The last solstice
Chapter 44: Epilogue
It has been four months since Celestia restored the gravitational balance of the universe. Life could finally go back to normal in Equestria; the broadsword of tragedy was no longer hanging above ponykind's head. Princess Luna was found in the Changeling Kingdom 5 days after the winter solstice. She was in dire condition; she almost starved to death, since the changelings were unable to take care of even her basic needs without the hive mind spell of their Queen. Fortunately, Celestia read Chrysalis' mind, before forcing her to face her inner demons. The dark mare of deceit was a threat no more. She was serving her penalty in the Canterlot dungeons in a vegetative state. Good prevailed and the wicked suffered once more.
Luna has recovered in no time, as soon as her magical aura was allowed to flow freely again. On the other hoof, Nocturnal Mirage needed some external help. Celestia has been there for him every day, slowly healing his fractured bones. The process would have been a lot slower without her.
Now they were all standing in a balcony at the lower sections of the Castle. Everypony in Canterlot was there, since Celestia was about to make an announcement. Accompanied da her Friends and loved ones, the solar Princess came inoltrare, avanti with a heavy heart. She knew there was one più thing that had to be done and she could not delay it any further. She raised a hoof to silence the crowd.
“Ponies of Equestria!” Celestia began on a determined voice. “Save your cheers! Save your cheers, because I am not worthy!”
The masses were silent, hanging on her every word, as she continued after a brief pause.
“We have all been poisoned da the dark manipulations of the Changeling Queen! Even I became a victim of her lies... but she was telling the truth about one thing!”
Celestia paused again, looking around, examining the faces of her subjects.
“I am responsible for the Manehatten blast!” she declared lowering her head a little. “Yes! I was the one who caused the destruction of the city and its inhabitants, while fighting with an ancient demon of flame and shadows.”
This statement stirred up the calmness, the ponies were mumbling o gazing at the Princess in disbelief.
“I am responsible for the gravitational unbalance as well! The absence of my magic caused all those tragic events!” Celestia called out.
“Sister...” Luna whispered, taking a step closer.
“Don't!” Celestia hushed. “It has to be done.”
Then she turned to her subjects again.
“I have deceived you! I've betrayed your trust! I turned my back on te when te needed me the most! I watched te from my distant Ivory Tower and let our relationship waste away! I've made a terrible mistake! We all did, when we decided to hide the truth from you! Simple words cannot describe how sorry I am for abandoning te all! What I've done... is unforgivable... therefore, I humbly resign from the throne, since Princess Luna is fit to rule Equestria once again!”
The crowd was speechless. It took them some time to comprehend Celestia's word. Twilight, Cadence, Luna and Mirage were staring at the sun goddess with gaping mouths and wide eyes. Until there was a lone voice from below that changed everything.
“Says who?!” a young mare called out in the middle of the masses.
Everypony turned to her, gazing at her, who was Ribelle - The Brave enough to defy a Princess, who also happened to be the most powerful being in the universe.
“Rainbow Dash?!” Celestia recoiled in shock, since she didn't realize the cyan speedster was also there in the crowd.
“Yeah!” arcobaleno exclaimed, flaring her wings to hover above the other ponies, then she spoke in a fashion nopony has ever heard from her before. “We cannot possibly imagine what you've been through, Princess! But a thousand years of your reign proved your spirit is nothing but noble and just.”
Now it was Celestia's turn to be surprised as arcobaleno continued.
“But we, the subjects should apologize to te first!” she declared resolutely. “We have dato in to the manipulations of that insect too easily! We should have been much più loyal to you! So if there's somepony who's not worthy, it's us!”
The crowd was mumbling in agreement, some ponies even nodding.
“What happened to Manehatten was a terrible catastrophe indeed!” arcobaleno resumed, her voice was strong and confident, it traveled far with the breeze. “But I'm sure it wasn't your fault! If you'd have read the letters I've sent you, when te were playing hermit, you'd know that! But te came back and saved us all! That doesn't count?! Well, it does to me!!!”
“So, if your quitting because te feel like you've done your fair share, then fine! We'll throw te a parade! But if you're doing it because that's the easier way, then you're not the Princess we know and love! Can't te see Equestria still needs you? And we need you, Princess!!!”
The masses broke out in cheers once more, after Rainbow's enthusiastic speech. Not even the Princesses could quiet them down for several minutes.
“Very well!” Celestia replied, when the noise allowed her to. “You speak the wisdom beyond your years, dear arcobaleno Dash!”
“Wow... I didn't know she could do that!” Twilight remarked to Cadence; her features revealing utter disbelief. “Where did she even learn those words?”
“Oh yeah! Who's an awesome speechpony?!” arcobaleno taunted, performing some acrobatic stunts in the air. “See it now? te rock, Princess!”
“Ha ha ha! All right, all right!” Celestia chuckled.
“The ponies have spoken!” Luna declared, stepping forward, looking deeply into her sister's eyes. “Will te take your place beside me once più so that we may rule the kingdom together?”
“Yes!” Celestia cried in tears, hugging Luna tightly, which wasn't very Princess-like, but an honest and warm gesture instead. “I gladly accept!”
Twilight and Cadence soon joined the hug, leaving Nocturnal Mirage alone in the background. He smiled warmly, feasting his eyes on the Princesses and turned around with a heavy sigh.
“I guess my work here is done.” he mumbled to himself and was about to leave, but Celestia's voice stopped him.
“Wait!” she called out. “I'm not quite finished yet!”
Mirage turned around and looked at the sun goddess with questioning eyes. Celestia was speaking to the crowds again.
“You all wish me to stay as a Princess of Eqeustria?”
“YES!!!” the ponies cheered.
“Very well then! I have another announcement to make!” Celestia stated. “Nocturnal Mirage, come forward!”
Mirage obeyed of course, but he was quite anxious about the situation; he didn't like facing so many ponies.
“This stallion showed me nothing but compassion and true love!” Celestia continued. “He helped me find my way back into the light although I was nothing più than a stranger to him in the beginning! Yet was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to his Princess. Such courage and strength must be rewarded properly!”
Everypony stayed quiet, dying from curiosity of what will happen next. A golden sword emerged in Celestia's hooves as she stared at the smaller earth pony in front of her.
Mirage complied with her demands, even bowing before the Princess. Celestia touched his shoulders with the blade of the sword twice.
“Nocturnal Mirage! For your bravery and nobility, I hereby declare te a Knight of Equestria!”
“What?!” Mirage gasped in shock. “But I didn't do anything...”
“Let me finish.” Celestia smiled warmly, then turned to her subjects again. “This stallion has proved himself worthy of my ultimate trust! And even though, he's an earth pony, he possesses a unique magical aura. It's been quite a while, since I had a student and because of his outstanding virtues, he will be my newest protege! Under my wing, he can learn how to master the extraordinary magic that dwells deep within him. That is... if he wishes to.”
“Of course!” Mirage replied without hesitation. “Nothing would make me happier!”
The masses were cheering and praising their names uncontrollably, as the Sun was shining brightly in the blue sky, bathing everything and everypony in its warm light and Celestia was pretty sure a certain rosa pony will very soon announce the party of their lifetime.
Celestia: Nicole Oliver
Nocturnal Mirage: Phil LaMarr
Luna: Tabitha St. Germain
Twilight Sparkle: Tara Strong
Cadence: Britt McKillip
Queen Chrysalis: Kathleen Barr
Summer Pride: Grey DeLisle
arcobaleno Dash: Ashleigh Ball
Shining Armor: Andrew Francis
Celestia's father: Kevin Conroy
Celestia's mother: Cree Summer
A NocturnalMirage fanfic.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Last Solstice was very my first serious work, which I actually manage to complete. It took a very long time and effort, and I hope that's visible on the material I've created as well. The story turned out to be much longer than I expected, but if you're Leggere this, I truly hope I was able to make an enjoyable fanfic. Please leave a commento below of your final thoughts, so that I may improve my Scrivere skills in the future. As te know, I have another active fanfic, the origin story of Summer Pride, Mirage's mother. I shall continue working on that, since it seems I finally got over my writer's block. But, I already have a (shorter) sequel in mind for this story-arch, which would focus on Mirage's studies with Celestia. So if te have the time, please tell me what te think about that concept as well. So, again, I want to thank te all, who were here with me on this journey and I hope te enjoyed the ride. See te successivo time in the amazing world of ponies! :)