The last solstice
Chapter 18: Truth revealed
The Princess of the Sun gazed at the spot where Nocturnal Mirage sat earlier this day. Celestia still could not believe she actually let him inside her fortress of solitude. She could not find a logical explanation why did she let a perfect stranger into places she blocked out her family and her closest 老友记 from. But she knew one thing. Ever since the cobalt stallion set hoof in her suite, the voices in her head retreated, finally offering her a little peace.
The white alicorn idled in front of the busted mirror, stroking the burnt scars on her cheek with mild inquiry. The weak smile immediately melted away from her face the moment she touched them. These wounds always reminded her about that fateful 日 over a decade ago. That 日 left an infinite void in her soul and nothing could possibly fill that blackness.
Celestia was always proud of her capability of sizing up the situation effectively, and to react with a cold, sober mind. The consequences of her failure that 日 kept tormenting her exactly because of her confidence. She was certain her actions will prevail and stop the menace. But she was wrong… so terribly wrong. And the sun goddess paid for her mistake dearly. She’s become a twisted, distorted shadow of her own self both physically and mentally. That is why Celestia chose to hide from the world and everypony in it. Yet, this stallion, her Guard, managed to sneak through her barricades with his instinctive actions. How? Or is it 更多 than coincidence that our paths have crossed?
the solar Princess thought a moment before an 翠, 翡翠 green light blinded her. Celestia shielded her eyes with her large, majestic wings and immediately knew what this strange phenomenon was.
“Warlock Grenade…” she whispered in shock. “Luna…”
The snow white alicorn rushed to the door, and reached for the knob, but her courage abandoned her. She stared at her shaking hoof, trying to suggest it into movement, but her body froze. Celestia struggled with her own self; shiny drops of sweat appeared on her temple and traveled down on her cheeks. Like there was some kind of invisible, repulsive force that was keeping her away from the door, she grit her teeth in the extortion. A sparkly teardrop appeared at the corner of her eye and she screamed in horror.
“Noooo! I can’t!!!”
With two mighty wing flaps, she retreated to the inner sections of her suite, feeling ashamed and defeated. Her breathing accelerated as she rolled up in a ball on the floor. After a few minutes, she managed to calm down and stood up once again. Celestia stroked her long, fluorescent mane with a regal movement and tried a different approach. She closed her eyes and focused her senses on Luna. But since the Warlock Grenade set the fabric of magic on fire, she could not tune in to her sister’s wavelength; although a tiny spark got through the chaotic amalgam of confusion, that was the magical field at the moment, and she could tell Luna was alive. The Solar Princess let out a sigh of relief and leaned against the wall.
After this brief moment of happiness, she looked around nervously, like she was seeking for a 来源 of danger. A certain feeling began to overwhelm her. A very familiar, yet very unsettling feeling… Then it struck her, like the axe of a merciless warrior. The pain was beyond endurance, it rampaged through her body, like a giant flood, bathing her muscles in pure agony. Celestia flopped down on the marble floor, but did not faint this time. A grimace of anger and misery curled her features into a cruel snarl as she struggled to find her footing again. Her legs trembled under her weight as she limped to the busted mirror. The alicorn’s jaw dropped in shock, even though she prepared herself for the sight already.
The scars on the right side of her body were glowing again with a bright golden light. Her eyes widened as she watched the sinister pattern expanding on her chest, reaching for the healthy left side, like bloodthirsty hands. She felt like her 识骨寻踪 were white-hot and her muscles are going to explode. Then she realized the yellow aura encasing her horn.
“No… magic…” the solar alicorn growled. “Never again… NEVER!!!”
She forced herself to suppress this instinctive reaction of her body to the trauma. The magic dissolved and Celestia collapsed onto the floor unconsciously.
The swirling thoughts pursued her out of the 床, 床上 chambers. Even though it has been a very stressful day, that consumed a lot of her energies, the Princess of the Night could not get any rest. The cobalt alicorn walked to her balcony with slow, quiet steps. She opened the door, taking a deep inhale, filling her lungs with the fresh night air. Her wings flared and Luna took off. She glided gently in the air, feasting her eyes upon the kingdom in sleep below her. The sleep of the just…
the thought randomly passed through her mind.
Even though she’s been responsible for the cycles of both the Sun and the Moon for over a decade, Luna could not defy her own nature. The Night was her true realm. The moon goddess gained altitude and flew over the clouds. She felt the bonds of her royal duties and concerns soften and come off. She didn’t wear the dual crown 或者 any royal accessories and that boosted her experience of liberty. The cold wind assaulted her senses, but her mouth curled up in a smile. Sensual thrill traveled through her body like a shockwave, bristling up her dark blue coat. Luna closed her eyes and gave herself up to this feeling. She drifted in the air, like a regal falcon, bathing in the moonlight. The cobalt alicorn felt the thick haze of concerns breaking up around her mind, clearing her thoughts. The lunar energy refilled her body with strength and her soul with new determination. She sighed, glanced at the Moon once more, and flew towards Canterlot, 写作 down an arch in the air. On her way back she gazed at the sleeping capital once again. Luna returned to the Castle, but something grabbed her attention before she reached her balcony. A lone figure in the Garden. Hmm… Nocturnal Mirage…
The Princess of the Night turned towards the Garden with a quick, instinctive decision and landed a few feet behind the stallion. He was seemingly 迷失 in observing the stars and did not notice Luna’s arrival.
“May I 加入 you?” a sudden voice asks.
“Oh, Princess…” Mirage winces a little. “Of course…”
“I thought 你 were enjoying your well deserved rest.” Luna remarks softly.
“I could tell 你 the same, your Highness.” the stallion replies.
Luna smiles in approval and approaches the royal blue earth pony. She sits down beside him, looking up to the obsidian skies. They silently watch the flickering stars for several minutes.
“Beautiful…” Mirage whispers after a while.
“You think so?” Luna asks in the same fashion.
“Yes… I’ve always loved the Night.”
“Well, it’s good to know that somepony appreciates my work…” the lunar goddess smiles.
Mirage looks at her. It is odd to see the nocturnal Princess so… genial. The stallion observes Luna for a bit, while she’s 迷失 in the nothingness. It seems she regained some of her strengths. The natural kind warmness of her personality returned. Even her 涂层, 外套 and hair looks brighter and 更多 vivid. She doesn’t wear any jewelry, just sits in the grass, bolt upright, and talks to Mirage like an equal. She seems so mundane. But, the stallion feels her inner struggle and decides to take the initiative.
“But I assume 你 didn’t come here to talk about the stars, Princess…” Mirage says objectively, like if he was 阅读 in Luna’s thoughts.
“Right 你 are, Nocturnal Mirage. We need to talk about the events of this day.”
“Then let's talk.”
“Good.” Luna agrees, but continues to stare at the constellations above.
Mirage stays quiet; he doesn’t want to urge the moon goddess. He somehow knows he’s about to hear things of great importance. But the air traps inside his lungs 由 the 下一个 words of Luna.
“There are a few things 你 must understand. The end of our world is near.” the cobalt alicorn states.
“What?!” Mirage gasps for air.
“Calm down and listen.”
“Calm down?! How… what… I…” the earth 小马 stutters in shock.
“Panic’s not going to help. That is why nopony knows it. And it must stay that way. However, because of your… position in the Royal Guard, 你 must know this... furthermore it is essential for 你 to know...” Luna continues.
“What do 你 mean? I do not understand…”
“Let’s take a walk. I’ll explain.” the moon goddess says and heads toward the inner sections of Canterlot Gardens, with Mirage following her.
“As 你 know, I have been in charge for the cycles of the Sun and the Moon for the last ten years now.”
The stallion nods.
“What 你 do not know, is that I have failed.” Luna admits, lowering her head. “I have failed to fulfill my royal responsibilities.”
“Princess I still…” Mirage begins but Luna’s raised hoof cuts his sentence short.
“What you’ve seen today was the proof of my failure.”
“After the explosion of the Warlock Grenade… something happened to the sky!” Mirage exclaims, with a flickering light of recognition in his 翠, 翡翠 eyes.
“Yes. It was a symptom of the gravitational delays. These delays will get worse and eventually the entire balance of the galaxy will be disrupted. That’s going to be the end of the world as we know it.” Luna declares.
“But… How? Why?” Mirage raises a brow, her features reflecting utter confusion.
Luna looks at him with a waiting eye.
“Celestia.” the royal blue stallion says when he puts the pieces together.
“Exactly. 你 see, I thought I could run everything 由 my own after… after what happened to my sister. She trusted me with wearing the dual crown and I complied with her wishes."
"But I’m not as powerful as my sister. Her absence in the cycle has created these gravitational delays and she’s the only one who can restore the galaxy to equilibrium.” the nocturnal alicorn explains, trying to sound as kind as possible.
“Oh my gosh…”
“We’ve tried to talk this over with her, to let her know in every possible way... every one of us, her family, her closest friends, but to no avail... 你 know what she's been like... Nothing and nopony got through to her. Nopony, but you.”
“I… I… ” Mirage stammers and still cannot believe his secret was revealed so easily.
“Yes! You! I don’t know why, 或者 how did 你 do it, but it seems 你 are the only one who managed to get in touch with her after a decade!"
"I also presume she made 你 swear 你 will not tell me a thing about this. Do not worry; I won’t make 你 break your vow. However, there is one thing 你 must accomplish within four months.”
“Convince my sister to use her magic once more.” Luna requests.
“Oh...” at this moment, the image flashes inside Mirage’s brain, about Celestia, meddling with the candles manually without using any magic.
“It is not an easy task I know. She vowed ten years 以前 that she will never use her magic again. But she has to understand… without her help, ponykind is 迷失 forever.”
“What?! How the 干草 am I supposed to achieve that… your Highness…” Mirage calls out in frustration.
“Somehow 你 succeeded where we have failed. I haven’t seen my own sister in ten years! But you… 你 could lay eyes upon her! She let 你 inside her fortress!” Luna declares passionately and puts a comforting hoof on Mirage’s shoulder. “I have confidence in you. Just do what 你 can!”
“I’ll double my efforts, Princess!” the earth 小马 回复 resolutely. “Only one question… What happened to your sister ten years ago?”
“I’m afraid only Celestia can tell 你 that. This covenant, I cannot break.”
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sorry it took so long again. It may not seem like it, but I put so much work in this story and nowadays I have less time to write. But I'll try to post at least one chapter a week.