Twilight's Nightmare

by Nightsclaw

CH 5 The fantastic adventures of the Princess and her Little Star

Star happily trotted along next to the Princess, keeping up despite her shorter limbs. She felt good, she felt great, she felt better than she ever had in her whole life. The Princess was proud of her, praised her spell work and even hugged her. 

Now she was taking her on an adventure in this unexplored historical site. It was all she could do not to prance around in sheer joy.  How could one day get any better? In fact, a superior day was likely a scientific and magical impossibility. 

The only thing that could make it better would be to find out she was secretly the princess's daughter and she would grow up into an Alicorn, able to stay by the Princess's side till the end of time. 

Oh, what she could learn if she had all that time. She blinked once, the implications of not having that time to share with the Princess trying to contaminate her good mood. All the stuff she would not get to learn because she did not have that time. All the time that she would not be able to be with her Princess. A single tear threatened to fall from her eyes, she sniffled quietly.

"One" A monotone defeated sounding mare's voice said.

Star found herself scratching the number on a scroll levitating next to her. It had many sections, steps taken, tiles walked on, loose stones in the temple and many, many more. 

How did she not notice she had been writing all this? 
She nearly stumbled, what did she have a subconscious compulsion to count everything? The heading she wrote the number one under was tears. Strangely it was next to it was hugs with The Nightmare which was at two.

The Princess's ears swivelled to Star as if sensing Star's falling mood, then after a moment, she turned her long graceful neck looking back to her, still with that special smile that let her know how proud the Princess was of her.

Star felt a surge of happiness welling up inside of her. So what if she seemed addicted to counting. Everything was perfect, that one smile, that one look that was all she needed, all she wanted. 

So she was not immortal, her time was limited. Such facts could do nothing to get her down today. She would just have to make sure to keep giving the Princess reasons to be proud of her, to have more reasons to keep smiling at her like that. 

She would give her many, many such reasons and would record each one with joy. Nodding, her self-set goal firmly in mind, she would prove herself to her Princess every chance she could get. 

She started a detailed explanation of the temple. She would demonstrate how good of a student she was. That way the Princess would need no other students for as long as Star lived.

Oh, she almost forgot that they were meant to be cleaning this place. One after another she conjured some feather dusters, dustpans and brooms. Each she wrapped a Come-To-Life spell around, setting them free to do their work. 

She was so looking forward to going home with the Princess and wanted no delays. Where was home for the Princess? Was it a castle or a palace? Would she get her own room? Would it be big? Would she have a personal library? Oh, her own library just the thought of all those books, each of them hers.

Oh, she could use the same spell she used to get the cleaning done to help take notes, that way, she could record everything and continue her lecture to the Princess at the same time. Multitasking yay! 

It took assigning three self animated scrolls to the counting voice to let Star put it out of her mind and stop wanting to pause everything to immediately record the numbers it reported. 

Smiling, everything else being taken care of, she turned all of her conscious attention to the Princess. The counting becoming nothing more than a relaxing background sound. It reminded her of her favourite sound, that of pages turning in a library.

Star had a goofy smile, an outside observer could be forgiven for thinking she was intoxicated with happiness. She was surrounded by a swarm of flying self-writing scrolls, her own invention she was now proudly calling S-Five, being short for Star's Super Self-Scribing Scrolls.

She was wrong, the day could get better, she passed a surprise test. She did not even know it was coming, but she passed it with flying colours, not that she could fly, what was up with that saying anyway?  The test was a little scary, but she would never disappoint the Princess.

The test was to efficiently find the way out. She had used the carvings on the walls for clues to guide them to the main entrance. She had set about studying them, with the help of her counting voice, she found the pattern in the artwork and followed the clues. 

Now here they were, her test completed. The way out just past the next chamber. She felt a bit like Daring-Do on an adventure. If she was, did that mean there would be traps? No, maybe she was not Daring-Do traps did not sound like they would be pleasant to encounter. They could get in the way of her studying these ancient carvings.

The Princess's stride changed, going from stately to a cat-like prowl. Star's eyes snapped to the Princess, alert ears up and rotating, seeking, listening. What did the Princess notice, she looked like she was getting ready for action. This was so exciting and so scary, but the Princess was here, she would be safe, she would be brave.

Star, her eyes glued on the Princess, watched as she stealthily approached the entrance archways leading to the final chamber. Ok, maybe this is more like Daring-Do now.

With a wave of her wing, the Princess indicated for Star to wait where she was and stay quiet. Ok, she could do this. Star sat on her haunches, waiting like a good student.

The swarm of her S-fives were not conducive to being unnoticed so with an Arcane twist of the fifth dimension she opened a new dimensional pocket. She magically labelled it S-Five Aviary and commanded all of them inside. 

Once her flock of scrolls were safe, and out of sight, she closed the entrance to their aviary, the small ripple of fifth-dimensional magic as it closed had echoes in it, and the echoes contained labels, labels done in the same way she had just used, even written in her own short-hoof encoding.

She blinked, confused for a moment before rapidly examining the labels and the arcane texture of the echos before they faded. It was clear she had multiple pockets linked to her. 

The Daring-Do fan supplies label immediately jumped to her attention, she opened it hungrily looking inside. A childlike grin on her face Star pulled out a pith helmet modified for a unicorn. Spinning it with a flourish, she popped it on her head.

Now she was ready, let the adventure commence. She raised her hoof and almost cheered before she caught herself. Stealth mission, stealth mission, silly Star, you almost blew it there.

"No point hiding, we know you are there Alicorn", a male villain's voice called out from the chamber up ahead.

The Princesses, ears fell for a moment. Oh no, Oh no, her playing around must have let the bad guys know they were here. The Princess would be so disappointed in her. 

She had to fix this somehow, what to do, what to do? Suddenly she remembered reading the Notice-Me-Not spell in a book that also had the Want-it Need-it spell.

Rapidly she cast the Notice-Me-Not spell. Stupid, stupid she should have cast it before hoof she knew they were meant to be being stealthy.

A loud impact sound, Star jumped in fright almost hitting the ceiling before falling back down. Eyes wide she saw the Princess had just slammed her hoof down on the stone cracking it.

Some sort of non-kinetic ripple raced through the ground, it tickled her hooves she desperately held in her laugh. What was that?

Princess Nightmare, the brave and powerful made her entrance confronting the villain, her wings flared dramatically. Oh, this was just like the books. 

Star's panic dissipated, excitement simply barging it aside, burning it away with its intensity. Two quick pulses of magic later, she had a short-ranged scrying spell giving her a front-row seat and a scroll ready to record the epicness for the ages.

She titled the scroll The fantastic adventures of the Princess and her Little Star. 'The best Princess Nightmare bravely confronted the bad guy of meanness' she wrote.

With awe, Star watched the Princess calmly look around the room, the nine black-robed, clearly evil, villains were standing in a semi-circle around the entrance to the chamber. The one in the middle took a step forward.

"This must be where the bad guy does a monologue," Star quietly mumbled to herself. Quill perched, ready to record everything.

"Blood magic dear Twilight, Celestia would be so disappointed with you, she might even send you back to magical kindergarten," He sneered.

Anger flared in Star, not only was her spell work being criticised he was threatening the Princess with that. Star shuddered, how could anypony be so wicked?

"Hey that spell was perfect, no need to go send the Princess the magical kindergarten" Star shouted slightly squeaky and enraged.

Star froze, panicked, she had interfered, she was meant to stay hidden. It took her a few very long feeling seconds heart pounding in her chest, her body too frozen to realise that nopony heard her, that they could not. 

That Notice-Me-Not spell worked exceptionally, she would have to remember it next time she tried to sneak cookies out of the palace kitchen. 

She let out a now calm breath and considered what she had heard. The Princess had another name, Twilight, that was a beautiful name. Was it Twilight Nightmare or Nightmare Twilight? She was not sure which sounded better. Star smiled, she had learnt something new about the Princess.

"I'm the element of magic. All magic bends to my will. Do you truly think one such as you can stand against me?" Princess Twilight Nightmare purred with menace.

Another new thing, then she paused, the counting voice did not increase its count on things known about Princess Nightmare? Did she already know it? Was it untrue?

The action continuing snapped Star out of her mental ramblings. She faithfully recorded every detail, every expression and even started some sketches five quills now dancing in her magical grip.

The Princess leaned forward intimidatingly, her horn lit with enough magic that it sent a tremor through Star's horn even so far back. If she did not know the Princess was the hero here, Star would say she would make a scary villain wrapped in her blood-red armour.

"I do," the stallion let out a cruel bark of laughter, "You are nothing but the rarest of spell components to me, Princess."

The Princess flicked her eyes to the exit, "And you are worth less than the dust on my hooves, I shall be leaving now."

Star focused her magical senses trying to learn every detail of the spell that the powerful Princess Nightmare Twilight was about to cast.

Visually from the scrying spell, it was a thick spiralling lance of compressed ebony fire launched from the Princess's horn. A moment later, the Arcane pulse ripped through her horn. Star screamed and fell to the ground. 

"Arrrgh, ouch, ouch, ouch", Star held her eyes closed rubbing her horn. Trying to work out how she was tasting colours and hearing the cold of the stone floor she was laying on.

"Eight," The counting voice duly reported how many seconds she had not been paying attention to the scrying spell.

"No not now." Her Princess growled filled with rage and panic.

That sounded bad, Star shook her head, trying to set right her senses before taking the voices hint and looking back through the scrying spell.

The Princess, her Princess, was on fire, she was burning, crumbled to the ground curled up in pain.

The counting voice seemed to have stopped counting everything except the horror happening to her Princess.

"Twelve," kinetic blasts dispersed by armour
"Three," direct hits from kinetic blasts.
"Eighteen," cuts from metal blades.
"Two," seconds of the Princess's flesh and very wellspring burning.

"No, no, no, no," Star screamed in horror. This could not be happening.

"Thirty-four," seconds until the Princess's wellspring is empty.

"No!" Star bellowed determined. The Princess could not die, she would not allow it.

Her mind quickly fell back to panic, what could she do, she was no hero. Her mind flicked back to the warmth she had felt under the Princess's wing, that proud smile. No, she would not disappoint the Princess.

"Thirty-three," the monotoned voice of the counter almost seemed to have the slightest hint of urgency.

Shunting fear and hesitation aside she shifted her mind, this was just a test, only a problem to be solved. 

Step one assess the situation.
*Her Princess incapacitated and on fire.
*Five Villains firing force blasts at the Princess. 
*One Villain, the speaker using telekinetically controlled blades to attack.
*The Princess is on Fire!

She needed a plan, a course of action, what should she do. A thought flashed across her mind as if delivered from somewhere else. One of the labels for the pocket was labeled emergency plans and spells. This was the worst emergency possible.


No time to waste, Stars horn emitted a crude violent pulse of magic a crude firth dimensional rip and the pocket was torn open scattering its contents, hundreds of scrolls and books fell to the ground around her. 

Looking around, how was she going to find what she needed. She would need to come up with a spell to find the spells she needed to save the Princess.


Dread filled Star, she did not have time, what should she do. She could feel her body starting to hyperventilate. It was not meant to happen this way.

"Thirty," the counter spoke in an almost soft tone coming from directly in front of Star. 

Star looked up, a grey unicorn mare was in front of her. Six scrolls levitating in a white aura. The counter holding them before Star as if in offering. 

The mare, the counter had no expression on her face and a glowing gold collar that was burning her with golden energy. The collar seemed to be trying to counter the telekinesis holding the scrolls.

"Twenty-nine," the mare before her spoke, voice quavering with pain yet none of it showing on the mare's face.

Star lit her horn and reached out accepting the scrolls. When their magic touched flashes of meaningless images, emotions, scents, sounds, desires and despair flooded Star.

"Stop," Star said. 

Just like that, all of the images stopped, leaving behind a fully formed spell construct in Stars mind. It was more complicated than her spell work from earlier today. It was the most complex spell she had ever encountered. She had never seen it before, yet it seemed like she had always known it.

"Twenty-eight," a single tear started to fall from the grey mare's face. 
She had no time, she had to act now. Driving her power into her horn, she flash cast the spell the mare had given her.

The world shattered, breaking into six identical pieces. A moment later she broke as well, almost as if in sympathy.

Who was she? No, who were they? Where were they and what was going on?

Six of her spent what felt like a full minute trying to work out what had just happened to themselves. Each of them knew what the other was thinking, that each of them seemed to be experiencing time slower and that this spell would not last more than a single minute of standard time.

"Twenty-seven," Grey said, tiredly turning to pick up all the scattered plans.

Three objectives burned like a nova bright in their minds.

#1 Stop the Princess's wellspring meltdown.
#2 Protect the Princess.
#3 Escape to safety

Star One noticed and disregarded the fact that Grey seemed to be moving at full speed, so was likely a spell effect or a delusion.

Star Two focused on using a speed reading spell to start learning the content of the scrolls.

Star Three, got impatient with Star Two and cast a knowledge eating spell. Literally forcing the combined knowledge from the now crumbling scrolls into all of their minds.

Star One was outraged with any destruction of knowledge even if it was a scroll and not a book.

Star Two promised to rewrite the scrolls. 

Star four pointed out that they should get on with this.

Star Five started galloping their shared body through the archway and into the entrance chamber.

Star Six confirmed the Notice-Me-Not spell was still in effect, so they had the element of surprise.


Star's Two through Six prepared their spells ready to cast them as soon as needed.

Star One lit their horn with Red Hooves Blood Drain and charged at the Princess lowering her horn.

The clatter of their hooves seemed deafening on the stone floor. Their heart was pounding, forcing blood and much-needed oxygen to where it was needed. 

None of them wanted to watch, but Star One had to, so they all had no choice but to observe as their attack lined up with the Princess. Their horn plunged between armour plates and into their Princess's still burning flesh. 

As soon as her horn drew blood Star One activated the Blood-Drain spell, pulling with all her might on the depth of Twilight's wellspring. 

Two noted there was no resistance, Three was happy that the only way that could be true is if the Princess trusted Star to save her. 

They smiled despite the fact their mane was on fire and blood was running down their horn staining her coat.

Burning magic ripped from the wound and orbited Stars horn. She had pulled out the burning magic so violently that it could not ignite the Princess's remaining power.

Objective One complete, the Princess is no longer dying from wellspring meltdown. 

"Ha, and you said spells like that could never be used for good..." One started to say before releasing they did not know who they were referencing.

Six dryly pointed out that the creepy stallions now knew something was happening and that mystery could wait.

Two grabbed the burning magic and spun it into a delayed teleporting 'trap' spell, setting the trigger to be when they were outside of the teleportation dampening effect. Leaving burning arcane circle on the ground around the Princess.

Three moved their body in front of the Princess casting Twilights lab safety spell version three. An orb of energy enveloped Star and the Princess, complex purple runes and geometric symbols dancing over its surface.

The heat rapidly draining from within the orb back to perfect room temperature, the now mundane flames the Princess was burning with, died, snuffed out. 

"What!" the mean sounding stallion with the glowing green eyes shouted.

The mean stallion pointed his hoof at Star. Star One gulped with the shared body. The other cultists charged their horns and a barrage of kinetic blasts shot towards Star.

Four let fly her prepared spell, Shining Armour's Magic redirecting shield. Placing it as their outer layer of defence and setting it to feed the redirected magic into the lab safety spell, reinforcing it.

The magical bolts hit the shield, sizzling as their magic collapsed, the motes of energy sparkling into the lab safety spell.

One wanted to huddle down and hide, this was all too scary, happening too fast. The magical assault continued. 

"You are mine!" Green eyes roared. 

A cloud of dozens of sharp metal blades levitated around him before swarming towards the Princess.

He can't see us, Six considered. He thinks the Princess is doing this. This Notice-Me-Not spell is the best.

Star Three thought about the spell she had cast. Lab safety spell version three had been updated to deal with food fights and ponies throwing things at the caster. In addition to protecting from a whole host of magical and mundane hazards, any projectile would be returned to its sender. The spell being overcharged meant it would return them with far more force, oh no.

Three's surprise forced their eyes wide open, their ears falling flat. She forced their head to look away from Green Eyes. She did not want to see what was about to happen.

The cloud of top-grade surgical blades, each engraved with a Canterlot manufacturers mark, spun around the circumference of the lab safety spell. They were greatly accelerated before they zipped off. The air cracked with a series of booms as they each broke the sound barrier.

Star's ears reported nothing but ringing and thankfully nothing to do with the aftermath of the returned projectiles. 

Star One was doing her best to distract them all from what could have happened by considering how to improve the sonic protection to make a version four of the lab safety spell.

Objective two, protect the Princess complete.

Six lunged at the Princess, wrapping her in a hug. Noting but ignoring the sizzling sound and scent of burning hair caused by touching the still hot armour plates. 

Two took note that the safety spell could not drain the heat from the armour itself.

Five cast her spell. Luna's Hammer. A war spell made for shattering fortifications with kinetic impact. Violently picking both of them up with raw magical force and hurling them out of the temple. 

Twilight's Princess blessed safety spell protecting them both from g-force and the titanic impact of the spell as they rocketed towards the night sky, leaving a trail for fire in the wake of the burning teleportation trap being dragged along with them.

With their accelerated perception the Star's got to see the stonework of the temple flash below them, then the mountain face the temple was built in to and then open air. 

The world was spectacular from up here One noted, the silver moonlight reflecting off a winding river far, far below.

Two wanted to be able to fly and not just fall with style. 

Three thought this was all far too terrifying and wanted to go home. 

Four was mentally writing a checklist of how to care for the Princess's wounds. 

Six was too busy with her spell to worry about what the rest were on about.

"Three," Grey weakly spoke. 

Somehow Star knew what Grey was counting whenever she counted, she always had. Strange. She was counting down the time until they were going to teleport.

Six charged her spell, the forbidden spell Doom-of-Mages. It was magic destroying bomb on a half-second time delay. It would disrupt all magic within a mile and remove any chance of anypony being able to track their teleport.


One wondered where they were teleporting to. 

Two did not know, she had set up the spell precisely as written on the scroll. 

Three started to panic.

"Home and one," Grey replied to their thought.

Objective three escape to safety, complete.

The still-burning Alicon magic exploded, lighting the night sky for miles around, its booming retort even reaching the distant peaks of Canterlot before echoing back.