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A Matter of Perspective · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Celestia's Torment
A/N: This was written using Notepad. As such, some of the formatting is off. This is unfixable with the time remaining. My sincerest apologies. Enjoy

Princess Celestia picked herself up off of the throne room carpet with bits of rubble clinging to her wings and hair. She shook shortly to knock off the stone before glancing up to look at the

window she had just crashed through.
She squinted through the light of the full moon to see Princess Luna - no, Nightmare Moon, glaring daggers down at her. "Oh, dear sister," she spoke sadly, "I am sorry, but you have given me

no choice but to use these." She activated her magic and opened the secret compartment under the floor that held the only weapon she knew could stop Nightmare Moon; the Elements of Harmony.
The pedestal that the jewels rested on rose out of the floor with age-old dust and fog coiling around it, giving the shimmering crystals an otherworldly glow. When the pedestal came to rest and

lock in place, Celestia lifted into the air and glided over to the jewels.
With a look of determination on her face, she used her magic and took hold of the Elements, watching as they began circling around her. In moments, she began radiating a brilliant glow of

colors that seemed to surround her in a heavenly light.
When the light cleared enough for her to see, Celestia flew into the air to meet her sister with only 15 yards separating the two. Nightmare Moon began charging her horn with dark magic,

creating a sickly, swamp-like glow around her body. As she watched her sister charge, Celestia followed suit, tears in her eyes as she contemplated what she was about to do.
A few moments later, Celestia arrayed the Elements of Harmony in front of her with the Element of Magic as the foremost piece. The crystals began spinning wildly as she discharged her magic

into them. At the same time, Nightmare Moon did the same, finally releasing the magic she had been storing as well.
When the two forces collided, a lightshow imitating fireworks exploded in between the two sisters, creating a blinding display. Nightmare Moon's turquoise laser and Celestia's rainbow laser

clashed as the two forces pushed and pulled against each other, battling for magical dominance.
As Celestia began to overpower, Nightmare Moon, emotion began to take hold. I'm doing this, she thought. I'm about to banish my own sister. For just a moment, her magic

faltered, giving Nightmare Moon the upper hand. The dark magic quickly began to outshine the light of the Elements of Harmony, nearly swallowing Celestia in its wake.
Nightmare Moon's magic suddenly hit a wall. No, thought Celestia. I must not give in now. If I don't finish this, then the ponies of Equestria will no nothing but suffering. They'll all

die without the light of the sun. After taking one more moment to steal herself, Celestia finished the job.
Giving one final push of magic, the Princess of the Sun retaliated against the monster that her sister had become. Before she knew it, Nightmare Moon was overwhelmed. Celestia flinched as

she heard her sister scream, "No!" as she was rocketed off into space, far away from the land of Equestria.
Celestia watched, teary eyed as large craters formed on the surface of the moon, signifying the sealing spell she had just cast through the Elements of Harmony that would keep Nightmare

Moon locked for a thousand years. With the exhaustion of using the Elements alone setting in, the Solar Princess drifted into unconsciousness, falling out of the sky and into the throne room of the castle

below. On the way down, she bashed her wing and her shoulders on the roof, adding insult to injury and leaving Nightmare Moon confined in a prison of her own night.

The next day, the guards returned to the castle, having been ordered to leave the two sisters alone by Celestia for their safety. Celestia's suspicion of her sister's darkness convinced her that a

conflict was inevitable. She had ordered away every resident in the castle the morning of despite their protests, leaving only herself and her sister alone until nighttime. Now that the guards were back to

investigate, they regretted obeying their Princess' orders.
A squad of five found Celestia lying in rubble in the middle of the throneroom. She hadn't moved from the spot since she fell unconscious. She woke to see a guard lightly shaking her awake.

"Princess Celestia," asked the guard that looked down on her. "Are you alright? What happened? Where is Princess Luna?" Celestia could only burst into tears and collapse once more. "Quickly, get her

to the medical ward," commanded the guard to the others. "Let the rest of the castle's inhabitants know that they may return to the castle from the forest as well." The guard used his magic and lifted the

Princess onto the backs of two of the others while the remaining two left to pass on their messages.
In less than ten minutes, Princess Celestia was taken to the medical ward and put to bed with a 24/7 guard while she recovered. Shortly after, the nation weakened.
The Princess almost entirely broke apart, shattering like a porcelain doll that had just been smashed to pieces. For months, she retreated inward, abandoning Equestria entirely. Thankfully, an

emergency parliament was created to handle governing Equestria for the Princess, but it still made the land uneasy.
Because of Celestia's weakness, ponies across Equestria felt the need to encourage her. Rallies were held across the land in many cities to try and show the Princess how grateful they were for

her part in saving Equestria from eternal night, from new settlements to developing superstates. However, she never heard a word of it. She demanded to be left alone other than to raise the sun and

moon and to get food. Even then, she in large part refused speaking to anypony. Not even her closest and longest known advisers were permitted to speak to her, much to their sadness. Feeling untrusted

by the leader of a nation would take its toll on anyone.
Finally, after months of sadness and regret, the Princess took the final plunge and devolved entirely. In the middle of the night, seven months after her act of banishing her sister, she snuck out

of the castle. It was rather easy for a pony such as Celestia to perform a long range teleport and keep it undetectable by the castle guards. She teleported far away into the newly developed city of Canterlot,

the place where her new castle was to be constructed after the damage that her battle with Nightmare Moon had caused.
Before the event that sent her spiraling into depression, she had heard about a small pub in the grungy part of the rapidly growing city. She had heard that it was a refuge. She had heard that

it was a place of peace for the lonely traveler; a place where no questions were asked and where guests of all sorts came and went. She had even heard that members of her guard stationed in Canterlot

and high ranking officials spent their time drinking away their sorrows. From what she had heard, it was a safe haven.
When her spell finished casting, she found herself standing in a dark alleyway. She wore her normal royal regalia and her mane was blowing gently in an undetectable breeze. Down the narrow

alley, she saw a small, red, neon sign that said, "The First Circle," hanging above a narrow stairwell leading under a building. Celestia shrugged and trudged toward the stairs before descending into the

blackness below.
A simple light spell from her horn helped her navigate down what quickly became a winding staircase that led two stories underground. After a minute, she found herself staring into a large

room with a bar near the back wall. Celestia didn't look back as she passed the threshold into the bar.
Inside she found a strange yet welcoming environment. The cracking of pool balls could be heard from her left where three gruff stallions were huddled around a table, holding sticks in their

magic as they waited for the balls to stop rolling. Tables made of dark stained wood were spread throughout the room, though only a few were occupied with both mares and stallions. Some were

huddled over quills and parchment while others were tenderly caressing a pint of beer. Overall, the place seemed fairly empty that night. Only around 15 ponies were in the bar, not counting the

Princess and the bartender who was busy handwashing shot glasses and mugs of various sizes. All along the wall behind the bar hung bottles of wines, whiskies, vodkas, beers, and God knows what else in

all shapes and sizes.
With her head lowered both in disappointment and self loathing, Celestia approached the bar and sat down on one of the red, comfortable stools. The bartender glanced up when she sat down

and nearly gasped in shock. Midway however, he simply nodded his head and said, "What can I get you, Princess?" without a hint of sarcasm.
"There's no need to be formal with me," she said sorrowfully. "I don't deserve it."
"Whatever you say, Ma'am," apologized the bartender, changing his level of decorum. "So what can I getcha?"
"Something strong," she replied stiffly. "Real strong."
"You got it," he said as he turned and used his magic to levitate a small bottle of whisky from the top shelf. He set it on the table and pulled two shot glasses out from under the bar. "Double or

regular?" he asked.
"Double," she said dryly. The stallion nodded before pouring the whisky and offering it to the monarch. The pink double shot glass slid over the dark, polished wood counter with ease and it

came to rest in front of Celestia. She picked up the bottle with her magic and gently swirled it, just barely avoiding spilling the thick alcohol over the edge.
Just as she was about to down it all in one, big gulp, she heard the tapping of a cane enter the bar. It skittered across the hardwood floor toward the bar behind her before resting at the base of

the bar stool next to her. When Celestia glanced to the side, she saw an old brown pony with a long white mane that draped to the side and covered the start of a long white beard that grew to the pony's

chest. The pony, seeming to stare into space, got up onto the bar stool and tapped his cane on the floor.
"Bartender," he called in a dry, whispy voice. "Bartender!"
"I'm hear," said the bartender as she set down the next mug he was cleaning. "What can I get you Tiresias?"
"The usual," said the pony as he turned his head to scan the room. When he turned toward Celestia, she saw that she was looking into dark brown eyes that were filled with fog. So he's

she thought as she gazed at him. A moment later, the bartender slipped the pony a small glass of scotch. Celestia could practically smell the cinnamon coming from the alcohol.
She watched as the old pony lifted the glass to his mouth and took a sip, shivering as the drink traveled down his throat. "Ah, that's a good burn," he chided as he set his glass down. Celestia

sat in silence for a moment as she looked back down to the shot glass in front of her. She watched the whisky in the glass swirl, seeming to move on its own. Taking it in her magic again, she lifted to her

mouth only to be stopped by the blind pony next to her.
"That stuff's the strongest in Equestria," the pony said as he stared off into space. "You sure you got the stomach for it?"
"At this point, I'm sure I can handle anything," she grumbled as she lifted it once more.
"In your state, I have a hard time believing that." He glanced to the side. "Princess."
Celestia nearly dropped the glass. "H-how did you-"
"It matters not," said the pony simply as he took another drink. "What matters is why you're here."
Celestia chuckled. "I thought this was the kind of place that didn't ask questions."
"Ponies from all across Equestria come here. Some come to meet up with friends and others come here to forget their troubles. Judging by your voice, you sound like someone who really wants

to forget."
"You couldn't know that," said Celestia softly with a tear in her eye. "No one could."
"Well it's a good thing I'm Nobody," said the pony with a hint of a sing-song. "So what's got your goat?"
Celestia sighed. At this point, she was so oversaturated with depression that she felt the need to let it out. Who better than a blind pony she barely knew and who would likely forget she was

there the next day?
"I did something awful," she said, disgusted with herself. "I ignored my sister and her troubles for years and because of me, she became something wretched and evil. In the end, she was my

responsibility. I think that's what made it the hardest."
"You mean banishing her," said Tiresias, almost chiding her.
"Yes," said Celestia. The word came out more as a choke than language. "Because of me, the darkness in her heart grew and grew until it transformed her, and there's nothing I can do to fix it.

I mean, there's nothing I could have done."
"The heart is one of the easiest things to wound, even for one such as yourself," spoke the pony as he took another drink. "But I've found that it won't heal in just a day. It takes care and

support from those who are closest." Tiresias inched closer to Celestia as he seemed to stare directly at her. "Who is closest to you?"
"Well, my sister, obviously," she responded shortly. "Who else is there?"
"Your subjects," said the pony as if it should be obvious. "Have you stopped for even a moment to consider them? Celestia," he began again as he turned completely to face her. "Have you set

hoof outside of your castle at all the past few months?"
"To be honest, no," she said. "I haven't even spoken to anypony for that long. I've just kept to myself, drowning in pity."
"Maybe you should start," he said as he backed up and turned back toward the bar. "You're a hero, you know."
"A what?" said Celestia unbelievingly.
"I said you're a hero," said Tiresias. "Every single pony in Equestria saw what you did. Every night, they're reminded of what you did to protect them."
"But do they know what I've sacrificed?" asked the Princess sharply. "Can any of them even fathom what I gave up that night to defend them?"
"Don't you listen?" he asked as he glanced at her again. "Really, that's unbecoming of a Princess. I said that every night, they're reminded of what you did. Sure, there will be some who forget

whether they want to or not. This place is certainly proof of that. Ponies who have lost their way or who are looking for a way out; that's what The First Circle is all about. But many will look up to that

moon and see not only the one who threatened Equestria with eternal night, but also the one who sacrificed her sister to protect them. You forget that Luna ruled over them the same as you do. She held

power too. More importantly, they know that she's your sister. Seeing their ruler sacrifice their happiness; their own sibling for them has given them a new sense of wantedness. They feel wanted by you.

Desired by you. And what have you given them in return? Nothing. You've shut yourself away and refused to pay any attention to them despite how they've tried to reach you. You deny them the

simplest of things; acknowledgement. And that will hurt them far more than eternal night ever could."
"But I'm a monster," argued the Princess. "I betrayed my sister the moment I turned my back on her; the moment I refused to listen to her and to understand her and the moment I banished

her from Equestria. Who could defend that?"
"How about a silly old pony sitting in a run down bar?" asked Tiresias with a smile. "I've seen plenty in my day as have you. But the difference between you and I is perspective. You lack that.

You're immortal. You and your sister have been around for hundreds of years. Chances are you'll last another thousand. But I've only got so much time in this world and I'm not long for it. Thanks to

that, I've learned to appreciate it and take things from all angles. You, on the other hand, take that perspective for granted. Try and see things from the eyes of your subjects. I don't mean hear it. I mean

truly understand that they understand you and what you've sacrificed. Then and only then will you find peace both with yourself and with your kingdom."
The two sat in silence for a while, Tiresias taking the occasional sip of his scotch while Celestia could only stare at her whisky as she tried to comprehend what she had been told. Finally, she

pushed the whisky away and stood up from her stool. "Where are you going?" asked Tiresias as he glanced her way with his foggy eyes.
"To set things right," she said with a determined look on her face. She began walking away and toward the door when she stopped and looked over her shoulder. "Thank you," she said with a

"It was my honor, your highness," smiled the blind pony. "Now show them what it means to rule with the love and kindness you wish you could give your sister now." Celestia only nodded

before proceeding out of the bar and up the stairs, ready to fulfill her duty.

The guards that stood outside her room were quite surprised when they saw her walking toward them through the dark halls of the castle in the forest at night. "P-Princess Celestia," stumbled

one. "I thought you were asleep."
"Nevermind that," she said with a smile. "Guards, go to every town in Equestria that you can and tell them to go to Canterlot. I've got something I need to do."
The stunned guards could only nod before rushing off down the halls and through the castle. It's time I earned the title Princess.
The next day, Celestia traveled to Canterlot with a royal escort. There, she arrived in the town square and prepared to great as many ponies as could show up. Many gathered to see what she

had to say and, as soon as she appeared to them at dawn, they applauded her.
"Thank you, everypony," she said warmly. "Thank you for standing behind me even over these last few months. I'm sorry that I abandoned you when you needed me most. I'm sorry I treated

you all the way I have by shutting myself away. Well, no more. It's time I gave back to you all for the support you've given me. That is why, from this day forth and every year after, I decree that the day

after my sister's banishment will be known as they day of the Summer Sun Celebration where we celebrate what Equestria has sacrificed for peace."
A cacophony of cheers erupted from the crowd that had gathered. "And now, to mark this day, I will raise the sun for you all to see. It's a privilege that few get to experience, so here it is. It's

time to welcome the new day!"
With that, Celestia launched up into the sky and spread her wings wide, calling on all of her magic to set the countryside ablaze with heavenly light. Ooo's and ah's came from all around her as

they watched her perform the spell that could move the heavens. In one small gesture with her wings, the sun came flying over the mountains and hills and into the sky, creating a sunrise like no other

before it. Everypony basked in the radiant light from above and the gift from their Princess. Finally, after months of moaning and moaping, the Solar Princess was back and ready to rule her kingdom as

Tiresias had commanded; with love, trust, and loyalty that she had neglected to give her sister for so long.
"Lulu," she said under her breath as she finished casting the spell. "This is for you. Please, find it in your heart to forgive me."
With that, the first Summer Sun Celebration began and so too began the day when Celestia began to gain true perspective.
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