Nightmare smiled, enjoying the sensation of Dreams’ wing holding her. Luna. She thought nostalgically. She looked down through the obsidian floor’s reflection of the physical world. Twilight was still in the embrace of her friends.
Nightmare almost found herself giggling from the emotional bleed over. Is this what being drunk is like? She wondered.
“So spill,” Rainbow said
Twilight nodded. “I think it is best if I start from the beginning.”
“I reckon that's the best place to start any tale,” Applejack commented.
“First I need you to Pinkie promise not to tell anypony else.”
“I understand wanting to keep this… horrid affair out of the newspapers, darling.” Rarity said.
“I’m worried what the Princess will do to anypony that knows.” Twilight explained.
Fluttershy paled and buried herself in the hug hiding from the outside world.
“Nah, we can handle anything,” Rainbow said full of bravado.
“I know what she did to me, that she could even bring herself to terrifies me. Do you know how much power she has? I do, I held it, felt it, used it.”
“And you were, Awesome!” Rainbow spread her wings and would have taken flight if Twilight had released her from the hug. “Zap, boom, pow…”
Twilight’s aura closed Rainbows mouth. “That is not the point, the point is the only reason I am even willing to risk telling you girls is that we are the Elements of Harmony.”
“Silly, we already know that, if that's the surprise you have for us it’s not very surprising.” Pinkie said.
Twilight facehooved, letting out a happy laugh. “What am I going to do with you, Pinkie?”
“Take me to a party?” Pinkie asked, hopefully.
“Ok, later,” Twilight added.
“Okey Dokey Lokey” Pinkie said putting party supplies back into her mane.
That is still maddening. Nightmare mentally spoke.
Just Pinkie, being, Pinkie. Twilight responded.
We do have a wing dedicated to her… Dreams’ offered.
NO! Both Twilight and Nightmare thought forcefully. Twilight stiffened in the physical world.
Dreams’ giggled in the mental space. Wrapping Nightmare in a twin winged hug. Ah your no fun Nighty.
“You ok, sugarcube?” Applejack asked.
“Yes… just remembering when I tried to understand Pinkie’s Pinkie-Sense,” Twilight said nodding once. “The reason I am willing to tell you is that the Princess can not do anything to you. Not without destroying, or at least damaging the Elements.”
“So… we’re safe?” Fluttershy asked, her single visible eye full of fear.
“Yes, will you promise me, Girls, please?” Twilight asked.
They all went through the motions and said the silly yet potent words.
“Thank you,” Twilight said before starting the story. “I was… No, sorry. The original Twilight was given a spell to learn.”
“That sounds part of the course for you.” Rarity said.
Twilight nodded. “Yes, but I don’t think I was meant to be able to cast the spell.”
“Please, you not being able to cast a spell.” Rainbow laughed.
“Well, you’re right. She did cast the spell.” Twilight said eyes starting to shimmer with tears again.
“Whatsit do, Whatsit do?” Pinkie was vibrating, making everypony's teeth shake in their heads.
Twilight lit her horn. A translucent image of a young unicorn Twilight formed floating in the air. Thank you, Trixie. Twilight thought as she cast the Illusion spell as she started her tale.
In the mental space, Nightmare looked up at Dreams studying her colours and mane style closely. She shrugged, turning back to the tale.
“Twilight Sparkle, cast a spell she should not have been able to. Failing to fail yet again.” She paused. “Where is Spike?” Twilight asked with worry.
“Nothing to worry about, he is with your folks.” Applejack said.
Twilight smiled thankfully before continuing. “Yet again, she failed at failing.” The image’s horn flared and disappeared. In its place, six new ponies floated.
She pointed at each. “Grey the Mage, Nova the Passionate, Rule Breaker the Rebel, Dancer the Sensual, Sunchaser the Dreamer, and the Innocent Child.
I think I tell it better, but her illusions are better than my toys, Dreams pondered.
Nightmare joined Twilight’s friends in studying the images. Each seemed drawn to a different one. Fluttershy gazed tenderly at the Child. Rainbow seemed impressed with Rule Breaker. Rarity nearly fainted at the sight of Dancer’s beauty. She’s probably dressing her in her mind. Nightmare thought with amusement. Applejack gazed with distrust at Grey.
Finally, Pinkie was waving her hoof through Nova’s burning mane. “Hay, Twilight, your mane does that too!” She said.
That's not all you get from her. Dreams’ teased Twilight. Nightmare smiled more, enjoying the friendly banter.
Twilight blushed slightly. “Where do you think I get it from?”
Twilight’s blush deepened. Hush you. She mentally responded. Putting a hoof to her chest and performing Cadance’s breathing exercise, she forced her blush away.
“So, Twilight became six ponies?” Applejack asked doubtfully.
Twilight nodded. “Unfortunately for them… They were not who the Princess needed.” A few motes of flames danced over her mane as she sobbed. Nightmare could feel grief and rage leaking from Twilight.
It will be alright. Dreams thought to Twilight as she nudged Nightmare.
We are both here for you, my host. Nightmare added. Dreams nodded thankfully at her.
With her friends around her and the mental words of encouragement, Twilight regained her composure.
Pinkie used her tongue, devouring a marshmallow. A marshmallow she had somehow toasted on Twilight’s mane, with nopony noticing. That mare. Nightmare thought with exasperation.
Twilight, unfazed by Pinkie after years of exposure, just continued. “The Princess needed, Twilight… Or at least somepony that could be the Element of Magic. She needed a pony able to cast all the possible affinities magic can have.”
Twilight’s face darkened, her expression hardened. “All of Twilight’s children were different, they all had their own aspects. The only way the Princess could get what she needed was if she turned six ponies into one.”
“So she just cast a spell and put them all together into one pony?” Fluttershy asked, hopefully.
A shake of her head was Twilight’s response. “I’m afraid not, Fluttershy.”
“What you said to Princess Celesta earlier?”
Twilight nodded. “Yes, Twilight’s children were… they were the donors of the essence used to make me.”
“Your wellspring” Rarity gasped.
“Anypony care to tell us what this magic stuff means?” Rainbow asked.
“Twilight is saying her very soul is made from six other ponies.” Rarity answered.
“Are you some sort of Nightmare Night monster now?” Pinkie asked happily.
“I hope not.” Twilight said morosely.
“Not to say I don’t believe you,” Rarity started “but do you have any evidence? Without it, it will just be your word against Celestia’s.”
Twilight’s gaze fell. “None I can show anypony.”
Rarity gathered herself, adjusting her mane, “Darling, even if you did, do you know what this getting out would do? I don’t mean to us, I mean the country, the world.”
Twilight looked up with interest.
“War,” Rarity simply said. “Princess Celestia is an icon, she is the bright light that guides the nation and the strength that shields us from outside forces.”
“So I just have to accept it and move on?” Twilight said calmly, but the sparks of flame on her mane told a different story.
Rarity shook her head, “No, darling, of course not…”
Twilight sighed “I have to think of my ponies.” Twilight nodded to herself. “If it was for the defence of the nation, then what she did to me… the original Twilight and her … What she did could have been perfectly legal. If she filed the right paperwork.”
Twilight slumped, the others hugged her tightly.
You know I was not expecting this hug to last so long. Nightmare commented.
Thank you for letting me have this. Twilight responded.
Twilight enjoyed the hug for a time before directing her thoughts to Nightmare. You know, now that we are a family we rea...?
Family? Nightmare interjected.
We have a daughter, and I want to help raise her too… if you will let me.
Family… Nightmare’s mind flicked back to all the interactions she had watched from Twilight's point of view over the years.
Twilight’s head shot up. Who turned the wards on? She thought in a panic.
I did. Dreams’ responded Incase The Princess came back, even added a surprise that will only trigger for Alicorns.
“Cadance!” Twilight teleported.
The hug ended, a frantic Twilight was once more bound by the chains of her Pact. Nightmare suddenly regained full control of the body. After being dragged from her mindscape, it took Nightmare a moment for her senses to catch up. She was standing before the main doors. Her horn could pick up Alicorn enhanced unicorn magic from the other side of it.
Please get her to stop, tell her to wait, don’t let Cadance get hurt. Twilight pleaded.
“Wait.” Nightmare called out. Explain, quickly, She thought.
Dreams took my harmless ward and added something to it that would only affect Alicorns, and it might kill Cadance. Please don't let that happen. Her host begged.
How do I suspend the wards?
Twilight pushed every detail about the wards into Nightmare’s mind. Helpful notes colour coded, possible improvements, everything. Nightmare’s eyes crossed, she spent a few seconds finding what she needed.
Nightmare lit her horn, it glowed with a powerful luminescence as she reached out and twisted the wards deactivating them. Turning off the wards like that… it must seem like I am welcoming them. She thought.
Making her best attempt at salvaging the situation she opened the doors with her aura.
There before her stood her host’s brother and sister-in-law. He was in partial armour and had two swords, she was dressed as if for a light shopping trip. Cadance was an Alicorn, so was not to be taken lightly.
Nightmare started to greet them. “Shinny, Cadance… I… I…” A massive wave of emotion hit her, Nightmare’s gaze fell under its weight. Love, happiness, joy, gratitude, and so many happy memories.
“Twilly,” Shining said.
Nightmare mentally pushed Twilight away, lifting her gaze and glaring at Shining. “Did.. did she send you?”
“No, we are here because you are my LSBFF,” Shining replied, smiling.
The torrent of emotion from Twilight was calming. Nightmare stepped back from the door and welcomed her host’s family in with a motion of her wing. Family. She thought, the image of her Little Star filling her mind.
We have to do the greeting, or she will think we are changelings. Twilight interrupted, sending the instructions on how to do it.
Nightmare froze. You want me to do what? No, you can do it. Nightmare mentally stepped back for a moment.
Nightmare could feel the smile on her face. As the strangest greeting to be found under the stars began.
“Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake. Clap your hooves, and do a little shake.”
Control snapped back to Nightmare. Twilights emotions once more, making her feel giddy. She giggled and almost fell. She swayed once before ending up in a hug. The feeling of wings around her, she could almost imagine it was like so long ago. She felt her eyes close, her own feelings mixing with Twilights.
Slowly coming to her senses Nightmare formed a plan. She had the Elements on her side. Having these two on her side would be useful. She thought about her Little Star, who happened to have a second mother. It would also save Twilight a lot of pain.
What do you call him Twilight? Nightmare asked.
BBBFF it means Big Brother Best Friends Forever. So that means you need to protect him too. Twilight answered.
“BBBFF, How much do you know about what Ce… Princess Celestia did to me when I was living in the Palace?” Nightmare asked, trying to hide the fact she was ready for battle. Given the state of her body, she should not have even tried.
“What do you mean?” Shining said.
Cadance’s ears flicked towards Shining. “Shining… what do you know?”
“Twilight!” Rainbow grabbed Nightmares attention. She was approaching so fast Nightmare almost tired to catch her in her aura to stop her crashing. “Twi, don’t just disappear like that. We only just got you back.”
Why was I here again? Oh, the wards. Nightmare thought before saying. “I had to disable the wards before anypony got hurt…”
“Twily,” Shining said a light tone of reproach.
He did warn me to be careful with what I put in wards, Twilight commented.
“I was worried, Cel… The Princess might come back...” Nightmare said, watching for their reactions.
“Twi got into one Hay of a shouting match with Celestia. Oh, hi, you two.” Rainbow interrupted.
Rainbow was a distraction she did not need, and if this turned into a fight, having her out of the way would keep her safe. Nightmare channelled some Alicron power into her voice and the surrounding area. Using it to add a slight compulsion instead of her typical use of inspiring terror. “Rainbow, head back to the Girls and let them know everything is alright, please.” She smiled fondly. “I have a few words for my BBBFF and old foal sitter here. I will be back with the snacks soon.”
Rainbow saluted and did what she was told to. I really need to get some more practice flying.
To make what she said true, she would have to get some snacks. She stepped away from the warm embrace, she could feel Twilights regret that the hug was over. Nightmare sort of missed it too.
Nightmare started walking, a simple gesture commanding her host’s relatives to follow. “So, Shiney, Cadance, care to answer?”
They both followed. “When you were younger,” Shining said before hesitating.
Cadance brushed a wing against him, her feathers parting his coat. “Go on,” She said.
Nightmare watched Cadance’s wing settle back into place, she definitely had beautiful wings. She wanted to feel them around her again.
“You learnt some very dangerous dark magic… Celestia had to seal it away for your safety.”
Celestia calls murdering foals, sealing away dark magic. Nightmare's thoughts boiled in rage. She could not force the image of her hated Sister, killing her Little Star out of her head.
“Is that what she told you?” She said in a voice devoid of all emotion.
In the mental space, Dreams wrapped Nightmare in her wings and Twilight shared happy memories about Shining and Cadance.
Shining nodded. “Twily Did something else happen?”
“I will tell you in a bit. I don’t feel like saying any of this more than I need to, and my friends deserve to know as well.” Nightmare said.
The door to the kitchen came into sight. I’ll get the food. Twilight thought as she seemed to walk past Nightmare in the mental space. She felt her horn light and a large number of things being controlled by her aura in the next room.
The amazed look on Cadance’s face was more than worth the risk of letting Twilight control her magic. Being honest with herself, she was impressed as well, just better at not showing it.
Cadance is the Princess of love, right? Dreams’ asked.
That's right. Twilight responded.
Then what better to get her on our side that to show her that we love. Tell her about Star. Dreams concluded.
Trust me, she loves foals, she was my foalsitter after all. Twilight added.
Nightmare looked into Cadance’s eyes looking for any hints of deceptions. Finding none she spoke. “Come, we have a lot to talk about, and I need to check on my daughter.”
Both Cadance and Shining seemed frozen like statues for a long moment. She could hear Dreams laughing and rolling on the floor in the mental space. “Are you coming?” She asked.
Shaking free from her daze, Cadance asked, “You have a foal?”
“Yes, she is, my Little Star,” Nightmare said, feeling the warmth and happy thoughts inside her.
Oh, nearly forgot the food. Twilight thought before taking control of their horn. A single flash and all the food disappeared.
“How old is she?” Cadance asked.
“A few days or years, it is a bit hard to tell.”
“What?” Shining cut in.
“Magic,” Nightmare answered.
“That's not an answer you would normally be happy with,” He replied.
She twitched her wings in a shrug. “It had something to do with the Elements of Harmony.”
“The elements can give you foals,” Shining said in confusion.
Nightmare paused, really thinking about everything. If Twilight had not defeated me, had she not used the Elements and commanded them with the intent to saving ponies, instead of punishing me… You Tartarus damned rocks, you planned this. Her mind flicked back to her Little Star. And now I can’t even hate you for it.
“Yes, if you ask nicely, and it promotes Harmony.” Nightmare giggled, she could not help herself, that whole situation was insane.
You need to go get Star now. Dreams mentally prodded her to get her moving.
“Wait here, I will be back in a moment with her,” Nightmare said, holding back further giggles.
Once round the corner, she placed a hoof on the wall. The tree felt happy, and a little amused. Laugh it up, can you take me to my daughter, please. She thought to it.
Again the transition was instant. There before sleeping soundly was her daughter, her Little Star. She was both the greatest gift ever given to her and the best trap imaginable. “Stupid rocks,” She mumbled with no real venom.
She reached out with a hoof, stroking Star’s mane. She smiled, lighting her horn, a simple spell, and an old spell. One of Luna’s first that she had truly invented on her own. Leaning down, she tapped her horn to Star’s, letting the spell take effect.
Star stretched and immediately opened her eyes. “Princess!” She said defeating Nightmare with the most powerful of attacks, sparkling eyes and a hug.
Nightmare folded her wings around her. “My brave Little Star, that is the last time you will need to use my Title.”
Star tilted her head in confusion, worry just starting to creep into her eyes.
Nightmare’s smile stretched wide. “I have found the most wondrous of information.” The joy in Nightmare’s tone stripped the fear from Star.
“You have?” Star said. Nightmare could see all sorts of ideas dancing behind Star’s eyes as she tried to guess what it could be.
“Yes, my Daughter.”
Star froze, She was completely motionless for two full seconds. Nightmare began to worry mentally reaching for, and receiving a medical scanning spell.
In a flash of light Star teleported from the hug, an endless stream of “Yes, yes, yes.” emitting from her as she danced, pranced and teleported around Nightmare.
So that is what that looks like. Twilight observed.
So Cute! Dreams added.
“Come, we have some of our family to meet.” Nightmare caught Star in her aura.
“Mummy, will I grow wings like you one day?”
The horrid thought of being without her Little Star invaded the happiness of Nightmare’s mind. “Yes, even if I have to give them to you myself.” She pledged.
We all will help. Dreams sent. Nightmare smiled
“Come on, they are waiting for us.” Nightmare reached out with a hoof and asked the Tree to take them back, the Tree happily did so.
“I have more family! Best. Day. Ever,” Star said before continuing hopping around in joy. “Yes, yes, yes, yes.”
More satisfying than eternal night? Twilight asked.
Nightmare did not answer; instead she turned her attention to her Little Star. She could not help but laugh “Now there are two ponies I want you to meet,” she said, starting to walk back to Shining and Cadance. She lifted Star again and placed her upon her back.
“Are they nice ponies?” Star asked
She did not even have to think about her answer. “Yes, they are two of the nicest ponies. You know I would never want you to meet any more bad ponies.”
She rounded the corner and for the first time, allowed other ponies to see her daughter.
“Hi, my name’s Little Star!” Star said, waving with almost enough effort to make her fall from Nightmare’s back.
Nightmare shifted her wings so Star could not fall.
A joyous smile claimed domain over Cadance’s face. “Nice to meet you, Star, I’m your Aunty Cadance.” She pointed to Shining with a wing. “And this is your Uncle Shining.”
“Where are your wings?” Star asked, looking at Shining, eyes full of innocent curiosity.
Twilight pulled Nightmares gaze to Cadance, who looked saddened. She is going to lose him. Nightmare thought.
“Sorry, I’m just a unicorn,” Shining said, rubbing his neck.
“That’s ok, I’m sure Mommy can fix that.”
Shining laughed and reached over patting Star on the head affectionately.
Cadance met Nightmare’s gaze. “Can you?” she silently mouthed.
Nightmare tilted her head and looked thoughtfully at Twilight’s brother. Twilight would lose him too. She thought. Getting the group moving, she leaned in close to Cadance’s ear. “Possibly” she whispered so quietly only an Alicorn could hear it.
In a burst of dazzling light Star Teleported from Nightmare’s to Cadance’s back. “What you talking about?” Star looked up at both of them eyes full of wonder.
“Wings,” Nightmare said.
“Oh, ok,” Star said.
“Twilight, can I ask why you have that crystal covering you?” Shining asked.
Nightmare stiffened for a moment, hating the fact she did not know how to even create the Armour, let alone remove it. “I needed it for protection… and the only way I know to get rid of it, is to smash it.”
Cadance blinked. “Oh.”
“It’s been a very long week, and it takes a lot of effort to break it. I will do something about it later,”
“It looks pretty,” Star said. A scroll and quill popped into existence and she started sketching her mother.
The rest of the walk was full of happier things, and Star sketching everyone as she teleported from pony to pony.
As they were returning to the map room, Twilight asked if she could do the talking. Nightmare agreed, it was one of her best options for defeating Applejack’s abilities.
“Girls, I have somepony to introduce you to,” Twilight called out as the group walked into the map room.
“Don’t be silly we already know your brother and Princess Cadance, we were at the wedding… Unless this is another fake Cadance, or is it a fake Shining now or a Fake Twilight? Is Twilight a fake?”
That was getting a little too close to the truth for Nightmares liking. She teleported one of the sandwiches into Pinkies mouth to Silence her. That was one of Rainbow’s Twilight complained.
Twilight rapidly used her magic to sort out the rest of the food before Nightmare could mess things up anymore. Dreams laughed like a mad mare again.
“Hi, Pinkie, thanks for the cupcake,” Star said, smiling. Drawing the Bearer’s attention to her.
“Twilight, since when is there a mini-you?” Asked Rainbow.
“May I introduce my daughter, Little Star,” Twilight’s aura wrapped around Star pulling her close as she nuzzled her then turning her to face the room. Nightmare could feel Twilight's happiness. Her first time holding our filly. Nightmare thought.
Star waved happily “They are all good ponies, right?” she asked in a stage whisper.
“Yes, they may be a bit strange, but I like them anyway.” Twilight grinned.
“Is that a Daring-Do helmet?” Rainbow asked flapping closer to have a look.
“Yep, had it when I went on my first adventure with Mommy. We had to clean up and escape the Temple of the Hidden Path.”
“You took your foal on an adventure?” Applejack sounded angry.
“More ’Adventure’ found us AJ.”
“Why is it burnt, what's with the strange marks?” Rainbow said, pointing at the runes.
“Oh, it got burnt when I saved Mommy from the Bad Ponies…. So as soon as I could, I added some protections to it, I need to be ready in case the Bad Ponies try and hurt Mommy again.” Star was grinning happily.
Nightmare was proud of her Little Star, she had done so much for such a young filly. She couldn't even imagine what she would achieve when she was older.
AJ was giving Twilight a very stern look. Cadance acted. “Rainbow can you show Star here Twilight’s collection of Daring-Do books?”
Her Star on her own, with that risk-taking pony? No, what if something happens to her.
The sound of a scroll being unrolled came from the mental space. She held off eight dark magic-wielding warlocks and teleported us home on her own. I would be more worried about Rainbow. Dreams stated.
“Race you their kid.” Rainbow said, “Three, two, one, go.” She dashed off at a languid speed for her.
“Bye everypony.” Star waved before just disappearing.
Nightmare felt Twilight close their eyes for a moment, then nodded. “She has just gone to the library.” Twilight then trotted over to her throne and sat a little stiffly. How have you been putting up with the pain? She thought to Nightmare.
You should have felt it the first day I woke up, It was worse than being on that Altar.
“You have some explaining to do,” Applejack said, interrupting the mental conversation.
“That is what we are all here for,” Twilight replied.
“First, why was that little one in danger?”
“Because that is where she showed up…” Too many ponies tried to speak at once, it was annoying.
“Enough!” Nightmare shouted using Twilight’s horn to cast a silencing spell. “Now I am going to talk, and you are all going to listen… I don’t want to tell you any of this, but you have a right to know.”
Nightmare let Twilight continue. She took a deep breath before doing so. “Now please, let me speak, there will be time for questions at the end.” Twilight released her spell.
There were nods and murmured agreements around the room.
“There is no easy way for me to say this…” Twilight looked at Shining tears falling from her eyes. “The Twilight that was sent to Ponyville was not the same Twilight as from before attending Celestia’s School.”
Nightmare watched Applejack, she was unhappy and seemed to be studying Twilight. What have you noticed? Nightmare thought.
“Twily?” Shining’s voice was weak.
“The Twilight you got back after the magic was sealed away was not the original. The Princess… she created a tool, her perfect tool to save her sister.” Twilight looked down, unable to meet his gaze.
Shining slumped, Twilight did not notice, but looking in the floor of the mental space Nightmare and Dreams did.
Nightmare could not hear what he said, but she could read his lips “The Alicorn only spell,”
Nightmare met Dreams gaze, Dream nodded and retreated to wherever she had been hiding Twilight most of the week.
Twilight glanced back at her wings. “Even these wings were part of her grand plan,” She said, flaring her wings. She looked up, meeting Cadance’s gaze. “Simply put, the original died, and the Princess made a replacement… I’m so sorry.” Twilight started crying again.
“This has got to be a joke, a bad dream. Luna if you're there, this is not funny,” Shining said.
I’ll give you bad dreams if you're not there to support her you dumb stallion!
Cadance just looked into Twilights for a long time. “It's true.” She whispered.
“... Princess Celestia even said so…” Fluttershy's voice was frail and hollow sounding.
Cadance did a wing assisted leap, that was almost a textbook perfect combat move before pulling Twilight into a loving hug. Nightmare shared the sensations of those perfect wings wrapping around them.
“Oh, Twilight,” Cadance said, nuzzling her.
Twilight closed their eyes and rested against Cadance. “It means so much to me you don’t hate me,” she whispered trembling.
“I could never hate you,” Cadance answered, matching her volume.
Nightmare enjoyed the contact, it felt so similar to being with Luna, too similar. She extended some of the senses Twilight was not currently using. There it was, right next to her, two of Luna’s spells, the first one the same she had used on Star to wake her up. The second a stealthy little recording spell. Well Played dear Luna.
Twilight sniffled then nodded to Cadance, and still leaning against her sister-in-law she returned her gaze to her brother, a wing held open. Shining moved in and joined the hug.
He would look handsome with wings… Nightmare thought.
No, you will not think of him like that, he is our brother!
Sorry, I forgot. Nightmare responded abashed.
“You can tell Luna all of this if you like,” Nightmare leaned closer to Cadance and whispered into her ear, using the hug as cover. “I can feel her magic on you, she woke you and sent you here, yes?”
What? She did? Twilight asked.
“We were going to arrive in the morning, she woke me and told us to get here as soon as possible,” Cadance said.
“Then please give her my thanks. It has been wonderful to see both of you.” Nightmare answered.
Twilight took control of the conversation. “One of the many things I have been learning since…” she paused.
Nightmare could feel Twilight working something out. Shiney was the Captain of Celestia’s Royal guard, maybe he knows something. Twilight thought, before asking out loud. “Shining, how much do you know about Alicorns?”
Cadance subtly shook her head. Twilight looked to her then back to Shining. “I got a chance to look at the spellwork the Princess left in here.” She pointed at her head with a hoof. “It answered a lot of questions for me.”
“How can you be so calm about this?” Shining asked.
“I’m not, I’m just so very tired, it feels like it has been years since Manehatten.” Twilight gave a weak laugh
“You should have heard her shouting match with the Princess,” Pinkie happily added, suddenly being a part of the hug.
It is almost as if this world is just a dream to her. Nightmare mused.
Twilight continued to enjoy the hug even as Shining jumped away from the unexpected pony.
“So, now how did you get a filly, Twilight,” Applejack asked.
Nightmare took over. “Alicorn magic, the Elements of Harmony and me. Somehow the end result was my daughter.”
Hay! Twilight sent.
This has to be done right, and you will swamp them with details. Nightmare responded.
“But how?” Applejack asked.
“I can conjure permanent objects from nothing but raw magic. If you know everything about a living creature, the same should be possible.”
With her voice dripping with disbelief Applejack exclaimed. “Are you saying you can just light your horn and make a pony.”
“You remember what happened with the Elements of harmony when a certain Twilight Sparkle exploded?” Nightmare said, being very careful with her words so there was not lie for the Element of Honesty to detect.
“Yeah, you were fine sugercube, all a misunderstanding.” Applejack said.
“More than fine, you got wings, you became a princess.” Rarity said.
“It was scary, we all thought we killed you,” Fluttershy meekly added.
Nightmare provided the words and asked Twilight to answer. “I really did explode, my entire body was destroyed and turned in to magic.”
I’m not a puppet. Twilight huffed.
No, but we needed to be honest to dear AJ, yes? Nightmare reasoned.
“Buts that's just how teleporting works silly.” Pinkie jumped up.
“No, it… hmm” Twilight stopped.
Nightmare’s Mind became full with numbers, calculations, whole libraries of information washed away her thoughts. She panicked, it felt like she was drowning. She could do nothing, she was trapped, she screamed, but nopony heard her as she was buried under the sea of knowledge. Everything was fading even her own thoughts. In the end, Twilight frantic mumbles were the only thing left in existence.
Nightmare came to her senses shivering in fear, held tight under a warm wing. She was laying on something soft, she felt comfortable. The familiar words of the lullaby she sang to Luna all those years ago, supported by music that matched it perfectly, yet she had never heard before.
She could feel her body relax, Dreams was the one singing, and by the scent, she was under one of her wings as well.
“Wake up sleepy head.” Dreams teased tickling her nose with a wingtip.
“What happened?” Nightmare asked slowly opening her eyes taking in her situation. She was in what looked like Twilight’s bed from the Golden Oaks Library only larger, clearly now made for at least two Alicorns.
“Twilights went mad scientist again.” Dreams tiredly said.
“Again?” Nightmare quired.
“Yes.” Dreams nodded.
Dreams sighed “She has a lead on making Alicorns, but I need your help before she does something irreversible.”
“What is she doing?” Nightmare could not keep an edge of concern from her voice.
“Currently not much, she is trying to smash her Crystal Armour and failing at it due to our injuries.” Dreams said.
Nightmare’s eyes narrowed. “Why is she doing it, and what do you need of me?”
“She is planning on cutting herself open to get the needed magical reagents. I need you to drag her here so I can distract her until she calms down. Then you need to get out there and get back to her friends before they worry too much.” Dreams instructed.
Nightmare reached out gripping the chains that represented their pact. She pulled. Twilight appeared mane frazzled, a manic look in her eyes. Both magically and emotionally unstable.
Before she could even notice the change in her surroundings, Dreams pinned Twilight to the bed and kissed the insane mare.
The insane mare just stopped, her eyes slowly returned to normal. Something vibrated the room from below as a few traces of flames danced along Twilight's mane.
“Thank you.” Dreams said, pushing Nightmare out of bed.
Nightmare snapped back to awareness in control of the body again. She was holding an anvil in her aura. By the look of it, she was about to smash it into her crystal-covered leg. She set it down beside her and slowly scanned the room she was in.
She was in Twilight’s Lab. Complex spell equations and theories in seven different languages covered ten’s of blackboards, hundreds of scrolls, the walls, and even the ceiling.
“How long have I been…” Nightmare started.
Nine hundred and sixteen seconds. An unfamiliar monotone female voice answered her.
She looked around the room for a second time noting the surgical equipment and sample preservation devices. For yet another time, Nightmare was scared of Twilight.
Nightmare put a hoof to her chest and tried Cadance’s breathing trick. “I need to see my daughter,” she said, trotting out of the lab.
It had not taken long to find her Little Star and Rainbow. Getting them to come back to the map room was easy once Rainbow had pointed out Pinkie was probably already making it a party. Rainbow was right, when they got there, the party was almost set up.
It was strange being alone with her own thoughts again. Whatever that veil Dreams used to keep Nightmare out was back in effect. Nightmare went through the motions at the party, acting as Twilight would have. She had seen it enough over the years to copy it.
Only two things mattered to her. The most important thing being that her Little Star was having a good time. The other was how long until Luna’s recording spell ended.
Time passed, and one by one, the ponies left to find places to sleep.
Nightmare sat, letting Star sleep under a wing. She felt content, peaceful, it was strange. She let her hoof stroke Star’s mane, wondering what the future would bring.
Finally, the last of Luna’s magic faded, she could speak to Cadance freely. She looked up to see Cadance looking at her. Nightmare carefully stood, lovingly lifting Star in her aura. She added just a little magic to help Star stay asleep. Sleep well. Nightmare thought.
She slowly approached Cadance and wrapped a wing around her. “Do you know how to tend to an Alicorns leylines?” Nightmare asked, planting her first seed.
Cadance looked confused but returned the embrace. “With the normal healing spells for the type of leyline, right?”
Nightmare sighed, she was enjoying the warmth, but it seemed her hated sister was at it again.
“What is your Bastion like?” Nightmare asked.
“You mean in the Empire?”
“So they kept things from you as well,” Nightmare said smiling sadly. “I expected as much.”
Nightmare pulled away from the hug and slowly made her way from the room, humming to her daughter.
Sister, what are you doing? If I wanted to, I could take her for my own. What advantage can you possibly gain by leaving her so vulnerable? She remembered how cold she had felt during her imprisonment on the moon. Do you even know what family is?
She glanced around, making sure they were alone then asked the Tree to take them to their room.