Feared AND Loved
Warning! Spoilers for the Pony POV Series!
Welcome, little ponies. I understand you are here to interview me about recent events. It is good to meet you…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Why is she looking at us like that?)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Just roll with it…)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Princess Celestia, it’s nice to meet you too!)
Hehe…It’s good to meet you too, little one, you remind me of Twilight when she was a foal…Forgive me if I seem a bit stressed, the tabloids have been asking me questions nonstop the moment Discord’s defeat was made known. I’m used to such things (often they are entertaining to be honest) but things are rather personal between me and Discord and that fact makes this unusually stressful for me.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): We understand, Princess…)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Princess Celestia, just so our readers can know without a shadow of a doubt, why wasn’t Discord simply executed instead of kept prisoner when he was originally defeated? I just want to clear up that little mess once and for all, for your sake.)
I appreciate that, but those who wish to see me as incompetent will always do so, no matter what I say. Discord was not executed because any attempt to do so would release him…Believe me when I say, you do not want to know what I mean by that. I wish I didn’t. We’re still trying to figure out a way to properly dispose of his statue. The course of action most seem in favor of is ‘teleport it to the planet’s core for eternity.’
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Thank you, Princess…Moving on, I know it’s difficult for you but…can you tell us of your experiences after the Bearers defeated Discord?)
I awakened in my room, practically pinned against the wall by several dozen of my own subjects. I know this will be hard to believe, but I remained like that until Luna came and began removing them. I knew what I had done to every last one of them. I had hurt them all enough as it was…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Do you feel guilty?)
Not to sound heartless, but no…I know Discord’s mind control, I saw enough of it in his first reign to know how it works like the front of my hoof. He wants his victims to think it’s what they want, that he just let it out. And while I did want to be a filly, I didn’t want to harm my subjects. While I care for everypony I hurt…I am not guilty for something I was made to do. Neither are any of his victims. He wants them to be guilty, to hurt, to tear themselves apart for what they would have never done if he hadn’t made them do it. If they saw me blaming myself, they would blame themselves.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn):…Is that why you’re saying you don’t feel guilty? Because if you do, then so will they?)
No, of course not…Let’s move on, shall we?
“Celly!” called my dear sister as I finally emerged. I gave her a nuzzle and hugged her with my wings. This was the second happiest I’d ever been to see her safe and happy.
“Lulu, are you ok? What did that monster do to you?”
Luna gave a sigh. I could see a different kind of pain in her eyes. “Nothing; he felt it would be more amusing to have an audience to his chaos…and my purification still hath rendered me immune to his powers…That tis not important, what tis is that Discord is back in his stone prison where he doth belong.”
I looked uneasily around our surrounding. The castle was back to normal. Outside of the physical damages caused by various games of Discord’s, there was hardly a sign his brief reign had ever transpired. I couldn’t believe it.
“Sister…how did this happen?” I finally asked. I did my best to hide my surprise Discord had been beaten at all. He’d broken five of the bearers…he’d broken me. And yet, for all intents and purposes, it appeared he was defeated. I’d even felt the Rainbow of Light’s power wash over everything. So what had happened?
Luna chuckled with a smile. “Why your faithful student hath vanquished Discord, sister. All it took was my mailing her back all the friendship lessons she’s been sending you.”
Luna and I needed to retreat into my study for a few moments after that so I could allow myself to shed tears of pride. My sister had played a role in saving the world. My student and her friends had defeated Discord in a few days…it had taken me and Luna a thousand years to do the same. And to do so, they would have had to undo his Discordings, on their own, without the knowledge of a god. What reason didn’t I have to be proud of them all?
With the kitchen staff in no condition to cook, Luna tried cooking the castle’s supply of instant noodles. I am unsure if it was simply her lack of skill in that department or the fact she still hadn’t completely mastered modern kitchen equipment (I still remember the microwave), but that resulted in a literal mountain of burnt noodles (a dragon ambassador appreciated them).
I will admit if there’s one benefit of this whole situation, it’s that I was able to enjoy bean burgers. High class food has its perks, but it felt strangely pleasant to eat greasy fast food without a care in the world…It made me feel closer to my little ponies having a chance to eat commoner food for once.
I just wish my nephew would come out of his room…He’s terrified of me. He believes I wish to harm him…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Princess…Discord hurt you didn’t he?)
Is it so obvious?
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): No, you are good at hiding it, we just happen to be more observant than most ponies.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): And if there’s one thing we know, Princess, it’s that hiding a hurt simply makes it grow bigger.)
That is very wise of you…Yes, Discord has hurt me. For the first time in a thousand years…I truly doubt my little ponies love me. I’ve always felt more alienated from them than I should have…but now it’s as if there’s a wall between me and them. And I can’t tell how much of what he said was a lie and how much was truth. I believe that is what hurts the most; I’m not sure I will ever know the complete truth. I’ll never know if they truly fear me as much as he said they do. And that is the most painful thing. I’m sure Discord knew that when he did it.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): We’re not afraid of you, Princess.)
…Thank you for the hug, little one. I needed that.
Oh…hello again. I did was not expecting you today…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): We get that a lot.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Are you ok, Princess?)
Yes, as well as can be expected. I believe I have just had the most unpleasant meeting with Twilight I have ever had.
I received a letter from Spike telling me that Twilight was having a meltdown of some kind. But I never in a million years expected to find the entire town fighting over the Smartypants doll she’s had since she was a foal. I simply broke the Want It, Need It Spell and let the ponies leave in peace. That was the easy part…
The difficult part was staring down at my faithful student, the one mortal pony in such a long time I had always believed cared for me, and seeing the fear in her eyes. The fear of me. As angry with her as I was, that sight still hurt. I told her to get to the library.
“B-but I’m supposed to send you a letter about friendship every week! I missed the deadline! I’m a bad student…I’m tardy!”
I do not believe I have ever seen my student more miserable than she seemed in that moment. She did this all out of fear of disappointing me. Of missing a deadline I myself had set. No, I did not regret setting the deadline…Alicorns cannot feel regret. I can feel guilt, but I cannot wish my transgression never was. I cannot wish I could do something different, it is a simple impossibility…It frustrates me, as it is another thing that separates me from my subjects, but given a Concept’s true nature, I understand why it is something we cannot afford to be capable of.
“You are a wonderful student, Twilight. I don’t need to get a letter from you every week to know that.”
Her friends would then rush in and beg with me not to take Twilight away from them…Yes; it hurt to know they were as afraid of me as she was. I simply rolled with it and extended the assignment to all of them, removing the deadline completely.
Discord was right, Twilight does fear me. The mortal pony I thought loved me the most is afraid of me. Her friends do as well. My subjects fear me…just like he said.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Princess Celestia, with all due respect, I don’t think her friends fear you.)
…What do you mean?
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Did they ever once say they were afraid of you?)
…No, they did not…They were afraid I would take Twilight away from them.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): And why was that?)
…Because they believed it was their fault she was in trouble with me. Because they’d ignored her when she tried to tell them her fears and get their help.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Princess, they weren’t scared of you, they were scared of losing Twilight because of them. They were afraid they messed up and were going to lose their best friend because of it.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Princess, I am REALLY sorry to ask this, but how did you feel after you sealed Luna?)
…I felt terrible. I felt like I’d torn off a part of myself. I knew that it was partly my fault. That I had ignored all the warning signs, that I’d seen she was hurt but did nothing to help her. I couldn’t WISH I’d helped her. I may not be able to feel regret, but I can feel guilt. I turned to guilty eating and…well…you may have read in the history books of ‘the Century of the Chubby Celly.’ It is not easy for an Alicorn to become obese, but I managed it simply out of guilt. For an entire century. It would have been easier to turn to drinking if I didn’t have to drink an entire liquor store just to get mildly intoxicated.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): I know regret is something you can’t feel…but if you’d been given one last chance to stop Luna from becoming Nightmare Moon, what would you have done?)
…I’d have gotten on my knees and begged and pleaded for my sister to not become a mad goddess for my mistakes. I’d have…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Done exactly what Twilight’s friends did for her?)
Yes, indeed…Thank you, my interviewers, I think you are right. It was not me that her friends feared; it was the thought of losing her and her paying the price for their own mistakes. The same thing that caused my guilt after I had to banish Luna to the moon.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): And were willing to stand up to you for her sake, don’t forget that.)
Indeed, you’re right. Even if they do fear me…they love their friend more. I am proud of-
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Let it be known that Twilight and her friend’s friendship report just arrived.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Mind reading it out loud, Princess Celestia?)
“‘Dear Princess Celestia, we’re writing to you today because we all learned something about friendship. We learned that you should take your friend’s worries seriously. Even if you don’t think that she has anything to worry about. And that you shouldn’t let your worries turn a small problem into an…enormously huge entire-town-in-total-chaos Princess-has-to-come-and-save-the-day problem…”
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Well, that last part was definitely Pinkie Pie.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): See, Princess? They didn’t share Twilight’s fear, they weren’t worried Twilight missing a report would get her taken away, they were afraid that they’d lost their best friend because their neglect turned a problem that wasn’t a huge concern into a disaster she would get punished for.)
It does seem they were more worried about Twilight being punished for a problem they caused than fear I was a tyrant who would punish her for something as simple as a missed assignment.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Still think they’re afraid of you?)
No, I don’t think I do. At least not as much as I used to.
(Interviewer’s Note (Pegasus): And Twilight?)
…I am still uncertain how I feel about that. It hurts me to say, I don’t think right now I can be certain she doesn’t fear me.
Please excuse me, my interviewers. I am grateful for your assistance, but Equestria wasn’t built in a day. My sister still needs assistance adapting to the Night Court after her thousand year banishment.
…However, you three seem to be good at understanding and helping ponies, aren’t you?
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): It’s kind of our job to be.)
In that case would you mind helping a few ponies for me? Their jobs are to help others, now they need help.
Happy Nightmare Night, my interviewers…shouldn’t the filly be enjoying the festivities?
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Unfortunately, she has to stick with us. Don’t worry; she got some trick or treating earlier.)
I see. Did you enjoy it, little one?
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Yeah!-It-was-fun!-I-ate-lots-and-lots-and-lots-and-lots-of-candy!)
Hehe, I can see that little one. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Hey! Stop running up the walls! Only Pinkie is supposed to take metaphors literally!)
I only hope my sister is enjoying her time in Ponyville. She has actually been adjusting a bit better than I expected, staring in some plays…Still, I wish her luck. If ponies fear me despite their opinion of me, she has her work cut out for her.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): We were hoping you’d overcome that fear, Princess.)
Sadly, only partially. I’m recovering, but it’s taking awhile. And my fear for Luna is not entirely without base. I told her to go in a cat pony costume…she chose to take Tirek’s chariot with her Night Guard who we are still introducing to the public. And wore a cloak.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Well, that isn’t that bad.)
The cloak is made of living bats.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus):…I’m not sure how that’s physically possible…)
It is when you’re the personification of the Night itself; I’ve done it with sunbirds before. Both species are quite happy to please us, it’s just…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Not exactly the thing you want to wear trying to reconnect to ponies who created a holiday out of fear of your Nightmare form?)
Exactly. I think she completely ignored all my attempts to change her mind. Oh well, I supposed I will simply pray to Our Parents things go smoothly. Yes, my Interviewers, even the goddesses have Someone to pray to, I don’t think I’d have had any piece of mind the last thousand years if I didn’t…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Speaking of piece of mind, how’s yours doing?)
Not as well as I hoped. I’ve had my fair share of nightmares over the past 1000 years, most of which stemming from the fear that without my sister, I would eventually suffer the same fate she did. But I have recently had others…Ones where I become a different Nightmare born from wanting to be no longer be feared. I know those nightmares are even less likely than the others, as I know full well becoming a Nightmare would make me truly feared. And I know it is foolish of me to think this way, but we all have things we fear.
In many ways, the way my mind works is alien to that of mortals. I am the Day, I do not simply rule it, and what that means is something a mortal mind can never understand. But in other ways, I am very much like mortals. I have fears, I have hopes, I have dreams. I can feel joy at many of the same things they can. And for every one of those things, I’m grateful. But that does not mean my fears are not easier to deal with.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): We all have things we’re afraid of, all of us.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Yeah!-I’m-afraid-of-snakes!-Really-afraid -of-snakes!-I-mean-REALLY-afraid! Hey-I-should-have-gone-as-a-snake-tonight!)
But ponies can’t see me afraid. They can’t see me be guilty…The point is, I’m not allowed to wear my feelings out in the open, to see help for them. No matter how much I want to…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): But they don‘t always have to see you, aren‘t there other ways you could seek guidance?)
…Yes…I see your point…I do have a number of guises I could us-Oh, a friendship report?…Wait…I…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Read it out loud, Princess.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Yeah!-Read-it!-Read-it!-Read-it!)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): How did you even get on the chandelier?!)
‘D-Dear Princess Celestia,
When you first sent me to Ponyville, I didn’t know anything about friendship. I met somepony tonight who was having the same problem - your sister, Princess Luna…She…She taught me that one of the best things you can do with friendship is to give it to others, and help them find it themselves…And I’m…I’m happy to report that all of Ponyville has learned that even though somepony seems a little intimidating, even scary, when you…when you offer them your friendship, you’ll discover a whole new pony underneath…’
They…they liked Luna…they were afraid but…they liked her…I…I’m sorry, it’s just…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorns): We can take a break while you compose yourself if you want to.)
No, no…that’s fine…I just wasn’t expecting this…I hoped but I never thought it might happen.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Luna’s-scarier-than-you-um-no-offense!)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Stop running on the ceiling!)
Hehe…None taken. Luna’s tastes are quire frightening indeed…But you’re right, maybe…maybe I’m looking at this wrong…Fear always said few understood Him…I think I need to think about this…and perhaps go see an old friend of mine about it…
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): …Thank the Princesses…she finally crashed…Look, we should probably go let her sleep off all the sugar…)
I understand…she’s quite adorable asleep, isn’t she? Well, thank you once again, my interviewers, you have helped me a great deal. Hehe, ‘And even if my Star Swirl the Bearded costume didn’t go over, this still turned out to be the best Nightmare Night ever’…I think it was, my faithful student…
Draco Island is a rather…unusual location. A large amount of the island is paradise as far as Dragons are concerned. Naturally, this means to most species it resembles Tartarus on Equestria. Live volcanoes and smoke clouds cover most of the island. Of course, Queen Tiamat is the political ruler of all dragons in addition to their Mother Goddess, so the few parts of the island that are favorable to non-dragons are reserved to greet diplomats and other visitors. There are also a few signs forbidding disposing of cursed rings in the island’s many volcanoes. I’m not sure if that’s a joke on Tiamat’s part or not.
I earned Tiamat’s respect long ago alongside Luna during our reign together. It was vital for securing the safety of our subjects and helping with stability. Tiamat may be willing to negotiate and civil, but she’s still the Goddess of All Dragons and earning her respect has gone a long way to establishing peace between dragon-kind and Equestria. I still needed to report my visit in advance, that is a simple diplomatic requirement, but I knew our mutual respect meant I had little to fear.
The two massive dragons serving as guards allow me to pass into her gigantic lair, an obsidian castle, or perhaps throne is a better term. I believe they guard her of their own accord, not on Tiamat’s orders. Tiamat fears nothing but Fear Himself and His Bride…and for the safety of her children. And unlike myself, she has little need to fear the damage she could cause protecting herself, I’ve seen her devour bombs like they’re candy.
As I enter her lair, the stench of brimstone and sulfur hits my nose, emitting from the lava pools dotting the outer reaches of the chamber. Tiamat sits in a pool of lava in the center, the glow of the magma illuminating her titanic form. One of her five titanic heads notices me and the other four join it instantly in looking at me, each eye several times larger than I am. Yes, it is a terrifying sight. I doubt that there are few beings on the planet more terrifying than Queen Tiamat to behold, but I have long since accepted her as an ally and a friend.
“Hello, Goddess-Queen Tiamat, Mother of All Dragons,” I announced, giving a respectful bow of my head. While our respect is mutual, this is her home and her lair, in her land. Tiamat has always been civil and polite with me, so why should I not return it?
“Greetings, Celestia, the 19th, Concept of the Sun,” the head who first noticed me spoke. All five of Tiamat’s heads have their own egos, they’re all able to think of their own accord. I’m not sure if they’re all attributes of one being or if they’re something akin to conjoined siblings, I’ve never bothered to ask. “It has been some time since we have had you in our midst.”
To Be Continued...