by TGM

Chapter 1

Princess Luna stepped out onto the balcony of the Canterlot castle, eyes trained to the sky as she watched the last rays of sunlight dip below the horizon. The sky was rapidly darkening as it made way for the Princess of the Night to do her work.

She smiled; there was always something so very peaceful about the hour just before nightfall. Her eyes drifted to a close as a cool breeze washed over her, it rustled her fur and billowed her mane. She took a few moments to savor this serene silence, a moment of peace that seemed to exist in no other time of day.

Then she exhaled, and her eyes opened. She was no longer looking at the night sky, but an unfinished piece of art. The celestial bodies themselves were her paint, and her own imagination the brush.

Her horn glowed dark blue as she raised her head skyward. At her beck and call, thousands of twinkling lights lit in the deep darkness. Princess Luna had always admired the stars, there was something so majestic about them. Without saying a word they seemed to speak volumes. They could always guide a weary traveler through the darkest of nights. They told tales of days long past with the patterns they drew in the sky. They provided a great source of admiration for anypony who chose to glance up at the night sky. How many others were looking at the very same stars and admiring them, just as she was?

Princess Luna released that thought for the moment. Instead, she lifted her right foreleg out in front of her and swept it across the vast expanse. The otherworldly lights reacted accordingly. Anypony who looked up at the night sky in that moment would have been treated to quite the light show. The stars streaked across her canvas and left behind a brilliant tail of light wherever they went. They flitted about as one consciousness, mindful of crossing one another’s path as they obeyed the will of their mistress. It appeared organized, orderly, beautiful.

Princess Luna flicked her hoof and the stars froze in their position. She cocked her head to the side ever so slightly to admire her work, and picked out several constellations in the night sky as she did so. Orion stood as her silent sentinel from above, his careful gaze always watching their world. Cancer too was there; the astral crustacean served as a constant reminder of days long past, when Celestia had helped her name her creations. She was able to pick out several more: Aquarius, Draco, and even the Ursa Major.

Princess Luna was in a particularly good mood this evening. She felt her sky needed to convey this to anypony who was lucky enough to glance up to her creation on this night. So she took a deep breath, then blew like a foal who might try to produce a bubble from a wand. Incandescent dust left her form, and drifted upwards to seek its place in the night sky. It found it behind her stars, giving her creation a beautiful backdrop in the form of an otherworldly dust that stretched from end to end of her canvas. Princess Luna sometimes imagined herself walking through her creation, the cosmic dust serving as a road for her to traverse the heavens. Many ponies believed her capable of doing such a feat, as many pieces of artwork from humble merchants she’d seen had depicted her doing just that. However, it was naught but a faint dream, one that she hoped she would get to fulfil someday.

However, she still had a job to do. Her creation was incomplete. Though it was indeed beautiful, it needed something more; a crowning jewel with which to place the finishing touches. Princess Luna’s horn glowed ever brighter, and to those far away she might have appeared as a star herself.

She closed her eyes in concentration, and focused on that which was just below the horizon. Her charge and former prison. Slowly, the mass heeded her. It wasn’t long before silver light began to peek from below the horizon, followed by the titan that was producing it. The moon rose ever so slowly to its rightful place, unhindered by the forces that kept her and her ponies bound to this planet they called home. Though she had done this many times before, each time it always managed to take her breath away. She was doing things that other ponies could only dream of. Something that brought joy to the faces of her subjects that sought refuge in the cool embrace of the night. She did not think herself superior, however. No, she would never think of herself above anypony. She was simply grateful that her, of all ponies, was able to bring such a masterpiece to life.

Lost in her thoughts again. She seemed to be doing that a lot tonight. Nevertheless, her subjects counted on her to bring light to this darkness. With a final flick of her head, the skyward lantern took its place in her night sky. It seemed brighter than usual somehow. As if some divine forces that be chose to make the moon reflect her mood on this gorgeous evening.

Princess Luna smiled as she admired her hoofwork, nodding to herself as she made a last few careful observations. With a brilliant smile and a swelling in her chest, she looked down to the city of Canterlot.

The city was awash in the glow of the moon. The light gave it an otherworldly and magnificent glow Luna had thought bereft of such a place upon meeting some of the nobles who ‘graced’ her sister’s day court. Most of her ponies chose to retire for the night. However this did not stir any feelings of grief as it once had. Princess Luna knew there were ponies who appreciated her night now, that much was obvious when she attended Nightmare Night in Ponyville, and in Canterlot too there were ponies who were up and about. She could see a few of them glance skywards and smile. It was that smile that Princess Luna sought every night. Even if only one pony saw her creation this night, it would make all of her hard work worth it.

With her job done, Princess Luna moved onto the second phase of her nightly duties. She turned from the balcony and made her way out of her room. She greeted several guards along the way to her destination: her dreaming room.

The space itself was not complex. The moon shone through the only window in the room, making it glow with a calm, silvery light. A single altar surrounded by candles served as the only decoration. Princess Luna trotted up to the altar, it was decorated with flowers and painted with symbols that spoke of peace and serenity. Luna had tasked Twilight Sparkle with helping her research spells of peace and serenity, so that she could concentrate. When their research proved fruitless, Twilight turned to the aid of her zebra friend Zecora. Her knowledge of non equine magic proved invaluable in providing a sanctuary where Luna could concentrate; even now, the symbols adorning her altar seemed to glow.

Princess Luna slowly lied down on the altar, took one last look at her night sky and smiled. Then, she closed her eyes and cast a spell. She felt herself fall away from her own body. When she opened her eyes again, she found herself awash in the arcane intricacies of the dream realm. Spherical points of light floated to and fro against a magenta expanse, and images accompanied with voices flowed around her like water. Princess Luna took a deep breath, then set out to begin her work once more.

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