Nightmare Pt. 2

Jan 24th, 2014
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  1. >The moon finally peaked in the black skies over Canterlot
  2. >The train station was packed with ponies
  3. >The vast majority were her loyal Sarosians, but there were some tribal ponies as well
  4. >Luna hadn't expected to have any of them join her, but they were welcome so long as they didn't cause trouble
  5. >Actually, given the number and diversity at the station, it was surprising that no fights had broken out
  6. >If anything, all the ponies seemed to just be quietly waiting
  7. >Good, the faster you could load them onto the cars, the more you could get moved before the sun rose
  8. >Luna landed among a group of guards quietly talking
  9. >Aleph was with them, though he didn't join into the conversation
  10. >Though it was obvious why, his throat had been mauled by a manticore attack four years ago
  11. >She had been along with the group tracking it and saved his life
  12. >He had been a staunch, if not vocal, supporter of her ever since
  13. "Aleph, take these guards and start loading them onto the cars, quickly. We have ten hours until the day comes. And I'm not eager to find out what my sister will do if we're still here when that sun comes over the horizon."
  14. >The voiceless pony nodded once and gestured for the guard group to follow him
  15. >Inside of two minutes, ponies were loading onto the train cars
  16. >Luna had secured forty train cars, all cargo types, and two engines to pull them
  17. >It wouldn't be comfortable, but it would only take a half hour to reach their destination at top speed
  18. >While they took care of the loading, the princess strode among the crowd, chatting with the occasional pony
  19. >She tried to talk to more unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies than Sarosians
  20. >It wasn't a favouritism, it was more that she had spoken personally, at least once, with every one of the bat-like ponies in the city
  21. >But she didn't speak with the other kinds of ponies very often
  22. >So she paid special attention to those among the crowd who had never had a chance to speak with her before
  23. >She approached a young unicorn couple with a foal in swaddling between them
  24. "Good evening, young ponies. I must ask, what brought you to accompany me, the princess of the night, on this banishment?"
  25. >The stallion looked down at his hooves, but before he could speak, his wife did instead
  26. >"We've lived in the Moonlight district since we moved here. And even though we're not Sarosian, we were accepted as soon as we had moved in. But we had to shop on the other side of town for our groceries, since we can't eat meat."
  27. >The young mare paused and her husband took up the slack
  28. >"They saw how we were dressed, smelled the faint traces of meat on our clothing, we had bought it second-hand see. And the looks of disgust they gave us...I'll never get that out of my mind. There was no way we could raise our child in a place like that."
  29. >The wife spoke up again
  30. >"So we're coming away with you. We heard what you said in the throne room. It sounds a far sight better than what we had already experienced, so here we are."
  31. >Luna's look softened at their story, to give up a life among their fellows for something she had said?
  32. >It was almost too much to believe
  33. "What are your names?"
  34. >The stallion was the first to speak up
  35. >"My name's Plum Cake, princess."
  36. >His wife spoke up afterwards
  37. >"And I'm Angel Cake, Princess Luna."
  38. >They both bowed, and Luna returned the gesture
  39. "Mr. and Mrs. Cake, I swear to you that I will do everything I can to make your lives better. I can't promise an easy path, but the end will be worth it."
  40. >With that, she left the now tearful couple behind and moved on in the crowd
  41. >A young earth pony filly was standing beside an elder of the same kind closer to the back of the station
  42. >She stopped to speak with them as well
  43. "Good evening to you two, may I ask what brings you to follow me along my shameful path of banishment?"
  44. >The younger one made to speak, but her elder hushed her with a gesture before speaking himself
  45. >"Your banishment is not a shame, night princess, at least not on you. Celestia is the only one who should be shamed for banishing her own sister."
  46. >Luna squinted at the old earth pony
  47. "Where are this filly's parents?"
  48. >This time, the filly herself spoke before her guardian could stop her
  49. >"Celestia's guards killed my parents by accident. One of them fired a bolt of magic into our house, right into their room and...and."
  50. >The child broke off sniffling, and it broke Luna's heart to see her in so much pain
  51. >She knelt down to the filly's height and wrapped a wing around her
  52. "I can't bring your parents back, young one. But I can promise you a life in which you are safe. In fact, when we reach our destination, you and your grandfather can come and live in the palace."
  53. >The grandfather in question looked down at the princess, clearly stunned
  54. >"B-but, you're majesty! We're just common, earth-pony folk. What gives us the right to stay in a palace for royalty?"
  55. >Luna gave him a look that brooked no quarel over what she said next
  56. "Because she is too young to work, and you are too old. How will you pay for housing, or food, or heat? You will stay in the palace. If you find the idea difficult because it is charity, you may work as a butler, and she as a handmaiden. Is that acceptable?"
  57. >The old pony stammered out something that sounded affirmative and Luna stood
  58. >She took hold of the odd pair and took to the skies
  59. >The old stallion was shocked into silence, but the filly screamed
  60. >All eyes were suddenly on the odd, skybound trio
  61. >But, almost as soon as the flight had begun, it was over
  62. >The princess deposited the pair at the front of the queue leading to the train cars
  63. >No pony in the line dared argue with her reasons for putting them there, but most seemed content with her choice anyway
  64. >They all knew that a princess would have her reasons for doing such a thing
  65. >She conversed with a few more ponies, all of whom were stunned to be talking to a princess
  66. >Many had, if at all, only conversed with Celestia from a kneeling position at the foot of her throne
  67. >They were overwhelmed with the idea that royalty would pay attention to them personally, let alone get to know them
  68. >Tales began spreading like wildfire about how great a princess Luna was, not as a ruler but as a pony
  69. >It didn't matter to the princess though, she only cared that her subjects were treated well
  70. >As it turned out, everything went quicker than Luna had ever expected
  71. >By the time that the hour to lower the moon had come, every single pony that had wanted to follow her had been sent to the site she had chosen for the new town to be laid
  72. >It was on the frontier of unclaimed wilderness and bordered on a forest that contained the forgotten fortress that the princess of the night and her sister had built by hoof during Discord's reign
  73. >Luna had been preparing the site for many years, clearing the trees from around the fortress and clearing a path from it to where the town would rest
  74. >With all the extra time she had, two more trains full of building materials had been sent to the site of the new town so the ponies could get a head start on building it
  75. >But now the time came for her and the last guards under her command to depart for their new home
  76. >But as they turned to enter the train, the door slammed shut in their faces
  77. >The guards whirled, fangs bared, ready for a fight
  78. >But Luna had seen the slight swirl of magic around the handle and knew just who had come down to the station
  79. "Well, sister, I had best get going. I wouldn't want to overstay my welcome.
  80. >Celestia sighed at her sisters usual blunt attitude
  81. >"Luna...we both said foolish things back there. Can we not just talk about this instead of leaving on terms like this?"
  82. >Luna snorted, it sounded like a ridiculous statement after all that had transpired
  83. "What do we have to discuss? I've already sent my loyalists to our new home. I won't abandon them, Celestia. Not for you, not for anyone."
  84. >Celestia shook her head slowly
  85. >"They can come back as well. You don't understand how this will look to the ponies we take care of. If we can't stay unbroken, how can they?"
  86. >Luna gave a sharp laugh that sounded almost strangled
  87. "That's all you care about? Your appearence? Sister, the ponies that followed me did so out of love and respect. Love for the way I treat them and respect for the vision I promise them. They will experience a togetherness like none other. I can't stay here, not after what I've promised."
  88. >Celestia approached her sister, the guards still wary of her just as Luna was
  89. >But the princess of the day just wrapped her forelimbs and wings around her younger sister in an embrace
  90. >"I'm sorry, my sister. Please, do come visit me sometime."
  91. >Luna smiled and hugged her sister back
  92. >As much animosity as there was, they were still family
  93. "I will, Celestia. Count on it."
  94. >With that, the door to the train slid back open and Luna, flanked by her guards, boarded the train
  95. >Next stop, the future site of a town called Ponyville...
  96. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  97. >When the train arrived, the sun was rising rapidly in the sky
  98. >As Luna stepped of the train at the railhead, she was greeted by the sight of over a thousand cheering ponies
  99. >All of them were cheering her name in a near mantric way
  100. >But she couldn't stand for that, it was the same kind of thing that made Celestia into the haughty, holier than thou alicorn she was today
  101. >She calmed the crowd with a gesture, and they fell silent, though the silence hung pregnant with anticipation for her to say something
  102. >So she obliged
  103. "My subjects, we have reach the frontier of our lands. Beyond this is unclaimed and unknown territory. But in the forest to the North is the first palace myself and my sister built. It is on the site of Discord's defeat. That is why I chose this place to build upon, we already have a palace built, so I may spend my time assisting you all with your own homes."
  104. >The crowed let up a cheer, which she promptly quelled
  105. "It is going to be a difficult task, my friends. Many of us will sleep under a blanket of stars tonight and nothing else. But if even one of my subjects must go without shelter, than so shall I. If your home is built, offer shelter to your neighbors. If you have extra food, give it to someone that has none. If a fellow is sick, but you are healthy, heal them as best you can. This is my first decree in this new town. A town which I now dub, Ponyville!"
  106. >The crowd burst into another cheer, and this one Luna let go
  107. >She had nothing more to say except for one thing
  108. "Now, let us get to work building our new home!"
  109. >The ponies immediately began taking supplies, from the numerous pallets of material that had been shipped along, and took them to marked out building places
  110. >And Luna was right alongside them, carrying far more than those around her, using her telekinesis and wings to hold all the materials
  111. >She worked, for the most part, as a mule, bringing supplies to various building sites around the area that needed them at the time
  112. >With so many ponies working on the various structures, a great deal of work was accomplished in the first twelve hours, with twenty structures being completed and another forty having their frames and foundations completed
  113. >The completed structures were all given to the pegasi, unicorns, and earth ponies at the insistence of the Sarosians
  114. >The tribals couldn't see well at night, quite unlike their bat-like cousins who saw better at night than during the day
  115. >And just as well, they were able to work harder without the oppressive, heavy garments they usually had to wear
  116. >So when Luna raised the moon, as she had for so many years before, a young Sarosian approached her
  117. >"Princess Luna? How do you know when to bring out the moon and stars?"
  118. >The childs mother, having noticed her missing child, galloped in out of nowhere and started ushering her child away while murmuring an apology
  119. >But Luna forstalled her with a gesture and knelt down to be on the same level as the little filly
  120. "I've been raising and lowering the moon at the same time for the past forty years, young pony. After that much time, it's just become an instinct."
  121. >The small batpony looked up at her with wide eyes
  122. >"How old are you, Princess Luna?"
  123. >The queen of the night chuckled at the question
  124. "I'm as old as Equestria, little one. I was here for its creation, and I'll be here until it's gone, maybe even after."
  125. >The filly's eyes somehow widened even more
  126. >"Wow..."
  127. >Luna pushed herself back up and smiled at the frazzled mother
  128. "You and the young one had best get some sleep. Everyone needs to be at their peak after all."
  129. >She nods and takes her child to a house that held the young family you had talked to at the train station
  130. >The rest of the night was spent working with the Sarosians that had elected to stay awake through the night to continue construction in the dark
  131. >Between their now unecumbered bodies and Luna's direction, all the houses were completed that night
  132. >The forty that had been mere frames and foundations were finished, and ten more were completed as well
  133. >Seventy structures in the span of a single day and night...
  134. >The pace was incredible, even for the number of ponies that had accompanied their princess
  135. >Finally, with every pony sheltered, Luna herself walked to her palace that was in the forest
  136. >She flew up to the balcony, only four stories about the ground, and lowered the moon at precisely the time she needed to
  137. >With that duty accomplished, she went down to the cell she had established here when she was younger and laid her head to rest on the small bed laid out for her
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