I do not own My Little Pony

Let Me Play Among the Stars

Long, long ago, there lived two sisters. One whose power exceeded all other ponies by far, whose responsibilities included creating the sun and ruling over all Equestria. The other was her younger sister, who simply adored her elder sibling.

Luna loved living in the castle with Celestia. It was so big and wonderful, as if the whole world could be found someplace inside its walls. Its corridors were endless, its rooms and courtyards legion, and its silence absolute. Although for some reason, even though the castle was so large, it seemed as if the only ones who lived there were Celestia and Luna.

Of course there were other ponies who came to the castle, guards and servants who aided Celestia, as well as a steady stream of petitioners who sought out Celestia's judgment on a wide variety of issues. But these ponies were simply visitors to the castle, and didn't delve deep enough into its depths to find the secret places Luna liked to play in. Luna was fairly certain that was how she liked it.

She had snuck into the throne room many times while her sister had been holding court, each time shyly hiding out of sight behind a tapestry or piece of furniture as she watched the multitude of strange ponies. They both fascinated and scared her. For as far back as she could remember, which wasn't all that far for some reason, it had only been her and Celestia in the castle, and thus the world. But all these ponies were different from either her or Celestia. They were of all different sizes, colors, and personalities. Some were large and loud, others small, some quiet and serious, and still others were quite talkative but didn't seem to have much to say.

Luna was glad that it was Celestia who had to deal with all the strange ponies and the other creatures as well. There had even been a few dragons who had come to consult Celestia, they had been small at least. But then it was only natural that she did, after all her sister was perfect and could do anything. Celestia was not only beautiful, but powerful as well, whereas Luna was small and hadn't even received her cutie mark yet. Her powers paled in comparison to Celestia's.

But that was alright, since nothing was ever really demanded of Luna, she didn't need to be powerful. Celestia did all that was necessary, ruling Equestria just as well as she controlled the sun, leaving Luna to run and play through the eerily silent corridors of the castle alone. And she was happy.

"Oh, I am so exhausted," Celestia declared as she entered the room she shared with Luna. Despite having the whole castle to spread out in, Luna didn't like to sleep anywhere but with her sister. It made her feel safe. She had been busy playing with her favorite toy, a small off white ball scared and pitted by hard use, when Celestia had come in. "They only ever come to me with problems," Celestia lamented as she tiredly settled down on one of the many large cushions located near the large fireplace which dominated one end of the room. Luna abandoned her ball and went to comfort her worn out elder sister.

"Well, they only bother you because they love and trust you so much," Luna reassured Celestia. She snuggled against the larger pony to give her support and comfort.

Celestia sighed. "I know, and I do love them, it just seems as if they depend upon me too much sometimes, and their needs usually conflict. Some ponies want the sun close so that it's always warm. Others want it further away so that it will snow for them. Some of the farming ponies want the sun to stay in one place so that their trees will grow better, while others want it in a slightly different place so that their celery will grow faster. Then there's the group of ponies who complain that the sun's light is too bright, even with clouds, so they find it difficult to sleep." She stretched her wings and laid one of them protectively over Luna. She sorrowfully said, "It seems as if everypony needs the sun for different things, and if I make some ponies happy, it only causes other ponies to become unhappy."

Celestia lapsed into silence and Luna companionably joined her. Luna was of course upset that her sister was unhappy, and was wracking her mind for a solution to Celestia's weighty problems. However it was difficult to think properly, Celestia's warmth and soothingly rhythmic breathing had a lulling effect on Luna. Her thoughts soon drifted away and she was left drowsily watching the flickering fire in front of them. The logs had been burning for quite some time, and were black and grey with ash. As Luna watched, the currents of air twisting through the fire caused the white parts of the logs to flame into fiery red light, first on one side, then the other. The orange red glow seemed to travel across the length of the log, and then back again.

Unaware she was voicing the thought out loud, Luna asked, "Why can't you just keep the sun moving all the time? That way everypony can be a little happy, and not too unhappy."

"What do you mean Luna?" Celestia quietly asked.

More awake now, and slightly nervous her idea would sound childish, Luna ventured, "Maybe instead of holding the sun in one spot like you do now, you could move it around. Like, start it on one side of Equestria and then slowly move it across the sky until it reaches the other end of Equestria. That way, for a little bit everypony can have the sun where they want it to be."

Celestia was quiet for a bit, and Luna worried that perhaps her idea was stupid after all.

"Oh, that's a wonderful idea," Celestia declared. "I think that I will try it the next time I wake up." Her wing pressed Luna tighter against her, and Celestia bent her neck to reach down and nuzzle her sister. "I'm lucky to have such a wonderfully smart little sister." Luna basked in Celestia's praise and surrounded by loving warmth, allowed sleep to overcome her.

When she woke up, Luna was alone. She stretched her stiff muscles, then recalled her conversation with Celestia. Excited, Luna raced to a nearby window and found the sun farther away than it was normally. She watched the bright yellow ball for a few minutes, but it seemed stuck in the same position as usual. Luna was a bit disappointed that her sister hadn't taken her advice after all, and turned away from the bright day outside. But in doing so, she noticed that the shadows cast by the sun's light had shifted slightly from when she had first woken up. As she watched, the rays of sunlight and columns of shadow gradually shifted.

Luna bounced with excited glee. Celestia had taken her advice, but was moving the sun so slowly that it was difficult to see it move. Luna raced out of the room, eager to see Celestia, to know if her plan was working or not, if the other pones were happy with it or not.

She barreled through the halls, and in no time at all, reached Celestia's throne room. At the entrance she balked, remembering her shyness at the sight of several ponies waiting for their chance to speak with Princess Celestia. Still, Luna's excitement was so great that she decided to brave the throngs of strange ponies. She collected herself and struck a hopefully regal pose, and with pretend bravery strode into the throne room.

A stallion near the door she entered through, seemingly bored with having to wait so long for his turn before Celestia, disinterestedly turned to look at Luna before turning away. However he did a quick double take, his eyes going to Luna's dark crown, and he quickly dropped into a bow. His neighbor, noticing the stallion's movement, turned to see what was going on, and she too bowed at the sight of Luna.

Soon there was a wave of bowing ponies spreading out from the embarrassed Luna as she walked up the length of the room toward the throne where her sister was reclining.

"Luna," Celestia cried out happily over the heads of a trio of ponies who were petitioning her. "I was just thinking of you."

Luna, the warmth of her sister's recognition nearly annihilating all the unease she felt from the other ponies' deferential treatment, came to a stop just behind the three earth ponies at the foot of the throne. They turned to see who Celestia was addressing, and they too bowed low, before straitening themselves and dividing their attention between Celestia and Luna.

"As you no doubt have seen, I've put your wonderful idea into action," continued Celestia. "And I've just finished explaining it to the representatives of the farming ponies." She turned to the trio in front of her and asked, "You do think it's a good idea, don't you?"

The large black stallion who seemed to be the leader of the three quickly agreed. "Oh yes your highness, it's a wonderful plan."

"Yeah, keeping the sun on a schedule is a lot better than having it run all over everywhere, all willy nilly like before," chimed in the dun stallion to his right.

"It's pretty good, I guess," commented the yellow mare which made up the last of the three ponies.

Sensing the pony's hesitance to answer, Celestia kindly asked, "You don't sound completely certain. Is there a problem with the idea?"

"Well no," replied the little yellow pony. She refused to meet Celestia's eyes. "Having the sun move to the same place according to a schedule is good and all I reckon. But it still doesn't really solve the problem of it being too bright to sleep. I mean, even when the sun's pretty far away, it's still a might too bright outside, and that makes it hard for a pony to catch some shut eye. Not to mention the other critters on the farm too."

Celestia thought for a moment. "What if I had the weather pegasi move the clouds the same way I'll now move the sun, to give everyone a period of shade?" she suggested.

"Welllll," drawled the pony. "That might work, but even with the clouds; sometimes the sun is darn bright. And whenever you go to sleep, the sun seems to park itself in one spot, so how'd the weather ponies handle the clouds then?"

Again Celestia lapsed into thought, a small frown marring her beautiful face.

"What if the sun went away?" Luna proposed.

A shocked gasp ran through the room, and suddenly everypony's attention was riveted on the younger princess.

"Luna dear, if we take away the sun, all the plants will die and Equestria will freeze over again," Celestia patiently explained.

Wilting under the intense attention, Luna clarified, "I didn't mean forever. I just thought that you could send it away while you were asleep. While you're awake you can move the sun across the sky, and when you're asleep, you can put the sun away and it will be dark, so that the ponies and other creatures can sleep."

"An interesting idea," Celestia mused out loud. "The few hours I'm asleep probably wouldn't be long enough for it to become too cold." She turned to the trio of earth ponies and asked, "What do you think of the idea?"

The little yellow pony was the first to speak up. "Well it sounds like something that'd be worth a shot to me."

The other two ponies exchanged a doubtful glance and the black on said, "I'm not sure what something like that would do to the crops, but I guess we could try it out and see what happens. So long as you can bring the sun back again of course."

"Then we shall try this plan," Celestia declared, her voice easily reaching the furthest corners of the room. "Once the sun has reached the far horizon, I will send it away for a time, and darkness will fall. After a time I shall bring forth the sun once more and send it from one horizon to the next."

There was quite a bit of murmuring throughout the audience in the throne room at this audacious plan, and Celestia smiled down at Luna with pride. Thankfully Celestia seemed to be the only one paying attention to Luna, and unnoticed she slipped away from the throne room.

She retrieved her favorite ball, and decided to wait for Celestia on the balcony connected to their bedroom. The view from it was quite nice. Before Luna was the river which ran in front of their castle, its steep banks were bridged by a substantial looking stone bridge. On the far bank, as far as the eye could see, were fields of farmlands well tended and maintained. There were a few clusters of trees arranged in squares of straight lines, and far in the distance, made tiny by perspective, was a large tree that had been hollowed out, and now held the beginnings of the Royal Library. Celestia had decided that knowledge should be easily accessible to all ponies, and so had established the library closer to the common ponies than the castle was.

There were tiny forms moving along the road leading through the farms, as well as distant figures floating in the sky. Normal ponies going about their normal lives. Luna day dreamed about what they were doing, where they were going, and where they had come from.

That large red pony in the distance was obviously a hard worker, but he was walking quickly along the road rather than working at the stone quarry he usually labored in. He must be on his way to get his poor sick sister some medicine since she had fallen deathly ill after … after, well there hadn't been a rainstorm lately, so Luna didn't know why the pony's sister was sick, but she was sure to die soon if her brother didn't return with the vital medicine.

The pegasus high in the sky doing loops was obviously practicing her speed and flexibility for the next time that she raced against the other pegasi. She desperately wanted to win because the pony she liked would be watching, and winning the race would be the excuse she needed to confess her forbidden love.

Luna continued to imagine colorful stories for the ponies she could see, and hardly noticed when the sun finally began to touch the far horizon. However her dreams flew away when she heard the familiar hoofsteps of her sister walking through their bedroom.

She looked up with a smile and greeted Celestia as she stepped out onto the balcony, "Hello dear sister. I hope that ruling Equestria wasn't too tiring this time."

Celestia sighed as she joined Luna. "It always is." She warmly smiled down at her sister and said, "But I have to admit, I'm excited. I can't wait to see my genius sister's idea in action."

Under her dark coat, Luna blushed at Celestia's praise. She looked up and admitted, "I'm excited too."

"Well then, let's put the sun away," Celestia said. She faced the distant brilliantly glowing orb and closed her eyes. Slowly the sun began to sink below the horizon, but Celestia's face was pinched in concentration and strain. "It feels strange," she admitted. "Luna dear, do you think you can help?"

Luna was shocked and involuntarily exclaimed, "Me? Are you sure that I'd be able to help you?"

"You should be able to, you are my sister after all," Celestia reasoned. "You have access to the same magic I do. Just close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun, feel its glowing energy pouring through you."

Luna wasn't as confident as Celestia seemed to be in her magical abilities. She definitely didn't feel that they were anywhere near Celestia's level. But, trusting in her sister, she closed her eyes and tried to let the sun's power into her.

However, while she could feel the warm sun on her face, Luna felt as she normally did, like a regular pony. She searched deep within herself, looking for something, anything, and finally found it. Deep within her was a seed, a small kernel of energy she had overlooked until that moment. But instead of the warmth Celestia spoke of, when Luna forced the seed open, a wave a brisk cold swept through her. It felt as if she had just plunged into a stream of melted snow.

She felt as if she could accomplish anything, and with just another push, with just a little more power, she knew she could. But afraid of the limitless depths presented her, Luna contented herself with the bit of magic she had already unlocked. The only problem was that there was an irritating source of warmth which seemed antithetic to the cool power pulsing through her. Reflexively she pushed it away and opened her eyes to find the sun rapidly disappearing, transforming the sky from its normal blue into a multitude of dark reds, violets, and in the end a complete black.

With the disappearance of the sun, darkness fell across Equestria. A darkness Luna had never before experienced. The inky blackness was so absolute that she couldn't even see the tip of her own horn in front of her face.

"Well," came Celestia's voice from somewhere close by. "I think that this should be dark enough for anypony to be satisfied with."

"It's too dark," replied Luna with a slight shiver. She wasn't cold per se, but rather disconcerted with just how dark the world had become, and what horrible creatures might be taking advantage of the dark, silently winging their way towards her.

"Hmm, yes it is rather dark. I'd hate to think what would happen to a pony caught outdoors in this," Celestia mused. "They might injure themselves blindly walking around. But I can't simply bring the sun back yet, the ponies would start to complain it's too bright again." She was silent for a disturbingly long time. "Oh, I know. Luna, why don't you make something? I created the sun for the day, so why don't you try making something for this darkness. Something to give us some light, but not too much."

Luna was all for having at least enough light to see by, but she wasn't sure she was the pony for the job.

"I don't think I could create anything as the sun," Luna informed Celestia.

"Nonsense. You need to have more confidence in yourself Luna. You can do it," encouraged Celestia.

Luna imagined Celestia's sun, how large and bright it seemed. She knew that she'd never manage anything so spectacular. But she didn't want to disappoint her sister. She jumped when something touched her ankle, but she quickly realized it was only her ball. A stroke of inspiration struck her and Luna closed her eyes tightly. Somehow the darkness was more comforting with her eyes closed.

She pictured her ball, hanging overhead, illuminated, but not bright. The way it appeared as she chased it down hallways and empty rooms, its pale surface dimly reflecting the sun's light. She imagined every dent, scratch, and indentation that she had memorized from playing with the ball countless times. In her mind's eye the sphere took shape, large, luminous, pitted, and scared.

"Well, that's certainly impressive," commented Celestia.

Luna opened her eyes to find everything bathed in dim, weak light. She glanced over at her sister, and then followed her gaze up to the sky where an off white orb hung, defects and all. Luna was embarrassed by how ugly it was, so without really knowing how exactly she did it, she covered her creation with a shadow. The absolute darkness returned, and sheepishly Luna pulled back the shadow until a crescent of the sphere was revealed, shining down just enough light to see by.

"It's very pretty," Celestia decided.

Luna was thrilled by her sister's praise and replied, "Thank you. I hope that it's not too bright."

"I think it's perfect," Celestia declared. She walked over to Luna and gave her a brief hug. "As exciting as this is, I'd dead tired. I'll leave you to your fun and raise the sun when I wake up."

"Alright," Luna agreed. She watched as her sister retreaded back into their room, then turned her attention once more to the sky. Her creation hung alone against a stark black background, focusing all the attention on the thin crescent. Too much attention for Luna's taste. It was as if she were being egotistical and forcing ponies to have nothing else to see but her own imperfect creation. She thought for several long moments and for some reason the freckles she sometimes saw on other ponies popped into her head. Not really having a better idea to take attention from her creation, Luna concentrated hard and a moment later a tiny dot of light burned into existence in the darkness near the large crescent.

Luna contemplated the dot. It wasn't enough, but it had potential. Soon another point of light flared into being, then another, and another. Luna was beginning to have fun, placing the little dots in clusters, drawing shapes with them, even making a few of them different colors and intensities. Eventually there was a thin sprinkling of lights all across the dark sky. Their creation had drained Luna, but she was thrilled with the way that they looked. Like tiny diamonds sewn into an elegant dress.

She heard Celestia stirring in their bedroom, and was glad. After being awake for so long, and using so much magic, she was inordinately tired. Soon Celestia appeared on the balcony, impeccably perfect in appearance as usual. She took in the new sky, then down at Luna and softly smiled. "My little sister is growing up," she happily said.

Confused for a moment, Luna followed Celestia's gaze to her flank, where she found she now had a cutie mark. Sometime, while she had been working so hard on the black sky, a splotch of dark blue with a picture of her crescent had appeared on her flank. If she had discovered it at any other time, she would have been ecstatic. But at that moment she was too tired to feel too enthusiastic over the sign of her entrance into adulthood.

Celestia walked over and nuzzled Luna affectionately, then announced, "I guess it's time to raise the sun. If you would, could you please put away your …" Celestia paused in confusion. "What do you call it anyway, that thing you made?"

Too tired to be imaginative, Luna shrugged. "I don't know."

Celestia breezily replied, "Well I'm sure the other ponies will have a name for it already. But if you'd please put it away so I can bring out the sun…"

Luna concentrated and as the sun had before; her crescent fell below the distant horizon. Although where the sun had disappeared with an ostentatious display of vivid color, her crescent slipped away unobtrusively. A few moments later and on the opposite horizon, the few dots of light Luna had placed there began to fade away as red and orange began replacing the black sky. Abruptly the disc of the sun peeked over the edge of the world, momentarily blinding Luna with its bright intensity.

Celestia let out an audible sigh of relief as her sun climbed higher into the sky. She turned around and noticed Luna blearily blinking and kindly nudged her toward the bedroom. "You must be very tired after staying up for so long. Why don't you rest?" Celestia gently coaxed Luna. Luna allowed herself to be herded by her elder sister into the bedroom and barely reached their bed before she fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

"Wake up dear." Luna was being gently nudged. She groggily opened her eyes to find Celestia hovering over her. Luna groaned and laid her head back down. "Now now, you need to get up, you've slept the whole day away."

Luna rolled an eye toward Celestia and asked, "What's a day?"

"That's what we've decided to call the time when the sun is in the sky," Celestia explained. "Originally the other ponies wanted to call it light, and the time with it's dark they wanted to call night. But I thought that day sounded better than light."

While Celestia spoke, Luna climbed to her hooves, and found that the shadows which had been pointing in one direction when she had gone to sleep were now lengthened in the opposite direction.

"Oh, and your lovely ball in the sky the ponies decided to call the moon," Celestia went on. "I believe it was the cows who came up with the name. Apparently they were quite enchanted by it last night."

Luna thought to herself. Night, moon, they weren't bad names, even if they did sound a little strange to her. She supposed that she would grow used to them. "And what do they call my little lights?" she asked Celestia.

"I believe that there is still some debate over that. Some ponies want to call them stars, but most of us seem to prefer the name twinkling dots."

Luna looked at Celestia to make sure she was serious. While her sister didn't often pull pranks, when she did they were usually subtle. But her sister seemed to be in earnest, and Luna simply decreed, "Stars. We'll call them stars."

Celestia seemed a bit disappointed as she replied, "If that's what you'd like them to be called. Although I must say I personally prefer twinkle dots. But you're the ruler of the night now, so we'll call them whatever you want."

Startled, Luna looked at her sister. "Ruler of the night?" she asked.

"Yes," replied Celestia as she walked past Luna on her way to their balcony. "Since I'm asleep during the night, I felt that it would be appropriate if I ruled the day while the sun is out and our subjects are working and plying. While you will rule the night while the moon is out and our subjects are sleeping and resting. We can make it a cycle, with night following day at a certain time, and that way can keep everypony happy. They'll get both the sunlight as well as the darkness they need."

"Are you certain that I'm ready for such a responsibility?" Luna asked concernedly.

Celestia smiled back at her in response. "I've always believed in you, and I always will. I know that no matter what you will always rise to the challenge life gives you." She laughed quietly. "Besides, it's too late now; I've already arranged a party to be held in your honor, to celebrate your cutie mark and your new position."

Luna wasn't sure what to think about a party just for her. On one hoof there would likely be a lot of new ponies she'd never met before. But on the other, it might be nice to be recognized and celebrated like Celestia was. Her elder sister certainly seemed to enjoy the attention. With a shy smile Luna announced, "Then I'll have to try my best."

The two sisters stepped out onto the balcony once more. This time Luna could feel the rush of Celestia's magic as the sun sank away and Luna's stars were once again revealed. Reaching inside her Luna felt her magic coursing through her and she called forth the moon. Its pale light brightened the far horizon as the sun slipped away into darkness. Feeling somewhat bold, Luna removed some of the shadow to reveal a larger slice of the moon.

"Well then, I'm off to bed," Celestia declared. "The dragon ambassadors are due after this night and it will no doubt be a rather long and tiring meeting. The ones with the dragons always are. Have a good night."

Luna watched as her sister disappeared back into the castle, then turned back to the sky. There were several large spots of empty black space for her to play with and fill with more stars. As the night went on, Luna learned how to keep the moon moving with the back of her mind, while she focused on other matters. Like getting the stars in just the right place to depict a pony. By the time Celestia had awoken, Luna had filled with sky with hundreds of new stars, all cheerfully bright, but so small that their light didn't wash away the darkness that the other ponies needed to rest.

And so a cycle was created. When Celestia awoke, Luna would send away the moon, and Celestia would raise the sun. During the day Luna would slip into an exhausted sleep while Celestia ruled over Equestria. Then when Luna awoke Celestia would lower the sun and Luna would bring forth the moon again. During the night while Celestia slept, Luna would spend her lonely hours creating new patterns in the sky. Some nights when the pastime of creating new stars paled, she would sit alone in the throne room imagining what it must be like to be Celestia. To have ponies from across the land coming to pay attention to you, praising you, worshipping you.

Other nights would find Luna exploring the castle. Everything appeared so different cloaked in shadows and dim moonlight. One particular room she continued to find herself in was the one where the Elements of Harmony were on display. They were ancient magic artifacts, possibly even older than Celestia, and while their power was monumental, the consequences of using that power were usually just as dire. They were kept on display to remind everypony that ponies were the rulers of Equestria not through their power, but rather through their kindness. While Celestia could rule the world with the power of the Elements of Harmony, instead she preferred to rely upon diplomacy and friendship. The kindness of Celestia was just one more aspect of hers that Luna so admired.

However, with this new schedule, Luna found that she saw her sister for only a few brief moments at the start and end of each day. Time enough for only a few words between them and possibly a hug or affectionate touch. Usually Luna was too tired to notice that she slept alone, but sometimes as she was falling asleep, she would dearly miss the warmth and comforting presence of her sister. During the long nights by herself Luna comforted herself with the knowledge that their separate lives were necessary since Celestia was the ruler of the day, and Luna now had the important task of being the ruler of the night.

Several days and nights passed by, some more quickly than others, and the time for Luna's promised party arrived more quickly than she would have liked. Celestia and Luna had decided to hold it during what had come to be known as afternoon, so that they both wouldn't be too inconvenienced to attend. In celebration of the momentous day, Celestia had allowed Luna to raise the moon early so that it hung in the blue sky of day. Beneath the sun's harsh light the moon was faded, nearly washed away until only the faintest of its details could be seen. But Luna was grateful to Celestia for allowing her moon to come out early. Every night she had been removing the shadow covering it bit by bit, and finally had decided to reveal the whole disc on the day of the party, imperfections in all. To her it was no longer a thing of shame, but of beauty. She had come to appreciate the imperfections, they gave the moon a bit of character that Luna felt the sun lacked.

While Luna was a bit apprehensive about the party, she was also quite excited about it. Though it wouldn't be the first party she had ever attended, it would be the first ever thrown in her honor. Celestia felt that dressing up for celebrations was too much effort, and Luna of course looked to her sister on how to act, but she had made sure that her small dark crown was polished to a mirror finish, and had wrapped a subtle grey ribbon around her neck. It was tied into a very pretty bow that Luna didn't feel would be to ostentatious for Celestia's tastes. She hoped.

Just as her horn's magic had faded from tying the bow, Celestia walked into their bedroom and smiled down at Luna. "Are you ready?"

Luna's smile was small but genuine as she replied, "Yes."

Together they navigated the hallways leading to the castle's banquet hall. Even from a distance Luna could hear the murmur that naturally arose from a large gathering of ponies. As Celestia and Luna stepped through the entry arch, the murmur became a soft roar, and Luna was surprised at the sheer number of ponies in attendance. There had to be hundreds at least, milling around in groups, laughing, conversing, and sipping directly from the punch bowl. Luna made a mental note to avoid the refreshments.

At first few of the ponies noticed the entrance of the two princesses, but that was quickly remedied when one of the sturdy guard ponies flanking the raised platform in front of the entry arch loudly and authoritatively cleared his throat. A few ponies began to pay attention to the princesses, and Celestia turned on what Luna called her princess' aura.

From seemingly nowhere a breeze sprung up, one that only seemed to affect Celestia's hair, causing it to wave and flutter. She suddenly seemed much larger than normal, positively looming over the nearby ponies, and the air around her felt charged with power. Quickly a wave of awe and silence spread throughout the room and all the ponies faced the royal pair and bowed deeply.

"We come here today to celebrate a momentous occasion," Celestia's voice effortlessly reached everypony's ears. "My sister, the Princess Luna, has not only discovered her unique ability, but has taken her rightful place by my side. Thanks to her intellect and tireless efforts, we now not only have the sun and the day, but the moon, the night, and tw-stars." She covered her minor slip by stepping away from Luna and loudly announcing, "I present to you the guest of honor, my sister, Princess Luna."

Luna felt a sharp bump on her flank from Celestia's wing, propelling her forward and out of her sister's shadow and into the center of attention. The multitudes of ponies before her clopped enthusiastically, and Luna nervously smiled as she demurely waved her hoof to the crowd.

As the clopping died down, Celestia announced, "Let the celebration begin!" and from someplace Luna couldn't see music began to play. The attention of the other ponies quickly shifted. They cleared a large space in the center of the room where several couples began to form for dancing. Others retired to the refreshment tables, while others milled around, starting anew conversations postponed by Celestia's speech.

Luna wasn't sure what exactly she should be doing, the other parties she had attended she had mostly kept to herself and had loitered in the darker places of the room. But she doubted that she could get away with such behavior as the guest of honor. Celestia left her side to effortlessly join a nearby group of ponies in conversation, and Luna was left conspicuously alone on the dais. She quickly decided that mingling would have to be better than standing around stupidly, so she decided to join a nearby group of ponies.

"…didn't even know she had a sister," one of the ponies was saying as Luna approached.

"E-excuse me." Even though Luna had spoken softly, she had gained the attention of the entire group. On the spot, Luna searched for something to say. "What do you think of the moon?" she asked the first question that popped into her head. "Do you think it looks alright with all those dark areas?"

The pony who had been speaking when Luna arrived cocked an eyebrow and replied, "The moon? Has it changed? I'm afraid that I've not see it since the first or second night. I've been far too busy spending my nights asleep."

The other ponies quickly echoed their agreement that sleep was more important than admiring the nighttime celestial bodies.

"Well, I suppose that everypony needs to rest sometime," commented Luna. An awkward silence fell, and Luna knew that these ponies lived wholly for the day, and likely knew nothing of her interests, and she knew little if anything of theirs. "Then, if you'll excuse me, they're other guests I should attend to," Luna excused herself. The ponies bowed slightly in her direction, then quickly returned to discussing the appropriate method to and accessories to wear with a cantleless saddle.

Hesitant to force herself into another group after her last failure, Luna gravitated toward the wall were several mares watched the twirling dancers, waiting for their turn to be asked to stand up with a handsome stallion. She settled near a pretty filly with a perfectly coiffed mane.

Casual conversation being the polite thing to engage in, the fully turned to Luna and asked, "Wonderful weather we've been having isn't it?"

"Yes, the weather pegasi have been doing an excellent job," Luna agreed. "Although at night it is a bit more unpredictable since there isn't anyone taking care of the clouds. Some nights you can hardly see the stars the clouds are so thick."

"You mean the twinkle dots? I go to bed long before those come out. Getting enough sleep is the key to having a wonderful complexion," she confided to Luna.

"Oh, of course." They lapsed into a silence which lasted until the first dance was finished.

A young stallion came up, and after eyeing Luna for a moment, asked the young filly next to her if she would like to dance. In fact several of the stallions seemed to consider asking Luna for a dance, but they all chose different partners instead. Luna had never thought that she was beautiful, but she had thought that she was at least pretty. Perhaps she had been wrong. Truthfully she wasn't that good a dancer, and likely would have been very embarrassed to be seen on the dance floor in front of so many ponies, but it would have been nice to have been asked.

She noticed that Celestia had taken the lead couple's position opposite a rather large and handsome stallion. For some reason Luna didn't feel like watching the dancers anymore, so she began to drift through the party, stopping here and there to exchange a few awkward words with her guests, always finding the same thing. Nopony seemed to ever be awake at night to appreciate her beautiful sky, and they all seemed intent to go out of their way to share with her their admiration of the wonderful days that Celestia provided.

Luna quickly grew tired of the party and slipped away through a disused door. She sincerely doubted anyone noticed her absence. She found herself drifting toward the near empty throne room. Its only occupants were a few guards who were assigned to stand guard during the day. Luna ignored them and sat down on the throne, sinking into its comfortable cushion. Using her magic she untied her bow and bunched it up in a tight ball. She wanted to throw it away from her as hard as she could, but instead let it fall onto the throne's cushion next to her.

Unsure of what she was feeling, but not really liking it, Luna stared up through the throne room's enormous skylight, to where the sun and moon hung far overhead. The sun was bright and hot, demanding attention in the nearly empty sky. The moon was dull and faded to near invisibility, easily obscured by the few tiny wisps of proto-clouds that were trying to form.

She hadn't moved at all when some time later Celestia entered the throne room. "There you are Luna; I've been looking all over for you. Wasn't the party simply wonderful? I had so much fun."

"Yes," answered Luna in a monotone.

"Oh, I don't remember the last time that I danced so much," declared Celestia. "I'm so worn out. I think that I'll head off to bed if you don't mind."

"Alright Celestia," Luna easily agreed. The two princesses concentrated and soon the day faded into night.

"Well then, I hope that you have a pleasant night," Celestia said in farewell to Luna. She left the room as abruptly as she had arrived, the guard ponies leaving soon after.

Luna again turned her eyes skyward to the black sky where her moon was now hanging low, alone. For the first time since she had created it, the whole sphere was revealed, and Luna spent a long time contemplating it. She likely was the only one in all of Equestria to do so. It's pale light, its dark splotches, its scars and blemishes, she took them all in. It wasn't beautiful she decided, but it was pretty. Abruptly Luna felt tears well in her eyes, though she didn't know why. Even though the throne room was large and spacious and she was alone, she felt as if it were stifling her. She felt as if the weight of the whole castle was pressing down on her, and Luna felt the need to escape.

She leapt from the throne and ran out of the room, quickly galloping through the familiar twisting hallways. She found one which ended in a large open window and jumped through, soaring into the night sky.

The air was cool and refreshing against her skin, and she calmed down slightly as she settled into the soothing rhythm of pumping her wings. Far below her, Equestria was a mass of black and grey. It was somehow both stark in its contrasts, yet softened by the gentle light of her moon. In mere minutes she had reached the lake that was the source of the river which wound past Celestia's castle. At a speed she would have never considered even attempting during the day, Luna skimmed the lake, mere inches from the rippling waves with broke the moon's reflection into a million shining slivers.

In seconds the lake was behind her, its dark water matting down her coat. She climbed into the air above one of the clusters of primordial trees which still dotted Equestria. As she did, a dark cloud of hundreds of small black creatures rose from the depths of the forest, shrieking high pitched wails. Luna felt a brief moment of fear, but as the tiny creatures flew past her, she deemed them harmless. Truthfully, for some reason, Luna felt as if nothing could harm her in the soft darkness of her night. As if because she was the ruler of the night, it wouldn't allow anything to hurt her.

Under the light of the moon and stars Luna soared on, over pastures, forests, streams, roads, and houses. She shared the night with large hooting birds and stealthfully jumping shadows. But she keenly felt the lack of true accompaniment. Everywhere Luna few she found houses and farms dark and shuttered, their inhabitants firmly asleep. There was no pony, no cow, no deer, no dragon, no creature capable of reasoning, capable of truly appreciating the spectacular night sky, that Luna could find.

But driven by a desperation she couldn't exactly name, Luna continued to search, trying hard to find somepony, anypony, still awake. She flew until her wings ached and her eyes burned. But the only creatures stirring were the baser, more primitive sort. While she was happy that they enjoyed her night enough to be use it to run and fly about, they were a poor substitute for true appreciation for her hard work. Luna only stopped searching when she felt the stirrings of her sister's magic. Far away the horizon began to turn purple and the first of Luna's stars began to fade.

Luna found a nearby hill and landed upon it. She felt a small stab of resentment toward Celestia. Why couldn't her sister allow her night to be a little longer? Couldn't she see how beautiful it was? But ever the dutiful sister, Luna sent away her moon and watched as Celestia's sun erased the night sky. In the glow of the bright and awe-inspiring dawn, Luna suddenly felt every weary ache and pain she had been ignoring during her hours of flight. She felt as if the warm yellow sun with its bright blue sky was somehow sucking the energy from her body. She felt angry towards the sun for robbing her of her power, and for melting away the peaceful darkness which had covered the land.

As the sun rose higher in the distance, Luna could see ponies beginning to leave their houses to start their busy days, taking advantage of the sun's light. Luna hated them. No, she didn't hate them. She could never hate anypony. She just … resented them. They frolicked and cavorted beneath the sun, but didn't have a spare moment to spend admiring the stars or moon. Yes, resentment was a good word for what Luna felt towards Celestia's subjects.

With aching wings she slowly lifted off from the hill, and turned back toward the castle. The sun was much higher in the sky by the time she approached the castle, and as she flew closer, Luna noticed that there was a lot of unusual activity around her home. More guard ponies than she had ever seen in one place were running back and forth, while several of the guard pegasi were swooping around the castle and nearby area. A few spotted Luna and flew toward her at an astonishing speed.

"There you are Princess Luna, are you alright?" One of them hailed her.

"Yes, I'm fine," Luna replied with confusion.

"That's good to hear your highness," said the pegasi. He turned to one of the other guard pegasi and snapped, "Report to Princess Celestia that we've found her sister, and that she's safe."

The other pegasus smartly saluted, then dashed off. Luna almost swore that she broke the sound barrier.

The pegasus Luna assumed was in command turned back to her and kindly said, "Your highness, we'll escort you back to the castle."

"Alright," Luna agreed. She still wasn't quite sure what was happening, but allowed herself to be led down to toward the castle, surrounded by a tight knot of guard pegasi. They were halfway there when a large white blur rushed up to meet them. With a speed that surprised Luna, she found herself being embraced by Celestia.

"Oh Luna, I was so worried," declared Celestia. "I woke up and you weren't there, or anywhere you normally are. When I rose the sun and you sent away the moon I knew you were somewhere, so I turned out the guards to find you. Where were you? Are you hurt? Did something bad happen?"

Luna was finding it difficult to keep aloft while being squeezed tightly by Celestia's hooves. Not to mention how embarrassing it was to be seen in such an intimate position in front of so many other ponies. She pushed Celestia away and answered, "I'm sorry for making you worry. I just felt like going out for a flight last night, that's all."

"Flying at night, isn't that dangerous?" Celestia asked.

Luna felt a brief spurt of anger and heatedly replied, "No more dangerous than flying during the day. Why do you have to assume that things are more difficult or dangerous simply because they happen at night?"

Celestia looked confused. "I just thought that it would be more difficult to see where you were going in the dark."

"I can see just fine," Luna snapped.

Celestia recoiled a bit at her tone, and Luna could easily see the hurt on her face. Why had she raised her voice to Celestia? What was she angry about? Luna couldn't remember.

Apologetically she said, "I'm sorry Celestia. I guess I'm just really tired and it's making me cross." She looked down at the guard ponies milling about and felt further remorse. "And I'm really sorry that I worried you. I promise next time I go out I'll at least tell someone."

"That's good to hear," Celestia easily forgave Luna. She flew close to Luna again and leaned over to nuzzle her little sister. "No harm done, now run off to bed, you've been up for far too long."

"Alright," agreed Luna. "Good day Celestia."

"Good day Luna."

Luna drifted down to the castle and quickly made her way to their bedroom. She was asleep as soon has her head touched the pillow.

Innumerable days and nights passed. The days full of frenetic activity, the nights left to Luna alone. For quite some time following her first night flight, Luna stayed in the castle so as to not worry Celestia. She whiled away the nights by populating the sky with ever more stars until streams of light spiraled through the darkness. She also found that while she enjoyed the moon when it was fully revealed, she also thought it looked nice as a crescent, so she amused herself by enlarging and shrinking the shadow on the moon, a little each night. Gradually changing it from a full disc to a thin crescent and back again.

As entertaining as these diversions were, Luna couldn't help but feel isolated in the castle at night. She began to feel the urge to fly freely through the night. For some reason being alone while soaring through the cool air wasn't as lonely as being alone in an echoingly empty castle. She had promised Celestia to tell someone when she left, but no one was ever awake when Luna felt the urge to fly. So she snuck out and illicitly stretched her wings, careful to return before Celestia woke up.

During these nocturnal journeys Luna crossed much, if not all of Equestria, and everywhere she went she found that the beauty inherent in the night transformed Equestria. The soft light and deep shadows gave everything a charm that couldn't possibly exist under the harsh glare of the sun. At least that was Luna's opinion. Although to be honest, she was beginning to forget how things appeared during the day. It had been so very long since she had seen the world during the daytime other then at dawn and dusk. But despite the sublime beauty of the night, Luna could never find anypony to share it with. They all slept while above them turned Luna's wonderful creations unseen.

Luna began to resent her subjects more and more. Their refusal to look upon the night sky, much less appreciate it ate at her. Her resentment reached a fevered pitch one late night. One so late that morning was stepping closely on its heels. Luna could feel the stirrings of the sun, indicating that Celestia had woken up. While waiting for her, Luna was sitting on the throne, contemplating her underappreciated work, when a bewildered pony ventured in through the entrance reserved for supplicants.

"Oh, the other princess," he said to himself. In the silent room, his words easily reached Luna, and she bristled at their implication. She did have a name after all.

"Can I help you good sir?" she called out to him.

The pony looked uncertain as he replied, "Oh, uh, no thank you. I must be early. There was an issue which I needed Princess Celestia to resolve."

"Well, I am a princess as well," Luna pointed out. "Perhaps I could solve your problem."

"Yeah, um," the pony rubbed the back of his neck with a hoof. "If it's all the same to you, I'd prefer to put it before Princess Celestia. So, uh, if you'll excuse me." He quickly backed out of the room, leaving empty save for a rather annoyed Luna.

The sun rose and Luna reflexively banished the moon. Soon after, Celestia entered the throne room.

"Hello Luna," she greeted her sister cheerfully.

Luna silently climbed down from the throne and brushed past her sister on the way to their bedroom.

"Luna, is everything alright?" Celestia called out after her. But Luna kept walking without turning back.

"Your highness, there is something which requires your attention," broke in a guard pony as he entered the throne room, interrupting Celestia before she could follow after Luna.

Angrily Luna stormed into her bedroom. She was far too perturbed to rest. Instead she paced back and forth around the room, kicking cushions, stools, and anything else that happened to get in her way as hard as she could. She was incensed over how she had just been treated. Other princess indeed. Was that all they thought of her? Simply as Celestia's little sister? Didn't they have an ounce of respect for her power, for her creations? Didn't they know she was the ruler of the night?

Luna remembered the ponies at the party which had been held to celebrate her. Yet they had been dismissive of her work even then. Truly they were all Celestia's subjects. They loved her sun, the loved her day, they loved governance, they loved her. And how did they feel toward Luna and the night? How did they like the stars and the moon? Perhaps they'd actually feel something if they ever even thought about them. But they seemed to neither love nor hate Luna and her work, they never seemed to have a spare thought for them at all. Everything was always about Celestia. It wasn't fair. If only the other ponies could see the night as Luna did, appreciate its beauty as she could. But they refused to even be awake for it, much less study the subtle nuances that proved it was better than the dull day.

If the ponies refused to willingly look upon the night, then the only way they'd ever be able to love it as they should is if they were forced to be awake while the moon and stars were overhead. They would have to be forced to experience it, then they couldn't help but realize just how wonderful it really was compared to the sun and the day. They'd be forced to love the night and recognize its superiority. But how? How could Luna force the residents of Equestria to give up their precious rest and learn to love the moon and the stars and her? She spent several long hours pondering the question before exhaustion overcame her and she fell into a fitful sleep.

When she woke up, Luna felt as if she'd never slept. She wasn't tired per se, but the anger and resentment she had gone to sleep with were just as strong when she awoke. Despite her restless slumber, Luna felt full of energy, buoyed by her determined anger. She strode out to the balcony where she found the sun low in the sky. Her stars were just beginning to reveal themselves in the distance. There were several clouds in the sky, hanging low and heavy. They glowed blood red as the sun disappeared, and Luna brought forth the moon. As twilight was waning, Luna scoured the vista afforded her from the balcony. As far as her eye could see, there wasn't even a hint of anypony moving. Doubtless they were all already settling down for another peaceful, restful, oblivious night.

Luna sneered in derision of Celestia's subjects and went back inside. Her hoofs instinctively led her toward the throne room. However she was stopped in the hallway outside her bedroom by Celestia.

"Oh, hello Luna. I hope that you had a pleasant rest today. You seemed a bit out of sorts this morning."

"Yes," Luna curtly stated. A bit belatedly she added, "Thank you."

"Are you feeling well? You've been acting unhappy lately," Celestia commented with concern.

"I'm fine," replied Luna tersely.

"Oh, alright, if you're sure." Celestia paused for a moment, obviously not convinced Luna was telling the truth. "We never seem to have time for one another anymore," she observed. "We should take some time and catch up with each other. How about in a few days, when this whole water rights thing is over, we get together, just us two and do something together."

"What water rights thing?" Luna asked.

"Oh, nothing that you need to worry about," Celestia dismissed.

Any happiness that Luna may have felt at Celestia's concern was brutally crushed by her brushing aside Luna's ability as co-regent. Not only did the citizens of Equestria not respect her, but her own sister felt that she was an incompetent ruler.

Tired and frustrated with the conversation, Luna easily agreed, "Yes, let's do that. But now, if you'll excuse me, you appear tired and I feel the need to meditate privately for a while."

"Yes, of course." Before Luna could leave, Celestia parted with, "I'll look forward to our time together. Have a good night."

"Thank you, I will," Luna assured her.

Without waiting any longer, Luna briskly strode away. Her thoughts as she made her way through the castle were dark. Who did Celestia think she was so casually dismissing Luna, keeping things from her, hiding things that Luna should know about? Wasn't Luna just as much a princess as Celestia? Wasn't she just as powerful? No, more powerful? Celestia after all had help administering the days from the many weather pegasi. Who helped Luna with her nights? No one. And weren't the nights more beautiful with their dark nuances than the day with its overbearing brightness? Didn't that prove that Luna was in some ways better than her sister? Why didn't anypony respect her as a princess? Why didn't they appreciate and love the night sky she so painstakingly created? Why didn't anypony love her? Did they give Celestia so much affection that there was none left for her?

Luna had arrived at the dark and silent throne room, and had seated herself upon the magnificent throne beneath the resplendent night sky. She had created so many stars that they seemed to set fire to the sky. But they went unobserved as Luna lost herself in thought.

She knew the reason nopony appreciated her nights was the fact that they were never awake for them, so the answer was simple. She had to force them to be awake during the night. The question was how to go about it. While her magic was powerful, she didn't think it was powerful enough to roust all the ponies in Equestria. Luna ran through several potential plans for forcing the ponies of Equestria to stay awake, or to wake them during the night after they've slept for a little while. Finally she hit upon the plan that was guaranteed to succeed. Instead of working her magic on the ponies, she'd let them naturally wake up. All she would have to do was to make sure that it was night when it was supposed to be day.

Of course Celestia would never agree. She was already concerned that if the night lasted too long, Equestria could freeze over once again. But what if … what if she didn't allow Celestia to refuse? After all, Luna was as powerful if not more so than her sister. What if she simply refused to lower the moon and make way for the sun to rise? There would be nothing Celestia could do. All Equestria would be forced to experience the night, and learn to love it, and her.

But to realize such an audacious plan, Luna would have to be much stronger than Celestia. While Celestia was well versed in her powers, having fully embraced them long ago, Luna had only recently begun to explore her own magic, and quite honestly had been too frightened to unleash it fully. When she used the little she felt comfortable controlling, Luna felt as if there was some sort of deep and ravenous hunger either in the magic, or more frighteningly, within herself. A hunger to unleash as much magic as possible, to revel in a glut of power. Such an overwhelming urge scared Luna. She felt like if she let the hunger loose and fully explored her power, that it would consume her somehow. That she would change, possibly irrevocably. But to meet Celestia as a true equal, Luna would have to change. She would have to depend upon her raw power to overcome Celestia's knowledge and experience.

Her thoughts clouded by anger and frustrated jealousy, Luna delved deep within herself, to the source of her magic, and with one final twinge of hesitance, abandoned herself to it.

One moment she was Luna, and the next se was so much more. Her entire body felt numb, but electrified. She could feel pure magic, brisk and almost sterilely cold, rushing through her limbs; stretching, enlarging, improving. Oh it felt wonderful. She was so powerful, so limitless, so completely free in ways she had never imagined before. Luna had closed her eyes when she went in search of her magic, and Nightmare Moon opened them once she had found it.

The throne that Luna had often found too large and imposing to be comfortable in was now merely adequate to serve as a seat for Nightmare Moon. In order for it to become fit for her use, there would have to be changes made. In fact the whole castle would have to be redone. There were far too many depictions of the sun carved everywhere, and all the tapestry and decor were in warm pastel colors. All of which needed to go. Any fool could see that the moon was superior to the sun, and that darker, more attractive tones were preferable to yellows and pinks.

Oh yes, there would be changes. But first Nightmare Moon would have to demonstrate her superiority to Celestia. She would have to show all of Equestria that the tyrannical rule of the day had ended, replaced by the era of the night. But Nightmare Moon wasn't without mercy or compassion. She would grant one last night of undisturbed sleep to Celestia and Equestria. After all it would likely be the last that they would have for quite some time.

With a satisfied smirk, Nightmare Moon settled back into the throne, eagerly anticipating the reactions of all the little ponies when they awoke to find their precious day replaced by eternal night. Far overhead the stars shone in fiery brilliance, exulting in their mistress' dark joy.

It seemed like an eternity, yet but a moment, until Nightmare Moon felt the distant and distasteful stirrings of the sun, heralding Celestia's awakening. Shortly thereafter Nightmare Moon could feel the sun demanding to rise, attempting to usurp the moon's rightful place. But this time, Nightmare Moon refused to give into Celestia's will. She refused to lower the moon and allow the sun to rise. Instead of the distant horizon catching fire, this time it stayed stubbornly dark. The stars twinkled in celebration. Their time had finally come.

Nightmare Moon could hear the heavy but rapid hoof falls of Celestia as she raced through the castle's halls and burst into the throne room. Upon seeing Nightmare Moon, still regally composed atop the throne, Celestia came to a quick halt.

"Luna, is that you?" she asked uncertainly.

"It was, but no longer. Luna was a weak and foolish young pony. Whereas I am magic and power personified. I am Nightmare Moon!"

Celestia took a few hesitant steps closer to the throne. "Luna, what have you done to yourself? What have you done to Equestria?"

"What was necessary," Nightmare Moon easily replied. "I fully accepted my birthright, my magic, in order to share my gift with the world. Nopony seems willing to appreciate the effort that I've put into the night. So I've decided to force them to appreciate it by banishing the day, and keeping it eternally night, until they come to love it, until they forget what the sun and the day look like if I have to."

"Luna, this isn't you talking," Celestia said with concern and a slight shake of her head. "The sweet sister I know would never do anything so selfish and dangerous to Equestria."

"You know nothing," Nightmare Moon spit out.

Several guard ponies chose that moment to enter the throne room, their leader focused on Princess Celestia. "Princess, what is …" He broke off upon seeing a strange pony on the royal throne. "Who are you? What are you doing here?" He demanded.

Nightmare Moon derisively replied, "I am Nightmare Moon, you new ruler. Feel free to spread the news." Then, with the slightest flicker of her magic she hurled the guards from the room and bolted the doors after them. At that moment, all that mattered was her and Celestia. Everything else was merely a distraction.

"Luna, how could you do that? You might have hurt them," Celestia said in outrage.

Nightmare Moon grimaced. "My name is Nightmare Moon, I'm no longer Luna." She smiled nastily. "Besides, they deserve to be hurt. A little at least. After all they and every other pony has hurt me by sleeping the night away, by not viewing my work, by ignoring and not loving me!"

"You want ponies to love you? You don't get their love by throwing them around," Celestia hotly declared.

"Perhaps not," Nightmare Moon mused. "But by throwing them around I do earn their fear, which can be just as good as love. Yes, actually that might be better. They bow to you out of love. They'll kneel to me out of fear, and perhaps if they grovel long enough I'll allow them to glimpse the sun again. Maybe."

Celestia stood proud and tall as she stated, "I won't allow you to do that. The ponies of Equestria need the sun to grow their crops and keep them warm. Too much night will cause the plants and eventually the ponies to die. As royalty we have an obligation to protect our subjects, and to act in their best interests. That's why they love us. If you try to rule Equestria through fear, the ponies will rise up and stop you."

"Let them try," Nightmare Moon said calmly. "They're as powerless to stop me as you are." To emphasis her point, Nightmare Moon gathered her magic and with a burst of energy, thrust it toward Celestia, roughly throwing her against the wall opposite from the throne.

As the dazed Celestia attempted to collect herself, Nightmare Moon stood up and began slowly walking toward her sister. "You see, now it's I who is powerful, while you're the weak and useless sister." She sent another burst of magic toward Celestia and threw her against an adjoining wall. "While your sun languishes unseen, my moon will become the beacon that ponies will adore." Nightmare Moon slammed Celestia against a nearby column, the white princess coughing out a heavy breath of pain. "My night will be celebrated, while your day is overlooked and ignored." Nightmare Moon lifted the unresisting Celestia high into the air. "I will be loved by all, while you are merely 'the other princess!'" With a sickening sound Celestia fell to the ground.

Nightmare Moon paused a few steps away from Celestia as she struggled to her feet. Celestia's mane was in disarray, and there was a thin line of blood streaming from her nose. At the sight of the blood, Nightmare Moon felt confused compassion. Why was she doing this? Why was she hurting her sister? She loved Celestia.

"I didn't want to do this, but I will stop you," Celestia said with fierce determination.

Nightmare Moon felt a giant push, far stronger than she thought the wounded Celestia would be able to generate, throwing her across the room. She flew through the air before painfully crashing into the substantial throne. She felt a long gouge on her flank open and something in her side crack. She looked over at her sister in anger. "I've imprisoned your sun, and I'll imprison you," she coldly stated.

Nightmare Moon felt the pressure of another blast of magic coming toward her, and quickly answered it with a blast of her own. The two bursts of energy met somewhere in the middle of the room, and the resulting explosion shattered all the windows and skylights, as well as ripping a large hole in the roof. Nightmare Moon was stunned from the concussion and barely felt the torrents of glass as they rained down, cutting her in several places.

She was aware enough however to feel the rope-like tassel of the throne's cushion wrapping around her hooves. Quickly she dispelled Celestia's magic and countered by causing the rug that ran the length of the room to come to life and catch anything that moved. She was entertained as Celestia danced away from the serpent-like cloth, but her amusement was short lived as Celestia's horn glowed and a thick fog poured into the room from the many broken windows. In seconds the visibility in the room dropped to nothing.

Nightmare Moon felt a shock as her carpet magic was dispelled, and she quickly burned away the fog with her own magic. Celestia was nowhere to be seen in the now ruined throne room. All the doors were still bolted, so she must have used some type of teleportation magic, which meant that she could be anywhere.

Nightmare Moon teleported herself to their bedroom, but found it empty. She checked the balcony, then the banquet hall, then Celestia's private gardens. But she found nothing other than confused guards whom she simply ignored. As she was standing in the garden, she felt the familiar tingle which accompanied Celestia's magic. Acting on instinct Nightmare Moon quickly teleported to where she felt Celestia, before the other pony could escape.

Unfortunately she found herself in the display room for the Elements of Harmony. Ominously they were missing. She cast about, in search of Celestia, her spirits quickly sinking. A moment later and Celestia stepped around the monument that had held the Elements of Harmony, and Nightmare Moon felt a deep seated fear. Celestia's disheveled appearance had been exchanged for perfect grooming. She looked unharmed, radiant in fact. And her crown was much larger than normal, large enough to fit an additional five multicolored gems in its setting. The missing Elements of Harmony.

Nightmare Moon's stomach lurched and she inhaled sharply. If Celestia did use the Elements of Harmony, there was no telling how badly Nightmare Moon would be defeated, but it would not be pleasant.

"Ha! Even with the Elements of Harmony, you're no match for my power," Nightmare Moon bluffed. She began to channel her magic to her horn, charging it for an ultimate attack. She had held back before, but if Celestia had decided to use the Elements of Harmony, there was nothing else Nightmare Moon could do.

"I'm sorry it's come to this," Celestia replied. "Please give up Luna, Nightmare Moon. I don't want to use this power, but if it's to protect my subjects, I will send you someplace where you can't hurt them."

Nightmare Moon soberly replied, "Do you see the crowds of ponies begging for my forgiveness? The throngs celebrating me and my moon? No? Then I won't stop until you do, and I don't care if the crops fail, I don't care if the world dies. Equestria never cared about me, why should I care about it?"

"Oh Luna," Celestia breathed out mournfully. She straightened and resolutely said, "Then you've left me no choice."

"I was just about to say the same thing," Nightmare Moon dryly commented. "Your interference ends now!"

She sent out the surge of nearly black magic that she had been charging up toward Celestia, but her older sister gave off a brilliant rainbow colored aura at the same time. The aura exploded into several rainbow ribbons which wrapped around the dark energy and squeezed it until it disappeared. They rushed on, surrounding and then wrapping around Nightmare Moon. They firmly tightened around her hooves, neck, and back. The rainbows pulled and contracted, forcing Nightmare Moon first to her knees, then down fully to the ground. Trapped, she looked up at Celestia as the Princess approached her restrained sister.

"I hate you!" Nightmare Moon cried out, her voice raw with anger. "I hate you!" Tears of frustration at what she had done were streaming down her face.

They mirrored the tears of sadness for what she had to do which were spilling from Celestia's eyes. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I'm so sorry."

Nightmare Moon could only get out a chocked sob as her rainbow bonds tightened painfully and stretched to cover her whole body. She felt as if they were squeezing the life out of her, and the pain was excruciating. Then, she was someplace cold and dark.

Luna opened her eyes and found herself in cold darkness, with tears soaking her face. For a panicked moment she thought that she was back on the moon. But her frantic eyes soon reassured her that she was really in her chambers in the new palace at Canterlot. It was dark thanks to the heavy drapes coving the windows, letting in only the smallest of slivers of daylight, and it was cold due to her having kicked off her blankets sometime during her slumber. She picked out the face of her clock in the room's gloom and found that it was only early afternoon, hours before she normally woke up. Most of her staff was probably still asleep.

Things were so different since her return from the moon. Celestia had given Luna her own staff of ponies to help document the night sky, keep her informed of the events happening throughout Equestria, and to play games with her during the occasional slow night. Luna was even called on to make decisions on occasion. There was a new post office in Fillydelphia which wouldn't have been built without her approval.

Yet, even with all these comforting changes, Luna occasionally had nightmares about before she was banished to the moon, or even worse, sometimes they were of her time on the moon. Even though it was very early, Luna knew that she wouldn't be able to go back to sleep that day.

With eyes made luminous by unshed tears, Luna stumbled through her room and out of her door. One of the guard ponies who protected her room saw the state she was in and quickly asked, "Your highness, is anything the matter?"

"No. No, I just … I'd like to see my sister," Luna quietly admitted.

"Oh, certainly your highness," responded the guard. He was obviously concerned with Luna's near tearful state. "We'll take you to her right away."

"Thank you," Luna replied sincerely. The new palace was so much larger than their old castle, which was now just a sad ruin in the Everfree forest. Without the guards' help, Luna was sure that she would have become quite lost anytime she stepped out of her room.

Luna and her guards trekked through the palace, passing other guards, servants, and other ponies as they went, until they reached a large but unmarked door. One of the guards knocked heavily and the door was opened by a pony who could have been his twin. Upon seeing Luna, the interior guard stepped aside and made room for the princess.

She stepped inside and found Celestia near a large window, the floor in front of which was covered in thick pillows, while the other walls of the room were lined with bookshelves stuffed with books and scrolls. Celestia was surrounded by several ponies who were eagerly recording what she was saying.

Celestia looked up as Luna entered the room, and quickly saw her distraught state. She turned to her attendants and guards and said, "Leave us for a while please."

The other ponies immediately packed away their writing tools, scrolls, and reports, and filled past Luna out of the room. Luna kept her attention on the floor, not wanting to meet their questioning gazes.

As soon as the door closed behind them, Luna rushed across the room and pressed herself against Celestia. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she choked out, finally letting the tears fall.

Celestia sighed lightly and leaned down to softly nuzzle her sister. "You've had the dreams again didn't you?" Wordlessly Luna nodded, still tightly pressed against Celestia for comfort. "We've been over this Luna, you paid your penance, and I've forgiven you, Equestria's forgiven you. You just need to forgive yourself," Celestia said quietly.

"I know, I know," Luna replied. "But still, I'm sorry."

Celestia turned away from Luna and settled down on the soft cushions, her sunlight streaming in through the window, making the room pleasantly warm. Not wanting to give up her comfort, Luna quickly settled next to Celestia.

"Just remember, no matter what, I'll always love you," Celestia told Luna as she protectively covered her little sister with one of her wings, squeezing them together. Luna smiled up at Celestia in gratitude, and lulled by Celestia's warmth and love, fell into a sleep of loving and peaceful dreams.


I know that I my writing can be improved. Please let me know how.

I think that I'll write something sweet after this. Either a story about Rarity and Sweetie Belle, or Celestia and Luna. Something about sisters being good sisters, something nice, let's make it nice.