The air around this place was stale. As much as the aesthetics please her, there was simply no denying that it lacked any coherent ambiance what-so-ever. A mismatch of grey, waterlogged walls and faded red tapestries.
Yes, it was a castle. And such buildings tended to lack in color and preferred towering walls and claustrophobic hallways.
And yes, it was designed with hectic, bloody battle in mind. But they could have at least decorated this peculiar hall a bit more. Or hired a few servants.
And with this knowledge, Nightmare Moon returned to the, as of yet, empty table before her. It had been more then seven minutes and still no servant in sight to offer her refreshments or apologies for such tardiness!
She snorted silently. Still with that dammed echo.
Shifting in her rather comfortable pile of pillows, the black mare adjusted her flowing mane. trailing a few fingers through the rather unusual strands of hair.
"You really do look bald without your helmet."
Empress Nightmare Moon, Keeper of the long night of Equestria, First crown of the dual throne and Heiress of the skies, Scrunched up her muzzle, frowning at that smug pink princess-ling across the table.
"I would prefer 'streamlined for battle' you droll."
Princess Cadance Snickered.
"If you are so concerned with being 'Streamlined for battle' perhaps you should 'Streamline' your lower regions as well."
"Cadance, please. No servant touches the Empress there! I forbid it!"
Nightmare Moon straightened herself as the drinks finally appear to be served. Her velvet dress swirled slightly with her
movements, An rather elegantly, silken thing.
The servant set their preferred beverages in front of the two silently, One stately rosé for the pink demon.
The heaviest whiskey for the unfortunate Empress she married.
"Hun, While I love an Jungle adventure at it's time, I'd rather not bring a machete for our next..ah...nightly activities. Bushwhacking is ever so unromantic." Cadance, Aptly breaking the awkward silence that followed the servant's departure, grinned at her.
Nightmare Moon decided she needed more then a sip at that moment.
It's true. She's married to the Pink Princess-ling. She, who in her full plate. Dared to challenge the empress herself before the (in)famous defeat of the sun tyrant.
Princess Cadance, Royal Empress-strumpet, Holder of the right hook, and claimant of the honorable hoof-in-groin title, Keeper of the pain-that-lingers.
She had been evenly matched, her own guards had yet to catch up. They fought at length and barked insults. Yet fists started to grapple and insults became flirts. Before she knew it, she was kissing her hard.
Naturally, she learned that she had the power of love right after they parted lips, Had sprung her trap. And probably received the most painful reminder to have her armorer to fit a full groin plate.
In her deluded state, she had proposed to her. Two could play at the love game! And to her surprise, she accepted.
"Moon? Are you alright?" She blinked up at Cadance addressing her. "You were miles away, grimacing...Is one of your old
war wounds acting up again?"
An uncomfortable twitch in her nethers made her frown at the Princess again.
"Nothing, dear. Just..lost in thought."
Cadance sighed softly, and simply played with the sleeve of her black dress. fingers betraying a simple golden ring as she rubbed her arm awkwardly afterwards.
"Moony, why can't we ever have an conversation that lasts longer then two minutes and does always seem to end in these awkward silences?"
"Hey, I'm always open for heartfelt conversations and intellectual pursuits of all kinds. It's you that still find me being embarrassed so much more fun!"
"Oh please! All you seem to do is sulk in silence and drink!" Cadance pointed at Moon's empty glass, her expression growing darker. "But oh deary me! I strike up a little story about our 'ever exciting' life under the sheets, and Ma'am turns into a prude!"
"Well, sorry for having a sense of decency! Unlike somepony, I have to run a nation. Stop that...that..Aunt of yours..Tarturus! both aunts trying to murder us BOTH. Five mares and a dragon hellbent on avenging that purple idiot-"
Cadance shot up.
"That purple idiot was the closest thing I ever had to a child, and you just...Went ahead and murdered her in cold blood! And the family I have left has branded me as a traitor!" She yelled.
"Yeah, you kinda get that whenever you 'tie the knot' with the mare who slew the Tyrant!"
"She begged you to spare the capital"
"And? Didn't I? I even went and founded a new one just for them!"
"You made her watch how you killed her student!"
"She killed off hundreds in her rule!"
"And that makes it ALL better, does it?" Cadance sat down in front of Nightmare Moon. Tears brimming at her eyes as her forced smile twitched at the corners. "All bloodshed and slaughter, justified! Celestia did a bad during a civil war."
She crossed her legs.
"Tell me, whatever did she do to YOU? To anyone!? What cruelty is she Soooo guilty of that it warrants to break her heart and body so much?"
They both remained silent. All the while Nightmare Moon kept an neutral expression,
"Y..you didn't even have a..?"
Moon kept her lips sealed, glaring up at Cadance. Who started to sob softly. Shaking her head.
"If it makes you feel better, Purple idiot right? Doesn't mind Bushwhacking."
For the second time, she underestimated the Pink one's right hook. As it send her sprawling to the floor. Blinking in confusion.
"Y-you bitch! You heartless, cruel bitch!" Cadance shrieked through the tears. "All that time-" Another fist found it's mark in between The Empress's eyes. "-You just pretended she was dead?!"
"Well actually, we kind of came to an agree-" SMACK! "Okay, okay! Stop!" SMACK! "Ow! For-"
This time Cadance was the one sailing off with a fresh black eye.
"Look! If you wanna talk fist, fine! I'll speak knuckle to knuckle with you, but right now! You are gonna sit your pretty ass down and listen!"
Moon panted softly. Composing herself as he staggered back to her pillows. plunking down.
"As I was saying, I haven't killed anypony, not even the Sparkle kid..."
Cadance continued to nurse her eye, glaring up.
"You have a funny way to express it.."
"Shush! Let me finish! Okay, We came to an agreement. She was strong, I was strong. We didn't really get anywhere so we simply decided: 'Yeah, this is stupid. Lets talk instead.' We agreed upon that I would spare everypony, and she would talk to Celestia with me."
She nodded at the waiter that shakily brought another glass of the golden stuff.
"I just kind of did imprison her, barked an evil laugh. And she stabbed right back with turning the entire world against me with her fake death."
She rubbed the back of the head.
"I was unaware at the time. And kept the end of my bargain regardless.."
Cadance blinked. "So you...chose to 'Spare' me?"
Her tears had stilled, a slight blush on her cheeks. "And here I thought accepting your hand would just stay it from killing more.."
"Can't believe it has been a year."
Nightmare Moon found herself in an soft embrace. "Moony...That's the first actual romantic thing you have ever done for me."
"It is? B-but what about the dinner?" she gestures to the still-empty table in the still stale. She flashes her winning smile. "That was romantic, right?"
She caught Cadance's flat stare.
" You're hopeless." And kissed her cheek. "But you're hopeless with your heart where I like it.."
Nightmare moon trailed her fingers over Cadance's cheek tenderly, staring off into her eyes. Stupid love magic.
"And you're beautiful in the right ways and places.."
"That's because I shave."
Cadance simply laughed, and got up. As Moon threw her arms wide.
"We had a heart-to-heart, and you're still on that!?"
But Cadance was already at the door.
"Oh Moony, A year of marriage changes mares. But you remain too easy."
Winked and strode through. Leaving 'Moony' speechless.
The smell of freshly cooked food tickled Nightmare Moon's nostrils, turning her attention to the servant walking in, confused.
" Your highness?"
She sighed deeply. Rubbing her temples.
"Make it room service." She rose to her hooves, straightening out her dress. "Oh and bring a razor, will you?"
And with that she left.
Cadance enjoyed her moments without Moon. Or, she used to. Now, staring out on this balcony, looking out over the eastern ocean. She felt alone. More then she did on teary nights. Wondering how she could abandon family and friends for that cruel, cold hearted Mare.
Who turned out to be just that mare who swept her off her hooves a year back, figuratively and literally. It left quite the mark too. despite her full-plated state, back then.
She felt two arms wrap gingerly around her, hands finding her own. Fingers gently intertwining.
" You look lovely in black, you know." She whispered breathlessly into her ear. A soft peck finds her cheek. And Cadance finds herself blushing once again. She slowly raised her hand and that of moon's, bringing them both the other's cheek.
She pressed closer against her. Stroking said cheek tenderly.
"And you can almost be cheesy if you really want to." She grinned softly. Even if the warmth hasn't left her cheeks yet.
"Don't ruin the moment just yet. That's my job.." She replied in another whisper
Their lips touched. If only briefly.
"Now there is the mare I was hoping for, I want to have married." She smiled.
" Yeah...The reception was rushed.."
"That's putting it mildly."
The two remained in embrace for that moment. Occasionally exchanging pecks. Giggling.
"I still owe you a honeymoon." Nightmare Moon smiled softly as Cadance wrapped her arms around her neck.
"Well, we aren't wearing any armor for once."
On cue, both kissed. Decorum made place for simple passion. A dance of tongue and hands. A heated grappling as it were. And then, suddenly bed!
Cadance got a face full of bosom.
And Moon a lack of air.
Their dresses still on their frames, made out of quality fabric that coincidentally stops blades. Just in case.
A short breather. A shared smile. Before the two of them burst into laughter and cuddles.
"I'm glad we didn't try the balcony."
"Don't worry we'll get there. Someday."
Cadance snorted and lightly nudged her.
"You do know that I'm not going to do anything within your woods, right?"
"Hah! An empress is always prepared! We only need the shower and your..ah..experienced hands!"
" You're absolutely hopeless."
"You're still beautiful with that black eye."
Princess Cadance smiled warmly as she kissed Empress Nightmare Moon on her lips.
"Oh I love you too."