- The Shining Night
And yet, at the same time, a harsh impression of absolute nothingness. Worlds flew by in a blur, unseen and unfocused. The sun remained high in the sky; the moon circling around the horizon sluggishly. Equestria was gone and in its place was blackness. Sometimes shapes could be seen; some bright, some dull.
A feverish pace of everything and nothing, both occurring at the same time. It was dizzying. It was disorienting.
There was the odd sensation of something touching. Prodding and lifting. Too fleeting to notice or analyze. Whipping wind and stale air. Harsh silence and dissonant cacophony. Opposites mixed and clashed, with everything going too fast to notice.
It was a mess, like a fever dream.
Luna couldn't scream. She couldn't run. She couldn't even breathe. It hurt her head as everything happened around her, ignoring her. She felt lost in the darkness, with only fleeting glimpses of a bright, white light to break up the confusion.
Finally, calmness returned. Silence reigned and everything faded away until there was only a veil of black to see. Luna felt warm and comforted, but still could not move or speak. Her panic subsided to a dreamy state of tranquility.
A crack of light appeared before her vision and Luna came to the realization that her eyes were closed. Opening them both slightly, she was greeted with a harsh, blinding light, forcing her to shut her eyes again.
Grimacing, she allowed a few seconds for her eyes to adjust before cracking them open again. She was able to keep them open this time, but could see nothing but bright white. She tried to move her pupils around to see if she could see more, but she seemed to be surrounded by bright whiteness on all sides.This is heaven,
she realized, I'm dead and this is heaven.
As she struggled to open her eyes wider, she thought back to what had happened earlier. Twilight had broken her out of her cell and had successfully helped her escape. She'd gotten to see her sister again, which had made her infinitely happy.
And then Navy Shield had shot her.
She remembered hearing his exclamation and turning in his direction only to see his rage-filled eyed glaring at her, pistol in his mouth. She'd had less than a second to react before he'd pulled the trigger and the bullet had flown directly into her.
She couldn't even remember any pain. The last thing she could remember was the bullet striking her, and then after that all she could remember was the mess her mind had just been in.
The bright light hurt her eyes and she squinted against it. Her body felt very comfortable. She felt as if she were lying on something very soft; heavenly clouds perhaps. However, the white light was painful to look at. She tried to turn her head away, but she felt extremely weak. Simply keeping her eyes open was a challenge.
Despite the pain, her eyes were adjusting to the light and she was beginning to see more. The bright light was coming from directly above her. Beyond it, she could see a smooth, white ceiling of some sort. Heaven's got buildings. Neat
Her eyes were now halfway open, which was an incredible accomplishment. It was difficult and painful, to keep them open. Every part of her body and mind screamed at her to just shut them and go back to sleep, but she persevered.
She moaned and tilted her head to the right. The movement made her feel dizzy. A simple, green curtain came into her view, held up by a steel bar running parallel to the ceiling. Her vision was still slightly hazy, but she saw small tables with odd shapes on top of them.
She tried to move her stiff body, which reacted slowly. She felt like a heavy block of lead; every part of her body felt cumbersome and weighed down. She felt something that was covering her move in response. Craning her neck downwards, she saw that she was covered in a simple white blanket. It was plain, but felt very cozy. As she moved her head, she recognized the sensation of what she was resting on.This is a bed
she thought, I'm in a bed
She opened her eyes more, still trying to adjust to the painful light and her heavy fatigue and saw more green curtains in front of her. They continued around to the right, encircling her bed. Gazing to the right again, she took a closer look at the tables beside her. Upon some of them were containers and boxes. There were metal tools and collections of things like masks and wooden sticks. The more she looked, the more the familiarity of what she saw hit her.I'm in a hospital!
She shifted her body, which caused a lot of discomfort, and looked further to her right. Sure enough, she saw more familiar medical tools, such as the machine used to read vital signs, an oxygen tank hooked to a breathing assistant and a blood pressure cuff.
She paused and considered the circumstances. She felt incredibly weak, and could feel pain around her midsection, although it was hard to tell when she was so comfortable under the blankets. She was still struggling to stay awake, but discovering her location had given her a jolt of energy.I'm in a hospital! Does that mean
Does that mean I'm alive?
She changed her position again, rustling the covers. Something shifted to her left. She willed her stiff muscles to move and turned her gaze to the left. There, lying with her head on the edge of the bed, was the sleeping form of Celestia.
Luna's heart raced and she began to smile. Celestia was stirring, having been jostled awake by the movement. Her tired eyes fluttered open. Groaning lightly, she lifted her head and looked up, her eyes locking with Luna's. She too began to smile warmly.
"Luna, you're awake!"
Happiness was overcoming the blue alicorn. This couldn't be heaven if Celestia were here. "Tia
?" she said, finding her voice very weak and dry-sounding. Her throat instantly began to ache. "What happened?"
Celestia was absolutely beaming. She held a hoof out and laid it atop of her sister's hoof under the blanket. "Luna, I'm so glad you're okay!"
The older alicorn's mane was frizzy and unkempt, though it was still filled with dazzling colour. She had rings under her eyes, as if she had been awake for a long time, and there were dried trails below them from tears. Her normally radiant white fur was tattered and dirty, but through it all she was still smiling warmly.
Celestia leaned forward and gently nuzzled her little sister. Luna smiled and returned the nuzzle as best she could. "Are you feeling all right? Do you need anything?" the older sister asked in a concerned tone.
" Luna said, her throat only getting hoarser the more she spoke.
"Oh! Yes, there's some here," Celestia said, turning to her right. On another table nearby there was a large jug of water and a few glasses. Her horn glowed as she lifted the jug and poured the liquid into one of them. She then gripped the glass and hovered it over to Luna, carefully holding it to her lips and pouring it into her mouth.
Luna swallowed the water gratefully, feeling the cool sensation as it glided down her throat. She continued to drink until the glass was empty, not realizing how thirsty she'd been.
Finally, she sighed in contentment as Celestia replaced the glass on the table. "Better?" her sister asked.
Luna nodded. "Thank you, Tia."
"How are you feeling?"
Luna groaned softly. "Really tired. Really weak. What happened?"
"As soon as you got
hurt, I used all of my power to teleport you directly to the Royal Canterlot Hospital, which is where we are now. The doctors took you in right away and the surgeons did their absolute best. You should be all right now."
Curious, Luna lifted her hooves and tried to get the blanket off of her top half. Celestia saw what she was doing and assisted her with magic. Luna glanced down at her body and saw bandages tied across her chest. She also noticed that a tube was connected to her left hoof. Following it with her eyes, she saw that it led to an IV drip standing nearby.
"They said you were really weak and malnourished," Celestia said quietly, "That's why you were out for so long after the surgery. It's been more than a day since
it happened." The elder princess grimaced at the memory.
Luna glanced to her sister. She saw the dirt on her coat and the rings under her eyes, realizing what they signified. "You stayed by my side the whole time, didn't you?"
Celestia smiled. "Of course I did, Luna. I had to make sure you were okay."
"As long as you're safe, little sister."
Luna's train of thought was cut off as her stomach rumbled quite loudly. Celestia chuckled. "Hungry?"
It was at that moment Luna realized just how hungry she was. "Starving."
"I'll be right back." Celestia stood up and walked out through the curtains, leaving Luna alone on the bed. She had no idea what time it was, but the hospital around her was fairly quiet. She guessed that it was some time during the night or very early in the morning.
She paused as her thoughts collected. Navy Shield had shot her. She had almost died. If her sister hadn't been there, Luna didn't know what would've happened. She shuddered at the possibilities.
Celestia returned a few minutes later levitating a small tray behind her. Upon it sat a large assortment of nutritious foods, all of which looked incredibly appetizing to Luna, despite it being hospital food. Celestia helped her shift her position so she was sitting upright a little more and set the tray down on her lap. The movement caused her pain from the bandaged area, but it wasn't too bad.
Luna wasted no time and immediately began to eat. She tried to pick up the items with her horn and was pleased to see that she was able to, though her magic still seemed quite weak. Her sister simply sat and waited, smiling.
After she had finished two leafy sandwiches, she turned to her sister and asked a question that had been on her mind since she'd stepped out. "What happened to them? Navy Shield and his cohorts?"
Celestia grimaced again. "Those foul ponies have been locked up in the Canterlot dungeons," she said, distaste clearly evident in her voice.
"All four of them?"
"Yes. The grey one, Comet Tail, was very co-operative during his interrogation, I've been told. He alerted us to the fourth conspirator, Sunny Ray."
Luna sighed. "That's good to hear."
"High Noon and Sunny Ray refused to talk, and Navy Shield has been quite vocal about his refusal to co-operate, but Comet Tail has told us pretty much the whole story. He told us what they had been planning and why they were doing it. He told us about the old book they were reading from." She shook her head and sighed. "It's absolutely ridiculous."
Luna listened to her sister speak in silence while she ate a small salad from a container and a packet of hay. The food tasted absolutely brilliant after a whole month of eating next to nothing.
Celestia turned to her sister. "It saddens me that there are ponies like them in this world. It breaks my heart that there are ponies who have so little regard for the lives of others. I had expected better from members of the Royal Guard."
Luna swallowed her mouthful of food and gazed into Celestia's eyes. She thought back to the very beginning of the escapade she'd just been through. The fight that had started it all. Celestia had warned her about precisely this kind of thing happening. Luna could recall her sister telling her that some ponies simply weren't ready to accept her yet. All of her words from that fateful night came flooding back to her.
She began to cry.
"Luna? What's wrong?"
Luna sniffled as tears flowed down her muzzle and her heart began to ache. "Tia
" she muttered, "Tia, I'm
I'm so sorry. This is all my fault
"I should have listened to you!" Luna exclaimed, heavy with emotion, "You were right! You're always right! After you and I had that fight, I
I snuck out of my room and I went flying on my own. You told me to take somepony with me, but I didn't listen to you. And it got me kidnapped. I'm sorry!!"
Luna felt Celestia place a hoof on her own. "Luna
" she said soothingly. The young alicorn blinked her tear-filled eyes and gazed at her sister. "None of that matters now, Luna. All that matters is that you're safe and we're together again." Celestia punctuated her point by leaning forward and nuzzling the young alicorn affectionately.
Luna sniffled. "I'm sorry
It's okay now. You're home. You're safe."
The two remained that way in silence for a few minutes, simply savouring the moment and taking pleasure in the fact that they were together again.
"I was scared, Tia
" Luna whispered, "It was frightening and they treated me so awfully. I thought I was going to die
" Celestia whispered back, "I was scared too. I thought I'd lost you, and I couldn't bear the thought of going on without you
" She leaned back and stared into Luna's eyes. "Please don't scare me like that again."
Luna gave a small smile. "I promise, Tia
Celestia smiled back and the two shared another quick nuzzle. "So how are you feeling?" the elder sister said, returning to her position at the side of the bed, "Better? Any problems?"
"I just feel tired," Luna replied, "and the wound hurts
but I'm okay."
Celestia nodded. "The doctor said it would probably hurt for about a week, but there'd be no major problems."
Luna sighed, shivering. "I can't believe I was shot
" she muttered, "If you hadn't all been there
" Then, she perked up her ears and turned to her sister. "Oh! What about Twilight and her friends? I hope they're all okay."
Celestia smiled and nodded. "Yes. As soon as I got here, I ordered my guards to go and retrieve them in a carriage. They wanted to stay by your bedside too, but it was way too cramped in here, so I told them to go explore Canterlot until there was any news."
"That's good," Luna said, grinning, "They all worked so very hard to save me. They went all that way, and they put their lives at risk for me."
Celestia nodded again. "I am very proud of all seven of them, if not slightly disappointed in them for not telling me first."
"I'm so grateful to them
"It's like I've always been saying to you, little sister; There are ponies everywhere who love you."
Luna smiled warmly. Already, her wound seemed to be healing, simply by being in the presence of her older sister. It was a perfect moment, and Luna could not have been happier.
"Princess?" a female voice called from outside in the hallway.
"Oh!" Celestia said, perking up, "That must be Twilight." She stood up and walked to the curtains at the foot of the bed, poking her head through.
"Over here, Twilight," her sister called.
"Is she all right?"
"She's awake, but she's feeling pretty tired."
There was a gasp. "May we come in?"
Celestia pulled her head back inside and seated herself near the corner of the bed. Moments later, the curtains parted again and six young mares filed through, clambering to fit into the tiny room. Rainbow Dash flew in and hovered above the bed, but Fluttershy stood on the ground, her wing carefully bound to a splint. They all wore joyful smiles and sparkling eyes, including the baby dragon on Twilight's back.
"Princess Luna! Thank heavens you're all right," Twilight said.
"Luna we're so glad to see you!" Pinkie said gleefully.
Fluttershy sniffled and said, "Thank goodness, Luna! We were so afraid."
"Ya gave us a scare, Yer Highness," Applejack added, "We all missed ya."
"You have no idea how great it is to see you!" Dash proclaimed.
"It's so wonderful that you're all right," Rarity said finally.
Luna simply gazed around the room at the beaming, love-filled faces that surrounded her. She couldn't help but smile ear to ear seeing the ponies that cared so much about her. It nearly brought a tear to her eye.
"Thank you," she said quietly, "Thank you all so much."
As morning broke and the day slowly began, the eight ponies and dragon spent their time in the small, cramped hospital room, talking about the adventure they had all been through. There was always a smile on somepony's face, and they were all extremely happy to see the younger alicorn returned and reasonably unharmed. Despite their location in one of the busiest hospitals in Equestria, and despite the circumstances, it was the happiest that many of them had ever been.
Celestia walked through the hallways of Canterlot Castle and found herself before two doors. One, to her right, was white, yellow and emblazoned with a radiant sun. The other, to her left, was black, blue and had a beautiful crescent moon painted upon it.
Smiling, she turned to the door on the left and tapped her hoof against it. There was a moment of silence before she heard a voice on the other side. "Come in!"
She pushed open the door and walked into her little sister's royal chambers, finding Luna seated at her desk, once again engrossed in a book. "Hello, Luna!" she greeted her cheerfully.
Luna looked up and smiled. "Hello, sister! How are you?"
"I am doing fine. How are you feeling?"
The young alicorn sighed and smiled. "I feel a lot better now that the bandages are off
Celestia nodded. "Well you definitely look a lot better. It looks like you've made a fantastic recovery."
"Thanks! I feel great!" Luna stood up from her desk and walked over to her sister. They shared a quick nuzzle. "It's been a wild week, hasn't it?"
Her older sister nodded. "Everypony was so happy to hear that you were alive and well. All the ponies in the castle have been smiling non-stop."
"So what's going on, sis?" Luna asked, looking up to the taller alicorn, "Got a last minute assignment or something for me?"
Celestia shook her head. "No, your schedule is fairly clear for tonight. Actually, I wanted to show you this." She used her magic to grab a photograph she had been holding under her wing and levitated it over to Luna, who took it with her own magic.
"What is this?" she asked, gazing at the picture. It was an image of hundreds, probably thousands of ponies all standing in the main plaza of Canterlot.
"That," Celestia replied, "is a picture of all the ponies who came to your funeral."
Luna gasped and her eyes shot open. "What? Really? But
"Yes, Luna. Ponies from all over the land came as soon as they'd heard the terrible news. They all dearly wanted to be there to pay their respects
and to say goodbye. Even then, not everypony was able to travel all the way here."
Luna simply stared, stupefied, at the vast amount of ponies in the photograph.
"I know you doubt it sometimes, Luna," Celestia said softly, "but there are ponies all over this land who love you very, very much. I don't want you to ever feel unloved or unwelcome in Equestria."
Luna sniffled, fighting back tears. "Thanks, Tia."
The tall alicorn stepped forward towards her sister, nuzzling her affectionately once again. "I love you, Luna."
"I love you too, Tia."
The two broke the embrace and Celestia took a few steps back and sat down on her haunches. She gazed at the smaller, blue alicorn lovingly. Luna had already been growing quickly since her rescue from the grasp of Nightmare Moon, and even now, she looked different than she had a month ago. She was about a foot taller and her mane was longer. Her little sister was growing up.
It was still a surreal feeling to see Luna sitting before her, alive and well. It felt like a long dream that was too good to be true. Celestia had smiled more this past week than she had in nearly two months. It was an amazingly joyful feeling to be reunited with her sister and it refused to ebb away. Smiling brightly, she gave Luna another hug with her wing.
"Well then, sis," Celestia said, stepping back, "I'll leave you to whatever plans you have for this evening. The night looks gorgeous, by the way."
Luna beamed. "Thank you, Tia! I wanted to make sure my first night since my absence was spectacular."
"Well, you've definitely succeeded, little sister," Celestia replied, smiling proudly.
Luna sighed. "And I have nothing important to do tonight, so I'm going to finish the novel that I started and then go flying."
Celestia's jaw immediately fell into a frown as her mind conjured up terrible memories against her will. A wave of déjà vu hit her; this was how the argument had started. The staging was nearly the same. "Um
flying?" she muttered, hoping she'd misheard her sister.
Luna opened her wings and stretched them out, moaning blissfully. "I haven't flown in more than a month," she said, "I feel really stiff. I need to get out and move." Folding her wings up and opening her eyes, Luna took notice of Celestia's very concerned expression.
"Oh! No, don't be silly, Tia. I'll go find some guards to fly with me."
Celestia let out a sigh of tremendous relief. She smirked. "Why did I ever doubt you?"
Luna smiled and shook her head. "After what I just went through, I'll never go out on my own again. I promise."
"That's good to hear, Luna. Thank you."
Luna stepped forward and quickly nuzzled her sister again before turning around and trotting over to her desk.
Celestia stood up and watched her, pausing for a moment of thought.
"Actually, Luna," she said, causing her sister to turn around and look at her, "you don't have to go bother the guards."
"What?" Luna responded, baffled, "But, Tia! I-"
will go flying with you."
Luna paused for a moment before breaking out into a huge smile. "You will?" she asked, and Celestia nodded. "Oh wow, Tia! The two of us haven't been out flying together in
I don't even remember how long it's been!"
"I would love to accompany you, dear sister."
"But Tia, you've been working so hard! You've been doing both of our jobs. You need to rest!" Luna said, frowning. "You don't have to if you don't want to, Tia. I don't want to be a bother
"Nonsense, Luna! It would be no trouble at all!"
"Tia, you really should rest. It's night time now."
"I will rest later, Luna. You are more important right now."
Luna smiled warmly. "Thanks sis
"Anything for you, Luna."
"Well, if you're sure, then let's go right now! I'll read when I get back."
"That sounds like a great idea."
Luna, practically bouncing with excitement, tidied up her workspace and placed her novel on top of her bed so she wouldn't forget it. Her sister watched in amusement. Moments later, the two stepped out onto Luna's balcony, staring out across Equestria as it was bathed in the pale moonlight. The weather was very calm and the temperature was just right.
Luna couldn't stop smiling. "Ready, Tia?"
"Are you sure you're okay to fly, Luna?"
"I think I'll be okay, sis. I really do feel much better."
"Well, if you need to stop, just tell me and we'll land somewhere."
The two spread open their wings, feeling the light evening breeze ruffling their feathers. Celestia took a deep breath of the cool, night air. It was all beautiful. The night was perfect, just like her little Luna.
"All right! Let's go!" Luna exclaimed before galloping forward. Celestia followed suit, and the two leapt off the edge of the balcony, catching the air with their wings and soaring off into the distance.
As the landscape sped by beneath them, Luna wore a gleeful smile, fully enjoying the freedom of flight, Celestia could only think of one thing; this was perfect. The perfect ending to a ridiculous and terribly upsetting series of events, and she couldn't be happier.
The royal alicorn sisters sat at the top of a grassy knoll, letting the breeze flow around them. It toyed with their manes and tickled their fur. The crescent moon was high in the sky above them, spreading minute but gorgeous light across the trees and grass around them. The sounds of the evening reached their ears; an owl hooting, crickets playing their song, a wolf howling in the distance.
" Celestia mused, "it's nice to take a step back, forget you're a princess, and just take a long look at the beautiful world that we live in."
The breeze picked up, chilling the princesses. Luna snuggled up closer to her sister, who extended her wing to cover her. They sat in silence for a few moments, letting their thoughts roam freely.
"Tia?" Luna spoke after a few minutes.
"What will happen to Navy Shield and those other three?"
Celestia frowned, her good, calm mood immediately soured by the thought of those four ponies. She let out a huff of breath. "They have been accused of treason, conspiracy against the crown, kidnapping, holding one against their will in inhumane conditions and attempted murder. They were all found guilty."
Luna stared forward as her sister spoke.
"Comet Tail will receive 25 years in prison, due to his identifying of Sunny Ray as an accomplice. The other two unicorns are going to receive 45 years, and Ray will be stripped of his position and will never be able to work for the crown ever again.
" Celestia paused, shaking her head, "I still can't believe he would even do something like this. I knew he was loyal to me, but to think
You and I interacted with him almost on a daily basis."
I haven't been able to look at any of the guards in the same way, Tia
" Luna said quietly, "At least, not yours."
Celestia nodded. "On some level, I am inclined to agree with you. I had always suspected there might be some cult or group working towards harming you, but to have it originate from within the royal guard? I'm honestly shocked and appalled."
Luna shivered and snuggled against her sister again.
"Well," Celestia said calmly, "Navy Shield will never bother you again. The verdict was life in prison with no bail."
"Good," Luna said, sounding distant.
"You don't have to worry, little sister. We've put that monster behind bars for good."
Luna only nodded.
Celestia sighed. "I know, Luna. I understand what you're feeling. It's frightening, isn't it?"
" Luna mumbled, "Who can I trust any more?"
Celestia nuzzled her. "Me."
"Don't worry Luna. I'm here for you. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that nothing like this happens ever again. We'll keep a tighter watch on who we let into the guard, and we'll keep our eyes and ears open for anything that's amiss. It's going to be all right, Luna."
Luna gave another nod. "I trust you, Tia."
Celestia smiled and hugged her closer with her wing. "I love you, Luna. Never forget that." The two simply sat in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the cool night air.
Suddenly, however, a bright flash of green appeared before them. It condensed into green flames that soared towards them, stopping and swirling before Celestia's face before forming into a tied up scroll.
"Oh my," Celestia said, catching the scroll with her magic, "A letter from Twilight."
She gazed at the scroll, tied up flawlessly and sealed. Perfect as always. What was different about this scroll was what was written on the outer edge; 'To: Her Highness Princess Celestia and Her Highness Princess Luna'.
"Oh, it's for both of us!" Celestia said, turning to Luna.
"Really?" Luna replied, perking up.
Celestia nodded. "Let's see what it says," she said, opening and unrolling the scroll. The two sisters leaned in and began reading it. Dear Princess Celestia and Princess Luna,
Greetings from Ponyville. I hope everything is going well for you two, and I hope Luna is having a great recovery. Everypony here has been sending you positive energy and hoping you get well, especially Pinkie Pie.
I still remember the group of us stepping out of the Canterlot Hospital, helping you get back home, only to be greeted by an ecstatic crowd. The whole of Canterlot, and a few from afar, had gathered to welcome you home, and I'll never forget the smile that was on your face, Luna.
I also hope you're feeling better mentally, Luna. We all know that you went through a harrowing experience, and sometimes it can be tough. Don't forget that I'm only a letter away. Spike says he doesn't care if you wake him up in the middle of the night just to send me a message. My friends and I will always be there if you need us, and I'm sure your sister will be too.
Celestia, I trust things are going well in the castle? I don't think your smile ever faded while we were there, and I wouldn't be surprised if the same one was still upon your face right now. We were all so happy to see you beam like that. It was a wonderful feeling to know that we helped bring a smile back to you.
Here in Ponyville, we've all been resting. Pinkie's eye and Applejack's jaw have healed up completely. Fluttershy just got her splint taken off, but she won't be able to fly for a few more days. She doesn't mind, though. She enjoys spending time on the ground with all of her animal friends.
Your Highnesses, I just wanted to share with you the lessons I learned this past month. I learned the value of never giving up, as well as the importance of pursing the truth. If your gut tells you that something's wrong with the way things are presented to you, then you should definitely do your best to investigate it. It's never a good idea to jump to conclusions, but you should always give your hunches a chance.
I also learned that sometimes your friends won't share your views or ideas. Sometimes they'll disagree with what you think and often aren't shy about voicing their opinion. However, I've learned that a true friend will give you the benefit of the doubt and help you seek out the answers you're looking for. After all she did to help me out, I know that if Applejack ever has a hunch and needs my help, I'll be there to do my best, even if I don't agree with what she's saying.
I can definitely vouch for my friends and say that they have all learned these lessons too. We are definitely thankful for all the wonderful lessons this adventure has taught us, but most of all, we are simply thankful that Luna is safe and the two of you are together once again.
It truly brings a smile to our faces to see the two of you so happy.
On behalf of my friends and the entire village of Ponyville, we wish you safety, happiness, and a great recovery.
Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.
The two alicorns smiled after finishing the letter. The young unicorn's words were filled with warmth and sincerity; her happiness resonating through their minds.
"Tia?" Luna said after a moment.
"You and I have some amazing friends, don't we?"
Celestia closed her eyes and smiled. "Yes, Luna. We do." THE END
Thank you to everyone who enjoyed this story, and especially thank you to anyone who left a comment. I couldn't have done this without the fan support.
Big shoutout to the My Little Pony forum on Neoseeker. Their fanfic contest is what originally gave me the drive to get off my posterior and actually write this, and the support of my friends from that forum encouraged me to keep going.