Dabbling artist and hopeful writer
also banter is pretty much the best thing ever
“Be prepared girls, we don’t know what that witch is going to throw at us” Rarity said to the surrounding group of battle ready ponies.
“Oh! Oh! Maybe she’s gonna to throw a cake!” said the pink, definitely not battle ready pony.
“What! Why the hay would she throw a cake?” Applejack asked skeptically.
Pinkie Pie tilted her head to give the orange earth pony a strange look. “Because we gave her a cake! It’d only be fair. Plus I didn’t get to eat any of ours so I’m kinda’ low on sweets right now and I’m suuuuper hungry!”
“I don’t think Nightmare Moon cares about your empty stomach, Pinks” Rainbow joked at her pink friend.
“Oh no! You really think so? Girls we have to make a cake right away!” the pink pony worriedly hopped in place, flinging her poofy pink hair up and down.
Applejack chuckled. “Well sure Sugarcube. We’ll get to that right after we beat up this here-”
A star filled mane poked through the liquid blue surface of the glyph covered arch.
The farm pony gulped. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. “… Goddess.”
Nightmare's mane mystically flowed out of the portal, seemingly testing the air. More appeared until Nightmare Moon herself walked through the portal. Everypony in the room immediately fell silent. The dark princess’s mere presence and intimidating, dark, demeanor forced the group of ponies to freeze. They stared in dumfounded awe of her awesome power. Wait, no, that wasn’t her mane. That was her tail. Everypony in the room froze in dumfounded awe at Nightmare’s intimidating, taut flank.
Pinkie fell over onto her back, letting lose loud guffaws and snorts. “It’s a butt!” Her pink little hooves waved wildly in the air.
Rainbow broke her trance at Pinkie’s comment to stifle a laugh, snorting through her nose instead. The other ponies in the room busied themselves in trying to understand what was happening. Twilight herself was pulling her hooves across her face in exasperated silence. Nightmare Moon shifted the position of her bottom half that was sticking out of the portal.
“Do you… do you think she’s stuck?” Fluttershy squeaked from behind the table.
Nightmare pulled herself free of the liquid looking portal with a flourish of movements and stood regally before the elements. A broad smile crossed her face. “’Fraid not little one, but that is so nice of you to be worried about me.” Nightmare began gigging to herself “I almost didn’t do that too, I was thinking to myself ‘this seems a bit too juvenile, I mean really, maybe I should do something else‘” the night princess rambled while she walked past the group of ponies and sat at the table. “It was either that, or stick a plush version of me through the portal first. But you know what, I’m glad I went with the flank first approach.” Nightmare looked over at the still flailing and laughing pink pony before laughing again herself. “At least somepony can appreciate a good joke.”
Twilight trotted up and glared at Nightmare. “Why did you have to do anything at all?? Is acting like a normal pony really that hard?”
“First off…” Nightmare said with a snooty expression and closed eyes, “yes, yes it is very hard acting like a normal pony. Second…” Nightmare crossed her arms and looked away from Twilight as if she’d been hurt. “If I had come in normally I would have gotten a face full of apples, diamonds, and rainbows!”
“… She’s right, I was totally going to buck her in the face” Rainbow said flatly.
“Wait wait wait! Ain’t we supposed ta be fightin’ or somethin’!” Applejack flustered out as she rubbed a hoof on the side of her head, completely bewildered by the current situation.
“Fight? Why? Do you want to fight?” The moon princess stared blankly at the earth pony and cocked her head.
“Well, uh, no… but, uh…”
Rarity stepped in front of the befuddled orange pony. “We don’t want to fight. But if it’s to keep you from taking our friend away from us I for one can make an exception!”
Nightmare attempted to look as innocent as possible with a huge horsefeather eating grin on her face. “Why, whoever said I was coming here to steal her? I certainly didn’t. After all, you already rescued her.”
“But… but you let them rescue me” Twilight said, just as confused as everypony else in the room.
“Well, not exactly” The princess looked away in mock thought. Nightmare’s hair grew and picked up each of the ponies, setting them down at the table; Twilight and Sunny of course being placed on opposite sides of her. “Poor little Twilight would still be in my ‘evil clutches’ if it weren’t for the rest of you ponies” Nightmare said sweetly, rubbing a hoof across the purple unicorn’s cheek. Twilight shoved the hoof away while keeping her face half lidded and expressionless. “True, I gave you a handicap, but I was not by any means going easy on you. Anything less than what you did tonight, and I wouldn’t be letting Twilight stay here in Ponyville at all!”
“What?!” Twilight looked up wide eyed and hopeful at her mistress. “But I thought I was going to be your…”
“Slave? Yeah, you aren’t getting out of that one so easily. You’re still going to be at my every beck and call” Nightmare said absent-mindedly, examining one of her hooves for scuffs.
“But how can I-”
Nightmare pointed at the grade three portal sitting in the corner of the library.
“Yup. From here on out, Twilight Sparkle will be taking up residence in the Ponyville library, while attending to her Queen, me. And accompanying my dark and terrible self each morning” Nightmare finished in her regal, half caring voice.
“Oh, thank you so much Prince- wait! No!” Twilight slammed her face on the desk. “This isn’t something that I should be thankful for! I’m still playing slave to some crazy usurper!” Twilight groaned out from between her hooves.
Nightmare laughed as she got up from the table. “Tough break Sparkles. At least you have it better than Sunny! She has to come back with me to that old, cold, lonely, friendless castle… welp! C’mon Sunny, let’s get a move on” Nightmare beckoned the smaller princess with a wave of her hoof.
Sunny stared with wide, watery eyes between her sister and the group of ponies that she was hoping would become her very first friends. “But… but I don’t want to go back to the friendless castle” the alicorn cracked, almost breaking into tears.
“What? Are you sure? I mean, it’s pretty cold and dreary there. You probably wouldn’t even see another living pony half the time. Are you sure you don’t want to go back?” Nightmare asked in a concerned, reasoning tone.
Sunny shook her head back and forth, her hair bobbing wildly in the air.
“Hmmmm…” The dark princess pondered, obviously deep in thought. “Ok, you can stay here with Twilight, but you’re twisting my hoof on this. Also, you’ll have to wear this.” Nightmare flashed her horn, a deep magenta diamond imbedded in a light golden metal frame appeared in the air next to her. The night alicorn drifted the gem to the tip of Sunny’s horn, sliding down the length of it effortlessly. The jewel had no opening at its base where the horn was entering, and it didn’t appear through the other side as the foundation finally reached her forehead. The sun princess’s horn was simply gone, a piece of fine jewelry taking its place. “And yadda, yadda, yadda, your cutie mark is different too” Nightmare waved an uninterested hoof in the air.
Sunny looked to her flank and indeed her cutie mark had changed from an ornate regal sun to one that was a bit more simplistic and most certainly not one a princess would be wearing. “Ok… um, why?” the smaller princess asked with a confused look on her face.
Nightmare knelt down and squeezed Sunny’s cheeks together. “Because deary, if everypony knew you were the princess they would be too busy worshiping you to become your friend!”
“Oh… goodness, that won’t do at all” the princess said in a concerned voice, a serious expression across her face which was still being scrunched up by her sister’s hooves.
“Exactly.” The moon princess wrapped her hooves around her sister in a warm embrace. “Just make sure you come see me in the mornings when Twilight does. Not any other time though, I wouldn’t want to submit you to all the dull and uninteresting ponies that make up the political system!” Nightmare released her sister with a small ruffle of her pink mane, eliciting a small giggle from the little princess. “Twilight, see that this is so. And one more thing, my sister here is rather unknowledgeable about the world and interactions with other ponies. It will hereby be your secondary job to study the magic of friendship, and report your findings directly to her.”
“It’s… not like I needed you to tell me to help my ‘real’ princess” Twilight said, annoyed that she was being told what to do, and that she couldn’t and wouldn’t have said no to assisting Sunny.
“Oh don’t get your horn in a twist” the dark princess teased the purple unicorn. “I mean, not until later” Nightmare cooed, running her hoof down the girth of Twilight’s horn. “You haven’t lived until you’ve tried one of my horn twisters.”
Rarity gasped, covering her mouth and blushing face with a hoof.
The purple pony began laughing loudly, her eyes shrinking to small dots. “HA HA HA oh shucks Nightmare Moon you are such a kidder! HA HA HA. Ohlookatthetime you have to leave now!” Twilight’s voice turned a few octaves higher as she scurried behind Nightmare, sliding her across the floor to the portal. “You really are a treat, this visit has been ever so lovely, if you ever get the urge to visit, please don’t.”
“Goodness, Twilight, you can be so forceful sometimes, but we’re leaving? I thought you said you liked it when other ponies watched” Nightmare innocently questioned.
“I do not like other ponies watching!”
Pinkie flew into another fit of giggles while everything but her kicking legs disappeared beneath the table. Dash and Applejack managed to keep a bit more composure, simply looking away and shaking ever so slightly.
Nightmare snickered through a hoof. “Well fine. Oh girls, before I go I just wanted to say... make sure you give Twilight a taste. I can't for the life of me classify it and the closest thing I could come up with is an exotic jungle fruit. Our little Twilight is most certainly one mysterious pony.”
Twilight let out an exasperated scream as she threw Nightmare Moon into the portal which engulfed her soundlessly. “Never speak of this again!” the unicorn said, looking around the room wildly with a few stray hairs sticking out of her mane.
“… What’s a ‘horn twister’?”
“Rainbow!” Applejack shouted, smacking Dash upside her head.
“Whaaat? I’m just curious!” the cyan pegasus whined, rubbing the side of her head.
Sunny walked up to the still panting and blushing Twilight. “Hey, it’s ok Twilight. Like you said she’s only joking. I’m sure she didn’t mean to give everypony the wrong idea like-”
Nightmare Moon’s head popped out of the portal. “One more thing, make sure you treat Sunny horribly and be as unwelcoming as possible to her. Toodles~.” The queen smirked and pulled her head back through the portal.
Sunny gasped and looked around the room in wide eyed horror, tears appearing at the edges of her eyes.
Twilight sighed, straightening herself up she attempted to smile warmly at the panicked princess. “Sunny, don’t listen to her. She’s only trying to tease you again. Heh, I guess I should be taking my own advice.”
“You mean… you mean you aren’t going to hate me?” Sunny looked around the room with cautious hopefulness.
“Of course not!” Rainbow trotted up to Sunny. “You seem like a pretty cool mare, er- princess?”
“Well hay, ye’r highness. Ye’r the reason we set out ta fight Nightmare Moon in the first place” Applejack chimed in.
“And look!” Pinkie popped up from behind the sun princess. “We got our princess back, nopony is dying from eternal night, we get another new friend, and Twilight might have scored with a princess-”
“-Do you know what this calls for?!” The peppy, pink, party pony all but yelled.
“Um… another group hug?” Sunny asked hopefully.
The party was in full swing in less than half an hour. Pinkie had managed to scrounge together a cake, streamers, refreshments, and a couple party games from those cakes, streamers, refreshments, and party games she had found lying around the library. Pinkie Pie looked over her newest creation in pride. “You know girls, sometimes I even amaze myself! This has to be the fastest party I’ve ever set up! Good thing this library has enough forethought to be stocked with all the stuff I need for a party.”
“Pinkie…” Rainbow said through a party horn, giving it a small blow before continuing. “This stuff was already set up from the last party we had here. Remember, for Twilight?”
Pinkie blinked and stared blankly at Rainbow. “Oh yeah! You know I was wondering how a library could manage to misspell a pony’s name” the pink pony giggled, waving a hoof at a banner reading ‘Welcome Twilight Sparkle’. “I mean, their names aren’t even similar at all! You’d think a library would be smarter than that, right Dashie?”
“Uh-huh, sure Pinks” Rainbow laughed, following her pink friend to one of the nearby party games. The two passed Twilight and Rarity who were attempting to teach a pony princess how to play pin the tail on the pony.
“So… I’m not going to hurt them right?” Sunny asked as she slid the pin and tail to the side of her mouth. “Also, I can’t see a thing through this blindfold.”
“That’s the point, deary” Rarity happily assured her new friend. “And no, you don’t have to worry about hurting it. It’s only paper after all.”
“Now we just spin you around…” Twilight spun the princess around and stopped her directly in front of the paper pony. “And you have to pin the tail on the pony!”
Sunny stumbled forward, sticking the pin on where she assumed the flank would be. “Did I get it? Did I get it?” the alicorn excitedly asked as she ripped off her blindfold.
“Not quite, I’m afraid” Rarity giggled. The tail had been placed directly on the pony’s chin, giving him an incredibly distinguished, long beard. Sunny laughed along with Rarity at her failed attempt. Twilight, however, glanced over to the portal still active in the corner of the room. Nothing passes by Rarity undetected. “Sunny sweety, why don’t you go acquaint yourself with Fluttershy. The dear is even shyer than you but I have a feeling you two will get along swimmingly” Rarity said sweetly.
“Ok Rarity! Um… where-”
“You see the pink mane, sticking up from behind the refreshments table?”
“Oooh” Sunny said with a smile as she rushed off to make yet another friend.
“So, Twilight…” The white unicorn turned to her unicorn friend, the sudden attention snapping her back to reality. “I see you’re still thinking about you-know-who as well.”
“What-? How did-… can you read minds too?” Twilight said shocked, taking a step back from Rarity and blasting her favorite bedtime story as a filly through her head.
Rarity chuckled, raising a dainty hoof to cover her mouth. “Twilight dear, I don’t need mind reading to know what you’re thinking about.”
Twilight pouted and lowered her head. “Am I really that easy to read?” the unicorn asked herself.
“We’re all thinking the same thing dear… well… except for Pinkie of course” the fashionista corrected herself, waving a hoof dismissively. “Our entire world has been turned upside down. While some of us have been less affected by this than others… we’re all still worried about what will happen, Twilight.”
“Heads up!” A rainbow maned pegasus shouted from across the room.
Rarity ducked as a spinning plate flew over her head. The unicorn regained her composer immediately with a flip of her mane. “Well… most of us are still worried” the white pony corrected herself yet again. “I can live with it being night time eternal. But having someone like her be residing over me, and what she did to Celestia... the others might be fine with her current condition, but I, and of all ponies you, are certainly not. I don’t mean to put any pressure on you sweety… but we’re all counting on you.”
Twilight nervously laughed. “Right… no pressure.”
“Also just about every other living creature is counting on you too…”
“Oh… terribly sorry”
“Oh-kay, fillies and mares!” Pinkie exclaimed, silencing any conversations or merriment that had been ongoing. “It’s time for the good stuff… truth or dare!”
Applejack spit out the punch she was drinking, coughing up a good amount that went down the wrong way. “Now Pinkie! Remember what happened last time you played that game.”
“C’mon ya big worry wart!” Pinkie chirped, hopping to the center of the room “there aren’t even enough sweaters for everypony this time!”
“Yeah… ah guess so” The orange earth pony conceded reluctantly.
Twilight sat unmoving at the refreshments table, staring intently into her drink. She had just concluded it was definitely not hot sauce this time, drinking hot sauce for the fourth time would have gotten pretty silly, and was lost in thought as she swirled the liquid in her hooves.
“Something wrong Twilight?” Fluttershy asked, tentatively sitting down next to the purple pony. “I know Pinkie’s truth or dare game can be a bit… intimidating…” the pegasus squeaked. “But it is actually pretty fun… if… if that’s what you were worried about, I mean.”
“Thanks, Fluttershy. I was just thinking…” Twilight looked up from her drink. “About some stuff… Celestia…” Twilight let out a quiet sigh and looked back down to her hot sauce. She didn’t know how that kept happening. “And this old story that I read. Do you… do you think that evil queens of darkness can get lonely?”
“Everypony gets lonely, Twilight” Fluttershy responded simply. “Are you going to…?”
“Yeah. I shouldn’t be gone too long... cover for me? I don’t want anypony worrying” Twilight asked hesitantly.
“You can count on me” Fluttershy said as confidently as she could.
The night was cool. Twilight could feel the crisp air seeping into the room from the large open archway that led out to the balcony. Nightmare Moon was sitting at its very edge, her fur melding completely with the dark night that silhouetted her. Ironically, the princess’s star filled mane stood to be less like the night sky than her coat. Twilight looked around, examining her surroundings before continuing on. She was back in the royal bedroom, exactly as she had left it save for the new addition of the portal. With her location cleared, Twilight almost felt confident enough to ask those questions that had been burning through her head all night. The unicorn slowly walked out onto the balcony to seek audience with the queen, her small hooves quietly tapping on cold, stone floor. Nightmare Moon’s head was pointed towards the sky, though her eyes were closed. Twilight gulped down her unease. She had hoped she would do this without hesitation. “Nightmare?” the purple pony quietly spoke, nudging the dark alicorn’s side.
“AAH WOAH!” Nightmare screamed, flying meters into the air, bringing her hooves in front of her protectively. The princess looked down to see a surprised unicorn. “Twilight?!” Nightmare said incredulously while she started flapping her way back down to the balcony. “What- what are you doing here?” The alicorn landed, holding a hoof over her beating chest. “By the stars, don’t do that to me!”
Twilight blinked, attempting to formulate words. “I… I didn’t even know you could be scared.”
“I wasn’t scared!” Nightmare defended herself, a bit too heatedly to be believable. “I was just surprised! What are you even doing here? Shouldn’t you be enjoying the company of all your new friends, or something? Don’t tell me you’ve gotten tired of them already.”
“No, it’s just… there’s still something that’s been bothering me. Something that I need to know, maybe something that will...” Twilight paused, reluctant to say those next words.
Nightmare froze. Of course she’d ask all the right questions at the start, the princess thought drearily to herself.
“You said you’d tell me the truth, all the time. So... I want the truth.” Twilight closed her eyes and steadied her thoughts. “So why? Why are you doing this? All of it. Your sister… my Celestia… the sky... me?”
The moon princess nervously looked away. Horsefeathers.
End Chapter 4