My Little Pony Fan Fiction ❯ Eclipse ❯ Chapter 1

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Luna only wanted to be acknowledged, and when a pony finally favored the night, she was determined to make him happy. Yet destiny was set to tell a different story and turn her dream into a nightmare.

Chapter 1: The Princess and the Oddball

The sun sunk in the horizon in fair Equestria, the last of its light shining upon the magnificent capital palace for the day. Canterlot became still, as princess Celestia lowered the large ball of fire and her sister stepped out to take her turn as the ruler of the night. With practiced care, Luna made the moon rise to the center of the skies, its fully visible surface reflecting the light of the sun. The younger princess sighed, a reflection, that was all she was, a mere reflection of her sister. Yet kind Celestia could not imagine the bitterness that was building up in Luna's heart, foolishly caught up in her own optimism. "Have a good night, Luna," the elder alicorn smiled and departed for her royal chambers, leaving the younger standing alone in the castle tower.

Luna looked towards the distance and found nothing of interest. There was no activity, as if the land was dead. Hearing hoof steps, she longed for the company of the origin of the sound, even if it was only a guard passing by. Starswirl, an elderly bearded unicorn stallion with a white mane, arrived. "Greetings princess Luna."

Luna smiled, "Greetings, Starswirl!" Good old Starswirl would keep her company. He would gaze at the beautiful stars and ramble on and on about the constellations. She would lend an ear and her night would not feel so lonely. "Will you be studying the stars tonight?"

Starswirl cringed a little at Luna's loud excited voice, but didn't mind too much, as he knew what a good listener she could be. His eyes scanned the area around the tower as he replied. "Not tonight, I just came for my notes, ah, there they are." He levitated a scroll that had been left next to the telescope by the window. "I need to get up bright and early tomorrow for the astronomy lecture."

"Of course..." Luna's voice lowered in volume as she heard his answer, though caught in his excitement, Starswirl didn't notice.

"Have a good night, Princess Luna," the unicorn stallion was gone, his hoof steps fading into silence.

Luna let out a lonely breath and looked out at the sky. Starswirl was happy with his job as a professor in Celestia's new school. Yet that meant he had become more diurnal to be able to impart his lessons. It was all mostly theory and rarely did he take his students in expeditions to learn about the stars from the stars rather than from books. It was inconvenient for their schedule apparently. Luna felt bitter to Celestia for taking her dear friend away. Yet she couldn't be angry at Starswirl, Celestia had been his mentor and he respected and admired her very much, he didn't see Luna loneliness. He wasn't cruel, Luna concluded, he was dense and so was Celestia.

Resolving to get some fresh air to clear her head, Luna jumped out the window and spread her magnificent dark feathered wings. The cool night air was nice, but empty. Silence rained supreme, the atmosphere devoid of joy and laughter. As Luna flew over the quiet sleeping Canterlot, she did not expect the sudden noise that shattered the piece. It was the sound of an explosion, certainly not the kind of sound she longed to hear. The night princess rushed to the source of the smoke and examined the damage done to the structure. The edges of the window looked singed and the inside of the residence was a mess from what she could see.

Several ponies were awakened by the noise and were making their way out of their houses to investigate and find the pony responsible for interrupting their rest. Luna blended in with the darkness as the ponies rushed into the house uninvited as she continued to watch from the window.

"This has to stop!" One mare angrily declared.

"We already told princess Celestia about you and she sent you a letter! Nights are for sleeping, sleeping!" A stallion angrily shouted.

"You're always waking us at these horrible hours, why don't you get some sleep and let the rest of us do the same?" Another mare yelled.

"I'm sorry, that wasn't supposed to happen," the stallion who owned the house and had caused the explosion apologized. He was covered in ashes and sticky black oil from head to hoof. His cutie mark was too smudged with grime to be identifiable and other than the fact that he was male, the only other thing Luna could figure out was that he was a unicorn. "It was just a small prototype; I honestly didn't expect it to blow up like that."

"Magnus, always so contrary, always causing trouble, the infamous Magnus Mecha." None other than Starswirl himself had suddenly entered the residence by the door left ajar from the recent entrance of the angry mob.

"Starswirl, you're here for the notes you left in my care earlier, aren't you?" Magnus tried to change the subject and hopefully soften his fellow unicorn's tone.

Starswirl's expression remained carved in disapproval. "Yes, I just realized I had left my notes here. Did I not reinforce the princess' words when I came by? She told you to do your research during the day when other ponies wouldn't mind the noise as much."

"But the night is so calm and inspiring!" Magnus argued as he shuffled through the mess that was his house, looking for Starswirl's notes and fearing the worse.

"The research you are trying to do is strange and dare I say unnecessary. But if you insist on doing it, try not to make it a burden to others," Starswirl frowned. "Don't you see that the darkness is especially inconvenient for those contraptions you build? Precision belongs to the light of day and progress belongs to magic, not to that technology rubbish you keep going on about. Stop it, stop searching, I already know my precious notes were scorched in your latest venture." Starswirl stomped his hoof and his long white beard bristled as if it was going to burst into flames from his sheer frustration.

"It's not rubbish!" Magnus tried to argue, but the older unicorn stallion glared him down. Normally, Starswirl was more patient, but not when his research was adversely affected.

"I have just enough information for tomorrow's lecture, but I'll have to write up my observations again for the lecture later this week. I'll have to spend tomorrow night trying to recover my research. This has gone too far, Magnus, the princess warned you!"

"She even wrote a letter!" A mare emphasized to fueled the fire.

"We're going to have to tell her all about this in the morning," a stallion added.

"The princess will know!" The irate neighbors continued, "the princess-"

"Is here!" Luna jumped through the window, squeezing into the residence as she made the announcement. The ponies backed away with gasps, in fear of the dark figure that had appeared. She was tired of hearing every pony speak of the princess as if Celestia was the only one. "I am Luna, the princess of the night, I shall rule over what transpires during my domain!"

The ponies all looked unsure and neither spoke nor moved a muscle until one whispered, "she's here to punish him." Then the flood of murmurs broke loose.

"She's going to lock him up."

"Isn't that too harsh?"

"She's scary, Magnus is in trouble now."

Luna frowned, feeling her heart break. She was a protector, not a punisher. Their murmurs hurt her, she wanted them to stop, but they wouldn't, they kept whispering about the terrible fate of Magnus Mecha. Was she seen as a symbol of disaster and pain? It wasn't fair; she watched over the land and guided the ponies to a safe rest. Why couldn't they appreciate her beautiful night? Why must they despise her? "Be gone!" Her voice echoed loud and eerie. "Be gone, all of you!"

The ponies ran for dear life, their hoof speedily leading them back to their houses. Doors were slammed shut and windows were hastily closed, until once again, the night was still and silent.

Only Starswirl and the other unicorn, called Magnus Mecha, remained before Luna. With a sudden rush of rebellious pride, Magnus stepped forward, though despite being taller than the average stallion, he wasn't much to look at all covered in oil and grime. "I apologize once again for the loss of your notes, professor Starswirl," he spoke formally, addressing a mentor, rather than a friend. "I also apologize for being unable to attend any future lectures at Princess' Celestia's new academy."

Starswirl was shocked and disappointed. "If that is how you feel." He shook his head and muttered to himself. "I cannot say I didn't try to set you down the right path." Then a sad look overtook his face, "I do feel I have failed you," he confessed to the younger unicorn, anger mixing with true sorrow. I had hoped my spell would help you find your destiny, but alas, I was unable to complete it..."

"Friends don't try to change each other," Magnus muttered.

"I was only trying to put your genius to good use, you're such a good student, you shouldn't let your intellect go to waste. I've never seen a unicorn with potential such as yours. If you applied yourself to studying magic and attended the lectures regularly instead of staying up late and sleeping in class, you could reach a level beyond what I had at your age!" Starswirl insisted for the last time.

Magnus shook his head; he had been frustrated and misunderstood for far too long. "Leave, please, let me take my punishment alone."

Starswirl shook his head. "I know not what you and princess Celestia have discussed concerning Magnus, but please don't be too harsh on him." With those final words, Starswirl left.

Luna huffed, looking fearsome. What she and Celestia had discussed? They had not discussed anything at all! She didn't know who this Magnus was or what he had done. Celestia always took every pony's problems onto herself and didn't share the burden with Luna. They were matters to be solved during the day; everything was a matter of the day. Well, not this time, this was her jurisdiction and Luna would deal with this stallion on her own. "Magnus Mecha!" She addressed him sharply. "You will confess your wrongdoings!"

Magnus frowned, glaring bitterly. "I have done nothing wrong, your highness. I am a researcher, you see. I create mechanical devices that make several tasks easier to perform."

Luna's curiosity was tickled by his statement. "Tasks such as what?"

"Transportation for example, I was working on an engine that could be attached to a cart to carry produce, furniture and the like. Of course, the prototype was much smaller than what the real model would be like. The principal behind it is-"

As the jargon sprouted out of Magnus' mouth, Luna felt her head spin. Great, just what she needed, another rambler and this one made even less sense than Starswirl. She could see why the two had apparently gotten along so well despite their age difference, though it was evident their differences won over what they had in common. "Enough!" Once her booming voice had silenced the stallion unicorn, the alicorn princess continued. "Why would you need this engine device to move things? Earth ponies carry the produce from their farms in carts they pull themselves, those accustomed to farm work are strong, they need no help from such strange devices. As for furniture, there is a fine moving company in the city ran by the Tion unicorn brothers, Moe Tion and Ack Tion are well versed in the art of levitation and perfectly capable of lifting just about anything, even a whole house!" According to their flier at least, as Luna had not actually met them in person or seen them at work.

"But my princess, should we not try to progress if we can?" Magnus adamantly argued. There will come a time when there will be things that magic will not be able to accomplish and it will be through a combination of magic and technology that-"

"Silence!" Luna interrupted. How dare this dirty peasant say that there was something magic could not accomplish? He was a shame to all unicorns! "I asked you to state your crime, not to waste my time with your ramblings!"

Magnus grunted and coldly replied. "My so called crime is that I do my research at night and the noise gets to my neighbors. I understand it can be a bother, as the noise of the busy days around here certainly bother me. This is why I prefer the peace of the night. However, when I try to leave the city to go do my research where I would not bother any pony, the guards always turn me back, saying I should not venture out of the city limits until dawn."

That new information intrigued Luna. She quietly admitted that she liked that he stated and reestablished that he liked the night. He wasn't trying to be inconsiderate, he wanted to go where his noise wouldn't be a problem, but they wouldn't let him leave. "Why not?" She demanded. "Why can't you go out?"

"They say the night is dangerous, but I know how to take care of myself and I won't get lost. The stars will guide me home, as for the possibility of wild beasts roaming the land, I am not afraid; I can fight if it comes to that. Yet princess Celestia confines us to the city because of the dangers of the night. But how can something as serene as the night be dangerous? Foolish ponies that fear the unknown, foolish ponies that fear progress!"

Luna was shocked, she couldn't even find it in herself to speak in the royal Canterlot voice and softly uttered. "Did you just call my sister a fool?"

If Magnus had not been covered in grime, he would have visibly paled, then become flustered as he stuttered. "N-no, I ah... I didn't mean to offend!"

Luna couldn't help it but to laugh, the regal demeanor she maintained before her subjects falling to reveal a more carefree side of her. "It's okay. I guess she kind of deserves it this time." Her voice came out laced with laughter in a friendly tone, rather than the royal Canterlot voice. She cleared her throat and continued in the dreaded volume. "I shall grant you permission to leave the city at night and a scroll with my royal seal to prove it."

Magnus was sure he would be left deaf if this meeting continued, but he was none the less, very thankful that he apparently wasn't being punished, he was being helped. "I am very grateful, princess Luna, I look forward to my next nightly expedition and fruitful research."

As she was quite lonely and curious to know more about any pony who appreciated her nights, despite the stallion before her not looking too inviting to company in his disheveled state, she wanted to see him again. She only hoped that when they next met, he wouldn't be covered in oil, ashes and grime. That was no way to present himself in front of a princess, or in front of any pony for that matter. "I will deliver the scroll personally," Luna offered as an excuse. She was debating what she should say to Celestia about this matter when the elder alicorn was awake. "Tomorrow morning, after I clear some things out."

"Ah yes, you must speak with princess Celestia," Magnus looked a tad worried, wondering if Celestia would agree with her sister.

Luna did not like what she read between the lines and loudly assured. "I am the princess of the night, this is my jurisdiction and the promised scroll you shall have!" Magnus cringed at the sheer volume of her voice, but managed to thank her once more; taking care to show no hints of doubt, least she felt the need to loudly assure him again.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Chapter 2: The Accident Prone Academy Drop-Out

When the morning came, the moon was lowered to give way to the sun. Rather than parting ways so that Celestia could rule and Luna could rest, the night princess remained awake. "Is something the matter, Luna? I haven't seen you pouting like that since we were fillies." The sun princess smiled gently, somewhat amused by her sister's expression.

"Yes, there is something wrong," Luna frowned. "Why is it that you didn't tell me about the unicorn called Magnus Mecha? He made a commotion last night and his neighbors were just about ready to chase him out of town, even Starswirl was angry, something about his notes being destroyed.

"Oh my," Celestia shook her head with a frown. She sighed in disappointment as she continued. "Magnus was a fine pupil to Starswirl, but the two never got over their differences in research. Though I must admit that Magnus' experiments often go wary, I had hope that with Starswirl's guidance, he could put his intellect to good use, he is certainly very smart. I suppose there was something more that was needed for that to work out. Though Starswirl recognized Magnus' talent and Magnus admired Starswirl greatly, they were a student and a mentor and at times even research colleagues, but not really friends. Friendship is what would make those differences tolerable, even complimenting."

"Tia!" Luna interrupted. "That's not the issue! If Magnus wants to conduct his research at night, why shouldn't he? I know the neighbors are disturbed by the noise, but he has offered to go out of the city so that the noise doesn't reach them! Why did you forbid him?"

"It is dangerous to leave the city walls at night," Celestia reminded with insistence. "Perhaps when the kingdom grows and more ponies settle in the lands to the south, the beasts of the Everfree Forest will no longer venture so close to the Canterlot borders at night."

Luna grunted and labeled the discussion as a lost cause. It was no wonder no pony enjoyed the night, Celestia had turned it into a prison!

"Luna..." Celestia tried to reason with her sister.

"Alright, alright, I understand. Just let me take of this, my citizens should count on me too, not just you. I'll find a place for Magnus to conduct his research where he's safe and doesn't bother any pony, leave this to me," Luna insisted.

Seeing her sister so adamant to help, Celestia agreed. "Very well, I will entrust this task to you." After the exchange, the two sisters parted ways. Luna decided that it was best not to write up a scroll for Magnus after all, it was better not to document matters too much, least Celestia stuck her hoofs where they didn't belong. Luna's personally delivered word should be plenty. That meant that she would have to take care of all matters herself, rather than sending a messenger, which she didn't mind, since she was glad to do something for some pony anyway.

xoxox xox xoxox

Luna went to Magnus' house, she decided to walk rather than fly or be transported in her royal chariot. A few people gave her passing glances, she didn't look intimidating when she wasn't speaking in the royal Canterlot voice, though only a few ponies actually recognized her as the night princess by sight, not expecting to see her during the day or at all. Others were clued into the fact that she was a princess because she was a regal looking alicorn, though that was more so logic than true recognition.

Taking a moment to observe the lively busy streets, so different from how they were in the night, Luna stopped in front of a boutique. "Solar Designs, the most beautiful dresses under the sun. Now with a stallion collection too!" She huffed and walked away, couldn't ponies look pretty during the night too? Reaching Magnus' house, Luna found that he was not there. How could he not be when she had told him she was coming? But before her impatience could build up, the sound of a familiar voice caught her attention. Starswirl the bearded was walking down the street along with another unicorn stallion.

The other unicorn was younger than Starswirl, he was tall and well build, she mentally noted, but he looked too much like he could be the poster boy for that line of stallion attire they were advertising in that annoying little boutique down the street. His fur was a soft shade of golden yellow and his mane and tail were a silvery gray, his natural color despite his youth. His eyes were a similar color to his mane, also shimmering in the light. Oh yes, he could certainly be the poster boy for that boutique, and Luna decided that, though most other mares would label him as handsome, she did not find him attractive in the least, not that it was any of her business anyway. His cutie mark, she observed with disinterest, was a metal square with many thin lines running over it and a screwdriver in the middle. It was an odd cutie mark, to say the least. Was he supposed to be a carpenter? One that worked with metal rather than wood?

She did have business with Starswirl though; perhaps he could provide a clue to Magnus' whereabouts. Thus Luna approached the two unicorn stallions, curiously listening to their conversation. "You just need to learn to apply yourself to books a little more. I know that you're trying to research something new and thus it will not be on the books, but you could use the knowledge that has already been recorded rather than experimenting blindly and blowing things up." Starswirl half scolded and half implored.

"Starswirl... I honestly appreciate your concern and advise and I'm glad you're even talking to me after I messed up your notes, but that's just not my style. I rather see things happening than read about them. The branch I'm researching isn't even covered in the academy. I understand the curriculum is still growing, but I just can't wait for it. I would much rather continue my research on my own." The yellow unicorn voiced.

"Very well, I suppose I can't stop you..." Starswirl gave up. "Than this is where we part ways, good luck. Just as he was about to leave, off to give his first lecture of the day at the academy, the elderly unicorn noticed Luna. "Ah, good morning, princess Luna, what brings you here so early?"

"Good morning," Luna automatically replied in a polite monotone, though she didn't think mornings were good. "I was looking for Magnus, have you seen him?"

Starswirl was puzzled by the question. "Of course, he is here..."

Luna looked around. "Where? I thought the house was empty." She gazed around the street for any sign of the scruffy looking black unicorn she thought she saw the previous night, hoping that he at least looked clean this time.

"I'm right here," the yellow stallion spoke up. "I thank you for coming to meet me, princess."

"Oh..." disappointment colored Luna's tone. Mr. Solar Designs poster boy wanna-be was Magnus? She thought he looked better covered in dirt and oil. At least then he didn't remind her of the sun. "I see..." she finally let out a breath, a bit embarrassed not to have recognized one of her citizens who was standing right in front of her only a few hours after their previous meeting.

Starswirl thought little of the encounter, as he figured Luna must have not recognized Magnus now that he was clean. 'That Magnus Mecha is such a foal sometimes,' Starswirl quietly mused. 'Always covered in machine oil, dust, and the stars know what else.' His research became rather messy at times, to say the least. "Well, I must be heading to the academy now, good day."

Luna nodded numbly at Starswirl as he left, then turned to face the suddenly silent Magnus, who clearly didn't know how he should behave in front of a princess. He shifted uncomfortably and figured he might as well show some hospitality. "Um... would you like to come inside, princess?"

Luna was feeling odd standing on the street and more ponies were starting to recognize her. Sure she wanted the recognition, but she didn't like to be stared at like some oddity simply because she had made an appearance during the day. "I shall!" She replied loudly, causing Magnus to cringe.

Magnus let Luna into his house, which was still somewhat messy, but at least significantly tidier than last night. "Can I bring you anything? Coffee? Er... I mean tea? Princesses prefer tea, don't they? Or maybe juice? I have orange and... Oh wait, the orange is empty... There's still some grape left!" He busily rummaged through the kitchen as he spoke. "Hey, I found a cupcake! I mean, would you like a cupcake, your highness?" He held out the cupcake in his levitation.

The cupcake was dark chocolate with white chocolate chips. It looked like a starry night and the sight of it made Luna's stomach growl. Being awake past her usual bedtime was making her hungry. "Your princess thanks you, and grape juice is fine!" Magnus backed away every time Luna said a word, his ear becoming flat on his head. "There is no need to fear," she assured, thinking that he was worried he wasn't showing her enough hospitality. It's not like she expected a breakfast banquet in her honor, she usually ate breakfast at dusk anyway. "I am not displeased and do appreciate your efforts."

"Oh... um... I'm not afraid... It's just that the royal Canterlot voice is... Well, it sounds different from afar than what it does close by." Magnus tried to explain his discomfort as politely as possible.

Luna sipped her grape juice and smiled. "Impressed?" It was always good for the ponies to be impressed by their rulers, it made them feel safe, she reasoned.

"I was wondering...." Magnus tried to find the proper way to word his request. "Could I hear your regular voice, as in not your royal speech voice?"

"Like this?" Luna inquired, lowering her tone.

"Softer..." Magnus muttered unsure.

"Like this?" She repeated more gently.

"Like how you'd speak to..." Who was she close to that was a somewhat normal pony? "Like how you'd speak to Starswirl!"

"Like this!" Luna repeated more loudly.

"That's louder than before..." Magnus backed away.

"Well yes, Starswirl's hearing isn't the best anymore; he must constantly boost it with a spell. But when the spell runs out I have to say: Starswirl, recast your hearing aid spell! Just like that!" Magnus was practically flattened against the wall by the force of Luna's volume.

He slipped down, gently placing a hoof to his temple and muttering, "headache."

"Oh..." Luna blinked, her voice going soft. "Last time Tia got a headache I sang to her in this tone and she said she felt better." Though looking back on it Luna bitterly thought the headache was something Celestia deserved for hogging all the royal duties. Even if she was the elder of the two, Luna wanted to help and she felt she should be allowed to do more.

"Yes, that tone is very nice, princess..." Magnus finally breathe in relief.

"I shall use it then. I suppose it's only natural that you're prone to headaches if your research exposes you to constant explosions," Luna nodded to herself.

Things were not supposed to blow up and though they sometimes did, Magnus certainly wouldn't say that it happened constantly. Plus he wasn't prone to headaches without a proper cause, but he wouldn't argue with Luna's logic if it meant keeping her quiet.

"About the purpose of my visit, we are to see the night guards when they begin their shift so that they let you pass. I thought it would be even more official if I told them in person, rather than simply sending a scroll." Luna explained, though she just wanted to keep Celestia out of the loop with the lack of written records. "Afterwards, I'll help you find a place to construct a laboratory of sorts to conduct your research."

"Wow, you'll really do all that? I'm truly honored! I didn't think anyone would ever appreciate my research! I should prepare a few of my best prototypes and show them to you. Oh and there's this one invention that's almost finished, I think you'll like it. I'll give it to you as a gift as soon as I stabilize it!" Magnus went on and on filled with excitement.

Now it was Luna's turn to cringe. Though it was nice that she could be getting a gift for once, as Celestia often got many, she didn't want a gift that blew up. His statement about stabilizing whatever the mystery item was did not go well with Luna. "It's okay... you don't need to go out of your way to repay me, I'm only doing my duty after all."

"Oh, but I must repay you!" Magnus insisted. "No one has acknowledged my research like you have or offered to help so much. Not to sound ungrateful, but all princess Celestia did was refer me to Starswirl. I was overjoyed to meet my idol, even if we have our differences and I still respect him very much, but to have my own research laboratory has always been my dream!"

Luna was left speechless. Finally she was being appreciated more than Celestia and that had been her dream. "You need not worry; I will make sure your dream comes true."

xoxox xox xoxox

After her meeting with Magnus, Luna return to the Canterlot castle and slept. She got up at dusk, just in time to cheerfully place the moon in the skies. She smiled up at the firmament and barely heard Celestia wishing her a good night before retiring to her chambers to rest. She swiftly flew to meet Magnus and they walked to the city gates. He carried some saddle bags with him and given what Luna had learned of him thus far, she wasn't sure if she wanted to know what kind of contraptions he had in there.

"Who goes there?" Two pegasus guards, one white with blue hair and another gray with green hair guarded the gates.

"It's the princess!" The white pegasus gasped.

"Princess, what brings you here tonight? Is all well?" The gray pegasus inquired.

"All is well," Luna insisted with a hint of frustration. Did everyone see her as a barer of bad news? A nightly visit did not mean there had to be a dire emergency. "I am here to inform you that Magnus Mecha." She glanced at the unicorn stallion who accompanied her. "Is to be granted permission to go out at night as he pleases. You will inform any guards who are active in the night shift and no one else." The two pegasus looked at each other in puzzlement, until Luna's voice snapped them to attention, "understood?"

"Yes, princess!" The guards exclaimed in unison. They thought that perhaps that unicorn had some kind of secret mission assigned directly from the princesses. Yet the need to know basis secrecy was unsettling to them. None the less, they did not question Luna's orders.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Chapter 3: Battles and Bonding

Luna and Magnus left Canterlot and began to walk towards the general direction of where the Crystal empire used to be. The entire dominion had vanished recently by King Sombra's curse and no one knew when or if it would return. It was a fairly secluded area now that the crystal ponies were no longer around and Magnus had expressed his curiosity to study the remnant energy waves in the premises.

The investigations upon the land that formerly held the Crystal Empire had concluded with little to report. If anything, further research might uncover something useful, plus the area wasn't being used for anything anyway. Thus Luna saw no problems in allowing Magnus to settle there. Yet the way there was long and the alicorn and unicorn were not alone.

"Looks like the border of where the Crystal Empire was is still a way off. I'm really grateful you're coming with me, princess. And thank you for listening too."

"Sure..." Albeit quite frankly, his ramblings did little more than confuse Luna. She felt almost compelled to say something about it. "Maybe I'll have a clearer idea of what you're trying to say when I see it."

"Of course, seeing things is always far better than hearing or reading about them!" Magnus immediately agreed.

His statement and more so the enthusiasm behind it, made Luna wonder what was more important, her curiosity or her instinct of self preservation. She didn't want to find herself in the middle of an explosion after all, but she couldn't help it but to want to see the dream-like things Magnus claimed he was aiming to make a reality. Yet before she could voice anything further, a loud roar interrupted the pair's conversation.

From the shadows of the thick vegetation that surrounded them a large beast arose. Its dark navy fur bristled as it bore its fangs at them. "Ursa..." Magnus stared at the roaring beast in awe. He had never seen such a creature in anything other than text book illustrations before.

"Ursa major! Run!" Alarmed by the beast that seemed set on devouring them, Luna pushed Magnus to get him out of his amazed stupor.

Waking up from his daze, Magnus took off in a mad dash along with Luna. "Princess, quick, fly away!"

"No way!" Luna refused. "I can't abandon one of my ponies in life threatening danger!" This was one of the beasts Celestia was worried about. She was the one who guided Magnus out of the safety of the city walls and she was responsible for him. With that realization and great determination, Luna stopped running and turned to face the beast, her horn glowing menacingly.

"Princess?" Magnus stopped to stare at her, bewildered.

"This is my night and I shall have it in peace!" Luna yelled at the ursa in her echoing loud voice. "Be gone, beast!" A beam of light similar to that of the moon flew out of her horn and impacted the ursa.

Yet the strong creature only roared and became angrier. Its massive claw flew towards Luna, who was tackled out of the way at the last moment. "Ow... princess, are you alright?"

Luna gasped. "Magnus, you're hurt!" She examined his side in worry over the crimson liquid that stained his golden yellow fur.

"This is nothing; I've gotten into worse scrapes from my experiments," Magnus winced.

The ursa attacked again, but this time Luna reacted by teleporting herself and Magnus out of the way. She wouldn't lower her guard again; she wouldn't let him get hurt again. "Can you teleport yourself far from here? I must subdue the beast that threatens the peace of my night!"

"I..." Magnus tried to make his horn glow, but it wasn't working. "I'm sorry, I haven't slept in days and I put what was left of my energy into trying to clean the house and make myself presentable this morning. I should have rested before meeting you tonight, but I was so excited about the possibility of having my own laboratory, I spent the day packing in preparation to move into it."

"This is definitely a bad time to be tired!" Luna exclaimed as more beams of moon light flew from her horn to the ursa major with little effect. "I can only teleport myself so far and that's less of a distance with a passenger. You can still walk at least, so go back to the city and have that wound looked at. I'll catch up and help you get there as soon as I'm done here."

"I can't leave you alone with that thing!" Magnus argued.

"You have to, this is my duty!" Luna countered.

"Take this!" Magnus pulled something out of his saddle bag and tossed it to Luna. "Princess, try to make the ursa swallow this!"

"Okay!" Luna levitated the small metal sphere as the ursa swiped its claws at it in annoyance. Then when she saw an opportunity, she threw the small item into the beast's mouth, forcing it to swallow.

"Clear away from it!" Magnus warned and when Luna was out of the way, he pressed a button on a tiny controller and an explosion was heard from within the beast. It cried in pain and rolled around in desperation, with Luna taking to the skies to dodge it. The ursa major retreated in pain and left the ponies alone for the time being. "Are you alright, princess?"

"You're asking me? You're the one who's hurt!" Luna scolded, though her anger and frustration were directed at herself for not being able to protect one of her subjects.

"It's okay, things like this happen, I heal easily enough, must be a mix of unicorn magic and my earth pony side," Magnus chuckled. "I have a first aid kit; I usually pack one in case my research blows up on me."

So he came of a unicorn and earth pony parents apparently. Unicorns had their magic and earth ponies were known to have more physical resilience than the others. Still, the injury looked bad from Luna's perspective, because he shouldn't have been injured at all. He was being escorted by an alicorn princess, a princess who was a tad short on sleep, but an alicorn princess none the less. "Don't move too much, I'll dress your wounds and cast a healing spell, you should be fine by morning, but right now we have to find you a place to rest." Luna levitated some disinfectant and a soft cleaning cloth from the first aid kit as she spoke and began to work. She finished with some bandages and healing magic that would greatly speed up the process. "There, now to find shelter." There was no suitable place to camp near by and they had gone considerably far from the city.

"It's okay, I can keep going," Magnus tried to assure.

"No! You're hurt and it's my fault!" Luna argued. "I'm a princess; I'm supposed to protect you!"

"You're being too hard on yourself, besides-"

"No, no, no!" The royal voice returned to Luna's tone as she stomped her hoofs. Seeing Magnus' unpleasant expression she sighed. "Sorry, now I've given you a headache too. It's just that I've always wanted some pony to rely on me and just when I found someone to help I get him hurt. Let me fix this, I should have the power for long distance teleportation, it's just really hard to keep the orientation right and I could pop out in the wrong place. Once I tried it and accidentally teleported into a cake. I wasn't the only one, as some mare had somehow managed to get herself into the same predicament, coincidentally at the same time as me. I teleported myself to the roof of the building and I could hear a lot of stallions talking from inside, claiming they had seen a mysterious mare pop out of the cake before the second mare came out, but no pony sounded really sure. I'm just glad they recognized me. I do feel sorry for the other mare though, the stallions were certainly making a ruckus. She must have scared them out of their wits, popping out of their cake like that."

Magnus' jaw hung open. "Seriously? That was you at the bachelor party? I knew I didn't imagine it! Er... I mean... That must have been difficult, your highness..."

"Yes..." Luna breathed. "But this time I see no other choice. I will provide the power and channel it to you. I'll take care of everything so that you won't have any mental strain at all. You only need to think of our destination, that way I can't possibly mess up the location. Ready?"

"If you say so... Ready!" Magnus focused on where he wanted to be while Luna channeled her immense power around them both for the feat of a long distance teleportation.

The pair disappeared and reappeared in a wintery terrain, shivering in the cold as snow fell around them and the wind howled. "Oh no!" Luna exclaimed. "What happened?"

"We made it!" Magnus cheered despite being frozen to the bone. "We're in the outskirts of where the Crystal Empire used to be. I can start looking for a spot for my lab now!"

"What?" Luna shouted. "When I asked you to focus on our destination, I meant Canterlot!"

"Oh... sorry..." Magnus apologized.

Luna huffed. "Never mind, I'm too tired now to pull that off again, let's just find shelter and rest. We won't last long in this blizzard."

The alicorn and the unicorn headed to some nearby ruins and found shelter from the storm. It was still cold though, something that Magnus tried to remedy with what appeared to be a small metal box. The box blew out warm air that was pleasant for a while, but soon it ran out of energy. "Looks like it needs more power, sorry I couldn't make it better." At the moment, neither of them had enough magic to spare.

"It's alright; it was good while it lasted. Come here," Luna stood from where she had been sitting in the corner of the ruins. "This is the furthest corner from that piece of missing wall. It's not much, but it's the warmest place. Come rest here and I'll sit in front of you. I might block some of the cold off, though not much."

"I can't let you do that," Magnus refused. "Should your subject not be the one to serve you?"

Luna shook her head. "It's my duty to protect you, that is what a princess must do, put her ponies before herself."

"Equestrian princesses sure are different..." Magnus chuckled.

The statement caught Luna's interest. "Come here, the cold is not so harsh on me as it is on you. I will make it a royal order if I must, and carry you if not even that works. Sit here and tell me what you meant, have you met any other princesses aside from those of Equestria?"

Magnus finally gave in and sat in the corner of the ruins. "I'll tell you, but if you must put my whishes before your own, then sit with me instead of standing there with your wings spread pretending to be a wall. Even if you're strong against the cold, I can't imagine serving as a living barrier is pleasant."

"Fair enough," Luna sat down next to Magnus.

The unicorn stallion became lost in thought for a moment before proceeding with his narration. "It was years ago, I was still just a foal, so I don't remember much. But there were stories in the land where I used to live. The tales spoke of princesses kidnapped by dragons and rescued by valiant knights. Those princesses were beautiful and kind, but they were protected, rather than protectors. Equestrian princesses are strong in every sense of the word."

"The land where you used to live?"

"I didn't always live in Equestria. I come from a continent far to the south east across the sea, beyond the land of dragons. My parents were explorers and wanted to see what was on the other side of the dragons' domain. The expedition was unsuccessful as the vessel that could travel under the water and was to go unnoticed was discovered. It was terrifying," he shuddered at the memory. "They all perished, all but the only child aboard, the foal his parents didn't want to leave behind when they went to live out their dream."

"I washed up on shore and was rescued by buffalo," Magnus continued. "They were kind to me, but I couldn't adapt to their life style and wanted to find a land similar to where I came from. I didn't find it in Canterlot, but I did find ponies who were willing to lend a hoof and the genious known as Starswirl the bearded. I stayed because of him; he inspired me and helped me overcome the hard times. I don't think he knew it though, he thought he was tutoring a young student; he didn't realize how much he did. He was the friend I needed, it's a pity he'll probably never understand that I appreciate him for his kindness as much as his genius. But it's alright, Starswirl's legacy is still an amazing dream in the making and he will certainly always be well known and remembered."

"Wow..." Luna's breath caught in her throat at the story. "I had no idea..." She lowered her head, regretful of triggering such a tragic story.

"There's no need to look sad, princess. I lived their dream, I came to the land beyond the domain of the dragons and how different it is. Machines are not as advanced here and I'm having a bit of a hard time trying to reverse engineer my childhood world, but the magic here is something else," Magnus smiled. "And the royals too. When I was a foal I never would have thought I'd meet, let alone have a conversation with a princess. Princesses were far off dreams to be admired and cherished, but never interacted with."

"No offense, but those princesses sound boring," Luna pouted.

Magnus couldn't help it but to laugh. "You're right; you're a much better princess, your highness."

"Luna," she offered with a smile. "Please, call me Luna. When ponies say princess and your highness, more often than not they speak of my sister. I know you speak of me, but I want to truly feel it, so please," she requested.

"If it pleases you, Luna," Magnus' smile grew, though his drowsiness was getting to him and he couldn't suppress a yawn.

"There is still a few hours until dawn," Luna observed. "There's no much to be done until the blizzard ends, so let's rest for now."

"Yes... I could use some sleep..." Magnus yawned again and lowered his head on his forelegs. "Rest well... Luna..." He drifted off to sleep.

Luna smiled. It felt good to have at least one subject who relied on her and thought she was a good princess. She was being acknowledged; it was what she always wanted. She would show what a good princess she was and keep her subjects safe and happy. Then maybe more ponies would rely on her, then she would never be lonely again. With such optimistic thoughts in her mind, she spread one of her wings over the unicorn stallion next to her to keep him warm and fell into dreamland herself.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Chapter 4: Dreams and Rebels

The time for morning came and Luna felt the instinctual pull of the moon. "Five more minutes, Tia..." She muttered as she tried to get comfortable. What she thought was her bed, which was actually the ruined floor, was exceptionally hard. "Hmm... five more... minutes..." She reached out for a pillow, nuzzling against the body beside her and causing the light sleeper to wake up.

As a chronic insomniac, it took a lot of sleepless days to knock Magnus into dream land, and not a lot of sound or movement to wake him. "Where am I? Oh! Lu-Luna?" He twisted his neck as far as it would go, to look at the princess asleep on his back, using him as a pillow.

"Oh, alright, alright, I'm getting up, stop calling me, I'm getting up." Luna stumbled to her hoofs and found a flustered yellow stallion, save for his face which was currently red, looking back at her. "Huh? What? This isn't the castle." Memories came flooding back to Luna, as Magnus was at a loss for words. "Oh! The moon! No you don't, that's my moon, Tia, my moon!" She suddenly rushed off outside to where the blizzard had cleared.

"Luna?" Magnus ran after her, confused by her sudden outburst. She didn't seem to be angry at him at least, but she was certainly upset about something.

Luna's horn glowed brightly as the moon, which had began to be lowered by Celestia from Canterlot, was forced back into the center of the sky. What if she was a little late? That didn't give Celestia the right to touch her moon. "It's mine, don't touch it! You have the sun, the moon is mine!" Luna shouted angrily as she spread her wings and caused rays of silvery light to emerge from her horn. Her eyes began to glow until they turned into pure white lights and sparks of magic flew from her horn.

The ground beneath their hoofs shook violently and strange dark symbols glowed on the cold surface. Rather than being terrified, as any sane pony should be, Magnus was fascinated. He didn't fully understand what Luna was doing, but it had apparently activated the traces of dark magic left behind in the land itself as remnants of King Sombra's curse. He always wondered what truly happened to the Crystal Empire and theorized that it, along with its inhabitants, had somehow fallen off their plane of existence into a different one. Inter-dimensional travel would be absolutely fascinating if he could gather enough information to properly study it.

The dark symbols on the ground dimmed as if sensing that the master of their magic was no more. The runes melted like inky shadows and moved through the ground, pooling together like dense black liquid. Magnus had a bad feeling about it and finally gained the sense to be alarmed. "Luna!" He called out in warning. The dark liquid crawled towards the moon princess and circled the shadow projected on the ground by her glowing form. The strange shadowy substance reached up to her as if to snatch her into its depths and consume her.

"Luna, watch out!" Magnus rushed towards the princess, his horn aglow. Yet his assistance was not needed, as the alicorn was too powerful for a mere remnant of black magic to consume. The shadows were pushed back by a stronger darkness and the silvery light that surrounded Luna turned into fluorescent dark lights that gave the impression of consuming the color of anything around her. The dark power of the remnant curse was diminished and retreated, circling around Magnus instead. He stepped back, but the substance took hold of his shadow as if it was made of flesh and he couldn't move. His horn glowed in a desperate effort, it's light suddenly perceived by Luna's peripheral vision.

The alicorn turned her head to see the yellow unicorn struggling to break free from the darkness around him. "Magnus?" Luna snapped free from her dark trance and rushed to him, her horn's light once again becoming pure silver. A citizen of her kingdom was in danger, her subject needed his princess' protection, he was her pony and she would make sure no harm came to him, because he was hers. He was not Celestia's little pony as she so fondly called her subjects, he was Luna's pony. The night princess let out a silver beam at the shadows on the ground near the stallion and finally caused them to fade in a puff of eerie black smoke. "Are you alright? What was that? Maybe this land's curse really is still too recent for it to be safe here. You're not seriously hurt, are you? Did yesterday's wound open up?" As the words quickly spilled out of her mouth with concern, she looked him over for any signs of injuries.

Magnus shook his head to clear it. "I... I'm fine," he assured in a daze. He recalled the true mission of his parent's expedition. They wanted to conquer a new land, to obtain the legendary magical power rumored to exist in that far off continent that was Equestria. Yet that power could not be obtained, it was a mystery commanded by the alicorn princesses. He only vaguely recalled the memories of a land where the land itself ruled, the seasons changed on their own and the days passed. To think that it was that same sun and that same moon that he later realized were being commanded by the alicorn princesses.

He recalled how he first felt in this strange land of magic. He remembered his experiments and his desire to make them powerful. He remembered his jealousy towards other unicorns who were more proficient in magic than he. How no one understood the world that he was so desperately trying to recreate through his inventions. How the frustration of lost knowledge and lost progress nearly consumed him. He remembered it all as the darkness swirled around him.

Then he remembered Starswirl and how much better he felt under his guidance, and yet, Starswirl was out of his life, he had disappointed his mentor, their goal never matched. No one ever gave him any real credit or help him move towards his goal, not even Starswirl with his old fashioned magic, especially not Starswirl. Maybe Sombra had the right idea in wanting to take over and recreate the world by his own rules, maybe if he took matters into his own hoofs he wouldn't feel so helpless. Curse the alicorns and their power, he could achieve his own power, he would develop his magic and his machines and become like them, better than them. Foolish Celestia, and Luna... Luna... No, not Luna.

Magnus snapped out of his thoughts as he realized that Luna was looking right at him with concern. She was a spoiled alicorn who was handed power on a silver platter at birth, she was a sheltered princess, but she was different. She was kind; she didn't think of him as strange, she showed a sincere interest in his well being. She was not as the royals of his home land; she was the way an ideal royal should be, placing the well being of her subjects first. "I'm sorry; I was a little out of it for a minute there." He realized that his bandages were off, he didn't even feel Luna unwrapping them with her magic.

"Did you get another headache?" Luna consciously kept her voice soft.

"I'm alright, that... Whatever that energy was, it made me a little dizzy, but I'm fine now." Magnus smiled to calm the situation, but his head was still spinning with conflicting thoughts. The remnant energy of Sombra had faded and the thoughts that remained were his own, the thoughts that he pushed away for so long and would have surfaced sooner or later unless they had something to keep them at bay. Ideas, plans and ambitions were born, but he wouldn't do anything now, not if it meant hurting Luna, she was different, special.

"Looks like your injuries are healed," Luna breathe. "This land... It might not be the best place for a laboratory after all."

"Oh no, it's perfect! I mean, think about it, it would be good to understand what's happened here. Ignorance is the most dangerous thing; it can render even the strongest pony defenseless!" Magnus argued. "Besides, I've always had an interest in inter-dimensional travel. If I constructed a machine that amplified the unicorns' teleportation ability, it might be possible to teleport right out of this plane of existence! Of course, the amount of magic needed would have to be tremendous, which means particularly strong emotions, but I've always found them to be an unstable power source. With a sufficient boost, focus and concentration can be used by a clear mind to create a more effective teleportation and-"

Luna tuned out Magnus' ramblings and focused on his expression. He was so happy. She only understood parts of what he was saying, but he was so very joyous at the prospect of having a laboratory close to the former Crystal Empire. Furthermore, he was counting on her for it and she would not let him down. "I'll get you the lab. I'll have the materials for construction brought over soon." Once second Luna was smiling and the next, a familiar sensation invaded her and she growled. "Tia! I'll do it myself, quit touching my moon!" She turned to look into the skies and roughly focused her power, jerking the moon out of Celestia's influence and setting it down. She waited quietly until the sun began to rise, a little later than usual that morning, then she focused her magic on interfering. "You don't like it when other ponies touch your stuff, do you?" She grumbled like a filly whose toy had been stolen.

By then Magnus had realized that there was a sisterly feud going on. Naturally, he would take Luna's side; after all, Celestia never gave him any special consideration like Luna did. She only worried about her precious ponies and their precious sleep. Pursue a career in the academy? No way, he would do things his way. Yet Luna soon fell into exhaustion and released her magical grip on the sun. The giant ball of fire positioned itself properly, slightly recoiling from the tug of war. That day was a hot day, the sun burning furiously with storms on its surface for the rough treatment it received. "Luna?" He watched her with concern as she breathed hollowly.

Luna heaved a big breath. "I'm alright, but I need to have a word with my sister." She began to stomp away, too tired to fly. Wordlessly, Magnus followed after her, with that innate curiosity that Starswirl would often caution him about.

xoxox xox xoxox

Luna and Magnus walked for some time. They were a long way from Canterlot, but the way would soon be shortened as a chariot landed near by. The white and gold vessel was being pulled by twin pegasi wearing royal armor. The chariot landed softly and an upset Celestia stepped out. Luna put on her fiercest scowl and stepped forward. Yet before the moon princess could speak, the sun princess did. "I am very disappointed in you," she scolded.

"Do you have any idea how worried I was?" Hurt and sadness crossed over Celestia's face as she tried hard to keep her gaze firm. "You disappeared from Canterlot, you were late to lower the moon, and when you finally gave any signs of life, it was to throw the day off schedule. Luna, I thought you were hurt; I was ready to spend the whole day looking for you while fearing the worse. You have no idea how I felt when I sensed you tugging at the moon, my heart almost stopped thinking you wouldn't respond. But then you were so rough that I wondered if it was even you. I let the moon go so you could finish properly aligning it, but you didn't, so I thought your initial response meant you were crying for help. I thought I would get my sun duties done and send out the whole Canterlot army combing the land to find you. Then you started pulling at the sun and it made no sense to me at first, then I finally realized that if you had enough power to do this, you couldn't have been injured. What were you thinking?"

"Me?" Luna growled in indignation. "What were you thinking? You made the night a prison, it's no wonder every pony hates it! You took my moon from me. Don't you have enough with your stupid sun that everyone obsesses about? That's my moon, Tia, mine!"

"Young lady!" Celestia's voice escalated.

"Stop it, you're not my mother!" Luna shouted, not realizing that hot tears were streaming down her face.

Celestia let out a little gasp, shocked to the core by the hatred reflected in Luna's cold eyes. How she missed her mother, if their parents were still around, they would know what to do. Luna was always daddy's little princess, if he was still there, he could calm her down. 'Mother... Father...'

"You're in the wrong, Tia, admit it," Luna sobbed. "The moon is mine; the night is mine, why must you steal everything from me? Why did you make them hate me? Is it because you hate me? Do you want every pony to hate me too?"

"Of course not! Don't say that!" Celestia gasped. "Luna, what has come over you?"

"You made them hate the night," Luna's anger was drowned by pain. "You made it so that no pony can enjoy it, they all stay locked up. But I am the night, sister, the night is a part of my very being, if they hate the night, then they hate me!"

"No pony hates you!" Celestia tried to reason. "I decreed a curfew because there are dangerous beings that only come out at night. I don't mean to imprison any pony, it's dangerous to be out here!"

"No, it's not! I'm the princess of the night, I'll protect every pony. They should know they can count on me!" Luna argued.

"I don't want you to be in any danger-"

"You don't want them to love me! You want all the attention to yourself!" Luna interrupted.

"No!" Celestia sighed, suddenly conscious of all the pairs of eyes watching her. There were the guards and Starswirl's former pupil, what was he doing here, anyway? "Luna... Let's just go home and work this out."

"I'm not going," Luna stomped her hoofs. "I'm going to help Magnus build a research laboratory. You're sponsoring your School for Gifted Unicorns, so why shouldn't I sponsor something scholarly? This place will focus on magic and machines, the best of both. It'll advance well beyond your academy and not only that, but it will also capture the interest of pegasi and earth ponies too. It'll be great and every pony will be happy, amazing discoveries will be made and they'll know who helped them make it possible!"

Celestia sighed. "Alright, you can build your own academy in Canterlot," she finally gave in, suddenly exhausted.

"I want to built it here where there's room, next to where the Crystal Empire used to be," Luna kept her expression stony. "Don't say anything about the ursa major because we already chased it off."

Celestia gasped, "that's dangerous!" Luna glared her down and the sun princess let out a tired breath. "It seems you are stronger than I thought. Your power has increased, Luna, but you must not let it go to your head."

At that point, Magnus decided that he had been quiet long enough. "With all due respect, Luna is not letting things go to her head, she's being very helpful and she's doing it for the good of every pony. I'm sure there will be others who will greatly appreciate her efforts too!"

"Well... If that is what our ponies say, then I will not go against their wishes," the sun princess sighed. "Yet still, venturing off like this and taking Magnus along..."

"Celestia!" Luna pouted. Our ponies? There was no our, Celestia had them all but one, he was Luna's pony and she would have more who looked up to her.

"Alright... I'll leave you in charge of the construction, but be warned, you must never throw the cycle of the day and night out of synch again. It was a very irresponsible and inconsiderate action. Now, please excuse me, I will inform the castle staff about the plans. Magnus Mecha, I am very sorry you had to witness all this, please accept my deepest apologies."

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox

Disclaimer, I don't own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, this disclaimer applies to all the chapters.

You might recognize some of the OCs in this from a previous story of mine; that is because this is a prequel that was only briefly mentioned there in a short flashback. If you've read that story, then you already know how the next part goes, but it'll still be fun to see how things got to that point, or at least I hope you're having fun so far. Anyway, you don't need to know anything about the other story to understand this one, as it can be read as a complete, separate tale.

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