By Andrew J. Talon
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit fan-made work of prose. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is the property of Hasbro. Please support the official release
Author's Note: Finals are almost over, my first real archaeology-related job awaits me in the summer, I have a million unfinished fics and... I decided to write a MLP:FiM fanfiction. Yes, truly I am insane. Oh well.
Princess Luna, formally Nightmare Moon, scowled intently at the contraption before her. It sat there, made of pure plastic and metal and gleaming in the private kitchen Celestia had granted her. Dealing with the public had never been one of Luna's strengths, and being trapped in the moon for a thousand years hadn't helped this at all.
Not wishing to feel useless, Luna had dived headfirst into study, trying to assimilate the major changes in Equestria and the rest of the world before moving onto the smaller, more numerous changes.
The legal aspects of this society she understood quite well. The basics of policy law and governance had been practically invented by her. Stars, planets, moons-They moved according to natural laws and it was through these laws Luna had derived the concepts of government, striving for balance between the strong and the weak, the large and the little.
Celestia, however, was always the better of the two at... How did she put it?
"'Making the sale,'" she quoted, a smile coming to her face. Yes. That was it. Making the sale. It was Celestia who convinced ponies of the need for balance in the distribution of power, and Luna who put it together. Behind the scenes. Balance.
The rise of the aristocracy had been natural, but it was offset by executive, legislative and legal powers. While those of landed gentry descent might be stuffy elites, their arrogance was due mostly by tradition and not by actual authority. Celestia, while a great authority in her own right by virtue of being (in all senses of the word) a goddess, she had strove to maintain the balance. The upset of it too far in either way was the difference between despotism and anarchy, and given her own experience with the corrupting influence of power...
No, no, she could look at that objectively now. She need not feel guilt, her older sister had told her and Luna logically knew it wouldn't help. Still, it took a lot more will than she thought to move on.
… Given her own experience with the corrupting influence of power, Luna found herself happy that Celestia had paid heed to her warnings and her thoughts. That she had made a difference besides... Well...
… Being Nightmare Moon. She closed her eyes, sighed, and moved past that thought to her immediate problem.
She could handle the law. She could handle politics, in theory. She could handle economics, mathematics, the sciences...
Therefore, it was only logical she could figure out this... This... This...
Luna looked over at one of the servant fillies, her white coat and yellow mane adding more cheer to the interior of the brightly decorated kitchen. Luna coughed.
"Do you require any assistance?" She asked. Luna shook her head, and returned her eyes to the contraption on the counter.
"No, thank you," she said quietly. Luna scowled at her reflection in the microwave's surface. The servant filly coughed again. Luna looked back at her. The filly smiled gently.
"If you'd like, I can-"
"No, I'm fine, really," Luna said, her tone a bit harsher than she had intended. The filly frowned and Luna felt guilt.
"I'm sorry... I'd just prefer to figure this out on my own," Luna said. The filly nodded.
"As you wish, your majesty. If you need anything though, don't hesitate to call," she said. She turned and trotted off, leaving Luna alone once again. The Moon Princess looked back at the microwave and resumed her scowl. Her horn lit up with magical energies, and she probed the device carefully.
"Hmmm..." It had some sort of apparatus inside it. It seemed... Phased, perhaps? Yes, phased. It emitted radio waves. She had read up on them, seen the technology for herself, and she understood the theory.
Of course, to heat up the food, she reasoned. Excite the water molecules... No different from a heating spell.
She could use a heating spell right now if she wished, a part of her pointed out. Luna snorted, and continued her examination. She lifted a hoof up and tapped it once.
"Feels solid," she murmured to herself. She tapped it again. Something gave and the device popped open, loudly. Luna squeaked and jumped back, her flanks slamming into the table behind her as her wings puffed out in fright. Slowly, she reopened her eyes, and stared at the microwave.
"Stupid," she muttered to herself. It was just the door. She trotted back up to the counter, folding her wings away. She peered inside the pristine white interior of the microwave carefully, and sniffed.
"Okay... This is probably where the food goes," she reasoned aloud, feeling much calmer. She then turned and trotted up to one of the cabinets. Opening it with her telekinesis, she scanned through the various packages, before she found one in particular. She lifted it and brought it down, and examined it.
"Pop Corn," she read aloud. Right, Celestia had mentioned that it was good to eat. She nodded and trotted back, placing the container in the microwave. Carefully she shut the door, then looked at what she had reasoned to be the interface. She hummed and studied it.
"How long would it take to heat it up...?" She thought aloud. Luna tapped her hooves upon the floor, before she smiled. "Of course! Ah... Excuse me!" She called out.
"Yes, Princess Luna?" The same blonde filly answered, poking her head into the kitchen with a smile. Luna felt a little annoyed that the servant filly had been hanging around, but let it go easily enough. Now she felt like she was somewhere familiar.
"I need an abacus," she said. "Please, tell me where I could find one."
The filly stared, her smile growing confused.
"Um... I'm sorry, your majesty, but what is an abacus?" She asked. Luna scowled, but softened her expression when the filly cringed.
Don't take it out on the servants, it's not their fault you've been locked in the moon for a thousand years, she thought to herself.
"It's a mathematics tool," she explained. "It has... Has beads on wires in a wooden frame."
The filly still looked blank. Luna was about to call for another servant, perhaps one with some idea of what she was talking about, before the blonde's eyes lit up in understanding.
"Ohhh! Like a calculator!"
Luna slowly nodded. "Yes... That." Whatever that was.
"Wouldn't you prefer to use a calculator?" The filly asked. Luna restrained a sigh.
"All right," the filly replied. She galloped off. Luna waited, but felt herself growing impatient.
I could just conjure one, she thought. It wouldn't be that hard...
Still, if it got the filly to stop hanging around for a little while it was worth it. She had the sneaking suspicion Celestia had the servants paying extra attention to her. It wasn't as though she was going to go on a rampage! It was so annoying how overprotective she could be...
It was twenty minutes before the filly returned, baring a very old, dusty abacus in her mouth. Luna smiled and took hold of it with her telekinesis.
"You wouldn't believe where I found it! The curator of the palace museum said it was one they use for display purposes," the filly explained. Luna nodded, setting the device down on the table. The old motions came to her hooves, and she swiftly calculated the weight of the popcorn container, the energy output of the microwave, and a few other relevant variables. Her smile grew a bit as she felt, at last, in familiar territory.
"There we go," she said after checking her solutions twice. She turned to the microwave and pressed several buttons. "Twenty-seven minutes at full power... All right!" She hit the start button, and her smile grew at the pleasant humming the machine made. She looked over at the filly, who looked uncertain. "... Is something wrong?"
"Er... Well... Twenty-seven minutes seems a bit long, don't you think?" She asked. Luna shook her head.
"No, I checked. It's just the right amount of time," she said. The filly nodded slowly.
"Er... If you say so, your majesty."
"So, what do I call you?" Luna asked, the tension dropping off considerably now that she'd figured out how to work the stupid thing. The filly smiled.
"Sundance, your majesty!"
Luna smiled and nodded. "Well, why don't you tell me a little about yourself?" She asked politely. "At the table."
Sundance shyly, but gradually with greater enthusiasm, related her back story. Luna nodded in the appropriate parts but really, she was feeling very pleased that she'd gotten someone to speak to her almost normally. In fact, it was just about the best feeling she had ever-
"EEP!" Luna cried, and a wave of telekinesis left her before she could think. It smashed the microwave, and a cloud of billowing smoke emerged from the burning interior.
"Oh no oh no oh no oh no!" Sundance chanted. "Quick! Extinguish it before-!"
A loud alarm went off and water began spraying from the ceilings, dousing the entire kitchen in it as the smoke continued to fill the room. Sundance coughed and got down as low to the floor as possible. She was surprised to see Princess Luna underneath the table, shaking.
"Y-Your Majesty? Princess Luna? Are you all right?"
"... No," Luna sighed miserably, clutching at her now soaking wet abacus. "No I'm not."
"Luna, really," Celestia said as she magically directed the towel to scrub Luna's hair more forcefully. "It's not that bad."
Luna knew she was sulking, but frankly she didn't care. She held the sad little abacus in her hooves as her sister fussed over her in front of the fireplace. She looked down at it and sighed.
"The fire department was called."
"A minor overreaction," Celestia soothed.
"There were instructions on the container I ignored."
"Mistakes happen," her older sister said. Luna huffed.
"I laughed because I saw that my darling little sister was safe," Celestia said, removing the towel to affectionately nuzzle Luna's mane. She smiled. "And you looked rather cute, hiding under the table."
Luna scowled. Celestia laughed, the sound like ringing bells.
"Luna, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. It's been a thousand years. You can't expect to catch up right away. These things happen." She laughed again. "You should have seen how badly I handled the first aircraft. I asked why the wings didn't move and why there weren't any feathers."
Luna tried very hard not to laugh, and succeeded in keeping it down to a snicker. She looked up at her sister, who smiled more gently.
"At the very least, you acted appropriately when Sundance tried to take responsibility for it."
"It wasn't her fault," Luna said stubbornly. Celestia nodded.
"So now she knows she can trust you not to blame her for your mistakes. I'd say that's the first step towards friendship." She glanced at Twilight Sparkle's latest letter, and she smiled in fond remembrance of her faithful student. "I think I might get to send her a letter this time. So..." She kissed the top of Luna's head. "Thank you, Little Sister."
Luna blushed, and nodded back. "It... It was nothing."
"Now... You have the night to look after," Celestia said, gently bumping her head against Luna's. "Go on."
"All right," Luna said. She rose, and looked over the abacus. It was worn and worse for wear, no thanks to her, but still...
"May I hold onto this, Sister? For... For a little while, at least?" Luna asked. Celestia smiled and nodded.
"Of course dear. I don't think it's outlived it's usefulness, do you?"
Luna flushed and her smile grew.
"No Sister. I don't..."