Let the Old God Lie
Written by: Clarity, CmdrBrony, Ebrona, Lexie Sapphire, Polecat and Serge
Luna stared up at the moon; her moon, although since she'd been trapped in it she was having mixed feelings about that. Nonetheless, its diffuse luminescence always calmed her, stilling the troubled depths of her soul. Her sister's sun was beautiful, to be sure, and gave life to every growing thing in Equestria, but it always seemed so harsh to Luna's eyes, throwing everything into stark relief. Her night was a subtle blend of shades in which a pony could easily lose herself, wandering the myriad corridors of thought.
She sighed wistfully and nosed the window shut. Luna had been trying to adjust her sleeping patterns to everypony else's, but try as she might she was an incurable night-owl. She had enough difficulty making friends due to her natural shyness, and being asleep when everypony else was up and about didn't help.
As she settled into her bed, knowing full well that she wouldn't sleep and would likely end up reading until dawn, Luna idly fantasised about a dashing young stallion arriving in her chambers under mysterious circumstances and sweeping her off her hooves on an epic journey of adventure...
… and that's when she first heard the noise.
It started off very quietly, but gradually faded into existence, growing stronger with each pulse - and pulse it did, as though the noise had to stop to draw breath, sliding back and forth across one's ears. The noise wasn't cacophonous per se, but neither was it pleasant to listen to, and as it got louder and louder Luna became convinced that it could not be anything natural.
Spooked by the noise she leaped from her bed - straight into a wall that had not been there before. Recovering, Luna backed away from the blue ... thing, realising that it had to be the source of the noise: as the unearthly sound waxed and waned in and out of existence, so did the big blue box, until eventually the box stopped fading altogether - and so did the noise.
The silence of night-time returned: but instead of acting like Luna's safety-blanket, it smothered her, making her cower in fear of what this big blue wooden box could be. It appeared to have a door in it (was it a cupboard of some kind?), and over this door was a black plate with what was evidently some kind of lettering, although it was of no language that Luna had ever seen.
The door sprang open - Luna reared in shock, but was soon brought back to her senses when she saw that, standing there in the doorway, was a surprisingly normal-looking pony: a brown colt, of all things, wearing a rather snazzy-looking suit.
"Princess Luna," said the stranger urgently, approaching her with an intense expression on his face, "we haven't much time. You are in grave danger, and you need to come with me now."
"Who ... who are you?" asked Luna, trembling at the strangeness of the situation.
"Oh, me?" The brown pony smiled roguishly and looked at Luna with a glittering eye. "I'm the Doctor."
Luna looked warily at the newcomer for a moment. Where were the guards? Where was her sister? Where was anypony other than this strange pony with the even odder name?
"The ... Doctor?" she asked carefully.
"Well yes, yes of course. You were expecting maybe something fancier?" he asked as he spun a slow circle, as if watching for... something. Or maybe he was just hyperactive? He nudged at the bow-tie with a hoof and looked crossly at it. “Right, hooves. Still have to figure that one out. I'd suggest we start moving then Princess, not much time, much to do ..."
"Um ... I really think we should ... Uh ... guards?"
"Oh no, that would be a bad idea. Yes, very bad." The Doctor blinked when Luna looked at him with fearful eyes. "What are you...? OH! No, not for that reason. You see they aren't your guards anymore, not as such. Come along Princess, time is short ..."
Any further conversation was interrupted by the door slamming open.
"Correction, time is up. RUN!"
"Run?!? Where??" The alicorn asked, trying to see what just burst in the door, but in the gloom of the darkened room, the invaders were nothing more then indistinct shapes against the gloom.
"My ... the Tardis! The blue ... box thingy!"
"Isn't that a trifle small?" Luna asked, but was all but pushed in that direction by the odd brown pony. Or was until the shadow... things suddenly rushed to get between them and the odd box.
"Or ... maybe not. You know this palace, don't you Princess?" the Doctor asked, backing up a few steps.
"Well, not as well as I'd like. It HAS been over a thousand years since ..."
"Then pick a direction, any one at all, and start running." The Doctor stated, before jumping between her and the shadowy figures with some odd glowing thing in his mouth. Whatever the shrieking sound was coming from it, it was enough to burst the frozen moment of fear for the Princess, sending her hurtling through a doorway. She heard hooves on her tail, but dared not look back, those shadowy forms ... they looked so familiar. But why? The hooves sounded closer and panic started to creep through her, Luna's head lowering as she burst through one door, then another, a turn... sliding and almost knocking over that vase Celestia loved so much ... down the hall, another door, some stairs, and another door....
"I think *pant* we can stop now ..." the Doctor noted, causing Luna to gasp and look at him with wide eyes. "So ... where are we now?" he asked, moving quickly to push a heavy table in front of the door they just entered from.
"I ... don't know." Luna answered truthfully, her horn causing a dim light about the dusty mid-sized room, "I don't recall ever having been here before."
"Well then, let's see what's here!"
The Doctor had wasted no time starting to dig through dusty piles of what literally was junk. At least to Luna they certainly seemed like junk. Some empty boxes, a children's book that had been colored way out of the lines, some silly souvenirs from somepony's stay in Fillydelphia, Baltimare, and Detrot and a few other cities Luna didn't bother to note. And yet the Doctor seemed to be digging through such things with relish, pausing to inspect each one, then tossing it blithely over a shoulder when he was finished inspecting it.
"Doctor, are you sure this is the best way to be spending our time with those ... whatever-they-are-s after us?" Luna demanded, her patience beginning to wear thin with this strange colt.
"Do you see any other exits?" the colt asked, smiling at her over a cheesy looking snowglobe. Luna blinked, she hadn't taken stock of the room properly, only that she didn't recognize it. But looking around she realized that there was only one door and that the windows were far too small for a possible escape either.
"I ... I lead us into a trap?" Luna squeaked.
"No. You lead us to a storehouse of ... something." the Doctor noted, tossing the snowglobe aside, "I've learned long ago to trust other ponies’ instincts. Your instinct led us here. Why? For what purpose? Is there a clue here? A weapon? A way out we haven't found yet? We won't know until we look."
"You're not making sense Doctor. I lead us here in a blink panic. Heck, I thought I was alone and you'd stayed to confront them." Luna argued back, raising her voice a little more then expected. The Doctor simply trotted over and placed one hoof on her shoulder.
"I know this is hard." he said in a soft voice, his eyes meeting hers directly. She couldn't remember the last time somepony other then Celestia had done that, "But you have to believe me, if they get you, it could mean the end of everything you know. You and your sister control the very nature of this world, living deities. This is important, and we have to work together if we're going to stop this threat."
"THAT ... is a very good question." the Doctor noted as he strode away and picked up another piece of junk, then discarded it before resuming, "I've never heard of this thing before. It's like ... like a shadow suddenly sprung to life and began corrupting ponies. Possessing them, turning them into a sort of hive mind that acts and moves with a singular purpose. That's why I came to you."
"Why me? Why not Celestia?" Luna asked carefully, already fearing the answer she suspected.
"Because she was the first one this entity possessed."
Luna took a step back, her eyes widened as the brown colt's words slowly sunk into her mind. Blinking she shook her head. "What do you mean ... possessed? My sister?! That cannot be true! Who could possibly have such power? And why? For what purpose?"
The pony calling himself a Doctor had in the meantime picked up another trinket - a tiara, just small enough to fit a foal. It was made of a strange black metal, adorned with small pearls and a tiny silvery crescent and tiny golden disk were engraved on it. His eyes narrowed as he examined it closely for a few moments, then put it back down on the floor that was covered with dust except for the hoof prints he and the Princess had left behind. He crouched down so lowly that his chest almost touched the floor, his eyes moving over every detail of the tiara.
"Doctor? Are you even listening?!" He suddenly heard the angry voice of Princess Luna behind him. She reared and her hooves hit the floor hard a moment later, her nostrils flaring.
He didn't even startle but slowly picked the tiara up once more with his mouth and turned around. Luna's irate eyes rested on him as he moved a bit closer and carefully placed the trinket on the surprised Princess' head.
"What the hay ...?" Luna mumbled, not able to get any sense out of this strange pony. She barely felt the weight of the tiara resting a bit crooked on her head. She looked back at the Doctor who was standing right before her, his eyes fixed on the tiara, a soft smile on his face as if he expected something wondrous and magical to happen any moment. Luna thought she could hear her heart beating - there was utter silence as if the entire room, no, the entire castle, was covered in a blanket of tranquility.
But nothing happened. The Doctor's smile slowly faded and his expression changed into one of concern. "It doesn't fit! Not the way it ought to at least!" he proclaimed, leaving Luna dumbstruck for a moment.
"What do you mean it doesn't fit? This is ..." she said in a puffed up voice "... this is just a piece of jewelry for a foal. You are telling me that somepony - or something - is possessing other ponies, even my sister! There are - whatever they are - about in the castle chasing us ... and all you can do is rummage through junk and put that old thing on my head!" Luna shook her head and mane angrily, sending the tiara flying and it landed on the stony floor with a ringing sound.
"But why have you lead us down here to find it then?" the Doctor asked with a stern face before slowly trotting over to the tiara and picking it up again.
"I told you that …!" she reared once more, her hooves slamming hard onto the floor in utter frustration. "I told you that I didn't know where we are headed!"
Luna's eyes widened. Only now it had come to her mind how loud she had been, the echo of her voice had barely faded. She fell silent, her eyes darting from wall to wall as if fearing they might come to life any moment. Her ears pricked up! But no sounds could be heard coming from outside the room. She sighed in relieve.
"This has to be important. A strange aura is emitting from it, can't you feel it? Quite astounding!" The Doctor said while he balanced the tiara carefully on the tip of his muzzle, his eyes squinted to look at it properly once more. "There is writing here too ... very thin, barely visible." Luna moved slowly closer, careful not to make another loud sound.
The Doctor squinted, leaning closer to the Princess as he attempted to read the worn writing on the tiny tiara.
"Through trouble unseen ..." He said, pausing, "... will rise a Queen"
Luna looked into his eyes for a moment, inquisitively, intrigued by this new development. "What is it supposed to mean?" She asked.
"I ... I'm not sure ...", said the Doctor, still leaning forward to examine the small tiara once more. He lost his balance, however, and fell right on top of Princess Luna - and both now fell, off-balance, onto the giant, ornate rug on the floor with a loud wooden thud.
"Ugh!" the Princess exclaimed for just a moment, but the Doctor realized something, not getting up just yet. "... Loud wooden thud ... Loud wooden thud ... What's off about this ..."
"Would you please get off of me?" Luna requested, with a slight hint of annoyance in her voice. But the Doctor didn't move, repeating those words to himself.
"Loud ... wooden ... thud." He said once more, and then, "... Wooden ... Wood." His eyes widened, unsure why in the world, or why in Equestria now, he didn't realize it sooner!
"Could you - Please - stop mumbling and get off of me?" She sighed. But this time, he complied, helping her up, explaining himself to her "Princess Luna, quick! I've found it!"
His explanation didn't seem to be of any use to her. "You've found... what?" She asked, as she stood up on her own, ignoring his offer for assistance.
"Well, I knew something sounded off when we landed. There was a sound," He continued, "A ... A 'loud wooden clunk' of sorts, as we hit the ground"
"... So?" She asked, in a "no, really?" sort of tone.
"The entire rest of this room is stone! Look underneath the rug -" he lifted it up as he spoke, pointing to the spot they landed, "A trap door! It must be our way out!"
Luna sat up, rubbing her back with a hoof, having taken quite a bruise after landing on it with the colt's weight on top of her.
"You could be right! I hope you are!" she said with renewed vigor. She stooped down and picked up a corner of the rug with her mouth, trying to get it off the supposed trap door, giving it a good tug. Off went a cloud of dust, settling itself on her head and all the crates and chests and piles of junk and trinkets in the vicinity. She let go of the rug in surprise and started to sneeze several times. The sneezes were not very graceful and ladylike though - but loud and noisy, making them echo off the walls.
With an amused grin on his face the Doctor trotted closer. "Hold on, let me help you." he smirked while a deep blush was on the Princess' face. "I'm so sorry, excuse me ..." she mumbled while the colt didn't repeat her mistake and instead rolled the carpet slowly up with his forelegs, revealing a perfectly square trap door made of solid wood. A sturdy metal ring was embed into one of the wooden boards. With a loud creak the Doctor swung the trap door open without waiting another moment. Moldy air came blowing into his face from the darkness below.
"Look, there's even a ladder ... but it's quite steep, so you better be careful!" he said while looking at Luna, earning him a scoffed glance. "I do have wings, you know." she spread her dark blue wings and flapped them a few times, making more dust go off into all directions. "Oh my ..." she gasped with another blush on her face.
"I know you do." The Doctor rolled his eyes and held his breath not to breathe in any of the dust before he turned around and rump first started to carefully climb down the ladder. He took each step with much care, the wooden ladder creaking suspiciously under his weight. After barely fifteen feet he had reached the ground. Squinting his eyes he looked around, trying to pierce the darkness with his gaze but to no avail.
"It's not too deep but very dark ... do you see a lantern or torch up there? Something has to light that room after all!" he called up to Luna whose head he could barely make out above him as she was peeking down the trap door.
"And don't forget about the tiara! .... Ouch!!" he nickered in surprise as something small and hard landed on his head and from there bounced off and hit the stony floor, rolling a few inches away into the darkness. "Sorry ... " he heard the Princess' voice above him.
"Please be more careful!" he said with an unnerved undertone in his voice. "So ... do you see any means of ..." his eyes widened, a cold shower rushing down his spine "Oh no! They are here! Run Princess, hurry!"
The light in the storage room had changed! A dismal gloom started to fill the room above and he heard whispers, fell voices that got louder with each moment that passed. "Hurry!" he called once more, desperately. Then suddenly there was a loud bang from above and the Doctor was in complete darkness.
The colt turned on his spot, his eyes traveling around nervously. Try as he may he couldn't see a thing nor hear the slightest sound. Had he not felt the strong beating of his heart he might have thought he had died. He didn't dare to say a word nor to move away from the spot he was standing on. He looked up but there was nothing but darkness - something or somepony must have closed the trapdoor.
"Oh no ... please be safe Luna ..." he thought. In his mind he envisioned the shadowy figures they had fled before overwhelming the Princess, forcing their dark will into her mind; the same fate that had befallen Celestia.
Moments passed - or were it minutes - or even hours? Still he stood there in complete silence, trying to focus, trying not to think of the Princess. Who would he turn to now? Who would be able to prevent the disaster that would befall this world. His thoughts raced; again they returned to Luna and a single tear rolled down his cheek. If only he could have saved her.
Suddenly there was a yell and a blinding light! The colt reared and fell backwards, bumping hard against the ladder. Even with his eyes tightly closed he saw the burning light through his eyelids. Then it was gone, as quickly as it had appeared.
"Doctor! Are you alright?" he heard Luna's soft voice and felt her gentle tug on his suit. He dared to open his eyes and there she was, standing safe and sound before him. He struggled back up to his hooves, shaking his head.
"Princess, you're alright?!" The Princess smiled and only now did he notice that her horn was glowing, emitting a bluish light that illuminated the surroundings.
"Of course I am." she said with a soft smile before stooping down to pick up the tiara that had rolled into a corner of the long corridor. Because that was, as they both now saw, what they were in - a long, straight corridor, starting at the ladder and leading into the darkness beyond. The corridor's walls, floor and ceiling were made out of big, crude stone blocks and it was just big enough for two ponies to walk abreast. As he looked upon the floor the Doctor noticed that there was little no dust down here at all compared to the storage room.
"I wonder where this corridor leads ..." the Princess said.
"I wonder how you're still ... yourself." replied the brown colt but he Princess just smirked.
"Oh, quite simple in fact: teleportation. When I felt these ... things ... approach I quickly shut the trap door and pushed the rug back over it; then teleported down here ... or at least I tried to. As you know it is enough for a unicorn to see the location he or she wants to teleport to - but in this case I didn't because it was dark. It took me quite some time to find my way through the limbo to get to you."
The Doctor looked at her with a confused expression on his face. "Uh ... no, I didn't. But now I do, thank you kindly. At any rate we should find out where this corridor leads to - before our pursuers find the trap door."
The pair trotted through the long and abandoned halls mostly in silence. The Doctor habitually took the lead, with Luna following closely behind at his flank. Both could only watch as the architecture got steadily more and more ancient.
"Something seems ... off." Luna noted softly.
"Like what?" The Doctor prodded as he continued to trot.
"These halls ... they're ancient. But ... They're so clean."
"Yes, that's precisely what I was thinking. Well not precisely, we are different ponies and all, but you're on the right ..." the Doctor rambled.
"Also, where's the light coming from? I keep trying to see but ... Then there's that weird feeling. It's ... it's like magic but different. I can't put my hoof on it."
"I'd say we're about to find out." the Doctor noted, pointing his head towards a massive arch to the side of the hallway. It was easily 20 times the size of either pony. The pair slowly moved through it, and entered a room that stopped Luna in her tracks. It was MASSIVE, at least 40 stories tall and easily as wide around. It was like some sort of underground dome, expertly carved and smoothed out of rock itself.
But the most astonishing thing resided in the middle. Taking up easily half the massive room itself were what looked to be a pair of ponies. Both were alicorns, like Luna and Celestia, but they had their differences despite strong resemblances to the sisters. One was a stallion with a blazing white pelt and a full rainbow for his mane. The other was a dark mare, who looked uncomfortably close to Nightmare Moon for Luna's tastes. The positioning of the two statues made it seem like they were captured in the middle of some sort of lethal combat, horns brandished against each other, and wings flared for stability.
"The power from this ..." The Doctor wondered, as he trotted closer. Luna had to try and keep up, her eyes continually drawn to the dark mare, the resemblance to who she was worrying at her. The Doctor, for his part, was staring at the pair, trotting forward until ...
"Oof!" he let out, as he ran into ... nothing? The Doctor put a hoof on it as if to confirm it's presence, "A force field. I wonder for what reason. Is it to keep us out?"
"Here lie King Auron and Queen Nightmare." came Luna's voice, and the Doctor glanced over, noticing she had found a plaque of some sort and was reading from it, "In their love, they created Equestria. From their blood, they created Ponykind. From their tryst, they begot two daughters. And in their anger, they created chaos and evil. May they stand in eternal conflict, for should one claim victory, Equestria would cease to be."
"The Canterlot bureau of history asks that you not lean on the force field." The Doctor jumped back at the last part, pulling his hoof off the field as he looked at the pair inside the force bubble.
"Interesting." he mused.
"What is it Doctor? I mean, they're just statues ... right?" Luna asked uncertainly.
"No." the colt stated softly, "They're not. They ARE the King and Queen of Equestria ... locked in combat so subtle we can't see it with our eyes."
Luna blinked, and looked at the dark mare again, and swore the eye was staring back at her. She shuddered.
“So are they actually… my parents?” Luna circled the room slowly, refusing to take her eyes off the two battling entities.
“It’s quite possible, though historians do tend to enjoy their metaphors.” The Doctor said distractedly as he studied the plaque, searching for some clue that would provide insight into their situation. “If you led us here then their battle must be affecting all of Equestria. This force field isn’t here to keep us out, it’s to keep them in!”
Luna stopped in her tracks, stunned. “That’s impossible, my sister and I would have known about something like that!”
“Oh there are many things in Equestria you are not aware of, Princess. Not the least of which was me. Now, we need -“ The Doctor stopped mid-sentence as his ear perked up. “Hoof beats! You pick your guards well, Princess.”
The empty room left Luna and the Doctor very few options other than to stand and wait as suddenly the doors flew open. The shadowy figures that had once been her guards walked in - but they weren’t the only ones. A moment later a menacing figure followed, whom Luna barely recognized as her sister.
Her coat that once was shimmering white had now the color of burned grass. Her mane too was eerily dark, but had a fiery red penumbra surrounding it, like a solar eclipse. The light radiating from her hurt Luna’s eyes. Dark shades were lingering around her.
“Well isn’t this a lovely family reunion,” muttered the Doctor as he frantically started reading over the plaque again.
“What are you doing?!?” whispered Luna.
“I’ve no idea,” he replied, “buy me some time would you?”
Luna nodded weakly and turned toward her sister again. She had a bad feeling about this.
“Big sister! So good to see you, and such a lovely shade of dusk too.” Luna put on her best nervous smile. As far as she could tell the dark form that was once her sister did not look amused. More shadow wreathed guards rushed into the room until they lined the walls facing inward, had there been an unseen escape route before, there was none now. Celestia strode toward Luna, her visage so menacing that the notion of stalling her seemed as far away as the moon itself. Before Celestia could reach her, however, Luna felt a powerful tug on her tail that made her jump in fright.
“Good job, stalling her, Princess, but it’s time to go!” The Doctor said with a wink.
“And where exactly are you intending to take us?” said Luna, not daring to take her eyes off of Celestia, who was nearly upon them.
“Oh, I thought we’d get a better look at the exhibit.” The Doctor produced a strange metal tube that seemed to glow on one end and pointed it towards the embattled kind and Queen. As far as Luna could tell, nothing was happening.
“That should do it, in we go!” The Doctor unceremoniously shoved Luna towards the exhibit, but instead of hitting the force field, she tripped and landed face first mere feet from the pedestal. The Doctor walked in after her, turned around, and gave the force field a solid tap. It seemed to be in place once again, only with the two of them inside now.
For a moment, the only thing Luna could focus on were the waves of energy coming from the two gigantic ponies locked in combat. The sheer power was staggering, almost mind-numbing.
"Well, that went better then expected." the Doctor noted, seemingly unaffected by it as he looked over at the two, "Maybe too well. No ... no that was too easy." he stated, his expression darkening.
"At least you're quick on the uptake." Negalestia commented from outside the field, looking in at the pair. If anything she seemed HAPPY with the results? But the mare turned her eyes to her younger sister, "After all, Mother wanted to have a "chat" with you dear Luna."
The Doctor turned to look at the "display" ponies. Luna trembled as she too looked, her eye unerringly falling the visage of the Queen, so much like Nightmare Moon, yet infinitely darker. She swore the eye of the mare was still following her, as tho watching her ...
Then the eye blinked.
“No! This can’t be,” said Luna. The urge to run was overpowering. Before the Queen had even finished turning toward her she had already backed all the way up to the force field.
“What’s wrong Luna? Aren’t you happy to see me after all these years?” she said smoothly, stepping down from her pedestal. As she did her mane seemed to fall oddly, as if time were still catching up to it.
“I don’t… remember… you look like - like I did when,” Luna couldn’t form a complete sentence. Her mind was racing as memories began rushing back to her. Memories of dark times even before she became Nightmare Moon. She glanced over at the large stallion with the rainbow-colored mane. He still wasn’t moving.
“Oh you don’t need to worry about him daughter,” said the Queen. For some reason the words cut Luna like a knife, “I’ve made sure that he’s going to stay right where he is, thanks to a little help from your sister,” the Queen looked over at Negalestia and smiled knowingly. She smiled back.
“What … what do you want?” Luna squeaked. The thought of defending herself was out of the question. In the presence of such immense magical power as this she felt completely helpless.
“I just want to talk,” laughed the Queen. Her face suddenly turned serious, “we have so much catching up to do after all.”
"Yes well, I'm sure you do. Mother daughter bonding and all that." the Doctor interjected, causing Luna to start and the massive looming figure of the Queen to look at him irritably.
"But I've been a little curious, why would you NEED Luna?" the Doctor plowed on, heedless of the Queen, "You have her elder sister, Celestia, in thrall ... assuming she's even still alive inside your shell of shadows, and you went out of your way to trick the King into a stasis field ... quite clever by the way. I'm impressed."
"I hardly feel the need to impress you foal." the Queen hissed, her voice sounding dangerous.
"But that still leaves a question. Why would you need the other Princess? There's only one answer I can think of." and the colt smiled, "You can't open the force field from inside without her. You tried to force Celestia to do it, and she resisted, perhaps to her dying breath. So now you need another Princess to open it." he stated, leaning casually against a foot of the motionless king.
"You talk too much." the Queen hissed, and a beam lanced out from her horn, pure darkness given shape. Luna's breath caught as she could only imagine what it would do the Doctor as the beam exploded on impact.
"Funny thing about stasis spells." came the colt's voice from inside the cloud, "They require the victim to stay absolutely still. If he moves even a millimeter, then it's useless." Both Queen Nightmare and Luna looked on in surprise as they heard a crumbling, then a crackling sound, as the figure of the stallion began to list to one side. The smoke was clearing and the Doctor was standing triumphantly by the pedestal, where the Queen's beam had crushed the marble beneath one of King Auron's hooves.
All at once the room was filled with a new sound, and from the King's horn exploded a light that seemed so harsh it was physical. Shadows in the room boiled away, leaving passed out guardsman lying on the floor. The shadow engulfing Celestia tried to uproot, only pulling partway away from her like a parody of a parachute.
"RUN!!" the Doctor ordered Luna, and butted her from behind, the pair hurtling back through the narrow opening in the force field the Doctor had opened for them. They hurtled through the room as the Queen was forced to confront the King once again, and the field slowly closed behind them.
Celestia momentarily could see the pair, her form trembling as she looked upon the two, recognizing Luna for a brief moment as her younger sister paused to stare back.
"No ... Luna ... RUN!!" she cried with what little strength she could muster, before the shadow enveloped her again.
The pair dashed towards the other end of the dome as quickly as their hooves carried them, the sounds of their clip clopping horseshoes silenced by the turmoil behind them. They heard the sound of stone bursting, the crackling of magic discharging, arcane power so strong it made their coats’ hair stand on end. Then there was a blast and a gust of wind so strong it sent both of them tumbling onto the floor.
The two ponies staggered back onto their hooves. Slowly they started to walk again, their legs weak and trembling. They saw shadows once more rising from the ground, slowly engulfing the unconscious guard ponies and slowly they rose. But instead of taking their positions again they hurried towards Negalestia as fast as they may, rallying around her.
A few more paces and they had reached the wall opposite of the arched entrance through which they entered the dome earlier. A thunderous roar filled the room, piercing the momentous silence. A sound of utmost pain and joy and rage and lust, a cacophony that filled the room like a roaring storm. Both ponies cowered against the wall and pressed their hooves against their ears, trying with little success to silence the horrible noise. Luna gave a silent scream, feeling the sounds tear at the very fabric of her sanity. Something hit the wall right next to them hard, made impact so fiercely debris was raining down onto them - when suddenly there was silence.
As they dared to look up the scene had changed. The two equine deities stood silent once more, both in a rearing position, legs and necks locked in combat, the expressions on their faces showing their everlasting fury. The ground around the two humongous ponies had upheaved through the sheer force of their steps. Stones were cracked or turned to dust, hoof prints so big a pony could hide in them were around the divine pair. The Doctor examined the Queen silently and for a moment he had the feeling as if one of her eyes was fixed on him and blinked. Or was his mind playing tricks on him?
Luna noticed a big hole in the wall next to them. Curiously she moved a bit closer; examining it she noticed a blackish substance of a kind she had never seen before - as if it were solid and liquid at the same time. The colour and shimmer reminded her of the Queen’s coat and as she looked upon her mother - now trapped in her subtle battle with the King once more and additionally sealed behind the force field with him - she noticed that a small but clearly visible part of her tail tip was missing. Luna raised a hoof to give the substance a good poke only to be stopped by the Doctor.
“I think that’s not a good idea, Princess … better leave it where it is.” Luna looked at the Doctor, then at her mother and nodded with a sigh.
"What now then? I don't see any escape route here!" Luna scratched her chin with a hoof as she forced her thoughts away from the equine Creators.
"Well, I guess we better think of something quickly." The Doctor gave a grim nod towards the shadowy figures on the far end of the dome that started to slowly pace around the presumed force field. The big, menacing shade they knew to be Negalestia did not move.
"Sister ... join me ..."
The Doctor looked around the dome, his eyes travelling over the perfectly shaped stones, searching for something he didn't know of himself; a hidden door, a concealed shaft, any kind of clue. Luna shook her head.
"Kill that foal ... and join my side! ... We were meant to rule together ... little sister ..."
"Get out of my head!" she said slowly but very loudly, making the Doctor look up.
"I beg your pardon?" he said, blinking curiously. Luna seemed in distress, she shivered, sweat pearls rolling down her brow. "Ah, I see ... telepathy ... very handy yet quite dangerous" he mumbled. He looked at the shadowy figures that started to rush towards them now, the room was big but it would only be seconds until they had reached them.
"Princess, I think your teleportation skills are the only means of getting us out of this pickle." the Doctor said calmly. Luna hesitated, then nodded.
"I ... I don't think it's a good idea ... she will be able to track us easily ... but we have no choice." Luna's horn started to shine brightly in a light bluish color, the light getting stronger and stronger. She closed her eyes and the next moment they were gone.
"You cannot escape ... silly foal ..."
Luna opened her eyes, she felt and saw the billowing gray of the limbo around her. She focused, trying to find her way, walk paths unseen - and walk them quickly. She looked behind her. There was the Doctor, his eyes closed as if asleep. He slowly followed her every move, a gentle and warm light glowing around his body that connected it to her own. She hated the limbo and the constant feeling to fall a pony had in it - for there was no ground - as she trotted on. Again her horn glowed as she cast a spell to enable her to pierce the wafting gray. There was nothing else there, just a dim, misty blanket that surrounded them - like fog, like a body of water, unmoving; no sound, no air, no scent. She smiled and her hooves moved quicker. Something appeared in the nothingness, a bright red glow in front of her, her horn guiding the way.
By sheer intuition she turned around once more to see whether the Doctor was still with her when suddenly she beheld a darkness behind them, approaching quickly. She felt a wave of despair flushing through her body, making her legs move even faster. The darkness following them picked up speed, catching up more and more. Luna needed no words of explanation, she knew it was her sister.
Just a few more paces! Several black tentacles formed out of the darkest core of their pursuer that and hurrying towards the two ponies. Luna jumped and so did the colt she dragged with her. The tentacles flew towards them, snatched at thin air as they missed their targets at the last moment and the two were gone.
Luna gave a scream as she landed on the soft, grassy ground. The Doctor came to a hold next to her, opening his eyes. Luna's heart was beating fast, the rush of fear still inside her. The colt smiled and helped her up to her feet. "Well done! Well done indeed. But where are we?"
Luna looked around. Surrounding them were well kept trees and bushes, trimmed into all sorts of interesting shapes. A short distance away a dozen benches surrounded a large superfluous fountain that burbled pleasantly as water poured over its edges. There were lanterns placed at regular intervals throughout the area as well, but they were all unlit. Luna remembered this place from when she was young.
“We’re in the arboretum,” she said.
“Oh lovely,” replied the Doctor, “and where’s that?”
“It’s near the edge of Canterlot. Quite a long way from the castle,” Luna added with a bit of pride, “I used to come here when I was little to watch the moon flowers bloom. So romantic.”
“Interesting. Did you ever bring anypony here with you?”
“Wha? Well, I might have - I mean… why do you ask?” asked Luna, blushing as a few select memories came to mind.
“Oh just curious,” said the Doctor nonchalantly, poking at a nearby plant, “Always curious….” Luna wasn’t sure how to respond to the strange Earth pony, so she changed the subject.
“The sun should be coming up soon. What do you think will happen with my sister the way she is?”
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see now won’t we?” said the Doctor, “In the meantime we need a plan. Next to needing you to escape the force field Queen Nightmare only has one major obstacle in her path to control Equestria. Now tell me, if you were your mother, how would you overthrow the King?”
“But they are both back in their motionless … eternal combat … thingy!” Luna said quickly, he eyes widening. “They are trapped for good!”
“They were trapped ‘for good’ before as well - but you are forgetting about your sister tipping the scales there once before already.” the Doctor replied calmly. “Which brings me back to my question.”
“Um … I’m not really comfortable answering that,” said Luna, blushing even more.
“Oh don’t be shy Princess! I’m sure you have some idea. Just give us a place to start and we can go from there.”
“Well …” Luna mumbled, “Celest - I mean the King, he gets his power from the sun, so I suppose… if I were to do something so horrible. So, unimaginably horrible as to try to overthrow her -“
“You mean him?”
“The King is male you know.”
“Oh … yes. I mean him. If I were to try to overthrow him, I might start by, possibly… make it so the night would … last forever?”
“Genius!” exclaimed the Doctor, “See? You’re a natural at this!”
Luna didn’t respond.
“…Well let’s get going!” he finally said.
“What are we doing?”
“Why, we’re making sure the sun doesn’t rise of course!”
“What?!?” yelled Luna, “No! That’s what we would do if we didn’t want the King to win!”
“You’re thinking too far ahead Princess! The King and Queen are trapped. You and your sister are free. One can only assume that she was able to be captured by the shadow due to her being in a weakened state as it is, so this is our best chance to stop her! At night, when your powers are at their peak!”
“No Doctor. I can’t do this. You don’t understand. I have … issues. Serious issues with this very situation. There’s no way I’ll be able to -“
“So doubtful Princess! Now you listen to me, you’ve got just as much potential as your sister. You need to rise up. Realize your calling! There’s not much time and everypony is counting on you. Don’t you understand? When you defeat your sister she cannot reawaken the Queen again. Be brave. Now where would one go to raise the sun?”
“There’s a monument nearby that Celestia always uses, but -“
“But if we get there first we can ambush her!” finished the Doctor, “Very clever Princess. You never fail to impress.” Luna sighed, giving up on trying to get out of the situation she had somehow gotten herself in to. It was only a matter of minutes before they had reached the familiar golden monument. She and the Doctor hunkered down behind a large statue and waited.
“You look nervous Princess. Is something wrong?” asked the Doctor suddenly.
“Oh. Nothing new,” Luna remarked, hyperventilating only a little, “It’s just that me and my sister have only seriously fought twice before, and I lost both times.”
There was suddenly a flash of unpleasant light as Negalestia teleported to the front of the monument, her black wings opening wide as she rose into the air.
“Well third time’s the charm! Now get out there!” said the Doctor, giving Luna a very unceremonious shove into view. Neglestia immediately spun around to face her.
“I knew you were nearby!” she hissed, “I could feel you. Pardon me for being late - but I had my mind … elsewhere for a tad.”
“I - I’ve come to stop you!” replied Luna. Celestia only laughed.
“You’re weak!” she yelled scornfully, “You’re pathetic! You’ve never been more than a nuisance! A filly who no one loves, always hiding in the shadows! You can’t stop me little sister! Burn along with the rest of this world!”
The first few morning rays shot over the horizon as Negalestia’s horn blazed with a fiery light. Luna’s horn began to glow as well, and although meager in comparison, it was all she needed.
“I’m not weak!” Luna yelled back, “It’s you who doesn’t understand!”
As the sun rose higher in the sky, the darkness of night began to disappear, but Luna continued to reach out to it. To call to the elegant darkness that she ruled over.
“I’m not weak!” Yelled Luna again, louder this time, “I’ve always been as strong as you!”
“Then why was it I who banished you sister? What makes you think you can save yourself now?!?”
The sun rose higher, going past its normal place and vaulting over a quarter of the way into the sky. All that saw it were momentarily blinded by the sudden light.
“Because I’m not you mother!” Luna bellowed, “I’m not Nightmare Moon! I’m the Princess of the night! I rule your kingdom now, and it is you who will be in my shadow!”
The shadows covering Celestia swirled violently and she screamed in rage. Her horn blazed even brighter and the sun shot up even more, reaching its peak in the sky, but something else also occurred, something never before seen in Equestria. As the sun rose up in the sky, so did the moon, flying up toward the scorching sun, darkness billowing behind it like a stormy cloud. It looked for a moment as if the two celestial bodies would collide, but by Luna’s grace they did not. The moon deftly slipped in front of the sun, blocking its blinding rays and swathing the land in an eerie twilight.
“What is this?” snarled Negalestia, her horn still blazing. Luna’s horn did the same.
“This is how things should be.” Replied Luna, “This is how things will be.”
“What do you mean?”
Luna could feel her sister attempting to move the sun out from behind her moon, but she wasn’t able to do it.
“What I mean is that neither of us was any more powerful than the other, our powers just came at different times. When we battled somepony always had the upper hand. Well now it’s both of our times sister, and for the first time in our lives, it’s a truly level battlefield.” Negalestia’s horn blazed one more time in an attempt to move the sun, but it did no good. Luna smirked as she floated back down to the ground.
“Fine sister,” she said, angrily stomping her hoof. The shadows that had seemed so dark before now looked almost normal in this strange light, “It looks like I’ll have to burn you to cinders as your equal.”
Luna lowered her head and smiled, “Bring it.”
“Fascinating!” observed the Doctor, who was working on a little something of his own from a safe distance away, “I wonder what will happened next?”
In the half light of the eclipse, all ponies looked up with wonder. Both sun and moon risen at once? What madness was this? The usual "The End is Neigh" ponies ran through the streets, but most stared with wonder at this completely unknown sight.
But above it all, just outside of Canterlot, two ponies were far from admiring their handiwork. One was the corrupted Celestia, who some had come to call Negalestia. The other, the former Nightmare Moon, Luna.
The battle was as wordless as it was fierce, two alicorns crashing through the sky, wings stirring whirlwinds with the ferocity of their use, hooves shredding the ground where they sought purchase, ringing crashes as horn met horn in deceptively subtle and skillful parries and thrusts. And through it all, a simple brown earth pony watched, almost as though he were enjoying the show.
Luna's form seemed to swell with the growing battle, slowly wrapping herself in the vestiges of the night sky. The form would be familiar to those who lived in Ponyville, since she was steadily looking more and more like Nightmare Moon. With each blow, she called more upon her own powers, and with each breath, she grew steadily more her sister's equal.
"That's enough ladies." Came the deceptively soft voice of the brown colt, the Doctor, into the fray. It's oddly gentle tone causing both Princesses to look at him, startled.
"If you absorb any more of your sister's shadow, it will overwhelm you Luna. But you've absorbed enough that Celestia should have regained some self control and be able to at least talk to us now." he noted with a smile.
"No!!" Luna thundered, "I HAVE to finish this fight!!"
"No, you don't. You don't want to become your mother, now do you?"
"I've done it before ..."
"Yes, I know, and I'm sorry." The near infinite sadness in his voice gave Luna pause, "I couldn't be there then to help you. Even I can't stop fate."
"I can." Came a new voice, and the three heads turned, focusing on the large newcomer onto the seen. Queen Nightmare was free!!
"Ah yes, the proverbial goddess." the Doctor answered.
"Now I will rule all this land, the Queen has returned!! ALL BOW TO YOUR GODDESS!!"
"What?!? You think you're above a god!?!" the Queen thundered as to Luna's shock, he just smiled casually.
"Ma'am. I've defeated many a God in the past. I'm a Time Lord, and doing the impossible is all in a day's work for me." he noted with a mischievous grin, and from the pocket of his coat he pulled the Sonic Screwdriver from before, and triggered it. "With all the energy transference going on between these two, I was able to get a lock on the frequency you're using to control the shadows enveloping them both. Which means I can do this." he smiled, as he twisted it slightly with his tongue ... and both Luna and Celestia let out a cry as the shadows that had been enveloping them boiled away to nothing, leaving the sister Princesses standing there in all their glory.
"Now then Queen. You were trapped by one sister. Can you handle them both at once?" The Doctor asked with a grin.
Queen Nightmare's eyes narrowed as she surveyed the ponies before her - her two daughters and the brown colt who dared to speak so haughtily to her. The muscles under her perfectly shimmering coat flexed as she flapped her gigantic wings. As she trotted closer, sparks were flying from her hooves with each step, the ground aching under her weight and divine aura. She lowered her head and brought it on eye level with the Doctor, the hot air of her breath blowing into his face, his eyes mirroring in hers. She jerked her head up and let out a laugh so loud and terrible the ponies in Ponyville stopped in their tracks, looking at the direction of the capital city in fear.
"Well, well, well ... so there are some of your kind left! Not all snuffed it when your precious planet was destroyed, were they?" She glared at the colt. "Oh yes, I know full well what you are. Time Lord indeed!”
The Queen spread her wings fully. They were so wide she easily doubled her size, the feathers shimmering in onyx-like blackness. She flapped them and her immense body lifted itself slowly into the air. The wind caused by her wings was so strong that young trees and bushes were bending and finally uprooted, flying feet high through the air before landing in heaps among the ponies who could barely keep themselves on their hooves, cowering not to fall victim to the storm. A cry of pain pierced the sound of the roaring storm.
Once the wind weakened the ponies looked up at the black alicorn. Luna's body - now resembling her mother's very much - was trembling. Celestia though seemed in pain, her body battered. One of the smaller trees had hit her, leaving deep bruises. The Princess could barely remain on her feet. Underneath her swirling shadows were forming once more and clung to her hooves, creeping upwards to surround her once more in dark umbrage. The Doctor did not fidget, idly looking at the Queen without any sign of fear.
"Luna, you need to talk to Celestia! Quick before she succumbs once more! You can defeat your mother but you have to combine your powers to do so!" He finally shouted as the Queen was already many feet above them.
She stopped in midair and darkness befell them. With maniac laughter the divine equine was floating above them. She opened her mouth and spoke fell words in an ancient tongue, so powerful that cold showers were rushing down the ponies’ backs. Both moon and sun grew dimmer and dimmer, dark shadows reached out across the land. In Ponyville and Canterlot and many other dwellings the ponies shouted in terror as the heavenly bodies had seemingly disappeared, plunging the land into darkness.
Luna groaned as she felt her power weakening instantly. She sunk onto her knees and Celestia next to her. Luna grimaced, she shook her head frantically.
"No, Luna, don't!" The Doctor shouted. "You have to fight against it!"
With a loud bang Celestia's body was flung into the air and landed hard among the uprooted trees. Luna slowly got up. As if in a dream she was slowly trotting towards her fallen sister, slightly swaying with each step as if she were a puppet on strings lead by an unseen hoof. Luna looked down upon her sibling. Without a sound a spear arose from the ground, bursting through the soil, rising higher and higher till it had fully emerged. The younger Princess grabbed the six feet tall, entirely black spear with her mouth and pointed the tip towards Celestia's chest. Gently the pointy end sunk into the remaining shadows and with each inch they grew thinner at that very spot, at last fully revealing the battered white coat of the elder Princess underneath, the rhythmic moves of her beating heart visible.
"Luna, do not listen to her! You must not do this!" The Doctor shouted once more, something like despair in his voice now.
The colt realized quite well that the Queen - just like Negalestia before - was communicating with Luna, poisoning her mind with lies and false promises. Celestia opened her lips slowly, her voice weak, almost like a whisper.
"My sister ... my dear ... little sister ..."
Luna grimaced and halted for a moment, tears filling her eyes. The Doctor turned and with two quick leaps he was at Luna's side. Carefully he lowered his neck, resting it carefully on the Princess'.
"I hope this works ..." he whispered before his mind fell into nothingness.
"Do it, Princess Moon! End her life and you will rule this world, my chosen." The cold, heartless voice of Queen Nightmare was ringing in his ears. As he opened his eyes he saw them, both, the Queen and her daughter, both the same size now, both now the spitting images of Nightmare Moon except for the Queen's coat shimmering in an even darker black.
"But ... she is my sister ..." Luna said slowly.
"So what if she is? She wouldn't have hesitated in your stead, would she? She banished you to the moon for a thousand years". The Queen said, choosing her words well.
"That was my ... my fault. I was ..." she mumbled but hesitated to go on.
"Were what? Angered that your fine sister alone was garnering the fruits of both your labours? Letting that filth ... these ponies ... cower before her and worship her while they shunned you?" The Queen slowly walked around her.
"Realize it, daughter, she would have killed you without hesitation. Do you know why she didn't?" she whispered into Luna's ear. The Princess gulped.
"Because I am her sister ... because she loves me." she said softly but deep inside dreaded her mother's reply. The Queen reared and let out a laugh so cold and deadly it smote Luna's heart.
"Because you are both connected. The one cannot be without the other. Had she killed you she would have lost control of both, sun and moon. So she simply imprisoned you - for good had things gone as she had planned. That's where all her love is, in power and control. Not in you." the Queen sneered.
"It is the same now with the roles switched. Kill her and this world would be in ruins. But ...!" she closed her eyes and whispered into her daughter's ear. "I am with you this time. I can give you the power to control sun and moon even when she is gone ... Kill her! Let her rot at her father's hooves! This world will be mi ... yours."
"That is quite enough." the Doctor finally said and moved slowly closer.
"Who are YOU to tell me anything you pathetic little colt?!?" The Queen roared at the distraction as the unassuming brown colt stepped forward.
"I'm sorry, I thought my previous introduction made that clear." he noted with a half smile on his face, "I'm the Doctor, and YOU just said something very important, very important indeed. You let slip some vital, some crucial bit of information that perhaps your daughters missed. But it's important that you notice EVERYTHING. Even the smallest clue can give away everything." he noted, but he wasn't looking at the Queen ... he was looking at Luna, past the infection of shadows, and into her eyes.
Luna sucked in a breath, and forced herself to think. A blink of an eye, barely a second, but the puzzle pieces started to line up, there had to be a pattern. The Doctor kept insisting that she wasn't doing ANYTHING without a reason. What was it?!? Right from the beginning he'd trusted her instincts, her thoughts, and even when she was guessing he said there was a reason.
Her mind sought back, working over the events, key moments standing out to her for some unknown reason, if she could only make them FIT!! Snippets of the past hours floating past her mind:
The Doctor reading an inscription on a child's tiara "Through trouble unseen, will rise a Queen.".
The plaque for the two massive ponies in the room, here lie king Auron and Queen Nightmare.
The Queen's first words to her, “What’s wrong Luna? Aren’t you happy to see me after all these years?”
The Doctor again "Funny thing about stasis spells ...".
Celestia's words when she was possessed "Join me."
The words the Queen just got done using against her, "Because you are both connected. The one cannot be without the other. Had she killed you she would have lost control of both, sun and moon."
Suddenly Luna was looking at the Doctor, her eye clear, "I know what I must do."
The Doctor stood back with a smile and dipped his head, "Then by all means Princess."
The Queen looked questioningly at the colt as he stepped back, eyeing the scene as Luna still held the shadow spear to the heart of her elder sister, within mere milliseconds of ending her life. Why did the Doctor look like he won? Unless ...
The spear missed its intended target, plowing into the ground at Celestia's side, grazing her wing as Luna leaned to touch her horn to her sister's. "I will join you now, sister." she stated with a soft certainty ... and Celestia's eye widened, and understanding and love flooded through her.
"NO!!" The Queen screamed, and charged them, but a shock-wave blew her back, causing even her dark mantle to flutter in the wind. When she looked back, there was only one Princess there, with a pelt of soft lavender and a mane encompassing every color of the rainbow. For a cutie-mark there was a sun AND a moon, sharing the sky together.
The Doctor made a motion and tossed something towards the combined Princess, which she captured easily with her magic and settled on her head. Luna and Celestia's voice, merged as one, slipped from this mare's lips. "Through trouble unseen, will rise the Queen. This day was long prepared for Mother, and our crown was already fashioned for it. Your continued existence in Equestria is no longer necessary." and her spiraled horn began to glow.
"NO! I will not allow this!! THIS IS MY MOMENT OF TRIUMPH!!!!" the Queen screamed and charged her own daughters. And despite dwarfing them by many feet, she seemed unable to approach them, as though the light were pushing her back physically. The Princesses simply opened their eyes, light pouring from them. The Queen screamed again ... and the world was filled with light.
All across Equestria ponies, griffons, dragons, critters great and small came carefully out of their hiding places to look at the sky and beheld the dawn of a new day. Their cheers of relieve and utter joy filled the air and welcomed the sun as it quickly rose, gracing the ground and trees and mountains tops with a deep red light. The moon was setting with a speed much faster than usual as if it had to hurry, having tarried in the sky for far too long that fateful night.
Luna opened her eyes only to blink at the light and quickly shaded them with a hoof. The Queen, her mother, was gone. She stood there lost in her thoughts, the incidents of the night racing through her mind. Finally she took a deep breath and looked beside her where she knew her sister to be. Celestia was lying in the grass, her body bruised, feathers of her wings bent and broken – but she was alive. The shades that were still lingering around her fled before the light of the sun and vanished into nothingness. Gently Luna nudged her sister. The elder stirred and slowly opened an eye, her lips trembling as she whispered her sister’s name. Luna fell onto her knees beside Celestia and hugged her while tears were rolling down her cheeks. The crown they had borne was lying in the grass, small and plain once more.
The Doctor who was standing a bit aside from the royal siblings smiled and straightened his jacket, trying with little success to brush some of the dirt on it off. Try as he may he was still not fully used to this shape. Pondering whether it would be a good time to depart now he led his steps slowly towards the badly damaged gateway – only to feel a hoof resting on his croup.
“Leaving already? After all you have done for us?” he heard Luna’s voice behind him.
The Doctor smirked, a gentle blush on his cheeks. “Oh, you have done everything on your own – well with a little help at the end.” He nodded at Celestia who was fast asleep now. “All I did was giving you a nod at the right direction now and then.”
Luna shook her head, moved in front of the colt and to his surprise kissed his brow. “I thank you, Doctor. We thank you.” The Doctor cleared his throat, quite taken aback and at a loss for words for a long moment.
“So …” he finally said, brushing through his mane with a hoof, “… what about the Queen?”
Luna shook her head. “She is at rest now - probably together with our father.” She looked at her sleeping sister. “I cannot believe I had nearly become like her at one point … that I had almost become like my mother. And that I had almost listened to her lies.”
The Doctor nodded. “I thought so. She is a goddess after all – and the Divine rarely just disappear without trace. You made the right decision in the end, it’s all that counts. You ought to be proud of yourself.”
Luna sighed and drooped. “I … I think we could have vanquished her for good. But … she is our mother. And deep down I think we still love her – even though she has no such feelings for us at all ... Probably never did.”
After a long moment of silence she finally looked up. “Still, there is something I do not quite understand.”
“And what is that?” the colt eyed her curiously.
“How did mother escape? She was trapped again, wasn’t she? What’s more - she needed me so she could get through the force field, right? You said so yourself earlier!”
The Doctor thought hard - it was indeed something that had bothered him though he never showed it. He hated missing details. He walked in a circle around Luna whose eyes were following his every step. “Ah … of course …” he mumbled to himself and then laughed. “She had escaped while the force field was still closing - at least a small part of her! Remember the black substance that hit the wall?”
Luna’s eyes widened. “The tip of her tail that was missing …“ she said loudly and the Doctor nodded.
“Most likely thanks to the King. I suppose that small piece was enough. Celestia was able to summon or channel her through it. That’s why Celestia was ‘late’ as she called it. And it was so nice of her to apologize for it too.” the colt grinned.
Luna nodded and lifted her head, looking up into the sky, eyes blinking. Yawning loudly all of a sudden and very unlike a Princess she gave a cheeky smile. “Ah, the sun … it always makes me so sleepy. But Celestia needs all the rest she can get – I’ll watch over the sun for today.”
Luna returned to her sister’s side once more and gently nuzzled her sibling. Her horn glowed brightly and in the next moment Celestia had disappeared. The Doctor watched the scene before picking up the tiara he saw lying nearby. His eyes narrowed as he examined the writing – he shuddered.
“Is everything alright, Doctor?” Luna laughed as she approached him and her laugh was so pure and joyful that all worries were driven from his mind. “I have brought Celestia to bed – and we should return to the castle as well!”
He nodded and grinned back at her. “Yes, everything is alright.” he replied as he joined her side. “For a while, until … but that shouldn't bother us today.” he thought to himself as he put the tiara into a pocket of his suit and returned to the castle with the Princess.
The day after:
"Are you sure you won't stay Doctor?" Luna asked with a hopeful smile. Celestia was nearby, but distracted as she directed the guards cleaning up the now destroyed arboretum. Still, the day was beautiful once the clouds had been cleared away and sun and moon returned to their places in the sky.
"I'd love to Princess, but there are plenty of other ponies out there who need my help." he stated.
"He's right." Celestia added, as she limped over to them. She'd refused to stay in the hospital, wanting to assure everypony that she was alright. She also felt the need to make sure that nopony tried to blame Luna for this, "We can't be selfish and keep such a gift to ourselves."
Luna sighed, "I know. I just hoped for a little ... y'know, adventure. Get out of the Castle for a little while and maybe feel ..."
The Doctor smiled warmly, "Princess, you just saved all of Equestria. I couldn't have done that myself, it was all you. I'd say that's quite a lot of adventure, don't you?" Luna nodded and smiled sadly as she watched the Doctor leave, waving lightly before he vanished round a corner. A warm hoof rested lightly on Luna’s shoulder as her sister smiled down at her.
"I should apologize." Celestia stated softly, "I always thought Nightmare Moon was just a creation of your own jealousy. I never knew how much it controlled you until … until she ..." her voice wavered as the elder Princess' eyes started to tear up “I’m sorry,” she choked out, ”I’m so sorry.”
Luna hugged her, holding her sister tightly. She knew the horrors of the Nightmare Queen first-hand, "I know ... I understand Big Sister." she said, just holding her sister tight.
The light blue mare hurled whatever she could reach with the magic of her horn. Stones, sticks, berries, even small animals; it didn't matter to her. Head down she fumed and stomped her way along the path.
"Show ME up ... that little tramp. Celestia cursed little unicorn ... if I ever get my hooves on the IDIOT who trained that purple wannabe I WILL ..." she was all but screaming through clenched teeth.
Suddenly she stopped, her eyes blinking widely as she turned her head. Her fury dissipated like so much smoke as she looked off towards Canterlot. She swallowed thickly before a smile started to work across her face, serene and deadly.
"Of course I will." she whispered to the air, "The Great and Powerful Trixie understands your every word and will do as you ask ...