The Growing Years

This story is a sequel to A Different Perspective
Both the House of Path and Herd Path enjoy strong growth in the years following their establishment. Like all such things though, they both have their highlights and lowlights. These are vignettes in the lives of the children of Twilight, Path, Free, & Roseclaw, from foals to young adults.
This is a series of stand-alone stories of events that occur after the events of A Different Perspective, which I strongly recommend that you read first.
My collaborator, AlaskaIsCold, has written some of these and I mostly just edited them.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/296939/the-growing-years

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7. Divine Introspections

The summer solstice was almost upon them, and for Herd Path, that meant pleasantly warm evenings spent with the family while it was still light. However, it was now time for the youngsters to go to bed, although not without the obligatory whining about wanting to stay up longer. Nevertheless, they were quickly chivied off to their rooms after giving Auntie Luna a goodnight hug. While the parents were occupied with tucking in their children for the night, Luna made her way out onto the balcony. The lowering sun was just touching the horizon, and she was ready to raise the moon in its stead.

Luna felt her sister’s magic as she set the sun, and she called to her moon with her own power. Soon, a three-quarter phase moon rose as the sun disappeared, and the light faded. Luna did not need the illumination of her satellite to see the grounds of House Path’s estate – it had become very familiar to her by now because of her frequent visits. She closed her eyes and felt the serenity of the gardens, even as the creatures of the night stirred and started to go about their business. She smelled the newly mown grass and the scent of the flowering shrubs that lined the path that led to the entrance of the House, and she let the ambiance imbue her with its peacefulness.

Long Path found her still there on the balcony when he went looking for her after putting the foals to bed. He was troubled when he noticed tears running down Luna’s cheek, the tracks of moisture glistening in the moonlight.

“Luna, what’s wrong?” Path asked with deep concern in his voice.

Luna opened her eyes to look at him. She smiled softly and replied, “Better to ask what is right.”

Path cocked an eyebrow curiously. “Okay then, what’s so right that has you crying?”

“Everything,” she said with a broad sweep of a wing that encompassed all. “As of this moment, I believe I have never been happier in all my long life. Since my return, I have reconciled with my sister, and we have never been closer. I have made friends, and even better, I have begun relationships with people who have become so very dear to me. I have a family that cares for me and brings me joy. Even if I am a poor foalsitter,” she added with a chuckle.

“Ah, then those are tears of happiness?” Path asked with some relief.

“Indeed. Today has been such perfection that I could not keep them in.”

“Surely you had to have experienced times like this before?”

“Of course I have had such times, especially when Tia and I were much younger, long before my fall. But my family has grown, and my emotions have matured, and I can appreciate the difference between simple childhood happiness, and the joy of a rich and fulfilling adulthood. I am at last comfortable with my place in this world, and I owe it all to my friends, starting with Twilight Sparkle who went out of her way to make me feel welcome in a world that still feared Nightmare Moon, and then to my acquaintances who saw me as a mare with needs rather than just an aloof divine ruler. Herd Path has completed me in ways I had never dared dream.”

“I suppose it must be tough for the average pony to see a goddess as a person whom they can relate to,” Path mused.

Luna was quiet for a long moment before she replied. “What dost thou think I am, Path?” she asked placidly.

The question surprised Path, and he had to stop to think for a moment. “I don’t usually think of you in those terms, but you are a divine alicorn, Goddess of the Moon and Night, and Princess of Equestria.”

Luna snorted in amusement. “Divine goddess… yes, I suppose that’s what many ponies tend to think of me, but think for a moment – has either Celestia or myself ever explicitly claimed to be a god?”

“I… don’t recall any occasions.”

“That is because we do not claim such. While it is true that we still allow that assumption to be unchallenged in many cases where it is expeditious, it is something that we are working slowly to eliminate. It is our goal to govern entirely through wisdom and good will, but it is a long and slow process. I have several groups that I must gradually bring to the modern way of thinking, but for now I need to play the part still. Nevertheless I will be happy when the day comes when no one thinks of me as a god.”

Path frowned in puzzlement. “But if you’re not a god, what are you then?”

“Is Twilight Sparkle a god?” Luna asked rather than answer directly.

Path laughed. “Twilight would look at me as if I were insane if I said she was.”

“Exactly, and yet she is no less an alicorn than I despite her youth. She will grow in power as the years pass until she matches or even exceeds me. The same can be said of Cadance. However, if we were gods, we would have near absolute power, and yet thou know for a fact how many times we have failed or struggled to achieve our goals. Remember, in the end, it was neither my actions nor Celestia’s that ultimately saved the Crystal Kingdom.”

“Then what is an alicorn if not a god?”

“We are Aspects of Harmony. We are tasked with maintaining the balance between Chaos and Order. That is why Twilight and her friends were able to defeat Tirek in spite of him stealing all their magic. When I grew corrupt and became Nightmare Moon, I was disconnected from Harmony, and thus vulnerable to it also, hence why Celestia was able to banish me with the Elements of Harmony. Yes, we are very powerful in magic too, but it is not our primary tool. Harmony manifests itself in many ways, and as this world matures and the population grows, I foresee more alicorns ascending to help maintain the balance.”

“So is that’s why Twilight became an alicorn?”

“Yes, I believe so. Celestia has the gift of foresight, and although she did not know exactly who at the time of the vision, she foresaw that she would guide a worthy filly to fulfill that destiny.” Luna chuckled wryly. “It is somewhat ironic that her first major step towards that destiny was defeating Nightmare Moon, but I consider that most fortunate for me.”

“What about Destined? He was born an alicorn. Did Harmony decide to make him its agent even as he was conceived?”

“Destined Path… why did you name him so? I think it’s because you already knew the answer to that question. Herd Path seems to have become the focus for Harmony lately, and he may yet play a large role in the fate of this world. However, there is an oddity about him. Art thou aware that alicorn foals have only ever been born of two alicorn parents? All other pairings with alicorns have always resulted in pony offspring of one type or another. When Flurry Heart was born, that seemed to break the rule, but Shining Armor later ascended to alicornhood, so we now believe that it is enough for the parent to have the potential to be an alicorn in order to have alicorn progeny.”

“Well, I’m no alicorn,” Path said with a self-deprecating chuckle, “So perhaps it’s not such an iron-clad rule after all?”

Luna regarded him for a long moment, seemingly reassessing him. She shook her head. “I beg to differ. Thou art in your own way an alicorn. In fact, I have always regarded Prince Shining Armor’s ascension as rather odd. While I in no way believe that he did not deserve to ascend, if for no other reason than to never have to leave the Alicorn of Love alone, I don’t believe that it was his original destiny. There was one on that battlefield who was destined to be that agent of Harmony, the Alicorn of Protection, but he died on the field in achieving it.”

Path was stunned. “But… you mean… I could have been… an alicorn?”

“I believe that was thy destiny, yes.”

“But you’re not sure?”

Luna shrugged. “As I said, I am not a god. I am neither omniscient nor privy to all of Harmony’s secrets. However, I have lived a very long life, even before my banishment, and I have observed much that supports my hypothesis.”

“How about that? I could have had wings like everyone else,” he said with a smirk. “Ah well, I don’t know if I’d be cut out to be an alicorn anyway.”

Luna smiled in amusement. “As I said, thou art one in thine own fashion. I believe that thou dost serve Harmony in another way. After all, why did Mort send thee back?”

“Huh? He said something about being a focal point and he felt that it was not my destiny to die as yet. I don’t recall exactly now.”

“Even the Spirit of the Dead plays his part. He probably sensed what I do, that thou wert an agent of Harmony, and had yet to finish playing thy part.”

“So that’s why my son is an alicorn? Is that what I was destined to do?”

“Maybe, but do not belittle thyself. Thou still hast much to do before thou can achieve thy lofty goals.”

“I couldn’t do it without my family. Still, it seems that we have succeeded in one thing.”

“And what is that?” Luna asked curiously.

“Making you happy,” Path said with a fond smile.

“Was my happiness that important to thee?”

“To all of us, Luna. You are family to us, and we love and support each other. You needed it and we were happy to give it, and we’ve all been the better for it. In fact, I think it’s time that we went the next step. Look behind you, Luna.”

The Alicorn of the Moon turned around to see Twilight, Free, and Roseclaw all sitting at the balcony doorway, quietly watching and listening to their conversation. They smiled happily at her.

Path continued, “We have been wondering if we even had the right to ask, but as you have just told me, you are not a god – you are a very wonderful mare, and you deserve so much. So, will you do us the honor, the privilege, and the outright joy of officially joining Herd Path?”

The tears that had dried up started flowing again. They all gathered around Luna and hugged her. She sniffled a bit and then said, “I was too hasty when I spoke earlier – this is the happiest moment of my life. Yes, I would be overjoyed to join your Herd.”

Twilight spoke up. “I’ll call Celestia and ask her to come over if she’s free. She can officially pronounce our union, and I’m sure she’ll want to share in your joy too, Luna.”

Luna nodded. “Certainly, but as selfish as this may seem to be, that is all she will be getting!”

They all laughed and hugged once more.

It was a long time before Twilight got around to calling Celestia.

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Author's Note:

In the end, aren't we all just ponies (human)? From the greatest to the least of us, we all seek happiness.

   
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