Princess Luna glanced up from her throne, the book nearly slipping out of her hooves in surprise. It had to be after three in the morning; prime hours for her, of course, but no one else. It had always been that way, with loneliness taking anger's place since her banishment. When it became clear that Equestria's inhabitants had continued their sun-loving ways, she'd decided to read her way through the entire library.
There was only one person who might be calling for her at this hour, and she didn't dare believe it could be them.
"In here!" She interrupted, a little too eagerly for one of her 'regal stature,' and tossed her book (Tax Codes of 1050-1060) aside as she leapt from her pedestal. The stairs vanished under her galloping hooves as she gained speed, her wings unfurling as she flew over the last few steps. "I'm in here!" She called once more, eyes fairly aglow as the figure rounded the corner.
But no; not the pony she had been hoping to see, not even one of the second or third ponies she enjoyed the company of. Just one of the guards, looking a little wide-eyed to see the princess leaping down from her throne with such enthusiasm. "Your Majesty." He managed to get out, and she couldn't help but notice how tight and small his voice sounded. He was only an earth pony, after all; his mane looked rumpled on one side, like he'd probably just been pulled from bed.
Luna tried not to let her disappointment show, and instead settled her wings against her sides as daintily as she could, smoothing down her coat even though it was already smooth. "Yes, my loyal subject? You have need of me?"
He nodded a little hesitantly, then reached into his saddlebag, tugging out a small envelope with great care. "It was just delivered, Your Majesty; I was told it was of utmost importance."
Luna's eyes lit up, and for a moment, as the guard would later swear to his bunkmate, the stars outside seemed to glow just a bit brighter. As gently as she could, she magicked the envelope from the guard's mouth, lifting it into her grip. The front of the envelope said simply "To Princess Luna," and was hastily slit open and discarded. The guard watched a little nervously as she stared at the card for a moment, her eyes first widening, then darkening, then - something else entirely. Slowly, the card was opened, finally allowing the stallion to see the inscription on the front:
You Make My Heart Trot
It was a simple enough inscription, written in a careful but slightly-shaky script. He stood silently as Luna's eyes darted over the message within, moving far too quickly to be doing anything but re-reading it. She re-read it several times as the guard stood at attention, before it abruptly disappeared, blinking out of sight in a cascade of sparkles.
She had already taken a couple of steps towards the main hallway before she paused, seeming to suddenly remember that he was there. "You are dismissed. Thank you for your service, Guardian Conch." She said regally, dipping her head to him before she moved towards one of the grand bay windows that lined the royal hall.
Conch was too stunned to answer immediately; he'd never thought that the Princess had taken much notice of him. All he'd ever done was guard the hallway for her on alternating weeknights. But as she moved towards the window, he managed to speak, even though she was busy unlatching it. "Y-You're welcome, Your Majesty. I am happy to have served you." He called gently, taking a small step forward when she leaned out the window, inhaling the night air. "Your Majesty...?"
But not even his startled gasp could keep Luna's hooves on the ground, and with a graceful leap, she flew through the window, disappearing into the darkness. Conch raced to the window, his heart in his throat, and could only watch helplessly as Luna sailed away into the valley below.