Chapter 3: Who We Are...
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor will I ever own any rights to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, or Naruto. They do not belong to me in any way, shape, form, or idea. This is simply an effort to further my own abilities, entertain myself, and entertain others. No one is intended to be harmed in any way.
"Who are you?"
The sun had risen to the sky once again, its bright rays engulfing Equestria in a halo of warmth and compassion reminiscent of their beloved Princess Celestia. However, as ponies across the land celebrated the six mares who had just finished the most terrifying experience of their lives found themselves facing a new obstacle.
As soon as their eyes recovered from the maelstrom of light released by the Elements of Harmony, they found themselves face to face with a strange new mare.
Her coat was a dark, almost black, sapphire blue, her mane a lighter blue that would have contrasted nicely with her coat if they were not both disheveled and matted down almost painfully. She was small compared to Nightmare Moon, barely any larger than Pinkie and her cutie mark was a black spot similar to the night sky with a crescent moon.
The six of them also noticed that she was an Alicorn, small wings stood out on her back and a horn sticking out from under her mane.
Unfamiliar with the mare and not placing the facts together, Rainbow Dash had looked at the girl and asked her question.
She looked up at them, fear evident on her face as her cobalt blue eyes dilated and scanned the room rapidly.
Twilight took a step towards her, but felt a hoof on her shoulder. Looking back she saw Applejack looking at her worriedly. She smiled at her friend before shaking her head. Turning towards the new mare she tried to speak comfortingly, "Hey… don't worry. We won't hurt you."
The sapphire mare snorted. In a scratchy voice laced with doubt she responded, "Hah… we sincerely doubt that. We hath already threatened thee twice with destruction. What is to stop thee from finishing off your oppressor now that we are weakened so?"
"Oppressor?" Twilight questioned curiously. The mare nodded solemnly, her gaze cast towards the ground.
"You still didn't answer me! Who are you?" Rainbow piped in, temper flaring after being ignored by the new arrival. Applejack and the others, except for Fluttershy who was too busy hiding behind her mane at the presence of the intruder, shot her a glare. She didn't pay attention to them, opting instead to fly into the air.
Rarity chose to speak at that moment. "Sorry about her darling… she's a bit rude," Rainbow Dash glared at her, "… and is also a loyal friend. But we really would like to know… how did you get here?"
She smiled bitterly at them, making them tense slightly. "We were here the whole time… although thou knowest us by another name."
"And what name was that?! I'm pretty sure we'd remember meeting another Alicorn besides Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon!" Pinkie piped in cheerfully, not quite seemingly taking into account what she had just said. Twilight did though.
She blinked in realization and took a step backwards in shock. Looking at her Fluttershy managed to speak out softly. "Are you alright Twilight?" Twilight shook her head.
"What's wrong Twilight?" Asked Applejack curiously, turning towards Twilight as she stared at the stranger in shock. Ignoring her friend's worried glances she stuttered out, "Are you… Nightmare Moon?"
The other five turned sharply towards the stranger and sucked in startled breaths. The stranger made to speak, but after a moment just slumped her shoulders and nodded her head positively.
The other girls exploded in a cacophony of angry shouts and gasps.
"What!? Nightmare Moon?!" Applejack shouted angrily, stepping forward so as to charge at her if she tried anything funny. Rainbow Dash was no different, hovering in front of the others somewhat protectively and preparing to charge her.
"WHAT?!" Shouted Pinkie Pie exaggeratedly slumping to the ground before surging upwards. "But you don't look anything like Nightmare Moon! She was all tall and spooky!"
The mare made to speak but as the others approached her she slumped to the ground, cowering away from their hateful glares and words, closing her eyes in distress.
"She doesn't look that scary anymore…" Fluttershy mumbled as she and Twilight walked aside their friends, standing directly in front of Nightmare Moon.
"I bet she was weakened by the Elements of Harmony!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed victoriously. Going over to her she began to prod her with her hood, making the mare cringe. "Hah! See! Not so tough without your magic are you?"
"Careful Rainbow Dash! We don't know what other kinds of trickery she's got up her sleeves." Applejack warned cautiously, glaring down at Nightmare Moon.
"And stop antagonizing her also!" Twilight added. Rainbow Dash stuck her tongue out at her before complying, stepping back so the Mane 6 were now surrounding the defeated bane of Equestria.
"What do you think we should do with this… beast girls?" Rarity asked in a rare show of aggression, her purple eyes glaring daggers at the once powerful Mare in the Moon.
The others glanced at each other curiously, not having an exact answer to that question. "I say we tie her up and leave her to the forest!" Rainbow Dash spoke, startling the others at her cruelty and making their new prisoner whimper. Rarity nodded in agreement. "Not a bad idea dear, it'd certainly show her what happens when you threaten the rest of us!"
Fluttershy trembled at that thought. "But... um... shouldn't we take her with us?" Rarity scoffed. "And carry her through the dangerous forest? She'd slow us down, maybe even prevent us from getting out of here alive!" Fluttershy quivered at the thought of her friends dieing and shrunk behind her mane, eyes tearing up at the thought.
"We could just leave her here in the castle!" Pinkie suggested, glaring at the mare they surrounded. Rainbow Dash snorted at that. "She could come back again! I still say we leave her to the forest or finish her off! Who knows she could be tricking us and be pretending to be weak so to catch us off guard!"
As they started to fight, Twilight looked around and at their prisoner. She was docile at the moment, but the way she was cowering suggested actual weakness. "... I think we should take her with us." Her statement made all of them pause and the trembling mare look up at her hopefully.
"Twilight... are you crazy?!" Pinkie shouted. "She tried to kill all of us!"
"Yeah! Why don't we return the favor and leave her here?!" Rainbow Dash nodded in agreement.
"Because! We are better than that! The Elements weakened her, and she's been nothing but peaceful since after we used the spell."
"But that doesn't mean she won't try and attack us when our guard is down!" Rainbow Dash argued heatedly, Pinkie and Rarity nodding in agreement. Twilight shook her head.
"No... besides, it isn't up to us to decide, we need to let Princess Celestia do that. So we'll take her to the Princess." At the mention of Celestia the mare's eyes widened in shock and... guilt. She looked down at her hooves as they debated her fate like she wasn't even there. "Celestia," She thought morosely, "Do... do you even remember me as I am now?"
"I reckon we should tie her up at least, make it so she can't run away." Applejack suggested. The others thought for a moment before nodding, and Applejack brought out a rope, knotting it tightly around her.
She didn't struggle, preferring to keep her gaze on the floor, a small tear forming in her eye. Most of them didn't notice it.
Fluttershy did. Looking at the now silently crying mare she felt a pang in her heart and reached out to her.
"Um… are you okay?" Came Fluttershy's soft voice, her compassion even reaching out to the alicorn that had nearely killed them not moments ago.
"Fluttershy what are you doing? She's the enemy!" Rainbow Dash scolded her, and Fluttershy flinched but kept her kind gaze rooted on the depressed cyan of the now tied up mare. However, there was also a slight hardness in her eyes.
"… We are no longer… Nightmare Moon…" She spoke up, startling them slightly. She had uttered it quietly in her still scratchy voice, so quietly even Fluttershy would have been hard-pressed to speak more softly. But she was still heard.
"What do you mean… 'no longer Nightmare Moon'?" Asked Twilight curiously, her gaze sweeping over the defeated form of their enemy and recognizing the signs of damage and sorrow.
In a voice that almost resembled a choked sob she continued. "We… are not Nightmare Moon… we are called Luna."
"Luna? What are you talking about?"
The mare managed to shift so she was laying on the ground, still tied up, but looking at them intently. They tensed, expecting an attack of some sort, but after a moment looked at her expectantly, loosening their muscles slightly.
The newly identified Luna sighed and looked at Twilight, a slightly wistful look in her eyes. "… Are thee known as Twilight?" At her nod she continued. "We remember thee, the one who knew the signs and observed the stars."
Twilight furrowed her brow in confusion before her eyebrows shot up high on her head. "Yes that's right. We were in the town hall, and it was after you appeared and told us that the night would last for - "
"NO!" She shouted in an ancient and powerful voice that echoed throughout the castle, her eyes widened with a frantic fervor. The others jumped back in terror at the powerful tones of the voice as it practically ordered their submission. Even as Nightmare Moon, her voice had never sounded so strong.
Fluttershy hid behind Rarity who was looking at her uncertainly. Twilight's horn was glowing with reflexive defensive magic, although her power was still low and her body was shaking. Pinkie had gasped in sheer terror before taking up a wobbly fighting stance similar to a martial artist. Applejack leapt back and was readying to charge at their foe who had renewed her fear of her. Rainbow Dash had taken to the sky on unsteady wings, startled, but ready to fight.
"Get ready everyone!" Twilight shouted, preparing to launch a blast from her horn.
It was not meant to be.
Luna's eyes, wide open with shock and manic fear, resumed their former downcast look and she slumped back on her side. In her previous voice, devoid of any emotions she began again. "We… are sorry…. but that was not us. It was not us…"
"What do you mean it wasn't you?" Rarity asked cautiously, not wanting another outburst. Behind her Fluttershy nodded in agreement.
"… Dost though know anything of how we became sealed in the moon?"
Twilight nodded, powering down the spell she had at the ready seeing that their enemy had calmed down. "Yes… it was said that 1000 years ago an evil mare tried to bring night eternal to our lands. She stormed Canterlot and waged a battle against our leader Princess Celestia." Walking back over to the mare whose eyes were now staring blankly in front of her she continued, "After a great and terrible battle, she... you... were sealed away in the moon you had tried to force on the world for 1000 years by Princess Celestia after threatening to destroy our home."
Luna remained quiet for a moment before a soft sob wracked her small and brutalized body. What began as weak soon became strong, as hot and pained tears streamed down her face, her eyes straining as they shut so tightly that she was bound to hurt herself. Soon, she was gasping as she sobbed out. "Oh! Oh how wretched! How vile! What have we done?! What has our darkness cost us?!" She wailed out loud, once again shocking the ponies, but for a different reason.
"... Is she... grieving? For trying to bring eternal night?" Twilight asked aloud, too shocked to think at the sight of their enemy reduced to a wailing mess. Soon the others joined her, staring down at the sight of the Mare of the Moon lost in her grief.
"Serves her right!" Rainbow Dash said harshly, only to be met by a glare from, much to her surprise, Fluttershy. She stepped back as Fluttershy's stare was filled with so many words and furious emotions that she could never say aloud. "... What?!"
"How dare you!" She said, still softly but with an undercurrent of anger and passion over the sound of the sobbing mare. "She's obviously hurting. Even if she was our enemy, look at her now!" She deflated after that, her righteous anger and the strength it seemed to give her fleeing her body as Rainbow Dash looked down, properly rebuked.
"She looks so sad..." Fluttershy finished, gloomily looking at the mare as she bawled her eyes out in front of them. Stepping foward she put a hoof on her side, covered in rope and tried to comfort her. "Shh... it'll be alright..." Luna eventually stopped sobbing enough to speak, and when she did her voice was laced with utter sorrow.
"We... are so sorry..." She began. Looking at them, her eyes bloodshot from crying she finished. "We... never meant to hurt our subjects... attack our sister..." A fresh wave of tears fell, stopping her from finishing her sentence.
Meanwhile Twilight stared at her in shock after what she had just said.
Luna nodded her head, her vision regaining some focus. "Yes. Our precious and beloved sister Princess Celestia."
"B-But... we've never read about the Princess having a sister before! She was the sole ruler of Equestria for over 2000 years!" Rarity exclaimed.
Luna shook her head. "Not quite, we both ruled for a short time before we rebelled. Oh, how we have wronged her! And despite that even now she protects us!"
"Wait, wait, wait! What?!" Pinkie shouted, holding her head. "This is so confusing! Nightmare Moon," Luna glared at her despite her grief making Pinkie cringe, "... I mean Luna is actually Princess Celestia's sister?! And you turned on her and fought her 1000 years ago!?"
"Yes, we are Celestia's sister, although now we are not fit to even polish our beloved sister's hooves..."
"That's what Nightmare Moon meant earlier isn't it?" Twilight asked, carefully making the distinction between Luna and Nightmare Moon. Luna looked at her for a moment, a tinge of gratefulness in her eyes at the effort, before she nodded. "Yes. That is what she meant."
"But... wouldn't that have made you Nightmare Moon?" She continued. Luna shook her head. "No... not quite. We both are and are not Nightmare Moon."
All of the Mare 6's brows furrowed in confusion. "Now you're not makin' any sense! How can you be something and not be it?!" Applejack exclaimed angrily.
Luna sighed. "Will... will though allow us to tell you what really happened that night 1000 years ago?" She was hopeful, hopeful that she could clear the waters of time and paint an accurate picture.
Luna recognized immediately what her sister had done, and she felt her heart shatter a little more in her chest at the thought... at the impossible hope that Celestia still cared for her. Her sister had protected both Equestria and Luna's reputation by omitting her actions from the history books, letting her name be lost among the sands of time.
"And why should we trust you?" Applejack asked curiously.
Luna looked at them all, before glancing at the Element of Honesty. "You have no reason to. But you've trusted us enough so far... tell me Element of Honesty... do you think that we are lying?"
Applejack looked at her and hesitated before shaking her head reluctantly. "I can't say you are. Something tells me that you are telling the truth..." Luna smiled at that.
"We thank you Element of Honesty..." She glanced up at them from the floor.
"... Long ago, after we and our beloved sister triumphed over Discord, the spirit of chaos, we each took command of a celestial body. Celestia took sovereignty over the sun, providing warmth and comfort to our people and allowing them to grow food and live their lives without fear of the darkness. We took command of the night sky and the moon, endeavoring to make the nights as beautiful and gorgeous as Celestia's days, guarding the dreams of ponies, and defending the night..."
The others looked at her interestedly now, never having heard this part of Equestrian history before. Twilight was especially interested.
"Over time, the people began to revere us, worship us as deities, as neither we nor Tia aged and our powers were enormous. You no doubt continued this practice even today, correct?" The others looked at each other and nodded.
Luna nodded, before continuing,"This peace carried on for several centuries. There was harmony, however fragile, and it was a golden age of happiness for all, especially Tia." She was smiling now, obviously enjoying reliving her wistful days before her banishment. "We and our sister were overjoyed. Our little ponies were happy, our lands prosperous, our lives joyous." Her voice was slightly happy, nostalgic almost the group realized as she smiled slightly. Then, her face became sullen. Ashen.
"But... we soon found a horrid truth that shattered our hearts. Our subjects... did not enjoy our moon as much as they did our sister's day. But it was not simple annoyance, no they feared our night, scorned it, and ignored it and us as a result. Whenever a meeting would occur, it was never 'Celestia and Luna Rulers of Equestria'. No. We were ignored by our subjects, Celestia receiving all of their adoration and love, despite the fact we toiled equally as much as our sister." The girls looked aghast at that, unable to believe Celestia would allow it.
Luna amended, "Of course, Celestia despised that, including us in everything she could, making mention of our actions. But even as splendid as my beloved sister is, she is unable to change the hearts of our ponies."
She paused, coughing slightly as her voice started to crack, weakness seeping into her speech. "...We began to obsess over their hatred. Our moon, the very moon our sister sealed us in after we became what we became, was hated by our subjects, viewed as a mockery of the sun, a phantasm of something greater that gorged on the light of the sun to provide minimal light at night. Our stars were viewed as depictions of monsters, the stuff of horrible myths and legends. Many ponies simply slept through out nights or viewed them as annoyances, and we were devastated."
By now, she was nearly devoid of anything, as if recalling this made her simply want to forget.
It probably did.
The Mane 6 couldn't help but feel pity for this defeated shadow of Celestia's sister, laying before them and spilling out the insecurities in her heart that had led to her transformation to a terror.
Luna continued. "So wrapped up in our grief, We did not realize our own foolishness. We became consumed by our inner darkness, hatred and envy enshrouding our heart. We made a wish to ourselves, to have our night, the night we loved and labored over for centuries all for the ponies we loved to be cherished by our subjects as much as we cherished our subjects. We did not realize what that wish hath done."
She looked at them with her ashen face as her voice began to tremble, "Our-Our body transformed, becoming a physical representation of what we had become, but also of what we were not. In our grief, we divided ourselves, this new being coming to life and consuming our conscious through the magic we carried in our soul. And... and this self, this Luna, was sealed away, a prisoner in our own mind... yet also not a prisoner. Forced to watch, as if asleep, as our actions hurt the ones we loved... knowing it was wrong... but feeling as if it was right..."
She stopped at that moment, strength leaving her body as she rooted her gaze to the ground. "This... this is how we were Nightmare Moon and Luna... our actions were caused by the spite and wrath in our heart, yet we knew we were wrong and were unable to stop ourselves due to this new, alien nature we had adopted... The rest is as history tells it. We stormed Canterlot, raising the moon and locking it in place, challenged our sister and were defeated after a close duel. We were sealed away ever since."
She looked at them, each of them sending her a pitying look. "That... that is the true story of Nightmare Moon. The jealous and unworthy sister of Princess Celestia. We do not deserve your mercy for the wrongs we have committed. We only ask that thee bring us to the Princess so she may judge us as she deems fit..."
They stayed silent. Staring at her as she laid on the castle's dusty floor. "We... never knew..." Twilight mumbled sadly. Luna nodded.
"Of course... sister did us and Equestria a favor in scratching us out of recorded history... it is better if we were never known... the government would collapse out of fear of the Princesses with the power to control the flow of the sun and moon rebelling in hatred against the ponies of Equestria." Twilight gaped at that before nodding. "I-I know. But still..."
Luna shook her head. "Think nothing of it Twilight. We have had 1000 years to dwell on our actions. We know the mistake we made, and are more than ready to pay for it."
"Princess Luna?" Luna glanced at Fluttershy, the demure Pegasus had only one eye visible, a tear falling down it as she looked directly into the eyes, directly into the soul, of the princess.
"What dost thee desire?" Her voice was flat, and Fluttershy winced at how dead she sounded.
"... I'm sorry..." Luna stared at her.
"... W-What?" She stammered as the Pegasus continued, no idea the effect she had just had on the alicorn's aching heart, instead acting as her Element of Harmony would have her.
"It's just, all those ponies rejected you and your beautiful night sky... although I'm scared of the night... sorry... and ... I mean, I'm not saying you were in the right by trying to make the night last forever... and you did go too far with your anger... you were still hurt..." She was stuttering now, barely making any sense as she tried to find the right words to say.
Finally she sighed and softly spoke, "... they should have been kinder to you... just like you should have been more patient with them..." Then she stopped, her face beat red from having spoken so much in so little, to a princess of all ponies!
Luna just stared at her, unable to comprehend the fact that one of her subjects had apologized. Apologized to her!
Applejack came forward, hoof rubbing the back of her blond mane sheepishly. "I suppose I should apologize too. I know you were telling the truth... I can just feel it right here!" She banged a hoof against her chest and gave her a look, green eyes alight with understanding. "... I'm not very good at sayin' stuff like this, but I'm sorry that we took your night for granted Princess Luna..."
"Another one? Dost they pity us?" She couldn't help it as the errant thought fled through her head due to her pride. She wanted so desperately to believe them, but it was impossible... right?
Then the others came forward.
Twilight walked forward as well, "Yeah... I'm sorry too Princess. I mean there are sooo many good things about the night! Reading by moonlight, um... well... that's really all I do at night... But still!" She grinned at her.
Pinkie Pie bounced forward, bubbly again. "Yeah! Midnight rave parties are so much fun! Some of my favorites!" All of them except Luna laughed at that.
Rarity spoke up next, a smile on her face. "Yes... really I need thank you darling... all of those wonderful parties occur at night, all of my favorite dresses and fashions are usually worn at night too!" She swooned at the thought while the others ignored her... fashion lust...
Rainbow Dash sighed before perking up, "... Even I'll admit that it's awesome to fly by starlight sometimes... and it's great training for the Wonderbolts!" She stopped at that, calming down and looking to the side. "And... I'm sorry about what I said earlier... about leaving you in the forest and all... I was just so mad that you were still around and that you nearly killed me and my friends..." She stuck a hoof out... "... Are we good?"
Luna just stared at them too floored to believe it. The six ponies who she had nearly killed, the six ponies who she had tried to seal in an eternal night and darkness not unlike the one she had endured for a millennium, the six ponies who she had attacked, and tormented along the way to her castle and tried to kill by unleashing an Ursa Major towards them, had forgiven her.
They had forgiven her despite the fact that she was undeserving of it. Despite the fact that she had surrendered to her insecurities and her hatred and her pride and become a twisted personification of her inner darkness. Despite the suffering she had heaped on them, they still forgave her.
She couldn't help the smile that came on her face. It was her first smile in a millennia. She felt a slight pain as her cheeks upturned and her eyes closed, a huge grin making its way on her face.
Despite the grief she felt and the suffering she thought was in her future, she laughed.
It wasn't a desperate laugh of a mad-pony, no. It was a joyous laugh, the laugh she had shared with Celestia in the past when they were but young fillies. It was a happy laugh, signifying better times.
Soon the others, the ones who had forgiven her joined in.
"We cannot help ourselves..." She thought, amused as her sides and face began to hurt. All around her the others were laughing as well, some of them loud and boisterous belly laughs to small and gentle giggles.
"Despite the punishment that is in store for us... we are happy! We have the love of SOME of our wonderful subjects!"
The thought made her laugh harder, and the others joined her.
Soon they felt themselves panting as they stopped laughing, the tension and aching in their bodies gone, abated by the joy in their hearts.
"So... what now?" Twilight asked her as she stood up, having been untied by Applejack. They trusted her enough, and Applejack's instincts enough, to give her a chance.
"We do not know. We will probably seek audience with our sister, apologize and await what we have earned." Luna replied solemnly, yet firmly. She knew what she had done was wrong, and wanted to atone for her misdeed.
Twilight and the others frowned. "But..." Luna shook her head.
"No Twilight Sparkle. We have brought this upon ourselves for our jealousy. We thank you though, all of you. In the past few moments, you have shown us more kindness than we thought we would ever receive again."
"Don't mention it!" Pinkie Pie said happily while standing on her head. They chose to ignore her position, however, in favor of looking at Luna. She blinked at them.
"So... Princess there is one question I have for you." Twilight started. Luna nodded towards her. "Yes, what does thee wish to know?"
"Where is Princess Celestia?"
Luna blinked. "We do not know. When we arrived back in Equestria, we stormed the castle looking for her, but she was nowhere to be seen. We thought she had fled and chose not to waste any more time pursuing her."
They all blinked in shock at that.
"You... you don't think that Princess Celestia... ran away do ya?" Applejack spoke out. Rainbow Dash was quick to defend the Princess.
"What did you say?! Don't you DARE talk about the Princess like that!" She yelled at her. Applejack glared.
"I don't wanna believe it either... but..." Luna cut her off.
"Please... relax. We know our sister. She would not run away from any threat to those she loves. Even... us."
But before they could continue their conversation Luna jerked upward suddenly, her eyes dilated in shock.
"What is it Princess?!" Rainbow Dash asked in shock.
"... Sister... We can always feel her magical energy no matter where she is..."
"And? What does that have to with anything?!" Rainbow asked a bit more aggressive since she wasn't getting a straight answer.
"Rainbow Dash calm down!" Twilight scolded. The mare in question just pouted while Luna began to gallop out of the castle.
"Princess Luna! Wait!" They yelled and began to follow. Despite being freshly revived, she was still an Alicorn, and thus had the famous strength of Earth Ponies.
She yelled back at them a little frantically. "No time! Sister... she is... angry!"
The two of them were facing towards each other on a desolated landscape. Uprooted and flattened trees in a wide circular radius, long gouges made in the earth, and some areas where the Earth had burned marked the setting for these two great powers.
Naruto glanced towards the Alicorn hovering in front of him, occasionally using a beat of her mighty wings to stay aloft. Despite the tense situation, Naruto had to admit that she was a rather beautiful creature. Oh, he wasn't talking about romantic love, simply recognizing the aesthetically pleasing nature of the being in front of him.
A flowing and almost shimmering mane of all sorts of colors flowed down her head and neck, her tail matching it in splendor. Glowing and healthy white fur covered a deceptively muscular, yet clearly feminine, body. She had a well polished yet also deadly looking horn on her head as well as several adornments on that could double as armor on her body, and her lavender eyes seemed to sparkle despite the obvious annoyance and tenseness in her body.
"Kit has a crush I see." Kurama teased him in his head as Naruto mentally took note of this stranger's physical appearance.
Naruto blinked in annoyance. "Shut-up Kurama..."
Then, she spoke again, "I'll ask you again. Who are you?"
Naruto blinked. Deciding to tease her her replied with hint of arrogance, "You know... back where I'm from it's rude to ask for someone's name with out introducing yourself first..."
She glared at him all the more. He grinned a vulpine grin that was unique to him even now that he was a fox.
Celestia closed her eyes in annoyance, keeping track of him with her other senses. "I can see that I won't get anywhere with him... this is similar to dealing with Discord... annoying."
"Very well then stranger. I am Princess Celestia, one of the two rightful rulers of Equestria." She finished with a slight nod of her head, never once taking her eyes off of him. Finishing she continued. "Now, what is your name?"
Naruto's eyes widened slightly at that piece of information. "The Princess of Equestria? This is interesting isn't it Kurama?"
Kurama nodded inside of the seal. "Yes, it is. Be careful Naruto. Even I can sense that she is well deserving of her title as the leader of this country. Her power rivals, if not eclipses our own."
Naruto nodded, having already sensed the tremendous wells of energy in the Princess, even if they weren't chakra. Her other title, the title other countries knew her by, as Sovereign of the Sun was correct, her energy burned inside of her like the heat of a star, and was just as powerful.
He'd have to be careful...
"... I don't feel like it!" He exclaimed happily, grin still on his face as she blinked in shock at his audacity. "Although," She admitted to herself as she tried to figure this strange being out, "If this wasn't such a serious situation I'd probably have laughed at that myself..."
Seeing that so far he had remained peaceful, if annoying, she decided to play along for the moment. Of course, there was always the chance he was trying to lead her into a false sense of security, but she was prepared to teleport if need be. After all, she was finally facing the power she had sensed almost a century ago, the power that had made all of Equestria tremble from its arrival.
She would have to tread carefully. A fight with him could potentially level the surrounding countryside and endanger the lives of many of her beloved ponies.
Especially since her sister was now freed from the shackles of her grief. So, she decided to play along for now, as it seemed to keep him docile and non-violent.
... and she was admittedly enjoying it a bit more than she should have.
"Now you're being the rude one Mr. Fox."
Naruto blinked, grin disappearing slightly as she decided to play along with him.
Inside the seal, Kurama groaned in annoyance. "Damn... is she... actually going along with this stupid tirade of yours? I don't know if I should be impressed that she's going along with this, or annoyed that even when you're facing a power like this you are acting like you did when we first met..."
Naruto ignored his "roommate" in favor of returning fire. Teasingly he spoke, "Now you're calling me names? That hurts Celestia... besides, it isn't rude to refuse to give you my name now is it?"
"Ooh... but that hardly seems fair. I gave you my name... and besides, what else am I going to call you when you refuse to tell me your name? Take it as a... term of endearment from a princess..." She said in a teasing voice of her own. She ignored his refusal to acknowledge her station as an Equestrian Princess, as she never really cared about things like that in the first place, opting instead to call him out on his manners.
"Yeah... well you'll have to convince me to say it. Maybe if you said please?"
She smiled. "But you could still refuse... and I see you no longer hate my nickname for you Mr. Fox?"
He grinned in return, relaxing his posture slightly. "Yeah... I've been called worse, and it is a compliment from a princess..." He let the statement hang for a moment before continuing. "But what if I promised to tell you who I am if you asked nicely?"
She smiled as well, a serene smile that would have made many in her species shiver in delight. "Well... if you promise." At this point, neither of them even knew what they were doing, having too much fun with a kindred spirit despite the fact that the other could be a potential enemy.
"I promise... and I never break my promises!" Naruto said, grin back on place, his eyes closed as he made a nice guy pose by lifting his hand up and giving her a thumbs up.
Kurama made gagging motions and noises in the seal. "Kit... I thought I told you never to do that again!"
"Sorry Kurama... it seemed appropriate..."
"You're not forgiven..."
Celestia stared at the gesture before letting out a very light, and very un-female-pony like snort, before continuing. "If I must... Mr. Fox, would you please tell me what your name is?"
He smiled. "Well why didn't you ask in the first place?!" She felt her eye twitch as he struck a pose.
"Is he serious?" She couldn't help but think.
In a confident voice he began. "I am known far and wide as one of the Great Toad Sages of Mt. Myoboku, the Jinchurrikki of the Nine-Tailed Kitsune Kurama, The Village Hidden in the Leaves Orange Hokage, Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze!"
She stared at him, taking in the titles, and making note of any questions she had for later while he left the pose, pouting at her lack of response.
He was cursing Naruto out.
"I hate you Kit."
"You are an embarrassment... I mean it. I hate you."
Naruto pouted. "But I'm YOU'RE embarrassment..."
"More like I'm stuck with you..."
"Anyway Naruto," She began, stumbling around his name slightly, "What business do you have here?" She decided to get to the point. Earlier, as she was flying towards the Everfree Forests, she had felt Luna's energy for the first time in over 1000 years, and wanted more than anything right now to congratulate her students and re-unite with her sister.
Of course, first she had to deal with this new potential threat, that had literally re-appeared in her senses for the first time in 100 years.
"Playful banter aside, I want to deal with this quickly. Luna... I've missed you for so long... soon little sister... soon I can apologize for the travesty I committed against you." She thought to herself silently while keeping an eye on Naruto. Despite their... banter... she had never taken her eyes off of him and his movements, and had been analyzing him.
Just as she knew he had analyzed her. She could see untold amounts of muscular strength under his pelt, as well as a keen intellect behind his sapphire blue eyes. And his energy. The amount of it that he was revealing was unholy. It easily equaled the amount she was letting out right now and she knew that just like her he had a deep well of power hidden inside of him.
Naruto smiled softly. "I woke up to the screams of six young mares as they cried out for help. They met something they did not expect... so I decided to help them." He motioned over to the defeated form of the Ursa Major a little ways behind him.
"And... what happened to those mares?" She asked, trying to keep any worry from creeping into her voice. She immediately began to feel around for any signs of their life-force. She was unsuccessful, however, as the stranger's energy in the air seemed to hamper he own sensing ability. The air was so saturated in the feeling of... life... for lack of a better term, that she couldn't find them.
"How odd," She thought to herself, looking at the blonde fox. "It's like the energy he has in his body is the essence of life."
Naruto smiled. "They are fine. They were a little beaten up when I had them go to the castle, but other than that they seemed fine to me," He paused before looking at the castle.
"Of course... they were heading directly to the source of a great evil and negative emotions that I sensed in the castle. At the present, I have no idea how they are... but I can tell that they are alive, and that the negative energy is gone."
He left the statement to hang. She nodded in acceptance.
"Very well... then I shall leave you on your way... thank you for answering my questions Naruto." She said before turning around and beginning to fly towards the castle that she and her sister once ruled in.
She halted, however, when she heard his voice. "Don't worry about that, I'm heading in the same direction."
She turned towards him, trying not to sound annoyed or disappointed at his statement. "What?" She was hoping he would simply retreat to the Everfree Forest back to wherever it was he resided.
"While he seems friendly and peaceful enough, I still don't know if he is an ally or enemy. And I don't want to leave Luna alone any longer than I have to."
Naruto smiled, but didn't answer immediately as his body began to shrink. Alarmed she watched him as he shrunk from a large, towering golden fox, to a smaller sized fox, still large compared to many ponies, around her height when he was on all fours. She flew down to meet him, still refusing to let him out of her sights.
He had now gained a brown traveling cloak with a large hood, no doubt for the long, rabbit-like ears he sported. His golden fur had a gentle sheen in the light, and his sapphire blue eyes and slit pupils were equally as intense as before. The strangest thing to her, was the staff he now possessed, with a large ring up top and six smaller rings wrapped around the large ring.
Naruto looked at her, ignoring her inspection of his transformation. In a much less deep voice he responded, "Did you not hear me? I'm heading to the same castle you are. I have unfinished business with the ponies inside of it."
She narrowed her eyes at his choice of words, quickly growing defensive of her student, her friends and Luna. Releasing a small tendril of her energy to get her point across. "What sort of business?"
He narrowed his eyes as well, releasing some of his own chakra to match her strange energy's output. "My business is my own Princess, you'd do well to remember that."
She stood firm releasing more energy, testing him, as well as letting him know that she was serious. "Then I cannot allow you into that castle. There is too much at stake for me to let just anyone in there." Her voice had lost its previous warmth, seriousness and steel entering her tone. This was not the benevolent ruler of Equestria who was beloved by her subjects and renowned for her patience and wisdom.
This was the feared ruler of Equestria, known for her power, strength of will, and tenacity at protecting that which she loved.
Inside of the seal Kurama grinned to himself. "Kit doesn't realize how similar to him she is... and what power! This will be fun."
Naruto closed his eyes for a moment in an effort to calm himself and flared a larger amount of his energy. He knew at the moment they were both just testing each other, reaching for the limits of their strength and resolve. But he wouldn't back down.
"I assure you, that I mean no harm to your subjects Princess Celestia. But you will not keep me from that castle. Even if I have to force my way through I will." He replied, steel and will in his voice as well. Gone was the joking persona he had carried before, his patience gone dry. Celestia may have been courteous, and he had a gut feeling that they would get along great had they been in a different situation, but his patience was running thin.
He wanted to make sure the six mares were faring alright, as well as the distressed seventh energy he sensed was alright as well. He didn't know why, but he felt a connection to them, like a distant memory or a hint of nostalgia. He wanted to help them, and the bond of friendship he could feel between them only cemented that deal in the first place.
"I don't care if she doesn't trust me. Those six mares and their bond of friendship reminds me of something I haven't seen in a long time. They'll change this world, for the better I'm sure... and I want to help them anyway I can."
Even if he had to go through her to do it.
Speaking of Celestia she herself was mentally bemoaning the situation. "I had truly hoped it wouldn't come to this. He seems nice enough, and a part of me desperately wants to trust him when he says he won't harm my subjects... But I have to protect Luna and Twilight and her friends. It's not about anything other than that, not even the Elements. Just as long as my precious sister and student, and my other little ponies are safe and sound."
She stared at him as he tensed his body, awaiting her response. He grabbed his staff tightly, the bones in his knuckles cracking. His face had taken on a serious hue, his eyes chips of ice that were as calculating as they were cold. So far, he had kept his output of energy equal to hers, reacting only when she raised her own energy and raising his only enough to match it.
She considered allowing him to come with her. So far, he had shown no ill will towards her until she had blocked his way, and even then, he was only asserting himself against her. Never once had he acted aggressively.
She spoke up again, the Sovereign of the Sun, not Princess Celestia. "And how can I trust your word? You have power at least equal to my own, and there is much at risk if I were to allow you to go there."
Naruto's response was honest and quick. "You cannot, but I'm asking you to as a favor. I will not harm your subjects or anyone else in that castle."
Around them the trees began to creak and groan under the combined strain of their energies. The wind picked up lightly, and the Ursa stirred in its unconsciousness, instinct telling it that a great battle was about to begin. A battle that it should take no part in.
She closed her eyes, her heart and mind battling against her instincts inside of her. If she allowed him passage, and he turned out to be deceitful, then she would be unable to use nearly as much power as she would like to stop him. She would be too concerned with defending her sister and subjects and he could potentially kill all of them, as even Alicorns could die.
But, if they fought here in the forest, they still ran the risk of destroying the countryside and harming the seven mares in the castle, but the risk was reduced. "He did protect my students, but that could also be a ruse to allow them to fight Nightmare Moon for him, weakening themselves."
She wanted to trust her instincts, that this fox was indeed as benevolent as he had initially come off as, but her heart and mind still demanded that she protect what she had sworn to protect.
She decided to give him one last chance to back down. "Please, I do not wish to force your compliance if I do not have to. Cease attempting to reach the castle." Her voice was still hard, but Naruto could tell she meant what she said. It made it all the harder for him.
"I'm sorry too Celestia. I made a promise that I'd go to the castle and I'm not about to break it. For what it's worth, I don't want to fight you either."
She nodded in acceptance before her eyes became just as calculating as his and her heart of gold hardened to diamond. This was a side she had not used since Nightmare Moon 1000 years in the past.
The leaves rustled around them as the energy they were releasing suddenly stopped. The trees let out groans of relief, the pressure trying to grind them to dust settling.
Each fighter tensed, readying themselves.
The wind stopped.
Meeting in mid-air, Khakkhara dueling with horn in a competition of strength, an explosion of force tearing apart the surrounding area.
Hello everyone on ! Thanks for reading my first fanfiction on the website! I have to say, I am very excited to be here and finally contribute to the website that I have loved to be on for so long.
I hope you liked this chapter, I worked really hard to try and keep the characters similar to their show personalities, but also change them accordingly to the events of the story. Naruto, for example, is incredibly different than cannon. You'll see why as I write so... hahaha!
As for updates, I can promise that I'll work on them as much as I can in my time permitted. And I can guarantee this.
I WILL UPDATE AT LEAST EVERY OTHER FRIDAY ONCE SCHOOL STARTS!
But please, tell me what you think whether it be by Review or PM. No flames, as I abhor them and simply unleash them on my enemies.
I do wish to ask for constructive criticism however. I am not a writer by trade, I'm rather new to it to be completely honest. Fight scenes, romance, action, sadness, etc. I am honestly winging it and trying to tell the story the way I'd like to hear it and hoping that my readers agree with me.
So please, give me any advice you deem necessary. How is the characterization? Please, tear my grammar apart and put it back together. Help me make this a story that you all can come back to on a sad day, read, and get some pleasure from.