The Moon in the Dark

Long ago, the Monsters and Humans fought a great war. The Monsters lost, and were sealed in the Underground. It would take the power of seven human souls to break the barrier that kept them imprisoned. They only had six. And so the Monsters waited and hoped, praying that another human would find their way to the Underground. Some thought the seventh soul would give their King the strength to break the barrier. Some dreamed of a human who would be their friend, and save them all...or had nightmares of one who would bring back the war.
...but nobody came.
...but somepony did.
Eons after the war, with no way to tell how much time had passed above, a tiny blue filly with wings and horn fell into the underground, calling for her Mama. None knew the poor creature's nature or origins...but her soul was powerful with magic, even more so than a human soul.
None can know what will come...of this little 'Woona'.


69. And They All Lived...

"...and that's how Equestria was made," Princess Celestia concluded as she closed the book of Royal History, looking down at her former pupil - now a Princess in her own right - to see how she'd handled it all.

She wasn't surprised to discover Princess Twilight Sparkle struggling to even come to terms with everything she'd just been told.  "I'm sorry, Celestia, but...what?" she demanded.  "You seriously mean to tell me that that's how Equestria came into existence?"

"You did ask," Celestia answered calmly.  "And as a Princess now, you are entitled to the full story."  She giggled softly.  "I must admit, Cadence reacted much the same way as you did when she first heard the tale."  The only difference... she began to think silently.

"Then what happened with Luna and Asriel?" Twilight demanded irritably.  "You made it sound like Luna was completely smitten with him or something!"

And there it is, Celestia thought to herself with a chuckle.  "Well, that's a bit more complicated," she explained.  "See, everyone who was initially joined with one of the human souls that became an Element of Harmony - Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, Muffet, and Asriel -found themselves immortal.  And Mother and Father found their own life spans expanded in a similar way, because Asriel's aging was no longer tied to theirs.  When he came of age, Luna was still a filly, and her attempts at flirtation left him uncomfortable, since he still saw her as his little sister.  So he went on a journey to see the whole surface."  Celestia chuckled a trifle wickedly.  "When he came back, Luna had grown into a young mare, and..."  She smirked softly.  "Well, Luna swore me to secrecy on those details."

"I just..."  Twilight shook her head as she struggled to take it all in.  "How?" she finally demanded.  "How is it no one's noticed Monsters running around?  What happened to them all?"

"Some of them chose to live amongst ponies, interbreeding with them, until eventually no one even knew they'd ever been," Celestia explained.  "Some of the strongest magical bloodlines of all three tribes are a direct result of that.  Others chose to live on their own, in the Everfree, Whitetail, and others.  The stronger environments toughened them, and their descendants gained physical bodies, which is why races like the chimera, the hydra, and others are protected under law.  They are our kin, after all."

"Wait!" Twilight interrupted.  "If Asgore and Toriel could only age from Asriel aging...what happened to them?"

Celestia chuckled softly.  "Haven't you ever wondered why the Minotaur Kingdom has been our staunchest ally since the day it became united?"

Twilight's jaw dropped.  ""

"It was a couple of centuries later," Celestia explained.  "Mother and Father felt we were ready to rule ourselves, and were seeing if they could go back to being a couple for their own sakes.  Father had planned a romantic picnic in a wide plain to help rekindle their spark.  Everything had just been set up and he was pouring the cider...when the warring factions of the Minotaur Kingdom started to converge on the spot.  In a fit of pique, he raised his battle fork and split the sky with fire before making a wall of pure blue magic to separate them.  He said they could get on with whatever they were up to after their picnic."

Twilight's eyes were practically popping out of her head.  "How did they...take it?"

Celestia laughed loudly.  "When he lowered the wall of magic, every minotaur on the field was on their faces.  When Mother finally stopped laughing, they found themselves the King and Queen of the Minotaurs."  She chuckled softly.  "The minotaurs are quite proud of their King Fluffybuns."

Twilight stifled a giggle at the absurdity.  "So...if Luna was so happy with you and Asriel...why did she end up dominated by the Nightmare?  Didn't Sans help her control the shadows inside?"

Celestia sighed softly.  "Allow me to rephrase the essence of Sans' advice on controlling it.  'Conceal it, don't feel it, don't let it show'."  She looked sorrowfully at Twilight.  "Sound familiar?"

Twilight winced.  She'd read that parable.  "So...every time she felt jealous or ignored, she...buried it, rather than dealing with it..."

"And it built up with the shadows in her soul until it overwhelmed her," Celestia confirmed.  "And because she refused to face those emotions until it was too late...there was nothing I, or anyone else, could do."

Twilight was silent for a time.  Celestia wasn't surprised.  After all, it was a lot to take in, and she was likely trying to rationalize everything she'd taken in to make sense of it all with what she already knew, or thought she knew.  "Alright..." Twilight began slowly at long last.  " does Prince Blueblood fit into all this?  Is he...Luna and Asriel...?"

"Not quite," Celestia corrected.  "He's actually my grand-nephew."

Twilight tilted her head.  "But then-"

"Yoo dispoint, Bluey!" an insistent voice snapped out.

"But how was I to know?" Blueblood whined as he walked by, a robed figure seeming almost to float beside him.  "It's not like-"

"Not cause who!" the figure in the cloak insisted.  "Dispoint that Bluey treat anyone like that!  Bluey know better!"

"But..." Blueblood whimpered softly.

"Bluey...pologize!" the figure insisted firmly.

Blueblood sighed softly.  "Alright...I'll tender a formal apology."

"Bluey good boy!" the figure insisted, floating over to nuzzle him.  "Princess Tem so proud."

"I love you too, Mom," Blueblood replied as the pair walked out.

Celestia stared down at Twilight.  By the expression on her face, Celestia was very glad that she hadn't been drinking anything when Blueblood approached.



Asriel leaned back in thought as he stared up at the Tree of Harmony.  To every pony who'd ever seen it, it was a symbol of hope and the ultimate protections of the land.  To himself, it was both a grave marker and a birth place.  He wasn't entirely sure how he felt about it.  To say that his perspective on it was 'complicated' was a massive understatement.  Even after all these eons, he still got chills when he came close to where he died.

"Feeling maudlin, brother?" Chara asked as he stepped out of the shadows in the back of the cave.  "You always spend so much time staring up at your old self."

"I can't help it," Asriel replied.  "I can't really leave it behind.  And...I still have trouble living with everything I did as Flowey.  Even if most of it never really happened in this timeline because of my Resets...I still remember it."

"...I understand that all too well," Chara replied, leaning against the side of the cave.  "You grew up well, though."

Asriel glanced down at his adult form, standing nearly as tall as Asgore and garbed only in simple white shirt and breeches.  He glanced back at Chara.  "You didn't grow up so bad yourself, bro.  But the striped shirt still?  What happened to only kids wearing striped shirts?"

Chara shrugged his shoulders.  "Red likes it."

"She's still around?" Asriel asked in surprise.

Chara nodded.  "All that time posted at the edge of the void altered her personal time state.  She's as immortal as we are-"

"Chara~" a quiet voice sang out.  Red - like Asriel and Chara, now having a fully adult body - stepped out of the shadows, her long legs visible beneath her still short cape.  "Are you ready to-"  She cut herself off as she saw Asriel there, pulling her cape tight around her and blushing.  "Uh...I don't know how I feel about your brother watching..."

Asriel's eyes popped open.  " do that here?" he gasped out.  "Under my corpse?"

Chara shrugged as Red giggled.  "You're comfy," he replied with a wide grin.

Asriel groaned.  "You're sick, bro."  Shaking his head, he ignored the pair's chuckles before speaking up again.  "How are things down in Tartarus, and on Redemption's Path?"

Chara sighed softly.  "Tartarus is well...but it's still unnerving to see our old homes recreated by the magic of the path, and shades of everyone who lived there while Luna made her way through.  It's...somewhat comforting, since the shadows make it feel less lonely down here for both of us...but watching how those from Tartarus try to walk the path..."  He shook his head.  "If it weren't duty, I wouldn't do it."

"And...what about the soul fragments?" Asriel asked worriedly.  "You mentioned they'd shown up."

Chara nodded.  "Yes...the fragments of the seven sages...they fused together into a single being.  They've been walking Redemption's Path over and over.  They...don't define themselves, beyond being though all that's left of humanity that made war on monsters was inside them, and represented by them.  And...I think I know why they're walking."

"Why?" Asriel asked, confused.

"The Path is designed so that, while the damned can expiate their crimes if they choose to walk the peaceful path...there will always be one they can't save, to represent the fact that expiating guilt does not erase the consequences of the crimes," Chara explained.  "That human...can't seem to accept it.  They walk through over and over...desperately trying to save your shade, brother."

Asriel's eyes widened in surprise.  "That's...I don't know how to deal with that.  Do they...have a name they use?"

Chara nodded softly.  "They call themselves Frisk."

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