From "An Anthology of Equestrian Myths and Legends"
Once upon a time ...
There lived three warring tribes: the pegasus ponies of the sky, the unicorn ponies of the mountains, and the earth ponies of the ground. Because of their differences, they weren't able to get along and were constantly fighting. For countless years they quarrelled, until the land itself eventually came to reflect their cold, cold hearts.
Finally, during one particularly hard and hungry winter, the leaders of the three tribes and their vassals each set out. They were hoping to escape both the cold and their neigbours, only for them to each accidentally stumble upon the exact same piece of land. The blizzard they'd left behind had followed them, forcing them all to seek shelter in the very same cave; yet the time that they were forced to spend together actually gave the three tribes a chance to work out their differences.
And so, they emerged from the storm as companions, the warmth of friendship melting their once-icy hearts. Together, they decided to create a unified kingdom where all three tribes could live together in harmony. They decided to call this kingdom "Equestria."
But although they were now friends, there was still discontent between them. It was difficult to completely forget the insults and arguments of the past, after all, and so they still occasionally fought or disagreed. In fact, despite their vows of friendship, upon reaching the land that was to be called Equestria, they seemed to get along worse than ever before.
Silly fights were constantly breaking out between them. If a day was hot, Princess Platinum might find Commander Hurricane in the shade and coldly accuse him of taking more than his fair share of the shade provided by the tree. If a day was cold, Smart Cookie might irritably lecture Chancellor Puddinghead on hogging the blankets. If the night was long, they would bicker over who's turn it was to keep watch. If the day was even longer, none of them could agree on who was doing the most work or eating the most food.
The world itself seemed to grow greyer because of these fights, losing more and more of the color and joy that had once made their new land seem so bright and full of hope. They began to wonder whether Equestria held much promise after all, or if perhaps they should once again go their separate ways.
At last there came a day when the resilient Clover the Clever could no longer take the bickering and nonsense of her companions, and so left to take a stroll alone through the forest in order to escape it.
The forest was wild and overgrown, brimming with ancient magic and haunted by all kinds of strange creatures and spirits. But it was there that she found solitude, for none dared follow her to such an eerie place. And so it was that whenever the arguing broke out again, she would slip out, go for a wander and lose herself among the trees.
But one day, she wandered a little further than meant and got a little more lost than she intended, and so could not find her way out of that foreboding sea of trees.
It was then, when Clover the Clever was at her most lonely and afraid, that she stumbled upon the castle - for in the center of the deep, dark woods, there was a towering castle made of brick and stone that seemed to have been abandoned, yet also somehow seemed to have been there forever.
"The sun will be setting soon," thought Clover the Clever to herself upon reaching the castle. "I'll never be able to find my way back through these woods after dark. I suppose I have no choice but to spend the night here."
Inside, the castle was utterly empty and still. Every step that Clover took echoed throughout the vast hallways, and there was not another living soul in sight for quite some time.
When she reached what appeared to be the throne room of the castle, she stopped. For in the throne room, rather than a throne for a king and queen as she might have expected, there was instead a pedestal, and atop the pedestal there stood statue of a beast - a dragon-creature with the head of a pony and the body of all sorts of other things. Surrounding the base were six brightly-colored jewels.
"What is this?" Clover the Clever asked herself when she saw the statue and the jewels. "I have never seen a creature like this before, nor have I ever read about one in all my years of study. And what are these jewels? I can sense a powerful magic coming from them, yet I cannot tell what they are."
She became so absorbed in observing these strange magical relics that she almost didn't notice the two young fillies hidden behind the statue, who seemed to creep out of nowhere, so silent and serious were they as they approached her.
"Oh!" Clover cried, jumping back when her eyes fell upon the two little ones. "Who are you?"
"I am the Sun," spoke the one who appeared to be the elder. "For it rises and sets with my waking and slumber."
"I am the Moon," spoke the one who appeared to be the younger. "For it appears and fades with my dreams."
"Are you two sisters?" asked Clover the Clever, seeing the way the two of them stood so close together and how they each bore both wings and horns. She had never seen a winged unicorn before, and to meet two of them at the same time seemed a coincidence too strange to possibly be a coincidence.
"Yes, we are sisters," said the elder, who had a coat of pure white and a mane the same shade of pink as the sky at dawn.
"We must be, for we have always been together," added the younger, who had a coat of deep blue and a mane like a starry sky. "Although we do not know how long always has been."
"What are two young ones like yourselves doing so deep in these wild woods?" asked Clover. "I have come to this castle seeking refuge - did you think to do the same? It's dangerous here, you know, for this is a place where magic wanders free and cannot be contained."
"We have fixed that," said the Sun. "You see, this beast here, this beast of many different animals, once roamed free, creating chaos and destruction everywhere he went, disrupting peace and spreading hatred like a plague. Like the very spirit of discord himself. My sister and I have sealed him in stone to end his reign, and now we wish to mend the damage he has caused. We will use our own magic to seal the wild magic of these woods, and then we will be on our way."
"A spirit of discord? That would explain all of our silly fighting lately," thought the clever young unicorn. "He must have been using his magic to disrupt the friendship the others and I had once shared."
"And how will you mend the damage done?" asked Clover, and the elder sister gestured to the brilliant array of jewels decorating the pedestal behind her.
"These are the Elements of Harmony," she explained. "To have a peaceful world that's free of discord, all six of them must be present. Only then can we have true harmony. Honesty, generosity, loyalty, kindness, and laughter together lead the way to friendship, which is the only true cure for unrest. Together, my sister and I faced the spirit of discord and defeated him in order to restore balance."
"If that's true, then my friends and I will no longer feel so compelled to argue, and will instead be able to create the harmonious new land we desire; for had you not banished discord, we would surely be too busy fighting to even think of it," Clover the Clever declared. "Please, sisters of the Sun and Moon, will you come and meet my friends? Will you use your magic and your Elements to help us mend this broken land? We wish to restore balance as well, and if we all work together to do so, surely we will succeed."
"Yes, we will come," said the Sun, and the Moon nodded her agreement.
And so the two young fillies followed Clover the Clever back to her friends, and with a mere touch of their horns restored their colors. It was then that Clover knew they had spoken the truth; for such powerful magic couldn't possibly have been cast by ordinary fillies.
And they were by no means ordinary fillies.
Together, the three leaders, their retainers, and the two sisters of the Sun and Moon worked to build the peaceful kingdom they desired, growing closer all the while.
It soon became clear to them all that the two sisters were something very special indeed, for they had magic the likes of which had never been seen before, so vast and strong and deep was it; and the sun and moon truly did appear to rise and set with their waking and slumber. When questioned of their past, the two sisters simply said that it was so very long ago that they no longer remembered and did not like to think of it - until at last the three leaders and their retainers came to believe that they were truly ageless after all, and stopped questioning.
But although the two sisters may indeed have been ancient and magical beings after all, they were in many ways like ordinary fillies - both in their appearance and behavior.
And so, there was much that they needed to be taught about the ways of ordinary life.
Clover the Clever saw to their basic education, giving them books and lessons and teaching them everything she knew about using their magic.
Princess Platinum saw to their personal care, taking it upon herself to teach them proper grooming and healthy habits; for the two sisters seemed to have grown up alone in the wild woods, and looked almost feral as a result - beautiful as they were underneath all that dirt.
Private Pansy introduced them to the many animals of the world, helping them understand that the land they had come into would not simply be a land of ponies, but a land of many different creatures that needed to live and work together to survive.
Commander Hurricane made them strong, showing them how to exercise, to fight, and how to become fierce warriors like himself, should the need for battle ever arise.
Smart Cookie taught them about plants and growing food, so that they would be able to sustain themselves should they ever set out on their own.
And Chancellor Puddinghead told them stories and taught them to laugh, so that they were no longer quite as serious and still as they had once been.
It was in that way that they became much like daughters to the three leaders, despite the incredible magic they held that allowed them to bring about the Day and Night and summon Harmony to banish Discord. For though they possessed such immense strength, they were far too innocent-minded and inexperienced to know how to use it without Clover the Clever's lessons in control.
"You cannot be the Sun and Moon," Princess Platinum told them one day. "For the Sun and Moon hang in the sky. I can see them, clear as day - or night, as it may be. It is more like you two are princesses, and the sun and moon and stars are your crowns and jewels."
"Then can we be princesses like you?" asked the younger sister, eyes shining at the prospect of having so many sparkling jewels to herself. Although the elder sister did not speak, she too seemed excited at the thought of having such a glorious crown to call her own.
"Yes, you may," Princess Platinum answered graciously.
And so the two sisters became princesses, and Princess Platinum taught them how to bear themselves regally, speaking as a princess ought to her subjects, and how to rule as wisely as she herself was capable of doing - when she thought of it.
They may not have been royal by blood the way Platinum was, but they were certainly regal and wise enough to someday rule, no matter how innocent the two fillies were at the time. And since their power was so great, as the years passed, the three leaders came to understand that these two sisters of the Sun and Moon were destined to be greater than any of them ever were in their own lands back home, and together taught them all they needed to know of being leaders as well.
At last there came a time when these two regal sisters truly ruled together. When at last they were strong and wise enough, they used the Elements to create harmony for all the land, and not just their own domain. To maintain this harmony, the eldest used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn; the younger brought out the moon to begin the night.
Thus, the two sisters restored balance for their kingdom and their subjects, all the different types of ponies, and truly became the rulers of the land - for it was to them that the ponies of the land owed their thanks and allegiance.
The two sisters had spent their forever side by side, all alone in the world except for one another. They had come to depend on each other, always looking to the other for approval and appreciation before anypony else. They were bound through more than blood or magic, although nopony could've said what it was that bound them - only that the love they had for each other was endless and eternal and unchanging.
"Sister, will you stay by my side forever, the way we have always been until now? Will you never leave me alone in the dark night?" asked the younger sister one evening.
"We will stay together as long as our Sun and Moon hang in the sky," the elder promised. "And should they ever fall, we will fall as well and go into the next eternity together still."
This was the promise they had made.
But in Equestria, for the very first time, they had friends and a family outside of their close-knit sisterhood. And though this was something wonderful, it was also something strange and new that neither of them completely understood or knew how to accept without fear.
One strong of heart would be able to accept such change without the fear, but one frail or vulnerable would not ... and so the younger sister, the often frail and vulnerable Princess of the Night, made way in her heart for fear.
Fear wormed its way into her once-pure heart as the younger sister began to grow afraid that she was not loved. For her elder sister now had many new friends to love in her stead, and she did not know whether she could make new friends as well; after all, the ponies relished and played in the day her elder sister brought forth, but shunned and slept through her beautiful night.
"Why do they not love my night as I do?" thought the younger sister during one of her many long, lonely nights. "Does it not sparkle? Is it not lovely and graceful? The moon and stars are my crown and jewels, the symbol of who I am and my power; if they reject my night, they reject me. But why do they reject me? Have I ever done them wrong?"
Her thoughts circled in that way, an endless cycle of worry and doubt, until at last her fear began to settle and evolve into something darker. Bitterness.
One fateful day, the younger unicorn refused to lower the moon to make way for the dawn. The elder sister tried to reason with her, but the bitterness in the young one's heart had transformed her into a wicked mare of darkness: Nightmare Moon. She vowed that she would shroud the land in eternal night.
"Sister," plead the elder. "Think about what you're doing. We were once so close! I think you're night is beautiful. I will always love it. Why must you hurt me to prove how glorious it is? From the beginning of time we were together. We have always been us two, and we were always meant to be us two. Do not divide us in this way. Do not tear us apart. A sun cannot exist without a moon, nor can a moon exist without a sun."
"They will never love me or my night!" cried Nightmare Moon. "They see only you and your sun! How can I make them appreciate me if you are forever blinding them?"
"I promised you that I would stay by your side as long as the sun and moon hung in the sky," the elder sister replied tearfully. "And now you try to take away my sun. If you will forcibly drive us apart, then I will fight back."
Reluctantly, the elder sister harnessed those most powerful magics known to ponydom: the Elements of Harmony. Using the magic of the Elements of Harmony, she defeated her younger sister and banished her permanently in the moon, leaving the elder sister to take on responsibility for both sun and moon.
The elder sister tried her best, but she was blinded by grief and regret, and so she made mistakes. She would raise and lower the moon at the wrong times throughout the day, shifting the tides, and she would leave the sun too close to the earth for too long, causing drought.
The ponies who had once loved the royal sisters so dearly became afraid and confused, not knowing why they were being punished so and wondering what had happened to their beloved and mysterious Princess of the Moon.
And at last the elder sister realized that she could not do it, for the weight of magically bearing both the sun and moon proved to be too much for her. She was too weakened by her grief and regret, and even the sun alone suddenly seemed far too heavy for her to raise come the dawn.
And so she did not raise it, leaving the moon where it hung in the sky and instead retreating - far into the wild forest from whence she'd come, taking shelter in the forbidding abandoned castle that Clover the Clever had first found her in, and refusing to come out.
The world was left in darkness, illuminated only by the faint glow of the abandoned moon, and none could entice her out again.
The Princess of the Sun stayed for a very, very long time in that dark and lonely castle, mourning. She began to feel that it was somehow all her fault. Perhaps she had failed her sister in some important way. Perhaps she lacked the ability to love her sister the way she had deserved, and that was why it hadn't been enough, and that was why the Princess of the Moon had been so driven to despair.
"Was I too hasty?" the Princess of the Sun wondered. "Was it too much, to banish her in such a way? Surely I am the one in the wrong here. Perhaps I could have reasoned with her in the end had I not given up. But now it is too late, and I have lost my sister; my closest companion and my only friend. There is no reason for me to raise the sun any longer, not when there is no night to accompany it. I should leave the moon where it is forever, as a tribute to my darling sister. At least then I will always be able to see where she is from my window."
But the darkness within the castle was nothing compared to the darkness outside in the kingdom. The ponies had lost not only their beloved and elegant Princess of the Moon, but also their radiant leader, and so sat huddled in their homes, listless and hopeless, praying that the sun would soon return.
Without her light, they could not see their own strength, and so lost the will to go on.
The world began to wither and die.
Things began to look blacker than the night itself, and none were brave enough to go look for the missing Princess of the Sun.
But there were six ponies who knew her better than any others, and so, the desperate ponies of Equestria sent a messenger to ask them for help.
"The sun is hiding," the messenger told them. "And without her smiling face, we can have no hope. We only have the moon, now, and we cannot grow our crops by the light of the moon; nor can we feel joy in the shadows of the night. The night is a time for peace and contemplation. We need the day for joy."
The three leaders and their retainers heard the messenger's tale, was decided that it was up to them to find her and draw her our of hiding. Not only did they depend on it to ensure their survival, but they had grown deeply worried for the princess and longed to find a way to make her smile again after the tragedy that had befallen them.
"Nopony else has been able to find her, for they cannot think where the Sun would go to escape," Clover the Clever declared to her friends. "But I know, for I am the one who first found them. She must have returned to the castle from whence she and her sister came, for as far as I am aware, that is the closest thing she has to a birthplace."
"Perhaps she wanted to find her sister again in some way," suggested Princess Platinum. "Perhaps the shared memories they'd once had of the castle are all she has, now."
"We won't be able to bring her out with strength, because she's too strong," reported Smart Cookie. "And we won't be able to lure her out with magic, because she's too powerful."
"We will have to find a way to entice her outside of her own free will!" announced Chancellor Puddinghead. "We must find a reason to make her want to come back and raise the sun again!"
"We wouldn't want to force her out against her will, anyway," said Private Pansy. "That wouldn't be very kind of us."
"Well? What are we waiting for?" demanded Commander Hurricane. "We need to go and find her! We have no time to waste!"
Clover the Clever guided them through the twisting, menacing pathways of the forest where magic roamed free, until at last they reached the ancient castle. The windows had been sealed and blocked and the door was shut, meaning they had no way of entering on their own, for none of them were strong enough to surpass the magic the princess had used to keep them out.
"Princess!" Clover the Clever cried through the door. "Please let us in - we need to speak to you! It's your friends! Your family!"
But the princess did not hear them, for in her mind, she had no friends but her beloved sister: and she had failed her. She heard nothing but the whispers of her own lamenting and grief.
"Princess, see reason!" Clover tried to persuade her in a wheedling tone that she had often used to soothe one or both of the sisters during disputes. "Do you remember how you were once so determined to restore balance to the land and repair the damage caused by Discord? Do you remember the love you felt for this world that made you so passionate about protecting it? Remember that love now. You grieve, and so does the world, but you had no choice. Your subjects need the sun, and you could not let Nightmare Moon steal it. Your subjects also need their ruler. Come out of hiding and make things well again. Don't let Equestria fall yet again into disharmony and despair."
But all the princess could think of was the anger and resentment in her sister's eyes the last time they had seen one another, and all she could see was the shadow on the moon in the sky that almost looked like a mare; and she promised not to steal away her sister's moon, if that was the only way she could ever see her again. She may have acted in fear and desperation before, but now she acted out of misery and love, and love was stronger than fear.
At last Clover gave up, returning to her friends.
"How can we draw out the princess?" she asked them. "She will not be swayed by my lecturing. Once, when I was her teacher, it was easy to convince her to see reason; but she's become stubborn as she mourns."
"The princess needs to hear the truth," said Smart Cookie. "She needs to know exactly why we need her and why she can't just run away."
"Then I will let you be the one to speak to her," Clover the Clever announced.
And the practical Smart Cookie approached the entryway to speak through the door at the princess.
"Princess," said Smart Cookie in her sensible way. "Please hear us. We need the sun. Without the sun, plants cannot grow. Ponies cannot go out and enjoy the day. They will starve, and even if they don't, they will be miserable. We need you to come back."
"I won't come back," the princess sobbed. Though she had once been so majestic, she now had all the majesty of a crying child, and it broke the hearts of all who heard. "I have nopony to come back to. My world was my sister and that's how it's always been. Without her, I have nopony to return to."
And, being out of ideas, Smart Cookie could only roll her eyes, shrug, and beckon for somepony else to come and give it a try.
"The princess needs a reason to come out," said Princess Platinum. "Perhaps some sort of gift to encourage her to return."
And the elegant Princess Platinum approached the entryway to speak through the door at the princess.
"Princess," said Princess Platinum in her fastidious way. "Please hear us. We are willing to offer whatever it takes to have you come out. We will bring you gold and jewels enough for the richest of kings. We will have the finest dresses made - I will make them myself, should I need to. We will have the most delicious foods prepared. We will give you anything you need to ease your pain, if you will only come out of hiding."
"There is nothing you can offer me," the princess declared. "Nothing that I could want. Who needs gold and jewels? You once told my sister and I that our sun and moon and stars were all the jewels we needed. Now she is gone and can no longer enjoy her jewels; so in sympathy, I will not enjoy mine, either."
And, being out of ideas, Princess Platinum could only sigh, shrug, and beckon for somepony else to come and give it a try.
"The princess needs a reminder of where her loyalties should lie," said Commander Hurricane. "She needs somepony to tell her that she has duties to her subjects and that she's obligated to fulfll them."
And the brash Commander Hurricane approached the entryway to speak through the door at the princess.
"Princess," said Commander Hurricane in his fierce way. "Enough of this nonsense. You have an obligation to your subjects, and as a leader, you can't afford to let them down! You took on this responsibility of your own free will when you promised to end disharmony, remember? You can't back down one day because you mourn! Your sister acted foalishly and will come to repent and beg forgiveness, and for now, you must simply learn to carry on without her!"
"My sister was not the only one who acted foalishly," the princess answered sadly. "I did not know what to do, when she attacked me like that, and I lost control because of it. If I were truly meant to be a leader, I would have stayed strong and composed. I swear that I shall never again lose composure like that. In the future, I shall always remain calm and in control, no matter what, lest I ever again make such a mistake. But for now, I will mourn, for that is all I can do."
And, being out of ideas, Commander Hurricane could only scowl, shrug, and beckon for somepony else to come and give it a try.
"The princess needs kindness," said Private Pansy. "She needs somepony who understands her sadness and is willing to listen."
And the gentle Private Pansy approached the entryway to speak through the door at the princess.
"Princess," said Private Pansy in her understanding way. "We know that you mourn, and we know that you regret your actions. We know that you blame yourself. But blame and regret lead to nowhere but further suffering. You miss your sister, and your sister undoubtedly misses you; but you must try to stay brave and go on ahead despite your sadness and fear. That's what true strength is, after all."
"I am not strong," the princess said bitterly. "My sister and I were once two halves of a whole and needed each another to be complete. Without her, I'm left floundering. The burden of carrying the Sun, the Moon, and the Elements of Harmony for the two of us is too great for me."
And, being out of ideas, Private Pansy could only squeak, shrug, and beckon for somepony else to come and give it a try; but this time, nopony stepped forwards.
"Maybe," said Chancellor Puddinghead suddenly, in a tone much more serious than that which she usually spoke with. "What she needs is to know that she's still loved. It must have been hard, to do what she had to do, and she must already miss her sister quite a lot. Maybe she needs to know that we forgive her for doing something difficult and that we will welcome her back gladly. If we can show her that the world does not hate her or fear her or love her any less for it, maybe she'll forgive herself and decide to return, rather than continue to punish herself."
"We've already tried everything we could to convince her, though," said Clover the Clever. "What's left?"
And the Chancellor shared her idea.
In the hours before what would've once been dawn, had the sun not yet again refused to rise, there came the sound of music from deep within the twisting paths of the magical forest; the thrum of drums and the cadence of wind instruments, rising and falling in a joyous melody.
The Princess of the Sun, hidden away in the dark castle, was surprised. She had known that the other ponies were attempting to coax her outside, but she had thought that it was because they were desperate. The noise outside almost sounded like some sort of party. If they were desperate, would they be throwing a party?
She placed her ear against the door and listened as closely as she could. She could hear music, yes, but she could also hear roaring laughter and hooting and hollering, and she began to wonder what she could be missing. For she had not known that there could be any cause left to celebrate in the world; she had been too consumed by regrets to realize that Equestria may have carried on without her.
As she heard the laughter of her friends, she was tempted, and at last couldn't resist opening the sealed door and peering outside the castle.
Outside, she saw a festive sight. Everywhere there were ponies dancing and drinking, and the trees all around were decorated with jeweled mirrors and brightly colored cloth banners. But the six ponies awaiting her, wanting to take no chances, had made a little plan. They had asked the two pegasi warriors, the strongest of them all, to hide near the door and prepare to seize the princess when she at last emerged; and the moment she did, they grabbed her in order to drag her all the way out.
"We've got you now!" shouted Commander Hurricane.
"I'm sorry," apologized the meek Private Pansy.
But the princess did not speak. For a moment, she forgot her fear and pain and stood transfixed by a clear light. She had caught a glimpse of herself in one of the mirrors hanging upon the trees, and it was the first time she had seen herself since she had gone into hiding.
"I have become ruined," she said. "I have become so dark and wretched, when I had once been the Sun itself."
"You are not ruined," said Chancellor Puddinghead firmly as the pegasi warriors released her. "You're simply sad, and you're allowed to be. But we wanted to show you that there are still reasons to smile, even if you grieve. You'd forgotten that there was a world beyond you and your sister, but there is. Not only one you have responsibilities to, but one you can also take joy in. Even though you feel lonely, doesn't the music still play and the color still shine brightly? There are things for you to live for beyond duty or bonds."
"Don't let yourself fall into the same trap your sister did," Clover the Clever said kindly. "You're not alone in this world simply because you're separated from her. Your family is much larger than you know. You'll never be alone as long as you have friends, and coming to love and care about many different ponies doesn't mean loving those to whom you're bound through blood or duty any less. Ponies need friends, and you shouldn't be afraid to explore a world other than the one you grew up in. That was something we once didn't understand, but now need to remember. We promise you now that we will always stand by you."
For a moment, the princess did not speak: and then she smiled.
"My sister and I have been together always, but we should first seek completeness in ourselves before we look for it in others," she said. "We've both made mistakes, and I will not atone for them by hiding. My sister will have a thousand years to reflect and repent, and I will use those thousand years to do the same, so that when she returns, I will be all the stronger and wiser for it."
"That is a good plan," confirmed Clover. "And one that we will help you with. For that is the duty of friends, after all."
"I should like to know more about friends," the princess declared. "They appear to be good things to have, but I know very little of them, it seems."
"Then we will teach you. We once did not know what friendship could be, either, but we have learned; there's no reason why you cannot learn, either."
"I will raise the sun," promised the princess, who no longer looked quite so wretched, her new resolve bringing peace to her grief-stricken countenance. "And I will also raise the moon. These tasks are my responsibility, and so I shall learn to do them well, so that my sister need not return feeling that her job was so inconsequential as to have been forgotten completely in her absence."
She seemed so certain of her sister's eventual return that none of them thought to point how how very long a time a thousand years would be. After all, none knew the true age of the royal sisters, and they could very well truly be ageless. Perhaps a thousand years would be nothing to them.
"The task of bringing about both Day and Night will be a great one," Clover the Clever warned instead. "Especially because they have such conflicting natures. It will be difficult for you. Perhaps we could ease some of that burden by taking on some responsibilities of our own to aid you."
The Princess of the Sun thought, and then smiled, looking pleased. Her horn began to glow, and in a flash of light, there appeared before them the six Elements of Harmony.
"Harmony cannot rest on the shoulders of one pony alone," she said. "It depends on the cooperation of all who wish for it. We must all strive for peace, or we'll never find it. My sister has already lost her connection to the elements because of her betrayal; I will sever mine as well. That way, I may gift these relics to you. You can each take one to protect and keep. When the time comes, you may pass that duty on to your kin. When there's no need of their magic, we will store them for safekeeping; but when there is, we shall find new Bearers of Harmony to wield them and set an example to live by. Only those who truly embody that which the elements stand for will be able to use them."
"That is a wise plan," agreed Clover, and they each took one of the Elements for their own, vowing to forever uphold and embody that which their element of choice stood for.
"I shall choose the Element of Magic," said Clover the Clever. "For that is my special talent, anyway, and it would be presumptuous of me to attempt to choose another."
"I shall choose the Element of Generosity," said Princess Platinum. "For surely there is nothing so valuable as being able to give of yourself to others. Surely that is the greatest element."
"I shall choose the Element of Kindness," said Private Pansy. "For peace is what we strive for, and if we were to all act out of kindness and kindness alone, there would be no need for fighting at all. Surely that is the greatest element."
"I shall choose the Element of Loyalty," said Commander Hurricane. "For steadfast, unwavering devotion to one's companions and principles means never doubting your chosen path, and I have always been sure of myself. Surely that is the greatest element."
"I shall choose the Element of Honesty," said Smart Cookie. "For certainty of the trueness of your heart and mind is the only way one can find peace within themselves, and it's only when you find peace within yourself that you can aid peace elsewhere. Surely that is the greatest element."
"I think you're all being silly," said Chancellor Puddinghead loudly, ruining the mood completely. "Have you already forgotten the lesson we've learned at least three times by now? No one virtue is greater than the others, for all must be present to have harmony, and we can only achieve happiness when we forget only ourselves and think of each other as friends. Why are you all being so serious, anyway? Stop bickering already! I shall choose the Element of Laughter and be done with it. Now we can return to having fun - we were having a party, if you've forgotten."
And so the three leaders, their three vassals, and the once-more smiling Princess of the Sun forgot their seriousness, their grimness, and their vows, instead choosing to celebrate the long-awaited dawn with their music and laughter and dance. As the day grew bright, the ponies of Equestria began to emerge from their homes and found themselves wandering to the forest to join them, and so the celebration grew more and more.
The sun never again refused to rise, and the Princess of the Sun grew into a strong, wise, and just ruler, just as she had hoped, happily awaiting the day of her beloved sister's return.
And they knew that, in the end, they would all manage to live happily ever after.