Twilight's Nightmare

by Nightsclaw

CH 10 Little Star goes Shopping

Just like the past two days, she was on another mission; this one, a not so epic tale, of retail and walking. Star was still wearing her trusty helm. She had enchanted it with some defensive runes in a ring around the rim. She had used some powdered gemstones to make the ink for the runes. Strangely she found the gems in the kitchen.

Star felt the helm looked cool. Like if Daring-Do had accepted the help of the enchantress instead of sneaking away on her own. 

Next, she wanted to work on a cloak. She was going to enchant it for comfort, stealth, and as armour. She was thinking of adding a come to life spell to allow it to help defend her. 

She would be ready if the bad ponies came back, they would not hurt the Princess again.

Star blinked at the wall she had almost walked in to. She was still finding it strange to be just one pony in her own head. 

Sixty-five, times you thought that today, Grey added helpfully.

Ok, she was almost alone. Trying to think of too much at the same time just left her distracted now. Even only a single minute under that spell and she had already gotten used to it. Use to letting one of the others handle things like not walking into walls. 

Maybe she could modify that spell to have only two of her. If successful, she should be able to use it for longer. Maybe she could make it even simpler and use parts of it as a base. If she mixed it with a few detection spells and part of her come to life spell she would have a Not-Walk-Into-Walls spell.

The Princess would be so proud of her, yet another new spell. She pranced in joy thinking what sort of ink to use to write the final version of the spell in. 

“Ouch.” she looked down at the hole she had just twisted her hoof in. Yet another danger to have her walking spell look out for. If she wanted to get through this shopping adventure without harm, she would have to pay attention. 

Ponyville was a strange place but it had a nice atmosphere. Something about it seemed familiar, like she had been here before. That pink earthpony was still running around looking for somepony. She kept saying something about a new pony that she just knew was here but could not find. She had been at it for days, Star hoped the poor mare was getting enough rest.   

She felt safe with nopony being able to see her, so she kept the Notice-Me-Not spell going. Not as safe as when she was with her Princess, but she had to be brave. 

Floating a few items from a nearby market stall to her saddlebags and counting out the right number of coins, she paid for what she was taking. She was not a bad pony, and she didn’t want to be, so she was swapping items for bits of the correct value. 

She was no thief, she told herself, she was paying even if they never saw her, so everything was ok. It was also legal as there was no intent to commit a crime, right? She even left them a full list of everything she took so they would know what to restock. It was always good to stay organised. 

Checking the skies, she wondered if she would see that rainbow maned pegasus doing stunts again. It was interesting to watch that yesterday. It was the sort of performance ponies would pay to see.

On to the next stop.

She left Barnyards Bargains with a happy spring in her step. That was the last stop for the day. 

Her full saddlebags felt heavy on her back. It would have been so much easier just to put the shopping in an extra-dimensional space. She could not risk it, fifth and six-dimensional magic could be noticed by some pony, so no teleporting either. 

She looked at her checklist double checking she had everything.

Return medical books to hospital, check.
Buy Newspaper, check.
Buy Food, check.
Buy medical supplies, check.
Buy more paper, check.
Buy more quills, check.

Time to head back home. She would have liked to have talked to some of the other ponies or played some games with the foals around town. However, with all the bad ponies that might still be out there, she could not take the risk — not with the Princess still injured.

Well, at least it was a nice day, the sun warm on her coat and the smell of fresh apple pie. Singing a song to a happy tune she contentedly headed back.

Held in her magic, the apple pie danced through the air with a bag of carrots. She could almost taste that Sweet Apple Acres pie, and she just knew the Princess would like it. 

“Hello there, little one,” a warm motherly voice spoke. 

“Hello,” Star replied automatically.

Star froze looking round. Yes, the pretty looking white mare with a long pink mane was looking right at her. Star quickly looked behind her to see if there were somepony else there and found nopony.

“You can see me?” Star said hiding the apple pie behind herself. 

The mare nodded “yes I can, impressive spell work for one so young, who’s your teacher?”

Grey’s voice cut in Zero, the number of times it has been safe to trust her.

Grey did not like them, did not trust them, was she a bad guy like the ones from the temple? Star thought.

Star’s horn was already lit, carefully she started forming spell patterns hidden in its glow. She was ready to slam them into something useful at a moments notice.

One, time the mare has studied your horn.

She could not help a slight narrowing of her eyes; this mare with the most pleasant of smiles scared her. Something about her seemed powerful. Focusing all of her attention on her she could feel her horn itch, a tickling sensation in her hooves, and an electric chill down her spine. 

“Are you all right?” said the mare.

“I should not talk to strangers,” Star said, taking half a step back.

“My name Sunny Days, is your’s Twilight?”

Star tried to hide any reaction, judged by the change in Sunny’s eyes she knew she failed. 

This was a test, just a test, keep calm, assess the situation. Need a plan, need a plan. Star thought.

“But you know her?” Sunny said interrupting Star’s thoughts.

Star just knew she was giving things away, and somehow this Sunny Days was getting answers out of her. Is she reading my mind?

One, Two, Four. Eight… Star started doubling in her mind to distract the potential mind reader.

She wanted to run, wanted to flee, but would not achieve anything. She was smaller, so she would be slower than Sunny. She could drop her Notice-Me-Not spell and flee into a crowd for help. No, she could not do that if Sunny was like the other bad ponies, ponies would get hurt. 

So three options, talk, try and leave peacefully, or teleport. Talking does not deny the other two, so talk first. Star reasoned.

“Hi, Princess!” a cheery voice exclaimed from behind Star.

Star jumped, spinning around to see the threat. A pink pony, with a fluffy mane, it looked like it was made like cotton candy and this close she could tell it smelled just like it too. The pink mare had a pleased, almost insanely happy smile on her face.

“Good morning, Pinky,” Sunny said.

“Have you seen the new pony? I’ve been looking for days, but they are really, really, really good at hide and seek,” Pink said.

“Sorry, I’m not very good at hide and seek,” Sunny said.

“No? too bad, oh have a cupcake and another one for your imaginary friend.” Pinky pulled two cupcakes out of her mane, the first she offered to Sunny, the second somehow appeared in Star’s mouth. 

What? Star, panicked, tried to dislodge the cupcakes and then the taste hit. Oh, this is good Star thought. She started chewing. Well, that was distracting, tasty, but distracting.

“Bye, got to go find the new pony and prep a happy your still alive party,” Pinky said before leaning closer to Star and whispering “Don’t let them tell you your not real just because you’re in a story.”

Pinky Pie winked before she bounced off, cleary defying gravity at points. 

“What?” Star said. Her mind needed more than a few moments to catch up.

She must be a wingless pegasus. But what’s with that weird sound every time she bounces? Sonic magic-based movement from and earthpony or wingless pegasus? My horn was lit. Why did I not cast any protective magic when she forced that delicious cupcake on me? Star’s mind raced seeking an explanation.

She was still tracking the Pink mare, she blinked and then Pinky was gone. How? She can teleport as well? What is she, a disguised alicorn? Star looked on in bemusement.

Sunny hid a soft giggle behind her hoof “Pinky makes wonderful cupcakes, does she not?” 

Star turned back to face her and slowly nodded, finishing her treat, “Yes but who… what is she?”

Sunny laughed; it was a beautiful laugh. The sunlight seemed a little brighter, a little warmer. Emotional magic? Star thought. 

“It’s just Pinky being Pinky, or that’s what my Faithful Student would say.” Sunny carefully watched Star as if waiting for a reaction.

Star was becoming less worried, but more confused. That cupcake really was the best thing she had ever eaten. She thought Pinky Pie worked in the building that looked like it was made of cake, she would have to get some treats from there another day, the Princess had to have some of them. Stop thinking about cupcakes you can get them later. she thought.

“So you’re a teacher? What do you teach?” Star said

“Oh, a little bit of this, a little bit of that but mostly magic and history.”

She felt like she knew this mare, she could almost remember sitting in a room listening to her perfect voice. Star could feel herself being pulled in two directions, and the first part wanted to move closer to Sunny Days, settle next to her and keep talking. Just like old times, her mind added.

Star fortified her resolve. No I can not trust my emotions here. Only my knowledge, Grey has helped me save the Princess so I will trust Grey. Grey seems to hate and distrust Sunny; therefore, Sunny is a bad pony even if she does not look like one, even if part of me is contemplating how nice it would be to hug her right now.

She needed to leave, and she needed to leave right now. Option three then. she decided.

Star let the partial spell forms in her horn collapse discarding any not needed for her teleportation bending the rest to fit. It was sloppy, it was rushed, and it was all she had time for now. Most damning of all, it would only be a B-minus at best. She shuddered at the thought of a bad grade.

Flashing into existence next to Sugar Cube Corner, she let out a deep breath. Why am I here? Oh no, I was thinking of cupcakes again. Star lamented.

She had to get back to the Princess, she had to warn her, but she could not lead this bad pony to her. Not with her still unable to use magic. She would have to be careful.

One by one she crafted basic spell arrays around her horn each spinning and dancing together. They formed an intricate pattern of runes along her horn’s length. It was the most sensitive magic detection spell she knew.

She started walking to Sugar Cube Corner. Sunny Days had a very unique feel about her. With this spell, she would sense if she got close. 

There was something there, something adding a faint vibration to her horn. She sensed a note of magic too low to be noticed without a high gain, triple-layer, self-sorting, excluding filter. 

Was she in the area of effect of a spell? A force? Was this always here? She had never checked. Was she paranoid? She turned down a shadowed alleyway needing to be out of sight. The feeling stopped. Star blinked. Strange magic stops when out of direct sunlight after talking to a peculiar mare named Sunny Days? Sunlight based scrying?

Three, seconds until she has you. Grey added.

Only Grey’s familiar voice stopped her from just bolting back out into the light at full gallop. Right need somewhere dark, somewhere it will be hard to track me. Star thought. She looked up at the Everfree Forest. “Perfect.”


Her horn flashed with Twilight's Lab-Safety spell. Then she poured all the power she could in a single second into her horn, preparing a teleportation spell. She added every safety she could think of, setting it to target any area of unstable magic in the forest.


Star closed her eyes and released the spell, trying not to think about all the dangers she had read about blind teleportation.

A bright flash of light forced its way past Star’s closed eyes, and she raised a hoof to shield them. A few seconds later, the light faded to a more manageable level. She could feel the steam rising from her horn.

She opened her eyes, finding she was in a perfect spherical space, it was lit by the glowing wards of the Lab-Safety spell. The walls of her prison seemed to be made of condensed and burnt wood, looking at the wards around her, the heat protection ones were glowing.

She had blind teleported into a solid object and survived, pulling an S-Five out of its storage she set about recording everything. A reliable way to teleport things into other solid things could be useful. A plan came to her; she could revolutionize doughnut-making for starters.

Four, minutes of air left. Grey informed her.

“Thank you,” Star responded.

She counted the seconds for two minutes giving her horn time to cool after the abuse she had put it through. She considered her options for a few more seconds. She would only need a small hole to let air in. A simple, aggressive cleaning spell would do. It was really a disintegration spell with built-in safeties, which Star easily removed. Her new destructive spell would be the only tool she would need. Lighting her horn and forming the spell, she carefully tightened the focus down to a narrow beam. Star released the spell, a single crack of energy and everything within four horn lengths along that beam instantly became nothing but dust. Now for a second hole so the air could flow. Another crack of energy and she felt the air around her start to become fresher.

A little bit of dull green-tinted light and fresh earthly scented air came in. Star knew that she could not return until the sun had set. She could not risk being picked up by that scrying spell again. So she had hours to do something with. She would have more than enough time to read her guide to the Everfree Forest book.

Looking around her, she had magically condensed Everfree wood around her. It was a material nopony else had ever worked with. She started cutting samples and trying to think if she could make any adventuring gear out of it. Maybe I could even make myself a pet? She considered.

“And that’s what happened. I made sure I was not being followed by the bad pony.” Star sat there being groomed by her Princess, a small pile of twigs, leaves and other detritus off to one side.

“So brave my clever, Little Star.” The Princess pulled her into a powerful hug and started to stroke her mane. It almost seems like the Princess never wanted to let her go again. 

She seems a little sad. I know, deploy Plan Apple Pie. With a simple twist of magic, the still oven warm Sweet Apple Acres apple pie popped into existence on the table. 

“Look what we have for dessert, Princess,” Star said with cheery pride. 

Her Princess smiled warmly down at her.