Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you.
The sound of a consistent knock on Luna's bedroom door wasn't loud or powerful. It was actually quite soft, as nopony wished to ever anger the princess of the night. The quiet tapping on the wooden door however, was just powerful enough to gently rouse the alicorn from her sleep.
"Who goes there?" she asked with a bit of a yawn. The mostly elegant princess was always perfectly groomed and ready when it came to standing before her subjects. However, when first awoken, her flowing mane was unkempt, and rippled in different directions; and her voice was groggy and scratchy.
"Princess Luna, forgive my awaking you. Princess Celestia sent me, it's time to raise the moon and well... you've slept in."
Luna's eyes shot open, the guardsmen's words bringing her out of her state of sleepiness. She prided herself in staying punctual when it came to her duties, and tonight she was late for her most important one.
"Inform my sister that I will be there in just a moment, and express my great apologies to her as well!" She spoke firmly to the guard in the hallway, attempting to untangle herself from her bed sheets.
"Of course, milady," the guardsmen respectfully replied. He turned and galloped away, to relay the message to the princess of the sun.
"Slept in! How could I have slept in?" Luna asked herself as she successfully managed to unfold the blankets from around her body. "The one job you have to perform Luna, and you're late!" She quickly put herself in front of the nearest mirror to get spruced up for the meeting with her sister. Every night they do the same thing, Luna sleeps during the day, and Celestia watches over the land and takes care of all royal duties. When it is time for a shift change, Celestia lowers the sun as Luna raises the moon, and they swap. Luna will then watch over the dreams of the sleeping ponies all over Equestria.
She levitated over her crystal horseshoes and breastplate, and with a few quick strokes of a brush through her mane she was appropriate enough to stand beside her sister for the tradition they'd had for many years. Luna closed her eyes, and imagined the atrium they always stood upon.
The balcony of Celestia's room was quite grand. The archway was constructed entirely of white marble, with flecks of gold spread out all over it. The walkway that protruded out the side of the castle was similarly designed and sufficiently matched the beauty of Celestia herself. These images were easy for Luna to imagine, therefore, easy to teleport to.
With a flash of dark purple she appeared directly behind her sister Celestia, who looked quite tired–possibly the result of a busy day with the ponies and politicians of Canterlot. With great respect Luna bowed low and made her presence known to the powerful white alicorn.
"My sister, I am sincerely sorry for my tardiness today, it will not happen again, I pro–" she could feel a hoof raise her chin up gently, cutting her off mid-sentence.
"Luna, I have told you before that bowing to me is not necessary. And don't worry about being tardy, the sun is just barely fading behind the mountains. I would say you were right on time," she smiled down at her sister. Her horn glowed with it's bright yellow hue, humming softly.
Luna smiled back at Celestia. "Of course, how foolish of me." She fully rose and trotted towards the edge of the balcony with Celestia directly by her side.
The sound of magic was doubled at that moment as Luna searched the surrounding space around their home for her moon. When she located it, her magic intensified tenfold and it slowly made its appearance on the opposite side of the sky, which quickly turned from crimson gold to grey as the sun's final light faded behind the western mountains, and the moon's glow appeared in the eastern sky.
Equestria bathed in the dim light from the moon, even as Celestia's magic stopped Luna continued using her own. Stars blinked into view one by one until the night sky flourished with them. Luna's horn lost it’s glow and hum. Her eyes opened slowly and gazed up into those of Celestia, which bore a proud gleam in them.
"This night, like all others, is incredibly beautiful, Luna."
"Thank you, Celestia."
Luna felt such happiness in this moment. Ever since her return she noticed something about her older sister she never saw before. There was something about the look in her eye, a type of sadness that she could not explain. But she never asked why. Tonight, Celestia looked exhausted, and stressed to the point of depression.
"Celestia, are you... are you alright sister?"
Celestia's eyes suddenly gained a pink hue. Tears appeared at the corners, but were blinked away quickly.
"I... could not be more perfect. Luna, thank you for sharing the sunset with me. I must sleep now. You have a wonderful night."
Before Luna could protest Celestia walked into her bedroom, softly closing the balcony doors behind her, leaving the princess of the night alone in the moonlight.
Luna was concerned for her older sibling. She was always very open with her, but tonight? It was apparent something was bothering her, and she did not feel like sharing it. After spending several minutes worrying about her sister, Luna remembered she had a task to perform.
"Celestia... what is going on?" she asked aloud to herself, before taking flight from the balcony of Celestia's room and down towards her own.
Her balcony was smaller, but set up quite the same. Instead of white marble, it was black obsidian; instead of gold specks, they were purple. She willed the doors to her bedroom open and trotted over towards the pillows neatly laid in the middle of her floor.
Luna always looked forward to this time when she could enter a world unlike anything anypony had ever seen. It was a world she herself created, maintained,and—unlike Equestria—ruled solely by herself. It was the world of dreams. The night princess sat herself down comfortably on the pillows and closed her eyes. Visualizing in her mind the realm of the dream, and sending her subconscious to this place was a task that at first was difficult for Luna. Now she effortlessly slid away...
When she opened her eyes again, she smiled at the sight of her four friends and fellow guardians of the night.
"Welcome back, my queen."
Shade. Luna's favorite batpony stood the closest and bowed the lowest out of the others. Her irises were whiter than usual, and her purple mane gleamed in the multicolored light of the dream world's moon. Her favorite dreams were those of fillies, being that she herself died in her sleep as a filly. Luna found her wandering the dream realm, and Shade had helped Luna ever since.
Gale. The phoenix of the night. Luna created her at the same time that she created the realm of dreams. While most phoenixes would glow with an intense fire, and bright shades of red and yellow, Gale was dark, and made of pure darkness. She had no fear, and served Luna with unstoppable loyalty. She would take on the scariest of dreams head on.
Noctis. A stone Gargoyle that was rescued from the dreams of a madpony. Luna pulled him out of a dream where he was about to be executed, and so he forever serves Luna in the dream realm as her assistant in locating those in dreams that are being harmed.
Abyss. A pony of shrouded with mystery that even Luna herself knew little about. She claims to be a pony of little worth, yet every night since Luna's return from banishment she appears in the realm, knowing precisely where any and all nightmares are taking place. She serves as Luna's eyes and ears, when Luna herself is blind to things in her dream world.
These four creatures were Luna's best friends. Nopony knew about them, not even Celestia, nor did they know they help Luna in this world where she protects the ponies of Equestria from their own bad dreams.
The dream realm itself was quite a remarkable achievement. Luna created a small plane of existence layered right on top of her own, where she could freely roam across Equestria quickly, and enter the dreams of those that slept. She and her guardians would watch over all who lived across the land, and stop nightmares from corrupting the minds of the innocent.
The four creatures raised themselves from their bow, and approached their queen with great happiness. Because of Luna they all had purpose, and because of them Luna could love her own night once more.
"How are you doing my friends? I hope you are all prepared for tonight, I have a good feeling it will be an interesting one," she said to them. Each one of them smiled and nodded softly. Shade’s highly energetic voice was the first Luna heard out of the four.
"My queen, we have already prevented a few nightmares from manifesting--nothing too powerful yet, thank goodness!"
Abyss looked around Luna's room until she noticed her body sitting on the pillows, eyes shining bright white, signifying she was in the dream realm.
"What if someone were to touch your body Luna? Would you be aware of it?" The white mare asked the princess curiously.
"Nopony is brave enough to disturb me during this time, I doubt they would have the courage to do so, let alone touch me," she giggled slightly. "Besides, they know not about this dimension I tread at night."
Abyss' eyes flashed suddenly, and she turned a gaze over at Gale. "A young mare named Soft Silk in Fillydelphia is having a nightmare that could use your assistance Gale," she relayed to the night phoenix. The bird of darkness nodded, and with a powerful flap of her wings, she flew straight through the ceiling, and on her way to Fillydelphia.
Luna still had no idea how Abyss was able to expertly detect where nightmares were occurring, and even be able to name the pony. When the little earth pony looked into Luna's eyes, Luna could see nothing but a dark Abyss, which is how she earned her name.
"Luna, I have news for you!" The bubbly batpony skipped happily around her queen, "I think somepony saw me tonight!"
Luna frowned. The other guardians of the night existed only on the dream plane, and could not be seen by mortal ponies. Luna could be seen because she existed in both planes, and she couldn't help but feel a little heartbroken hearing the excitement in Shade's voice when she knew it couldn't possibly be true. She decided to indulge her little friend anyway.
"Oh really? Tell me, my dear, what happened."
"Well I entered the dream of the sweetest little filly in the Crystal Empire and after I had shooed away the Manticore that terrorized her I–" Shade was interrupted by Abyss, who suddenly fell to the ground groaning loudly.
"Luna! A stallion in Ponyville, his nightmare is powerful! Much too strong for us– Ahhhhh! Hurry, my queen! Mr. Cake needs help!"
Luna understood the pain Abyss was in, the nightmare Mr. Cake was having was undoubtedly powerful, something Luna could feel too, and only Luna herself could take care of.
Without a word the princess flew through the wall of her bedroom and up into the Equestrian sky. When she was in the dream realm the world looked slightly different. Almost like there was some sort of filter of purple was placed over her eyes. The moon shined not white, but light blue. Also in this world, Luna was able to do anything she wished. She could bend the laws of physics in the name of helping her subjects, and in this case she did just that. She had flown very far in a matter of seconds, and now she hovered over the town of Ponyville.
With a smile she blinked for a split-second, and when her eyes opened again she stood beside the bed of the cakes. Mr. Cake surely was having a terrible dream, for he whined slightly, and was sweating profusely. She shushed him softly while touching the crown of his head with her hoof, slowly entering the world of his dream.
Upon entering Mr. Cake's mind she found no monster, nor tragic scene. She stood in the kitchen of Sugarcube Corner, and could hear raised voices at the check-out counter. Curiously, she approached the saloon-style doors and peeked her head over for a better look.
Standing behind the counter was a very flustered Mr. Cake, and on the opposite side stood Filthy Rich.
"I'm sorry Mr. Cake, I really am. You haven't made a payment on Sugarcube Corner in months! You never even attempted to contact me to request some sort of extension! You have until the morning to vacate your home. Otherwise you will be forcefully evicted." Filthy Rich casually said to the baker pony. He scooped up a few papers spread out over the counter and stuffed them into his saddle bag. As he turned to walk out Mr. Cake leapt over the counter and tackled Filthy Rich to the ground.
"My wife has been pregnant! Our children have gotten sick and I'm up to my neck in hospital bills! We haven't had money to pay for the house, and you come here to threaten me with court signed papers and threats of eviction?!"
Filthy tried to speak, but Mr. Cake pressed a hoof hard on his throat. The only noise that escaped the throat of the business pony were the sounds of chokes, and gurgles. Mr. Cake had an evil look in his eye, and pressed his hoof harder against filthy's neck.
"Well I won't let you take this place! My family lives here! Pinkie Pie lives here, and I won't let you!"
Filthy desperately pushed his hooves against Mr. Cake's face, in an attempt to push him off, but it was no use.
"You'll never take my home!" Mr. Cake screamed in desperation. Luna realizing the danger of this dream pounced into the room and pushed Mr. Cake off of Filthy Rich. The owner of the best bakery in Equestria was thrown against the wall and rose up with a look of pure confusion on his face. Luna's eyes flashed white and her voice amplified with great power.
The scene began to peel away, and soon Sugarcube Corner, Filthy Rich, and everything else faded away, till there was nothing but the light of Luna's horn, and Mr. Cake.
Mr. Cake started to sob, and held his hooves over his head in shame. "Oh Princess Luna, what have I done?" he continued to cry while he spoke, and Luna now patiently listened. "I got a warning that Filthy Rich would come to visit me tomorrow if I didn't pay the rent today... but I just don't have the money! I've been thinking about it and when I saw him I just couldn't-"
Luna raised a hoof to silence him, "This is only but a dream Carrot Cake, although dreams do not appear on their own. They manifest from the thoughts you hold deep down, and the thoughts you hold—are dangerous."
Mr. Cake slowly rose and wiped tears from his eyes, "The thoughts I hold? Luna, what do you mean?"
She smiled softly, her horn glowing brighter. The floor they stood upon was made of nothingness for a moment, then started to form again. Carrot recognized the tiles, and wooden floors of his home and workplace. When the bakery finished it's reconstruction he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank goodness; Filthy Rich is gone, and things are back to normal. Thank you Lu-"
A banging on the door to Sugarcube Corner made Mr. Cake jump. "Who in the world could that be?"
Mrs. Cake came out of the kitchen and replied to the knocking with a cheery, sing-song voice.
"Whoooo isss itttt?" before she could reach the door it was forced open. The hinges broke off, as did part of the door frame, and broken wood flew into the home. A dozen or so royal guards flooded the home, their golden armor gleaming in the light that shone through open windows.
"We are here for a Mr. Carrot Cake, Ma'am. Is this pony home?" The tallest of the guards roughly asked Cup Cake.
"Oh, uh w–well I believe he's upstairs bu—" Three of the guards gently pushed passed her and bounded up the stairs. Their armor chinking loudly with each step. Even when they had made it upstairs Mrs. Cake could hear them march through the ceiling, "What is this about?"
There was a scream from Pinkie's room, as the sight of the random guards frightened her. Moments later there was a deeper voice that resonated from the top floor, along with signs of trouble, then silence.
The guards marched heavily down the steps, and standing between them was Carrot Cake.
"No—What is this?" The real Carrot Cake asked Luna.
"This is what will become truth if you were to go through with the thoughts that are planted deeply into your mind. Listen young one."
The captain of the troop approached the shackled Carrot Cake, and spoke aloud his reason for apprehension, "Carrot Cake, you are under arrest for the murder of a Mr. Filthy Rich, proud business owner, who was found dead in a garbage can outside his own home. The last place he was known to be was here, and coincidentally, we found some hair on him that doesn't match his coat, but instead matches yours."
Cup Cake started to cry, and tug at the guard's armor. "Please no! Don't take my husband away! He's not capable of murder, he's a gentle, innocent pony!"
The guard apologetically pushed her hooves away.
"I'm sorry ma'am. If by chance your husband is innocent then you'll have nothing to worry about. Please step asi—"
Sugarcube corner faded away at an instant, leaving Mr. Cake in absolute shock.
"I killed him? But, this can't be possible! I would never… I could never..."
“Never do what? Murder a pony you thought was trying to tear apart your family?” She harshly threw at him.
Mr. Cake sat on his haunches, and breathed heavily. Luna continued to speak to him, but with a kinder tone.
“Dreams... come from within us, Carrot. The things we think, feel, or even believe in. It is not our fears that dictate what our nightmares consist of. They are the things our soul wants to show us that we ourselves cannot even see.”
Luna watched with sadness as Mr. Cake realized the truth of her words. He remembered what the princess of the night said before. The words burned deep in his mind.
They manifest from the thoughts you hold deep down, and the thoughts you hold, are dangerous.
“The thoughts I hold,” he whispered to himself.
Luna placed a hoof on his shoulder, and spoke softly into his ear, “I suggest talking to Mr. Filthy Rich about this issue in a professional manner. I assure you, family is a very important thing to him.”
The scene changed once again. This time they stood outside a home in Ponyville, right outside a window. Mr. Cake recognized the house immediately, because there was no other like it in the small town. Rich Manor. Peering into the window revealed Filthy Rich, standing in front of a small shrine, filled with various memorabilia and pictures of a beautiful mare. He turned with a certain picture in hoof, tears rolling down his face in steady streams.
Mr. Cake watched in bewilderment as the pony he always referred to as a shark, or a home wrecker, wept behind closed doors. The window shook suddenly, and there was the muffled sound of a slamming door. Filthy Rich quickly put the picture back on its shelf, and wiped his eyes of tears. Young Diamond Tiara ran into the room at this moment, and Mr. Rich tightly embraced his daughter, with a smile that did not match the pure angst he displayed just moments ago.
Mr. Cake looked up at Luna and spoke softly, “His wife…”
“He often dreams of her. He remembers her death quite vividly, and often I have to save her in the nightmares he has… only for him to wake up, and see that she is still gone,” Luna started, “Family, Mr. Cake, is all he truly has left. Do not be so quick to judge those you know nothing about.”
Mr. Cake, while feeling rather ashamed, was also confident in what to do next. Luna could see it in his eyes, and she knew her job here was complete.
Luna smiled at him, and began to will herself out of his mind. She felt a rush in the pit of her stomach as she extracted herself and mere seconds later stood beside his bed once more. She casually walked out through the Cake’s bedroom wall, and found her other night guardians standing right outside.
“Is everything okay, Queen?” Shade asked her.
“Yes, my young one, everything is just fine,” Luna responded with a smile.
Abyss shook suddenly, feeling another nightmare gaining power in a different part of Equestria.
“Milady, a young pegasi by the name of Swift Wing in a small village near the base of Neighagra Falls has… some sort of creature troubling his sleep. I cannot see what this monster is, but it is quite grotesque,” she informed her princess.
“Come with me, my children. I would like your assistance with this one.”
Each one of her guardians had an expression of excitement. Even Gale, who rarely showed any type of emotion. It was very rare that they were able to assist their lady personally in a dream, especially a powerful nightmare such as this one. As Luna took off into the sky, the guardians of dreams followed closely.
To Protect Those That Cannot Help Themselves
The pony rolled around dangerously on his bed, crying for help. Luna and the others wasted no time and entered the mind of the young pony quickly. Soon they found themselves in a burning field. The young colt was nowhere in sight, but the monster that lumbered around burning the once beautiful grass was massive. The creature looked incredibly familiar, with major differences, but the core qualities the creature possessed were familiar enough.
It was Sombra.
He was incredibly deformed, with multiple legs and green ooze pouring out of his eyes. His horn had a terrible red glow as fire blazed out of it’s tip. As soon as his eyes locked onto the five new creatures in the dream, he bellowed out a powerful roar, and stampeded towards them.
“You take care of that thing! I’ll look for Swift Wing!” Luna commanded her friends. With a yell they charged the Sombra monster and met him head on.
Luna ignored the sounds of the battle and flew upwards, hoping to find the young filly in the midst of the fire and ruin. It only took a few moments, before she could hear the sound of a fillies’ cries from a ditch a short distance away from the ring of fire. Luna dropped down quickly into the pit and lifted the colt into her hooves, gently shushing and cradling him. At first when he felt her touch he squirmed to get away, but at the sound of her voice he stilled himself.
“Do not fret my little pony, for it is I, your princess of the night! The monster that plagues you is no more. Please look up at me,” she tried to turn him over so he can see the danger was fading, but as the pony opened his eyes Luna realized: this young colt was blind.
Suddenly an ungodly explosion shook the earth, and the nearby fires subsided. The sky, however, still had an ominous black tint to it. Luna looked around and began to notice that this pony’s dream was very unnatural . Mountains in the distance looked slanted, the clouds above looked as if they were cut from cardboard. Luna had noticed when in the air that nearby rivers were unusually bright blue, but she had thought nothing of it.
It dawned on Luna that this pony has never seen anything, thus the things his mind created in his dream were unnatural. Likely his mind built everything the way it was described to him.
“Little one, that creature that was chasing you… was it… King Sombra?” she asked him. Luna could hear her companions landing behind her after having destroyed the nightmare Sombra. However, they remained quiet.
“Yes,” the colt answered, “my dad always told me if I told a lie, that King Sombra would get me in my dreams… and well…”
“You lied to your father?” Luna asked, cocking her head to it’s side curiously.
“Yes… I cannot see… I have never been able to see. So when I heard the roar of King Sombra… I was so scared!” Swift Wing started to cry, unfolding his wings and attempting to cover his eyes with them. Luna spoke with a gentle voice that even her guardians had never heard her use.
“Want to know a little secret?” She playfully asked.
His crying diminished a bit and he looked up in the direction of her voice. After a moment he nodded.
Princess Luna giggled, and whispered into the colt’s ear.
“When you’re dreaming, you can see even if in the real world you cannot. It is an ability called ‘Lucid Dreaming’ and not many ponies can do it… but you remind me of a young filly I once knew, who was blind like you, but she was very brave. You are brave too aren’t you, Swift?”
The colt smiled and bobbed his chin up and down. As Luna was about to continue talking, Abyss cried out in pain.
“Queen! There is a disturbance unlike anything I have ever felt! We must leave now!”
Swift turned his head in the direction of her voice, panic slowly taking over again. “Wh… who’s that?”
“Ignore her my sweet filly. I want you to close your eyes, and focus on my voice. When you lucid dream, you have absolute control over everything that happens. I want you to see me. You yourself must want it my young one.”
He closed his eyes tight, “No! You are just trying to make fun of me like everypony else! I can’t see, not even here! How could you tease me like that!” He started to struggle against Luna’s grip, but she forced him still. His eyes were still clenched tightly. She placed a hoof over his, and prepared to show him the truth.
“I want you to see. Open your eyes now Swift, for in the dream, you can do more things than you ever thought possible!”
Abyss again cried out to Luna. “Please queen! The nightmare that is transpiring elsewhere is powe–” Luna cut her off with a raised voice
“You will wait!” Luna turned back down to the colt, who stopped squirming, and lowered her voice, “Open your eyes Swift. I promise I am not trying to trick you.”
She raised her hoof, and found herself staring right into the bewildered blue eyes, of Swift.
At first the image of Luna was hazy for the young pony, but as it cleared up he could clearly see smiling face, of the beautiful Princess Luna.
“I… I can see you! I can see everything,” he jumped out of her hooves and out of the ditch. The ground and grass to him felt the same, but looked nothing like he had imagined. Luna furthered her gift and used her power to turn the sky blue, fix the mountains and rivers, so the pegasus could forever know what the world looked like in his dreams. After a moment of galloping, flying, and cheering with great joy he ran back up to the princess, and gripped her front leg tightly.
“Thank you princess… I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow and see what all my friends look like!”
Luna bit her lip, “Well, Swift. I have not cured you permanently,” she started. The colt looked up at her with sad eyes. “I have given you the ability to freely be lucid. During the day you will still be blind,” she gave him a devious smile, “but at night? You can create and build whatever you’d like, and be able to see it all.” She kissed the colt’s nose, which made him giggle.
“I must go now my child, but if you ever were to need me again, call for me when you sleep. I shall be there.”
Swift Wing looked directly at the princess and her four guardians with a wide grin. “Thank you, my princess.”
As she and the others began to fade away she could see Swift Wing will structures into existence and laugh joyfully at the sight of them. The happiness the colt displayed warmed Luna’s heart and put a tear in her eye…
But the shriek of Abyss took all that joy away.
The Nightmare That Does Not Fade
As they exited the mind of Swift, Abyss fell to the ground in tears. Neither Luna, nor any of the others had ever seen her act in such a way. Luna bent down and caressed the cheek of her dream oracle.
“I’m sorry I screamed at you Abyss, now tell me what is wrong. Who is having the nightmare, and where?”
Abyss’ eyes flashed a piercing white that even Luna herself had to shield herself from. The white mare said only one thing; one thing that instantly answered Luna’s initial question, but brought about many more.
Luna was confused. She quickly floated outside and turned her head towards Canterlot Mountain, which could be seen slightly from a distance. Behind her appeared Shade, Noctis, Gale, and Abyss, who was still in great pain due to the nightmare Celestia was apparently having, but was now able to stand.
With a flash of her horn they reappeared where they began that night—Canterlot Castle. Luna had placed them right in front of Celestia’s grand bedroom door, but she was hesitant, at first, to enter.
This had been the first time since her return that Celestia was having a nightmare. Luna never had entered the mind of her sister, but she was sure Celestia was always able to take care of herself.
Now her big sister needed her
She phased through the door and entered the master suite of the castle. It sat in the tallest tower, a massive room made of beautiful white marble. Celestia laid with a certain tranquillity underneath her golden silk sheets, and while to the untrained eye she looked peaceful as can be, Luna knew something was amiss. Celestia was sweating.
With Noctis’ help, Abyss approached the princess.
“My queen, whatever troubles your sister is stronger than anything I’ve ever felt. You will need our help,” she spoke with a hoarse voice, and she too was sweating quite feverishly.
Luna gave Abyss and Noctis held a look of concern, then changed her focus to Gale and Shade, who both had looks of wonder, and fear.
Abyss’ face was one of absolute confusion.
“Milady? This danger is something you might not be able to face alone, it is wise for us to—” but Luna cut her off.
“This is the mind of my sister… I alone will travel into her dreams and rescue her. There will be no further discussing this. Gale, keep them here,” she ordered her night phoenix. The great bird nodded firmed, then flew across the room putting herself right between Celestia, and the other guardians.
As Shade and Noctis started to protest Luna turned, and placed her hoof at the crown of Celestia’s head, entering the mind of the great sun princess.
Darkness. All Luna could see at first was darkness. Her horn illuminated the black that stood before her, revealing nothing but a stone wall.
“Celestia?” she called out, and received no response. Luna turned her head and noticed she stood in the middle of a hallway, with a path on either side she could go down. After a brief moment of contemplation she chose to go right. The sound of her hooves clopping against the cold stone echoed all around her as she yelled a more desperate cry for her sister.
Light quickly formed in front of her, and she powered down her horn. She recognized this place immediately as she entered the grand throne room of her and Celestia’s old castle in the Everfree Forest. Before she could take another step, the sound of powerful magic discharging and exploding rubble made her realize exactly what her sister dreamed of. Celestia became visible as the smoke cleared, and she heard her sister’s voice clearly.
“Luna, I will not fight you! You must lower the moon, it is your duty!”
A voice that belonged to a demon long gone replied.
“Luna? I am Nightmare Moon! I have but one royal duty now, to destroy you!”
Nightmare Moon fired a precise beam right at Celestia, who, unlike the first time this event happened, did not move to dodge it. The beam hit Celestia directly, and threw her across the throne room. She flew and smashed right into a stone column, which was obliterated instantly. Celestia hit the ground and lay still. The sight of her beloved sister forced Luna out into the open where she faced what she believed was Celestia’s nightmare.
“No! Celestia!” as Luna ran closer to Celestia’s body another beam struck right in front of Luna. She turned her head and saw Nightmare Moon gleaming evilly down at her.
“Finally! I knew the perfect way to get you to reveal yourself to me would be to torment your sister. The very sister that banished you for one thousand years!”
Luna did not understand… reveal myself?
“Explain yourself demon! Then afterward I will erase you from existence once and for all!”
Nightmare Moon’s cackle could be heard throughout the castle.
“Tell me, Luna, do you remember the exact events which led to our wonderful relationship?”
Luna stomped a hoof down hard against the throne room floor.
“Do not speak to me like we are friends! What dost thou speak of?!” As Luna’s anger flared up, her thousand-year-old accent became more prominent. Nightmare Moon once again laughed maliciously.
“Oh, Luna. Little Luna. The pony that nopony else loved or appreciated. Bah! You thought that after those little elements of harmony were used against me I was defeated? I suppose I technically have you to thank for my return to power. It has taken me a long time to feast on enough fear to appear here, but now because of your precious little dream realm I can take back what belonged to me!” Nightmare Moon lunged at Luna as fast as lightning but was blasted away by a golden light before she could reach the night princess. Luna quickly snapped her head to the side and saw Celestia standing up, leaning against a wall for support. Her horn was smoking at it’s tip.
“Stay away from my sister,” she forced out, obviously still in pain. Luna rushed to her sister’s side and supported her weight.
“Celestia, wake up! We need to get out of here!”
Nightmare Moon erupted from underneath a pile of stone rubble and her voice amplified louder than anything Luna could ever produce.
“You think if you leave, you will be free from me?! When you created this world, you did not stop to think that you, yourself were susceptible to nightmares? I am here now to prove that even the immortals have nightmares! I am your fear! I am your anger! I am your jealousy! I am everything; the manifestation of those terrible things you lock away and try to deny! But, now? I no longer need you. If I cannot rule the physical realm, then I shall exercise my power upon the minds of those who dared to defy me! In here you have no elements of Harmony. You have no light to stay the darkness. The walls of this very realm shall crumble upon you, oh great master of dreams. Watch as the world of nightmares bleeds into the world of reality, and you are powerless to stop it. In here you can bend the world at your whim but out there you are we–”
A sudden blast of black energy shot out from behind Luna and Celestia and exploded against the chest of Nightmare Moon.
From the shadows suddenly burst Luna’s guardians of dreams. Gale’s speed as she flew up into the fray was unparalleled, and she threw her body against Nightmare Moon, forcing her back down unto the stone ground. Shade and Noctis guided the injured Celestia away from the battle while Abyss used her lucid powers over the dream realm to create a cage of darkness around Nightmare Moon.
Luna approached the being that represented her inner most flaws, believing they had won.
“You believed yourself to be strong, but against us you have been defeated. It is over.”
Nightmare Moon laughed, and began to melt away into the darkness of the cage that held her.
“No Luna. So long as you remain, so shall I. You see, I am a nightmare bound to the dreams that you cannot have. I am a nightmare that you never see and yet I am bound to you. I wonder, Luna—who will save you in this realm?”
Nightmare Moon completely dissolved, leaving everypony with fear, and questions that could not be answered.
“My queen?!” shouted Shade from where she and Celestia stood previously, but when Luna turned, Celestia was no longer there.
“Where is she?” Luna asked, panic heavy in her voice.
“She disappeared! I… I don’t know what happened!”
The castle around them faded away, and they reappeared again outside of Celestia’s room.
Luna turned to her oracle, whose eyes were already closed, searching the realm for the white alicorn princess. After a minute that felt like eternity she opened her eyes and shook her head at Luna.
“She is nowhere in the realm. She must have awoken.” Abyss aimed a hoof at the bedroom door.
Luna took a moment to breathe, as grief and confusion turned to relief and tranquility.
“My guardians. I know not what Nightmare Moon spoke of tonight, but I must return and speak with my sister. For the rest of the night I need you to watch over the realm and I will return as quick as I can.” Luna closed her eyes and slowly started to will herself into her body, but the process was interrupted by the soft voice of Shade.
“Luna… what did that thing mean by ‘So long as you remain, so shall I’? Is she going to come back?”
Luna lowered herself down to Shade’s level and tried to speak words of confidence to her.
“You need not fear her. She is my nightmare, not yours. As I said, guard the realm and I will return as soon as I can.”
Luna did not wait for a response as she closed her eyes once again, and after feeling the rush of traveling through the dimensions she appeared back inside her own body.
Luna sat motionless amongst her soft pillows for a moment, but upon realizing she had returned she rushed to her hooves and jumped up towards the door. Her magic ripped the door from it’s hinges and carelessly tossed it aside. Luna took flight and sped throughout the castle, rushing to get to Celestia’s room. Within a few moments she found herself outside the grand door of Celestia’s room for the third time that night.
Before entering she looked around the hallway, wondering if her companions were still there, and if they watched her even now.
“I will return, I promise.”
She pushed a hoof against the door and forced it open quickly. She found Celestia on the floor, blood slowly seeping out of her side and spreading brightly over the white marble floor.
She rushed to her sister’s side and lifted her up gently with her hooves. The white alicorn’s breathing was labored, a slight wheeze escaping between her lips with each breath. Luna looked down and observed her wounds. They were in exactly the same place as the ones she got in her dream… Luna put the pieces together quickly and realized there was an awful truth in Nightmare Moon’s words.
The walls of this very realm shall crumble upon you, oh great master of dreams. Watch as the world of nightmares bleeds into the world of reality, and you are powerless to stop it.
If her dream realm collapsed… if the powers held within were released into the physical realm…
There would be eternal nightmare.
The voice of Nightmare Moon whispered in her ear, taunting her from a whole world away.
I’ll see you soon.