71w, 2dAlicorn Twilight
67w, 1dTwilight is Best Pony
68w, 2dTwilight Sparkle
- Show All Groups
66w, 4dThe Hero... Nightmare Moon?
66w, 6dDaymare Sun
55w, 3dAlicorn Twilight
46w, 2dThe Usual
34w, 6dSt. Xavier Bronies
14w, 4hMLP: Motherhood is Magical
8w, 3dEpic Quality Fics
21w, 1dCompleted Story Compendium
17w, 3dX Becomes An Alicorn
16w, 4dthe creation center
1w, 12hTheGreatEater's Buffet
The Empty Room
By Wanderer D
“I see you brought friends.” Midnight said when Big Macintosh walked into the main cavern, followed by Spike and Soarin'. “Can they be trusted?”
The draft pony nodded.
Spike stared. “M-Midnight! Sir! What are you doing here?!”
Midnight walked up to both of them and gave them a hard look, ignoring the small dragon for the moment and the bewildered look from Big Mac. “Yes... these two seem clean... what about her?”
The three blinked. “Her?” Soarin' asked, blinking in confusion.
They followed Midnight's eyes to the entrance of the cave, where a mint green unicorn with a viridian mane and a white streak on it meeped at the sudden attention.
“Lyra?!” Big Mac and Spike shouted, looking surprised.
The unicorn turned around to run, but Soarin' was already landing before her. “Sorry, but you are not going anywhere.”
“But... but I...” Lyra stammered, tearing up a bit. “I'm sorry! I was just curious! I saw what happened today and... when I saw Big Mac and Spike, I wanted to ask them what was going on!”
“Bring her in.” Midnight said. “She seems to be clean too. And Big Mac seems to know her.”
“Whatever that means.” Soarin' muttered, then turned to the unicorn. “Well, you heard him.”
She meekly went into the cavern with Soarin' while Big Mac took a look outside to ensure they were really alone, then closed the doors.
“Well, she's not the only one who wants to know what’s happening.” The pegasus said gruffly. “I want an explanation for what happened out there.”
“Did something happen?” a voice asked. The three recent arrivals turned to see another unicorn emerging from another room.
“Trixie?!” Lyra and Spike shouted, looking surprised.
“Do you guys do that a lot?” Midnight asked, eyebrow arched.
The unicorn mare spared them a glance, but trotted up to Big Macintosh, hovering really close to him in an almost intimate manner, which had both the dragon and the musician trading confused glances.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie would like to know how you fared, Big Macintosh.” Trixie said, reverting slightly to her stage persona when she recognized the small dragon.
The draft pony blushed slightly. “I'm fine... but... something horrible has happened.” he looked up at Midnight. “Both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have been turned into Nightmares... Twilight Sparkle was with them... as well as Spitfire of the Wonderbolts and Rainbow Dash.”
The navy blue unicorn narrowed his eyes. “Then things are worse than I thought. I had hoped the Guardian would not be able to corrupt either sister... whatever happened to Princess Celestia must have taxed her willpower greatly.”
“I don't know about the Princess... or even Rainbow Dash, but I want to know.” Soarin' said. “The Spitfire I know wouldn't have done what she did to Blizzard.”
Midnight sighed. “Well then. Tell me exactly what happened.”
Rainbow Dash flew around Canterlot castle doing loops and twists in the air, barrel rolls, spins and everything short of the Sonic Rainboom.
Each turn, each pull of gravity made her think again and again on what had happened that day.
While performing and Immelpony turn she recalled leaving with Twilight to help Princess Celestia.
Pulling up hard, she let herself go into a Tail Slide... the tour of Canterlot Castle... arguing with Rarity about ghosts... and that brought her too to Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy.
She gritted her teeth at the pang of guilt over the loss of her friends. Why? Why didn't they give up and serve the Nightmare Goddesses as they should have? She hated having to pretend to fight...
She pulled a Cobra maneuver her body shaking as she forced herself up so suddenly. Was that what happened? Was she pretending?
When she had thought Twilight Sparkle was dead... she had wanted to kill those responsible, but... the cloak... hadn't it been a member of the Council of Nightmares that did it?
She scissored through the clouds. She should have been calmer, it was all for the Council... right?
Growling she dove into an inside loop, aiming for a standing eight, her eyes caught some sparkling around her and she dropped out of the loop, for a brief second her medallion floated up to her eyes. It was chipped on many places, the luster almost gone.
Something else caught her attention. Raising from the castle, a chariot pulled by a couple guard pegasi had taken off.
Curious, she forgot about her medallion and flew down to take a closer look.
“Rainbow Dash.” Nightmare Moon said, once she had approached enough to see her. She was riding the chariot with another pony who was dressed in black. “What brings you here?”
Easily keeping up with the pegasi, the rainbow-maned pegasus felt a bit weird about talking to her Queen. “I... I just needed time to think.”
The Queen remained quiet for a few seconds of flight, observing the pegasus, who didn't pull away as she didn't want to offend her.
“Join me here.” Nightmare Moon said, making space for the pegasus to land on the chariot.
“Uh... I'd love to your majesty, but are you sure its a good idea? It could throw off the balance of the whole thing.”
Nightmare Moon's horn lit up and an ephemeral aura surrounded the chariot. “There, if you land now it won't have any repercussions.” she glanced at the unicorn besides her. Rainbow Dash hesitated for a second, then flew in and landed as gently as she could. The chariot did not shake, even when Nightmare Moon let it go, although the aura surrounding them remained.
The cyan pegasus looked at the aura curiously.
“Nopony can hear us talk while that spell is in effect.” Nightmare Moon explained.
Curiosity about the aura sated, Rainbow Dash looked at the other pony, a unicorn, who was looking away at the clouds and the land below. The black clothes she was wearing was made of a strange material that hung tight to her body, it had several pockets within easy reach of her hooves; two strange contraptions were tight around her front legs. A deep purple cloak covered most of her body, but she could make out that she had a white coat under all that black. Her mane was amazing though, it was a deep green and fell around her shoulders. She realized that she was looking at the legendary Silent Jade.
The Queen had been observing the pegasus and noticed the medallion.
“That's an interesting accessory.” she said softly. “Can you show it to me?”
Rainbow Dash almost jumped. She had forgotten to hide her medallion! But... wasn't her Queen deserving of her loyalty? She struggled with the conflicting thoughts until, gritting her teeth, she slowly picked it up with a shaking hoof and showed it to the dark alicorn.
“Interesting.” Nightmare Moon said, looking at it. “Very interesting.”
Rainbow Dash looked at the medallion as a small crack appeared on it. “W-what's wrong with it? What's wrong with me?”
Nightmare Moon smiled. “Nothing is wrong with you, Rainbow Dash.”
The pegasus shook her head, trying to clear it. “Something's wrong!” she said in a whisper. “I can feel it! I...”
“It's not you.”
Another crack appeared. Dash looked at her Council medallion with tears in her eyes. “Then why...”
“Remember.” the alicorn said. “How did you feel when Twilight died? Or Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie?”
A pang. Like a knife being jabbed into her heart.
“How did you feel when you saw Twilight Spark and Nightmare Flare?”
A shiver ran down Rainbow Dash's back. She was sweating and breathing hard.
“What was it like... when Spitfire betrayed you?” Nightmare Moon asked, ignoring the gasping pegasus. Her eyes narrowed. “How did you feel when Applejack realized... that you betrayed her?”
Her world froze. She looked down as if she were moving in slow motion. The medallion around her neck crumbled into pieces as if crushed by an unseen force.
In a flash she relieved her life... there had been no Council of Nightmares in it until Spitfire had put the medallion around her neck... she had betrayed all she stood for. All her friends stood for. She had been personally responsible for a guard and a Wonderbolt dying unnecessarily.
She felt a large wing settle gently around her and she was carefully pulled towards Nightmare Moon. She feebly tried to pull away, but the alicorn was stronger. She finally gave in to the embrace and cried and cried on Nightmare Moon's shoulder.
It was several minutes before the pegasus felt like herself again. She slowly pulled out of the embrace and stared at the alicorn in confusion. “But how... why?”
The alicorn stared straight ahead. “It seems that somepony sought to control you with that medallion... it made you loyal to something to the point of betraying your true self.” Nightmare Moon's smile was cold. “However, the one responsible probably does not understand who you are at all... powerful as the magic of the medallion may have been, it was no match for the Element of Loyalty.” she chuckled. “They couldn't have chosen more poorly. You would have broken out of it without my help in a couple of hours more at the most.”
“But... why?” the pegasus asked again. “Doesn't this benefit you?”
The Queen looked up at the eclipse. “That travesty?” she shook her head.
Rainbow Dash stared, completely baffled. Finally... “You... you're not Nightmare Moon... not the one we fought...”
“No, I am not.” The alicorn confirmed.
Anger and tears welled into Rainbow Dash. “Then why did you kill my friends?!”
Nightmare Moon laughed. But it wasn't an evil laugh or a gloating laugh. It was real mirth. “Rainbow Dash... haven't you figured it out? They're alive!”
The pegasus was struck silent.
“They cannot be here, of course.” Nightmare Moon continued. “Nightmare Flare knows they live. But they are safe.”
Once again Rainbow Dash cried while the Queen and the Assassin watched.
“Rainbow Dash...” the alicorn said after a moment.
The pegasus looked up.
“I need to know. Do I have your loyalty? Will you swear it to me?”
Rainbow Dash nodded.
“Then I have something very hard to ask of you. But I promise... it will be worth it, in the end.”
“Hey! Scootaloo!” the little pegasus turned towards the voice and waved at Sweetie Bell and Apple Bloom as the two fillies ran up to her.
“What do you think happened?!” Apple Bloom asked. “I've never seen the sun do that!”
“Did the pegasi do it?” Sweetie Bell asked.
“No... everyone is completely going nuts over it!” Scootaloo said. They watched as a gray streak flew across the sky.
“What was that?” Apple Bloom wondered.
“Oh... it's just Ditzy... she's usually pretty good at delivering the mail before noon and now... well.” Scootaloo looked up. “It's... something, but it's definitely in the 'noon' location. It's got her all strung up about delivery times.”
The three looked at the sky for a few moments. It was Sweetie Bell that noticed the chariot. “Hey!” she said pointing up with a hoof. “It's Princess Celestia's chariot! Maybe she'll tell us what's happening!”
“Or it could be Applejack and the others!” Apple Bloom said excitedly. “It seems it's going straight to Ponyville! Let's go!”
By the time they arrived, word had already spread that the chariot was coming. Nervous ponies all around had gathered, waiting for it to land.
The Mayor was trying to keep calm while several pegasus had passed the word that it was one of the royal sisters, as relayed by Rainbow Dash, who had flown ahead to let her pegasi friends know and to tell them to spread the word and that per the wishes of the royal sister no pony should be in the air until she left.
Now the ponies watched in apprehension as the chariot did one more loop and descended.
“There's Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo said excitedly, watching her idol fly down next to the chariot. “She's so cool she gets to fly with the princesses!” she gushed, turning to her friends, who were looking at the chariot in horror. She heard the gasps and turned around confused.
It was not Princess Celestia walking out of the chariot.
Suddenly the Eclipse made much more sense. She got a very sick feeling in her stomach as she watched the Nightmare step in front of the ponies, flanked on either side by Rainbow Dash and a strange-looking unicorn.
Her mind flashed to that night when Nightmare Moon had first appeared, hiding under the curtains, trembling at the evil laugh as the alicorn sent Celestia's guards flying in all directions.
The Mayor found herself staring up at the evil alicorn, mouth agape. Nightmare Moon looked down impassively.
Rainbow Dash hesitated for a second before clearing her throat. “All bow in the presence of Queen Nightmare Moon!” she announced.
The ponies of Ponyville turned to look at her in surprise, fear and resentment. But when the alicorn opened her wings majestically, they all bowed their heads.
All but the three Cutie Mark Crusaders, who stared in shock at what was happening.
“Rainbow Dash?” Scootaloo whispered.
“Citizens of Ponyville.” Nightmare Moon spoke up, making everyone cringe. “You are now ruled by myself and my sister, Nightmare Flare. Your lives will not be affected... much. But as you can tell by now, the Eclipse is not going away. This is your new life, make the most of it.”
The ponies were confused. Who was Nightmare Flare?
While Nightmare Moon had been talking to the crowd, the two pegasi pulling her chariot had gotten loose and had drawn knives.
Rainbow Dash never knew what exactly made her jump to the side and tackle the guard as he flew past her. It might have been the Mayor's eyes widening, or maybe the flutter of wings, but whatever it was, in an incredible display of skill, she had jumped back, dodging a knife strike, as the pegasus tried to skewer her.
“You'll pay for the death of Swift Mantle!” the guard roared.
Landing on his back, hard, she pushed him down on to the floor, but she didn't have enough momentum to make it count, and the guard was much stronger than her. He pushed her off and struck, again missing her by mere inches as she dove to the side.
“Who?!” Rainbow Dash asked, dodging again.
“My friend! The guard you and Twilight executed!”
The ponies in the crowd shouted and reared back, horrified at what was happening, but unable or unwilling to move. More than a few gasped as they heard the resentful words of the guard.
Flying up fast, with the guard in tow, Rainbow Dash turned left, stealing a glance down. She gasped. Several ponies had flown up behind the guard to follow her, anger in their eyes, and way below Silent Jade was already fighting several earth ponies. Nightmare Moon had erected a shield around her as unicorns threw objects of all sizes at her.
It seemed there was no way out other than doing something she might regret. She pulled up faster until she had enough of a distance and then, with a graceful curve, she shot down towards them.
Below her, the Cutie Mark Crusaders watched in horrified fascination as Rainbow Dash took off. There were angry mutters from the crowd and then several pegasi shot up after her.
“Go away!” somepony shouted and an apple flew from the crowd only to splatter on a shield in front of Nightmare Moon.
“We won't follow you or Flare!” somepony else shouted. “Go back to where you came from, monster!”
Besides Nightmare Moon, Silent Jade had intercepted the guard that had attacked the Queen, while the other one attacked the alicorn. The guard was strong, but the unicorn was fast. She ducked under a swing then seemed to disappear.
Sweetie Bell watched in horror as the guard collapsed with a groan, then stopped moving altogether as the assassin's hoof fell on the back of his head. “No... nonono...”
Several earth ponies charged at the assassin, who looked at them in dismay then shot a quick dirty look at Nightmare Moon as she dove forward.
The alicorn for her part seemed impassive as she watched the whole thing from within the protection of her forcefield.
She moved to the side as somepony bucked at her, using the momentum of her turn to plant both front hooves on her attacker's ribs. There was a crack and a cry, the brown stallion falling to the floor in pain. She immediately kicked back catching a mare in the chin, dropping her immediately.
“What are we going to do?” Apple Bloom asked, scared as the crowd became more restless.
“I don't know!” a teary eyed Scootaloo answered, her eyes looking up at the aerial battle. On the one hand she was in awe of her idol taking on so many pegasi. She knew Dash could defeat them... but she was working for the enemy. She bit her lower lip, not knowing who she should be supporting.
“They have to stop!” Sweetie Bell whispered staring at the assassin and the villagers attacking her. “She'll kill them!”
When it seemed that everything was about to burst and the ponies would all attack, a huge explosion reverberated. The force of the air pressed the ponies on the ground down, the wind whipping their manes wildly. A rainbow colored blast wave expanded above them and as everypony stared upwards, they could see all of the pegasi that had flown after Rainbow Dash falling towards the ground, unconscious.
The Sonic Rainboom had the effect of making the already excitable ponies panic. The gathering turned into a stampede and the three friends were caught in it.
Scootaloo, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Bell screamed and hugged each other, closing their eyes as everypony around them ignored them in favor of running away.
Something smacked against them, and they went rolling. They could hear all the noise around them as they kept tumbling without any control. They kept screaming knowing that they would be trampled to death.
Eventually all quieted down and they realized that something was covering them. The three looked up in shock.
“W-what...” Scootaloo pushed herself free and rolled on her back to stare at the green maned unicorn that had somehow managed to pick them up and roll with them all the way to the side. Her black clothes were covered in hoofmarks and she wasn't moving much.
“Why did she do that?” Apple Bloom asked, also pulling her self from under the unconscious unicorn.
Sweetie Bell stood up shakily and shook the unicorn with her hoof. “Jade! Wake up! It's not funny!” she had tears in her eyes.
Scootaloo pulled her back. “What the hay are you doing! She's a bad guy!”
“Shut up!” the filly shouted back, pushing her friend away. “You don't know what you're saying!”
“She will be okay.”
The three Cutie Mark Crusaders flinched and slowly turned around. Nightmare Moon stood behind them, horn alight with mystical energies. Around them, the pegasi that had charged after Rainbow Dash slowly floated to the ground, unconcious.
The only remaining floating pony was the Mayor, who Nightmare Moon had somehow captured as everypony else ran, and could only stare in horror and amazement at what the two ponies under Nightmare Moon’s orders had been able to achieve by themselves.
“Scootaloo! Sweetie Bell! Apple Bloom!” a rainbow suddenly smashed into them, and they found themselves hugged tightly by Rainbow Dash. “Are you okay?! Did anything happen to you?”
“We're fine!” Apple Bloom shouted. “Can't breathe!”
“Let go! I need to check on Jade!” Sweetie Bell said, pulling free of the pegasus.
Scootaloo didn't say anything, but she wouldn't meet Rainbow Dash's eyes. She shook herself free and didn't look up.
The rainbow-maned pegasus sighed and looked away.
Nightmare Moon's horn sparkled with energy and a white aura surrounded the unconcious unicorn.
“Ooh...” Silent Jade moaned. She shook her head carefully and opened her azure eyes. Suddenly she shot up to her feet, looking around in a panic until she saw the three fillies. She sighed in relief.
Nightmare Moon growled. She levitated the trembling mayor towards them and dropped her on the floor. “Mayor. Be thankful that this... display took place when only I was around. My sister would have everypony involved in the attack made an example of.”
The Mayor cringed, not daring to look up at the imposing alicorn.
“You need to stand up to your position as leader of Ponyville... and make sure this never happens again.”
“Y-yes...” the gray pony stuttered.
“Take everypony to the hospital. Nopony is dead... this time.” Nightmare Moon looked down at Rainbow Dash and Silent Jade. “We are heading back now.”
The two ponies nodded and followed the Queen as she made her way to the chariot.
“Wait!” Apple Bloom shouted. “Rainbow Dash! What happened to the others?”
The pegasus hesitated, looking back. “Applejack is fine, Apple Bloom. I hope she'll be able to come home soon.”
“What about the others?” Scootaloo suddenly asked in a cold voice. “Why have we only seen you, Rainbow Dash? Applejack might be fine, but what about Fluttershy? Or Pinkie Pie?” her eyes narrowed. “Where are Rarity and Twilight? And why are you working for Nightmare Moon?” the last question had a hint of hurt and betrayal.
Rainbow Dash looked away so they wouldn’t see the hurt in her own eyes. “Sorry girls. That's all I can say for now. You should head home.” they started walking again.
“Wait!” Sweetie Bell said, running up to the assassin. “Why are you doing this, Jade?”
The unicorn looked down at her, but shook her head, trotting to catch up with Nightmare Moon and Dash.
Once the three were together, next to the chariot, the alicorn's horn flashed... and they were gone.
Applejack was breathing heavily, a sheen of sweat covered her whole body. After what had happened... the pillows and mattress were never going to be the same.
“F-fine.” Twilight Spark panted.
Applejack looked at her but didn't budge.
“I... will admit I am impressed.” Twilight said between pants. “I have never seen... an earth pony... do anything like that.”
Applejack's eyes narrowed.
“I... will stop my advances for now.” Twilight said, sinking to the floor. She glared at Applejack's mattress fortress. “How you did it is beyond me. But it kept me away.” she sighed.
“I'm not getting out of here until you're gone, Twilight.”
The unicorn drooped a bit. “Why don't you care about me, Applejack?”
The earth pony within the pillow and mattress fortress was silent. Twilight Spark groaned and stood up on shaky legs. Without a word she made for the door.
“I do care, Twilight.” Applejack's voice emanated from within the pillows. “You're one of my best friends... but what you are doing is wrong. The way you are trying to do things is wrong. I don't know what happened to you... but you have to know that there's something very strange about you now. You are not the same Twilight I knew. And with everything that has happened... our friends, the pegasi in the balcony... Nightmare Moon, Nightmare Flare... Twilight... I can't understand how you can be like this. You never were! And suddenly you want to have a relationship with me?”
“I... I was a bookworm!” Twilight said looking at the fortress. “I was too shy to say it before!”
“No Twilight. There's more to it.” Applejack sighed audibly. “Please... go and think about it. You can't be all gone. Please.”
Twilight took a deep breath and slowly walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Applejack watched as a spell made the door glow for a bit. She waited but Twilight did not barge back in.
The Earth Pony collapsed on the mattress, completely exhausted. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
o.0.o End Chapter 10 o.0.o