A Moon and World Apart

by Evilhumour

Chapter 1: Chapter one

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A Moon and World Apart

Chapter One

It was a bright day while the personal student of Princess Celestia laid out on the grass and looked at her collection of books. There was one book that was out of place among the magic tomes and theses. It was a history book, and while she personally didn't care much for the stories of the past, Princess Celestia had placed this book into her pile which meant a lesson involved whatever was inside these pages.

"More water?" Spike asked, causing the unicorn to blink and smile, nodding her head.

"Thanks, Spike," she said, taking the glass of water from her assistant and brother figure. "You always know what I need."

"You taught me well," Spike replied. "So what is it this time that Princess Celestia wants to teach you?"

"Not sure," she replied, opening the book and hesitated instantly. "Oh."

"Oh?" Spike echoed before he got a look at the front page himself and let out another, "Oh."

Clearing her throat, she began to read the book with a great sense of dread.

Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, there were two regal sisters who ruled together and created harmony for all the land. To do this, the eldest used her powers to raise the sun at dawn; the younger brought out the moon to begin the night. Thus, the two sisters maintained balance for their kingdom and their subjects, all the different types of ponies. But as time went on, the younger sister began to demand more for those that worshiped her night, The elder pleaded with her sister to show compassion and reason but to no avail. Then came the Longest Night, where the ponies that worshiped the night and younger sister attacked those ponies of the day. The young sister refused to punish those guilty of their crimes and instead fled with them to the moon, where they remain to this day.

It is said, though, that in the thousandth year since the Longest Night, the stars shall aid in the younger sister's return from the moon, and unless they are able to reunite and heal the wounds that divide them, the sisters will meet in a clash that will shake the cosmos.

"You don't... think that is real," Spike asked her, looking concerned and worried.

"Well, if Princess Celestia did have a sister, I am sure she would have said something," she replied, knowing that another alicorn princess would make the stories of the moon ponies suddenly a lot more plausible, if not outright be the missing piece to make it real. "But," she pointed out, "She's never assigned us a book that was outright fiction without saying it was fiction. And of all the stories we have heard of the moon ponies, this is the first time I've ever heard any mention of Princess Celestia having a sister."

"So what are we going to do?" Spike asked as they got up and gathered their belongings.

"We're going to ask Celestia what exactly is going on," she replied with a determined look on her face.

"But isn't she really busy getting ready for the Summer Sun Celebration?" Spike asked.

"Even so Spike, I am sure that her sending this book to us means she is expecting us," she then chuckled. "And don't worry, I will make sure you will have enough time to get ready for your own party with Lemon Hearts, Spike."

"Thanks Sunset," Spike said as the two of them headed off to meet with the Princess of Equestria. "You know I've been looking forward to that."

Sunset Shimmer smiled and ruffled the rounded spikes on his head. "Hey, what are big sisters for?"

It didn't take too long for them to arrive in the palace, and to find their way to Princess Celestia's office. At Sunset's knock, a friendly "Come in!" was heard, and the two opened the door.

Celestia herself was sitting at her desk, looking at some papers, but as she saw just who had arrived, her face brightened. "Sunset, Spike, how good to see you."

"Likewise," Sunset replied, cutting to the matter directly. "We came to ask you about something."

"Oh?" Celestia asked. It wasn't well known but Princess Celestia actually preferred to be spoken to directly, rather than having to listen to a lot of roundabout talk before the being she was speaking to got to their point.

Sunset nodded. "It's about this book you assigned us, about the Longest Night and the ponies of the moon. How accurate is it?"

Celestia's entire demeanor changed in an instant, stiffening her spine. It told Sunset enough, though as normal for Princess Celestia, she did not give a proper answer. "It is true enough, Sunset," she said without the normal warmth in her voice. "However, the matters of what occurred a thousand years ago are not why I sent you that tome. To be honest, I had planned to send you a different message altogether, requesting you to help assist those in Ponyville for my arrival in a few days' time."

Sunset frowned at her, feeling she was being given the runaround but she was also aware of how out of character Celestia was right now and she wasn't about to poke that bugbear. "Okay." Then she walked around behind Celestia's desk, prompting the other mare to pull her chair back and turn it so she could look Sunset right in the face.

"Is there something else you wanted?" she asked quietly.

Sunset felt a moment's nervousness, but then looked her teacher directly in the eye. "Princess... if you ever feel like you want to talk to me about this, I'll be here for you," she said. "You were always there for me when I needed to vent, or when I had something I was worried about. I'll gladly do the same if you need it."

Celestia looked at her for a moment, then smiled. "I know you mean well, my faithful student. But there are some things I have a hard time opening up about, and this is one of them. Maybe... maybe one day. But not now."

"All right." Sunset smiled, and then again when Celestia reached down and hugged her.

"I appreciate the offer though," she whispered before letting go and looking at the two again. "I am sorry Spike, but I do believe that you will be missing Lemon Hearts' party, if you choose to help Sunset with her tasks."

"It's no problem, Princess. I can just tell her what's happening," Spike said, bowing and blushing as Celestia addressed him directly. "Besides... it's this afternoon, I can spare a few hours before meeting up with Sunset in Ponyville. It's not like she will burn anything down again."

Sunset groaned playfully, getting louder as Celestia chuckled. "It was one ti-... no wait, how many times was it again?" she asked, getting Celestia to laugh a bit louder which was what really mattered. "Don't worry Princess, I will see that the ponies in Ponyville are ready for you."

"Thank you, Sunset, Spike," Celestia said, dismissing the two from her office.

As the doors closed behind them, Spike gave her a look. "You are totally going to talk to Cadance about this, aren't you?"

Sunset didn't even pretend to be offended by Spike's accusation, and instead nodded her head. "She tells Cadance more than anyone else and if anyone can understand the Princess's true feelings, it's her."

Then she looked at him. "Though I can make a wild guess, and if it isn't accurate I'll be very surprised."

"What's that?" Spike asked.

"I'll tell you later, when we aren't out in the open," Sunset told him, seeing the guards approach them. "Come on, let's get back to the tower. You have a party to get ready for, and if I'm going to be out of town for a few days, I have to pack some things."

"Just make sure you don't forget to bring more than just books," Spike told her.

Sunset snorted indignantly. "I only did that once," she said. "Now come on Spike, we don't want to be late."

"Come on Twilight, you're going to be late," Moondancer said as she ran by her friend's side as the purple unicorn ran with the moving walkway, both of them doing their best to avoid the ponies who were just standing on the walkway as they got to where they needed to be.

"I know that," Twilight shot back, feeling the familiar pangs of panic and worry in her chest and tried to remember and follow her teacher's lessons to deal with her stress but they weren't helping. "My alarms didn't go off today for some reason!" Taking the time to change walkways to reach the hoverpads and using her momentum to slide into one of the further away hexagonal hoverpad as it would have taken more time to slow herself to go for the nearest one, Twilight held out her arm with her PCA to the monitor's screen so her codes would allow her further access over the transport's functions.

"Are you sure it's not because you were up all night reading?" Moondancer asked as the railings around the hoverpad emerged from their housing and gave a brief look at the protective shield. She then bit her lip as while Twilight was normally a passable driver, Moondancer knew that when the unicorn was in this mood, her skills dipped noticeably. Also to the fact, Twilight was using her clearance codes as the lead director's student to access the higher speed of this hoverpad that was normally blocked for normal citizens.

Twilight blushed as she drove them through the throng of other hoverpads, taking citizens to wherever they were needed in Illumination. "Maybe," she answered sheepishly, though she kept her hooves and eyes on the path ahead towards the capital, though the possibilities for an actual crash was incredibly low due to the software in the hoverpads would take precautions if two were ever to smash into each other. And even if there was an accident, the protective dome over the hoverpads were more than capable of taking care of anyone. "But I do have a lot of work ahead of me with Orion nearing completion."

"I know," Moondancer said with a bit of awe in her voice at that project that would be the crowning jewel of their nation and the ultimate justification and vindication for everything they had done for the last thousand years. "But you still need to take care of yourself first. You can't expect to be able to make history if you've worked yourself to death in the process." Her voice softened. "I worry about you doing that, you know. You're my best friend, and I don't want to lose you."

Twilight nodded her head as they pulled up to the Lux Aeternam, the chief government building where the lawmakers and directors met to decide the fate of their republic. It always made Twilight's spirit soar to see the towering slopes of the shining white marble walls and their nation's flag flying at the highest point with the stars and space as a backdrop. It was honestly an indulgence to have that effect but no one would ask Director Quick Light or any of those under the energy department to change it. And if it ever got to the point where such a luxury needed to be shut off, then they would have much more important issues to deal with.

Parking near the other hoverpads, she saw the parliament's guards already moving to intercept them. Not even being the head director's personal student excused Twilight from bending or breaking the rules, so she submitted to a facial scan as well as a quick biometric test to confirm her identity, as well as Moondancer's.

"You know you are cutting it very close, Twilight," the guard said even before they'd finished the scans. "She's been pacing for a while now; whatever she is about to say is going to be big."

Twilight felt another surge of panic and terror before she did her best to clamp onto it, with the guard looking sheepishly while his partner, a thestral mare named Midnight Blossom, rolled her eyes and elbowed him. "Hush, Bright Gem," she hissed, as she watched the other two mares saying their temporary goodbyes.

"Are you going to be okay Twilight?" Moondancer asked as Twilight began to walk into the parliament building, staying near the recessed hidden doors as she didn't have any business or clearance inside.

"Yes, I think so," Twilight answered, bobbing her head as the marble walls parted for her, flashing Moondancer a smile. "Thanks for checking up on me this morning. If there's anything I can do to make it up for your help, just name it, though afterwards."

Moondancer watched the doors close before letting out a sigh, with the two guards shaking their heads. "I guess it was a bit too much to expect her to remember my upcoming party," she said a bit sourly as she began to turn around and head towards the nearest walkway back to the main city.

It wasn't a long trip towards the personal offices of her teacher and while Twilight was in a bit of a rush, she couldn't help but stare at the various paintings and sculptures lining the hallways, each telling their own stories. Each one was a priceless masterpiece in its own way, though there was one that Twilight truly loved and as she would need to cut through the central chamber to reach her teacher's office, she could take a few seconds to savor the view.

Going through one of the side doors, she entered the central chamber where the directors would meet and looked upwards to see the tapestry that depicted the birth of their nation, with her teacher defending the would-be founders from the ignorant and fearful ponies of Equestria and their uncaring and thoughtless princess, before transitioning into the creation of the first dome and a gradual expansion to cover more territory over the moon.

"A beautiful sight, is it not?" her teacher asked, appearing by her side.

"Luna," Twilight said in awe of her teacher's presence. "I'm sorry I'm late, my alarm..."

Luna smiled, placing a dark blue wing on her shoulders. "It's all right, Twilight," she said, staring at the tapestry, floating in a lazy orbit around the ceiling of the room. Then her expression changed to a melancholy one though, and she shook her head. "Those were hard times; you cannot even begin to imagine what it was like," she said, walking towards the center of the room. "My ponies were singled out, even though they weren't hurting anypony, simply because they preferred the nighttime over the day. Treated as if they were in the wrong by those who couldn't see past the end of their own muzzles. We left because we wanted to be free to live life without being harassed." She looked back to Twilight. "And from what I understand, down below, they still see the night as a thing to fear because it's different, and they still refuse to try and see otherwise."

"But Luna, none of us have us gone to Equuis since the Night of Departure," Twilight said, moving in front of her teacher. "Scientifically, there is no way to prove that."

"Exactly, my dear student," Luna said with another sigh and she leaned down to nuzzle Twilight. "We do not truly know what goes on below us. And with our plans nearing completion, some do think we should at least try to reach out to our cousins and see what has occurred in the last thousand years. Some even think there is stuff they could teach us." Luna said with a snort, Twilight snickering slightly at that idea. "But with all due honesty, my precious student, we cannot proceed with our plans without reaching out to Equestria and their leader first."

Twilight knew she wasn't the most socially aware or adept pony in the Lunar Republic but even she could tell Luna had her own bitter feelings concerning Equestria's leader.

"As we cannot begin to trust anything she or her court of nobles say at face value, we will need some ponies to see the truth of the matter without them being aware of whom they are talking to." She looked at Twilight. "I want you to be one of that group, Twilight."

"Me?" Twilight looked stunned. "Why me?"

"Because you, my trusted student, are an incredibly bright and perceptive pony," Luna said with pride emanating from her voice. "You will know how to ask the proper questions of the common pony of Equestria and I feel you will be able to perceive the truth of the matter far better than anyone else, whose prejudice might come into effect."

"I... don't know what to say," Twilight said, shocked at what her teacher was asking of her.

"Then take the time that I will be spending with my fellow directors to reflect on your decision," Luna said, placing a hoof on her shoulder. "Know that I will not hold it against you if you decide to stay behind if you feel you cannot do this. Your wellbeing is what matters most to me."

"Thank you Luna," Twilight replied, nodding her head as she hugged her mentor, who returned the gesture with a deep smile on her face as the directors of the Lunar Republic began to enter the room, some of them giving Twilight a polite hello as they passed by. Twilight trotted out of the room, flashing a smile back at her teacher who returned the gesture before the doors sealed shut.

"Now what am I going to do?" Twilight asked herself as she headed back the way she'd originally come.

She wondered if Luna would mind if she asked somepony else for advice on this matter, decided it probably wouldn't hurt, and then trotted toward the exit, her destination clearly in mind.

She had a friend to visit, and she hoped Moondancer wouldn't mind being imposed on again today. The other mare had helped her often enough in the past, and Twilight knew full well how Moondancer felt about her (she was socially awkward, not deaf, after all), but Twilight didn't want to risk pushing her too far.

With that decided on, she left the building.

Next Chapter: Chapter Two Estimated time remaining: 7 Hours, 13 Minutes
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