Her Happily Ever After

This story is a sequel to A Tale of the Sun, Moon, and Stars
It has been almost a century since Twilight and her friends had discovered their destiny, and Celestia has been wracked with constant regret over the fate she has condemned her friends to. Now Luna looks to those very ponies to help Celestia smile again.
Celestia's story, and a sequel to A Tale of the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

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1. Her Happily Ever After

Her Happily Ever After

 

By: Dal

Original "Smile" Lyrics By: Amy Keating Rogers

Cover Art By: Aniritak

 

 

 

"… and just as all hope was lost, Twilight heard the call of friends echoing up from the chamber's stairwell. Her eyes went wide as realization struck her with the force of a falling star. The spark of friendship arced through the depths of her mind, unlocking part of the power that resided within."

The sound of snoring broke Princess Celestia out the trance she had found herself in. A unicorn filly lay napping beside her, the events of the day finally taking their toll on the rambunctious youngster. Celestia smiled, the scene evoking old memories of a certain lavender unicorn, and lifted the sleeping filly onto her back.

"You really are a special one, aren't you?" she mused while walking down the halls that lead to the academy's dormitory. The halls opened to a massive open-air atrium filled with hanging plants and beautiful tapestries; on the edge hung a balcony overlooking the castle courtyard below. Sounds of laughter greeted Celestia's ears from a group of ponies, piquing her curiosity.

Below her were six ponies: her sister, The Stars; and her friends from Ponyville. They were busy preparing the castle for the coming celebration tomorrow, which would mark the hundredth year since Luna's return. One hundred years.  Even for one as old as she, that Summer Sun Celebration still felt like it happened yesterday. Pangs of guilt began to reemerge when her gaze  fell upon the Elements of Harmony.

It was all her fault that they were here now. It was her fault for damning them to share the same curse that only herself, Twilight, and Luna should have to endure. Celestia had forgiven herself for the events that happened eleven hundred years prior, but not this; never this. With a sigh she continued on her way. Her thoughts drifted back to her five friends.

Over the last century they all had left Ponyville to join Twilight. Time and time again, they had proven themselves as Equestria’s greatest champions. Under their vigil, the country had entered a golden age not seen since the times shortly after the Sun and Moon first defeated Discord. Even the dreaded Everfree Forest had been cleansed and resettled with the help of the ten great leaders of ponykind. Her ponies were the happiest she had seen in many generations, yet she still felt awful over the price at which it had come. The sight of her student's room snapped Celestia out of her daydream. With a golden glow she tucked her precious cargo into bed and wished her sweet dreams.

 

 

Tomorrow was going to be a long day; two back-to-back holidays tend to take a lot out of anypony. She once again lost her self in thought about her failure that lead to the Elements current plight. No pony should have to see what she and her sisters have, and no pony should have to sacrifice as much as they. She had eons of practice to deal with the rigors immortality brought, but not them; not her five innocent friends from that sleepy town.  

Walking through the grand halls that lead to the royal quarters, she could not help but notice how amazing the night sky looked. For a millennium she had not gazed at the vibrant canvas her sisters created; each time she had tried, the pain of loss plunged its icy blade deep into her heart. Thanks to those five the blade had been removed, only to be taken into their own beings.

"GAH!" Golden wisps of energy flew about the halls from her exclamation. "Why do I keep losing myself to these thoughts? I made peace with Luna a hundred years ago, I even forgave myself for what I did. No- Had to do. Yet I still can’t forgive myself for a choice they made themselves. Did they not know what it would mean to stay on this plane for so long?” She stormed into her bedroom and flopped into bed in a very un-princess like fashion.

"Maybe talking to them about this tomorrow is not the wisest idea, but I really need to have this burden lifted off my shoulders."

She closed her eyes, and sleep quickly took her into its not so merciful embrace.

 

 

Princess Luna was sitting in her bedroom, eyes ablaze in a soft blue glow, searching the kingdom for nightmares that may be plaguing her beloved subjects. A tremendous wave of force tried its best to break her concentration, only through considerable force of will was she was able to maintain her magical trance. Whatever had disturbed her was close, and it was powerful.

"Who in my realm could birth such a terror?" she asked as she quickly found herself being drawn to the castle.

"Celestia? Why in the Heavens would she have anything to fear?"

Luna dove into her sister's dream, and found nothing to her liking. Everything was grey and washed out, images distorted and misshapen. Luna stepped further into the dream, finding herself in a familiar yet haunting place; the ruins of the once majestic city of Everfree. In its sundered center lay a little white unicorn, tears streaming down her immaculate face.

"This is what I have done to them, Sister. " The filly spoke with a soft voice filled with regret. "In time this is all they will know: loss and sadness."

Luna placed a comforting wing around her sister's smaller form. "Oh really? This is what you think will happen to them? No, this will never happen again. Nothing like this will ever happen again." The ground shook as thunder echoed throughout the blasted landscape.

"Yes, sadness may rear its ugly head every once in a while, but their friendship will always be there to soften the blow. Do not weep for them, dear sister, for there is only joy in their hearts. And in mine."

Celestia looked into her sister's eyes, nothing but happiness danced within her sibling’s soul.

"I still need to talk to them, our curse is not an easy one to bear. You most of all should know this."

"You can be a real silly filly sometimes, Celestia. You know, you really should smile more often, depression does not suit you one bit." Luna stuck her tongue out after that bit of playful goading.  "Fine then, speak to them in the morn. Do not be surprised by their answer though. Now get some sleep and leave these images where they belong; the past." The two sisters embraced each other in a tender hug as the foreboding dreamscape collapsed and faded away.

Luna awoke a short moment later, panting and coated in sweat.

That was no normal nightmare. Only once have I felt such an intense dream, the one that ended with my mind shattered like a pane of glass. I must find the others soon. I'm sure that Pinkie will have a glorious plan to brighten Celestia's mood.

Taking a deep breath, she trotted off in search of the her other sister and her friends.

 

 

A little while later the seven of them were gathered in the royal dining hall. Luna had explained what she had seen in Celestia's dreams, and of course the others had pledged their support to bring an end to her nightmare. Just as Luna had predicted; Pinkie's plan was glorious, even if it drew Applejack’s ire.

"Really now? The whole city? I knew you could do it back in Ponyville, but all of Canterlot? You are crazier than a woodpecker on Applebuck Day."

"You betcha! Oooh! this going to be so much fun! Just you wait, we'll have Little Miss Sunshine positively glowing by the end!" Pinkie chirped while bouncing around in excited anticipation.

"Well since Luna thinks it will work, and you have a very long track record of proving me wrong, I'm right behind ya Pinkie."

"Oh my! I'm worried that she is worried about me, and I don’t want her to feel that way, and she will worry that I'm worried and-" A soft squeak escaped Fluttershy's mouth.

Twilight made three quick scratches on a sheet of parchment. "Excellent! Luna and I will provide the music, Pinkie will do whatever she does, and the rest of us will do our best to make Celestia smile."

Rarity wore a flat look of disapproval on her face. "Darling, it’s three in the morning and you are still making checklists? One hundred years and some ponies never change."

"All I know is that it’s going to be totally awesome! I haven't had a chance to do this for so long. What? Don't give me that look, I like other things than flying you know." Rainbow rolled her eyes.

Luna nodded approvingly. "Alright then, we all should retire for the rest of the evening. Our goal is known, our plan is set, and we will not falter. Twilight and I will inform Shining and Cadance of our meeting in the morning. Goodnight everypony."

The seven tired ponies made their way to their beds, thoughts of tomorrow dancing in their heads as sleep claimed each one.

 

 

Luna and Twilight awoke earlier than normal the next morning. Both of them headed to the entrance of the grand city to intercept two very important guests.  The howl of a steam locomotive's whistle signaled the approach of Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor. The train slowly made its way into the station, and a moment later the empress and her husband disembarked. They found two very unexpected ponies there to greet them.

"Princess Luna? Twilight? I did not expect to see you two waiting for us. Is there something wrong?"

Old memories of an ancient and vast library clouded Twilight's mind. It wasn't until she first returned to the empire, and the wonderful tomes therein, that Twilight learned there was a deeper meaning to her brother and sister-in-law's relationship. Celestia had been quite literal when she said, "If the empire is filled with hope and love, those things are reflected across all of Equestria."

"Not at the moment," Twilight winced as her book-filled fantasy faded. "We just have a little surprise in store for Celestia and we figured you would like to be apart of it."

With their greetings exchanged, they made their way back to the castle. Luna briefly informed them of what she had seen in Celestia's dream, and the plan the seven of them had devised.

"You can't be serious!" Cadance and Shining Armor yelled in unison.

Twilight smirked, "You two haven't been around Pinkie Pie enough. Now if you would excuse me. I have to wake up our last guest."

 

 

Twilight cautiously entered the massive cavern that was the heart of Canterlot Mountain. Torches lined the hewn stone walls, flickering in the intermittent gusts of humid air. It had been thirty years since she had been here. She knew he wouldn’t like this, but she knew he couldn’t live with himself if he wasn't there for her.

"Spike. Spike? SPIIIIIKE!" Twilight wasn't one to use the Royal Canterlot Voice, but she saw its appeal as it always managed to get things done.

Two white masses lit up in the depths of the hollow, dwarfing the violet alicorn.

Spike raised a gigantic claw to scratch his ears, and bellowed in a forceful voice, "Ow Twilight, you know how much that stings. Ugh. How long have I been out any ways, feels like only a couple hours."

A guilty smile grew on Twilight's face, "Uhh, only thirty years."

Pale green magic began to cascade over Spike, his body reducing in size till he resembled the striking bipedal form he had imagined so long ago. It was a spell he had learned from Twilight, a necessity after he figured out that the love and friendship he possessed was far more valuable than any treasure or hoard.

"So what's up? You know I needed a nap after our last little adventure."

"Something is troubling Celestia, and Luna says it is very serious. Like Nightmare serious. She also mentioned that Celestia's best friends would be the only way to help her."

"You can count on me!' Spike saluted.

"I knew my number one assistant wouldn't let me down."

 

 

Rays from the sun cut through the partly cloudy sky, reflecting off the golden domes of the city's many towers. Blue banners adorned with a moon had been hung beside the many yellow sun-marked ones from the day before. Today was a somber holiday, one of family and remembrance. Celestia both adored and hated it. With a huff she returned to the ornate wooden table her friends and family had gathered around.

A palpable aura of mirth filled the room, try as they may, it wasn’t very often all eleven of them would find themselves together. Pinkie was busy tending to the assorted baked goods she had made with some of the Cakes’ old recipes, Spike and the Elements were busy catching up on the three decades he had missed, and the Lords of Crystal had found themselves in deep conversation with Luna. There were two constants between them: laughter and smiling faces. Celestia tried her best to keep her finely honed shell from cracking, but the tears behind it were threatening to overwhelm her.

It’s now or never.

The soft yellow glow of Celestia’s magic enveloped a glass and spoon, ringing them to gather the others attention.

"I'm pleased to see everypony is having an amazing time. It has been so long since we have had a chance to be together and it is apt that we are today.  One hundred years ago Luna was returned to us through the colossal efforts of my sister and the Elements. The years preceding that day were the darkest I have ever known. So dark, that even I came close to succumbing to the same despair that had claimed Luna." She glanced out to shining city sprawled out before her, "And I very well may have, if it wasn't for the wonderful ponies we have all sworn to guide and protect."

The back of her throat was dry with trepidation, yet she had to press on.

"I have a confession to make. Lately I find myself experiencing the same feelings from those old days. This time it’s not over the loss of my sisters, but over what I have done to you five."

She raised a wingtip to point at the table end that seated Twilight and her friends.

"You five should never face the long test of time my kin do. I have forgiven myself for Luna's fall, but never for what it meant for you. It was my fault that we chose to use the Elements in the first place, and its my fault that you five were given the spark of an immortal life. I know the immortal's curse. I would never wish it upon my greatest enemy, much less the friends that are so close to me."

"Please. Please forgive me for what you have lost."

Twilight and Luna perked up, this was the chance they were waiting for

Twilight cleared the frog out of her throat that Celestia's speech had conjured, "We have a confession to make as well. After last night we saw how much you were hurting inside, and we vowed that we would bring an end to it."

Applejack approached the now dejected looking Princess of the Sun.

"I will only tell you this once, and you best bet it’s the truth coming from me. Leaving Sweet Apple Acres to the next generation of Apples was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Family is everything to me, and it’s family that lead me here. You lead me here, you lead us all here."

One by one the group surrounded Celestia.

With a quick flap of her wings, Rainbow Dash made a loop in the air; landing in front of the beleaguered alicorn. "I could never leave Ponyville, or my friends hanging, and now I never will!"

"You give everything for this nation, and now I have the opportunity to do the same. Just with a little bit more... pizzazz as it were." Rarity’s eyes sparkled like the diamonds that adorned her flank.

"Your infinite kindness to every being has always been my inspiration. I can nurture and tend for creatures across all of Equestria, now and forever. Oh just it makes me so happy!" Fluttershy said, cradling an imaginary creature in her forelegs.  

A stern yet caring look formed on Pinkie’s face. "Losing friends is never easy, and when you are friends with everypony; it gets really tough sometimes. But then I look within my heart and know that deep down they are still there! Oh Celly! Being able to bring a smile to ponies' lives has always been my dream. Now it’s a dream that will never end!"

Celestia collapsed on the floor, a shocked expression hid behind a mask she was desperately trying to maintain.

Luna knelt down to meet her sister's face, "I told you not to be surprised by their answers."

Dragon and pony alike collapsed on top of the solar reagent in a massive hug. Her regal facade was obliterated, tears began to stain Celestia's once unblemished face.

"You fools," she sobbed. "You know not of the pain I have suffered."

"We do sister," Twilight and Luna whispered, "And that’s why we had a little something extra planned to make you smile."

Magenta magic swirled around them, and the group vanished.

 

 

A loud pop heralded the arrival of the entirety of Equestria's royalty, ponies everywhere dropped what they were doing and proceeded to gawk at the very unexpected sight. They had ended up outside the main gate into the castle and on the road that lead to the city's square. Several royal guards began to panic as they fled back to the castle to fetch their superiors and reinforcements for the "unscheduled" outing. Pinkie Pie then produced a megaphone seemingly out of nowhere.

"Alright every pony! Princess Celestia has been feeling rather down the last couple days and we will need your help to cheer her up. Just follow our lead!"

Twilight turned to her friends, "We have known each other for a hundred years now. Has anypony figured out how she does these things?" Varying degrees of no were her only answers.

"Alright hit it you two!"

That was Twilight and Luna's cue to start the music that would accompany them along this little parade. Waves of magic flowed from their horns eliciting an all too familiar tune to play throughout the city.

Celestia glared at her sisters. "You wouldn't dare."

"Yes we would, and yes we have. Now enjoy yourself!" And with that, Pinkie grabbed Celestia's hoof and sprang into action. She landed next to a couple who had remained awestruck by the sudden appearance of the most powerful ponies in the land.

 

My name is Pinkie Pie (Hello!)

 

And I am here to say (How ya doin'?)

I'm gonna make you smile, and I will brighten up your day-aaay!

It doesn't matter now

If you are sad or blue

'Cause cheering up my friends is just what Pinkie's here to do

'Cause I love to make you smile, smile, smile

Yes I do

It fills my heart with sunshine all the while

Yes it does

'Cause all I really need's a smile, smile, smile

From these happy friends of mine

 

 

Pinkie Pie returned to the now dancing group of her friends, and with Celestia in tow they began marching to the main square. Ponies from all around had lined up in the streets to watch the spectacle unfold. Celestia couldn’t believe what was happening as a singing pink blur circled around her.

 

 

I like to see you grin

I would love to see you beam

The corners of your mouth turned up

Is always Pinkie's dream

 

Pinkie's song was beyond infectious; ponies in the street started moving to the magical rhythm, grins plastered on their faces.

 

But if you're kind of worried

 

And your face has made a frown

I'll work real hard and do my best

To turn that sad frown upside down

 

 

More and more ponies of every race and standing began pouring into the streets, smitten by Pinkie's singing. Twilight and the others started to belt out lyrics at the top of their lungs, and from the bottom of their hearts.

 

 

'Cause we love to make you grin, grin, grin

Yes we do

Bust it out from ear to ear, let it begin

Just give us a joyful grin, grin, grin

And you fill us with good cheer

 

 

Darkness swept across the city while the music changed to a more somber melody. Only a patch of faint moonlight remained, illuminating the Princess of the Night who lay in middle. The mass of dancing ponies halted when the artist of artists' voice filled the air.

 

It's true, some days are dark and lonely

 

And maybe you feel sad

But friends will be there to show you that it isn't that bad

 

 

Rainbows rushed along the gloomy sky, terminating in a brilliant flash at Luna’s hooves. Gone were the shadows that had encircled her, replaced with eight ponies and dragon. Luna found a gentle purple hoof helping her up off the ground, embracing her in a heartfelt hug. Pinkie’s song returned to its whimsical self as the group formed a line and marched on.

 

There's one thing that makes us happy

 

And makes these long lives worthwhile

And that's when we talk to our friends and get them to smile

 

Celestia was struggling to maintain what little was left of her poise, too focused to notice the smile building at the edge of her mouth, or that her pink guide was leading her the middle of the marching line.

 

 

I really am so happy

Your smile fills me with glee

I give a smile, I get a smile

And that's so special to me

 

 

Most of Canterlot was watching Pinkie's procession now, and every single pony had a grin on their face when they passed by. They had arrived at the main street in the town's square, ponies lining it from edge to edge. Spike had maneuvered himself to the center of the pack during this time, and while his friends started a new verse, he let go of his spell. With a poof, the entire group was now riding on his scaly back. From their new vantage point they began waving their forelegs in the air, directing every bit of goodwill from the gathering crowd to Celestia.

 

'Cause we love to see you beam, beam, beam

 

Yes we do

Tell us, what more can we say to make you see

That we do

It makes us happy when you beam, beam, beam

Yes, it always makes our day!

Come on everypony smile, smile, smile

Fill her heart up with sunshine, sunshine

All she really need's a smile, smile, smile

From these happy friends of mine!

 

The entire city let loose after that, a single mass of multi-hued bodies bursting with happiness and song. Applejack was impressed, Pinkie really did manage to get the whole city into her act. The mob quickly formed a circle around the dragon and his passengers, singing with them as they swayed back and forth under the waves of positive feelings.  Only one pony was silent, the dumbfounded white alicorn at the center of everypony’s attention.

 

Come on everypony smile, smile, smile

 

Fill her heart up with sunshine, sunshine

All she really need's a smile, smile, smile

From these happy friends of mine!

 

Pinkie could feel joy-laden air pouring into Celestia, but a great deal was still left unfocused. Her voice rose above the singing masses.

 

 

Yes a perfect gift for me

Is a smile as wide as a mile

To make me happy as can be

 

 

A blue aura began coalescing around the energetic pink pony.

 

Smile, smile, smile, smile, smile!

 

The aura intensified after every word. Pinkie's eyes were locked with Celestia's, as she unleashed the Element of Laughter's power.

 

 

Come on and smile

COME ON AND SMILE!

 

 

Celestia found herself speechless, euphoria streaking through every nerve of her body. There was only one thing she could do under the pink mare's onslaught.

She smiled.

Her coat began to take on iridescent shimmer, growing brighter and brighter with each passing moment.

"I told you she would be glowing at the end of this!" Pinkie yelled to her friends.

Visions of her friends filled her mind. They had been telling the truth. Yes they had all felt great sadness, but the compassion they felt for each other always won out.  Celestia realized how foolish she had been. She hadn't doomed them to eternity of loss and suffering. No, it was quite the opposite.

"Quiet everypony!" Celestia's royal voice rang out, silencing the crowd. "Thank you Pinkie. Thank you my loving sisters. Thank you my dearest friends. And thank you my loyal subjects. One hundred years ago I sent my then student, Twilight Sparkle, to learn the magic of friendship in Ponyville, and it was there she met these five ponies you see before you now. I thought I had doomed them to the same life of misery I had endured during Luna's banishment. I was wrong. Today I am the student."

A halo of golden light framed her against the now clear blue sky.

"Dear Luna, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Spike, Cadance, Shining Armor. Today I learned that the friendship we share is more powerful than even I had ever imagined possible. So strong, that what I thought was a curse to bear, was in fact my greatest blessing. I wouldn't trade the time we have together for anything in all of creation. Your thankful sister, Celestia."

The now radiant alicorn found herself in the arms of her friends, tears not of her own creation now staining her glimmering white fur. How she hadn't seen this before was a mystery to herself. The last century was the best times of her extensive life, her ponies were happy because their leaders were happy. She had a family now, and one that would guarantee that no ill would befall their kingdom ever again.

Celestia once thought she had her happily ever after, taken away by the same madness that had threatened to consume her only scant moments ago. Fate had chosen today, the hundredth anniversary of the Sun, Moon, and Stars' reunion, to let her know she had truly found it.

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