna Regent, wrapping a nearly desensitized forehoof of her own around Luna's neck. She whispered quietly, "What's that rabbit in your head got into now?"

Luna chuckled as the royal sisters withdrew almost on cue. Celestia and Luna stood in their usual stoic fashion. The farmer looked towards Luna while Twilight was lost in the moment.

"Now that formalities are done," Celestia offered, "I do believe it is time for some lunch."

The guards bowed and parted the way for the royal sisters and the three Ponyville residents. Twilight and Spike quickly caught up with Celestia while Luna fell back with Applejack. The Lunar Regent's smile took her ears.

"Now will ya tell me what this is all about?" Applejack asked.

"In due time, fair Applejack," Luna practically beamed, "It should suffice to say that there is a reason for such pomp."

"Ya mean there's a method to your madness?" Applejack quipped, "Now that's a first."

Luna's cackle echoed through the halls.

~(o)~

The four were still catching up after dining. As such, they moved to a study with some comfortable chairs and warm fire courtesy of Luna's magic. Spike busied himself with a huge plate of sapphires while the four ponies conversation switched to matters at hand.

"So let me get this straight," Applejack said. The fire helped restore some sensation to her extremities while the spirits helped to address the inevitable ache, "You, Twi and Spike are gonna head north to watch over this vote while Ah get the hang around with Luna for a week?"

"Well, basically yes," Celestia explained, sipping on some wine. She paused for a moment, lamenting its flavor before continuing, "I need Twilight and Spike north with me for the plebiscite."

"And I've need of an expert in matters of agriculture," Luna finished, "Normally Celestia handles these meetings, but as you can see, she will be indisposed."

"Ah can see that," Applejack remarked, "But what was with all that fanfare?"

Luna chuckled, "Well, it was more for Twilight and Spike's benefit. Not many could mistake you for a 'Lady', fair Applejack."

"Ah hate you," Applejack shook her head.

Celestia, Twilight and Spike took turns looking at each other. The baby dragon was working towards a gem-induced coma while all three were watching the exchange between the Lunar Regent and the farmer. Twilight gave Celestia a look as she asked, "Are you sure its okay to leave them alone for a week?"

The Solar Regent put a hoof to her chin in thought and shrugged as if it hardly mattered, "Assuming they don't kill each other, anything that happens should be covered by insurance."

Twilight let it go as she sipped her wine. Being with such proximity to her teacher gave her a sense of wholeness that she preferred to bask in anyway.

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