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Luna-Cy

By Alycorn
Created: 22nd December 2020 09:31:33 PM
6th March 2021 08:25:49 AM

  1. Luna-cy.
  2.  
  3. *RECORD SCRATCH/FREEZE FRAME*
  4. "Yep. That's me. You're probably wondering how I got into this situation... well..."
  5.  
  6. >I'm not going to tell you that it wasn't on purpose.
  7. >Because it totally was.
  8. >... Ok, look, it's been a weird week.
  9. >Lets take it back and we'll start from the top.
  10. >Monday morning, Earth.
  11. >I was getting ready to go to work at too fucking early in the morning because 'Essential' apparently can also mean overworked.
  12. >Boss is a slavedriver but hell, at least I'm still getting paid.
  13. >Corona is everywhere, life is terrible, and MLP is done minus the clipshow and of course watching the series over again on a stream or something.
  14. >Pony music in the car, something bright to keep the day nice, and a thermos of coffee with Luna's cutie mark on it and 'I'm too tired for this shit' written across the side.
  15. >Nothing too recognizable except by someone who would equally get called out for their shit if they tried to reveal your power level.
  16. >"Well that's all well and good friend but are you really going to call -me- out on my shit?"
  17. >Que shocked swerving, coffee spilling all around the car and-
  18. *WHAM*
  19. >Tree.
  20. ----------------
  21. >Everything is pain and suffering as you start to come back to your sense.
  22. >Mind you, that everything is your head.
  23. >Probably due to all the red stuff.
  24. >Issat blood?
  25. >Huh, neat.
  26. >Wait.
  27. >It's dripping down from above you.
  28. >You squirm a bit to try to look and notice three things.
  29. >1. You're pinned into your seat by what remains of the roof of your car and windscreen and the tree.
  30. >2. You can't feel it.
  31. >3. It's not falling down... kinda, it's falling sideways.
  32. >Either way, that is indeed blood. Yours.
  33. >Another drop falls by.
  34. >No. Wait.
  35. >Please don't go.
  36. >I kinda need that.
  37. >"Well, not for much longer in the state you're in."
  38. >You don't really have the strength or ability to turn and so you settle for shifting your eyes a bit, catching a glimpse of an lion-like paw being extended to you.
  39. >"I would say I'm sorry but I'm sure we're both aware that's a lie... now, you seem to be in a dire predicament friend."
  40. >You heroically resist the urge to roll your eyes.
  41. >Ok, you can't actually roll your eyes.
  42. >Too tired.
  43. >"Fine, I get it, it's my fault. Let me make it up to you hmm?"
  44. >The voice paces around you, you're not quite sure how considering you're in a rather crumpled up car.
  45. >"Let see, fix you up? Nah, boring, not nearly enough chaos in that... replace twiggles? Bleh, boring."
  46. >You start to fade out, sound starting to get drowned out as you note that there's quite a bit of blood down there.
  47. >Huh, that's a really pretty color of red honestly... isn't your life supposed to flash before your eyes when you die?
  48. >"Oh that's just morbid. Fine, we'll go with the prompt giver. And you're -next-, buddy."
  49. *SNAP*
  50. ---------
  51. >You jolt, gasping for air as you flail about before falling out of bed with a heavy THUMP.
  52. >What a nightmare!
  53. >You haven't been scared like that since you were a kid.
  54. >Your alarm clock is ringing, so it's not that big of a deal.
  55. >It's one of the old fashioned types, you got it as a gift from your Grandmother because she knows you sleep deeply and end up with some pretty weird dreams sometimes.
  56. >That's why you like Luna so much.
  57. >Princess of Night and protector of dreams? Sign you up! Nightmares suck and you had a lot of them when you were young.
  58. >That's why the alarm clock was so important, it was the perfect way to confirm that you really were awake and not trapped in a nightmare.
  59. >You're awake now, it's fine, everything is ok.
  60. >Freddy isn't about to suddenly poke out of the walls and kill you.
  61. >Nightmare scary, you're fine.
  62. >You take a deep breath, hoof pressed firmly up against your chest in an attempt to help sooth your pounding heartbeat
  63. >Yep, everything is fi-
  64. >Hold that thought.
  65. >You glance down and note the dark blue hoof pressed into your chest, and note that said chest is still, indeed, your chest.
  66. >No fur, nothing like that.
  67. >Just a dark blue hoof that apparently replaced your hand.
  68. >Anon.exe has failed to respond.
  69. >"Well drat, you woke up."
  70. >You turn in shock, and realize you've fallen in front of a mirror, and more importantly, you're absolutely -not- in your room.
  71. >You're in a lavish bedroom, themed around the night and luxurious in both scale and material.
  72. >Sitting in the black and blue framed full length mirror is Discord, looking quite annoyed.
  73. >"No, not you. You. Writing this. What do you think you're doing?"
  74. >I uh...
  75. >"You know what, nevermind. Get on with it. Write out the transformation scene I'm sure your readers so richly desire."
  76. >... Well jeeze, maybe I don't want to now.
  77. >"You're really going to argue about it? What about your poor stand-in there."
  78. >You're still completely baffled as you listen to Discord have a one-sided argument with something, or someone, you can't really tell, and glance down at your arm again.
  79. >As the arguing continues in the background, you notice the velvet-soft blue fur that reminds you so much of the night sky. It's not the darker blue of full grown Luna, but the slightly lighter blue of the Post NMM or maybe Pre NMM Luna.
  80. >As you watch, the fur slowly curls it's way up your arm, and you wince as you feel flesh, bone, and muscle shift and coil to fit it's new shape and form to better work with the hoof that you quickly realize is your own.
  81. >And more importantly, the hoof that's going to be on the end of your right foreleg.
  82. >You jolt up to your feet only to be shoved off of them by a clawed hand.
  83. >"No, sit down. Last thing we need is for you to hurt yourself. Disagreements with the author aside, you my friend have some wish-fulfillment to have granted."
  84. >You blink and let out a small gasp at that slow curling of fur and hair growing up your arm quickly starts to ripple out across your shoulders, making sitting up a bit awkward as your shoulders stretch and squash and you feel the sensation ripple down your spine, starting there and spreading outwards even as it keeps on stretching out past where you know your spine ends.
  85. >The stretching sensation slows as you turn your head to look, curiosity overriding common sense as you marvel at the long nub that your brain identifies as the dock of a tail.
  86. >Then common sense finally socks curiosity in the throat and you turn to speak your mind to Discord, only to let out a strangled gasp as that stretching, changing sensations grips your throat, and your groin.
  87. >"Oooh, explicit."
  88. >Shut up you.
  89. >"Make me."
  90. >You see out of the corner of your eye a zipper form on discord's face and literally zip his mouth shut as you desperately paw at your throat with your hoof and paw at your groin with your only currently existing hand.
  91. >Your bait and tackle is currently melting away to nothing, not even having a last-goodbye moment as you feel a sensation not unlike getting kicked in the balls and curl up on yourself.
  92. >Ok, it's official, transforming sucks.
  93. >That or Discord is a dick. One of the two.
  94. >The shifting experience quickly accelerates, and you let out a fairly feminine whimper of pain as you feel your facial structure get stretched out to accommodate the muzzle and eyes that you're well aware will fit the adorable little ponies you've watched for all these years.
  95. >"But wait, there's more! Act now, and you'll get all the magical powers of Equestria's special darlings, absolutely FREE!"
  96. >As your other hand folds in on itself to form another pristine hoof, you feel a jolt rush up your spine.
  97. >It's warm, and soothing, then it's hot, and then it's -burning-.
  98. >You can only cry out in pain and surprise as the heat spreads through your body, literally making you light up like someone plugged you into a lightsocket in a cartoon, your eyes glowing with unlimited cosmic power.
  99. >Your eyes are opened to the cosmos and all it's secrets, the stars trembling in awe of your arrival and gathering around to greet you.
  100. >The Moon embraces you like an old friend, the mirror of the night sky welcoming you into your power.
  101. >The fire lances out from your forehead, jutting out into a graceful spiral and coiling tightly, each coil guiding your power and returning it to your body, no waste of energy to be found as the tip is the baton that you shall use to control the cosmos and all of reality, and you feel all of the night kneel in reverence for it's reigning power has returned.
  102. >Down your spine and shoulders, you feel powerful muscles form as first ethereal, then true wings spread from your back, feathers surrounding you with all the grace and glory of an angel on high drifting from Heaven, majestic and powerful in their vision, vibrating with the very winds of the earth trembling in excitement and laying bare for you to command.
  103. >But neither of these prepare you for the overwhelming presence of -all- that consumes your body as your hooves bring the magicks of Equestria to you and present you before Her, completely bare and unburdened by any way of hiding.
  104. >You stand before Equestria, and She decides your fate in all reality.
  105. >Discord started this change, but only She can finish it.
  106. >As you collapse to your knees, still human if only in your mind, before Equestria, you feel your mind opened as if spread like the pages of a book.
  107. >She reads all of who you are, every secret and desire lay bare.
  108. >You have been found... wanting.
  109. >But all beings are.
  110. >You had prepared for a smiting, for the end, but instead find yourself embraced in the warm and loving arms of a Mother who sees her child again, of a mare who got home to her lover, of friends finally seeing one another after a long time away, and of a Family staying close.
  111. >"My girls aren't perfect. Neither are you. But My Luna is gone..."
  112. >You feel the urge to weep but your tears are stayed by Equestria as She gently wipes away the tears that have already fallen.
  113. >"This universe needs another. Such constants are required. Celestia knows naught of this. You stand now to take her place. Grow well, daughter of mine..."
  114. >You prepare to respond-
  115. >"And tell your sister to lighten the buck up!"
  116. >In a flash, it's over, and you shock to your hooves again, stumbling and falling flat on your face.
  117. >Hooves down, flanks up, that's the way we like to-
  118. >"Tempting, that's a pretty great looking mare. Discord old boy you've done it again."
  119. >You whirl, stumbling just a little bit, now off the bed and properly standing on the floor and all four of your new hooves, wings flared and tail tucked firmly between your legs no matter how much power you feel surging through your body as embarrassment flushes your cheeks purple.
  120. "Discord!"
  121. >Wow, what a pretty voice. You... honestly sound just like young Luna.
  122. >"What? Just making it known."
  123. >You growl, narrowing your eyes as your horn lights up instinctually.
  124. >"DISCORD. WE HAD AN ACCORD."
  125. >The world seemingly shakes and both you and Discord stiffen up.
  126. >The Lord of Chaos glances at you and then glances at the mirror before letting out a defeated sounding growl.
  127. >"Fine, fine, more community service for me... absolute slave driver you are."
  128. >The Draconequus narrows his eyes at you and points firmly.
  129. >"Don't mess it up. I made a mistake, but you were a perfect fit anyway."
  130. >Now you're annoyed, scared, happy, and confused all at the same time.
  131. "What do you mean Discord?! What did you do to Us?"
  132. >You blink in confusion.
  133. >The royal We? Really? You're stuck with that verbal tic.
  134. >Discord sniggers and winks.
  135. >"Figure it out yourself kiddo. I'm out!"
  136. >He lifts up his hand just as you make to pounce for him and beat the answers out of the mishmash of creatures before he snaps his fingers with a echoing BANG of displaced air, sending you rolling and sprawling across the floor of your room as he vanishes.
  137. "... Cheater."
  138. >As you start to collect yourself, a pound of hooves makes your ears swivel before the door to what you assume is Lunas... your... room.
  139. >"LUNA! Are you alright, what happened?"
  140. >Oh wow.
  141. >Celestia pre-being ready for court is a mess...
  142. >Princess Celestia in all her glory, ladies and gentlecolts.
  143. >The avatar of the sun is currently hugging you quite tightly, looking you over from head to frog and talking a mile a minute.
  144. >Her mane is an absolute mess, you have no idea how something that flowly and floaty is capable of getting as tangled as it is.
  145. >She's wearing a pink bathrobe that isn't fully tied or even properly worn, one wing stuck under the robe and the other wrapped around you.
  146. >She's got one of four bunny slippers on.
  147. >And she's got bags under her eyes that seem to be getting deeper even as she looks you over in a panic.
  148. >You try to find your voice only to yelp as you're lifted by your tail via magic and she continues to look you over.
  149. "TIA! Put Us down this instant!"
  150. >The indignity of it all!
  151. >"You're talking! Oh thank goodness, when you didn't say much over the last few days I was so worried!"
  152. "Tis not in our nature to speak much, thou know this."
  153. >Uuugh, this verbal tic needs to get dealt with and -soon-.
  154. >Celestia just smiles brightly as she pulls you into a deep hug, nuzzling into your depowered mane.
  155. >"I'm just glad you're ok, the guards have been gossiping about that terrible creature that you had to fight in the night and how it had hurt you badly, so when your guards heard you cry and couldn't get in your room they sent for me immediately."
  156. >You feel a spark of warmth in your chest as the avatar of the sun, now thankfully having put you mostly back on the ground, lets you hug close and return the hug being given.
  157. >She's so warm.
  158. >The comfort of your sister holding you in her arms is more than enough for you to relax and rest your head against her chest.
  159. >She might be taller than you, but that's not going to be forever.
  160. >And honestly, the fact that she's bigger than you is great for snuggles.
  161. >You blink, doing your best not to stiffen up as several things hit you all at one.
  162. >A. You are currently Princess Luna.
  163. >No duh.
  164. >B. Something happened to -this- universe's Princess Luna.
  165. >C. This is not the time to panic about it, not with Celestia so worried and broken up at the moment.
  166. >You gently place a hoof against your sister's shoulder and lift your gaze, looking her in the eyes.
  167. >Those eyes are so full of love, care, and worry.
  168. >Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
  169. "Pax, Sister of mine. We are fine, and that hath not changed. Our nights shall thrive, and not shall our Ponies suffer the daemons of dreams."
  170. >Celestia's eyes water a bit at your announcement as she hugs you again, resting her head against yours
  171. "Mayhaps thou shalt take a day away from the Courts, Sister. You are exhausted, We can see this."
  172. >"Oh, but there's so much still to do, Twilight's tenure as the Librarian of Ponyville still needs to be confirmed, and there's been some reports of strange going-ons near there that we'll need to see to, and..."
  173. >This time a light-blue hoof gently sets on a muzzle, silencing your sister.
  174. "Thou. Are. Exhausted. When was the last time thou dreamed, Sister?"
  175. >Celestia winces and looks away, and you frown hard.
  176. >That was a good guess, but honestly you have no idea what you're doing.
  177. >"... Not since Nightmare Moon."
  178. >!!!
  179. >A THOUSAND YEARS?!
  180. >Your wings react to your alarm of their own accord, snapping to full size before you wiggle out of your sister's grasp, and you put your muzzle under her and force her too her hooves.
  181. "Up! We shalt get thee to a bed!"
  182. >"W-what, Lu!"
  183. "No, I shall not hear it, thou need -REST- sister mine! If mine mistakes have been haunting your dreams these long years then the undoing of them is of my concern. Thou. Will. Sleep!"
  184. >You are firmly shoving Celestia towards your bed, even if she is trying to complain or squirm away, before you finally bump her into the large alicorn-sized bed, following after her before looking towards the door to your chambers.
  185. >Two guards are watching, and you wave them away with a hoof.
  186. >They nod and close the doors.
  187. >As you bully your sister into bed to her ever weakening complaints, your horn sparks up.
  188. >Turns out magic is pretty easy, even if getting the set up to do it was fairly painful.
  189. >Determination and Desire.
  190. >You strip her bathrobe off and hang it on a cloths hanger near your bed, and idly kick the slipper she was wearing to... somewhere, drawing the curtains of your windows closed to black out the room.
  191. >Celestia is mewling like a foal, completely against being forced into bed.
  192. >"Lu, really, I'm fine, you know I'm fine, it's just..."
  193. "But nothing. Anypony with eyes can see how tired you are, and a thousand years of improper sleep must be taking a tole on you. Sleep, sister. Your dreams will be peaceful tonight."
  194. >Celestia stares at you as your magic is the only thing lighting up the room, as if she's seeing you for the first time, before she closes her eyes, tears stinging at the corners as she holds you.
  195. >"I don't deserve this... I don't deserve to have you back."
  196. >Her voice is choked and cracked, and you simply hug back as you let your magic die and settle into bed, holding her even as she holds you.
  197. "It's not a question of deserving. Thou are my sister. What is it they say? Thou art stuck with me."
  198. >Celestia lets out a sniffly laugh as you feel tears wet your coat as she nuzzles into your neck and shoulder.
  199. >"Ok... ok. You've got me. I'll sleep. I promise."
  200. >The room falls silent but for her sniffles.
  201. >Obviously she's missed her sister dearly, and you can only imagine the wounds that both her and the actual Luna suffered.
  202. >"... I love you."
  203. >You feel a twang in your heart, and close your eyes as you hug Celestia.
  204. >No, you love Luna... and you're not her.
  205. "I love you, sister. Rest."
  206. [End Day 0]
  207. [Day 1]
  208. >The soft chirping of birds and the warmth of the sun breaking through the curtains signal your awareness of the waking world.
  209. >Your eyes scrunch up as does your muzzle as you bury it into your pillow.
  210. >Your pillow giggles softly, and your scrunch turns into a frown.
  211. >Giggling?
  212. >Muzzle?
  213. >A melodic hum graces one twitching ear as something warm comes near it.
  214. >"Come now sister, is my mornings really so bad?"
  215. >Celestia...?
  216. >Wait.
  217. >OH!
  218. >Your mind snaps into awareness as you descrunch and carefully open your eyes, your face filled with a softly smiling and much less scruffy looking Princess Celestia.
  219. >The mare looks a thousand times better than she had last night.
  220. >Stress? Gone.
  221. >Bags under her eyes? Gone.
  222. >Her coat even is smoothed out and her mane is gracefully bannering in the celestial breeze.
  223. >You can feel the magic pouring from her as you give her a slightly flat look.
  224. "Fie on thee and thou mornings. Take thine infernal light with thee."
  225. >Your flat tone makes her giggle louder as she opens your curtains and lets the sun shine in.
  226. >She literally glows in the sunlight as you struggle to untangle yourself, only to be stopped by a muzzle nuzzling into your neck and side.
  227. >"Thank you Luna. I didn't realize how exhausted I was..."
  228. >For a moment, you can see past the mask and see that one night did not fix everything that Celestia has gone through, but the mare was looking much better after just one night of undisturbed rest.
  229. >You give her a small smile, nodding a bit.
  230. "Tis nothing Sister... come, we must prepare to greet the day."
  231. >"Oh! That's right, you don't know where everything is yet. Do you need me to help you find the baths?"
  232. >Guess you're early enough in the timeline that Luna still hasn't figured out the palace yet.
  233. "Strewth, thou sense of deduction hath not aged a day, lead on sister."
  234. >Tia giggles at your old-timely speak and as you carefully shift so you're not stepping on her you let the larger mare collect herself and get to her hooves.
  235. >You stand up yourself and are overcome with the urge to stretch.
  236. >Your splay forwards, your wings fanning out as you streeetch much like a cat, arching your back and pushing upwards before letting out a small sigh.
  237. >Tia is giggling again, a hoof covering her muzzle as she gazes at you.
  238. >"How long has it been since I've seen you do that dear sister..."
  239. >Her voice is soft and you barely pick it up, so you don't comment as you step down from your bed and start towards the door.
  240. >"Luna? Don't you want your torque?"
  241. >Celestia looks a bit confused as you look over your shoulder at her.
  242. >Ah, right, the Regalia...
  243. >Your crown, silver hoof-cover thingies, and the silvery torque are all carefully hung on a display mare-equin.
  244. >Hehe puns.
  245. "No, I think not. We are bathing, aren't we sister? The day can be faced without Our regalia for at least this much."
  246. >The confusion melts into a warm smile as you note that Celestia isn't wearing any of hers either, minus her crown, which she apparently brought with her.
  247. >A mischievous smile spreads across your face as you lower your voice a bit, a wild urge spurring you on in the back of your head.
  248. "If thine nobility is as... Stuck Up? as yon student's rainbow-colored friend suggests, perhaps We shall make one trip as We pass with uncovered fetlocks."
  249. >Celestia's eyes widen a bit as she's completely caught off guard by your joke.
  250. >Years ago, a mare showing her fetlocks was seen as a rather lurid action and one would only uncover in the privacy of their own home or with lovers.
  251. >A mare with unshorn and uncovered fetlocks was basically advertising herself as...
  252. >Well, a mare of the night.
  253. >You resist the urge to frown.
  254. >Where the heck did that knowledge come from?
  255. >"You're quite right! The 'old' traditions are fashionable right now so we might cause some accidents."
  256. >Celestia's giggle and grin is as mischievous as your as she trots up to your side and bumps hips with you, sending both of you into a giggling spiral of shared humor.
  257. >The giggling dissolves into quiet laughter as you rest against your sister and her against you, a shared moment of warmth and comfort before she steps past, opening the double doors to your chambers.
  258. >"Come Sister, the day awaits!"
  259. "We dread it so."
  260. >"Lulu!"
  261. "Tia."
  262. >The giggling comes back as you trot after your sister, two Night Guards looking quite baffled as two Day Guards quickly fall into line with slightly put-upon expressions of exasperation on their faces.
  263. >Good survival instincts.
  264. >They might survive the prank wars.
  265. >You'll have to train your Guardsmen up.
  266. >After all, you'll have foals and fillies to scare on Nightmare Night.
  267. >The trip through the castle is actually quite nice, if a little annoying.
  268. >You feel yourself start to tire, and start to lag behind Celestia, who actually is paying close attention as she slows to match your pace.
  269. >"Are you quite alright Luna?"
  270. "Yes... just... still tired is all."
  271. >Celestia's eyes flash with a bit of rage that startles you for a moment.
  272. >"Damn that Nightmare, so much time and hurt I could have avoided if I had just.."
  273. >Her rage turns to sadness.
  274. >You frown, and boop her snoot.
  275. >The guards freeze in shock and Celestia blinks in surprise, her muzzle scrunched up.
  276. "Nay."
  277. >"But?"
  278. "Nay! Tis not thine fault, tis mine as well, and thou shall not shoulder this burden alone."
  279. >You stand up straight, firmly looking Celestia in the eye.
  280. "Thou said it thine-self. We are to rule -together-, sister. This is the burden we share. Not alone. Never again."
  281. >Her eyes water a bit and she sighs before wrapping a wing around you softly in a hug.
  282. >"Never change Luna... Ok."
  283. >You nod firmly before she's back to looking at you with concerned eyes.
  284. >"But still, are you feeling well?"
  285. "... Nay, the banishment of Nightmare Moon... took a lot."
  286. >You avert your eyes but Celestia gives a soft tug with her wing and gets you and your guard entourage walking again.
  287. >"It's fine sister, I can carry the courts till you recover. I know how frustrating it is but you are getting stronger every day."
  288. >You find yourself nodding along as you both walk, your ears perking up a the sound of running water.
  289. "Verily. But We shall do Our best to recover soon. We mean what We said."
  290. >Celestia's smile is more than a little watery but she's obviously, well, over the moon.
  291. >"Thank you."
  292. >Your smile is enough of an answer as you enter the baths.
  293. >You barely resist the urge to whistle, because these are absolutely the royal baths.
  294. >Swanky.
  295. >A whole herd of hoofmaidens are on, well, hoof, ready to care for their Princesses, all in neatly matching maid uniforms and bowing gracefully as you and Celestia enter the room.
  296. >Celestia smiles brightly at them all.
  297. >"Good Morning girls, we're taking the full treatment today, I'm not going to court.
  298. >A gasp is heard as one of the mares pops out of her bow, practically vibrating in place, her eyes sparkling.
  299. >"You hear that girls? SPA DAY!"
  300. >The mares all start chattering in excitement and the guards quickly vacate the room, obviously a bit put off by the chatter.
  301. >You resist the urge to flatten your ears as you smile, and before you know it you and Celestia are swept up by the mares, many of whom have shucked their outfits.
  302. >No, you weren't staring at their flanks.
  303. >They are very nice flanks, but that's besides the point.
  304. >Shut up.
  305. >Celestia bumps you with her hip and you resist the urge to snort as she gives you a wink and a knowing look.
  306. >You simply turn up your muzzle and ignore the fact that two mares in particular look almost exactly like Aloe and Lotus.
  307. >And then you realize all of the sudden that you're surrounded by mares, about to step into water.
  308. >Wet mane.
  309. >You resist the urge to swallow nervously.
  310. >Oh dear.
  311. >Hell.
  312. >You're going to Pony Hell.
  313. >No you don't care that you're currently in what could be arguably called Pony Heaven.
  314. >You're laying on your back next to Celestia, staring up at the ceiling through half-lidded eyes.
  315. >A moan slips your lips unbidden as the mare who is working on your body hits a particularly sensitive spot.
  316. >Seriously, who would have thought the equivalent of a pedicure and a foot massage would feel so good?
  317. >The mare massaging your leg and hoof lets out a giggle as she continues her expert work even as her partner gently lifts a ladle of hot water and pours it over your mane, the sensation soothing as it rinses the shampoo out of your mane.
  318. >The two mares that looked exactly like Aloe and Lotus?
  319. >Turns out they were Aloe and Lotus's cousins.
  320. >You are not as subtle as you think you are.
  321. >Celestia informed you about them and mentioned that she was the one who helped set up the Ponyville Spa.
  322. >That brings you up short for a moment.
  323. >Circles within circles?
  324. >Who knows, but either Celestia is just a sucker for a good massage (steadily ignoring the fact that you're currently being turned into a puddle of alicorn mare via good massage yourself) and thinks everyone deserves access to such things.
  325. >Or it's deliberate and the mare knew.
  326. >You think about it a bit longer before you push it out of your head.
  327. >Nope.
  328. >Not worth thinking about.
  329. >Just like you're trying so hard not to ogle and eye up the mares tending to you and 'your sister'.
  330. >Look, you're not going to apologize for it.
  331. >You know what you like.
  332. >And there is a very large amount of it on display here.
  333. >And you mean -a lot-.
  334. >But damn it, you weren't expecting to be confronted with all of this first thing in the morning!
  335. >Maybe you could order them around a little bi-NO.
  336. >You suppress the though before you feel a knot in your leg come undone and you relax again.
  337. >"M'lady, you need to stop getting so tense. What must we do to loosen you up?"
  338. >Go away bad thoughts, not in front of Tia.
  339. "W-we're doing quite fine..."
  340. >Your voice is quite shy as you find yourself completely out of your depth.
  341. >Pretty mares taking care of you and -wanting- to help you relax?
  342. >Sexually or not, this is just too much for you right now.
  343. >"Don't worry so much Lavender, I think Luna is just ready to finish her bath."
  344. >Celestia's melodic voice is a saving grace and Lavender blinks at her before looking at you.
  345. >"Oh! You should have said something your highness, I wouldn't want to make you uncomfortable!"
  346. >You resist the urge to bite your lip.
  347. "N-no, t'was well executed. You know your craft well. We just... we aren't..."
  348. >You frown, not really having a good way of describing the issue.
  349. >Celestia looks at you knowingly before she rolls over, the maids bowing and scraping as they step away and she walks towards the pools of the bath, motioning for you to join her.
  350. >You roll yourself, Lavender and her sister, Lace, both smiling at you and bowing deeply.
  351. >You nod in appreciation for their efforts before walking to the bath yourself and stepping in.
  352. >The waters reach pretty deep, but your head still settles above the waters when you lie down.
  353. >You note the mares that had been treating you and Celestia have started to leave.
  354. >Looks like soak time was private time.
  355. >Good, you need a break.
  356. >Your mind cycles through everything you just experienced.
  357. >Lavender and Lace had been your personal caretakers throughout the entire morning, and the last four hours or so have been filled with a full pedicure, even if you don't know what else to call it, hooficure?
  358. >Whatever, they cleaned, trimmed, and polished your hooves.
  359. >Somepony had preened your wings which was probably one of the best things you've ever experienced.
  360. >Your mane and tail was brushed to a shiny luster before it even had soap applied to it.
  361. >You've been soaped, conditioned, and massaged.
  362. >... Mel Brooks eat your heart out, but it's good to be the Princess.
  363. >"-Lu?"
  364. >Oh, apparently Celestia is talking.
  365. >You turn to look at her, and notice that she's laughing at you.
  366. >You pout, feeling blood rush to your muzzle as you sink into the water a bit to try to hide your embarrassment.
  367. >"Oh Lulu, no, I'm sorry."
  368. >A white wing embraces you and pulls you close and is followed by a foreleg hugging you around the barrel.
  369. >You look to Celestia who looks genuinely apologetic.
  370. >"I'm sorry, I should have remembered how touch-shy you can be sometimes... I just remembered how much you enjoyed your massages in the past and figured it would be a great way to help you relax a bit."
  371. >Oh she just missed -all- the mental subtext you had been applying.
  372. >You deserve worse than hell.
  373. >Not even being turned to stone was bad enough for you.
  374. >... Ok, maybe not that more.
  375. >Side note to self: Check on the gardens and inspect Discord, maybe try to talk to the guy?
  376. >I mean, he -was- the one who brought you here.
  377. >... You don't want to contemplate the possibility that it was a Discord from a different universe entirely
  378. >"Luna?"
  379. >Wh- oh blast.
  380. >You did it again.
  381. "We are sorry Sister, our mind is quite... preoccupied this morning."
  382. >Wrong words, the worried look is now replaced with a little smirk as Celestia shoulders you.
  383. >"I understand."
  384. "Wha, no! We meant-"
  385. >Celestia giggles, hugging you again and silencing anything you were about to say.
  386. >"Just teasing Sister. Still, are you feeling better?"
  387. >You run a full systems check, as best as you can understand it anyway.
  388. >Everything feels limber and relaxed, and the warmth of the bath/pool is just melting away the remaining tension from being teased and embarrassed.
  389. >You stretch your wings experimentally, checking to see if anything is rubbing.
  390. >A quill sticking out wrong is the -worst-, and itches to the nines, especially if it's down near the base of your wings which you just can't reach and pulling a loose feather out with magic is just not a good idea.
  391. >Wait!
  392. >There it is again!
  393. >You lock onto that feeling, even as you smile at Celestia.
  394. >That isn't you.
  395. >Whatever that feeling is, that knowledge, it isn't you.
  396. >You're going to need to explore that later.
  397. >But for now, you need to respond to Celestia.
  398. "Yes, yes I am."
  399. >Celestia smiles brightly as she hugs you again and gently pulls you in front of her.
  400. >You blink as that quasi-nostalgic feeling washes over you again as you see a brush floating over.
  401. >The brush starts rasping through your mane and you melt, your eyes lidding as all at once you're awash in the memories of better times.
  402. >Or maybe just other times.
  403. >Times when your sister was all you had.
  404. >And she would do anything for you.
  405. >Tia sings softly as she brushes your mane, an old wordless lullaby from your childhood.
  406. >A featureless mare passes through your mind but is quickly dismissed.
  407. >She was gone before you got to know her.
  408. >You struggle to pull free of the memories, trying to keep them from overwhelming you even as your body settles into the larger mare.
  409. "It's been so long since you sang to me..."
  410. >Your voice surprises you, and it apparently surprises Celestia as well as she stops singing for a moment.
  411. >She gazes down at you as you look up at her and she smiles sadly.
  412. >"Too long... I sang to you every night."
  413. "... I would like to hear it."
  414. >Celestia smiles and looks like she's about to cry even as she hugs you again.
  415. >It looks like your bath is going to take much longer than initially planned.
  416. --------
  417. >Of course, such good times never last.
  418. >About thirty minutes after Celestia sang for you, the avatar of the sun had started to inform you of the latest Court Gossip and going ons in Canterlot.
  419. >You know a distracting tactic when you see it, but you listen attentively at the same.
  420. >After all, you -are- a Princess.
  421. >The going-ons of court life in Canterlot will be critical for you at some point or another.
  422. >Unfortunately, between being recently returned from the moon and being slightly less powerful then you should be as your body recovers from Nightmare Moon, there isn't really much for you to do during court hours.
  423. >This gets even more strained when Raven, Celestia's Unicorn aid and secretary, who looks quite a bit like a earthpony mare from Ponyville (and isn't that a strange mental disconnect...) breaks the peace and quiet with a bow and a report.
  424. >You slowly tune the mare out even as she starts talking about the nobility, doing your best to keep your expression from turning hard down or straight-out frowning at her for doing her job.
  425. >Even if it means she's ruining your time with Tia.
  426. >Celestia glances at you and quirks a little smile as she barely avoids breaking out in laughter, and winks at you when she draws your eye.
  427. >You simply raise one eyebrow in a questioning matter, making her stifle a giggle as she focuses on Raven, who has closed her eyes as she's giving the morning report.
  428. >Ok Zazu.
  429. >Just be lucky I'm not learning to pounce.
  430. >The straitlaced majordomo finishes her report, and Celestia nods as she stands upright, bowing her head to nuzzle you softly.
  431. >"I'm sorry Lulu, I'm needed. Do you need help getting back to your room?"
  432. >She's gazing into your eyes in worry, and you gaze back before lifting your muzzle for a nuzzle.
  433. "Nay, We are sure that Our guards are more than capable Sister. We shall see thee, how are they saying it, on the flipside?"
  434. >That was deliberate.
  435. >The shocked look on Celestia's face before she bursts out into giggles?
  436. >Worth. It.
  437. >"W-where did you hear that, Lu?"
  438. >Celestia's giggling lets you smirk mischievously for a moment before you let your face relax back to a more neutral and slightly confused expression.
  439. >Frankly, Raven gaping at you was even funnier then getting Tia to lighten up.
  440. "Why, twas the foals of Ponyville whilst We were there celebrating Our return."
  441. >Celestia's giggles turn to full blown laughter as she nuzzles you before she finally gets out of the bath and starts carefully drying herself off.
  442. >"Oh Lu, never change... the colts and fillies are indeed using that as a way of saying that they'll see each other later."
  443. >Celestia's smile warms your heart as you think to how scared and sad she looked last night, and you give her a soft smile and a wave of your hoof.
  444. "Fie on thee, Sister, laughing so as We adopt this new language. We shall be Hip with the young."
  445. >The laughter doubles again.
  446. >Oh yeah, you're killing it.
  447. "Oh shoo, thy whining children need their Mother to solve all their problems for them."
  448. >Celestia's laughter boils down to giggles even as Raven pouts at you for calling the Nobility children.
  449. >"Ok, ok, I'm going before you making me trip. I love you Luna."
  450. >You give her a smile as you settle in the bath a bit more.
  451. "I love you, Tia."
  452. >The smile your sister makes could light up all of Equestria, and does on occasion, and soon she and her majordomo are gone.
  453. >You sigh, your face falling back to neutral as you slump a bit in the bath, relaxing your poise before you glance at yourself in a mirror.
  454. >Jeeze, Luna really has resting bitch face at times doesn't she?
  455. >It's just the way your face rests.
  456. >You look rather un-amused with the current going-ons.
  457. >Which explains a lot honestly.
  458. >You examine yourself in the mirror, not really having had a chance to do so last night out of realizing that indeed, you were Luna.
  459. >You're a mid-line between the dark blue of fully empowered Luna and the light blue of the depowered Luna.
  460. >Your face has taken on the season 2 look, fully shaped and quite beautiful, in your opinion.
  461. >Goodness, butterfly those eyes at yon stallion and you'll probably be able to knock them over with a feather.
  462. >You do it to yourself experimentally and the results are just that.
  463. >That is a -very- pretty mare in the mirror.
  464. >Your mane is starting to show signs of your cosmic powers again, wisping out here and there as magic flows through it.
  465. >You note mentally that the magic running your mane is just excess- overflow even from the power available to you from Equestria and the Cosmos.
  466. >You muse upon the balance of the Equestrian-Given Magic and the Cosmos given magic.
  467. >It's almost exactly half and half- flight, control over the winds, and weather, is exactly split between Cosmos and Equestria.
  468. >The physical strength and speeds from Equestria, the body, and the weather influences must be the changing tides as provided by the sun and moon.
  469. >That being said, you're not even going to pretend that you understand it.
  470. >Your magic is all Stars and the Moon, and even now during midday you can feel them all quietly greeting you from behind the light of the Sun.
  471. >They know who the brightest Star in the skies of Equestria is.
  472. >You slowly rise to your hooves, marveling in the strength you feel coursing through your immortal body.
  473. >Rather, as close to immortal as anything can get.
  474. >A mental image of the heat-death of the universe, millions and billions of years onwards, idly passes you by, and you smirk softly to yourself.
  475. >So much time.
  476. >What a gift to relish.
  477. >You spread your legs as you mentally thank Equestria for your strength even as you leave the bath, only to blink in surprise at the clip-clop of hooves on tile.
  478. >Lavender and Lace are back, both smiling warmly.
  479. >"Finished soaking your highness?"
  480. >"Princess Celestia sent us to-"
  481. >"-take care of you."
  482. >You flush red even as you attempt to protest, only to be ignored.
  483. >Even as you're assaulted by soft touches and a delightful brush running through your mane and tail -again- as a pair of hooves dry you off with exquisitely fluffy towels you mentally start planning your revenge.
  484. >Oh Tia, did you really want to start another prank war?
  485. >Because this is how you start a prank war!
  486. >... J-just after you let Lavender and Lace finish.
  487. -------------
  488. >Very red and embarrassed, you finally return to your room.
  489. >Your guards thankfully are quiet and didn't say much, instead taking up position at the doors to your room.
  490. >You flop into bed and bury your muzzle into a pillow, hiding your head.
  491. >Aaaaugh, WHY
  492. >Tia, you're -evil-!
  493. >You roll over, groaning and staring up at the ceiling.
  494. >She deliberately sent Lavender and Lace back, you just know it.
  495. >You notch a mental note to get her back for that, even if you're aware that you probably did something deserving the little prank.
  496. >But enough angsting over that, you've got bigger concerns.
  497. >Your face drops into a frown as you roll up to a sitting position, worrying your lower lip as you light up your horn.
  498. >Everything has been off in little ways this entire time, and the more memories that really aren't yours you start to encounter, the more you're convinced something's up.
  499. >It shouldn't feel weird to remember how to drive a car.
  500. >Or that you have a little sister.
  501. >But it shouldn't also feel weird to remember laughing at Tia stuffing herself at a party a few years into your rule.
  502. >Wait, no.
  503. >That should feel weird.
  504. >It's not your memory!
  505. >... Right?
  506. >You grit your teeth a bit, holding the sides of your temple with your forehooves even as you struggle over these emotions before settling again, taking a deep breath.
  507. >You're not exactly sure what you're doing, but right now, you need answers.
  508. >And if it's all in your head, then why not check there first?
  509. >Are you the Princess of the Night and Guardian of Dreams or not?
  510. >And if not, then where is the actual Princess Luna?
  511. >Be Princess Luna
  512. >All powerful Alicorn Princess/ Physical Goddess of the Night.
  513. >Protector of Dreams
  514. >Slayer of Nightmares
  515. >Sister of the Sun
  516. >She whom defeated Discord.
  517. >Idiot who CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE THEIR OWN BUCKING POWERS DAMN IT.
  518. >Actually be Anon-Luna, currently whining in annoyance both in their own head and into the pillow on her bed.
  519. >Fantastic Cosmic Power!
  520. >But absolutely zero knowledge how to use it.
  521. "I hope you're getting a laugh outta this one Robin... Genie situation flipped."
  522. >You grumble as you roll to your back, carefully folding and then spreading your wings as you stare at the pitch-black ceiling of your room.
  523. >It's been about an hour since you've gotten back to your room, and you informed your escort guardsponies that you aren't to be disturbed and drew the curtains around your room to meditate and attempt to draw out your powers.
  524. >Literally no luck.
  525. >You sigh, rubbing your muzzle with a hoof.
  526. >Magic is harder than it looks in the show.
  527. >You need to apologize for laughing at Dictionary and Chickun when you see those fillies next.
  528. >They'll be confused, but now you totally get it.
  529. >You freeze for a moment, glancing at your wings.
  530. >Buck you, you need to learn how to *fly* too.
  531. >Groan.
  532. >Another thing to add to the list.
  533. >You sigh, closing your eyes and staring back at the ceiling for a moment.
  534. >Those happy moments this morning and even last night with Tia aside, you're lost.
  535. >Absolutely befuddled.
  536. >What was the point?
  537. >Why call you?
  538. >Why did Equestria decide 'this one will do'?
  539. >Why was Discord the agent sent to collect you?
  540. >Did you die?
  541. >Are you just dying right now, bleeding out as your mind tries to distract you with something you love?
  542. >But it felt and feels so real.
  543. >You can feel the silk sheets rubbing against individual feathers, and the soft downy pillows supporting your head, neck, and sides.
  544. >You can physically see your muzzle, and lifting a leg shows a slender but clearly powerful foreleg, muscled and strong.
  545. >That slender leg full of Earth Pony magic and might gently taps your horn, and you feel the energies of the cosmos sing through your body.
  546. >You sigh softly, closing your eyes again as you let your hoof fall.
  547. >If only it were so easy.
  548. >"And what if it was? I'm pleased you've found yourself here Sister."
  549. >Your eyes snap open.
  550. >You'd know that voice anywhere.
  551. >Your head twists, and you're vaguely aware that you're on your hooves.
  552. >Tabitha's voice for Luna is easily one of your favorite voices in the show.
  553. >It's been coming out of your mouth this entire time.
  554. >But the swirling mass of stars and dream-stuff standing before you could only be one pony if it's actually speaking to you.
  555. >You go to kneel, but before you can even move it's moved.
  556. >You feel yourself embraced by the night of a warm summer's eve under a full moon, a lovers night.
  557. >You can feel the dreams of those innocents who know not the years of terror of the Discordian Era.
  558. >Not of the wars.
  559. >Not of the trials and tribulations.
  560. >Not of a thousand years on the moon.
  561. >You're crying, but you're hugging the mass of starlight to you even tighter for it, even as she hugs you in turn, sharing in your emotions.
  562. "Luna..."
  563. >"Hush now sister mine, Luna is your name, or have you forgotten already?"
  564. >You try to blink away the tears, but you're incapable of doing more than sobbing as you grip the mare who you've seemingly replaced all the tighter.
  565. >"Mmph, it's good that I'm not quite physical anymore... you need to control your strength little sister, you could break one of our little ponies this way."
  566. >You gasp softly and finally break out of the hug, tears still flowing as you look at the mare of stars, dreams, and moonlight.
  567. >She's not quite amorphous, but her form swirls and flows, wavering like a haze, much like a dream itself.
  568. >"I know you're confused Sister, but we have plenty of time."
  569. >A gentle hoof wipes away your tears and a muzzle meets yours in a soft nuzzle, touching like a lullaby.
  570. >You slowly calm down over the course of... you're not sure how long.
  571. >Your fur around your face and muzzle is a mess, matted by your tears.
  572. >You somehow ended up under Luna's wing, and she's been nuzzling you and whispering soothing words the whole time.
  573. >"Better now, Sister?"
  574. >"... I... y-yes. Yes. Thank you Luna."
  575. >She lets out a small hum as her wing gently circles your back for a moment before hugging you again.
  576. >Mmm, warm.
  577. >"You have forgotten that it's your name now."
  578. >You blink in confusion before looking up at your taller counterpart.
  579. "But you're here, you're alive! Doesn't that mean you-"
  580. >A gentle hoof silences you as it's placed upon your lips, the mare giving you a wane smile that reminds you of the moon glinting through clouds.
  581. >"I am Tantabus, and yes. Once, not so long ago in your view, I was the mare you now are- Princess Luna Nox, Princess of Equestria and Guardian of Dreams. But that is not who I am any longer."
  582. >You freeze, utterly confused and baffled by her response, which makes the mare giggle again.
  583. >"Yes, that's similar to how I felt when I realized not only what I had done, but I have come to terms with it and frankly, I'm satisfied with the results."
  584. >The dream mare (literally) spread her wings, spanning the dreamscape as the world shifted.
  585. >Suddenly, the two of you were sitting on a path in a sea of stars, the stars themselves all having a distinct and unique name and personality that you somehow knew.
  586. >The stars swirled and gathered, greeting you in turn in excitement.
  587. >Somehow you could understand what they were saying, though nary a word was spoke.
  588. >"We all greet she of the Night, the guiding force, the artist of the Heavens and She Who Brings the Stories to All."
  589. >What the hell any of that meant you weren't exactly sure, but Luna was looking at you fondly still.
  590. >"Come, I know where we should speak. You will need to inspect your seat of power and I'm sure your attendants will be pleased to meet their new ruler."
  591. >Any thought of responding or asking a question were swiftly whirled away in a veil of stars as you found yourself sitting regally upon a throne that might as well have been made of moonlight.
  592. >The palace before you was made of some kind of gem, and before you, bowing in formation, was at least a league of ponies of all kinds.
  593. >Mares, Stallions, Earth, Unicorn, Pegasi, and Bat.
  594. >You shift to your hooves and the formation all snaps to attention, saluting.
  595. >One wearing bright silver armor that seemed to be made of the same material as your throne is standing ahead, a Earth Pony Stallion with a silver and black speckled mane a rich gray coat.
  596. >He snaps an armored hoof to the ground, a loud cracking sound echoing around the room.
  597. >"Her Highness, the Princess Luna Nox, has returned to the Palace of Dreams! HAIL THE PRINCESS OF THE NIGHT!"
  598. >"HAIL! HAIL!"
  599. >The legion all hails you and holds their salute as one as Luna steps up beside you, her smile waxing and spreading wider as she looks upon the rows of ponies in formation before leaning near you and whispering in your ear.
  600. >"The Legion of the Night, your warriors, those who will give everything to defend the ponies they love from that which lurks in the shadows. Plainclothes guards, if you will. They always meet you here for reports and meetings, your highness."
  601. >You look at her in confusion but her smile just continues to wax as she gestures you to your hooves.
  602. >You stand, not even sure what you're doing as the ponies break their salute again and bow.
  603. >You bite your lip before you turn to Luna.
  604. "But you-"
  605. >The Earth Pony lets out a soft cough, drawing your attention away and stepping a bit closer.
  606. >"Your Highness, as your Captain, may I recommend that you greet your Legion? They were all pleased and a bit shocked to have been called, but I'm sure many of them would like to get back to their jobs, as it is still the middle of the day."
  607. >You jolt a bit and quickly turn to ponies all bowing before you.
  608. >The words come to you as if you were always meant to say them.
  609. "We greet thee, my Legion! Your Princess has returned, and Our Ponies shall never suffer the daemons that lurk in the darkness so long as We reign! SO SAY I!"
  610. >"SO SAY WE ALL!"
  611. >The Ponies roar back in approval and a stampede of applause.
  612. "At ease!"
  613. >The uproar settles quickly, and you marvel at the discipline before you motion with a hoof and wing.
  614. "We are pleased to see Our warriors so fit and ready for duty! Our Legion has stood strong and stronger still shall We stand, as one, the light in the darkness! Rest now and continue thy good work, and We will return all to this realm when thou are needed! Dismissed!"
  615. >The stampede of applause returns as the ponies form up and salute again before they start to chatter among themselves, many just straight up blinking out of existence even as little groups chatter or laugh together, some trading hugs and one pair exchanging what looked like a longing nuzzle and a deep kiss before they too vanished, gazing into each other's eyes.
  616. >Soon, all the Ponies are gone but Your... Captain. You guess.
  617. >And Luna, of course.
  618. >You turn to Luna, ready to get some answers, only to get stopped by the Captain again.
  619. >"It's good to see you again Your Highness. I'm Captain Star Struck, head of the Night Guard and leader of the Legion of Dreamers."
  620. "I... pleased to meet you, Star Struck, but what is all of this...?"
  621. >He lets out a little sigh, and turns to look at Luna.
  622. >"You brought her here a little quickly Tantabus."
  623. >"Forgive me Star Struck, you've done well on your own but I thought the Legion needed a moral boost after I fell."
  624. "Can somepony please just explain what the BUCK is going on!?"
  625. >You're honestly shocked at how loud your voice is as both Luna and Star are struck silent by your booming voice.
  626. >Canterlock.exe activated.
  627. >Admin Privileges granted.
  628. >Damn, gonna have to be careful with that, you might scare the feathers off of Fluttershy.
  629. >"Ah... yes."
  630. >Luna gives you a sheepish little smile.
  631. >"Forgive me, you're so much like me and hold enough of me that I forget that you weren't there."
  632. "For what? And hold enough of you? What happened Luna?"
  633. >The mare sighs and shakes her head.
  634. >"Enough of that, stop denying your role and who you are. You are Princess Luna Nox, I am Tantabus, your Daemon and the guardian of dreams. I was once Princess Luna Nox."
  635. >You blink, struck a little dumb by the bombshell, even have seen it coming even if you didn't want to admit it.
  636. >"Tantabus... my greatest creation, and worst."
  637. >The mare made of dreams and starlight sighs softly as her mane nebulously flows behind her and she gently coaxes you into sitting upon your throne, Star Struck following alongside before standing at attention before you.
  638. >"When I decided to create the Tantabus, it's mission was simple- a... well, background thought, or rather, program, if you wish to think of it as a spell that would constantly be running."
  639. >Her voice is smooth but there's obviously conflicting emotions rolling through her as she sits back, looking you dead on even as she isn't standing by your side anymore, but at the foot of your throne, clearly deferential.
  640. >"As said, I was Luna, and when I was saved by my sister's student and her newly discovered Elements, the purging of Nightmare Moon was the first of great things that they had done for me that night. My nightmare was finally long over, and so too would the nightmares of my little ponies be ending."
  641. >She smiles at the memory, and Star Struck stands a little straighter, tossing his head proudly.
  642. >"My Legion had continued in my absence, doing what they could and passing down their armor, which let them travel to the realm of dreams, fighting off the Nightmare and her machinations. They could not stop them all, and some were lost in mind if not in body by the creatures the Nightmare spawned, but when I returned, so did the full strength of the Legion armor."
  643. >"I had placed such a burden on my ponies, all for my own selfishness and shortsightedness."
  644. >You frown and raise a hoof to speak up, only to be silenced by a look.
  645. >"Pax little Sister, as you said so properly to Tia last night. The Nightmare was not my fault alone, yes, but I was still the one who let it in."
  646. >Your frown returns, but Tantabus continues on, ignoring it for now.
  647. >"I had decided to finish a project I had started before the Nightmare took hold, a spell matrix that could patrol the dreams of my little Ponies and protect them, to ease the burdens of my Legion. For the Legion has remained consistent in size, the Real of Dreams has only grown larger as time has passed, more so now that other and more creatures have been welcomes to my realm."
  648. >She frowns.
  649. >"Twas the Nightmare's doing that brought the other beings of this world to the realm, to feed on their fears, and such my Legion were fighting a losing war, even as the Nightmare consolidated her power, to break free of her bond and extract her revenge, and Night Eternal."
  650. >She shudders and flaps her wings once, looking decisively unsettled.
  651. >"But in my desire to help my Legion, I made a critical error, I had forgotten that the Nightmare had known all that I did."
  652. >"The Nightmare knew of Tantabus, and thus, had 'completed' my work."
  653. >Her voice is bitter, but you find yourself enraptured by the tale.
  654. >"This is where I pick up the story."
  655. >Star Struck steps in, nodding to Tantabus before looking at you.
  656. >"Your Highness, your predecessor did everything she could to stop the Tantabus after triggering the trap. You see, it had become a Dream Eater, a type of Daemon that we see as most heinous."
  657. >You blink, the knowledge somehow there.
  658. "A daemon that devours the dreams of a creature, thus stealing away their wills, desires, and emotions, as if consuming the soul of a creature."
  659. >Tantabus and Star look at you in shock and you tilt your head before Tantabus smiles.
  660. >"I do know how to pick 'em."
  661. >Tantabus sounds quite pleased with herself and Star coughs into his hoof as he looks away.
  662. >You blink and move to speak but Star quickly continues on.
  663. >"When the Tantabus broke free, she fought it directly, keeping the Legion away from it. Her objective was to subdue it into a warding shield in order to keep it locked down so she could regain her power and figure out how to reprogram it... but it was far too strong."
  664. >He looks distinctively uncomfortable about speaking of Tantabus as he is, but soldiers on.
  665. >"When she realized she couldn't stop it, and as it was diving at the Legion to attack us and attempt to well..."
  666. "Eat you?"
  667. >Your voice is emotionless and your eyes cold fury.
  668. >He gulps.
  669. >"Y-yes. She leapt at it and there was a bright flash."
  670. >At this point, both of them fall silent and you're left just staring at them.
  671. >You look at Tantabus.
  672. >You look at Star.
  673. >You ping pong between the two of them for a moment before waving a hoof.
  674. "Well? What happened then?"
  675. >"We merged."
  676. >Tantabus sighs, giving you that wane smile again.
  677. >"I pulled myself free from my body and took the Tantabus's, programming, shall we say, for myself. Rewriting it from the inside, I became the Tantabus, properly designed and programmed as Princess Luna desired. But doing so took my entire consciousness and magical reserves to do so."
  678. >You mull that over for a moment, eyes blanking out for a moment.
  679. "You... you died."
  680. >"In a way, I would say that so did you."
  681. >You blink at the apparent non-sequitur as she waves a hoof.
  682. >"You are no longer who you once were, Princess. You have effectively died, and in your place, so remains Luna Nox."
  683. >She gestures back to herself.
  684. >"I was once Luna Nox, but in giving up all I was and am, my very magic and being, my soul, to protect my ponies and fix the thing that the Nightmare had wrought, I became Tantabus. I am the Daemon of the Throne, the shadow of Princess Luna."
  685. >She steps up to you again and rests her forehead against yours.
  686. >"Your big sister, confidant, and I would hope, your friend. I am also the one who selected you to be who I once was."
  687. >You blink.
  688. "But I was-"
  689. >"You're right, you were alive and physically well."
  690. >She looks sorrowful.
  691. >"But you were unfulfilled. You had the qualities I needed, that Equestria needed, and more importantly, you had a single thing that I had needed so much in my life that kept me from being the Princess that my little Ponies needed."
  692. >She smiles, her eyes sparkling with star-like tears unshead.
  693. >"Patience and love enough for all of them. Perhaps they were just a show to you, but you loved them so even when they weren't even yours to care for. You were perfect. You are perfect."
  694. >You want to be mad, but at the same point in time, you can kind of see where she's coming from.
  695. >And honestly, you've already had one sob session today and if you punched her across the muzzle only to breakdown again it would just be angst at that point.
  696. >And nobody likes overdone angst.
  697. >You take a deep breath and nuzzle the starlight mare, before letting out a slow breath.
  698. "I forgive you Sister."
  699. >She smiles at you, now crying those starlight droplets, and Star Struck gives you a slightly awed look.
  700. >"You owe me twenty bits Star."
  701. >Tantabus's voice is choked a bit, and she gets a small laugh out of Star.
  702. >"You got it Tantabus."
  703. >You blink in confusion as the dream mare giggles.
  704. >"I was so firm in my belief that you were the one that I bet Star that you would forgive me and accept who you are after the explanation."
  705. >She looks at you in admiration.
  706. >"I knew it. You care so much about all of us, and we'd have never met you."
  707. >You blush and hug her.
  708. >The hug is nice, but you break it off all too quickly as you take a deep breath, narrowing your eyes and drawing yourself to a proper posture befitting of a princess.
  709. "I'm glad we've gotten the explanations out of the way, but now you gotta explain what the heck you meant by 'enough of me'."
  710. >You step down from... well, you guess it really is yours now, isn't it?
  711. >You frown a bit.
  712. >Guess you can't really be Anon anymore, can you?
  713. >Unless you wanted to be a lot like the Luna in the show who just kinda shows up once in a while.
  714. >You shudder a bit, fluffing your wings at the thought.
  715. >Nope.
  716. >Too much cool stuff to do.
  717. >A literal whole new world to explore.
  718. >No, you're Luna now.
  719. >Luna nods firmly at this thought before she turns, looking at Tantabus and Star Struck.
  720. >... Ok, third person perspective is weird.
  721. >Back to normal narriation.
  722. "Well? Still waiting on that explanation sister."
  723. >Tantabus gives you a half smile, looking a little uncertain.
  724. >"Ah, yes, well. It wouldn't do to just set you into the world with no knowledge of how I used to act or the details that aren't in your story."
  725. >You and Star both nod, before you look at him in confusion.
  726. >He gives you a lop-sided grin with is quite endearing and a little rougeish.
  727. >"I've been the Captain of the Legion for a long time, your highness. Dreams are interesting things, and you stop getting surprised eventually."
  728. "Truly?"
  729. >He can't hold his expression and you laugh.
  730. >"No..."
  731. >"Quite, but back to the topic? My physical form still existed in Equestria, but it was all instinct, much like the horses of yon previous existence."
  732. >You blink and then your ears perk up.
  733. "Oh! So your body was going through the motions to keep itself alive, but it was all ID."
  734. >"Verily."
  735. >You nod and then frown.
  736. "So then?"
  737. >"In order to perfect your form and merger my powers and knowledge to yours, he had to use my old body and your old body to create this new one, hence why you are still capable of walking upright but little things are still not quite meshing up yet."
  738. "And the little flashes and insights I've been having are your actual memories."
  739. >"Yes. Do not discount that what you're feeling is being put there by the old body or it's memories though."
  740. >Tantabus gives you softest smile you've seen from the mare yet.
  741. >"You didn't hesitate to treat Tia like she was your own sister. Comforted and cared for her without thought."
  742. >You kind of want to argue it a bit that you were just trying to be Luna-like but you note that she wasn't wrong, and you were just as comforted by Celestia's hugs and contact as you're sure she was from yours.
  743. >Tantabus flairs her wings as she bows to you before standing straight again.
  744. >"Well, I feel this has been quite productive, but yon sister awaits you, little sister."
  745. >"Oh! Shoot, I need to get back myself. The Legion is here to serve your Highness and we're combat ready. Just remember to ask Tantabus about how to make Legionnaire armor, we're gonna need to do a recruiting drive soon!"
  746. >Star salutes and vanishing in a wink of starlight, before Tantabus steps up to you and envelops you in a warm hug, and the blanket of the night washes over your vision.
  747. --------
  748. >"-una? Sister, are you awake?"
  749. >Tia's soft voice makes one ear flick as you slowly open your eye.
  750. >You ruffle your wings a bit as you focus on the sound, and look up at the door as you shake the sleep from you.
  751. >Glad you were able to make that work.
  752. >You smile at seeing Celestia so soon after your conversation with Tantabus.
  753. >Your Sister.
  754. "The Door is open, dear Sister."
  755. >The door to your chamber opens and Celestia smiles at you radiantly from the door.
  756. >"Decided to take an afternoon nap did we?"
  757. >Tia teases, walking up to the bed and joining you for a hug and a nuzzle.
  758. >Mmm, soft warm fur.
  759. >Seriously, probably the best part was just how snuggly soft the pelt of a equestrian was.
  760. "Verily. We wished to confer with Our Legion to see how the realm of dreams have fared."
  761. >Your own smile falls a bit more neutral as you contemplate the Legion and the tasking they had.
  762. "Twas not what I hoped for. So few remain and not nearly enough for our little ponies to be secure in their sleep."
  763. >Tia hugs you with a wing.
  764. >"You'll be back to your full strength soon enough sister. I believe in you."
  765. >You smile at Tia before standing up and stretching out, sighing softly.
  766. "... Thank you Tia."
  767. >She smiles at you and then gestures with a wing as she stands as well.
  768. >"I came by hoping I could lure you out of your room for the midday meal, maybe a walk in the garden?"
  769. >She looks hopeful, and honestly, getting out of the castle sounds like a wonderful idea.
  770. >You may not be able to find your way back your chambers if it's far enough away, but you're positive you'll figure something out.
  771. "Lead on Sister, let us sample the delicacies of this modern era."
  772. "So yeah. That's where it all started."
  773. >The world seems to be paused as you see Luna mid-stride, dodging a zap of light magic with a slice of cake in her mouth.
  774. "Oh, how did I end up in -this- moment? Well, that's a different story, but I guarantee that Tia deserved me stealing a slice of her cake."
  775. >The image shifts forwards slowly, and zooms in on Luna's face.
  776. >Her eyes are shining in mirth and amusement and she winks at the screen.
  777. "But that's a story... for another time. For now, all you need to know is this."
  778. >The freeze frame ends and Luna's wings spread as she leaps out through a balcony door and into the sky, a slightly disheveled and cake-covered Celestia crying out in annoyance and her own amusement as you dive away from Canterlot castle in full moonlight, scarfing down your prize and leaving your muzzle covered in a little frosting.
  779. "I am Luna Nox, Princess of Equestria, and this is -my- life. All I can hope is that I can fill it with as much joy and wonder as my little ponies deserve."
  780. >The mare of the night grins wildly as she dives down before arching back up after pulling up at the last moment, spiraling into the sky and eclipsing the full moon, laughter filling the night.
  781.  
  782. [The End]

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