95w, 6dThe Shadow Twins
2w, 3dSo it seems like it's... Almost kind of been half a year 0 comments · 3 views
16w, 3dI have to spread this 0 comments · 32 views
16w, 4dI've been thinking 0 comments · 13 views
17w, 22hWHAT DO ALL OF THESE BUTTONS DO 0 comments · 11 views
19w, 5dHALP 1 comments · 24 views
20w, 2dOh wait 2 comments · 26 views
22w, 3dFor NAS 0 comments · 17 views
22w, 6dI have been writing, seriously. 0 comments · 16 views
23w, 4dHi 1 comments · 17 views
26w, 1dSo... Anyone interested in spawning? 0 comments · 20 views
After the incident, the days passed by ‘normally’ for Nightshadow and his sister. Whatever it is that Shade did for fun was usually out of his field of view, which he didn’t know if he should feel grateful for.
Nightshadow continued to silently observe the Elements from afar. He had once thought about approaching Twilight disguised; he knew of many illusion spells that he could cast to hide his true appearance, even change his eyes to 'normal'. He had never done so though, he had gone without social contact with anypony except for his sister for over a hundred years. And even before, Shadow wasn’t the social type of pony. He sighed in frustration as he spied the lavender mare from above. ‘So close… yet so distant.’ His mind shifted towards the cyan mare that he had saved some days prior.
Rainbow Dash was admitted into the local hospital for a very short period of time, being released as her minor wounds healed flawlessly. The doctors were baffled as to how her wings had somehow increased in wingspan after her injury, but decided to pass it off as a miracle of Celestia.
There was a change in the mare, however. Her schedule, however erratic it was before, seemed to become even more so. She often appeared to be suffering insomnia, dark circles hung from her eyes and her mane and tail both became matted and disheveled. Nightshadow held out hope that this wasn't his doing, but he couldn't escape the feeling that this was, somehow his fault.
Nightshadow also noticed that the cyan Pegasus every so often shot curious glances at his direction. He knew the spells he cast on himself were not failing, he had perfected them over the years to the point where normal ponies could not see him. But every day she seemed to stare a little bit longer.
Nightshadow was sitting atop his cloud, watching the ponies go by on the streets, completely oblivious to his presence, when a familiar rainbow blur came into view. Nightshadow sighed and leaned over to see what she had planned for today. It wasn’t by far Shadow’s most favorite thing to do, but it at least lessened his never-ending boredom.
She stopped underneath his cloud and looked around for a bit. Shadow’s curiosity picked up ‘What is she up to?’ She suddenly jolted her head upwards, almost as if she could feel his presence. Their eyes met. They were so far away but Nightshadow knew she was looking straight at him.
Suddenly, she flew upwards, startling Shadow. He prepared a teleportation spell, but the mare flew faster than he was able to cast it. She flew directly into the cloud, piercing through the cloud 'floor'. Rainbow’s body connected to something that felt very solid in contrast to the fluffy clouds. Although she couldn’t see what she collided with, she felt it.
“Who’s there?” Rainbow said, struggling to maintain her grip onto the invisible Nightshadow. He knew that she was no match for him, should he want to tackle her. But Shadow didn’t want to harm anypony. He reluctantly removed his invisibility spell from around him, eliciting a surprised gasp from Rainbow, as she jumped backwards and unfurled her wings in a defensive stance.
She took a long look at Nightshadow before speaking, her expression a mixture of fear and surprise. ‘An… An Alicorn…’ She thought. Rainbow kept staring at the dark Alicorn in disbelief before she vocalized her thoughts: "Y- You... you’re real?" Nightshadow bit his lip. He wasn't sure if he should speak. He knew what he looked like. "Uh... thanks." The mare’s apology broke his trance completely. He blinked twice in confusion, unsure if he should trust his ears as to what he just heard.
"W- What?" He stammered; that apology caught him completely off-guard. He really thought that the mare would go nuts about his appearance.
"Thanks... for saving me... and fixing my wings." The mare looked down and pawed at the cloud with her hoof.
"How do you know it was me?! How did you even know that I was up here?" Shadow asked incredulously. She just gave him a weak smile while rubbing the back of her head with her hoof.
"When I saw you at first I thought maybe you were just a thing from out of my head.” She lowered her head and shook it side to side. “Everypony’s told me that I’ve been through a great trauma… But I've been having these... dreams. They feel so real to me! I dreamed…” Her knees faltered a bit before she continued. “I dreamed of me… falling. Of my wings... b- burning." She shuddered at the last thought. “I… I felt that pain…” Shadow noticed small tears forming on her eyes, but Rainbow fought them back.
He winced a little bit, remembering a footnote on one of the book he and Shade read long ago. 'Healing spells have many side effects... sometimes the strangest ones can manifest, such as dream walking.'
"At first I thought maybe they were just some kind of vivid nightmares… but then I started to have other dreams... of you...” She looked up, meeting Shadow’s eyes. “… watching us. I dreamt last night that you would be on a cloud when I flew by today, looking down at us. So when I flew by today I just... looked up." She felt dumb explaining why she had the sudden urge to just crash into a random cloud.
Nightshadow considered what to do next. He couldn't let the mare go back to town, she would tell other ponies. But what exactly was he going to do? He could never bring himself to kill an innocent pony. Rainbow seemed to sense what was passing through his mind. "Hey, I won't tell anyone you’re here. I don't know why you want to hide, but it's the least I could do." He remembered her name now. Rainbow Dash, the Element of Loyalty. She would not betray his trust.
"Very well." Nightshadow's horn glowed and Rainbow found herself still above Ponyville, just slightly lower than they had been so the Pegasus would not grow cold from the drop in temperature. "Tell me, Loyalty, why should I not make you forget everything?” He said, slowly walking towards her. “I know you mean what you say, but there is always the chance that your tongue may slip." He wasn't actually proficient enough in memory spells to do as he claimed, but he needed a reason to trust her besides her status.
Rainbow seemed to ponder his question for a moment. An idea rushed into her mind, making her eyes shot open. "I could help you with that little... problem."
"Twilight Sparkle. Don't try to hide it." She patted cleverly her forehead with her hoof, her mouth contorting in a mischievous grin. "She and I are best friends! I could tell you about her, maybe even introduce you to her..."
“Why do you think I’m interested in her?”Nightshadow spat, pouring more emotion that he wished on the phrase. Rainbow Dash simply laughed at him.
“You just proved it to me.” Nightshadow froze and kept quiet, making Rainbow shrug. "Suit yourself, but if you change your mind..." She flew off in the direction of the apple farm.
Shadow was lost in his thoughts. 'Her loyalty is to her friends... even if she knows I saved her, what is to stop her from thinking I am a danger to her friends?' He glanced once more to the rainbow streak in the distance, sighing when he saw the mare land safely on the apple farm’s grounds.
A wicked giggle broke his concentration. "Aww… How cute! Little Shadow made a friend today." In a flash of light, Nightshade was instantly in front of him. "Just how well do you think she can keep our secret, brother?" She said, frowning a little.
"She is the Element of Loyalty…" He said in a mocking tone, making his sister frown a bit.
"That isn't the same as the Element of Honesty. Don't you think it's kind of odd she didn't see the resemblance between yourself and mother?" She angrily spat at him.
"Loyalty does not mean the same as intelligence." Shadow pointed out. The joke was harsh, but it did its job. Shade quizzically eyed him for a moment before she burst out laughing, quickly forgetting about the whole conversation.
An alarm clock phased into existence and began ringing. She jolted up. "Woops! Gotta go! See you later, Shadow!" She disappeared once more, leaving a thick cloud of black smoke behind.
Nightshadow sighed. 'Some days she seems so... odd.' His thoughts shifted to her words.
"How cute! Little Shadow made a friend today."
‘… had I… ?’
Nightshade flew over Ponyville, looking for something to relieve her of her boredom. She spent several minutes hovering above the small town, but nothing came to mind. It was then that a familiar rainbow streak flew across the sky, from the apple farm towards the small town. The sight made Nightshade feel odd. A strange twisting feeling in her chest that seemed to compress her heart.
'Guilt?' She frowned, surprised at herself. 'I haven't felt guilty about anything in... well...' She thought about some of the pranks she had pulled recently; some of the more extreme ones, like what she did to the cyan Pegasus. Nightshade put a hoof under her chin quizzically.
'How do you get rid of guilt again?' She watched the rainbow streak do loops, dives, and eventually simply fly about. She noticed that the cyan Pegasus often screamed and yelped in delight; happy to just be. The sight made her smile. “Of course! YOU HAVE FUN!” She screamed to herself and took off, faster than lightning itself.
Rainbow Dash paused from practicing her tricks for a moment. She sat on her haunches next to a tree on a more isolated part of Ponyville’s park. Whilst she flew, her mind seemed to blank completely; but now that she had stopped, thoughts about her new 'friend' surfaced into her mind.
'He seemed kind of... off. But he did save me. A bad guy wouldn't do that, would he?’ She thought for a moment. ‘Plus he’s an Alicorn… and all Alicorns are good ponies!’ Rainbow only had two Alicorns to base her opinions off; but that did seem to make sense to her.
‘That and his little crush.' A smile spread across her face at the thought Ponyville's resident bookworm having a secret admirer. She kept wondering how she could make Twilight and the black Alicorn together. Her thoughts rushed as she began to image both ponies in a much more… explicit situation. Rainbow couldn’t see herself, but she was blushing heavily with a stupid grin stamped on her face. She was so deep in thought that she didn't see the black shape speeding towards her until it flew right into her.
"Ooof!... Hey! What's the big... idea..." Her eyes shot open in fear.
'Nightmare moon!' Her thoughts raced and she assumed a ‘take-off’ stance, but her muscles felt heavy, locking her in place. The dark Alicorn walked slowly next to to her as Rainbow fought against her paralyzed muscles. She was able to break free and take off, but was stopped by a dark aura.
Nightshade giggled as Rainbow tried to yell, instead letting out a terrified squeak one might have mistaken for Fluttershy’s. Rainbow squeezed her eyes shut. She winced, waiting for Nightmare Moon to extract her revenge. But the final blow never came.
"Silly little pony, I'm not going to hurt you!" Rainbow slowly opened her eyes, risking one first before opening the other. She noticed something different about Nightmare, her eyes were green when they used to be turquoise, and while her mane was flowing, it was not nearly as long as Luna's was.
‘Wait… this isn’t Nightmare Moon! But she looks very similar to her’. Rainbow thought as she closely looked at the pony. Like the other Alicorn she met earlier, this one was about as tall as Princess Luna. "Who... Who are you?" Rainbow risked a question to the dark Alicorn before her. She simply laughed.
"Well, I am Nightshade, but you can just call me Shade. You've already met my brother." Rainbow gave her a confused look. "What? Don't see the resemblance?" Rainbow herself felt a little silly for not noting the resemblance before.
Shade’s horn began to glimmer and soon a cloud formed underneath her. She laid down on it, mock-pouting. Rainbow's eyes widened, she didn’t know why, but she feared that pony. "Wh- What do you want from me?"
"I want what you want. To help little Shadow with this crush of his. You are the Element of Loyalty, right?" Rainbow simply nodded. "Excellent!" Shade leaned in closer to her. "He said he doesn't need help right?" Rainbow gulped and nodded again. "That's just like him. He always tries to take on problems that are too big for him by himself, instead of asking friends for help."
Sensing an air of familiarity, Rainbow began to let her guard down. "Yeah I have a friend just like that. She nearly put herself in the hospital trying to prove to us that she could finish Applebuck Season all on her own."
They both shared a brief chuckle. "Then you'll understand where I'm getting at." Shade dramatically cleared her throat before continuing. "Sometimes you need to help friends; even when they don't want your help." Her eyes flashed red, if only for just a second; a feat which Rainbow didn’t notice. She winked and backed away a little. Rainbow pondered her words and smiled genuinely.
"OK! So what do we do?" Shade returned Dash’s smile.
"Tia? Where are we going?" Celestia looked down at Nightshadow who still tugged at her hoof.
"Nowhere." She said nonchalantly. Nightshadow's face contorted with a confused frown.
"But if we weren't going anywhere, wouldn't we just stay here?" Celestia chuckled at the little foal’s logic.
"You're a smart little pony." She looked to the other foal, sleeping in a basket being levitated by her brother. Celestia frowned for a moment: "How is she?"
Nightshadow looked back at his sister and frowned in response to Celestia’s answer. For the past week he and his sister had been sick. Nightshadow had been experiencing debilitating headaches. As a result he had become extremely sensitive to light, making even the dim lights of the torches mounted on the walls a strain to his eyes.
Nightshade, however, had been worse. She found herself to be extremely tired every day, making her sleep through it, wasting the entire day away before waking up. But even as she slept, the nightmares came every night. Every night she would wake up fighting for every intake of breath. She would then proceed to weep until the physical strain dragged her to more nightmare-ridden dreams.
The things she confided to Nightshadow had horrified the little colt. “Last night was bad for her, Tia.” He remembered how his attempts to wake his sister up proved fruitless. “She had a nightmare where-" He quickly cupped his mouth in his hooves. Celestia looked at him with a raised eyelid.
"Uhm..." Nightshadow looked to the floor, guilt ridden. He didn’t want to lie to his aunt… but he didn’t want to break his promise to his sister. "She made me promise not to tell you... but..." He took a deep breath, realizing he was about to betray his sister's trust. He knew that Celestia was powerful. She could help them. "... she said that she kept having a nightmare where you were a big monster who burned us with a... a rainbow..." He said still looking at the floor. The moment those words made sense in Celestia’s brain she froze.
"I know... it sounds crazy. That's why she told me not to tell you..." He looked to his sister and whispered a sincere apology under his breath. Celestia looked to the distraught filly and whispered words of her own.
"... Is that you, sister?" Celestia shook her head. She had to be sure. She continued down the corridors, Nightshadow following closely behind. But in her mind, she knew that she had changed the direction of their stroll. They went out into the statue garden. Celestia shifted uneasily when she walked past a peculiar statue of a bizarre creature made of all sorts of animal parts.
The statue seemed to pull Celestia towards it. She looked towards the little foal following her, and breathed a sigh of relief when she acknowledged that Nightshadow didn’t feel anything different towards the statue. They proceeded on and found a small clearing with an even smaller flower bed.
A golden veil wrapped Celestia’s horn as the ground beneath the flower bed suddenly shook. In a single, swift motion, the ground split open, revealing set of stony stairs. Once the secret path opened, a cold breeze oozed from within it, making the little foal shudder. "Wh- What's down there, Tia?"
"It's... a surprise." Celestia bit her lower lip and proceeded down the stairs.
They walked down the stairs, which exited into a large, dark hallway. Celestia lit the wall torches with her horn, making Shadow shield his eyes from the sudden light sources. When his eyes adapted enough, Shadow noticed the huge amount of cobwebs that dangled lazily from the stone ceiling. They walked along the hallway until they reached a large set of wooden double doors with a plaque over the doorway that said 'Access Prohibited'.
"Follow me little one, and leave your sister outside for now." Celestia urged him, to which he quickly complied, levitating the basket and gently lowering it to the ground. When he trotted through the double doors, he was greeted with the sight of five floating orbs of different colors surrounding a raised pedestal.
His eyes widened in amazement. "What are those, Tia?"
"Oh, nothing." She said almost too quickly. "Just stand there, little one." She pointed towards a spot up in front of the floating orbs. Nightshadow eyed the pedestal warily, something nabbed at the back of his mind, urging him to leave, but he shrugged those thoughts. He had no reason to distrust Celestia. He stood on the place she told him to, and looked up at the orbs.
"What's going on, Aunt Tia?" Shadow couldn’t see, but Celestia immediately dropped her smile. Celestia’s eyes began to glow in a bright white light as her horn glowed. She began to levitate in the air and a golden Tiara appeared on her head.
"Just hold still, Little Shadow." Celestia sounded stern, just a pinch of sadness in her voice. Nightshadow turned around and saw the image of the hovering Celestia.
“Tia… I’m sca-“ Celestia's horn suddenly shot a ray of light, aimed towards Nightshadow. The five orbs brightened up and shot out their own rays, joining the first and becoming a rainbow of colors in mid-air. Shadow couldn’t react in time. He felt the rainbow piercing through his body. The pain left him almost completely paralyzed. Every inch of his body now screamed in an independent voice, joined together; creating a loud howl of agony and pain. Somehow, Nightshadow vaguely remembered his sister's nightmare through the pain.
'She said that she kept having a nightmare where you were a big monster who burned us with a rainbow.'
Celestia saw the young colt's pain and a tear escaped her eye. "I'm sorry, little one... there is no other way..." She focused her energy into the elements, thickening the stream that soared through Nightshadow’s body.
"T- Tia?" Was all he could comprehensibly mutter through the searing pain.
The Elements of Harmony tore at his mind, searching, hunting. They found the memories they searched for, memories of the Nightmare. It snarled, it hissed, it fought. It was quickly destroyed by the Elements.
Satisfied with their work, Celestia drew her magic away from the stream, stopping their assault on the young Alicorn. Celestia felt something different. She opened her eyes and saw the Elements, still active and tearing through Nightshadow’s body. Celestia felt herself and her magic being pulled alongside with the Elements. She tried to move, but found herself frozen in place.
A voice laughed in the darkness.
"I did not expect you to make this so easy, Sun Princess." The voice spat the last word with disgust. Celestia panicked. She knew she had little time. She had to find a way to stop herself. If she did not, the raw energy would tear the foal apart, in mind and body.
“Wake up, little one.” Nightshade heard the familiar voice echo in the darkness around her. She felt extremely tired, prompting the voice to speak louder this time. "Wake up! Your time has come..." Nightshade felt her body growing more and more powerful. The mental strain that once made her disabled was now completely gone. She slowly stood up and opened her eyes.
Nightshade woke up.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!!" An angered voice cried from the other side of the room. Celestia turned to see Nightshade standing in the doorway.
'Use what I taught you, little one...' The voice played on her mind.
A dark veil surrounded Nightshade’s horn and soon enveloped her whole body. Her eyes, glowing with power, peered directly into Celestia's. Nightshade moved inequinely fast as she charged at Celestia. The dark orb's impact was met with a small yelp from her, as well as the loud crunching noise of shattering bones. Celestia fell to the ground a few feet from where she was standing as the black aura evaporated from Nightshade. The Elements, without their forced power source, ceased glowing.
Nightshadow slumped to the ground in a heavy thud, un-moving. His sister dashed to his side, unfurling her wings and assuming an offensive stance towards Celestia.
A unicorn stepped out of the darkness. He had a brown coat with a grey mane, and was wearing a band around his leg that had a glowing amethyst-like gem embedded in it. He stared at the two with blood red eyes, smiling.
"You have surprised me, little filly." Celestia carefully picked herself up off the ground. Her broken ribs painted every movement with a sharp pain. The sight of the unicorn moving closer to the foals jolted Celestia fully awake. She quickly gripped the two with her magic and tossed them out of the room, slamming the door shut. The unicorn stopped in his tracks and glared at her. "Your highness." He said while mockingly bowing. Two dark blades launched themselves towards the Sun Princess.
Nightshade galloped with her brother in tow. "Shade? What happened? Why are we running?" He asked, still clearly disoriented by the Elements’ assault. Shade winced but kept running. She didn't have any answers for him. She couldn't understand it all herself.
All she knew was that Celestia had just tried to kill him.
"I'm sorry your highness." Wind Strider said as he cleaned up the rest of the mess left behind from Celestia's fight with the mysterious unicorn. "I have no idea how he managed to get past us. I'll have everypony double check for-"
"No. It doesn't matter now, anyway." She cut him inelegantly. Celestia lifted the band they had recovered from the now deceased assassin and analyzed. Up close, the artifact showed itself to be more familiar to Celestia than she thought. It was something that she and her sister failed to destroy long ago. "Have somepony take this to the vault, and lock it away as far from the door as possible… And double security for the vault and its surrounding areas for the next few months." She quickly added, dismissing the guards with a bow of her head.
With a quick, "Yes, your highness" He passed his orders down to her subordinates.
"And another thing... the foals..." She felt her head droop down in shame.
"They are gone, your Highness. Again, I apologize for the lapse in security. I don't know how we let two little foals slip past us, but we won’t let it happen again! We will find them. And besides, I'm sure they'll come home eventually."
Celestia sighed, she could feel every cut and bruise, all of them caused by the single impact provided by Nightshade. "No, they're gone… They will never return."
"If I may ask, What makes you think that, your Highness?"
"Nightshade has the memories of Luna..." Celestia's sorrow for her sister began to surface. "... and Luna would not trust me after what she had just seen."
"What could she have possibly seen to make her not trust you?"
Celestia felt fresh tears welling up in her eyes, blurring her vision. She quickly blinked them away. She could not appear weak to her subjects.
"I came down here with them to perform a memory spell… Something to remove my sister’s influence from them. That unicorn created some sort of... siphon out of it. I... almost killed Shadow..." She took a deep breath, trying to push away her guilt.
"When she saw me, she saw a monster trying to destroy her only brother." She couldn't stop a single tear from rolling down her face. "It may have been the assassin’s fault, but they do not know this. They will think of me as the creature from their nightmares. Those two are able to tame the most powerful spells. Their magical abilities are greater than any unicorn. One way or another, we will never see them again for as long as they wish to hide."
"Your highness, if I may interject?" The guard captain walked into the room.
"How long have you been listening?" Wind Strider, clearly annoyed, asked the intruding pony, but the captain simply ignored him.
"You said that they have the memories of Luna?"
"Nightshade does... I was able to free them from Nightshadow before I lost control of the spell." She said, her head still hanging a bit low.
"Is it not possible that she may decide to act on your sister's feelings?"
Celestia pondered his statement. "I... hadn't considered that..."
"Then perhaps we should at least attempt to seek them out. We could find them, and then you can attempt your memory spell uninterrupted."
Celestia looked to Wind Strider, who shrugged. "I would... tend to agree with the Captain." She nodded to him, and then turned to the guard captain.
"Alright then. Have search parties organized for tomorrow."
They moved quickly along the dimly-lit streets of Canterlot. They had never been there before, but Nightshade somehow knew the way. Few ponies were wandering the streets this night. Those that were often couldn't see them; the night was unnaturally dark, making both foals coats blend perfectly to their surroundings. Those that did catch a glimpse of them later wrote the encounter off as their minds playing tricks on them.
Shade was worried that they would be stopped at the main gate, but tonight proved itself to be their lucky night. The guard ponies that usually worked the night-shift were on leave, meaning that the day guards had to fill in. They were fast asleep by the time the two reached the gate. Even, then they didn't stop galloping.
Both foals fought against their complaining muscles and burning lungs. Nightshadow was in a slightly worse condition than Nightshade, still feeling the searing pain from the Elements’ bolt.
"Sis... please..." His voice faltered as one small slip made him fall over. Nightshade turned and grabbed her brother in her hooves.
"Come on... we gotta... we gotta..." She collapsed on the ground next to him, exhausted. "OK... maybe we can stop here..." She took a quick survey of their surroundings. They were on the edge of a forest. She wasn't sure which, but she was certain they were far enough from Canterlot by now.
"Shade... what happened? Why did we have to run?" Nightshade looked to her brother with a solemn face.
"You don’t remember?” Nightshadow only shook his head for an answer. “Shadow... I saw Tia doing something. It was... like in my dream." She paused -- not believing what she had seen earlier -- before adding."I don't think we can stay in the castle anymore..."
Nightshadow stared at his sister in disbelief. "No… M- Maybe it was an accident?" He tried, to which Shade slowly shook her head. Tears began to form on Nightshade’s eyes.
"Shadow. I know what you want to believe... but I saw it with my own two eyes... I'm sorry." He hung his head. Both foals stood like that for a moment, fighting their oncoming tears. It was Nightshadow that broke the silence.
"But where will we go? What will we do!? Tia said that if we ever left the castle, bad things would happen!" He couldn’t keep them contained and broke down, sobbing. "What are we gonna do Shade?"
She resisted the urge to sit down and cry next to him. She knew he was right. They had nowhere to go. Nowhere to sleep. Nothing to eat.
What would they do?
What could they do?
"Shadow... do you remember that day Tia showed us how she could move the moon?" Her brother didn't look at her, just nodded. "Well after that I started to... remember things. I know what we are now. I know why we don't have a family like those other foals that Tia told us about. And... I know I can do this..."
She stepped away from her brother and closed her eyes in a concentrated frown. Nightshade grunted as her horn glowed, summoning a black glimmer around it.
In a flash of light, a pair of apples appeared in front of her. She levitated one of the fruits over to her brother, who inspected it for a moment. He didn’t trust the taste of a summoned food, but those thoughts were quickly dismisses as his hunger and exhaustion took over his actions. He took a hearty chunk out of the apple. The corners of his mouth curved slightly upwards. It was indeed a real fruit.
Her voice resonated with the words of another.
"We don't need any of them. We can take care of ourselves."