The tables were beginning to turn. Twilight was finding more time between Celestia's attacks. Celestia still underestimated her, after all this. Twilight understood now. She had access to the plane of magic - and more than that, she was home there. Part of her mind stayed on that plane, sensing what it could. Celestia's attacks were easier to spot from there. Occasionally the alicorn moved through the sunlight, meager as it was, but Twilight could trace her. In fact, when she did that, Twilight began to figure things out. She could feel the magical shroud around Celestia. The shell she wore. It came from the elements of harmony, and Twilight was beginning to see how the elements could be used to break it, just as they had with Nightmare Moon. There was one piece missing, however. Twilight needed to find the Celestia, the real Celestia, inside the prison. The real Luna had still be inside, strong enough to endure, but she worried that if she destroyed Celestia, she would truly kill her.
Twilight swept around the sky to dodge a piercing lance of fire. That was when she saw it. The moon! Despite the day sky, the full moon was quite clear, and rising fast. Unfortunately, Twilight wasn't alone in noticing it. Celestia raged, rearing in midair.
"You may have cut me off from my sun, but I can still halt the moon." she raced off, slipping past Twilight in the sun. Twilight turned around and flew after her.
"Luna!" she called out. She looked below, eyes widening at what she saw. A dragon lay on the the plaza, looking positively bored. He propped his head up in one claw while the other one kept down a score of struggling guards. Dozens more lay helpless under his tail. Her friends were watching it, Rainbow Dash trying to help a heavily panting Fluttershy. Applejack spotted Twilight.
"Don't worry, pardner! We got her." she said, rearing up.
"Watch out!" Twilight called. Celestia flickered back into the world in front of her, closing in on the group. An aura of fire surrounded her like a shooting star as she headed straight for Luna.
"No way no how." Applejack said with a glare. "Gals, we got a live one." the ponies lined up, tired, scared, worried. Unfaltering.
Around their necks, the pendants finally appeared, summoned by the need to help a dear friend. Twilight felt her tiara glow.
Celestia hit the bubble of magic. It glimmered like a rainbow, drawing strength from each pony. Celestia didn't bounce away, instead trying to force her way through the barrier. The heat of the fires made the ponies cringe, but they held strong. Twilight closed in, trying to stop Celestia before she got through. Then she saw Luna, inside the bubble, open her eyes. She smiled at Twilight. Then Celestia cried out, flinging away from the sphere. She nearly took out Twilight. Twilight turned around to follow her, and that's when she it. The moon covering the sun. The sky darkened around them, only a halo of light peaking through. Day and night married, Celestia's power blocked.
She could only imagine though; Luna had extended a piece of herself to block the source of Celestia's formidable power.
"Enough!" Celestia boomed. The air around her began to sizzle. The white glow of her horn spreading around her body. Twilight was nearly blinded on both planes. The magic was intense, chaotic, no order or structure put into it. She was burning pure energy. It would destroy her.
"I am your ruler! I am your goddess! They left me to rule, and I alone am worthy!"
"Celestia, stop!" Twilight called out. She needed to stop her, now!
"Girls?" she turned around to her friends. She found all five watching her. Applejack nodded.
"We're here for you, sugar. Do it." she said. Twilight could feel the power they offered. They were all strained, yet still they stood for her. She wouldn't need to draw from them though. Not yet. Their part was later. She only needed to cast one more spell. And all it would take would be a spark.
Twilight turned back around and raced toward Celestia, now surrounded in a shimmering ball of white fire, barely visible. Celestia brought up a hoof and lances of sunlight raced at Twilight. She ignored the ones that seared her wings, gathering speed. A flap of Celestia's wings brought a rain of daggered feathers. Twilight dodged what she could, but she couldn't risk slipping into the plane of magic this time. The heat of the fireball seared the rest of her feathers, but she kept going.
"They left us! She betrayed me! I alone can stand this world! I alone can rule it! I-" Celestia was so mad that she didn't even see Twilight pierce the flame surrounding her. Headfirst, Twilight dived into Celestia, her horn meeting Celestia's broken horn. A spark passed between them.
The world inside Celestia was nearly as bright as the world outside. Twilight found it razed with the fires of fury. They had grown out of control, eating into everything. She could make out nothing else. She continued on. She could feel a consciousness notice her. It felt different from Luna's. Hollow. It wasn't a real mind, she realized. Twisted magic, some emotional imbalance mixed with magical energy, given what passed for life. Twilight raced ahead to avoid it. The landscape was nothing but fire, or so it seemed. Something just visible through the flames stood out. Twilight turned to it; an orb, to her the size of a house. It was surrounded in fire yet untouched by it. And as Twilight reached it she felt cold. So cold, so desperately, painfully...alone. It was a shell of isolation. She didn't know how, but she knew what was inside. Who was inside. She railed against the dome. The consciousness immediately reacted. This was it - this was the prison. Twilight brought out all her strength, all her power. She pounded the dome with all her might. Nothing. The consciousness closed in on her. Twilight wouldn't let it end like this. Celestia, the real Celestia, was still in there. The one Luna had loved.
The consciousness reached Twilight, grabbed at her. Twilight tried to fight it off, refusing to let go of the dome. She couldn't shake it. She had to get in. She needed to get to Celestia. She was still in there. She had felt it, time and again. It hadn't all been faked. She had felt Celestia's love, her approval. It didn't all make sense as some nightmarish creature's plan. It had let the real Celestia slip out. And it was that Celestia that Twilight loved.
The dome cracked. The consciousness raged, tearing and clawing at Twilight's mind. She wouldn't let go. For Luna, for herself, for Celestia. She couldn't let it end now. She still had work to do. The crack widened in the dome, and Twilight could see inside. She smiled.
The other ponies felt their elements warm. It had been minutes since Twilight had disappeared into that ball of flame. Like they had seen once before, each one shone bright with power. They felt the call for them to act. And they accepted. Each pony felt themselves raised up by the magic that was not them, yet part of them. They lent their power to the sixth element.
The fireball shimmered, grew, shrunk, almost petered out, and then exploded. The ponies flinched, only to find nothing reach them as the dragon held out one great wing to shield them. When he lowered it, the fireball - and both ponies - were nowhere to be seen.
"Twilight!" Luna was the first to act. The others ran to catch up as she headed over to where the fireball had been. There, in a shallow crater in the ground, she found them.
"Sister! Twilight!" The pony laying on her back in the dirt was so familiar, yet so strange. Pure white coat, except where it had burned off. No gold gilded her hooves. A tattered green mane with a pink streak fell about her face. One wing lay out, the other half shielding Twilight. It was bent sharply halfway down, badly broken. She was only slightly taller than Luna. On her stomach, wrapped in her arms, a certain purple unicorn lay with her eyes closed, her entire body covered in cuts and burns.
"Sister..." Luna slid into the crater, only to back away cautiously. "Is that you?"
"Luna..." Celestia's voice was strained, as was her smile. "It's been so long."
"Twilight!" Rainbow Dash ran down into the crater, everypony else on her heels. Her wings flared when she noticed Celestia.
"Get away from her!" she yelled at Celestia. The alicorn flinched, tears running down her cheeks. Luna turned to get between Celestia and the rest, wings flaring to shield her sister.
"Blame her no more than you would blame me for Nightmare Moon!" she cried. "The same magics possessed her."
"This mean it t'weren't really Princess Celestia before?" Applejack asked. Luna nodded her head.
"W-what about Twilight?" Fluttershy asked. They all turned to her. Celestia lowered her head. Twilight hadn't moved.
"Twilight? Twilight!" Luna rushed to Celestia's side. She pressed her head to Twilight's. The young magician didn't respond.
"No, no." Luna began to cry. "No. Twilight! You can't!" she nuzzled Twilight desperately. There was no response. Applejack took off her hat. One by one they lowered their heads. Luna sobbed, lowering her head against Twilight's body. Celestia coughed.
"Luna. My horn."
"The pieces of my horn." it was stubbier than before, but still broken as it had been. "They fell in the plaza. Quickly!"
"I got them!" Pinkie Pie shook her head. Several pieces of alabaster white fell from her mane. Everyone looked at her. She just blinked.
"They got stuck in my hair during the dogpile."
"Y' mean the dogpile you weren't caught in?" Applejack asked. Pinkie Pie nodded. Meanwhile, a weak glow came from Celestia's horn. The pieces bobbed up in front of Twilight.
"Sister, I need you." Celestia said. "You were already better at it than I."
"But...without...you mean?" Luna's eyes widened.
"There is life still in her." Celestia replied. "I remember when I, or...whatever I was, I remember making her. She yet has ties to my magic, and I can sense just a spark of life."
"A spark?" Rarity asked. "Will it be enough?"
"All it takes is..." Celestia cut herself off and gave a weak chuckle. "I'm sure you've heard. Please, my sister."
"It won't grow back, you know. Without these pieces." Luna told her. Celestia nodded.
"I have much of the elements to learn. Let us begin with generosity."
Luna nodded and closed her eyes. She took the pieces from Celestia, the white glow around them replaced with deep blue. She held the pieces against Twilight's chest. Her horn begin to shine with darkness. The pieces quivered. Luna bent down, face contorting with strain. Twilight's body began to shimmer. The glow started at the shards of horn and spread outwards, surrounding her. Luna gasped, an overglow surging forth around her horn. The pieces became indistinct. Luna's entire body strained with effort, shuddering. The magic around her horn flared, somehow painfully dark to look at. It crackled in the air, making everypony's mane stand on end. The pieces slid straight into Twilight's chest.
Luna cried out as the magic came to an apex, her head rearing back as her body twitched and shuddered. Twilight's body shone brightly for several seconds, indistinct. With a rough gasp, Luna collapsed into a sitting position. The spell faded, and so did Twilight's form. She wasn't bruised or cut or burnt anymore. Several seconds of silence passed, all eyes on her.
"Uhhhhggg..." Twilight groaned, letting out a small cough. Luna's face lit up, and she forced herself to stand. She rushed to Twilight, nuzzling against her.
"Lu..na?" Twilight let one eye crack open.
"It's okay, my love." Luna told her, not caring for the world around her. A few sets of eyes widened. "You can rest now."
"How does anypony survive all that?" Rarity asked, shaking her head. Celestia began to cough. Blood dripped from the corner of her mouth. It was the smile that let the others know she wasn't coughing, but laughing.
"I'm sure you've all met Twilight." she said. "She's not exactly the kind to give up until her work is done."
Twilight awoke in a bed. It was so comfortable, but for some reason, she was eager to move. Or, she was for all of two seconds. It was then the stiffness and soreness hit, and she decided whatever drove her could wait a few moments. She did, however, open her eyes.
"I don't usually say this." said the pony who had been watching her. "But good morning."
"I saw you stir. How do you feel?"
Twilight looked around. She was in her room, in bed and propped up by pillows. She spied Spike fast asleep where he sat on a footstool. Luna saw Twilight's gaze.
"Refused to leave your side as soon as we brought you in. Not even to talk to that other dragon. I think we have him to thank for everything, given what your friends have told me. Such a noble hero."
"I'm buying him the biggest ruby I can find. I promise." Twilight said in all seriousness. Luna giggled.
"I'm sure there's something in the treasury that will be a suitable reward." she turned back to Twilight. "Are you alright?"
Twilight nodded. "A little stiff, but I'll survive." she rubbed her head, flexed this and that. She stifled her surprise. "What happened?"
"How much do you remember?" Luna asked.
"There was all that fighting...my friends helped so much. We summoned the elements again...oh my gosh there was a dragon! How was there a dragon?"
"You have an interesting group of friends." Luna replied. She moved closer to Twilight, standing beside the bed. "You don't remember how you freed Celestia?"
"N-no." Twilight said. "I remembered a bright light....and then undoing a spell of some sort. Now I'm here."
"You threw yourself into the heart of Celestia's flame, and found her. The spell you're talking about were the magics of the elements of harmony, imbalanced and wild, given motivation. Celestia talks about how you managed to reach out to her, through her prison, and wake her up after all this time."
"Then..." Luna closed her eyes. "I still can't believe you weren't dead. You felt dead even as I cast the healing spell. Yet somehow, you still remained." she opened her eyes, her gaze low. "You know the healing properties of a unicorn's horn, yes? Only an alicorn's horn can heal wounds of the spirit. You were depleted of all magical energy. It took a significant amount to rekindle your spirit. My sister claims, in time, she will regain most of her abilities. But the horn will never grow back."
"I..." Twilight looked down at the bedsheets. "I'm sorry."
Luna shook her head. "She regrets nothing, and I don't think she should. But she is going through everything I did, and even more. She will need you. Can...can you forgive her? Truly?"
Twilight knew her answer immediately. It came so strongly she took a moment only to examine her feelings. Luna waited anxiously for her answer.
"Yes." Twilight told her. "Absolutely."
Luna sighed in relief. "I knew you would, but she wouldn't believe it."
Twilight nodded. "I always knew the real her was in there. The nightmare wanted me loyal, without the command spell. So she had to let me love Celestia. She had to let Celestia out, since that was the only way to return my love. So I saw the real Celestia. And I loved her."
"She won't believe you." Luna said with a smile. "So, please, keep telling her until she does. It was her loneliness that caused all this. She never got over when the first alicorns left. We had each other but it wasn't enough. Maybe if I had been a better sister...." Luna shook her head. "No, she tells me I can't think that way. That she never meant to spurn me. But as she studied the incomplete elements, the imbalance inside her grew. She believed herself to be alone, distant even from me. And she became obsessed with the golems. She wanted to make them more, make them real. If only I had discovered the secret earlier. By the time I learned how to do just that, she didn't care. The Nightmare had twisted her. and now wanted the power of the elements. Wanted to prove herself to the first alicorns. And that meant she had to get more powerful."
"So why'd she attack you?" Twilight asked.
"I was the only other pony she considered real. She was experimenting on me, the nightmares the result of magic invading my mind. I had discovered the way to bring golems to life, and I think she knew."
"Just a spark?" Twilight asked wryly. Luna smiled and nodded.
"Just a spark. The spark of friendship. It may seem silly, but understand, by then the golems were more like you. It gave them something fundamentally meaningful, something to live for. And the rest...you've figured out."
Twilight nodded. "What now?"
"Now? You still need rest. I healed you of your wounds, mortal and magical, but some things just need to be slept on. There will be time to talk to Celestia - and the others - later."
Twilight wanted to argue, but stopped. She nodded. "Alright. But on one condition."
"You look exhausted Luna. How long have you been by my side?"
"It's only been a day since the battle."
"A day. You've been awake the whole day - after being exhausted from before the battle began."
"I can't sleep yet." Luna argued. Twilight smiled. If she had a bit for every time she had said that...a voice piped up inside her. She could barely believe it. After all this, and all they had been through, all they had done together....the voice was making a compelling case.
"Luna. I really think you, you....you should come to bed." Twilight said.
"I can't go yet, I-"
"No, Luna." Twilight interrupted. Luna gave her a curious glance, and her confusion only deepened as Twilight blushed and looked away. Then she saw Twilight's hoof pushing down the covers. Creating room for some pony to sidle in besides her. Luna turned red, and then began to get up on the bed.
When Twilight next awoke, it was by the sound of giggling. She kept her eyes shut, hoping dearly she was mistaken.
"Aren't they precious together?" a voice asked. Nope, there went that slim chance.
"Sweet as two cherries on th' same sundae!" came a reply.
"I, um, never knew that Twilight..."
"Heh, Ah don't blame you none. Here I always pegged Dash..."
"Hey! It was one time in flight camp!"
"They, uh, saw each other for three weeks."
"Why are they still sleeping? We need a party! We have so much to party for! They've got to be the guests of honor!"
"Would you ponies please actually let me sleep?" Twilight groaned, acknowledging defeat. As she heard various yelps and peeps she raised her head, blinking her eyes into focus. Her bed was surrounded with her friends. They all just grinned at her in their various styles.
"Well howdy there sugarcube. Feelin' better?"
"Yes, I imagine you're much more relaxed now?" Rarity asked. The others were beginning to giggle.
"Yeah, uh." Rainbow Dash faltered. "You, uh...heeheeheehee." she failed to come up with anything before the giggling overtook her. Twilight frowned.
"What is wrong with all you ponies. I-" she tried to get up, only to find a leg pinned. She looked over, and only then realized Luna was against her, still asleep. She had wound up snuggling up against the moon goddess, and now she had a limb trapped underneath. She turned back to her friends, cheeks so hot it threatened to singe her coat.
"We didn't - we only slept toge- I mean..." she just gave them all a flat stare.
"I'm going back to sleep." she told them, laying her head back down. Luna's mane was so, so soft.
"Aww, now don't be like that Twi." Applejack told her. Twilight opened an eye.
"Don't you think we've all been worried? I'm gonna get it from Granny Smith for up an' leavin' the farm like that."
"We simply couldn't leave you until we knew you'd be alright." Rarity explained. "Is it...what it looks like, dear?"
Twilight sighed. She wiggled free of Luna, trying dearly not to wake her. She got up.
"Yes. It is." she said simply, not sure how else to put it. Rarity gave her a reassuring smile.
"And good for you. Though I must say, Twilight, I'm a little upset. Here I sought a royal companion, and here you go and upstage me!"
"Sorry Rarity." Twilight said with a grin. "I'm okay you guys. I suppose I should explain everything."
"Naw." Applejack shook her head. "The princess' been doing a right job tellin' us everything bewteen 'em. Well, fer the most part. Now what's this all about about you bein' some kind of magic?"
Twilight sighed. "I should explain. I am - well, was, it's complicated, but I'm kinda a golem."
"A what now?" Applejack asked. All five friends gave her blank stares.
"I was...never born. I wonder if my, uh, parents knew about me, or...that's something for later. The nightmare that controlled Princess Celestia created me. I'm mostly magic and stardust. Oh, and sunlight."
Applejack and Rainbow Dash stared at her with tilted heads, Fluttershy's eyes filled her head, and Rarity's jaw dropped.
"That sounds pretty!" Pinkie Pie told her with a quick clap. Twilight smiled sheepishly.
"Actually, all ponies were made that way, originally. Or, well, kinda. I think there were other things usually involved. The first ponies were golems made by the princesses. And I'm not exactly one any more. I'm real you guys. I think it must have happened when we defeated Nightmare Moon. It's the magic of friendship that brings a golem alive."
"So, yur just a normal pony now?" Applejack asked.
"Well...not quite." Twilight responded as she got off the bed. She turned to the side, showing herself to her friends. Everyone blinked, making Twilight roll her eyes. So she spread her wings.
"Twilight! They're beautiful." Fluttershy cooed. They looked more normal than before, just strong pegasus wings. On a unicorn. Twilight had noticed them when she had awoke, but hadn't known what to do about it. "You're a...?"
"I guess?" Twilight responded, none too sure herself. "I think the healing made them permanent. But it's still me, guys."
"Shucks, course it is!" Applejack responded. "Right gals?"
She got a chorus of approval, everypony nodding their head. It warmed her heart.
"Thanks girls. I owe you all." she walked around the bed. Fluttershy was nearest, and the pegasus squeaked as Twilight hugged her briefly. Pinkie Pie was next, and giggled, returning the hug.
"Aww, now sugar you don't have to-" too late, Twilight had her next. Applejack smiled and patted her friend on the back. Twilight saw Rarity pause, but returned Twilight's hug. Finally, Rainbow Dash.
"Oh, come on. I..." she saw everypony else just look at her. "Oh, fine." she gave Twilight a hug.
"Thanks girls. We can talk more back in Ponyville. I'm sorry I dragged you all away."
"Hey, just let us know earlier next time you want to save the world." Rainbow Dash told her, flapping her wings once. Twilight grinned. Rarity was looking to Luna, still asleep on the bed.
"You...are coming back to Ponyville, right dear?" she asked. The question caught Twilight off guard, and she stared at her hooves. After a moment of thought, she nodded.
"Don't worry. I'm coming back."
"Well, then we should see you there. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, let's see if you two can leave the cart intact for the return trip, hmm?"
"If we're not in a rush, why don't we make her pull?" Rainbow Dash muttered. Pinkie Pie was at the door. It opened before her.
"Oh...hello." the pony on the other side stepped back, looking away. She held herself so timidly. Twilight's eyes went wide. It was the first she had seen of Princess Celestia after the battle.
"I don't mean to intrude." Celestia replied. She was so much like her sister, Twilight realized. Especially just after the Nightmare Moon incident.
"We were just leavin', come on in." Applejack replied, seeming to have the best grasp of the situation. Celestia smiled, but let them out before entering the room. It was just her and Twilight, Luna being effectively not present. At first, neither seemed to know what to say. Twilight smiled at Celestia - Celestia smiled back, but looked away. The silence dragged on.
"The wings are quite fitting." Celestia eventually said. It caught Twilight off guard.
"Ahh, uh, thank you. Is, is there a difference between an alicorn and an unicorn-with-wings?"
"Oh, yes." Celestia replied. "However, since your soul was rekindled almost from scratch with alicorn magic, and your body restored using the energy in my horn, you...are an alicorn. The wings would have appeared regardless of the other magics in you."
"Oh..." Twilight glanced at her wings. They felt strange - she suddenly had all these new muscles that moved in such unexpected ways. Without a lot of magic bolstering her, she realized, there would have been no way she would have known how to even keep herself aloft. Then she gave a second thought to Celestia's words. She glanced up at the Princess' horn. It had been rounded off, but it was clear that it had lost its tip. Not enough of it had been lost to call it stumpy, but it was a good bit shorter than it should have been.
"I don't regret it." Celestia told her, bowing her head. "I'm glad any good could have come from our fight." she laid herself down at Twilight's feet. "But it's not enough. I am sorry, Twilight Sparkle. For everything."
Twilight smiled, bent down, and pressed against Celestia's cheek with her own. Only briefly, as an act of affection, not intimacy.
"Please, Princess, I understand. The nightmare is over. You were only in the same prison as your sister."
Celestia raised herself into a sitting position and shook her head sadly. "No. It was a prison of my own construction. I had every chance to listen to my sister, to see the love she held for me, and I ignored it. I wanted more."
"You got carried away. When Applejack or Rarity get carried away, some ponies get upset or maybe a little sick. When a goddess gets carried away..."
"I appreciate what you're trying to say, but you're too kind m-my...my hero. It was my own hoof in this, even if I lost control."
"You're too hard on yourself, sister." both ponies turned to find Luna just getting up, stretching her neck. she opened her eyes towards Celestia.
"Trust me, I understand. And trust me that you will not hear the end of it from Twilight until you believe it." she smiled at the newly-minted alicorn. Twilight remembered her conversation with Luna earlier.
"Princess-" she saw Celestia flinch. She was expecting the words that came next, more or less.
"Please. A title earned by betrayal and falsehood."
"Fine." Twilight wasn't going to argue that point for now. "Celestia. You know me. You really know me. And I know you. You were always in there. That's why I could get through to you at all. Why you're here now. Because it wasn't you before. And you, the real you - I love you. I always felt closer, and I guess it makes sense now, I always loved you like a mother. The real you."
Celestia's face was quiet, almost serene like before, but tears rolled down her cheeks. "And you mean it. I know you do. Sister has already spoken with me at length. I appreciate your words, but I cannot simply pretend I am free of guilt. There is history to be rewritten, lies to be set right. I cannot expect your acceptance from every pony in Equestria. Nor do I deserve it. I deserve some punishment for my misdeeds, whether it be banishment, imprisonment, or more..."
Twilight looked at Celestia, deep in thought. She said nothing for a moment.
"Sister..." Luna tried.
"You're right." Twilight said with a stamp on her hoof. Both goddesses turned to her.
"You have a lot to make up for. And I know just how you can do it."
"You do?" Both sisters asked in tandem. Twilight nodded.
"Tell me, please, Twilight Sparkle." Celestia asked. "Be my judge. And I shall repent."
"Celestia." Twilight looked her in the eye. "I charge you with a thousand years - of community service. You are to aid Princess Luna in her duties, to serve the nation of Equestria and its ponies to the best of your abilities, and at Princess Luna's discretion" she smiled. Celestia smiled back, tears in her eyes.
"I accept my sentence, Twilight Sparkle." she said with a bow. "Thank you."
It had been a couple weeks, and ponies still tended to drop by the library just to see the town's resident suddenly-alicorn. Everypony that did, however, somehow or another found them getting a lecture on the nature of nightmare magic, and the sacrifice of noble Princess Celestia. A few ponies had been stupid enough to argue back - the Princes was none too popular, and many didn't believe her fit to rule. Many others were agreeing to hear her out, especially as she explained everything in first person with Luna by her side, accepting all the criticism that came her way, acknowledging most of it. But anypony that argued with Ponyville librarian left with their ears stinging and head swimming.
Of course, they only got all this if they came after noon. Before hand, a baby dragon and oddly diurnal owl tended to the library, which oddly enough now stayed open until nearly midnight. Twilight Sparkle balanced the day and night, her afternoons free to spend with her friends most of the time. Her evenings, however, were another story.
Luna stepped out of the night sky on a hill just away from the Ponyville library. She glanced to it, to see all lights but one had gone dark - it had closed up, but not everyone in it asleep. Luna took a moment to glance up at her night sky. She was happy with her work for the night. She knew a few were confused by the lack of a few landmarks (sailors were more than a bit vocal), and Luna had had to promise new ones were coming. Already she could promise one. She looked to the swirl of stars to the right of the moon, the whirlpool of silver light. That was going nowhere any time soon.
"We finally did it, my friends." she told four more stars she could promise would forever remain alight in the sky. Twilight had told her their names. The nightmares were finally beginning to fade, and she was remembering more and more.
"She was a lot like you, Star Shine." she said to the star. "I wonder if it wasn't your dust that Celestia pulled from? You always somehow found a way to help me, even when I didn't know I needed it. Even after I pushed you away." she blinked back the tears, promising not to cry any more. She knew her friends had moved on, yet were still with her. Some bonds transcended all things.
She trotted down the hill, focusing on things nearer to her than the stars in the sky. She knew the door would be unlocked. She kept silent, not wanting to wake the other inhabitants of the tree. She moved smoothly through the darkness, slipping into the bedroom.
Twilight was partially silhouetted by the candle she held to the window as she looked up at the night sky. Luna smiled to herself.
"Will you tell me about them, one day?" Twilight asked quietly.
"I promise. You would have liked them."
Twilight turned to her and smiled. "Sorry. Probably not very romantic, am I?"
Luna giggled. "It's fine. You care, and I appreciate that." she reached Twilight's bed. "But for now, let us not speak of the moon or stars. Let us not speak at all."
Luna climbed onto the bed beside Twilight and blew out the candle. "Oh no, we shall be much to busy for that." as she heard Twilight giggle, still bashful, she turned to her. The darkness was no deterrent for either pony now, and they could easily make out one another's face. Their eyes met - then so did their lips.