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Celestia's Grand Birthday (Open - see OOC)

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The younger alicorn's gaze slid away from her elder flying at her side towards the world below them, watching the way their shadows rippled over the trees below as they soared overhead. Even now, being able to fly had not lost its enjoyment and in that brief silence, Luna could happily survey the world from on high.

 

Her sister's voice broke the sound of the wind in her ears, drawing her gaze briefly back Celestia's way, and the suggestion her sister posed was enough to spark a light in Luna's body language. Her ears perked, and there was a slight widening of her eyes. What an idea! "I think that would be wonderful. Albeit, we could stand to feed the Gala attendees, especially those who may not have enough food to spare to bring to an event to feed others. It could be optional for those who wish to show off their cooking skills," Luna put in thoughtfully. "'Tis a fine idea. For both the foals, and everypony else. The Gala should be more inclusive, after all," Luna agreed. It'd take some more planning, and figuring out what all they could provide for ponies that visit to make the entire event more enjoyable. And.. Luna realized, they could pay the staff more on that day, considering the organizing, preparations, and possible cleanup afterward. Sometimes ponies tended to be clumsy with food and drink, and there would be the possibility of confetti to deal with..

 

Luna was snapped out of her wandering thoughts and ideas to hear that wistful tone in Celestia's voice again, prompting her to look over at the white alicorn. "I.. do. I enjoyed exploring the Everfree so much more than you did. Much more than anypony did. It was something to escape into sometimes too, especially when I wanted to get out of one of Starswirl's lessons. You were never very good with navigating it as I was." A teasing note entered Luna's voice and she smirked Celestia's way. "I grew to know the forest like the back of my hoof, although.. I'm uncertain with how much that may still hold up."

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Celestia smiled at Luna, and spoke softly, "You would be surprised how many of your old paths are still intact. I have... wandered them a few times in the past. When I would miss you so dearly and need to feel your warmth, I would come here late at night and try to walk the paths myself. Retracing our little steps and hoping to come around one of the turns and find you sitting there giggling at me with sticks and leaves stick all over my mane and tail." A few tears flew from Celestia's eyes, she was crying, openly for the first time in decades. And yet she was smiling at Luna, practically beaming with the affection she held for her sister. 

 

As they drew closer to the palace in the forest, Celestia looked at it with a softened grace upon her countenance that was as happy as could be. No matter how grand and beautiful Canterlot ever was, this was always home. "Sister, do you think we could look at the old gardens? I don't know if any of the flowers we planted survived, but I would like to see the gardens again." While the gardens were open to the forest, they had remained mostly clear of the thorny plants the Everfree usually consisted of. Celestia hoped the flowers they planted together would still be there, still blooming and showing the world their colors. 

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The dark alicorn made a musing sound in her throat and faded into silence again. Tears were glistening in Celestia's eyes, and whipped away by the wind as they fell. Seeing her sister cry over her, and to learn that her sister had retraced those forest paths in hopes of finding her again as if it'd all never happened.. Her emotions from earlier rose and Luna had to clamp down on them with an effort, trying to fight her own tears again. Celestia's smile wasn't quite as encouraging as the white mare likely thought it was, not to Luna after she'd seen her elder cry. It pained her.

 

Her still facade cracked a little and Luna hurriedly looked away, fighting to keep her voice calm as she replied to what she could answer to. "We can. I'd like to see the old castle again, as well as the gardens. I'm certain they're quite overgrown after all the years we've -- left it uncared for. Who knows? Perhaps our flowers survived, or they were overtaken by the forest weeds." The moon princess swallowed down her emotions and made an effort to turn her focus downward, towards the forest canopy below them and the jagged castle ruins that grew larger the closer they came. It brought her a little sorrow to see their home, something they built together, brought to ruin. Torn asunder by her rage, and worn by the weather and the passage of time.

 

A soft sigh escaped her and she began to slowly descend, sweeping over the treetops. The leaves rustled with her passing. Part of Luna's attention strayed towards their sounds, and the sound of the wind in her ears, trying to use the act of flight to soothe her rustled emotions. A part of her was happy that Celestia thought so much of her, much more than she ever really knew until now, and her sister's affection. If she'd had this years ago, it might have never happened. She exhaled quietly through her nose and stared ahead at the castle.

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As Tia settled down next to Luna with a soft thud, she looked at the castle. Some part of her nagged that this was going to be a bad day. But another part of her said that this was going to be a day where she and Luna could have some time alone. Where they could at least just be siblings again. As she took a few steps closer, she saw the gardens stretching before them. Vines and weeds had taken over, destroying the flowers they had so carefully planted together. As her hooves carried her forward, she paused and looked to the side. There, amid the vines and thorns was one little flower. 
 

It resisted the change, and the world around it. As Celestia lay down looking at it, she was in awe of such a simple thing. She had forgotten what it was like to find something like this. This little Blue and pink flower held on, fighting against the world around it. It resisted the change and damage that destroyed the entire garden. As she looked at it, the solar princess smiled softly. "Hello there little one." she whispered softly. 

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Luna's landing was far softer than her sister's, almost silent save for the flutter of her wings as she lowered herself to the earth. The castle, now looming over them in all its forgotten ruin, was a sad sight. She could feel the weight of memories pushing back at her and hanging over the castle like a dark shroud. Even in the gardens it followed her, a place where her sister spent as much time as they had anywhere else in their old home.

 

The dark alicorn followed her taller sister through the gardens, her teal eyes sweeping over the many weeds and snarls of plants still attempting to retake what they cleared so long ago. Seeing movement in her eye drew her gaze back to Celestia who Luna could tell had found something. Picking her way across the overgrown gardens, Luna moved up to her sister's side and peered down at the speck of color amidst the greens where a single flower was still blooming. Her ears perked. "Is this one of the flowers we've planted?" She knew it wasn't the plant, but an offspring of what they'd put in the gardens those centuries ago.. It was strangely nice to see it still living despite the destruction of everything around it. A little symbol of hope, of perseverance..

 

Being in their old home again was making her overthink things, become sentimental. A part of her knew it was just a flower. Luna straightened, though she moved closer to Celestia's side. "I suppose it's nice to see that something still remains, that still grows here."

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Celestia moved aside to allow Luna to see better. "Not just one of the plants we left behind. But look, it is a pairing of plants. It is an offspring of the flowers we planted so long ago. They came together and made this new kind. Your blues and my pinks. They worked together to make one little flower that is still holding on..." Celestia looked around, looking for something to put it in. But she saw nothing. After a moment she spoke, "Luna, if we find a pot, we should take it back to Canterlot with us. Give it a large place to grow and become whatever it wants to be." Celestia looked down at it a moment longer before smiling and using her magic to push the shrubs and thorns away form it a bit. 

 

Once satisfied that it was clear of any danger, she looked up at the main entrance. The doors were broken and fallen in, but one could see that the main building still stood. It was damaged from their fight so long ago, and yet the stonework remained sturdy enough to hold up over the ages. Celestia took a few steps closer, and began to hesitate. Her wings trembled some as her tail tucked a bit. She was nervous of what she would find. It had been so long, she had almost forgotten what the place looked like inside. 

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Her ears perked and Luna dipped her head, just enough to keep her airy mane from falling and getting tangled in with the thorns, to get a better look at the flower. The memories came back to her as Celestia spoke them and she made a soft sound in her throat that was almost a sigh. "I remember now.. The flowers I'd found and planted here bloomed in the evening. I'm surprised to see that they've made a little hybrid."

 

Straightening again, she turned her head towards Celestia and nodded, though the movement was somewhat hesitant. "We could. We'd be able to save it.. If we ever get a hold of any seeds from it, too, we can bring some back to plant in this garden after the castle itself is rebuilt, when we have the chance to clear the gardens of the weeds and thorns." It was a grand idea, she thought. They could save something else they'd made, albeit this flower had been unintentional. But their gardens had been a shared labor between both of them. A last glance was cast towards the small, hybrid flower before Luna stepped away, moving with her elder sister upon seeing Celestia's attention shift to the front doors.

 

Princess Luna caught signs of her sister's hesitation and took the initiative, stepping past the taller alicorn towards the circular stone platform with its pillars that stood before the castle's front doors. She saw the wood of the doors was rotted and falling apart from damage and damp; it wouldn't surprise her if termites had invaded it too. The dark alicorn looked back at her sister to see if she might be more willing to follow her and pushed the doors aside with her silvery magic.

 

"I recall from what hazy memories remain of the last time we were in here that it does not look particularly good, though a lot of has stood up rather well. I haven't seen most of it however, only the foyer and our throne room. I believe the damage in the latter is the worst. Do not fear, sister."

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Celestia nodded and followed Luna inside. There was a bit of debris on the floor, but most of it was swept aside by the cleaning efforts of the girls and Twilight. There was little more to see in the foyer. However beyond one could see restoration work being done. As they ventured into the Throne Room, Celestia saw their broken thrones. Her eyes watered some as she walked slowly toward them, and her steps became slower. As she came to stand by them, she looked down at Luna's throne and gently ran a hoof over it. It had been so beautiful. Looking up at the broken windows, now boarded over she whispered something to herself. 

 

After a moment she stepped back and heard a hollow thunk. Looking down she saw a large board covering the trap door where a pony could slide down and land in the lake. After a moment she began to laugh softly. "Remember when you tested the trap door by sending me for a swim without telling me?"

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The foyer of their castle was lined in grass and plants struggling to grow in the gloom, evidence of the forest's efforts to take back what they'd built on. The tapestries were torn, tattered and moth-eaten. There was barely anything left of some of them. Though there was evidence of somepony having been through here- Twilight and her friends. They moved on, past the arched doorways along the foyer and through the castle to their next stop.

 

Upon entering the throne room, Luna looked up towards the ceiling. It had been torn open during their fight, and many of the glass panels of the skylights were broken or missing. Her eyes trailed along the jagged rip in the ceiling to what Celestia was looking at: their thrones. The stained glass window high above their thrones that'd depicted a tree was nothing more than a jagged hole, and a crack all the way up the middle of the wall remained as proof of the damage she'd done all those years ago. The tapestries, on the other hoof, were largely undamaged beyond some tattering at their bottom edges.

 

A heavy sigh escaped the dark alicorn and she followed her sister up onto the thrones' platform with its little, curved bridge, staring at their thrones. The weight of all that'd happened was heaviest here. Her ears twitched towards Celestia's laugh, a strange sound in this room. "Indeed I do. I believe I also sent Princess Platinum out another way towards the courtyard when she was snotty and rude to me over us not having cutiemarks or being worthy. It fixed her attitude quickly, and I felt a little guilty for doing so. 'Tis strange to think that was what started my friendship with her."

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Celestia covered her mouth with a hoof to stifle a giggle at remembering that. "Yes indeed. I remember that event well. If I may say, it corrected her attitude quite nicely that day. I was never one for pomp and circumstance. All the finery she wore gave me a headache just looking at her." Celestia took a moment to look over the thrones a bit more. Her hoof caressed the stone work as she whispered something, and then turned to her sister. She looked at Luna with a fondness, though not like she normally did. There was guilt in her eyes. She hid it well enough, but she was feeling it after all these years. 

 

After a moment she looked up toward the ceiling where the tapestries hung. The girls had restored some of them, though more of hers than Luna's. After a moment, Celestia's horn lit up and she ripped one of her tapestries down. looking at it in disgust before tossing it aside and snorting at it. All the things that came between her and her sibling, all the pain it caused. Princesses indeed, she thought. After a moment, she looked to the others and her horn lit up again. She was...angry. Rarely did that emotion ever cross her face. And even then it barely lasted a few moments. But this time it lingered and there was a definite feel of it in her magic as she ripped down another tapestry and tossed it aside. 

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The smile that crossed Luna's muzzle was a small one, but no less genuine. It was a memory they could both now look back upon fondly, and with amusement, although the moment didn't last long. It flitted by them like a gust of wind, and was gone. When Luna looked back over at her sister, she could see the mixture of emotion in Celestia's eyes. Fondness and.. what she would presume to be guilt. Luna knew why.

 

Her smile was gone just as quickly as their amusement was, and it was soon replaced by a look of shock as Celestia began to tear down the tapestries within the remains of the throne room- mainly her own, golden ones. It hadn't escaped Luna's eyes either that Celestia's tapestries had been a little better repaired than her darker ones, and -- she knew why that was too. Her sister's sole rule on the throne for a thousand years had unfortunately cemented her sister as the favorite, the princess everypony looked to and worshiped, a fact that did Luna's still-sore heart no good. Perhaps ponies weren't worth the time, but it didn't stop her from wishing that she was treated equally to Celestia.

 

"What're you doing, sister?" she dared to query, growing worried. Maybe they shouldn't have come to this place, if it was upsetting her sister on her birthday. It was true that they both would have many, many such days celebrating their birth to come if times were good, but she didn't want any one experience to sour all future birthdays. For either of them. And she could tell, by the slight shift in her sister's usual sunny magic that she was -- angry. Whether Celestia was angry at herself, or something else, Luna couldn't tell.

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"Redecorating properly. All this gold is obscene and its making me angry that there is so much here with my own cutie mark on it while yours gets ignored. This was meant to be our castle together, we built it together and I hate what it looks like with so little of you in it." She spoke calmly enough, but continued to tear down her own tapestries until the only ones left were Luna's. 

 

That done she stood there and snorted softly. There were some remains of her influence, window paintings or a rug here and there. But the major decoration was Luna's own marking. 

 

And then one could see it. A tear in the corner of her eye. Tia had never really cried, at least anywhere when somepony could see her. She was fighting it. Resisting the urge to show emotion again. Trying to be the parental figure that was immune to pain. 

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Her ears flattened back against her starry mane, watching as her sister tore down all the aged golden tapestries woven by the unicorn tribe so long ago. Many have stood up to the wear of time well enough, though they still showed signs of damage and fraying. Others were more torn, either by their fight a millennia ago, or because of heavier exposure to time and weather. Even her own tapestries showed the same degree. They could be saved, she thought, and without such a halfhearted effort as she could see in them; she'd presume that would be Rarity's attempt.

 

Luna bided her time, waiting until Celestia was finished tearing down her golden tapestries. "There are signs of both of us here, and you've -- torn down most of yours." Having seen what her sister had done, Luna couldn't help but find a sadness in it. She didn't want to tear her sister down to become equal, not anymore, and she didn't want Celestia to tear herself down either. Swallowing back a lump in her throat, she stepped down off of the thrones' platforms, and stopped at the bottom of the stairs. "I.. I don't want to bring it up, not on your birthday, but I did mention during the princess summit we had recently that there were some things I wanted to talk to you about. I.. perhaps, we, can talk about it and work to improve everything as it is somehow," she ventured hesitantly, studying Celestia's face closely. Luna could see the glitter of tears in her eyes for the second time that day, a sight that pained her.

 

"We can always discuss it another time, mind. I don't want to see you so unhappy," she added, finally willing her hooves to bring her close to Celestia. Luna wasn't afraid of bringing it up, or upsetting Tia, but it just felt like the wrong time. Yet.. the opportunity to air everything that'd been bothering her for some time was one she could take while they were still alone.

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The solar princess took a deep breath to calm herself. Looking at her sister, she smiled, "I always have time for you Luna." She had neglected her little sister before, and it cost them both so much, but it cost Luna far more. She refused to let that happen again. Turning to face her sibling, she sat softly and pushed her mane back to listen fully. She knew she was the cause of most of Luna's issues. She had tried to be both Parent and Sibling, with a mix of best friend and it had crumbled because it was impossible to maintain. She lacked the ability, and her own wants and curiosity overshadowed the needs of her sibling back then. 

Now more tempered and thinking more of others, she wanted to make herself available to Luna whenever she was needed. But also give Luna the space to be herself and figure out what she wanted to be and who she was. Celestia knew she had a bad habit of micromanaging everything, and it had almost ruined a dozen things she tried to do for others. So now, with her sister and she alone, she wanted to be the listening one, and to try and understand what she was doing wrong. 

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"Well.." Luna began hesitantly, seeing her sister now sitting attentively. She'd pulled herself back together just to hear her little sister out. Finding a little more confidence, the dark alicorn inhaled. "My issues remain with how many ponies still look to you. My imprisonment for a thousand years has only managed to cement you as the one and only princess in their eyes, and.. I cannot help but think of that moment after the elements returned me to myself, when you spoke of me as 'sister'. The new bearers had been surprised that you had a sister at all, and I can imagine many in Equestria were too. Why was I never spoken of for so long? Never known? Ponies have only ever seemed to know the legend of Nightmare Moon, and the one prophecy in Predictions and Prophecies never openly states who those 'sisters' are, only what happened and nopony saw the connections. I as Nightmare Moon became nothing more than a legend, a story ponies tell their foals to scare them into behaving. They've even told lies about me, about how Nightmare Moon, that I, would eat foals."

 

Her hesitance had given way to an outpouring of emotion. Nothing ever escaped the eyes of the moon princess, even now. Her reintroduction to Equestria might've been strange and overwhelming, to be back in the world again among ponies as opposed to being in the cold prison of the moon, but she still never failed to see how ponies acted towards her and how they'd treat her sister, how the Summer Sun Celebration was as much a celebration about how Celestia had banished her as it was celebrating the longest day of the year. Although.. they'd begun to change that by including herself in it. It was a start.

 

"And during the Friendship Festival, before the Storm King's invasion.. there was the matter of Twilight asking us to move the sun and moon. I know we rejected her idea because she had everything she needed already to make her festival work, but I feel we should've made it clear that we won't move them for such events at all. We could've.. avoided the matter of the play. On that day, we'd both moved the sun and moon for the first time and gained our cutiemarks.. yet her play was only about you," Luna continued, lifting a hoof to gesture at Celestia as her frustrations wormed their way into the light. "I don't mean to intend that you can't have something for yourself but that was a day that was important to both of us. Our anniversary of the first time we'd moved them. And I had no part. No mention. And of all things you raised the sun at night when I was punished for refusing to lower the moon for the day."

 

Luna dropped her hoof and forced her unfurling wings back against her sides. She knew the two situations weren't exactly similar and couldn't be compared with one another, but both of their actions still went against the proper balance they were meant to instill in day and night.. and ponies enjoyed Celestia's little effect with raising the sun during her night. Luna knew that if she even remotely did something of the sort, they'd assume the worst of her. "It's just.. unfair." The younger alicorn sighed heavily and sat down, allowing her wings to sag at her sides. "I don't want to simply shout at you about every slight that still sets me aside, I want to fix this. I just don't know how."

 

 

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Celestia sat and listened, hearing every word, every tone. It made her angrier. Not at Luna, but at herself and most of Equestria. She had hurt her again, she had overlooked her again. Celestia took a deep breath, and slowly stepped closer. Sitting beside her sister, she looked at her and nodded. She was thinking, forming her response. She did not want to speak out of anger or sadness, as it would only make the issue worse. 

After a moment, she spoke softly. "I understand. And I am sorry I have hurt you again. I never want to do that. I neglected your needs and thoughts on matters. I apologize for this." After a moment she looked to the walls around them. "The legends of what happened that day were mostly word of mouth. A few guards, possibly even a few citizens that saw what happened. The royal archives and the library have proper records of the events, and are flagged to gain attention. However the fantasy is more appealing to the common pony. They romanticize that fight. They make it so that the righteous sun princesses overpowered her evil sister. Without care for the truth. Over the years, the legend was spoken and changed. Bits were embellished to scare foals into being good. I tried at first to put a stop to it, but they refused to listen. I grew frustrated with them. I distanced myself from them since they wouldn't listen. After a couple hundred years, most ponies thought I was a descendant of the original sun princess from the story. They didn't know I was the first and only sun princess, and that you were my sister."
 

Taking a breath she looked at the still gaping hole in the ceiling, now covered over with boards to prevent the weather from getting in again. "I grew tired of hearing the worthless tongues waggling with an ancient lie. I ignore their celebrations and honors for what happened because trying to tell them the truth without you there to help me only makes it worse. They think I have been placed under a spell or that I am confused. The few ponies that bother to read the original documents are mortified and they quickly return to looking for something else." 

Celestia scuffed her hoof on the floor. She was making excuses again. She needed to stop that. Looking at her sister, she nodded, "You are right. I will speak to Twilight personally about this. I would... appreciate it if you would come with me for that. To better explain why. I fear I would be too harsh or give the wrong reasons. And only serve to frighten or confuse her further. As well, I think its time you were.. I think its proper time to make amends for what was done. I have long thought of how, and while i can say I am sorry a thousand times, words are worthless without actions. I just do not know how." She tried to look her sister in the eye, and there was so much pain in her own. She had hurt Luna far too much and too often to ever make it right. She looked to Luna for an idea of how to help, or at least begin to make amends. 

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"I feel you could've still done something more. You have such a great influence over our citizens.. the history books could've been written with what really happened, an addition written by you. Who else would know better than you?" she strove to point out something she knew couldn't be changed. It was already far too late, and worthless to argue over. Another soft sigh escaped her again. "Sometimes I hate them, the ponies," Luna muttered bitterly. "I don't know what's wrong with me, why they're so determined to forget me."

 

Shaking her head, she made an effort to lift her head again and met Celestia's gaze, unhappiness written all over her face. "I'd be willing to come with you, to speak with Twilight Sparkle. I am aware that she thinks so highly of you because you were her mentor, yet it shouldn't excuse her forgetfulness of her mentor's sister. She knows our history, most of it." Falling silent, Luna's teal eyes drifted away and settled on the worn, chipped thrones still on their platform. Past them, the jagged crack that ran up the wall stood out against the worn stone. "I was.. discussing.. something with a new friend, Ice Storm. If I could have a celebration during winter. The winter solstice, the longest night of the year.. And, perhaps, we can have the nights begin much earlier than they usually do, perhaps beginning in autumn, with the nights lengthening during winter. If we could create more recognition, then perhaps it'll get better. If we can even have more centered around the both of us and our importance.. we can make the ponies understand. I am not just your shadow."

 

She pushed herself to her hooves and moved closer to Celestia, leaning in to rest her head on her elder sister's shoulder. She didn't want to be angry anymore, not at Tia. They'd both been helpless to the whims of ponies, more or less, but they couldn't allow the treatment to stand any longer.

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Celestia nodded softly, and looked away from Luna. She should have done something, but she didn't. She had not been thinking because she was distraught. It was when Luna suggested changing the scheduling of the sunsets and making a celebration day for the night as well that Tia looked back. Luna deserved such an event, no... It was her right to have such an event. Without the night, no pony would sleep nor would there be time for a proper winter to let the land rest. So much depended upon the night that it made Tia furious her sister was neglected like this. 

Sliding a wing around Luna, Celestia spoke softly. "I think that would be a wonderful idea. A lengthy night  in the winter would give the land more time to rest, and display more of your beautiful night sky. And it would give me and.... never mind. you are correct. We must do this." Celestia caught herself before she spoke something she did not want to reveal just yet. Instead she refocused on Luna. "It would also allow for a change in how long you can hold court. Giving you more time to handle such things as you see fit." 

 

Celestia then looked down at her sister and smiled. She leaned in and gently nuzzled Luna on the ear, like she used too before they were princesses. Then she spoke softly, "You know, I think it would do you some good to take a vacation like I did that week after the meeting. Up in the snowy mountains or perhaps somewhere warm and relaxing. Just to get away from all the fuss for a while."

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Something in Luna knew how ponies might react when the sun began setting earlier when autumn came, and even more so during winter. They'd think that she did something, that she was 'becoming' Nightmare Moon again. There was nothing she could do to dispel their worries and rumors, their lies, except prepare herself against that eventuality and let it flow around her like water in a river. They could make all the assumptions they wanted. She knew that they'd eventually began to see her true importance as one of Equestria's diarchs, and learn to appreciate her as they always should have. Luna knew what she was doing.

 

The soft, warm feeling of her sister's wing wrapping around her was comforting, and she let her eyes slip shut, glad that her sister was so willing to accept her suggestions. Now she'd have to see if Celestia would hold up her end of them. "Indeed?" Luna responded and paused, noticing her sister's self correction. "You and.. what?" she questioned, reopening her teal eyes to fix them upon Celestia's face above her. What was it that the elder alicorn hesitated to say?

 

Her head was lifted to nuzzle her sister in return. She took comfort in the old gesture, but it wouldn't distract her from something potentially interesting. "A vacation?" Luna repeated. "I.. don't know what I'd do on a vacation, or where I'd go.. I've never had such a thing as a vacation before." A small, worried frown had worked its way across her dark muzzle and confusion swirled in her wide eyes. What good would it be able to do for her, beyond allowing her to get out of the castle and away from everything? Who could possibly maintain the dream realm when nopony else had her magic or her access to it? She worried over the suggestion.

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Celestia saw the worry on her sister's face. After a moment, she finally spoke. "I met a stallion when i was on vacation. The cabin in the mountains we use as a protected retreat. He... stumbled across it on accident. You know I did in fact stay there an extra day and when I returned I did not immediately come see you? I was.. .settling him in. In the North wing where my observatory is. Since no pony really goes there I wanted him to have the bed chambers there to keep him safe since... " she looked to her sister with worry in her eyes. 

For once it was Celestia with a dark secret. Something she was hiding and now she was going to come clean. "Its Sombra. King Sombra. He had been in Canterlot since i returned from vacation." She looked at the younger allicorn, expecting a bad reaction. Tia knew she was bad a keeping secrets, and that this time it was going to cause issues. She just wanted to tell Luna before anyone else. 

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A little confusion worked its way across the worry that was currently present on her face. Her sister met a stallion? This was the first she was hearing of it, though.. didn't her sister mention the castle had a new guest when she returned from vacation? "Who-.." Luna scarcely managed to get the question out, her brows furrowing over the words keep him safe when Celestia revealed this mystery stallion's identity.

 

King Sombra. She'd known a little of his existence, his return to life, from Ice Storm, who'd told her that he'd supposedly joined STAR. As far as she was aware, Ice had yet to speak to the tyrant to see what he was up to, and why he was even here.

 

Luna couldn't help recoiling from her sister, taking a few steps away with her wings half unfurled at her sides, as if she was close to taking flight like a startled bird. "King.. King Sombra? He's the stallion you met?" she asked, aghast. "Why? He's not to be trusted. Have you forgotten what he's done to the Crystal Empire? I have had to deal with so many nightmares since it's return, ever since he was supposedly destroyed.." She averted her eyes, ears falling back against her glittering mane. All this time he'd been resting in their castle, right under her nose, and she never knew! "Why did you keep this a secret from me? At any time he could've done something.."

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"And yet he hasn't. He has done nothing more than enjoy some wine and stroll the streets. We both remember the battle for the empire 1000 years ago. There was nothing I could do to stop him then. I stood no chance. It was you that did battle and defeated him. Even after all this time, I have barely gained enough strength to battle a foe like that." She looked to her sister and sat softly. Speaking honestly and openly this time, "I attacked him on sight. I tried to obliterate him and only wounded myself in the process. I should have died then, but I did not. Because HE decided to save my life. He tended my wounds, nursed me, cared for me while I could not care for myself because we were trapped in that cabin during a blizzard."

 

Celestia didnt raise her voice, nor did she take a harsh tone. She spoke softly, pleasantly. Her eyes had a glisten to them that she had not had in a long time. "I know you do not trust him. And I am not asking for blind faith. All I ask is that... Can you offer him just a chance? observe him if you would, see that he is changed. If nothing more, he is more interested in observing modern life. That is all I ask sister. Just give him a small chance to prove he can be better...." 

"I didn't tell you because I was trying to find the best way to tell you. TO show you he was different, and that he was pleasant and kind." Celestia sat there, making no real attempt to defend herself. If anything she was simply confessing. She spoke as if she were on trial, and guiltily confessing to a crime of some kind. There was little more to it than soft words. 

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The moon princess scoffed. "You may downplay your part in his banishment all you wish, but it took the both of us to defeat him! 'Twas a pyrrhic victory, but you did not play a small part in that. Perhaps you were, and always have been, the less combat inclined.. but.. you aren't weak. You never were. As I gain my strength from the moon, so do you from the sun," Luna pointed out, refusing to allow her sister to lessen her abilities.

 

"I find myself doubting you would wound yourself.." Clumsy her sister was not, though occasionally excitable. If Celestia and Sombra fought, it was likely Sombra dealt her sister some sort of blow, knowing how he was more likely to fight, than talk. King Sombra was still a great mystery to her despite her violent interaction with him during the battle for the Crystal Empire's freedom a millennium ago. The rest of what Celestia had to say about the tyrant was considered by Luna, weighed heavily and picked apart in some effort to ensure her sister wasn't lying to her. That something she said didn't hint to as much.

 

Until Celestia told her everything about what went on in that cabin during the entire week of her vacation, Luna felt she'd never truly know what went on between her sunny sister and the king of shadows. Her stance relaxed and Luna folded her wings back against her side, lifting her head. She could see the look in her sister's eyes, and it was a shine that she'd never seen before. "I will see for myself if he has changed at all, and not putting forth a front to put you off your guard. He has always been wily. I will.. attempt to give him a chance, for you, sister. Only because it's you. I will, however, wish to learn from you why he holds your interest.. but today is your birthday. I.. suppose we'll have to speak of this later. I've no interest in ruining such a day as today for you. I want you to be happy and to enjoy yourself among what ponies will attend your festivities."

 

Some part of Luna had emotionally withdrawn from Celestia. It was likely that it wouldn't be permanent- she was only shocked by the news, and confused about why Celestia would so readily trust Sombra. It was generally hard for her to swallow any of it without suspecting something was amiss, but for her sister she would try. Luna would never lie about anything, and that was one thing she would be openly honest about. But today was a special day, and Luna had no desire to allow such startling news get between her and her sister's time together- the first day in some time that they'd get to spend without Equestria hanging in the balance, or an event to host.

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Celestia nodded softly, moving toward the window and looking up at it. Stained glass could last a long time, given that it was still intact and colorful. As she looked up at the mural of herself and Luna accepting their crowns she let out a sigh. "He...to be honest part of it was the fact I was in heat at the time. However, rather than just taking what he wanted or harming me, he was a gentlecolt. He spoke to me, we talked. Perhaps we did not see it at first, but he was as wounded inside as any pony could be. And perhaps we only saw what we wanted to see back then. There was a threat, and we went to defeat it."

Looking back at her sister, she motioned her close. Looking to the next window, it showed them defeating Discord the first time. "We were brash and young. We took no time to understand the situation. And while we were powerful, we often got in over our heads. You remember the first time we faced Discord without the Elements of Harmony? He literally tied a knot in my tail." She chuckled softly and looked at her sister, remembering some of those antics. "And yet, I think he would have been a good friend if we had taken the time to get to know him...Maybe we could have shown him back then that everything must be balanced, rather than locking him away...."

SHe was speaking about their early days, because she knew they were too young then to do anything but act brash. Her wing gently lay over Luna's back and she smiled at her sibling before speaking again. "and yet, it was... almost fun. Scary yes, but in a way it was like we were making a difference, rather than judging flowers or flying stunts. Maybe that's another part of it. He's dangerous and I know it. But if truth be told, he has done nothing wrong since being in Canterlot. In fact he has followed the laws, and been a proper stallion this whole time. It is his restraint that I admire more, than his power. And he is rather...handsome..." she blushed hotly at that, realizing she was giving up a secret there. 

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Luna visibly twitched at the word heat and stared at her sister again, aghast by the implications. Did they.. ? Would Celestia really.. ? Her sister speaking of King Sombra as a gentlecolt was enough for her to want to scoff and roll her eyes all over again. Until she got to see him and know him for herself, she could hardly think he could be. Perhaps he may not be the detestable forceful type in certain ways, but he still enslaved an entire empire and terrorized so many after destroying Princess Amore. She would hold him accountable for his crimes.

 

The younger alicorn moved at Celestia's gesture and stepped up to the taller mare's side, though not so close as she normally would. There was a cautious distance put between herself and Celestia while she listened to her elder speak. Much of what Celestia said was enough for Luna to yet again reflect upon the Elements of Harmony they each had bore, and this was a reminder that her sister had once held Kindness for her own. She spoke with it and Luna could recognize it for what it was, yet she still held her own doubts that those situations could've been solved so easily with just a little more understanding. Would Sombra had stopped if they'd tried to talk to him, or help him? Would Discord have ceased terrorizing Equestria?

 

No. Luna knew that Discord wouldn't have taken them seriously, might even have laughed them out of Equestria or turned them into something he found humorous. King Sombra himself might have taken advantage out of that sort of naiivety- though what he could've done was an unknown. He was the more mysterious out of all the foes they'd fought just to keep ponies safe.

 

Exhaling heavily, the moon princess sat down and glanced from the wing her sister had laid over her back up to Celestia herself. "I do remember, that and many other things. I cannot be certain if anything we could've tried would have been better than their imprisonment, or would have worked better.. I'm not sure if any of them would've taken us seriously or were willing to be reasoned with," Luna replied, expressing her doubt aloud. Twilight and her friends might have managed to do a better job than they could ever have. Even Discord had been shown the way by Fluttershy's kindness and friendship. Luna didn't think she would've ever had that sort of kindness and patience in herself to manage anything like it. Maybe it isn't even in my nature, a traitorous thought whispered.

 

"Handsome?" The younger blurted, gawking up at her sister. A wild part of her wanted to laugh, not necessarily in a mocking way either- shock, amusement and disbelief all wrapped up together in one sound that she didn't let herself make. Her sister was blushing! It broke some of the dark mood Luna had fallen into ever since the beginning of his conversation and she struggled to remember the details of Sombra's appearance. It was so long ago, and the battle they fought was swift and violent.. Maybe once she met the tyrant face to face, she'd get to see for herself what Celestia meant. "We'll see what he's truly up to. I won't trust him until I see the truth of him." Though she'd indicated later, this had become enough of a subject of interest for her to listen to.

 

 

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