Friendship Still is Magic

by ultronquake

You played right into my hooves

Time was running short for the nightmare, each attempt at killing off these ponies had failed miserably. Now all that stood between them and the castle was a rickety rope bridge, desperately the nightmare cut away the ties holding it up, even though it knew that with two flyers in their group the narrow chasm would hardly be any inconvenience.

Opening up the telepathic channel again the nightmare planed what to do. "We are at our wits end! Why can we not kill these thorns in our side?" said the cloud.

"It occurs to us that if they do not act as a group they are weakened. If we can draw one of them away we can start piking them off," said Nightmare Moon. "I will send the remainder of our power off to join you, use it to crush their bones," True to her word more of the ethereal mist flowed off of Nightmare Moon's body and exited the building

Joining the rest of it, the globs of nightmare formed into fearsome Pegasus warriors, sporting the same pointed teeth as Nightmare Moon and wielding deadly medieval weaponry. To give their attack even more chance of success the nightmare summoned forth a think bank of fog to obscure the ambush. It seemed that for once tonight things might turn up in Nightmare Moon's favor.

If Luna had anything to say about that it would not. Now she was in a position to take control entirely, the only parts of the nightmare that remained was the small amount permanently fused to her flesh. For all intents and purposes Luna was free as a bird. Yet she could still see out of the eyes of the newly formed warriors outside the castle, and fully aware of their plan.

She doubted she could fully stop them in place as before with the trees, but perhaps something else could be done. If the ponies had to confront the nightmare, then it should be something non threatening. Luna began searching her memories, searching for a childhood memory. "Something safe, something... AHA!" she was triumphant, a long since forgotten dream she once held. A flying team all with matching costumes, her own group of Shadow Bolts. Luna used to make believe she was their captain and go on exiting adventures all over Equestria with them.

Utilizing the telepathic link Luna began whispering in the Nightmares mind, as it once whispered in her's. "Why destroy when you can undermine? Why make enemies when we can make "allies"?" Her influence was starting to have an affect on the nightmare warriors, they were shifting back and forth as if unsure of what they were doing. Luna then projected an image of the Shadow Bolts in their matching black and purple flight suits with yellow lightning accents, along with another message. "Lure one away, ask her to join us,"

The nightmares were in an almost hypnotized state, they were no longer acting out their own desires but those of Luna. All three obeyed the suggestion, dropping their weapons which dissolved back into mist and rejoined their bodies. Shifting their forms yet again they became the spitting image of Luna's imaginary friends. Two bulky Pegasus stallions and a lithe Pegasus mare all with the same slicked back blue manes. The three forms retreated into the shadows, waiting to make their dramatic entrance.


After their short ride across the river the six adventurers had continued on the path, the steep uphill climb was made tolerable by the ever present and always growing closer castle ahead of them. As they came to the top of the hill they were greeted by a seemingly bottomless ravine, seemingly because the view was obscured by the dense layer of fog. What wasn't obscured was the state of repair the bridge was in, two mossy ropes were tied off on carved stone pillars. From the old ropes were held slats of ancient wood long since rotten through.

"Well girls were almost home free, now we just need to figure out how were gonna cross here, any suggestions?" Twilight turned to the group looking for their input.

"How about Derpy and Cloudchaser carry us across? That would go pretty quick," suggested Lyra.

"I don't think that's such a good idea, all the flying I've done today has really put a strain on my wings. I'd hate to drop one of you cause i got tired mid flight," Derpy said apologetically.

"We could try reattaching the bridge ropes and cross that," said Lotus.

Berry gave the idea some thought, "Hmm that sound a bit too risky. From the looks of it the ropes are fraying and the planks are rotting, if a pony Twilight's size were to cross they'd fall right through." It was clear that Twilight was a bit over sensitive about the whole issue, and Berry was having fun with this good natured ribbing. It seems the rest enjoyed it too since they all started snorting and cackling with laughter, their jovial spirits stood in stark contrast to the surroundings they found themselves in.

"You know what, i'm done. I'm not even going to get mad any more, whats the point?" said the frustrated Twilight.

Wiping a happy tear from her eye Berry said, "*phew* Aw come on Twilight you know i didn't mean anything by that, plus i was serious. I wouldn't trust this bridge even if we went across one at a time. But-" She looked around, "- it seems these pillars are still sturdy, if i tie one of my ropes here and one on the other side we should be able to use cross it like a zip line," Berry reached into her saddle bag and produced a length of rope and a pulley with a strap harness.

"Hey that sounds fun! Almost makes me wish i didn't have wings so i could try it out," said Cloudchaser.

"Well go tie it off on the other side and you can have first go," said Berry.

"Really? Schweet!" Cloudchaser said with a hoof pump. Grabbing the brown coil of rope in her mouth she crossed over to the other side, and was fumbling with the knot when a voice began speaking to her.

"Cloud," said the wispy voice echoing all around.

"Who's there?" Cloudchaser looked all at her surroundings but saw no one.

"Cloud," the wispy voice repeated.

"I'll have you know i'm an amateur astronomer, we've been known to be deadly," Cloudchaser said in a vaguely threatening way.

From the fog emerged three pegasi, the one at the lead began speaking. "We have been eagerly waiting for the-" She was cut off when Cloudchaser put a hoof to her mouth.

"Before you go on, my name is Cloudchaser. It's not Cloud, if your gonna be a creepy stalker the least you could do is get my name right. Besides you'd have to be some emo kid with an identity crises to think just cloud was a cool name." said Cloudchaser.

"Are you going to let me finish?" asked the leader.

"Huh, oh sure whatever," said Cloudchaser.

"As i was saying, we've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the best flier in Equestria," said the leader.

Cloudchaser saw what they were getting at and decided to have a bit of fun. "Oh, you mean Rainbow Dash! Yeah she's back in Ponyville, not to far back that way," she said with a smirk.

"N-no we meant you! You Cloudchaser are clearly the best flier in all of Equestria, and we wan't you to join us. The Shadow Bolts!" The three pegasi puffed out their chests with pride.

"Shadow Bolts? Really that's the best you could come up with? How long did it take you to come up with that? Five minuets?" Cloudchaser said further antagonizing them.

From within the castle Luna heard this presumptuous mare's insults and took great offence. She had spent weeks coming up with all the details of her Shadow Bolts. "Yeah and who do you think you are feather head?" Luna said, the words coming out of the shadow bolt leader's mouth. Seeing this startled the other two, This wasn't what they had decided to say in their group consciousness.

"Who do i think i am? I'm the Pegasus who's getting first ride on the zip line!" With that Cloudchaser tied off the end of the rope on the standing pillar and flew off to rejoin her friends. Out of sight of the ponies the Shadow Bolts dropped their disguises and entered the wreaked castle, it would appear after all of Luna's interference tonight the nightmare was finally catching on. Lucky for Luna the nightmare neglected to terminate the link between them, from their eyes she could see them all, soaring throughout the corridors of what was once her home one thousand years before.

As the first piece of the nightmare rounded the corner it quickly got to know a powerful blast of magic, magic so powerful it was vaporized completely. From behind a second glob of the nightmare lunged at Luna, who in like manner sent forth an equally devastating beam of magic, burning away the attacker. Using the link further proved fruitless, it appeared this final portion of the nightmare had caught on quickly. From it's eyes all Luna could see was the nondescript ceiling, "Come on show me where you are. I promise i'll make it quick," her eyes darting back and forth scanning the roof for where it was approaching.

The Nightmare slowly crept along the ceiling, sticking to the shadows until it was directly above where Luna was standing. Without a sound it dropped and fell towards it's unsuspecting target, only seconds before striking it turned to face Luna. Those precious few seconds was all she needed, whipping her head round she cast the same stasis spell that Twilight had used on the Manticore before.

Taking a seat on the throne once more Luna smiled, looking at the glob of hatred that had ruined her life, unsuccessfully trying to writhe out of her grasp she was filled with happiness. "You know what? I think i lied, this isn't going to be quick at all."

From the castle doorway the six ponies could hear unequine tortured screams echo, making them all the more apprehensive about entering this place. "Come on girls, we've made it this far. There's no point in turning back now," said Twilight. One by one the six passed the threshold into the castle, each hoping and praying that soon this would all be over.