Princess Luna sat in her chamber, cold and alone. She had no responsibilities any more aside from raising the moon at night. When it came down to it, all she wanted was a little bit of recognition, and now, she’s even less recognized than before. Invisible, hated, like a slave raising the moon every night because her master’s too lazy to do it herself.
Though Luna realized that the reason Celestia allowed Luna to raise the moon still was so she could feel like she was contributing something to society? Either way, Luna knew all to well how useless she was to everypony.
For Luna, life consisted of routine, and then more routine. She woke up, lived her days in lonesome solitude, then rose the moon at night. Then she lived through the night the same way. Nothing changed. It was the same thing everyday. The same, dull, lifeless routine. It was no better than being on the moon.
One night, Luna finally got tired of the lifelessness. She wrote a letter and laid it gently on her bed. It read:
I am sorry; I really appreciate you trying to include me in leadership of Equestria. However, I simply do not feel like I belong here any longer. I am leaving to find a place where I will belong. I am truly sorry it’s come to this, but I feel it’s for the best.
Your loving sister,
P.S. Please don’t try to look for me. I am sure we
will all be much happier this way.
She packed a suitcase with some normal pony clothes, including clothes to cover her wings to prevent ponies from being suspicious of a random Alicorn roaming about. She’d yet to discover a spell that would make her appear to be a normal Unicorn or Pegasus. She’d searched for long hours with no success.
She spread her wings and took flight off of her balcony and into her clear, beautiful night.
She flew over Canterlot. Not to her surprise, everypony was inside sleeping. She looked up and saw the stars and the moon, in all their intricate beauty, and truly wondered why no one else saw what she did in the night sky.
She no longer saw the point of eternal night either. Why force the ponies to be in the dark? They won't enjoy it like she wants them too anyway. At this point, she knew that starting a new life was the absolute best option.
She flew out of Canterlot. Now along with the feeling of being unappreciated, she was feeling lonely as well. Just a lonely Goddess, flying off into the night.
It was less than an hour later that she was flying over Fillydelphia. It seemed similar to Canterlot in so many ways. Everypony was inside, sleeping, rather than enjoying the beautiful night sky.
As Luna continued her flight over Fillydelphia, something unusual caught her eye. A pony! A little, blue unicorn, sitting on a street corner, with nothing but a single saddlebag, crying in the moonlight.
Luna wasn't able to just ignore this. The pony looked as lonely as she was. She felt she had no choice but to at least try to comfort her. She landed in a nearby alley-way, and pulled a purple, star-embroidered shawl out of her suitcase. She threw it over her back to cover her wings, and stepped out into the open.
She quietly stepped over and kneeled down beside the unicorn. The blue unicorn looked up, tears in her eyes. Luna smiled at her. "What do you want?" The unicorn asked.
"You were crying", Luna said in a comforting voice, "You looked lonely."
"I..." The blue pony averted her eyes from Luna's gaze. "I'm the Great and Powerful Trixie! I'm the most magical unicorn in Equestria! Show pony... Extraordinaire!” She paused for a few seconds. “.. Nopony appreciates me! They HATE me! They call me a fraud and chase me out of town!” With that, Trixie began to bawl.
"Oh. That is really unfortunate... If it's any comfort, I understand what it's like to be un-appreciated."
"Really? What do you do?"
Luna looked up at the sky. "That."
Trixie looked up as well, then back to Luna. "Wait a minute... You're..."
"Shh,” Luna smiled, holding a hoof to her lips. "I'm hiding."
"What do you mean?" Trixie sniffled.
"Nopony appreciated me back in Canterlot. They didn't let me do anything aside from raising the moon every night. I could have been doing so much more! So I left. Now I'm hiding as a normal unicorn, looking for some place new, and a new life, where I may be more appreciated."
Trixie sniffed the tears out of her eyes and looked up at the sky. "... It's beautiful."
"... Thank you. Miss Great and Powerful Trixie."
Trixie smiled, for the first time all night.
"So where do you sleep?" Luna asked Trixie as they walked down the streets of Fillydelphia together.
"Um... Well, wherever I happen to be when I'm tired usually."
"You don't have a home?"
"No. I had a cart I took with me that worked as a stage too... But I sort of left it in Ponyville when I was... Chased out of town. I went back for it and couldn't find it."
"Well, that's no good. How do you perform now?"
"I usually just do little magic in parks and stuff. It's not nearly as marvelous. All I have left is my hat. I had a cape too, but it was stolen from me in Manehattan... I loved that cape."
Luna turned her head to the blue unicorn, whose head was facing the ground solemnly. "Hm..." Luna magicked her shawl off and placed it on Trixie's back. "It doesn't QUITE match the hat, but it's close."
Trixie stopped walking and looked at the beautiful shawl that was now over her back. "I... It's beautiful. It's perfect!" Luna stopped too and looked back at her. That's when Trixie noticed her exposed wings. "If you're searching for a new life, shouldn't you not have wings? They're sort of a dead giveaway as to who you are."
"That's a really good point, but I just couldn't find a spell to get rid of them."
Trixie smiled. "That's weird. Because I happen to know a spell that's perfect for this. I used it on some pegasi back in Manehattan as a shock-trick. Here, spread your wings."
Luna gave an unsure look, and then spread her wings to full length. Trixie closed her eyes and focused, and a large concentration of magic formed around her horn.
"Eep!" Luna squeaked since the spell stung a little. When she looked back, her wings were completely gone. "Wow! Perfect." She turned back and smiled at Trixie, slightly embarrassed that a unicorn knew a spell an Alicorn didn’t. "You really are the most magical unicorn in Equestria."
Luna used some of the bits she'd packed to pay for a two-bed room at the Phillydelphia Inn for her and Trixie. They were both exhausted, and went to bed immediately. They lay in bed silently for several minutes, before Trixie broke the silence. "Luna, are you asleep yet?"
"No, not yet." Her bed was aligned well with the window, so she had a good view of the night sky from where she was laying.
"You're a Goddess and what not. And I'm the most magical unicorn in all of Equestria. Think about it, together we could be so great!"
"Honestly, no matter how good you are, it's hard to be impressive as a street magician in a society built around magic."
"No! I don't mean performance. We could do so much more. We could rob a bank SO easily. We could bring Phillydelphia to its knees! I think, we could eventually take over all of Equestria!"
"You wouldn’t. Trust me, it’s easy to say things like that... But actually doing them is another story entirely.”
Trixie sighed. "... I... I know... I just... I want ponies to notice me. I want ponies to know the name Trixie!”
“Well, if you keep doing magic shows around Equestria, ponies are bound to remember you someway another.” Luna chuckled. Trixie shared the chuckle.
The next morning, the two went their separate ways. Trixie, who was allowed to keep Luna's shawl, set out for a new city, hopefully one more appreciative of her magnificent showponyship. Luna, on the other hand, caught a train bound for Celestia knows where. Where she was going didn't matter to her. She no longer had wings to worry about, so she could now do whatever she wanted and not be noticed as an alicorn.
The train came to a stop and Luna stepped off, ready for a new life. She set out down the streets of the little town, not knowing entirely where she was. The train conductor had probably announced it, but she wasn't really paying attention. She caught the attention of a yellow Earth Pony stallion.
"Excuse me, this may sound weird but... What town is this?"
"Why, this is Ponyville!" He smiled, though also gave her somewhat of a strange look. Her eyes widened, and her jaw dropped slightly. She hurried back to the train station. "When's the next train out of here!?" She asked frantically.
"Tomorrow." The attendant answered, stone-faced.
Luna sighed. Of all places, why Ponyville? Ah well, she just had to make the best of it. Maybe nopony would recognize her without her wings?
"Princess Luna?" She turned and saw a familiar, purple unicorn. She sighed, more heavily than the first sigh. Whelp, so much for that idea.
"Um, no, I think you have me confused with somepony else." Princess Luna attempted to avoid suspicion. It was a very weak attempt.
"No, of course it's you! I wouldn't forget you... Even without wings... What happened there?"
"Oh, it's a disguise..."
"It's not a very good one. Anypony who knows you will recognize you."
"I was hoping nopony would know me."
"What brings you to Ponyville."
"Um... Princess Celestia sent me.... Yes. To um... Learn... Um..." She tried to think of some pointless, stupid thing that Celestia would be likely to send somepony to learn. "Friendship!"
"Really? That's wonderful! That's what I'm here for too!"
"So I've heard."
"Oh! I can help you! I can introduce you to my friends!"
"Hm... Maybe later, after I check into the Inn, alright?" Luna racked her brain to think of a way to escape.
"Alright! I'll wait for you at the library!" The unicorn Luna recognized as Twilight Sparkle smiled and walked off. Luna hurried to the Inn, being very careful not be noticed by any other ponies from her past.
She arrived at the Inn and went to the reception desk. "Hello", she started, "I would like a room please."
"Hmmm." The rather large, grey stallion though. "Nope, sorry, all out of rooms."
"Well, there is one pony staying in a two-bed room. I could put you in there if you're alright with having a roommate."
"Okay, I can live with that. Can I ask who it is?"
"Nope. Customer Confedfidentiality."
"But I am going to meet them in a few minutes anyway!"
"Sorry, I don't make the rules."
"Don't you own this place?"
"Then who makes the rules."
"..." There was a long pause. "Just take your key." The Inn keeper slid Luna her key and she grabbed it with her magic. She nodded and started up the stairs.
The Inn was a relatively nice looking place. The walls were finished wood, and nothing more. The floor had a simple, blue carpet. This is how the entire Inn was. Not even an occasional painting on the wall. Just wood.
Luna unlocked her room's door and stepped inside. She didn't see anypony, but she did see a large lump under the covers of the far bed. The lump wriggled a little bit, and a fluffy pink tail popped out of the bottom.
"Oh no... Please, no..." Luna whispered, as an entire pink, curly maned pony sprung out of the bed and landed in front of Princess Luna.
"HI THERE!" She shouted. "You're my roommate! Oh, it's so cool that I have a roommate! I always had a room to myself at Sugar Cube Corner. That's where I stayed before here. I liked it there, but I thought it would be fun to stay somewhere else for a while! You must be new in town, that's why you're at the Inn, hi! My name's Pinkie Pie, what's your..." Pinkie Pie cut herself off with a massive gasp. "It's you!!! You’re that moon pony who was really good at guessing games! And the one who tried to be all evil and do the eternal night thing but you didn’t because we made you happier and your sister and you were happy again!
Luna sighed once more, not entirely sure what this pony just said. She was starting to think that leaving the castle may have been terrible idea in the first place. "Oh my gosh! This calls for a party!" Luna watched as the pink pony bounced hyperly. She quickly closed the door behind her.
"Whew... Finally, some peace and quiet." Luna laid her suitcase on her bed. Luna pulled out another of her many identical shawls and put it on, thinking maybe it would make her less noticeable. Suddenly, the door burst open.
"I forgot my..." Pinkie Pie started. "WHOAH! Who are you? Where’d Luna go!? ... Ahahahaha, just kidding! Nice shawl though!" She reached into the closet and pulled out a Bassoon, then left again.
Luna unpacked her suitcase and sat on her bed, thinking. She really wished she had a book to read, but she was afraid if she went outside at all she would be instantly assaulted by another insane pony.
She ran over and looked out the window. The sun was setting soon, so most of the ponies were heading in side. Luna formulated a plan to sneak to the library and get some books to read. Odds were the purple unicorn would be there, but she could brush her off pretty easily.
Luna put on another shawl, this one was just solid black. She snuck down the stairs and out the door of the Inn. She tried to blend in with crowds as she made her way to the library. Finally, she arrived.
Before entering, she took a few moments to examine the library. It was built in a tree, which was rather odd. However, something else caught her eyes. On the very top, there was a telescope. This was the first telescope Luna had noticed since she left Canterlot. A device invented for the sole purpose of appreciating her work. It was hard for this to not bring a smile to her face.
She opened the door slowly and crept inside. To her surprise, the lights were off. She felt around for a light switch, when suddenly the lights all came on.
"SURPRISE!" Six ponies shouted.
"I threw you a party! Just like I said! But since you're a princess and stuff I only invited your good friends!" Pinkie said happily.
Luna wasn't sure how to react to this. These six ponies had single hoofedly stopped Nightmare Moon, for better or for worst. Luna wasn't sure if these six saved her or destroyed her.
“We wanted to make sure you felt nice and welcome here in Ponyville, so Pinkie threw you a little party.” Twilight explained, smiling.
“An’ don’t sorry, sugercube, yer secrets safe with us.” Applejack added.
“LET’S PARTY!” Pinkie shouted as she put on a record. The music began to play, and Luna stood completely still in the middle of the library. She wasn’t one for parties. Even before her banishment, she had usually let Celestia handle most of the social gatherings.
Pinkie Pie jumped in front of her, startling her. “Come on!” She shouted encouragingly. “Dance!”
“I... I don’t dance, sorry.”
“Oh come on, it’s easy! Like this!” Pinkie Pie raised her left hooves and pointed out to the left with them. Luna stared at her for several moments before realizing that she was supposed to do the same. She sighed and raised her right hooves, as to mirror Pinkie Pie. “Okay, then you do this!” She brought her hooves down, and as soon as they made contact with her right hooves, she raised her right hooves.
Luna had seen this before somewhere. It was like those clacker balls where you lifted one ball and dropped it, and every time the ball came down the ball on the other side would go up. It simple physics converted into a dance. Luna followed, bringing her right hooves down and her left hooves up.
The two continued mirroring each other, and before long, despite all odds, Luna was dancing. “Hey, you’re good at this!” Pinkie complimented. Pinkie went to get some punch, but Luna continued to dance for a short while longer.
After a while, Luna decided she needed to take a break from the festivities, and snuck up to the perch she’d noticed at the top of the library. She peaked through the telescope. It was pointed at Orion. Luna smiled, she remembered making Orion like it was yesterday.
"Orion's one of my favorites." Twilight Sparkle had snuck up the stairs behind her.
Luna turned to face Twilight, something resembling a smile still plastered across her face. "I... Mine too. I remember when I first made Orion. I was young, a little filly. Celestia still raised the moon at night. But back then, the night was nothing more than the moon, and a black sky... I decided to decorate the sky... Orion was my first creation."
"You did a beautiful job." Twilight complimented. "The night sky, it's so beautiful. It's one of my favorite things to study." Twilight looked up at the star painted night sky. "Other than friendship. I'm glad Celestia sent you here. I'm sure you'll love it."
"Yeah... I'm sure I will..." Luna was quite clearly unsure.
Twilight turned to Luna. "Don't worry, I was skeptical at first too, but in the end I'm so glad I have the friends I do today."
Luna didn't respond after that. She just smiled, and Twilight smiled back. They sat on the perch and watched the night sky for several hours in silence. Finally, as the party started to die out down below, Luna said goodbye to Twilight and left the Library, heading back to the Inn.
When Luna got back, she found that Pinkie Pie was already sound asleep. What a relief. She quietly snuck into her bed, pulling the covers over her head. She smiled, realizing that maybe this is where she belonged. Here in Ponyville, with Twilight Sparkle.
“Hey!” Pinkie Pie whispered loudly. “Did you have fun?”
Luna was slightly impressed by the Pink Earth Pony’s ability to fake being asleep. She pulled the cover down from her face. “... Yes, I did.”
“Good!” The Pink Pony shouted, not even trying to whisper. She gave Luna an ear to ear smile. “Goodnight!”
“Goodnight.” She pulled the covers back over her head and slowly drifted to sleep.
That night, an excited Twilight Sparkle wrote a message to Princess Celestia herself. It read:
Dear Princess Celestia,
It's so amazing that you sent your sister Luna here to learn about friendship too! She's shy right now, but I'm sure she'll open up pretty quickly, just like me. Oh, this will be so much fun!
I'm considering asking her if she wants to sleep in the spare bedroom at the library. The Inn is a bit crowded for her I think, and I'm sure she would be more comfortable in a quieter place like the library.
I'm honored that you would trust me with a task such as teaching your sister! Her secret is safe with us, since us six are the only ponies in Ponyville who would really be able to recognize her.
Always your faithful student,
She had Spike send the letter the next morning. She didn’t tell him what it said, and he figured it was better not to ask.
Princess Celestia was understandably confused when she got the letter from her star pupil. She had recently found her sister's note saying she was leaving, and now she's received a letter from Twilight saying that she was there in Ponyville studying friendship with her.
Celestia wasn't sure what to do. Of course she wanted her sister back, of course she felt bad about driving her away like she did. Though, at the same time, she felt that a good lesson in friendship may be exactly what Princess Luna needed. Finally, she wrote back to Twilight.
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I am so glad you and Luna are getting along. I was worried she would try to alienate herself, like you did. I'm convinced that you and your friends are exactly what Luna needs right now.
She hasn't really been herself since she's returned from the moon. She's been isolating herself from everypony, and has overall just seemed depressed. I'm counting on you to help her, since you're the only one who can.
- Princess Celestia
Celestia now wished that she'd thought to send Luna to study friendship in the first place. Now that she thought about it, she realized it would have done her a lot of good. However, Luna leading herself to this revelation worked just as well.
Back at the library, Twilight was sitting at her telescope, studying Orion once more. It seemed more beautiful more now than ever before. Orion, the very first constellation. Twilight liked Luna, and she felt like she could learn a lot from her as well.
Also Luna, whether she would admit it or not, felt the same way about Twilight...