Mirta

Celestia's Day [SoL, Celestia, One-shot, Complete]

Jun 26th, 2020 (edited)
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  1. A day in Celestia's life
  2.  
  3. >The throne room's twin doors slammed shut.
  4. >The sound echoed in the room.
  5. “Was that the last one for today?”
  6. >Celestia let out a sigh, shifted on her throne, and glanced at Raven.
  7. >Paper shuffled as the secretary leafed through her notepad.
  8. >”Yes. You have the rest of the day off. The only thing going on is a class from Appleoosa on a tour of the castle.”
  9. >Gray magic formed a protective shield around the pad as the princess spread her wings.
  10. >Celestia hopped off her throne, flapped her wings, and landed just between the guards standing at the base of the dais.
  11.  
  12. >She pointed a hoof at one guard.
  13. “Get me something to drink, would you?”
  14. >The stallion's armor clinked as he snapped to attention and trotted of.
  15. >She pointed at the other guard.
  16. “Go ask Luna to prepare a picnic in the statue garden.”
  17. >Clink, cla-clop, cla-clop, cla-clop.
  18. >It was almost time for Luna to wake up anyways, so she'd forgive Celestia for the early knock.
  19. >Especially since it was so they could spend some quality time together.
  20.  
  21. >Celestia gulped down the glassful of orange juice in one go.
  22. “Haa!”
  23. >She wiped the corners of her mouth with a fetlock and pretended not to notice how the guard didn't quite look at her and how the tips of his ears had a bit of red to them.
  24. “Thank you.”
  25. >Her golden aura guided the glass back onto the cart the guard had with him.
  26. “That will be all.”
  27. >The guard's hooves clopped on the polished marble floor as he wheeled the cart around and headed back to the kitchen.
  28. >He had his tail held stiff between his legs, at least until he was out of sight.
  29.  
  30. ***
  31.  
  32. >Bright voices of fillies and colts carried down the corridor from the courtyard Celestia headed towards.
  33. >Just as she though.
  34. >They were on a break in the Garden of the Moon – smallest of the castle's gardens, but one said to be the most beautiful.
  35. >Raven nearly bumped into her as she stopped at the mouth of the corridor.
  36. >The secretary mumbled something about tomorrow as an apology, but Celestia was too busy looking at the pupils to listen.
  37. >A pegasus colt, the only non-earth pony in the group, napped on the branches of the ancient oak growing in the middle of the garden.
  38. >The teacher, a scrawny stallion the color of a red autumn leaf, and about half of his pupils stood in in corner, looking at a patch of particularly rare flowers that only grew in the Crystal Empire.
  39. >The rest of them ran around the garden, giggling and shouting as they raced each other and played various games.
  40. >Celestia's lips curled to a smile.
  41.  
  42. >Princess Celestia stepped out of the shadowed corridor and into the lush, sunlit garden.
  43. “Hello, my little ponies. Are you enjoying your tour?”
  44. >Despite her not speaking any louder than usual, every single pair of eyes immediately fixed on her.
  45. >Apart those of the napping pegasus, of course.
  46. >”P-Princess Celestia!”
  47. >Quite a few of them stammered her name and bowed deep.
  48. “Now, now. No need to be so formal. Treat me as you would a substitute teacher – that is what I'm here for, after all.”
  49. >The teacher's brow furrowed in confusion as most of the fillies and colts glanced at each other.
  50. “Why don't you gather at the base of the tree? I'll tell you something about this garden before we move on.”
  51. >She made a sweeping motion at the open patch of grass beneath the tree.
  52. >The teacher cast her a glance with a brow arched.
  53. >Celestia nodded at him as she spread her wings.
  54. >She hopped into the air and fluttered up to the sleeping pegasus colt.
  55. “Hello, little one! It's time to wake up!”
  56. >Her golden shoe made the poor little colt shiver as she shook his shoulder.
  57. >”Mmmnh awlredy?”
  58. >The cutest little yawn escaped him as he cracked open his eyelids and looked at Celestia.
  59. >He immediately froze in place.
  60. “Come on down. Everyone else is waiting for you.”
  61. >A short second passed with the colt staring at her with her jaw hanging open.
  62. >His gaze glid from her face to her hoof and finally to what it pointed at, his classmates.
  63.  
  64. >Four golden shoes hit the grass with heavy thuds.
  65. >She landed just in front of the tree, with the class sitting in front of her.
  66. “This courtyard was originally the Royal Guard's training grounds. It only served that purpose for a few years before I had it turned into what it is now in honor of Luna's memory.”
  67. >She nodded and pointed at a plaque, so old and worn it was nigh unreadable, on a wall next to one of the entrances.
  68. “It's full of Luna's favorite flowers and plants, and was reserved for my private use for centuries. I came here to find solace whenever I missed my sister too much. Of course, now that I can once again see her whenever I want, this garden is open to everypony.”
  69. >Thump!
  70. >A swift hit from Celestia's rear hoof made the tree shake.
  71. “This particular oak was once an acorn planted by Luna near our original castle – now known as the Castle of the Two Sisters, deep in the Everfree Forest. It was already near a hundred years old when I moved it here.”
  72. >She looked up at the canopy, the twisting branches and leaves swaying in a gentle wind.
  73. “I remember the day she planted it.”
  74. >Her voice became quiet and melancholic.
  75. “It was a warm summer's day, much like today, and we were relaxing in the shade of a massive oak. We both had books to read, but Luna's was so boring she fell asleep. One of her squirrel friends scurried down the tree with an acorn in its mouth, hopped on her, and began making a fuss.”
  76. >It was silent apart the quiet rustle of leaves when she paused.
  77. “Luna never told me what it had to say. She simply thanked it, took the acorn, scooped up a hoofful of soil, and buried it.”
  78. >She let out a sigh, blew some air out of her nostrils to make a 'heh' sound, and looked at the ponies around her.
  79. “With a backstory like that, you'd think it's a very rare magical tree, no?”
  80. >Celestia shook her head.
  81. “But no. It's just your everyday oak with nothing special to it. Apart the memories, of course.”
  82. >She stroked the rough bark with a hoof.
  83.  
  84. ***
  85.  
  86. “Now, follow me. I'll show you the Royal Library and tell you about the early days of Canterlot.”
  87. >Celestia pointed a hoof at one of the corridors leading away from the Garden of the Moon.
  88. >Afoken Leaf, the teacher, dug his map of the castle out of his saddlebag and stared at it with a confused look on him.
  89. >The corners of the princess' mouth curled into a smile.
  90. “I know a shortcut that's not on the map.”
  91. >Magic tingled in the air as her golden glow enveloped the map, rolled it up, and put it back in his saddlebag.
  92. >She made a beckoning motion with her hoof and headed to the corridor.
  93.  
  94. “As you may guess from how rough and uneven the stones the walls are built of are, this part of the castle was built in a rush.”
  95. >She stopped for just long enough to tap rocky wall a few times.
  96. “This is actually the oldest part of the castle, so old it precedes all of Canterlot. Few know that the castle itself is built on top of an old guard outpost; these walls are what remains of that outpost.”
  97. >Starswirl the Bearded had the outpost built because there was a great font of power inside Mt. Canterlot.
  98. >He managed to redirect the energy from that natural spring of raw magic and use it to grow the Tree of Harmony.
  99. >But, that information needn't be public.
  100. >The tree's roots absorbed most of that spring now, but a little bit still bubbled up under Canterlot – which was why the city was so popular among unicorns.
  101. >No doubt someone with less than noble intentions would attempt to use that if it were common knowledge.
  102.  
  103. “The real reason I brought you here, however...”
  104. >Her gold-shod hooves came to a halt in front of a bit of wall that was entirely indistinguishable from any other part.
  105. >Her horn lit up in gold and a stone, which looked just like all the others, pushed into the wall with a faint grinding sound.
  106. “...is this passage.”
  107. >Something clicked.
  108. >A part of the wall rumbled inwards and slid out of the way.
  109. >It elected gasps, confusion, and cheers from the pupils.
  110. >Celestia pointed a hoof at it.
  111. “Go on. It'll lead you straight to the library. Just pull the lever on the other end when you get there; I'll be right after you and make sure no-one falls behind and gets stuck when I close the passage.”
  112.  
  113. >The heads of the fillies and colts walking in front of her swiveled from left to right and up and down.
  114. >They wanted to see everything of the short, straight and level secret passage.
  115. >Luna and Celestia used it at least weekly, so it was largely free of dust and cobwebs.
  116. >It was a relatively wide one, too.
  117. >The walls in the old parts of the castle were thick enough to hide comfortable passageways.
  118. >Even then, they had to go single file.
  119. >Still, it was much better than the new ones where Celestia's hips would scrape the walls when she used them.
  120. >Either way, to them it was a once in a lifetime experience they'd probably tell their grandchildren of.
  121. >An experience Celestia was all too happy to provide.
  122. >She'd do it for every class that visited if she could, but she only had so much time to spare.
  123.  
  124. >There was no visible sign of the passage on the wall after the exit slid shut.
  125. >A few of the colts and fillies pressed their ears to the spot it was at and tapped it with their hooves.
  126. “It's hidden with magic. You won't be able to find it unless you push the switch.”
  127. >Celestia flashed a smile at the little ones as they turned to look at her.
  128. >One of them started trying to push in random stones of the wall.
  129. >She'd never find it; it was on the opposite wall and a little ways down the corridor towards the library.
  130. >Leaf began counting his pupils, pointing at each one of them with his hoof while mumbling numbers.
  131. >He then nodded and let his hoof drop back to the floor.
  132. >”I think that's enough, kids. Gather up and we'll move along. We don't want to waste the princess' time now that she's so graciously offered to show us around, now do we?”
  133. >Celestia pointed down the corridor.
  134. “The library's just around the corner. There's somepony waiting for us there; we should indeed get going.”
  135.  
  136. ***
  137.  
  138. >The library's side door swung open without the slightest creak as Celestia's magic pulled its knob.
  139. >Unlike usual, the side balcony was clear of reading tables and chairs.
  140. >Now there was only one: the one Raven sat at.
  141. >Celestia waved her hoof at her secretary.
  142. “Come on in. Raven here has prepared space for us.”
  143. >”Hello there! Everything's set up the way you like it.”
  144. >The unicorn stood up and put a smile on her face as the pupils poured in.
  145. >It was a very forced smile.
  146. >She wasn't too fond of children.
  147. >Celestia was very aware of it, but Raven was a professional and a well paid one at that.
  148. >She'd do what was asked of her without complaints and the best she could.
  149.  
  150. “Raven here is my secretary. She makes sure I do everything I have to. I'd probably spend most of my time studying or teaching magic in my school if not for her.”
  151. >The mare in question nodded her head and waved a hoof at the kids.
  152. >”I also make sure she's in the correct century when she starts her day. One morning just the other week she insisted she'd come up with a solution to Canterlot's sewer problems.”
  153. >Celestia swatted at the air in front of her.
  154. “Oh, please. How was I supposed to remember that those were solved seven hundred year ago? I even dreamed up the perfect solution.”
  155. >Raven rolled her eyes and let out a sigh.
  156. >”Yes, the very same solution that was implemented. Only you didn't dream it up, you just remembered the plans that you saw back then.”
  157. >The princess rubbed the back of her neck with a hoof as her secretary levitated her notepad to herself.
  158. >”Now, I have everything set up here, but I couldn't find the 'Brief History of Canterlot' anywhere.”
  159. “Ah. I think it's in the free to take shelf now. The new edition was supposed to arrive last week, but it still isn't here. Let me go get an old copy.”
  160. >Celestia's sudden sprint and leap off the balcony elected yelps from the pupils.
  161. >Most of them rushed to the railing, only to see her flutter down to a soft landing.
  162. >That one always got those from earth pony and unicorn towns.
  163.  
  164. >Raven began her presentation about the large stone globe that sat on a pedestal in the middle of the library's main hall.
  165. >The very globe from their old castle.
  166. >Moving it was a bit of a hassle, but it served as a good reminder of past failures that must never be repeated.
  167. >It also suited the library far better than the old statue of some noble or something whose name and deeds Celestia long since forgot.
  168.  
  169. >Raven managed to make herself sound interested.
  170. >Almost.
  171. >Celestia knew her well enough to distinguish between her faked interest voice and the real one.
  172. >Her voice faded away as the princess trotted between shelves.
  173. >The free to take shelf for old books was just ahead, but that wasn't where Celestia was headed.
  174. >She turned to a corridor formed by rows of shelves and trotted to its end – a plain stone wall.
  175. >To everypony but her and Luna, that is.
  176. >One of the stones gave was as she pushed it with her shod hoof.
  177. >A large, circular part of the wall rolled to the side.
  178. >It wasn't a passage, just a secret door to the meeting room on the other side of the wall.
  179.  
  180. >”I take it you are ready, sister.”
  181. >Luna's voice had a tinge of excitement to it.
  182. >She had a small sack on her back, with armor made of light blue metal poking out of it.
  183. >Celestia hopped through the secret door and gave the wall behind her a swift kick to make it slide shut again.
  184. “Of course. Remember that they're a bit younger than usual this time, so don't scare them too much.”
  185. >The younger sister let out a sigh, rolled her eyes, and shook her head.
  186. >”The things I do for you.”
  187. >She let the sack fall to the floor with a clang and pulled Nightmare Moon's helmet out of it.
  188.  
  189. ***
  190.  
  191. >Celestia stood near the royal library's front desk – which was conveniently out of sight from the side balcony – and waited.
  192. >That the Brief History of Canterlot was in the free to take shelf was just a convenient little lie to set up what they had to set up.
  193. >Luna had set one copy on the front desk; it'd play its part.
  194. >...back in the day, she would've had a librarian to talk to, but times were different now.
  195. >It looked so empty, the front desk.
  196. >The beancounters didn't like it if she hired somepony who did nothing most of the time.
  197. >That wouldn't be a problem either if she'd had her way and opened the library to the public, but no.
  198. >Apparently it was too dangerous to just let anypony – anything – to wander into the castle whenever they please.
  199. >Dangerous to who?
  200. >The guards, maybe.
  201. >Luna and Celestia were more than capable of taking care of themselves.
  202. >Especially now that they were together again.
  203. >Twilight and her friends were probably the only thing that could stand against the royal sisters.
  204.  
  205. >Click, creaaaack, thump.
  206. >Celestia's ears perked up at the unusual sound of a door opening.
  207. >”Sister? Celestia?”
  208. >Luna's voice was quiet and high-pitched, like she was barely holding back a wave of emotion.
  209. >Hearing it tore a hole in Celestia's heart, even if it was just a play.
  210. >How could she have been so blind?
  211. >So arrogant and ignorant?
  212. >So certain her duties were more important when Luna called for help one last time?
  213. >She cast her gaze down at her hooves.
  214. >She'd never make up for it, but she'd try.
  215.  
  216. >”Sister? I was told you're here. Do you... have time to talk?”
  217. >A sliver of shadow coiled around Luna's rear hoof as she stood there in silence, waiting for an answer.
  218. >”I know you're busy, so just tell me when you have some time. There's... something important I want you to know.”
  219. >The shadow crept further up her leg.
  220. >”...or just ignore me and my efforts. Just like everypony else.”
  221. >Luna's last words were just a whisper, but Celestia didn't need to hear them to know what she said.
  222. >Last words in more way than one.
  223.  
  224. >Celestia grabbed the Brief History of Canterlot in her magic and took to a canter towards the balcony and the main hall.
  225. “Luna? Sorry, I was a bit busy. Did you need something?”
  226. >The shadow enveloped all but Luna's head as Celestia reached her.
  227. >The siblings' eyes met for a second.
  228. >A single tear rolled down the younger one's dark cheek.
  229. >Her lips curled into a melancholic smile just as the shadow took over her completely.
  230. >Celestia stole a quick glance of the balcony as Luna did her theatric transformation.
  231. >Every single pony on the balcony, even Raven, had their full attention fixed on the flashy display.
  232. >It was as flashy as it was since the how it actually went down, with all the screams and struggling as Luna fought off the Nightmare for as long as she could.
  233. >Hoping her sister, or anypony, would finally notice her and pull her out of it.
  234. >But, Celestia was too late when she was finally ready to listen.
  235. >And nopony else appreciated her night; to them it was just something that was there for them to sleep through.
  236. >It took a few decades, but astronomy and stargazing became very popular since.
  237.  
  238. >”Ahhahahaa! Your pitiful day is over! The night will last forever!”
  239. >Liquid darkness swirled around the library hall, everywhere but on the balcony.
  240. >Celestia summoned a light on her horn.
  241. >A circle of light surrounded her, keeping the darkness back.
  242. “I do not know what you are, but you will give Luna back!”
  243. >She focused her magic and her horn exploded with golden light.
  244. >It stood in front of her, with a smug smile on its face and fangs poking out from beneath its lips.
  245. >”Luna? Luna?!?”
  246. >It slipped into the shadows at its feet and reappeared right behind Celestia.
  247. >”Luna is the one who summoned me. We are here to bring glory to the night, and YOU are in the way!”
  248. >A blast of darkness erupted from it and tossed Celestia to the back wall.
  249.  
  250. “If that is how you want it, so be it!”
  251. >She fired a beam of blinding light at it.
  252. >But the only thing she hit was the floor.
  253. >”Weak!”
  254. >It fluttered in the air over where Celestia's ray left a dark spot on the floor.
  255. >A terrible darkness erupted from its horn.
  256. >Celestia rocketed upwards out of its way.
  257. “I give you one last chance. Return Luna to me and I will spare you.”
  258. >Its answer was but laughter.
  259. >”Ahahaa!”
  260. >Shadows danced in front of Celestia.
  261. >She turned as fast as she could, but it was too late.
  262. >A magic blast hit her and threw her to the base of the globe.
  263.  
  264. “Nnngh!”
  265. >She grimaced in pain.
  266. >The Nightmare hovered above her, preparing another blast.
  267. “Then you leave me no choice.”
  268. >Her magic wrested the Elements from their resting place.
  269. >They responded to her.
  270. >They were reluctant, but respond they did.
  271.  
  272. ***
  273.  
  274. >Tha-tha-tha-thump.
  275. >Celestia's hooves hit the wood floor of the balcony.
  276. >A blue light flashed next to her, and a shadow flashed into existence.
  277. >It spat its fake teeth onto its hoof and lifted Nightmare Moon's helmet off her head.
  278. >The illusion shattered and she was Luna again.
  279. “That day, I learned that no duty is more important than friends and family.”
  280. >The pitch of Celestia's voice was far lower than usual.
  281. “I took it for granted, and lost something invaluable.”
  282. >She hung her head in shame.
  283. >”That day, I learned that hiding your problems does not solve them.”
  284. >Luna let the helmet fall onto the floor with a loud clang.
  285. >”Quite the contrary. It only serves to make them worse.”
  286. >A silence so deep it felt like pillows pressed on your ears took over.
  287. >”Now, we do hope you all have learned something today.”
  288. >She narrowed her eyes and glared at the pupils and their teacher.
  289. >Most of them nodded.
  290. >”Good. Do not pay the same price for that lesson as we had to.”
  291. >Both sisters put the warmest smile they could on their faces.
  292. “We have one final thing planned for you. How would you feel about a picnic in the statue garden?”
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