Written by: PiercingSight
"And you think this is wise?" she asked hesitantly.
"Most certainly, your majesty. I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't think it was worth doing." The assistant nodded his head, as if submitting the entirety of the decision to the princess' royal command.
Celestia stood and circled a small portion of the room before stopping, her eyes drifted from one place to another, scanning across the memorabilia and references on the bookshelves. Finally, one of them caught her eye and was pulled out with a golden glow.
"Oculus-..." she began hesitantly, "I need to know your honest opinion." Sitting down with the book still closed, she tried but was unable to look him in the eye. "I want you to think about the current situation. Disregard the things I just told you and think. Then I want you to tell me what you think is really going on here."
Oculus was surprised by this request from the princess, notwithstanding its frequent evocation by King Cosmus. He had given the king advice and personal perspective on many occasions, and he was not about to cease to do so with the princess.
"Princess, if I may."
"Princess, I feel as if our dear Luna is... 'caged in'... mentally. That is the best way I can put it. She sees no escape from the current situation in which she feels that she finds herself, at least none that is within the bounds of moral conduct."
This pulled Celestia's eyes towards him. She stared at him incredulously. "What do you mean 'the current situation in which she finds herself'?"
Oculus allowed the princess a moment to breath before continuing, a habit that he had learned, over many years of experience with politicians, is good for stifling the movement of an escalating conversation. "I mean that she feels that she is inadequate, or better put, that she is being made inadequate, or made to appear inadequate. It's as if she feels that, next to your majesty, she does not measure up, and despite the fact that she is indeed immensely talented in ways that you are not, the talents you posses when it comes to communication and charisma outshine hers in the eyes of the ponies around her, and so she feels unnoticed, and therefore not worth much."
"I... I-I... ," Celestia stammered, "I don't... I don't understand. I tell her all the time how much I appreciate her talents and her help... how she does so much for the-"
"Princess," he cut her off before she could lose herself to confusing trails of thought ,"will you allow me to be frank for a moment?"
She closed her mouth and swallowed. She did not appear comfortable at all. She was now nervously stroking the front of her foreleg, and her eyes, more concerningly, were locked on his.
"Princess, I do not know how to put this lightly, but she doesn't feel your words of gratitude have much meaning given that they are coming from the pony under whose shadow she feels she lives. What she craves is the praise of those whom she works so hard to serve, and she is not getting it... at least, not enough for her to glean any self-worth from it."
After he finished he decided to sit and let the princess digest the information. Sometimes revealing the truth of a situation can come as a shock to ponies, even to those who seemed the most in control.
"I-... What do I do…?"
"Let her have the light."
"You mean the sun?"
"No... not the sun. The light. The visibility. The responsibility of being seen and recognized for the things that she does."
"But... what if she doesn't like it?"
"Then she'll have learned won't she?"
"Learned that she's either despised or uncomfortably exposed? I do not think that is wise."
"Neither do I. Hence, it should be done in a small way, something to give her enough visibility to feel appreciated and recognized, but not so much that she becomes uncomfortable or finds herself under large public scrutiny."
Celestia sat there looking into the carpet. Finally she spoke up. "Things were clearer when King Cosmus was here."
Oculus stiffened at that. "Yes... yes they were."
After a moment of silence, he decided it would be best to head to bed and leave the princess, along with himself, to calmly ponder the worrying fate of her sister. Standing up, he made to leave. "Good night princess. I shall see you tomorrow."
Still staring into the ground, she was only partially there when acknowledging him. "Yes goodnight, Oculus."
The large door shut with an all too reverent, all too peaceful click.
To be continued!