A Heart Longs for Another

Jan 17th, 2018
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  1. A Heart Longs for Another by AnthonyC4
  3. >”Luna, we aren’t the unchallengeable goddesses of old. We must consider the opinions of the noble court, and they have forced my hoof.”
  4. “And thou wouldst cast us out once again? Even after the multitude of apologies and excuses for banishing us in the first place? Thou shall simply turn cheek and abandon thy sister a second time now? Have we not suffered enough?”
  5. >”No! No. No, Luna. I’m not going to banish you again, I just… argh!”
  6. >Your dear benevolent sister Celestia stomped her hooves in frustration; clearly agitated.
  7. >”Luna, the nobles have not deemed you fit to return to duty so soon after your banishment has been lifted and—”
  8. “And what, sister? We may have lost a thousand years of history, yet the flow of time has past us by unnoticeably. To us, it was merely a matter of days since we last ruled, the millennia we lost akin to a fleeting dream whilst we slumbered upon our blessed moon, the honor of which I must once again remind you lies with thee.”
  9. >As Celestia droned on about the right of the nobility and the responsibility of leadership, you tuned her out and began to reflect silently.
  10. >Your sister wasn’t always like this.
  11. >She used to be young and full of life; eager for the next big adventure.
  12. >But since you’ve returned from your banishment, she’s been nothing but a prude.
  13. >Whereas you were just as youthful now as you were before your time on the moon, it was clear that Celestia has grown up in the thousand years since you last saw her.
  14. >And you hated it.
  15. >You wanted your sister back, not this lackluster bore of an imposter that you have found yourself stuck with.
  16. >She hardly let you ever leave the castle for anything other than diplomatic visits and addresses, and if the nobles get their way you won’t even have that repose.
  17. >You’d simply be stuck here until the damnable dukes and duchesses returned your right to rule.
  18. >”—all I can do is tell you I’m sorry. There’s nothing that can be done without usurping the right of ponies to choose who they allow to govern.”
  19. “Verily, we understand completely. If it is thy wish, then we shall simply wait until the very same ponies who not even a year ago were telling their offspring about how I was evil incarnate and a blight upon Equestria willingly accept my humble leadership. Yes, truly a thousand years of experience has given you much wisdom, dear sister.”
  20. >If there was one thing that Celestia had dulled upon in her years without you, it was her banter.
  21. >Your snark remained polished and maintained, while hers has since atrophied.
  22. >Not that it did you any good though.
  23. >Celestia sighed, and would probably have simply continued this disgusting back and forth charade, had a scroll not appeared before her in a flash of green flame.
  24. >You recognized that unique method of mail delivery; it appeared that Twilight wished to speak with her mentor.
  25. >Twilight Sparkle…
  26. >That name was still bitter in your mouth.
  27. >The Element of Magic.
  28. >Though you bore no ill will toward her, not since the Elements were used on you at least, that mare…
  29. >You will give her credit where it is due.
  30. >She remains one of the few ponies that tried to approach and befriend you.
  31. >You weren’t about to deny yourself friends in this new and confusing era but…
  32. >Those eyes…
  33. >They were filled with pity.
  34. >You hated that.
  35. >You HATED that.
  36. >She didn’t want to be your friend for your sake.
  37. >She still valued the sun over the moon.
  38. >Still valued your sister over you.
  39. >Unequal.
  40. >Worthless…
  41. >Brushing aside those dark thoughts for now, you adopted a neutral gaze, waiting for Celestia to finish reading Twilight’s note so you could rebut her last claim.
  42. >A brief moment of silence followed, before your sister rolled up the scroll and teleported it away, likely to her study.
  43. >”Well, Luna. It would appear I have one last thing for you to do before your… let’s call it a temporary retirement. You should consider yourself lucky. I’d love to have one of those.”
  44. >You snorted, but otherwise remained silent and stoic.
  45. >”It would appear that a creature of unknown origin and species has appeared in Ponyville. The being is sentient and understands our language, at least according to Twilight, and is currently being held in the detention center. I have an ambassador arriving in an hour, so I won’t be available to meet with this creature. It would be much appreciated if you would go in my stead. As you yourself said, you are more than capable of handling this situation, so I trust there won’t be any complications? No? Then I shall see you at dinner then.”
  46. >Taking your silence as agreement, Celestia teleports away, leaving you alone with your thoughts.
  47. >Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that you want to do it.
  48. >You just didn’t want your authority being taken away from you.
  49. >With a huff, you turn around and march down towards the end of the hall, where two guards stood idly by.
  50. “Guards, prepare us a chariot to Ponyville posthaste.”
  51. >”Yes, ma’am!”
  52. >”Yes, ma’am!”
  53. >Ma’am.
  54. >Not princess.
  55. >…Tch.
  56. >Whatever.
  57. >You trudged behind the two guards, holding your head high yet feeling so down.
  58. >The trip over to Ponyville was quiet and not worth noting.
  59. >The guards refused to speak unless spoken to, yet more than once you overheard sighs and groans whenever you weren’t looking.
  60. >It doesn’t matter anyways.
  61. >These guards, like all ponies, are loyal to your sister and your sister alone.
  62. >Nobody would’ve batted an eye if you simply disappeared.
  63. >Your musings were cut short as you felt the chariot touch down and slow to a halt.
  64. >As you step out from the carriage, you feel the eyes of the locals burning a hole into you with their stares.
  65. >You ignored them and marched on towards the detention center.
  66. >It wasn’t until a few strides later that one of the mares got the bright idea of kneeling, and soon enough the rest of them had caught on and bowed before you.
  67. >Took them long enough.
  68. >Should we bow before her, you imagined their inner thoughts might go.
  69. >After all, she isn’t Princess Celestia.
  70. >But she would want us to bow, so we suppose we must.
  71. >We should obey Princess Celestia’s wishes, after all.
  72. >You felt a tightness in your stomach that refused to be alleviated, so you did your best to ignore it as you opened the heavy wooden door to the only prison in Ponyville.
  73. >You trotted on up towards the front desk, where a small mare with glasses sat filling out paperwork.
  74. “Ahem.”
  75. >Your cough startled the pony who had the decency to look abashed before recognizing you.
  76. >”O-oh! Princess Luna! I-I didn’t expect to s-see you!”
  77. >Of course you didn’t, my little pony.
  78. >You expected to see HER.
  79. “My sister is preoccupied, so we have come in her stead. Where may we find this creature Twilight Sparkle wrote about?”
  80. >The pony pointed down the hall.
  81. >”It is down that hallway, the fifth cell to the right. Oh, and try not to agitate it. It gave the local guards quite the fight trying to avoid its incarceration.”
  82. >You thanked the mare for her time and began your march down towards the beast you were to meet.
  83. >What could this creature be like, you mused silently to yourself.
  84. >It fits in a cell, so clearly it isn’t some behemoth or golem.
  85. >It was able to give the guards a run for their money…
  86. >Maybe it’s from a warrior species like the griffons or minotaurs?
  87. >The fifth cell approaches, and you quicken your pace.
  88. >You were eager to see the being for yourself.
  89. >Peeking into the cell, you catch your first glimpse of the creature.
  90. >You couldn’t tell what exactly it was, considering it was sitting down facing one of the darkened corners of the cell.
  91. >The back of the being was covered in what you assumed to be a cloth shirt, which bore rips and scratch marks, much like the wounds they highlighted.
  92. >Whatever it is, it certainly put up a fight.
  93. >You clear your throat, hoping to catch the creature’s attention, yet received no response in it.
  94. >But you were not one to give up so easily.
  95. “Creature, we art Princess Luna. Ruler of Equestria, raiser of the moon and presider over the dreamscape. Identify thyself, so that we may converse with thee in kind.”
  96. >The beast remained silent, and you prepared to order it to turn around and address you, only for it to turn what you assumed to be its head around to face you.
  97. >You took note of swelling bump around the creature’s brow as well as a vertical scar running down the right temple, which was hastily stitched together and still bleeding slightly.
  98. >”…I have no business with you. Go away.”
  99. >The creature’s voice was deep, masculine by pony standards.
  100. >It was the kind of voice that wouldn’t stand out in a crowd, yet it would be clearly noticeable if it were absent.
  101. >You weren’t sure if it leaned more towards bass or baritone.
  102. “Thou art in Equestria. Be thou native or alien to our country, thee fall within our jurisdiction. Do not have us repeat ourselves.”
  103. >”I could say the same to you. I do not wish to speak with you.”
  104. “There are several consequences to inaction here. Dost thou wish to spend the rest of thy life in these decrepit cells? Perhaps we might find thee a monster and have thy head handed to us by the executioner. But we could also grant thee freedom from shackles. It is thy choice.”
  105. >The beast fell silent once more, deep in thought.
  106. >You waited for the creature’s response with bated breath.
  107. >If this was to be your last excursion away from the castle for some time then by all means, you were going to savor it as much as you can.
  108. >The creature soon responded, his voice tired and weary.
  109. >”What do you want from me?”
  110. “We seek knowledge of thee. Do enlighten us.”
  111. >He sighed before turning around completely to face you.
  112. >”Let’s get this over with already.”
  113. >A quick observation of the front of the creature revealed more of his tattered clothing and wounds, as well as strange protrusions coming from his forehooves, while his hindhooves were oddly shaped and hidden behind some sort of casing… could that be leather?
  114. >From his body structure, you assumed he was bipedal, probably more akin to a minotaur.
  115. >”My name is Anonymous. I am a human. Don’t know how I got here, but where I’m from they don’t have magic or talking ponies or any of this nonsense. What else do you need from me?”
  116. >You pursed your lips in thought.
  117. “Thy arrival was unexpected, thou say? Are we right to assume, then, that thou seek no harm against our ponies?”
  118. >”Not particularly. Besides, you ponies can’t put up a fight to save your lives.”
  119. “Did the guards not take thee into custody through physical means? Why then, is thy body adorned with damage?”
  120. >The crea—sorry, human snorted.
  121. >”That was from a run in with some sort of lion thing in the Everfree. Nothing a good bit of yelling and rock throwing couldn’t fix. No, the ponies here certainly tried their best, but they couldn’t make me go anywhere I didn’t want.”
  122. “Then explain thy incarceration.”
  123. >”I said that they couldn’t make me go anywhere, doesn’t mean that they didn’t bug me into going here. Plus, that magic is rather annoying to deal with. I figured it would be better to just comply than deal with that for any longer.
  124. >You huffed, clearly Celestia has been lackluster when it comes to training these guards properly.
  125. >Yet another mistake you’ll have to fix once you reclaim your rank.
  126. “From where do you hail, Sir Anonymous?”
  127. >”From the United States of America.”
  128. >You tilted your head in confusion.
  129. >”We are unfamiliar with any such place on the global map. We have also never heard of any “humans” as thee call thyself.”
  130. >Anonymous’ breathing hitched.
  131. >”Yeah… I figured.”
  132. >Silence once again reigned.
  133. >”…It’s kind of hard to miss a nation that large.”
  134. “We beg thy pardon?”
  135. >”Unless you ponies have some really bad cartographers or are really good at hiding yourselves from satellites, there is virtually no chance that I am even on the same planet anymore.”
  136. >Anonymous laughed, yet his voice was hollow.
  137. >”Perhaps you can…”
  138. “We apologize, Sir Anonymous. To travel to another planet… tis unheard of. And which planet would thou speakest of? There are so many in our night sky, to which dost thou belong?”
  139. >Anonymous fell silent yet again, mood growing darker.
  140. >You stood there for a moment longer.
  141. “Well, Sir Anonymous. It was interesting meeting thee. We shall have to consult our sister for guidance on this matter. But we see no need to keep thou in a cell. We shall take thee to our castle, and depending on what our sister says, we shall decide that to do with thee. Are thou willing?”
  142. >”…Very well. I will come.”
  143. >You opened his cell door with your magic.
  144. >Anonymous rose to his feet slowly, and you realized just how tall he was compared to you; his chin was level with the base of your horn.
  145. >You turned down the hallway and led Anonymous towards your cart, where the guards stood ever stoic, awaiting your return.
  146. >The human drew many a gasping from the crowd of ponies, and a few of them dispersed with haste.
  147. >You chanced a quick glance towards the human, who kept his eyes lowered.
  148. >His body language, though foreign to you, was crystal clear in one regard.
  149. >As you and Anonymous boarded the chariot and began the trip back to Canterlot, you regarded the human in a different light.
  150. >Anonymous was clearly unhappy, but then again who wouldn’t be, given his situation?
  151. >Hmm…
  152. >You can’t help but feel tingly inside.
  153. >This human is experiencing similar emotions regarding his new existence as you are getting accustomed to a society that has fostered hatred against you.
  154. >Perhaps a certain kinship was shared between the two of you.
  155. >It wouldn’t hurt to have a little companion in these trying times.
  156. >And you wouldn’t have to work around the generations of malice to get it.
  157. >You softly hummed to yourself a little ditty, with no particular cadence.
  158. >That would be nice wouldn’t it?
  159. >It would appear that this little adventure bore some unexpected fruit.
  161. >”Sir Anonymous, we have arrived at Canterlot castle. Please follow us, we shall direct thee to a temporary bedchamber for thy use until this matter can be resolved.”
  162. >You snapped out of your inner monologuing at the sound of Princess Luna’s voice.
  163. >Disembarking the chariot, you look to see her waiting for you a few paces away.
  164. >Catching up to meet her pace, the two of you began to head over towards a large wooden door at a leisurely pace.
  165. >As the guards opened the door for the two of you, Luna turned her head toward you and smiled slightly.
  166. >”Would it be alright if thou would tell us more of thyself? We are an ever-curious breed.”
  167. >You pause for a second.
  168. “I don’t know what you would want to know, other than what I’ve already told you.”
  169. >”What of… thy kind? What is a human?”
  170. “Well, alright I suppose. Um, our closest relative in the animal kingdom would be … Great Apes, I think? But we aren’t apes. If that makes any sense.”
  171. >Luna gave a wry smirk.
  172. >”Naturally, Sir Ape.”
  173. >Oh, so the princess wants to banter, eh?
  174. “Indeed, Miss Horse.”
  175. >The princess gasped and covered her mouth with her hoof.
  176. >You begin to think that perhaps firing back had been a poor decision on your part, only to have those worries ebb away as Luna slowly started to snicker.
  177. >”We suppose that is only fair. It would appear that thee art no stranger to a bit of fancy wordplay. We shall keep such in mind for our future endeavors together. Now please, tell us more.”
  178. >Regaining your composure, you rack your mind for something of interest.
  179. “Well, perhaps something of note is that we don’t have magic like you ponies do.”
  180. >”No magic? How can that be? All beings have magic, even the smallest of insects and tiniest of leaves have some magic within them.”
  181. >You shrugged your shoulders.
  182. “Well if we do, we haven’t figured out how to use it yet. But what we lack in magic, we more than make up for in technology.”
  183. >Luna scrunched her nose slightly.
  184. >”We art… unfamiliar with technology. We have been… preoccupied as of late and are ignorant to any developments here in Equestria.”
  185. “You ponies have some appliances like refrigerators, lightbulbs, electric fans and air conditioning, but humans have created far more impressive things.”
  186. >Luna leaned closer to you, clearly intrigued.
  187. >”Like what?”
  188. “How about a self-propelled kind of metal carriage capable of reaching well over 200 miles per hour?”
  189. >”Thou lies! No such contraption could possibly exist!”
  190. “Oh, you think that’s impossible? You’ve heard nothing yet. We have a different kind of metal carriage, but this time, it can fly.”
  191. >Luna staggered for a minute, before regaining her footing.
  192. >”T-Thou cannot possibly expect us to believe such ludicrous and far-fetched flights of fancy.”
  193. >You were on a roll; watching Luna’s reactions was simply too endearing to stop.
  194. “How about a small flat device which can be used to transmit messages, even your own voice, anywhere on the planet?”
  195. >Luna paused for a moment, before she rose her head high and turned away from you.
  196. >”Now we are certain that what thee tells are indeed falsehoods. As interesting as they may be, they art simply fabrications.”
  197. >You began to chuckle as you pulled your phone out of your pocket.
  198. “Then would you care to explain this, then?”
  199. >Luna’s eyes followed the smartphone in your hands, only to bug out in shock as you turned on and unlocked your phone for her to see.
  200. “And I should mention that making calls isn’t the only thing this device here is capable of.”
  201. >Luna was shaken with awe.
  202. >”There’s more?”
  203. “Indeed. This phone can also take pictures, record audio, play electronic games, can be used as a calculator, a notepad, a clock, a calendar, it can play music, and there’s a bunch more applications.”
  204. >To prove your point, you snap a picture of Luna before showing it to her.
  205. >She had her face mere inches away from the screen, completely entranced by her picture and the phone that took it.
  206. >”W-We were aware of some photography in Equestria, b-but nothing as crisp and clear as this. And in color too….”
  207. >You let Luna look at your phone for a minute longer before you turned it off and put it back in your pocket.
  208. >No chargers around, so you need to be thrifty with your use of it.
  209. >Once that was done, you looked up to realize that the two of you had stopped in front of one of the various doors in the hallway.
  210. >You must have arrived without either of you noticing.
  211. >Luna stood there looking at you for some time, before she realized where she was.
  212. >”O-Oh, we have arrived. These shall be your chambers for the moment, Sir Anonymous. We shall return once we have met with our sister.”
  213. >Luna opened the door and you stepped inside.
  214. >It wasn’t particularly lavish, but it certainly wasn’t like a hotel room.
  215. >”Is everything to thy liking?”
  216. >You turn around and catch Luna looking at you a bit funnily.
  217. >It looked like… admiration?
  218. >Respect?
  219. >You weren’t exactly sure, but you didn’t see a need to press her on it.
  220. “Yes, everything is fine.”
  221. >Luna nodded and moved to close the door behind you.
  222. >”Very well, Sir Anonymous. We hope to see thee again soon, mayhaps for dinner.”
  223. >Before the door closed all the way, you spoke.
  224. “You can call me just Anon, if you prefer.”
  225. >Luna was still for a moment, looking at you.
  226. >Then she smiled.
  227. >”If it is alright with thee… Anon.”
  228. >She then closed the door and left you to your own devices.
  230. “Have a good day.”
  231. >”And to you as well. I do hope we get to meet again.”
  232. >You smiled and waved goodbye as the zebra ambassador took her leave.
  233. >Once she had left the room, you sighed and stretched your aching limbs.
  234. >You had little time left before your next appointment, and you wished to make the most of what little free time you had to prepare.
  235. >But as your dear sister teleported into the room, you feared that you would not get the brief reprieve you so desired.
  236. >”Sister, we would have words with thee regarding Sir Anonymous.”
  237. >Anonymous?
  238. >You didn’t recall ever telling Luna about somepony named Anonymous.
  239. >In fact, the name Anonymous itself seemed foreign to you.
  240. “Who is this Anonymous you speak of?”
  241. >Your sister harrumphed before resuming.
  242. >”Tis the creature you had us meet with; the one mentioned by your protégé. We see age has been unkind to thy mind.”
  243. >You snorted.
  244. “My memory is perfectly fine, thank you very much. What do you think of our little enigma?”
  245. >”He calls himself a human, from some land called the… uh, ‘United States of America’. Have you heard of such a nation?”
  246. >You peruse your knowledge of the various nations, only to come up blank.
  247. “I’m afraid I have not heard of such a place. Nor have I any knowledge of anything called a ‘human’, as you put it.”
  248. >Luna lowered her head slightly.
  249. >”Then it would appear that he was correct in his initial assumption; he is not native to our planet.”
  250. “An off-worlder? Now Luna, that’s unbelievable. He has to come from somewhere, but I refuse to believe that that somewhere is not Equus.”
  251. >Luna was silent for a moment.
  252. >”Sister, there are many planets and stars out there in the cosmos. Tis not unreasonable that life might have—"
  253. “Luna, you must have been reading too many conspiracy theories from that silly newspaper tabloid. Aliens aren’t real, there’s nothing to prove that they exist other than slight statistical probability. And even if there were, why would they bother with Equestria?”
  254. >Luna stuttered, but you cut off her response.
  255. “I shall look further into this matter myself. Where is this creature now?”
  256. >”W-We left him in one of the guest rooms. We were going to bring him to thou during dinner.”
  257. >You nodded.
  258. “Then that’s what we shall do. Now, I must be off to yet another ambassador meeting.”
  259. >You made your way over to the door, before stopping.
  260. “Oh, and Luna?’
  261. >She looks over toward you.
  262. “You’re speaking in your olden tongue again.”
  263. >Luna’s cheeks took on a rosy tint and she sputtered and mumbled some half-baked response under her breath before teleporting away.
  264. >You giggled at her antics, before you opened the door and began to trot down the hallway towards your next daily task.
  266. “ARGH!”
  267. >That cursed fiend…
  268. >She knows just how to push your buttons.
  269. >You groan into your pillow some more as you vent your frustrations.
  270. >She dismissed your assessment as soon as she heard it.
  271. >She insulted your intelligence and rationale.
  272. >Then she had the audacity to take over what was supposed to be your last action as reigning diarch, clearly thinking that you were incapable of performing even this simple action.
  273. >And for the final nail in the coffin, she brought up your dialect.
  274. >All of this was done with a smile on her face, as if it were nothing but a thing to do.
  275. “That damnable sister of mine. She hath lost all sense of empathy. Miss Always Right. Miss Do as You’re Told. Argh….”
  276. >You growled out your anger to no one in particular, and you forced your muzzle even deeper into your pillow.
  277. >You laid there unmoving for some time, until righteous indignation bubbled up within you.
  278. “No. No! We art Princess Luna of the Night. There is no task which we cannot accomplish just as well as Celestia can! We shall prove it to her. We shall prove it to her!”
  279. >Filled with intense emotions, you hopped up from your bedside and kicked open the door to your bedchambers, startling your guards.
  280. >Ignoring them, you marched past them.
  281. >You were a mare on a mission and you would not be deterred.
  282. >At your pace, it wasn’t long before you found yourself outside Anon’s chambers.
  283. >You knocked gently on his door.
  284. “Anon! Tis us once again. We wish to speak with thee once more before thou meets with our sister.”
  285. >No response.
  286. “Anon?”
  287. >You gently pushed open the door, which wasn’t locked.
  288. >You didn’t notice him in the main bedroom area, but the light in the bathroom was on.
  289. >You slowly crept over to the door which was slightly ajar, and quietly opened it.
  290. >You saw Anon sitting by the rim of the bathtub.
  291. >And he was shirtless.
  292. >You reared up in surprise and embarrassment.
  293. >Anon looked up and locked eyes with you.
  294. >”Oh, hey Luna. You need somethin’?”
  295. >He was clearly nonplussed about his semi-nakedness, in stark contrast to your reaction.
  296. “W-We art sorry for barging in on t-thee during private matters. We shall return later.”
  297. >”Actually, could you stay? I need a bit of assistance.”
  298. >Your blush clearly stood out in spite of your dark coat.
  299. “W-what kind of a-assistance?”
  300. >Anon turned around so that his back was facing towards you.
  301. >”I found some rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet and I’m trying to clean my wounds but I can’t reach the ones on my back.”
  302. >His wounds.
  303. >You had completely forgotten about those.
  304. >Stupid, stupid, stupid Luna!
  305. >He was injured and you just left him without taking him to a doctor or anything.
  306. >You hung your head ashamed of yourself.
  307. “We apologize, Sir Anonymous. Your injuries had completely slipped our mind. We are deeply sorry for this grievous mistake on our part.”
  308. >”It’s all cool, now can you help me with this?”
  309. >You raised your head up.
  310. “Thou wouldst forgive us, just like that? In spite of our—”
  311. >”Luna, please. I forgive you and all of that jazz.”
  312. >Anon rolled his eyes before sighing and holding out a cotton ball presumably soaked in alcohol towards you.
  313. >”Now, will you please help me out here? I can’t reach these wounds by myself.”
  314. >Your blush still hasn’t gone away yet, and you were certain that he could tell by now.
  315. “W-We suppose.”
  316. >You approached Anon and took hold of the ball of cotton with your magic.
  317. >Taking another look at Anonymous’ back revealed that there was a bit more damage done to him by that manticore than you first saw back when he was in the cell.
  318. >You gingerly dab one of the bigger cuts on his back with the cotton ball, causing Anon to hiss from the sting.
  319. >You hesitated, as you had never treated injuries before and you didn’t want to hurt Anon more than necessary.
  320. >Anon saw your hesitation.
  321. >”Don’t worry, I’m fine. Just keep going. I can take it.”
  322. “Are thee sure? We don’t wish to hurt thee.”
  323. >”I said I can take it. It’ll get easier to bear if you just keep going and don’t stop.
  324. “If thee insist….”
  325. >Another dab, another hiss.
  326. >Cleaning Anon’s wounds took a bit of time, but soon you were done.
  327. >You watched as Anon bandaged up his clean wounds.
  328. >He touched the shoddily stitched scar on his cheek.
  329. >”This is going to need to be taken off and redone. It simply won’t do.”
  330. >Your regret at having not taken Anon to the doctor swelled once again.
  331. “We shall accompany thee to the doctor’s office. We have one in the castle, she should be able to properly suture that wound closed.”
  332. >”I suppose so. Then let’s be off.”
  333. >Anon got up and made to leave the bedroom.
  334. “W-Wait!”
  335. >Anon paused mid-stride.
  336. >”Yes?”
  337. >Your cheeks could not be more red.
  338. >”W-What of thy clothing? Dost thou expect to walk around the castle t-topless?”
  339. >Anon shrugged his shoulders.
  340. >”I mean, my shirt is totally ruined, and I don’t exactly have any replacements for it. So yeah, kinda.”
  341. >You could not speak through your embarrassment; your wings had begun to extend in turn.
  342. “W-We shall t-teleport t-thee! N-No walking a-around like t-that!”
  343. >Not waiting for a response, you charged up your magic and teleported the two of you away.
  345. >You sat in one of the waiting chairs while Luna talked with the royal doctor about redressing your wounds.
  346. >You didn’t want to get the rubbing alcohol all over the chairs, so you were hunched over in a rather uncomfortable position.
  347. >Praying that Luna wouldn’t take too long, you looked over at a rack filled with magazines and newspapers.
  348. >Intrigued, you pull out one of the various magazines and looked at the cover.
  349. >The front read ‘Romancing Your Mare; How to Tie Down the Girl of Your Dreams’.
  350. >You didn’t have anything else to do, so you figured you might as well take a read.
  351. >After all, you figured that you might be stuck here.
  352. >Might as well prepare for the worst while you have the chance.
  353. >Flipping over to the first page, you began to silently read the tabloid.
  354. >’The first thing to do when romancing your partner is, well, the same way to start any relationship. Understanding each other and finding out what likes and dislikes you two share. Having a better understanding of what you both like is crucial for enabling your relationship to bloom—’
  355. >”Alright, Anon. The good doctor is ready to see thou.”
  356. >You looked up to see Luna walking out of the doctor’s office.
  357. >She peered down, trying to read the title of the magazine in your hands.
  358. >You looked at her for a moment, before moving your gaze back down to the magazine in your hands.
  359. “Hey Luna, what are your likes and dislikes?”
  360. >Luna tilted her head slightly in confusion.
  361. >”What warrants such a question, Anon?”
  362. >You held up the magazine so that she could read the title.
  363. “Well, it says right here that knowing each other’s likes and dislikes is the first step towards a happy and healthy relationship—”
  364. >Her cheeks flaring bright red, Luna swiped the magazine out of your hands, sending you into a fit of giggles.
  365. >”T-Thou… Go see the doctor now. W-We shall wait for thou out here.”
  366. >Still giggling like a child, you left the furiously blushing Luna in the waiting room.
  367. >”Hello. Am I to assume that you are the one Princess Luna requested I help?”
  368. >In front of you stood a unicorn mare with pink fur and a yellow mane, pushed to the side and held there with a white flower.
  369. >”You certainly look… unusual.”
  370. >You hopped on top of the exam table.
  371. “Like in a good, handsome way?”
  372. >The doctor rolled her eyes.
  373. >”Let’s go with that. My name is Doctor Heartfelt, pleased to meet you.”
  374. >She held out her hoof, which you shook.
  375. “Anonymous, but you can call me Anon.”
  376. >”Now, let’s see…”
  377. >Heartfelt hopped up next to you and took a closer look at the stitching in your cheek.
  378. >”Yeah, that is pretty mediocre…”
  379. >She began mumbling to herself as she poked and prodded all over your torso and face.
  380. >After a very thorough examination, she levitated over various medical supplies.
  381. >”Your wounds are already cleaned, so all I have to do is bandage them up and redo this suture. So, all you need to do for me is stay still and it will be over with soon enough.”
  382. >With that said, she started her work in a quick and efficient manner.
  383. >The larger wounds on your forearms and stomach were wrapped up in gauze, while smaller cuts and scrapes were healed with magic.
  384. >She left the stitching for last, wielding an uncomfortably large knife to cut the thread before magicking away the remains.
  385. >”This is the fun part. Brace yourself.”
  386. “Can’t we just—”
  387. >”Nope. I enjoy this.”
  388. >You sigh in resignation as the good doctor levitated a needle to your cheek, pinching it with her magic.
  389. >This was going to suck.
  390. >But you were a strong Anon.
  391. >You certainly didn’t cry.
  392. >You did not make any pained grunts or groans.
  393. >You absolutely didn’t mutter various obscenities under your breath.
  394. >Nope.
  395. >You didn’t.
  396. >Once you were done not bemoaning your pain, the doctor handed you a lollipop, giggling softly to herself.
  397. >Oh, how happy you were for this lollipop, it was the reward for your struggles!
  398. >You tore off the wrapping and opened your mouth—
  399. “Ow!”
  400. >As you stewed in betrayal, Doctor Heartfelt laughed at your antics.
  401. >”Alright, that will be all. The pain should wear off in a couple hours, so you should be able to eat dinner without much pain. If it does still hurt, simply come back here and I’ll give you a bit of healing magic. Have a nice day.”
  402. >You left the doctor’s office feeling morose, holding the sugary confection in your hands.
  403. >Sighing in defeat, you wrapped the lollipop back up in it’s wrapper before stuffing it in your pocket for later.
  404. >Looking up, you saw Princess Luna sitting in one of the waiting chairs, apparently engrossed in the magazine she had swiped from you.
  405. >She hadn’t noticed you left the doctor’s office, and she was still blushing slightly.
  406. “Good read, eh?”
  407. >Luna jumped in surprise, before teleporting the magazine away to who-knows-where.
  408. >”A-Anon! W-We did not expect thou to be done so soon!”
  409. >As she scrambled to her hooves, you nodded.
  410. “She didn’t have to do much, just bandage my wounds and redo the suture.”
  411. >”T-Then shall we be off?”
  412. >You nodded again.
  413. “Where to, Princess?”
  414. >Luna shook off her blush and regained her regal composure, holding her head high.
  415. >”We are to continue our questioning of thou in our study. Our sister has… concerns regarding the validity of thy claims. So, if thou wouldst follow us, we shall be off.”
  416. >Opening the door for her, you followed Luna out of the waiting room and down the hall.
  417. >Luna started her questioning a few strides later.
  418. >”Thou claimed to be alien in origin, is that correct?”
  419. “I said that it’s pretty likely. The USA isn’t exactly some small nation. It’s got over three hundred million people living in it.”
  420. >Luna’s jaw hit the floor.
  421. >”T-Three hundred million?! Such a number… it is beyond comprehension. How many strong is your entire species then, if one nation holds such a vast quantity?”
  422. “If I remember correctly, we are somewhere around seven and a half billion people, and it won’t be too long before we surpass eight billion.”
  423. >”Billions… how can such an amount even be possible? We live in a time of peace and prosperity, yet our population only increases by around thirty thousand every five years.”
  424. >You shrugged your shoulders.
  425. “I don’t know how you ponies work. Maybe humans are much more sexually active.”
  426. >”We fail to see the logic in thy claim.”
  427. >Now is was your turn to be confused.
  428. “What do you mean? More sex means more children, that’s a fundamental concept of nature.”
  429. >Luna glanced at you with a strange look on her face.
  430. >”Do humans… not go through estrus?”
  431. “What’s estrus?”
  432. >Luna looked away from you, her pace quickening slightly.
  433. >”Tis when we ovulate and become fertile.”
  434. >You sped up to match her pace.
  435. “You mean to say that you ponies aren’t always fertile?”
  436. >Luna’s face lit up in understanding.
  437. >”Humans can conceive at any time? We have never heard of such a thing before.”
  438. “Yeah. From the moment we begin puberty, we can begin the process of procreation. Am I to assume ponies only have a set timeframe?”
  439. >”The exact time differs according to the individual, but mares ovulate only once a year for a period of approximately three weeks, typically at the end of spring, though some have been known to get theirs around the start of autumn.”
  440. “Interesting….”
  441. >The walk was quickly gripped by silence until the two of you finally arrived at a set of large silver doors.
  442. >With her magic, Luna opened them and led you inside.
  443. >”Please, take a seat. We shall continue thy questioning momentarily. Would thou care for a drink?”
  444. >You held up your hand.
  445. “Sorry, I only drink on special occasions. Besides, I don’t take alcohol very well. I will take water though, if you have some.”
  446. >”Of course. Allow us.”
  447. >You sat down in front of her desk as she pulled out a wine bottle and two drinking glasses.
  448. >Filling up one of them with water, Luna started up again.
  449. >”Could thou tell us more about thy kind? Thou spoke of wondrous inventions before; what else is there?”
  450. >You pondered the question for a moment, graciously accepting the glass of water with a small thank you.
  451. >Your eyes drifted nowhere in particular as you were lost in thought, only to then fixate on Luna’s mane.
  452. >It was a brilliant shade of navy blue, with shining sparkles not unlike stars sprinkled throughout.
  453. >Looking at it gave you an idea.
  454. “Well, humans have a large fascination with the night sky.”
  455. >Luna froze in the middle of pouring herself a glass of white wine.
  456. >”…Truly?”
  457. “Oh, absolutely! You wouldn’t believe how much humans adore it!”
  458. >Luna looked down at the glass of wine, silent.
  459. >”…What about it makes it interesting to thy kind?”
  460. “Everything, Luna! There isn’t a single thing about the night that isn’t totally awesome! To mankind, the stars represent our desire to explore, to build, to create. In fact, let me tell you something. Humans consider two events above all else to be the most important events in human history.”
  461. >Luna looked back up at you, her eyes shining.
  462. >”What are they?”
  463. “The first event is the discovery of fire-making. Humans collectively recognize it as one of the first great moments of ingenuity and innovation, which enabled us to reach the level of technology we now possess. And as for the second event…”
  464. >You trailed off, leaving a dramatic pause.
  465. >Luna was on the edge of her seat, wine forgotten in her intrigue.
  466. >”What is it? What is it?”
  467. >You smiled at her enthusiasm; she was like a child being told an epic fantasy.
  468. “Our second event is what we humans consider the greatest achievement humankind has ever accomplished. Absolutely nothing comes anywhere near as amazing as this. Nothing comes close.”
  469. >The hunger in Luna’s eyes was palpable.
  470. “The single greatest moment in human history… was when we put men on the moon.”
  471. >Luna gasped, but you were ready with the one-two punch.
  472. “And we brought them back down to Earth, safe and sound.”
  473. >All Luna could do was gape in total shock, while you took a swig of water.
  474. >It was a lot cleaner then you were used to.
  475. >”That’s… How did… But….”
  476. >You watched amusedly as Luna stuttered, trying to make sense of the bombshell you just dropped on her.
  477. “And we plan to go even further than that.”
  478. >Luna just slumped in her chair, clearly unable to process what you have told her.
  479. >She remained silent for a good while.
  480. >You were content to sit there and sip from your glass while you waited for Luna to recover.
  481. >”…Why?”
  482. >You pause.
  483. “I beg your pardon?”
  484. >Luna looked at you, still resting her head on the desk.
  485. >”Thy kind considers touching down on the moon to be their ultimate achievement. What makes it so? We do not understand. Have thy people built cities and towns there? Do humans live on the moon?”
  486. “No. The moon is a cold and uninhabitable place. It was all we could do just to go there and come back.”
  487. >”Then why bother? It is the most impressive action we’ve ever heard of, and from magicless beings no less. But little has come of it. So we beseech thee. What did the endeavor accomplish?”
  488. >You sat there for a minute, trying to find the words to explain.
  489. >It was a good while before you had come up with an acceptable response.
  490. “Well, it sort of goes back to what makes humans special.”
  491. >Luna looked more confused than ever, so you continued.
  492. “Long ago, way before the technology to do anything had even been thought of, humans would look up to the stars in admiration. They’d look up at the stars and the moon and they’d say, that’s where we are going. That’s where we want to be. It might take us thousands of years to do it, but we can wait. We will do the math, we will build what we need, we will pay for every expense. That’s the end goal, and we will do whatever it takes to reach it, no matter how long it might take.”
  493. >Luna’s eyes began to fill with some sort of emotion that you couldn’t decipher.
  494. “So, while we waited, we imagined what it would be like up there. Some said that there were gods up there. Others said it would be the secrets of the universe. But most agreed that there were simply stars. And that was enough for us. It was as touching a romance as any author could write, humans and the stars.”
  495. >You were on a roll, with no intention of stopping anytime soon.
  496. “Did you know that we try our best to name each and every star we come across?”
  497. >Luna’s breathing had become labored, and her mane had started to obstruct her face.
  498. >”…Every star?”
  499. “Of course, with so many stars, they aren’t the best of names. Sometimes just a string of letters and numbers. But we do try our best. And not just the ones that we see either. We built telescopes, really powerful ones. We use those to look for even more. We watch as they interact with each other. We watch as stars are born. We watch them as they die. And we record it, so that we can find more to observe. All of this, because we love the night.”
  500. >Luna’s breathing had begun to hitch, her face completely covered by her mane.
  501. >You began to worry that maybe you had said something wrong.
  502. “Luna, are you alright?”
  503. >”W-We apologize, A-Anon. W-We need some t-time to think.”
  504. >With that, Luna teleported away, leaving you sitting in front of an empty desk, hoping that you hadn’t offended her in some way.
  506. >It had been some time since Luna left.
  507. >You couldn’t help but feel as though you had said something you shouldn’t have.
  508. >Though what that could be, you had no clue.
  509. >You had long since corked Luna’s wine and returned it to the cooler she retrieved it from; you thought it would’ve been the polite thing to do.
  510. >The glass, however, you left where she put it.
  511. >You didn’t want to dump out what was probably high-quality wine.
  512. >While you waited, you made several attempts on the life of the confectionary the good doctor had gifted you earlier.
  513. >Once the swelling had gone down and the soreness subsided it was much less painful.
  514. >You threw away the stem once you had finished it, and returned to your chair.
  515. >You did hope she was alright.
  516. >After some time had passed, you heard the door to the study open.
  517. >”Luna, did you get caught up in your work again? Dinner started some time ago.”
  518. >You turned around to see a large white alicorn mare peeking in the room.
  519. >She was taller than Luna, that’s for sure, though from this distance you couldn’t tell by how much.
  520. >Her eyes soon landed on you and she gave a little jolt in surprise.
  521. >You figured that being amicable would be the best course of action.
  522. “Hello. Luna isn’t here right now. She teleported off somewhere.”
  523. >The alicorn said nothing, instead she simply stared at you as though you were a fish out of water, her expression unreadable.
  524. “My name is Anonymous. May I ask who you are?”
  525. >The mare opened the door enough to step inside tentatively.
  526. >”…I am Princess Celestia, Ruler of Equestria and Raiser of the sun. You said your name was Anonymous? Then you must be the supposed human that my sister spoke of.”
  527. >You licked your lips.
  528. “What do you mean by ‘supposed’ human? Are you callin me a liar?”
  529. >”I am simply skeptical, nothing more. I find the idea of aliens rather nonsensical.”
  530. “Really? But there are so many planets and stars out there, it’s not impossible that life could’ve started out there as well.”
  531. >Celestia giggled, as though she had heard something funny.
  532. >You harrumphed, crossing your arms.
  533. “I can assure you, I am very much a human. And I can say with reasonable amounts of certainty that I am not on my native planet.”
  534. >Celestia smiled warmly, but to you it felt sort of condescending, like she still didn’t believe you.
  535. >”Really now?”
  536. “Of course. Us humans are of a rather adventurous breed, you see. We’ve long since scoured our planet and searched every nook and cranny in search of discovering new things. The only place on our planet that we have yet to fully explore is the bottom of the ocean.”
  537. >The white mare moved closer to you, maintaining that warm smile as she took a seat facing you.
  538. “And besides. Have you ever seen another such as I?”
  539. >”I could point out the similarities between you and some of the monkey tribe that dwell within the Zebrican jungles.”
  540. “I oughta kick your ass for saying that.”
  541. >Celestia’s smile was replaced with a frown.
  542. >”Do watch your language. I’m sure the donkeys would not take kindly to such derogatory terms.”
  543. “Right back at you. Don’t call me a monkey, and we won’t have any further problems.”
  544. >She remained silent for a few moments.
  545. >”I do apologize, Anonymous. We appear to have gotten off on the wrong hoof here. I meant no disrespect by what I said.”
  546. >You closed your eyes and hummed slightly.
  547. “You don’t believe me.”
  548. >”Perhaps.”
  549. “As close to a confession as any from you, I suppose. Very well. If it is proof you desire, then allow me to put your suspicions to rest.”
  550. >You brought your hand down into your pocket and pulled out your phone, which Celestia eyed curiously.
  551. “Do you know what this is?”
  552. >”No, I can’t say that I do.”
  553. “Hmm, I had told Luna about it. I thought she would have told you. Maybe it slipped her mind, though I can’t see how that could’ve happened.”
  554. >Celestia looked down at the floor, her cheeks blushing slightly, though you knew not why.
  555. “In any case, this is a piece of technology used for long distance communication. It also has a myriad of other features, including an electronic clock, calendar, calculator, camera, video recorder, music player, video player, among many other services.”
  556. >Celestia’s incredulous look faded as soon as you started up for phone and took a picture of her, much like you did with Luna.
  557. “Hmm, sixty-eight percent… Damn iPhones and their mediocre battery life.”
  558. >You muttered under your breath.
  559. >”What was that?”
  560. “Nothing, nothing. Just talking to myself.”
  561. >Celestia sat there for a moment, before her mouth turned upwards in a sort of smirk.
  562. >”They say that’s a sign of loneliness.”
  563. >Celestia’s smirk grew, and she muttered something to herself.
  564. >You were able to pick up some of what she said, ‘…can still banter…’.
  565. “The alien who has no way to return home is feeling lonely? Who would’ve guessed?”
  566. >Celestia winced.
  567. >”W-We don’t know that for sure! Though this communicator is indeed impressive, it is by no accounts evidence of extraterrestrial origin.”
  568. >You nodded.
  569. “That is correct. But it was not the phone that I wanted to show you as evidence. It was what was stored on it.”
  570. >You swiped through your picture album until you came across a picture of Earth.
  571. >You had only downloaded it as a background for your phone a year or so ago; you never knew you would use it to prove that you were an alien.
  572. >Holding your phone up, you showed Celestia the picture.
  573. “This is a picture taken from a satellite, that is to say, a man-made device that orbits the Earth not unlike how the Earth orbits the sun.”
  574. >Celestia grew confused again.
  575. >”Orbits the… sun? We will have to talk about that later. I don’t recognize any of these landmasses, but that still doesn’t make you an alien. This picture could be a forgery. It is much more believable story.”
  576. >You turned off your phone before stuffing it back into your pocket.
  577. “Well, I don’t exactly know what to tell you then. I showed you advanced technology you had never seen before, I showed you what my planet looked like, and I look like nothing else on this planet. I have nothing else to show you to prove my origins anymore.”
  578. >Celestia stared off into the distance.
  579. >”…Not necessarily.”
  580. “I beg your pardon?”
  581. >”Your memories would be rather invaluable. They could prove undeniably that you are an alien.”
  582. >You didn’t like what Celestia was implying.
  583. “Celestia, what are you saying?”
  584. >”I could use a spell to see into your mind and discern the truth for myself.”
  585. “Absolutely not.”
  586. >Celestia looked at you strangely.
  587. “I will not let my mind be browsed by anybody other than me. No exceptions. I’m sorry that you don’t believe me, but my mind is sacred place. I have secrets just like everybody else; I have things I want to keep private. I won’t have you snooping around up there for your own benefit.”
  588. >Celestia looked rather hurt by your words.
  589. >”I do not seek to pry into your private affairs, but if you would just—”
  590. “No, Celestia. Either believe what I have shown you or don’t. It makes no difference to me. But I will not have you breaking into my head. It is my sanctuary, my personal safe haven.”
  591. >Celestia appeared as though she wished to push the issue further, but you stood up and clapped your hands, cutting her off.
  592. “Now, you had mentioned that you were looking for Luna when you came here, correct? She had left after questioning me a couple hours ago, though she was acting rather strangely. Shall we be off to find her then? I am rather hungry for dinner.”
  593. >Celestia fumbled with her words for a moment, before sighing and standing up.
  594. >”Very well, Anonymous. Let’s go find my sister. She’s probably in her room or something like that. That’s where she’s always been as of late.”
  595. “Then let us be off to her bedchambers.”
  596. >You opened the door to Luna’s study and marched out.
  597. >You took a few steps before stopping.
  598. >Thinking for a bit, you turn around to face Celestia, who was staring at you rather amusedly.
  599. “Uh… Do lead the way, Princess.”
  600. >Celestia chuckled and took the lead, trotting down the long hallway.
  602. >They care.
  603. >Oh my stars, they care.
  604. >You had stuffed your face into your pillow for the second time today, though this time it was not out of frustration.
  605. >Instead, you openly wept at Anonymous’ words to you, drenching the pillowcase with your tears.
  606. >You had been unappreciated by ponies for all this time.
  607. >They constantly favored the sun and your sister over you and your moon.
  608. >You were so desperate for their approval.
  609. >You would do anything to get it.
  610. >And then comes along Anon.
  611. >The stories he told struck you deep.
  612. >How his kind adored the night, cherishing it so dearly.
  613. >From this human that came from beyond the stars, she found the recognition she had been denied for so long.
  614. >No fear or malice was present in his eyes as he looked at you, rather there was a genuine interest and kindness.
  615. >It had been some time since you had seen that.
  616. >He could show you the respect and affection that you craved so desperately.
  617. >He would love you just as the ponies love your sister.
  618. >Yes, you’d show him all the wonderful things your night has to offer.
  619. >You lifted your head up from your pillow and wiped your eyes.
  620. >Your mascara had long since been washed away by your crying; some of it had even stained the pillow.
  621. >You hopped off your bed and made your way over to your nightstand.
  622. >Grabbing a wet rag with your magic, you wiped off the ruined make-up.
  623. >As you did so, you looked over at the clock, only to realize that you had been crying for over two hours now.
  624. “Oh no, we are late for dinner! And Anon, we left him alone for so long…”
  625. >You rushed over to your bathroom and washed your face out in the sink.
  626. >No time to be delicate about it, you had a guest waiting for you.
  627. >Scrubbing your wet face with a towel, you rush out the doors to your bedroom, only to collide with something large and smooth.
  628. >“Oof!”
  629. >You squealed in surprise as you fell on top of whatever you had knocked over.
  630. >With the towel still covering your face, you couldn’t tell what had happened, although you could hear the familiar sound of your sister snickering.
  631. >Tossing it aside, you looked down to see the dazed face of Anonymous.
  632. “Oh, oh d-dear! W-We did not see thee! Art t-thou well, Anon?!”
  633. >”Perfectly fine, why do you ask.”
  634. >Anon shook his head, while you let out a sigh of relief.
  635. >You were thankful that Anon was not hurt; you didn’t know what you would have done if your clumsiness had harmed your dear friend.
  636. >”…Luna, as comfortable and warm as it is for you to lay on me like this, I would really like to go have some dinner.”
  637. >Your sister’s laugh brought you back to your senses.
  638. >”Luna, what’s with that dreamy look on your face?”
  639. >Blood rushed to your face as you leapt up from your position, Anon letting out a deep chuckle.
  640. “W-What dost thou m-mean? We a-are perfectly normal!”
  641. >”Whatever you say, dear. Now come, dinner was ready quite some time ago. Let’s not keep the chef’s waiting.”
  642. >You helped Anon stand up before following after your sister in a stiff-legged fashion, which wrought another round of giggling from Anon.
  643. >Keeping pace with Anonymous, you sneaked a couple glances at him every now and again.
  644. >Your cheeks were still burning bright red, and you noticed that his had a tinge of pink to them.
  645. >You took comfort in that; you weren’t the only one embarrassed by what had happened.
  646. >Although… it did feel pretty nice.
  647. >The more you thought about it, the more you felt some sensation grow in your stomach.
  648. >It was sort of constricting, yet gave a sense of warmth, though you struggled to catch your breath.
  649. >Anon hadn’t noticed your condition yet, so you tried your best to conceal it.
  650. >What was happening to you?
  651. >Had you come down with some sort of sickness?
  652. >If Anon was an alien, could he have transferred some alien disease onto you?
  653. >Oh, you certainly hoped not!
  654. >That settles it, you were going to see Doctor Heartfelt immediately after dinner and figure this out.
  655. >Just as you managed to control your blush, the three of you had arrived at the royal dining hall.
  656. >Most ponies had this preconceived notion that it was some grand room able to fit dozens of people at one table, and could be filled with many platters and plates of food.
  657. >That could not be more incorrect.
  658. >While yes, it was true that there was such a room in the castle reserved for large events, for personal dining experiences you had simply used a small room connected to the kitchen with a decently sized table.
  659. >It wasn’t royal as much as it was a place reserved for you, your sister, and special guests.
  660. >Since it was just the three of you, the chefs had collapsed the table to fit three comfortably.
  661. >You and your sister took the ends of the table sitting opposite each other, while Anon sat lengthwise between you two.
  662. >Celestia rang a little bell that was on her side of the table, which brought one of the chefs out from the kitchen, holding several platters of food, which he placed on the table before excusing himself.
  663. >There were so many different types of food to choose from, some of which you still didn’t recognize.
  664. >The culinary world had evolved quite a bit since your banishment.
  665. >There were fruit salads, apple and cherry pies, mashed potatoes, soup, broth, noodles, among others.
  666. >”Very well, let’s dig in.”
  667. >As you picked up a few plates with your magic, you noticed Anon make some sort of gesture with his hands that you didn’t recognize, before mumbling something under his breath.
  668. >He didn’t have much to say to himself, apparently, as it wasn’t long before he too was reaching out for some food.
  669. >Eh, it’s probably nothing to bother him about.
  670. >You can ask him later.
  671. >As for now though…
  672. >You licked your lips in hunger.
  673. >There was a bounty to feast upon.
  675. >Dinner was delicious as always, all thanks to the work of your lovely chefs.
  676. >Luna and Anonymous finished their meals at about the same time and were now waiting for you.
  677. >You, on the other hand, were engorging yourself on a specially made double-decker cake, just the way you liked it.
  678. >While you dined, you reflected upon your meeting with Anonymous in Luna’s study.
  679. >You wished it had gone better.
  680. >Looking back, you realized that you had allowed your skepticism to influence your attitude towards the human.
  681. >You weren’t supposed to act the way you did.
  682. >You began to chew at a slower pace.
  683. >A troubled look adorned your face as you sat there in thought.
  684. >You were the princess of Equestria, for crying out loud!
  685. >You weren’t supposed to act like this?
  686. >So then why…
  687. >Maybe it’s just stress.
  688. >Yes, that must be it.
  689. >You looked over at the human, who was chatting with Luna.
  690. >Regardless of your skepticism about his origins, you can plainly see that he is no normal creature.
  691. >Not only that, but his indignation before was understandable, his convictions fair.
  692. >You were in the wrong, that was clear to you now.
  693. >You made a mental note to properly apologize to Anonymous at a later date.
  694. >As for yourself…
  695. >You returned to your cake, which was already half-eaten.
  696. >Usually, you’d be finished with such a cake by now, but your musings had slowed down your appetite.
  697. >You paused to swallow.
  698. >It seemed to be that you were overly stressed out about something, but you could not figure out what.
  699. >But that could be determined later, when you had cleared your head.
  700. >Shoveling another large bite of cake into your mouth, you glanced up to look at Luna.
  701. >She was particularly attracted to her conversation with Anon about something called Nah-Suh.
  702. >You didn’t know what that was, but apparently Luna greatly enjoyed hearing about it, if the large smile on her face was anything to go by.
  703. >The happiness your sister exuded was enough to warm your heart at the sight.
  704. >It was becoming so rare to see her smile like that.
  705. >You had tried your best to get Luna to make friends, yet none of them ever followed through.
  706. >But it would appear, that despite your lack of intervention, Luna was able to find someone to befriend.
  707. >You opened your mouth to inhale another piece of cake, only to crunch down on the hard metal of the fork.
  708. >You look at the fork sadly, before peering at your plate, only to find it completely empty and devoid of cake.
  709. >A shame really, you were so lost in thought that you weren’t enjoying the cake.
  710. >Pushing back tears, you stood up, grabbing the attention of Anonymous and Luna.
  711. “Well, this has been a lovely dinner. I have other matters that I must attend to, so do forgive my leave. Anonymous, we have breakfast at seven sharp, so do try to be on time. I do wish to speak with you again when it is convenient.”
  712. >With a curt nod to Luna and Anonymous, you make your way out of the dining room and off to your study.
  713. >You had a lot of papers to read through and sign off on, and you wished to be in bed at an acceptable hour.
  715. >As Celestia left the room, you rubbed your eyes.
  716. >With your stomach filled with good food, you were feeling rather sleepy.
  717. >Luna looked over at you, hearing your yawn.
  718. >”Thou cannot be tired already. The night has yet to even begin.”
  719. >You lazily drifted your eyes over to Luna.
  720. “I’m sorry. I’ve been awake for quite some time now. Who knows how messed up my sleep schedule is from all this.”
  721. >Luna straightened up slightly with a panicked look that she quickly hid from view.
  722. >Not quick enough for you to not notice though.
  723. >”W-We would like to show thee something that we think thou might find of interest.”
  724. >You blinked.
  725. “Sure, what do you have in mind?”
  726. >Luna lit up with a smile once again, before she eagerly leapt out of her chair and began pulling you down the hallway you entered from.
  727. >”Quickly, quickly! We must not be late!”
  728. “Late for what?”
  729. >Luna doesn’t respond immediately, instead choosing to giggle like a child.
  730. >”Thou shalt soon see!”
  731. >Luna’s pushing brought you two all the way back to her bedchambers.
  732. >The guards standing watch looked ahead with passive indifference to their princess pushing a human into her bedroom giggling madly.
  733. >You wondered what they were thinking…
  734. >Once the two of you were inside, Luna bounded ahead of you towards a door which lead towards a balcony.
  735. >”Come, come! It’s almost time!”
  736. >Not one to keep the cute mare waiting, you briskly walked over to her side as she stood on the terrace, unable to keep still.
  737. “Alright, now tell me. What’s the big rush for?”
  738. Luna’s smile grew even broader.
  739. >”Tis time for us to raise the moon.”
  740. “It’s time to what.”
  741. >”Tis time for us to raise the moon.”
  742. “…What do you mean by raise the moon, is what I’m asking.”
  743. >”Exactly as we said, Anon. The moon. Time to raise it.”
  744. >You give Luna a deadpanned look, while her giddiness refused to subside.
  745. “You are going to raise the moon.”
  746. >”We have said as much, indeed.”
  747. “Ah, yes, of course. Well, go right ahead then, I shall not keep you.”
  748. >”Verily. Now watch. Once we signal our sister to lower the sun, we shall begin.”
  749. >Oh, this you’ll have to see.
  750. >You crossed your arms as Luna closed her eyes.
  751. >All of a sudden, Luna’s horn lit up, shining like a navy blue glowstick, before fading away slowly.
  752. >After a short pause, you saw a similar light, this time a warm yellow, shine off from one of the other towers.
  753. >As the light died, you focused in on the light’s origin to see the outline of an alicorn.
  754. >Once both lights had died out, you saw the yellow light flash again, even brighter this time.
  755. >You noticed that the sky was turning to a yellow, then a dark orange.
  756. >Chancing a glance, you look to the horizon to see the last glowing remains of the sun pass beyond, before the sky became a cool twilight purple.
  757. >It was possible that it was moving faster than it usually did, but perhaps you had simply been mistaken.
  758. >Looking up at the blank purple sky, you noticed the rather noticeable lack of stars.
  759. >You felt a little disheartened at the prospect.
  760. >These ponies need to learn a thing or two about light pollution.
  761. >Luna’s horn once again lit up, but this time you heard Luna faintly singing something.
  762. >You couldn’t make out any of the words as they didn’t seem to be English.
  763. >Whatever they were, it was very melodic and slow.
  764. >You looked off to the opposite horizon to see the moon rise in all of its splendor.
  765. >Luna’s singing grew slightly louder as the moon rose ever higher.
  766. >You had to admit, Luna had an amazing singing voice.
  767. >Not that you’d have said anything else, that is.
  768. >The moon slowly crawled to a stop at its zenith, and Luna’s magic slowly faded away as she held the final note in her beautiful melody.
  769. “Wow… that was….”
  770. >Luna opened her eyes and glanced back at you with a smile on her face.
  771. >”Thou thinks that is all? Dear Anon, we have yet to finish. There remains one last thing.”
  772. >With that said, she raised her head up to seemingly study the night sky.
  773. >You watched as her eyes darted back and forth looking at something you were not privy to.
  774. >A moment later and her horn lit up again, though not as intensely.
  775. >”Thy kind hath explored the vastness of space, and revealed a great many secrets that are yet unknown to us ponyfolk. Thou shared with us a portion of thy knowledge and for that we are forever thankful.”
  776. >Her mane whipped and thrashed about as the air began to taste of metal, making your hair stand on end.
  777. >”Consider this a symbol of our thanks. The ponies of Equestria are… less than interested in what we have to offer. But someone of thy standing would be better suited to appreciate our glorious night sky. We hope thou finds it as interesting as it is back on thy planet.”
  778. >A blast of white light shot out of Luna’s horn before arcing up towards the sky.
  779. >It then fractured and split off into a great and uncountable number of them, before each one finding their resting place on the sky.
  780. >You couldn’t believe what you were seeing.
  781. >All of the lights had become little specks of light, some were brighter, some darker, some tinted shades of blue, yellow, and pink.
  782. >You hadn’t seen the night sky look this beautiful in a long time.
  783. >But how could she have done this?
  784. >Were Luna and Celestia some sort of goddesses?
  785. >As if reading your mind, which at this point you were ready to assume she very well could, Luna spoke up.
  786. >”Due to excess magic use, the stratosphere of our planet has long since lost the ability to see our stars. The innate magic of our planet has resulted in a rather densely packed magically-charged gas that normal starlight cannot pierce. All that remain of their existence are the stories we heard of as a foal, which have long since been lost to time. To remember them, we created this spell.”
  787. >You looked at Luna with a newfound sense of respect and admiration.
  788. “Luna, that’s… That’s amazing. It boggles the mind.”
  789. >Luna looked down and pawed at the ground, abashed.
  790. >”Tis nothing, really. A simple spell, is all.”
  791. “Luna, you aren’t giving yourself enough credit here.”
  792. >You stepped closer to her as she looked up to face you.
  793. “I honestly can’t describe how majestic that looked. Yeah, I might be from a place without magic, so maybe there’s some bias in your favor, but still! Not only being able to move the moon, a feat which I can’t even begin to wrap my head around, but you basically recreated the night sky from scratch. That’s beyond even us humans!”
  794. >Luna blushed slightly at your praise.
  795. >”W-We don’t…”
  796. “Luna, are you some kinda pagan god or something like that?”
  797. >Luna stiffened, her blush deepening.
  798. >”A-A god, you say? N-No, we are s-simply an alicorn.”
  799. >You chuckled a bit.
  800. “No, Luna! That’s where you are supposed to say ‘Of course I am, mortal! Behold thy god taken on flesh and bone as we stand before thee’ or something along those lines.”
  801. >You puffed out your chest to emphasize your point, as Luna’ tried to hide her face behind her mane.
  802. >”T-Thou jests!”
  803. “I mean, you could’ve fooled me.”
  804. >”Come now, u-us? A g-god?”
  805. “Would it really be so hard to believe?”
  806. >Luna let out an adorable ‘eep’ before beginning to push you back inside her bedchambers.
  807. >”T-That’s enough of that! Let us j-just continue to other things.”
  808. “Alright, alright. What did you have in mind?”
  809. >Luna closed the door to the balcony behind you.
  810. >”Thy phone, thou mentioned it had other applications?”
  811. >You frowned slightly.
  812. “Yeah, we did. But the device doesn’t have a great deal of charge left. It won’t last for much longer and without any way to recharge it, it’ll be effectively useless.”
  813. >Luna drooped slightly upon hearing that.
  814. >”Oh, that’s rather disappointing. We were so looking forward to seeing more of what thou had to offer.”
  815. >You chuckled before absent-mindedly petting Luna’s head, causing her to jolt up slightly in shock.
  816. “I’m sorry, but there isn’t anything I can really do about that. But I’m sure there’s something else you’d be interested in doing, right?”
  817. >Luna doesn’t respond.
  818. >You glance down at the alicorn to see her heavily blushing, eyes half-lidded.
  819. >She was cooing softly, leaning into your hand as you rubbed behind her ears, which flicked at random intervals.
  820. >Your heart melted at the sight.
  821. “You’re really enjoying yourself, aren’t you?”
  822. >Luna chooses to remain silent, save for some humming in contentment as you ran your fingers across the smooth fur on her neck.
  823. >You moved on to rub down the side of her barrel, before making your way up to her chin, which Luna promptly rest her head on, eyes closed.
  824. >Her legs lifted slightly and twitched as you continued your little ministrations, much like you had seen cats do.
  825. >You slowly started to crouch, and Luna’s head followed your hand as you descended.
  826. >Getting into a cross-legged sitting position, you brought her to rest on your lap, as you used both hands to brush along her mane and scratch her ears, receiving little chirps and mewls of pleasure for your efforts.
  827. >Her fur was so smooth, you couldn’t get enough of it!
  828. >You were resisting the urge to wrap yourself in Luna’s barrel and just nuzzle yourself in her warmth; the sight of Luna peacefully relaxing on your lap was simply too precious to disturb.
  829. >It appeared that she too was enjoying her spontaneous massage, if you could even call it that.
  830. >She hummed and moaned as your hands drifted across her, and you took her absence of any objections to continue.
  831. >You sat there for a good while, just petting and rubbing Luna until the sound of soft snoring reached your ears.
  832. >Smiling at the peaceful alicorn slumbering in your lap, you finished your petting.
  833. >As you tried to straighten up again, you felt your back crack, likely from sitting hunched over for so long.
  834. >Wincing in pain, you try to twist your torso around in an attempt to alleviate the sensation, yet fail miserably.
  835. >Looking down at the sleeping pony, you realized that you would need to stand up to get rid of the crick in your back.
  836. >Steeling your nerves, you gently slid your hands underneath Luna’s head, before slowly lifting.
  837. >Seeing that she was still asleep, you quietly moved out from underneath her, before setting her head back down.
  838. >Alright, now you had extracted yourself from the pony.
  839. >You twisted and bent your back until you heard the satisfying pop of your spine, and felt the pain go away.
  840. >Looking down at the pony on the floor, you realized that you could not simply leave her there on the floor.
  841. >No, this pony needs to be in bed!
  842. >But how to tackle the problem of moving her without waking her up.
  843. >Hmm…
  844. >You slid your arm underneath her foreleg, before running your other hand under her rump.
  845. >You hoped she wouldn’t wake up and kill you for touching the royal pony butt without permission, but you saw little other choice.
  846. >Luckily, as you soon discovered, Luna was far lighter than you had expected.
  847. >You bet you could hold her in one arm if you had the right position.
  848. >But you were not going to try that right now.
  849. >As you brought Luna over to her bed, you felt her move her legs to wrap around you.
  850. >A quick glance at her eyes showed that she was still asleep, so you figured you were in the clear.
  851. >But the next dilemma made itself immediately apparent when you made to set her down on the mattress— she was not going to let go of you.
  852. >Truly, a more dire set of circumstances, there has never been.
  853. >But you were not without hope!
  854. >The way you saw it, there was only one option available to you.
  855. >It was risky, dangerously so!
  856. >But it was your only chance.
  857. >You gently kicked off your shoes before climbing on the bed.
  858. >As you laid down on your side, Luna subconsciously snuggled closer to you, nuzzling your neck.
  859. >With a smile on your face, you wrapped your arms around her barrel, making for a warm and intimate embrace between man and mare.
  860. >Given the circumstances, it was no surprise that sleep found you quickly.
  861. >But you wouldn’t have minded staying awake for a little while longer.
  863. >You felt comfortable, more so than you had in a long time.
  864. >It was so warm that you remained in slumber for some time.
  865. >However, the waking world called out to you.
  866. >The moon did need to set after all.
  867. >Your tired mind resisted awakening for as long as possible, but in the end, there was nothing you could do to stop it.
  868. >As your mind began to slowly rouse itself from blissful slumber, you became aware of some warm entity pressing up against you.
  869. >You slowly opened your eyes, blinking your sleep away.
  870. >All at once, your eyes bulged out and your wings rapidly extended.
  871. >You found yourself in an intimate embrace with a rather familiar human.
  872. >Paralyzed, you could do nothing but sit there frozen in shock while Anon pulled you a little closer to himself, murmuring softly in his sleep.
  873. >What were you supposed to do?
  874. >You weren’t certain that you could get out without waking him up, but you needed to lower the moon.
  875. >And how would he react if he woke up pressed against you?
  876. >In fact, why were you pressed up against him?
  877. >You had so many questions, yet no answers.
  878. >You leaned your head back slightly so that you could look at Anon’s face.
  879. >He was still in deep sleep, yet sported a smile that touched your heart.
  880. >Your heartbeat quickened and that familiar sensation in your stomach made itself known once again.
  881. >Your tail began to twitch and flick about haphazardly, as your breathing grew faster.
  882. >Your mind was racing as you tried to figure out some sort of solution to your current predicament, only to freeze as you felt Anon shift in your grasp.
  883. >He let out a quiet moan as his legs stretched out and flexed.
  884. >You racked your brain for some action you could take, some choice to be made to avoid what was about to happen, but you came up with nothing.
  885. >Anon opened his mouth and yawned, his hot breath washing over your face, before he slowly opened his eyes.
  886. >Seeing your petrified state, he smiled and chuckled with that deep voice of his.
  887. >“Why, hello there. Sleep well?”
  888. >You remained as still as a statue while Anon rolled his shoulders which sounded off with a resounding pop for his efforts.
  889. >”You were so enthralled by my petting that you just feel asleep on my lap. I tried to put you in bed, but you were not about to let me go so easily. I hope you don’t mind.”
  890. “I-I don’t….”
  891. >Anon pulled you closer, until his mouth was right next to your ear.
  892. >”Mmm… you’re really warm, you know.”
  893. >Alright, you had enough.
  894. >Your cheeks ablaze with embarrassment, you gave Anon a shove hard enough to push him off the bed, before hopping to your hooves.
  895. >Anon sat up from his place on the floor, still groggy from waking up as well as being knocked off the bed.
  896. >”Luna, wha—”
  898. >Not even waiting for a reply, you charged up a teleportation spell and sent the confused human off to the dining room with haste.
  899. >You tried to calm yourself as you turned to the balcony, doing your best to straighten your ruffled feathers.
  900. >The feeling in your stomach pervaded all other sensations as you slowed your erratic breathing.
  901. >You shook your head in an attempt to clear your thoughts.
  902. >The doctor… she’d probably have an explanation for this; you’ll meet with her after you were finished with breakfast.
  903. >As your horn blazed with magic once again, you signaled your sister in preparation for your bidaily ritual.
  904. >Your mind was ablaze with Anonymous; no matter how hard you tried you simply could not get him out of your head.
  905. >The way his arms had wrapped around you…
  906. >The heat of his chest pressed against yours…
  907. >The comfort you had felt as you awoke in his care…
  908. >The flash of yellow light signaling Celestia’s response snapped you out of your stupor.
  909. >You pushed those thoughts to the back of your head.
  910. >No matter how… entertaining they may be, it did you no favors.
  911. >First, you dispelled the stars you had created, and you watched as they began to fade away.
  912. >Once the stars had all disappeared, you reached out towards your moon, finding comfort in its familiarity.
  913. >The confusion and uncertainty that plagued your mind slowly slipped away as you found solace in the moon’s caring glow.
  914. >As your consciousness cleared itself of strife, you began the process of lowering the moon.
  915. >It resisted somewhat, it was rather finicky like that sometimes.
  916. >But as you began to sing the moon a little lullaby, it’s resistance slowly dwindled away.
  917. >As the moon passed behind the horizon, ready to await its return at sunset, you reflected on your situation with a clear mind.
  918. >Something about Anon made you feel strange, that much you were certain of.
  919. >You had never experienced something quite like this before.
  920. >You had no idea what to expect, how to think, or even what to do.
  921. >Your resolve strengthened; you were now certain that going to the doctor would be the best course of action.
  922. >Turning around, you re-entered your bedchambers as the sun began it’s climb, the sky turning yellow and then blue as it rose.
  923. >Making your way over to the bathroom, you began your typical morning ritual.
  925. “Oof!”
  926. >You landed on the hard marble floor of the castle’s dining room rather ungracefully.
  927. >Rubbing your back, you sat up to get your bearings.
  928. >Luna had appeared rather flustered when you woke up.
  929. >But boy, did she look adorable while it lasted.
  930. >Standing up with a pained groan, you looked over to the dining table.
  931. >As expected, nobody was present.
  932. >Pulling up a chair, you sat down in one of the seats.
  933. >You had nothing better to do, after all.
  934. >And it wasn’t like you knew your way around the castle yet either.
  935. >What time did Celestia say that breakfast was again?
  936. >You didn’t quite remember, but you figured it shouldn’t be long now.
  937. >You hear a door open from behind you.
  938. >Assuming it to be Celestia, you turned around to address her, only to come face to face with some other pony.
  939. >This pony appeared to be a stallion with a blond mane and a white coat.
  940. >He also appeared to be wearing a white tuxedo.
  941. >He looked like a prick.
  942. >Before you even had the chance to open your mouth, the pony shrieked at a pitch most men would be ashamed of.
  943. >Wincing in pain as your ears rang with feminine screams, the stallion skittered back a couple of paces.
  944. >”G-Guards!”
  945. >Immediately, two stallions clad in golden armor and brandishing spears stormed into the room.
  946. >”Prince Blueblood, you summoned us?”
  947. >”T-This monstrosity… get it out of this room!”
  948. >The pony apparently known as Blueblood pointed a hoof in your direction.
  949. >You sat there for a moment, before looking behind you as well as to your immediate left and right.
  950. “I don’t particularly see who you could be referring to as a monster, Prince.”
  951. >The guards eyed you warily.
  952. >”Prince, this is the creature that Princess Luna brought in.”
  953. >”Fantastic. Another monster roaming the premises unrestrained. Why have you not followed my orders yet, guard!”
  954. >The guard resumed his thousand-yard stare as seen on all other guard ponies up to this point.
  955. >”We, uh, don’t think that’s within our authority to do—”
  956. >”I didn’t ask if you could do it, I simply told you to do it regardless! Get rid of it, now!”
  957. >The guards gave you an apologetic but hard look as they marched up towards you.
  958. >They probably would’ve done something, had a voice not rang out from the hallway behind them.
  959. >”Now, what do we have here?”
  960. >Peeking behind the two guardsponies revealed a familiar multicolored mane.
  961. >”Auntie! Thank the heavens you arrived! I was about to be rid of this pest that has wandered into this castle.”
  962. >This Blueblood character was a rather entertaining fool, you had to admit.
  963. >Annoying, perhaps, but amusing nonetheless.
  964. >Celestia glanced over at you, as you waved in greeting.
  965. “Wonderful weather we’re having, huh?”
  966. >A bemused smile broke out on her face while Blueblood began to sputter in rage.
  967. >”How dare you speak so casually to—”
  968. >”I think I can speak for myself, nephew.”
  969. >The prince caught himself, before lowering his head meekly.
  970. >”O-Oh, but of course, Auntie.”
  971. >What a fucking pansy.
  972. >”Guards, you are dismissed. Return to your positions.”
  973. >The guards saluted before leaving the room.
  974. >Blueblood glanced up eagerly, as though he were about to witness Celestia blast you into a million pieces.
  975. >”Hello there, Anonymous. Sleep well?”
  976. >You opened your mouth to respond, yet instead got a yawn for your efforts.
  977. >Celestia giggled as you raised your hand to cover your mouth.
  978. >”I’ll take that as a yes.”
  979. >She turned to face Blueblood, who was slack-jawed in shock.
  980. >”Nephew, why were you about to evict my sister’s guest?”
  981. >The prince mouthed in response, yet no words came out.
  982. >Not bothering to wait for a response, Celestia approached you with a warm smile on her face.
  983. >”Not much of a morning person, are you?”
  984. “I love to sleep. Is that so wrong?”
  985. >”Try being princess sometime.”
  986. “I’d make a law saying that nobody can interrupt me before twelve.”
  987. >”The land would suffer for it.”
  988. “Well, bully for them. If I were an almighty alicorn, I can guarantee that people wouldn’t be so stupid as to oppose me.”
  989. >”That sounds rather tyrannical. Are you sure I shouldn’t let my nephew kick you out of the castle?”
  990. “I’d really prefer if you didn’t. I’ll scratch you behind the ears if you don’t.”
  991. >”I’m not so simple as to cave to such a flimsy reward.”
  992. “Then I suppose you are a stronger willed pony than Luna, though I believe she was happier for her decision.”
  993. >”Then I suppose I shall have to see for myself if your scratches are indeed worth more to me than your removal from the castle grounds.”
  994. >Celestia bowed her head slightly, allowing you access to her ears, which you were more than willing to comply with.
  995. >As your fingers worked their magic, you looked at Blueblood to find him with a rather disgusted look on his face, directed right at you.
  996. >As Celestia’s sighs of contentment grew louder, his displeasure morphed more and more into outright anger at you.
  997. “Hey, Celestia.”
  998. >She doesn’t respond in as much as lazily opens an eye.
  999. “The good prince over there called you aunt; is he Luna’s boy?”
  1000. >Celestia giggled for a moment before responding.
  1001. >”He’s just being affectionate. The nobles aren’t related to us in any way. Though they might wish otherwise….”
  1002. >Celestia mumbled that last part under her breath, loud enough for you to catch, but certainly quiet enough that Blueblood wouldn’t hear.
  1003. “Then he should a duke, not a prince.”
  1004. >”I am NOT a duke!”
  1005. >Blueblood, finally shaken out of his soundless rage, stomped his hooves.
  1006. >”I am a prince! A prince, I tell you! I’ll have your head for such insolence!”
  1007. >Celestia didn’t bother looking back at the prince/duke.
  1008. >”And lose this wonderful feeling? I will not stand for such things. You may leave us now nephew.”
  1009. >Blueblood almost looked ready to blow a fuse, only for himself to cool off at the last possible second.
  1010. >”In due time, Auntie. I came here with a purpose after all. I am here to inform you of the noble court’s decision.”
  1011. >At this, Celestia perked her head up.
  1012. >Turning around to face the duke, Celestia having forgotten your scritches, she awaited Blueblood’s response.
  1013. >”They have once again denied your appeal. They refuse to recognize Auntie Luna as Equestria’s sovereign.”
  1014. >Celestia frowned.
  1015. >”But why? For what reason do they give for this?”
  1016. >”They did not pass along that information to me. I only know what I just told you.”
  1017. >Celestia stood there for a moment, unmoving.
  1018. >”Very well. You may leave now.”
  1019. >Blueblood bowed his head before leaving the room, but not before giving you one final glare before the doors closed.
  1020. >Once he had left, Celestia sadly took her seat with a morose look on her face.
  1021. >Something wasn’t adding up here, this didn’t make sense to you.
  1022. “Celestia?”
  1023. >She looked up to face you.
  1024. “What did Blueblood mean by that? I was under the impression that she already was princess of Equestria.”
  1025. >Celestia sighed, looking away.
  1026. >”It’s… a long story. I don’t want to burden you with this.”
  1027. “Whether or not I want to be burdened by it is my decision to make, Celestia.”
  1028. >”No, it’s not. It’s Luna’s.”
  1029. >You frowned, but did not respond.
  1030. >She had a point, as much as you didn’t like not knowing the full story.
  1031. >”On to other news…”
  1032. >Celestia turned to face you again.
  1033. >”I wish to properly apologize, Anonymous.”
  1034. >You sat there for a minute, trying to think of what she would apologize for.
  1035. “For…?”
  1036. >”For being rude and forceful in our first encounter. We have been stressed as of late, and reacted in a way rather unbecoming of our position. You were right to get angry with us then.”
  1037. “Angry? You thought I was angry?”
  1038. >You chuckled, a confused look blooming on Celestia’s face.
  1039. “Celestia, trust me. You would know if I were angry.”
  1040. >”B-But I—”
  1041. “Yeah, you were kind of a dick. But whatever, it’s water under the bridge. I’m not one to hold grudges. At the end of the day, you didn’t really do anything to make me angry. Now, if you had continued with that mind reading spell, then we’d have a problem.”
  1042. >”We still feel an apology is in order.”
  1043. “Then go ahead. I’m not going to stop you.”
  1044. >Celestia scrunched up her nose.
  1045. >”You are a strange creature. Are all humans like this?”
  1046. >You shrugged your shoulders.
  1047. “Are all ponies?”
  1048. >”A fair point. Well, then how about this for our apology?”
  1049. >Celestia closed her eyes and her horn lit up with magic.
  1050. >You felt a tingling along the scar on your cheek and soon you saw the thread that was used as stitching being magically pulled away.
  1051. >Feeling a wound close like that is an experience you’ll never forget.
  1052. >And it wasn’t just the wound on your cheek either; all the injuries on your body were being healed before your very eyes.
  1053. >You marveled at the sight of it.
  1054. “Thank you, Celestia.”
  1055. >”There is no need for thanks, Anonymous. As we said, it was our apology.”
  1056. “Come now. There is no need to be so formal. You can call me Anon, if you prefer.”
  1057. >The light from Celestia’s horn dimmed as your injuries finished closing, before she opened her eyes and smiled.
  1058. >”I suppose Anon is easier than Anonymous. Very well.”
  1059. >As you smiled back at her, you heard the door to the dining room open once more.
  1060. >Turning around, you saw your favorite alicorn of the night enter, seemingly much more composed than when she had first woken up.
  1061. >”We do hope we were not late. We lost track of the time whilst showering.”
  1062. >Celestia waved her hoof.
  1063. >”Of course not. Anon and I were simply waiting for you. Now that you’re here, we can eat.”
  1064. >As Luna took her seat, Celestia rang the little bell she had last night, and the chefs came out loaded with food platters and drinks.
  1065. >“Breakfast is served, your majesty.”
  1066. >With that said, the three of you dug into the most important meal of the day.
  1068. >Breakfast was delicious, as to be expected of the royal chef.
  1069. >Just like last night’s dinner, you and Anon were the first to finish, while Celestia remained the slow eater as always.
  1070. >You couldn’t understand how someone with so little free time would spend so much of it eating.
  1071. >Not that it particularly mattered to you, anyways.
  1072. >You had a meeting with Doctor Heartfelt to look forward to.
  1073. >Anything if it meant this weird feeling would go away anytime soon.
  1074. >You wiped your face with a napkin and pushed your chair back in.
  1075. >Anon saw you get up, following suit with a happy look on his face.
  1076. >”So what’s on your schedule today, princess?”
  1077. >You smiled at him, that forsaken feeling resurging within you.
  1078. “We do apologize, Anon. We have a private meeting with Doctor Heartfelt that we must attend to.”
  1079. >”I’ll come with, then.”
  1080. “We said a private meeting.”
  1081. >”Oh….”
  1082. >Anon turned his head away, a sad look on his face.
  1083. >That warm sensation within you flared at this, bringing a deep panging in your chest for reasons you did not understand.
  1084. “B-But it should not take very long! We shall have the rest of the day free of activities; we can meet then, if that is acceptable to thee?”
  1085. >A smile returned to Anon’s face.
  1086. >”Alright, I suppose that’s alright. But could you escort me to the guest bedroom on the way there? I haven’t exactly had the chance to freshen up this morning.”
  1087. >Yet again, the feeling within you swelled at Anon’s words.
  1088. >Or was it because you could stay by him for longer?
  1089. >You did not know the answer to these questions.
  1090. >With all your heart, you hoped that the doctor would have some sort of explanation for it.
  1091. “I-It could not hurt to do so. If thou art ready to leave then...?”
  1092. >Anon turned to look at Celestia, who was still daintily eating another helping of pancakes.
  1093. >”Celestia, we are gonna head out now, are you okay with us leaving now?”
  1094. >Celestia waved her hoof, not bothering to look up from her breakfast.
  1095. >”Do as you wish. I’ll just take the rest of the leftovers for myself then.”
  1096. >Anon chuckled.
  1097. >”You know, the thing about leftovers is that they are supposed to be left over.”
  1098. >”I bet my nephew would come running if I shouted right now.”
  1099. >”Point taken.”
  1100. >Anon turned back to you with a wry smirk on his face.
  1101. >”Alright. Let’s be off then.”
  1102. >As you walked alongside Anon in the hallway, you took notice of the lack of a wound on Anon’s cheek.
  1103. “Anon, what happened to the cut on your face? It’s vanished!”
  1104. >He nodded his head in response.
  1105. >”Yes, Celestia was kind enough to heal it with her magic.”
  1106. >You looked down towards the ground.
  1107. “W-We apologize, Anon. Were we more adept with such spells, we would’ve taken thy pain away sooner.”
  1108. >You felt a hand caress the back of your neck.
  1109. >Feeling warmth flush across your cheeks, you looked back up to face Anon.
  1110. >”Luna, I don’t blame you for anything. Don’t worry about it. Besides, you took me to the doctor. That has to count for something, right?”
  1111. >Breaking eye contact again, you mumbled under your breath.
  1112. “Only after we left you to care for yourself.”
  1113. >”Hey, hey, hey. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Nothing good comes from being such a pessimist about things. I don’t hold anything against you, alright?”
  1114. >You remained silent for a while.
  1115. “We suppose….”
  1116. >”Good. Now, if I remember correctly, my room is… this one.”
  1117. >Stopping in front of one of the doors along the hallway, Anon opens it to reveal the guest bedroom.
  1118. >Stepping in, he turned to face you before waving.
  1119. >”I’ll see you soon. Hope your appointment goes smoothly!”
  1120. >You waved back before closing the door.
  1121. >Only then did the whirlwind of sensations in your stomach subside, to which you were grateful for.
  1122. >Casting a teleportation spell, you found yourself in the waiting room of Doctor Heartfelt.
  1123. “Doctor?”
  1124. >A skittering of hooves could be heard in the examination room before Heartfelt emerged.
  1125. >”Yes, princess? Is everything all right?”
  1126. >The doctor frowned.
  1127. >”Could the human require further treatment?”
  1128. >You shook your head.
  1129. “No, the human is healthy and unharmed. Our sister used some healing magic of her own to close his wounds.”
  1130. >Heartfelt’s eyes gleamed and she broke out into a smile.
  1131. >”That’s good, very good. I’m glad to hear that.”
  1132. “We came here for a check-up of our own.”
  1133. >Heartfelt’s smile dropped, before turning to her calendar.
  1134. >”That’s funny… you aren’t scheduled for another appointment for at least six more weeks.”
  1135. “Yes, well… We have growing concerns that we may possess some sort of malady.”
  1136. >The doctor peered over at you, a concerned look written on her face.
  1137. >”Really? Come with me into the examination room. I’ll take a look at you.”
  1138. >Following the mare into the room, you sat down on the examination table while Heartfelt pulled out a clipboard with various papers on it.
  1139. >Heartfelt then began the usual check-up procedures: taking your weight, testing your reflexes, checking your blood pressure, measuring your temperature, listening to your heartbeat.
  1140. >The usual stuff.
  1141. >Heartfelt dutifully logged everything into her paperwork as she worked, and once the check-up was finished she took a close look at the notes she compiled.
  1142. >”Hmm… Well, according to the tests, you are perfectly healthy. Your heartbeat is normal, if slightly above resting, but aside from that there is nothing that would warrant concern.”
  1143. >You fidgeted in your seat.
  1144. “Are you certain?”
  1145. >Heartfelt sighed before setting the papers aside in exchange for a new blank one.
  1146. >”Alright, then tell me. What is it that concerns you?”
  1147. “Well, starting sometime yesterday, we began to feel a sort of constricting feeling in our stomach that lasts for some time. In addition, we have experienced symptoms such as hyperventilation, an increased heartrate, and general anxiety.”
  1148. >Heartfelt nodded as she scribbled down your comments.
  1149. >”I see, I see. You said this started happening yesterday? Have you any idea what could have caused this?”
  1150. >You rubbed your foreleg as you responded.
  1151. “We do not wish to insinuate anything by our words, yet… we fear Anonymous might have passed something on to us.”
  1152. >The doctor blinked.
  1153. >”Anonymous, you mean the human? Why do you suspect your ailments come from him?”
  1154. “Ever since we returned to the castle with Anon, we have felt this sensation. And it would appear that the longer we stay around him, the worse the symptoms get.”
  1155. >Heartfelt hummed softly to herself.
  1156. >”Allow me one more check, your highness.”
  1157. “Of course, doctor.”
  1158. >With your permission, Heartfelt cast a spell over you.
  1159. >The tingling feeling of magic washing over you tickled you slightly, while Heartfelt observed the spell at work.
  1160. >Soon, the sensation faded away as Heartfelt’s horn ceased its glow.
  1161. >”Well, I can be fairly certain about one thing. You have no physical abnormalities within you. No diseases, no viruses, no foreign entities. I also do not sense any sort of magical maladies within you either.”
  1162. >Confused, you looked to the doctor expecting an explanation.
  1163. >You were certain that something has afflicted you, so what could this mean?
  1164. >”Given this, I must be led to believe that the problem is not physical or magical in nature.”
  1165. “Well, what are we to do then, Doctor?”
  1166. >Heartfelt sighed before returning to her notes, sifting through them.
  1167. >”Well, from what I can tell, there isn’t anything wrong with you. And the symptoms you described don’t appear to be debilitating or a serious health-risk. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly harmless, so I don’t see any real need to prescribe any medication or forward you to any therapists or physicians. For now, I suggest waiting it out. If the symptoms become severe or they start to occur more frequently, then you can return here, and I will take a second look.”
  1168. >You thought about Heartfelt’s words for a moment.
  1169. >”As it currently stands, I see no reason to keep you any longer. Unless you have any questions, that is.”
  1170. “No, we have none.”
  1171. >”Very well. Would you like me to reschedule the date of your next check-up?”
  1172. “That would be appreciated, Doctor. Thank you for your help.”
  1173. >Doctor Heartfelt smiled.
  1174. >”Don’t mention it. I’m just happy to help.”
  1176. >You lay down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling while lost in thought.
  1177. >What an experience this has been.
  1178. >You were surprised at how casually you’ve been handling things, considering you were no longer on your home planet.
  1179. >But in a way, you didn’t really mind it all that much.
  1180. >Your life on Earth was… simple, to say the least.
  1181. >You weren’t wealthy or well-off by any means, but you weren’t one to desire many things, so money wasn’t really a problem.
  1182. >Blame your years as a Boy Scout for drilling thriftiness into you.
  1183. >The most prominent thing to note about your life on Earth was how isolated you kept yourself.
  1184. >You had friends, sure.
  1185. >And you were communicable with most anybody.
  1186. >But you never felt any real desire to get to know many people.
  1187. >You didn’t care for large groups of acquaintances, you preferred a small circle of close friends, but even among them you didn’t do much of anything with anymore.
  1188. >You’ve never even been in a relationship at all.
  1189. >Which made how you were acting with Luna seem weird.
  1190. >Sure, you’ve been known to banter and joke about, but you’ve never flirted before.
  1191. >Especially not to someone you just met a day ago.
  1192. >Why were you doing this?
  1193. >You racked your brain for some sort of answer.
  1194. >Maybe you subconsciously recognized your new environment and the ability to start a new life, and you acted accordingly because of it.
  1195. >The more you thought about it, the more your thoughts returned to Luna.
  1196. >Luna…
  1197. >She’s an adorable little pony who can apparently create stars and move the moon.
  1198. >She was endearing; you wanted to snuggle up with her and hold her close for as long as she’d let you.
  1199. >Thinking about Luna sent a pang deep in your chest.
  1200. >Did… did you care for her?
  1201. >Well, that’s sort of an obvious question, of course you did.
  1202. >But how so?
  1203. >What was she to you?
  1204. >You couldn’t make sense of the feelings within you.
  1205. >Though you were used to being a recluse, you were ironically a bit of a closet romantic.
  1206. >What you truly desired an intimate relationship with another.
  1207. >Not intimate as in simple carnal pleasure, though you’d love that too.
  1208. >You longed to feel strongly about another.
  1209. >You so desperately wished that someday you might love someone with every ounce in your body; and that they might in turn cherish you.
  1210. >The fact of the matter was simple; you were a love-starved fool.
  1211. >Could Luna be the one you’ve been waiting for?
  1212. >Could she… love you?
  1213. >At that thought, you felt your chest tighten.
  1214. >Could she?
  1215. >You were willing to try.
  1216. >Your craving for love was so great, you were willing to try a pony if it meant you’d find the love you so madly wanted.
  1217. >As the possibility of requited love swam through your mind, you didn’t hear the soft popping sound outside the door.
  1218. >You jumped from your bed as Luna walked in, a troubled look on her face.
  1219. >The sight of Luna looking so down sent your heart into overdrive.
  1220. >This would not do at all.
  1221. >You made your way over to Luna, taking long floaty strides to reach her.
  1222. >Luna let out a small gasp as you swept her up with a giddy smile on your face.
  1223. >Giggling like a fool drunk from excess amounts of the drink, you carried the madly blushing alicorn over to the bed, setting her down in a seated position.
  1224. >Luna was clearly confused, though you were certain you saw signs of enjoyment.
  1225. >Her chest was fluffed out in a cute manner, and her wings opened slightly.
  1226. >Trying to hide your rising heartbeat and calm your heavy breathing, you crossed your arms and grinned.
  1227. “What’s with that mopey look? Are you not excited to see me?”
  1228. >Luna’s breathing slowly resumed, having completely stopped moments ago.
  1229. >”W-We are indeed e-eager to be with t-thou again.”
  1230. >Luna stammered her response as your grin grew.
  1231. “Well, then smile! Come on, I want to see you smile.”
  1232. >Luna tried to hide her face behind her mane, her blush stronger than ever, but you pushed the strands of hair out of her face.
  1233. “Can you please smile? I’d like to see it. It’s a very pretty smile.”
  1234. >Luna’s mouth quivered somewhat as she rubbed her face with her foreleg.
  1235. “Please? For me?”
  1236. >Luna scrunched herself up, making her look smaller than she was before looking up to meet your gaze.
  1237. >Slowly, the smile you asked for spread across her face.
  1238. >Your jovial mood rapidly intensified at the sight of it.
  1239. “Now that’s what I’m talking about, ha ha!”
  1240. >As you let loose your gleeful laughter, Luna slowly joined in, her blush fading away somewhat.
  1241. >There wasn’t anything particularly humorous about your situation, yet the two of you laughed away as though it were the funniest joke in the world.
  1242. >Soon enough, your merriment died away as both of you struggled to get your breathing under control.
  1243. >Deep breaths broken up by little spurts of short-lived giggles was soon the only sound left in the room.
  1244. >Regaining your composure, you looked at Luna, who was no longer the sad and unsure pony who entered the room.
  1245. >Instead, she was smiling and lightly bouncing up and down, with her eyes closed and wings extended.
  1246. >Now this was what you were looking for.
  1247. >You let the moment last a while longer before you spoke.
  1248. “Alright, now that that’s taken care of, what’s next on the list of things to do?”
  1249. >Luna hummed in thought, a blush still adorning her cheeks though not as intensely as before.
  1250. >”We have no plans for anything else today. We are free to do whatever. Any ideas?”
  1251. “Well, I do have one idea.”
  1252. >Luna opened her eyes to look at you, which brimmed with some emotion you couldn’t identify.
  1253. >”And that would be?”
  1254. >Like the predator that you were, you pounced.
  1255. >Luna, not expecting such an attack, shrieked as you pinned her down on the bed.
  1256. >You chuckled at the alicorn below you, who looked up at you with those big adorable eyes of hers.
  1257. “I was rather enjoying the way I woke up this morning. I don’t suppose we could do that again?”
  1258. >Luna stayed silent and still for a moment, before she reached up and pulled you close with her forehooves, giggling slightly.
  1259. >”We don’t see why not. We will admit that it was indeed an enjoyable experience. Now, cuddle with us!”
  1260. >Rolling over to the side, you pulled Luna snug against you.
  1261. >You had no intentions of sleeping through this wonderful feeling this time.
  1263. >You woke up feeling refreshed and energized, in ways you hadn’t felt in millennia.
  1264. >Eager to meet with him again, you leapt out of bed, rushing over to the balcony.
  1265. >First, lower the moon.
  1266. >Then, eat breakfast.
  1267. >After that, spend the whole day with Anon.
  1268. >That’s been the plan for the past few days since your doctor’s appointment, and it isn’t a schedule you would be soon to criticize.
  1269. >Before he showed up, your schedule was far more boring and lackluster, given the loss of your title as princess.
  1270. >But now, you couldn’t be happier to waste the day away with your good friend Anonymous.
  1271. >At first, when you had walked into his room, you were exceptionally nervous.
  1272. >But with just a few words and a smile, he took away your embarrassment and hesitation!
  1273. >Sure, that sensation in your stomach hasn’t gone away, but being around Anon appears to help more than hurt it.
  1274. >So it’s a win-win in your book.
  1275. >Once you had finished raising the moon, you teleported away to Anon’s room with haste.
  1276. >A glance at his bed revealed the human’s sleeping form.
  1277. >This would not do, you didn’t want to spend time with a sleeping Anon.
  1278. >But what would be the best way to wake him up…?
  1279. >You thought for a brief moment, before a particularly dastardly idea came to mind.
  1280. >Smiling cruelly, you teleported back to your room and grabbed your silver slippers before returning to Anon’s.
  1281. >Creeping up alongside his bed, Anon slept peacefully, unaware of your evil scheme.
  1282. >With a flash of your magic, the bedsheets were thrown off, exposing the bare-chested form of Anon.
  1283. >Anon’s blissful slumber was rather rudely interrupted once you pressed all four ice cold metal slippers onto his skin, startling him awake.
  1284. >You laughed maniacally as Anon scrambled in a panicked fashion, trying his best to preserve as much heat as he could, yet you showed no mercy and maintained your assault.
  1285. >You kept the pressure on for a few seconds longer before letting Anon remove the slippers from his chest.
  1286. >Anon took a moment to catch his breath, before giving you an insincere scowl.
  1287. >”Now, why did you go and do that?”
  1288. “I wanted to wake thee up so we can do things as soon as possible!”
  1289. >As you hopped in place, Anon let his glare simmer for a moment before it was replaced with a sly smirk.
  1290. >”At least let me shower first, before we head out.”
  1291. >Groaning, you begrudgingly agreed.
  1292. >That smirk still adorning his face, Anon made his way towards the bathroom and closed the door behind him.
  1293. >It wasn’t long until you heard the rushing sound of running water.
  1294. >Sitting down outside the door to the bathroom, you waited for Anon to finish his shower.
  1295. >And then you waited some more.
  1296. >And some more.
  1297. >And more.
  1298. >Pounding on the door, you shouted at Anon.
  1299. ”We never said to take thy time, Anon!”
  1300. >The sound of whistling soon reached your ears from beyond the door.
  1301. “Anon!”
  1302. >”La da dee, la da doo, la da dah, oh dee do do, dum do dah do, dah dah…”
  1303. “Anon, we shall knock down this door in five seconds if thou does not hurry up!”
  1304. >”No you won’t!”
  1305. >You huffed at Anon’s antics, but your convictions were steadfast.
  1306. “Five!”
  1307. >The sound of whistling returned, Anon clearly not heeding your warning.
  1308. “Four!”
  1309. >”I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim~”
  1310. “Three!”
  1311. >”I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim~”
  1312. “Two!”
  1313. >”He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap~”
  1314. “One!”
  1315. >”And now my little turtle, has bubbles in his throat~”
  1316. >You reared up to kick down the door.
  1317. “Zero—”
  1318. >”Luna, I didn’t realize you wanted to see me naked that badly that you’d bust the door down to do it.”
  1319. >You froze just before you could bash the door down.
  1320. >Contemplating your choices, and ignoring the blush on your face, you dropped to all fours before sighing.
  1321. “Just hurry up Anon, thou hast been showering for thirty minutes now.”
  1322. >”Thirty minutes? I can do better than that.”
  1323. >You groaned your frustrations out loudly.
  1324. >”Alright, alright. I’ll be out in a minute or two.”
  1325. >True to his word, Anon soon emerged from the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist.
  1326. >You looked away from his nakedness.
  1327. >”Luna, you’ve cuddled with me when I had no shirt on.”
  1328. >Your blush flared.
  1329. “T-That was different! Thou possessed no garments then. That is an issue that has since been rectified!”
  1330. >”It’s okay Luna. If you don’t want to look, you don’t have to.”
  1331. >A little voice in the back of your head suggested you take him up on his offer, but the rational part of your brain told you otherwise.
  1332. “T-Tis not a matter of desire. Thou told us; to observe a human bare is taboo save for a few… intimate circumstances.”
  1333. >You felt a hand on your shoulder, causing you to jump in surprise.
  1334. >Turning around, you saw Anon had finished changing clothes.
  1335. >”Where to, princess?”
  1336. >You scratched your chin with a hoof.
  1337. “We are unsure. Anything with thou would be entertaining for us.”
  1338. >”How about we look for something to do outside of the castle? There’s a whole city just waiting to be explored. I’m sure something fun to do is out there.”
  1339. “O-Outside the castle?”
  1340. >Anon nodded eagerly.
  1341. >You turned away, feeling claustrophobic as the smile slowly slipped away from your face.
  1342. >Anon took notice of your state and reached out to rub your ears.
  1343. >”Hey, hey.”
  1344. >His voice was soft and mellow, a stark contrast to the boisterous and booming voice he spoke with not moments prior.
  1345. >”What’s this all about? We are supposed to have fun, not be sad.”
  1346. >You gave a half-hearted smile at Anon’s words.
  1347. “Thank you, Anon. But we are not… well received by our people.”
  1348. >Anon’s expression morphed into one of confusion.
  1349. >”How is that possible? You’re a kind, entertaining, beautiful pony; who could possibly dislike you?”
  1350. “T-Thou sings our praises too much.”
  1351. >”If what you just said is true, then I have to step up for those who refuse to give their princess their due.”
  1352. >Your body began to shiver.
  1353. >You were deathly afraid of what was to come.
  1354. >What would happen if you told Anon of your banishment?
  1355. >Of when you were Nightmare Moon?
  1356. >He’d… He’d fear you.
  1357. >No.
  1358. >No!
  1359. >You didn’t want to lose him.
  1360. >Friends were too valuable a commodity, his company too precious.
  1361. >Your eyes began to well up with tears.
  1362. >”Oh, no, no, no. No crying, please don’t. Luna, I’m sorry. If you don’t want to tell me, then that’s okay. I won’t pry.
  1363. >Anon pulled you close in a warm embrace, as you buried your tear-stained face into his chest, sobbing softly.
  1364. “I don’t want you to h-hate me too.”
  1365. >Your voice was barely a whisper.
  1366. >”I’ll never hate you Luna. I promise. Nothing you’ve done or could do would ever make me hate you.”
  1367. ”Please d-don’t hate m-me.”
  1368. >You repeated it again and again, as though it were a mantra warding off evil, while Anon repeated his promise to you with every exchange.
  1369. >Eventually, you were no longer saying anything, instead you were merely mouthing silently while Anon slowly rocked back and forth, reassuring you that everything was alright.
  1370. >”Alright Luna. Let’s go to breakfast. We can think of something to do in the castle after that, okay?”
  1371. >You lifted your head from Anon’s now soaking-wet shirt and wiped your face of tears.
  1372. >”Okay, Luna?”
  1373. >You sniffled, then nodded your head.
  1374. “Yeah… Okay.”
  1375. >You gave Anon a weak smile.
  1376. >He returned it with one of his own, bringing his hand up to your ear and giving it a few scratches.
  1377. >You sighed at his touch and felt your sorrow fade away as you enjoyed the magic touch of his fingers.
  1378. >They were always able to put you in a good mood.
  1379. >”See? No need to fret. Everything’s going to be just fine.”
  1380. >You were content to sit there and enjoy his comforting touch, but soon he pulled his hand back.
  1381. >”We should get going now, alright? We don’t want to keep Celestia waiting, do we?”
  1382. >Ready to protest, you opened your mouth only to be cut off by a growl coming from your stomach.
  1383. >Anon gave a thin smile at the sound while you blushed slightly.
  1384. >”I guess that answers that, huh?”
  1385. >You grumbled silently to yourself, before conceding.
  1386. “We suppose some breakfast wouldn’t hurt.”
  1387. >Anon stayed by your side as the two of you made your way down the hallway towards the dining room.
  1388. >Though you were thankful for Anon’s presence, you felt those fears linger in the back of your mind.
  1389. >You would not be able to keep your secret from him forever.
  1390. >It was simply a matter of time before he found out.
  1391. >Would he still be as kind, as close as he is now if he knew the truth?
  1392. >You weren’t sure, and the more you thought about it, the worse off you felt.
  1393. >Shaking your head, you banished those thoughts from your mind.
  1394. >Worrying over what-ifs would serve no purpose other than depress you.
  1395. >When the time comes for Anon to learn about Nightmare Moon, you must be able to hold your head up high and be honest with him.
  1396. >And all you can do then is pray that he is merciful.
  1397. >It wasn’t long before the doors to the dining room opened up in front of you.
  1398. >Surprisingly, it appeared that Celestia was not as on-time as she had been the past couple of days.
  1399. >But your sister was a busy one, especially since your title as princess has been taken from you in all aspects but name.
  1400. >You were willing to wait a bit for her to show up.
  1402. >”Princess, the Noble Court has made their verdict on this matter crystal clear. Regardless of the fact that her banishment has concluded, by assaulting you all those years ago she committed treason against the reigning crown and by extension the whole of Equestria. Therefore, in accordance with Article 12 Section B of the Political Scandal Act, she has been stripped of her position and rank.”
  1403. >You stomped your hooves in agitation.
  1404. >Before you stood seven ponies, ponies who were of extremely high esteem in the nobility.
  1405. >The Heads of the Noble Court.
  1406. “And what is to stop me from simply bestowing the title of princess upon Luna once again?”
  1407. >”As stated in Article 13 Section A of the previously mentioned act, should someone who wishes to become part of the noble family or one of the reigning members of royalty also be convicted of a federal charge, then it falls to a vote by the Noble Court to determine if they should be eligible for such a position, in which a simple majority must be reached. And as we have done twice now, we have determined Luna to be ineligible for such a position.”
  1408. >This was the third time you brought this matter before the Noble Court.
  1409. >They have infuriatingly remained stubborn about returning Luna’s right to rule.
  1410. >But in spite of their refusal to recognize your appeal, you pressed on with your wish to return your sister to her rightful position by your side as diarch of Equestria.
  1411. >The nobles, however, were set to make your life increasingly difficult.
  1412. >”Princess, if I may…”
  1413. >You turned to face Prince Blueblood, who stood by your side rather than among the rest of the nobles.
  1414. >As the Head of Consultation, he was not allowed to directly vote on matters headed by the Noble Court; rather, his responsibility was to act as a sort of speaker for you in the Court.
  1415. >That didn’t mean he wasn’t as obnoxious as the rest of them.
  1416. >You sighed before gesturing to him.
  1417. “Very well, do as you would.”
  1418. >”Thank you, Your Highness.”
  1419. >After giving you a curt bow, Blueblood turned to face the rest of the Heads.
  1420. >”I understand your refusal to return the status of diarch to ex-princess Luna, believe me, we all grew up with the stories. But as the Heads of the Court, we must ensure that our verdicts are fair and just. We cannot simply deny Luna her second chance simply because of what she did a thousand years ago. She has served her time on the moon for that already, not to mention that she was purified by the Elements of Harmony. For what reason could you continue to refute Celestia’s appeal?”
  1421. >A gravelly voice rang out, which belonged to Prince Gavel, the Head of Court.
  1422. >”It is not as simple as waving away her crime, Blueblood. You are more than aware of this. We did not veto Celestia’s appeal because of her criminal past, rather it is Luna’s mental wellbeing that has us concerned.”
  1423. “Her mental wellbeing?”
  1424. >You echoed Prince Gavel’s words, not understanding them
  1425. “What are you talking about, Prince? This was never brought up when I presented my previous appeals.”
  1426. >”That’s because it was only during your most recent appeal that such was brought up. The Court has attributed Luna’s transformation into the entity known as Nightmare Moon as a result of neglect and social stigmatism resulting in a lapse of sanity, a lapse which was only corrected after the Elements of Harmony were used. With the best interests of Equestria in mind, we cannot enable someone to rule who is not mentally well.”
  1427. >You were astounded at what you were hearing.
  1428. “M-My sister, mentally ill?! That is no more than conjecture on your part!”
  1429. >You sputtered in rage at the accusation levied against your sister.
  1430. >”Princess! Please calm yourself. Nothing good will come from lashing out at the Court.”
  1431. >Blueblood was by your side, trying to calm you down.
  1432. >Once you had reigned in your temper, Blueblood once again addressed the Court.
  1433. >”If we were to show that Luna was mentally able to rule, would the Court reconsider her eligibility?”
  1434. >The Heads turned and used magic to speak with one another telepathically, as to not disturb the meeting with their conversation.
  1435. >After a moment of silence, Prince Gavel spoke.
  1436. >”If Luna indeed shows that she is mentally fit, we will be willing to re-evaluate your appeal.”
  1437. >Before you could indignantly retort, Blueblood cut you off.
  1438. >”We will accept this condition.”
  1439. >As you did your best to keep yourself from glaring at Blueblood, Prince Gavel slammed down his gavel, the sound echoing throughout the room.
  1440. >”Very well. The Court dismisses all present. Once the appellant has found evidence of their assertion that Luna is mentally well, we shall reconvene to determine Luna’s eligibility.”
  1441. >Well, it would appear this this was as good a deal as you were going to get, but before you could teleport away, Gavel spoke once more.
  1442. >”But I must inform you, Celestia. Should Luna fail this test once again, the Court will no longer accept any appeals regarding this matter. Not even from you, Your Highness.”
  1443. >You bowed your head, trying to hide the scowl forming on your face.
  1444. “Very well, Prince Gavel. But I do believe that won’t be necessary.”
  1445. >With that said, you teleported away from the dark and depressing courtroom.
  1446. >You were late for breakfast after all, and you had a long day ahead of you.
  1448. >Celestia took some time to show up but once she did, you noticed her rather tired and upset expression.
  1449. >Her head was bowed and a faraway look was present in her eyes.
  1450. >Luna was out of her seat in a heartbeat and beside her sister.
  1451. >”Sister, what is the matter?”
  1452. >Celestia raised her head to look at Luna, before giving a quick glance over in your direction.
  1453. >Luna followed her gaze, before turning back to her sister and whispering something to her, in a voice too soft for you to pick up.
  1454. >What followed was a brief hushed exchange, continued by a brief sigh from Celestia and another whisper from her.
  1455. >Luna gasped at something, looking rather hurt.
  1456. >Celestia, clearly looking uncomfortable, followed up with something else, to which Luna gave no response.
  1457. >Celestia brought her head down to nuzzle her sister, which was reciprocated, and she whispered one last thing to her before making her way to the table.
  1458. >Seems like the news wasn’t as good as either of them had hoped.
  1459. >As the two sisters sat down, silence dominated the room.
  1460. >It made you feel uneasy.
  1461. >First you had to comfort Luna, then her sister comes with bad news.
  1462. >Now the both of them were very much distressed about something.
  1463. >It now feel to you to fix the whole situation and turn things to a more positive note.
  1464. >How exactly you were to do that remained to be seen, though.
  1465. >All of a sudden, a truly fiendish idea popped into your head.
  1466. >Oh, if you pulled it off they would be furious with you.
  1467. >Fuck it, being mad was better than being mopey.
  1468. >Slowly, you pulled your phone out of your pocket.
  1469. >Out of habit, you kept it on your person whenever you went anywhere.
  1470. >You had only turned it on a few times since you showed Celestia and Luna, but surprisingly the battery hadn’t fallen all too much.
  1471. >Maybe something about the magic in this place is affecting your phones battery life or something.
  1472. >You weren’t enough of an engineer to figure that out though.
  1473. >But for all intents and purposes, the ‘why’ didn’t matter all that much.
  1474. >The simple fact was, your phone wasn’t dead yet.
  1475. >Unlocking it, you opened an app on your home page.
  1476. >You had downloaded it on a whim, and never thought you’d ever have a use for it.
  1477. >After all, what use did a recluse have for an soundboard app?
  1478. >Still, you were very much thankful for your foresight back then.
  1479. >It enabled you to take advantage of this opportunity.
  1480. >How delightfully devilish, Anon.
  1481. >You turned up your volume to the maximum, then discreetly placed your phone on the table.
  1482. >Celestia and Luna were far too focused on stewing in their own sadness than notice your little movement.
  1483. >You let your finger hover over the button, while you sported a particularly smug grin.
  1484. >Moment of truth, here we go!
  1485. >A loud blaring horn blasts from your phone.
  1486. >Celestia yelps and rears up, which causes her to lose her balance and fall onto her back in shock.
  1487. >Luna, on the other side of the table, shrieks in surprise, causing her to bump the table, sending all the cups and plates bouncing.
  1488. >The dining room table is now a mess; drinks have been spilt and food is all over the place, while the royal sisters try to recompose themselves.
  1489. >Meanwhile you were wheezing from how hard you were laughing.
  1490. >You were just barely able to keep yourself together long enough to return your phone to your pocket, but that was it.
  1491. >Having fallen off your chair, you were rolling on the floor with tears coming from your eyes.
  1492. “Y-You should’ve seen the looks on your faces! Oh, my lord, that was too funny, wow.”
  1493. >Struggling to get back up, you giggled madly.
  1494. >”A-Anon! What was that?!”
  1495. >Celestia’s mad outburst sends you into another round of insane cackling.
  1496. >Her wings were fully outstretched, and her chest fluff fully poofed while a bright red blush adorned her face as she tried her best to look angry at you, which had the opposite effect of exacerbating your enjoyment of the situation.
  1497. >As for her sister, Luna was in the middle of making herself seem as small as possible, trying to hide her embarrassment and blush.
  1498. >It was adorable, really.
  1499. >But in the moment, you could only find hilarity in her cuteness.
  1500. >A big smile was spread across your face, your head burning red as you struggled to catch your breath.
  1501. >Celestia’s anger slowly morphed into bemused displeasure, while Luna still hid herself behind her mane, only barely peeking out to look at you.
  1502. >”Yes, yes. It was very funny, Anon.”
  1503. >Your giggling rose in intensity again.
  1504. “I-It really was!”
  1505. >Celestia stared at you, clearly waiting for you to finish your little fit.
  1506. >Unfortunately for her, you were nowhere near done.
  1507. >”It wasn’t that funny.”
  1508. “I-It… It….”
  1509. >You couldn’t even compose yourself for long enough to properly respond; what you were able to get out was quiet, barely above a whisper.
  1510. >Eventually, you weren’t even audibly laughing.
  1511. >It just looked like you were suffering from chest spasms with a smile on your face.
  1512. >Taking a deep breath, you tried to calm yourself down.
  1513. >At this rate, you were going to hurt yourself with how much you were laughing.
  1514. >While you took several deep breaths, Celestia shared a glance with her sister.
  1515. >Luna, having overcome her embarrassment, held eye contact with Celestia.
  1516. >”We thought it was kinda funny.”
  1517. >Celestia raised an eyebrow.
  1518. >”’Kinda’? Is the modern vernacular of any particular human rubbing off on you?”
  1519. >Luna straightened up in her seat, before adopting a deep imitation of your voice.
  1520. >”I don’t know what you’re talking about, Celestia. I have always talked in this manner. Maybe this is just the first time you’ve actually listened to me speak.”
  1521. >A chortle could be heard from Celestia.
  1522. >”Mimicking his voice AND the modern dialect?”
  1523. >Luna adopted an indignant look on her face.
  1524. >”I am more than capable of speaking in the modern tongue, sister. I simply choose not to.”
  1525. >”And why’s that?”
  1526. >”Because…”
  1527. >Luna frowned, looking off into nothingness for a few brief moments, before nodding definitively, as though Celestia’s question had been properly answered.
  1528. >”Yeah, that’s why.”
  1529. >”You didn’t explain anything.”
  1530. >”Yeah, that sounds about right.”
  1531. >”…Ah, yes, of course. Makes perfect sense.”
  1532. >”We are glad thou agrees.”
  1533. >The two sisters sat there in silence for a second longer, before they both broke out into cheerful giggles of their own.
  1534. >Mission accomplished, Anon.
  1535. >You might have totally fucked up breakfast, now that everything is all over the place, but you did it.
  1536. >The laughter echoed around the room, breaking through the previous somber atmosphere and replacing it with a more uplifting one.
  1537. >Yes, this was much better.
  1538. >Very much so.
  1540. >About an hour later breakfast was wrapped up, at least for you and Luna.
  1541. >Celestia, who was busy with various meetings and holding Day Court and the like, left breakfast rather early.
  1542. >She mentioned needing to ‘do princess-y things’, as though you had any clue what exactly that entailed.
  1543. >But if you were quite honest with yourself, you didn’t particularly care to know.
  1544. >After all, thinking of how to spend your day with Luna was first and foremost in your mind.
  1545. >Leaving the castle would clearly be a no-go, at least not until Luna was ready to tell you why she was so averse to it.
  1546. >Speaking of which…
  1547. >The thought of what could be eating at Luna crossed your mind.
  1548. >What could possibly be so bad that she’d break into tears at the idea of leaving her castle?
  1549. >You didn’t think that she was exactly living a sheltered lifestyle; as princess, she should be rather active in her community.
  1550. >As princess…
  1551. >Those words triggered a memory within you, one that you hadn’t given much thought to.
  1552. >Back before Celestia apologized to you…
  1553. >Back in that dining hall, Blueblood mentioned something to her.
  1554. >Something about Luna.
  1555. >What was it again?
  1556. >’They have once again denied your appeal. They refuse to recognize Auntie Luna as Equestria’s sovereign.’
  1557. >That’s what he said, isn’t it?
  1558. >But you were under the assumption that Luna was already a princess, from what she herself had told you.
  1559. >You didn’t think Luna would lie to you like that, so what was the underlying truth here?
  1560. >Hmm…
  1561. >Luna was clearly afraid to leave to castle, as though she feared something.
  1562. >That much you could say with some degree of certainty.
  1563. >And then there was what she repeated as she was crying into your chest.
  1564. >’Please don’t hate me.’
  1565. >Why would she think you would hate her?
  1566. >Had you not shown through your budding friendship with her that such could not be further from the truth?
  1567. >Unless… she was hiding something from you.
  1568. >The only reason she would think that you would hate her would be because she did something.
  1569. >Something she has been hated for.
  1570. >She didn’t want to leave the castle… because she feared that you would hate her ‘too’.
  1571. >That’s the key word here.
  1572. >The citizens of Equestria hate Luna.
  1573. >Luna must have done something in her past, something to earn the ire of the ponies she ruled over.
  1574. >And she that’s why she isn’t a princess… now.
  1575. >Which would imply that whatever this deed Luna committed was, it was enough to strip her of her title.
  1576. >But something still didn’t add up.
  1577. >Clearly, the ponies hated Luna, so why would Celestia try to make an appeal?
  1578. >Sisterly love must run deep, but that alone didn’t explain the circumstance as you saw them.
  1579. >And in regard to Celestia’s appeal…
  1580. >Who was this ‘they’ Blueblood mentioned?
  1581. >Celestia apparently recognized them as an authority by appealing to them about Luna’s right to rule.
  1582. >Not only that, but they were seemingly capable of denying her request.
  1583. >That would imply a sort of check to the crown, wouldn’t it?
  1584. >It would make sense for that to be the case, but from what you were aware, the ponies revered Celestia as a goddess, or at least as close to what could be called a god in this world.
  1585. >Why would ponies who hold such reverence towards their leader simultaneously maintain a system of checks and balances against her?
  1586. >There were connections here… things you didn’t have enough information to figure out on your own.
  1587. >Not without knowing more, at least.
  1588. >You had some of the puzzle pieces fit together, but not enough to depict a clear enough picture.
  1589. >You knew that Luna must have done something terrible, enough to make the populace despise her and strip her of her title as princess of Equestria.
  1590. >It would appear that either Celestia doesn’t believe Luna is responsible for this unknown deed, or has since forgiven her for it.
  1591. >That seemed to be only logical explanation for her continued hospitality towards her sister.
  1592. >But the general populace has not found it within themselves to forgive whatever Luna did.
  1593. >That would make the denial of Celestia’s appeal make sense then.
  1594. >You glanced over at Luna to see her shovel another forkful of pancakes into her mouth, coating her muzzle in gooey syrup.
  1595. >She catches you staring and gives you a toothy grin, cheeks bulging out slightly with food.
  1596. “You enjoying yourself there?”
  1597. >”Mhm.”
  1598. >A bemused smirk stretched across your face at her response.
  1599. “Glad to hear it.”
  1600. >As Luna returned to her sugary meal, which she attacked with a hungry ferocity, the smile slowly dropped from your face as concerns floated aimlessly around in your head.
  1601. >No matter how hard you tried to put them out of your head, your worries for your companion swelled as though compelling you to do something about it.
  1602. >But what could be done?
  1603. >Celestia made it clear that the only pony that has the right to tell you these things is Luna, but she is far too scared of your possible reaction to tell you.
  1604. >It put you in a rather uncomfortable situation.
  1605. >You wanted nothing more than to help Luna out with her problems, but you didn’t want to force any information out of her.
  1606. >It seemed too much like a breach of her privacy to do that.
  1607. >You silently sighed in frustration.
  1608. >No matter what way you sliced it, it appeared that there was nothing you could do until Luna decided to trust you.
  1609. >You watched as Luna finished off her pancakes, making sure to lick up all the syrup from the plate until it shined.
  1610. >As much as you hated it, you would have to wait until Luna was ready to tell you the truth.
  1611. >You only hoped that she would be willing to trust in your friendship.
  1612. >With finality, you pushed all doubt festered against Luna to the back of your mind.
  1613. >Whatever the situation may be, it can wait and so could you.
  1614. >If you wanted Luna to trust you, you need to trust her in turn.
  1615. >Standing up from your seat attracted Luna’s attention.
  1616. “I suppose it’s high time to start thinking of stuff to do. Don’t want to waste precious time, now do we?”
  1617. >Nodding in agreement, Luna wiped off her muzzle, albeit to little success given the sticky nature of the syrup.
  1618. >Now she had syrup and bits of napkin stuck to her face, a cute sight to behold.
  1619. >You smiled warmly at the sight, though Luna was a bit less enthused about it.
  1620. “Maybe we should wash up a bit first.”
  1621. >”Thou says ‘we’, yet the only one with a mess to wash is us.”
  1622. “That’s what I said. Or were you using the royal pronouns?”
  1623. >Luna rolled her eyes at your literal interpretation, before turning to face the door.
  1624. >”That being said, another wash does seem appropriate. We do hope thou wilt be patient with us.”
  1625. “Luna, I’ve been patient all day. I think I can handle a bit more time. Besides, maybe I’ll think of something for us to do in the meantime.”
  1626. >Luna trotted over to the door, before turning to face you.
  1627. >”…Art thou coming?”
  1628. “You want me to shower with you?”
  1629. >Luna’s face once again took on a rather red tint at the comment, though it would appear that she is quickly getting used to your quips.
  1630. >That’s something you need to fix as soon as possible.
  1631. >If you become too predictable, you won’t be able to see that pretty blush anymore.
  1632. >Better start stepping your game up.
  1633. >”Are we to assume those are thine intentions, to seek to join us during our bathing, is that not so?”
  1634. >Oh, some banter, eh?
  1635. “Is that why you’re blushing so much? You’re thinking about me joining you in the shower, huh?”
  1636. >Now there is the sputtering voiceless adorable Luna you’ve come to treasure.
  1637. >Chuckling, you walked up to Luna’s side.
  1638. “I suppose if you really want it that bad, I suppose I could—”
  1639. >”W-We don’t need thy help! Nor is t-thy presence in the bathroom required!”
  1640. “Are you sure about that—”
  1641. >”Y-Yes! We are sure! J-Just…”
  1642. >Luna took off down the hall towards her chambers, with you in hot pursuit.
  1643. “You’ve seen me with my shirt off! You’re already halfway to glory, Luna! Might as well accept and enjoy it! Luna!”
  1645. >”We are sorry, Anon. But this is a discussion that should remain a private matter. Please understand; this is not an attempt to keep thee in the dark. Tis simply….”
  1646. >Luna trailed off, an apologetic look on her face as she tried to find the words to explain herself.
  1647. “Don’t worry about it, Luna. It’s perfectly understandable.”
  1648. >You absentmindedly fiddled with the hem of your shirt.
  1649. >After Luna finished washing away the remaining residue from her gooey breakfast, which she unfortunately did alone, the two of you marched on over to Celestia’s study.
  1650. >Luna clearly wanted to continue talking with her sister regarding whatever it was that was brought up during the meal, though she felt it necessary to keep you away from it.
  1651. >It hurt a little bit, but you understood the need for privacy.
  1652. >After all, you weren’t on a need to know basis; hell, you weren’t even a proper citizen.
  1653. >The inner workings of the diarchy weren’t meant for you to hear.
  1654. >Besides, if Luna wanted you to know, you believed that she would tell you.
  1655. “Besides, I can use this opportunity to take a look around the castle, see if I can get my mental map of the place fleshed out. When you’re done talking with your sister, just come to my bedroom or something. If I’m not there, I probably just got lost or something.”
  1656. >A concerned look grew on Luna’s face at your words.
  1657. >”We do not wish for thou to find thyself in trouble and without aid. Perhaps we should send a guard to accompany thee.”
  1658. >You smiled at Luna’s caring words.
  1659. ”I appreciate the thought, Luna. But I am more than capable of—”
  1660. >”And what would we have here?”
  1661. >A familiar posh voice rang out, interrupting you mid-sentence.
  1662. >Turning around, you saw the good Prince Blueblood making his way down the hall in your direction.
  1663. >”I do hope I am not intruding on anything important.”
  1664. >His eyes alternated between yours and Luna’s, adorning an insincere smile befitting a noble of his caliber.
  1665. >You had not seen him since his little entrance in the dining hall a few days ago, though you have since been informed by Celestia that he had approached her several times, each time asking about you.
  1666. >Luna appeared unhappy about Blueblood’s sudden appearance, but otherwise said nothing.
  1667. >Adopting a neutral expression, you addressed the prince.
  1668. “Why, hello there, dear Prince. I don’t believe we’ve crossed paths for some time now. I assume you are willing to be a bit more sociable this time around?”
  1669. >Blueblood waved his hoof in a dismissive manner.
  1670. >”Well, you must understand that I was not privy to the particulars of your… how should we say, unique situation. I have since educated myself on the matter, so that I might not offend you any further than I already have.”
  1671. >The prince bowed his head in a deferential manner.
  1672. >”Please accept my sincerest apologize for our initial encounter.”
  1673. >His new-found humility confused you somewhat, though not enough to give you pause.
  1674. >A quick glance over at Luna revealed some animosity directed toward Blueblood.
  1675. >If allowed to continue unabated, the situation could devolve into something rather unsightly.
  1676. >Thinking quickly, an idea to resolve your situation presented itself.
  1677. “Luna, if it is your desire that I have accompaniment as I explore, then why don’t I go with the prince here? That is, if you have the time and are willing, Blueblood.”
  1678. >Luna’s concerned look returned as she met your gaze, clearly wanting to say something yet remaining silent.
  1679. >As for Blueblood, a hint of annoyance flashed across his face, before he nodded his head.
  1680. >”I was going to meet with the Princess about you, but a meeting with you would prove much more fruitful.”
  1681. >As Blueblood referred to Celestia by title, Luna flinched.
  1682. >The subtle jab at her did not go unnoticed by either of you.
  1683. >Your contempt for Blueblood rose, yet you kept your emotions contained.
  1684. >It would not bode well if you were to stop being amicable, regardless of his commentary.
  1685. >You turned to face Luna again, your expression softening.
  1686. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. You just go and talk with your sister.”
  1687. >Your voice was soft as you reassured Luna.
  1688. >”But… But what if…”
  1689. “Luna, do you trust me?”
  1690. >Luna looked down at the floor as she pawed it with a hoof.
  1691. >”Tis not thou that lacks my trust….”
  1692. >The two of you remained silent for a moment longer, before Luna rose her head to meet yours again.
  1693. >”Very well, if thou insist. We shall leave ye to thy own devices.”
  1694. >Luna turned to face the prince with a hard look on her face.
  1695. >”Ensure that our friend returns to his chambers once thy business with him is settled. Tis room number 24 on the second floor of the west wing. Dost thou require further directions?”
  1696. >Blueblood bowed his head slightly.
  1697. >”I am aware of the layout of this castle, Luna. I will remember to bring him there once we have concluded our little walk and talk. You have my word.”
  1698. >Sharing one final look at you, to which you gave a reassuring nod, Luna turned around and entered her sister’s study.
  1699. >As the doors closed behind her, you turned to face your companion for the foreseeable future.
  1700. “Do walk with me, good sir. I have the desire to explore and I am in need of your guidance.”
  1701. >Blueblood hesitated for a moment before trotting up to your side as you began your trek down the hall.
  1702. >”I am not a simple guide, you know. You are addressing a prince; it would be better for you to acknowledge me properly.”
  1703. >You kept your gaze locked forward, not turning to face Blueblood as he spoke.
  1704. >Being courteous and being amicable were two very different things, after all.
  1705. “Yes, yes. You are a prince. But you must understand, the society I grew up in had a rather… distasteful view of politicians, much less so any form of nobility.”
  1706. >Blueblood huffed before continuing.
  1707. >”And yet, your demeanor in regards to Her Highness Princess Celestia is much more approachable as opposed to, say, how you address me.”
  1708. >You shrugged your shoulders, offering no response in return.
  1709. >The prince remained silent for a moment longer, eying your form as you walked.
  1710. >”…Regardless. It isn’t much of a concern as to how you address me. You hold no obligation to do so; you are no citizen of ours, after all.”
  1711. >You didn’t see any way to respond to that, so you continued to march on in silence.
  1712. >”Am I to assume that you are not one for conversation?”
  1713. “Not necessarily.”
  1714. >”And yet you remain mostly silent.”
  1715. “So it would seem.”
  1716. >”Then your silence is conditional. Perhaps if Luna were here, you would be less reserved.”
  1717. “That is, of course, assuming Luna would wish to share her company with you.”
  1718. >”And why would she not? I am Prince Blueblood, after all.”
  1719. “You have done her no favors; her current predicament is testament to such.”
  1720. >”Is that what you think? And what do you know of her situation?”
  1721. >Blueblood looked at you with a strange look in his eye as you fell silent.
  1722. >It occurred to you that the prince would be more than aware of Luna’s position.
  1723. >After all, he was the one that broke the news to Celestia regarding the denial of her appeal.
  1724. >But you did not trust Blueblood.
  1725. >Revealing your hand might be too risky at this point.
  1726. >Not only that, but you were not confident enough in your assumptions to continue that line of thought any further.
  1727. >Blueblood’s gaze sharpened before he continued.
  1728. >”You might not believe me, but I really am doing my best to help her, Anon. If you think that I am her enemy, then it reveals just how in the dark you are.”
  1729. >Your pace hitched slightly, almost imperceptibly.
  1730. >”Which would you prefer, Anon or Anonymous?”
  1731. >Blueblood waited for your response, yet you gave none.
  1732. >”It would appear that we are not as close as you are with Princess Celestia and ex-Princess Luna, I suppose. Anonymous it is, then.”
  1733. ”What are you trying to say, Blueblood? I care little for sidestepping around the topic at hand.”
  1734. >Blueblood chuckled darkly.
  1735. >”Come now, Anonymous. Have you no love for the game?”
  1736. “What are you talking about?”
  1737. >”Everyone is playing the game. Whether they are aware of it or not is another matter altogether. You might not realize it, but the moment you appeared in Equestria, you became a player in this grand game. When Luna brought you to the castle, your value increased. The more you develop your friendship with her, the more your value continues to rise. I must say, for someone who understands little of the circumstances he has found himself in, you’ve played your hand rather well. Though, it remains to be seen if it is mere beginner’s luck. That would depend on how far ahead you have planned for.”
  1738. >The smile on Blueblood’s face unnerved you.
  1739. >What had you gotten yourself into?
  1740. >”It is very simple, Anonymous. In a matter of days, you managed to entangle yourself around the biggest players in the game. I am sure you can figure out of whom I speak. But such comes with a price. We must now treat you in much the same way as we treat them. You have become too important a piece to ignore. As we speak, there are others who are making themselves intimately aware of your presence, watching your actions, waiting to see what you do next. Am I making sense to you?”
  1741. >You struggled to find some sort of response, but you came up empty-handed.
  1742. >No matter how hard you thought, you couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t reveal how much you knew.
  1743. >”Anonymous, please. I have done my homework on you. I can tell you are more than intelligent to figure out what I am talking about. This is a key point in the game, I hope you understand. You are a free radical. Nobody can predict your movements and thus everyone is scrambling to learn as much about you as they possibly can. Any information you do hand out, you give directly to the royal sisters, both of whom are rather restrictive when it comes to revealing that knowledge. My many attempts to question Princess Celestia about you are avoided and sometimes denied outright, and questioning Luna about anything is borderline impossible. But as useful as it is to keep as much information as you can to yourself, it does you no good when we know nothing about you.”
  1744. >Blueblood was painting a picture for you, and what it depicted concerned you.
  1745. >But if you wanted to do anything about your current situation and have a better grasp on where you stood in this game, you needed to reveal yourself to Blueblood.
  1746. >Is that worth it?
  1747. >You weren’t sure.
  1748. >You felt that you are right to not trust Blueblood, but even you can understand that at this point your silence speaks loudly against you.
  1749. >”That is where I come in.”
  1750. “You want to get information from me.”
  1751. >”So he does have a voice! I was certainly hoping you would speak up at some point. But now that you have found your voice, a choice has presented itself before you. Information is vital. Your ability to acquire it is even more so.”
  1752. “Allow me to rephrase my previous statement then; you don’t want to get information from me. You wish to act as a sort of buffer. You mentioned other parties in this game, they wish to learn about me through you.”
  1753. >”And in turn, you learn about them through me.”
  1754. “Assuming that the information I get from you isn’t filtered in some way.”
  1755. >”The same argument could be made about information they get about you through me.”
  1756. “Not necessarily.”
  1757. >”You doubt me?”
  1758. “I’d be a fool not to.”
  1759. >”I suppose that is understandable. Then what would you have of me?”
  1760. “I cannot verify your allegiance through your word alone. Not to mention that I am more ignorant of the players in this game than I care to be, so I cannot trust that your ties to others would not in turn jeopardize myself.”
  1761. >”In an ideal scenario, yes. Your concerns would be justifiable. But you do not have that option available to you.”
  1762. >You glanced at Blueblood, trying to get a read on him.
  1763. >His expression was focused, yet you could discern nothing from it.
  1764. >He was right; you did have a choice you needed to make.
  1765. >Remaining ignorant is simply far too dangerous at this point.
  1766. >But trusting Blueblood seemed equally as treacherous.
  1767. >Which one is the right choice?
  1768. >Either you accept Blueblood’s offer and gain the information you need from him, or you turn him away and lose what might be your only chance to unravel the many mysteries before you.
  1769. “…There truly is only one choice.”
  1770. >Blueblood remained silent, keeping to himself.
  1771. >You figured that he was reserving himself until you vocalized your decision.
  1772. “Without a better understanding of my placement in this game, I am at risk. At the same time, by keeping too much information about myself hidden, I make myself a target for those who seek answers.”
  1773. >”Am I to take it that you are accepting my proposal?”
  1774. “Not out of trust, mind you. More so of out convenience than anything, really.”
  1775. >”That will have to do for now.”
  1776. >Blueblood came to a stop before holding out his hoof.
  1777. “I didn’t know this was still a thing in this world.”
  1778. >”Some things never change.”
  1779. “A touch of familiarity doesn’t hurt.”
  1780. >Grasping his hoof, you shook it firmly.
  1781. >Blueblood pulled back his hoof before pulling a badge out of his pocket.
  1782. >”Take this.”
  1783. >The badge was shaped like an eight-pointed star, not unlike the cutie mark upon Blueblood’s flank.
  1784. >Pocketing the badge in your pants pocket, Blueblood marched onwards.
  1785. >”That is a very special badge. Should you require information or assistance, merely rub it and I will be alerted. The same this applies in reverse; should I require audience with you, the badge will alert you. Unless planned otherwise, I shall assume we will be meeting in your chambers. Speaking of which, that is where I must take you now. I apologize for taking away your opportunity to explore, but my time is limited. I have other matters that I must attend to.”
  1786. >Following closely behind Blueblood, the two of you made your way to parts of the castle that you were beginning to find familiar.
  1787. >The trek was made mostly in silence; what needed to be said had already been spoken.
  1788. >Stopping in front of your door, you reached your hand out to grasp the doorknob before turning back to face the prince.
  1789. “I assume you will want to meet with me soon.”
  1790. >”You assume correctly. I will contact you when I wish to speak with you at length again.”
  1791. >With that said, Blueblood trotted away from you.
  1792. >Opening the door, you were greeted with the familiar teal eyes of Luna.
  1793. >You jumped slightly before relaxing.
  1794. “Luna, why were you standing so close to the door?”
  1795. >Luna blinked innocently.
  1796. >”We were waiting for thou to return.”
  1797. “Directly in front of the door.”
  1798. >”That is correct.”
  1799. >You stared at Luna for a few moments longer before sighing.
  1800. “I wasn’t gone that long.”
  1801. >”So thou says.”
  1802. >You began to chuckle, the tension from your talk with Blueblood fading away.
  1803. “You are a silly pony, Luna.”
  1804. >An indignant look spread across her face.
  1805. >”Nay! We are very serious. No silliness here.”
  1806. “Ah, yes. Of course. How could I be so mistaken? Could you find it in your heart to forgive my transgressions?”
  1807. >Luna closed her eyes and hummed, seemingly deep in thought.
  1808. >”…We could be convinced.”
  1809. >Your face morphed into one of mock terror as you raised your hands defensively.
  1810. “Luna, please! I can only handle giving so many ear scratches!”
  1811. >Adopting a grave look, Luna shook her head.
  1812. >”Tis not ear scratches that thou must appease us with.”
  1813. “Then what—”
  1814. >”Instead, we demand belly rubs!”
  1815. “Oh, the horror! Anything but belly rubs! Please! I’ll give you the ear scratches, but please not belly rubs!”
  1816. >Luna shook her head.
  1817. >”Tis far too late to bargain, our dear human. If thou desire our forgiveness, then thou must give us belly rubs!”
  1818. “Very well, Luna. You leave me no choice.”
  1819. >Pulling a role reversal out of nowhere, you swept Luna up off of her hooves, holding her bridal style, to which she gave a squeak in surprise.
  1820. >Closing the door behind you, you carried her over to the bed.
  1821. “Luna, your fate has been sealed! My belly rubs have renown throughout the land; a mere alicorn such as yourself stands no chance against them!”
  1822. >You toss Luna onto the bed; she giggled as she bounced slightly, trying and failing to keep a straight face.
  1823. >”Do not underestimate our might mortal! We have bested far greater than thou before; what chance do thou have against us?”
  1824. >You curled your fingers intimidatingly as you approached the belly-up alicorn.
  1825. “I suppose we are about to find out just how strong that resolve of yours truly is!”
  1826. >As your hands descended on the alicorn, her expression slowly turned fearful as she realized the gravity of her situation.
  1827. >”W-Wait, perhaps we have been t-too hasty—”
  1828. >You would hear none of it as your hands made contact with her soft navy-blue fur, to which she gave a quiet sigh in response, her objections having been squashed as your hands worked their magic.
  1829. >She closed her eyes and let her head roll back as your hands roamed her lithe belly, making little depression as they ran across her form.
  1830. >Her hind legs twitched and jittered as you caressed her lower stomach and you were mindful to not graze against her teats accidentally.
  1831. >Her chest was fluffed up, refusing to settle even after running your hands over it many times, receiving soft coos from Luna for your efforts.
  1832. >You climbed on the bed, making sure you weren’t on top of Luna’s wings, which were fully extended as she relaxed under your care.
  1833. >Positioning yourself so that you were parallel with Luna’s body, you sat on your knees next to her rump as you ran both of your hands up and down her sides.
  1834. >Her mouth was open slightly, her breathing heavy as you continued your pseudo-massage.
  1835. >You pulled your hands all the way back towards you, so that your hands rested just before her cutie mark.
  1836. >Slowly, you began to lean forward, dragging your hands along her sides, before moving them underneath her body to rub against her withers while providing some support for you.
  1837. >Luna’s mouth was fully open in a smile and her eyes were tightly closed, her face a beautiful shade of purple.
  1838. >Her breathing was now considerably more labored than before; she was panting as though she were overexerting herself, taking large fast breaths.
  1839. >Luna’s forelegs, which were tucked along her sides, flailed slightly, sometimes they’d lightly brush against your shirt as you leaned over her.
  1840. >Slowly, you moved your hands out from underneath her neck and brought them up to rub her cheek and cup her chin.
  1841. >Her breathing began to slow down slightly, though her blush grew ever greater on her face.
  1842. >Next, you slowly made circular motions with your thumbs, beginning your trek back down her body.
  1843. >As you moved lower, you used more and more of your hands to rub down her body, and in response Luna’s heavy breathing returned with a fervor, and instead of weakening it grew even stronger.
  1844. >Once you reached the base of her chest, Luna started to undulate herself slightly, starting from her head and moving down to her rump.
  1845. >You picked up the speed of your circling motions while maintaining your slow descent back down her body.
  1846. >Spending a few moments to rub Luna’s chest fluff, you steadily moved further down her belly before breaking off and shifting your hands to her sides once again.
  1847. >As your rubbing grew stronger and traveled further down her body, Luna began to moan, growing louder as you continued.
  1848. >Her undulations also grew in intensity, her motions slightly shaking the bed.
  1849. >By the time you had your hands right about her cutie marks once again, Luna was a total mess.
  1850. >She was mewling and moaning, her hips lifting slightly off the bed with each oscillation.
  1851. >You were no fool, you knew exactly what you were doing to Luna.
  1852. >But the excitement had clouded your mind; in the heat of the moment, you were not thinking straight at all.
  1853. >All you were thinking about was making Luna feel good, and so you continued your massage with a smile on your face.
  1854. >You knew you’d probably have to pay the price for it later but in the moment, you didn’t care.
  1855. >Paying close attention as Luna’s moans began to crescendo, you kept your hands circling just above her cutie mark, waiting for the right moment.
  1856. >The louder Luna’s cries grew, the more of your hands you pressed against her side, until your palm was flush with her coat.
  1857. >Your circling motions grew more forceful; your hands slowed down the further away from Luna’s cutie mark they were, before swinging down fast and hard, then slowing down again.
  1858. >The moment finally approached, when Luna’s moans grew loud enough, and her undulations paused, you quickly dragged the tips of your fingers against her cutie marks.
  1859. >Your hands lightly and swiftly trailed along Luna’s rump, along where the bed met her flank, before rising up and gently tracing Luna’s swollen and dripping marehood.
  1860. >Like she was struck by lightning, Luna’s whole body clenched tightly, her hips spasming as fluids jetted out from her lower lips, coating the bedsheets in her essence.
  1861. >Her hind legs fully extended by your sides, quivering as Luna’s body was racked with uncontrollable seizures.
  1862. >But it was Luna’s face that drew your attention above all else, the crème de la crème.
  1863. >Her eyelids were tightly shut, and her mouth was wide open in a silent scream.
  1864. >After a few seconds of immobility, Luna’s muscles finally began to relax and almost immediately she started pumping her hips passionately.
  1865. >Before you could react, Luna’s forelegs reached out and snagged you, pulling you close as her flank thrusted violently into the air.
  1866. >Her mouth contorted into a toothy grimace and though her eyes finally opened, they were blurry and unfocused.
  1867. >Now no longer silent, Luna released several loud guttural and sensual moans as her grip on you tightened.
  1868. >You figured that since you’ve come this far, you might as well help Luna enjoy herself as much as possible, so you reached your right hand down between her teats towards her gushing marehood, where you ran your fingertips along her lips.
  1869. >Luna’s hips spasmed again at your touch, rewarding you with another spurt of her juices.
  1870. >Running your fingers along the upper edge of her lower lips, you found a little nub, which you circled with your fingers.
  1871. >Immediately, Luna gasped in pleasure before her body once again tightened, locking herself in place.
  1872. >Once she regained control of herself, she pulled you closer to her chest and brought her head down to nuzzle you, which you gladly reciprocated.
  1873. >The two of you were lost in the mindless acts you were committing, moving solely according to each other’s carnal desires.
  1874. >As Luna rode out her orgasm, you continued rubbing circular motions around her clit.
  1875. >It wasn’t long before Luna slowed down her thrusts and her spasms started to grow weaker.
  1876. >Once she stopped quivering, you removed your hand from her marehood, your fingers dripping in her juices, bringing it up to rub Luna’s cheek.
  1877. >The smell of vanilla invaded your nose and the hazy cloud obscuring your sense of judgement grew thicker.
  1878. >Luna’s eyes, though still unfocused, were now clearly trained on you, meeting your gaze.
  1879. >They were filled with lust and desire, though you could also see hesitation and fear.
  1880. >You chuckled a little at Luna’s current state, before bringing the hand you used to rub Luna’s clit to your mouth.
  1881. >Luna watched unresponsively as you cleaned her essence off of your fingers.
  1882. “I told you my belly rubs were good.”
  1883. >Your voice was low and quiet, Luna’s spasmed slightly at the sound.
  1884. >Her voice was much quieter and breathless.
  1885. >”Yeah…”
  1886. >Luna tilted her head slightly, maintaining eye contact with you.
  1887. >”They really are….”
  1888. >Luna did little else but stare at you before her eyes drooped closed.
  1889. >You remained in her little hug until the sound of light snoring could be heard.
  1890. >Carefully, you extracted yourself from Luna’s embrace, doing your best to not awaken her.
  1891. >Once free, you made your way to the bathroom to grab a towel.
  1892. >You then proceeded to wipe up Luna’s dripping marehood.
  1893. >As for the bedsheets, you didn’t see much you could do at this time.
  1894. >Grabbing one of the extras, you laid another comforter on top of Luna’s sleeping form, before kissing her forehead softly, resulting in a sleepy smile from her.
  1895. >You stood up straight and looked over at the sleeping alicorn for a moment longer.
  1896. >There wasn’t really much that you could do now except wait for Luna to wake up, so you turned around and went into the shower to clean yourself up.
  1898. >While you waited for the water to heat up, you reflected on what had just transpired.
  1899. >As you stood there waiting for the shower to reach the desired temperature, the hazy cloud of desire that had obscured your sense of reason began to dissipate.
  1900. >The room started to feel a good ten degrees colder as you realized the gravity of what you had just done.
  1901. >You brought Princess Luna, a mare that you had hardly known for more than a few days, to an erotic orgasm.
  1902. >Shaking your head, you jumped into the shower pre-emptively.
  1903. >Perhaps the cold water would purge your mind of lust, before you did something you would regret.
  1904. >Or would it be more appropriate to say something else?
  1905. >That would imply that you felt regret for what you had done.
  1906. >As uncouth as it might sound, you really couldn’t bring yourself to do that.
  1907. >You enjoyed yourself far too much to simply write it off as a mistake.
  1908. >But how much is too much?
  1909. >The more you thought about your situation, the more it seemed to spiral out of your control.
  1910. >A plethora of consequences you could face for your misdeeds here began to swirl around in your mind.
  1911. >What were you supposed to do?
  1912. >Do you apologize to Luna, or do you try to rationalize it?
  1913. >How will she react?
  1914. >Will she want to throw you in the dungeon for handling her so promiscuously?
  1915. >Will she banish you from Equestria and label you a criminal?
  1916. >Or will she simply see fit to eradicate you from this world altogether with her seemingly unending stores of magic?
  1917. >You reached out your hands to lean against the walls of the bathroom as you began to hyperventilate.
  1918. >It was as though a cold hand had gripped your heart tight and refused to let go as it watched you writhe and squirm.
  1919. >Your sense of balance abandoned you, leaving you swaying like a sailor on rough seas.
  1920. >A ball of fear manifested itself deep within your gut, clawing your way up through your throat as you did your best to stifle the urge to retch.
  1921. >Making your way down onto your knees, you covered your face with your hands like you were defending yourself from some unseen attacker.
  1922. >A million possible scenarios raced around in your mind all at once, and all your other sensations and thoughts were pushed aside by your raging inner turmoil.
  1923. >The world appeared to grow dim and the water pelting your back faded into the unidentifiable buzz of static at the back of your mind.
  1924. >You could clearly discern was your own heartbeat, which itself was pounding away furiously as though it were scorning you for your idiocy.
  1925. >Groaning in discomfort, you leaned your head forward until it met with the lukewarm marble tile of the floor.
  1926. >Remaining still, you stayed in that position for what felt like hours as your body was wracked with panic and fear.
  1927. >But in spite of the screaming feedback loop of negativity, a small voice could be heard, whispering into your ear.
  1928. >You didn’t know exactly when you became aware of the voice, just that you eventually did.
  1929. >It was soft and melodious, like a siren or an angel.
  1930. >>”Do not fret… All will be well soon enough.”
  1931. >The voice reassured you, slowly breaking through the chaotic swirl of panic and fear that had enveloped you moments prior.
  1932. >>”Have faith in yourself.”
  1933. >You couldn’t exactly put your finger on it, but something about the voice seemed strangely familiar.
  1934. >You were sure that you hadn’t heard anybody with such a lovely voice before, yet it remained warm and comforting all the same.
  1935. >But you weren’t about to question it; you would take any sense of familiarity if it would help temper the inferno within you.
  1936. >>”This is not the end, Anon….”
  1937. >As your breathing slowly returned to normal and your body stopped shaking, the voice grew softer and softer.
  1938. >>”Trust us, Anon. We wish naught but the best for you both.”
  1939. “…Who are you?”
  1940. >>”…A friend….”
  1941. “Who are you?”
  1942. >You waited for some kind of answer yet received nothing in return.
  1943. >The voice was gone.
  1944. >Soon enough, you became aware of your uncomfortable position on the bathroom floor.
  1945. >You stood up, albeit stiffly and with great pain.
  1946. >A burning sensation was present on your back; you must’ve turned the water on too hot before having your little episode.
  1947. >Exiting the shower, you approached the mirror to take a good look at yourself.
  1948. >Your whole body was tinged red, probably due to the hot water, but was otherwise normal.
  1949. >Slapping your face to regain sensation in your cheeks, you took a minute to look over your body.
  1950. >You weren’t known for being tall, in fact you were rather short until you hit your growth spurt in the middle of your high school years.
  1951. >You’d tower over any of the ponies in Equestria, even Celestia only came up to your chin.
  1952. >Eying down your form, you glanced over your chest and arms.
  1953. >You had some muscle definition, but nowhere near anything you’d see on TV or in magazines.
  1954. >That is to say, you lacked any bulging pectorals or melon-sized biceps or even a six-pack.
  1955. >You weren’t fat or overweight either, with no potbelly or gut to deal with.
  1956. >All things considered, you were as average as average could be.
  1957. >Moving your gaze further southward, you scrutinized your legs and crotch.
  1958. >If you were to pick the most well-defined muscles on your body, it would be your legs.
  1959. >You had a bad habit of pacing when you were bored and though it brought you much ire from your family, it rewarded you with large shapely thighs and calves.
  1960. >As for your crotch, you didn’t have much to say.
  1961. >If Equestria were more horse than pony, you’d probably feel self-conscious.
  1962. >You giggled to yourself somewhat, finding humor in your situation.
  1963. >Fitting, then isn’t it, that you should find yourself seduced by one of the largest mares in the nation?
  1964. >You weren’t small by human standards either, but certainly not big enough to brag about.
  1965. >Sitting at just around six and a half inches when erect was good enough for you.
  1966. >If you managed to get through this without completely demolishing your chances with Luna, you hoped she’d have somewhat of an open mind.
  1967. >Or maybe she would know some sort of embiggening spell.
  1968. >You wouldn’t mind an embiggening spell.
  1969. >Bringing your gaze back up to your eyes, you stared at yourself in the mirror.
  1970. >Your reflection met your eyes, as expected.
  1971. >The two of you held eye contact in silence for a moment longer before you turned away.
  1972. >Grabbing a towel, you began to wipe yourself down, wincing slightly when brushing against your burned back.
  1973. >Once that was done, you wrapped the towel around your waist before standing before the door to the bedroom.
  1974. >You reached out the grab the handle, only to hesitate.
  1975. >You weren’t sure if you were ready to face Luna so soon after what had happened.
  1976. >What would you even say?
  1977. >’Sorry that my belly rubs took a turn for the erotic, I didn’t mean it.’
  1978. >That sounded silly, not to mention how naïve it made you out to be.
  1979. >In the back of your mind, you sensed those destructive thoughts looming, waiting to strike again.
  1980. >Shaking your head to clear your thoughts, you put on a brave face.
  1981. >Thinking about things would only serve to de-motivate and stress you out.
  1982. >In times like these, you needed to have faith that everything will turn out okay.
  1983. >Even if it means taking a chance, it is far better to risk everything on something you wholeheartedly believed in than to passively watch your dreams pass on by.
  1984. >Before you could think on the issue anymore, you turned the doorknob and walked into the bedroom.
  1985. >Closing the door behind you, you looked up to find Luna up and awake.
  1986. >She stood in front of the vanity by the dresser, looking into the mirror with a blush on her face.
  1987. >Hearing you enter the room, she turned to face you, only to quickly avert her eyes once she noticed your nakedness.
  1988. >”W-We….”
  1989. >Luna trailed off, unable to vocalize her thoughts.
  1990. >You understood her difficulties; you weren’t even sure if you could open your mouth at this point with how dry your mouth has become.
  1991. >Taking one step at a time, you made your way across the room towards Luna.
  1992. >The room was dripping with tension and awkwardness; there was no getting around that.
  1993. >A few strides later, you found yourself in front of Luna, who refused to look away from her hooves.
  1994. >She absentmindedly pawed at the floor, trying to stall for time.
  1995. >The two of you remained silent, neither one knowing what to do.
  1996. >But you knew one thing for sure; if allowed to end prematurely before this situation could be defused, there would be no chance to make up.
  1997. >Your friendship, gone.
  1998. >Wiped out by a mistake made in the heat of the moment.
  1999. >With this in mind, you found the strength to speak.
  2000. >But what to say?
  2001. >You couldn’t think of anything that would lessen what you did to her.
  2002. >Hell, you’d probably make things worse.
  2003. >But something needed to be said.
  2004. >Perhaps… not by you.
  2005. “So…”
  2006. >Luna continued to avoid looking at you, though her ears did perk up at the sound of your voice.
  2007. >You paused to clear your throat before continuing.
  2008. ”…What do you think?”
  2009. >”…What do we think?”
  2010. “I want to hear what you think.”
  2011. >”W-We… We do not know.”
  2012. “Nothing?”
  2013. >Luna’s blush grew as she picked at the floor with an even greater intensity.
  2014. “…How do you feel?”
  2015. >Luna’s body jolted before relaxing.
  2016. >”We… We felt g-good.”
  2017. >Good?
  2018. >She felt good?
  2019. >No, no, don’t get ahead of yourself, Anonymous.
  2020. >Hear her out.
  2021. “How so?”
  2022. >Luna remained silent for a few seconds before speaking.
  2023. >”We are… unknowing when it comes to our emotions. We have always been pragmatic and logical. But… now we are faced with a problem that cannot be tackled in such a way. The sensation brought on by thy hands was… something we have never experienced before.”
  2024. >You wanted to say something in response, but you figured that interrupting her at this point would make it harder to her to speak her mind later.
  2025. >”We do not wish to mince words, we… enjoyed thine administrations. Greatly so. But… we do not know how to feel about this. We enjoy thy company, that much is true. Yet, when we are together, we are beset with unusual symptoms that we cannot identify. The longer we ponder on it, the more we believe to understand the underlying cause of them. But we are not certain of this. And we do not know how to properly respond to them.”
  2026. >Luna turned her head to the side, looking back into the vanity mirror once again.
  2027. >”No matter how much we consider our circumstances, we can only discern a couple things. We hope thou shares our sentiments.”
  2028. >You nodded your head in acknowledgement.
  2029. >”Firstly, we… do not wish to end our friendship. We care for thou far too much to lose you for any reason. Secondly…”
  2030. >Luna’s tail, which had been pressed tightly up against her flank up until know, relaxed and started swishing back and forth.
  2031. >”We… W-We cannot deny that our… that our….”
  2032. >Luna stomped her hooves in agitation as the sweet scent of vanilla reached your nose.
  2033. >”T-That our more… b-baser instincts have… a particular opinion of thou. But we feel it would be unwise to act on them before we have a better understanding of what they truly mean.”
  2034. “That’s… understandable.”
  2035. >Silence befell the both of you, and the depressing atmosphere took centerstage.
  2036. >But not for long, if you would have your way.
  2037. >Taking a few steps forward, you approached Luna, who remained still with downcast eyes.
  2038. >Ensuring that your towel was properly tucked in and wouldn’t fall, you wrapped your arms around the blue alicorn, who’s eyes bugged out at the sudden hug.
  2039. >Appearing fearful, Luna’s breathing picked up.
  2040. >”Anon, what are thou—”
  2041. “Luna, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I enjoyed our little… experience earlier too. But just like you, I don’t want to lose a friend over something like this. And it might sound insensitive, but… I don’t want things to be awkward between us. This isn’t fun, nor is this what either of us want. I wish to rewind the clock. Bring things back to the way they were before this whole debacle happened. I hope you’ll forgive me for seeming naïve, but that’s what I believe. You said that you wanted to figure things out, that’s perfectly reasonable. I don’t blame you for it. I have things I need to consider too. But making things weird between us while we try to do that will only make things harder on ourselves.”
  2042. >”…Then what are thou suggesting, then?”
  2043. “It’s simple.”
  2044. >Picking up the pony in your arms, you carried her over to the bed before lightly placing her on it.
  2045. >Luna looked flustered and embarrassed, like she expected you do escalate things.
  2046. “I said I wanted to rewind the clock, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. And we’ll do it by snuggling.”
  2047. >”I-I don’t think it would be wise to—”
  2048. “Too late. I’ve made up my mind.”
  2049. >”Thou are still nude—”
  2050. “I have a towel on.”
  2051. >”It is unwise to—”
  2052. “Is it unwise? Probably. Do I think this is the best way to go about things? No. Do I want to snuggle with a cute blue alicorn princess? Yeah, I do.”
  2053. >Luna’s protests fell on deaf ears as you got on the bed and wrapped your arms around her.
  2054. >It didn’t take long before she got into the cuddle session, pulling your chest closer to her.
  2055. >She didn’t drop the cute pouting look on her face, though.
  2056. >”We still don’t think we should be doing this.”
  2057. >Chuckling slightly, you nuzzled Luna, to which she hummed in satisfaction.
  2058. “Yeah, but we are doing this, so we might as well enjoy it, right?”
  2059. >”That sounds like faulty logic.”
  2060. “You’re probably right, but when you have a cute mare in your arms, you tend to not care about silly things like logic.”
  2061. >”D-Do not call us that.”
  2062. “Luna, I can say with one hundred percent certainty that you are, in fact, a mare.”
  2063. >”Not that part!”
  2064. “Do you not like being referred to in the second-person?”
  2065. >”Thou knows what we refer to!”
  2066. “Alright, then which word would you prefer? Beautiful? Pretty? Amazing?”
  2067. >”A-Anon!”
  2068. “Sexy?”
  2069. >Luna let out an eep of embarrassment, burying her face in your chest.
  2070. “Am I to take that as a sign of confirmation, Luna?”
  2071. >”Anon, please….”
  2072. “Whatever you say, sexy.”
  2073. >”…”
  2074. “Hey, do you smell vanilla?”
  2076. “…And…I…hope…you…remain…in…good…health. Sincerely…Princess… Celestia.”
  2077. >Dipping your quill back into the inkpot, you grabbed an envelope in your magic.
  2078. >You folded up the letter and put it inside before sealing it closed with a red wax stamp designed after your cutie mark.
  2079. >With a bit of magic, you sent it on towards the recipient, which was one of your various pen pals you’ve made over the years.
  2080. >Standing up, you stretched the pins and needles out of your legs.
  2081. >Having spent the whole day filling out paperwork with your only reprieve being meetings from foreign dignitaries, you were ready to fall asleep at the drop of a pin.
  2082. >Your meeting with Luna also did little to ease your discontented mind.
  2083. >Sighing in exasperation, you thought back to her tumultuous arrival.
  2084. >…
  2085. >”Sister, how can the nobles speak so candidly about our mental health as though their interpretations were absolute?”
  2086. >Not looking up from your paperwork, of which there was a literal pile, you addressed your younger irate alicorn sister.
  2087. “Luna, the nobles have always been like this, even before your banishment. This is nothing new.”
  2088. >Luna paced back and forth across your study with an angry malcontented look on her face.
  2089. “At least back then it was merely displeasure at the laws and policies we enacted. But this is far more intimate. They dare to sully us, to slander our good name!”
  2090. >You pulled the paper off the top of the pile, skimming it over.
  2091. >Some noble wished to add another brothel in the red market district, as though there weren’t enough of them already.
  2092. >Huffing in distaste, you levitated your two ‘APPROVED’ and “DENIED’ ink stamps over to your desk.
  2093. >Making sure the end was properly coated in red ink, you pressed the ‘DENIED’ stamp onto the offending document.
  2094. >Moving the marked paper over into the appropriate metal mesh bin, you sat down at your desk, shifting around in your little cushion until you were comfortable.
  2095. >As you lifted your head up to grab another paper from the pile, you locked eyes with your sister, who had stopped pacing in favor of glaring at you silently.
  2096. >The two of held eye contact for a couple of moments before Luna spoke up.
  2097. >”Art thou ready to pay attention to us now, or should we wait until thy business is concluded?”
  2098. >Glancing over at the large stack of papers yet to be filed, you hummed in thought.
  2099. “I actually would prefer to wait until later to discuss this. I had to set a quite a sizeable amount of paperwork aside just to be present for when the Noble Court convened earlier today, and I will be lucky to leave this room before nightfall because of it.”
  2100. >Snorting in contempt, Luna’s haughty voice resounding throughout the room as she resumed her pacing.
  2101. >”We do apologize, we should have been more sympathetic toward thy delicate schedule. Stars forbid thou considers thy maligned and distressed sister before thy job.”
  2102. “And we are back to this again. Always back to this.”
  2103. >You mumbled under your breath.
  2104. >Unfortunately for you, Luna’s sense of hearing was better than you had remembered.
  2105. >”And what, may we ask, is that supposed to mean, dear sister? Are we an annoyance to thee, dear sister? Dost thou wish us to leave unsatisfied, dear sister? Wouldst thou prefer us be silent and cooperative? Should we be quiet as the nobles piss on our honor and spread libel about us? Yes, that would be quite easy, would it not?”
  2106. >You remained silent.
  2107. >This conversation had come and gone numerous times before; the two of you had memorized the song and dance by now.
  2108. >”Dost thou even care about thy sister?”
  2109. “Of course I do, Luna—”
  2110. >”Then defend her! Do not stay thy hoof whilst our aggressors besmirch us behind our backs!”
  2111. “It is not that simple, Luna! I cannot simply walk up to them and magically make the problem disappear! Regardless of how ‘distressed’ you are, the fact is that I lack the power to do anything substantial right now! And even still, I am going over countless documents, browsing through all sorts of papers, just to find something that can help you! Do not try to make me out to be an obstacle in all of this, you do yourself no favors.”
  2112. >The room fell silent as your little shouting match drew to a close, though it certainly would not be the last.
  2113. >Returning your attention to your paperwork, you pulled the next document off the top of the stack and reviewed it.
  2114. >As you worked, Luna stood in front of you, unmoving.
  2115. >Her breathing was audible, and her face was adorned with a fierce expression.
  2116. >The ends of her mouth were turned upwards in a silent snarl, displaying her white teeth to you.
  2117. >Her eyes darted back and forth across the floor in between the two of you, as though she were reading some invisible script, one that spelled out the right string of words that would miraculously make her problems go away.
  2118. >However, it would appear that the script was not as well written as Luna had hoped, as she kicked at the floor before growling her displeasure out loud.
  2119. >You began to speak up, gently this time, as though you were soothing an enraged beast.
  2120. >Though, all things considered, there was little difference between an enraged beast and an upset Luna.
  2121. “I will call up the royal therapist. We can arrange a weekly check-up cycle for you. After a few months, once we have their written word, we can appeal to the Noble Court one more time. There should be no reason for them to deny you your crown then.”
  2122. >Luna huffed unhappily.
  2123. >”We should not have to—”
  2124. “Luna!”
  2125. >Luna flinched at your outburst.
  2126. >Usually you were a bit more reserved and collected, but even your patience has limits.
  2127. >Right now, you were tired, and you had a huge workload that required your attention.
  2128. >You did not have time to continue this pointless circular argument with Luna.
  2129. “It does not matter what you think you ought to do or not. I have told you what the circumstances are and what our plan for getting you your title back is. You may not like it, but that is just the way things are.”
  2130. >Luna glued her eyes to the floor, her cheeks burning red at your words.
  2131. “I honestly do not understand why you are in such a rush to become princess again. If I were you, I would want to enjoy all of the free time I can. Being the sole princess for a thousand years with no breaks is no fun indeed.”
  2132. >You waited for Luna to respond, yet you received nothing.
  2133. “Well, I really need to get to work now, so if that is all…?”
  2134. >Luna refused to meet your gaze.
  2135. >”It matters little either way, does it not?”
  2136. “Luna….”
  2137. >”No, no. Whatever. We will go and wait for Anon to return to his chambers then. At least around him, we can find happiness.”
  2138. >Without another word, Luna turned around and marched out of the study.
  2139. >As the door closed behind her, you took another look at the pile of papers on your desk.
  2140. >You were hesitant to start up on them again.
  2141. >You were doing everything you could for her, right?
  2142. >Were you being the sister she needed?
  2143. >Shaking your head, you purged the doubtful thoughts from your mind.
  2144. >Of course you were.
  2145. >Luna is simply stressed.
  2146. >As soon as this whole issue blows over, things will go back to normal.
  2147. >Yes, things will work themselves out.
  2148. >It’s just a matter of time.
  2149. >…
  2150. >Opening the door to the balcony, your horn lit up with your signature yellow aura.
  2151. >As you waited for Luna to respond to your summons, you reflected on her budding relationship with the human.
  2152. >What little skepticism you still held for him diminished every day, and his friendship with Luna only served to demonstrate his trustworthiness.
  2153. >In fact, it is rather shocking how quickly the two of them took to each other.
  2154. >An outside observer would probably think that the two of them had known each other for years, when in reality it has barely been five days.
  2155. >And the happy look on Luna’s face when she was around him spawned a tingling sensation within you.
  2156. >This unknown feeling resonated deeply as you thought of Anon and Luna together.
  2157. >The way they interacted with one another, how they smiled and laughed in each other’s presence…
  2158. >It felt to familiar.
  2159. >But you were not sure as to why.
  2160. >The glowing blue light emanating from Luna’s balcony snapped you out of your stupor.
  2161. >Charging up the necessary magic, you began the process of lowering the sun.
  2162. >It felt tired and weary, ready to rest until tomorrow.
  2163. >Gently, you lowered the bright star down the horizon, whispering softly to the heavenly orb while you did so.
  2164. >As soon as the sun was set, you turned around and made to enter your room again.
  2165. >You were too tired to stay and watch Luna raise her moon, as pretty a sight as it may be.
  2166. >Removing your regalia, you prepared yourself for bed.
  2167. >As you went about your nightly rituals, the sense of familiarity you felt before raising the sun returned to you.
  2168. >You pondered this, though the answer continued to elude you.
  2169. >The more you thought about it, the more certain you were.
  2170. >Something about the two of them seemed familiar to you.
  2171. >Deep in the back of your mind, old memories stirred, ones that had long since slipped your mind, yet remaining just out of reach.
  2172. >You stood before your bed, reflecting on it a bit more before climbing under the sheets.
  2173. >Whatever it was, you were sure it could wait until tomorrow.
  2174. >Switching off the light and using your magic to draw the curtains to a close, you closed your eyes and let sleep overtake you.
  2176. >>You waited impatiently, tapping your hoof to an unknown yet fast paced beat.
  2177. >>How dare he make you wait like this; he knew just how busy you were!
  2178. >>Groaning loudly in frustration, you leaned against the wall.
  2179. >>”Sorry, sorry!”
  2180. >>You perked up at the sound of his voice, coming from just beyond the corner up ahead.
  2181. >>Shifting your weight back onto your hooves, you trotted forward as a pinkish-orange colored stallion clad in the golden armor of the guard galloped around the corner, skidding as he turned to face you.
  2182. >>The stallion was a unicorn, yet was also stocky and well-built, which came with being in the guard.
  2183. >>But being taller than the other ponies by a good couple of inches was a nice bonus as well; the stallion came just up to your chin.
  2184. >>An unkempt mop of dark red-orange sat atop his head, which had a habit of sliding in front of his face when he wore his helmet, leading to many a mistake in the various exercises the guard performed.
  2185. >>While he panted and tried to catch his breath, you addressed him.
  2186. >”We must say, one would think a guard would be more timely to meetings with his princess.”
  2187. >>”A thousand pardons, thy grace. But me cap’in was in a rather foul mood. ‘Twas a miracle I got away when I did, poor recruits are prolly still runnin’ laps.”
  2188. >”And so thou saw fit to abandon thy companions and shirk thy training? We would have understood if thou were late due to training, but missing practice cannot so easily be overlooked.”
  2189. >>The stallion nodded, sporting a large grin on his face.
  2190. >>”Aye, sounds about right.”
  2191. >”And what, pray tell, is to stop us from simply informing the captain of thy unexcused absence, loyal guard?”
  2192. >>”I suppose it would be by thine ever merciful grace that ye would find it right to forgive me my errs.”
  2193. >”Though without equal, even our mercy cannot excuse negligence.”
  2194. >>”Not even for a handsome stallion like me?”
  2195. >>You scoffed at his flippant tone.
  2196. >”Flattery will get thou nowhere.”
  2197. >>The guard tilted his head, a smirk stretching across his face.
  2198. >>”Strange, me ma told me somethin’ similar, yet I believe she phrased it differently.”
  2199. >”We are aware of what the saying is.”
  2200. >>”Are ye callin’ me ma a liar?”
  2201. >>You stared at the stallion with a bemused look on your face.
  2202. >”If we could move on, there is much work to be done and there is very little time to do it.”
  2203. >>Turning around, you led the stallion through the halls.
  2204. >”Being part of our personal entourage is a highly esteemed and sought after position, as we are sure thou knows quite well. Thou performed admirably in the physical and magical orientations; it goes without saying that thou art most qualified for the position.”
  2205. >>The stallion dipped his head respectfully.
  2206. >>”I ‘preciate the kind words, Princess. The chance to protect and serve ye from the position of thy personal guard is an honor I humbly accept.”
  2207. >”Indeed. ‘Tis is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon our subjects. We hope thou wilt cherish this unique opportunity.”
  2208. >>You guided the stallion through the various hallways of the castle, going further down into the depths.
  2209. >>Eventually, the walls were no longer made of marble, but were instead clay and stone, and the further down into the castle the two of you travelled, the darker and dirtier the path became.
  2210. >>There came a point where the corridor didn’t even seem like part of the castle anymore; it was as if the two of you had wound up in some sort of cave system.
  2211. >>The stallion to your side remained silent throughout the journey, yet his unspoken concerns were clear.
  2212. >>You, on the other hand, were feeling rather giddy.
  2213. >>It took all the restraint you could muster to keep a calm façade on and walk slowly but smoothly.
  2214. >>After some time, the two of you came to the end of the cavern, which bore only a simple wooden door in between two torches.
  2215. >>You stood to the side of the door and turned to look at the guard, who was doing his best to keep his composure.
  2216. >”After thou.”
  2217. >>At your command, the guard slowly trotted up to the door, gently pushing it inward.
  2218. >>You followed him in, closing the door behind yourself.
  2219. >>The two of you had entered a moderately sized circular room, the walls of which were lined with gemstones of various sizes that glowed light yellow.
  2220. >>When it came to decorations, the room was rather sparse.
  2221. >>There was a chair or two strewn about, a sleeping pad and blanket on the floor, as well as some chests and mannequins off in the far corner of the room.
  2222. >”Guard. Disrobe thyself.”
  2223. >>Your voice was commanding and strict; gone was the empathetic and kind tones that you voice possessed earlier.
  2224. >>As commanded, the stallion removed his armor before placing it on one of the mannequins.
  2225. >”Stand before us.”
  2226. >>The stallion stiffly walked over towards you, keeping his eyes downcast, until he stood before you as directed.
  2227. >”State thy name, rank and company.”
  2228. >>”I am First Lieutenant Morning Glow, Company C, Fourth Battalion, Twelfth Infantry Regiment.”
  2229. >”Is it thy desire to accept the position of our personal guard?”
  2230. >>”Yes, ma’am.”
  2231. >You began to circle Morning Glow slowly, dragging your gaze across his form, while the stallion did not so much as blink in response.
  2232. >”We have never before had need of such a position; thou wouldst be the first pony to ever be granted such a title, should we see fit to grant it to thee.”
  2233. >>If Glow felt slighted by your off-handed jab at him, he did a good job of keeping it hidden.
  2234. >”Dost thou understand then, the weight that thine actions wouldst carry? The sheer enormity of it? Had it ever crossed thy mind that mayhaps a task of such grandeur would be too extreme for a pony to handle?”
  2235. >>Glow remained silent, refusing to respond in spite of your callous remarks.
  2236. >”Thou wouldst be a fool if it had not. We digress.”
  2237. >>Having made a complete circle around Morning Glow, you stopped in front of him.
  2238. >”We looked over thy marks on the physical and magical tests. Thou demonstrated exceptional endurance, strength, and magical elasticity.”
  2239. >>Noting the stallion twitch slightly at your praise, you continued on.
  2240. >”Clearly, thy skills have been finely tuned and thine endeavors fruitful. There are few who can match thy talents.”
  2241. >>You paused, before leaning your head down low in front of Morning Glow’s face so that he was forced to meet your gaze.
  2242. >”Except us, of course.”
  2243. >>Morning Glow’s eyes betrayed his stoic outer shell, revealing the confusion welling up within him.
  2244. >>As a cold smile stretched across your face, you addressed the elephant in the room.
  2245. >”Thou wouldst be expected to defend us, yet thou art outclassed by us in every category. So then why should we even recognize thou as our defender?”
  2246. >>A drop of sweat trickled down the side of Morning Glow’s head; he was at a loss for words.
  2247. >>Lifting you head back up, you resumed your circular walk around the guard.
  2248. >”What threat is there that we ourselves cannot overcome? And if there were, what use would a pony of thy skill level be compared to that? These are pertinent questions, Morning Glow. Before we allow thee to leave this place, they must be answered.”
  2249. >>You meandered your way over towards the door, before turning to face the lost guard.
  2250. >”Thou passed the strength test wonderfully, and thy magical skill is without question. But now comes thy most challenging task. The test of worth.”
  2251. >>You stood there for a moment longer, giving one final smirk upon seeing Morning Glow recoil once he realized what you were implying.
  2252. >”We are very busy and do not have the time to waste waiting around here for thee, so we will not be able to return for some time. Do give thy worth some thought. After all, thine answer shall determine thy fate.”
  2253. >>With the final nail put in the coffin, you exited the room before magically sealing it behind you, ensuring your little guard would not be escaping anytime soon.
  2254. >>You stood there, looking at the door for a moment longer, until you released a girlish giggle.
  2255. >>Turning away from Morning Glow’s temporary prison, you skipped away merrily with a large smile on your face.
  2256. >>Morning Glow was as queer as you remembered him being.
  2257. >>It was nice seeing him again after all these years.
  2258. >>And to think, he was well on his way to becoming your first personal guardsman!
  2259. >>As you bounded along, singing to yourself a little tune of your own composition, you found yourself lost in thought, imagining just what life would be like once he passed the test.
  2260. >>Well, assuming he does pass the test, that is.
  2261. >>But you weren’t worried about him failing in the slightest.
  2262. >>Oh, the ponies would gossip once they heard the news!
  2263. >>They’d probably make up all sorts of interesting little rumors about the two of you.
  2264. >>Maybe they would even think the two of you were secret lovers or something scandalous like that!
  2265. >>Hmm… you didn’t find anything particularly revolting about that thought.
  2266. >>He was a handsome stallion, after all, with the size and muscles to match.
  2267. >>And it wasn’t as if you were incapable of finding yourself a stallion to call your own.
  2268. >>With thoughts of romance dancing in your mind, you continued back down the hallway you came from, reaching the point where clay and dirt met marble and stone.
  2270. >With a start, you jerked upright with a cry of anguish, knocking your blankets and pillows across the room.
  2271. >You felt sick, horribly so, like a thousand fiery needles were pressing themselves against the walls of your stomach.
  2272. >An irrepressible need to vomit overtook you, and with a bound you leapt up from your bed and galloped over to the bathroom.
  2273. >Throwing yourself on top of the porcelain toilet bowl, you proceeded to dry heave as spasms racked your body.
  2274. >Hot tears poured down your face, blurring your vision as you emptied out the contents of your stomach.
  2275. >You shut your eyes tightly, half-sobbing and half-retching as pain spiked throughout your body.
  2276. >The horrid sensation of despair overwhelmed you, pushing all other thoughts and feelings to the side.
  2277. >You hardly registered the sound of approaching hoofsteps until a voice rang out.
  2278. >”My princess, are you alright?”
  2279. >It was still late at night, so you couldn’t see the guard clearly, but the gold armor he wore gleamed in light of the moon.
  2280. >That accursed armor was the absolute last thing you needed to see right now.
  2281. >Trying and failing to resist the urge to scowl at the offending stallion, you hissed at the guard, your voice low and scathing, dripping with malice.
  2282. “I am fine. Get out.”
  2283. >The foolish guard didn’t notice your foul temper and was unfortunate enough to press the issue further.
  2284. >”My princess, if there is anything I or any of the other guards can do to help you— Ack!”
  2285. >The guard was cut off mid-sentence as you gripped him tightly in your magic.
  2286. “I said get out.”
  2287. >Not giving him the opportunity to say anything more, you teleported him out of your room.
  2288. >Turning back to the toilet bowl, you spat the remains of the foul-tasting bile out of your mouth.
  2289. >Morning Glow….
  2290. >Remembering that name unlocked the memories that you had tried so desperately to forget.
  2291. >As you remembered more and more, your tears returned in full force.
  2292. >Each moment that returned to you was another stake being driven into your heart.
  2293. >You pinned your ears to the side of your head as tightly as you could, as though if you tried hard enough you could stop remembering everything.
  2294. >But no matter what you did, the memories kept coming back to you; every moment you spent with Morning Glow, every experience the two of you shared came to the forefront of your thoughts.
  2295. >You sat there in agony, forced to relive the past over again, watching every laugh you shared, every hardship, every pleasure, each one more painful than the last.
  2296. >It kept building and building and building with each moment until—
  2297. >….
  2299. >”Good morning, Miss Luna.”
  2300. >You stared intently at the far wall directly in front of you without responding, sinking further into the longue chair feeling rather grouchy.
  2301. >A stallion sat in a red velvet chair a couple of paces away from where you sat, holding a clipboard and a freshly inked quill.
  2302. >He was an earth pony with a silvery mane and blue-green coat; glasses adorned his muzzle, through which his hazel eyes peeked through.
  2303. >Sighing, he set down the clipboard on the table to his left before leaning forward, peeking over his spectacles.
  2304. >”Come now, I’m not here to be your enemy. The very notion that you might be… well, to say the least, it is almost sacrilege. I am here entirely for your benefit, so that you can prove those nobles wrong.”
  2305. >You remained silent; you understood his logic as well as the necessity of this session in order to regain your right to rule, but your attitude could not be fouler as a result.
  2306. >The therapist waited for an answer for a few moments longer before reclining in his seat, adopting a thoughtful expression.
  2307. >”Say, you know my wife. She told me that you visited her twice in the past couple of days.”
  2308. >When you didn’t respond, he continued.
  2309. >”Yes, my wife, you know her as Doctor Heartfelt. I do hope she performed well, I’d hate to break any bad news to her.”
  2310. “…No, her medical skill is exceptional. Thou need not worry about that.”
  2311. >Your voice was soft and considerate yet contained; every word was sounded out slowly and carefully, as though you feared your tongue would slip out of control if you weren’t cautious enough.
  2312. >”Has she mentioned me to you at all? In passing conversation or anything of the sort?”
  2313. “Nay, we do not converse much beyond what is required. We did not know she even had a husband.”
  2314. >”That’s a shame, she is a great conversationalist. Why, she was able to go on for quite some time talking about this ‘human’ that you had brought her to treat. I’m sure the two of you would get along quite nicely if you gave it a chance.”
  2315. >You harrumphed, but otherwise said nothing in turn.
  2316. >The stallion picked up his clipboard again, shifting in his seat as he did so.
  2317. >”My name is Doctor Cognizance, but you can call me Doctor Cog, if you would prefer.”
  2318. >Cognizance made a mark on his paperwork before looking up at you again.
  2319. >”Would you care for a chat?”
  2320. >You drifted your eyes lazily over to him.
  2321. “About what?”
  2322. >Ignoring the contempt in your voice, the doctor shrugged his shoulders.
  2323. >”About anything, really. What comes to mind?”
  2324. >You copied the doctor’s earlier motion.
  2325. “Nothing.”
  2326. >Turning back to face the wall, silence reigned for some time.
  2327. >Cog sighed, before speaking up.
  2328. >”The first session is always the hardest to start. That’s true of all my patients. Neither of us know where to start, what questions to ask. It’ll get a lot easier in the next few appointments.”
  2329. >At the mention of follow-up sessions, your expression morphed into one of disgust, a silent snarl etched on your muzzle.
  2330. >This was a waste of time; you knew you were healthy.
  2331. >You didn’t see the need to entertain the ridiculous notion of needing a therapist.
  2332. >Noticing the change in your mood, the doctor scribbled a quick note.
  2333. >”Yes, well, I apologize. This must all seem rather aggravating for you, isn’t it? …Let’s move on to other things. How about this human that my wife had mentioned? Would you care to tell me about it?”
  2334. >The thought of Anon subdued most of the negativity swirling in your mind, allowing you the chance to calm down and think things through.
  2335. “His name is Anonymous, but he asked us to call him Anon.”
  2336. >Doctor Cog’s face lit up and little dimples appeared in his cheeks as he smiled.
  2337. >”Ah, so you’ve befriended this Anon character? That’s good, that’s good. What else can you tell me about him.”
  2338. “Well… he isn’t from Equestria.”
  2339. >Cog snorted in amusement.
  2340. >”I could’ve told you that and I haven’t even met the fella! Heh heh, I kid, I kid. So, if not Equestria, where’s he from?”
  2341. >You rolled your eyes at the doctor’s cheap joke.
  2342. “He is from an entirely different planet, Doctor. His kind is not native to our own.”
  2343. >The doctor guffawed for a good minute before noticing the serious look on your face.
  2344. >”Wait… Is he seriously an alien? You must forgive me, but that sounds—”
  2345. “We are well aware of how it sounds Doctor. But it is nonetheless the truth of the matter.”
  2346. >Cognizance sat there stunned at the revelation that intelligent life existed off-planet.
  2347. >As you waited for your therapist to collect himself, your thoughts drifted back to Anon.
  2348. >You had feared that yesterday’s… ‘incident’, for lack of a better term, would put a damper of your friendship.
  2349. >But that fear could not be more unfounded, as proved by Anon’s actions throughout the rest of the day.
  2350. >He remained close and jovial as ever without any missteps or hesitations when it came to being around you.
  2351. >Strangely enough, ever since yesterday Anon had very barely left your side.
  2352. >He took advantage of every opportunity you gave him to hug and caress you.
  2353. >N-Not that you were opposed to it or anything; after all, he had displayed these mannerisms for some time now, it wasn’t a new development.
  2354. >But what was different was the effects that his administrations had on you.
  2355. >Before, it just felt nice when Anon ran his hands over your coat, but now his very touch shot sparks throughout your body.
  2356. >And the worst part about it is that he is fully aware of what his hands were doing to you, and he greatly enjoyed it.
  2357. >Twice since then you had to prematurely stop Anon’s roaming hands before you had yet another ‘accident’.
  2358. >Just thinking about it caused your cheeks to turn a brilliant shade of purple.
  2359. >You bit your lower lip, hoping the slight pain would reign in your wild fantasies and rampant emotions before the Doctor noticed.
  2360. >Speaking of, Cognizant appeared to be finally composing himself, so with a bit of willpower, you managed to hide your blush and stop yourself from becoming too aroused.
  2361. >”Well, that’s… very interesting, to say the least. How have the two of you gotten along?”
  2362. “We beg thy pardon?”
  2363. >”Clearly, the two of you have become close in such a short time, that much is clear without seeing the two of you around each other. You are already on a nickname basis and you speak of him candidly, in much the way one would talk about close friends. Not to mention how you relaxed considerably at the mention of him when you had been agitated and reserved prior so clearly, he already holds a large amount of influence in your life, which appears positive, thankfully.”
  2364. “We… We had not thought that far into it.”
  2365. >Doctor Cog waved his hoof.
  2366. >”No worries, most people don’t. It’s only once it’s been pointed out to them that even the closest of lovers realize how they respond to each other.”
  2367. >The stallion flipped the paper on his clipboard, the first page being filled up with notes and bullet points.
  2368. >”Now if you would, kindly tell me about how the two of you get along with each other.”
  2369. >You leaned your head back into the lounge chair in thought.
  2370. “We are not sure. Give us a moment to think.”
  2371. >”Of course.”
  2372. >How did the two of you get along?
  2373. >It’s such a strange question to ask, yet rather profound.
  2374. “We suppose… we get along well.”
  2375. >”Yes, yes, and…?”
  2376. “Anon is very considerate and patient with us; we have never been overly upset with him.”
  2377. >”Alright, alright. Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say that he is considerate and patient?”
  2378. “Sometimes we like to just talk with him, to pass the time away. And he listens to us. When we wish to talk with him about things, he is always willing to hear us out. It is not like he simply sits there as we talk, though. We have a dialogue, though he tries his best to not interrupt us.”
  2379. >The sound of scribbling paused as Doctor Cog dipped his quill back into the inkpot before continuing.
  2380. “He also has a sharp tongue, which he uses whenever the opportunity presents itself. Usually to our embarrassment.”
  2381. >”Does he ever push it too far?”
  2382. “He certainly tries, but we are accustomed to witticisms. He needs to do far better to make us uncomfortable.”
  2383. >”Do you ever talk about his kind or his home planet?”
  2384. “Yes, we are rather entranced with the stories he weaves of his home. It was one of the first things we bonded over. He told us all of these wonderful stories about his kind’s fascination with the universe; it would take hours before we could finish recounting all of the ones he has told us. Who knows how many more he has ready to share?”
  2385. >”Interesting, very interesting. How would you say that Anonymous has impacted your life?”
  2386. “…We do not understand thy question.”
  2387. >Cog pushed his glasses, which had slipped down his muzzle, back onto his face.
  2388. >”From what I have gathered, you hold Anon in high regard; he is your place of refuge. He helps you work out problems you give to him while presenting you an opportunity to vent pent up frustrations. But as you mentioned earlier, it isn’t like you’re just talking to a brick wall. Your conversations are dynamic, and he presents a unique enough perspective to make for an interesting discussion. You find him entertaining and a pleasure to be around, making himself appear more as an individual with identifiable characteristics rather than simply another nameless passerby. You have shown me that this human has made a significant impact in your life. What I wish to know is to what extent that impact reaches.”
  2389. >You sat there for a moment, taking in what your therapist had told you.
  2390. “…We cannot know the answer to that question this soon. We have only known of him for six days now. That is not nearly enough time to ascertain any conclusions on this matter.”
  2391. >Cognizant nodded his head at your response.
  2392. >”That is a wise decision, one I must agree with. I was merely making sure. Well, I feel that this human is a key component to your mental state. We cannot continue further into this therapy session until we better determine the effect this human is having on your wellbeing. From what I can tell, it is seemingly positive, but only time can tell us for certain.”
  2393. >Setting aside the clipboard, which now bore a wall of notes and markings, Doctor Cog stretched his legs out before standing up with a groan.
  2394. >Twisting his head side to side, receiving several loud pops for his efforts, he addressed you.
  2395. >”Well, Miss Luna. This has been a very productive first meeting. That will be all for today, as there is nothing else to do but wait until we both better understand how that brain of yours ticks. Shall we tentatively set our schedule to meet next week?”
  2396. “Very well, Doctor Cognizant. That will work for us. Thank thee very much.”
  2397. >”No need to thank me, I am simply happy to assist you.”
  2398. >Standing up, you shook the cricks out of your back and the needles out of your legs before leaving the Cog’s office.
  2399. >Entering the waiting room, you jolted upright as you found Anon sitting in one of the chairs reading a rather familiar magazine.
  2400. >”Part seven, when to begin sexual advances. Everybody feels the need to ‘get it on’ every now and again, but it might be difficult to discern when in a relationship you should expect a ‘roll in the hay’. More often than not, younger stallions and their greater libidos may find themselves asking to ‘do the deed’ far too early. That’s okay! Every relationship should be treated as a learning experience. So long as both of you respect each other’s wishes and neither of you forces anything upon the other—”
  2401. >With a shriek of embarrassment, you tore the magazine away from Anon’s hands with your magic.
  2402. >Anon appeared stunned for a moment, before kicking his feet up on the coffee table in front of him, turning to face you with a sly smirk on his face.
  2403. >”I didn’t expect you to be done so soon. Back home, my therapy sessions were at least an hour long.”
  2404. >With your cheeks still glowing red, you rolled up the magazine and whacked it over Anon’s head, which he didn’t bother blocking.
  2405. “What did we tell thou about these magazines? They are nothing but trouble!”
  2406. >Anon sat there with a dopey look on his face as you hit him repeatedly with the rolled-up paper.
  2407. >”Don’t act like you haven’t been reading it too! I saw you reading it! If it is nothing but trouble, then why were YOU reading it?”
  2408. “We do not need to explain ourselves! We are a princess. That is reason enough for us to do anything without question.”
  2409. >”Luna, quit hitting me!”
  2410. “Not until thou promise stop reading this silly tabloid!”
  2411. >”I will promise nothing!”
  2412. “Then continue hitting, we shall!”
  2413. >”Luna! Luna!”
  2414. >”A positive influence, I see.”
  2415. >You froze as Doctor Cognizance poked his head out of his office with a grin on his face.
  2416. >Turning to face him, you stammered out a shaky response.
  2417. “We were just, um, just messing around? Yeah, just—”
  2418. >The sensation of the magazine being pulled out of your grasp grabbed your attention.
  2419. >Quickly pivoting to face Anon with a gasp, you saw him sprint out of the waiting room, magazine in hand, cackling madly.
  2420. >”Anon!”
  2421. >You gave the doctor an apologetic look before bounding out into the hall after the human, who was halfway down the hall already, giggling to himself with a childlike whimsicality.
  2422. >”Anon! Give us that magazine!”
  2423. >At the sound of your voice, he picked up both his speed and the intensity of his giggling, rounding the corner.
  2424. >Unfurling your wings, you gave a mighty yet controlled flap, propelling you after the rambunctious Anon.
  2425. “Surrender thyself and our punishment will be lessened!”
  2426. >Anon’s voice echoed out from far ahead, amidst his laughing and the sound of his shoes hitting the marble floor.
  2427. >”Part eight! The amateur’s guide to mind-blowing sex-capades!”
  2428. >With another shriek, you tore through the air after Anon.
  2429. >You were NOT going to let him read that part!
  2430. >He did not need the extra help!
  2431. >…You felt like that could have been worded better.
  2433. >You closed the door behind Luna as she flew after the human that you knew as Anonymous.
  2434. >The two appeared close, as you had deduced during her therapy session.
  2435. >A smile stretched across your face; their joyous antics were simply too infectious to ignore.
  2436. >Turning around, you made your way back to the study.
  2437. >You had much to consider now, given what Luna had told you.
  2438. >As the wooden door swung inward, you jolted upright at the sight of a unicorn mare lounging in the chair where Luna sat not a minute before.
  2439. >She was tall, unusually so for a pony, but not as tall as either of the princesses.
  2440. >Her mane was long and wavy, which sparkled in the light as she moved her head to look at you.
  2441. >The milano red eyeshadow she wore contrasted her spring green coat yet complimented her red orange mane and tail.
  2442. >Cyan eyes bore into you, sharp yet not piercing; the mare was clearly relaxed, if her posture was anything to go by.
  2443. >She smiled, flashing her pearly white teeth.
  2444. >”Why, hello there dear Doctor! Do not mind me, I am simply checking up on her progress.”
  2445. >You took a tentative step forward, your eyes locked onto hers.
  2446. “Her progress? I’m sorry, you are going to have to be a bit more specific than that. I see many mares and stallions alike.”
  2447. >The mare covered her muzzle with her hoof as she giggled to herself.
  2448. >”Doctor Cognizant, how scandalous! What would your dear wife say if she heard you say that?”
  2449. >Remaining silent, you stared at the intruder, who continued to laze about and stretch herself across the lounge chair.
  2450. >The mare sat there for a moment longer before sighing and twisting herself into a more comfortable position.
  2451. >”Honestly, would it kill you to indulge a mare?”
  2452. “The only mare I indulge is my wife, miss.”
  2453. >The mare met your gaze once again, her mouth turned upwards in a sly smirk.
  2454. >”Princess, dear. Not miss.”
  2455. >When you didn’t correct yourself, she spoke up again.
  2456. >”You do know who I am, yes? I would certainly hope so. After all, I took a significant amount of time learning who you were, dear.”
  2457. >She giggled girlishly, fluttering her long eyelashes.
  2458. >You snorted, unamused by her flirting.
  2459. >”But just in case, I am Princess Glamor. I am the Noble Court’s Head of Culture. Prince Gavel sent me to check up on our little ex-Princess friend. And if I read this correctly,”
  2460. >Glamor’s horn began to glow red-orange, using her magic to lift the clipboard you had been using to take notes with during Luna’s therapy session.
  2461. >”Then it would appear she has a rather interesting opinion of our little alien friend, would you not say?”
  2462. >You narrowed your eyes, beginning to march forward towards the princess.
  2463. “Regardless of your purpose and intentions, it would be greatly appreciated if you would not so flippantly read through my notes. Doctor-patient confidentiality, after all. Now return those papers to me at once!”
  2464. >Glamor scrunched up her muzzle at your scathing tone, but otherwise appeared nonplussed at your attitude.
  2465. >”Alright, here. I already read it all anyways. Take your papers back.”
  2466. >She tossed the clipboard your way and as you fumbled around with your hooves trying to get a solid grip on it, she got up from the chair and stretched her legs.
  2467. >”There was nothing of particular note besides that human in there, so it is pretty useless to us. As for that human though, well… We will be looking into that on our own.”
  2468. >As the clipboard hit the ground, you sighed in defeat before looking up at the mare, who had now crossed the gap between the two and was looking rather intently at you.
  2469. >”I do not believe that I need to remind you the importance of your job here, correct?”
  2470. >You opened your mouth to respond, in all likelihood being an indignant retort, but Princess Glamor didn’t bother waiting for your response before speaking over you.
  2471. >”Of course you do. Someone so naïve would not have been selected for this task.”
  2472. >As she stopped in front of you, it was hard not to notice the slight height difference between the two, her being about half a head taller than you on account of her rather long legs.
  2473. >In that regard, her body appeared more alicorn sized as opposed to other ponies.
  2474. >Glamor leaned down her head to meet your eyes, hers half-lidded.
  2475. >”You just do your job and do it well, and we will all get along just fine.”
  2476. >Quick as a snake, she darted her head forward and placed a light kiss on the tip of your muzzle, startling you into jumping back a couple paces.
  2477. >While you spluttered and rubbed the kiss off of your face, the princess giggled as she passed you by towards the door, making sure to slowly run her tail along the length of your body.
  2478. >”See you next week, Doctor.”
  2479. >With that said, she closed the door behind herself, leaving you to your own devices.
  2480. >Wiping the last of her kiss off of yourself, you glared at the door she left through as thought you could stare right through it.
  2481. “I do NOT appreciate that. I am a happily married stallion, thank you very much.”
  2482. >You mumbled to yourself in contempt before reaching down and picking up the dropped clipboard and notes.
  2483. >Making your way over to your desk, you pulled out a small pad before writing a little note to yourself on it.
  2484. “Buy…lock…for…desk…drawer….”
  2486. >”Where is it, Anon?”
  2487. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Luna.”
  2488. >”No, no, no. Thou dost not get to simply feign ignorance. Where didst thou hide the magazine?”
  2489. >You shrugged your shoulders, desperately concentrating on not breaking out into a large grin.
  2490. “What… What magazine?”
  2491. >Luna trotted over to your bed before ripping off the sheets with her magic, tossing the pillows across the room, yet found no trace of the magazine.
  2492. >She carefully observed each and every fold and crease in the comforter before turning to face you with a scrutinizing stare.
  2493. >”Ten seconds. Twas only ten seconds between when thou entered thy chambers and when we did. Thou only had ten seconds to hide it, so it must be somewhere simple and easy to get to.”
  2494. >Luna maintained her stare for a moment longer before surveying the rest of the room.
  2495. >As her eyes fell upon the dresser, she shot you another look before marching on over towards it.
  2496. >You remained standing still in the center of the room with your arms crossed, calmly watching her search for the magazine.
  2497. >”We will find it, Anon. There are only so many places it could be.”
  2498. “I’m sure you will, Luna.”
  2499. >”We will!”
  2500. “Don’t worry, Luna. I believe in you.”
  2501. >Luna let out a huff as she upended the contents of your sock drawer, spilling it out all over the floor, yet the magazine remained hidden.
  2502. >Dropping the drawer on the floor with a loud thudding noise, she leaned her head forward twisting it sideways before sticking it inside the now vacant drawer.
  2503. >You could hear the light bumps and muffled muttering of Luna as she bumped her head and horn against the walls of the drawer.
  2504. >Stepping forward, she stuck herself further inside, her tail flicking itself every now and again as Luna searched intently.
  2505. >It wasn’t long before you heard Luna sigh in exasperation and attempt to remove herself from the drawer.
  2506. >As she started to pull back, she suddenly jolted and bumped her head hard on the top of the dresser which caused several amenities on top to fall over and let out a shriek of pain.
  2507. >You uncrossed your arms and made your way to Luna’s side, resting a hand on her back between her wings.
  2508. “Are you okay Luna?”
  2509. >”No… Our mane is caught in the slider and it hurts.”
  2510. >Leaning your head in close, you saw that there was indeed a rather large knot in her otherwise perfect mane snagged by the slider.
  2511. “Alright Luna, I’ll get you out of there. Just give me a second.”
  2512. >Luna whimpered.
  2513. >”It really hurts.”
  2514. “I know it does, I know it does. But I’m gonna get you out of there, so don’t you worry none.”
  2515. >Carefully, you brought your hands around Luna’s neck up towards her mane where the knot was.
  2516. >As you picked at her mane, you noticed that Luna was gazing at your hands with… longing?
  2517. >You weren’t exactly sure what emotion it was, just that she was rather intent on watching your hands work.
  2518. >It was a couple seconds before she spoke up again.
  2519. >”What is it like? To have hands, we mean.”
  2520. >You glanced down towards Luna, who still stared at your hands as they began to remove her mane from the slider.
  2521. ”I don’t know. What’s it like having hooves?”
  2522. >Luna sat there in contemplation for a moment, before bringing her hoof up and lightly slapping it on top of your chest and pressing down.
  2523. >”Kinda like that.”
  2524. >You paused your work for a moment to look down at the offending hoof.
  2525. “That really doesn’t tell me anything about hooves, Luna.”
  2526. >”Hmm.”
  2527. >Luna now stared at the hoof she pressed on your chest while you worked.
  2528. >It wasn’t long until she started rubbing her hoof in circular motions across your shirt.
  2529. >Contrary to what you had expected, her hooves were rather soft, yet firm.
  2530. >As opposed to a hard hoof and soft frog, her hooves instead sported thick calluses that could become hard if flexed, yet otherwise remained on the soft side.
  2531. >You chalked it up as yet another difference between Equestrian ponies and the ones from back home.
  2532. “And there we go. You’re a free bird now –er, I suppose free pony would be more appropriate.”
  2533. >Slowly, Luna pulled the rest of her head out from inside the drawer slot without any more knots or snagged manes to stop her.
  2534. >Breathing a sigh of relief, she turned to face you with a grateful smile on her face.
  2535. >”Thank thee kindly, Anon.”
  2536. >You smiled in response, giggling slightly at Luna’s disheveled appearance.
  2537. >”Do not laugh.”
  2538. “I wasn’t laughing.”
  2539. >”Do not lie to us. We saw thee laugh”
  2540. “Must’ve been your imagination.”
  2541. >”Why dost thou test us so?”
  2542. “’Cause it’s fun.”
  2543. >”…It still hurts a bit.”
  2544. “Aw, does the little precious alicorn need the big strong human to kiss her boo-boos? Alright, just because you asked so nicely, I’ll do it for you.”
  2545. >Luna reared up, a playful grin on her face as she backed off in mock contempt.
  2546. >”Absolutely not. No kissing our boo-boos.”
  2547. >You chuckled before taking a couple steps toward Luna, to which she retreated a couple steps back.
  2548. “It’s okay, Luna. You said that it hurt, so I’m gonna kiss your head and make you feel better.”
  2549. >”No! No kisses!”
  2550. “Yes kisses!”
  2551. >”No!”
  2552. >Luna turned around and tried to make a break for the door, but unfortunately for her, you were able to grab onto the base of her tail before she could get away.
  2553. >She let out an eep in surprise as her getaway came to a jolting halt as she felt you grasp her tail, which surprisingly turned into a moan.
  2554. >Luna glanced back over her shoulder back at you with half-lidded eyes, biting her lip as a blush spread across her cheeks.
  2555. >”A-Anon, please. Save that for later.”
  2556. “W-What?”
  2557. >You felt Luna’s tail start to hike up as she started to giggle.
  2558. >”We thought that thou wanted to not do this, but if thou art so brazenly asking, then we do not we why we should decline.”
  2559. >Luna had fully turned around now and was advancing towards you, meanwhile you stood there in a stupor, not fully comprehending what just happened.
  2560. “I think I’m missing a couple steps here, Luna.”
  2561. >She doesn’t respond, instead choosing to stand on her hind legs and rest her front legs on your shoulders.
  2562. >Luckily, she was much less dense than she appeared to be, so you didn’t crumple under the weight of a horse leaning on you.
  2563. >The tip of Luna’s muzzle brushed against the tip of your nose as she giggled drunkenly once again.
  2564. >The strangely arousing scent of vanilla filled your nostrils as Luna nuzzled the side of your face.
  2565. “L-Luna, what’s going on?”
  2566. >Luna licked your ear before nibbling on your earlobe.
  2567. >”Did we fail to mention? Grasping a pony’s tail near the base is a rather forward way of asking to mate. And to pull on it? Well….”
  2568. >Luna trailed off with yet another giggle, leaving her implications up to your imagination.
  2569. >Out of nowhere, Luna gave a rather strong push, toppling you over.
  2570. >Taking her sweet time, Luna lowered herself on top of you until she was laying on top of you.
  2571. >Her hot breath billowed across your face, though the heat could have just been from your blush.
  2572. >You felt something wet coating your crotch area as the smell of vanilla grew stronger.
  2573. >It was intoxicating.
  2574. >Luna slowly began to raise her hindquarters until they were no longer laying on you; you could see her firm moons behind Luna’s head.
  2575. >You watched as though hypnotized as she started to sway her hips, while her face was pressed up against your chest with a faraway look in her eye, tongue lolling out of her mouth.
  2576. >As you gazed at her curvaceous flank, she moved her head up toward yours, leaving little nibbles and licks on you as she went.
  2577. >It took a tantalizingly long amount of time before she reached your head, though you were by no measure complaining.
  2578. >Luna locked eyes with you as she approached.
  2579. >Closer and closer she came, stopping just before her lips met yours.
  2580. >You were close enough that the simple act of sticking your tongue out could have connected the two of you.
  2581. >”Anon…”
  2582. >Her voice was unbelievably erotic in a way you had never expected.
  2583. >She dragged out your name, the sound full of need and desire.
  2584. >Slightly opening her mouth, her gaze took on a whole new level of lewd, and seeing her tongue stick out a little bit pressed all the right buttons in you.
  2585. >Everything was building and growing and cascading until…
  2586. >Boop.
  2587. “What.”
  2588. >”That is what thou gets for teasing us.”
  2589. “…No. No, no. You did not just fucking—”
  2590. >Luna stood up, having shattered the mood with a shit-eating grin on her face.
  2591. >”Honestly, Anon. Grabbing our tail signifies a desire to mate? If we knew thou would be so easily tricked, we would have done this some time ago.”
  2592. “If you don’t get right the fuck back here, I swear to God—”
  2593. >”Was it not thou who called us a god when we raised the moon for thee on that first night? You should have known better than to tease thy god, Anonymous.”
  2594. “Luna, you—”
  2595. “Lunch is in about twenty minutes Anon. That should be more than enough time to clean thyself of our essence.”
  2596. >You sat there, dumbfounded, unsure of whether to be absolutely livid or break down and start crying.
  2597. >Luna, on the other hand, had already started to make her way out of the room, sashaying her hips as she trotted.
  2598. >Stopping just before the door, she looked back at your unreadable face with yet another maniac grin.
  2599. >”At the very least, it was entertaining watching thou squirm. Perhaps a gift for being so easily manipulated is in order. So, even though thou hast seen it before….”
  2600. >Slowly, Luna hiked her tail up until her swollen and dripping marehood was revealed to you in all its splendor.
  2601. >Shaking her flank a little bit, Luna was clearly enjoying her little foray into exhibitionism as you traced her sopping wet lips with your gaze, pitching a tent in your soaked pants while you were at it.
  2602. >”If this is all we have to do in order to get thou to fall to pieces like this, then you can expect another glimpse in the near future. Who knows? Maybe next time, we will let thou touch us there again. It turned out so well for us last time, after all.”
  2603. >Giving you one last little shake, she unfortunately allowed her tail to fall back down, obscuring her marehood from view once more.
  2604. >Luna giggled one last time before leaving the room.
  2605. >”Remember. Twenty minutes until lunch.”
  2606. >With that said, the door closed behind her, leaving you lying on the floor, hot and bothered with soaking wet pants and a diamond hard erection.
  2607. >You lay there for a moment longer, before ripping your pants and briefs off as fast as you could and rushing into the bathroom.
  2608. >Twenty minutes?
  2609. >That’s plenty of time.
  2611. >It had been a long time since you’ve felt sadness nearly as crushing as this.
  2612. >The monotonous process of stamping documents could not distract you from the overwhelming influx of emotions.
  2613. >As you levitated yet another scroll towards its proper resting place in your filing cabinet, your mind tormented you with memories of a love long past.
  2614. >Of Morning Glow…
  2615. >You shut your eyes in a naïve attempt to block out the painful recollections, yet the futile effort only served to exacerbate their intensity.
  2616. >No matter how much you struggled to accomplish even the most basic of your daily tasks, the constant haunting reminders of that stallion that you dearly loved so long ago continued to flash through your mind, brutally uncaring and without respite.
  2617. >Using a wing, you wiped away the tears from your eyes and blew your nose into a tissue.
  2618. “Come on, Celestia. You are a strong mare. Get a hold of yourself.”
  2619. >You reassured yourself, though you found it difficult to heed your own words.
  2620. >Despite your best efforts, you could do naught but sit there and try your best to ignore all of the memories as they crawled out of the forgotten depths of your mind.
  2621. >…
  2622. >>”Sister!”
  2623. >>You halted your leisurely walk through the castle at the sound of your sister’s voice.
  2624. >>Turning around, you saw Luna approach you with a scowl on her face.
  2625. >”Why, this is a surprise. It has been many years since thou hast left thy chambers before noon. May we ask what the occasion is?”
  2626. >>”We heard word that thou hast chosen a stallion to be thy personal guard.”
  2627. >”Indeed we did, though thou should already be aware of this.”
  2628. >>Luna stomped her hooves in agitation.
  2629. >>”Do not impress the role of a fool upon us, dear sister. We do not appreciate such backhanded insults. Nay, we find of particular interest the pony whom thou hast chosen to such a position.”
  2630. >>Your ears twitched of their own accord.
  2631. >”Dost thou find fault in First Lieutenant Morning Glow?”
  2632. >>Luna harrumphed before continuing.
  2633. >>”Thou truly must think us a fool if thou cannot understand our concerns for thy choice. Must we spell it out for thee?”
  2634. >>Your expression hardened at Luna’s words.
  2635. >”Luna, do not debase us so. Morning Glow has passed all the necessary requirements and proved himself a capable stallion. That is all there is to it.”
  2636. >>”That is all there is to it? Do not think that we are ignorant of the situation here, sister. We are fully aware of the history thou share with him. Or did thou think we would simply forget how thee used to run up to us when we were younger and regale us with the next thing that “handsome colt” said or did?”
  2637. >>A red blush spread across your face as you sputtered.
  2638. >”’Twas a l-long time ago! Such has n-no bearing on this.”
  2639. >>”Sister, yet again thou takes us for a fool. We saw thy interactions with that stallion at the last Gala. How he would blush like mad whenever thou would whisper into his ear. How thou would giggle like a filly at his words. We honestly believe thou would have brought him to thy chambers that very night, had we not stepped in.”
  2640. >>You tried your best to keep yourself compsed, yet it was clear from your posture and temperament just how agitated and heated you were becoming.
  2641. >>”Do not equate us with some run of the mill skank, Luna! We are not so easily seduced that we would bed some stallion after a couple of honeyed words and light teasing.”
  2642. >>Luna shifted her weight around as a smug grin grew across her face.
  2643. >>”With some stallion? No, we do not think that. With a childhood friend with whom thou hast expressed affection for on multiple occasions? ‘Tis more believable.”
  2644. >>You found yourself at a total loss for words, your mouth opening and closing silently, your face a brilliant shade of red.
  2645. >”W-Well, we…”
  2646. >>”Princess!”
  2647. >>You jolted at the sound of a familiar stallion’s voice, the sight of which caused Luna to chuckle callously in response.
  2648. >>Before you could compose yourself enough to properly greet the approaching Morning Glow, Luna moved to your side in order to face him.
  2649. >>”Greetings, Lieutenant Morning Glow.”
  2650. >>Coming to a complete halt, Morning Glow straightened up and saluted to Luna.
  2651. >>”At ease, guard. Thou hast come at a most opportune time. It just so happens that we were discussing thy appointment to the station of my sister’s personal guard.”
  2652. >>Returning his hoof to the ground, the stallion sounded off in affirmation.
  2653. >>”Indeed, Princess. As of ‘proximately twenty hours and thirty-six minutes ago, thy grace Princess Celestia approved me appointment t’ the position.”
  2654. >>”Is that so? And hast thou already sworn thy oath?”
  2655. >>Morning Glow nodded his head vigorously.
  2656. >>”Aye, ‘tis not yet bindin’ though cause it was behind closed doors and such. When I am officially recognized at t’ next Gala, then it will be set ‘n stone.”
  2657. >>Luna hummed at Morning Glow’s response, during which you turned to face Morning Glow, the blush having finally faded from your face.
  2658. >”Greetings, Morning Glow. We hope thou art well.”
  2659. >>”Aye, never better! And allow me t’ thank ye and say that ‘tis an honor t’ be able t’ by thy personal guard.”
  2660. >>You waved off Morning Glow’s thanks with a hoof.
  2661. >””Tis nothing to thank us for. Thou passed all the required tests with vigor and veracity. Thou art more than acceptable for the position.”
  2662. >>”Methinks ye are much too kind, Princess. I hope t’ live up t’ yer expectations.”
  2663. >>You smiled warmly at the stallion, your prior embarrassment having completely vanished.
  2664. >>In your peripherals, you watched Luna scoff silently in indignation, before turning around and walking away.
  2665. >>It would appear that your choice of Morning Glow to be your personal guard merely reaffirmed her decision to forgo having one for herself.
  2666. >>You hoped she would eventually come to her senses and take one for herself.
  2667. >>If not for the protection, then at least for the companionship.
  2668. >>…
  2669. >The soft crackling sound of dragon fire snapped you out of your reminiscing, which you were silently thankful for.
  2670. >A scroll formed from the fire in that familiar way, which subdued some of the rushing memories of Morning Glow with the much more soothing and relaxing memories of a familiar purple student of yours.
  2671. >As a smile finally spread across your face for the first time since last night, you took hold of the scroll with your magic and unrolled it.
  2672. >”Dear Princess Celestia, I understand that perhaps it is a bit out of place for me to write to you without any sort of friendship lesson to go along with it, but I’ve been completely beside myself with unresolved curiosity.”
  2673. >Sighing in amusement, you silently giggled at Twilight’s flair for formalities before continuing.
  2674. >”As I am sure you are more than aware of by now, an unknown creature had appeared in the Everfree, appearing wounded yet intimidating. From what I’ve gathered, Princess Luna came down to convene with it before taking it away to Canterlot for reasons unknown to me. I do not wish to sound entitled but as I am sure you are more than aware of my desire to learn as much as I can, I would really, really, REALLY like to learn more about this creature.”
  2675. ”Oh, Twilight. Your childlike curiosity never ceases to put a smile on my face.”
  2676. >”Perhaps I can come up to Canterlot to see you again and learn more about this creature first-hand. I hope this letter reaches you safely, unless that creature is actually a really powerful monster that has silently taken over Canterlot and captured you and Princess Luna, in which case this letter would not reach you safely. Spike, don’t write that last part down.”
  2677. >Suppressing a chuckle, you finished off the letter.
  2678. >”In any case, I would like to see you again soon. And I hope I can learn about this creature the next time we meet. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.”
  2679. >Setting down the letter on your desk, you closed your eyes in thought.
  2680. >Seeing Twilight again would certainly help you get your mind off of things.
  2681. >You hummed to yourself silently, before a wonderful idea struck you.
  2682. >Pulling open a drawer, you pulled out a bell and shook it slightly.
  2683. >As the soft ringing sound filled the air, the door to your study swung open and a light-yellow mare with glasses whose white hair was tied up in an auburn bun trotted in.
  2684. >”Yes, Princess? How may I be of service?”
  2685. >Returning the bell to the drawer, you addressed the pony.
  2686. “Do remind me, has the Royal Residence in Ponyville finished construction and been furnished?”
  2687. >The mare pulled out a clipboard containing several papers and flipped through them.
  2688. >”According to this, it was completed two months ago and is ready for move-in, should you so desire.”
  2689. “I indeed desire to do so. Would that impose any scheduling conflicts?”
  2690. >”Your next official meeting is three weeks away. I can have all of the necessary documents and papers sent to Ponyville by just after nightfall tonight. When shall I mark your return?”
  2691. “Let us tentatively put it at two weeks from tomorrow.”
  2692. >”Very good, Princess. Will that be all?”
  2693. “Prepare a chariot for Ponyville for my sister, the human and I by two hours after nightfall, would you?”
  2694. >“Of course, I’ll be sure to pass that along.”
  2695. >Clapping your hooves together, you gave your secretary a warm smile.
  2696. “Many thanks, Mrs. Board.”
  2697. >She nodded in response.
  2698. >”I’m just doing my job, no need to thank me.”
  2699. >With that said, she turned around and left the room, while you pushed your sorrowful thoughts to the back of your mind in favor of happier and kinder memories of a purple unicorn and her baby dragon.
  2701. >Turning on the faucet, you began to wash your hands following a rather intense masturbation session.
  2702. >As you soaped up your hands, you grumbled softly to yourself.
  2703. >You plotted and schemed of some way to ‘return the favor’ to Luna after the little stunt she pulled not ten minutes ago.
  2704. >After rinsing and drying your hands, you stepped into your bedroom to get a change of clothes.
  2705. >It wouldn’t be proper to show up to lunch with clothes stained by Luna’s juices, after all.
  2706. >Once you had changed into a more respectable outfit, you left your bedroom to head towards the royal dining room.
  2707. >You walked through the castle hallways, not particularly aware of your surroundings due in no small part to contemplating your revenge against Luna for her teasing.
  2708. >Luckily, you weren’t all that concerned about getting lost on your way to the dining room as the route had been ingrained in your mind after repeated visits over the last week.
  2709. >However, your failure to remain aware of where you were walking ended up causing you to bump into another pony.
  2710. >Your size meant that you weren’t all that fazed, yet it was certainly enough to rouse yourself from your inner dialogue.
  2711. >As for the other pony, they weren’t as fortunate.
  2712. >Knocking them down onto their hind legs, the pony cursed before rubbing his muzzle with a hoof.
  2713. >The pony appeared to be a unicorn stallion, as best you could tell what with your limited knowledge of sexually dimorphic traits in ponies, with a dark grey coat and white mane.
  2714. >He clearly showed signs of old age with cataracts forming in his eyes, as well as creases and age spots covering his body.
  2715. >The stallion let out an exasperated growl of contempt; his voice very rough, not unlike the crunching sound of gravel being stepped on.
  2716. >”Who do you think you are, that you can just bump into me like—"
  2717. >Just as he started to berate you for your clumsiness, he opened his eyes and saw your towering form.
  2718. >He tapered off and a spark appeared in his eyes, as if he had just remembered something of import.
  2719. >Giving his muzzle one last rub, he got to his hoofs and donned a much more courteous demeanor.
  2720. >With a bit more tact than last time, he spoke again.
  2721. >”If I am not mistaken, I do believe that you are the human taking the Equestrian nobility by storm, Anonymous, was it?”
  2722. >You hesitated slightly before responding, doing your best to compose yourself a tad.
  2723. “…Y-Yes, that would be me.”
  2724. >The stallion’s mouth turned upwards into a toothy smile, his dull grey eyes sparkling slightly.
  2725. >”Would I be wrong in assuming you do not know who I am?”
  2726. “No sir.”
  2727. >He let out a hearty laugh.
  2728. >”I like it! ‘No sir’, he says! Knows not who he speaks to yet shows respect anyways! Heh heh… I am Prince Gavel, boy. If you are not familiar with my name, just know simply that I am among the heads of the Noble Court. At the very least, you should know what that is.”
  2729. >You stood there for a moment as the prince finished his chuckling.
  2730. “Have you any business with me?”
  2731. >”Anything I need to know about you, I am more than capable of finding out myself. No, no business. Though it is fortunate that I happened to run into you. I must say, you are quite the interesting specimen.”
  2732. >You blinked, not understanding.
  2733. “I beg your pardon?”
  2734. >Gavel waved his hoof dismissively.
  2735. >”It is of no importance. But I suppose, upon reflection, that there are a couple items of interest I could discuss with you.”
  2736. >Out of nowhere, the prince let out a hacking cough.
  2737. >”Oooh… I do apologize, I must be getting on in my years. Do not mind me.”
  2738. >You waited patiently as he tapped his chest a few times with a hoof, grunting quietly.
  2739. >”Hm-m! There we go, much better. Now, as for you, my friend…”
  2740. >The stallion leaned forward, peering at you intently.
  2741. >”What is your business here?”
  2742. “My business?”
  2743. >”That is what I said, yes.”
  2744. “…I’m afraid I don’t follow.”
  2745. >”It is very simple, boy. Why are you here in Equestria? To what ends does your purpose here reach toward?”
  2746. >You shifted your weight and scratched your chin while Prince Gavel awaited your answer.
  2747. “I think you are overanalyzing my being here, sir.”
  2748. >”Oh?”
  2749. “You would assume that I have a purpose here. I do not. I am here by means beyond my control or knowledge. I am simply making the best out of a curious situation.”
  2750. >The smile slowly dripped away from Gavel’s face, turning stoic and emotionless.
  2751. >The glow in his eyes had faded, becoming dull and blurry once more.
  2752. >As if a switch had been flipped, the mood altered drastically; you had been feeling only slightly embarrassed at your mistake, yet it has now been replaced by a foreboding sense of unease that put an uncomfortable empty sensation in your stomach.
  2753. >”Boy, I have been around for quite some time. In this land of magic, very few things happen by chance, as I have since come to understand in my many experiences in life. You would expect me to believe that an outsider, foreign to any nation we know of, has managed to intertwine himself so intricately with beings beyond mortal comprehension in a matter of days purely by happenstance? I do not think so.”
  2754. >You licked your lips, which felt dry and chapped, before opening your mouth to respond only to be cut off by the prince.
  2755. >”Perhaps you may be telling the truth. Perhaps you are indeed ignorant to your purpose here. But that only makes your presence all the more… threatening.”
  2756. “S-Sir? If you could speak plainly….”
  2757. >Gavel kept his eyes trained on yours, dull as they were, as if trying to see past your face and into your mind.
  2758. >He was silent for a couple of tense moments; the only sound you could hear being the pounding of your heart.
  2759. >”…We do not trust you, Anonymous. We do not know if it would be in our best interests for you to remain here for much longer.”
  2760. “D-Do you think of me as a threat to Equestria?”
  2761. >”No, not to Equestria….”
  2762. >The prince opened his mouth, as if to continue, only to be interrupted by the sound of ringing.
  2763. >Using his magic, Gavel pulled out what appeared to be a pocket watch, scaled down to pony size.
  2764. >He stared at the clock for a moment before silencing it.
  2765. >”I have business to attend to. I shall not keep you any longer.”
  2766. >The noble put away his pocket watch before stepping to the side and walking past you without a second glance.
  2767. >You stood there frozen for a brief moment, only to be pulled out of your trance by the sound of the prince addressing you once again.
  2768. >”Oh yes, I almost forgot.”
  2769. >You turned your head to face Gavel, who was only a few paces behind you.
  2770. >”We are more than aware of your… shall we say, ‘budding’ relationship with a certain alicorn, though you have made no effort to hide it. Allow me to speak frankly, if you would.”
  2771. >The prince gave a large smile, yet there was no shared sense of joy or amusement between the two of you.
  2772. >”Regardless of the current state of your affair, we ask politely that you immediately cease all further romantically charged interactions with ex-princess Luna.”
  2773. “Y-You—”
  2774. >”We will have no unmentionables tainting the pure Equestrian royalty. She might not be a princess anymore, but she is still counted among the nobility. Consider yourself lucky for having not stolen her purity, for we would not be nearly as forgiving if you had. Are we absolutely clear?”
  2775. >The sound of blood flowing roared in your ears; your senses all refined to the point of being hypersensitive as you stared at Gavel.
  2776. >Your breathing was slowed yet your heartbeat was rapid.
  2777. >It was a curious state of hyper-calmness that you found yourself in.
  2778. >You turned your body somewhat to partially face the prince, your movement sluggish as if you were submerged in water.
  2779. >”Are we clear?”
  2780. >Gavel repeated himself, a smile still adorned upon his muzzle.
  2781. >You let out a large and drawn out exhale before responding.
  2782. >It wasn’t a fast response instead you spoke gingerly, treating every word carefully like a loaded gun.
  2783. “Why my dear prince, I understand you perfectly.”
  2784. >”Then I must be off. Goodbye, Anonymous.”
  2785. >Having said all he needed to, Gavel turned around and resumed the walk which you had rudely interrupted earlier.
  2786. >You remained still and alert, watching the prince leave until he turned a corner and left your line of sight.
  2787. >As you calmed your heartbeat and got your breathing under control, you felt dizziness overcome you.
  2788. >Staggering over to the wall, you put a hand out to stop yourself from slamming into it.
  2789. >Leaning against the wall with your back, you closed your eyes and let out a sigh of relief before sliding down to a sitting position.
  2790. “It’s okay, Anon. Everything’s going to be fine. You’re gonna be okay. Just calm down. Just relax.”
  2791. >You whispered various assurances to yourself as the gravity of your situation finally started to dawn on you.
  2792. >The Noble Court had it out for you, that much was absolutely certain.
  2793. >And apparently, they were very much against any sort of relationship between you and Luna.
  2794. >Not only that, but these nobles seem to believe there was some ulterior reason for which you were brought here to Equestria, the validity of which you were in no position to refute or confirm.
  2795. >The more you thought about it, the greater the danger posed against you seemed to become.
  2796. “That’s what I get for dealing with politicians, I guess.”
  2797. >”Anon, why are you sitting up against the wall in the middle of the hallway?”
  2798. >Raising your head, you notice Princess Celestia standing over you with a concerned expression on her face.
  2799. “…Is it illegal to sit up against walls in the middle of the hallway?”
  2800. >”…No?”
  2801. “Then I am exercising my right to sit up against the wall in the middle of the hallway.”
  2802. >Celestia opened and closed her mouth a couple times, seemingly at a loss for words.
  2803. “…Well, I suppose I could head over to lunch now. If you insist.”
  2804. >”You do realize that lunch started ten minutes ago?”
  2805. “Did it?”
  2806. >”Yes.”
  2807. “Then why aren’t you there?”
  2808. >”I was working late and was on my way there now. Why are you here?”
  2809. “Uh… I was busy?”
  2810. >”All you do is mess around with Luna all day. What do you mean you were busy?”
  2811. “You know, for a princess, you’re really nosy.”
  2812. >Celestia stomped her hooves and snorted lightly.
  2813. >”Stop dodging my questions, Anon! I am trying to be concerned for you!”
  2814. “You sound agitated. You know what would do you some good? Lunch. Speaking of which, let’s go get some, ‘kay?”
  2815. >While Celestia gave you the stink eye, you got up from the floor with a giggle, shaking the pins and needles out of your legs as you did so.
  2816. >”It was bad enough when it was only Luna who did this. Now I have to deal with both her and you.”
  2817. “Ain’t that just the greatest joy you’ve ever felt, isn’t it?”
  2818. >Celestia let out an exasperated sigh before hanging her head in defeat.
  2819. >”Fine, let us be off then.”
  2820. >Giving Celestia a bit of a scratch behind the ear, which she pretended to not enjoy, the two of you made your way over to the dining room, where you found Luna fiddling with her fork while looking rather lonely.
  2821. >Raising her head to see you two enter, she gave you a sad look.
  2822. >”Thou left us alone for fifteen minutes. We thought thou cared.”
  2823. >You took your seat next to Luna.
  2824. “I was busy.”
  2825. >”With what?”
  2826. >You glanced over to Celestia with a sly grin on your face, causing her to give you another stink eye.
  2827. “I was exercising my rights.”
  2828. >You could hear Celestia groan under her breath.
  2829. >Luna stared at you for a moment before moving her gaze to your right hand.
  2830. >”…Is that what humans call it?”
  2831. “What do you mean?”
  2832. >You looked at Luna, not understanding what she was implying.
  2833. >She returned your gaze, her cheeks slowly turning red before she looked away timidly.
  2834. >”N-Never mind.”
  2835. >Shrugging your shoulders, you turned your attention to the food on the table, ready to dig in.
  2836. >”Before we start eating, if I may….”
  2837. >Sighing quietly, you turned your attention to Celestia.
  2838. “Yes?”
  2839. >Luna looked up from the salad that she already stuffed her face in.
  2840. >”Yrsh, shrshtr?”
  2841. >Celestia straightened up, glowing with giddiness.
  2842. >”I figured that it was high time we made use of our Royal Residence in Ponyville.”
  2843. >Luna blinked in response, while Celestia continued.
  2844. >”Luna, I understand that I might have been a bit restrictive with outside excursions since your return, so I think that this is a good step towards correcting that. I was able to get us away from the castle for two weeks. We can think of it as a little vacation! I think it will do us all some good.”
  2845. >Celestia turned to face you.
  2846. >”And I have not forgotten about you, Anon. There is plenty of guest rooms for you to stay in. Not to mention that my student has been, let us say, eager to properly meet you.”
  2847. “You have a student?”
  2848. >”Oh, I cannot wait to see the two of you meet!”
  2849. >Celestia clopped her hooves together in excitement with a large smile on her face.
  2850. >”This is going to be so much fun!”
  2851. >Infected by Celestia’s jovial attitude, you couldn’t help but sport a similarly big grin yourself.
  2852. “Sounds fun, Celestia. I can’t wait.”
  2853. >You turned to Luna to see her reaction to the news, only to catch a glimpse of sadness in her eyes.
  2854. >The moment she noticed your gaze, she smiled half-heartedly.
  2855. >”Y-Yeah, it sounds… wonderful, sister. We cannot wait.”
  2856. >Her voice was soft and meek, a stark contrast to her loud and boisterous self just a couple seconds ago.
  2857. >As Celestia daydreamed about spending time in Ponyville and Luna put on a brave face, you couldn’t help but remember back to the last time you asked Luna to leave the castle.
  2858. >How she begged to stay away from the others.
  2859. >How she was afraid of some collective knowledge that turned ponies against her.
  2860. >It would appear that some answers were on the horizon.
  2861. >For better or for worse.
  2863. >”W-We cannot go. We just… we just cannot do this.”
  2864. “Luna, please.”
  2865. >”We a-are sorry, Anon.”
  2866. >Luna paced around her bedroom, clearly agitated and on the cusp of breaking into tears.
  2867. “It won’t just be you. Me and Celestia will be there too.”
  2868. >Luna shook her head, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
  2869. >”W-We cannot.”
  2870. “Why can’t you?”
  2871. >”No! No. We c-cannot do this.”
  2872. “But why?”
  2873. >Refusing to directly answer your question Luna instead shook her head again, choking back a sob.
  2874. “How can I help you if you won’t tell me anything?”
  2875. >Luna continued to shake her head, choosing to remain silent.
  2876. “…Luna, do you trust me?”
  2877. >”We are not going out—”
  2878. “I didn’t ask that, Luna. I asked if you trust me?”
  2879. >Luna stared at the floor as tears finally began to flow down her face, her body shaking from the odd hiccup.
  2880. “Luna….”
  2881. >Uncrossing your arms, you made your way to Luna before wrapping your arms around her barrel, pulling her close.
  2882. >As soon as your arms had encircled her she leaned into your body, her tears staining your shirt.
  2883. >You ran your hands from the base of her scalpel to her shoulders in a slow and gentle rubbing motion, eliciting soft sobs from the alicorn.
  2884. “We’re gonna get through this just fine, okay Luna? Nothing bad is going to happen. I promise.”
  2885. >Luna quietly babbled incoherently into your chest as you comforted her.
  2886. “I’m going to be right by you every step of the way, okay?”
  2887. >When Luna didn’t respond, you crouched down and wrapped your arms around her body before lifting her up.
  2888. >As soon as her legs had left the ground, they hooked themselves on your waist, pulling you close and pressing your bodies together tightly.
  2889. >Her newfound height enabled her to bury her face into your neck, her tears tickling your neck.
  2890. >To finish off the standing hug, Luna unfurled her large wings and wrapped them around you.
  2891. >Not wanting to squeeze her chest too tightly, you shifted your hands down to cup her flanks to better support her comfortably from below.
  2892. >As Luna’s body was racked with emotion, you blew a few strands of her mane out of your mouth and began to sway to a slow inaudible rhythm.
  2893. >After taking a deep breath you started to hum deeply, though not to any particular tune you were aware of.
  2894. >Your music was guided by spontaneity; you felt Luna’s heartbeat slow and her spasms lessen over time as you hummed to an alien melody.
  2895. >It was drawn out and patient; it never went fast, yet it was not overlong and did not linger any longer than it needed to.
  2896. >Your swaying grew into more profound movement, the sound of your shoes tapping against the floor providing a metronome for your song as you twirled and sashayed around the room.
  2897. >The world as you two knew it melted away, growing ever duller and disinteresting until the only things you paid any attention to were Luna’s silky-smooth coat, the subtle palpitations of her heartbeat and yours as they began to synchronize unbidden, and the ever-emphatic echo of your low hum resounding resolutely.
  2898. >You looked down at the beautiful blue alicorn you held in your arms, entranced by her as if she had cast a spell upon you.
  2899. >The warmth of her body pressed against yours, the awareness of the plush and pliable rear end in your hands, the realization that in her moment of weakness she opened up to you and you alone, the sheer enormity of the emotions that rushed through you very nearly overwhelmed you.
  2900. >A powerful and primal urge was awakening deep inside you, deeply arousing you to your core.
  2901. >A flood of desires followed it as it quickly spread throughout your body; the desire to protect Luna, the desire to ensure her happiness, the desire to hold her, the desire to mate with her, all of your most basic instincts were clamoring for you to act.
  2902. >At some point, you must have stopped humming, as in your entranced state you managed to remain lucid enough to recognize the silence that now dominated the bedroom, though it was certainly far from inactive if your mental discord was anything to go by.
  2903. >And if you had sat there lost in the cavalcade of your own carnal desires uninterrupted for any longer then you probably would have acted on some them, if your attention had not been attracted to Luna, who was leaning away from you slightly, so she could look at you properly.
  2904. >She wiped off the rest of her tears with her foreleg before giving you a sad smile, her eyes tinged red from crying and her face matted with tear trails.
  2905. >”Thank thee…”
  2906. >Luna slowly closed her eyes and exhaled before reopening them, blinking away any more tears from forming.
  2907. >”No… thank you. That is how it should be, is it not?”
  2908. “…That doesn’t matter to me, Luna.”
  2909. >”Tis not… it is not just you, Anon. There is not another pony out there who speaks as we do… as I do. Not anymore. It is time to catch up with the times.”
  2910. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, Luna. I will still care about you regardless of how you speak.”
  2911. >Luna gave a tiny smile at your words.
  2912. >”Thank you, Anon. But this is for the best. It is a remnant of an era long since laid to rest.”
  2913. “…Okay, Luna. If that’s what you want to do, then I’ll support it.”
  2914. >”You can put us…er, you can put me down now.”
  2915. “…I suppose I can.”
  2916. >”…Will you?”
  2917. “Eventually.”
  2918. >”And when will that be?”
  2919. “Dunno. Haven’t decided yet.”
  2920. >Luna gave a quiet hum in response before resting her head on your shoulders once again.
  2921. >”Okay. We…I can wait. There is no rush.”
  2922. >You nodded your head in affirmation.
  2923. “No rush. No rush.”
  2924. >Luna’s ear twitched cutely, having been tickled by your breath.
  2925. >”…Thank you, Anonymous.”
  2926. “Anything for you, Luna.”
  2927. >…
  2929. >As you walked outside of the castle for the first time since you arrived, you saw Celestia standing by a large golden chariot that was sizable enough for the three of you.
  2930. >The sight of pegasi guardsponies attaching themselves to the frame in front gave you pause as you considered the strange implication of horse-drawn carriages existing in a primarily equine society for a moment, only for the sound of metal horseshoes clacking against the gravel to grab your attention.
  2931. >Looking over your shoulder, you saw Luna, who adorned in her full set of regalia, step through the castle gates behind you.
  2932. >It was an unusual sight for you, being that you had grown accustomed to seeing her without her royal jewelry.
  2933. >But your gaze did not linger on her royal gear for long, as your eyes soon wandered over to her face, which was downcast and trodden.
  2934. “Hey.”
  2935. >You spoke softly, yet loud enough for your voice to reach her.
  2936. >Luna glanced up, meeting your gaze.
  2937. >Turning around, you closed the distance between the two of you and gave Luna a comforting smile as you put your hand on her withers.
  2938. “Everything’s gonna be okay, Luna. I promise.”
  2939. >Luna returned your smile with one of her own, despite her clearly visible concerns, and together the two of you approached the chariot.
  2940. >Celestia, on the other hand, was seemingly rather eager to get on the road, as noted by her fidgety demeanor and cheery expression, seemingly oblivious to Luna’s melancholy.
  2941. >As you approached, you could hear her quietly mutter a couple utterances, mostly urging the two of you to hurry up and about how excited she was.
  2942. >Upon reaching the chariot, Celestia’s eyes lit up, palpably enthused.
  2943. >”Alright, we are ready to go! Finally!”
  2944. >Without waiting another moment, Celestia giggled madly before hopping into the front seat of the chariot, not even waiting for the guards standing by to open the door for her, vanishing from your line of sight.
  2945. >As the guards shrugged at Celestia’s antics, you took Luna’s hoof and helped her up into the chariot.
  2946. >A small blush spread across her face at the gesture, and she quietly thanked you before taking her seat next to Celestia, who was practically bouncing in her seat with glee, while you took the seat across from them.
  2947. >Once the door closed, you could hear the muffled sounds of the guardsponies outside barking orders at each other, making sure everything was clear for take-off.
  2948. >It wasn’t long before the chariot started moving and lift-off was only a few moments after that.
  2949. >Looking out over the city of Canterlot as the ground grew ever distant, you were able to see the large swaths of land that were obstructed from your view in the castle.
  2950. >Fancy dining, fancy shopping, fancy hotels, there seemed to be no end to the hoity-toity nature of these nobles— wait, is that a brothel?
  2951. >”Oh, this is going to be so much fun! I know I said it before, but Twilight is going to be so happy to meet you!”
  2952. >You turned you head to face Celestia, who was sporting a huge grin.
  2953. “Well, I suppose it’ll be an interesting reunion. Last time we met, I was in a cell covered in wounds.”
  2954. >Celestia brushed your comment away with a nonchalant wave of her hoof.
  2955. >”Yeah, but that time does not count. She did not know any better, and neither did you. This will be your first real meeting, hopefully as friends!”
  2956. >You caught Luna rolling her eyes in exasperation, causing you to snigger quietly while Celestia clopped her hooves together.
  2957. >Slowly though, Celestia’s grin faded from her face, replaced by a thoughtful expression.
  2958. >Silence soon dominated the cabin, Celestia’s eagerness seemingly vanished.
  2959. “Penny for your thoughts?”
  2960. >Celestia raised an eyebrow.
  2961. >”I beg your pardon?”
  2962. “Uh… bit for your thoughts?”
  2963. >”Oh, right. Well, I was just thinking….”
  2964. >You snorted, a sly grin on your face.
  2965. >”Oof, that’ll cost ya.”
  2966. >Luna giggled at your quip while Celestia merely huffed in response.
  2967. >”Yes, yes, very funny. Laugh it up.”
  2968. “I plan to!”
  2969. >”But in all seriousness… I do not believe you told us about how you came to Equestria.”
  2970. >Luna, who had previously been snickering under a wing, looked up with an intrigued look on her face.
  2971. >”You have not told me anything about this either.”
  2972. >While Celestia blinked at the sound of Luna’s modern dialect, you turned your head out the window in thought.
  2973. “Well, yeah. I haven’t. I didn’t think anything about it was particularly important. I woke up in the Everfree, was attacked by a manticore, found my way to Ponyville, and the rest is history. Not much else to it besides that.”
  2974. >”Surely that cannot be all, though?”
  2975. >You shrugged your shoulders.
  2976. “Do you want a play by play of every step I took in the forest?”
  2977. >Celestia rubbed her chin slowly.
  2978. >”…Nothing at all?”
  2979. “After I left the castle, nothing of note besides the manticore attack happened.”
  2980. >Both Celestia and Luna perked up at your words.
  2981. >”Castle?”
  2982. >You blinked slowly.
  2983. “Yeah, castle. Decrepit, run down, very murky, overrun by vegetation. A castle.”
  2984. >The two alicorn sisters glanced at each other, an unheard conversion seemingly taking place between the two of them.
  2985. >Trying and failing to read their expressions, you interjected.
  2986. “Does it particularly matter? It was pretty abandoned, save for a critter or two. And no secret hallways. Trust me, I looked.”
  2987. >”…None that you found, at least.”
  2988. “You doubting my secret-passage finding skills?”
  2989. >Celestia ignored your comment, much to your dismay.
  2990. >”That is most peculiar. We will need to investigate this in greater detail after we arrive.”
  2991. >You sighed; clearly, Celestia wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
  2992. >Turning your attention to Luna, you were ready to shift the topic to something else, only to see a flash of pain glance across her face.
  2993. >It only lasted for a brief moment, before she turned her gaze to the floor of the carriage.
  2994. >You were hesitant to speak, though you couldn’t help but feel as if this castle was something a bit more than a dramatic backdrop for your entrance into this world.
  2995. >Did that castle have something to do with Luna’s past?
  2996. >Would going there reveal that which she has tried so desperately to conceal from you?
  2997. >Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?
  2998. >The rest of the flight continued in silence; everyone had something on their minds and nobody was ready to speak.
  2999. >…
  3001. >”…Anon?”
  3002. “Wuh… what?”
  3003. >You sleepily wiped your face as Luna poked you a few extra times for good measure.
  3004. “I’m awake, I’m… I’m awake.”
  3005. >Luna gave you a look before nudging you again.
  3006. >”Come on, we arrived a couple minutes ago. Celestia already left the carriage.”
  3007. >You must have fallen asleep sometime during the ride.
  3008. “Okay, just…”
  3009. >Covering your mouth, you let out a large yawn.
  3010. “…Just help me up a bit. My legs are asleep.”
  3011. >”Do I need to poke your legs too?”
  3012. >Giggling a bit at Luna’s antics, you slowly stood up, being careful not to hit your head on the roof of the carriage.
  3013. >Placing a hand on Luna’s back to steady yourself, you saw a bit of a blush beginning to spread across her face.
  3014. >Feeling a bit devilish, you moved your hand to Luna’s side and pulled her close.
  3015. >Luna let out a quiet squeak before covering her bright red cheeks with her wings.
  3016. >Emboldened by her embarrassment, you leaned over and let your head rest on top of hers, chuckling quietly.
  3017. >At this point, Luna had completely frozen up, paralyzed from your displays of affection.
  3018. >Bringing your head level with hers, you whispered into her ear.
  3019. “Are you ready to head out? Or do I need to carry you? Because trust me, I’d be fine with that.”
  3020. >As if pushed, Luna leaped out the chariot door, nearly breaking it off of its hinges as she did.
  3021. >The loud slamming noise attracted the attention of the passerby, who turned to look at Luna, who was frozen at the sudden onset of onlookers.
  3022. >You swore under your breath as Luna remained motionless.
  3023. >Luna was sure to break if left in the spotlight for too long.
  3024. >Thinking quickly, you hopped out of the chariot, calling attention to yourself away from Luna.
  3025. “Oh boy, it is good to be back in Ponyville! How’ve y’all been?”
  3026. >The ponies eyes turned to fear as they saw your unnatural form, at least to them, before turning around and bolting away.
  3027. >You giggled a little before calling out after them.
  3028. “Don’t worry! I showered! I don’t smell that bad!”
  3029. >For emphasis, you lifted up your arms and made a big show of smelling your own armpit.
  3030. “See? Clean as can be!”
  3031. >None of the ponies bothered to stick around after that.
  3032. >Oh well, at least you helped Luna out.
  3033. >Speaking of whom, she had turned around to look at you, with a hesitant look on her face.
  3034. >”M-Maybe this was not a good idea.”
  3035. >You approached her while shaking your head.
  3036. “Nope. No backsies. And besides, look.”
  3037. >You gestured to the large mansion-like building across the street.
  3038. “It’ll look a lot better to just go inside than to return to the chariot.”
  3039. >Luna looked away, an uneasy look on her face, seemingly conflicted.
  3040. >Seeing her like this… it irked you to no end.
  3041. >Giving your surroundings a once over, you made sure there were no ponies in sight.
  3042. >Celestia must’ve already gone inside, as you didn’t see her either.
  3043. >A large grin spread across your face as you approached the unsuspecting alicorn.
  3044. >Before she even realized what was happening, you had swept her up into your arms.
  3045. >Her face had turned a bright shade of red as she realized her compromising position in your arms.
  3046. >She squirmed as she glanced around in a panic to see if anybody had seen the two of them, only relaxing once she determined that there were no onlookers.
  3047. >As you walked towards the entrance, Luna refused to look at you, her blush remaining on her cheeks.
  3048. >You also pretended to not notice her sliding deeper into your arms.
  3049. >Baby steps, after all.
  3050. >Baby steps.
  3052. >To say that the building was luxurious would be a massive understatement.
  3053. >Hell, to your unsophisticated eyes, it even seemed far fancier than the castle.
  3054. >As the large oak doors slowly closed behind you, sealing shut with a mighty thud, you took in the breathtaking grandeur of the interior décor before you.
  3055. >The trickle of moonlight from the glass ceiling into the main foyer was the sole source of light; the white light reflecting off the marble columns and gold highlights scattered across the unlit room.
  3056. >Luna, snug in your arms, was similarly bewitched by the beautiful designs plastered across the room.
  3057. >The two of you stood there in complete silence, mouths agape at the magnificence in front of you.
  3058. >It was incredibly spacious, by nearly as much as the throne room back at Canterlot and was populated with large swaths of fancy silken rugs and mats, velvet sofas and ottomans, and various eccentricities that added to the royal aesthetic like decorative pottery, intricately designed banners, among other indescribable commodities.
  3059. >On both sides of the room were large staircases, leading up to a second floor, visible from the entryway.
  3060. >From where you stood, you could just barely make out a main hallway leading further into the building between the wooden spokes of the balcony.
  3061. >On the far wall, between the two staircases, you could see a line of wooden doors, each indistinguishable from the other, yet flawless in their design.
  3062. >”Ahem.”
  3063. >Your and Luna’s heads snapped to the side, to see Celestia standing in the middle of a branching hallway to the left, smiling smugly.
  3064. >The two of you stared at her, unmoving, before Luna suddenly began squirming like mad, pushing against your chest and trying to leave your arms.
  3065. >Celestia sat there with a large grin on her face as Luna’s motions suddenly ceased, before the familiar jingle of magic filled the air, immediately proceeded by a flash of light as Luna teleported out of your grasp.
  3066. >However, it seemed that in her hasty teleportation, she forgot to right herself, quickly evidenced by her rather rough drop to the ground on her back by your side.
  3067. >Both dazed and blushing furiously, Luna scrambled to her hooves with wide eyes and tight lips.
  3068. >Silence soon filled the room, save for Luna’s panting breath.
  3069. >Celestia eyed the two of you for a moment before opening her mouth, only to be cut off by Luna.
  3070. >”Not. A. Word.”
  3071. >After standing there with a smug smirk on her face for a few seconds, Celestia turned around and began walking deeper into the mansion, rolling her eyes as she did so.
  3072. >”If you say so.”
  3073. >Luna snorted, her head downcast and ears pinned against her head, before slowly trotting along behind her.
  3074. >Holding back a giggle, you scratched her behind the ear, at which Luna perked up a little bit, before matching her pace as Celestia led the way.
  3075. >Luna let out a soft coo of appreciation as you rubbed your fingers along the length of her ear, her head rising to give you easier access.
  3076. >Her pace would skitter every now and again as you found a particularly sensitive spot along the ridge, her hind leg jittering in response.
  3077. >A faint smile lay on Luna’s face, the tip of her tongue sticking out in an adorable manner.
  3078. >The doors and hallways passed by unheeded as your attention was focused solely on watching the beautiful blue pony before you turn to putty in your hands.
  3079. >So focused, that neither you nor Luna noticed the door directly in front you close before it was too late.
  3080. >WHAM
  3081. >Luna was knocked onto her rear as she clutched her muzzle in pain.
  3082. >You, on the other hand, stumbled back a few paces, dazed at your temple’s sudden confrontation with a wooden door.
  3083. >The door cracked open a bit, revealing an unamused Princess Celestia.
  3084. >”How did that feel? Maybe now you will learn to pay attention to your surroundings.”
  3085. >You opened the door further and staggered on inside, clutching your head in one hand.
  3086. “Nice of you to hold the door open for us.”
  3087. >Celestia smiled unabashedly.
  3088. >”Glad I could be of service.”
  3089. >You muttered a few choice criticisms under your breath before turning around and making sure you held open the door as Luna entered behind you.
  3090. >You know, being courteous and all.
  3091. >Closing the door behind her, you turned around to face Celestia with a half-hearted scowl on your face.
  3092. “Not cool, man.”
  3093. >Celestia chose to ignore your snide comment and instead turn to wave a hoof at the room the three of you had entered.
  3094. >It appeared to be a decently sized living room, fully furnished as expected, rather lavishly you might add, with two branching rooms on either side, one bearing Celestia’s cutie mark, the other Luna’s.
  3095. >”This is our main living area. They connect to our bedrooms, as you can clearly see.”
  3096. >You blinked.
  3097. “I only see two bedrooms, though.”
  3098. >Celestia turned to you with a curious look on her face.
  3099. >”This building was not designed to have guest rooms to be so near the royal sleeping quarters. It is the same as the castle back in Canterlot. Why would you think this would be different?”
  3100. “You said ‘our’, as if I was included in that.”
  3101. >”Oh. Sorry. The guest bedrooms are in another branch of the building. I can bring you there momentarily.”
  3102. >You stared at Celestia for a moment before letting out a large yawn.
  3103. “I’m too tired to do much more walking.”
  3104. >Despite moving at a rather sluggish pace, you were more than capable of sweeping Luna up into your arms again before she could react.
  3105. >While Luna stiffened in your arms in a mixture of surprise and embarrassment and Celestia began to blush faintly, covering her mouth with a hoof, you made your way over to the door with the moon crest on it.
  3106. “Good night, Celestia.”
  3107. >You could hear her stammering behind you, but you simply closed the door on her, not waiting for a response.
  3108. >The room was dark and unlit, so you couldn’t make much out except for various shapes.
  3109. >Not that you’d have cared either way, you were much too tired to do anything other than look for the bed.
  3110. >Locating it among the darkness of the room, you marched on up to it before unceremoniously plopping Luna down on top of it.
  3111. >As Luna bounced slightly on the bed, you took the time to remove most of your clothing except for your briefs, before pulling back the covers and sliding underneath, pulling Luna inside with you and bringing her close.
  3112. >Luna jerked slightly in surprise as her smooth coat met your bare skin, but quickly became relaxed a few seconds later.
  3113. >With a sigh of contentment, she allowed herself to be brought close to you, her small smile barely visible in the darkness as sleep began to overtake her and you as well.
  3114. >The sounds of the night faded into the obscurity of a dream as you held your beautiful mare in your arms.
  3115. >…
  3117. >…
  3118. >>…
  3119. >>”Princess?”
  3120. >>Snapping to attention, you briefly glanced to your side to see Morning Glow giving you a concerned look.
  3121. >>”Ye never let me sleep on my job, yet here ye are, dozin’ away as if t’ weren’t nothin’ to do”
  3122. >>Making a feeble attempt to regain some of your lost composure, you straightened up in your seat as the carriage jostled roughly.
  3123. >”W-We were simply resting Our eyes, Glow.”
  3124. >>Morning Glow simply rolled his eyes and as the carriage bumped again, he stuck his head out the window to yell at the driver, during which you tried to get the sleep out of your eyes.
  3125. >>”OY! Can ye not run over ev’ry damn pothole? Me mum’s half-blind and methinks she’d drive smoother than ye!”
  3126. >>As Morning Glow gave the grumbling carriage driver a piece of his mind, you did your best to clean your face up a bit, making sure your make-up was proper and all traces of sleep were erased from your visage.
  3127. >>After all, the day of his official recognition as your personal entourage was mere hours away; it would not do if you were less than prepared.
  3128. >>You had an example to set, as did he.
  3129. >>As the last traces of uncleanliness faded from your face, Morning Glow pulled his head back into the cabin and pulled out a comb from his jet-black suit to attempt to salvage the mess the wind had made of his hair.
  3130. >>If you knew Morning Glow, he’d give up the attempt at making a good first appearance soon, likely to the ire of the nobles.
  3131. >>They had been rather adamant about voicing their displeasure at your choice, though they mostly boiled down to varying degrees of bemoaning their own social positions and the inability to use their sons to increase their own reputations and standings.
  3132. >>Typical noble nonsense.
  3133. >>But perhaps this gathering would convince the nobles of your choice, you hoped.
  3134. >>Though your guard had some difficulty understanding the need for such measures, he knew better than to be confrontational with the nobles.
  3135. >>A snap could be heard, followed by a low grumble as Morning Glow’s comb, having been caught on a particularly tough knot in his mane, broke a few teeth.
  3136. >>You rolled your eyes before grabbing the broken comb and mending it with your magic.
  3137. >>The stallion, though slightly miffed, started to give you thanks, only to abruptly silence himself once you began running the comb through his mane.
  3138. >>”P-Princess, I can comb me own mane!”
  3139. >>You smiled; it was uncommon to see him so flustered.
  3140. >”We art sure thou can, guard.”
  3141. >>You made quick work of Glow’s mane, in spite of his attempts to swipe the comb from your grasp.
  3142. >>Once finished, you gave a satisfied harrumph before returning the comb to your guard’s jacket pocket.
  3143. >>A light blush on his face, Morning grabbed the comb from his pocket and gave his mane another run through, refusing to meet your gaze.
  3144. >>You giggled quietly to yourself, stopping as soon as you heard trumpet playing in the distance, followed by orders to slow the carriage down.
  3145. >>Leaning down to Morning Glow, who was giving himself a once over, making sure he looked presentable.
  3146. >”Tis time, my guard.”
  3147. >>Giving him one last smile, the trumpets played their final tune, and as they faded into silence, a voice could be heard calling out.
  3148. >>”All hail Princess Celestia, Diarch of Equestria, Raiser of the Sun, the Firstborn, the First Alicorn…”
  3149. >>They seemingly piled on more titles than last time.
  3150. >>It all seemed so… tacky.
  3151. >>”…and Inheritor to the True Throne of Canterlot. Please welcome her majesty.”
  3152. >”That would be our queue, guard.”
  3153. >>After giving Morning Glow a quick nudge, he got up and exited the chariot.
  3154. >>You could hear his hoofsteps as he walked around the chariot to the other side.
  3155. >>It was subtle, but you definitely heard his pace pause ever so slightly once he rounded the chariot.
  3156. >>You could not hear the sounds of the crowd, aside from some inaudible murmuring.
  3157. >>Your heart filled with hope for Morning Glow, you straightened yourself up as your guard opened the chariot door, revealing you to the public.
  3158. >>The crowd cheered as you smiled and waved, stepping out of the chariot and beginning your march down a long red carpet laid before you, with Morning Glow trotting by your side.
  3159. >>Among the crowd, you noticed many noble faces straining to smile.
  3160. >>The animosity in their glare could not be mistaken; your years of experience in the political world ensured you would notice it, however well it may have been hidden.
  3161. >>It would seem that getting them to accept Morning Glow would be an uphill battle.
  3162. >>But it was one you were willing to fight.
  3163. >>…
  3165. >…
  3166. >With a sudden gasp, you awoke from your slumber, hooves flailing under the bedsheets.
  3167. >Your eyes darted all around the room in a blind panic before slowly remembering where you were.
  3168. >Closing your eyes tight, you dropped your muzzle into your hooves as tears threatened to escape.
  3169. “J-Just a little w-while longer, Celestia. Then we c-can forget this mess. Just wait a little l-longer….”
  3170. >For a few minutes, your body was wracked with silent sobs as you tried your best to hold back your sorrows.
  3171. >Once the moment had passed, you let your tear-stained hooves drop to the bed.
  3172. >You were tired of the nightmares, tired of the memories.
  3173. >It was all just too much.
  3174. >It all hurt too much.
  3175. “Why...? Oh, why did I have to remember these horrible, horrible memories….”
  3176. >…
  3178. >…
  3179. >The first thing you felt was a smooth sensation tickling your stomach and arms.
  3180. >As the grogginess of sleep began to subside, you felt a shifting motion.
  3181. >You could feel a hot breath on your face, further awakening you.
  3182. >Though heavy, you fought to lift up your eyelids enough to see what was before you.
  3183. >The last traces of sleep left you as you stared at the beautiful sleeping face of Luna.
  3184. >She must have rolled over in her sleep, as she was face to face with you.
  3185. >In fact, she was much closer than you thought appropriate.
  3186. >So close… you could just stretch your neck out a bit and give her a quick kiss.
  3187. >You hesitated for a moment, not wanting to disturb the pretty sight before you.
  3188. >However, your hesitation cost you the moment as Luna began to stir and awaken.
  3189. >Silently cursing yourself for your inaction, you laid there and watched as she stretched in a cat-like fashion.
  3190. >Her stretching made it even more clear how she had moved in her sleep; having wrapped her forelegs and wings around you in a sort of hug, while one of her hindlegs had snaked its way around your waist, pressing herself tight against you.
  3191. >However, you yourself were in no better a position; your hands were quite firmly latched to her rear, and your maleness, as was its job in the morning, was standing proudly in salute, poking Luna’s belly.
  3192. >Perhaps if you were a bit more lucid you could’ve brought yourself to move, yet you were far too comfortable to separate.
  3193. >Slowly, Luna opened her eyes, her teal irises reflecting the faint moonlight in the room.
  3194. >Seeing you looking down at her, she gave a small smile and pulled you closer.
  3195. >”Hi.”
  3196. >Her voice was reserved and quiet, not breaking the early morning silence to harshly.
  3197. >You couldn’t help but smile back at her.
  3198. “Hey.”
  3199. >Luna closed her eyes and let out a big yawn, with you following suit soon after.
  3200. >”Hay is for ponies.”
  3201. “Is that so?”
  3202. >Luna sniffed quietly before nodding her head.
  3203. >The room fell silent for a moment longer, as the two of you simply basked in each other’s warm embrace.
  3204. >But like all good things, even this beautiful moment had to come to an end.
  3205. >”I should go lower the moon now.”
  3206. “Can’t you do that from here?”
  3207. >”It works better if I have a line of sight.”
  3208. “I can just carry you then.”
  3209. >”And you would explain to Our… to my sister about why you are so scantily clad, leaving our chambers.”
  3210. “Says the one who has her whole body wrapped around me.”
  3211. >”Thou art… you are poking us.”
  3212. “I don’t see you moving.”
  3213. >”We never said we did not like it.”
  3214. “Then maybe the night lasts for a while longer tonight.”
  3215. >As if she had been slapped, Luna’s eyes snapped open.
  3216. >”W-We need to lower the moon now.”
  3217. “Luna?”
  3218. >With a flash of light, you became considerably colder as Luna teleported out of your grasp.
  3219. >It appeared that she had teleported outside the room, as you ascertained upon sitting up.
  3220. >Scratching your head, you wondered just what had happened.
  3221. >Everything seemed to be just fine, then she left out of nowhere.
  3222. >What just happened?
  3223. >...
  3224. >
  3225. >...
  3226. >The dark purple sky began to brighten and take on the burning orange typical of the sunrise as you laid the moon down to rest beyond the horizon.
  3227. >You let out a sigh of relief, yet the cacophony caterwauling in your heart refused to fade away.
  3228. >Why did he have to go and bring that up?
  3229. >A frown spread across your muzzle, your brow furrowing as you lost yourself in your own thoughts.
  3230. >You knew he didn’t mean it, nor did he even know the weight behind his words, yet they stung all the same.
  3231. >Slowly, you allowed your body to sink its way down to the cold hard floor of the balcony.
  3232. >…Why?
  3233. >Why couldn’t you just be happy?
  3234. >At every step of the way, something always had to go and make things hard on you.
  3235. >Everything came with a cost; every gift, its own hidden fees; every good thing to come your way, a negative setback.
  3236. >Was this to be your lot in life?
  3237. >Scrounge up whatever pleasures that life deigns to bestow upon you and enjoy them before they are cruelly ripped away from you at a moment’s notice?
  3238. >Are you destined to remain shackled to your past?
  3239. >Can you never find peace from your mistakes?
  3240. >Is this it?
  3241. >…
  3242. >”…Luna?”
  3243. >You hadn’t heard the door open behind you.
  3244. >Choosing to ignore Anonymous’ voice, you kept your gaze downcast, though whether it was in shame at your own actions or contempt towards Anon for bringing up your past, you were unsure.
  3245. >Maybe you just wanted to pretend nothing was wrong.
  3246. >The soft slapping sound of bare feet against the hard balcony grew louder as Anon approached.
  3247. >”Luna, I… I’m sorry. I don’t know for what, but… well, I don’t know a lot of things.”
  3248. >You watched through your peripherals as Anon sat down next to you.
  3249. >”But… I do know that I think of you as my friend, Luna. I hold you very near and dear to my heart.”
  3250. >Your ear twitched, yet your gaze remained still.
  3251. >”If you don’t want to tell me, then that’s fine. I won’t push for it, nor will I think any less of you. But I don’t think you should keep things bottled up forever. It’s unhealthy.”
  3252. >A warmth settled on your back, rubbing back and slowly from your shoulder blades to your wings.
  3253. >It felt nice.
  3254. >”Luna… I want to help you. But that means you need to allow yourself to be helped. I… I don’t know what the problem is. That’s because you haven’t told me. If you don’t want to tell me about it, then there is nothing I can do. But if I can’t help you face whatever happened in your past, then that leaves me with only one option.”
  3255. >The warmth of your back paused in its travels.
  3256. >”If I can’t help you reconcile your past, then all I can do is help reinforce happiness in your future. And that is something I can do.”
  3257. “…What art thou saying? Anonymous….”
  3258. >Anon took a deep breath.
  3259. >”We are probably going to head into town today. We’ll have the whole day all to ourselves. Luna… you wouldn’t leave the castle back in Canterlot, but maybe here you would… well, I suppose what I am asking is, um… we could, uh, spend the day… together?”
  3260. >Your lips curved upward in a small smile.
  3261. “We already do that, Anon.”
  3262. >”No, I mean— I mean, like… outside. In the town. Like a, uh, like a d-date.”
  3263. >The balcony fell silent except for the soft early morning breeze.
  3264. “L-Like a date…?”
  3265. >Anon coughed awkwardly.
  3266. >”Yeah… like a date.”
  3267. “…A date? O-Or just like a date?”
  3268. >”…Do you want it to be a… date?”
  3269. “Do thou?”
  3270. >”…Yeah, I… I do.”
  3271. “With… us?”
  3272. >”Yes, Luna. With you.”
  3273. “…”
  3274. >”…Do you?”
  3275. “Do we…?”
  3276. >”Want to?”
  3277. “Want to what?”
  3278. >”Go on a date. With me.”
  3279. “We…”
  3280. >You could feel your heart pounding in your ears, hear the blood travel throughout your body.
  3281. “Y-Yes. We will go on a… on a date… with thou.”
  3282. >Your chest tightened inexplicably; you felt some unknown warmth radiating from deep within.
  3283. >”…Can we go back inside now? It’s rather cold out here.”
  3284. “Okay….”
  3285. >Slowly, you began to rise onto all fours, yet it would appear that Anonymous had other intentions.
  3286. >Sliding an arm under your forelegs and another beneath your rear, he lifted you up into his arms, pressing you up against his chest.
  3287. >Your cheeks flushed with an embarrassing warmth, yet you found yourself reclining into Anon’s hot embrace.
  3288. >Turning your head, you gave a final glance toward the sky, which was growing more orange and yellow by the minute.
  3289. “…We will not be able to sleep for long. Sister will want us to be up and about within the hour.”
  3290. >”Then I guess we’d better enjoy the time that we do have, however short it may be.”
  3291. “…”
  3292. >”…”
  3293. “…Anon?”
  3294. >”Yes, Luna?”
  3295. “…Why us?”
  3296. >Reaching the bed, Anonymous slung you around to face him; in this position you were eye level with Anon without him needing to bend over.
  3297. >”…Well, is that the royal ‘us’, or am I included in that?”
  3298. >You broke eye contact with Anon to paw at the mattress for a moment in silence.
  3299. >When you finally did get the confidence to speak, your voice cracked and wavered, like some pubescent filly barely entering her teenage years.
  3300. “A-Anon, we… we are broken goods. Damaged beyond repair. We are not the innocent victim of unfortunate circumstances that you might think we are. What we have done… what we attempted to do… it is not something that can be waved away so simply. Not by the ponies of Equestria. Not even by our sister. And… n-not by you either.”
  3301. >Your vision grew blurrier with every passing moment, but you could not stop the rushing tides of emotion welling up within you, desperately struggling their way out of the deepest recesses of your heart.
  3302. “It hurts. It hurts so terribly that there is no conceivable way by which to express it to you. M-Make no mistake, Anon; all of the suffering we have endured and the judgement that has been passed down unto us, is just and fair. And every pony in Equestria knows our sin and rightfully judges us for it. But…”
  3303. >You bowed your head and released your tears, allowing them to stream down your face, matting your fur and staining the bed sheets.
  3304. “W-We are not certain if, if… We mean… Whenever we walked the roads, we saw the looks in the eyes of the passerby. That judgement. The silent scorn. Even those who called us acquaintance, we could see it there; hidden by a mask of empathy or politeness, but undeniably present. Even our dear sister… We inspire fear in her. A-As if she fears that we would once again… B-But when we met you… It was not present. A-And we are not sure if o-our feelings are indeed g-genuine, or if simply after all of the l-looks and glares and hidden whisperings behind our back, we s-simply desire that w-welcoming gaze, free of malice. The look of someone who t-truly cares for us… without fear. Without anger. Without disapproval. I-Is that wrong of us? B-But perhaps, more importantly…”
  3305. >With a great deal of effort, you managed to raise your tear-filled face to look at Anon; even though he was far too blurry to make out even the most basic details, the action was more than enough to suffice.
  3306. “A-Anon, is it f-fair to thou? T-To hide you from the truth of our situation. To deprive you the chance to see the whole s-situation for what it is and make an unbiased j-judgement on us? I-Instead we have f-filled thy head with sentiments a-and sob stories, as if when the time f-finally comes for you to learn the truth, y-you might not think less of u-us.”
  3307. >Blinking hard, you made a futile attempt to clear your eyes so that you might see the look on Anonymous’ face clearly, though you were still unsure whether or not you were prepared to see just what exactly how he was taking this.
  3308. >But ignorance hurt more than knowledge of the truth, and his silence burned you like a hot poker in your gut.
  3309. “B-But we…”
  3310. >Hiccupping, you closed your eyes tightly.
  3311. “But w-we….”
  3312. >It was as though your voice had abandoned you; the words getting lodged in your throat as you found yourself falling silent, unable to utter even a single word.
  3313. >Your body shook with silent spasms as silence continued to reign, not a sound to be made anywhere.
  3314. >That is, until after what felt like an eternity, Anonymous finally spoke.
  3315. >”Luna.”
  3316. “…”
  3317. >”Luna. Look at me.”
  3318. >His raw voice echoed off the walls; he spoke firmly with power and authority, in stark contrast to the soft and gentle soothing assurances he uttered mere minutes ago out on the balcony.
  3319. >It was all you could to open your eyes, though his face was still blurred from your view.
  3320. >”Wipe those tears off your face.”
  3321. >Again, his command startled your uncertain form into motion once again, bringing up a foreleg to clean your face.
  3322. >Now finally able to see without tears compromising your vision, you lowered your leg and chanced a glance up toward Anon’s face.
  3323. >His expression… was unreadable.
  3324. >You could not identify any emotion in his visage; not a shred of anger or pity, no joy or sadness, no love or hatred.
  3325. >It frightened you.
  3326. >”…Luna, do you think I am a fool?”
  3327. “…W-What?”
  3328. >”I believe I made myself clear enough. Now answer the question.”
  3329. “I-I— No, no, we do not—”
  3330. >”Then why, must I ask, are you acting like I am one?”
  3331. “W-We beg your pardon?”
  3332. >Anon’s eyes narrowed, his harsh look unlike any face you had ever seen him make.
  3333. >”The pretentious nobles back in Canterlot think I am a fool. And their actions convey this sentiment quite clearly.”
  3334. >Crouching down, Anon pulled out some sort of trinket out of his pants that he had left on the floor last night, and with a look of contempt on his face held it out for you to look at.
  3335. >Hey, wait a minute, isn’t that Prince Blueblood’s cutie mark—
  3336. >”And I utterly despise those nobles. If you are smart, you will avoid making the same mistakes they made.”
  3337. >Returning the item to his pocket, Anon stood up and his eyes returned to meet yours.
  3338. >”Allow me to make this quite clear to you. I am not a fool. I can assure you that I am far, far from some bumbling moron who just so happens to fumble into places he is woefully unprepared to deal with.”
  3339. >Crossing his arms, Anon’s gaze hardened once again.
  3340. >”But when you drone on about how you ‘denied me my opportunity to make a fair judgement on you’, you are insinuating just that. You imply that I am some naïve little fool who got a lucky shot at being around royalty and that I am simply trying to elongate the time that I have in the spotlight as much as I can until I find myself in danger or under threat.”
  3341. >Anon’s eyes closed as he smiled.
  3342. >You weren’t sure how you felt about this particular smile.
  3343. >“And although I will admit in being lucky to be in my present circumstances, let me state this one thing as firmly as I am able.”
  3344. >Anon reopened his eyes and leaned his close, his hot breath dragging against your cheeks as you looked up in shock and slight fear and his close proximity.
  3345. >”I am here because I want to be here. I haven’t left you because I like you. It is as simple as that. But if your little tirade was anything to go off of, it would perhaps be better to elucidate in greater detail.”
  3346. >Anon leaned back as you gulped, your throat feeling dry.
  3347. >”If you wish for an honest judgement so badly, then who am I to deny such a heartfelt request? And before you say anything, no. I do not need to know what happened to you that put you in this situation. I can infer more than enough from what I’ve seen to properly assess you without needing to understand the particulars.”
  3348. >Straightening his back, Anon placed his arms behind his back before turning to the side and beginning to pace around the bed.
  3349. >”Why don’t we start with just that, simply to get it out of the way. Here’s my understanding thus far. I don’t know what you did, but it was something quite serious, yet not too serious. If you had done anything particularly extreme like murder, then you wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable as you are. You’d be locked in the dungeon for such a crime, yet as is plainly obvious, you roam free with no supervision. And since you don’t appear nearly old enough to have outlasted such a sentence, I believe I am right in saying that your crime was not as severe as that.”
  3350. >It occurred to you, among the brief thoughts flitting about in your mind, that Anonymous was still unaware of your longevity, not that you were about to correct his assumption.
  3351. >”Yet it was severe enough to strip you of your title, if your little stint with the nobles is anything to go off of. Or perhaps it simply caused a large uproar with the Equestrian peoples. It would explain your earlier comments as well as why you refuse to leave the castle. Whatever you did must have become quite the public scandal.”
  3352. >Anon paused for a moment, turning his head to look at you once again.
  3353. >”And here is where I find my lack of insight to be debilitating. I have next to no experience with the local populace. I am unfamiliar with the moral spine of your nation, and I have no understanding as to how the ponies of Equestria think of you. And of the few ponies I have met, I would be remiss in assuming they are an accurate depiction of the greater Equestrian perspective. And so, if I wish to continue my assessment of your character, I must turn to alternatives.”
  3354. >Resuming his pacing, Anon turned his gaze downward to the ground, his expression still hardened and unfeeling.
  3355. >”For example, your sister. You say that she fears you. I will not deny that. I cannot do so without a greater contextual understanding of your relationship. But I can say with some degree of certainty that she does care about you. You see the initial fear in her eyes and then turn away, but I see the underlying love that comes directly after it. She is protective of you and holds you near and dear to her heart, as I can personally vouch for.”
  3356. >Turning around on a dime, Anon continued to pace.
  3357. >At this rate, he was going to carve a rut in the floor.
  3358. >”But in the end, that isn’t your biggest concern, is it? No, that would be your supposed ‘manipulations’, how you are ‘deceiving’ me into taking pity on you. Am I right?”
  3359. “…”
  3360. >Anon stopped in his tracks and turned to face you, his eyes narrowing once again.
  3361. >”Luna, I asked you a question. I expect an answer.”
  3362. “…Y-Yes.”
  3363. >He stared at you for a long while in total silence, his face stoic and unmoving.
  3364. >”…Luna, if there is one thing that I absolutely despise, it’s when people step over me. When people take me for granted. When you presumed that you were manipulating me, you were completely ignoring that I have my own perspectives, my own set of logic that brought me this far. If at any point I judged that you were an unhealthy influence, I would have cut you out of my life at my earliest convenience. I would not be nearly as friendly or… I suppose the term would be ‘affectionate’, if I believed that you were using me.”
  3365. >For the first time since he started talking, Anon’s voice grew softer, losing its harsh edge, and his eyes filled with sympathy.
  3366. >”Luna, when I say that I care about you, it’s because I well and truly care about you. And I believe that when you say you are ‘manipulating’ me, well… you aren’t being completely sincere.”
  3367. >Releasing his hands from behind his back, Anon fiddled absent-mindedly with the hem of his shirt.
  3368. >”I believe that you feel guilty over what your crime was. Earlier, you said that you feared that your emotions were misplaced. That it was simply a craving for someone to care about you without scorn and hatred and distrust. Well, I have a feeling that the exact opposite is true.”
  3369. “What…?”
  3370. >”Luna. You’ve grown accustomed to the judgement, haven’t you? Your own oppressive sense of guilt has convinced you that this malice towards you is not only natural, but to be expected. And then I come along. I show you companionship and care free from the knowledge of your past sins. But your guilt refuses to accept it. ‘It cannot be real,’ you must feel. ‘No one could ever truly love me! It must be a trick! A deception!’ You’ve convinced yourself of it so utterly that at no point did you ever stop to consider that perhaps I might actually well and truly… love you.”
  3371. “…A-Anon…”
  3372. >As if sensing something behind him, Anon turned around to face the balcony, from which the blue light of day was streaming in.
  3373. >”It would appear that we won’t have time to do much of anything before Celestia comes to wake us up.”
  3374. >Turning back to you, you saw the cold emptiness that previously marred Anon’s face had since lifted, replaced by the loving concern that made your heart pang at the sight.
  3375. >”Luna, it would appear that this date is more important than you thought. More so than even I thought. I need to drive it into your head that you still deserve to be loved. And I’m going to do everything in my power to do just that. Because if what I said here wasn’t enough, then nothing ever will be.”
  3376. >With a sniff, you lifted a foreleg up to wipe your face once again, as tears were starting to form.
  3377. >Before you could set your leg back down again, however, you felt a warm hand grab your bare hoof.
  3378. >Looking up at Anon, you watched as he brought his head down to kiss your hoof, as though the two of you were in a fairy tale story.
  3379. >”I love you.”
  3380. >The rest of the world faded away until only you and Anonymous remained.
  3381. >You stared deep into his eyes, which only held an outpouring of nothing but pure love for you within them, seemingly boundless and eternal.
  3382. >Anonymous raised a hand to cup your cheek, bringing his face in close, much closer than before.
  3383. >”And before the sun rises tomorrow morning, I will do everything I can to make you say those same three words back to me. I swear it on my life.”
  3384. >As soon as his lips connected with yours, you stopped thinking, and everything turned white.
  3385. >…
  3386. >
  3387. >…
  3388. >You stood by the bedside watching Luna, who remained seated.
  3389. >She seemed conflicted, yet her cheeks remained tinted red.
  3390. >Opening her mouth slightly, she slowly began to lick her lips, taking her sweet time dragging her tongue around and around, savoring every moment of it.
  3391. >Ever since you broke the kiss, Luna had refused to look at you, instead choosing to stare at one of the rooms many corners, seemingly gazing into nothing.
  3392. >A series of knocks broke the silence as a familiar voice echoed from outside the bedroom.
  3393. >”Luna? Anon? It is time to get up. A new day dawns!”
  3394. “…We’ll be out in a moment, Celestia.”
  3395. >”Do try to hurry! We are burning daylight.”
  3396. >As the sound of receding hoof steps faded away, you returned your gaze to Luna, who still hadn’t moved.
  3397. >Taking a deep breath, you surveyed the room, resting your eyes on the various pieces of Luna’s regalia, which had been cast aside carelessly the night before.
  3398. >Taking a few strides over to them, you crouched down and began to pick them up.
  3399. >Despite their appearance, they were much lighter than you had initially expected, especially her main chest piece.
  3400. >Once all the pieces were gathered up, you returned to Luna’s side, getting on your knees.
  3401. >Gently, you took ahold of her foreleg, which finally grabbed Luna’s attention, before you slid on her ornate shoe, repeating the same for the rest of her legs.
  3402. >You lifted the chest piece and slowly brought it down onto her shoulders while Luna looked at you, still speechless, still conflicted.
  3403. >Reaching over to the top of the dresser next to the bed, you grabbed her crown.
  3404. >Luna’s eyes snagged onto the crown, watching it as your brought it close before coming to a stop at eye level.
  3405. “…Luna?”
  3406. >She slowly dragged her gaze up to meet yours.
  3407. “Will you give me a chance?”
  3408. >”…A chance?”
  3409. >Nodding, you brushed aside a few stray strands of mane, finally crowning your princess.
  3410. >”I do not deserve it.”
  3411. “I didn’t ask that.”
  3412. >Luna looked down for a brief moment before a faint smile finally crossed her lips.
  3413. >”…If I said no, would you listen?”
  3414. >Cracking a smile of your own, you shrugged.
  3415. “Probably not.”
  3416. >“Heh… then why bother asking?”
  3417. “I want to hear you say it.”
  3418. >”…You bastard. Where do you think you get off… trying to make us fall in love with you?”
  3419. “Hopefully with you.”
  3420. >”You wish.”
  3421. “I’d be a liar if I said that wasn’t true.”
  3422. >Dipping her chin down, she closed her eyes and shook her head.
  3423. >”I-If you knew who we were… what we have done… you would hesitate before saying such things.”
  3424. “Maybe. But I suppose I’ve already dug my own grave, haven’t I? Might as well see it through.”
  3425. >Luna chuckled darkly.
  3426. >”What an apt choice of words, though it would appear you fail to see the humor in it as we do.”
  3427. >Leaning forward, you gave Luna a quick kiss on the tip of her snout, causing her to recoil slightly.
  3428. “Well then, allow me to invite you to let me in on the joke any time. I’ve committed myself to you, Luna. Body and soul.”
  3429. >Taking Luna’s hoof in your hand, you brought your lips down to it, kissing it gently.
  3430. “I promise to share with you the same happiness you give to me. To give you the love you don’t think you deserve.”
  3431. >Rising to your full height, Luna’s hoof still in your hand, you step backward slightly, tugging Luna away from the bed where she had remained all this time.
  3432. “But I need you to give me a chance to do that for you, Luna. You must be the one to take that first step. I can’t do it for you.”
  3433. >Luna gave pause, staring into your pleading eyes, before dropping her gaze down to the hand still grasping her hoof, an open invitation to the happiness and joy and love that you so desperately wanted to envelop her with.
  3434. >Another series of knocks reverberated from across the room.
  3435. >”Anon! Luna! Hurry up! Breakfast is going to get cold at this rate!”
  3436. >Luna turned to look at the bedroom door in silence for a few moments, a look of self-doubt evident on her face, before returning to face you once more.
  3437. >A series of emotions flashed across her face, they were too many in number and lasted for too little time to properly identify, though you detected hints of misery, fear, and… hope.
  3438. >”…Okay.”
  3439. >It was barely a hushed whisper, but it might as well have been shouted at the top of her lungs for how clearly it sounded to you.
  3440. >Luna’s gaze steeled, and she nodded her head as if to affirm it to herself as your smile grew with unbridled joy.
  3441. >”Okay. We… we will give you a chance.”
  3442. >You could feel your eyes watering from the sheer euphoria welling up within you, your cheeks dimpling from how hard you were grinning.
  3443. “Oh, Luna… that’s all I ask for.”
  3444. >…
  3445. >
  3446. >…
  3447. >Breakfast was brief; it was a simple breakfast platter, though the apples tasted especially wonderful, you noted while sinking your teeth into one.
  3448. >As usual, Celestia was the first to finish, with you and Luna taking your time enjoying the meal.
  3449. >Though she kept her composure while she waited, you were aware enough of her usual habits to know she was eager to get to business as soon as she could.
  3450. >Your intuition proved to be well-placed as once the two of you finished off the last bites of food, Celestia immediately began discussing her plans for today.
  3451. >Though it pained you to admit, you weren’t exactly paying much attention to most of it, though you imagined it to be understandable given what had taken place mere minutes ago.
  3452. >You picked up on a few things, for example, that she intended on visiting her student Twilight as soon as she could in order to get caught up on the recent happenings between her and her friends.
  3453. >Patiently, you waited while she droned on about the various ponies she desired to meet and places she wished to go to.
  3454. >”…And then I should really check up on the Apple family orchard, cider season was a few weeks ago and I do hope they have some left over, I almost never get the chance due to how quickly they sell out— Oh! And I want to go visit the schoolhouse, just to drop in and say hi to the children, I always love doing that, though I imagine the teachers get a little cross from my interrupting their classes—”
  3455. “Um, Celestia?”
  3456. >Celestia paused for a moment, her train of thought derailed for a moment due to your sudden interruption.
  3457. >”Oh, was I ranting?”
  3458. “No, no, you weren’t… ranting, per se. Just….”
  3459. >You weren’t exactly sure how to follow that up, choosing instead to let the moment fade away.
  3460. “…Well, that doesn’t matter. Um, I was planning, if you didn’t already have any such plans, to… I don’t know, wander Ponyville. Just explore, see what catches my eye.”
  3461. >”Oh, is that all? Well, that is all fine with me. I have no problems with that. But… hm, I really do not want you getting lost. Should I fetch a guard to accompany you?”
  3462. “Ah… yes, about that… I was planning on Luna going with me.”
  3463. >Celestia’s eyes darted over to Luna for a moment, who simply returned her gaze in a silent fashion as per usual.
  3464. >”…O-Of course. Yes, that would be fine. Splendid, even! So, it seems she is finally coming out of her shell. That is wonderful!”
  3465. >Celestia grinned from ear to ear as she arose from her seat.
  3466. >”Yes, this is a perfect development! Luna, I am so proud of you for finally leaving your comfort zone. Oh, the two of you will have so much fun together, I just know it!”
  3467. “That’s the plan, yes.”
  3468. >Making her way around the table, Celestia began lightly nudging Luna out of her seat and towards the door.
  3469. >”W-What— Celestia! Do not push us!”
  3470. >”Oh, no, no! I know how you operate. If I give you a minute to think about it, you will change your mind and try to weasel out of this. I am just making sure you actually follow through!”
  3471. >Planting her feet firmly in the ground, the piercing sound of dragging horseshoes filled the air as Luna resisted her sister, pushing back against her.
  3472. >”No— Sister! Stop it! Stop! Anon! Help us!”
  3473. >”Yes, Anon. Come help get my stubborn sister out into the daylight so she— can— have— fun!”
  3474. >Chuckling to yourself, you stood up and pushed your chair in amid the cacophony of sliding metal, Celestia’s chastising remarks, and Luna’s whining pleas for help.
  3475. >Luckily for everyone involved, the trip to the front door wasn’t nearly as long as it would have been had this stunt been attempted back in Canterlot, though there was still more than enough ribbing and witty rebuttals exchanged by the three of you to make the trip entertaining.
  3476. >With a final push out the front door, Luna yelped before flopping over, her face meeting the rough dirt of the outside world.
  3477. >Heaving a big sigh of relief, Celestia dusted herself off, while you emerged from the doorway into the sunlight, arms crossed with a smile on your face, chuckling merrily.
  3478. >Luna remained still, her face in the dirt as she pouted childishly.
  3479. >”I want to go back inside.”
  3480. >Celestia laughed heartily.
  3481. >”Nope! I hope you enjoy Ponyville because I am not letting you back in until sunset!”
  3482. >The sound of clinking wind chimes filled the air as Luna’s horn began to glow a bright blue.
  3483. >”You better not get smart with me, Luna! You better not try to raise the moon before you should! Otherwise, I will make you stay out all night too!”
  3484. >The sound and glow faded as Luna grumbled to herself incoherently, likely muttering some sort of curse under her breath.
  3485. >”What happened to all that talk about what you were going to do today?”
  3486. >”If it means getting you to actually interact with other ponies, I will postpone all of my plans for today to tomorrow! I will spend my day here doing paperwork and making sure you stay out!”
  3487. >Luna groaned miserably.
  3488. >”I thought you wanted to come here to get away from all the paperwork!”
  3489. >Celestia posed mockingly, pressing a hoof to her forehead and turning away.
  3490. >”For my beloved sister, I am willing to make that sacrifice.”
  3491. >While Luna picked herself up off the ground, Celestia turned to face you.
  3492. >”Thank you for getting my sister out of here. Please make sure she has some fun.”
  3493. “Don’t you worry, Celestia. I’ll break her shell. She’ll be unrecognizable by the time I bring her back.”
  3494. >Celestia smirked, opening the entryway doors as she did so.
  3495. >”Oh, Anon, do not get my hopes up like that! I might expect you to actually follow through with such provocative statements.”
  3496. >Once the doors closed behind Celestia, you turned to face Luna, who appeared to have resigned herself to her fate.
  3497. >Slowly, you meandered over to the blue alicorn, who huffed in exasperation, facing away from you towards the empty street just before you.
  3498. “Luna.”
  3499. >As she turned to face you, you cupped her chin, lifting it up enough that her lips would meet yours.
  3500. >Luna stiffened in surprise, her cheeks exploding into a purple-ish hue, and though you wanted nothing more than to continue, you broke the surprise kiss, smiling warmly.
  3501. >”O-Oh, you are just evil! W-What if someone were to see u-us?!”
  3502. “I’ll give ‘em a show, how about?”
  3503. >Luna scoffed, turning away from you in embarrassment.
  3504. >Deciding she had been teased enough for the moment, you scanned your surroundings.
  3505. “Well, Luna? Where would you like to go first?”
  3506. >”Was this date not your idea?”
  3507. “It was, yes, but I don’t know the first thing about Ponyville. Except maybe where the jail is. Remember that? Wouldn’t that be a romantic place to go on our first date? To the place where we first met?”
  3508. >Luna scowled.
  3509. >”We are absolutely not going to the detention center on our date, Anon. And I must say, calling this our ‘first’ date already is rather presumptuous of you.”
  3510. >You shook your head.
  3511. “Not presumptuous. Confident.”
  3512. >”A rose by any other name.”
  3513. “Oh, do they have Romeo and Juliet here in Equestria?”
  3514. >Luna turned to look at you, a curious expression on her face.
  3515. >”What?”
  3516. >Now it was your turn to feel uncomfortable as your cheeks heated up in embarrassment.
  3517. “…Never mind. It’s not that important.”
  3518. >Luna raised an eyebrow but otherwise said nothing.
  3519. “Well, what places do you know in Ponyville? Let’s start with that.”
  3520. >Luna rolled her eyes.
  3521. >”Very well. We are familiar with the residence of the protégé of our sister, the one you know as Twilight Sparkle.”
  3522. “Oh? Could you and Twilight be friends?”
  3523. >”We… We consider her to be more of an acquaintance than a friend.”
  3524. “How about we go and see her then? If nothing else, she can direct us to other places of interest.”
  3525. >”N-No!”
  3526. >At once, you recognized the tone shift in her voice.
  3527. >You glanced toward Luna, whose eyes were filled with fear.
  3528. >This Twilight Sparkle…
  3529. >She knows something.
  3530. >Or is she involved?
  3531. >You weren’t certain, nor did you have any way of being able to tell.
  3532. >But one thing was for sure; Twilight Sparkle and Luna are connected.
  3533. >And if your gut feeling was right, it had to do with her past… the root source of her strife.
  3534. >As interesting the opportunity was, to finally know whatever dark secret Luna had been keeping from you all this time, you knew the time was not right.
  3535. >After all, you were on a date.
  3536. >You weren’t supposed to be chasing leads, you were supposed to be stealing Luna’s heart.
  3537. “…Okay, if you say so.”
  3538. >Luna’s shoulders sagged slightly, the surge of relief apparent on her face.
  3539. “If you can’t think of a place, then let’s just pick a direction and start walking. Maybe we will find something interesting. Left or right, Luna?”
  3540. >”Um….”
  3541. >Luna glanced back and forth for a few moments, seemingly unsure, before turning fully to the left, standing up confidently.
  3542. >”To the right.”
  3543. “That’s your left, Luna.”
  3544. >”To the left.”
  3545. >Snickering softly in jest, you rested a hand on Luna’s shoulders as the two of you began your trek down the road.
  3546. >”…Not many ponies out and about, are there?”
  3547. >You raised your head to the sky, squinting in the light of the sun.
  3548. “The sun hasn’t been raised for very long. They are probably still performing their morning rituals.”
  3549. >”It is weird seeing these streets empty like this.”
  3550. “Is it really? There can’t always be ponies out and about.”
  3551. >”We know that! But Ponyville is always one of those ‘go-getter’ and ‘up at the crack of dawn’ kind of towns. It really is weird!”
  3552. >You shrugged your shoulders.
  3553. “I don’t know what to say, Luna. What, do you think the whole town has been kidnapped or something? Maybe it’s a holiday and they’re sleeping in.”
  3554. >”That is not what we think the case is.”
  3555. >You didn’t even need to turn your head to know that Luna was staring at the ground morosely.
  3556. “You think it’s because of you, huh?”
  3557. >Luna remained silent.
  3558. >You didn’t need her to respond to know the answer.
  3559. “Don’t be ridiculous, Luna. This can’t possibly be because of you. I refuse to believe it. Watch, I’ll prove it to you.”
  3560. >You stopped in your tracks as you began to scan the various houses and shops nearby.
  3561. >Luna cocked her head as you gaze found itself attracted to one of the shops in particular.
  3562. >Pointing a finger in its direction, you turned your head to face Luna.
  3563. >”Look, see? Let’s see if it’s open.”
  3564. >Following your finger, Luna turned to face the building in question.
  3565. >”The… Carousel Boutique? That sounds… familiar… but I am unsure as to why.”
  3566. “Come on, Luna. After all the walking I’ve done with you at the castle, my socks are starting to get holes in them. I want to see if I can get them repaired.”
  3567. >Luna seemed hesitant, but once you started moving, she followed suit.
  3568. “It looks like there is a sign on the door with the times on it, but I can’t read it from here.”
  3569. >”Then get closer.”
  3570. “Really, Luna? I was thinking I’d back away from it. Maybe space and time would bend to make it appear bigger.”
  3571. >”Your tongue might be sharp, but mine is much sharper.”
  3572. “Maybe so, but I can disarm that blade easily with my own.”
  3573. >”That doesn’t even make any sense.”
  3574. “Think about it for a moment.”
  3575. >While Luna halted in place, you continued taking a few steps forward, crouching down in order to read the sign.
  3576. “Okay, so hours are from 7:30 to—”
  3577. >The door slammed open and a white blur shot out, catching you in the chest.
  3578. >“Woah!”
  3579. “Oof!"
  3580. >Knocked off balance, you tumbled to the ground with a miniature white pony in tow.
  3581. >The pony was the first to recover, standing up on your chest, groggily, albeit stable.
  3582. >The filly, which you assumed to be both female and a child, had a two-toned mane of pink and purple, parted by a small horn.
  3583. >”What was that?!”
  3584. >Glancing down, the pony noticed that she was standing on top of you.
  3585. >”Hey! What are you? You aren’t a pony!”
  3586. >You wheezed, having had the wind knocked out of you from the impact.
  3587. “Nope. Not a pony.”
  3588. >”And you aren’t a zebra either! …Or a manticore. …Or a hydra. …Or a goat. …Or a—”
  3589. >”Sweetie Belle, what’s with all the commotion out—”
  3590. >The door opened once again to reveal another mare, who also possessed a white coat, yet her mane was a sharper purple color and appeared much more stylized than the filly on your chest.
  3591. >Speaking of whom, the filly whose name appeared to be Sweetie Belle turned around to face the newcomer bouncing up and down on your chest as she did so.
  3592. >”Look, Rarity! I found something! And I don’t know what it is!”
  3593. >Though Sweetie Belle appeared thrilled by her ‘discovery’, Rarity appeared much more apprehensive.
  3594. >”W-What— Who— When— I—”
  3595. >Raising her eyes up a bit, Rarity noticed Luna standing just a few paces behind you, whose eyes watched Sweetie Belle bounce up and down hypnotically.
  3596. >”P-Princess?”
  3597. >Luna’s gaze snapped to meet Rarity’s.
  3598. >”Hm? U-Um, ah, yes, hello there, Miss Rarity. Long time no see, um… would it be alright if my friend and I come in?”
  3599. >Rarity’s eyes lost focus for a brief moment, before dropping her gaze to the ground and stepping to the side.
  3600. >”I… c-come on in, I suppose.”
  3601. >…
  3602. >
  3603. >…
  3604. >”I am dreadfully sorry about that, dear. If I’ve told my sister once, I’ve told her a thousand times to make sure she looks where she’s going.”
  3605. “It’s no big deal, nothing broken. No hard feelings.”
  3606. >Sweetie Belle hopped up and down in place.
  3607. >”Okay, I said I was sorry. Now can I go?”
  3608. >Rarity glared at her sister crossly.
  3609. >“Are you going to run into anypony else?”
  3610. >“No….”
  3611. >”…Very well. Just please watch—”
  3612. >Not waiting another minute, Sweetie Belle bolted out the front door, leaving a cloud of dust in her wake.
  3613. >”Bye Rarity! Bye Princess Luna! Bye Anonymous!”
  3614. >Sighing and shaking her head at her sister’s antics, Rarity pulled out various drawers containing all sorts of dyes and fabrics, scanning through the lot with an attentive eye.
  3615. >”Oh well. Shame on me for expecting her to learn. But anyways, Anon, if you wouldn’t mind my asking, how did you and the Princess come to, ah…”
  3616. “Oh, well, that’s a bit of a long story… do you remember when I came here? I imagine you would, seeing as how the guards got stirred up and everything.”
  3617. >Rarity stared into the distance for a while, lost in thought, all the while her magic ensured that her sewing machine was being set up properly.
  3618. >Multitasking is a sign of talent, you suppose.
  3619. >”…I believe Twilight told me about that, though you’ll forgive me if I didn’t pay much heed to the particulars. If the guards were involved, I likely didn’t want to involve myself in anything extreme.”
  3620. >You waved off her comment.
  3621. >”It’s no big deal. It was just an overreaction on the guard’s part. Luna came down to the detention center and sorted everything out.”
  3622. >”Oh, is that so? Well, I’m glad everything turned out alright. But what a dreadful place for a first meeting, and with a princess no less!”
  3623. “It’s alright. We’ve since become fast friends, and I’ve been staying at the castle since.”
  3624. >Rarity turned to look at you.
  3625. >”Really now?”
  3626. “Yeah.”
  3627. >She stared at you, quietly for a moment, before a small blush spread across her face.
  3628. >”You know… that kind of sounds like a wonderful little set-up….”
  3629. “What do you mean by that?”
  3630. >”Just imagine it! Wrongly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, a big strong stallion preparing to rot away in a jail cell, only to be saved by a beautiful princess when all hope seemed lost! It’s like a fairy tale come true!”
  3631. >Luna piped up.
  3632. >”We think you read too many romance novels.”
  3633. “Well, actually, now that you mention it—”
  3634. >”Anonymous, put a sock in it.”
  3635. “I can’t, I gave mine to Rarity. Speaking of whom, thank you. I understand that this is a little unorthodox.”
  3636. >Rarity flipped her mane.
  3637. >”Don’t you worry about it, darling. The excitement of working on something new is always worth it. I won’t even charge you for it!”
  3638. “Really? Thank you, Miss Rarity, that’s very generous of—”
  3639. >”But! In exchange…”
  3640. >Rarity leaned in close, her piercing eyes trying to read you like a book.
  3641. >”Just tell me. Are you and Princess Luna only just friends? Not something more?”
  3642. >Luna sputtered, her cheeks burning red.
  3643. >”M-Miss Rarity, what are you implying—”
  3644. “Maybe.”
  3645. >”Anonymous! Do not encourage her!”
  3646. >”Ooh~ scandalous! But ambiguous. Come on, give me a straight answer!”
  3647. >”Miss Rarity, enough of this—”
  3648. “I suppose it depends on how today goes.”
  3649. >”Oh, no. Anon, please….”
  3650. >Rarity’s eyes grew wide as dinner plates.
  3651. >”On a date with a princess! Oh, Anon!”
  3652. >Luna hung her head in shame and embarrassment.
  3653. >”Anon, why did you tell her?”
  3654. “Because I am on a date with the most beautiful mare in Equestria and I feel like shouting it from the mountaintops.”
  3655. >Luna looked away abashedly.
  3656. >”F-Flattery will get you nowhere.”
  3657. >Rarity chuckled before whispering to you under her breath.
  3658. >”That’s a lie. Flatter her more. Mares love it. At least I do.”
  3659. “I know how to play the love doctor, Rarity.”
  3660. >Giving Luna one more glance, Rarity turned back to her work.
  3661. >”If you two really are out on a date, you absolutely must follow proper procedure!”
  3662. “Oh. Well, I don’t know about anything royal courtship etiquette—”
  3663. >”No, not that! Though yes, I would agree you absolutely should follow those rules too, I was actually referring to these rules listed in….”
  3664. >Rarity paused for a moment.
  3665. >”I seem to have forgotten what it is called. But I should have it over in my magazine rack if you would go take a look.”
  3666. >Stepping around a blushing Luna, you made your way over to the magazine rack.
  3667. >”Just list off the titles dear, I’ll remember which one it is when I hear it.”
  3668. “Um, okay. Let’s see here… ‘Miss Couch’s Laz-E Emporium’, ‘Bonding and Adhesives; How to Deal with Icky Sticky Goop’, ‘Gentle Gossip’, and….”
  3669. >”Keep going, darling.”
  3670. “I think this is the one you were referring to.”
  3671. >”Say it anyways, I want to make sure.”
  3672. “No, I’m pretty sure this is it, but if it is, Luna’s gonna—”
  3673. >”I’m gonna what, Anon?”
  3674. >”Anon, come on, just say the title.”
  3675. “…Alright, then. ‘Romancing Your Mare; How to Tie Down the Girl of Your Dreams’.”
  3676. >”That’s it, that’s the one!”
  3677. >Luna spun on a dime, her blush intensifying more so than you thought possible.
  3678. >”That’s that stupid magazine again!”
  3679. “Alright, I’m gonna read it—”
  3680. >”Like hell you will! Give it!”
  3681. >Luna made a lunge for it, luckily you managed to keep it out of her reach, yet as a consequence, she crashed into you.
  3682. >The two of you fell over in a bundle of feathers, fur, and clothes, knocking the magazine out of your grasp.
  3683. >”Oh, my.”
  3684. >Rarity looked on with a slight blush on her face as she watched you and Luna wrestle over the magazine.
  3685. >”Give us the magazine, Anon!”
  3686. “No, you give it to me!”
  3687. >No, you give it to us!”
  3688. “I will not!”
  3689. >”Yes!”
  3690. “No!”
  3691. >The two of you rolled over until you found yourself underneath Luna, struggling to keep your grip on the magazine, while also trying to not rip or mangle it.
  3692. >Suddenly, as if Luna had been struck with an idea, she flopped down on top of you, pinning both your arms and the magazine between the two of you.
  3693. >Luna smugly smiled down on you as you futilely struggled to extract your arms and the magazine from underneath her.
  3694. >”Huzzah! Your plans have been foiled.”
  3695. “N-Not yet! I can still… still….”
  3696. >Yet, for all your struggling, you couldn’t seem to free yourself, while Luna remained triumphant and Rarity struggled to keep her composure.
  3697. >Finally, after many humiliating seconds, you finally relaxed and gave up the fight.
  3698. “Okay, Luna. You win. I won’t read the magazine. Will you please get off of me?”
  3699. >Luna hummed to herself.
  3700. >”I do not think you are being sincere.”
  3701. “Oh, come on, Luna. Okay, I promise I won’t read it.”
  3702. >”Hm, that is not good enough.”
  3703. “Fine, what are your demands, oh princess?”
  3704. >”How about… no more teasing me on our date.”
  3705. >You shook your head in mock anger.
  3706. “I would never agree to such impossible terms! Choose something else!”
  3707. >”If you will not stop teasing me, then I will make you do something even worse.”
  3708. “What could possibly be worse than that?”
  3709. >Luna smiled cruelly.
  3710. >”No more kissing.”
  3711. “You bastard. To what lows will you sink… I will take my chances with no more teasing then!”
  3712. >Luna chuckled.
  3713. >”No, you already had your chance to agree to those terms, and you passed it up. If you wish to be free, you will not kiss us for the remainder of our date!”
  3714. “But… But….”
  3715. >”Those are our demands. Take it or remain trapped as you are.”
  3716. >Your despair was palpable; your misery unbound!
  3717. >But what could you do?
  3718. >Except…
  3719. “Very well, I will accept your terms… on one condition.”
  3720. >Luna raised an eyebrow.
  3721. >”Oh? You have some nerve, making demands of us from your position. But we shall humor you. What is your proposition?”
  3722. >You tilted your head slightly.
  3723. “One last kiss.”
  3724. >Luna looked upwards, her head cocked in silent thought for some time.
  3725. >”Very well, Anonymous. We shall grant this last request.”
  3726. >Her head started to lower.
  3727. >”One last kiss, and then no more!”
  3728. >But it would appear that Luna had made a fatal miscalculation, one that you had anticipated greatly.
  3729. >As she bent her head down to meet yours, her body weight began to shift off of you.
  3730. >In just a few moments, the opportunity to free yourself will be here!
  3731. >But wait!
  3732. >Is it worth it?
  3733. >To break free now?
  3734. >When you were so close to a kiss from this beautiful angel of the night?
  3735. >The thought gave you pause as Luna’s pursed her lips as they neared your own.
  3736. >Not a kiss that you stole from her as all the others had been, but a kiss that she herself initiates!
  3737. >Was this magazine truly worth that?
  3738. >And in your heart, you knew the answer.
  3739. > At that moment, when your lips connected, you let go of the magazine.
  3740. >If this was to be your last kiss of the date, then you were determined to make it one to remember.
  3741. >In a single quick and fluid motion, you swept your arms out from underneath Luna, to which she nearly pulled back in surprise, only to be drawn back in as your arms wrapped around her.
  3742. >The two of you melted into each other, your hands brushing through Luna’s mane while she lifted her body up just enough to move her forelegs into a more comfortable and natural position.
  3743. >The electrifying sensations were nearly overloading your mind as each and every touch and movement was echoed between the two of you, further intensifying the indescribable rush of emotions that was surging within you.
  3744. >You wanted more, you needed more, you had to have more!
  3745. >The all-consuming desire filled your whole body with fervor beyond compare, like nothing you had ever felt before.
  3746. >Never had such a carnal craving, a personal and unadulterated need been so intrinsically instilled within you yet simultaneously feel so natural and righteous, as though all of life and the universe and all of existence had merely been leading up to this and this alone.
  3747. >This beautiful and raw overflowing passion welling up within you had completely overtaken you, not that you opposed it by any measure.
  3748. >The satisfaction, the joy, the pure unfiltered love.
  3749. >You knew what happiness was; it was right here in Luna’s warm embrace.
  3750. >You knew what pleasure was; it was being able to spend time with Luna.
  3751. >You knew what love was; it was Luna.
  3752. >Luna, Luna, Luna.
  3753. >Luna.
  3754. >Luna.
  3755. >Luna.
  3756. >You weren’t exactly aware when the kiss ended, just that it was at some point.
  3757. >Your breaths were ragged and long, as if you had been suffocating moments before; for all you knew you could very well have been.
  3758. >Luna appeared to be in a similar state as she gazed into your eyes, her muzzle lightly touching your nose.
  3759. >Things were different now though.
  3760. >Whereas shame and embarrassment once clouded her eyes, now there was only adoration and pride.
  3761. >Where there once was doubt and misery, now there was simply confidence and glee.
  3762. >The fear and self-hatred… they were still there.
  3763. >But among them…
  3764. >Was love.
  3765. >It was there!
  3766. >It was right there, you could see it plainly!
  3767. >The love you promised Luna, it was there!
  3768. >”U-Um…”
  3769. >It hadn’t really occurred to you that at no point during your passionate kiss, did Rarity ever leave the room, though in hindsight it was rather obvious.
  3770. >”S-Should… should I leave the room or s-something? M-Maybe get a towel?”
  3771. “…No… That won’t… That won’t be necessary, Rarity. …Sorry.”
  3772. >”Ah… No, there is no need for… any apologies, just… wow.”
  3773. >Luna turned to look at Rarity, both of whom were blushing madly.
  3774. >”We are… very sorry, Miss Rarity. It would be best… for us to head out now.”
  3775. >”U-Um, yes, of course. And… I assume this is something to be kept… between us, right?”
  3776. “That would be appreciated, yes.”
  3777. >”Gotcha, just… just checking.”
  3778. >Rarity turned back to her sewing machine with a cough.
  3779. >”Um, your… your socks are ready, Anonymous.”
  3780. “Thank you again.”
  3781. >Rarity scrunched down in her seat, mumbling just loud enough to be heard.
  3782. >”Yeah, it’s no problem.”
  3783. >You turned back to face Luna again.
  3784. >When you looked into her eyes, however, the doubt and fear had returned to center stage again.
  3785. >But now, you could still clearly see the love in there.
  3786. >A bit hidden, but there, nonetheless.
  3787. >And now that you knew it was there, your resolve strengthened dramatically.
  3788. >You made a promise to Luna, after all.
  3789. >Nothing was going to stop you from following through on it.
  3790. >Though you did not wish for the moment to pass, Luna shakily rose up off of you.
  3791. >”W-Well, Anon… it is time to go. Thank you once again, Miss Rarity.”
  3792. >Rarity merely nodded meekly as you stood up and reclaimed your socks from her.
  3793. >Once returned to your feet, you and Luna left the boutique, leaving behind one rather heated fashionista.
  3794. >The two of you remained silent as you trudged through town, which now appeared much livelier than before, with ponies leaving their homes ready to go about their day.
  3795. >”Oh, huh, I think I get it now.”
  3796. “I beg your pardon?”
  3797. >”What you said earlier. ‘I can disarm that blade with my own.’ You were talking about a kiss.”
  3798. “…Yes, Luna. You’re right. I was talking about a kiss.”
  3799. >”…Hehe… I got it, Anon.”
  3800. “Yeah, you did, Luna. You really did.”
  3801. >…
  3802. >
  3803. >…
  3804. >You were Twilight Sparkle, and you were currently in a bit of a panic.
  3805. >Your faithful assistant, Spike, who was SUPPOSED TO have woken you up early in order to meet with Princess Celestia an hour ago, was snoozing away without a care in the world.
  3806. >You on the other hand, very much did have a care.
  3807. “Spike! Get up! We overslept!”
  3808. >”Zzz… Wuh…?”
  3809. “You were supposed to get up and make sure we were on time! Now we’re going to be LATE!”
  3810. >”Mhm….”
  3811. >You eyed the lazy dragon for a moment longer, before grabbing a nearby bucket filled with ice-water with your magic.
  3812. >Having lived with Spike for as long as you have, you have long since learned how to deal with this particular issue.
  3813. >At the sound of sloshing water, Spike flinched, before groggily sitting up.
  3814. >”…Alright, alright. I’m up.”
  3815. >You set the bucket back down, smiling with glee and ignoring the stink-eye Spike was giving you.
  3816. “Well, now that you’re up, we can try and see if we haven’t missed the Princess yet.”
  3817. >”Mmm… Can we at least have breakfast first?”
  3818. “I don’t know, Spike. Do you think we have time for breakfast?”
  3819. >Spike thought for a moment, before glancing up at you with a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
  3820. >”…Yes?”
  3821. >You stared at him for a moment, before slowly shaking your head.
  3822. >He drooped down, pouting in that adorable way he usually does.
  3823. >”Aw….”
  3824. >Turning around, you strapped your saddlebag around your waist, before making your way towards the door with a grumpy little drake in tow.
  3825. “Sorry Spike. I’m not going to be able to eat either. If you had gotten us up when we were supposed to, then we would’ve had the time for a bite to eat.”
  3826. >You opened the door, allowing Spike to pass you by before closing and locking the it behind you, while Spike desperately tried to make his case to eat.
  3827. >”Yeah, but then we wouldn’t have been able to sleep in!”
  3828. “That’s the price you have to pay then. You had the choice between sleeping in and getting something to eat. And you made that choice. Don’t complain to me; you got exactly what you bargained for.”
  3829. >He opened his mouth, as if to retort, only to close it silently.
  3830. >”…Whatever.”
  3831. >Giving a loud sigh, you nuzzled Spike’s cheek, giggling as his face turned a bright red.
  3832. “Come on, Spike. The sooner we meet with the Princess, the sooner we can get something to eat. How about we go by Sugarcube Corner afterwards, hm?”
  3833. >As a smile broke out across his face, Spike leapt to his feet, quickly passing you by, before turning around to wave at you.
  3834. >”Well? What are we waiting for? We’re already late enough, aren’t we? Let’s go, let’s go!”
  3835. >You laughed merrily, picking up the pace to keep up with the rambunctious lizard as he jogged forward into town.
  3836. >…
  3837. >
  3838. >…
  3839. >”So… Was this also part of your plan?”
  3840. >You decided not to answer, instead you tossed a pebble, watching it arc through the air before landing in the pond in front of you with a splash.
  3841. >”Have you done something like this before?”
  3842. >You turned to face Luna.
  3843. “What, you mean go on a date?”
  3844. >She nodded.
  3845. “No, not really?”
  3846. >”Which is it? ‘No’, or ‘not really’?”
  3847. >You tossed another pebble.
  3848. “No, Luna. I have never been on a date before today.”
  3849. >”…”
  3850. “Are you asking this because we’re just sitting here?”
  3851. >Luna rolled her eyes.
  3852. >”No, actually. I was simply questioning the romantic merit of throwing stones in ponds. With how lax you appear to be, you must have either planned this out like this, in which case I must assume that you are a genius whose methodologies I cannot even begin to fathom, or you are a moron. But if this is your first date, I feel it more accurate to be the latter.”
  3853. “Wrong on both counts, Luna. The correct answer is, ‘I forgot to ask Celestia for some money to do things before leaving the mansion’.”
  3854. >”I believe that would still constitute being a moron, Anon.”
  3855. >You clutch your chest in mock pain.
  3856. “You wound me.”
  3857. >Luna snorted in derision.
  3858. >”Do you intentionally stumble about from day to day, Anon? Or does being a blithering ignoramus come naturally?”
  3859. >You padded the ground immediately around you, looking for the ideal pebble to throw.
  3860. “You shouldn’t say things like that, Luna. You might hurt someone’s feelings.”
  3861. >”I am more surprised by the fact you understand what ignoramus meant.”
  3862. “Man, you are really cutting deep today. Is something the matter?”
  3863. >Luna paused for a moment, and you waited for her to respond while you found a nice hefty rock, which you surmised would make an excellent splash.
  3864. >”…We still think you are making a mistake.”
  3865. “Duly noted, Luna. How about we make that mistake together?”
  3866. >”I do not… I do not understand. Why?”
  3867. >Your arm was pitched back, ready to throw the rock, only for you to halt as Luna stood up.
  3868. >”We do not understand. It makes no sense. Why are you trying so hard? For what reason do you continue to toy with our emotions? Why us? With this determination, you could probably have had any mare in Equestria by now, yet you continue to pursue us? Why?!”
  3869. >You stared at Luna for a moment.
  3870. “Well, you’re kinda the only mare besides your sister that I know to any major degree.”
  3871. >”Anon, no more jokes.”
  3872. “Really? Because I kinda like making jokes. Here’s one for you; what do you call someone who constantly starts up the same tired arguments again and again—”
  3873. >”Anon—”
  3874. “—No matter how many times her anxieties had been addressed, for no reason other than seemingly to raise a ruckus.”
  3875. >Luna gave you a deadpan look.
  3876. >”Is it me?”
  3877. >You sighed, lowering the rock to the ground, the desire to throw it having passed you by.
  3878. “Luna, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? I LIKE you. I am COMMITTED to you. There isn’t really anything you can tell me that won’t change my LOVE for you.”
  3879. >”Those are mighty words from someone who is as ignorant as you.”
  3880. “Well, there’s an incredibly easy way to prove me wrong then, isn’t there?”
  3881. >You had fully stood up now, and as though intimidated, Luna took a few steps back.
  3882. >As you opened your mouth to speak your mind, you noticed Luna’s eyes flicker off to the side for only a moment, glancing at something behind you, before returning to you.
  3883. >Turing around, you saw a familiar purple unicorn merrily trotting along the dirt road, with a small bipedal lizard-looking creature following closely behind.
  3884. >You recognized her from your initial encounter with her, and from the description of her that Celestia had given you.
  3885. “That’s Twilight Sparkle, isn’t it? …She knows, doesn’t she? About the thing you wish to keep from me?”
  3886. >”…N-No….”
  3887. >Luna spoke quietly, barely above a whisper.
  3888. >As you turned back to look at her and were stunned by what you saw.
  3889. >All the righteous indignation and confidence that she had carried prior had seemingly evaporated.
  3890. >She trembled as if she feared for her life, and tears were welling up in her eyes, which had shrunk to pinpricks.
  3891. >”Y-You win, A-Anon… We can s-sit here and throw pebbles a-all day if you w-want. O-Or if you would r-rather, we can f-find something else to d-do. A-Anything you want, just n-name it.”
  3892. >You regarded her silently, her sniffling and whimpering doing little to break the stupor you found yourself in.
  3893. >”Please, I-I need you. I have c-come to care too m-much about you to l-lose you.”
  3894. >You felt your heart leap into your stomach.
  3895. >It hurt to see the mare you cared so deeply for reduced to such a state.
  3896. >But it hurt more being kept in the dark, and if Luna wasn’t going to tell you about her past, then you’d have to take the choice out of her hands.
  3897. “Luna. I’m going to tell you, in no uncertain terms, exactly what’s going to happen.”
  3898. >Shakily, she nodded her head in affirmation.
  3899. >”…A-Anything.”
  3900. “You are going to tell me what I want to know.”
  3901. >”N-No—”
  3902. “Because if you don’t, I’m going to call Twilight over here. And I’ll have her tell me.”
  3903. >Having lost her voice, Luna shook her head rapidly.
  3904. “And then, once I finally know what happened, I’m going to hug you and kiss you and tell you that I love you. No matter what I learn. It’s your choice, Luna.”
  3905. >”T-There… really is no choice a-at all…”
  3906. “Let me prove to you that I love you.”
  3907. >Luna shut her eyes tightly, her body shaking like a leaf on a twig blowing in the wind.
  3908. “…Hey, Twilight!”
  3909. >And just like that, in a flash of blue light, Luna vanished.
  3910. >You stood there, staring off into the void that Luna once occupied, wondering if pushing the issue was the right choice.
  3911. >It hurt, but Luna needed to learn that you loved her, no matter what.
  3912. >You hoped she would forgive you.
  3913. >Turning around, you saw Twilight marching up to you with curiosity and a bit of apprehension, while the lizard cowered behind her hind legs.
  3914. >Chuckling at the sight, you extended your hand in greetings.
  3915. “Hello. I believe we’ve met before. You might recognize me as Equestria’s one and only human, Anonymous. Celestia has spoken of me in her correspondence to you, I imagine.”
  3916. >She came to a stop right in front of you, needing to crane her neck almost straight up to look you in the eye.
  3917. >”Hey, I do remember you! I still have questions for you, but first… Did I just see Princess Luna here a moment ago? What were the two of you doing here?”
  3918. >You waved your hand in a dismissive gesture.
  3919. “That’s a complicated story. How about we walk and talk? Where were you heading off to?”
  3920. >”Spike and I were on our way to meet Princess Celestia at the Royal Residence across town.”
  3921. “What a coincidence, that probably sounds like where I should be heading too.”
  3922. >Twilight tilted her head in confusion.
  3923. >”…What do you mean by that?”
  3924. “Tell you what, I’m sure you have a lot of questions for me, and I’d be happy to answer them, but I’d like to ask you something first.”
  3925. >”About what?”
  3926. “About Luna.”
  3927. >…
  3928. >
  3929. >…
  3930. >You… you didn’t remember who you were.
  3931. >It had been so long, and…
  3932. >That’s right, your mind… it’s been corrupted by dark magic.
  3933. >Your own dark magic… why did you need it again?
  3934. >You couldn’t remember.
  3935. >You struggled to even maintain consciousness.
  3936. >The last time you were this aware was… some weeks ago.
  3937. >That was… that was when you cast a spell.
  3938. >A dark spell… but you couldn’t remember why.
  3939. >But it was important, that much you remember.
  3940. >Where… where were you?
  3941. >You were too weak to open your eyes.
  3942. >Sound… was hard too.
  3943. >There was a voice… you think it was trying to speak with you, but you couldn’t make much out.
  3944. >It was familiar, but you couldn’t match the voice to a name.
  3945. >With a rush of nausea, you could feel yourself slipping back into unconsciousness.
  3946. >The voice grew angry.
  3947. >You were sorry.
  3948. >”…why … spell… dangerous….”
  3949. >Was the voice asking you why you cast the spell?
  3950. “Im…port…ant….”
  3951. >Moments before unawareness claimed your mind, a flash of realization crossed your mind.
  3952. “For… her….”
  3953. >And then you were aware no more.
  3954. >…
  3955. >
  3956. >…
  3957. >You stood there before the sigil, the various runes glowing magenta as they worked their magic on the stallion who lay unconscious in the middle.
  3958. >Purging dark magic was difficult, near impossible.
  3959. >Yet you were determined to do your very best.
  3960. >If nothing else, you learned something.
  3961. “My Queen, what would you have us do?”
  3962. >You glanced down at the Changeling drone before you.
  3963. “Is it feasible to remove the dark magic before they notice?”
  3964. >”Not without serious risk. The magic signature that many Changelings would leave behind would no doubt be just as telling as the dark magic signature. At least this way, they don’t know it was us, and in my opinion, I’ll take this over them knowing any day.”
  3965. >You growled in frustration.
  3966. >Of course the moment you break this pony free of his prison, he casts a dark spell of such magnitude.
  3967. >It was a miracle you could even get him out of that ancient castle without further detection.
  3968. >It was already hard enough to break him out in the first place.
  3969. “Did you find out what the spell did, at least?”
  3970. >The drone walked out of sight, and you heard the sound of papers rustling.
  3971. >”Let’s see here… It was a summoning spell. It was too complex a spell to properly decipher in what little time we had to work with, but we know that much.”
  3972. “Is it possible that they would know.”
  3973. >”Not likely. Unless they knew the exact spell being cast already, the signature would have faded into an unrecognizable mass of dark magic by the time they would have arrived.”
  3974. “It’s something, at least. And what of the target?”
  3975. >”The creature, according to our spies, is what they refer to as a human, who has found himself romantically involved with Princess Luna.”
  3976. >You paused for a moment.
  3977. “Luna? …That’s interesting. Very interesting indeed.”
  3978. >”…What would you like us to do about this human, my Queen?”
  3979. >You pondered in silence for a moment, before giving the drone a toothy grin.
  3980. “…Make sure his relationship goes smoothly, my little bug. Though not intended, he can easily be worked into the plan. Although…”
  3981. >The grin dropped from your face.
  3982. “…It would appear that our time table has moved up a few notches. Drat.”
  3983. >”Should we have our spy stall for time?”
  3984. >Shaking your head, you addressed the drone once more.
  3985. “No, that would only grow suspicion, which I absolutely will not stand for. We’ve only got a small window of opportunity for our plans and we don’t have the resources to recuperate any mess ups like last time. If we make any more mistakes, the Nobles win everything. We cannot afford to show our hand so early, so as much as I dislike it, I guess those accursed Nobles will get their way this time. In the meantime…”
  3986. >You jerked your head to the sigil.
  3987. “Let me know immediately if he becomes lucid again. We’re working with a stallion whose been corrupted uninhibited by dark magic for over a thousand years; we need to take every opportunity of awareness he gives us.”
  3988. >The drone saluted in response.
  3989. >”Of course, my Queen. It shall be done as you command.”
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