Chapter 2: Moonlight
MLP:FiM Fan Fiction
By: Scy Storm
"Hmm, maybe if I do it this way... No no, that won't work..."
Twilight grumbles as she scratches something out on her scroll paper, her magic-controlled quill moving farther down the parchment and beginning to write again. It stops after a moment, Twilight's eyes narrowing in thought, contemplating how best to go about this spell. After a few seconds, something clicks, the unicorn's quill scribbling upon the scroll once more. She observes her writing closely, and a wide smile stretches across her face. "Yeah, I bet that's it!"
She finishes writing, magically lifting the parchment in the air and giving it a good once over with her eyes. Then, she winces. "A lot of crossed out stuff though... I'm gonna have to rewrite it! Ugh!"
She sets the scroll back on the table, next to a fresh one, magically picking up her quill and sighing, dipping it in the inkwell before writing again. "Curse my neat streak..."
The unicorn stares almost unblinkingly at the scroll as she repeats the complex spell language, making sure every last detail is exact on the lettering. After gradually working her way three-quarters of the way down the page, she stops. Holding the page in the air again, she gives it a read, and grins. "Perfect! Now if only I could test it. Spike is asleep, though."
She stares silently at the parchment for a few moments. "I should probably draw up alternate versions just in case, though. Ugh!"
Twilight drops the scroll on the desk and sighs again, thinking for a moment before walking away from her work. She trots her way through her house and toward the front door. A sudden noise makes her stop in her tracks. "Hoo!"
Twilight turns and looks at her nocturnal owl pet, perched near the door and watching her. "Oh, hey Owlowiscious. I'm just going out for a bit to clear my head. You be a good watchowl, okay?"
"Hoo!" the owl replies.
Twilight smiles, stepping out of her home and into the night air, closing the door behind her. She stares upward into the deep night sky as she trots forward, scanning her eyes over the beautiful stars that adorn it, working her sight toward the gorgeous full moon. Twilight takes in a sharp breath, breathing in the cool air, then exhaling with a smile. "Blessings be to Princess Luna for bringing this beautiful night to Equestria," she speaks aloud.
She turns her eyes to her surroundings now as she walks deeper into Ponyville. The many houses of the residents lay quiet, dark, and still. What few lights may remain disappear quickly, and not a pony is seen roaming the streets. Unlike most ponies, Twilight is a fan of the night. Sure, she sleeps eventually, but sometimes the best thing for clearing her muddled head is a stroll under the pretty stars and a preferrably full moon like tonight. Something about viewing Ponyville at night keeps her fascinated, as well. A town normally so bustling, reduced to serene quiet under the light of only the moon. Twilight sighs pleasantly to herself, eyes going forward and scanning the main road in front of her as she walks. Soon enough, she begins to notice another pony in the distance, also walking the main road, though in a slower fashion. Twilight doesn't remember ever running into another pony during one of her infrequent walks under the moon. The unicorn quickens her trot a little bit to catch up with the pony a little faster. "Greetings!" she says once she's close enough.
The other pony gasps in surprise, stopping and turning, making Twilight stop and stare in shock. Grayish purple coat, blue mane, white moon cutie mark shining like her eyes of teal... It takes a moment of disbelief to pass before Twilight realizes it's really her. "P-Princess Luna?!"
Luna gets over her shock at her sudden visitor quickly when she sees who it is, the alicorn loosening her posture and smiling. "Twilight Sparkle, correct?" she asks.
Twilight nods a little as she stares in amazement, quickly gasping and then lowering her front half in a bow. "I-It's an honor to see you here!" she says.
The alicorn blushes a little and tucks her muzzle meekly. "O-Oh... That's not necessary, Twilight. Really," she stammers.
Twilight stands up straight again, smiling brightly. "I haven't seen you since... since... Well, when I first met you," the unicorn says after a little thought.
"Yes, that's true. I've been very busy, I'm afraid," Luna says.
"That's to be expected. A thousand years is a lot of time to catch up on, I would think," Twilight remarks.
Luna blinks once and lets out a soft laugh. "I suppose that's one way of putting it."
"So I take it you're enjoying the night like me. Want to walk together?" Twilight asks, smiling cheerily at the meek princess.
Luna gasps just softly, then shakes it off, the alicorn still not very used to much pony interaction beyond her sister. She works past it easily enough though, a smile curling across her face once more. "S-Sure. I'd love to," she replies.
Twilight does her best to contain her excitement at meeting Celestia's sister again, the two starting to walk down the main road once more. She can tell Luna is still getting used to all of this, even though she's been free for quite some time now. The unicorn can't fathom being locked in one place for a millennia, so perhaps that's hampering things a bit. "So what are you doing out here in Ponyville, anyway?" Twilight asks, breaking a momentary silence.
Luna looks in her direction briefly. "I've been undergoing a journey across Equestria, seeing how everything has changed in all the time I've been gone. It's something pleasant to do with my time while my sister sleeps," she explains.
Twilight nods a bit, pondering briefly. "Why walk around all lonely at nighttime, though?" she asks.
"Why not? I'm enjoying my own nighttime for the first time in... well, you know. Plus I think I'd just cause a scene if I went everywhere during daytime..." Luna responds.
"Oh. Yeah, that's a good point," Twilight says, looking up to the moon afterward, "and the night is definitely something to enjoy."
"I'm happy to hear that, Twilight," Luna says, smiling warmly.
Twilight smiles back at her. Something about seeing Luna smile like that warms her heart. She can't imagine being stuck in the position that Luna was for so long, and then coming out of it seemingly no worse for the wear. "Were you able to get back into the swing of things quickly?" the unicorn asks.
Luna tilts her head at Twilight's choice of words. "You mean my ability to summon the night? It didn't take as long as I thought it would. It's been a lot harder trying to regain the rest of my power. I still have a long way to go before I reach the level I was at a millennia ago," Luna explains.
"I guess that's why you're... uh..." Twlight says, cutting herself off, not sure how to ask what she wants to ask.
Luna glances at Twilight's awkward demeanor, pondering briefly before softly chuckling. "Small?" she asks.
Twilight can feel herself blush a little as she forces an awkward smile. She was afraid she was going to offend the princess. "Y-Yeah. I thought you'd be the same size as Celestia, being as... long-lived as she is. You were about her size as Nightmare Moon, right?" Twilight asks, recalling the day mentally.
Luna's reassuring smile melts away Twilight's worries of offending her. "I was as majestic as my sister once, yes. I do not know why I'm not anymore. How you see me now is how I looked when I was younger. My only theory is that it's related to my imprisonment," the alicorn explains.
"Your imprisonment?" Twilight asks.
Luna nods softly, her expression turning serious, perhaps a little... solemn. "I was trapped there for a thousand years, inert and unable to use my powers, before the prophecy freed me. As Nightmare Moon, I was not nearly as powerful as I should have been. Then, you freed me, and I appeared like this."
Twilight nods slowly, a little unnerved by the princess' expression. "So you're just rusty then," she surmises.
Luna looks toward Twilight, her expression lightening again. "Your vocabulary is... refreshing. But yes, that is my theory. Perhaps it will take me another thousand years to get it all back, but if that is how it must be, then so be it," she says.
Twilight just nods quietly, her eyes showing a glint of sadness for the princess and her situation. If anything, Luna appears to be in good spirits, and happy. This thought keeps Twilight from feeling too much sorrow. The unicorn goes quiet for a spell, unsure on how to follow up this branch of conversation. Her thoughts are then disrupted by an unknown voice. "A thousand years is a long time to wait," the voice says.
Twilight blinks in surprise, she and Luna stopping in their tracks, the unicorn glancing around briefly. Eventually she notices the figure of another pony sitting a few yards away, looking up toward the moon. The pony has a dark pelt, and in the shadow of night, Twilight can't make out her features from this far away. "Y-Yes it is..." Twilight stammers, not sure how to respond, a weird feeling coming over her.
"It is a surprise your companion appears to be so sound of mind after so long," the voice continues.
Twilight looks over at Luna, and gasps. Luna is staring at the figure sitting yards away, a look of intense fright on the her face. The princess' body shakes, taking a few steps backward. "It can't... No...!" she mumbles, almost in a whisper.
Twilight becomes incredibly worried, starting to feel something come over her. That same feeling of dread she felt earlier in the day, when she was leaving Everfree with Spike. She turns an intense stare back toward the dark pony before them. "W..Who are you?" she asks, her voice shaky, trying to mask her growing fright.
A low, long venomous chuckle sounds out of the pony stranger, her features beginning to become more defined as she stands up to all fours. Her coat turns from a near black to just a very dark blue, her mane a steady violet color. She extends pegasus wings outward, revealing what appears to be a moon on her flank. As her laugh ends, she quickly turns around to face the frightened ponies, cat-like eyes gleaming menacingly beneath a unicorn horn, belaying their otherwise pretty teal color. A wide, sick girn extends across her muzzle. "Has it really been that long, Twilight Sparkle?" she asks, speaking with a tone of pure malice.
It takes everything Twilight has to keep from outright screaming. The unicorn's body shakes, swallowing down her almost-scream and stuttering out a reply. "It c-can't be! You're... You're..."
"... dead? Is that what you wish to say? Did you not learn anything from your history books, little mage? You cannot kill Nightmare Moon!"
Twilight clenches her jaws shut in disbelief. This can't be happening! She was right there, in what might have been the most important moment of her life, connecting with her destined friends and vanquishing an ancient evil. Nightmare Moon was dead! The unicorn shakes her head around briefly, taking a few steps backward, before turning to look to her side. Luna is still there, her eyes never having left Nightmare, still with a look of intense fright. Now Twilight is even more in disbelief. Luna was Nightmare Moon! How could they both be standing right here? Another venomous laugh comes from the mare of the moon, getting Twilight's attention again, the unicorn now noticing that Nightmare is strolling calmly closer to them. She notes some changes in the villain now that she's closer and easier to see. Her mane is now a solid violet color, not the always-wavy starry night violet look it had before. She also lacks the armor she wore on her head & chest, and her physical size is comparable to Twilight & Luna. There's no doubting who she is, however, despite these differences. "How quaint it is that I run into you so soon after my rebirth, Luna. This chance meeting will save me a lot of trouble, I wager," Nightmare states calmly.
Luna sharply gasps, taking a few more shaky steps backward. "G-Get away from me," she says, her voice shaky.
Twilight turns her attention to Luna again, then back to Nightmare, seeing the dark mare's attention is focused solely on the princess. Something comes over Twilight then, her eyes beginning to shine with anger. She suddenly steps to the side, standing in front of Luna and staring down their villain. This move actually surprises both alicorns. "You stay away from her!" Twilight tells, with only a hint of fright left in her voice.
Nightmare throws her head back in hearty laugh, grinning widely afterward and staring back at the unicorn. "What are you going to do, little foal? Blast me with a giant rainbow? You see how well that turned out," she taunts.
Twilight gasps softly, her hardened stance softening. "I'm... I'm going to..." she stammers out.
"What you and your friends did was a fluke. A bunch of foals, possessed by the Spirits of Harmony? Foolish. The Elements did not stop me a millennia ago, and they certainly didn't stop me the second time around with a bunch of fillies at the helm. You are nothing to me, mage!" Nightmare rants, her horn glowing with dark energy.
A quick, invisible pulse of energy goes through the area, sending Twilight flying backward clear over Luna's head. The unicorn yells out in panic, landing on the ground a few yards away and tumbling briefly. Luna spins around and cries out, "T-Twilight!"
A deep laugh from the dark mare is heard directly in Luna's ear, the princess crying out and turning back to see Nightmare directly in her face, Luna nearly falling backward in shock. "Come now, Luna. This night above is quite beautiful. Let us achieve our goal and make sure it never ends," Nightmare says to her, eyes gleaming with malicious intent.
Luna steps back away from the dark mare, shaking her head and trying to summon up any courage she can. "Th-That is my goal no longer, Moon. Not for hundreds of years. I'll never go along with you!" she manages to say with resolve.
"Oh, dear Luna, you are mistaken. I'm not giving you a choice in the matter," Nightmare states, coldly.
The dark mare's body below her neck suddenly warps into a familiar dark mist, her face ever-grinning. Luna gasps loudly, but before she can do anything, the mist extends forward and latches onto her like some sort of ooze. The princess screams and reacts violently, trying to pull herself away. A few yards behind her, Twilight is standing to her feet, raising up in response to the alicorn's scream. "L-Luna!!" she yells.
Nightmare laughs incessantly as her mist spreads over Luna's body, the princess struggling mightily even as she becomes nearly engulfed. Just as the mist starts to spread up to her neck, a flash of magic blasts out of the alicorn's body, breaking up the mist immediately and causing her to tumble backward, thanks to how she was pulling herself that direction. Nightmare's laughing ceases immediately, her mist body retracting back into her normal form. "What is this?!" she yells.
Luna's head raises up from her laying position, the princess blinking, overcome with utter confusion as well. Nightmare practically snarls, her horn glowing with darkness. "Come to me NOW, Luna!" she yells out.
A blast of dark magic hits the princess as she's standing up, Luna wincing at first, before her expression goes right back to confusion. She feels absolutely nothing. Nightmare's spell is doing nothing to her. The dark mare snarls again, ending her spell. "What game are you playing here, Luna? Why are you... HOW are you resisting me?!" she practically screams out.
The princess shakes off her confusion, hardening her stance and concentrating briefly, a blast of her own magic coming from her horn and striking the dark mare. Nightmare stands still, not even reacting to the spell, just like Luna's non-reaction to her own. She feels nothing. Luna gasps, her spell breaking off immediately. "Not me either?" she speaks quietly.
Nightmare is beside herself in anger and confusion. This is not how it's supposed to be going! This encounter should be over and done with! Before she can say anything, a laser-like blast of magical energy strikes her in the face, causing her to recoil her head back and let out a grunt of pain. Both alicorns look to see Twilight Sparkle standing a few feet behind Luna, her face angry and her horn glowing. Nightmare stands quiet for a moment, before forcing out a laugh. "Good one, child. I actually felt that a little," she taunts.
Twilight practically whines, her horn losing its glow as she drops her concentration, the dark mare's taunt getting to her. Nightmare stares silently at the two in contemplation, before taking a few steps back. "It appears we are at a stalemate, my dear Luna. It looks like I'm going to have to rethink things," she says, with an odd, forced calmness about her.
Luna just stares at her in silence, many thoughts running through her head. Twilight trots up past Luna. "R-Rethink things?" she asks.
Nightmare's wings flap as she hovers into the air, staring down at the two ponies. "Looks like I may have to do something... drastic. You'll be seeing me again soon enough," she answers.
"You're not going anywhere!" Twilight yells, summoning what bravery she has left.
The unicorn goes to step forward, but stops and lets out a slight yell as a sudden burst of dark energy hits the ground right in front of her, from the dark mare's horn. Nightmare then grins widely as her body begins to turn into dark mist again. "Sleep well, foals. This situation merely delays the inevitable. Soon enough, the world as you know it will end!"
With a booming laugh, the dark mare turns into a swirling cloud of dark mist, shooting off into the night sky, her laugh quickly fading away as she disappears into the distance. Twilight watches her go, stomping one of her hooves into the ground. Many thoughts start to swirl through her head. How is Nightmare Moon back again? Why isn't she staying? What is she planning? Twilight breaks off her thoughts and turns to Luna. The princess is staring blankly down at the ground, breathing hard, her mind obviously quite crowded, body overcome with panic at what just nearly happened to her. Twilight turns and walks closer to her. "P-Princess Luna? Are you alright?" she asks.
Luna takes a few seconds to turn her vision upward to Twilight's worried face. Luna swallows hard and tries to steady her breathing. "I... I think I'm okay. I don't know what to think about all this, Twilight!" she replies.
"N-Neither do I, princess. This is bad, really bad. We... We need to do something! We need to tell Celestia!"
Twilight turns the opposite direction to where they were walking, Luna watching her and turning with her. "Come on, let's go to my home first!" she says, immediately taking off in a run.
The panting princess gasps a little, swallowing again and extending her wings, flying just above the ground and speeding after the determined unicorn. It only takes a few moments of flying before her vision blurs, her wings starting to feel much heavier than they should. She flies herself next to the running unicorn and speaks, "T-Twilight, I feel faint..."
Twilight perks up, looking and seeing Luna stop in mid-flight and land. Twilight skids to a stop and turns toward her. "Princess? What's wrong?" she asks.
Luna tries to answer, but instead she just exhales a sharp breath, falling unconscious to the ground. Twilight runs up to her. "L-Luna!"
Luna breathes quietly. Nothing appears to be wrong with her. Twilight surmises that all the emotion and panic was too much for the princess. So much for going straight to Celestia. Twilight turns and sees that her home only a few yards away. She takes a sharp breath and concentrates, her horn glowing. Her magic surrounds the fallen princess, lifting her up off the ground, Twilight walking the rest of the way to her home with the floating alicorn behind her. Once inside, she floats Luna over to her couch, gently laying her down upon it and breaking her spell. Owlowiscious observes the proceedings with a few concerned hoots. Twilight nods to her pet in reassurance, proceeding immediately to her desk and magically moving her spell scrolls out of the way. "I shouldn't wake Spike from his sleep. I'll have to send this to Celestia myself."
An empty scroll spreads out before her, her quill floating and dipping itself into ink. Twilight faulters just before she writes, her eyes fighting back tears as the emotions of what's just happened are starting to weigh down on her. She takes a deep breath, and begins writing her letter, as quick as she can get it out without ruining its readability. After barely a minute or two, the letter is written, the unicorn dropping her quill immediately. Magically the scroll lifts into the air, rolling up and tying itself, before glowing bright green for a few seconds and popping out of existance. Twilight lets out a heavy sigh. "There... That's all I can do for now..."
Twilight can feel incredible fatigue on her shoulders now, a combination of how long she's been awake and all the sudden exercise she just got. "I can't bear the thought of sleeping in a situation like this, but I'll be useless if I have no energy for what I need to do tomorrow."
She makes her way toward her bed, hearing the flapping wings of her concerned owl as he lands nearby, hooting at her. She looks up at him and forces a reassuring smile. "I'm okay, Owlowiscious. You observe Luna for me. Wake me up if anything happens, okay?"
"Hoo!" the owl hoots out in understanding.
Owlowiscious flies away from her to return to his perch. Twilight resumes her walk to her bed, almost passing out before she reaches it. She drops down onto it and lets out a heavy sigh, her eyes practically pulling themselves closed. "Please help soon, princess..."
TO BE CONTINUED...
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Characters/Locations used without permission