Moon Princess Adventures In Ponyville
Part 1- Departure
"Pyew pyew! Captain Lunaverse and The Thundercolt Twins are going to take you down Baron Badhoof!" Luna said, playing with her old action figures as she lay on the floor of her room. The irony that she herself had only recently been a figure more like Baron Badhoof than 'Captain Lunaverse' hadn't been lost on her, but she pushed such thoughts away, they would only serve to depress her. Again. She'd struggled with such depression ever since her return.
"Luna? Are you in here?" came a familiar voice from the doorway. "Yeah sis, just playing." Luna replied, putting down the Thundercolt and Baron Badhoof figures she was holding aloft with a small amount of magic and standing to face her big sister, smiling meekly. Celestia had welcomed her back warmly, but a thousand year punishment had a way of making a pony feel a little awkward around even the most magnanimous mare. Still, they had grown closer over the past months. Luna hadn't actually left the castle since her return, so the two had spent a fair amount of time together, even with how busy Celestia normally was.
"I have sort of... been planning something for you. If you're willing. Hear me out?" Celestia said, walking into Luna's night sky themed room and sitting near her younger sibling. Butterflies stirred in Luna's stomach, but she nodded slowly. "Sure, okay." she replied, unconsciously pawing at her carpet a bit. "I think you should take a trip." Celestia stated, gauging Luna's response. "You... want me to go away again...?" Luna quietly asked, her heart sinking as she looked away. "No! No, my little pony. I just think you need to get out of the castle, it's not healthy to stay cooped up all the time." the white horse quickly corrected, eyes widening. "It's also good form for a princess to be among her people when she can." She added. "I-I sorta messed that up already, didn't I? No one wants 'Nightmare Moon' to come for a visit sis..." Luna protested, closing her eyes. That was the real thing she was afraid of- that everypony would hate her, it's why she hadn't left the castle grounds. "Come now, it's not as bad as all that. Things went well when we stopped off in Ponyville, remember?" Celestia reminded her sister as she stood, giving her a comforting nuzzle. Luna leaned into it and sighed, contemplating her options. "Can my visit be to Ponyville then...?" She asked after a moment. "Yes, of course. I was thinking the same thing Luna. I'll make arrangements for you to travel tomorrow in the morning. Pack anything you think you might want to bring along." Celestia replied, stepping back and nodding with a kind smile on her muzzle.
The next day arrived all too soon for Luna's tastes. She could hardly sleep, partly excited and, a much larger part, worried. She yawned heavily and watched in the mirror through bleary eyes as she brushed her mane, her tail, and finally her teeth. In the end, as she walked down the hall, she felt refreshed, if still sleepy. Hoping a good meal would set her right she headed to the main dining hall. She was a bit surprised at how empty the place was, even very early there were usually a few guards pre or post shift catching a bite. She stifled a yawn and made her way over to a member of the kitchen staff whom was having a bite himself. "Excuse me sir, any chance I could get some oatmeal?" she asked, putting on her best smile. "Um, sure princess, but isn't it a bit late for that?" the somewhat portly pony asked, getting up and making his way to the back. Luna suddenly felt very awake, jumping a bit and eyes growing wide. "W-what time is it?" She asked, dreading the answer. "Mm... I figure about eleven fifteen. Why?" He replied. By the time he opened the door to bring out the oatmeal she was already gone.
"Ooooh! Why didn't anypony waaaaake me!?" Luna wailed as she galloped back to her room. "I can still fix it! Just have to hurry! Before noon is morning still! She didn't specify!" She babbled to herself as she hurried, putting on her tiara and other accessories. "Nnng, I can't even convince myself..." she muttered, shaking her head as she looked through her belongings. As soon as she had scrambled together her essentials into moon marked saddlebags she was off, flying straight out of her bedroom window and heading for the area chariots and carriages usually departed from on the castle grounds.
"Where could she be...?" Celestia wondered idly, waiting with a small accompaniment of grey unicorn guards and her assistant near the chariot that had been prepared for Luna. "Your majesty, I know we cleared the morning schedule so you could see your sister off, but you'll be late for a meeting with the mayor of Manehattan if we don't go soon." The assistant pony reminded. "I'm sure she'll be along soon, Blackberry." Celestia said, unconcerned, as she watched for her little sister. She never expected, however, that Luna would arrive as a blur from the sky, crashing right into the trio of guards to one side of her, toppling them over as she shouted. "My, my. That was unexpected. Is everyone alright?" Celestia asked, quirking her head to the side as she looked at the pile of ponies. They all muttered and stuttered statements of their well being as they got to their feet, Luna's tiara quite askew as she blushed deeply in embarrassment for multiple reasons. "I'm really, really, sorry about that. A-and for being so... late..." Luna said, looking from the guards to her sister and Blackberry as she composed herself. "Oh, it's alright Luna. This is just a little trip for you, no need to stress yourself out." Celestia said, rather amused with the whole situation. "Well, we are running behind, but not by too much. We'll just send a scroll to the mayor letting him know we'll be a bit late and everything should be fine. You really should be a bit more... timely though, Luna." Blackberry added in a firm, but not unkind, tone. "I guess we'll have to make this a quick farewell then..." Celestia said with sad little sigh. "I've arranged for you to stay for two weeks, but if you want to come back early that's okay. Just give it a few days and I'm sure you'll want to take advantage of every minute though." Celestia added, leaning down to nuzzle Luna, whom returned the gesture. "Alright, I will sis." Luna replied, nodding as they separated. Luna climbed aboard the chariot and was soon whisked into the air by the pair of pegasus guards.
Part 2- Preparations
"Okay, Twilight, we're all here. Now just what was so important?" Rarity asked as she, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie stood around Twilight in her library home, their interest piqued by the urgency with which they were summoned. "I received a letter from Princess Celestia regarding an important matter!" Twilight said, levitating the scroll before her gathered friends and unrolling it to read aloud directly from the text.
My Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle,
Today I must make of you a personal request. My sister, Luna, will be coming to visit Ponyville beginning tomorrow. As she has seemed apprehensive about meeting with the general public after her episode, I ask that you and your friends please make her feel welcome. She will likely be staying for a few weeks and will need a place to stay while there, I leave this to you and your friends to decide amongst yourselves.
"Nightmare Moon is coming to visit, Twilight?" Rainbow Dash asked, her face scrunched in a mixture of confusion and distaste as Twilight put the scroll away. "Princess Luna is coming to visit, yes." Twilight said, fixing Rainbow with a glare. "Don't call her Nightmare Moon. Whatever happened before, she's not the same now." She lectured. "How do you know that?" Rainbow asserted. "You saw her after she changed, there's no way she's the same." Twilight said, sure of herself. "I don't know Twilight, Rainbow Dash could be right. We really don't know anything about this pony aside from what we saw that night." Rarity said, somewhat hesitantly. "Exactly Rarity, we dunno nothin' 'bout this girl. It ain't fair to go speculatin' and suspectin' if we don't know 'er." Applejack said, moving to stand beside Twilight with a stubborn look on her face. "I-I agree. I mean, um... it's... a little scary. But... we should give her a chance." Fluttershy said, smiling politely.
"I just think she looked soooooo sad the last time we saw her girls! I mean, even at the party she was so quiet and meek! It was like having a gloomy Fluttershy number two!" Pinkie Pie stated energetically, though looking sympathetic. "Exactly. And what's the best way to get to know someone and cheer them up, Pinkie Pie?" Twilight asked, a sly smile spreading across her muzzle. "Ooh! Ooh! A PARTY!" Pinkie shouted, hopping up on her hind legs excitedly. "I'll totally throw her a great party at Sugarcube Corner! I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Cake'll be glad to help out!" She said, dropping back down on all fours and prancing a bit. "Fantastic. Thank you Pinkie Pie." Twilight said, nodding and smiling gratefully. "Well, I better get goin'." Applejack said, moving toward the door. "We're playin' host to them crusaders tonight and I reckon Granny Smith and Big Macintosh could use a break 'bout now." She explained. "Yeah, I suppose we all should get going." Rainbow Dash said, looking far from happy as they all crowded around the door before heading their own separate ways. Twilight watched after them with a sigh, thinking of all the possibilities good and bad.
"Princess Luna is coming!? Tomorrow!? And you want to throw a party for her here!? There's simply no way we can set up anything befitting royalty in such a short time!" Mrs. Cake fretted, sitting down and putting a hoof to her mouth. "Ah phht, Mrs. Cake! It's just another surprise party for a new friend! It's not like we've never had one of those before!" Pinkie reassured the mare, having told her and Mr. Cake of her plans the moment she arrived at Sugarcube Corner. "Well, I don't really know anything about this pony, but I'm sure she'll appreciate the effort we put in, especially on such short notice." Mr. Cake added, already getting out baking pans. "I... suppose you're both right. Let's get to it!" Mrs. Cake exclaimed, practically jumping up and quickly making her way over to help her husband. "Great! I'm going to go get some decorations ready!" Pinkie Pie said, quite literally hopping her way out the door and to her home.
Part 3- Surprise!
Luna watched the scenery pass with a frown on her face from high in the air. It was actually quite lovely, but her stomach had been rather boisterous through much of the trip. One of the guards pulling the chariot occasionally glanced back at her, hearing the rowdy demands of her gut, but she was too distracted to notice. "Princess, can you keep a secret?" That same guard asked after awhile, looking back more directly. "Um, uh, sure?" She replied, startled to attention. "I keep a small bag of oats under my helmet. You can have them if you like." He replied, some amusement in his voice. "Oh! Ah, thank you, sir." Luna said, blushing in embarrassment, she hadn't realized her stomach had been that loud. As gently as she could Luna levitated the helmet off of the guard, keeping it above his head, and proceeded to procure the oats, dropping them into her hoof. She then placed the helmet back just as carefully before chowing down on the oats. The other guard bore the typical expression, though turned his head to look at his partner. "Don't give me that look." The oat bearer said simply, letting out a quiet chuckle.
"Where the heck is she!?" Spike demanded impatiently as he, Twilight, Rarity, Sweetie Belle, Applebloom, Applejack, and Fluttershy waited. Rainbow Dash was nowhere to be found and Pinkie Pie had opted to wait at Sugarcube Corner. Scootaloo, of course, was more interested in finding Dash than meeting a princess. "You don't suppose something bad happened to them, do you?" Fluttershy asked, concerned. "I hope not..." Twilight said, her face full of worry. Things were awkwardly quiet for awhile as they all watched the skies. "I think I see something! Over there!" Sweetie Belle said before too long, pointing to a cloudy area. "Oh, yes, she's right, I think that's her!" Rarity exclaimed, fussing with her hair a bit, wanting to make a good impression. As the chariot drew near it became much more obvious, drawing the attention of a few other ponies going about their business.
As the guards pulled the vehicle to a stop in front of Twilight's group Luna braced herself, her heart pounding. She hopped down with a fair amount of grace and smiled nervously, making her way around the guards and thanking them for their assistance. "Um... Hello... again." Luna said timidly, greeting four of the ponies representing The Elements Of Harmony. "It's good to see you, Princess Luna." Twilight said, bowing gracefully to Luna, the others following suit. "Oh, no, please, you don't have to do that!" Luna said, gesturing frantically for them to rise once more. "Treat me like you would any pony, please." She insisted as they resumed normal posture. "In that case I gotta call you on that one, Luna." Applejack said, pointing at Luna's face and chuckling lightly. "Hmm?" Luna uttered, looking down at her muzzle and putting a hoof to work. When she found the bit of oat stuck to her upper lip everyone had a good laugh. Luna didn't find it all that funny, but it seemed good natured and by the end of it she had a little laugh too, her cheeks darkening a bit.
By that time more ponies had gathered around, drawn by word of mouth and curiosity about the gathering. "Oh my, looks like hopes of keeping things casual may be dwindling. Might I suggest we head to Sugarcube Corner? We can have a snack and some tea there." Rarity said, looking at the slowly growing gathering of curious ponies. Fluttershy shrunk a bit, unnerved by all the attention they were getting. Luna felt quite the same, but waved politely, remembering the etiquette she had been taught for situations like this. "That sounds nice... Rarity, right?" Luna inquired. She'd only heard most of their names once in person, so she didn't want to offend and get the names wrong. "Correct. Shall we then?" Rarity replied, an appreciative smile on her face. "We shall." Twilight said in a half joking manner, leading the way. As they got underway the crowd disbursed and the ponies felt themselves relax, many letting out an audible sigh. Around this time Rarity felt a small tug on her masterfully coifed tail and, looking back, it became apparent that Sweetie Belle wanted to be introduced as she cleared her throat noisily at her big sister. "Oh, yes. I believe we have some introductions to make. Princess Luna, this is my sister, Sweetie Belle." Rarity said, gesturing as the group stopped for a moment. "Oh yeah, an' this is my lil' sister Applebloom." Applejack said, rubbing Applebloom's head, much to her displeasure. "And I'm Spike!" The small purple and green dragon announced, cutting off Twilight just as she was about to introduce him, causing her to roll her eyes. "A pleasure, Sweetie Belle, Applebloom, Spike." Luna said, nodding to each in turn.
"Ah, here we are." Twilight said as they arrived at Sugarcube Corner. "After you." She added with a sly smile, opening the doors and standing aside for everyone. "Thank you." Luna replied, stepping through first. She was shocked to see many ponies pop out from behind furniture and that there was a large 'WELCOME LUNA!' banner on display, along with other decorations, a few being moon themed. "It's a SURPRISE PARTY!" Pinkie Pie announced, bounding forward, stopping before Luna, and rearing back onto two legs, thrusting her other legs out into the air. Luna was overwhelmed in the best way by this show of support. "C'mon, guest of honor gets first piece of cake!" Pinkie declared, making her way over to the decadent layer cake and gesturing for Luna to follow as she set her saddlebags aside and the other ponies filed in behind her. Pinkie set about cutting a generous piece of the chocolaty confection for her guest, and, as Luna made her way over, watching this, she felt her chest grow tight. She found she couldn't speak and tears formed in her eyes as they locked with Pinkie's big blues. "Heeeeeeeey! Why are you crying!?" Pinkie asked, tilting her head and looking concerned. "I... don't deserve this..." Luna replied quietly when she found she could speak once more, her head hung as she sobbed. "Well sure y'do. Everypony deserves a second chance." Applebloom said, walking up, taking the plate of cake Pinkie had prepared, and giving it to Luna, her big, soulful, filly eyes meeting Luna's as she looked up. "That's right Applebloom." Applejack said, moving alongside her sister and smiling proudly at her. "Besides, Pinkie Pie throws parties for every occasion she can think of." Twilight said, making her way over and giving Pinkie a nudge. "You say that like it's a bad thing!" Pinkie replied, looking slightly bewildered and hurt. Everyone had a good laugh at the exchange, especially Luna. It felt like a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders... felt like she was truly accepted and forgiven.
"That cake was amazing Pinkie Pie." Luna said, beaming happily as the party got into full swing, games of pin the tail on the pony and bobbing for apples starting up. "Oh, I didn't make that, Mr. and Mrs. Cake did." Pinkie said, pointing out the store owners. "They let me hold a lot of parties here, but it's their store." She added before stuffing her face with more baked goods. "I'd better go thank them for all of this then." Luna said, excusing herself. "Excuse me, Mr. Cake? Mrs. Cake?" She inquired, approaching the couple. "Yes? Oh! Princess Luna! Is everything to your liking, your majesty?" Mrs. Cake asked, a little caught off guard as she turned to see the purple pony. "Everything is wonderful ma'am; I just wanted to thank you for hosting this wonderful party. And your cake is delicious." Luna said. "Thank you dear." Mrs. Cake said, delighted to hear their work and generosity appreciated. "You'll have to stop by now and then while you're here, eh? Maybe we'll get you hooked before we're through." Mr. Cake said, smiling kindly. "You just might. I just hope I don't get chubby from it!" Luna replied, chuckling lightly and patting a hoof against her stomach. "Go on now dear, get back to the party." Mrs. Cake said, giving her a little nudge. "For all the time she was gone, she's still just a girl..." Mr. Cake said to his wife as they watched Luna make her way back over to a game of pin the tail on the pony, getting blindfolded and taking her turn as other ponies laughed and whispered. Mrs. Cake just snuggled up to him and smiled as they watched the antics that ensued.
Part 4- Post Party
Later, as things wound down, Twilight, Luna, and the others found themselves sitting around a table chatting. "So, Luna, what sort of things do you like to do?" Sweetie Belle asked, innocently. "Nighttime stuff I bet, look at that neato moon cutie mark!" Applebloom said, pointing at Luna's flank. "Well, yes, I enjoy the wonders of the night and all of its beauty." Luna stated proudly. "The night can be really scary though!" Sweetie Belle exclaimed. "This one time us crusaders went into The Everfree Forest at night and we almost got turned to stone by a cockatrice!" She went on. "Yeah, but The Staremaster here saved us!" Applebloom said, pointing at Fluttershy proudly. "... Staremaster?" Luna uttered, confused, as she watched Fluttershy half hide behind her hooves while the two girls retold the whole story.
"That was an impressive story girls, but there are plenty of dangers in the day as well, especially in that forest." Luna stated as a matter of fact. "That's true." Twilight agreed. "Remember those Diamond Dogs? Or that Hydra? We've seen plenty of danger in the daytime." She explained. "Ah do wonder though, whadda ya do during the day?" Applejack inquired before taking a big bite of an apple from the earlier bobbing. "Well... not much honestly. I haven't fully returned to my night duties yet, so I find myself just whiling away the hours during the day." Luna explained, looking a bit depressed. "Well that's no good! Why don't you try helping me out? We can make cupcakes and do all sorts of stuff!" Pinkie Pie suggested. "Well if yer here long enough I think it'd be swell fer ya to spend a day with each of us, doin' what we do best." Applejack recommended, having finished her apple. "That sounds great, if you all don't mind." Luna replied, looking around at the five elements gathered. "I'm sure no one here will mind." Twilight said, though internally she worried about Rainbow Dash, the only friend who had not attended the party. "I wouldn't recommend starting with Pinkie Pie. She's a little... zany." Rarity said, leaning over and whispering behind her hoof to Luna. Around this time Spike unleashed a loud yawn, which quickly spread to most of the ponies. "I think time got away from us girls. We should probably start heading home." Twilight said, letting the sleepy dragon up onto her back.
"Um, I don't think we ever decided where Luna would stay." Fluttershy said, nodding at the unsure looking pony. "Oh, that's right! How could we forget?" Rarity said, shaking her head. "Well, how about she stays with me tonight and then tomorrow she can help me with the animals?" Fluttershy said. "I reckon that sounds like a fine idea! We can do that with each pony and then Luna can pick!" Applejack said, grinning. "I like the sound of that." Luna said, stretching her wings out as she stood and gathered her bags. They all filed out of Sugarcube Corner, bidding the Cakes farewell, and walked together until they had to go their separate ways. "Oh, Twilight, before I forget, could you send my sister a letter letting her know I made it here okay and am doing well?" Luna asked before her and Fluttershy had to split off from the remaining ponies. "Sure, that's no problem. I was thinking of sending her a report on what I've learned anyway." Twilight replied, waving as the duo of pegasai kicked off into the air.
As the pair of ponies flew, only a few feet off of the ground, Fluttershy began to hum a tune, as she was prone to do when in a good mood. Luna silently watched, and listened to, the mellow, yellow, mare with a smile on her muzzle, that is, until Fluttershy realized she was being watched. "Oh, I'm sorry." The butterfly marked girl said, blushing and avoiding Luna's gaze. "Did you want to talk about something?" she asked, her voice quavering a bit. "N-no, I'm fine. I was just admiring your humming. From the sound of it I bet you're a wonderful singer..." Luna said, looking down and blushing herself, though she wasn't sure why. "Thanks, but I'm sure it's nothing special. A lot of the local girls are really good singers." Fluttershy said, ever the modest one. "Ah, here we are." She added, her cottage coming into sight.
As they entered Fluttershy's abode Luna immediately took interest in all the tiny doors, setting her saddlebags aside. "Oh! Be careful not to disturb anyone." Fluttershy said, seeing this. "You have this many small animals living with you?" Luna asked in disbelief as she looked around. "Well, not really. That is, most of them don't live here. They're just places to stay when an animal needs a little extra care." Fluttershy said, checking on a few of such animals. "It's all very impressive carpentry wise." Luna remarked, taking a seat on Fluttershy's couch. "Yeah..." Fluttershy uttered softly, looking wistful. "Um, anyway, would you like some tea before it gets too late? I have all kinds... I'm a bit of a connoisseur." Fluttershy asked, shaking her head for a moment before changing the subject. "Oh, um, sure. Do you have Black Brew?" Luna asked, ignorant of her host's disguised turmoil. "Actually, yes, but the name seems spooky, so that's one I haven't tried yet." Fluttershy said, feeling a little silly at admitting that. "Oh, it's delicious. A bit strong, but that's the way I like my tea." Luna replied, waving off the notion that it was at all ominous sounding. "Well, okay." Fluttershy said, going about getting the tea started. "Ah... Fluttershy... would you excuse me for a bit? I should be back in time for the tea." Luna said, standing and moving toward the door. "Okay, just don't be too long, we'll be getting up pretty early to tend to some of the little ones." Fluttershy said, starting to hum once more.
Meanwhile, Twilight had begun writing her own letter to Celestia, Spike already being asleep. At least she could manipulate the quill with magic, she always felt bad watching those who couldn't write something lengthy out. When she finished she gently shook Spike from his slumber, to which he groaned and whined. "I'm sorry Spike, but Princess Luna asked me to send this out tonight, so we really should get it done. You can go back to sleep as soon as it's sent." Twilight said, smiling warmly at the sleepy baby dragon. Spike sighed, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. He figured he'd give it a quick read before he sent it off to the princess.
Dear Princess Celestia,
I apologize for sending this a bit late, but your sister and I wanted to let you know she arrived alright. Things seem to be going swimmingly for her, however, I believe she taught me another valuable lesson about friendship today.
Sometimes we can be hardest on ourselves, harder than anyponyelse. Today I saw Luna cry, unable to forgive herself, it seemed. But friends... sometimes they have an unbelievable capacity for forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion- so great that even we must let go of our own negative feelings about ourselves.
I think she's going to be okay, Celestia...
Your Faithful Student,
Spike just smiled, nodded, and sent the letter off, through his flames and into the air of the new night sky that had just taken hold. He then sleepily made his way over to his little bed and curled up, quickly back in dreamland. Twilight shook her head and smiled that warm, motherly, smile once again before taking hold of the small blanket the dragon used with her teeth and tucking him in carefully, to which he smiled in his sleep.