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.
The cloudball game ended in a fantastic victory for the home team, and Rainbow Dash was carried up and away by numerous pegasi. Pinkie Pie hitched a ride with them, and waved to Luna as they headed down with this parting announcement:
"Don't worry! The party will be ready soon and we'll find you when it's time so go have fun for a while!"
"Certainly!" Luna said with a smile, waving her hoof back. Already she felt significantly better about the visit to Ponyville. The Cloudball game had raised her spirits as she had proven both useful and had recovered after a grievous faux pas.
So perhaps things are finally turning around, she thought to herself happily. She turned on the surface of the cloud court to fly down herself, and descended rapidly. She wasn't sure where to go next but she was quite certain that now she had some confidence about her, she could handle anything that might happen to cross her path.
"OOF!" Luna cried.
"Ow!" Cried a soft voice. Luna shook her head free of stars and zeroed in on the pony she had run into. It was a pale yellow pegasus with a long pink mane, who even now had wide eyes.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry-" they both began, then stopped.
"No, it was my fault-" they said in unison.
"I should have been looking where I was-" they tried again. Luna stared at the yellow pegasus, and the yellow pegasus stared back. The pink mane one laughed softly, then covered her mouth in horror.
"Oh dear, I'm so sorry, I wasn't laughing at running into you."
"No, no, I completely understand!" Luna said, waving her hooves around. "It's quite all right! I should be apologizing, really."
"No, I-" the pegasus tried, but unwilling to get into another disagreement Luna quickly changed the subject with what was left of her flagging confidence.
"What is your name?" The pegasus looked extremely familiar but Luna was unsure how.
"Um... Er... Fl-Fluttershy," Fluttershy admitted.
Luna very nearly stopped hovering in mid-air at that, but recovered very quickly.
"Are you all right?" Fluttershy asked gently.
"Oh yes, perfectly fine," Luna said. How do I keep running into them? She thought to herself. Granted, Ponyville was a small town but it almost seemed as though a higher power were directing her movements.
Luna was too much the scientist to say that powers greater than herself or her sister could not exist, but felt that the execution of their wills would be far more subtle. It's what she would do if she had the power.
She looked at Fluttershy's face, and for a moment had a flash of memory: A dark night in a large room filled with ponies, and a maniacal laugh echoing off the walls. Her mane reaching out to brush against the face of this very pegasus, a perversion of an affectionate touch...
I had the power...
"Excuse me... Um... Miss Selene?" Fluttershy asked. Luna shook her head rapidly and looked over at Fluttershy.
"Ahem... Ah... Yes? Wait... How do you know my name?" She asked. Fluttershy looked down bashfully.
"Um, I was at the game, I heard Pinkie Pie call your name a few times," she admitted softly.
"I didn't see you," Luna said.
"Ah... Um... I'm usually not very... Vocal," Fluttershy said in a very soft voice. Luna couldn't help a small smile at that.
"Um... Neither am I, usually," Luna admitted.
The two ponies looked off at each other's shoulders for a time. Luna then cleared her throat.
"Well," Fluttershy said. "Um... I-I feel terrible about running into you, so... So would you like to come down for lunch? If you feel like it, that is."
Luna noted the height of the sun overhead and felt a very mortal hunger in her stomach. She smiled and nodded gratefully.
"Yes, I would love to. Thank you very much."
Fluttershy's cottage was large, a bit larger than Luna had been expecting. Given it's location near the Everfree Forest, Luna imagined it had been quite the bargain. Even now she could sense the chaotic and unpredictable currents of life within it, and she stood a moment outside the door of the home to take it all in.
It's truly fascinating, she thought to herself. Through my senses it feels like a great wibbly wobbly... Timey Wimey... Bubble of... Stuff. Luna grimaced. Note to self, find a better metaphor.
"Oh... Um... You like the forest too?" Fluttershy asked, her voice calling from the kitchen of the cottage. Luna looked over at the yellow pegasus as she worked on their lunch and smiled.
"Yes, I do. It's... Interesting. In a good way," Luna clarified. She came into the cottage and looked around. "Your home is very lovely, by the way," she complimented.
"Oh! Thank you very much," Fluttershy said with a mild blush on her cheeks. "I'm very fond of it myself..."
Luna looked around carefully. Bird perches, mouse holes, and numerous smaller beds were all over the house. Given her rapport with the monster in the Everfree Forest that night, it wasn't hard to guess her cutie mark talent had to do with animals.
One animal in particular was resting in a bed, munching on a carrot. It was a white rabbit, who stared at Luna with beady black eyes, with the same expression a king might wear at a filthy peasant entering his throne room.
"Oh, I hope you don't mind rabbits. That's Angel, my companion," Fluttershy said as she prepared some tea. Luna shook her head and smiled.
"I don't mind at all. He's adorable," Luna said. Angel stood up on his hindlegs and held his arms up, as though flexing his muscles for approval. Luna giggled softly as the rabbit struck a number of other amusing poses like a stallion showing off.
"Aren't you the clever one?" Luna asked. She bent her head down for a closer look. Angel in turn looked back at her, his eyes narrowing. He tapped his foot a few times... Before his eyes shot open wide and he zipped off over to Fluttershy who was setting up the teapot. "Ah?"
"Oh? What is it Angel?" Fluttershy asked with a smile. The rabbit pantomined something, while wildly gesticulating towards Luna. "Hm? Something to do with Miss Selene?"
Luna broke out into a cold sweat, and carefully readjusted her glasses. While Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash had been accepting of the reveal of her true identity, she didn't know how Fluttershy might react. She seemed so delicate and deferential...
"Oh no! Princess Luna, your royal majesty, I have dishonored you by treating you like anypony!" Fluttershy cried, now dressed in a deep red kimono. She sat sieza (quite a feat for a pony, Luna noted) and drew her tanto. She held it up.
"There is only one means of making up for such dishonor-Seppuku!" Fluttershy declared dramatically.
"Nonono! No! You need not go to such lengths, Fluttershy! It's what I wanted! Really!" Luna cried desperately. Fluttershy coughed up some blood.
"Oh... Um... Sorry for my impulsiveness... Oh dear."
Luna shook herself free from her daydream, and telekinetically grabbed Angel. She yanked the rabbit back and shoved him under a table behind her. At Fluttershy's surprised look, Luna thought quickly.
"Oh my! How fast he moves!" Luna said in a high pitched voice.
"He was also glowing," Fluttershy said in some confusion. "He's never done that before."
"Well isn't that wonderful, why don't we have lunch so we can discuss things that are not remotely about such wonderful things!" Luna said, ushering Fluttershy over to the table.
"Well certainly, if you want..." Fluttershy said as she set the table. Luna turned around, trotting to the table she'd shoved Angel under. She retrieved him and held him up to her face. The rabbit looked absolutely furious as he struggled in mid-air, shooting glares of death at her.
"Please, please, I assure you I mean you and your mistress no harm please don't tell her please," Luna begged in a whisper. Angel stopped struggling, scratched his chin, and very slowly nodded. Luna sighed in relief and set him down.
"Thank you so much," Luna said gratefully. She turned and trotted over to help Fluttershy finish setting the table. Angel watched her go, then ran to the window where a few bird friends of Fluttershy were currently nesting. He got their attention by beating a stick on the sill, and pantomined the situation within. The birds nodded, and flew off as one.
Angel, for his part, stuck his carrot back into his mouth like a cigar and grinned.
Luna laughed. "Ahahaha! Oh... Oh you poor dear, you kept one?"
"Well, um, in my defense they were really, really cute," Fluttershy said with a blush and a glance to the side.
"Cute, yes, that's what everypony said. Oh, the damage reports," Luna said shaking her head. "Still, it did show just how ill prepared the disaster response is in Equestria."
"Yes, I agree," Fluttershy said seriously. "Why, if it hadn't been for Pinkie Pie Ponyville would have been completely eaten. I'm very glad Princess Luna organized those reforms."
"Well, it wasn't all... Um... Her," Luna said with a blush. Fluttershy nodded.
"Yes, but she's been very active behind the scenes ever since she was cured from being Nightmare Moon. I think she's done a lot of good things."
Luna smiled brightly, and sipped some tea. Fluttershy hummed thoughtfully.
"However, her support efforts at centralization might lead to excessive bureaucracy and less freedom for ponies overall, while her efforts to make the provinces more independent might divide our efforts when it comes to foreign policy."
"Urk!" Luna choked on her tea. Fluttershy started.
"Oh dear... Are you all right?"
"Oh! Oh, I'm fine! Fine!" Luna said quickly. Fluttershy flushed.
"I'm terribly sorry if my political opinions upset you. It can be a sore point with some ponies."
"No! No, that's fine! Have whatever opinion you like, really," Luna said. Fluttershy frowned.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! Very sure, really," Luna said. "I mean, um, I would love to hear your criticisms of Princess Luna's policies."
"Oh... You would?" Fluttershy asked. Luna nodded.
Luna felt herself growing a bit annoyed. "Yes! Of course!"
"Well..." Fluttershy took a deep breath. "She seems to favor the executive branch to an almost imperialistic level when it comes to provincial governors and would rather they be in complete control when it comes to crises, her proposals for labor reform are not well thought out, she sees nothing wrong with reintroducing the study of combat weather education to public schools while not addressing long standing problems with the system, she wishes to end cutie mark affirmative action and her foreign policy recommendations are all far too isolationist."
Fluttershy took a deep breath.
"And... Um... You disagree with all that?" Luna asked tentatively, while wondering how the hay so much policy had been linked to her. Celestia, you're the public one! Why is MY name the one coming up so much?
"Well... Um... Yes... Some of it," Fluttershy mumbled into her tea.
"I'm so sorry, I should have given you the change to respond. If you have differing opinions, I am happy to discuss them if you wish," Fluttershy said.
Fortunately at that moment, a walnut slammed into the side of Luna's head.
"Urk!" Luna grunted. Fluttershy gasped and looked up at the roof.
"Angel!" She said. The white rabbit darted to another position and threw another walnut, beaning Luna in the head again.
"Ow!" The incognito moon princess ducked behind the couch as more missiles flew her way coming from multiple animals. "Ow ow ow ouch!"
"No, please, stop!" Fluttershy said. Fluttershy ducked behind the couch as the hail of projectiles continued. She looked at Luna apologetically. "I'm so sorry, I've never seen them act this way, really!"
"It's all right, really! It's not your fault," Luna said quickly. She peeked out from behind the couch. There was a veritable army of cute, cuddly creatures, all armed to the teeth with projectiles and all looking determined. "I'm the one they're after, I can just slip out."
"No!" Fluttershy said firmly. She looked over the couch. "Now please, everyone, why are you doing this? What possible reason is there to harm our guest? I-I'm very disappointed in all of you!"
All of the animals stared, then as one they all looked down at the floor. Some even started crying. Fluttershy waved her hooves with a smile.
"Now now, you shouldn't feel so bad... I'm sure it's all just a little misunderstanding and.." Fluttershy frowned. "Where is Angel?"
SMASH! The door to the cottage came down as a large contraption barreled through. Luna stared in some disbelief. It appeared to be a mix between a cement mixer, a tank and some kind of chariot. Atop it was Angel, wearing a round green helmet with a carrot between his grinning teeth.
In one paw, he held up a book. Luna recognized it as something she'd written: Basic Mechanics for Those with Fingers.
In the other... A baseball.
"Oh no... No...!" Luna felt panic start to ride up in her chest. A panic that only increased as numerous birds appeared, all armed with baseballs. The machine started up and the inner part began to spin rapidly.
And as one, they all threw their baseballs into the contraption and sent them flying at Luna.
To be continued...