Eclipse

Luna only wanted to be acknowledged, and when a pony finally favored the night, she was determined to make him happy. Yet destiny was set to tell a different story and turn her dream into a nightmare.

Chapter 1: The Princess and the Oddball

The sun sunk in the horizon in fair Equestria, the last of its light shining upon the magnificent capital palace for the day. Canterlot became still, as princess Celestia lowered the large ball of fire and her sister stepped out to take her turn as the ruler of the night. With practiced care, Luna made the moon rise to the center of the skies, its fully visible surface reflecting the light of the sun. The younger princess sighed, a reflection, that was all she was, a mere reflection of her sister. Yet kind Celestia could not imagine the bitterness that was building up in Luna's heart, foolishly caught up in her own optimism. "Have a good night, Luna," the elder alicorn smiled and departed for her royal chambers, leaving the younger standing alone in the castle tower.

Luna looked towards the distance and found nothing of interest. There was no activity, as if the land was dead. Hearing hoof steps, she longed for the company of the origin of the sound, even if it was only a guard passing by. Starswirl, an elderly bearded unicorn stallion with a white mane, arrived. "Greetings princess Luna."

Luna smiled, "Greetings, Starswirl!" Good old Starswirl would keep her company. He would gaze at the beautiful stars and ramble on and on about the constellations. She would lend an ear and her night would not feel so lonely. "Will you be studying the stars tonight?"

Starswirl cringed a little at Luna's loud excited voice, but didn't mind too much, as he knew what a good listener she could be. His eyes scanned the area around the tower as he replied. "Not tonight, I just came for my notes, ah, there they are." He levitated a scroll that had been left next to the telescope by the window. "I need to get up bright and early tomorrow for the astronomy lecture."

"Of course..." Luna's voice lowered in volume as she heard his answer, though caught in his excitement, Starswirl didn't notice.

"Have a good night, Princess Luna," the unicorn stallion was gone, his hoof steps fading into silence.

Luna let out a lonely breath and looked out at the sky. Starswirl was happy with his job as a professor in Celestia's new school. Yet that meant he had become more diurnal to be able to impart his lessons. It was all mostly theory and rarely did he take his students in expeditions to learn about the stars from the stars rather than from books. It was inconvenient for their schedule apparently. Luna felt bitter to Celestia for taking her dear friend away. Yet she couldn't be angry at Starswirl, Celestia had been his mentor and he respected and admired her very much, he didn't see Luna loneliness. He wasn't cruel, Luna concluded, he was dense and so was Celestia.

Resolving to get some fresh air to clear her head, Luna jumped out the window and spread her magnificent dark feathered wings. The cool night air was nice, but empty. Silence rained supreme, the atmosphere devoid of joy and laughter. As Luna flew over the quiet sleeping Canterlot, she did not expect the sudden noise that shattered the piece. It was the sound of an explosion, certainly not the kind of sound she longed to hear. The night princess rushed to the source of the smoke and examined the damage done to the structure. The edges of the window looked singed and the inside of the residence was a mess from what she could see.

Several ponies were awakened by the noise and were making their way out of their houses to investigate and find the pony responsible for interrupting their rest. Luna blended in with the darkness as the ponies rushed into the house uninvited as she continued to watch from the window.

"This has to stop!" One mare angrily declared.

"We already told princess Celestia about you and she sent you a letter! Nights are for sleeping, sleeping!" A stallion angrily shouted.

"You're always waking us at these horrible hours, why don't you get some sleep and let the rest of us do the same?" Another mare yelled.

"I'm sorry, that wasn't supposed to happen," the stallion who owned the house and had caused the explosion apologized. He was covered in ashes and sticky black oil from head to hoof. His cutie mark was too smudged with grime to be identifiable and other than the fact that he was male, the only other thing Luna could figure out was that he was a unicorn. "It was just a small prototype; I honestly didn't expect it to blow up like that."

"Magnus, always so contrary, always causing trouble, the infamous Magnus Mecha." None other than Starswirl himself had suddenly entered the residence by the door left ajar from the recent entrance of the angry mob.

"Starswirl, you're here for the notes you left in my care earlier, aren't you?" Magnus tried to change the subject and hopefully soften his fellow unicorn's tone.

Starswirl's expression remained carved in disapproval. "Yes, I just realized I had left my notes here. Did I not reinforce the princess' words when I came by? She told you to do your research during the day when other ponies wouldn't mind the noise as much."

"But the night is so calm and inspiring!" Magnus argued as he shuffled through the mess that was his house, looking for Starswirl's notes and fearing the worse.

"The research you are trying to do is strange and dare I say unnecessary. But if you insist on doing it, try not to make it a burden to others," Starswirl frowned. "Don't you see that the darkness is especially inconvenient for those contraptions you build? Precision belongs to the light of day and progress belongs to magic, not to that technology rubbish you keep going on about. Stop it, stop searching, I already know my precious notes were scorched in your latest venture." Starswirl stomped his hoof and his long white beard bristled as if it was going to burst into flames from his sheer frustration.

"It's not rubbish!" Magnus tried to argue, but the older unicorn stallion glared him down. Normally, Starswirl was more patient, but not when his research was adversely affected.

"I have just enough information for tomorrow's lecture, but I'll have to write up my observations again for the lecture later this week. I'll have to spend tomorrow night trying to recover my research. This has gone too far, Magnus, the princess warned you!"

"She even wrote a letter!" A mare emphasized to fueled the fire.

"We're going to have to tell her all about this in the morning," a stallion added.

"The princess will know!" The irate neighbors continued, "the princess-"

"Is here!" Luna jumped through the window, squeezing into the residence as she made the announcement. The ponies backed away with gasps, in fear of the dark figure that had appeared. She was tired of hearing every pony speak of the princess as if Celestia was the only one. "I am Luna, the princess of the night, I shall rule over what transpires during my domain!"

The ponies all looked unsure and neither spoke nor moved a muscle until one whispered, "she's here to punish him." Then the flood of murmurs broke loose.

"She's going to lock him up."

"Isn't that too harsh?"

"She's scary, Magnus is in trouble now."

Luna frowned, feeling her heart break. She was a protector, not a punisher. Their murmurs hurt her, she wanted them to stop, but they wouldn't, they kept whispering about the terrible fate of Magnus Mecha. Was she seen as a symbol of disaster and pain? It wasn't fair; she watched over the land and guided the ponies to a safe rest. Why couldn't they appreciate her beautiful night? Why must they despise her? "Be gone!" Her voice echoed loud and eerie. "Be gone, all of you!"

The ponies ran for dear life, their hoof speedily leading them back to their houses. Doors were slammed shut and windows were hastily closed, until once again, the night was still and silent.

Only Starswirl and the other unicorn, called Magnus Mecha, remained before Luna. With a sudden rush of rebellious pride, Magnus stepped forward, though despite being taller than the average stallion, he wasn't much to look at all covered in oil and grime. "I apologize once again for the loss of your notes, professor Starswirl," he spoke formally, addressing a mentor, rather than a friend. "I also apologize for being unable to attend any future lectures at Princess' Celestia's new academy."

Starswirl was shocked and disappointed. "If that is how you feel." He shook his head and muttered to himself. "I cannot say I didn't try to set you down the right path." Then a sad look overtook his face, "I do feel I have failed you," he confessed to the younger unicorn, anger mixing with true sorrow. I had hoped my spell would help you find your destiny, but alas, I was unable to complete it..."

"Friends don't try to change each other," Magnus muttered.

"I was only trying to put your genius to good use, you're such a good student, you shouldn't let your intellect go to waste. I've never seen a unicorn with potential such as yours. If you applied yourself to studying magic and attended the lectures regularly instead of staying up late and sleeping in class, you could reach a level beyond what I had at your age!" Starswirl insisted for the last time.

Magnus shook his head; he had been frustrated and misunderstood for far too long. "Leave, please, let me take my punishment alone."

Starswirl shook his head. "I know not what you and princess Celestia have discussed concerning Magnus, but please don't be too harsh on him." With those final words, Starswirl left.

Luna huffed, looking fearsome. What she and Celestia had discussed? They had not discussed anything at all! She didn't know who this Magnus was or what he had done. Celestia always took every pony's problems onto herself and didn't share the burden with Luna. They were matters to be solved during the day; everything was a matter of the day. Well, not this time, this was her jurisdiction and Luna would deal with this stallion on her own. "Magnus Mecha!" She addressed him sharply. "You will confess your wrongdoings!"

Magnus frowned, glaring bitterly. "I have done nothing wrong, your highness. I am a researcher, you see. I create mechanical devices that make several tasks easier to perform."

Luna's curiosity was tickled by his statement. "Tasks such as what?"

"Transportation for example, I was working on an engine that could be attached to a cart to carry produce, furniture and the like. Of course, the prototype was much smaller than what the real model would be like. The principal behind it is-"

As the jargon sprouted out of Magnus' mouth, Luna felt her head spin. Great, just what she needed, another rambler and this one made even less sense than Starswirl. She could see why the two had apparently gotten along so well despite their age difference, though it was evident their differences won over what they had in common. "Enough!" Once her booming voice had silenced the stallion unicorn, the alicorn princess continued. "Why would you need this engine device to move things? Earth ponies carry the produce from their farms in carts they pull themselves, those accustomed to farm work are strong, they need no help from such strange devices. As for furniture, there is a fine moving company in the city ran by the Tion unicorn brothers, Moe Tion and Ack Tion are well versed in the art of levitation and perfectly capable of lifting just about anything, even a whole house!" According to their flier at least, as Luna had not actually met them in person or seen them at work.

"But my princess, should we not try to progress if we can?" Magnus adamantly argued. There will come a time when there will be things that magic will not be able to accomplish and it will be through a combination of magic and technology that-"

"Silence!" Luna interrupted. How dare this dirty peasant say that there was something magic could not accomplish? He was a shame to all unicorns! "I asked you to state your crime, not to waste my time with your ramblings!"

Magnus grunted and coldly replied. "My so called crime is that I do my research at night and the noise gets to my neighbors. I understand it can be a bother, as the noise of the busy days around here certainly bother me. This is why I prefer the peace of the night. However, when I try to leave the city to go do my research where I would not bother any pony, the guards always turn me back, saying I should not venture out of the city limits until dawn."

That new information intrigued Luna. She quietly admitted that she liked that he stated and reestablished that he liked the night. He wasn't trying to be inconsiderate, he wanted to go where his noise wouldn't be a problem, but they wouldn't let him leave. "Why not?" She demanded. "Why can't you go out?"

"They say the night is dangerous, but I know how to take care of myself and I won't get lost. The stars will guide me home, as for the possibility of wild beasts roaming the land, I am not afraid; I can fight if it comes to that. Yet princess Celestia confines us to the city because of the dangers of the night. But how can something as serene as the night be dangerous? Foolish ponies that fear the unknown, foolish ponies that fear progress!"

Luna was shocked, she couldn't even find it in herself to speak in the royal Canterlot voice and softly uttered. "Did you just call my sister a fool?"

If Magnus had not been covered in grime, he would have visibly paled, then become flustered as he stuttered. "N-no, I ah... I didn't mean to offend!"

Luna couldn't help it but to laugh, the regal demeanor she maintained before her subjects falling to reveal a more carefree side of her. "It's okay. I guess she kind of deserves it this time." Her voice came out laced with laughter in a friendly tone, rather than the royal Canterlot voice. She cleared her throat and continued in the dreaded volume. "I shall grant you permission to leave the city at night and a scroll with my royal seal to prove it."

Magnus was sure he would be left deaf if this meeting continued, but he was none the less, very thankful that he apparently wasn't being punished, he was being helped. "I am very grateful, princess Luna, I look forward to my next nightly expedition and fruitful research."

As she was quite lonely and curious to know more about any pony who appreciated her nights, despite the stallion before her not looking too inviting to company in his disheveled state, she wanted to see him again. She only hoped that when they next met, he wouldn't be covered in oil, ashes and grime. That was no way to present himself in front of a princess, or in front of any pony for that matter. "I will deliver the scroll personally," Luna offered as an excuse. She was debating what she should say to Celestia about this matter when the elder alicorn was awake. "Tomorrow morning, after I clear some things out."

"Ah yes, you must speak with princess Celestia," Magnus looked a tad worried, wondering if Celestia would agree with her sister.

Luna did not like what she read between the lines and loudly assured. "I am the princess of the night, this is my jurisdiction and the promised scroll you shall have!" Magnus cringed at the sheer volume of her voice, but managed to thank her once more; taking care to show no hints of doubt, least she felt the need to loudly assure him again.

To be Continued

Disclaimer, I don't own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, this disclaimer applies to all the chapters.

You might recognize some of the OCs in this from a previous story of mine; that is because this is a prequel that was only briefly mentioned there in a short flashback. If you've read that story, then you already know how the next part goes, but it'll still be fun to see how things got to that point, or at least I hope you're having fun so far. Anyway, you don't need to know anything about the other story to understand this one, as it can be read as a complete, separate tale.