The last solstice
Chapter 15: প্রশ্ন and proofs
The nocturnal Princess stood in front of the window immovably, gazing into nothingness. She was alone in her room at the সেকেন্ড highest tower of Canterlot Castle. The weather outside reflected her current emotions, for a massive storm মেঘ blocked out the Sun. Luna watched the raindrops splash on the glass and felt her concerns squeezing her heart, like a merciless hoof. How did we end up here?
Luna thought exhaustedly. Of course, she knew the answer, but she’d rather not think about it. The cobalt alicorn glanced at her reflection in the window and acknowledged how careworn her features are. Her কোট turned paler each দিন and her ever billowing mane and tail barely moved. Since she was alone, she could drop the mask she had to put on every time she faced somepony. Not even Cadence knew how weak and exhausted she really was. Deep in her soul, the lunar goddess felt that Twilight was right. She has reached her limits. And her failure will make way to the disastrous events which are about to come. The words of the purple mare echoed in her brain:
“We have to face facts, Luna. If we can't fix it, this will be our extinction event.” Twilight ব্যক্ত a few days ago. Less than four months... Is this truly the end?
the lunar alicorn asked herself a million times, yet she still could not believe it. She could not believe her own sister. How could she neglect to intervene and ignore the facts which were brought to her attention? Of course, Luna wasn’t even sure if the solar Princess ever comprehended the situation. She remembered their desperate attempts to drag Celestia out of the darkness, so the magical light of the Creator would shine upon her once again. Their efforts were to no avail. The inner demons triumphed over her and crushed her spirit. Luna doubted her sister will ever recover from that blow. And now, what they have built up and protected for আরো than a millennia, will be হারিয়ে গেছে in the dust of time, along with ponykind itself.
The most unbearable was the certainty. Twilight has designed a script for the impeding apocalypse. If they knew back then what would happen, they would have never let Celestia go. If they knew that Luna, as being much younger than her sister does not possess the power necessary to keep the planetary cycles in balance… Every দিন in the last ten years, the gravitational delays grew exponentially. Of course, it wasn’t noticeable for a many years, until Twilight accidentally discovered the truth half a বছর ago. They have been trying to work out a solution which would allow them to maintain the balance without Celestia ever since. But their attempts were futile. There was nopony like Celestia before. Luna could have taken on her mantle and duties if she was a few hundred years older and আরো experienced, with a wider knowledge.
The cobalt alicorn always kept blaming herself, like her sister did because of what she’s done that fateful দিন long ago. But the naked truth was: Luna wasn’t simply powerful enough to perform Celestia’s duties. She could only delay the inevitable. They’ve drained every possible option to get through to the solar Princess, but it was no use. Her closest বন্ধু have failed. Celestia closed the gates of her soul even before her own sister, possibly the only one who could truly understand her. The আরো time have passed, the higher Celestia built the barricades around her, blocking out everything and everypony from her life. At the same time, she sank deeper and deeper into the swamp of guilt and self-hatred.
Cadence, the Princess of Love, the master of emotions, the only one who knows প্রণয় from every aspect also failed – several times - to reach her aunt. When it became a fact, that Equestria’s days are numbered, she came up with the idea.
“I have a suggestion.” the পরাকাষ্ঠা alicorn ব্যক্ত few months ago. “Just ভালুক with me. What if we involve a perfect stranger?”
Luna, along with Twilight, Rarity, রামধনু Dash, Fluttershy and Applejack, the closest বন্ধু of Celestia protested vehemently of course. But Cadence found an ally in Pinkie Pie.
“Why not? I know everypony in Ponyville and consider them all my friends, but they were perfect strangers at the beginning. ” she declared.
A fiery বিতর্ক unfolded between them, but eventually Cadence and Pinkie convinced the others. Obviously, Twilight and the Princess of প্রণয় were the only ones who truly understood the emergency. Eventually they agreed on the plan and Cadence began to খুঁজুন for the perfect candidate, relying on her intuitions. That’s when she found Nocturnal Mirage at the Crystal Embassy. A few মিনিট of observation were আরো than enough for the পরাকাষ্ঠা alicorn to know: he is the one.
Luna never ব্যক্ত she found this plan silly and a complete waste of valuable time. She never believed such methods could prevail where they were unable to প্রদর্শনী any progress. Yet, as things started to take a turn for the worse, everypony – including herself – were putting their hopes into this plan, like the drowning mare clings on the straw.
As a powerful, bright lightning - the biggest Luna has ever seen – struck the surface at the distance, her thoughts returned to Twilight’s predictions.
“So you’re saying these weather phenomenons will continue?” she asked when she heard the bad news for the first time.
“Not only they will continue, but they will grow worse and আরো extreme, as the delay reaches the critical point.” Twilight replied on a dark voice.
“I hope আপনি come back to us, Tia.” Luna whispers to herself. “We can’t keep this a secret much longer… soon everypony will know… and things will get out of hoof…”
The heavy rainfall forced everypony indoors and the loneliest ones used this time for contemplation. Of all ponies, the Princess of the Sun was no exception. If her sister could see her right now, she’d possibly smile, because Celestia was idling in front of her window in the same pose as Luna did. Only a few candles illuminated her bedroom. Ever since that day, she preferred the gloominess for it made everything a bit blurry and covered every bad thing. She nodded her head a little so that she didn’t have to see her scars.
The white alicorn had a lot to think about. It has been two days since her confrontation with the Royal Guard, yet she kept replaying the events in her head again and again. Celestia noticed the voices have stopped. She could feel her demons were still there to haunt her, but it seemed they have retreated for now. She enjoyed the time of temporal calmness which was granted to her. First time in a long time the sun goddess started to feel herself again for a bit. Many প্রশ্ন surfaced from the whirling sea of her mind.
First of all, how Nocturnal Mirage was able to open a door which was sealed দ্বারা a powerful magic? Nopony could open that door unless Celestia allowed them to. But she never did. She locked herself up here for a reason. Yet this stallion, a simple earth টাট্টু waltzes in just like that? Twice?
She could ascend beyond herself in the time of danger, when the changelings attacked and dragged Mirage in to save his life. But then she could not control herself and was completely terrified because of the presence of another pony. The সেকেন্ড time was different. The malicious instinct dwelled in Mirage, the deep hatred toward her was there, she sensed it clearly. However, when they met muzzle to muzzle two days ago, it was gone. When the stallion ব্যক্ত he sees a pony, nothing else, he was telling the truth. Something changed in him.
Celestia’s eyes went large দ্বারা the realization. Something changed in her as well, whatever this odd interaction was. Following this train of thought the solar Princess came to the conclusion that deep down, beyond her conscious mind, she wanted somepony to get in. And that টাট্টু happened to be the only one who was there: Nocturnal Mirage.
The other প্রশ্ন that kept poking the back of Celestia’s head was a আরো sinister one. What exactly happened two days ago? She remembered her scars were glowing, like the sunlight and she felt like she was on fire. The alicorn of the Sun combed back her mane with a lady-like motion and touched the wounds on her cheek. Whatever it was, it’s gone now. They are the same, harsh black scars that were distorting her face and most of the right side of her body for a decade now. But two days ago, they felt like a living, hot matter.
Since she could not find an acceptable explanation for that, the sun goddess finished her contemplation, and walked to the লাইব্রেরি room with a bottle of strong red wine. She laid down on the sofa, finding a comfortable position and picked up a book from the many. Celestia took a sip from the fine vintage and began to read. After a few pages, her sharp ears picked up on a quiet noise coming from the door. A সেকেন্ড later, a letter slid through the tiny gap under the wooden door. A series of emotions rampaged through the white alicorn in less than a glimpse: fury, doubt, fear, uncertainty, shame and… yes… a little happiness… just a tiny spark, but it was definitely there.
She glances out the window into the gray curtain of rain. The thought is so sudden, instinctive and rapid, that Celestia does not even comprehend it fully, but the order has been given, the spell obeys.
The door opens wide দ্বারা itself, revealing Nocturnal Mirage at the other side. He’s holding a book in his hooves. The solar goddess immediately recognizes it. The stallion’s jaw drops in surprise and they just stare at each other persistently for some length.
“Uh… I’m…” Mirage clears his throat, breaking the silence. “I’m terribly sorry, Princess for disturbing your solitude… it wasn’t my doing, I swear! I… just wanted to return this book on astronomy আপনি gave me and the door opened দ্বারা itself…”
The Princess of the Sun doesn’t reply. She just gazes at him with investigative eyes, clearly weighing up the situation and her পরবর্তি move. Mirage idles on the same spot and he notices how calm the Princess is right now. Her fluorescent mane floats gently around her, covering her right side of course.
“You…” the white alicorn says, and Mirage prepares himself for an outburst.
“You ব্যক্ত I wasn’t alone… Prove it.” Celestia states with an inexpressive face.
Mirage raises his hoof but before he makes a step he glances at the Princess again as a sign of his hesitation. She slightly nods her head in approval and the stallion enters Celestia’s sanctuary.
Celly in the last scene. (Pic drawn by me)