Chapter 1 - Lost in the Night
Luna sat up suddenly.
Her vision was slightly hazy as she awoke, but what it beheld was nothing more than inky darkness. It was not pitch blackness; she could see a few blurry shapes, but it was difficult to make anything out. Everything was murky and concealed.
She had no idea where she was. The crisp feel of the air told her that she was outside. The neatly paved gravel beneath told her that she was in a city, town, or some other place of residence. The silence told her that she was alone.
Her first thought was of self-preservation, as she had just woken up without any explanation. She used her magic to quickly sweep over her own body, looking for injuries or maladies of any kind. She found none, which gave her at least a little relief.
Her second thought was the simple question of what had happened. Just how had she arrived at this particular moment in time? Having lived a long, turmoil-filled life, this was not the first time Luna had awoken in the middle of nowhere, injured or otherwise. The routine had become quick and efficient for her.
She was met with a roadblock, however, when she made a startling discovery. Her memory was fragmented. Bits and pieces were missing. She could remember much of the most recent day with ease. She recalled waking up, lowering the moon, eating, and attending to her duties. Everything up until the point of noon was clear in her mind.
Beyond that, however, things began to get fuzzy. She knew for sure that she had "continued", for lack of a better term, through her normal life past 12 o'clock. She could recall no danger, no trouble, and nothing in her memory resembled any sort of problem whatsoever. Her train of memories simply began to taper off slowly until there was just nothing.
And now she was here.
Frowning and still concerned about this development, she turned to her third thought; her present status. She stretched her hooves, double-checking to ensure that she could move them, and began to stand up. The air felt even chillier than it had before. Being the goddess of the night, Luna was usually not affected in the least by cold temperatures. The coolness was her element. She had endured temperatures far below this in her past, so why was she feeling it so much now?
The darkness that surrounded her felt unnatural. Somehow, it did not feel like the darkness of her night. It concealed things in strange shadows, almost gripping around and consuming them. She trotted a few steps towards the closest thing she could make out. It was a while before she could see that it was a pile of wood.
It was unnerving. She felt like she was losing her sense of vision.
She glanced around, a small seed of worry growing in the pit of her stomach.
What in Equestria was going on? Where was she, and why was she here? She could find no answers from her surroundings, which was definitely not a good sign.
Luna calmed her senses and began to channel magic through her horn. It took her only a fraction of a second to cast the light spell; a basic spell that even the most talentless unicorn could easily perform. She barely even felt the simple magic as it flowed through the powerful tool that lay atop her head.
Luna watched as the light from her horn spread out into the darkness. The light and dark played with each other in strange ways. Luna watched, fascinated, for a great while as the darkness swirled and churned by the light. It looked as if the darkness were trying to fight against her spell. It looked like it was trying to eat the light.
It was almost as if she were casting light into a thick bed of fog, but even that analogy didn't entirely fit. It allowed her to see her immediate surroundings a little better, but no matter how brightly she allowed her horn to glow, her range of vision did not seem to increase. The darkness was fighting back somehow, and she couldn't overcome it.
The seedling of fear grew into a small bud.
Carefully, Luna trotted along the gravel path that she had awoken on. It led her down a slight hill for a few seconds. Her light spell didn't reveal anything to her until finally she saw something to her left. At first, she thought it was another pile of wood. Her eyes widened, however, when she drew closer to it.
It was a house, or a building of some kind. Made of wood though it may have been, it was now dilapidated and destroyed. Paneling hung from the walls, slabs of wood broken or rotted away. The roof was collapsed, the windows shattered, and numerous holes littered the structure.
Gazing at it with a unique mix of fear and wonder, Luna couldn't tell if this house had been destroyed, or if it had merely been decayed by the passage of time. It could have been both, for all she knew. Now it stood in the darkness before her, broken, battered and decrepit. The frown on her face continued to grow until she forced herself to continue on and leave the broken building behind her.
She passed another one. And then another. The little bud of worry in her stomach was now a fully bloomed, black flower as she gazed around, finding destroyed buildings everywhere she looked. Her stomach churned as she found herself surrounded by a dead, shattered town.
The first words she spoke into this desolate place seemed to die in the air. Brief moments later, and it was as if she hadn't spoken them at all.
"Hello?" she called again, "Is anypony there?! Can you please tell me where I am?"
Silence answered her. More than silence answered her. Her words were feeble and useless against this cold, dark place. Still, she was shivering. The coldness bit into her, and the darkness surrounded her. This did not look like anywhere in Equestria. It did not feel like she was on Equestrian soil.
She grit her teeth and grimaced. The chilly air was like tiny icicles embedding themselves into her skin. She coursed magic through her horn and encased herself in a heating spell. Somehow, she wasn't surprised when she found that it didn't help in the slightest.
"Hello?!" she cried out one last time as loudly as she could, hoping against hope that somepony would hear her. But only the silence heard.
She stopped walking. Around her were the numbers upon numbers of destroyed buildings. What she stood upon could possibly have once been called a road. She gazed at the buildings through her feeble light spell to see if she could find anything noteworthy about them. All she saw was faded, painted wood and cracked stone. There were no signs of any sort.
She could feel a deep, primal fear building at the back of her mind. Centuries of ruling ponykind as their Princess had taught her how to keep this panic at bay and remain focused. She took stock of what she knew. One day, she had been happily spending time in Canterlot Castle, reading letters from Twilight with her sister, performing her duties, and relaxing. Following this, she woke up in this strange place with a fractured memory. Whatever this place was, it felt unnatural, and it seemed to be devoid of pony life. She could not explain where she was, what this place was, or even if it were somewhere real or not. She had many questions and few answers.
Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath to calm herself further. The air tasted stale and foul.
She gazed around again, staring into the strange darkness that surrounded her. Again, she noted how it somehow did not seem to be the darkness of night. She was innately familiar with the calming dusk that came with her night, and this was not it. The growing fear in the back of her mind had not dissipated. This place was strange and alien to her. This was not the way the night was. She stood brave and suppressed her fear once again. This darkness was not her domain. Lifting her head high and pointing her horn towards the heavens, she reached out for her moon, intending to find out what time it was.
Her eyes shot open wide in abject horror.
She whipped her head around, lighting her horn with her spell and casting out her magical reach.
No, no, no!
Utter despair quickly overcame her as the flower of fear exploded inside of her, causing her to shiver and feel like vomiting.
NO! That's not possible!
Her moon wasn't there.
It was quite simply gone. It was not anywhere in the sky, nor was it slumbering beneath the horizon. She searched everywhere, probing every inch of the celestial realm above her. She found no trace of her dear moon. As she fell to her haunches and struggled to breathe, she tried looking for the sun instead. She was met with identical results.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…
She was shaking her head and holding it with her hooves. Powerful, fearful tremors overcame her as the truly impossible assaulted her mind. This isn't real, she told herself, This cannot happen. She didn't believe her own words.
Luna grabbed her stomach. It felt as if parts of her own body were drifting away from her. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't sit still. She was about to collapse. She was about to black out.
She was losing her mind.
That single thought suddenly became clear to her, and she shut her eyes tight. With deep, calming breaths, she managed to slow her heart down to a less frantic pace, and tried to clear her mind. Trying to distract herself, she thought of things that made her smile. Though she was still trembling furiously, she was beginning to feel much calmer than a moment ago. She knew that a Princess with a broken mind could do no good.
So she thought of bunny rabbits.
Her shivers subsided. Luna imagined a whole herd of tiny, fluffy bunnies bouncing around in a calm, green field. She imagined them playing with each other, snuggling with one another. She pictured one trying to hop over another, but ending up laying atop it awkwardly. As a cool, liquid calmness began to flow through her veins, she continued to think of the adorable creatures. Eventually, after a long, long time, a small smile graced her lips.
Luna's eyes slowly opened. The unreal darkness returned to her vision and she suppressed a shiver.
"Okay…" she spoke softly, relishing in the familiar sound of her own voice, "Let's figure this out…"
She rose to her hooves, thrust out her chest, and stood tall. She was silent for a moment as she gazed out upon what little she could see.
"I don't know where I am…" She spoke slowly, as if choosing her words carefully, "But…There doesn't appear to be any danger here. I am safe, for the moment." She cast her gaze upwards. "As to why my…my moon is gone…" She shivered again. "There could be any number of answers to that. I will just have to find which one is true."
She began trotting again. "I am uninjured, I am functioning fully. I have my ingenuity and my magical powers at my disposal. As long as I stay calm and think about this, I will be able to figure it out."
Luna nearly leapt out of her skin when she heard a sound off in the distance. She held a hoof to her chest where her heart was beating and exhaled. "I'm going to be fine…I'll find my way home…" Her brave face faltered for a moment before she found the strength to correct it.
"I'll figure this out."
Luna had been trotting around aimlessly for hours. She found that the 'town', for lack of a better term, was much larger than she'd thought it was. However, it was not densely built up. There were no ruins of big stone buildings or skyscrapers or the like. It was merely what seemed to be hundreds of residential houses spread over an unusually large distance.
She had, however, come upon the town limits a few times. Eventually, as she would trot in any random direction, she would come across a point where the collection of dilapidated houses simply ended.
The reason she was still exploring the town, however, was a simple one. Despite her brave face, Luna found she was reluctant to leave the town. What she saw beyond was nothing more than an empty expanse of churning darkness. There was no grass, no trees, no landmarks whatsoever. She wasn't keen to admit it, but she was afraid that if she wandered into that, she'd become hopelessly lost.
Perhaps she was lost already, however. She had been trotting restlessly up and down the faded remnants of streets for hours and hours. There was nothing about this destroyed town that caught her eye. No signs, no labels, no evidence that pony life had even been here at all. It was just a bunch of broken wood that looked like it had once been a bunch of houses.
Furthermore, Luna could see no clear cause of damage to this place. There were no burn marks on any of the wood, no splintering that appeared to be due to trauma or force; no signs of trouble whatsoever. It became increasingly evident that these houses had been destroyed by time, and the thought made her shiver.
Presently, she was trotting without even realizing where she was going. Finding nothing more of interest in the town, she had begun thinking. There was nothing here, she rationalized, so she was trying to convince herself to venture out and leave this ancient town behind her. Anxiety was gripping her, however, in a tight vice that she couldn't seem to shake. There was nothing out there, or so it appeared. She could see herself alone, lost and starving to death in the darkness, with absolutely nothing in sight.
She stamped her hooves in frustration as she rounded a corner. What am I going to do?! she thought frantically. She had lost most of her calm, collected bravery and was beginning to slowly panic. She tried to breathe deeply, but it wasn't working. She had far too many questions and absolutely no answers. This was by far stranger than anything she had ever seen in her life, which was saying something. It was difficult for her to avoid feeling terrified.
She came upon the edge again. Her mind told her to turn back, and she nearly did. As she turned away, however, she caught notice of something that made her pause. Looking at the faded, broken path that led away, she noticed that it was angled upwards just ever so slightly. All of the other 'town limits' she had found were flat, but this one seemed to lead to a hill.
A hill, she thought, Perhaps if I get high enough I'll be able to see over this…'fog'. Truthfully, she didn't know what she would find if the ventured out this way. The hill might not end up being very tall at all, or there might not be anything up there except more darkness. Still, the fear of getting lost out there had not faded.
Strangely, she felt somehow safe in this village. It was an odd way of thinking, she knew, but for the moment it was how she felt. So far, this village was all she knew of this place; it was the only thing that was familiar to her. In all honesty, she wanted to do nothing more than stay here amongst these buildings until somepony came to rescue her.
After a moment, she took a deep breath and began to trot up the hill. A shivering fear overcame her as she began to leave the village behind, but she ignored it. She knew she had to start being brave. Nothing good was going to get accomplished if she didn't take a few risks here and there. She needed answers; even just a few.
The darkness surrounded her. It consumed everything around her and left her vision severely hindered. She focused on placing one hoof in front of the other, occasionally stopping to make a mark in the dirt to help guide her back. There was nothing around her. She could only discern the incline that she was ascending. She did notice that it was getting steeper, which was a good sign.
An incredibly frightening sensation of being completely lost came to her, but she ignored this as well. Or, at the very least, she tried to. Her little village was gone. She was out in the darkness now. Luna just needed to focus on making it to the top of this hill. That was all she needed to do. She could focus on getting back to the village later.
She had to stop for a moment as a powerful tremor wracked her entire body.
Many minutes passed by as she continued to ascend the natural hill. She had lost count of how many marks in the dirt she had made. It felt to her like no progress was being made. She felt like the hill was infinite and she was not climbing any higher at all.
Finally, she began to notice something. The darkness was clearing. As she continued to climb, she found that she was able to see further and further ahead of her. Smiling excitedly for the first time since she'd awoken, she broke into a brisk trot up the hill. She continued to ascend and the darkness continued to fade away until the slope of the hill finally flattened out. Luna stood on the peak of the hill, having risen above the darkness.
Her smile had vanished as she stood, staring out at the land around her. She found absolutely nothing to see. All around in every direction, the land was covered with a thick, churning black cloud of darkness. It looked like a humongous, strange thundercloud, or perhaps a thick layer of black sheep's wool. There were no other landmarks in sight; no hills, no tall buildings, no trees. The only thing she could see that rose above the darkness was the hill she was currently standing on. Above her was an endless, featureless orange sky.
Luna fell to her haunches, staring out at this frightfully devoid world. She realized with a sinking feeling in her stomach that she had two options. She could either stay on this hill forever, safely above the darkness, or go back down into it. It she stayed where she was, she would surely starve to death. But if she went back down…
Luckily, Luna was able to find her way back to the destroyed town. Her marks in the ground had proven useful to her, and had led her straight back to where she had begun. Now, however, there was a frown on her face and a heavy feeling in her stomach.
She had begun looking inside of some of the houses to see if she could find anything useful to her. A map, a light source, food. Her stomach had begun growling when she had returned to the village. An alicorn goddess such as herself did not get hungry as easily as a mortal pony, so she must have been asleep for a long time.
Though the houses contained things such as furniture, appliances and silverware, there was no food to be found. Every pantry, cupboard and refrigerator she could find was cleared out. With each unsuccessful investigation, her stomach growled louder.
More time passed. Luna continued to scavenge the town, and she continued to come up empty. She kept moving; kept pacing. She had to find something. There had to be answers somewhere around here. There had to be something!
She threw open a wooden door with such force that it was torn from its hinges. A heavily breathing alicorn stared in through the doorway, her eyes darting over every surface. Still nothing. Her stomach growled as she clenched her eyes shut and grit her teeth in frustration.
There's nothing here… She began to shiver. There's nothing anywhere here! Her breathing became erratic. Why isn't there anything here?! Where am I?! WHAT'S GOING ON?!
Luna raised her head up to the heavens and let loose a wild, animalistic cry of pure frustration and agony. It sounded like a fierce howl, and it seemed to echo through the surrounding darkness. She screamed and cried out until her throat began to hurt. When she finally lowered her head, she was panting, vaguely aware of something wet running down her face.
After punching the wall in sheer frustration, she quickly moved on to the next house. Nothing. She continued to the one beside that. There was nothing. Luna continued onwards. There's nothing here! Another house. NOTHING! No food, no blankets, no materials…no light, no sound…
As she was trotting towards the next nearly-identical house, she slowed to a light canter and then eventually stopped. When she was still, she once again took notice of just how quiet it was. The only thing she could hear was her own deep breathing. The silence was so prevalent. It was all around her. It was bearing down on her, and it almost seemed like the silence was loud somehow. She grimaced and let out a pathetic whine.
She wanted to go home. Almost all of her confidence had already been sapped away. Somehow, she just couldn't remain brave in this place. There was an eerie, negative feeling that surrounded and covered this land. In no time it had taken the brave figure of the young alicorn princess and reduced her to a terrified foal.
She tried to ask herself why? What was so frightening about this place? In all the time she had been here, ever since waking up, she had not come across a single hint of danger. Truly, the worst part of what was happening to her was the lack of food. Surely she'd be able to find some eventually.
And yet, here she stood upon quivering hooves, staring around at the silent darkness that seemed to inch closer. Luna had never before shown a hint of claustrophobia nor agoraphobia, but both seemed to be setting in all at once. The darkness was closing in on her, threatening to suffocate her. But beyond the darkness, there was an open, endless expanse of nothing. Luna's breath caught in her throat.
"Tia…" she squeaked. Luna was quickly beginning to realize that this wasn't a dream. This wasn't something simple that she could fix with a wave of a hoof. This wasn't even something she could explain.
This was a nightmare.
Her left ear perked up. Luna's eyes shot open and she stopped breathing. Swiveling her ear slightly, she tried to catch it again. What was that…? She took a few soft steps to the left, pausing again to listen. No…nothin-WAIT! There!
She could hear something. It was faint, but she could definitely hear something. Luna closed her eyes and tried to tune out all of her other senses, focusing entirely on the sound. It was so far away that she could barely tell which direction it was coming from. She trotted a few feet and then stopped to listen again. Then she trotted a few more feet and stopped once more. She continued this practice as she slowly honed in on the faint sound.
Previously, the only things she had heard were sounds that she herself made. This was something entirely new, and so it had her full attention. There was something else in this emptiness. Something that was making noise. Perhaps it was something alive.
Luna was now trotting briskly, while still focusing on her hearing. She had discerned a general direction to follow, and the sounds were growing clearer. It seemed to be soft, muffled noises in a high-pitched tone. They were gasping and sputtering in a kind of way. Luna began to canter. Was that…
Finally, she came to a stop before one of the ruined buildings. This particular ruined building was crying. Luna stepped closer to it. Rather, something inside was crying. She could hear it clearly now; it was the sound of a high-pitched voice wailing in despair. Her heart instantly ached for whomever, or whatever, was making those sounds.
She lit up her horn and gazed in through the dilapidated doorway. Nothing caught her eye except for wooden walls, ruined old furniture, and the building's collapsed roof. The sounds were coming from below. She turned her gaze downwards as a look of shock overcame her. Something was buried under there!
Wasting no time, she channeled powerful kinetic magic through her horn and gripped one of the thick, heavy beams that littered the floor. Grunting with mild exertion, she pulled it away, and then began to remove the rest of the pieces of broken wood. She didn't even stop to think about what she would find underneath. For all she knew, it could have been something vicious or hostile that would attack her as soon as it was free.
She didn't care. Something was crying and probably hurt under there.
With one final grunt, she cleared away the last of the debris. A cloud of murky dust was thrown up, and the trapped occupant lay huddled on the ground below. Luna coughed a few times, waving her hoof to clear away the dust, and gazed at who she had just rescued.
The little one who had been trapped below was curled up in a ball, trying to make herself look as small as possible, and gazing up through the dust cloud with petrified eyes. She had bruises and lacerations from being trapped under the rubble, but for the most part seemed unharmed. Her ears were flattened against her head and she was breathing in heavy, frightened gasps as she stared up at the newcomer, terrified for her life. The young foal's fur had certainly been a pristine white colour at some point, but was now muddled with dirt, and the pink and purple mane and tail she sported shared a similar fate. As the dust cleared and she was able to see her rescuer more clearly, her big, expressive eyes shifted quickly from fear to star-struck awe.
"P…Princess Luna…?" she squeaked.
Luna's gaze travelled over the tiny foal. She took notice of the small, white horn poking out from between her bangs, her adorable, petite body, and the area where her cutie mark would be if she had one. First and foremost, excitement was building within her upon having found another living soul. What's more, it was another pony. She had known immediately that she had seen this pony somewhere, and more than a few times. It only took her a few moments to remember exactly who this was.
"You are Rarity's sister."
Sweetie Belle looked as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing. "P-Princess…?" she murmured, a quiet fascination in her voice, "Is…that really you?"
Luna felt her lips gently curling up into a smile. "Yes, child," she spoke gently, "It is truly me. Are you hurt?"
Sweetie didn't answer her question. A huge, relieved smile found its way onto her face, and she scrambled to get up from the ground. She winced a few times as stood, but then galloped towards Luna and threw herself at the bigger pony, grasping her in a tiny hug.
Luna was taken by surprise for a moment, but then smiled and gently comforted the young pony, who was now shivering and crying. She gently patted her back and tried to calm her down.
Sweetie was heaving heavy cries as she clutched at Luna's stomach tightly, as if afraid to let go. She shivered and trembled, and it was a while before she was able to speak at all. "I…I…" She hiccuped. "I'm so glad to s-see you…I-I was so s-scared…"
"Shh, it's okay," Luna spoke comfortingly, "I'm here now."
"I…I woke up…a-and I was all alone. I-I dunno where we are, Luna…"
Luna gave a small frown. "You can't remember what happened, can you?" she asked.
Sweetie lifted her head from where she'd had it buried in Luna's fur and gazed up at the Princess. "N-no!" she replied, "I can't remember anything! H-how did I get here…?"
"I'm afraid I do not know…I cannot remember either."
Sweetie sniffled, her eyes wide open as tears ran down her cheeks. Her lip quivered. "I-it's s-so dark everywhere! And it's so cold…A-and everything's all broken!" She sniffled again and buried her head into Luna's fur once more. "A-and then the roof fell on me! It hurt…and I was so scared! I-I thought I'd be trapped here forever…!"
Luna hugged her tightly. "Are you sure you are okay? Nothing is hurt too badly?"
Sweetie shook her head. "I…I'm just so happy to see you, Luna! I thought I was g-gonna be all alone…!"
Luna smiled and closed her eyes. Truly, she was just as glad to see Sweetie as Sweetie was to see her. She had spent hours awake in this strange, frightening land all alone. She had been alone with her thoughts as they had slowly begun to consume her and drive away her bravery. The mere presence of another pony, regardless of who it was, brought so much comfort to her. She finally felt able to breathe easily.
After a while, Sweetie's cries abated and she stepped back from her embrace. She gazed up at Luna with her big green eyes and suddenly seemed to realize just who she was looking at. Luna could see the very moment in her mind when she made the connection that she had just hugged the Princess and cried into her tummy.
A big, rosy blush came to her cheeks and she scrambled into a hasty bow. She winced and then said, "Ah! I'm sorry, Princess. I-I-I didn't mean to…I mean, I…"
Luna gave a lighthearted chuckle. "That is all right, there's no need to worry. You needed someone to hold on to, and I was only happy to oblige." She took a moment and gazed at the surrounding darkness. "I do believe all formality is out the window at this point…"
Sweetie stood up from her bow, wincing again. "P-Princess…?" she stammered, "W-where are we…?"
Luna frowned. "I do not know. This place is…strange…" Luna was carefully choosing her words so as not to frighten the young foal too much at once. She knew that she would have to tell Sweetie that the moon and sun weren't there, but decided to hold off on that for a little while. At least until Sweetie had calmed down a little bit.
"W…W…" Sweetie's breathing was heavy as she spoke, "What are we gonna do? H-how do we get…home?"
Luna was silent. She gazed down at the young foal, carefully trying to decide how to respond. She considered telling her that everything was going to be all right, and that she knew how to get home. She considered telling Sweetie that she was safe and there was nothing to be worried about. She considered these things as she stared into the foal's big, green eyes. Sweetie was giving her a solid unbroken stare. Though the filly was quivering slightly, she was breathing slowly and evenly and wasn't shedding any more tears. Panic was sure to be flowing through her entire body, but it seemed she was trying not to let it show.
She's trying to be brave.
Luna sighed and spoke. "To be honest, I do not know. This place feels unnatural, and this darkness is something so strange and alien to me. I don't know where we are, and I don't know how to proceed." She stared down into the frightened filly's eyes, paused for a moment, and then smiled. "But we're not alone any more, you and I," she said, extending one of her hooves, "We can keep each other safe. Right?"
Sweetie slowly got to her hooves and stepped forward. She held up one of her tiny hooves and pressed it against the bottom of Luna's much larger one. "Y-yeah…"
Luna leaned down so that she was closer to her face. "I'm sure if we work together, we'll figure something out."
"Y-you think so…?"
Luna then set herself down on the ground and motioned towards her back. Sweetie gasped in astonishment. "Y…You're letting me…ride you?" Her eyes were sparkling.
Luna nodded and smiled. "Climb on. You'll be much safer on my back."
There was silence for a moment as Sweetie gazed on, almost as if not comprehending what was unfolding. Then, finally, a small smile tugged at her lips. "Th-thank you, Luna!" Her eyes shot open. "Ah! I mean, Princess, Your Highness," she stammered.
Luna giggled. "Feel free to call me Luna."
Sweetie was smiling brightly now, all of her fear seemingly forgotten. With a newfound upbeat gait in her step, she trotted over to the much larger alicorn and carefully climbed onto her back. Once the filly was securely seated on top of her, Luna rose up from the ground and turned to exit the house.
Sweetie was giggling.
"What's so funny?" Luna asked, bemused.
"I just can't believe I get to ride you!" she said, "This is like everypony's dream!"
Luna was intrigued by this. "Is it, now?" she said.
"Heehee, yeah! Everypony wants a ride with the Princesses! Some of them won't ever say it, but I know. It's just…y'know, a really special thing."
Luna smiled as she began to trot through the darkness into the heart of the destroyed town. The two continued to smile and chat with one another as they left behind the area where Sweetie had awoken. They were both so immensely happy that they had somepony to talk to, and that neither was alone any more.
And so, neither of them noticed the dark form shift through the darkness as it followed them.
Cover Art by a girl that likes to arty. ("thisgirllikestoarty" on Tumblr)