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Changing Lanes 20

By AutoPony
Created: 18th December 2020 10:22:52 AM

  1. >“What is that one?”
  2. “That’s an LTD, Dash.”
  3. >Movie night with Rainbow Dash.
  4. >“Well, what about that one? The one with the flashing lights?”
  5. “That’s an LTD too, Dash. Didn’t you listen to me before we started this movie?”
  6. >“I try not to.”
  7. “I actually believe that.”
  8. >You reach for the remote and pause.
  9. >You’ve seen it a million times, but you still love every minute of White Lightning.
  10. “I’ll say it again, this movie, all the cars in this? All Ford LTDs. This is basically an hour and a half of product placement for Ford Motor Company. But it's still a kickass movie.”
  11. >Dash feigns a yawn as you finish.
  12. “I hate you.”
  13. >“You love me, you know it. Speaking of which…”
  14. >Dammit, here we go.”
  15. >It has been about a week or two since Luna and you became a 'thing,' and Rainbow still will not leave it alone.
  16. >Whether she is serious or teasing, it is beginning to get annoying.
  17. >“…..you aren’t going to become all soft and mushy and dramatic now that you and Luna hooked up, are you? Rarity already has more drama than I can handle.”
  18. “I thought you and Rarity were friends?”
  19. >Dash quickly nods her head.
  20. >“We are, she just gets really annoying sometimes. Always blowing things out of proportion with ‘darling’ and constantly screaming 'I beg your pardon!'"
  21. >“I beg your pardon, Rainbow Dash?!”
  22. >Rainbow Dash jolts up in surprise.
  23. >“I didn’t mean anything, Rarity, I’m sor-”
  24. >Luna rises from behind your couch, slapping you a high five with a spread wing.
  25. >“How long have you been here, Luna?!”
  26. >“We have just arrived, and with wonderful timing.”
  27. >Dash is thoroughly confused.
  28. >“But then, how did you know I was talk-”
  29. “Really Rainbow? You didn’t listen to that either?”
  30. >She turns back to you.
  31. >“I did. But refresh my memory.”
  32. >You sigh.
  33. “I’ll just keep you in the dark for now. Luna, you said you had something important to tell me?”
  34. >“Yes, we have a task at hand we believe you may wish to assist us in. Celestia nor I have found anything relating to telepathy in our vast archives in Canterlot.”
  35. “You went through that whole library in three days?”
  36. >Luna waves a hoof dismissingly.
  37. >“Tis not important our reading habits. However, while we may have gone through those archives, what remains in the ruins of our former castle may contain something useful. Celestia suggested a visit to our old castle may hold new information.”
  38. “Sure, I’ll help out. When do you need me?”
  39. >“Tomorrow, at the break of dawn.”
  40. >You raise an eyebrow.
  41. “Tomorrow morning? Don’t you have your shift to work?”
  42. >The blue alicorn seems taken aback by your question.
  43. >“Did we not inform you of the nightly royal duties? They are no more. Celestia and I have agreed to share the daily duties, since much has changed in our long absence.”
  44. “Uh, wow. And that’s good, right?”
  45. >Luna chuckles lightly.
  46. >“But of course, Anon! Now we actually have work to do during our shift!”
  47. >You look over at Rainbow Dash, who is still sitting on the couch next to you, half asleep.
  48. “You wanna come tomorrow?”
  49. >She snaps out of her trance quickly.
  50. >“Who me? Nah, I got stuff to do tomorrow, Anon.”
  51. >There’s a half-assed lie if you’d ever heard one.
  52. “Really? Like what?”
  53. >“Well, um. I’m not sure yet. I mean, I forgot. Look, I gotta head home, it’s getting late.”
  54. >Before you can say anything, she’s out the door in a blur.
  55. “What the hell was that about?”
  56. >“We believe the recent visit to our old fortress is still fresh in her mind, most likely. Judging by what Twilight told us, it was quite the experience for everypony.”
  57. >Luna sits on the couch next to you.
  58. >“So, what is it we are watching this evening?”
  59. “White Lightning, another car chase movie. Rainbow and I already started it, I can go back to the beginning if you want me to.”
  60. >“Nay, continue from this point, then we shall retire to the castle for rest.”
  61. >The screech of tires once again fills the room as the movie continues.
  62.  
  63.  
  64. >“Anon, are you going to sleep all through the day?”
  65. >You lazily open an eye to see Luna in front of you.
  66. “Ugh. I’m awake. Just don’t expect me to be cheery.”
  67. >Slowly you rise from bed, and go over to fumble with your clothes in the closet.
  68. >As you get a suitable pair of pants and a well-worn t-shirt, you snap your head aound the open door and glance at Luna.
  69. >“What is it, Anon?”
  70. “I just realized, you aren’t wearing your crown. Or shoes.”
  71. >She looks over herself and smiles back at you.
  72. >“Tis not like they are permanently attached. Besides, what we are doing today is not what we consider royal duties, no need for formalities.”
  73. “I know. It’s just not often I see you without all that stuff on.”
  74. >She blushes a bit as she trots out of your room to leave you to get dressed.
  75. >“Enough with the flattery, we must get going!”
  76. “Easy for you to get ready, you don’t have a bunch of crap to put on, and your mane stays perfect all the time.”
  77. >Finally, you walk out of your room, where Luna is standing.
  78. >"We believe despite Rainbow Dash's reluctance to join us, it would be wise to ask Twilight if she may accompany and assist us in our search."
  79. >You nod in agreement.
  80. "Ready when you are. Next stop, Twilight's."
  81. >In less than the time it takes to finish your sentence, your home disappears in a flash, replaced with the bright backdrop of Ponyville.
  82. >The two of you find yourself on The Golden Oaks Library doorstep.
  83. >You give a quick rap on the door.
  84. >No response.
  85. >You knock harder this time.
  86. "Twilight, it's Anon and Luna."
  87. >Still nothing.
  88. "That's weird. She's always up and around by this time of the morning."
  89. >"Perhaps her studies kept her awake later than normal last night?"
  90. "Maybe. I guess we can come back later. Want to go ahead without her for now?"
  91. >Luna looks up at the sun, rising ever higher in the mid-morning sky.
  92. >"Yes Anon, we have much to go through in the remnants of our old castle."
  93. >Another flash of light, and the bright sky of Ponyville's open air is replaced with the dim lighting of the Everfree Forest
  94. >Not to mention the tall ruins looming before you.
  95. “Well then…. This place is creepy even in the daytime. Who knew?”
  96. >Your dry wit seems to have fallen on deaf ears as you look over to the night princess.
  97. >Her gaze transfixed on the collapsing structure before the two of you, she seems to be enveloped in her own deep thoughts.
  98. “Luna? Luna, you okay?”
  99. >Finally, she blinks and begins to stride forward.
  100. >“We are fine, Anon.”
  101. >You doubt she even believes herself, let alone fool you.
  102. >Deciding not to push the issue, you catch up with her.
  103. >You find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to return to your old home to see it in such a state.
  104. >“Tis not just seeing our former home in such a way Anon. It is the fact that, of all this damage, most of it is from us. In addition to the emotional trauma.”
  105. “I guess the mind training you wanted me to try didn’t work. Dammit.”
  106. >She looks over to you, a half hearted smile upon her face.
  107. >“Quite the contrary. Previously, such a thought came to us extremely loud and clear. That one, well, a bit muffled. It will take time.”
  108. >You huff.
  109. >Patience has never been one of your virtues.
  110. >But at least the things she wanted you to try are easy visualizations.
  111. >She had suggested a couple days after your new found ability to visualize a door between the two of you when thinking.
  112. >Open so she could hear you, closed and your thoughts are private.
  113. >It hasn’t worked quite that way yet.
  114. >As the two of you reach the porous, rotting wood of the castle’s doors, Luna uses her magic to carefully open one, letting the two of you slide inside.
  115. “Why do you torture yourself accepting the blame? Everyone else hold you blameless.”
  116. >Your voice echoes down the dark hall ahead of you.
  117. >Her smile is replaced by a scowl that makes you very nervous.
  118. >Shit, why can’t you leave things alone?
  119. >“Regardless of what everypony else thinks, we will not allow ourselves to escape blame in what unfolded long ago. We had a CHOICE, Anon. But instead of talking with our sister, with whom we trust so dearly, we instead chose to attack her. Do we make ourselves clear?”
  120. >Her eyes pierce you like daggers, driving her point home.
  121. “Uh, crystal clear. Forget I said anything.”
  122. >Wonderful.
  123. >You get a day to spend exploring with Luna, and you screw the pooch by making her angry from the start.
  124. >If she overheard your private thoughts, she’s saying nothing, as her horn emits a glow that lights the way ahead.
  125. >Aside from the light wind outside creating an odd cacophony of quiet whistles through the place, only the sound of your steps break the silence.
  126. “So, where are we headed to first, Luna?”
  127. >She’s silent as she stops at a T in the hallway.
  128. >“It is taking us some time to remember the layout of the old castle. Our apologies, we thought our memory was better than it seems presently.”
  129. >Both hallways are dark, seeming to stretch on forever.
  130. >You take a few steps to your left , looking at a faded painting on the wall.
  131. >Your attempt to brush the dust away is interrupted by a tug.
  132. >“Anon, stop!”
  133. >You turn around to see Luna grasping you with her magic.
  134. “What? I wasn’t taking it down, I just wanted to look at it.”
  135. >“Apologies, we forgot to mention something of importance. It is unwise to touch any items along the walls, and please watch your step. Your few days with our sister gives you an idea of the sibling relationship we have, yes?”
  136. >Your mind reflects back to waking up in a room flipped completely upside down.
  137. “I have a hard time thinking I will ever forget.”
  138. >“Yes. Well, our décor in this castle has some….. Surprises for anypony hoping to get a closer look. As well as some places on the floor.”
  139. “You mean this whole place is booby-trapped?”
  140. >She cringes a bit at your questions.
  141. >“Perhaps that term is a bit harsh, as they weren’t meant to cause harm or pain. Merely built-in pranks.”
  142. “I’m guessing that’s why Rainbow and her friends had such a memorable visit last time.”
  143. >“Yes.”
  144. >It is difficult to tell if she is embarrassed or trying to contain her laughter.
  145. “Alright, so touch nothing, watch my step, got it. So, is there a map or something we could use to get around this place?”
  146. >Luna continues to contemplate where to head to next, when she starts walking toward the hall that heads left.
  147. >“We believe it is this way. If we find the throne room, I know where to head from there.”
  148.  
  149.  
  150. “Well, I don’t think we’re going in circles, but we sure aren’t finding the throne room.”
  151. >It has been at least twenty minutes since the two of you began to navigate the dark corridors.
  152. >Luna is unamused by your quip.
  153. >“Yes Anon, our apologies. We thought it would be rather simple to find the main room. Unfortunately our sister decided we MUST build the castle like a labyrinth.”
  154. “Sorry. I’m just trying to lighten the mood.”
  155. >“We know. It is just extremely frustrating, since our sister will easily win this bet.”
  156. “Uh….what bet?”
  157. >Realization of her apparent slip up hits her instantly.
  158. >“Horseapples.”
  159. “So, are we actually looking for books, or was this whole trip based on a bet?”
  160. >“Nay, Anon, we are trying to find some of our lost tomes! The bet….came into being this morning before we departed Canterlot.”
  161. >The two of you pause as you pass a dusty, faded picture on the wall.
  162. “Okay, now we’ve officially gone in a circle.”
  163. >“WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!”
  164. >Your ears ring as Luna’s voice goes up about 50 decibels.
  165. >Oh god, what did you do?
  166. >Luna’s horn glows in a white light as a beam erupts from it, slamming into the opposite wall.
  167. >Well, more like blasts through the opposite wall.
  168. >As Luna calms down and the dust settles, the impromptu window reveals a room on the other side.
  169. “I guess that’s one way to navigate a labyrinth.”
  170. >The blue alicorn dusts herself off with a wing.
  171. >“Yes, well we were not about to go back to Canterlot empty-hooved, Anon.”
  172. “Can you do without the yelling next time? My ears are still begging for mercy.”
  173. >“Sorry, patience seems to not be one of our virtues.”
  174. “Hey, stop stealing my excuses.”
  175. >Luna leaps through the opening to the other side, then pokes her head back through.
  176. >“Make us.”
  177. “You and your sister really are childish.”
  178. >Following Luna through to the other side, you glance back at the wall to see a series of levers and ropes next to the hole.
  179. “Uh, Luna? Are those connected to the painting on the other side?”
  180. >Luna’s face at your question is one of complete embarrassment.
  181. >“Oh, that’s right, the painting opens the door to the throne room. Oops.”
  182. >Double face palm.
  183. >The small room is in fact another hallway, leading straight into the cavernous throne room.
  184. >Finally, some light, as the outside shines through what is left of the stained glass windows after all these years.
  185. >Ahead, two thrones are perched at the top of a small set of stairs, as if waiting this whole time for someone to take their place again.
  186. >Aside from some holes in the ceiling and other signs of destruction by age, there’s obvious signs of what took place before this castle was abandoned.
  187. “So, this is where, uh-”
  188. >“Yes, this is where we made our fateful choice, Anon.”
  189. >Both of you remain silent, waiting for the other to say something.
  190. >You strike first.
  191. “Did you tell your sister about us? I mean, the two of us?”
  192. >A slight chuckle is the first reply you get.
  193. >“Why Anonymous, are you scared of our sister?”
  194. “Seeing as how she has the power to destroy me with a wave of her horn? No, never.”
  195. >Another chuckle.
  196. >“Anon, our sister finds you about as adorable as we do. She was delighted to hear we finally found someone we feel so close to.”
  197. >You feel a bit relieved, but another question bubbles up from the back of your mind as the two of you continue to trek towards the twin thrones.
  198. “I don’t mean to be nosy, but has Celestia ever found a special someone?”
  199. >“Only once, that we know about. It was many years ago, and I do not believe she has not bothered finding somepony else since.”
  200. “What happened?”
  201. >Luna is silent as she continues her graceful stride, when she suddenly stops and looks up at one of the stained glass windows.
  202. >From what is left of the jaunty, colorful pane, the only thing you can make out is what looks like the offspring of a Chinese dragon, if it had sex with four or five other critters.
  203. >“Let’s just say it was an *ugly* breakup.”
  204. >Luna begins moving again, leaving you a bit confused.
  205. >The two of you twist and turn through the dark corridors, Luna leading a brisk pace for someone that has not seen this castle in many, many years.
  206. >“Ah, here we are.”
  207. “So, what exactly are we looking for in here?”
  208. >Like the rest of the castle, it’s fairly dim, and very dusty.
  209. >You still are amazed the condition of the whole place after being abandoned for so long.
  210. >Sure, there’s a hole in the roof here and there, some leaning or crumbling walls in some places, but other than that, in very good shape.
  211. >Even the library, though some of the bookcases have collapsed, leaving piles of books scattered.
  212. >But at least it looks like no major moisture issues.
  213. >“It is hard to say Anon, we are not exactly looking for one thing. The best thing to do is anything catching your eye, peruse it.”
  214. >Fuck.
  215. >You grab a few random books off the shelf and rest on a pile of books collected into the center of the room.
  216. >Luna hovers nearby, flipping through a few books at a time before putting them back.
  217. >Lazily flipping through a book, you realize it will take forever to get through this whole place.
  218. >Especially when you have a hard time grasping even half of the foreign knowledge contained withing these walls.
  219.  
  220. >"Anonymous!"
  221. >You jolt forward, an open book falling down into your lap.
  222. "What? What happened?"
  223. >Luna is standing in front of you, amused.
  224. >"We believe you were either attempting to inhale that book in your lap, or fell asleep with it upon your face."
  225. >You shake your head, trying to free your mind of the slight haze.
  226. "Sorry, I didn't mean to."
  227. >The blue alicorn sighs, taking a seat next to you.
  228. >"Tis fine, Anon. We have had no such luck in finding any valuable information, either. Aside from this old joke book."
  229. "So that's why you were giggling over there like a mad hyena. Most of the stuff in that is probably old and cheesy anyway."
  230. >"Nonsense, Anon! Ah, this is perhaps my favorite one!"
  231. >She clears her throat and begins to read a passage.
  232. >"There once was a colt from Neightucket.."
  233. "Stop. I've heard it. That limerick is probably as old as you."
  234. >As you stand up and stretch, Luna places the book back on the shelf, a smirk crossing her face.
  235. >"Perhaps it is time we attempt to seek out Twilight once again? We have a few items that are needed as well, if we are to be staying here overnight."
  236. >You do a double-take at the last part of her sentence.
  237. "Sleeping here? Overnight?"
  238. >"But of course! What better way to cap off a day of study than a sleepover in our old home? Unless you are unnerved by the thought of being here at night?"
  239. >A fiendish chuckle erupts from Luna, as if to attempt to further make you nervous of the prospect.
  240. >Face it: this place is fucking creepy.
  241. >But you won't let her win.
  242. "Nah, sounds like a plan to me. If you could, just drop me off at Twilight's home, then pick up what you need and meet back up there."
  243. >"A splendid idea to save some time!"
  244. >You feel a familiar warmth as magical energy once again envelops you.
  245. >The door to Twilight's home greets you on the other side of the bright flash.
  246. >As you knock on the door, you look around town.
  247. >Judging by where the sun is in the sky and the bustling streets, it must be closing in on late afternoon.
  248. "Twilight, you in there? It's Anon."
  249. >The door creaks open as a purple alicorn that looks half asleep greets you.
  250. >"Anon, what in the world are you doing here at this time?"
  251. >You must have just woken her up, if she's this out of it.
  252. "Uh, it's late afternoon Twilight. I think you slept half the day away."
  253. >"What?!"
  254. >She hurries back inside, presumably to find a clock.
  255. >Though she could have just as easily looked outside like you did.
  256. >You follow her in, a little nervous seeing the state your friend is in.
  257. "Twi, are you okay? You're scaring me a bit. I tried coming by this morning and you didn't answer the door."
  258. >The clock on her wall confirming the time, she turns back to you, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
  259. >"I'm fine Anon. I just haven't been sleeping well the last few days."
  260. >You frown.
  261. "Can't fall asleep, or nightmares?"
  262. >Judging by her cringe, it's the second choice.
  263. "Why not ask Luna for help? I'm sure she would be happy to do a bit of dream-weaving to help you out."
  264. >"NO! Er, no. It's fine Anon. We just need time. Anyway, what's up?"
  265. >Her response is rather odd, to say the least, but you leave the issue alone.
  266. "Luna and I have been going through the library in her old castle to try to find anything to shed more light on our recently formed mental connection. We thought you'd like to come with us."
  267. >Her face lights up at first, but she quickly backs off and seems hesistant.
  268. >This you can't leave alone.
  269. "What Twilight? Now I know this isn't you."
  270. >"Well, I mean, I'd love to help, but I don't want to get into the way of you two, cuz.... you know..."
  271. >Enough is enough as you grab her and wrap her into a hug.
  272. >"Aaaaah! What are you doing?!"
  273. "Don't say anything even remotely like that ever again, Twilight. I will ALWAYS have time for you."
  274. >"Urk.... okay, you're starting to hurt me a bit."
  275. >You let her go as she stretches her wings out.
  276. >despite her complaint, you can tell she seems much more relaxed.
  277. >Is that what's been bothering her, the fear you won't have time for her?
  278. "We were planning on just sleeping at the castle tonight. Er, Luna thought it was a good idea anyway. You game?"
  279. >A smile lights up Twilight's face, giving away her answer before she even replies.
  280. >"A slumber party AND research? Count me in!"
  281. >Either she didn't hear you when you mentioned sleeping in a creepy old castle, or she is genuinely not unnerved by the idea.
  282. >"Luna is just going to teleport us back I think, she had to grab a few things. Need anything?"
  283. >Twilight quickly scrambles around, grabbing some odds and ends and a sleeping bag.
  284. >"All set!"
  285. >Alright Luna, beam us up.
  286. >[Beam... you up?]
  287. >Not a good joke, apparently.
  288. >We're ready.
  289. >Luna appears in front of the two of you in a flash.
  290. >She must have already dropped off the items she needed to get, since she has nothing with her at this point.
  291. >Her attention is immediately focused on Twilight.
  292. >"Twilight Sparkle, we are glad to see you. It filled us with concern when you did not answer your door this morning."
  293. >"I just overslept a bit, that's all. No big deal."
  294. >Judging by the look of apprehension on her face, Luna does not believe it to be that cut and dry, but backs off.
  295. >"If everypony has what items they need, we shall depart!"
  296. >As you and Twilight nod, Luna's horn once again creates a brilliant flash.
  297. >Damn, doesn't she ever get tired from casting spells and teleporting?
  298. >[Usage develops strength, Anon. You jest about our age, and yet our age allows much to be possible.]
  299. >Fuck, just when you thought you might finally be getting the hang of turning this mental link on and off.
  300.  
  301.  
  302.  
  303.  
  304. [Originally posted 21 March 2014]
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