Let Sleeping Gods Lie

by Obselescence

Chapter 1: The Royal Bedding

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The Royal Chambers for any Princess were designed, first and foremost, for comfort. It was common knowledge that one should never sit easy on a throne—very little back support—so every effort was taken to make sitting easier while off of it. The curtains were silken, the carpeting plush, and the bed...

Oh, goodness, the bed. The pillows were weapons-grade soft, and stuffed with phoenix down—courtesy of a certain rat with wings Celestia liked to keep. The mattress was made of only the finest cumulus clouds, dressed with sheets like woven air. Odes had been written to beds such as these, and eulogies written for ponies who’d died from sheer bliss after lying on them... Which was tragic, of course, but the point was that it was simply a very good bed.

Princess Luna deeply appreciated that fact as she stretched her aching wings and prepared herself for the time-honored tradition of sleep. She hadn’t gotten an awful lot of that lately, what with triple-shifts manning the watch over Canterlot Castle. Her eyes were lined by darker half-circles than the moon’s, and her hooves ached from standing up on a tower and looking through a telescope all night. And most of the days too.

Because any threat worth dealing with would surely have been visible from miles away.

In Luna’s humble opinion, only fools would try to attack Canterlot during a Royal Wedding, but very few of her loyal subjects liked to ask her humble opinion. So she’d done her duty and kept watch. Celestia had taken a few shifts, out of pity, but mostly her sister had focused her efforts on the wedding, leaving Luna to handle the most thankless and pointless of jobs.

Which makes one rather tired!” she shouted out loud. It was rather a pointless outburst, since the walls were imbued with sound-proofing spells. It felt good to let out a little steam in private, though, since she didn’t dare do it to her sister’s face. And at least it was better than shouting into her gloriously soft phoenix down pillows. “I am rather bitter about that, you know!

She yawned. Well, there was no point in crying over uncounted sheep. She wouldn’t begrudge the chance to be helpful for Cadance’s wedding, so long as nopony begrudged her the chance to catch up on her rest. She snuggled under the covers and turned her pillow over for maximum coolness. A tired smile spread over her lips—a long and well-deserved rest it would be.

It occurred to her, as she closed her eyes, that she’d been scheduled for another shift on the watch while the wedding itself took place, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to care anymore. She shut her eyes and allowed herself to drift off into the wondrous haze of sleep.

So what if she missed a shift or two on the watch?

It wasn’t as if anyone would ever notice.

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Her dream was fairly typical, as dreams went: a simple tea party, to fit her simple tastes. Only a few dozen of Canterlot’s most important nobles were present, and the cups were merely fine china, instead of the finest. She tapped her cup gently with the spoon and smiled warmly as all the ponies turned their sole attention toward the head of the table.

Hear ye, hear ye!” she shouted, as loud as she liked. “Your Princess Luna now declares this party of tea... begun!

The nobles cheered and broke up into their usual gossip, such as how fine Princess Luna looked on that beautiful night, and tips on copying Princess Luna’s fashionable mane-style. It was hardly news to her, but Luna did so enjoy conversing with her loyal subjects.

She took a sip of hot chamomile and smiled. Yes, good. Wonderful, even.

“More tea, beloved Princess Luna?” a passing servant asked her.

“Why, yes! I am beloved,” said Luna. She drained her cup of chamomile. “And also more tea, if you will.”

The servant nodded and refilled her cup before dissolving into such stuff as dreams were made on. Luna took another long sip of her tea and sighed, allowing the blissful calming effect of the chamomile to overtake her.

“So, Sir Fancy Pants,” she said, striking conversation with one of the nobles seated near her. “How goes ‘the buzz,’ as they say it?”

“Excellent grasp of modern vernacular, Princess,” said Fancy Pants. “The buzz goes well. Your poll results are at an all-time high, you know. One hundred and one percent approval rating.”

Luna frowned. “That sounds faintly impossible.”

“Yes,” agreed Fancy Pants cheerfully. He took a sip from his own cup of tea. “It does.”

Luna sighed and stared into the bottom of her cup. She’d overdone it again. Some of it had likely been due to exhaustion, but on the whole she did need to get better about keeping her dreams within the realm of possibility. Maybe a ninety-nine percent approval rating next time...

“We’ll say there’s a one percent polling error.” She waved airily, looking for another plausible explanation. “Or perhaps some of my subjects love me so much they had to be counted twice.”

“An excellent idea, Princess,” said Fancy Pants. “Your genius is incomparable, your beauty more radiant than the stars themselves. Why, if I could trade all my vast riches for but another moment in your company, I would—”

But Fancy Pants had no chance to elaborate on what he would do, exactly, because at precisely that moment he turned into Celestia.

“Oh no...” Luna whispered.

“This is a message,” said Celestia, looking quite battered and weary. Her coat was covered in ash and her mane appeared to be caked with some kind of green sludge. “Luna, I don’t know where you are right now, but Canterlot is in grave danger. We need you to—”

Luna groaned as her sister droned on. Of course. Celestia’s paranoia had infected even her dreams. Small wonder, after a week of listening to needless rants about the grave danger the Royal Wedding faced.

“—turned out to be an impostor this entire time,” the dream-Celestia continued. “I don’t know how the rest of the army got past your guard, but if you’re still all right, you must come immediately to assist us at the wedding proper. If this threat goes unchecked, Canterlot may soon—”

“Out, out, out of my dream!” Luna grumbled, knocking her hoof against her head. Trying to punch Celestia out of her dream was futile, of course, but it was better than listening to her sister go on about this. Honestly, she’d spent an entire sleepless week worrying about threats that weren’t there. Did she have to dream about them also?

Dark clouds filled the sky as Celestia rambled. A horrible rhythmic thunder crashed to punctuate her every syllable.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

But Celestia merely continued on in a steady verbal march. The dream-nobles paid the weather no mind either, as they were far too busy imitating a new fashion from the beloved and always-hip Princess Luna: punching one’s self repeatedly in the face.

“Please, I beg you!” Luna shouted, splashing the rest of her tea in the dream-Celestia’s face. “Go away, and let me dream in peace!”

Boom. Boom. Boom.

“And if...” Boom. “...some reason...” said the dream-Celestia, her voice all but drowned out by the thunder overhead. “...something happens to one of us...” Boom. “...want you...” Boom. “...to know...”

The biggest crash of thunder yet boomed out. Howling winds blew away the tea sets. Luna held on tight to her cup, hoping that she could still manage to get a refill on her chamomile.

“...I love you,” Celestia finished. “End message.”

A bolt of lightning struck the dream-Celestia, exploding in a torrent of sparks beside Luna. It was rather shocking, all said, and quite overdramatic. She was about to open her mouth to tell the dream-Celestia this, but another bolt of lightning flashed rudely from the heavens. Luna looked up just in time to see it arcing toward her. She gritted her teeth, preparing herself for the worst...


And just like that, the dream broke.

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There was an insufferable knocking at her bedroom door.

“Rrrrngh,” Luna groaned, wrapping her phoenix down pillow ‘round her head. She did not need this. She was not rested. She deserved more sleep. “Go ‘way... Your Princess commands it.”

But apparently whoever it was knocking had never learned any respect, which was evident because they kept knocking.

Fine!” she roared, getting up. “But there had better be a good reason for this!” Slowly, Luna rose from the soothing warmth of her bed and fell into a cold and unforgiving world. She placed her crown lazily upon her head and yawned. “So help me...”

She brushed her mane quickly with her hoof, praying she looked at least presentable to whatever insubordinate servant she was dealing with. “All right, what is it?” she said, opening up the door.

Behind the newly-opened door was what appeared to be two-dozen black-armored changelings. Their compound eyes glinted evilly and their slavering fangs dripped with green slime. Luna rubbed her eyes and sighed. Evidently the new secretaries. She’d have to have a talk with the ministers about the sort of crowd they were hiring.

“Princesssss Luna,” hissed the foremost changeling, grinning wide at her. “Canterlot Casssstle is under—heh heh—new management. You will come with ussss now.”

Luna paused for a moment, allowing her tired mind to process this information.

She yawned. “Your Princess is tired,” she declared. “You will tell your new manager to report to me in eight hours.”

And with that, she shut the door.

She stumbled back to the warmth of her sheets and sighed. “Honestly,” she muttered. “Why can’t they ever bother me about important matters?”

Still, there was no issue. It was a very minor interruption in her sleep, and she had a very comfortable bed. Why, all she had to do was shut her eyes now, and she’d be off to sleep again...

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The night was warm and the breeze was cool on Princess Luna’s Eternal Paradise Vacation Island, to which everypony in Equestria had been invited, of course. Luna reclined gracefully on a cloud-hammock, sipping chamomile tea from a coconut shell. A trio of adorable little fillies ran by on the beach, singing songs to her greatness. Great coral reefs rose from the deep in the pattern of her likeness. Business as usual.

“More tea, beloved Princess Luna?” said a passing-by servant in a decorative grass skirt.

“Why, yes!” said Luna. “I am bel—”


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There was that knocking again.

What is it?” Luna roared. She scrambled up from her bed in a rage, hardly even caring that she’d put her crown on upside down. “What could possibly be so important that you would dare to interrupt your Princess’ slumber?

A horde of approximately two-dozen black-armored changeling secretaries greeted her again at the door.

A vein pulsed in her temple.

“You do realize,” she whispered, “that I have ordered you all previously to go away, abscond, leave me be, and otherwise remove yourselves from my presence?”

The foremost changeling hissed at her—quite impertinently, she had to add.

She brushed them off with a concussive spell, scattering each and every one of them down the halls. It wasn’t lethal—even the secretaries didn’t deserve that much—but it would knock them out for a good while. Long enough for her to get some peace and quiet, at least. How did they expect her to sleep?

Clearly the Castle’s staff was severely undertrained.

“You will report to the new manager immediately upon waking,” she told them. “I will inform them to cut your pay severely for this impertinence.” She glanced briefly over her handiwork to make sure she hadn’t missed anything and spied a changeling who’d been knocked into a priceless antique vase. Unsurprisingly, this had shattered it—the vase—into a thousand-odd pieces. “And clean that mess up also.”

Satisfied that the situation had been resolved, she shut the door behind her and went back to bed.

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Princess Luna, the gracious and well-rested, strode confidently through the grounds of the Canterlot Garden. The after-ceremony for the Royal Wedding had only just begun it seemed, and not a soul appeared to have noticed that she’d been absent from her watch duty.

She would have to mention that to Celestia at some point, after all the wedding hubbub died down. They’d both have a good laugh over how unnecessary all the paranoia had been.

She downed a glass of punch by the refreshments, and found herself mildly annoyed that there wasn’t any chamomile tea. The punch-bowl gossip was the usual: how frightening Princess Luna was, how she still needed to tone down her voice... and an unusual new tidbit about how she’d singlehoofedly wiped out an elite regiment of the invasion force—whatever that meant.

Regardless, the whole thing appeared to have gone off without a hitch. She had, regrettably, missed any opportunity to see Cadance and Shining Armor happily wed, but she could easily get the highlights later from her sister.

Which—speak of the devil—she happened to spy standing next to some of Twilight Sparkle’s friends. Neither her sister nor any of the other ponies seemed to have noticed her absence, or her suspiciously well-rested visage—which suited her perfectly. If she could only act natural now, no one would be the wiser as to her dereliction of duty. The perfect crime... so to speak. She flew up with the greatest of casualness and set herself gently on the grass beside them.

“Hello, everypony. Did I miss anything?”

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