1000 years to go.
Celestia’s hooves touched the floor. Her sides were heaving. Steam rolled off her back. Her coat was blackened and her feathers tattered. Her legs trembled beneath her. With a gasp, she released the Elements from her magic and they clattered to the stone floor.
She raised her face toward the sky. The moon hung there, cold and impassive as always. It looked different. She thought she could make out the silhouetted head of a mare, watching her accusingly.
She shook her head. No. She couldn’t think like that. She had done what she’d had to do.
She exhaled. She was so tired.
But her duties weren’t yet finished. Her little ponies still needed her.
Celestia mustered her strength once more. Her horn began to glow, and the glare of the moon shifted. It began to slide through the sky in silence until it finally dipped below the horizon. A moment later, on the opposite end of the sky, dawn broke majestically at last.
999 years to go.
Here was the problem.
Equestria was a world of harmony. Everything was tame and orderly. Nature didn’t take itself into its own hooves.
Celestia could scarcely imagine it any other way, of course. That would be bizarre. But occasionally she wished that she lived in a world that did act on its own.
The sun and the moon did not move themselves.
They only shifted under the influence of powerful magic. As Royal Princess of Equestria, most powerful of the rare and mighty alicorns, Celestia was blessed with the ability to control the cosmos in that way. But even for her, it took a great deal of force and concentration.
Celestia couldn’t move the moon in her sleep.
998 years to go.
She was so tired.
Her little ponies had become dependent on her. The unicorns no longer knew the spells to control the sun and moon. She could scarcely remember if that story had been true in the first place. It had been so long.
If only she could rest. Just shut her eyes for a few hours. But they still needed her.
997 years to go.
She had tried it. She had lain down in her chambers, one night, in the middle of the night when she thought nopony would notice. She had rested her head and closed her eyes, and she had slept. She was so tired that she didn’t even dream, as she had feared she might.
She awoke to screaming.
One of her guard was shaking her and shouting something in a panic. He said something about…
No. She couldn’t be back. Celestia told him that.
He insisted. He said the moon had been frozen in the peak of the sky for hours. Equestria had once more been covered in night eternal.
Celestia heaved a great sigh. She flared her wings, sending the guard stumbling back. Her magic surged. The sky rolled over and the moon set.
She did not try it again.
996 years to go.
She couldn’t go on like this.
Sometimes she let them sit, just for a few minutes. But no more than that. No time to sleep. Her little ponies were watching the sky now, through their astrolabes and telescopes, making sure that it all worked like clockwork. They were afraid. She couldn’t blame them.
Every morning she made sure that her sister’s— that the moon slipped below the horizon and her own sun broke into the sky. Every evening she brought the sun back down and returned the paler orb to the sky. Every day and every night, she made sure they continued their steady cycle. She sparkled and glowed with the constant magic. She was a beacon for her little ponies. A pillar of stability, always holding to her duties to them, always smiling.
She was so tired.
995 years to go…
Oooh, a Celestia story. In hindsight I suppose I should have expected a few of these, but this is a good one. I always like this kind of resolute personification of Celestia, and this is a good twist on it. Well-done!