“Thank ya’ kindly Twilight, for helping me out. Now you gotta’ finish up your story. Ah bet you must’ve flipped your hay when Nightmare told ya’ she knew about Sunny’s memories” Applejack kindly requested. The farm pony slowly trotted down a path through her family’s apple orchard, two buckets full of apples bouncing on her sides.
“Nope, nope… nope” a purple dragon atop a purple unicorn commented as he examined apples plucked from the baskets hanging next to him.
“No problem at all, Applejack” Twilight responded, carrying the dragon and two bushels of apples across her back. “And, yes, I admit I was a little alarmed when she said that” The unicorn confessed with pride. “But, I was able to keep a level head, and stay on top of the situation.”
Horsefeathers horsefeathers horsefeathers horsefeathers, Twilight Sparkle shouted in her head. What am I going to do?! What’s going to happen to Sunny?! I can’t let Nightmare near Sunny, thank Celestia she hasn’t come through the portal yet... wait. No! No time for waiting! Yes. Portal. I’ll run through the portal, grab Sunny, and run some more, away from the portal. Yes! Twilight exclaimed in her head as she inched incredibly conspicuously towards her exit. Wait, I need to stall her, yes, that’s what ponies do in these situations. They stall! “So-” Twilight squeaked out. “So… you know Sunny remembered something.” Yessss good good.
“Yes, I did just say that” Nightmare Moon stated, continuing to stare at her starry sky.
Twilight took another couple nervous steps towards the portal. “So… so what are you going to do?”
“So, what’d she do?” Applejack excitedly asked.
“I’m getting to that” The purple unicorn patiently retorted.
Nightmare Moon turned questioningly towards Twilight. “Do, Twilight Sparkle? You say that as if this is some sort of problem for me” The dark queen stated flatly.
“But I- uh… What?” Twilight stuttered out, shaking her head quickly which caused a few strands to stick out.
“Whoah Nelly! Ain’t that’a surprise! I bet you musta’ been runnin’ in circles at that” The orange earth pony chuckled at her purple friend.
“What? No!” Twilight defended herself probably a little too fiercely. “I mean, yes, I was a bit confused. Sunny regaining her memories would pretty much mean the end of her rule. But she said…”
“Aww my pretty little purple pony, did you think I would leave you in such a compromising position with my sister, if I thought you would actually be able to take advantage of it?” Nightmare taunted, that oh so familiar smirk on her face.
“… she said I couldn’t do it” Twilight looked away from her friend, a small blush crossing her cheeks.
Applejack chuckled again. “Lemme guess. You paid her no mind on the subject, huh?”
“Absolutely!” The unicorn exclaimed, raising her head high as the wind blew her main and tail heroically. “I’m going to get Sunny’s memories back, no matter what that dark mare says!”
“Atta’ girl” The farm pony enthusiastically encouraged. “So what happened after that?”
“Well, uh… I’m not sure if I should say” The purple pony said quietly, smiling awkwardly at the white alicorn pony behind her.
Sunny trotted along behind Twilight, carrying her own two baskets full of apples. “I-… I would rather you didn’t” The princess said blushing, lowering her head to look at the ground.
Applejack slowed until she was side by side with Sunny, beaming a bright, honest smile at the princess. “Oh c’mon princess! You haf’ta tell me whacha did.”
“Well…” The alicorn looked up with an embarrassed, half smile on her face.
“Where is my sister by the way?” Nightmare questioned, looking around the bedroom curiously.
The purple pony grumbled in response, turning away from the dark princess. “She was just behind me before I went through the portal.”
“Well, I guess we can-” A large curtain muffled the rest of the moon princess’s words.
Sunny yelled and jumped on the now covered Nightmare Moon, latching onto her back and tightening the curtain around her sister even more. “Ha hah!” The sun princess triumphantly shouted. “Twilight, my plan worked! Quick go get me a- a cell, or something!” Sunny urgently demanded.
“I… what?!?” Twilight shouted in response, quite bewildered.
A muffled sigh came from the curtain covering Nightmare. “Sunny, what are you doing?” The night princess stifled out.
“Stopping you! You’re aren’t going to raise the sun anymore! You- you keep getting hurt!” The sun princess clutched tighter as her voice wavered.
Nightmare phased into a glittering smoke and flew out the underside of the curtain, materializing just next to a surprised Sunny. “You always were horrible at scheming” The moon princess said disapprovingly.
Sunny dropped abruptly to the floor atop the pile sheets with a faint squeak. “Oh… you can turn into smoke” the white alicorn said dejectedly, laying her head in between her hooves.
“Sunny…” Nightmare said sympathetically. “Why don’t you just-”
“Why do you have to do all of this?!” Sunny interrupted, her voice cracking as she looked up with watering eyes. “Why do you have to get hurt just to do this?”
“… Sacrifices have to be made to realize any dream, sister” The moon princess quietly responded, closing her eyes and lowering her head.
“Well… YOUR DREAM IS STUPID!!” Sunny cracked, the tears started flowing as her white wings flared in her agitated state. Nightmare flinched as if struck but kept her head down. The sun princess attempted to wipe her eyes and collect herself, to little effect with how much she was crying. “I- I’m not going to let-” Sunny sniffed. “-Let you if you’re just hurting yourself!”
“Sunny, it’s not li-” The dark alicorn looked up apprehensively only to be cut off.
“I’m not letting you!” Sunny shouted again, stamping her hoof into cloth.
“But that’s just it Sunny! I won’t be getting hurt anymore” Nightmare said confidently with a small smile. The night princess trotted beside Twilight and rested a hoof over the purple pony’s shoulders. “Isn’t that right Twilight?” The princess asked as she beamed a reassuring smile at Sunny
“Why, Twilight was just telling me about how she figured out the perfect way to keep me safe” The princess said happily.
“I- wha-” A kick to her purple flanks stopped Twilight short. “Oh… ooh, yes!” Twilight agreed, catching on. “Yes, I definitely found… a way… to stop that” The unicorn said awkwardly, flashing a smile just as sure as her words.
The sun princess sniffed as she looked between the two dark ponies. “R- really? You won’t be hurt at all?”
“Of co-ho-hoourse~ not” Nightmare reassured her bawling sister, tilting a hoof forward dramatically for emphasis. “Now if you’ll excuse us we need some time to prepare” The princess quickly said while she dragged Twilight out onto the balcony. “Just wait right there!”
Sunny sniffled again and nodded her head blissfully, pulling together the curtain for a comfier seat.
Once on the balcony and out of earshot, Nightmare grabbed the purple unicorn tighter and hissed quietly into her ear “Ok, seriously. Real smooth move telling her about me dying and everything!”
“Well, it’s not like I knew it was a secret or something!” Twilight whispered back, huddling closer to the princess.
“So what, you just tell ponies whenever their family members die or something?!”
“Well, yeah! You do-”
“Shutup. It doesn’t matter now” Nightmare interrupted hotly. “From now on, me dying is on a need to know basis. And nobody needs to know!”
“Right, well at least we’ve got that cleared up” The purple pony said sarcastically, rolling her eyes away from her mistress.
“Speaking of, why am I still dying? I thought you said you were going to stop that from happening” The moon princess continued whispering, taking a quick peek back at Sunny to make sure she wasn’t getting any closer.
“Well, I’ve been trying” Twilight groaned. “It doesn’t help when the pony you’re trying to save has a death wish.”
“I DO NO-” The dark alicorn nearly yelled out. “-I do not have a death wish!” Nightmare said in a more appropriate whispered tone.
“Says the ‘sacrifice’.” The unicorn glared at the foreboding form above her.
“Whatever!” The princess breathed bitterly, looking away from the purple pony. “Your solution for today, is it going to work?”
“You said earlier it would work!”
“Well I’m not completely sure it will work…” Twilight responded in an unsure tone, rubbing a hoof against her leg.
“How sure are you?” Nightmare asked crossly, tightening her grip on the unicorn.
“Um… fifteen percent sure?” The purple pony flashed the princess a sheepish smile.
A crooked grin grew on the night alicorn’s face, her grip on Twilight tightening just a smidgen more. “You realize that’s not going to cut it tonight” Nightmare said ever so sweetly.
“I know I know!” Twilight squirmed in her black clutches. “Just give me a second or two to think!” Twilight didn’t even need a second to think. The purple pony already knew she was out of options and had to call upon her last resort; she wasn’t going to have the princess cry on her watch. “Ok, so, I have something… but it might be a little risky.”
“Right. Because, I haven’t been dying. Or anything” Nightmare stated in a flat tone.
“Shutup. I’m going to be involved this time” Twilight retorted.
“What?” Nightmare kept her flat tone.
“I’m going to help you with your spell” The unicorn responded in a serious manner.
“You can’t possibly think- like I would even let you-”
“I realize the dangers, I’m confident in my abilities, and… you don’t really have much of a choice” Twilight interrupted, her expression telling Nightmare she was completely determined to go through with this.
The moon princess grumbled, looking around nervously. “Fine” She finally conceded. “Just- just don’t die. If you do I swear I’ll make you regret it.”
“Well then I have nothing to worry about because we’ll both be dead!” The unicorn smirked at her princess. Her princess stared blankly back at the purple pony. “… That was a joke” Twilight continued.
“Ha, ha” The dark princess said, straightening her back and shaking her head to prepare for her early morning endeavor. “Let’s do it then…”
“Ok” Twilight said hesitantly. “Do I need to get on your back or something? Do our… do our horns need to be touching?” Twilight gulped down her rising anxiety.
“What? No! Don’t be stupid.” Nightmare quickly responded self-consciously. “I mean- I don’t know- just… just touch my hoof… or something” The moon princess slid her hoof closer to Twilight as she tried to hide her distressed appearance.
“Right- right” Twilight muttered, resting her hoof nonchalantly on the princess’s. “It would also be nice if I knew what I’d be doing.”
“It’s hard to explain. You just sorta… keep the night, instead of bringing in the new day” Nightmare fumbled with her words, uneasily shifting her stance.
“Wait… so you aren’t just making the atmosphere invisible or something?” The unicorn skeptically asked.
“No! What? How would I even do that? I’m princess of the night, not princess of the atmosphere. Just… I’ll concentrate on the moon, you concentrate on the stars” The alicorn finished anxiously.
“What exactly am I-”
“I’ll guide you. Don’t worry, just follow the flow.” Nightmare slowly breathed in to calm herself. In exhaling the night princess drew upon her powers, the night enveloping her and lighting her horn the same as so many other mornings. She wasn’t going to start just yet, this was just a warm-up. Nightmare sent a small taste of the magic through her hoof and into Twilight; a dark, cool wind visibly flowing along its path through their bodies.
Twilight gasped as the foreign magic invaded her, scrunching her eyes tight at the feeling.
“Please don’t make weird sounds like that” The moon princess murmured, looking away from Twilight.
“Sorry” The unicorn said sheepishly. “It was just a little surprising…” Twilight shook her head and concentrated on the new magic flowing through her body. It was soothing, incredibly so. This feeling, the purple pony experienced it every morning when she accompanied Nightmare, but this was so much more intense. Before, she could feel the dark night air, smell the coldness of the sky, but now she was one with all of those things. Twilight could touch the stars in the sky and move them however she pleased if she wanted to. The unicorn activated her own magic and reached out a tentative, ethereal hoof towards the stars.
“Stop that” Nightmare calmly said, lightly smacking Twilight’s magic away from the stars. “I like them the way they are.”
“Sorry” the unicorn said sheepishly again.
“Are you ready? Once I start, you’re going to have to keep up or fall off” The night princess stated.
“I’m ready… let’s do it.” Twilight’s mind was literally, in a figurative manner, swept off its feet. The moment Nightmare began casting her magic the purple pony felt as if a mountain of pure power was suddenly growing right next to her. And the moon princess was right, Twilight was going to fall off. The unicorn quickly grabbed tightly onto the ever growing mass of magic around her, gaining a hoofhold; but not for long. Twilight needed to raise her own mountain if she wanted her plan to work, simply piggybacking on the night princess’s magic wasn’t going to cut it. So the magician rose, using her hold on Nightmare’s magic, the unicorn pushed her own magic higher and higher until she lost track of just how high she or the princess were. The unicorn abruptly stopped, completely out of breath. She had reached her limits.
Wow, I didn’t actually think you could do it The wispy magical form of Nightmare stated, utterly surprised.
Twilight would have blinked in confusion if she could have. Seeing as she was an ethereal magical form herself she wasn’t currently able to, nor would it have done anything. Whah- where… Twilight stopped herself as she looked around. The now rose colored magical pony was surrounded by utter darkness, interrupted by little pinpoints of small lights. We’re in… space? Twilight said with a mixture of skepticism and disappointment, cocking her head at the shining blue form standing next to her.
No! At least I don’t think… no, no we’re definitely, probably not in space Nightmare stated with confidence. We’re in the Night, capital N. And that’s not your real body either in case you were wondering. We left our bodies pretty much the second we started.
Oh… Twilight waved a hoof experimentally in front of her face, watching it shimmer and fade as it moved. So, you come here whenever you change the day to night, and night to day? The unicorn asked curiously.
Not as fun as it sounds Nightmare reached out and stopped Twilight’s waving hoof. Now concentrate because this is the important part. If you don’t do this right… the sky might freeze. The alicorn bluntly said.
What? Twilight questioned flatly, resting her hooves back onto the imaginary ground.
Don’t worry, I only said that to get you more focused. There’s only a medium sized chance that will actually happen The moon princess beamed a blurry ethereal smile at the smaller pony. And don’t bother panicking, that won’t do anyone any good.
Twilight groaned and slammed her head on the previously mentioned imaginary ground. Ok… ok, no panicking The unicorn perked up, slapping on a small smile. Ok, yeah, I can do this. Let’s do this. We can do this. How do I do this?
I just said don’t panic.
Yeah, ok, like that was actually going to happen!
Calm down, this is the easy part. You just kept up with a goddess in terms of power. Who else can even say that? Nightmare reassured her smaller companion.
Heh… yeah… you did help with that though… Twilight nervously chuckled. Yeah… ok The unicorn took in a couple abstract breaths, only the motions themselves helping to calm her. What do I need to do?
Your job is simple. Like I said before, just hold the Night still. I’ll take care of the rest.
Applejack stared blankly at Sunny. Then at Twilight who was pretending as if she hadn’t been listening to Sunny’s story and was looking off in the opposite direction. The orange earth pony then looked up at the dark, star filled sky and bright shining moon, and finally back to Twilight. “Huh… and ah thought ah had busy mornings…” Applejack slowly trotted up next to Twilight who was still pretending she wasn’t part of the conversation. “So, Twi…” Applejack leaned in closer to the purple pony. “How’s it feel to be as strong as a princess” The farmpony teased with a knowing smile.
“I am not as strong as a princess!” Twilight defended herself blushing, quickening her pace to get slightly away from Applejack.
Applejack laughed hardily, pulling Twilight back by her tail. “Aw c’mon ya silly filly ah’m only foolin’. No need to run off on us”
Twilight grumbled, still blushing heavily.
“And princess, let me just say ah’m proud of what you tried ta do” Applejack tipped her hat to Sunny, flashing a bright friendly smile.
“Um… cover my sister in a curtain?” The alicorn asked awkwardly.
“Well, not that part exactly.” The orange pony rubbed the back of her head feeling just as awkward. “But trying to stop yer sister from hurting herself. I can relate ta how ya feel. Ya always have to look out fer family, even if they’re not looking out for themselves” Applejack confidently stated, rubbing the top of Sunny’s head affectionately. “And your story reminds me of the time my own little sister escaped from the moon and took over the apple farm.”
Twilight and Sunny stared blankly at the earth pony.
Applejack chuckled uneasily. “Uh… that was a joke.”
“Ah-hah!” Spike exclaimed as he held up a juicy red apple.
“Oh, Spike! That looks del-” The purple pony was interrupted by a gurgling in the small dragon assistant’s stomach.
The purple dragon belched out a green lick of fire that engulfed the apple completely, leaving a scroll stamped with the royal seal in its place. “Aww, my apple” Spike whined as he held up the scroll.
Twilight groaned, looking away from the letter. “It’s a letter from Nightmare Moon”
Spike quickly hopped off of the purple pony and unrolled the scroll, clearing his throat before beginning. ”Dear Twilight Sparkle. I hate writing letters so I’ll keep this short. For being such an obedient subject I have decided to give you a reward. Enclosed are two tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala, for yourself, and one guest. Have fun picking who gets to go with you. P.S. Sunny doesn’t get one because she’s stupid.” Two golden tickets fell to the ground as Spike finished.
“Whaaat?” Sunny whined, disappointment written all over her face.
Twilight magically picked up the tickets and scrutinized them carefully. “But… I don’t even want to go.”
Nightmare Moon and Twilight trotted into the royal bedroom through the balcony’s archway. “And yet another beautiful morning. You are definitely improving your control Twilight. Maybe I should take you on as my student” The moon princess coyly suggested. “I could teach you so many, many things.”
“Yeeeah, how about we just stick to casual enemies, and we can leave all of your little teacher fantasies to your hundreds and hundreds of suitors lining up at the door” The unicorn snarkily responded, rolling her eyes.
“Oooooh~ you are getting feisty!” Nightmare snarled playfully, batting a hoof. The moon princess passed Twilight and trotted up to a smaller, white alicorn that was sitting patiently on the floor. “And as you can see sister, yet another hapless free morning” Nightmare triumphantly stated, before bending down to peck the smaller pony on the forehead.
The sun princess giggled at the kiss. “I’m sorry sister. I should really learn to trust your decisions more often” Sunny sweetly apologized.
“No you shouldn’t” Twilight added from across the room.
“It’s just…” Sunny continued. “It’s just, I wish I could have helped you somehow…” The alicorn sadly said, looking away from her big sister.
“Oh Sunny” Nightmare quietly consoled, lifting the smaller pony’s head. “You did everything you could, and you tried your hardest. Believe me, I couldn’t ask for a better sister. Now get out of here before I throw you out” The moon princess teased, smacking the smaller sister’s flank as she walked past.
The sun princess giggled again, waving her hoof as she moved towards the portal. “Bye~ see you tomorrow then” The alicorn happily bid farewell before disappearing through the portal’s liquid depths.
Twilight scrunched up her face in thought “Wait… did you mean you and Celestia tried to do what we’re doing? Why didn’t it work?”
“Twilight, there are many different frequencies of magic, and my sister’s was just too bright and sunny to actually pull off this sort of thing. I swear she nearly scorched my stars when we tried” The alicorn grumbled to herself. “… Wait a second… Twilight, what day is it?”
“The date? Why it’s-”
“TWILIGHT!” Nightmare jumped to the purple pony and grabbed her abruptly with her hooves.
“AAH! What?!” The purple pony screamed back, falling limp in the princess’s clutches.
“This is horrible, today is horrible, I thought I was ready for it but I’m not! Not for today!” The moon princess blurted out. “I am nowhere near ready!”
“What? What’s happening? What’s so bad?” The unicorn quickly questioned, a tinge of worry lacing her words.
Nightmare gently set Twilight back down and started wringing her hooves together, eyes darting around the room. “You know how time moves forward, and events and dates move closer… well time must be broken because this event has come way too fast! I didn’t even notice but it’s already here!”
“Time isn’t moving faster, just tell me what it is!”
“Summer is over Sparkle! Summer. Is. Over!” The alicorn hysterically shrieked.
“So summer vacation is over, which means school is back, which means children will be back, which means I have to talk in front of a bunch of tiny, whiny, bipolar, foals!”
“…” Twilight stared at Nightmare with a mixture of shock and irritability.
“It starts in an hour and I need your help! Go talk to them, you’re a student! You have so much in common! You’ll be like twins! Warm them up for me or something, I’m going to go- go- go fly around!” And with that Nightmare bolted out through the archway, soaring into the sky.
The unicorn stared after her mistress before shaking her head. “Me… and an entire class… are going to be like twins…” Twilight groaned and walked out into the hallway, closing the door carefully behind her. The unicorn slowly began making her way to the castle classroom that was used specifically for young unicorn foals to become better acquainted with their power, and have a rare opportunity to have the princess herself teach them. “I guess that duty falls to Nightmare now” Twilight drearily said to herself. “Honestly, that mare. Being scared of children. Sometimes I don’t even know what’s going on in her head” The unicorn chuckled to herself. “What am I saying, I never know what’s going on in-” The purple pony’s monologue was interrupted by a pale blue hoof that pulled her out of the hallway and into a nearby doorway, the door slamming shut behind her.
“Twilight Sparkle, I need your help! That monster is going to kill me!” The voice and hoof came from a rather handsome, if not slightly disheveled, sky blue stallion with a messy blond mane and blood shot eyes that gave him the appearance of one who had not slept in days.
“Wh- what? Are you ok? Who’s trying to kill you?” Twilight sympathetically asked the worn out, ragged unicorn.
“Nightmare Moon!” The pony exclaimed. “She has told me as much herself! Oh… um, excuse me” The stallion released Twilight from his grip and attempted to fix his hair. “I’m very sorry, I’ve been a bit at odds ever since my…” The pony rubbed his neck apprehensively. “Encounter” The unicorn hoarsely chuckled. “But the fear of death is no excuse for bad manners.”
“This- this can’t be right, Nightmare wouldn’t-” Twilight began
“Listen, I’m sorry but I don’t have much time. You’re Twilight Sparkle, Celestia’s most faithful student, and you still are. I know this. And I understand that you are probably the pony that can do the least for me. After all, you are in the most danger, not to mention your friends…”
“What are you saying?” The purple pony breathed out.
“I’m saying you cannot trust Nightmare. She is a monster, and a liar. She will destroy anything that stands in her way… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have stopped you. Dragging a pony such as yourself into this is the last thing I wanted to do” The blond pony sadly commented, running a hoof through his ragged hair. “Just… please be careful, and know that you have allies. My name is Lucid Skies, and it was a pleasure meeting you Miss Sparkle” Lucid formally complimented Twilight as he raised her purple hoof and kissed it. “Remember, don’t believe anything she says.” And with a flash a golden sparks the unicorn disappeared from the room.
Twilight stood alone, shocked at what she had heard.
End Chapter 7