• 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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6. Mistakes Of The Night

What The Night Remembers
By: TCSNxs

Chapter Six
Mistakes Of The Night

Accidents when executing a spell are going to happen.
Fear not! It should not dissuade you from exploring
the realm of the arcane arts, but it should serve as
a simple, but pointed reminder of the three sides
of the Mage's Pyramid: To Know. To Will. To Dare.
Remember always to take into account what you can
and learn from what you did not."
~Excerpt from "The Chronicles of Starswirl the Bearded"

After maneuvering her way through a window, Luna released her gaseous form in the guest bedroom set aside for Applejack. Though it wasn't really late, Luna was certain the farmer would sleep easily through the remainder of the night. It wasn't so much intuition or the energetically draining nature of the magic she had worked. It was the farmer's growl-like snoring.

"Like a starving bear in a buffet," Luna murmured as she towed the farmer in her magical grasp. She gingerly set about getting Applejack into bed. After setting her friend's trademark Stetson on the bed post, she was satisfied with the effort.

"Sweet dreams, my friend," Luna whispered with a smile.

The Lunar Regent quietly slipped out the door. Moving towards her quarters, she had time to ponder the powerful weariness of her own body. Soul Transference was a difficult spell to manage correctly. Though Luna was accomplished as anypony in magical matters, the spell work she did was intricate. Between giving Applejack enough control to ensure she was the one encouraging the moon on its flight, feeding the farmer enough of her own magic to make it happen, and keeping her own spirit from attempting to exert control, it was enough to test even Celestia's vaunted multitasking skills.

She moved slowly down the marble halls, her hooffalls echoing against the solitude of it. The castle was winding down from the bustle of the day, which would leave the Lunar Regent with time to herself. Which meant simply one thing: sleep. Her reserves, both physical and magical, were nearly tapped. Thankfully, her private abode wasn't far from Applejack's room. The Lunar Guards bowed, to which Luna pleasantly, if lazily smiled when she approached.

The only thing she wanted at the moment was a deep sleep. That thought struck the alicorn as odd, but in her exhaustion, she simply did not care enough to contemplate the meaning. After the doors closed, Luna slipped off her regalia and moved towards her bed. Slipping under the covers, she allowed herself a few thoughts as she shut her eyes.

She had done the spell a few times before, though she never allowed anypony to get so close to the moon while in her guise. The Lunar Regent considered it her private domain, the one sacred place she could retreat to whenever she wanted. Even when she were banished to it, the womb-like nature of it helped keep her sanity against the raging Nightmare she'd become.

That thought stuck with her as she rolled to her side. Why had she let Applejack touch it, become part of it? Was she trying to impress her? Was the farm pony's understanding so important in the end? Sure, she was a friend, but Luna risked much in letting Applejack into herself, indeed channeling and directing the magical bond she had. Luna wondered if, perhaps, such a thing were more intimate then making love? And why did she have a sudden hunger for apples at the moment?

Luna finally drifted off, her sleep comfortable and filled with the drifting thoughts of whatever immortal alicorns dreamed of.

~(o)~

Applejack felt a pull that jolted her from sleep. Her eyelids lazily worked themselves open despite the sudden start. It was still dark, but something was telling her to get out of bed; something she wasn't used to. This wasn't her internal clock honed from years of working the farm. It was different, like a message at the limits of her thoughts. Dismissing it as tricks of her mind, she tried to go back to sleep. Her memories, though, had other plans. She recalled the previous evening vividly. The sensations, the emotions, the surreal images, all of it danced about her imagination.

For some reason, she felt hollow as if she spent the night in the midst of crying. She tried to place whether those tears were happiness or sadness, but she couldn't quite sort it out. Promising to blame Luna later, the farmer shoved those thoughts aside and tried to get back to sleep. But then she felt the yanking once. Something was incessantly demanding her attention and, like a full bladder, it would not wait.

Seeing the futility of her goal, the farmer rose and put her trademark Stetson atop her head. She couldn't begin to explain the sensations as she moved out of her door. Whatever it was, it seemingly communicated an eager joy at her rising A guard greeted her as she moved out into the hallway as she snapped her attention back.

"Where's Luna?" Applejack asked.

"In her abode, Lady Applejack," Zealous replied, "She retired to it some time ago."

"Which way?" the farmer queried. Zealous pointed the way down one dark hall. Applejack nodded in thanks, but stopped for a second, "Hey, is the kitchen open?"

"All hours, Lady Applejack," Zealous confirmed, "Do you require something?"

"If it weren't too much trouble, could ya get me one of those Quad Shots?"

"Of course, Lady Applejack" Zealous smiled and snapped a hoof in attention. Applejack nodded in thanks before trotting down the hall. The pulling grew more incessant, as well as a gnawing feeling that something was wrong. She arrived at the double doors, where the two Lunar Guards stood stoically. They quickly snapped their wings out, barring her entrance.

"Y'all better move," the farmer growled.

"Is something wrong, Lady Applejack? Perhaps we can help," one of the guards spoke. Though he was nondescript as Lunar Guards went, he was in charge until the Royal Guards relieved his post.

"Doubtful that," Applejack was a few seconds away from bursting through them, "Ah need to pass. Now."

The Lunar Guard wasn't accustomed to making command decisions. Silverhawk usually made such calls, but given his boss was indisposed and the apparent closeness of the farmer to his Princess, he nodded and quickly snapped his wing back. A second later, the other wing was pulled away before Applejack quickly pushed through the door.

"Luna!" Applejack was nearing panic. The pull was bordering on full instrusion and she needed answers. She turned a lamp on and found the Lunar Regent contentedly snoring, her upper half wrapped thick in blankets. Applejack moved to give the Lunar Regent a push, "Luna! Wake up! Luna?"

There was no response from Luna other then a roll onto her back and a stuttered snort. Applejack tried again, but received even less of reaction then before. As the pulling continued to grow, Applejack looked for options. On the night stand was a glass of water. Seeing a lack of choices, Applejack seized the glass with her mouth and moved to dump the liquid onto the Lunar Regent's head. She paused for a second though after seeing Luna's exposed flanks. The farmer was one to always take the path of least resistance, so Applejack craned her head farther down Luna's body. After a quick tilt of the farmer's head, the water unceremoniously surrendered to gravity and crashed between Luna's vulnerable legs.

Luna's eyes shot open in shock as she blurted, "What! Hay! Cold! Applejack!?"

In perfect calm, Applejack set the empty glass back onto the night stand. She cleared her throat before speaking, "Four things, sugarcube: Watch how much you drink before going to bed. What is this naggin' feeling that Ah can't get rid of? What in the hay did you do me last night? And don't do it again."

Luna's sleep addled mind struggled to string together the farmers words. She put her hoofs to her eyes, rubbing them for a few seconds. She blinked a few times, innately realizing something was amiss. Luna hurriedly looked for the time. She finally spied the large grandfather clock across the room from her bed. It took a few seconds, but Luna finally realized what time it was. She blinked a few more times as if in disbelief.

"Buck," Luna stated in a calm tone.

"What? What is it?"

"Applejack, this...nagging you're feeling," Luna spoke as she struggled against grogginess and dread, "Is it a tugging at the edges of your mind, like something that's demanding attention and won't relent?"

"Yup," Applejack answered.

Even in the daze of the early morning, she felt something building in the pits of her stomach. Luna shut her eyes, as if she were searching her mind for something. She fell deep within herself, but felt an emptiness there she hadn't known in a long while; not since she first assumed her lunar duties. Applejack watched Luna for a few minutes as the tugging bordered on an impatient scream.

Luna opened her eyes and moved rose out of bed, soggy bottom and all. She galloped towards the balcony where the chill air seemed to break the last vestiges of sleep. Luna's horn sparked to life and she began looking with her mind's eye. The silver ley lines were still there. At least she still had that.

The Lunar Regent fell deeper within herself, racing quickly along those celestial pathways. She worked towards coaxing the moon while Applejack approached Luna, trepidation building in every step. Something was informing the farmer on a level she didn't understand of what was transpiring. Gradually, the moon began its decent as the sun began its ascent. Luna breathed out a tremendous sigh as she looked towards Applejack. Her expression was caught between relief and shock. Though most ponies would not know something was amiss, Luna was beside herself. If nothing else in her life, she was never late in moving the moon.

"What did you do?" Applejack had to ask.

"I know not," Luna shook her head, "Though I hope it won't require chiding from my sister and a dramatic revelation that I don't want to hear."

"Lovely," Applejack muttered. A knock on the door stole the duo's attention a moment later.

"Enter," Luna called out as she lead the way back into her room.

The door pushed open a bit as Zealous entered cautiously. A unicorn butler was in tow as he spoke up, "Your Highness, Lady Applejack. Pardon any interruption, but Lady Applejack, your Quad Shot is ready."

The butler used his magic to set the hot drink down. Fetch, as he was called, bowed deeply before turning to depart.

"Thank you," Luna called after him, "Would be so kind as to get me one to and send for Quill. Also please instruct Silverhawk and Storm Wind to see me at their convenience. It is going to be a long day."

Just then, a flash of green fire erupted in front of Luna. The scroll hung menacingly in the air, daring Luna to open it.

"A very long day," Luna remarked dryly.

~(o)~

Dear Sister,

Worry not. All is well in Canterlot. In answer to your questions, it was not recreational drug use nor was it the imbibing of spirits of an "epic" quantity, as you termed it, that caused the delay of the moon's setting. I was kept this morning in preparation for the day's meeting and lost track of time. Strange as it may sound, I find myself enjoying the meetings....

"She won't buy that," Applejack interjected immediately.

"Celestia was once the Element of Honesty," Luna quipped, "Once."

"And she's still your sister. If Apple Bloom tried to sell me that load of crap you were just shovelin', Ah sure as hay wouldn't be buying it. So what makes you think she will?"

"Perhaps you are right," Luna spoke after a moment. She took up another scroll and quickly caught up with her thoughts.

Strange as it may sound, the meetings are proving a bit more difficult then I first envisaged. Applejack has been of tremendous help in preparing and guiding me through these matters.

With Love,

Luna

"Better?" Luna ask, turning an eye to the farmer.

"Much," Applejack replied.

Luna quickly flared her horn to life and whisked the letter away to her waiting sister with a flash of green flame. Both ponies regained much of their composure thanks to the highly caffeinated Quad Shots and the warm fire Luna had conjured up in the fireplace. Applejack nursed her drink at a much more diminished pace than her previous experience. Though the nagging subsided a great deal, she was still confused. It was still there at the edges of her mind, but became more a soothing stroke rather then an urgent itch that needed to be scratched

"Fair Applejack," Luna spoke after a few minutes, "I...apologize for this. I had not anticipated any consequences for my actions last night."

"S'alright," the farmer shrugged, "Ah'm sure you'll make it right."

"I'm not so sure I'd be so forgiving in your place."

"Oh, Ah ain't forgiven you yet," Applejack spoke in an even tone before taking a small sip of her drink.

"You won't let me live this down, will you."

"Not a chance, sugarcube."

"How long dare I ask?" Luna asked after an audible gulp of her drink.

"Years."

"Might I perhaps lessen the time in some fashion?"

"Ah might think of a few ways as long as the rabbit in your head agrees to it," Applejack finished with a bit of a smile. For some reason, that was important to Luna as her heart warmed.

~(o)~

Applejack learned through her years to take the things life threw at you and work around it. She got through the early passing of her parents, managing a busy farm at an early age, becoming an Element of Harmony, and battling those things that could rightfully be called deities. As such, though she still felt bits of anger, she learned to temper it. Patience was a virtue she learned a long time ago.

So when Luna speculated about her connection to the moon, she wasn't overly surprised beyond the audacity of the statement. Then again, given the last few years of her life, this would simply be something she would overcome or adapt to. Applejack watched as Luna busily worked a quill over some papers while flipping through a volumes of magical tomes and levitating a half eaten apple in her magical grasp. It reminded her of when Twilight went on one of her weekend benders.

Luna had a pile of books she referenced stacked high on the edge of the table and many pieces of parchment were stacked in front of her. Though she'd only been at it for a shade over an hour, she managed to churn out enough notes for a research journal. After a few more minutes, she closed the books and set the items down.

"Well, what's the verdict," Applejack asked.

"Well, as near as I can tell, the spell worked as intended," Luna spoke with a sheepish look.

"Ya got to do better then that," the farmer said as she moved to a bucking position near the pile of books, angling her aim for Luna's head.

Luna cleared her throat, "I suspect when you became part of the moon in your Astral state, it may have left a residual echo in your magical frequencies. When the merging of those harmonics happened, it reverberated back along the ley lines and caused a slight distortion in our individual frequencies. This caused a rift and a merger happened in those energies. It's often been speculated, though never proven, that what happens in the Astral realm can manifest in the physical world. Assuming the theory is accurate, this would be our resultant state of being."

"Pretend Ah ain't Twilight," Applejack said before closing one eye, taking careful aim along her muscled body.

"The long story short is that when you merged yourself within the moon, it caused each of us to take a portion of the other's being," Luna said, "The effect should be temporary and will likely correct itself after a time."

"Wait, 'should be'?"

"There is no certainties in magic, fair Applejack," Luna said while shifting her head clear Applejack's line of fire, "Such magic cannot be predicted with a hundred percent certainty due to the variables involved."

"Like what?" Applejack asked, disliking the direction of the conversation. She knew Luna wasn't lying to her, but she adjusted her aim anyway.

"For starters, the moon itself," Luna said, "Tis more like a living entity then an inert, lifeless mass. You know this."

Applejack nodded, finally understanding. She summed it up in one word, "Accident?"

"Precisely. And temporary. Gradually, our natural states of being should reassert themselves."

The farmer moved from her firing position and sat on her haunch, deep in thought. She knew Luna meant well, but having witnessed Twilight's breakdowns and knowing full well Luna's indulgences, she began to wonder if being magically inclined involved being crazy. Applejack shook her head at the insanity of her life.

"Temporary, huh?" Applejack lamented, "How long ya think?"

Luna thought for a second. She moved to a drawer behind the desk and pulled out an abacus. Her magic flared as the beads clacked.

"Ya keep an abacus in the drawer?"

"I have them stored all over the castle," Luna remarked absently, "You know, in case of an abacus emer..."

"Shut up," the farmer spoke, glaring at Luna.

"Pinkie is more perceptive then she lets on," Luna said through a smirk although she never turned away from her calculations. The Lunar Regent set the abacus back inside the drawer when she finished, "A few days most likely. Maybe a week at most."

"So what's this mean for me?"

"Well," Luna moved slowly around the desk, moving to sit by Applejack, "You are a respected farmer, a multiple time rodeo champion, member of the respected Apple family, the Element of Honesty, four time hero to the realm of Equestria, held in high esteem by most of Equestria, titled nobility, an Advisor, and have touched the moon in ways nopony could fathom. For all that of that, fair Applejack, it means you are now are an alarm clock." She finished with a thump of her rump on the floor.

"Remind me to ring your bell later," Applejack groaned.

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