The Return of Midnight Sparkle

by DapperLilArts

PROLOGUE: Troubled dreams again?


🌕Troubled dreams again?🌕

Princess Luna asked, emerging from a portal of shadows that engulfed the nightmare’s sky, much like an angel. She arrived calmly, but concerned, and with good reason.
Sunset Shimmer laid on a barren soil, impaled by several familiar broken Alicorn horns. She couldn’t speak, she just breathed weakly and glanced at The Princess of the night with a hint of desperation.

“Let your troubles be now over, Sunset Shimmer.” Princess Luna waved her own horn with a glimmer of her nightly magic, and all the horns that impaled Sunset vanished. The framework of the dream changed itself to be a comfortable gothic room, complete with a kindled fireplace, comfortable chairs, empty picture frames, simple moon-themed carpentry, and a table in the middle. It was a cozy and inviting room for sore dreamers, with a wall and ceiling missing, leading into an inky nothingness.

Sunset got up without pain, just exhaustion. She immediately bowed down. “Thank you again, Princess Luna. I owe you–”

Now, now.” Princess Luna smiled slightly. “There is no need for such pleasantries. This is your dream, I'm just a concerned visitor. Shall we take our seats once more?”

Smiled tiredly, Sunset nodded. She could barely muster a proper thank you for the kindness she was being given; Certainly no thank you could truly demonstrate how relieved she was to no longer be in a nightmare. It had been a rough night. She took a seat at one end, and the Princess took one at the other. There was a moment in which they shared a silence. Not awkward, not estranged. Sunset just simply didn’t know how to explain her feelings. She wasn’t going to be the first one to speak up.

“You are still having trouble adjusting.” Luna stated. It was a fact.

“Y-yes. I am. I haven't told the others, but it's been hard. I've kind of... I've kind of been just feeling like a zombie, these past weeks. Or has it been months...?” She looked down.

“You know I know how it feels. I will spare you the empathy and say it plainly. To have succumbed to evil and returned to good is not a sign of weakness. Very much the opposite. We have made it back, Sunset. I understand the trouble adjusting, but the dark days are over. We and our friends will see to that.”

Sunset closed her eyes. “You don't know that... I don't know that.”

Luna continued without hesitation. “Twilight saved us both from corruption, Sunset. It is her greatest gift, I believe. Compassion on those that may be undeserving. And I say this with the highest honor I may bestow; you deserve that compassion.

Sunset barely twitched. “Do I?”

Sighing in concern, The Princess of the Night did not stop. She was not done. “Perhaps if we review your recent dreams you will be able to express yourself better, and I will be able to understand how you feel?”

Sunset did not protest.

A projector appeared on one side of the table, and on the other, a screen for which to view it. Luna simply waved her horn slightly. This was effortless to her.

The projector lit to life, and the Unicorn watched intently. In it, an image. Sunset, in large cell devoid bars, only a small window that couldn't be reached. Concrete walls surrounded all sides, a chain was bound to her horn and neck. She did not attempt to move.

Luna chimed in. “You have already escaped this fate. They have forgiven you.”

Sunset looked away for only a moment; Doubting the verity of having escaped this nightmare forever. “I know.”

Next slide.

Sunset is alone again. This time, on a small shack in the far side of the Everfree forest. There is no soul around for many miles. She is staring at her own fireplace, despondent. There is nothing else to be done, this is all she is now.

“Is this something you wish, deep down? Solitude?”

Sunset shuddered a bit. “It's something I fear to wish. And it is not solitude…”

Next slide.

Violent imagery. Princess Celestia herself is levitating Sunset over a chasm, with hatred and disappointment in her eyes, about to put an end to her failed pupil. Sunset is not begging or screaming. There is nothing but acceptance and sorrow in her eyes. This is the fate she has earned.

“My sister would never be this callous or cruel, even to her enemies, of which you are not. You have nothing to fear from her. But, let the record know, I understand how you feel.”

Sunset looked down in shame. “I know, I know. It’s just… There aren't enough apologies I could say to deserve her forgiveness. How could I possibly make things right…? It’s disrespectful of me to even dream of this. I'm sorry…”

Luna wished she could say more. “Do not apologize for your feelings, Sunset.”

Next slide.

An fiery image. A demonic form of Sunset, with the stolen crown of Twilight Sparkle, bat wings and fiery hair cackles maniacally surrounded by fire. The Princess of Friendship herself is there to face her off, spreading her wings menacingly. It’s undetermined who will win.

Luna regarded Sunset sadly. “I sense regret.”

Sunset averted looking at the picture. “ …my biggest regret.”

“You will never become this again, Sunset.”

“All I can do is hope I don't. …It was painful, but…”

Luna tilted her head. “But It was freeing?”

Sunset was being read like a book. Luna did really know how it felt.
“...Yes. All my greatest desires were handed to me on a silver platter, no inhibitions, nothing holding me back. All I needed to do was take it. All I wanted was a shortcut to power. I guess I got it...”

“And when you did, you were alone. Payback and power at the cost of everything else.”

“I don’t want to ever be that again.”

“Neither do i.”

Next slide.

Midnight Sparkle. Twilight without any inhibitions, fears or even restraints, with the sole intent to cause harm and dominate with her power and magic. The strongest Alicorn in Equestria stood spreading her pitch black wings above Sunset, who had no hope in possibly beating her.

Sunset looked, afraid. “I barely managed to beat her before; She promised me that she would return someday to finish what she started… I don't know if I could beat her like last time if she did. I was lucky Twilight was still in there…”

The Princess squinted. “Hmm… it is no wonder you are troubled over this. But do not worry, together we will all work to prevent this from happening again.”

The Unicorn exhaled. “I don’t know if we can… it feels… inevitable.”
Sometimes to Sunset it felt like a countdown was on her life, and sooner or later, things were going back to her “normal”, that being, terrible. Whether it was Midnight’s return, or simply losing her position and her friends, it was inevitable.

Next slide.

A mournful image. Sunset is abandoned by all 6 of her friends left alone on an empty battlefield. They don't look back. She doesn't look at them. There is nothing she could say or do that would make them turn to look at her one more time. It’s over.

Luna looked directly at Sunset. “Do you fear your friends leaving you?

Sunset looked directly back. “I… I fear giving them reason to. “

“But you do realize you have not? They trust and know you. “

“Yes, I get it.”

“Do you not trust and love them?”

Sunset got a little frustrated. “Yes! But– that’s not the point.”

“Do you not believe them?”

“I do!”

“Do you not believe their opinion of you?”

“I believe they have it!”

Luna eased up a bit. “Hm. you don't think you belong with them.”

“I don’t think so. I know I don't.”

The Princess got stern again, after that remark.

“And have you asked what they think about the matter?”

“I haven't.“


“Because I know what they would answer!”

“And do you not trust them with their answers?”

Sunset raised her voice, maybe a bit too much.

“Just because I trust and believe them, it doesn't mean they're right!! …about me.”

Luna paused for a moment, regarding her with pity.

“...And you have decided that for them?”

Looking away, staving off her frustration towards herself, Sunset grimaced. “Look, I don’t want to– They're not going to-- This just isn’t– ugh… I appreciate everything you’re doing, but... can we just go to the next slide?”

“...yes. But my concern for you has not diminished.”

Sunset frowned and looked away, then back at the screen.

Next slide.

This one was different. It was imagery of Sunset and Twilight dancing together. They both had beautiful clothes; Sunset had a fiery red suit, Twilight had a purple and blue dress adorned with stars. They seemed to be alone at some sort of ballroom in Canterlot. They danced and regarded each other with joy. One of Twilight's wings embraced her. Sunset was leading.

“HEY CAN WE SKIP THIS ONE PLEASE” Sunset became flustered immediately.

“Oh dear” Luna suppressed a chuckle.


Next slide.

The empty room in which all of the Mane '7' gathered for their meetings, 7 chairs and one big round table… except Twilight and Sunset were making out on top of the table, knocking important papers around. Sunset was on top, kissing Twilight's neck, both of them giggling, delighting themselves on the subterfuge and taboo nature of what they were doing, where they were doing it.

Luna was amused. “My, that seems unprofessional.” she joked.

Sunset slapped her hooves on the table nervously while flustered. “It's not my fault I swear!! Rarity bragged about how she made out with Applejack on the table when no one was looking and it just. It stuck the idea in my head!! Blame Rarity!!”

Next slide.

Twilight was holding Sunset lovingly while flying in the night sky; Her wings embraced both of them, and they regarded each other with adoration, with the moon on the backdrop. Not a care in the world, complete and utter trust between them.

Sunset slammed her head on the table with an “Oof”

“This may be stating the obvious but… I hope you realize how this complicates things for you.” Luna regarded her with half pity and suppressed amusement.

“Yep yep yep yep yep yep” Sunset laid her face on the table and covered her eyes, blushing immensely.

Luna looked back at the passionate image. “I presume these feelings are recent?”

Sunset's voice sounded muffled from her own face being pointed at the table.“Not recent enough that I know they’re not going away!! I used to be able to act normal around her but now that is just GONE. I'm hanging on by a THREAD in every conversation. She just-- She saved me. She saved me from myself; She is everything I wished I was, and somehow, so much more. I thought I would hate having to be near her considering what she represents to me but-- The opposite! I'm just... I'm captivated every moment she speaks! I'm completely lost-- What in the world am I supposed to do about this?!”

With a comprehensive and amused nod, The Princess gave her wisdom. “My, my… the life of an Alicorn is difficult. But know that the life of one who lives next to one is harder. Not many are up to the challenge. Many desperately try in some vain hubris to prove themselves worthy. It is hard to accept but those like me and my sister are simply on another level. I do not say this as disrespect or to feign superiority, I say this with disappointment.“
Luna sounded disappointed in herself, and she was. Deeply. It was lonely at the top– and she regarded the image not as taboo, but as a wish a desperate smitten lover would make, appreciating its beauty.

“I know… I know. I know I'm not It.” Said Sunset, suppressing profound disappointment in herself also, simply for being. These feelings were torturous.

Luna smiled, not out of joy. “Why do you think me and my sister are single?

Sunset chuckled with an almost cheerfulness of being able to shift the subject. “Hah… don’t tell me you don’t have anypony pining for you. The Princess of the night herself? There’s gotta be a lucky devil out there–”

The slightest hint of a fluster appeared in the Princess’s face. “You are the subject tonight, Sunset. Not me.

Sunset did not get back on topic. “‘Cause maybe me or some of my friends could hook you up just saying–”

Luna got stern. “You are deeply infatuated with a princess. And yet you don't even believe yourself to be worthy of her friendship. Am I correct?“

“Yes.” Sunset paused.  Neither of them said anything for a couple of empty mournful seconds. Then Sunset continued, a bit agitated.

“I… I can't imagine me ever even being by her side. How could I possibly? Me, who was her enemy! Me, the dejected, failed pupil of her master. Me, who has been humbled into nothingness! The mere fact she chooses to have me on her group feels like some twisted, grotesque version of pity; And of COURSE I accepted it, simply for the chance of being closer to her. And yet, how could I possibly ever deserve to…!?”

The Princess let out a warm sigh. “Well... what are you going to do about it?”


She smiled. “Forgiveness… making amends… and even her love… If those things have to be earned, will you fight to earn them?”

Sunset looked at nothing for a second, realizing the gravity of Luna's words to her.
“I... I don't deserve it. Any of it. I don't know how to fix this. I don’t know what to do.”

Princess Luna got up to her chair and walked around the table to be able to look into Sunset’s eyes, smiling warmly.
“You are at a crossroads, Sunset. And I know how it feels. It's now up to you to decide on what to do next. And for what it's worth… I believe in you.“

The Unicorn had a genuine smile on her face; Despite her weariness. “Thank you Princess Luna. I won’t forget this. And, if it’s okay for me to say… I like you more than your sister.” Words from a dejected failed pupil, but still held a certain amusement to the Princess of the night.

She covered her mouth while chuckling delightedly. “Oh, please; You don't mean that. I think it's about time you wake up, don’t you? A new day, a new you. May the stars aid in your return.” She started walking away, a staircase of shadows leading her into nothing, continuing to snicker in amusement.

“Y’know if you ever wanna be hooked up with somepony, Rarity’s a pretty good match maker just sayi—”

And then she woke up.

Sweaty, messy, tired… A few beams of light peeked through the curtains of her room in Twilight's castle.
A broken mirror, a pinboard with no schedules and only a few pictures, her spiked jacket on the floor, an beat up old sandbag hanging from the ceiling, a guitar hidden in an open closet, pictures of her friends and one of her parents on an otherwise messy nightstand. She looked at her alarm clock. Not even 8 am…

For a second, she considered rolling over and going back to sleep.

Then, fiery determination jolted her off the bed. With her Unicorn magic, she grabbed pen and paper, and wrote on big letters:


She pinned the paper on her board, and regarded it like it was everything.

And it was.

“Okay Sunset. Let’s earn it.”

She walked off the room, tired, but determined to begin a new routine.

…Then she walked back in, covering her board with a cloth nervously, afraid of any conversation that could spark from the words written on that piece of paper.

Then she walked off, this time with certainty.

Days until Midnight Sparkle returns: 200.