"Spike? Where are you?"
There was a clattering and the sounds of hurried steps across the wooden floors of the library's second storey. A small purple head poked out. Spike glanced down the stairs at the source of the voice. "Right here. Trying to clean up."
On the ground floor, Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes. That hadn't sounded like cleaning. "How's that going?"
Spike stepped fully into view, rubbing the back of his head absentmindedly. "Uhh…well, it's certainly not easy. Why did you have to choose the top shelf's books to leave all over the floor? That ladder's hard to balance on."
Twilight gave a wry look before chuckling. "Well, don't worry about that now. I'll get them later. Right now, I need you to write a letter for me!"
Spike's expression lit up as he proceeded down the stairs. "Oh good! Did you have fun with Fluttershy?"
Twilight levitated her saddlebags off of her back and placed them upon a nearby table. She had just returned from an outing and had stepped into the library only a minute ago. "Sure did!" she replied, "Fluttershy was right. It was the perfect spot to see all of the constellations. I'm so glad she convinced me to spend the night stargazing there."
Twilight stepped over to the desk and glanced at the roll of parchment. Spike had already begun to write out Dear Princess Celestia. "Spike!"
"Don't assume things! Now you've wasted a perfectly good roll of parchment! This is a letter for Princess Luna!"
Spike immediately brought his palm to his face hard. "Sorry…"
Twilight sighed. "It's okay, don't worry about it. Just, next time, wait for me to start."
Spike tossed the failed letter off to the side, unrolled a new piece of parchment and held the quill, saying, "Okay, ready."
Twilight smiled. "Dear Princess Luna," she dictated, "Three nights ago, I had been up late and enjoying a party being thrown by one of my best friends, Pinkie Pie. As the party had died down, and I was on my way home, I found myself staring at the night sky. I began to notice a lot of the constellations looked different than they had earlier in the year. A quick reference search in the library confirmed to me that, indeed, the constellations rotate along with the seasons.
"I spent the majority of last night under the night sky, gazing at these new constellations and mapping out their paths for myself. I know maps of the constellations already exist, but there's a certain satisfaction one achieves by doing it on one's own.
"Anyway, I just wanted to tell you something that you probably already know; your summer constellations are just as beautiful as the winter ones. You have done an absolutely spectacular job constructing the night sky.
"How have you been? I hope things are going well. Next time I am in Canterlot, I will be sure to drop by and spend some time with you.
"Always a pleasure to talk to you, Twilight Sparkle."
She grinned to herself. Her connection with Princess Luna had grown over the months that she had spent in Ponyville. Of course, everypony knew the story of how she and her five friends had reawakened the Elements of Harmony and saved Luna from Nightmare Moon. However, after Luna had returned to the throne, she had stayed very much in the background. She had not accompanied Celestia for any of her visits to Ponyville, nor had she made any headlines or done anything noteworthy.
At the Gala, Twilight realized just how much she had been forgetting about Luna. The young princess' absence at the royal event had only increased Twilight's curiosity. She and her friends had, admittedly, not paid Luna much thought since they had dealt with Nightmare Moon. And so, when Celestia had come to greet the group of six mildly ashamed ponies in the donut shop, the conversation had eventually drifted to Luna.
The answer had been simple: Luna was shy. Twilight's desire to eat donuts had suddenly disappeared and she had asked Celestia to take her to talk with Luna. The Princess had complied, and she, Luna, and Twilight had spent the rest of the evening talking and getting to know each other.
After that, Twilight had begun sending her letters. The letters she sent to Celestia were her friendship reports, and they had always been written in a professional manner. However, when she wrote to Luna, she treated them more like letters between pen pals. They were always very informal; simple messages between two friends.
Twilight chuckled. She had not expected to become Luna's best friend, but it had happened. And, thanks to this friendship, Luna had been appearing in the public eye more often, even after her decidedly shaky appearance on Nightmare Night. Not only that, but she had promised to be at the next Grand Galloping Gala.
Spike had finished proofreading the letter and proceeded to roll it up. "Sounds like a great letter, Twilight. Ready to send it?"
Twilight paused, racking her brain for anything she may have forgotten. When she came up with nothing, she replied, "Yup! Go ahead."
Spike walked over to one of the library's windows and pushed it open, letting the crisp morning air waft into the building. He held the letter out the window in his claw, took a deep breath, and then engulfed the scroll in a deep blue flame. The letter was burned up, the fire turned to blue smoke, and the smoke flew off into the distance.
"I hope she's doing okay," he said, looking out across Ponyville, whose residents were just beginning to wake up.
"Oh, she's doing fantastic. Ponies stay up much later than they did a thousand years ago, and some of them work right through the night," Twilight responded.
"That's good. She really deserves it, ya know?"
"I know what you mean, Spike. But everything is so much better for ponies who love the night now. We have telescopes, and we know so much more about astronomy and astrology. With advancements in electricity, the nights aren't as dark as they used to be, and ponies aren't afraid of the night as much."
"And we're such great friends. I knew it would be good for her to have a friend, but I didn't expect it would be me! But it's all good! She's a great friend and I love sending letters to her."
Twilight glanced over to Spike. His vision was glued to the window outside. "Spike, what's the weather like out there?" she asked him, harbouring a suspicion.
Twilight sighed and began to make her way towards the window. "Spike, you're not even listening to me," she muttered, slightly frustrated at her assistant. She reached the window and glanced out over his shoulder. "What're you looking at anyway?"
At first, she couldn't see anything of interest. However, she soon spied a white unicorn pony a fair distance down the street. Her friend Rarity was too far away to notice them, but Spike had definitely noticed her.
"Spiiiike…" she said with a smirk upon her face, "get your head out of the clouds, will ya?"
Spike sighed in response. "Even when she's so far away, she's absolutely stunning. She's so pretty…"
Twilight chuckled. She then made to turn away from the window and return to matters within the library when something caught her eye. "Spike, look up there!" she said.
"Spike!" she shouted, giving him a light tap on the back of the head. This caused him to regain his senses.
"Ah, wh- wha? What?"
"Look up there!" Twilight repeated, pointing one of her hooves out of the open window and up to the sky. In the distance, but rapidly approaching, she saw a group of three royal pegasus guards flying through the sky.
"Isn't that the royal guard?" Spike asked.
"Yeah, it is…but I don't see either of the Princesses with them," she observed, curiosity building. "I wonder what they're doing here."
Spike turned to look at her and said, "It must be important!"
"You're right. These aren't messengers or scribes, these are royal guards. I'm gonna go find out what's up! Watch the library."
Spike saluted as Twilight rushed out the door.
The guards had already landed in the center of Ponyville, where the mayor had approached them and a large crowd was growing. Twilight ran towards them from the library. As she approached, she noticed that one of the guards had a horn sticking out from his helmet and had large butterfly-like wings sticking out of his back. He was a unicorn, not a pegasus.
As she reached the edge of the crowd, one of the pegasi's voice cut through the air loudly, amplified by a spell being cast by the unicorn. "Attention residents of Ponyville! Please gather in the town square! We, the Royal Guard of Canterlot, have a very important announcement."
Twilight glanced around and saw ponies sticking their heads out of windows and stepping out of doors. As the seconds and minutes drifted past, the crowd grew and grew with ponies of the village. Nearly all of Ponyville's residents were there.
Twilight's eyes scanned the growing crowd. A multitude of colours met her eyes and she found it difficult to decipher where one pony ended and another began. Luckily, she spotted a unique mane among the ponies and made her way towards it. The rainbow-coloured mane of one of her best friends was sticking out like a beacon.
"Dash!" she called over the clamour of the crowd.
Rainbow Dash turned her head at her call and grinned. "Twilight!"
Twilight pushed her way through the crowd and approached Rainbow Dash, noticing that Rarity and Fluttershy were standing nearby. "Hey, everypony," she greeted them, "I guess you all saw these guys?"
"I saw them flying in," Rainbow Dash said, "I thought it was weird that guards were flying in without the Princesses! I thought we were under attack by something! I was all set to go and kick some tail!"
"Well, thank heavens that isn't the case," Rarity chimed in, "I think we've all had quite enough 'attacks' to last Ponyville a lifetime."
Twilight chuckled. "I hear ya."
"That's good…that nothing's attacking us," Fluttershy said meekly, "but why are they here? I do hope nothing's wrong…"
Twilight looked out across the crowd, searching for a certain distinctive hat. "Where's Applejack?"
"She's over there," Dash responded, holding a hoof out to her right. "She must've been on the farm when she heard the sound."
Finally, Twilight saw Applejack's cowpony hat across the sea of manes. She seemed to be attempting to make her way towards them. "She's trying to get to us," Twilight observed.
Dash turned her head and glanced at Applejack's hat. It comically looked like the hat was moving on its own, simply floating over the ponies' heads. She snickered. "She's not having much luck…"
The crowd had reached its maximum. Nearly every pony in Ponyville had gathered around the three winged guards. Applejack was having difficulty moving through the thick group of ponies.
"Well, where's Pinkie Pie?" Twilight asked, not seeing any sign of a bouncing pink pony.
"I'm right here, silly!"
Twilight, Rarity and Rainbow Dash jerked their heads around, startled. Fluttershy squeaked in surprise and dove behind Dash. The four stared at Pinkie, who had inexplicably placed herself behind them.
"Pinkie, stop doing that! You're going to give me a heart attack one of these days!" Dash said.
"Good gracious, dear, I didn't even hear you. You snuck up on us like a ninja," Rarity remarked.
This sent Pinkie into a fit of giggles. "Hahaha, oh Rarity. I could never be a ninja. Although it would be cool to be a ninja. I would sneak up on bad ponies and go 'Hi-ya!' and then they wouldn't be able to be bad any more. But I couldn't be one, because ninjas aren't pink. At least, I don't think I've ever seen a pink ninja. They wouldn't be able to hide very well. Unless they were in a pink room. Or if it was springtime and they were in the trees. Ooh! Or if they were in a cotton candy factory! Then-"
"Pinkie! Shush!" Twilight interrupted the endless tirade of Pinkie, "The Royal Guards look like they're about to speak."
The pegasus who had spoken before stood up tall, looking out at the ponies before him. He was clearly the highest ranked of the trio. He cleared his throat, his voice still amplified by the unicorn's spell. The crowd fell silent.
"Thank you for assembling on such sudden notice," he spoke, his voice loud and deep. "Ponies of Ponyville, I am Navy Shield, First Sergeant of Canterlot's Royal Guard." He paused and took a breath, "Ponies, I bring with me grim news from the Royal Castle."
Hushed murmurs erupted through the crowd as they shared worried glances. Twilight and her friends stared with rapt attention.
"It is my solemn duty to inform you all that a tragedy has occurred."
Quiet gasps could be heard, but everypony was quickly silenced, hanging on his every word.
He took in another breath. "Our beloved co-regent and sovereign of the night, Princess Luna…"
Twilight's eyes grew wide.
"…has been killed."
Loud gasps of horror erupted from the crowd, and all at once a clamour erupted. They cried out, expressing their sorrow and disbelief.
"It can't be!"
"It's a lie!"
Fluttershy gasped quite loudly, as did Rarity. Twilight heard Dash sit down on her haunches. As for herself, she simply stared forward, mouth hung open in shock. At first, her mind refused to accept it. Princess Luna…dead?! It seemed impossible.
The distressed voices of the crowd continued. Navy Shield held up his wings in an attempt to bring silence to the upset crowd. They fell silent, aside from many sorrowful sobs. Navy continued to speak.
"She was discovered on the outskirts of the Everfree Forest in the middle of the previous night. We believe she had been attacked by one of the forest's creatures." He lowered his head.
Tears formed in Twilight's eyes and she stared in shock. This was real! This was really happening. The reality hit her like a ton of bricks.
"A funeral will be held tomorrow. It will take place in the main plaza of Canterlot. If you are able to attend, you will be graciously welcomed."
Twilight stole quick glances at the ponies around her. Rainbow Dash was staring in utter disbelief, Rarity wore a sorrowful expression, and Fluttershy was trying and failing to hold back a torrent of tears.
"With this tragic passing of Princess Luna, Equestria will hereby return to the political system we held not long ago. Celestia is once again Equestria's sole ruler, and it is with her magic that the sun and the moon shall rise and set."
Navy Shield lowered his head. "Princess Celestia has decreed that this day shall henceforth be a day of mourning. An annual day of remembrance for her beloved sister, the Princess of the night."
He then turned to the other Pegasus guard and nodded. The other guard reached back and retrieved something from a compartment in his armour and handed it to Navy Shield. It was an official-looking document, and it bore a very distinctive and fairly large stamp in the shape of Celestia's cutie mark.
"This is the official documentation for this tragic event. As you can all see, it bears the seal of Princess Celestia. So, to anyone who still holds doubt, I am very sorry to say that this is no hoax or lie."
A frightening hush fell over the crowd. The silence felt eerie.
Navy Shield glanced around before saying, "If there are no objections, then we will be leaving. We have other assignments."
When nopony spoke up, Navy Shield turned to face Ponyville's mayor, who was near the front of the crowd, and handed her the document. Then, with nods to his colleagues, he took off into the sky. The other pegasus and the unicorn followed him.
Immediately, dissonance filled the air as everypony began to make some form of noise, be it actual words or simply mournful cries. Twilight, at first, was unable to speak or move. The sudden, harsh revelation of this tragedy had left her blindsided.
The meek voice was barely heard over the clamour of the other ponies, but it was enough to make Twilight glance down at Fluttershy before her.
Twilight could see the pegasus' teary eyes. She was shivering lightly. Of the five of them, Fluttershy had clearly been hit the worst.
"Yeah, Twilight. Y-you're the one who knows all that Canterlot stuff," Rainbow Dash said in a confused voice. It almost sounded like she was pleading. "Was that seal for real?"
"It can't be. It can't be real! It must be a forgery!" came Rarity's voice, laced with denial.
Twilight attempted to swallow the lump in her throat, without much success. "That was definitely Celestia's official seal," she said in a subdued voice, "This news came straight from her. This," she paused, "This is real."
Fluttershy immediately broke down, collapsing to the ground, burying her head in her hooves and crying her heart out. Rarity hung her head and shut her eyes, fighting back tears. Rainbow Dash just stared at Twilight, her face frozen in shock.
Twilight glanced back to see Pinkie Pie behind her. Her mane had visibly deflated, and now hung at her sides in thick, straight strands.
"That's awful…" she said in a voice that sounded nothing like Pinkie Pie. If Twilight hadn't seen her speak the words, she wouldn't have believed that Pinkie had said them.
"I…I can barely believe it," Twilight managed to say, "It's such a shock. It's awful, terrible." She sniffled. Fluttershy wailed. Rarity let a sob escape.
Twilight returned her gaze to the front. She saw Applejack pushing her way past other ponies in the crowd, which had dispersed slightly and were not as tightly packed. She was incredibly concerned.
"Twilight, please! Ya gotta tell me this ain't really happenin'! Tell me it ain't so. Tell me that document was a forgery!"
Applejack's words only made Twilight feel worse. Her frown grew and she drooped her head and stared at the ground.
"It…it is true, ain't it?"
Twilight only nodded.
A particularly loud cry from Fluttershy reminded her of her friend's emotional distress. She returned her gaze to the pegasus and felt her heartstrings being tugged. She said nothing and bent down to hug Fluttershy tightly. It seemed to help. The pegasus' cries grew softer at Twilight's touch.
Suddenly, she felt more hooves around her. She looked up and saw her other four friends joining in the hug. No words were spoken. There was simply the silent communication that a group hug was necessary. As Fluttershy wept, they all cried quiet tears as thoughts and memories of Luna flew through their heads.
Twilight was impacted particularly hard. Most ponies had simply seen Luna as one of two beloved Princesses, and her friends had seen her as somepony they had saved from a terrible evil once. But Luna and Twilight had become close friends. It hurt her greatly to know that she'd never talk to Luna again. She'd never receive another letter from her. She'd never again see her pretty, smiling face.
"Poor Celestia…" Pinkie said quietly.
These words had an effect on them all. They all took in a breath at nearly the same time.
"That's right…The Princess," Twilight spoke, still hugging Fluttershy and being hugged by the other four, "This is all making us feel really terrible, but imagine how it's making her feel!"
"The poor dear," Rarity spoke, "she must be absolutely devastated!"
"We lost a Princess and a friend," Dash said quietly, "but she lost her sister!"
"She…" Fluttershy managed to squeak out between sobs, "She had just…gotten Luna back…after a thousand years."
"She had been so happy when we had defeated Nightmare Moon," Twilight said, more sadness creeping into her voice, "I can't imagine what she must be going through."
There was another moment of stunned silence before Pinkie Pie repeated herself. "Poor Celestia…"
No more words were spoken. The six friends silently mourned for Luna in the town's square.
The group of friends were now inside the Ponyville Library. The mood was heavy and sombre. None of them had felt a desire to leave one another and had gloomily made their way back to the library. Twilight and Rarity were presently sitting on the floor, lost in thought. Rainbow Dash was pacing about, unsure of what to do with herself, while Pinkie Pie sat on one of Twilight's chairs, looking dejected. Applejack sat in another chair, her hat pulled down over her face. Fluttershy lay on the couch, wearing an expression on her face that could be best described as 'lost'.
Spike sat beside Twilight, his chin resting on his claws. They had entered the library to find him urgently wanting to know what had happened. Twilight at first hadn't been sure if she even wanted to tell him, and then had wanted to sugar-coat it for him. He was still very young, and she wasn't sure such news was fit for the baby dragon. But she had found herself unwilling to lie to him, and had told him that Luna had died. She hadn't used the word 'killed', however.
Now the six sat in silence, unsure of what to do. Barely a word had been spoken since they had entered the library, aside from their explanation to Spike. The silence was eerie.
A sniffle broke the quiet, and Twilight glanced to her left to see that Fluttershy was again on the verge of tears. The sight alone compelled her to get up and walk over to her. It was one of the worst things in the world to see Fluttershy crying.
She approached the yellow pegasus and placed a hoof on her back comfortingly. "Please don't cry, Fluttershy," she said soothingly, "It breaks my heart."
"It's just so sad…I feel like we should've gotten to know her better," Fluttershy replied, "After we saved her, we pretty much ignored her."
"I know, but we changed that, didn't we? I started writing letters to her, and it helped convince her to stop hiding so much," Twilight said, "Remember how much fun you two had at the Winter Moon Festival? I think you two talked for hours."
Fluttershy nodded meekly, her descent into tears abated.
"Fluttershy does have a point," Rarity said, "I feel so guilty that we spent so much time without her occupying our thoughts. We should've made a better effort to connect."
Twilight sighed. "Look, girls, we could spend forever talking about our 'What if's', but that's not the right way to look at things," she said, her logical side showing itself, despite her sadness. "Eventually you all got to know her better, and she made friends with all of us. And I know from her letters that she and Celestia were very close. The two of them were the best of friends and had a wonderful relationship."
"There ain't nothin' as good as a good relationship 'tween two sisters," Applejack's quiet voice floated across the room. Twilight glanced in her direction, but the orange mare had not moved.
Rarity nodded in comprehension, being the only other pony in the room to have a younger sibling.
"You got a lot of letters from her, right?" Rainbow Dash enquired. "Did she seem…happy?" Dash was genuinely concerned, Twilight could see. It looked starkly out of place on the normally brash and confident pegasus' face.
Twilight nodded. "She was very shy, but she loved her sister, she loved Equestria, and she loved her life. She was really happy to be home again."
Dash put on a brave smile, though sadness still showed in her eyes. "Then we shouldn't be feeling sorry for her," she spoke.
All around her, Twilight's friends nodded. She also put on a brave smile. "You're right Dash. She was very happy," she paused, frowning again, "It's just so terrible that she had to be taken away from us so soon."
Pinkie Pie, who had been silent until now, spoke up. "Celestia must be feeling so awful. It's such a horrible thing; I couldn't even imagine what she's going through. So many sad and weepy thoughts…"
Twilight's heart sank as her thoughts returned to her mentor. "You're right, Pinkie. I don't think any of us could imagine what she's going through."
"I might be able to come close…" Applejack said, sitting up and lifting her hat. Twilight saw sad, tired eyes on her face. "If I ever lost Apple Bloom, well I jus' wouldn't be the same. The sadness would just eat away at me, an' I dunno if I'd ever get over it."
Rarity stared at the floor. "I can only hope that it never happens to any of us."
Another deafening silence choked the room, punctuated only by Fluttershy's sniffles. Twilight found herself lost in thought. There was an overwhelming sense of disbelief. Princess Luna killed? And by a creature of the Everfree Forest no less? It seemed fictional. Twilight had always thought of the alicorn Princesses as all-powerful and she often had to remind herself that they were immortal, not invincible.
Still, a primitive creature from the Everfree? Twilight simply found it difficult to believe.
She glanced down at Spike, who looked quite upset, and was suddenly hit with a spark of inspiration. "Hey! Everypony! I know what we should do." Everypony looked up at her. "We should write Princess Celestia a letter. All of us." She was met with unsure glances. None of the others said anything in response.
"She's probably very upset and depressed. A letter from all of us would show her that we care. I get the feeling that she needs to be reassured of that."
"I like it," Pinkie spoke up, "It's a good idea, Twilight. We can each put in our own paragraph."
"You do bring up a valid point, Twilight," Rarity said, "The compassion of others helps a lot when you're feeling upset."
Twilight smiled. "All right then. Spike? Would you please?"
"Sure, Twi," Spike said, standing up and walking across the room. He reached the desk, unrolled a scroll, and grabbed the quill from its inkpot. He turned back to Twilight and said, "Ready when you are." A look of sadness was still on his face.
"All right." Twilight closed her eyes and carefully formulated what she wanted to say in her mind. Ink wasn't easy to erase, and so it was always better to get it right the first time.
"Dear Princess Celestia," she began, starting her letter like she would start any other, "The news has just reached us in Ponyville, and it has come as quite a shock. We are deeply sorry for your loss. Luna was a wonderful ruler, and a wonderful pony. My friends and I will all miss her dearly, as I'm sure everypony in Equestria will. I hope you are doing all right. One of the many things I have learned from my friends is that dwelling on the sadness and beating yourself up is never a good thing. I just hope you know that you still have myself, my five best friends, Spike, and the entire land of Equestria. The world is full of ponies who love you. You're not alone.
"My friends would like to write a passage to you, so I will now let them write."
Twilight glanced back to her friends, seeing who would go first. At no verbal prodding, Pinkie Pie stepped forward. Twilight stepped aside as Pinkie began to speak.
"Princess Celestia, this is Pinkie Pie. I hope you're feeling okay, I really do. I'm worried about you. I know you're probably hurting. I was hurting one time when I thought all of my friends had deserted me. It hurt, but you know what made it better? Spending time with my friends. I just…hope you're okay."
She glanced back at Twilight, her expression relaying that she wasn't sure if what she had said was good enough. Twilight offered a reassuring smile and said, "That was great Pinkie."
Pinkie Pie stepped away and, after a short pause, Rainbow Dash decided to step forward. She was silent for a moment as she collected her thoughts.
"Uhh…This is Rainbow Dash. I'm…really, really sorry. I don't have any siblings, so I really have no idea what it feels like to lose someone. Ugh, I'm no good at this…Don't write that, Spike. Okay, um…I guess the most important thing is to…look to the future. Yeah, that's good. Living in the past is a bad thing, so, uh, well it's normal to feel sad, I guess. But not forever. It's good to try to move on." She paused, "I think that's what Luna would've wanted."
Dash sighed and facehoofed. "That was awful…" she muttered. As she walked back to the group, Twilight put a hoof on her shoulder.
"It was just perfect Dash. I'm sure she'll love it."
"I'm not good with the mushy stuff," she muttered, "But I did mean it, you know?"
Applejack decided to step into the spotlight next. "Um…Howdy. No, wait, don't say 'Howdy'. Umm…Yer Majesty. This is Applejack. I jus' wanna say that I feel for ya. I have a big family with so many family members that it's kinda hard ta keep track o' them all. I even ferget their names sometimes. But, I know that if any one o' them were taken away, I would feel awful. I also know that if I were ta lose a member o' mah family, then the rest o' them would help me through it. And yer family isn't jus' limited ta ponies you're related to. I have five great friends in Ponyville, and I consider all o' them family. I hope ya'll will consider us family too…"Applejack stepped back, satisfied.
"Fluttershy? Would you like to go next?" Twilight asked, turning to the yellow pegasus.
She sniffled and said, "I…I don't know, Twilight…What…what if I say the wrong thing? What if I make her even more upset? What if I-eep!"
Her train of thought came to a stop as she was lightly urged forwards by Dash's hoof. "C'mon, Fluttershy. She's gonna love anything you say. It's impossible for you to offend," she offered, kindly.
Fluttershy gulped and said, "O-okay….if you say so…
"Um…This is Fluttershy. Um, if you don't remember me…that's okay. I know some of the others already said amazing things, but, what I mean is, um, well…when I heard the news, I couldn't stop crying. I just felt so sad, and I must imagine you felt the same way. But, um, even though I still feel sad, I feel so much better because my friends are here with me. And, um, if you want…we can all help you…get better…if that's okay with you. Um…"
Her gaze shifted around before she decided to lay down, finished with her part of the letter. Twilight placed a hoof on her back and patted her lightly in a comforting manner. There was only one mare left. Rarity took a deep breath, stepped forward, and began to speak.
"Your Royal Highness, this is Rarity. Your Majesty, there isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said by my friends. Their words are very poignant and true, and I hope you take them all to heart. We love you, Celestia. And we're here for you. I know it hurts, but the ponies you love can make it better. Never forget that, never give up, and keep your spirits up."
Rarity stepped back and rejoined her friends. As Twilight stood back up, a thought suddenly occurred to her. "Spike, do you want to add something?"
He turned back and shrugged. "You all wrote amazing stuff, I can't compete."
"Oh come on, Spike! I'm sure she'll love anything you decide to write," Twilight responded. The others in the room nodded in agreement.
Spike sat in contemplation for a moment before he turned back and added a short paragraph to the letter. When he was finished, Twilight asked, "What did you say?"
Spike shrugged again. "Just the same stuff you all said. I sound like an echo."
Twilight chuckled dryly and replied, "That's all right Spike. It was very sweet of you. I'm sure she'll appreciate it. Now, let me finish it."
She cleared her throat, "This is Twilight again. I hope my friends' words make you feel a little better. It would hurt us to see you torn up, so we hope you're feeling all right. What everypony said is definitely true; we're here for you, and we love you. We will see you tomorrow at the ceremony. We'll all show up bright and early.
"With love from myself, my friends, including Spike, and everypony in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle."
A few seconds passed, and then the scribbles of the quill ceased. Spike replaced the quill in its inkpot, and then proceeded to double-check the letter for errors.
Twilight glanced around at the room full of gloomy mares. They were crestfallen, but Twilight could tell that writing the letter had helped their spirits, if only slightly. She sat down and sighed. Two hours ago, everything had been perfect before the news had shattered her world.
It felt like an eternity had passed. The entire town was mourning and the atmosphere was dark and heavy. Twilight could feel the pains in her heart. She knew that she, and the rest of Equestria, were going to need some time to heal.
"It's ready. Any last minute additions?" came Spike's voice. He held the rolled up scroll.
Twilight glanced to her friends. None of them looked like they had anything more to say. "No, go ahead, Spike. Send it."
Spike nodded and stepped over to the window. He opened it, letting the crisp late morning air flow in through. He held the scroll outside, took a deep breath, and then enveloped the scroll in brilliant green flames. In an instant, the scroll was gone.
"I hope that helps…" Pinkie Pie said hopefully.
"I'm sure it will, Pinkie," Twilight said reassuringly, "I'm positive it will."
A silence fell over the room before Twilight spoke up. "So, we're all going to go to Canterlot tomorrow?"
There were sounds of agreement from her friends, though the response was subdued.
Twilight sighed. It was going to be difficult for all of them. She almost didn't want to go, a sentiment she was sure she shared with some of the others. She was certain that being at the funeral was going to cause her immense grief and was desperately hoping that she would be able to hold herself together.
"I just wish there was something I could do…" she muttered under her breath.
In the grand castle of Canterlot, all of the ponies within were busy. They were all rapidly working to prepare Luna's funeral, feeling not only their obligation to their jobs driving them, but also their obligation to make sure Luna was properly honoured. There was a solemn air in the castle, but everypony steeled themselves against their emotions and worked professionally. There would be time to grieve later.
Celestia sat in the throne room. Nopony expected her to work, given the circumstances, but still she sat there, just in case anypony needed her. She sat at her magnificent throne, head held low, eyes staring at nothing in particular. Her thick, gray mane hung down, straight and unmoving. Ponies decided not to disturb her unless it was necessary, out of respect.
She sat still, one eye obscured by her achromatic mane and the other staring blankly out the window. The sight of her rising sun did nothing to please her and only reminded her of the other celestial body she'd had to lower a few hours ago. A celestial body that wasn't hers. Inside she still felt empty sadness and horrible regret. She had been spending the whole day trying desperately not to cry.
Her grim thoughts were interrupted as a small flicker of green flame danced in from the outside, phasing unhindered through the window. It flickered in front of her before growing slightly and burning out, revealing a rolled up scroll. As she caught it in her magic, she glanced again at the sun outside, using it to gauge the time. Yes, Twilight was undoubtedly aware of the circumstances by now. This was not going to be a friendship report.
She stared at the scroll for many minutes, unsure of what to do. She felt too emotionally fragile to read it, yet a part of her compelled her to. Twilight was undoubtedly distraught, having been one of Luna's closest friends.
But she didn't want to cry any more.
She excused herself and stood up. Walking off to her nearby bedroom, she promised everypony that she would be back in a few minutes. She had to read it, if only for Twilight's sake.
She stepped into her room, magically sealed the door, and unrolled the scroll. After reading the first paragraph, she gasped as she came to the realization that all of Twilight's friends had written to her. All of them.
She hadn't wanted to cry.
But the tears of sadness came unbidden.