Lunar Liability

by Carpetbagger

First published

Big Macintosh saves Princess Luna's life and she enacts a code that binds her to being his servant.

After a mishap with a falling star, Princess Luna crashes into Ponyville, only to be saved by Big Macintosh. Overly grateful, Luna calls upon an ancient contract which binds her to the draft pony as his personal servant. Can Big Macintosh co-exist with an overzealous moon goddess, her creepy assistant, and an army of evil looking guards long enough for Twilight to find a loophole to get him out of the pact?

Featured on 9/5/2012

Unlucky Star

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It was a beautiful summer night. The freshly risen full moon cast its glow across Equestria with a sense confidence that was absent from the past century. It was a sight to behold to all that would appreciate it, from astronomers to young lovers on their first date. But it was a lonely sight as there were no stars to accompany the lunar beacon. Luna would not stand for this injustice any longer and took flight, ready to make the night whole. With a flick of her mane, a swirl of her tail, a simple gesture, the moon princess continued her royal obligation, sending a flurry of shimmering lights from her tail and mane. The tiny light sources drifted listlessly into the atmosphere, growing larger and brighter. It always was a personal experience for Luna, as she literally gave a piece of herself away every evening for all of Equestria to enjoy. The night was more intimate to the moon alicorn than the day was to her sister. She wasn't just the princess of the night, Luna was the night.

Making final adjustments to the third star on Orion's Belt, Luna took a pause admiring her work. But something just didn't seem right. Was something missing? The midnight blue alicorn cast her gaze from East to West. Everything was in place, shimmering as wonderful as ever. But there was still something amiss. Cocking her ears, Luna heard a faint roar off in the distance and turned around. Andromeda had lost a star! Looking around frantically, she tracked the missing star as it was falling in the direction of Ponyville. The elusive sphere rapidly descended towards the quiet town, bringing with it untold amounts of destruction. Determined to prevent Ponyville's decimation at the hands of a fallen extension of herself, the moon princess swooped down in attempt to stop the wayward ball of light.

The battle was hard fought. Luna's stars were like candles once they left her mane, normally just burning out by dawn. But to extinguish one prematurely proved to be a feat that even the princess of the night lacked the capacity for. Deciding that destroying the star was out of the question, Luna attempted to move it. The princess ignited her horn, commanding to falling orb to halt, but it didn't comply. If she couldn't move it nor destroy it, she had one final option; absorb it. Casting her platinum adorned hooves on the glimmering dynamo, Luna fed off of it's energy, shrinking it until she could wrap her forelegs around it. But her efforts proved to be too little too late, the star would never be small enough stop before it crashed. Desperate times called for desperate measures. The moon princess decided to do whatever she could to save Ponyville as she pressed her back against the falling sphere and flapped her wings with the fury of a mother bird protecting their young. Ever so slowly, she was doing it, the star was slowing down, if she could continue on just a little bit more, maybe she could change its direction. Fluttering her gallant wings with renewed vigor, she could feel the star pulling up. Just a little more, Luna thought to herself. Mother, give us strength!

Just barely passing over the clock tower, Luna breathed a victorious sigh. More and more grassy fields became present. Grassy fields lined with seemingly endless rows of apple trees. Apple trees and... a farm. Luna strained with all her might, she could feel the burning in her wings, tightness in her back. She had nothing left to stop the star. Satisfied that she at least saved the town, Luna closed her eyes and accepted her fate.

"Ancestors, please forgive us..."

Just outside of Sweet Apple Acres, Big Macintosh leaned lazily against a white picket fence. Along with the draft pony were his drinking buddies, Caramel, Lucky, and Buckhauer. They spent most nights enjoying the night sky, having philosophical discussions and 'checking the quality' of a barrel of cider for the upcoming season.

"You know what the worst part about nights like this?" Lucky asked. The other three stallions looked to dark maned, grey pony in anticipation. "They have to end." He concluded before taking a swig form his mug.

Big Macintosh took a gulp of his cider. "Eeyup."

Caramel took a delicate sip of his own beverage. "Yup."

Lucky let out a closed mouth burp and nodded. "Uh-huh."

Buckhauer looked up at the stars, stroked his spiky blonde mane and double blinked his beady coal eyes. Noticing the dark orange pegasus had something on his mind, the others turned their attention to him. Out of the four stallions, Buckhauer was the voice of reason. Never afraid to share a brutally honest, almost poetic perspective to any occasion. This was one of those times.

"Yeah man, I tell ya what, dat dang ol’ nighttime, man, it's all like 'quiet, but too quiet,' got dang calm before the storm, mean you got dat big ol' full moon, man, ain't no dang timberwolves out howlin' or nothin', right peaceful, man." The other three stallions sipped their cider and leaned against the fence looking up at the stars nodding at Buckhauer's opinion.




Just as Big Macintosh finished his mug, a faint roar echoed over the horizon. The draft stallion twitched his ears and looked up, catching the trail of a fireball cutting across the moonlit sky. The remaining ponies followed the farmer pony's gaze and looked on in bewilderment as the object flew past the farmhouse and sent tremors through the ground, strong enough to knock them off balance.

"What was that?!" Caramel blurted out. He looked to Big Macintosh, but the draft stallion was already running in the direction of the farm. Lucky and Buckhauer stumbled to their hooves looking around frantically. Lucky decided to action, pointing to the other two ponies.

"Caramel, contact the hospital, somepony might be hurt. Buckhauer, see if you can gather the weather patrol. We're going to need water.... lots of it!" At his command the two stallions headed for their destinations. Lucky took a few steps towards Ponyville's main street, but stopped, taking a final second to look up at the once peaceful night sky.

"Yeah, nights like these always have to end. One way or another."

Big Macintosh ran as fast as his strong legs could carry him. Seeing the farmhouse cast in the glow of flames, worries raced through his mind. But as he got closer, it looked like whatever fell out of the sky, missed the house. When he arrived at the front walkway, he met Applejack, and a still sleepy looking Apple Bloom on the front porch.

"Big Macintosh, are ya'll okay?" Applejack asked with distress in her eyes.

"Eeyup!" The red stallion looked in the direction of Granny Smith's bedroom window and looked back to his middle sister.

"Granny's still sleep, Ah' tell ya, she could sleep through just about anything." Applejack smirked. Big Macintosh smiled back, trying to maintain his cool demeanor.

"What was that thing?" Apple Bloom finally spoke up, still wiping at her eyes.

"Ah don't know, but it looked like it was on fire." Applejack answered back. "Big Macintosh, go see what that thing was. Ah'm gonna go an' get some buckets of water." The draft stallion nodded and ran towards the apple orchard where the strange object fell.

The point of impact was a horrific sight to Big Macintosh. Most of the precious apple trees that lined the hills were charred beyond recognition. It would take months, maybe even years to re-plow the fields and restore their crops. His green eyes grazed the blackened field mortified. The further he followed the path of destruction, the warmer it got. Mane matted down with sweat, eyes stinging with the salty moisture, the work pony managed to make it to the edge of the crater. Peering over, he was almost blinded by the brilliant light cast from it. Being more cautious, Big Macintosh glanced over the crater again, seeing a pony, trapped under a strange white orb.

Being the selfless pony that he was, Big Macintosh slid down the large indentation, flashes of heat from the object almost taking his breath away. Reaching his destination, he got a better look at the wreckage. The sphere was a few sizes larger than a beach ball, but by the way it sunk into the ground, it had to be as heavy as a boulder. The pony trapped under the mass of light wasn't just any pony, it was Princess Luna. Aside from being unconcious, she looked unharmed. Big Macintosh reached out to the orb, hoping to get a grip on it so he could roll it off the princess. But just as he laid a hoof on the mass, he instinctively withdrew his hoof after feeling the stinging pain. It was hot, extremely hot. Thinking quickly, he buried his hooves in the rich earth in attempt to dig the princess out. Making sufficient progress, the work pony tugged at the alicorn's shoulders, managing to get her half way out. He continued digging harder, faster, he was almost there. But it was getting hotter.

The orb flickered, sporadically at first, but the rhythm increased as time went on. Unsure what this meant, Big Macintosh continued struggling until he finally had the princess' hind legs free. Hoisting Luna across his broad back, Big Macintosh wearily climbed up the chasm. Half way up, he noticed that the heat from the orb wasn't dying down, it was increasing. He glanced back and saw that the orb was blinking wildly... like it was building up to something. Gasping, the farmer doubled his efforts, finally making it to the top of the crater just before the ground started rumbling. He stumbled away, desperately trying to keep the alicorn on his back, but then it happened.

The sound was deafening, and for a moment, the sky was brighter than any summer day. The force from the explosion sent Big Macintosh and Luna flying across the field, luckily landing into a soft patch of dirt. The red stallion struggled to his hooves and looked in the direction of the chasm. Smouldering lava erupted out of the hole, raining down fire and slowly rolling across the once beautiful farmland. It was the epicenter of mass destruction, but for a moment, Big Macintosh didn't care. Because above all else, he saved a life.

Suddenly, the sky rumbled with thunder. Nightly clouds closed in quickly, extinguishing the flames. Big Macintosh looked up at the small army of pegasus closing in with clusters of rainclouds. It was Ponyville's weather patrol in conjunction with the fire department coordinating their efforts. The various shouting and sizzling of water all around the farmer let him know that everything was going to be alright. At least until he had to factor in the losses, damages, while hoping the farm was covered for 'all hell breaking loose.' A fluttering of wings disrupted Big Macintosh's thought pattern and Buckhaur landed next to him.

"I tell ya'll whut man, got dang ol' thing fallin' from the sky, like a sign from above man, like Armageddon man, momma said we ain't livin' right, 'the end is nigh,' like... wow man." Buckhauer mumbled before looking back at the now steaming crater.


Princess Luna's faint moaning and stirring broke the silence. The moon princess straned her eyes open, looking around dizzily. When she came back to her senses, Luna gasped, and sat up abruptly, only to be stopped by a strong hoof resting on her shoulder. The alicorn followed the large hoof, up its muscular foreleg and to it's source. Big Macintosh gave a glance over to Buckhauer, tilting his head and clearing his throat. The orange pegasus gave a knowing nod and flew away.

"Easy now, ya'll had a bit of a nasty fall." Big Macintosh drawled. Luna looked around at the apple orchard turned battlefield.

"Forgive us for our carelessness. We-"

"Ain't nothin' but a few acres of land. A pony's life's worth more, least that's how Ah see it." Big Macintosh interrupted.

Luna took another look around. Her eyes locked onto the group of pegasus ponies focusing their rain clouds on the lingering fires. Putting her thoughts together, she looked back to the large stallion.

"Didst thou save us?"

Big Macintosh stepped back and helped the princess to her hooves. "Eeyup."

Out of nowhere, Luna lunged forward and wrapped her forelegs around the farm ponies neck. "We are forever grateful!" Big Macintosh's cheeks burned bright from the princess' embrace. Off in the distance, he could see Apple Bloom and a distressed Applejack approaching. The stallion quickly slipped out of the princess' grip and gave a nod to his two sisters.

"Whut in the... Luna?... how did... our trees... what are we gonna..." Applejack stammered, dizzy with panic. Apple Bloom just looked around blankly. Being a Cutie Mark Crusader seemed to have made her jaded to mass destruction. Luna took a breath and stood in front of the three siblings.

"Fear not! Though thine lands are now razed and infertile, we vow to restore its bounty!"

Applejack raised an eyebrow. "Beg yer parden?"

"She said it was her fault and she wants to make it right, sis." Big Macintosh whispered.

"Thy farmer is correct! But, there is one other event of grave importance." Luna approached the large red stallion and pointed to him. "Mighty farmer, what is thy name."

"Big Macintosh Apple." The farmer said. Luna gave a bow before ascending to the sky. A collection of clouds swirled above the moon princess, her shimmering mane waving wildly. Lightning crackling as she spoke.

"Big Macintosh of Apple, thou hast saved our life. To honor thy bravery, ask of us anything and we shall grant it to thee!"

Startled, Apple Bloom and Applejack backed away. Big Macintosh however, stood is ground. The idea of a reward for saving the princess sounded intriguing. Ideas danced around in his head. His plow was getting a bit rusty, maybe he could ask for a new one. Wait, this is a princess, maybe a custom made plow. No, bigger than that. A custom plow made from some legendary metal like mythril. The farmer took a look around, at the farmhouse, at his sisters, and finally back at Princess Luna.

"Pray tell, hast thou decided on a reward?" The dark alicorn questioned in her royal Canterlot voice.


"What prize dost thou seek?"


Confused, by the stallion's answer, Princess Luna quickly descended to the ground. The swirling clouds above her died out when she approached the draft pony.

"W-We do not understand. Is there not a treasure that thou seeks?"

Big Macintosh smiled proudly. "Nnope."

Luna gave him a discerning look. The moon princess' eyes traced every detail of Big Macintosh's frame from his unshorn fetlocks to his dirty blonde mane. Smiling, she came to a conclusion.

"If thou doth not seek for a reward, we shall provide one.... Facade!"

"Yesss, your highnesssss?"

Out of a moonlit shadow cast by the alicorn, a strange unicorn emerged. She had the same dark grey coat and golden eyes of Luna's bodyguards, but she lacked the appearance of a soldier. She wore a purple, silver trimmed cowl and robe that draped over her underweight frame. The mare flicked her forked tongue out between her fanged smile and blinked her slitted eyes at the three apple ponies. Apple Bloom shivered and hid behind her brother.

"This is Facade, our personal assistant. She shall bare witness for thine reward."

"Now just hold on a minute, my brother said he didn't want no reward." Applejack announced, taking a step forward.


Luna gave Facade a glance, which the snake like mare responded with a nod and levitated a scroll and pen from her robe. The moon princess put a hoof to her chest and proudly gave her instruction.

"We, Princess Luna, daughter of the moon, last descendant of the night herd, champion of dream valley, shall enact the ritual of Yln Vo' Toy'Athghach!" The princess dictated. "Big Macintosh of Apple, step forward!"

Realizing this wouldn't end well, Big Macintosh slowly backed away, but was stopped by the snake like unicorn rising from his shadow. Facade hissed and waved a hoof in a scolding manner. Luna grabbed the stallion by his collar and effortlessly lifted him into the air and pressed her lips against his. Black clouds swirled around the pair and blood red lighting danced around them, adding punctuation to the ritual. Luna set the confused Big Macintosh down and bowed at his hooves.

"We owe thee our life. From this day forward our powers are yours to command!"

Big Macintosh shook his head, denying the proclamation. "Nnope!"

Luna rose and approached the stallion with little respect for personal space. "Your humbleness intrigues us. We shall learn much as your servant... Lord Macintosh, of Apple." The moon alicorn smiled. "Now tell us, what dost thou seek?"

Big Macintosh, curled his lips up thinking of a way to momentarily get rid of the Princess. "Well, Ah do gotta get early up in the mornin' an' figure out how to clean up this mess. Maybe ya'll should go an-"

"Thy word is our command!" Luna interrupted. "Facade! Join us, we shall prepare our new master's bed!" With a flash of lightning, the alicorn dispersed into a swarm of bats flying in the direction of the farmhouse. Facade gave a bow to the draft pony, and sunk into his shadow. Big Macintosh leaned over to his younger sister whispering, in case if that creepy snake pony was still around eavesdropping.


"Yeah, Big Macintosh?"

"Ah reckon' y'all better get in touch with that librarian friend o' yours."

"Funny, Ah was reckonin' the same thing... Lord Macintosh." Applejack teased. Apple Bloom joined her older sister in a laugh, but soon stopped at the serious expression on their big brother's face. Applejack looked around at the scorched land and let out a whistle.

"Yeah, Ah'll talk to Twilight first thing in the mornin, not like we'll be doing any apple bucking anytime soon."

Eager to Please

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The morning sun peeked through the curtains of Big Macintosh's bedroom, bathing the stallion in light. Normally, he'd already be up and about at the crack of dawn. But with no trees to buck or fields to plow, a few extra hours of sleep couldn't hurt. It felt like years since the last time he slept in, and he was going to take advantage of it. Letting out a deep stretching yawn, the stallion reached across the bed for Smarty Pants, but felt something different instead. It was much larger than a doll, but very, very soft. When he backed away, it drew in closer and snuggled into his chest. Big Macintosh finally opened his eyes and realized Princess Luna was in bed with him! Shocked, he rolled away and crashed to the floor head over hooves.

"Good morning masssster." Facade hissed in a low breathy whisper. The unicorn was in the middle of rising from a shadow cast by his bed. Smiling, she offered a tray with a hot towel, shaving supplies, a toothbrush, a small mirror and a freshly picked wheat straw.

"Whut's all this about?" The sleepy draft stallion asked in a shaky voice.

"Bedssside manner." Facade replied baring a fanged smile.

Big Macintosh walked past the shadowy mare and towards the hallway.

"Does thisss not pleasssse you?"


"Where are you going massster?"

"To go an' take a shower."

"Do you require my assissstance?"


The bedroom door slammed and the robed unicorn stood in waiting. Yawning, Princess Luna sat up and wiped her eyes.

"Hast Lord Macintosh awakened?" The alicorn asked while stretching her wings. Facade gave a nod. "Good, we shall prepare a morning feast worthy of a king."

"But your hignesss, you don't know how to cook."

Luna shrugged her shoulders. "We hath faced down dragons and trolls in the name of our kingdom. Preparing breakfast cannot be difficult. Where is our new master now?"

"Taking a ssshower."

The princess hopped out of bed. "I shall be in the kitchen then."

Facade gave a bow and watched the dark alicorn leave. She stood for a few moments thinking of what to do next. "Maybe he needsss help washing hisss back." The grey unicorn smiled. Flicking her forked tongue vigorously Facade melted into the shadows leading out into the hall.

Downstairs, Princess Luna stood in the kitchen flipping pancakes on the stove. The alicorn was without her regalia, giving her a more mortal appearance. She wore a skimpy maid's outfit, decorated with white frills and a bonnet atop her head. Her shimmering mane was tied back, preventing it from wandering into the food. Unfortunately, what the princess was preparing wouldn't be considered edible by most ponies standards. A dash of salt here instead of sugar, missing ingredients accidentally used for another dish. The palace cooks made it look so easy. Sitting at the table, Apple Bloom was busy pouring honey into a bowl of dark mush.

"Thanks fer' cooking breakfast Princess Luna." Apple Bloom said with a forced smile. She lifted a spoonful of the muck and watched it slither off her utensil.

"No thanks are necessary young apple. But please, call us Luna."

"But ain't ya still a Princess?"

"Tis true, we are still a princess but-"


Hearing the loud scream both Luna and Apple Bloom looked up to the ceiling. Apple Bloom blinked a few times in confusion.
After some muffled argument from upstairs, a wet maned Big Macintosh stomped down the stairs. The stallion sat across from Apple Bloom and mumbled to himself, head propped up by a hoof.

"Mornin' big brother." Apple Bloom beamed.

Big Macintosh continued to mumble to himself until Luna approached him with a large mug of coffee. "The middle Apple sibling told us you were much like an Ursa Major without thy morning brew."

Taking a sip of the harsh black liquid Big Macintosh felt more like himself. He looked up at the princess eagerly waiting for any sign of approval. He raised his mug affectionately and Luna returned to the stove.

"Where's Applejack?" Big Macintosh spoke up.

"Don't ya'll remember? She's gone to see Twilight about that weird spell Luna cast on ya." The filly whispered. "She said to humor Luna in the meantime." Apple Bloom tasted a spoonful of her mush, giving a look of disgust. "Could ya pass the cinnamon?"

Big Macintosh slid the jar over the the filly. "Ah didn't even know you ate oatmeal."

"Ah think it's supposed to be waffles." Apple Bloom muttered.

"Least' the coffee seems okay." Big Macintosh replied inspecting his mug.

"That's cuz' Applejack made it before she left." The filly smiled back before taking another sample of her liquid waffles. A tint of green engulfed the filly's face, but she was still determined to consume the ill prepared meal. "Could ya pass the pepper?"

Sliding the shaker across the table Big Macintosh looked over at Luna. "Ah think y'all need to put a bell on your assistant. Almost broke my neck when she snuck up behind me in the shower."

Luna curled her lips blushing. "Forgive Facade, she means well, but has no grasp on the concept of personal space."

"Ah can see that."

"Aw, she ain't so bad." Apple Bloom spoke up. "Well, aside from the hissing an' that thing she does with her tongue. Ah hope Ah could get a special talent as cool as hers." She took another bite of mush and struggled to swallow it. "Could ya pass the ketchup?"

Big Macintosh slid the bottle to the filly. "Ah reckon you do enough sneaking around as is."

"Yeah, you're prolly right." The filly giggled, she took another bite and gave a look of satisfaction before digging in. "Ya still gonna help me an' the rest of the crusaders with our history project?"

"Ah'm not sure if Ah got time now." Big Macintosh sighed. "Ah gotta head to city hall and see if we got meteor insurance."

"T'was a falling star." Luna interjected, placing a plate of smoldering pancakes and blackened hash browns on the table.

"Well, Ah gotta figure out if we got falling star insurance." The draft stallion lifted his mug for another sip, but realized it was empty. When he tried to get up to pour another cup, Luna had the pitcher ready in her magic aura.

"Please, allow us master." The alicorn purred, refilling his mug.

"Thank ya kindly. But stop calling me master, it don't sound right."

"Yes mi'lord." Luna bowed before going back to tending the kitchen.

Big Macintosh rolled his eyes and took another sip of coffee. "Sorry sugar cube, but Ah gotta figure out what we're gonna do about the farm. This' gonna set us back for Applebuck Season."

"What is the subject of thy report young apple?" Luna asked.

Apple Bloom pulled a paper from her saddlebags and set it on the table. "We gotta do a report on the battle of Boulder's Gate."

"We could help." The alicorn smiled.

"Ya'll know about that battle?"

"Know about it? We lived it!" Luna struck a heroic pose, proudly patting her chest. Apple Bloom's eyes grew wide at the thought of the princess telling her tale of the battle.

"Wow! Then can ya help, Luna?"

"Tis' not my decision young apple." The night alicorn darted her eyes to Big Macintosh.

"Please, big brother, can Luna help with my report? Pleaaaase?"

"Well, Ah don't kn-" Big Macintosh looked down at the pair of saucer sized amber eyes batting up at him. The stallion was well aware of the dreaded tactic, and held his ground. The last time he fell for such a maneuver, it led to the Cutie Mark Crusaders Logging fiasco that almost put Sweet Apple Acres out of business. Big Macintosh looked away, but met a pair of midnight blue orbs, dilated with emotion. Luna was using the exact same tactic, and it was much more effective. Adding insult to injury, she stood over his sister, affectionately wrapping her forelegs around the filly. When they started sharing the same innocent smile while batting their eyes together, Big Macintosh felt a sharp pain in his chest. Hnnnng! Outnumbered, the stallion gave a defeated sigh. "...Eyup."

Elated, Apple Bloom gave the draft stallion a loving nuzzle. Big Macintosh couldn't help to smile, seeing his sister happy. He watched the filly slide her saddle bags on and rush outside. "Ah can't wait ta tell Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, we got help from a princess!"

"You would make a good father one day." Luna whispered, resting a hoof on the blushing stallion's shoulder. Big Macintosh couldn't help but blush at the thought of being a parent. Or was the princess making him blush? Behind the pair, a thick cloud of smoke began to accumulate. Big Macintosh sniffed the air for a moment, but a blaring smoke alarm beat him to the realization.

Breep! Breep! Breep! Breep! Breep! Breep!

Startled, Luna ran to the stove, desperately trying to fan the flames away. Eventually she managed to get the fire under control and levitated a boiling pot away. "Drat! We hath burned the orange juice!"

Big Macintosh slid out of his chair in the confusion and made a break for the door.

"Ah think Ah'll get a bite to eat while Ah'm out. Don't wait up for me."

Across town in the library, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie sat at a roundtable enjoying tea. Rainbow Dash was in the adventure section, browsing through the new Daring Do titles. Normally, the group of friends would have gathered for lunch anyway, but they decided to have an emergency meeting when word spread about Sweet Apple Acres. Everything was silent while the four mares tended to their own thoughts. Fluttershy stirred her beverage carefully so she wouldn't spill anything. Pinkie Pie took greedy gulps of tea and ate more than her fair portion of pastries. Twilight took calculated sips of her drink, occasionally looking to the upper loft where Spike sat on Applejack watch. Despite being in their own little worlds, all five ponies had the same subject on their minds. Except Rainbow Dash, she was preoccupied with the synopsis of Daring Do and the Raiders of the Lost Mark. Having enough, Rarity slammed a white hoof on the table, jarring everypony out of their concentration.

"Girls, are we just going to sit here all afternoon and ignore the proverbial elephant in the room?" The fashionista spoke up. The others, minus Rainbow Dash looked at the Rarity, failing to hide their interest. Pinkie Pie showed interest too when she gave up on looking for elephants.

"I thought we decided to wait for Applejack to tell us what happened when she's ready." Twilight retorted.

"Twilight, darling, you know how proud and stubborn Applejack can be." Rarity disclosed with a dismissive slight of hoof. "If we wait on her, we'll never know what happened."

"But um, isn't it still up to her to tell us?" Fluttershy asked softly, siding with the librarian.

Rarity took a dainty sip of her teacup and breathed her discontent. "Humph! While you girls decided to wait around, quite silently I might add, I decided to take the initiative." Feeling the discerning lavender eyes laid on her, Rarity turned her attention to Twilight ready for any and all logical ripostes.

"Well, did you figure out what that thing was?"

Rarity gave a half grin. "According to some, shall we say? reliable sources it was meteor."

"You mean Caramel and Lucky?"

"But of course, I'm not one for idol gossip, Twilight." Rarity smirked, turning her nose up defiantly. She could hear the rounds of chuckles and tried to mentally force away the increasing burning in her cheeks. Pinkie Pie bounced with excitement, more than ready to add her own theory.

"Omigosh! What if it's a ship full of giant alien robots that can disguise themselves as vehicles and they're looking for some big cube thing that crashed here thousands of years ago but there's a bunch of evil alien robots already here looking for it but it turns out the cube thingy is hidden under this big power plant down the hall from their even more evil leader who went to search for the cube by himself but was discovered by an explorer searching the arctic!"

Everypony shot Pinkie a look of confusion.

"Hey, It could happen." The pinky pony mumbled, returning to her seat.

"...I heard Luna had something to do with it." Said a raspy voice from across the room.

The others looked at the approaching Rainbow Dash, balancing a book on her back. The cyan pegasus took a seat and pulled the novel open.

"Princess Luna? Where did you hear that?" Twilight asked.

"From the weather patrol." Rainbow smiled smugly as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "She was trying to stop a star or something but crashed behind the farm. The fire was so bad, they had to use two days worth of rain clouds to get it under control."

"Oh my, that's terrible." Fluttershy gasped. "Applejack must be devastated. Is there anything we can do to help?"

Feeling four ponies looming over her for a decision, Rainbow Dash looked up from her book and sighed. She took the time to play with the question in her head before articulating a proper response.

"I dunno, maybe we should just wait for AJ to say something."

Everypony around Dash let out collective groans of frustration.

"You don't have to wait long, because here she comes!" Spike called out from the upstairs loft, pointing at the window.

"Okay girls, act natural!" Twilight perked up. "And whatever you do don't say anything until Applejack mentions it." She added, glaring at Pinkie Pie. Pinkie responded by zipping an invisible zipper across her mouth, breaking it off, burying it in an invisible hole, and building an invisible house on top of the invisible mound. Suddenly, the library door bust open and Applejack entered, mane frazzled and sweating.

"Heeey Applejack." Twilight greeted in wide grin, failing at subtlety. "How's everything go-"The farmer pony lept across the room and tackled Twilight, pinning her down.

"Twilight, ya gotta help me, Luna was tryin' to stop a star from fallin' and crashed behind the farm. But Big Macintosh saved her and she summoned this snake lady as a witness for this weird whoo-doo ritual, and now she's acting like my big brother's personal servant!"

Twilight teleported from under the panicked farmer and reappeared at her seat. Still trying to process Applejack's rambling, the best she could do was raise an eyebrow. "Luna did what now?"

"She put a spell on both of em' and now she's cooking breakfast and doing housecleanin!" Applejack repeated.

"I told you it was Luna." Rainbow Dash blurted out with a hoof pump. Rarity shot the pegasus a malicious stare that interrupted her out of place gloating. Applejack plopped down still trying to catch her breath. She felt a hoof on her shoulder and looked up at Fluttershy giving a comforting look.

"Is there anything we can do to help you with the farm?"

Applejack shook her head. "Princess Luna said she was gonna' fix it. But even if she doesn't, Big Mac's got just about every kind of insurance coverage on the farm y'all could think of. Ah'm glad he didn't listen to me when Ah said it's a waste of money. But we gotta do something about Luna, what if Princess Celestia finds out?"

"That's exactly what I intend to find out." Twilight announced. "Spike! Take a-"

"Already ahead of you." Spike interrupted. The dragonling sat at the top of the steps feverishly writing. "Just one thing, how do you spell whoo-doo?"

Princess Celestia sat at a coffee table inside her private chambers. Across the table was the source of her current frustration, but also a guilty pleasure. A very, very guilty pleasure. How many times had they been caught together? How many more times would it take to be caught in the act before the sun goddess would finally ruin her reputation. How much longer could she resist just leaping across the table and mounting the poor thing. The princess, with all her infinite wisdom did the only thing she could do. Put an end to it.

"I'm sorry, but we can't keep seeing each other like this." Princess Celestia spoke in an even tone. She let out a sigh and tried looking away to avoid temptation.

"I-It's not you, it's me. I have an entire kingdom to run. My little ponies, they look up to me." In a moment of weakness the princess looked back, licking her lips at her conflict of interest sitting stoically across the table. "But we had a good run, right? All those times I would sneak out, just to see you."

The white alicorn leaned closer, whispering with a roguish grin. "Just for a taste. Remember that night with the whipped cream and chocolate syrup?" Celestia stopped her self and looked away, shielding her eyes dramatically with a foreleg.

"I hate when you do that! I try to have a serious discussion and you sit there, tempting me. Why do you have to be so tall, dark and mmmm, delicous." The alicorn looked around and leaned across the table again licking her lips. "Maybe one more for the road wouldn't hurt. But you're taking the fall if we get caught this time."


Princess Celestia looked up at the freshly materialized scroll above and grabbed it with her magic. Removing the seal, she eagerly read the letter. With each passing line her face gradually deteriorated into a look of concern. By the final paragraph, worry quickly transformed into a blushing grin.

"Yln Vo' Toy'Athghach? My little Luna is finally growing up."

Celestia magically pulled a pen and scroll from her bookshelf and quickly filled out her response. Stopping for a moment, she looked across the table. Sitting there was a six layered double chocolate cake, decorated with strawberries, ribbons of vanilla icing, and rows of strawberries across its top. The princess smiled warmly at the oversize confection as if it were a forbidden lover.

"Don't worry, I didn't forget about you."

Back at the library, Applejack paced around the table in the middle of the room agitated. Rainbow Dash had her nose buried in her book, ignoring the worried farmer. Rarity and Fluttershy both shared a look of concern, and Pinkie Pie continued watching the orange mare, swirling her eyes around in her head trying to catch up. Twilight stared at the clock in anticipation for the princess' correspondence to arrive. Growling in frustration, Applejack skidded to a halt.

"Twi! Are ya sure y'all sent the letter to the right address?"

"Um, this isn't the postal service Applejack." Twilight frowned. "Just give her some time. This is a pretty big deal."

"Darn tootin' it's a big deal. Ah got a scorched farm, a princess casting spells on mah big brother and a unicorn that pops out of more places than Pinkie Pie."

"Really?!" Pinkie Pie asked with a wild smile. "Can she do this?" The pink pony slid under the table and dropped down from the ceiling startling Fluttershy. She landed on the table and threw her forelegs out like a performer. "Ta~da!" Applejack started to massage her temples in attempt to fight back an increasing headache.

"Well, since Princess Luna is here in Ponyville, this is a perfect time to get started on my 'Like Royalty' dress line." Rarity smiled making for the door. Applejack pointed an accusing hoof at the designer.

"Is that all y'all can think about? Sometimes Ah wonder if Twi didn't mess up givin' ya the element of generosity."

"Applejack, darling." Rarity grinned patting her mane. "This new fashion line is for charity. Not to mention it'll be a something to keep the princess preoccupied. But really, what kind of trouble could Luna cause anyway."

Luna sat curled up on the living room couch. Around her were various cookbooks and baking magazines levitating about. Tilting her reading glasses, she let out a sigh. Even though the moon alicorn had slain countless foes to protect Equestria, she felt the culinary arts were a much harder beast to defeat. So many foreign words being used. Julienne, saute, garnish? It was like a strange arcane language to the princess. But with the determination only capable of a demigoddess, Luna silently vowed to master this strange trade.

"Howdy Luna!" Apple Bloom peeked her head around the corner. Luna closed her book and took of her spectacles.

"Ah, young apple, please enter."

The yellow filly scuttled into the room and took a seat on the floor in front of the princess. "C'mon girls." She called out. With a few more gestures, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle wearily walked in and sat down with their classmate. Both crusaders looked in disbelief. Sitting across from them was none other than Princess Luna, shimmering mane and all, ready to help with a simple school report.

"Greetingsss children." Facade emerged from a darkened corner holding a tray full of refreshments. Startled, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle cowered behind Apple Bloom.

"Thanks Facade." The filly responded, she stood up and took a step to the side exposing Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle hugging each other in fear. Realizing they were out in the open, Scootaloo pushed the white unicorn away and tried to look as brave as possible.

"Don't be afraid, I have snackssss." Facade whispered, levitating the plates on the table in front of the fillies. Apple Bloom was the first to take a baked apple slice and gave a reassuring smile to her friends. Once the other two crusaders joined the filly, Facade gave a bow and retreated back into the dark corner.

"Whoah, cool!" Scootaloo exclaimed with a cheek full of food.

"She talks funny..." Sweetie Belle added in, nibbling on an apple dumpling.

"Yeah, maybe when we're done with our project we could try getting ninja cutie marks or something." Apple Bloom said with hopeful eyes. Luna watched the crusaders with a warm smile on her face. When they finished eating, Apple Bloom pulled a pad and pencil out and sat in front of Luna.

"Are ya ready to help with this here report?" The filly asked. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle produced their own notebooks and pencils, ready to take notes.

"What dost thou need?" Inquired Luna, tapping her chin in thought.

"Tell us you most awesomest story!" Scootaloo spoke up, fluttering her wings.

"Yeah, a story." Sweetie Belle parroted. "But make sure it's about the battle of Boulder's Gate."

Luna rose up from the couch and took on an assertive, yet theatrical posture. A chilly breeze blew through the room, causing the three fillies to shiver. Lights began to dim and lightning flashed from outside. The princess gave a sinister smile.

"We have the perfect story..."

2000 Years Ago...

The Seapony Song Tavern, it was a small place. The last holding for deserters and travelers alike that had no stake in the ongoing conflict. Amongst the motley assortment of patrons lulled into a haze of inebriation, grizzly trophies decorated the walls of the run down establishment. But on this night, two armies would settle their differences with honor and bravery.

Representing the nation of Equestria, Princess Luna sat at the roundtable. Backing her were an army of her most trusted Lunar Stallions. Ponies that swore allegiance to the moon princess, prepared to serve her at any cost. Sitting across from the regal figure was the scourge of the seven nations, the champion of the northern peaks, Hrothgar the Heavy Hooved. Joined by a gathering of vicious bloodthirsty mongrels that struck fear in the most hardened of warriors Hrothgar brandished a sinister jagged toothed grin. Both armies gathered in the cramped tavern behind their leaders. Eyes sharper than any sword, tempered will that brought envy from the most skilled of blacksmiths, fires in their hearts that only the gates of Tartarus could match. The tension in the air was thicker than any miasma, pulling the attention of any and all onlookers with a shred of curiosity within them.

Giving a grunt to the moon princess, Hrothgar raised his mighty goblet, and guzzled its contents like he's done so many times before. War cries and chants of his brethren filled the tavern as the barbarian finished his drink. Wiping the froth from his fiery beard, the stallion stood up. When his forces fell silent, a smile drew across Hrothgar's weather beaten face. The mighty stallion puffed his chest out and let out a belch harsher than the most unrelenting sturmwind, blowing the princess' silvery blue mane back. Confident, Hrothgar returned to his seat knowing victory was within his grasp.

Princess Luna gave an appreciative nod to the doughty warrior. She clopped her hooves together, signaling for a drink suitable of trouncing foe as worthy as he. Emerging from the gathering of her soldiers, two lunar unicorns struggled to carry a cannikin, five hands tall. Effortlessly, Princess Luna grabbed the container from the fleeting magical aura and threw her head back consuming the harsh malt in loud voracious gulps. Hrothgar's crimsons eyes widen, but he did not falter. Once Luna drank her fill, she slammed the flask on the table, shattering it into splinters. Drawing in a short breath of air, the princess cast a knowing gaze to her forces, in which they obliged by overturning their tables and seeking cover. Princess Luna threw her head back, inflated her chest in preparation. Though he did not dare to retreat, Hrothgar's body was not ready.

The cacophonous roar of Princess Luna's belch was as powerful as it was deadly. The very heavens trembled under its glory. Hrothgar and his army were caught in the eruption, thrown through the tavern's new patio. When the dust and debris cleared, only Luna and her army remained. Rising victoriously, the princess slammed the cask against her brow, shattering it. As the bar's patrons and lunar stallions cheered the princess on she reared up, voicing her satisfaction in a gallant cry.


"...and that is how we defeated Hrothgar the Heavy Hooved's forces at Boulder's Gate."

The three fillies stared at Luna, almost lost in the awe of her incredible tale. Shaking her head, Apple Bloom regained her senses and elbowed Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle back into reality. Luna watched the crusaders scribbling in their notepads in hopes of impressing their teacher. She was so enamored with the young ponies that she didn't notice Big Macintosh and Rarity standing at the archway.

"Lord Macintosh, you hath returned!" Luna smiled, rising from the couch and approaching the stallion. Rarity leaned into him whispering conspiratorially.

"Lord Macintosh?"

"Not now Rarity, not now." Big Macintosh whispered back before being pulled into Luna's embrace. The giggling of three fillies, made him back away.

"Sooo, your highness." Rarity spoke up, trying to break up the awkwardness. "How long will you be staying in Ponyville?"

"As long as it takes for us to repay our debt!" Princess Luna replied patting her chest. Rarity had to bite her lip to hold back the rush of excitement emanating from her.

"That's just perfect! Er... I mean, I'm sorry to hear that. Should I be sorry to hear that? Ah, anyway, there's an upcoming charity function and I was wondering if you would be interested in being the inspiration for my clothing line for said event." The designer rambled, holding back the urge to explode from the thoughts of how this could put Carousel Boutique on the map. Luna forced an awkward smile at the overly enthusiastic Rarity.

"Tis' not our decision. It's up to our master." Luna said, darting her eyes to Big Macintosh. Immediately, a white and purple blur fell at his hooves.

"Oh please! Let Princess Luna take part in history in the making. She must... SHE MUST!" The fashionista begged, even lowering herself to kissing at the stallion's fetlocks. Letting out a sigh, Big Macintosh admitted defeat, once again.


"Oh thank you! THANK YOU!" Rarity gushed. "Come, Sweetie Belle. I have much preparation to do."

Rarity proudly marched out of the living room followed by the white filly. Sweetie Belle stopped for a moment and looked up a the princess. "Thank you for helping with our project, Princess Luna." The alicorn reached out to pat the little unicorn on the head, but she was joined by Apple Bloom and Scootaloo.

"Yeah, thanks fer all your help."

"Miss Cheerilee's going to flip when she reads it."

Before Luna could find a way to show appreciation, all three crusaders hugged at her forelegs. Caught in the moment, the princess graciously returned the affection by scooping the fillies up into a warm embrace. "No, thank you... my little ponies." She managed to breath out with a knot of emotion in her throat. After a few moments Luna set the young ponies down and watched them leave out behind Rarity.

"Ah think ya'll would make a good mother one day." Big Macintosh whispered, resting a hoof on the princess' shoulder. Luna smiled back with patches of red on her cheeks.


"Twilight? Ya'll been mullin' over that there letter for almost two hours!" Applejack said, digging a hoof into the hardwood floor. Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and even Rainbow Dash stared at the lavender mare trying to make sense of the correspondence. Twilight was giving the scroll another pass wondering if Spike managed to hiccup send her letter to the wrong address.

To my faithful student,

My heart swells with pride that my sister, Princess Luna has found a suitor. Though it seems that he's a commoner, I have enough connections with the nobility to keep his social status a secret. Love should not be restricted to one's upbringing, don't you agree? I'll give the two lovers some time to get settled in before I make a visit to Ponyville. In the meantime, make sure that Luna enjoys her stay.

-Princess Celestia of Equestria

Twilight set the scroll down and stroked at the base of her horn. Letting out a sigh she looked up her five friends sharing varying degrees of confusion. "I don't think the princess understands."

"I'll say." Spike interrupted. "It sounds like she thinks Luna is getting- Hic" Unexpectedly, the baby dragon belched forth a cloud of jade embers taking the form of another scroll which Twilight grabbed hastily.

"Maybe this will shed some light on the subject." The librarian quickly opened the scroll, expecting a better explanation from her mentor.


While Luna is staying in Ponyville, please take Facade to see a dentist about her lisp. Should anypony ask, charge it to my royal account.

-Princess Celestia of Equestria

"Just what in the hay is going on?" Applejack spoke up. Her frustration soon washed over into a bit of relief. "Well, at least she ain't gonna throw me into a dungeon and banish the dungeon to the moon or somethin.' But still, what was that all that about Twi?"

"I... I don't know..." Twilight managed to exhale. "Maybe it has something to do with Luna's ritual. I'll have to do some research."

"So what do Ah do about Luna?"

"Oooh-Oooh! I know!" Pinkie Pie shouted, raising a hoof as if she were in class. "Let's throw a Lunamac Party!"

The sound of four hooves plus one claw slapping against five foreheads filled the room.

Repaying a Debt

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The insurance office within city hall was exactly as Big Macintosh remembered. Despite the claims claims of it being the highest grossing agency in Equestria, it was run out of an obviously rented space, no bigger than his bedroom. At least the square measurements alluded to that. In actuality, most of the office was taken up with wall to wall filing cabinets, two chairs and a desk in the rooms center, flooded with disheveled folders. Trying to take his mind off of the mixture of strong coffee and eye stinging cigarette smoke sucking the oxygen out of the windowless room, Big Macintosh turned his attention to the agent sitting behind the cluttered desk, feverishly searching through paperwork. For some reason, he could never remember the unicorn's name. Maybe because there haven't been any reasons to file a significant claim. The Cutie Mark Crusaders could do their fair share of property damage from time to time, but nothing as drastic as destroying his source of income in one swoop. The agent let out a cough which drew Big Macintosh out of his thought pattern.

"I'm sorry mister...uhhh... Apple?" The agent trailed off, sneaking peeks at his paperwork. "From the information you gave me, Sweet... uhh... (where is it? Ah!) Sweet Apple Acres isn't covered for falling stars."

"Then what about the fire? Ah know we're covered for fires." Big Macintosh said. The agent sighed and flipped through the folder once more.

"Yes, you're completely covered for fires, but-" The unicorn trailed off, shuffling through papers.

"But what?" The draft pony retorted, slightly aggitated. The agent picked up two sets of papers and held another in front of his face in a red magical aura.

"Well, you see, even though your... your... (What was it again?) ...your apple orchard was destroyed in the fire, the star was the source of said fire." The unicorn gathered the stacks of forms together in a folder and closed it confidently. Big Macintosh twisted his mouth and let out a snort. "Is there something wrong mister..." The agent reopened the folder once more "...Apple?"

Just then, Big Macintosh remembered the agent's name: Red Tape

"Ah feel like you're tryin' to put one over on me." The draft stallion grumbled. Red Tape scoffed and rose up from his seat in shock.

"Sir! I assure you that this is a serious matter. We can't provide compensation for preexisting damages." The unicorn said in a firm tone. He quickly brushed back a lock of greasy black mane that fell out of place during his outburst and sat back down. Big Macintosh snorted again.

"Does really it matter if the chicken or the egg came first?"

"In my line of work it does unfortunately." Red Tape said smugly. He lit up a cigarette and exhaled a puff of smoke into Big Macintosh's face forcing him to cough in reflex. Having enough, the farmer stood up and loomed over the shifty insurance agent ominously.

"All Ah know is Ah got my livelihood burnt to the ground back home and the only thing standing between me and feeding my family are you and what's in that file. Now, who's flank do Ah gotta kick to get some results round' here? Yours or that folder?"

Startled, the agent stared blankly at Big Macintosh. "I-I'm sorry, but I can't compensate you for anything you're not covered for. It's right here in your file." Red explained, holding the thick folder up as if it were a shield. Big Macintosh let out a defeated groan and sat down again shifting his glance between the Red Tape and the stack of files.

"Then would'ja kindly show me where the flank is on that folder then?"

"What am Ah gonna do?" Big Macintosh sighed.

The farmer was leaning against the fence that lined Sweet Apple Acres. The cool night air ran through his coat but it didn't do so much as draw a shiver. The lingering frustration of dealing with his insurance agent was more than enough to keep him warm. Lucky, Caramel and Buckhaur looked at Big Macintosh, speechless from the tale he just told. While the farmer continued to look up into the night sky, his friends whispered amongst themselves until Lucky decide to break the silence.

"How did Granny Smith take the news?" Lucky asked in a comforting tone, staring down into his mug of cider. Big Macintosh exhaled heavily, laying his head down on his folded forelegs.

"Honestly, Ah ain't really seen Granny since last night. Apple Bloom said she caught her looking out the window this mornin, but that's about it."

"Don't worry, she'll come around eventually." Lucky added, scratching the back of his neck nervously. "You should probably cancel that insurance coverage too. So much for saving fifteen minutes."

"Yeah man, got dang ol' gecko talkin' all fancy. If it's too good to be true... Like dat sharply dressed guy with all dem scars on his face man. Gotta protect yourself from mayhem like dem... Down right disgrace man." Buckhauer lamented before taking a swig of cider.

"Yeah, Buckhaur is right." Lucky added.

Big Macintosh barely acknowledged Buckhaur's advice and simply looked up despondently at the stars. Buckhaur and Lucky took turns poking Caramel until he worked up the nerve to say something. The light brown stallion twisted his face up while trying to find a way to change the subject.

"Well... uh, at least it's a nice night huh? Looks like you're keeping Luna happy.

Both Lucky and Buckhaur stared at Caramel as if he sprouted a second head. He looked back at the pair and realized his blunder just before Big Macintosh lowered himself to all fours. Caramel flinched at the sight of the approaching farmer but looked relieved when Big Macintosh made for the barrel of cider to fill his mug. The draft pony took a few gulps and looked at the trio.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"N-Nothing..." Caramel stammered. He grew ridged at the thought of bringing up the princess. Lucky let out a small burp and threw in his two bits.

"Come on, it's not like it's a secret or anything. We heard all about you and Luna."

"Me an' Luna- whut in the hay? Who told y'all that?"

Caramel and Lucky both looked around sheepishly. Big Macintosh took a few moments to consider their sources and narrowed his green eyes. "Rarity talks too much..." He grumbled from behind a gulp of cider. A bit frazzled by the accusation he began pacing back and forth explaining the situation. "It ain't even like that. Ah just happened to save her life. Now she feels like she owes me somethin' for it. Ah'd do the same for anypony." Big Macintosh took another gulp from his mug but nearly choked.

♪Luna and Big Mac sitting in a tree...♪ Caramel sang lowly while elbowing Lucky. Big Macintosh didn't look the slightest bit amused.

"Caramel! Ah swear to Celestia, if you finish that rhyme Ah'll kick you so hard, your grand foals will have horseshoe cutie marks." Big Macintosh threatened. He smiled to himself at the sudden silence and took another sip of cider.

♪...K-I-S-S-I-N-♪ "Waugh!"

"That's it! C'mere!" The draft pony shouted. He took a few charging steps towards Caramel startling him enough let out a very unmasculine yelp and running into town. Lucky and Buckhaur leaned against each other, nearly breathless from laughing. Big Macintosh took another gulp of his drink while trying not to break out laughing himself.

"Look at him go!" Lucky chortled, wiping a tear from his eye. He regained his composure and turned to Big Macintosh. "You feeling any better big guy?" The farmer took a deep breath and gave an assuring nod.


"Good to hear. Last thing you want to do in times like this is lose your cool." Lucky said, raising his mug in a celebratory manner. "You up for a few more rounds?"

"Nnope." Big Macintosh sighed and looking up at the moon. Judging by its, position, it was getting late. "Ah'm gonna call it a night. Just make sure y'all clean up when you're done." He added, tapping the nearly empty barrel propped against the fence. Both Lucky and Buckhauer nodded as Big Macintosh made his way to the house.

"Same time tomorrow?" Lucky called out.


Big Macintosh made his way up the dirt path. Suddenly, he stopped half way up the road and felt a cold chill. Darting his eyes upwards, he could have sworn somepony was watching him. Blaming it on stress and cider, he gave up and turned his attention on getting some much needed rest.

High up on the farmhouse's rooftop Princess Luna laid on her back breathing deeply from almost being spotted. She had plans for the night and the last thing she needed was for her new master to spoil the surprise. Rolling over on her belly, she scooted closer to the roof's edge and watched the crimson mass of muscle approach the front patio. A coy smile formed across the alicorn's lips as some very primal thoughts invaded her mind. She thought of a simpler time where somepony of his size would make an excellent warrior. If he had bested her in battle, Luna would have no objection to becoming his-

"Your highnesss?" Facade whispered rising from the chimney.

Princess Luna let out a squeak and desperately scuttled her hooves wildly, nearly sliding off steep incline. Regaining her footing, she gave the shrouded unicorn an annoyed scowl.

"Facade! You nearly gave us a heart attack!" Luna growled in a progressively loud whisper. Facade bowed apologetically, but then raised an eyebrow in concern.

"I've never ssstartled you before. What were you doing?" The robed mare inquired.

"N-Nothing, nothing at all. We were just..." Luna looked up to the sky, hiding her embarrassment. "... testing Andromeda's integrity. We would not want a repeat of last night." The princess lied.

In a posture that exuded confidence, Luna marched to the other side of roof and looked over the edge. As far as the eye could see, endless rows of hills still smoldered with cosmic heat. The decimated farmland was blackened beyond recognition with a large crater that was still smoking from the night before. It would take quite a bit of work for the moon princess to fulfill her promise to the Apple family. But she had the resources to do so.

"Shall we begin?" Luna asked, looking back at her assistant.

"Yesss your highnesss." Facade said, tilting her horn directly at the moon. Luna took a step back and watched tentatively as a ball of light gathered at the tip of her assistant's appendage. The wind around them picked up, flowing under Facade's robes, rippling them like waves in an ocean. Taking one final deep breath, Facade launched the orb of energy upwards.

Both mares looked to the night sky expectantly until a faint glint of light could be seen from the moon. Clouds in the night sky parted almost as if they were retreating from what Luna's former prison was about to release. The nightly beacon grew alive with light as a fine beam dropped from the sky. The Princess and Facade had to shield their eyes from the impact point before them. Strong winds, dust and debris kicked up all around them, and in one final flash of light, everything fell silent. Luna approached the edge of the roof top and smiled at the seemingly endless sea of glowing yellow eyes staring back up at the royal alicorn.

Meanwhile in Canterlot, two well dressed unicorns sat at a table outside from the local Starbits. They were nearly identical, almost like brother and sister. The same powder grey coats and identical combed back, shiny black manes. They even wore same black blazers and matching black ties with matching sunglasses and earpiece, standard issue of course.

"...but then we went back to find that mysterious blue shed, it was gone again. The only thing left behind was a half eaten banana muffin." The stallion of the pair concluded before sipping at his coffee. The mare gave a restrained grin to hide her excitement.

"You never cease to amaze me Agent Benson. I always thought that blue box was just an urban legend." The mare said with a grin. Benson frowned and folded his arms.

"Almost forgot how green you are, Hedges." Benson replied while pausing to savor a sip of coffee. "Don't you realize that it's our job to make sure these things remain as myths and legends to the public. If-"

"I know, I know..." Hedges interrupted, waving dismissively. "If everypony knew about half the stuff we deal with, how could they continue living their everyday lives peacefully?"

"Spoken like a true prodigy." Benson said with a nod of approval. Just as he placed his mug on the table, both ponies' earpieces began to crackle with life.

"Agent Benson! Agent Hedges! Do you copy?" A voice called out, shrouded behind static. "We just picked up an energy signal not too far from your position. It was a bit difficult to track, but it's a positive match!"

Benson rose up from his seat and tossed a few bits on the table before trotting away. Hedges took a quick bite of her salad and chased after the stallion while wiping her mouth.

"Energy signal? Positive match? Sir, what's going on?" Hedges asked, still chewing. Benson continued walking, but waited for his partner to catch up before speaking.

"Tell me everything you know about the mare in the moon."

"Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus!"

The formation of shadowy figures chanted from below Princess Luna's gaze. Metal clanged in unison from the collective salutes given by the armored ponies of the night. They were her most loyal of subjects, her personal army, the Lunar Gaurd. Luna took it all in almost lost in the moment.

"Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus!"

The respect, the admiration, the sense of pride. Luna couldn't remember the last time anypony gave such praise since her return. All of Equestria avoided their princess of the night like a leper. Even the castle staff were afraid to make eye contact. Proudly puffing her chest out, she let them continue.

"Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus!"

"Princesss? Maybe we ssshould take it down a notch." Facade whispered into the Alicorn's ear. The realization of the situation nearly floored Luna. They were getting too rowdy, too loud. Raising a front hoof, a simple gesture, the rows of soldiers fell silent. Just to make sure their cover wasn't blown, Luna stooped down and laid an ear on the roof. Aside from Granny Smith's snoring, the house was silent. Satisified, she rose to her hooves once more and placed a hoof against her lips.


The sea of glowing eyes blinked multiple times. Heads turned to their neighbors, shoulders shrugged. There were even occasional murmurs shared amongst the bolder soldiers. Taking advantage of the situation, the princess leaped from the roof, gracefully gliding to the ground before her confused guards. As Luna approached, the soldiers snapped back to attention and split into two formations that faced the monarch from either side. Unfortunately the motion gave out a loud collective clang of metal that made Luna flinch. Concerned, she looked back at the house and let out a relieved sigh that the lights were still off. Confident that things were still going as planned, Luna ran a hoof through her now frazzled mane and continued on her path through the makeshift hallway of guards.

"Our Loayal Lun-" Luna paused, biting her lip. She gave nervous glance at the Apple house before continuing in a whisper "We mean, loyal Lunar Stallions... We hath summoned thee for a mission of grave importance..."

"You hear that? After all these years, we finally get some action." An excited stallion in black armor whispered at the far end of the split formation.

"I'll believe it when I see it, Ramjet." A night stallion in purple armor shot back in disinterest.

"You always say that, Thundercracker. Luna is our princess, her word is law." Ramjet retorted.

"Pffft, I know, I know. We swore an oath to blindly follow her every command. At least the pay is good." Thundercracker dismissed, with a light snort.

"Silence, our fearless leader is still talking." A screechy voiced stallion in red armor demanded.

"Uhh... not anymore, Starscream." Ramjet countered while darting his eyes to the front of the formation. She's looking right at us. I think she wants us to come forward."

"How can you tell? She's been whispering the whole time." Starscream grumbled while cocking his ears in the princess' direction.

"Because I can read lips, she just said..."

"...Starscream, Ramjet, Thundercracker, come forth." Luna whispered a second time. The alicorn looked back at Facade, who simply shrugged her shoulders. The three ponies in question approached and bowed graciously at the Princess Luna's hooves.

"Strarscream, Ramjet, and Thundercracker..." Luna began. "You seeker brothers three are our most trusted generals. Prime candidates to lead this mission."

"What is it you wish of us, your highness?" Ramjet interrupted, while rising to his hooves. "Is it time to clean up Neighazi?" With a wild look in his eyes, he produced a sharp piano wire and tugged it between his front hooves with a menacing grin. Starscream and Thundercracker couldn't help but roll their eyes.

"What? N-no..." Luna stammered, taking a step back.

"Darn, maybe next time." Ramjet sighed, he looked up at the Apple house and smiled. "Oh, I know. Is there a V.I.P. that we need to silence?" His fanged grin grew even wider as his left eye twitched.

"Heavens no!" Luna exclaimed, nearly wilting at the overly eager stallion's presence. "Wait, that's it! Thy mission does involve an ambassador. Lord Macintosh of... of..." The alicorn nervously scratched the nape of her neck. Thinking quickly, Facade loomed over and whispered into the princess' ear. Luna backed away and raised an eyebrow at the robed unicorn in which she responded by nodding in a sagely manner. Taking a deep breath, the night princess took a confident step forward and thrust her wings outward for a much needed dramatic effect.

"This shall be the most important mission of thy career. Lord Macintosh Apple, ambassador of the..." Luna couldn't help but pause and give Facade another questioning glare. The assistant swirled her hoof, beckoning the moon princess to continue. "...nation of Sweet Apple requests our aid in restoring their damaged crops. Thy mission is to restore this farmland to its former glory."

"That's... it?" The trio asked, nearly deflating. Still in the moment, Luna took the chance to assert her authority.

"Dost thou question us?" Luna smirked, subconsciously going back into her ancient dialect. The three generals exchanged glances and split the small army of night ponies into separate squads to take off to Celestia knows where. Once the last of the her guards cleared the horizon, Luna plopped down on her haunches and exhaled a breath of relief.

"Facade? How did you know that would work?" The princess asked, looking physically drained. "We don't remember our guards being... so eager for bloodshed."

"It'sss been quit a while your highnesss." Facade sighed, looking upward. Luna followed her assistant's gaze at the sea of bat like wings disappearing of in the distance.

Unlike bustling cities like Manehattin and Las Pegasus, Ponyville had a somewhat early curfew. There was little to no nightlife aside from a certain farmer and his three friends. This made it quite easy for the lunar stallions to traverse over the quiet town undetected. Taking the lead, Ramjet directed the three squads of soldiers to break off into search parties.

Ramjet seemed to be the most enthusiastic of the three generals, because he was. Whether it was a covert mission, protecting an ambassador, or 'silencing' those who spoke ill of the moon princess, Ramjet took pride in his work. Sometimes a little too much pride since his brothers would have to keep him in check. His dedication had a habit of clouding his judgement.

Starscream, the most ambitious of the triplets, had a different perspective on things. He did what was ordered, but his loyalties lied somewhere more specific than just Princess Luna. Until that anomaly within the chain of command could be 'resolved,' he did what was needed. This always put him at odds with the blindly loyal Ramjet.

Thundercracker never seemed to care. Even though he followed orders, his heart was never really into it. It was always a shock to his brothers when he joined the lunar guard, but his gift for strategy proved to be a valuable asset. There had even been rumors that Thundercracker was being considered for the next captain. But that's what they remained as, just rumors because he lacked the ambition to pursue it.

"Hey! wait a second!" Thundercracker called out. Ramjet and Starscream flapped to an immediate halt. "What exactly are we supposed to do? Last I checked..." The purple armor clad night pony looked around at his brothers. "...none of us are earth ponies."

"Who said anything about farming?" Ramjet chuckled ominously. He thrust his forehooves outward until a pair of hidden blades popped out from under his gilded hooves. "I was going to shake down an apple cart."

"Put those away you idiot!" Starscream scolded. "Can we go on one mission without you threatening somepony?!"

Ramjet folded his forelegs and tapped the scar under his left eye thoughtfully. "Nope."

Starscream let out a cry of frustration and grabbed Ramjet by his collar and shook the black armored stallion violently. "This is why you'll never make captain! You never stop and think about consequences."

"And you care too much about becoming captain to get results." Ramjet shot back with a crazed grin.

"At least I still remember who we should be taking orders from!" Starscream shouted, pushing his brother away.

"You take that back Starscream!"

"Make me!"

"With pleasure!"

Thundercracker put a hoof to his forehead. "Not this again..."

Suddenly a lone of lunar guard approached the bickering trio and saluted. "Sir! I think we found something..."

"Well how do you like them apples?" Ramjet chuckled while gliding down to a rocky cliff his brothers were perched on.

Starscream and Thundercracker shook their heads and focused back on the fields before them. Endless rows of apple trees extended as far as the eye could see. Maybe even further. Given vast desert on the opposing side of the mountain ridge, it was a miracle that anything could grow this far out west. But the three generals knew that strangers things have happened.

"So..." Ramjet began. "What's the plan?"

Starescream gave the black armored night pegasus a look of shock. "What? You told me I never think about consequences."

"Well, since this crop is too big to belong to that village over there..." Thundercracker thought out loud while pointing to a nomadic settlement deeper in the desert. "I say we take as many trees as we can carry."

"Works for me." Ramjet agreed while stretching his leathery wings out.

"Maybe we can get back in time for breakfast." Starscream added, looking up at the moon. Thundercracker nodded and took to the air, signaling the army of night pegasi behind them to get to work.

"Braeburn! Are you okay?" A young female voice called out.

"Ah... think so" Braeburn managed to say while being pulled back into reality, he shook his head and looked around to regain his bearings. He remembered visiting with Little Strongheart and being asked to go camping with her in the desert. Braeburn looked down at the female buffalo resting her head against his chest and forced a reassuring smile. Little Strongheart returned an unsatisfied frown that drew a sigh out of the earth pony.

"Ah don't know how to explain it. But fer' a moment, Ah felt like Ah was... connected to the earth."

"Really?" Little Strongheart asked, stroking a hoof against his chest. "What did you feel?"

Braeburn laid his head back down and stared up at the stars.

"Ah felt a great disturbance in the earth, as if thousands of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Ah fear something terrible has happened."

Back in Business

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Golden Oaks Library the pinnacle of scholastic pursuits was anything but that this night. Ponies from all over town gathered into the hollowed tree, not to study, but to celebrate. Peaceful silence was easily overpowered by blaring music, spilled drinks, and chatty townsfolk. Every rule within Ponyville's most sacred of sacred retreats was broken this evening. It wasn't agreed upon by any governing faction, but a mutual exception. Oddly enough, it was the second time in two consecutive nights.

What dost thou seek?

Big Macintosh passed through the doorway unannounced. Being the definition of good manners, he felt a bit out of place doing so. But he couldn't resist since the ruckus could be heard all the way from Sweet Apple Acres, disturbing his sleep. Upon entering, the smells of fruit punch and pastries nearly overwhelmed the curious farmer. After checking outside to make sure he didn't accidentally stumble into Sugarcube Corner, he pressed on.

What is thy desire?

From the looks of it, the entire town was there. Even though Big Macintosh bumped into these ponies on a daily basis, he always had trouble remembering their names. It wasn't that he didn't care to know them, he long accepted that remembering faces were easier. Looking around only confirmed the farmer's thoughts. There were familiar faces everywhere. The owner of the fashion boutique, that reckless weather manager with the rainbow mane, that strange Pegasus who takes care of sick animals on the outskirts of town, the new librarian with her pet dragon, and that overly hyper pink pony that works at Sugarcube Corner. It seemed like whenever there was a party going on, she was always at the center of it.

Open thy heart to us...

Big Macintosh looked to the other side of the large structure and saw his sister Applejack enjoying herself. Putting two and two together, he figured this was where she disappeared to, leaving her share of apple bucking behind for him to finish. As usual he couldn't really find himself getting upset about taking on the extra work. Seeing Applejack happy that moment was payment enough.

"Heeeeeeey Big Mac!" A voice bursting with enthusiasm called out. He turned around meeting the almost glowing blue eyes of Ponyville's personal party pony waving him over to a table full of refreshments. He thought twice about approaching, but the rumbling of his gut eliminated any objections. Just as he arrived she was gone in a blink of an eye, only leaving behind a pink blur. In the next moment Big Macintosh found himself with a party cone strapped to his head, a noisemaker in his mouth and a plate of cupcakes sitting in front of him.

"I bet you didn't know I knew your name, but Applejack talks about you all the time, and there was that one time I met you at her birthday party but you didn't really talk much after she introduced you but that's okay because I learned your name and I know everypony's name in Ponyville even if they don't know mine, but how can you forget my name, I'm pink," Pinkie took a pause to shake her tail uncomfortably close to Big Mac. "and my name is Pinkie Pie, by the way, I'm Pinkie Pie pleased to meet you...." She continued blabbing out in a single sentence.

It was amazing how much she could say off a single breath. Trying to be good listener, Big Macintosh did his best to follow, making a mental note of details that stuck out in case if it came up later in the conversation. Mares seemed to like that, even if it's the tiniest little detail. Taking off his party hat and noisemaker, the farmer took a bite of the cupcake trying to keep up. Something about the Summer Sun festival, an evil Princess threatening to bring eternal night, and something called the elements of harmony? Even if she ran her mouth constantly, she had one heck of a wild imagination.

"...and that's why where having this little shindig now. I bet you didn't expect your sister to be responsible for saving the world from the big meany meany pants Nightmare Moon huh?" Pinkie concluded with an encouraging elbow. Big Macintosh nearly choked on the punch he poured himself somewhere between the puppet show and the musical number in the third act. He took a moment to look around and saw the 'Welcome Back Princess Luna!' banner strung up.

"Uhhh... Eeyup?"

"Ha! I knew you'd say that!" Pinkie Pie giggled. "But you always say that, if you're not saying 'Nnope' like that one time..."

And there she goes again. Big Macintosh didn't even try to listen this time and instead looked around at everypony having a good time. Even though it was a relaxing environment, it was a bit too much. It was time to get a bit of fresh air. Looking back at the door, he saw even more ponies flooding in. He looked at the upper loft and saw that the librarian had the same idea as she was sitting on her bed reading. He thought retreating up there, but it was probably better not to invade her space. Looking to the other side of the upper floor, he saw a balcony. As he decided to make a break for it, a warm breeze moved the curtains revealing a slender dark blue unicorn outside. Sighing in defeat the farmer looked down attempting to follow his one-sided conversation partner.

"...but then after all that, you only said 'Eeyup.' I don't get it, if that happened to me, I'd have a whole lot to say like..."

The balcony started looking more attractive with each passing second. Maybe the lone unicorn wouldn't mind some company either.

"Ah'm sorry Pinkie, would ya scuse' me for a second." Big Macintosh drawled while walking past the party pony.

Pinkie looked up at the farmer letting her jaw drop to impossible lengths, almost inches from the floor. "You can talk?"

"Course' Ah can talk. Ah usually don't got anything special to say." The farmer retorted as he desperately tried to put distance between himself and the only one in Equestria that probably could talk your ear off.

...tell us thy heart's desire...

Armed with a assortment of apologies, Big Macintosh weaved in and out of the sea of ponies between him and a few moments of peace and quiet. It's not that he didn't like large gatherings or anything. Ever since he could remember, he always found himself sneaking out every once in a while to clear his thoughts, as if the loud gathering would swallow him whole. After bumping into a fuchsia mare that looked like she was having a bit too much fun, He finally made it to the stairs.

The warm summer air from the open balcony blew through the stallion's mane, breathing life into his already exhausted body. It had been a long night. In fact, it's felt almost like several nights. Is that possible? Big Macintosh shook the the thought out of his head and continued up the steps.

...tell us...

Big Macintosh began to think doing Applejack's extra chores must have taken more out of him than he thought. The stairs actually felt longer. With only a few breaths of the peaceful summer air that were becoming increasingly sparse he continued his climb. Every time he would look up it was as if he was stuck in the same spot, never getting closer to his goal. The moonlight would shine though occasionally, revealing the midnight blue unicorn looking up at the night sky. Frustrated, he continued his quest, never getting any closer, but never giving up. But every time he would look to his deceptively close destination the only thing that became more detailed was the strange unicorn. A few glances ago, he noticed she was much taller than the average pony, closer to his average height almost as delicate as the was tall. As if a stiff gust of wind would blow her over. Her light azure mane glistened under the vibrant stars that seemed to dance for her. Even her horn was different, much longer, sharper, commanding. On his last glance, he tried to make out what her cutie mark, but it was unlike anything he had ever seen. Also, there was something on her sides twitching as she sighed are those wings?

...and we shall make it reality...

It wasn't possible. There couldn't have been twelve, maybe eighteen steps leading up to the balcony, but it turned into an endless trek. Upon noticing this the tired farmer cocked his ears, realizing that the loud music and ponies, the very reason for his retreat had been drown out with silence. It wasn't the kind of silence accustomed to a library either, it was lifeless silence that consumed everything. Big Macintosh looked all around him, everything was gone, the townsfolk, the library, everything but the unreachable balcony, an endless winding staircase, and nothing. Confused and exhausted, he took one more step forward but lost his footing, falling over the side of the winding stairs into oblivion. Drowning in the pitch blackness of despair and silence, the farmer fell to his doom.

Big Macintosh sat up desperately gasping for air. The morning sun stung while he feverishly tried to focus his vision. When his eyes finally adjusted, he looked around to find himself safe in his bedroom, exactly as he remembered it. Certain that it was all a dream, he laid back down slowly closing his eyes.

"...What dost thou seek?"

Big Macintosh opened his eyes again with a raised brow. He rolled over and saw Princess Luna laying next to him fast asleep. With everything going on, even he didn't know how this sleeping arrangement came to be. He meant to suggest she could sleep downstairs or share a room with one of the girls, but with all the chaos he got sidetracked. That seemed to be the current theme of things. But looking at the moon princess, resting peacefully in his room washed away any momentary objections. It almost felt right. In his moment of admiration, Luna shifted, rolling over to her back and began to talk in her sleep.

"What is thy desire..." She whispered as a haze of energy ignited from her horn. Looking at the gathering of magic Big Macintosh could feel his eyes getting heavy. His mind wandered back to the party, to his dream. But he fought the urges to fall asleep.

"Luna! Wake up!" The farmer called out while sitting up. She thrashed about before sitting up and wiping at her eyes, mane frazzled. When Luna regained her senses, she met Big Macintosh with a smile.

"Dost something trouble thee, master Apple?" The night alicorn slurred while running a hoof through her mane.

"Ah told ya to stop callin' me master, it don't sound right." Big Macintosh grumbled. Put off guard by Luna's greeting he could feel a blush running across his cheeks as only one phrase overpowered the plethora of questions he intended to ask.

"Ah... Ah had a bad dream." As the words escaped his mouth, he realized his blunder and applied a hoof to his face in frustration expecting something along the lines of laughter. But it didn't come. Instead Luna let out an empathic sigh and placed a hoof against his chest pushing him back down into the bed, a hoof that felt unusually heavy, Luna was stronger than she looked.

"Wait, that wasn't what Ah meant..." Big Mac manged to say, but a comforting shush cut off any further speech as Luna rubbed his chest breathing sweet words into his ear.

"Worry not, allow us to comfort thee. T'was just a dream..."

"It was more than a dream. You were there." Big Mac struggled to say, making eye contact with the alicorn. For an slight fraction of a second, Luna's face was overcome with elation, but a conscious effort to show concern took over.

"Thou dreamed of us? Quite flattering." The princess cooed, snuggling against him.

"It ain't like that." Big Macintosh interrupted, quickly retreating. "It was bout' as clear as you and me layin' here. Ah kept going up this endless set of stairs while hearing a voice, your voice. When Ah woke up, you were talking in your sleep, saying the same things with your horn glowing." He managed to get out. Shocked, Luna sat up looking away.

"Forgive us m'lord. That was our dream, It won't happen again." The princess whispered while climbing out of bed. She looked back one more time with genuine apology in her eyes before reaching for the door. Suddenly it exploded open, hitting Luna in the face multiple times followed by Apple Bloom trying to squeeze through the narrow gap.

"Big Macintosh! Ya gotta see this!" The filly shouted, still struggling with the door. Luna tried to calm her down in between each strike to the muzzle.

"Young Apple-Slam! ... allow us to-Slam! ...just a-Slam! ...halt thy advances until-Slam! ...will thou please- Slam!"

"Big Brother, Ah think your door got stuck up under a floorboard or somethin. Ah can't get it open any wider." Apple Bloom said between grunts, trying to force herself into the room.


Luna's frustrated beckoning in the royal canterlot voice rattled the walls and finally managed to get the filly's attention, giving her enough time to step away. Apple Bloom looked up at the princess wincing at the growing red knot on her nose before closing the door behind her.

"Luna? Ah'm so sorry. Ah thought the door got stuck and if I forced it open..."

"Worry not Young Apple." Luna spoke softly, climbing back under the covers. The throbbing welt on her nose shrank rapidly until there was no trace. She flared her nostrils and gave a snort to confirm she was fully healed. "Pray tell, what has alarmed thee so?"

"Oh, right. Ah looked out my window when Ah got up this morning' an-" Apple Bloom began, but was interrupted by Applejack barging in. She quickly slammed the door behind her and backed away cautiously.

"Sorry fer' barging in Big Mac." Applejack announced keeping her eyes on the door. "Ah heard that confounded royal canterlot voice. Ah'm just gonna hide in here till whatevers' got Luna's tail in a knot blows over. Ah swear, it's too early fer' all this."

"Good morn, middle apple." Luna said happily as Applejack took a moment to fan her face with her hat.

"Morning' Luna." Applejack responded, still never looking behind her. "Hope Ah ain't interrupting anything. Ah'm just tryin' to hide from-" She paused, eyes shrinking to pinpricks as she turned around slowly to meet the gaze of a smiling moon princess, sitting in bed with her brother. Applejack passed glances between her brother and the alicorn, twitching her left eye.

"What in the name of all that's good an' decent?!" She shouted, grabbing Apple Bloom and covering the filly's eyes. Big Macintosh raised the covers up to his muzzle to hide his growing grin.

"We do not understand, is something amiss?" Luna asked, double blinking clueless at Applejack.

"Darn tootin' somethin's amiss. Ah'm lookin' at an 'amiss' right now, laid up in my brother's bed! It ain't right!" Applejack snapped back. Apple Bloom managed to sneak a peek from under her sister's foreleg, but was quickly obstructed again.

"Lemme go Applejack." Apple Bloom whined.

"Sorry sugarcube, but there's some things ya'll shouldn't see till... till... there's just some things ya'll shouldn't see." Applejack struggled to say. She pointed an accusing hoof at Big Macintosh. "And you! Ah expected better from mah own big brother. Ya'll better count your blessings granny ain't feeling good. If she caught the two of-"

Knock! Knock! Knock!

Applejack went silent, eyes widened in terror. She loosened her grip on Apple Bloom and the filly slipped away, scuttling to the door.

"Is somepony in here?" A shrill voice called from outside. As Apple Bloom got closer to the door, Applejack scooped her up and put a hoof over her mouth earning a disgruntled mumble from the yellow filly.

"Ah, Elder Apple, t'is good to hear thy-" Luna tried to say, but Big Macintosh placed a hoof over her mouth, shushing her.

"Big Macintosh, ya'll in there?" Granny Smith called out again, playing with the locked doorknob. After getting a nod of approval from Applejack, he approached the door, partially opening it enough to peek his head out.


"Somethin' a matter? Ah don't remember ya'll ever lockin' yer door before? Ya ain't got nothin' to hide, do ya?" The elderly earth pony asked, nearly bulging an eye out at her grandson. Big Macintosh curled his lips, shifting his eyes from side to side.


Granny gave him another once over before her suspicious demeanor deflated. "Fair enough. Guess it's about time ya'll would want yer privacy and all. Ya ain't exactly a colt no more." She said, looking up aimlessly as if recalling a fond memory. "Anyways, Ah know everypony's been worrin' themselves while Ah was locked up in mah room after Luna destroyed the orchard. Ah jus' wanted ya ta hear from the horse's mouth that Ah'm alright. Was a bit of a shock, seein' the farm like that, but Ah know we'll find a way to push on. That's the Apple family way. Right?"


"Ah knew y'all would understand." Granny Smith's face curled into a smile. "Did Ah ever tell ya how much ya remind me so much of yer great-uncle-twice-removed, Honeycrisp? He never said much, but as understandin' as understandin' can be. Hard worker ta boot." She reminisced, looking up aimlessly again but having mind enough to focus on the present. "Listen to me, goin' on like an old goat. Ah just wanted to have that little talk with ya. Ah'll be downstairs makin' breakfast if ya need me. Ya feelin' up fer some of mah famous apple pancakes?"


"Alrighty." The elderly mare smiled. As she backed away from the door, Big Macintosh closed it, breathing out a relieved sigh. Applejack did the exact same.

"Now, would somepony explain why the two of ya'll are shacked up in the same room?" Applejack snarled, renewing her tirade.

"Sis, it ain't that ya think." Big Macintosh began, scratching the back of his head nervously. "With all the confusion lately, it just kind of happened." Applejack didn't look amused.

"Somethin' like that don't just happen. Ya'll actin' all casual like she fall and landed on your-"

"Middle Apple!" Luna interrupted siding up with Big Mac. "Thy harsh words wound us, we would never take such... liberties. Not without being wed of course." Luna playfully winked at Big Macintosh, earning a wide eyed blush for her efforts.

"Ya know what? Ah don't want to know anymore." Applejack said, covering Apple Bloom's ears. "Long as the two of y'all ain't-"


"Good enough fer me. C'mon Apple Bloom."

"Wait, Ah didn't get to tell Ya'll what I saw out the window." Apple Bloom cried out.

"Well go on, spit it out." Applejack demanded, letting go of her sister.

"Well, put an apple in mah mouth an' baste me in a pan! It's a miracle!"

"Looks like granny saw it too." Apple Bloom giggled, before running out the door.

Applejack gave Big Macintosh an inquisitive look which he could only respond with a shrug. Confused, she gave chase to Apple Bloom. Big Mac went to follow, but looked back, catching Luna with a wide grin on her face.

"Ya'll got something to do with this?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. Luna simply walked past him into the hallway.

"Tis' best not to ruin a surprise, master." The alicorn shot back happily prancing downstairs.

"Ah told ya to stop callin' me... aww forget it!"

As Big Macintosh stepped onto the front porch, he was nearly floored by the sight. Endless rows of fresh trees lined the hills, placed with calculated accuracy. Fresh morning dew beaded on the apples, making them more appetizing than normal. There wasn't a trace of the destruction he left behind that night, and the night before. Apple Bloom happily ran between the trees before stopping to roll in the grass laughing. Applejack and Granny Smith danced together singing loudly. Just to make sure it wasn't all a dream, Macintosh wiped his eyes. When he looked back to the fields, his vision swam as he felt moisture run down his cheeks.

"Beautiful, is it not?" Luna asked approaching the sobbing stallion. Big Mac quickly wiped his eyes in an attempt to regain his composure.


Granny Smith, Applejack and Apple Bloom approached the princess, drawing her attention away from Big Macintosh. Applejack was the first to bow at her hooves.

"Thank you Luna. Ah had my doubts but ya did it. We're back in business." When she rose to her hooves, Apple Bloom decided to glomp the moon princess' front leg.


"Ah don't know how ya did it, but thank you Luna." She chirped. Luna hesitated for a moment looking into Apple Bloom's bright eyes but scooped her up in a tight embrace. When she looked up, she met Granny Smith's eyes as she gave a warm, wrinkled smile and an appreciative nod.


"No need to thank us. T'was our fault to begin with." Luna frowned slightly, remembering the whole ordeal. Sighing, she placed Apple Bloom down on the ground and gave her cheek a loving nuzzle.

"Psssssst! Your highnessss!"

Cocking her ears from the distant whisper, Luna looked around and caught sight of Facade peeking from within the barn. The robed mare was feverishly beckoning the princess over with a terrified look in her eyes.

"Excuse us for a moment." The moon princess announced abruptly. "Something has come to our attention." Walking away, she took a moment to look back at the Apple family. They were all exchanging glances between each other until they happily squealed, hugging into an entanglement of forelegs and smiles. Luna sighed at the sight remembering her own family, her only family. But she quickly shook the thoughts from her head and entered the barn.

"Facade? What troubles you?" Luna asked, watching the grey unicorn wringing her nerves nervously. "All is well and the farm is restored. Remind us to commend the Lunar Guard for their efforts"

"That'sss the problem, princessss." The robed unicorn frowned. "The Lunar Guard worked well into the night. In fact, all night..."

"...And they shall be generously rewarded." Luna completed Facade's sentence. Facade sighed and lowered her head.

"Your hignesss.... pleassse forgive me. The sun... it was wasss rising... I sent the beacon. But-" Her words wer dissolved into sobs as she began groveling in front of the princess. Luna scooped Facade's muzzle in her hooves and met her slitted eyes with worry.

"Did our guard not return home safely?"

Facade didn't respond but whimpered with her ears down.

"Facade?" The princess said firmly, her patience was waring thin. The shadowed unicorn took a deep breath and pointed up with her eyes clenched shut. Luna followed the tip of Facade's hoof pointing to the ceiling. She blinked once, slowly and methodically before letting her jaw drop, recognizing the severity of the situation.

" our sister's mane..."