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And at the End, You Shall Remain Alone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Moonlight Shadow
Celestia sighed and looked up from the heap of documents she was trawling through. She set her glasses down on her desk. “Come in!” she said.

Luna opened the door and entered.

Luna. Of course. Never going to give up.

She swaggered to the desk, whistling, and sat in the armchair across from it. Ensconcing herself, she nodded towards a small, half-filled glass that stood next to her sister. “Same moonshine as yesterday?” she asked.

Celestia looked away towards the window and did not answer.

“Tsk, tsk… I don’t like my sister tippling rotgut,” Luna said. She grabbed the glass in her magic, put it to her mouth and slugged it straight down. She exhaled noisily and swept her mouth clean. “Not that bad for bootleg stuff,” she remarked.

Celestia didn’t budge.

“Still working?” Luna asked.

Reluctantly, Celestia turned her head and looked straight into Luna’s eyes. “Are you so surprised?” she answered. “If you expected me to sleep, why would you knock at my door anyway?”

A smile played on Luna’s lips. “You should indeed sleep more. You’re beyond exhaustion at this point.” Her eyes drifted towards the stack of papers. “Let me handle that while you go to bed.” She snatched the cigarette pack on the desk, lit one up and dragged on it, reclining further in the armchair.

“It’s all your fault,” Celestia said. “Look what you’ve made of me.”

My fault?” Luna replied. She straightened up, clutching the armrests. “I never did anything wrong. You, you didn’t pay attention. Busy as a bee, shaking hooves here, big smiles there… You never realized how bad I felt. And if you did, you didn’t care. You never cared anyway.”

“You can’t say that to me, Luna. That’s a lie. I cared for you. Every second of my life, I have always cared for you. And I still care for you, whatever—”

“No, you don’t. Don’t claim otherwise. My precious pupil, yes, she’s the one you care for. But me? You abandoned me. You did nothing, absolutely nothing. Worse, you turned a blind eye to it.”

“How can you say that?” Celestia protested. “I offered to talk about it, remember? Ten times, maybe more! But you never let me in. On the contrary, you pushed me out.”

“Wrong! You simply never tried to get to the bottom of things. You thought I could deal all by myself with my growing angst, knowing perfectly well how it would end. Look what I did to you? That’s a laugh. Look what you did to me!”

There was a hush, as both alicorns glared at each other.

“You betrayed me, Tia.” Luna said calmly.

“Don’t say that, Luna. Don’t push it too far—”

“You betrayed me, Tia.” Luna repeated icily. “And for that, I shall never forgive you. Never.

Celestia reeled in her chair, as if she’d been hit by a blow. She retched. She swayed. Suddenly twitching her head down, she threw up all over the desk and collapsed behind it.

“TIA!” Luna blurted, bolting out of the armchair.

“PRINCESS?” Sunset Shimmer shouted as she flung the door open. She rushed in but stopped short after a couple of steps. “Oh fuck! Fuck! FUCK! NO! NOT AGAIN!”

Ahead of her, the room was in a mess. Papers were scattered all over the desk, covered in a thick brownish layer of vomit. A bottle of cheap liquor had been knocked over. It had rolled around and spilled its contents onto the already repulsive mix. On the carpet, Sunset saw a large dark spot where a glass had fallen.

Trying hard not to be overcome by her own mounting nausea, Sunset strode to the desk and around it. Celestia’s white body was lying motionless on the floor. Sunset could see her chest weakly heaving with her breathing. She walked closer, hunched over Celestia’s face. The alicorn’s eyes were rolled upwards, and a tiny stream of blood dripped from her nose. She was drooling.

Sunset stood up. She scanned the desk until she spotted, in one of the few clean areas, a speck of whitish powder. She picked up a sample and sniffed it.

She shook her head and sighed.

Kneeling back down, she wrapped her forelegs around her mentor’s neck and burst into tears. “Why?” she asked, sobbing. “WHY?”

High above and through the window, the moon, bearing its too-familiar mare pattern, was shining bright in the cloudless night sky.
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#1 · 1
· · >>Pascoite >>Monokeras
The writing's not bad, but it's just so weird. Was Luna a figment of Celestia's drug-addled brain? Celestia becoming a smoking, crack-addicted alcoholic after Luna's banishment feels so off-base that I'm just left mildly perplexed, and feeling like I'm missing something here. The issue with veering this far into personal interpretations of characters is that you risk alienating your audience in the process.

Your prose is fine, author. Your characters of choice for the subject matter confuse me.

Tier: Odd
#2 · 1
· · >>Monokeras
I found the set-up interesting here (Luna as a manifestation of Celestia's psyche, personifying her grief and self-reproach), but as the story went on, it started to lose me. Luna's final act before the hallucination ends seems inconsistent with how she's initially characterized; that really depends on how one interprets the final line, however. Either Luna is actually an astral projection of Nightmare Moon, visiting Celestia in some kind of semi-corporeal state, and the final line subverts the obvious reading of the story, or the final line is merely meant to be thematic -- Luna is always with Celestia, no matter what.

The fact that Celestia is snorting cocaine and drinking lends credence to the idea that Luna is a hallucination, however.

Speaking of, a third reading of the story... and I'm sorry, author, if this wasn't your intention, but I'm going to come out and say it... is that this is supposed to be parody. Celestia snorting cocaine and hallucinating a bratty, snotty Luna is the kind of thing you'd expect to see in a parody fic, and Sunset Shimmer literally screaming "FUCK FUCK FUCK" and"WHY?!?!?!" to the heavens while cradling an unconscious Celestia is such a trite cliche that I'm partly convinced it was intended to be farcical.

To borrow from TV Tropes, it's... narmy. It's meant to be dramatic, but it comes across as overdone.

Also, I appreciate what you were trying to do by making Sunset Shimmer, not Twilight, the apprentice in question, but if you're going to subvert the audience's expectations, you should do so in a more meaningful way. Including Sunset necessitates tailoring her role to suit that character; perhaps Luna could remark on their similar characters and personalities: power-hungry, insecure, etc., foreshadowing Sunset's eventual betrayal of Celestia. Otherwise, it may as well be Twilight Sparkle; hell, it may as well be Pinkie Pie.
#3 ·
· · >>Monokeras
A literal crackfic, eh?

I'm not sure that this really scored with me. Celestia descending into alcoholism, chain smoking, and cocaine just feels bizarre, and it doesn't really seem to have much of a point.

While the idea of putting Sunset Shimmer in there is a thing, I'm not sure that you really accomplished what you were trying to do with it.
#4 · 2
· · >>Pascoite >>Monokeras
I don't think cigarettes are canon in Equestria, so this needs to be marked AU.
#5 ·
· · >>Monokeras
I don't agree with >>Foehn that the character choices are problematic here. Celestia is the perfect one to fall into a guilt trap, though possibly not the one to seek that remedy from it. And either Twilight or Sunset would be good in the role of someone who cares for her and hates to see her slip into this destructive cycle.

I do think that it's a bit over the top, though. I referred to piling on in an earlier critique, and that applies here, too. Celestia's not only drinking, but she's also smoking, and she's also doing drugs, and at some point, you're making negative gains by continuing to heap more on. Melodrama isn't a good thing, and both Celestia's and Sunset's prominent exclamations just add fuel to that fire.

I assume >>bloons3 is just joking here, as it's pretty standard to throw whatever from the human world in. I mean, cigarettes are going to trigger an AU tag, but not cocaine? Anyway, there is one facet to this. I spent a while at the beginning of the story wondering whether this was Princess Celestia or Principal Celestia, and the use of cigarettes had me convinced this was an Equestria Girls story until I encountered a little horse anatomy or talk of Luna's situation in Equestria.

I'm not sure the perspective change to Sunset was a good idea.
#6 ·
· · >>TitaniumDragon
Merry Xmas everyone! :)
#7 ·
Merry Christmas!