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Changing Lanes 41

By AutoPony
Created: 18th December 2020 11:00:27 AM

  1. >As darkness settles over Equestria, so too does a hushed quiet, as the many ponies of the kingdom retire to bed.
  2. >Canterlot's castle is no different, as both Anon and Luna fall asleep within each other's embrace.
  3. >It is but another twist that fate has bestow upon you, as you lay upon the balcony overlooking the courtyard.
  4. >You fought so hard to bring attention and glory to the night sky, overshadowed by Celestia's daylight.
  5. >Your sister's pride.
  6. >And yet, centuries later, Luna herself spends most of her waking hours in the light of the sun, rather than her own namesake.
  7. >Turning your head away from the light of the brilliant full moon, your slitted eyes rapidly adjust to the darkness of the room, settling upon the bed.
  8. >You will admit, you find some solace in the true happiness your other half has sought for eons, and finally found.
  9. >Past wrongs have been righted, the sorrows of the past have been laid to rest for all those involved.
  10. >Except for you, forever damned to be but a spectator on the sidelines.
  11. >To only be able to watch as time passes without end, unable to take part.
  12. >If this is not what Tartarus is like, it must be close.
  13. >[Haven't I told you before not to do that?]
  14. >You snap from your thoughts to find Anon's form propped up in bed, staring back at you.
  15. >While he is forced to speak to you through his thought, you are under no such restrictions.
  16. >At least there's one positive to being invisible to almost everypony.
  17. "What?"
  18. >[Staring at me? When I'm sleeping, no less?]
  19. "If you can see me staring at you when you are sleeping, you aren't exactly sleeping, are you?"
  20. >[You know what I mean. I can feel it.]
  21. >Rising you your hooves, you leap down off the railing, onto the smooth polished marble of the bedroom's floor.
  22. "I'm sorry. It's not like I have anything else to do."
  23. >You sense his anger diminish somewhat through the link the two of you share.
  24. >[I know. Just don't take it out on me.]
  25. >And with that, he settles back into bed with Luna, leaving you once again alone with your thoughts.
  26. >You still can't believe you agreed to be what amounts to his guardian angel.
  27. >Though, to be fair, keeping him safe keeps you safe, too.
  28. >Letting yourself ease away from reality back into the realm of dreams, Luna's bedroom melts into the familiar starry backdrop of the dream realm.
  29. >Nothing left to do now but wait until the dawn of a new day.
  30.  
  31. >"Come on Anon, you got to sleep in an extra hour."
  32. >"No."
  33. >I swear, you act like such a child sometimes."
  34. >"Compared to your age, I am a child!"
  35. >You come to amidst the sounds of a typical morning in Luna's room.
  36. >Playful bickering with Anonymous.
  37. >As you watch from the corner, Luna yanks the sheets out from Anon's tight grasp, nearly tossing him onto the floor.
  38. >Though you've seen this routine plenty of times before, you can't help but smirk.
  39. >"One of these times, you're going to knock me off the bed, and you're going to feel bad."
  40. >A giggle fit erupts from Luna as Anon slowly makes his way to his feet, stretching.
  41. >"Until then, I will never get tired of doing that to you."
  42. >They exchange a quick peck on each other's lips, before Anon gets some clothes out from one of Luna's dresser drawers.
  43. >Luna, long since readied herself for the day ahead, struts out the door, stopping halfway into the hall foyer outside before turning back around.
  44. >"Try not to fall back in bed, Anon. Tia and I will be in the dining room awaiting your company."
  45. >He glances up as he threads his belt through the loops of his jeans.
  46. >"I know better than to make that promise."
  47. >"One of these day, we're going to turn you into a morning pony."
  48. >With that, Luna disappears beyond the frame of the door, wisps of her ethereal tail momentarily lagging behind.
  49. "I think she has a better chance of turning you into a pony than a morning person."
  50. >Anon jump a bit, visibly startled by your sudden announced presence.
  51. >"Seriously, I don't know how we're going to do it, but we need to put a fucking bell on you. What do you want?"
  52. >His blunt reply causes you to frown.
  53. "Well screw you too. I try to actually be somewhat light-hearted for once and I get my head bitten off, I won't do that again."
  54. >He sighs, putting a shirt on before looking over to you.
  55. >"I'm sorry, I do appreciate the fact you are trying to actually be somewhat pleasant for once. But you've been popping in a lot lately, I'm not keen on looking like a crazy talking to myself and seeing things that aren't there."
  56. "Oh, I see you've forgotten I made a promise to watch over you, to be your guardian angel."
  57. >You puff your chest out to exaggerate your sarcastic tone.
  58. >He raises an eyebrow.
  59. >"Right. Because you did a really good job keeping me from getting killed a few weeks ago."
  60. >You can't help but bristle with anger a bit, gritting your teeth.
  61. "I can't save your from your own stupidity."
  62. >His expression softens up a bit.
  63. >"You didn't know that I- er we, I guess.... anyway, you didn't know about the whole immortality thing, did you?"
  64. >You shake your head.
  65. "No, that was a surprise for me, as well. Not that I was exactly aware of the fact we were dead."
  66. >That was a lie.
  67. >True, you didn't know for sure whether you were going to come back, but you had an inkling of it after the first meetup with Chrysalis.
  68. >It took a long time for you to remember that searing, burning pain from the multiple times that you - Luna, managed to get herself into deep trouble.
  69. >This fool is just as danger-prone as your other half, if not moreso.
  70. >Sensing something, you turn your gaze to the doorway, Anon's attention following yours.
  71. >One of the Canterlot guards stands out in the hall, scanning the room with his eyes, before focusing wide-eyed at Anon.
  72. >Embarrassed, Anon speaks up before the guard can say anything.
  73. >"Uh, I just like to talk out loud. It... it helps me think better."
  74. >Slowly, the unicorn nods, before hastily trotting away.
  75. >Anon puts a palm to his face in exasperation.
  76. >"Great, he thinks I'm crazy."
  77. "Sorry."
  78. >Instantly, he looks at you.
  79. >"Did you just apologize?"
  80. "What?"
  81. >"Holy shit, you did! You might actually have a little bit of compassion in you!"
  82. >You growl at his jab.
  83. "Just go downstairs and have breakfast already!"
  84. >With that, you relax your form, leaving his sight.
  85. >It is still a strange feeling, being able to make yourself both visible and invisible to him with just a bit of concentration.
  86. >You've definitely gotten a lot better at it, and it is nowhere near as exhausting as it used to be.
  87. >Shaking his head and chuckling, Anonymous leaves the room without another word, as you trail behind.
  88.  
  89. >After a quiet breakfast, you head out to the garage to fiddle with your car, while Luna and Celestia deal with some royal matters.
  90. >"I do not understand why you and Luna are so enamored by this thing."
  91. >You look up from your work on the rear carburetor, to find Nightmare Moon on the other side of the engine bay.
  92. "What do you mean?"
  93. >She paces around the front of the Superbird, fidgeting with her wings.
  94. >"I mean, you seem to constantly be working on this thing. How can you enjoy something so unreliable?"
  95. >Looking down, you run a hand down the fender.
  96. "It doesn't necessarily need work, I just enjoy tweaking on it. Besides, the work I do keeps me involved, it makes it more than just a mode of transportation."
  97. >Rolling her eyes, she pace back to the other side of the car.
  98. >"I guess I'm just not going to ever understand the things you do. But why, of all colors, did you paint it.... this?"
  99. "What's wrong with In-Violet Metallic?"
  100. >She cringes at the name.
  101. >"Purple."
  102. "Yes, a shade of purple for the simple-minded. What's wrong with it?"
  103. >Your pointed comment doesn't seem to get under her skin at all.
  104. >"Why not black?"
  105. >You just stare at her.
  106. >Is this a jealousy thing, or is she serious?
  107. "Why black?"
  108. >She remains silent for a moment, seemingly oblivious to your question.
  109. "It looks better."
  110. >Rather than continue to argue, you lean over the driver's side fender and finish adjusting the throttle linkage.
  111. "You call me strange, and you're getting pissy about a color that isn't you. Go back to being nice like earlier."
  112. >Her hoof stomps down in irritation.
  113. >"I wasn't apologizing to you, I was showing sympathy for your stupidity."
  114. >"Anonymous?"
  115. >A voice rings out, startling you.
  116. >As you stand up, you smack your head on the low hanging hood of the Superbird.
  117. "Every damn time. Ow."
  118. >You hear a hearty chuckle from Nightmare as you rub your head, turning to see who is here.
  119. >One of Canterlot's guards stands at the open garage door, a pegasus with a white coat and a navy blue mane.
  120. >"Sorry to bother you, but Princess Luna has requested to see you in the castle."
  121. >Even as he speaks, you feel uneasy about this visitor.
  122. "Uh, alright, I'll be up in a second. I'm surprised she didn't come get me like usual."
  123. >"She is tending to some matters presently, she requested I escort you to the castle."
  124. >Nightmare circles around the visitor, as if looking for something hidden on him.
  125. >You aren't taking any chances, even if it turns out to be paranoia on your part.
  126. "Yeah, I'm in the middle of something complex right now, I should finish it before heading up there."
  127. >The guard nods his head, standing firm.
  128. >"Certainly. I will wait here until you are ready."
  129. >As you circle around back of the Superbird, you focus your mind on Luna.
  130. [Luna, you got a minute? I need you down here in the garage.]
  131. >[Of course, I'll be right there.]
  132. >Looks like your hunch was right.
  133. >Nightmare quickly joins you as you prop open the trunk.
  134. >"There is no way Luna sent this guy to get you."
  135. >You lean forward, using the trunklid as a sort of cover while rummaging through random parts and tools to seem busy.
  136. [No shit, Sherlock. I can't sense the kind of stuff you can, but this guy goes way past suspicious. I've already asked Luna to come out here, thank god for telepathy.]
  137. >As if on cue, a flash of light appears next to the two of you, Luna standing stoically beside you.
  138. >"You rang?"
  139. >You turn to her, thumbing towards the front of the car.
  140. "Yeah, I'm guessing you didn't send that guy out to get me because you were too busy, seeing as you're here now?"
  141. >Luna leans her head past the edge of the trunk, before turning back to you.
  142. >"Who?"
  143. >Confused, you stand up.
  144. >There is no one in sight.
  145. "What the hell? There was a guard just standing there a moment ago."
  146. >Abruptly, you feel something yank on you from behind, causing you to fall to the floor.
  147. >Before you can stand up, something wraps itself around your neck, as you feel in lean on your shoulder.
  148. >"The queen wants a word with you."
  149. >You can see him, but you can tell by the voice where the guard went.
  150. >"Let him go!"
  151. >Luna lowers herself as if preparing to pounce, her horn glowing with a charged spell.
  152. >"This doesn't involve you princess. I don't know how you got here, but don't make any moves unless you want your boytoy to be a snack."
  153. >The thing holding you suddenly lets out a hiss right by your ear, its hot breath drifting past your head and into your nostrils.
  154. "Holy shit, brush and floss sometime."
  155. >The creature behind says nothing in response.
  156. >Nightmare Moon, still present, just shake her head silently, before disappearing.
  157. >So much for a guardian angel.
  158. >You keep very still, assuming Luna will attack at any time.
  159. >Her eyes dart between you and the changeling.
  160. [What are you waiting for? If you fuck up, I'll come right back.]
  161. >[We cannot just assume you are  immortal, Anon. It is too much of a risk. My sister will be here any moment.]
  162. >Fuck waiting.
  163. >You put your arms behind you, grabbing onto the changeling and pulling upwards.
  164. "Get off me!"
  165. >The thing hisses angrily, as you feel its teeth trying to chomp at your neck.
  166. >Mustering up all the strength and adrenaline you have, you clench the beast's body and try to heave it over your head.
  167. >"Anonymous!"
  168. >As if weightless, not only do you pull your captor off, but you chuck him past Luna, into the wall several feet behind her.
  169. >The guard, now a jet black changeling, falls to the floor, limp.
  170. >You take a deep breath, looking at Luna.
  171. "That was an adrenaline rush, huh?"
  172. >Luna rushes to you, helping you up off the floor.
  173. >Once on your feet, she shoves you, causing you to take a step backwards to retain your balance.
  174. "Alright, you trying to help me up, or put me back on the floor? Make up your mind."
  175. >"When I tell you to wait, I want you to wait!"
  176. "I don't like waiting, especially when I have an oversized cockroach trying to eat me."
  177. >Luna turns, glancing back at the imposter.
  178. >"But how did you throw him like that?"
  179. >"If I had to guess, I would say Anonymous managed to unleash a bit of magic in the heat of the moment, dear sister."
  180. >Celestia strides up from behind you.
  181. >"And where were you, Tia? You sure took your sweet time getting here."
  182. >"I was here, in case I was needed. But I had a feeling he could solve the problem without my help."
  183. >Luna snorts, clearly frustrated with her sister, who just smiles.
  184. >"Why do you insist on doing this?"
  185. >You wave your arms out, interrupting their conversation.
  186. "Back up, you were just watching us?"
  187. >Luna glares up at her older sibling.
  188. >"Tia likes to sit back and watch things unfold rather than lend a helping hoof."
  189. >"Now Luna, that's not true."
  190. >Celestia unfurls a wing, wrapping it around you.
  191. >"I am more than eager to help when I am needed. But, I also like to let ponies prove themselves in such difficult situations. I have done it numerous times with my students over the year, most notably Twilight of course."
  192. >"Yes, let us not go over the near disasters of Discord's return or the multiple incidents regarding the Crystal Empire."
  193. >Her other wing unfurled, Celestia drags over her sister.
  194. >"Those situations were well within hoof. You know I always have a plan. I came as soon as you called me, but I decided I should wait to intervene. And it looks like I was correct in thinking he could solve the problem."
  195. >You look down at your arms and hands.
  196. >They aren't glowing or anything, how the hell did she know you could unleash a grapple like that?
  197. >Celestia is already answering your question before you ask.
  198. >"A stressful situation can bring out the strongest magic in a pony. While I would never plan nor intend to put you in harm's way, I would say what happened proves you can wield the magic that is inside you, at least if needed."
  199. >Luna pulls away from her sister's wing, her cross expression from a moment ago replaced with one of sheer joy.
  200. >Pulling you away from Celestia, Luna embraces you with hooves and wings.
  201. >"This is so amazing! My Anon can use magic!"
  202. >You kiss her on the forehead as she spins you around.
  203. >Meanwhile, a few guards kick at the limp body of the changeling, before hauling it away towards the castle.
  204. "Well, if I didn't kill it, I guess we have someone else to interrogate, huh?"
  205. >The mood of the royal sister suddenly turns from excitement to serious.
  206. >Celestia pipes up.
  207. >"Of course. The changeling is probably fine, they are very hardy creatures."
  208. "Have you gotten anything useful out of the other one?"
  209. >Luna quickly speaks up.
  210. >"No, nothing useful."
  211. >Her short answer throws you off-guard, as she turns to her sister.
  212. >"I suppose we should be getting back to the paperwork, sister?"
  213. >"Yes, I still have a busy day ahead. We'll talk  more later, but I'm proud of you, Anonymous."
  214. "Thanks. Have fun, you two."
  215. >Luna give you a smooch, before taking flight, her sister quickly behind her.
  216. >"Well that conversation didn't end awkwardly or anything."
  217. >You turn to face Nightmare Moon, whose sarcastic tone interrupts the silent garage.
  218. >She looks on at the shrinking figures of the royal sisters heading back to the castle.
  219. "Eh, snap back to reality, I guess. I'm still a wanted man."
  220. >Nightmare chuckles.
  221. >"Oh you are so naive. They are hiding something. Again. You would think everypony would learn their lessons about keeping secrets from each other."
  222. >She turns to you, her face serious.
  223. >"You didn't do a half bad job dealing with that situation. Consider me impressed."
  224. "Right, because you sound enthused."
  225. >"What else do you expect from me? I am not going to cuddle and kiss you all over."
  226. >You walk to the open trunk of your car, closing it before head back to the engine bay.
  227. "Yeah, no shit."
  228.  
  229. >The rest of the day passes rather uneventfully.
  230. >Well, aside from the daily flight with Luna, that's always an event.
  231. >Now, as you lie in bed With her watching TV, your mind drifts back to the events of this morning.
  232. >Mainly because of Nightmare Moon, who lies on the balcony, as usual.
  233. >"What are you looking at?"
  234. >You turn away from Nightmare to Luna, who is trying to look over at the balcony.
  235. "Nothing, just thinking about everything that happened this morning."
  236. >You put your arm around her, as she snuggles in closer.
  237. >"I'm sorry my sister can be a pain in the ass. She prefers to take a hooves-off approach to things when she can."
  238. "Well, everything worked out fine, didn't it?"
  239. >"Yes, and she always has had a backup plan. And I suppose her methods have always been successful in the past, from what I've seen. But I still don't like the risks."
  240. "I understand. But I'm curious, you seemed eager to get back to the castle right away, is everything all right?"
  241. >Out of the corner of your eye, you see Nightmare Moon suddenly take close interest, turning her head.
  242. >Beside you, Luna looks up, her bright turquoise eyes studying you, before she offers a slight smile.
  243. >"I guess I can't hide much from you anymore, can I?"
  244. >reaching over for the remote, you flip off the TV.
  245. "You shouldn't need to hide anything from me. I trust you, don't you trust me?"
  246. >"It's not a trust issue, I'm just ashamed of myself."
  247. >You pull her in closer for comfort.
  248. "Just tell me what's eating at you, Lulu."
  249. >"When you, er after you... died, I couldn't stand being without you. I tried everything."
  250. >You nod.
  251. "Right, you said you resorted to trying dark magic, which didn't work."
  252. >"After that, I just... lost control."
  253. >Her voice falters a bit as she finishes her sentence, but leaving you still in the dark.
  254. "What do you mean by 'lost control?' I don't follow."
  255. >She closes her eyes, before opening them to reveal a pair of feral slitted eyes.
  256. >Your stomach drops at the sight.
  257. >Nightmare Moon nearly falls off the balcony she is laying on in surprise.
  258. "I was not expecting... that. But you're here now fine, so obviously you didn't completely lose it."
  259. >"I almost strangled the changeling to death, before my sister found me."
  260. "And she stopped you?"
  261. >Luna shakes her head.
  262. >"No. I remembered the night I got all my memories back, all that pain, that guilt flooding back. I remember you assuring me I wasn't a monster."
  263. >A wave of emotions washes over you.
  264. >Even when you weren't there, you kept her together.
  265. >You hug her tighter.
  266. "Luna, why didn't you tell me this before? You shouldn't be ashamed, you should be proud."
  267. >"Wha?"
  268. >She looks up at you as if you have completely lost your mind.
  269. "The way I see it, you conquered what you had allowed to consume yourself in the past. I would expect anyone going through grief from an event like that to be angry. Hell, I can't say I would not have killed the damn thing if I were you. But you didn't let it take over. Even if it was because of something I had said in the past, you're stronger than you think you are."
  270. >The room is silent for what seems like minutes before Luna speaks up.
  271. >"I guess you're right."
  272. "I know I'm right, Moonbutt."
  273. >She giggles a bit, her mood quickly uplifted.
  274. >"Now I have to ask you, how did you know that guard was really a changeling?"
  275. "I had a feeling."
  276. >"Excuse me."
  277. >You can't help but turn your head to face Nightmare, who eyes you expectantly.
  278. "And I suppose my guardian angel helped a bit."
  279. >"Your guardian angel? Wait, are you referring to Nightmare Moon?"
  280. "Yeah."
  281. >Luna's soft voice gets louder, betraying her shock.
  282. >"Is that what you've been glancing over at tonight? You see her?"
  283. >She looks over at the balcony, as if expecting to see Nightmare as well.
  284. "Darkie has been showing up more lately. I guess she's really taken to heart the promise she made to you to watch over me."
  285. >Luna still seems rather shocked, but smiles as she turns out the lights in the room, preparing for bed.
  286. >"Tell her I give my thanks for keeping my Anon safe."
  287. >Nightmare turns her head back to the night sky.
  288. >You wonder if she's actually a bit embarrassed.
  289. >"I'm only watching out because it's my ass on the line too, you dolt."
  290. "She says she's happy to help."
  291. >"Screw you."
  292. >Some things will never change.
  293.  
  294.  
  295.  
  296.  
  297. [Originally posted 26 April 2016]
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