The Moon Rises
As was the case every day, the darkness of night began to shift into a lighter color as dawn began to rise. The midnight blue became baby blue and the stars slowly drifted from the view of anypony who may have been looking at them, the marvel of-
-the marvel of-
Perched atop her balcony as per usual, Luna rolled her eyes before turning to face her sister, a little perturbed that her moment had been interrupted. Celestia couldn't read the annoyance on her sister's face and went right on to speaking with her now that she had Luna's attention, inadvertently ignoring her sister's mood.
"Your constellations were quite the marvel last night Luna."
The princess of the night sighed and closed her eyes, exhaustion beginning to set in to her body after having crept in the whole afternoon and night before, "Why thank you Celestia," slightly exasperated but slowly growing amused, Luna pondered why Celestia thought it so necessary to check up on her. She wasn't some small foal anymore who would fall asleep early and forget to put her moon away, but it was quite endearing to have her sister visit her like this at the end of her shift. A yawn formed on Luna's mouth and she stretched her body out as she went on speaking, "Is it really time to swap posts once more?"
Celestia nodded and affirmed her sister's statement, "Why yes, it just so happens to be that time," now a coy smile grew on the elder one's face, "You really shouldn't stay up so early that you don't even know the time."
Luna lightly pushed her sister's shoulder in a playful manner, Celetia quickly pushing her back leading to the two rulers giving hearty laughs. Luna was the first to calm down from the laughter, "Forgive me sister, I just wish to see our dear subjects as they rise from their peaceful slumber," she informed before giving another yawn.
This made the elder ruler grow a large and genuine smile, replacing the coy one she had previously and "You are quite the doting ruler, looking after them like that."
Stifling a yawn, Luna cast her head towards the soon to be bustling town beneath their castle and let out drearily, "It is the least I can do for them. Is it not the duty of a princess to do everything they can for their subjects?"
Her sister having said half of her last sentence in a yawn, Celestia responded to her with a chortle, "That it is Luna. Our little ponies do require all the help we can give them, so I am pleased that you wish to help how you can."
"Manticores, sea serpents, dragons..." Luna trailed off as she counted the various threats the ponies they reigned over faced almost daily, a part of Luna wishing to have the digits of a dragon to count all these dangers, "Our little ponies just know how to get in trouble, don't they?"
The smile on Celestia's face didn't fade as she leant on her sleepy sister and put a hoof around her, "They do seem to have a knack for it for sure," Celestia looked down from Canterlot to face Luna, who was leaning on her and about to drift off, "Now, how about that rest you should be getting?"
Luna rolled eyes again, having gotten the fact that she was tired already, and decided to retaliate on her sister by leaning her full weight on her sister. Celestia was much bigger after all in just about every way possible both due to age and cake, but one did not discuss that second part to her face, so she should have no problem supporting her sister's weight, "Ah, yes, my dear friend sleep..." just as her eyes finished closing and her mind began to drift asleep a noise caused them both to awaken. Luna looked down off of her balcony and noticed that the town was beginning to get up, ponies leaving their homes and beginning their days all throughout it, "Oh, look! The town is beginning to rise, Celestia!"
Very accustomed to the everyday movement associated with their town in the day, Celestia was nonplussed by what her sister saw as a sensational phenomena but was pleased to see her dear Luna happy. Celestia nestled her head on top of her bright eyed sibling's, "That they are, fully rested due to your quiet night."
The blue coated one rubbed her own head against the white coated one lovingly, "And able to work and make some noise in your bright day."
"Nopony could ask for a more lovely sister," Celestia stated proudly as she began to get up, the horn atop her head glowing as she opened the outside door behind her silently.
Luna looked up at Celestia and smiled at her, "Nopony but I, Celestia."
"Good morning," Luna corrected in a playful tone.
Celestia was the one rolling her eyes now as she began to depart, "Fine, miss exact. Good morning."
Once quiet hoofsteps went by her and she was left alone, Luna trotted over to the edge of the balcony and placed her front hooves atop it. Her lovely ponies were starting their day and she was -yawn- ready to end hers.
"Good morning," Luna replied with a good laugh.
The theory, if one existed, of Unicorns containing some kind of precognition would seemingly be proved by Blueblood and the other sycophantic nobles in the dining hall, for no sooner had Celestia entered it than did they all turn to her. Celestia smiled at them all, accepting of their flawed nature and sense of entitlement. How could she turn away such admirers?
The chief offender, Blueblood, smiled right at the princess of the day and was the first to speak to her, as per usual, "Why fair Celestia, it is good to see you this fine morning."
Celestia took her seat at the head of the table and grinned at the plate before her, a piece of chocolate cake before her. Looking up from the cake to Blueblood, Celestia sighed for more reasons than one, "It won't be fine for long I'm afraid, the weather ponies are supposed to be bringing us rain."
The nobleman sighed in return, "That is really too bad, blocking out the lovely sky and sun like that with ugly clouds. A necessary evil I suppose."
This made Celestia's smile shrink slightly, memories of Luna stating her love of how the night rain played throughout the night like an instrument, "Rain can be soothing to some," the sun Princess murmured.
Her light statement did not go unheard and her student Starswirl nodded to that, "I find that it can be quite the good excuse to stay inside and study! When it is bright out everypony is curious about my studying and annoy me to be more social. When it rains I can be uninterrupted," he finished complaining.
Celestia grinned at her student for his support and chuckled as a recent memory came to mind, "You do quite a fine job interrupting yourself, Starswirl. We still need to fix our garden after your last experiment-"
The bearded stallion crossed his front hooves and frowned, "Exactly why I work in controlled environments! How was I to know that blasted phoenix was going to swoop in and steal my regents mid-spell cast?"
Celestia finished gulfing down her piece of cake in as much as a regal manner as she could manage and frowned as she thought about her pet bird, "Philomena didn't mean any harm, but I am glad that she is immortal. Even I was afraid that the explosion would have wiped her from existence."
"I am fine too, Princess," Starswirl added jokingly.
Celestia chuckled and closed her eyes as she shook her head, slightly amused as she continued to remember the incident and slightly amused by how more cake had appeared before her, "You weren't the one who was obliterated along with a quarter of the area nearby, Starswirl."
Starswirl pointed a hoof at his princess and scoffed loudly, "I was turned into a newt!" Everypony at the table fell silent and a pregnant pause hung in the room. A few blank blinks later, Starswirl added, "I got better."
The guard captain scowled and lightly put his front right hoof on his forehead in exasperation while Celestia finished her new piece of cake wiped her mouth again with her napkin, speaking before another piece of cake could appear, "Could you inform the guards the next time you do something like that? You almost caught one of their men in that blast as well."
The expert spellcaster nodded to her and shrugged lightly, "Wouldn't want to hurt anypony, so I suppose I could do that Princess. I am still sorry for that whole mess."
"It is quite fine, for as long as we learn from our mistakes it is okay to make them," Celestia replied wisely as another poof of magic placed a piece of pie in front of her. She quickly began to eat it before noticing the difference and frowning, teleporting the pie back to where the cooks sent it from.
Blueblood chuckled and injected himself in the conversation again, "Like how I won't be having Canterlot's finest brew again at any large gatherings. That was quite an interesting night. Why, I-"
After the royal breakfast concluded everypony went their separate ways. Celestia left to go see the chefs about something concerning future meals, Blueblood and some other nobles trotting off to the garden outside the castle, Starswirl the bearded heading to the library to continue his research while the bells on his cloack clanged each hoofstep, and the captain back to the executive office nearby. All but the last of these was able to reach their intended destination without a snare in their brief travels, but the white coated and blue armored captain encountered quite a problem of his own on his way.
Scars may have marred his body and shown through his coat in the places not covered by cerulean blue body armor, scars that indicated major conflicts, but nothing this pony had faced was quite as hard and aggravating as what he encountered.
Who or what was this foe?
"Tired?" came a demeaning voice from a sneering face, one that never failed to put a frown on the night captain's face.
His fellow captain, a unicorn who handled the day and who wore his full dress uniform around every moment he could in a show of power. The difficulty for the pegasus lay not in fighting or verbally sparring with this stallion...it lay in not crushing the green coated unicorn into the ground for his insulting manner.
The night captain scoffed as he walked past his annoying partner of sorts, "Excuse me for yawning after a twelve hour shift, 'Iki."
The captain of the daytime gave a demeaning smirk as he responded in his same condescending tone, "You are excused."
"Not in the mood," was the curt reply. Not having gotten a rise out of the night watchman, the day one huffed. Neither had an idea why their boss thought having the two of them work together was any sort of idea, the two never having gotten along in the years of knowing one another and the idea of making them share a position seeming odd. They did as they were told however but neither made an effort to become any more civil, remaining as different as the types of day they looked over.
The green coated unicorn shrugged, "Whatever, just be sure to be back here tonight. On time this time, ya brute."
The pegasus turned back to his compatriot and rose an eyebrow, looking at him through his good eye and questioning snarkily, "If I'm a brute, what does that make you?"
"The brains of course," the haughty day watchman pointed to himself proudly, "I run our day to day operations, don't I? Much harder and complex than watching over the quiet and still night."
Not even a curt response was given this time, but that was normal for the large pegasus. 'Iki was left without an angry response or any reaction to deal with actually, so he decided to be just as dismissive as he trotted away, "Fine, ignore me."
On his way away from his tired and disgruntled white coated counterpart, the day captain smiled as he came across a different white coated pony, "Good morning, Princess. How are you today, fair leader?"
"How does anypony stand this brightness?"
Normally used to sleeping heavily during the day to block out the noise associated with it, Luna had awoken in a fright at midday. She could not recall whatever ghastly image that had caused her to wake up, but Luna did not care to remember it either. She could sleep through the worst of nightmares so the thought of something actually disturbing her sleep, well, disturbed her.
Despite only receiving half the sleep she was used to Luna felt quite awake. The princess shrugged it off as being temporary and that soon her lack of sleep would rear its ugly head, but she decided that she might as well enjoy the boon of alertness while she could. Since she had no duties to perform and had absolutely no idea of what to do during the day, this being the first time in her immediate memory she was awake for one, Luna thought it best to explore her castle.
This castle by Canterlot felt new to Luna even she had resided in it for quite some time for she worked at night and slept during the day, meaning much of it lay unexplored to her. For all she knew there could be giant caverns beneath the very floor of it all where somepony could be stored away and not found by anypony else. So, to better know her own place of working, Luna thought it best to go for a stroll throughout the castle and educate herself.
After leaving her royal quarters, the night princess ran into a snag in her plan. Ponies of all sorts of shapes and kinds were racing down the hallway she found herself in, pushing past one another to reach the other end and to go around the corner and barrel down that hallway to some destination unknown to her. Curious, Luna followed after them in a leisurely manner. The crowd having completely disappeared, a single pony cleaning the corridor was left behind to mutter to himself about privileged ponies pushing their way past him rudely.
Luna caught notice of the stallion and decided to ask him where she should be going to find the source of such commotion, "Good morning good sir. If I may ask, where is everypony headed?"
The servant did not even look up from where he was cleaning, and most certainly did not recognize the voice of the one and only princess of the night, so his response was full of the same disgust he had been using in his mutterings moments before, "The Princess is holding court right now. Anypony who wishes an audience with her will be rushing there about now."
The princess understood why the pony was disgruntled and as such ignored his tone, "Thank you loyal subject. I believe I shall attend this day's session to see what Celestia has to deal with these days. The last day session I visited was a decade before now."
The custodian grumbled "You do that" and resumed his duties with all the attention not spared towards grumbling about noble ponies. Luna left him to his grumbling, glad that the place that caught the interest of her little ponies was one she knew.
It was a brief walk and the hallways had grown so crowded that the ponies did not notice her presence whatsoever, Luna not being old enough to tower over them all like her sister could, so Luna slipped in to the back of the mess of ponies who stood in a jumbled line outside the large doors leading to the location of her sister's court. Standing proudly by the door on an elevated platform was the day captain using his magic to amplify his voice for the crowd to hear, "If everypony will stand in line, the Princess will be seeing the first of you shortly," the crowd began to settle down and get in line, both figuratively and literally, but an exception at the very back caught the green pony's eye, "Hey, you two, cut it out!" The day captain groaned, knowing that he could not do much given how many ponies between him and the ponies causing a scene.
A soaking white earth pony with brown spots was pawing at the floor as a unicorn with a fresh flower on his shirt pocket stood in the place before him in line replaced a vase from where he removed it, the vase now devoid of flowers and water both. Having just witnessed a swing at the unicorn and the subsequent humiliation via water of the earth pony, Luna galloped forward to put herself between the two with her traditional Canterlot voice in full volume, "What is the meaning for this meaningless scuffle?"
The earth pony was the first to respond, the noble too shocked by Luna's sudden appearance to do so, "This noble thinks that he can get away with whatever he wants because of his rank! He cut in front of me and then insulted not only myself, but my entire family!"
Luna turned from the earth pony to the unicorn, a deep scowl only one part of her disappointed countenance, "Is this accusation correct?"
The unicorn recovered from his surprise and responded in quite the haughty manner, "Well of course it is, this ruffian thinks that it is okay for one of my rank to stand last in line. As if I should be behind a blasted pirate!"
The earth pony moved forward with a hoof raised, an angry inflection to his voice, "Just because we use ships to transport things does not make us pirates you-"
Luna stomped her hoof, stopping the earth pony in his tracks, "Stop this at once!" She turned to the unicorn again, her voice unable to sound as disappointed as she was because of the loudness of it, "You will be leaving the palace now."
This decision was as stunning to the unicorn as Luna's entrance had been, and the indignant tone he used was not at all lost on her, "What? Have you gone loonie? This insignificant colt-"
"You will be leaving now," she repeated plainly, but the effect it had on the unicorn was much more powerful. The earth pony kept quiet, not wishing to upset the princess any more and risk being on the end of her wrath as well.
Caught between confusion, fear and anger, the noble replied to Luna in a less disgruntled tone than he had before, "Yes, Princess...of course."
The noble left slowly, head lowered as he left the area as Luna and the earth pony watched him. Once he was out of sight the earth pony looked up at Luna gratefully, "Thank you for the help-"
Scowl remaining on her face, Luna looked down at him now and responded coldly, "And you, you shall not resort to such brutish methods of engaging such unscrupulous souls," the earth pony looked down in shame and shrunk a little from the indigo princess, "In future conflicts do not resort first to your hooves. If reasoning is out of the question, move on to alternate means. In this instance you could have relied on the authorities here to settle the issue, could you not?"
The earth pony looked sadly to the floor, eyes completely averted from his princess, "My apologies, Princess. I suppose I let my emotions get the better of me there."
Noticing his uncomfortableness, Luna leaned down to the poor pony and spoke in a warmer voice, "Do not worry, everypony makes mistakes. To err is pony, correct?"
The pony looked up to her and asked bashfully, his body still shrinking from her a little, "Even you Princess?"
Luna nodded to him and put a hoof on his shoulder, "Of course. Neither Celestia nor I are the gods perfect beings we're seen as by someponies."
"But without your night and your sister's sun there would be nothing!" he exclaimed, fear having found its way out of his system.
Luna grew a neutral look on her face, unsure how exactly to respond to that, "Well, yes, this is quite true, but-" she removed her hoof from his shoulder and pointed it at the door they had been waiting for before, "never mind. How about we rejoin the line so you can see Celestia about your issue?"
The earth pony looked over to the door and noticed that everypony had entered the doors during this little incident, "Oh yes!" He quickly ran to the open doors at full gallop, leaving Luna in the dust as he ran to get an audience with a different princess.
Luna yawned again as she watched him enter her sister's court, "I suppose after this I can return to my sleep. This is such an indecent hour to be up after all," another yawn found its way into her system and she lifted a hoof to her face, "How does Celestia manage this time of day?"