My Little Ponies Friendship is Magic
Ponies POV Series Side Story
Subject: "Princess Luna"
Many Weeks And Many Days Earlier . . . Night Before The Day Of Discord
As Princess in charge of night rather than day, my sleep cycle revolved around the night shift. I didn't precisely need sleep as an Alicorn and moon goddess, but I appreciated just how relaxing it was to curl up in bed. And Celly insisted I needed the sleep cycles to recover properly. Six work nights out of seven were not too exhausting given I simply held night court of the palace, dealing with late night emergencies, or more often just reading.
I no longer fear my own sleep, after a year, the nightmares had finally stopped. And with Celly I had found my freedom from not only Nightmare Moon but also my old insecurities.
I stayed up late (early) last night though, for on one day out of seven I liked to explore how changed the night had become in a thousand years. Nightclubs were a nice invention, so were twenty-four hour licensing laws, Overnight trains, and late-night eateries. I would sometimes go clubbing in Manehatten under any number of various false forms.
If I didn't know better I could almost suspect Celly had encouraged ponies to enjoy my night more just to prepare for my return (Okay, so that wasn't so much of a stretch for my sister). On the other hoof, ponies did seem a little different after a thousand years. Artificial light was much better these days. I could almost compare my sky to the cities below. The twinkling distant stars of Manehatten, the small but bright light of Ponyville... constellations on the ground.
If I said so myself, I felt that the night was more beautiful than ever before now that I was home. Light pollution had become a thing of the past - Celestia's power over night having never quite been able to make the stars and moon penetrate the neon glows of streetlights in big cities.
At Celly's kind gentle coaxing (or rather insistence, okay, that's a lie, 'Tia's been firm with me but she's been gentle in helping me recover from the beginning) I had begun to attend the music theater, not as an patron, but as one of the performers. She figured it was a good way for the people to get comfortable with me. They had accepted the night. And now they just needed to accept the night's princess.
Tonight my costume consisted a midnight blue, almost black cloak with a high curled collar. It was just a short musical piece to be told as part of the intermission while the other actors rested. However it was a very popular piece. Maybe I was being type casted, but the poem that the song was based off of did have a rich one thousand year history behind it. I should know, I wrote it.
The three main stallions who were also in the performance had about one line each, but were mimed, but they were still proud and threw themselves into their body acting all the more. And it wasn't every night you performed with a goddess.
The stage darkened to twilight as the back lights gave us the appearance almost of outlines to the audience who briefly stomped their hooves as I stepped onto stage from below and I waited for them to quiet down as I began to sing.
The play briefly showed the stallions pulling down a large tree with a complex set of weights and vines to safely cross a deadly river. Which was where I stepped in front of their path.
Once I happened 'cross earth ponies three
Who thought they could use all their horse-sense to thwart me
But I, being night, being sly blocked their path
And said "brave, cunning ponies oh what do you ask
I will give each a prize and then let brothers pass"
The purple pony begged "please Luna, give me a tool.
A horn that will win every fight, every duel."
So I broke a branch off of the eldest tree
And I fashioned a horn for he thought he was worthy
And made a unicorn of the eldest of three"
Go, brother, I bid thee goodnight
I promise you'll win all your battles and fights
But your horn will be stolen and you will be maimed
Then you and I will meet again"
I levitated the costume horn onto the stallion's head, who proudly trotted forth and 'struck down' another unicorn who mocked him. But was then tackled by several other ponies with greedy looks in their eyes one of them carrying a sword. His spot light cut out the moment the plastic sword fell down on top of the costume horn. A projected red splatter effect flashed across the background screen behind us for moment before turning back.
"The blue brother cried "give me wings instead,
The power to fly others back from the land of the dead!"
So I plucked a feather from our own side
And I placed it onto his hide
The new pegasus could fly and flew to bring back his departed bride
Go, brother I bid thee goodnight
You'll fly to the stars and see your love soon but things will not be right
You'll drive yourself crazy cuz she won't be whole
And then I will claim your soul
The costume wings were placed on the stallion's back. He looked at them excited and with some unicorn magic off stage he 'flew' up into the air among the starry background. There was the projection of a beautiful white unicorn on the background screen who he attempted to take hold off only to find she was intangible. He mimed crying out in despair and willingly 'falling' down back to Earth, the light cutting out just before impact.
The youngest pony said "Luna, I don't trust your ways,
Please leave me alone 'til the end of my days"
And though I was reluctant, he was the wisest of the three
So I gave him my horseshoes of invisibility
And I let the last pony go free
Go, brother I bid thee goodnight
Go take your horseshoes and go live out your life
Be happy and healthy and when you are ready
You can take off your horseshoes and join me
I took off the unnailed slip-on costume horse-shoe I was wearing and telekinetically slipped it onto the 'third brother.' The projectors did a good job of making his body vanish into the background pattern. The day night cycle circled repeatedly on the screen behind us as I 'searched' this way and that, the 'third brother' peaking out always from the opposite way I was looking. Then with a small colt beside him and miming the movements of old age, he slipped the shoes off and hoofed it to the small colt. I 'appeared' behind him, took him up in my fore legs and flew up past the stage with the small colt looking up sadly.
And that is the story of the earth pony brothers
They each made their choice, one wiser than others
They stripped me of horn and of shoe and of wing
And I bade young Redjack be selfless and roam
And many years passed 'til I was called to his home
But I took the other two for my own
The lights blacked out for a moment as I was again in my starting position, images of a unicorn's horn, a pegasus' wings, and a replica of one of Mimic's horse shoes appeared on the background canvas behind me. The first two 'brothers' stood on either side of me with dead, distant looks in their eyes and lowered their heads as I stared darkly at the audience. The lights went out and the crowd roared in approval of the performance.
Unlike a thousand years ago, Celestia didn't admonish me for shirking a day out of holding my court of night for artistic and personal pursuits and had been -encouraging it-. I wasn't clear on her motives, but I thanked her for it. I couldn't remember when I last felt so alive, so happy.
But the night was the night. And the day was the day. And today it was time I had a nice sleep, taking just enough time to lower the moon I fell into bed. Sunset wasn't for another twelve hours... Celly would wake me in plenty of time...
"Lulu! Wakey wakey!"
"...Celestia? Is it sunset already? I feel like I just..."
I blinked, still lying in bed.
"...Is that you 'Tia?"
"Of course it is, you silly filly!"
My sleep addled brain tried to figure out what I was seeing. "You seem kind of, well, small."
My daymare sister seemed normal at first flapping a few feet in front of me. Until I noticed she was one-eighth her normal size, had stubby legs, was a bit on the pudgy size, her wings were little compared to the rest of her, her horn was round ended, and her mane was now solid faded pink. It had been three thousand years since I had seen her like this.
"Of course! My best friend in the whole wide world Discord made me fun size!"
The bucking hay?!
My half-awake brain received a jolt of adrenaline at hearing that word. Alarm bells went off in every corner of my mind!
She smiled at me, I looked into her big round eyes, a wildness to them. "Yeah! That guy who used to run this place before us! Looks like that statue of him in the royal garden wasn't a statue after all! I knew we misplaced him somewhere! He's back and everything's all fun now! Well, at least here and Ponyville! And Hoofington, and the Everfree Forest, and-"
"Tia'... You've been corrupted..." I gasped.
"Tsk, tsk. What a nasty, inconsiderate and prejudice word: I prefer to say discorded, or 'converted', my little pony."
I felt a chill down my spine. I knew that voice!
"...Where are you?" I asked thin air. Celestia was now spinning her head three hundred and sixty degrees while giggling like a filly at the fair.
I felt a hot breath alongside my bed-hair mane. "Very. Close. By."
I screamed only slightly like a little colt and leapt onto all fours on my perfectly accurate star chart bedspread staring at the abomination laying between my bedsheets! It had been over two thousand years, lifetimes even for me, but I'd know that monstrous mishmash of animal parts anywhere!
Celestia leapt up and sat down on the ceiling smiling down at us.
I screamed not caring for a moment who I was dealing with. "Get out of my bed!"
Discord, turned lazily to look at me still laying down. He grinned.
He spoke in the most fake posh tone imaginable. "You get out of mine. This is my kingdom once more..."
"It's a principality!" I snapped, moving out of my bed and facing the lounging spirit of disharmony. I spread and stretched my wing reflexively.
"Temper temper, my dearest Luna. But I understand your displeasure. I have been most unkind to you this day. While Ponyville and Canterlot were the first to be blessed with the delightful chaos of... well, me... you alone of all those countless ponies are the only one I haven't fixed up yet.
"I really should thank you! Not for the turning to stone thing of course, but really, there are just SO MANY of you now, and by that I mean ponies not Alicorns of course, blech. You've managed to more than make up for me, ahem, accidentally wiping out the Hippocampi, Flutter Ponies, and most of your kind." Discord scratched his head. "I was so -sure- I turned that desert back into an ocean! I guess my game of pony-card-solitaire ran long. Too bad, I really did enjoy their singing. Oh well, you win some, you reduce the six pony races to three point two. Oh well... Where was I?"
"Leaving and turning everything back to normal!" I shouted, focusing magic in my horn... And shooting out nothing but a small spark.
Discord blew on a tiny horn making a muted trumpet sound, and clapped.
Great if you want to send a letter, but not much else, I'm afraid. Oh, and don't even bother trying to sic your new Bearers of those Elements on me
I felt my panic rising.
"...What did you do?"
Discord waved his arms joyously. "I made them fun! Loyalty turned Traitor, Laughter turned so serious, Generosity so greedy. That one was good actually, it always used to be a weakness, as I once told a very bald being. What else. Oh, Kindness, I made her unkind. Quite tricky... Honesty, well, she's a liar now. And as for Magic... She'll break."
"Is that anyway to talk to the one who helped you realize what a total attention hog your sister really is?"
I gritted my teeth. No. No way. He was NOT baiting me with that!
I looked at my big, er, little, regressed and cursed sister.
"And... What about Celestia? Why am I really not being affected?" I realized too late I had just looked a gift horse in the mouth.
"Well, Celestia has been making changes in the castle after I converted her to being over nine thousand percent cooler. And... Well, it has nothing to do with you being contaminated with the blasted Elements of Harmony until I defeated them. Okay, it was at first, but... Having a straight mare to all my fun is a vital element!"
Discord then took a little something next to my focusing glasses (wasn't right to call them reading glasses since I had perfect vision) and looked at it like it was some strange alien technology. "Hey put that down!" Okay, that was about the LAST thing I should have said I wanted him to actually do that.
"This thing? Haven't you ponies invented the hand held calculator yet? Or are you still struggling to invent the vacuum tube and the transistor? Meh. I could never make sense of this technology junk anyway. Oh well. Here's a gift my beautiful Luna to remind you of when you were cool!"
And then he zapped my abacus! He zapped my thousand year old antique twenty-thousand-bits abacus! I tried to zap him again only to remember my magic was completely disrupted with the damage Discord had done to the local mana flow.
Where my abacus had been before was now a floating little transparent version of my moon. Then it started speaking. For the sake of your good night sleep, I shall NOT describe how it was able to speak.
"The night shall be ever lasting! No longer will you be slaves to the day! An age of endless dreams await you! If you but follow me! Her Nightjesty! Queen Nightmare Moon!"
I wanted to rip my mane out from how frustrating helpless Discord was determined to make me feel.
"Creatures of the night having nothing to fear from the night. Embrace the night. The day burns you and gives you skin cancer! The moon shall never curse you with such things! Can you not see it is madness to bow to the light!"
I sent a letter opener through the thing. Of course it would pass right through it. It just continued to play back every speech and message I had had my minions deliver to every town and hovel in Equestria during my campaign and when I had played the double life of the loyal loving sister to Celestia and the dark queen of the self proclaimed Empire of Nightmares (I was insane at the time, I didn't think how that name wasn't good PR).
Discord yawned, bored. That was either cautiously good or horribly awful. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to my new capital of chaos before Twilight Sparkle arrives back home. And I need to have the time to finally turn that desert back into an ocean. Isn't there a town there now called Appleloosa? Maybe I'll turn all the ponies into singing sea ponies with a hive mind if I have the time. And there's this nice town in the Everfree Forest, I think I'll resurrect all the ponies there, give them cutie marks, make them think their curse is over, and have the spell last about twenty four hours until they all turn back into zombies! It'll make a good laugh when I see their faces when they turn back into walking corpses! And Celestia? It's time to lower the sun..."
"It's three in the afternoon!" I protested, but as Discord vanished, the now smaller white Alicorn lowered the sun.
I quickly raised the moon, fearing that no celestial bodies in the sky would incite panic in the cities and towns Discord hadn't found amusing to affect directly yet. I still had magic for that, the moon and myself were part of a whole, but... I could feel I was so much weaker. Even weaker than after I was purified of my Nightmare Moon persona. What had Discord done to my magic while I was sleeping-?! I stopped that thought before I got sick.
"Whee! Now it's sunrise time! Move the moon, Luna!"
I did so on reflex.
"Now it's sunset time again!"
I felt a headache coming on.
"Ugh... Take over the moon for now, 'Tia. I'll get it back later..."
"You're the best, Lulu! Can I paint it?! Can I can I can I?!"
I groaned in a very unprincess-like manner.
I had to get to Twilight. I flew out the castle window, and crashed into my bedroom from the opposite window. I smoldered as Celly laughed and clapped with her hooves. "That was funny! Do it again! Do it again!"
Okay. New strategy.
I flew through the castle, headed straight for the throne room. I had only paused to slip on my normal aesthetics out of habit.
What used to be my abacus followed me and continue to blab endlessly. It made me realize one very important thing. I really needed to have somepony proof read my rhetorics! Maybe Celly was right and everything I wrote wasn't automatically gold. Either way, I was able to tune out the worthless annoyance. It was like being in the rain, not pleasant but hardly torture.
There was a seeing stone we had created back in our early days that enabled myself or my sister to use a ersatz emulation of the vision we were granted via our celestial bodies to see anything it's light touched. Celestia had made use of it greatly during my thousand year imprisonment. It was hardwired to be only active with when touched by Alicorn magic as a safety measure. It's range was limited, and could only focus on things that you already knew about (making it MORE limited), and the stupid little thing was deceptively heavy! But it would have to do. I needed to know what was going on out there WITHOUT relying on a cheating cheater who cheats!
The stone was normally kept in the throne room, and I hoped it remained unharmed. I had every expectation of finding a stone eyeball in its place...
But as I flew, the castle became... discomforting. For example, outside the throne room, two statues stood, made of solid stone.
"...These two statues... There were guards here."
"And there still are!" Discord grinned, popping out from behind them.
"They also used to be male! And I thought you didn't turn ponies to stone!"
"Oh, you think this was me? No, this was -Celestia.- She felt that guards stood still so long they might as well be statues. Then she realised that boys were icky... "
Celestia herself made an appearance.
"Oh, Hi Luna! I don't want to paint the moon yet, I just want somepony to play with!"
Her horn glowed, and the two statues seemingly vanished. In their places were two small, startled, fillies.
"W-Whats... Princesses? What is..." One former stallion tried, before the now-filly was grabbed by Celestia.
Both former guards squealed as they and Celestia vanished. The spirit of disharmony chuckled.
"Don't worry, they have plenty of toys. Celestia figured the maids should be made of something. So she figured felt and wool. Quite a lot of dolls..."
"This is insane..." I groaned as my head spun.
"You're starting to understand! I'm so proud..." Discord cheered as he vanished.
Inside the throne room was no better. The Daylight Regal Chair was now a toilet... gold plated, but still a toilet. My own Night Throne had become a foal's potty, and I blushed furiously at the implication.
There was a still flesh and blood maid sitting in the corner, crossed eyed and licking the windows.
The four guards here had apparently been turned into two ballet dancers, a jackass in the box, and a seapony swimming in a giant glass of water.
The seapony was the only one who noticed me. She looked at me happily and stuck her head out of the giant glass.
"Don't even think about it ." I gritted my teeth darkly.
The Seapony began crying. I just turned my eyes from her. I couldn't even bear to look at her if I had to hear one of the Hippocampi's famous songs after over a thousand years, I'd break down crying. And I couldn't afford that.
As I took a few trots I found out the red carpet leading to the throne was now made of strawberry jam. I had to abandon one of my glass slippers stuck in the gunk. The seeing stone remained unharmed though. It sat on its pedestal, a perfect shimmering mirror sphere. One little burst of Alicorn magic and the mirror became a window to anywhere within it's range I could visualize.
And then I grew suspicious. Since when did Discord give any of his playthings an actual chance of winning?
"...This is a trick. You left me sane because it seemed funny and before you couldn't, but if I watch the Elements of Harmony corrupted you get a shot at me, don't you?"
No one answered me. I sighed. If this was one of Discord's game, then I had no choice but to move forward anyway.
"Fine. Let's do this..."
I felt sane, comparatively speaking. Apart from the murderous rage and wishing I'd just decapitated the damn statue all those centuries ago. I didn't care about the consequences at least it would have made me feel better!
First I had observed the Elements as Twilight Sparkle tried to rally her friends. Her own friends doing much more harm than good as they fell even deeper into corruption! They were acting like a bunch of foals! I counted one short, and I found Rainbow Dash flying like mad.
Now carrying the heavy seeing stone on my back I moved to see the rest of the castle with my own eyes, which was naturally in total chaos. Trees walked around, watering the gardeners. What appeared to be a Wonderbolt had crashed into the castle clock tower. An Earth Pony out wearing a Wonderbolt flight-suit was running from a flock of flying pony-eating pies. The moment I climbed out to help him I fell back inside the castle from an opposing window. Again.
I glanced inside the grand dance hall having been painstakingly repaired from the disaster of that year's Grand Galloping Gala. Maybe it was a good thing I hadn't attended. Celestia had tried to have the regular event disbanded and ceased one time I had known her and that was the closest our ponies had ever come to rebelling on us when she suggested it.
I really wished I hadn't looked. Inside were countless members of Equestria's rich, famous and aristocratic. Hoity Toity was dressed in a garish patch work suit of eye-burning colors and vomit inducing patterns and giggling as he banged his head against a wall. Many were acting like toddlers (okay not much of a stretch for the aristocrats but still).
Octavia was writhing on the dance floor in agony holding her hooves over her ears screaming, "Make it stop! Make it stop! Make it stop!" Over and over.
Sapphire Shores was going around naked (I know not saying much for a pony), the full grown mare kicking her hooves at others screaming at others to look at her and how mean adults were.
Not all the guards were statues. A few on patrol must have been thought to be clockwork soldiers by Celestia. I nodded politely as a clanking pair whirred past, pausing only to salute me with jerking motions.
"Okay... Think, Luna. You can do something to help them out even with all this..."
"Help me!" Someone screamed. I was on alert, but the two clanking guards ignored the scream. Moments later, a mare made entirely of ice ran around the corner, hooves causing patches of ice to form on the floor as she ran.
"Auntie Luna! Please! Save me!"
"....Blueblood?! What the...?" I almost asked why he was made of ice, then realized how stupid a question that was.
Even a terrified mare of ice as she was, Blueblood rolled her eyes.
"Of all the foalish questions at a time like... Oh no, he's coming!" Blueblood looked ready to wet herself.
There was a glow from the corridor Blueblood had fled from, and then a stallion made of flames approached. It bore a strange resemblance to Blueblood himself.
"Uh... Well, for once I can deny I set anyone on fire..." I blinked, as Blueblood cowered behind me.
I shivered from the cold mare's proximity.
"Please! Stop him! Extinguish him! Before he melts me!" My great to the fifty-second power nephew cried tears of ice, scared for her life.
"Blueblood, if it's another transformed pony putting him out would kill him... her... was it a her before?" My head spun at the particulars.
But the ice pony had screamed and ran away. The stallion of fire followed, burning lovehearts for eyes. The intense heat of the stallion singed some of my fur even as I backed into the wall. I telekinetically slammed the door my nephew had fled through in the face of the flaming stallion scorching it and making the flaming stallion look around in confusion. It then began to sing in my nephew's off key voice singing how it wanted to make love to 'Princess Blueblood.'
I felt my brain threatening to break in two without any direct help from Discord.
I needed somewhere to think! Something that had things that wouldn't interest Discord in the least so I could try to figure something out!
"Aha! The library! Either I can read something or find a heavy book to hit Discord with!"
I then tried to canter off, but slid in a puddle Blueblood and her firey stallion had helped leave behind.
A pony who now had a mop for a tail and a powerdrill for a unicorn horn wandered up and began mopping the water away.
"...I'm guessing you're a Janitor?" I asked from the floor.
The pony nodded.
I had made my way to the Royal Library ignoring the chaos around me. Instead I was focusing on the seeing stone showing me the distant six, five, okay -one- pony trying to save the world... and failing. Her own friends mocking and bullying her. Fluttershy was being a thug. Rarity was a paranoid mad mare. Pinkie Pie was taking offense to everything that moved. And Applejack, had come to the realization that lying was easier than facing reality.
Finding the library wasn't easy. Celly seemed to be rearranging the layout of the castle every time she rose or lowered the sun, which was about every few minutes.
I had thought I could find something here, but I was wrong.
The library was now full of picture books lying around, that when opened, revealed themselves to be the pages of the lives of ponies. Most of the real books had run off, except for one which sat reading a pile of picture books.
Each book I had examined currently ended on the same three pictures. The library staff and visitors all looking startled as the other books came to life, a number of books falling to the ground where the ponies had been... and then a picture of myself reading the book. I guessed the book reading the ponies probably ended with a picture of itself reading.
Sighing, I gently closed what had apparently been a young dark blue-maned unicorn called Sunny Place, placing her beside the colt she had dragged to the library, a blond-maned Earth pony named Maelstrom. This wasn't helping ...
...It probably wasn't helping Discord yet either. Not unless he planned to spend his entire rule with a murderous Alicorn chasing after him. Though he probably did.
I felt scared and sick. Nothing I could do was going to change anything. I was a rat in Discord's maze running about for a cheese that didn't exist. I could have stayed in my room and nothing would have changed in the least.
A a sickly icy feeling in the pit of my empty stomach, I focused on Twilight again. I had 'tuned in' just in time for the 'climax' of Discord's game.
"FINE! See if I care!" Twilight shouted angry and hurt. Her friends had already scattered. Her voice fell to a whisper. "With friends like you, who needs . . . enemies."
A heart broken shaped tear fell from the purple unicorn. And her colors turned to grays starting with her tail and back hooves and slowly made their way forword. It reminded me of petrification. That same slow, helpless death.
"Twilight Sparkle! Please! Don't!" I urged, but the seeing stone could only see, it couldn't transport my word.
I could only watch as all the colors drained from my sister's student. From my last saviour. From one of Equestria's last hopes...
...It was over. I was alone.
That was it. The Elements of Harmony were deader than dead. Twilight Sparkle was now just another of Discord's broken toys.
There were no more ancient legends, no hidden tricks. No back up magical items saved for a rainy day to solve all of this. Celestia was an insane filly making the castle her playground. Everyone in the castle except me was as broken on the inside as the outside. And I might as well have been still trapped in the moon for all the power I had. Discord was truth again. And my efforts were even more meaningless than when I had been secretly plotting my sister's downfall in a deluded quest for recognition.
What was the point of a night that offered beauty but no warmth? Night was just the absence of day. I ruled nothing.
Even as my focusing magic faded, I was startled to see a grey face staring back from the stone for a moment, until I realized I had stopped using it. That was my face!
I realized something was off instantly by the sheer fact I CARED that my colors were grayed out. Then it hit me much harder. My fur hadn't turned gray. It was TURNING black! Oh no!
The blackness didn't spread like a wash of paint, it was spreading like blotches of cancer.
"I can lend you power." I heard a voice inside my head sounding exactly like my own but far off. I swear I saw slit pale blue eyes blink back at me for moment as I felt true fear build up inside me.
Thoughts and images came unbidden as I panted. I want to rip Discord to shreds. To make him scream a hundred times for everypony's screams during his reign. I wanted that smug face to turn into a pathetic pleading for mercy! I wanted to lead him along the fantasy I just might spare him if he groveled enough until I tore his non-existent heart out! I wanted to feast on his innards and bath in his blood!!! To cry out in savage victory as I stood over his broke corpse! For every living thing to finally pronounce me their savior and queen! Celestia on her knees kissing my hooves! Twilight declaring herself -my- faithful student. For people to sleep though the warmth of the day and work in the cold of the night! I WANTED IT ALL!
"NOOOOOO!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.
"Shhhhhh!" Said the animated book. It was cut in two by a bolt of black 'lightning' a moment later.
I was covered in sweat. It felt like my guts were turning to ice cold sewage.
A horrible horrible horrible thought occurred to me. Was this the only way left to stopped Discord? A world of eternal night and a slow death had to be kinder than a never ending death in a world of eternal chaos right? Was it being selfish and cowardly by not accepting the power that came with these dark emotions and thoughts? I shuddered. The cancerous spots of blackness connected with each other. There was nothing left right? Everyone else who would have opposed Discord or had a chance against him now had their very souls lobotomized by him. Better the Queen of Darkness than the Lord of Chaos right?
I rolled an eye to look out the window. It was (for the moment), night. And I saw my moon currently in it's crescent phase. And I saw the four stars that floated near it, near myself. The moon that was as much me as the body that struggled against the dark feelings that had conquered me once before. As I looked at those stars. Memories returned. And I remembered for the first time in five hundred and one years at the halfway point from my isolation. Memories I had buried.
In her Nightmare Moon form, Luna looked about what had been a Griffon clan banquet table. Now the tables were splinters, the ill gotten flesh scattered across the floor and the griffons all lay dead. Many with her faces frozen in fear and not a mark on them, others with their limbs going complete the wrong way. And couple impaled repeatedly for good measure. A female adult griffon cried in the corner, using herself as a shield for her hatchlings and egg, both in a desperate attempt to protect them from this demon of darkness and to not let them see their brothers and fathers' dead bodies. Luna let them be. They weren't what interested in her. She had come here just to deliver some swift justice. But what she found was precious beyond description. A small white unicorn colt blank flank lay on one of the tables, his hooves tied down to the corners a slave collar with a chain around his neck. His flesh was intended to be some deviant rite of passage for a griffon who had come of age.
She undid the ropes. The foal just looked at her. Looking like he was calmly waiting for her to kill him. She knelt down to look at her.
"Do you have a name?"
The foal nodded.
"What is it?"
He told her.
"Where is your family?"
He looked about at the mess. Luna understood.
"Do you wish to stay here dear?"
He shook his head.
"Do you wish to leave this place and never have to come back here?"
"Would you like to come with me? I promise you'll be safe."
"Then promise to hate the day, and to love the night."
"I promise to hate the day, and love the night." The unicorn felt confused and turned to look at his flanks as he felt a tingle.
The yellow earth pony panted, walking away from the glider she had build with a limp. The glider now a crashed mess. She'd had to rebuild it from scratch. That meant more late nights. Her family was going notice her change in behavior even if she didn't. And that would mean they could realize she hadn't given up on this 'nonsense' yet. She looked at a small community of Pegasi cloud houses miles above her, and her lips quivered. Why? She didn't care her connection to the Earth let her knew what the land felt, she wanted to know what the sky felt! She felt it call to her. So why did the ground keep pulling her back?
She looked up at the beautiful moon. If only she could just touch it just once. She looked at her blank flank. Her family had begun to wonder if she had some sort of disease. She was years behind when she should have found her cutie mark. Was she just denying herself? Was the ground where she belonged chained to after all?
And to top it all off she had to come up with another convincing lie for why her back leg was on the mend.
"You wish to fly?" Echoed a voice.
"Whose there-?!" The mare gasped in worry.
"Someone who is willing to help you. You do not shun the night like most ponies. It holds no fear for you. But your family rejects your dream to fly as a sickness. They believe your wish to soar is an illness. I've been watching you. You keep trying. And keep failing. But it doesn't have to be that way." A mass of shadows and sparkling stars formed in front of her taking shape.
"P-Princess Luna?! I swear my inventions are for the good of-"
"Calm yourself. I have come to offer you a choice. Dismiss it and I shall never bother you again. Swear yourself to me, and to tear down this old unfair world and help me forge a new one and I will provide you with all the resources to bring about your dream."
The mare looked back at her crashed glider, thinking of the many before it, all the times she had slept during the day and worked during the night. And always alone. She prostrated herself in front of the night princess. "I swear myself to you and to make a new world in this world's place."
"Swear your life to me and my cause."
"I swear my life to you and your cause."
"You do this of your own free will?"
"I do this of my own free will."
The mare gasped in pure absolute shock as she felt the tingle on her flanks.
"How could she do that! How could she! It's not far!" Shouted the pegasus, of course, pegasus was not all he was. Scales adorned his lower legs, and he had foreclaws opposed to hooves. And his feathers were thin scales rather than down. And of course the horns, which of course meant he was evil just by having them. "How could she tell me to just run away!" He breathed fire at a cloud nearby the one he was standing on.
A voice echoed around him, he looked about but couldn't find it. "Your mother told you to run away because she realized she couldn't protect you, not because she did not love you. You, a product of genuine honest love that crossed between species itself."
He didn't care suddenly who this voice was. "Screw that! If that dragon really loved my mother he'd have been there to protect her!"
"Yes. His very nature compelled him. He could not escape it. But he allowed -her- to escape, when he realized that she would wither and die if he continued to keep her as a treasure in his collection, no matter that he would trade all his horde to keep her. But since when have dragons ever been trusted? Let alone one born from a love that has been declared by your fellow ponies as an abomination. Declared YOU an abomination. Treating you like you were cursed at best or WERE a curse on your mother at worst. It's not fair at all. Swear yourself to me, my cause, my will, my vision, my design. And I promise this world will be remade into something much more fair. Something where this cruelty does not exist."
"HA! And who are you to pull this off, lady?"
"Me." She took her full form in front of him, outlined by her moon.
"N-n-nightmare . . . NIGHTMARE MOON! But I thought you were just a rumor! A myth! A fantasy!"
"I am no figment of imagination. Swear yourself to me, and help me remake a world where you and all like you to come will be accepted."
He didn't need to be asked twice. And he didn't acted all surprised when the symbol appeared on his butt.
With a sense of grim satisfaction, Luna in her guise of Nightmare Moon watched as the town burned and every pony in it. They would fall, screaming, they would die, but their suffering would not end. The flames of Sunnytown and it's inhabitants illuminated her night sky.
She turned to a transparent shape. A gray pony with a magnifying glass cutie mark. "It's done. They now suffer the way you've suffered, but your suffering is over, theirs shall never end."
The transparent teenage pony didn't respond.
"You may now pass on to the spirit world. Or you can stay with us, and help us bring about a world where what has happened to you shall never happen to any other Ruby."
"No . . ." Whispered the dead pony.
"I didn't want this . . . Grayhoof was the one who killed me."
"And the others just let it happen. And even your best friend who abandoned you has accepted this Hell as her just reward."
"Roneo thought they were going to HELP ME! Mitta would be dead now anyway if she had tried to save me! Threeleaf thought it was some kind of plague! Let them go!"
"We can't. This curse can only end when they accept their own sins or in Mitta's case stops punishing herself. You think those things you say excuse them for your murder? They were all cowards who'd rather murder you than try to understand something new. Something these talentless lazy slackers had no hope of doing. Or rather something they lost by having everything handed to them. We told sister creating a settlement where no pony would have to struggle for happiness was a mistake. 'Some ponies are sick of Cutie Marks after the Cutie Pox, this town is my gift to the survivors.' Your ancestors. Sister never thought that all their descendants, you, would remember about Cutie Marks was that they were a 'disease.' Maybe this'll teach Celly we're as much a natural part of this world as the other ponies. Now what do you chose?"
"I chose to stay in Sunnytown."
"I chose to stay. Until I can get Mitta to let go of her guilt and I can save Threeleaf and Roneo and everyone!"
"Your quest is futile."
"I don't care if it takes an eternity to save Mitta, until she lets go of her guilt I'll stay with her."
The dark purple unicorn stallion with a white mane floated his helpless enemy a bit closer to him. "Alright Red Night. Time to talk."
The Pegasus just grinned showing off his two fangs that didn't fit on any pony anywhere. The sickening pale pony showed no fear. "Why should I?"
"Because I'm THIS close to driving another stake, this one through your heart you blood sucker!" Right now there were five stakes driven into the pale pony all in key positions one through his bowtie cutie mark.
"If information is all that's keeping me alive, why should I sign my death warrant by giving it away?"
"You're dead already remember?"
"Shadow Sparkle!" Roxxie Pie said, the Earth pony getting his face. "He's just a victim too remember? Red Night, if you help us, I'm sure Princess Celestia can cure you of your curse." She looked at the undead pony pleadingly.
"I'm not so sure this guy WANTS to be cured." Said Thunder Dash.
Roxxie Pie looked at her Pegasi teammate. "That's because the curse is talking, not him. We should be trying to HELP him." She took the carrot approach to Shadow Sparkle's stick. "Red Night. We know that Nightmare Moon has a spy in the royal court. Do you have any idea who it is?"
Red Night stared with them with those solid red eyes, then pulled his head back and laughed tossing his black mane. "HAS a spy? What if I told you that Nightmare Moon WAS the spy?"
Shadow Sparkle almost dropped him in shock. "That's impossible. That lady's hard to miss."
"Oh come on! It's so obvious! Do I really need to spell it-" A silver rod was suddenly sticking out of Red Night's chest. Red Night's head fell forword, already dead.
Shadow dropped him.
All three ponies looked at three other equine standing on the nearby tree tops of Red Night's small estate the full moon against them.
One was a white unicorn stallion with a purple mane. Around his neck was silver collar with glowing runes, two chains were in the back with links to an uneven number of five silver rods connected to the chains links a circle of identical runes around the stub of each rod on each end. They were identical to the one that had just killed Red Night.
One was a yellow Earth pony mare with a blond mane. Connected to her back via a pair of black rods was six elongated metal diamond shapes, three on each side, engraved on the top were the shape of different ponies, they looked like coffins almost.
The last one was . . . looked like bizarre mix of red dragon and pegasi. The sheer wrongness of him actually made Thunder Dash shudder.
Before any of the three could demand answers, the three new ponies vanished into the wood line going off in different directions the night's darkness itself actively covering their escape.
"This is not good." Nightmare Moon muttered.
"But your true identity as Princess Luna is safe your Nightjesty!" Comforted the white unicorn.
"Not for long after Red Night's blabbing. We need to move everything ahead of schedule, now."
Luna felt her sister coming. Along with her were three other ponies. Luna could guess. No pony could use their ultimate weapon by their lonesome. It had required both her and Celestia to use the Elements together to seal Discord. But Luna wasn't about to let that happen. "APPLEDANCER! FATE BELL! FAR SIGH!"
"Yes, Your Nightjesty!" Her three devoted knelt her heads down at their queen, Earth Pony, unicorn, and pegasus.
"Princess Celestia is coming. She has helpers. Leave Celestia to me. But you are not to let ONE of her loyalists enter the fray with her. You are to fight to the death if need be. Do you understand?"
"YES, YOUR NIGHTJESTY!" All three responded without hesitation. Luna had granted them each either their life, dream, or their purpose in life. Each one had lived their life to serve her. Each owed their life to her. If this was where this road led, then so be it. They had a responsibility.
Appledancer only looked in stunned silence as one of her wings shattered under Thunder Dash's high speed assault. Their fight had taken them high into the air, Appledancer using her wings both as a shield and as a means of offense. She was so sure she was going to win when she saw one of her wings break one of his back legs and dislocate the other. But the pegasus stallion hadn't given up. And how could he move that fast? She didn't say anything as gravity took hold and her surviving wing without anything to balance it became almost dead weight. 'Why. All I ever wanted to do was fly. I wanted to be free. Why does the ground keep pulling me? Why can't it just let me go?' She thought as she hit the ground leaving an impact crater.
"APPLEDANCER!" Fate Bell screamed drawing his attention away from Shadow Sparkle. Shadow tried to get a hit in but Fate Bell dodged the surprise attack, and an instantly later had impaled Shadow's legs with four of his rods and galloped to the Earth Pony's side. She wasn't breathing.
"MURDERERS!" Fate Bell snarled everything else in his mind gone as rage and loss tore through his mind.
"You're just a puny little Earth pony! Just let me waste you already! Come on you know you can't win this! Just turn around and go home!" Far Sigh hissed flames as Roxxie hid among the rocks in a stupid game of hide and seek.
"PUNY?! Okay! That's it!"
Luna had thought Celestia without her three companion wouldn't be able to use the Element of Harmony at all since they were little more than rocks without the complete whole. Celestia had delayed using her trump card as long as possible, trying to give her three companions a chance to reach her. And it was costing her dearly. One eye closed, a wing broken and a gash in her side. But Nightmare Moon's spell was reaching the point of no return. And Celestia took the only option she had left besides killing her own sister.
In the light of the long overdue dawn, Roxxie was patching up both Shadow Sparkle and Thunder Dash. Celestia trotted over to each of Luna's still companions with a pronounced limp. The Elements of Harmony back inside and now just a collection of spherical rocks. She looked at the setting moon with the image of a unicorn head now patterned on it's surface. She had done all her crying and grieving inside. She knew she'd be doing a lot more once she had time again.
"Wait a second. How am I remembering this?" I wondered. "This doesn't make sense. I was already sealed in the moon."
Celestia touched her horn to the head of each of the three ponies, a small light escaped each one. " . . . As the Princess of the Day, I pardon all of you and absolve you of any actions under Nightmare Moon you have taken. All I ask in return. No, all I request, for you to do so or not. Is look after Lulu until she's ready to come home." The three new stars flew into the last recesses of night as dawn wiped away the last of the darkness. A forth star already waiting for the three. Celestia managed a small smile. "Help them look after her Auntie Galaxia." Celestia whispered.
Galaxia? That had been the name of one of our family that Discord taken away from us in a very permanent and final way.
All that time. Celestia hadn't simply locked her away. She had insured the only friends I had and one of our family would be looking after me. Even from the start.
I could imagine Aunt Galaxia asking. "How is that Fifty-second grandson of mine?"
I could imagine responding. "He's a spoiled self-centered idiot."
I could imagine her replying and nuzzling me. "And he's going to remain one unless somepony teaches him to be a stallion."
I blinked and my darkness shattered like cheap glass, fading into nothing.
"Everything I did as Nightmare Moon was my own choice." I said to myself. "Her power is mine. No one else's. No matter what taint or lie or half-truth or all out full stage deception Discord may or may not have played on me before he was sealed, or whatever other factors I can't remember due to my thousand years alone. I accept every choice as my own. And I won't fear myself anymore."
I was princess of the night after all. Who said I needed to become a tyrant or a mad mare or a usurper or a devil to use my own power? I wouldn't deny my own mistakes anymore. Sorry 'Tia, I guess you were wrong about that. But thank you, thank you so much for healing me, for saving me, for not simply letting me go or abandoning me as you could have done. I don't know how much of those memories were real or invented by my own mind. But they've given me the strength to not give up. And I'll cherish them. Thank you.
Speaking of which, I had better bucking hay make sure that Discord thinks his game worked! I created a thin aura of darkness around me, and added a grayed out coloring to my mane, eyes and coat. It was an artist after all, illusion magic was an old hat to me. They say never try to trick a trickster, but I just hoped that over a thousand years in stone hadn't managed to significantly quell Discord's bloated ego that took a flight of dragons to drag across the landscape at a turtle's pace!
"Problem, my little pony?" Discord.
I sighed. Then grinned madly and danced like I was four again. "The moon is pretty! The moon should always be up! The sun stinks! I wanna wear pink socks! My Little Ponies Live Was the Greatest Show Ever! Uh! . . . I think I might have lost the script . . ."
Discord laughed and ruffled up my mane. I resisted a shiver of revulsion. "You certainly have!" Discord took a picture of me with a camera from nowhere. "Smile!" I stuck out my tongue. Discord laughed harder.
"No saving the world plans in there?"
I grinned. "Nope! None at all!"
He grinned back. "Good! I think it's about time I check up on Little Miss Twilight Tragedy!"
He teleported away again.
"Horse-apples. I wasn't lying. I don't have a plan... And who am I talking to?" I said to the books right in front of me.
Somehow I could imagine them glaring at me
a glare all the creepier by the strange genetic defect that left Sunny Place with white colored pupils, even if she could see perfectly fine...
"...Oh, right, yeah. Sorry about that. I... er, well... I do kind of have a plan but... You won't be books much longer!"
I darted from the library.
Then darted right back in to whisper to the book that once was Maelstrom.
"By the way, you should see some of the things she dreams about you! No wonder she used to keep fainting around you..."
I then darted back out, wondering idly if a book could blush.
"Okay, Luna, Discord's back in Ponyville
Well, he'll spend a good five minutes there. Hopefully. Think, something to snap Twilight Sparkle back to reality like you . . . Aha!"
I had it, an idea of something to save her! It as an incredible long shot. But I had run out of options a while ago.
"Wait, no, all the books ran away. And she probably read them all when she was studying here. But wait!"
Yes, this was it! For sure!
"...I can't paint though, so doing her an inspiring picture won't work. Oh, but maybe..."
Finally, the plan to help!
"...What the hay is an email and how would I get foals all over the world to send them as encouragement? Argh, stupid brain! Maybe I'm going insane for real after all! Why can't I think of something? Ugh, if only I could send a scroll to someone out there to see if they can still..."
An incandescent light bulb appeared over my head.
I noticed the bulb.
"...And I might as well take you, my mundane servants need a new light for my room." I didn't actually need a single light in my room. I was the princess of night after all, I could see in pitch blackness, it was daytime that my sight wasn't as good. It was mostly to keep my servant ponies from tripping over themselves.
I raced to my sister's private study. Ninety percent of it was a total mess. The books had all been drawn in, some had pages torn out, there were crayon drawings on the wall, maid dolls and mundane non-pony toys covered the floor like a carpet!
But I found what I was looking for completely untouched: many scrolls neatly organized on a shelf. All letters. I gently placed the bulb on a table and looked at the many letters.
All from Twilight Sparkle.
"Sorry, Pike!" I said, my horn glowing as I found that if I went one at a time, the letters could indeed be sent.
"...Wait, no. What is that baby dragon called? Spines? Spark? Spock? Puff?"
I heard the telltale noise of Discord appearing behind me.
"Now, what was that you just did?"
I thought for a second.
" . . . Giving a dragon indigestion." I looked at him with doe eyes.
"That makes no sense whatsoever. I like it!"
"Good to know!" I saluted like a good pawn of chaos.
"Good! When I get back I think I'll infest, I mean bless you with some of my own power! Now, what's the best way to put chaos in Manehatten... I know! An airquake!"
And he vanished.
I resisted the urge to facehoof. This act wasn't perfect. He'd figure it out sooner then later. I had to focus.
I began to send the letters one at a time, not stopping, not daring to stop. I couldn't stop. I kept them coming until I had exhausted every letter Twilight had ever sent Celestia on Friendship: the true name of Twilight's Element, her soul, her spirit. And finally there were no letters to send.
And I waited for the time to pass. There wasn't much else to do but that.
Well, that and worry, since I'd left the seeing stone behind in the Library. I hoped Blueblood had evaded the fire-stallion, or that the Sea Pony in the throne room had stopped crying. I hoped none of the clockwork guards had unwound...
And above all I hoped I was right. That this could save Twilight. And that she could somehow save the others. If she wasn't sitting in a corner of Ponyville writing nonsense on the walls.
Hours passed. Outside I saw existence twisting into something completely unrecognizable. I kept thinking any moment Discord would return and drive me mad for real. As if he'd ever be that merciful.
AND THEN . . .
The endlessly drooling ghost moon turned back into my beloved abacas. It wasn't that Discord's magic was cut off and things reverted back to the way they were without it. Only the weakest and most amateur magic works like that. I felt the Elements of Harmony that had saved my soul wash over me and everything else again, RESTORING IT, REPAIRING IT, HEALING IT!
I grinned as I felt power flowing naturally through me again. I didn't need the seeing stone to know what Twilight and her friends had done. It was all back to normal now.
And the bulb had vanished.
"Drat. Oh well, I'll just need to wait on the order from Stalliongrad. Stupid Celestia and her stupid green-washing initiatives... I've told her a hundred times you can't say environmental policy without saying mental policy, but noooo, she's worried about public relations..." I muttered as I left the study. It felt SO GOOD to mumble about such little nothings!
I walked out into the castle, past the library that was... emptying of distressed ponies with sudden aversions to books. Past a number of guards who... tried to stand still but seemed a little too uncomfortable doing so, and others who seemed to be moving around very tentatively. Looking out at a garden where...
"PUT THOSE FLAMETHOWERS DOWN NOW!" I shouted out of the window in the Royal Canterlot Voice.
The garden staff cringed and bolted as I sighed. I winced as one of the devices, carelessly dropped, promptly exploded. I used my magic to extinguish the flames.
I noticed a dazed Soarin' of the Wonderbolts inching around every pie laying lifelessly in the court yard like they'd come back to life at any moment and try to eat him, then realized he had his wings back and flew like flying was going to be outlawed soon! Spitfire joined him, looking strangely happy for being able to fly in a straight line.
I saw the upper class ponies in the ballroom. For once they weren't trying to hide their emotions and were all hugging each other shaking like leaves. Sapphire Shore sat in a corner looking almost catatonic, crying like a filly. Octavia was still holding her hooves to her ears pathetically begging everyone to be quiet. Her fellow band members found some ear muffs for her and helped carry her out of the room.
I'd find out later Hoity Toity had locked himself in one of the bathrooms and refused to come out and the door had be broken down to get him out.
Okay, maybe not entirely normal yet, but I could wait for the time to pass. There wasn't much else to do but that...
...Except that was when I realized Celestia had taken a lot of ponies-turned-plushies into her bedroom to play.
"Oh my stars, that room is going to be very crowded and awkward. Who am I kidding. Celestia is likely loving it."
Celestia was a little uneasy, but back to her old self. I fact, I wonder if she enjoyed the 'vacation' as an innocent child almost, if not for the near end of the world, okay, she likely didn't.
Dinner that night in the castle was somewhat tricky as something had happened in the kitchens that meant the cooking staff refused to set foot in there, and judging by the fact that one cook had screamed in terror that the spaghetti would eat me if I made my own food, it had been something nasty. One of the chefs had tried to borrow a flamethrower from the gardeners, but she was stopped in time to save the Palace supply of instant noodles, a vital means of feeding the various students of Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. Sadly no one saved the noodles from me.
I'd last cooked food a thousand years ago. I was fairly sure I burnt it then as well. Of course, back then there wasn't the option of flying to the nearest city Discord hadn't reached and getting fly-thru for the entire castle. It seemed that bean burgers were not inducing terror in anyone but Prince Blueblood, and that was just his snobbish disdain for anything 'common'.
Even if he was still hiding in the old ice house, apparently used by some of the castle chefs for some form of traditional something or other. I personally dragged him out. I told my nephew something I don't think I ever have. I told him he was part of my family and I loved him.
I pondered how he'd react to something deep-fried and battered from Clydesdale. It was far enough from Canterlot to be 'exotic', yet so greasy and fatty he'd perceive it as the lower-class food it was.
Yes, it could have been worse. Lukewarm burgers brought from fifty miles away were preferable to a diet of insanity. The world was back to normal on the outside and Discord was sealed away as a statue once again.
Fast food didn't stop (helped?) the Element of Laughter from throwing a joint Victory Party in Canterlot and Ponyville at the same time! (Don't ask me how she managed that.)
I didn't find out until Celly was recounting things to me that Twilight thought that Celly had sent the letters! Celly braced for what she was sure was going to be another of my tantrums. Then I did something even I didn't see coming: I let it go. It was the second thing in my lifetime I ever had, both within the same, whatever amount of time passed in Discord's havoc.
All the praise I ever wanted was finally in my hooves, and I just didn't want it. Maybe I didn't want to ruin the image of the mentor of the pony who had saved my soul. Maybe I didn't want to disrupt the pony's precious grasp on 'everything will work out' that these ponies hold onto so dearly. Maybe I didn't think anyone would believe me through my sister's hero worship even with her approval. Maybe I was just tired and forget this dangerous adventure. Or maybe Discord being beaten was what was important. And I had my own victory over Nightmare Moon, myself, anyway.
The trouble was the mental damage. I knew every single pony in Canterlot and Ponyville ponies would see some major problems over the coming weeks. And I knew what part I could play. I owned the night, I couldn't control my own nightmares, but I could guide the dreams of my subjects.
The moon had been up for some time. Soon, ponies in Cloudsdale, Canterlot, Ponyville, Hoofington, Appleloosa, and Manehatten (lightly affected in comparison) would try to sleep.
I gazed up at my moon and my stars, then down at my other stars. The lights of civilisation. Lights of order. Lights of harmony. Lights I would protect from bad dreams to the best of my abilities this night.
I appreciated the irony that I would be saving harmony from nightmares... It made me feel so free.
Written by Alex Warlorn AND lz0291