Princess Celestia walked through the hallways of the massive Canterlot palace. Despite its confusing layout, she never got lost, having lived within its walls for over a thousand years of her immortal life. The old stone walls could become monotonous and confusing to inexperienced visitors, but the Princess had learned to notice the subtle differences between the hallways. The different colours and the different decorations stood out to her.
She turned a corner, passed by a door flanked by two guards, and found herself before two more doors. One, to her right, was white, yellow and emblazoned with a radiant sun. The other, to her left, was black, blue and had a beautiful crescent moon painted upon it.
Smiling, she turned to the door on the left and tapped her hoof against it. There was a moment of silence, and Celestia was about to knock again when she heard a voice on the other side. "Come in!"
The Princess lightly pushed the door open and tilted her head past the threshold. To the left was the ornate bed coloured in the same blues and blacks, and adorned with astrological decorations. Celestia turned her gaze to the right and found a desk with an astounding amount of books piled on top of it.
She was able to see a navy blue horn poking out from behind them. An unmistakable horn. To the average pony, it would seem that all unicorn horns were identical, and they practically were. But Celestia could see past what most others could, and was able pick up on the smaller details of a horn. She was especially familiar with the one she saw now. Those circular, spiralling patterns only belonged to one, very special pony.
"Luna, what are you doing?" she asked, chuckling lightly.
The face of Celestia's younger sister found its way over the mountain of books. Luna's wavy blue hair was slightly messy, but her face was radiant. "Oh, hi Tia! I'm studying Equestrian history."
Celestia stepped fully into the room and regarded the large pile. The desk was in danger of collapsing. "I didn't know we had this much history," she commented with a bemused expression.
Luna chuckled and got up from her place behind the desk, her face momentarily disappearing behind the books again. "Well, there's a lot I want to learn," she said as she stepped around the desk and approached her older sister. "After all," she said, hesitating slightly before continuing, "I did miss a lot."
Celestia frowned for a moment, understanding the connotation of Luna's words. It was a topic that the two of them preferred to avoid, as it left the both of them feeling sorry for themselves. She then stepped forward and nuzzled Luna affectionately. "Well, don't spend so much time with your head buried in those dusty, old books. You didn't show up for dinner."
Luna looked surprised and turned to the clock on the wall. "But it's only…" she started to respond before seeing what time it was.
"It's only nine o'clock," Celestia finished. Dinner had already occurred at half past seven.
"Oh…" Luna said, crestfallen, "Oh, I'm sorry sis! I wasn't paying attention. I was just too busy enjoying myself. There's so much fascinating stuff in these books!"
Celestia could tell that Luna was distressed at having missed dinner. Due to their duties raising the sun and moon, the two of them only got to spend quality time together during breakfast and dinner. As the Princess of the daytime, she slept during the night, while her sister slept during the day.
"I'm sorry sis," Luna repeated, giving an apologetic look.
"Don't worry, Luna. I know what it's like to lose track of time." Celestia smiled cheerfully. "I'm just about to get some rest, so I'll see you for breakfast." She leaned down and nuzzled Luna before adding, "Right?"
"Yes! Yes I'll be there, I promise!" Luna responded, giggling at the affectionate touch of her sister, who smiled warmly. Simply being near Luna was enough to wash away the stresses of the day and leave her feeling warm all over.
Celestia chuckled. "Good," she said, smiling. It had been nearly a year since Nightmare Moon had been defeated by the elements of harmony and Luna had been returned to her. Their relationship had not been perfect since then, but no relationship ever is. Sometimes they would feel guilty about actions in the past, and sometimes they would squabble. Sometimes they even argued heatedly. But, like any pair of siblings, they always found common ground, apologized when necessary, and continued to love each other.
Celestia cleared her throat. "Now, I also came down here to let you know that you're needed in the royal court in an hour."
"I am?" Luna responded with an intrigued expression.
"Yes, there's a bit of a land dispute going on in the eastern provinces, and the two parties are scheduled to argue their claims."
Luna tried to suppress a groan, but was unsuccessful.
Celestia eyed her sister. "What?"
"Another appearance in the court when they don't even need me?" she muttered, annoyed, "They have the jury and they have the judges there! What do they need me for?"
The taller alicorn sighed, suddenly frustrated. "Luna, you know why you're needed. It's written in our laws that there cannot be any court proceedings, nor can there be any dispute settlements without the presence of a Princess to oversee the whole thing and, since it's getting late, I decided to let you handle this one."
"I know, I know all that," Luna replied, "but…it's just really boring. I just sit there until the end" She sighed, harbouring obvious disinterest in attending the court.
"Luna," Celestia began in a tone befitting an upset parent. This topic of conversation was nothing new. Luna clearly enjoyed being co-regent of the kingdom, and enthusiastically accepted most of her duties, such as travelling to distant towns to speak or to perform diplomatic duties. However, there were some aspects that she adamantly disliked. Presiding at court was one of them.
"Sorry, Tia, but I just don't like it."
"Luna, you know that ruling this land isn't easy. Do you think I enjoy half of the things I have to do every day? It's a tough job, but you are my co-regent and, as such, have duties to perform. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but you wanted to rule alongside me."
Luna was wincing, knowing that her sister was right, but still not liking it. "Tia," she began.
"You wanted this. You said so yourself," Celestia interrupted.
"Tia, I know! Of course I want to rule alongside you! You're my sister, and I love you. It's just…you know, I sometimes think that some of the stuff we do is…well, an inefficient use of our time."
"Luna, everything we do as rulers is important."
"But I don't do anything at the court! All I have to do is listen and then sign this thingy saying I agree with the judge."
"Exactly! You can overturn the decision"
"But I never have to! The judge is a judge for a reason! He knows what he's doing."
"Luna…" Celestia suppressed a groan. This was escalating into a heated argument once again.
Luna turned away from her sister and paced back to her desk. "Can't I take one of these with me?" She indicated the immense pile of books with her horn.
"Of course not! You can't read during court, that's disrespectful!"
"I think educating myself is a far better use of my time than sitting on my haunches and doing nothing. I was going to try to get through as many of these books as I could, and then maybe go and stretch my wings a little."
Celestia sighed. "Luna, nopony likes every single aspect of their job. It's no different for us, but you still have to do it. That's life." She paused before something in her brain clicked. "'Stretch your wings'?"
"Yeah, I was gonna go on a little flight," Luna responded casually.
"What do you mean, 'With who'? I was going to go by myself."
Suddenly, Celestia felt exasperated and said to herself, Not this again. "Luna, I told you that if you're going somewhere without me, you have to go with a guard!"
Luna furrowed her brow. "I'm just flying around the castle! It's not like I'm going off into the wilderness or down to Ponyville to see my friends or anything! I don't think I need a guard for that!"
"Luna…" Celestia said, beginning to lose her patience.
"Tia, I don't need a foalsitter!"
"Luna, it's for your own safety!"
Luna was getting visibly frustrated. Celestia had always wanted Luna to be escorted and to never travel alone ever since she had come back from the moon. She trusted Luna completely and knew that she could take care of herself. However, she was wary of the common folk. She could see in some of their eyes the distrust and apprehension. Many of them still had Nightmare Moon fresh on their minds and weren't entirely sure that the evil was entirely gone. She had always been afraid that some extremist pony would try something drastic.
"Luna, you can go on a flight after your court meeting. It's only one, so please attend it."
Luna groaned before saying, "Fine."
"You can have Moonbeam go with you."
"Tia! I don't need a guard for a short little flight around the castle! I'm not even going into down into Canterlot! I'll be high up in the air! Nopony will even be able to reach me!"
"It doesn't matter, Luna. You can either take a guard with you, or you can wait until I have some free time to go with you."
"Tia!! I'm not a foal!" Luna shouted.
"I never said you were! It's not a matter of your independence; it's a matter of security! I don't want to see you get hurt!"
"I'm not going to get hurt! Nightmare Moon is gone, and she isn't coming back!"
Celestia stared at her sister, slightly thrown by her choice of words. "Luna…"
"And besides! What if somepony did try to hurt me?! I'm an immortal alicorn!"
"Luna, your immortality means you don't age. You're not invincible. You can still get hurt, and you can still get killed. You know that."
"Whatever, Tia. I still have my magic."
Celestia could feel herself losing her temper, and so decided to bring the discussion to a close. "Luna, you have all night to read your books as long as you attend the court. I expect you'll be there. And if you don't want to have an escort on your flight, then I'll instruct the guards to not let you leave."
"Tia, this isn't fair!!"
"End of discussion, Luna." Celestia sighed and made her way towards the door, upset at the unpleasant direction the visit had taken. She paused at the doorway and turned back to face Luna, whose face was livid. "Life's not fair, Luna. Get used to it." She then stepped out of the door, shutting it tightly behind her.
As she stepped towards the other door with the gorgeous sun carved onto it, she paused and listened to the muffled sounds of Luna screaming in frustration. She sighed, shook her head, and entered her room, passing the guards who looked concerned but still professional and closed the door behind her.
As she moved about the room, removing her royal vestments and adjusting the covers of her bed, her mind raced. She was extremely frustrated; not only with Luna, but with herself and with the situation. She hadn't meant to get so hostile, but she had only imposed those restrictions upon her sister because she cared so deeply about her. She had spent a thousand years of her long life without Luna and, now that her sister was back, she wasn't taking any chances.
Luna had always been a free spirit. It shouldn't have been a surprise that she did not wish to be confined to inefficient duties or to be escorted. However, Celestia still felt offended. Her sister's words had pushed her the wrong way, which had led to her slightly losing her temper.
At least the guards knew how to handle the situation. They were all informed of the need for a guard for Luna. If they saw her departing from the castle without one, she knew that they would notify her as soon as possible.
Celestia climbed into bed. As she got comfortable beneath the covers and lay her head on the pillow, her thoughts drifted again. Things had been different since Luna had returned. Celestia was a thousand years older than her now and, as a result, a thousand years wiser. Luna had remained mostly unchanged. She still carried her shy personality and apprehension to meeting new friends. It had definitely helped when she'd met Twilight Sparkle and made some excellent friends in Ponyville, but her underlying timidity was still visible. Despite this, however, Luna's desire to be unrestrained also still remained. She disliked being controlled.
Everypony had been overjoyed to see their princess of the night returned to them unharmed, much to Celestia's delight. She had been so worried that the ponies of Equestria were not going to accept Luna after she had become Nightmare Moon. Yet, their love and appreciation was plainly visible at the celebration of her return.
However, as time went on, Celestia began to hear occasional gossip and rumours of Nightmare Moon possibly returning. There were even rumours that Luna was actually Nightmare Moon in an elaborate disguise. While most of the ponies they saw smiled and waved to them, she could always find a few giving Luna strange looks.
Thus, Celestia had insisted that Luna be escorted wherever she went.
She hadn't been the only pony to suggest this. Many of the royal guards, advisors and even some personal friends of hers knew that it wasn't entirely safe for Luna to be on her own. However, it had ultimately been Celestia's decision to impose these restrictions.
This, in addition to Luna's distaste of some of her royal duties, had led to many small fights. The two had always had fights when they had been young, but they had been closer to the same age at that time. They had simply been butting heads like most siblings do. Now, Celestia was a thousand years older. The dynamic between them now felt more like a mother and child arguing. Despite everything, however, the two of them still loved each other dearly.
The events of minutes ago swirled in her mind. She was upset with herself for having spoken to Luna in such a tone, but was also upset with Luna's tempered reaction to her. Had she been unfair? Had she spoken too harshly? The two of them had always managed to apologize to each other and make up quickly, but this was the first time Celestia found herself going to sleep with Luna still angry at her.
Arguments with Luna were always awful, even if she was confident that she was right. She found herself wishing that she could've handled the situation better, and that perhaps Luna deserved an apology for her tone. She nearly got out of bed to apologize immediately, but decided against this when she heard Luna's door opening and the sound of hooves on the floor of the hallway. Luna was heading off to the court already.
She closed her eyes, trying to will away her ill thoughts. They didn't leave, and kept invading her subconscious. "I'm sorry Luna," she muttered under her breath, "We'll have a nice breakfast together tomorrow. Everything will work out, I'm sure." With this final, passing thought, Celestia fell into a soft sleep, shutting out the frustrations of the outer world.
"Your Highness? Please wake up."
Celestia's eyes slowly fluttered open. She glanced around, trying to get her bearings. It was still the middle of the night; dawn had not yet arrived. As such, her room was still bathed in darkness, and she found it difficult to see anything. A small beam of light was flooding in from one side of the room. The Princess realized it was coming through her doorway. Standing in this beam, casting an eerie shadow on the wall, was one of her royal guards.
Celestia yawned, still mildly sleepy, and lit one of the lamps in the room with her magic. "What is it? I certainly hope this is important," she muttered. Fighting off the remaining fatigue, she sat herself up on the bed, yawned and observed the guard. He was dressed as all guards were and was not particularly noteworthy in his outward appearance.
However, her gaze was drawn to his face. He looked shaken and emotionally drained. There was an intense sadness written upon his face. It was clear that he was barely holding it together. She could see marks of dried tears upon his cheeks. Suddenly, she wasn't tired.
"Yes, Your Highness…it is important." He was barely choking out his words. His eyes tried to avoid the Princess' gaze. "I, um," he stuttered, "I have terrible news."
Celestia's mind raced and she immediately felt anxious. Something bad had happened. Something had gone horribly wrong.
"It's," the guard paused, as if afraid to go on, "about Luna."
The colour drained from Celestia's face. Her ears splayed back and her heart skipped a beat. Luna?! Something had happened to Luna? Something had happened to Luna! She immediately found herself standing, staring wide-eyed into the guard's shaken face.
"What? What happened? Tell me! Is she all right?!" She had never heard her own voice sound that way before. It was shaken, panicked. It barely sounded like her own. She was vaguely aware that she was trembling.
The guard's gaze shifted around the room, but never met with her own. She couldn't tell if he was afraid to speak to her, or if he was unable to choke out his own words. They spent a few more agonizing moments in silence. She voiced her frustration.
"Tell me! Tell me now! Is she okay?!" Her mind raced. Had she been injured? Abducted? She could only assume that Luna had gotten out last night. Had she fallen and broken something? Had some horrible creature such as a Hyrda attacked her? Or had her fears come true? Had extremist ponies taken her or tried to hurt her?
The guard swallowed before finally speaking, "When we discovered that she had snuck out of her room, we sent the royal guard out to look for her. We found her…just outside the Everfree Forest."
Celestia's mind raced. The Everfree Forest?! Luna had said that she was only going to fly around the castle. Then again, she hadn't been angry when she had said that.
"I'm so sorry, Your Highness…" his voice cracked, and he took a breath. "When we found her she was already…" he trailed off. Celestia gasped, wide-eyed before he even finished his statement.
"Princess Luna is dead."
A deafening silence fell around them. At first the alicorn didn't move. She didn't speak. She barely breathed. The words of the guard nearly failing to register.
A lump formed in her throat. She suddenly found it difficult to inhale. The words breaking through and repeating incessantly in her head.
'Princess Luna is dead. Princess Luna is dead. Princess Luna is dead.'
Celestia found herself slowly shaking her head. It couldn't be true. She held on to the faint hope that it wasn't. This had to be a mistake. Maybe this guard was lying to her. Rage burned. Maybe this guard was lying to her!
Her wild eyes fell upon the guard's face. He was staring at the ground with a heartbroken look. Tears were now streaming from his eyes. It couldn't be. It just couldn't be. She was afraid. Maybe it was. It couldn't! It could! She shook her head again.
"No…" she said in a barely audible voice. She took a step back. The guard looked up at her with teary eyes. "No…" she said again, slightly louder, overcome with sadness and disbelief.
"I'm…I'm so sorry," the guard said, his voice wavering. As tears fell from his eyes, Celestia found that she was on the verge of crying as well. Her breathing quickened, her heart began to beat rapidly.
"You're lying…" she whispered.
The guard's frown grew larger, a feat that had seemed impossible moments ago. "I would never lie to you, Your Highness," he said, his sad eyes piercing into Celestia. Two teardrops fell to the floor with quiet splats. She only shook her head harder.
"It's not true..." she said, waiting desperately for the guard to tell her that it was a ruse. A lie. Any scenario appealed to her at the moment, even one in which her entire guard was conspiring against her with this audacious lie. However, the guard only lowered his head and repeated what he had said earlier.
"I'm sorry, Your Highness, but Princess Luna is dead."
Suddenly there was an ear-piercing shatter of breaking glass. The guard looked up in surprise, only to quickly shield his eyes from the cascade of broken glass that rained down around him, some of it bouncing off of his armour. When it had all settled, he looked toward what had been an intact window several seconds prior. In the distance, through the fresh hole in the large bedroom window, he saw Celestia flying into the distance.
"It's not true! It's not true! It's not true! It's not true!" She muttered the same phrase repeatedly as she flew across the dark landscape of Equestria. With powerful wing strokes, she quickly made her way down from Canterlot. Tears streamed from her eyes, a combination of her emotions and from the blinding wind that was whipping at her face.
The alicorn flew at speeds faster than any pegasus pony could ever hope to achieve. The mountain upon which Canterlot rested was far behind her now as the large group of trees that made up the Everfree Forest quickly approached. Within seconds she was there and she began searching the outskirts.
"No! Please, no! Luna…" she mumbled, her voice quivering. Her wings ached and she still found it hard to breathe. She ignored the cries of her body and continued to circle the forest, hoping and praying that she would find nothing. She tried to tell herself that her search would come up empty and that she would return to the castle and imprison that guard for life. "Anything, please! A conspiracy, a hoax, a mistake! Anything but-"
Celestia gasped. She slowed down slightly. Just ahead, on the side of the Everfree Forest furthest away from Canterlot, she saw a group of ponies. Their armour glistened in the moonlight. They were Royal Guards. She began to fly towards them, her panic slowly intensifying.
They were gathered around something on the ground.
They were gathered around something the size of a full-grown pony, and it was a thick, dark blue.
As she got close enough to see what was happening, she saw one of the pegasus guards lift a heavy black blanket over what they were gathered around. She recognized him; Sergeant Navy Shield, one of her most top-ranked guards. With a solemn bow of his head, he draped the blanket over the dark blue object.
But it wasn't an object. She could see that it was a pony.
Finally she came to a halt, hovering directly over the grim scene. The guards all turned to look up at her. They all carried sad expressions and a few were clearly holding back tears and trying to be professional. Many of them bowed their heads.
Her breath still coming in erratically and her heart still beating at a quick pace, she turned her gaze to the pony on the ground. The blanket was not quite large enough to properly cover the pony. Four dark blue hooves could barely be seen poking out of the bottom. Near the back, a thick cyan tail could be seen.
Celestia stared, wide-eyed. Her heart skipped a beat. Near the top of the blanket, a horn was sticking out. A long, blue horn with a very unique spiralling pattern.
A very familiar and unmistakable pattern.
Time seemed to slow to a crawl. The airborne alicorn stared slack-jawed at the scene before her. She found herself unable to breathe. Her entire body shivered as a torrent of tears began to fall from her eyes. Somehow, she managed to stay afloat. There was an eerie stillness in the area.
The lack of oxygen caught up to her and she hiccupped. She shook her head wildly, trying to wake herself up. Her mind trying desperately to deny what she was seeing. But no end and no relief came. "No…" she said quietly. She felt her heart leap into her throat. "No!" she shouted. Her face scowled into an awful display of emotional torment.
Tears began to cloud her vision. She was losing control. A few sorrowful cries escaped her lips as she backed up slowly through the air. The ponies on the ground bowed their heads in mournful respect.
And then she bolted. She turned and flew away from the scene at such an incredible pace that she was sure she'd left a sonic boom behind. She flew as fast as she could. She didn't know where she was going and she didn't know when she would stop.
She just had to get away.
Her right wing clipped a tree. As she lost control of her flight, she opened her eyes. Her vision was clouded and she could barely see. A soft landing out of the question, and she soon found herself collapsed upon the ground in a painful heap. The impact was substantial, leaving lacerations and a thick, coursing pain flowing through her body.
She didn't feel it. All she could feel was the overwhelming sadness. It quickly built up within her and burst out suddenly. "LUNA!" she cried into the night. Her wail pierced through the silent air of the forest she had crash-landed in, sending the local animals scurrying away.
Her emotions rose to a fevered pitch and she began to cry. She buried her head in her hooves and cried her heart out. She had no idea where she was. She had no idea if anypony could hear her. She didn't care. She wasn't able think about such things. She could only think about her beloved sister.
She cried louder than she had ever cried before in her life. Louder than when she had lost her mother. Louder than when Luna had been taken over by Nightmare Moon and louder than she had been forced to imprison her.
She didn't want it to be possible. She pleaded for it to be a lie. But her denial was growing thin. She had seen the body. She had seen her sister's horn.
She was gone. Gone forever. Her wails only grew louder. They seemed to course through the air and her sorrow seemed to be carried throughout Equestria. The wails of the Sun Princess. She was alone now. Alone like she had been for a thousand painful years, only this time it was forever.
Many ponies heard her cry that night. They would later recall that it had been the saddest sound they had ever heard in their lives. The loud, painful cries of the princess brought tears to ponies' eyes, even though they hadn't known what she was crying about. Some would say that it sounded like the sun itself was crying. They said it sounded ominous. They immediately knew that something very bad had happened, maybe the worst thing to possibly happen.
The guards of Canterlot castle worked quickly and diligently to bring in Princess Luna's body, not wanting to cause a premature stir or panic. Their reactions were all the same. They grimaced and began to tear up at the sight of the fallen alicorn. Some of the guard had expressed their disbelief. Some had simply refused to believe that the Princess of the Night was dead. Their arguments fell silent at the sight of her body.
The mood at the castle became still, nearly dead. Many were unable to perform their duty, having broken down into painful tears. Only the most elite and diligent were able to handle her body with the care it deserved. Words were only spoken when communication was absolutely necessary. At all other times, mournful silence reigned.
The castle's doctors had briefly examined her. They could clearly see that she had been attacked by something. Bloody lacerations and gashes covered her body. One of her legs was broken. Her fur was ruffled and matted with dirt. She had obviously struggled with some creature of the forest. With heavy hearts, they all came to the grim conclusion that her opponent had won.
A few tense hours of the night passed with no sign of the elder sister. Many had placed themselves outside of the castle in the lawns and gardens and were scanning the skies for their beloved princess of the day. The most elite of the guards did their best to retain their professionalism, despite the circumstances.
Eventually, one guard's relieved cry alerted the others. Those presently outside gazed to the sky and saw Celestia flying slowly back to the castle. She flew high above them all and landed directly in the throne room. There, she found the elite guards, who were all expressing their relief that she was safe and unharmed.
Everypony could see that their Princess did not look quite the same as she had before. Her brilliant white coat was slightly darker. Her eyes had rings around them and it was obvious that she had been crying. Her crown was slightly off center and she wore an unreadable expression upon her face. It betrayed no emotions.
However, the most striking difference was her mane and tail. All of the colours had faded and darkened. The blues and greens had receded, allowing the pink to be more pronounced, albeit very dark and faded. Her mane and tail usually flowed constantly, as if lifted by some invisible wind. Now, however, they barely moved, as if this wind had died down to a gentle breeze.
The guards were all expressing their sorrow and offering their condolences, many biting back tears. They were clearly distraught at the loss of Luna and found themselves thrown into a situation none of them had prepared for. Celestia, however, held a steeled expression. All traces of her earlier remorse were hidden as she urged them to focus on important matters.
Politically, the loss of Luna changed little. Celestia was freely able to rule the land of Equestria alone. It also carried no negative consequences when it came to moving the moon. The elder Princess could move it herself. She had done both of these things previously; for a thousand years, no less.
These facts, however, did nothing to sooth the pain in everypony's heart.
The main tasks she imposed on all of the workers of the castle were preparations for a funeral.
She was very quick and to the point. She instructed them to find the proper ponies to handle the event, although there was a noticeable quiver in her voice when spoke those words. She then assigned all of her pegasus guards to fly out to the various cities across Equestria as soon as the sun rose. It would be their job to spread the grim news.
When everypony had their instructions, they all walked or flew away from Celestia. One pony remained with her in the vast throne room. Sunbeam, her highest-ranking guard and her top-ranking official, stood by her side.
"Princess…" he spoke in a soft, caring voice. He had been under her employment for longer than any other pony currently working in the castle. They had developed a very close friendship. "Are you going to be all right?"
He saw her lips tremble and he swore he could see tears welling in her eyes. She did not look at him. She stared forward, taking a long deep breath. Then, she closed her eyes and spoke in a soft whisper.
"No, Sunbeam. I'm not."
She then walked towards the doors of the throne room. Sunbeam made to go after her, driven by an urge to comfort her, but stopped himself. It tore his heart up to see his beloved ruler so sad, but he knew that she needed time. He noticed how her tail dragged across the floor like a piece of fabric. Her mane and tail looked starkly different than they had before. They almost looked unhealthy.
Slowly and silently she made her way towards her bedroom. It seemed to take forever and, at the same time, no time at all, but soon she found herself in a familiar hallway. Before her stood two beautiful, ornately designed doors. One was bright and warm, one was dark and blue.
For a while she simply stood staring at the door emblazoned with the night. Countless emotions and memories coursed through her mind. Eventually, she forced herself to tear her vision away from the dark door and stepped through the opposite one.
Stepping inside of her expansive bedroom, she closed the door behind her and enchanted it with a lock spell. For a moment she stared at the broken window and the shattered glass that littered the floor. Her horn glowed and the window repaired itself. Soon, her room was picture-perfect.
Sighing heavily, she moved over to her bed, tears already forming in her eyes. As she crossed the room, she stepped in front of her mirror. Her own reflection caught her eye and caused her to stop.
She turned and gazed at the alicorn in the mirror. She saw the emotionally fragile face and the blemishes and marks of stress. She saw the state of her mane. The unpleasant sight of what had once been a proud and beautiful princess only urged her tears to flow faster. She shut her eyes and whipped her head away from the mirror, not wanting to see herself any longer.
Painful tears flowed freely for the second time that night. "Luna…" she said through her cries. Thoughts of her sister flooded her mind. She remembered all of the wonderful times they had spent together. The laughs, the smiles. Luna's pleasant personality and charming character had been something that had never ceased to brighten Celestia's heart. Her face had been so cute and her mannerisms had been so endearing.
And now she was gone forever. Never again would Luna nuzzle up beside her on a cold winter's night while she draped her wing over the younger alicorn for warmth. She would never hear Luna's sweet, naïve voice ask a question, imploring her sister's infinite wisdom. She would never hear the laughter that was so infectious that one couldn't help but join in with.
She remembered her sister's jealousy over a thousand years ago. Old pains of guilt resurfaced suddenly as she thought back to when she had been forced to banish Nightmare Moon to her namesake in the sky. She had replayed the situation in her head countless times since then. Now, it only served to create more painful tears.
"I'm…sorry…" she breathed out, barely able to form words. The pain in her heart was unbearable. Celestia could feel a gaping hole that had been left. A part of her had died along with Luna tonight. She sniffled, wishing futilely for the tears to stop. Memories, good and bad, assaulted her as Luna's life replayed before her mind's eye.
This culminated with her most recent memory. The events of the evening returned to her memory in full force. She gasped as she came to the horrible realization. The last interaction she'd had with her sister had been a heated argument. The last feelings Luna had felt for her had been anger.
Her own harsh words echoed fiercely in her mind. She had been insensitive and unfair. Earlier she had fooled herself into believing that her words, while possibly poorly chosen, had been deserved. She could clearly see how wrong she had been, and the overwhelming guilt began to suffocate her.
"No…No! Oh heavens, no! Luna! I'm so sorry!"
Her painful cries flared up again, fuelled by this new guilt. That anger had been the impression she had left, and it had been the last way she had acted towards her sister. A horrid sense of self-loathing came over her as she covered her head with her trembling hooves.
"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry!"
Luna had left this world feeling angry at her. This knowledge felt like a stabbing pain in her heart. Her cries continued to echo throughout the room, a stark epitome of her emotions.
Eventually her cries subsided, although her sadness did not, and sleep claimed her weary body. She would be awakened hours later by her mental clock, alerting her that she needed to raise the sun. She felt a horrible pang of sadness as she reached out with her magic and lowered her sister's moon. Then, after her heavenly body graced the skies, she caught a glance of herself in the mirror. She viewed herself yet again. The signs of fatigue and sorrow still showed.
But her mane had changed again. It and her tail now hung limply, long and straight like a piece of fabric that had been attached to her. They did not sway in any unseen wind. And they were grey. Completely grey. There were no blues, greens, purples, and no pinks. Not even faded colours remained. Her mane and tail were grey.
Fresh tears welled in her eyes.