Tartarus Forged

by SvenFoxx

10. Eternal Night, Part Four: Decisions

Every pony, and one half-pony, stared at Nightmare Moon. Twilight herself couldn’t believe the arrogance of the corrupt Alicorn, revealing herself like that. But still, when opportunity comes knocking…


Nightmare Moon looked amused while the rest of the ponies jumped at the sudden noise. Twilight grunted, lowering her gun.

“Hologram,” she stated, and then she smirked. “What, too scared I’ll beat you before you can run away again?”

Nightmare Moon’s amusement vanished in an instant, but she held her tongue. “In due time Twilight Sparkle. In due time,” she said, her voice slightly distorted by the hologram. “I had hoped you would be civil enough to indulge me with a conversation.”

Twilight brought a finger to her chin, tapping as she adopted a thoughtful look. “Hmmm… Pass,” she said. “I doubt you have anything worth saying to me, unless it’s an unconditional surrender?” she asked almost hopefully.

Nightmare Moon once more looked amused. “You amuse me with your jokes. Me, surrender?” She laughed. “No. However, I do believe I have just the thing that will catch your attention.”

The image of Nightmare Moon twisted, before becoming an image of…

“Spike!” Twilight shouted in alarm, instantly recognizing her purple and green dragon friend. He was bound by chains, but was, oddly, asleep. He looked to be in a great deal of discomfort. The image changed again and returned to a very smug Nightmare Moon. “I’ll kill you if you so much as harm a single scale on his body, orders from Celestia be damned!” she roared, her magic flaring wildly around her in response to her rage.

The unicorns in the group staggered at the pure power that radiated from her.

“Young Spike is an interesting dragon. He lacks the wrath and greed found in most dragons, and only holds a deep love for his closest friend. His constant nightmares of never finding you, Twilight Sparkle, is what drew me to him. How could I resist such an opportunity?” the Mare in the Moon asked with a chuckle.

“He’s just a child!” Twilight exclaimed. “Leave him out of this!”

Nightmare Moon smirked in triumph. “Here is the deal. Young Spike will remain a guest of mine, and that is non-negotiable, but he will remain in good health and want for little.”

Twilight growled lowly, her single eye glowing with purple light, but she knew she was trapped. “And in return?” she asked tightly.

“In return; you abandon any and all attempts to defy me and my rightful rule, and never leave the town of Ponyville ever again unless I specifically tell you too.”

Twilight growled even deeper, before slumping in on herself in defeat. “…fine,” she muttered, looking down at the hay strewn floor of the barn. Her one-eyed gaze shot up at Nightmare Moon after a moment however. “But if anything happens to him, the deal’s off… and I bring the entirety of everything I have down on your head!

Nightmare Moon nodded. “Then we have an accord. And, as an act of good will, I’ll even call off the Shadows tormenting Ponyville. So long as the citizens do not rebel against me, the town will remain unmolested by my rule. Goodbye, Twilight Sparkle. May we never meet again.”

With that final word, the image of Nightmare Moon fizzled out, leaving the seven gathered mares submerged in the sudden silence that followed.

The silence was interrupted by Twilight pushing off the wall and heading for the door.

“Darling, where are you going?” Rarity asked.

Twilight paused at the door, not looking back. “The Everfree Forest. Nightmare Moon will be there looking for the Elements of Harmony there.” After saying as much, Twilight walked out.

The ponies inside were stunned, but only for a moment. They soon followed after the half-pony, and caught up to her as she was striding steadily towards the side of the barrier that was closest to the Everfree Forest.

“Twilight! Wait! What about your friend, Spike?” Applejack asked as she and the others caught up to her.

Twilight stopped again, her head bowed. The others stopped as well. They noticed that she was shaking slightly.

“…Equestria is too important,” she mumbled loud enough to be heard. She clenched her fists. “I can’t sacrifice an entire world for just one person. I can’t.” She looked up, her eye glowing softly and her teeth clenched. “I will make her pay for putting me in this position… I’m going to kill her slowly and painfully.”

She resumed her gait towards the forest, most of the ponies unsure what to say to that. None of them were quiet sure they would have the strength to make that kind of choice.

“Wait.” It was almost an order, and the one who said it sounded slightly annoyed. Twilight stopped and turned to the source, finding the yellow unicorn approaching her, her eyes set in determination.

Sunset Shimmer wanted answers, and while she knew Twilight was probably not in much of a mood to answer them right now, she was determined to get them before the foal went off on her suicide mission. “You’re Twilight Sparkle, right?”

Twilight frowned, recalling that this mare had reacted to hearing her name. Well, this should be interesting. She nodded. “Why?” Unseen by anyone, her hand edged towards her pistol.

“Princess Celestia has been hunting you down for two years, almost obsessively, and I want to know why. Who are you? Why are you important to the Princess? And what are the Elements of Harmony?” Sunset demanded. “The Princess said to find them and to find you when she sent me away during Nightmare Moon’s assault on Canterlot, and then Nightmare moon mentioned them when she interrupted your story.”

Twilight relaxed slightly, but not completely. “I was the Princess’ personal student in magic before the accident that sent me to another dimension. We were very close, so I’m not surprised the Princess was searching for me. As for the Elements of Harmony, they’re the tools Princess Celestia and Princess Luna used together when they ruled a thousand years ago. Celestia was forced to use them on Luna to seal her in the Moon, and then hid them away in the Everfree Forest afterwards. Nightmare Moon is currently searching for the Elements of Harmony, likely to destroy them.” She grunted. “There, now excuse me while I introduce the Alicorn of Darkness to my fist,” she said, turning around and resuming her trek.

Sunset frowned. “I’m not done yet,” she said with narrowed eyes.

Twilight raised her middle finger in Sunset’s direction, despite knowing none of them likely knew what it meant. “I don’t care.”

“Get back here and answer my questions!” Sunset yelled, igniting her horn with turquoise colored magic. She intended to drag Twilight back forcefully.

Twilight blurred into motion at extreme speed, whirling around and dashing towards the unicorn, fist pulled back. Sunset didn’t even have time to register the threat before she was on her back, holding her broken nose. She glared at Twilight, but froze when the tip of Twilight’s glowing sword stopped an inch from the base of her horn.

Twilight glowered at her. “Now is not the time to test me,” she growled. “Every minute I spend here answering pointless questions is another minute Nightmare Moon has to find the Elements and destroy them. If you want your answers so badly, then come with me.” She pulled her sword back and propped it on her shoulder. “Just stay out of my way.”

The yellow pegasus helped Sunset to her hooves, while Applejack and the blue pegasus exchanged glances, before nodding. They moved to stand next to Twilight.

“Where are you two going?” the white unicorn asked.

Applejack answered. “If Twi here thinks she can take on Nightmare Moon, then she’ll probably need somepony to keep those Shadow things off her back while she fights.”

The unicorn considered that, before also following. The pink earth pony was close behind her, bouncing and smiling easily, though it seemed slightly dimmed after seeing a child in chains like that.

Sunset stared after them, before growling to herself. She followed as well.

The yellow pegasus seemed to struggle with herself for a moment, before talking a shaky step forward, choosing to follow.