Luna lay on the ground, not trusting herself to open her eyes. Pain still coursed through every fiber of her being, but it was slowly dissipating. What had happened to her? Had she miscast the spell? She felt… incomplete, like she was missing something. Finally unable to go any longer without knowing what she had managed to do to herself, Luna opened an eye and looked herself over.

The first thing she noticed was the absence of her wings. Then her new shade of hair, a light grey that tuned to silver for her tail. Finally she saw that her cutie mark had turned into a full moon shining a ray of light down onto a hill. With fear, she took one of her front hooves and reached to her forehead. Just as she feared, her horn was gone just like her wings. The shock of such a complete change finally sunk in, and a long moan of despair escaped from her mouth.

"Oh! What was that? Is somepony hurt?" From above her Luna heard a voice cry out, followed by the sound of hooves galloping. "Hello! Anypony? Hello, are you okay?" Luna turned her head enough to look to the top of the hill, and saw an orange unicorn mare with a brown mane appear. "Oh, OH! Oh my, hold on hun, I'll be right down!"

Luna watched as the newcomer carefully made her way down towards her. "What happened? Oh, silly me, it's obvious what happened, you tripped at the worst possible moment, and now look at you." Finally the unicorn was next to Luna. As she looked Luna over, the princess saw that the stranger had a cutie mark of three water droplets. "Tell me, does it hurt anywhere? Is anything broken?"

Luna blinked as she realized she hadn't even thought along those lines. "I, I don't think so…" she trailed off, as she realized her voice sounded different than it had before. She couldn't be sure, but she thought it was a note or two lower in pitch now. She was in no shape to give it any serious consideration, however. Cautiously moving each of her legs, she discovered one of the sources of her pain: she was lying on top of her saddlebags. Slowly, tentatively, Luna placed one hoof on the ground at a time, and then slowly stood up to face the other mare eye to eye. "I seem to be okay. I just… hurt an awful lot."

"I would think so, taking a crash like that and landing on your gear. Oh my, your stuff has scattered everywhere! You have a book over here, a telescope there… and look at this stone, this must have fallen out of your pouch next to the book, and…" The unicorn paused, and then lightly rapped a hoof against her forehead. "Listen to me, being so rude, not even bothering to introduce myself. My name is Dewdrop. What's yours, hun?"

Luna opened her mouth, and almost said her real name before she quickly shut her mouth again. 'Foal!' she mentally berated herself. 'I can't blow this disguise by telling her my real name! But what should I call myself? Think Luna, think!' Her eyes darted around quickly, looking for something, anything to use. Seeing her new cutie mark, she came up with a reply.

"Moonbeam," she replied. "My name is Moonbeam. Thank you for your help, Dewdrop. I'm a bit sore, but I think I'll be able to manage. I just need to pick up my stuff and I should be okay." Luna stared intently at the book. Without thinking about her current state, she tried to levitate it into her saddlebags. Nothing happened. Dewdrop, for her part, blinked a few times as the grey pony in front her simply stared harder and harder at the items that were littering the hillside.

"Hmm, I don't know. I'm no doctor, but you sure seem to be a bit under the weather there. Let me help you, please." Dewdrop's horn glowed. Beginning with the larger items first she picked up Luna's belongings one by one. Finishing by floating the moonstone back into the pouch, and demonstrating it was cinched up tightly, she placed it on top of the pile. She latched the saddlebags shut, and lifted them onto her own back. "I insist," she said as Luna started to protest. "You still look a bit woozy right now, and I won't have you suffer any undue stress. Come on, let's head back to town. I'll be happy to carry your belongings back to where you live… Where do you live, if I may ask?"

"I, actually, I don't have a place to stay yet. I'm, um, moving to Ponyville, so I was just going to stay at the inn for tonight. Could you please show me the way?"

"A newcomer! Oh, goodness me, I can't let you stay at the inn when you're hurting like this! No, you're coming home to stay with me. You simply must!"

'Too fast, things are happening too fast! I can't keep up.' Luna thought, panicking. "No, thank you kindly, but I wouldn't want to impose on you like that."

To Luna's surprise, Dewdrop actually laughed. "Oh hun, I work at the inn! So you'll be 'imposing' on me either way. And if I'm to make sure you get a healthy dinner to help you recover, as well as a comfortable bed for a good night's sleep, well, I'd rather do it underneath my own roof! Besides, this way my roommate can help you out too!" And with that Dewdrop moved slightly ahead, humming happily to herself - and, Luna thought wryly, forcing her to follow her in order to stay with her possessions.

Princess Celestia read the letter from her younger sister again, hoping to find some hint as to what Luna had in mind. Where had she gone? What could she have been up to? Celestia only had a couple of clues to work with. First, she knew without a shadow of a doubt that the disturbance she had felt had been caused by somepony somewhere casting a powerful spell. Luna was the first pony with such power that came to mind. Also, Luna had been gone for a day at most—she couldn't have gone far. In fact, Ponyville was the only village she could possibly have reached in that time.

There was still unused ink and parchment on the desk. Celestia levitated the quill, dipped it into the ink, and started to write a letter.

In the Ponyville library, Twilight Sparkle was searching through her books one by one and then dropping them on the floor in disgust as each one failed to provide the information she was looking for. "Augh! Spike, I can't find anything about what might have caused that disturbance. It had to have been magical in nature, the only others I found who felt it besides me were all unicorns."

"Gee, Twilight," Spike replied, running about as he tried to keep the books in neat stacks as they fell to the ground, "I honestly don't know. I didn't feel anything, and I know some magic."

Twilight turned to look at the baby dragon. "You do, huh? Such as?"

"Well, I can... oh boy, do this!" With a burp, a message popped from his mouth and hovered in the air. He took hold of it and said, "Wow, talk about good timing!"

"A letter from Princess Celestia? What does it say, Spike?" Twilight magicked the book she had been perusing onto a reading stand, and gave her dragon companion her full attention.

Clearing his throat, Spike opened the letter, and started to read aloud. "'Dearest Twilight Sparkle, I have some potentially dangerous news to share with you. I ask that you do not share this with anybody else'… Twilight, is this okay for me to be reading?"

"I'm sure it's fine Spike. She knows you quite often read these to me, and if I'm going to respond I'll have you take dictation anyways, so you'll find out at that point regardless. Please, continue."

"Okay. 'I ask that you do not share this with anybody else. Princess Luna has gone missing, and I fear that she caused the magical disturbance earlier today. I have not seen her since yesterday, so if you could please keep an eye out for her I would be very grateful. I will send you any other information that I discover as I learn of it. Thank you for your time, Princess Celestia.' Gosh! Princess Luna is missing?"

Twilight nodded slowly. "And Ponyville is the only place close enough for her to have gotten to by this time if she left yesterday from Canterlot. Assuming she headed this way, that is." Twilight frowned, "Well, it should be easy to figure out if she showed up here. She does have a very distinctive appearance to her. Stay here, Spike, in case Celestia sends any more messages. This way, I won't have to hide them from my friends. I'm going to go search around, see if anypony has noticed any newcomers to town."

Spike gave her a salute. "Will do! Good luck, Twilight!"

"Thanks, Spike! I'll try not to be gone too long."

As the door closed behind the purple unicorn as she left the library, Spike looked around. "Well, now that she's gone, I can start putting books back onto the shelves without worrying about her tossing them back off again." With a sigh, he grabbed the nearest tome and headed to a ladder. "And why are they always from the top shelves? Would it kill her to start from the bottom for a change?" he grumbled.

Luna slowly followed Dewdrop through the outskirts of Ponyville, becoming more and more relieved that the talkative orange unicorn had come across her lying on the ground. The fatigue from her travels, plus the after-effects of the spell, were leaving her barely able to follow Dewdrop around. 'All I need is a good night's sleep. I'm just tired, that's all.' Luna kept repeating those words in her thoughts, hoping to make them the truth if only by pure repetition.

After what felt like a dozen miles, but was more likely only half a mile at most, Dewdrop stopped in front of a two-story cottage. "Here we are, Moonbeam. Let's get you inside, get some grains in you, and then see what a good night's sleep does for you. I'm warning you though, if you're not feeling better come tomorrow, I'm going to insist we go and see a doctor!"

Luna nodded after she realized that Dewdrop was in fact talking to her. "I will, Dewdrop. Although I am pretty sure I'm just sore, that's all…" Luna was cut off when the door opened from the inside to reveal another pony.

"Dewdrop! Welcome back from your flower gathering expedition! How did it…? Hello! Who's this, Dewdrop?" The earth pony, pink with an apple-red mane, turned to look at Luna.

"Oops! Hehe, I completely forgot about the flowers! But I have a good reason for it, Feather Down. There was this strange, I don't know how to describe it, but I guess I would call it a sensation? It made my horn itch like you wouldn't believe! Then right after that, I heard somepony crying out in pain! So of course, I went to see what the matter was, and I found… Oh, I am being such a impolite pony today!" Turning to Luna, she continued, "Moonbeam, this is my roommate, Feather Down. Feather Down, this is Moonbeam. She's moving here to Ponyville, but had a terrible fall outside of town. I volunteered the use of our house for tonight so she can recover."

Feather Down backed out of the door to make room for the other two to enter. "Pleased to meet you, Moonbeam. Sorry it isn't under better circumstances." As Luna entered the cottage, she saw that Feather Down had a cutie mark of three white puffy feathers on her flank. Feather Down stared into Luna's eyes for a second, and then nodded. "You look like you can barely stand! Tell you what, you can use my bed tonight. We can share the other bed, right Dewdrop?" After seeing a nod of agreement from Dewdrop, Feather Down exited the room into what looked from where Luna stood to be a kitchen.

"Oh, there's no need for that!" Luna weakly protested. "I don't want to impose any more than I already have."

"None of that, my dear," said Dewdrop as she levitated Luna's possessions into a corner of the room. "Trust me, Feather Down is offering you one of the most comfortable beds in all of Equestria to use tonight, I wouldn't turn it down if I were you."

"That's right!" chimed in Feather Down from the kitchen. "That's how I got my name, after all. I knew from a very early age what made the most comfortable pillows and mattresses. If a night on that doesn't get you back in shape, nothing will!" Feather Down returned to the room with a plate of some grains and a sliced apple on it, and placed it down on a table. "Eat up, and then we'll get you to bed."

Although she didn't feel all that hungry, Luna soon found herself picking up the pace of her eating. As she chowed down, Dewdrop motioned Feather Down to follow her off to one side. "I'm a bit worried," Dewdrop whispered to her friend. "She has been really out of it. I'm afraid she might have hit her head or something in that fall. Could you do me the favor of going to talk with a nurse, just to make sure we shouldn't seek some medical attention for her right away? I'll tuck her in, and thank you ever so much for the offer to use your bed. I know how much you love it."

"No problem," Feather Down whispered back. The pink pony walked back over to Luna, who was licking the last crumbs off of the plate. "Whoa there! Someone sure had the hungries! Want any more?" Seeing Luna nod as she swallowed the last mouthful, she chuckled. "All right then, let me go get you some seconds." Grasping the edge of the plate with her teeth, Feather Down cantered back into the kitchen. Just a few seconds later, she returned with another full serving. "There you go!"

"Thank you very much," Luna said before starting to eat her way through the second helping.

Feather Down headed to the door. "Dewdrop!" she said in a sing song voice, "We're running low on apples again! I'm going to run down to the market real quick and pick up some more before all the sellers go home for the day! Could you please…" A set of saddlebags flew over to land on her back. "Thanks a bunch! I'll be back soon!"

Luna guiltily watched as Feather Down left at a gallop. "Oh, I'm sorry Dewdrop! I didn't mean to eat up all the food in the house, I…"

"Now now. None of that, Moonbeam! We're always running a bit on the thin side when it comes to food, it isn't your fault. Feather Down insists that the fresher the food is, the better it tastes. She works as a waitress in town, so she would know. That's why she won't let me go and build up any sort of a larder. Except for wintertime, of course, but that's to be expected. Now, you eat what you can, and I'll go make sure that your bed for the night is all ready."

Luna watched as the unicorn trotted up the steps to the cottage's second floor, and then returned to eating. 'They sure are kind,' Luna thought, 'but it looks like I'm going to have to wait a while before I can get some time alone to do some reading on that spell and find out what I did wrong.'

Outside, Feather Down galloped into town as fast as she could, narrowly avoiding running into several other ponies in her haste. Finally she saw another pony too late to safely dodge - a white unicorn with a stylish purple mane and tail - and she chose the nobler route of crashing into a bush instead. Startled, the unicorn gasped in surprise before she saw who was picking herself out of the shrubbery.

"Feather Down!" admonished Rarity. "Haven't I told you before not to go running through town like that? Now hold still, let me get those twigs out of your hair. It will only take a minute, and then you can be on your way."

"Sorry, Rarity, and thank you. But I have a really good reason this time!" Feather Down gasped, winded from her sprinting.

"Oh, and what's that, darling? Out of food again?"

"No - well yes - but that's just part of it!" Feather Down said in an excited voice, regaining her breath. "Dewdrop was out looking for flowers today for the inn when she found another pony in pain on the ground! Her name is Moonbeam, and she's moving here to Ponyville, but she had a nasty fall. So I'm getting some more food for us, and Dewdrop wants me to go ask a nurse if we should bring her in or not."

"My goodness!" exclaimed Rarity as she carefully removed broken bits of brush from Feather Down's coat and mane with her magic. "That's quite a tale. Well, I know for a fact that the doctor's office is still open, I guess they had quite the rush earlier today. It seems that most if not all of us unicorns felt something in the air earlier. Gave me quite a startle, to be honest. I talked to the doctor, just for safety's sake of course. He said that it wasn't anything that he had heard of before, but to come back if I felt it return." With a couple of final bursts of magic, Rarity stepped back to look over her work. "There you go, now be careful, you hear?"

"Thanks again Rarity!" Feather Down said gratefully. "Oh yeah, Dewdrop said she felt something too, now that you mention it. I'll pass along to her that a lot of unicorns felt something, although I sure didn't." With a wave, Feather Down trotted off to the doctor's office. Rarity smiled at the energetic pony, and then continued on her way to visit Twilight at the library.

Meanwhile, Luna slowly climbed up the stairs to where her hosts slept. Reaching the top, she saw two beds. One was a normal looking bed, or at least one that reminded her of what she had seen in the rooms of the servants and guards that she had glanced into at the castle. The other bed, however, looked like something that would give her own bed back in Canterlot a run for its money. "Quite the thing, isn't it?" inquired Dewdrop as she came up behind Luna. With a wink, she added, "I think you can guess which one you're sleeping in."

"I, I feel bad, making the two of you share the other bed," Luna stammered. "Maybe I should sleep in that one and the two of you would fit better in the bigger bed?"

"Oh nonsense! When we first moved in here, all we had was that bed of mine. It served us well enough until Feather Down could afford that giant hulk of a thing. You should have seen it! It took four stallions to get it up here, and it barely fit through the door!" Dewdrop chuckled at the memory. "Now go on, I'll help tuck you in. Just like when you were a filly I imagine."

As she got under the covers that Dewdrop had raised with her magic, Luna tried to recall back to when she was just a little filly. Searching her memories, she couldn't really remember anything except an indistinct feeling of being loved. "So, how long have the two of you been friends?" Luna asked in a drowsy voice.

"Oh, my goodness, all the way back. We were born the same year, and she lived right next door to me. We were inseparable growing up." Dewdrop gave Luna a smile. "I can't imagine what life would have been like without her at my side. All the pranks we pulled on others, the parties we attended, helping each other with our homework from school… I'm lucky to have had a friend like her in my life."

With her eyes closing against her will, Luna sleepily replied, "That sounds… nice." Dewdrop waited a couple of minutes, and when she heard a small, soft snore starting to regularly come from the other pony, she quietly headed back down the stairs.

Luna found herself once again in the too real dream world, standing on the moon. Glancing at her side, she saw she was back in her normal shape. Stretching her wings, she looked around, and standing off to one side was Nightmare Moon. She could tell from a single glance that her dark side was very angry.

"You idiotic foal! What have you done?" The first words from Nightmare's Moon mouth confirmed Luna's thoughts and then some. "Our magic is gone! With no wings, we can't fly! With no horn, the only way we're getting even a leaf off of the ground is to pick it up with our teeth! What were you thinking?"

Luna started to shrink back, then paused and stood up straight. "I'll tell you what I did!" she proclaimed proudly. "I put my plan into action, and it's working! Not even a day has passed since I put on my disguise, and already I'm being treated as something other than somepony to be feared!"

"You, you did all this… just so that people would like you?" Nightmare Moon sputtered. "Is that all you aspire towards? Being one of the herd?" Nightmare Moon lowered her head and stared directly into Luna's eyes. "WE ARE DIVINITY! We do not need, nor should we even want, the acceptance of the common pony. We are so far above them, not just in ability, but in everything! Look at me, see how much I tower over everyone? We've lived for over a millennium! Dozens of generations of those peons have come and gone, while we haven't aged a year physically! And you want to be with them?" Her fury and disbelief consuming her, Nightmare Moon turned her back on Luna. "Then be gone! I'll speak to you again later, when you've realized your mistake!"

Luna felt an invisible shove and the dream moonscape faded away, to be replaced with a deep, dreamless sleep.

In Canterlot, Princess Celestia was getting ready to turn in for the night. She had sent notes to her friends and agents all over Equestria, asking them to keep an eye out for her sister discreetly. As much as she wanted to go off and search the land high and low on her own, she knew she couldn't. She had a responsibility, not only to her realm, but also to try to cover up for her errant sister. She was about to extinguish the lights when someone knocked at her door.

"Princess? It's Mrs. Hardback. I just found something regarding Princess Luna, and I thought I should tell you right away, your highness."

Celestia open the door with her magic, and beckoned her librarian in. "Please, come in. Any news at this point will be welcome, no matter how good or bad it may be. Just not knowing anything is starting to wear me down."

Entering and bowing briefly, Mrs. Hardback levitated a piece of paper over to Celestia. "It took me a bit to find it, it became a busy day at the library with everyone searching through the books trying to figure out what had happened with that disturbance in the magic. But I found this receipt of the book that Princess Luna checked out."

"Teakettle's Book of Transformations?" read Celestia. "I can't say that I've heard of it before. Do you happen to have another copy in the library?"

"No, your highness, I'm sorry. I looked before coming, hoping to bring it to you if we did. Maybe you have one here, in your private collection?" Mrs. Hardback asked as she looked at the collection of books sitting on shelves on one side of the room.

"I don't think so, but let me check." Celestia walked over to her tomes and scanned the spines of the volumes. "Teakettle, Teakettle… no, it appears I do not have it. I'll ask around in the morning. Maybe there is one in a library elsewhere. Thank you very much, Mrs. Hardback. I'll be able to sleep better tonight because of this. While I may be no closer to knowing where Luna has gone, at least I have something to work off from now."

"I'm glad to have been able to help, your Highness. And if possible, could you please let me know if you find anything out? I miss the girl too."

"Certainly, Mrs. Hardback." Celestia smiled as the librarian left her room, glad to know that Luna had made at least one other friend in Canterlot over the past month. Writing a quick note to remind herself to ask other libraries if they had a copy of the book that Luna had taken, Celestia finally turned off the lights and slowly fell asleep.