Six mares, stand in the presence of a Goddess. The force the princess of the night’s magic alone is enough to cause the dreamscape castle around them falter and shudder as the being once known as Nightmare moon flexes her divine might. Ever since she had trapped them in their dreams the Stardust Crusaders had danced like puppets on her strings as she tested their merits and analyzed their intent. But now that their minds were awake, hiding in the shadows was no longer a viable option. And so the princess of the night, princess Luna, had revealed herself in all her splendor to the mares, and indeed her splendor was terrifying and beautiful just like the night she represented. Her horn glowing with eldritch might, and her stand, a powerful toned alicorn in shimmering silver armor with eyes as dark as the night sky causing the dreamscape to reform around her.
Under such a presence an ordinary mare might flee in terror, and indeed a part of Applejack wanted to do just that. However, the unicorn in front of her, the lavender mare who had lead them there, had her gaze and attention completely enraptured on the figure, standing undaunted in the presence of a goddess.
Twilight Sparkle saw the majesty of the goddess before her, but she wasn’t cowed into submission or fearful of the fact that this creature could probably erase her from existence on her slightest whim. To tell the truth, she was actually peeved that she took so long to show up. “I think we’ve had enough of the light show, Nightmare Moon!” Twilight yells above the din. “Your power does not scare me; you forget I have stood in the presence of a Goddess before, and I am not so easily frightened. I also know that if you wanted to, we would be dead already, so why don’t you come down and we can talk this out like civil ponies.”
A flash of anger fills the goddess’ eyes for a split second as she glares at the mare lavender mare before her. “If I were you, Sparkle, I would know better than to use that name around me.” With grace and poise the goddess touches the ground, her obsidian horseshoes clinking against the cold stone. Her eyes return to their normal turquoise hue as the wind and storm die down around her. “That name is a blasphemy against everything that I am and wish to be. My title is Princess Nocturnes De Luna, Empress of the Night and warden of the dark. However, if you must address me so informally you may call me Luna.”
Twilight breathes a long sigh of relief. ‘Well, at least that went well, now for the hard part.’
“Alright, you have our attention and we have yours,” Twilight shouts. “So what do you want?”
“What I want is simple, Twilight. I wish to know what my sister’s intentions are with the corpse.” The lunar monarch gestures around them with her hoof, the stone around her rippling at her slightest movement. “It is why I trapped you here in your dreams, to test you and determine your intentions.”
Twilight taps her chin, preparing to phrase her words just right to make her appeal seem more feasible. “So…. now that you see that we aren’t here to harm you, or that we aren’t here on Celestia’s behalf, you’re going to let us go, right?”
The room goes silent for a moment, each mare in the group, though silent, hoping on tip hooves that Luna will prove to be merciful in her judgements. And indeed, for a moment it appears that there will be a happy end to their sudden misunderstanding as the princess of the night’s gaze softens. Yet at the last minute Goddess Steels herself, her gaze becoming stern and resolute in the face of Twilight’s request.
“No, Twilight.” Princess Luna states with a tone of absolute finality. “You may have said that you have no clue as to my sister’s intents, and perhaps that is true in part. But I cannot let you leave if there is a chance that you will reveal my location, or if you know anything about mine sister’s prize.”
“What? But-but, I told you the truth!” Twilight protests. “ I told you when you were posing as one of my friends when you first sent me to the dream realm. I couldn’t have faked that.”
The goddess flinches from the accusations of the lavender mare, but only for half a second. “I commend you for seeing through my dream images as well as my subconscious suggestions; however that does not mean you are not on her side. Nor that you have not given our current location to her.”
The Princess paces back and forth as she mentally works out her options and decision. “My wards and flaming braziers should have shielded this place from scrying, so I had worried that you had somehow bypassed my barriers and revealed my location to my sister. Yet somehow you simply walked through them without setting a single one off. How?”
The Princess ceases her pacing, her eyes locked on the librarian with a paranoid gaze. “Perhaps it is the ‘will’ of ‘that’? No, but why would it ‘align’ with a mere foal? Even in its unfinished form it should not be capable of this much.”
“I am not a foal!” Twilight barks, her tone growing softer as she tries to relate to the isolated Princess. “And I am no fool either, and despite the fact that you are holed up in a castle in the middle of nowhere, I don’t think you are either, Princess Luna.”
The Princess ceases her rapid pacing, her head craning slightly to the side as if considering things from a new perspective. “That name, I have not been called by that name in a long time. Part of me had expected to never hear it uttered again.”
The Princess looks back at the entire group this time, not just the lavender mare. Her eyes grow less harsh as she looks over her subjects, her ponies who have traveled so much distance in search of the truth. Yet again, though, her suspicions take hold as she steels her resolve. “However, it is not paranoia to suspect an attack that has already been launched.” Princess Luna of the Night takes a strong step forward. “Nor is it foolishness to plan for the inevitable. My sister will never part with it, and I have already lost too much to my sister’s arrogance to lose any more. The force that she attempts to wield is beyond the ken of mortal minds to use. Too many lives have suffered for it; therefore I have resolved mineself that the Holy Corpse must be destroyed.”
In the wake of so much that she can’t understand, Twilight can only launch flimsy arguments against the walls of Princess Luna’s paranoia. “Princess! You’re not making any sense!” Twilight pleads, “You know that Princess Celestia hasn’t sent us! We don’t mean you any harm, just let us out of this dream and we can talk this over!”
The Princess of the Night however stands unflinching. “It is true that while the subconscious has control over one’s dreams that one is more truthful, however you are a smart mare, therefore it is likely that you have a form of subconscious protection. Protection that would allow you to lie even in a situation in which you were not in control of your subconscious, like in a dream.”
Twilight flinches from the accusation, knowing it was accurate to a point. Her mind did have many forms of memory charms to protect against just such an attack. After all, it was standard issue for the high members of the military and government to have such mental protection that could protect them from giving away sensitive information against their will. Twilight, being the Princess’ student, was no exception and she had learned several methods to protect her mind against unwanted intrusions that could jeopardize Celestia’s safety. In fact, Twilight had suspected it was due to these methods of protecting her thoughts that she was able to suspect that something was wrong even while she was trapped in Luna’s Dreamscape.
It was ironic, the mental protection was taught to her to protect Celestia’s best interests, but because of that very mental protection she couldn’t get her mentor’s own sister to trust her. From the looks of things Luna was still very suspicious of her sister, to say the least. Luna suspected her own sister of conspiring against her and, though she was no longer held captive her own dark magics, she was still a prisoner to her own fears. Luna truly believed her sister was hunting her down to destroy her, but Celestia…... the face that she made when Twilight had asked her mentor about her sister…… that could never be faked. Right now her mentor only wanted her sister back, and all Twilight wanted was to get the bottom of the secret of the stones. And both of those things would never happen if she didn’t get Luna to trust her.
Swallowing her fear the lavender mare tries for one more desperate plea. “But Princess Luna..….”
“Therefore this is my decision!” Princess Luna, Goddess of the Night, raises her wings as she brings her hoof down with the force of a judge’s gavel. “You all will stay here in the realm of dreams until I have deemed your captivity unnecessary or I have determined what you say is true.”
Every pony in the room immediately objects, a cacophony of voices protesting, however like always it is Applejack who beats the other ponies to the punch. “What in Tarnation!” Applejack yelps as she readies her fore hooves for a fight. “Yawl can’t just……”
“SILENCE ORANGE FARM MARE!” the Princess’s voice booms with the force of a thunderclap as the entire group backs off, all intentions of fighting for the moment blown out of their minds by the force a Goddess’ voice. “A Princess is to never be interrupted, and I shall not be denied my right to speak. Now as I was saying, after I have determined your innocence or your guilt, you will be released to the town of Ponyville no worse for your troubles. Then I will attempt move the heart to a more secure location where my sister cannot uncover it.”
“Don’t talk to Applejack like that! Nopony talks to my friends like that.” Fluttershy steps up, her eyes burning as she remains just on the verge of using the stare. “So you think that you can just imprison anypony you want just because you’re a Princess? That you can trap any pony that you want forever? I mean I know you’re evil and all but to trap a pony in their dreams….. That’s really evil! You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Fluttershy shakes in barely controlled anger at the injustice of the situation as she advances on Luna. “You have no right to keep us here! Now you be a good pony and let us out missy, or I-I-I’ll do something that I’ll regret!”
Thousands of years ago there were three things that the Princess of the Night hated: being questioned, being ignored, and eating bananas (or rather anything to do with bananas). And yet this mare had the gall to do two of those three things right in front of her, and in her own plane of existence no less. The Princess’ feathers rustle as she looks the cheeky yellow mare before her. “And I think you have made your point, ‘Fluttershy the Brave’. But you would do well not to anger me, lest you forget that it is I who has domain over this realm, and all those who pass through it.”
“Oh, and you think that I’m NOT angry? Or is it that you don’t care about anypony else’s feelings? Well you know what I think? I’ll tell you what I think!” The pegasus says as she takes a step forward, her eyes filled with righteous fury.
“Well I think….” The yellow mare’s coat ripples and bulges as pounds of muscles rush in as if from thin air to fill her supple frame.
“That you’re just a……” The Alicorn takes a step back as the pegasus begins to tower to her height.
“A big MEANIE!” the butter yellow pegasus roars with the force an oncoming typhoon, as Fluttershy the pegasus is replaced by the monolith known as Fluttershy the Brave.
With a dramatic roar the hulk leaps on the Goddess with primal fury, her muscles bulging in anticipation of tearing the mare in front of her apart with her bare hooves, her mouth watering as the mare savors the bloodlust on her tongue. Yet In the face of such savagery the goddess merely smirks and with a gesture of her stand’s hoof, causes Fluttershy the Brave to instantly revert back to her previous, meeker form. The mare lands with a cute thump directly in front of the goddess, who can’t help but smirk at the sudden change of fortunes.
“You were saying?” the lunar Princess chuckles as the now-depowered pegasus hugs the ground in front of the goddesses’ hooves, trying to seem as small as possible. “Do not forget that you are in my realm, pegasus, I control all in this domain. Do you really think that you would be able to defeat me here?”
“Fluttershy isn’t the only one fighting against you, Black Snooty!” Luna turns her head just in time to see a rainbow missile headed straight towards her, its hooves covered in a glimmering gauntlets of prismatic color. With a powerful twist of her body the rainbow mare torques her back legs at the Dream Princess, her rear hooves glistening with power as she turns a charge straight into a roundhouse kick.
However as fast as Rainbow Dash is, Luna is faster, her Stand manifesting its scaled armored hide in defense of its owner. The two Stands clash, the prismatic blast of color sweeping across the room blowing away the castle around them in favor of the colorful expanse of the Dreamscape. The light from the blast fades away as larger and larger cracks appear in the stonework of the castle, cracks that spread into the remaining pieces of the stonework surrounding the mares. Dash’s smile at a successful blow quickly fades away as the Princess of the Night raises her Stand’s guard to look the pegasus in the eyes.
“You are quite impressive, Dashie. You were actually able to force me to block your blow.” Luna pushes the pegasus away with a sweeping blow from her Stand. “And were we not in the realm of dreams, that blow might have stood a chance at scratching me. But as I said before, this is my realm, no blade or blow can harm me here.”
“Well maybe I just have to try harder!” Rushing the Lunar Goddess from a ninety degree angle, the prismatic bolt closes distance from the side in preparation for a Rainboom-powered punch.
Luna responds dramatically and with minimal effort she ducks under the punch, delivering a powerful uppercut into the gut of the rainbow mare via her Stand. As the rainbow mare lands with a thud at Applejack’s hooves, the prismatic speedster raises her hoof shakily, groaning from the pain. “Ugh, alright Applejack, tag in.”
Clapping the hoof of her cerulean compatriot, the orange mare tilts her hat downwards as she narrows her gaze on the goddess before her. “Give me a break, why’d Ah have ta wake up this morning ta fight a goddess?”
“Um…. technically we’re still asleep, Applejack.” Fluttershy points out.
“Whatever, Fluttershy!” Applejack spits a loogie off to her side as she cracks her hooves. “Well Princess Luna, as much as I was taught ta respect mah elders Ah’m gonna have ta disagree with yawl’s little proposition. See Ah got a little sis waitin for me back home, so Ah’m not very keen on stayin’ locked up here. An sides, yawl made one big mistake…..”
With lightning precision the orange mare throws her hoof forward in a razor-sharp jab, the Lunar Princess barely blocking with her own arm as the blow connects soundly. Applejack grins at her successful attack as she gazes down her Stand’s arm, “Yawl just pissed me off. And fer that, yer getting a paddlin’.”
Striking while the iron is hot Twilight prepares to give her friends battle commands. “Alright, you asked for this, Princess! Everypony else attack as one! Keep Luna busy. Applejack, we’re linking now, you’ll understand the plan as soon as the link is complete.”
Moving together as one, the Stardust Crusaders all react in perfect unison. Rarity throwing sharpened spines from her Stand right at the Goddess, Pinkie firing round after round of projectiles from her party cannon, and Fluttershy…… who cheers silently from the background. Mildly amused, the Lunar Princess readies her Stand, and with godly precision catches every single projectile, from sharpened silver knives to rubber chickens, throwing them off to her side with supernatural speed. Not willing to let her attack be in vain, Rarity lashes out with her whip of Quicksilver, only for the Goddess to dodge every attack by a margin, countering the ivory mare with a jab across her muzzle. With a less than lady like grunt, Rarity falls to the ground at the hooves of the goddess, and unwilling watch as her friend is in trouble Fluttershy finally leaps into action with her Stare, attempting to immobilize the Goddess. Fluttershy locks eyes with Luna, signaling a successful use of her power. Yet more than a thousand years of mental discipline and training have refined the Princess’ willpower to a fine point, allowing her to turn the tables on Fluttershy’s domination. The Princess’ horn glows as she conjures a simple mirror Reversing Fluttershy’s own Stare on her. Seeing her friends in trouble, Pinkie reacts reflexively, grabbing the prone Rarity and the mentally stunned Fluttershy and dragging them out of the range before Luna can manage a counter attack.
Princess Luna, unimpressed by her opponents’ strength, prepares to berate them on their tactics, when a sudden force presses on her from above, causing even her godly form to shake from the weight. The Goddess tries to lift a hoof, to take to the air; however the force only increases, the ground beneath the Goddess cracking from the strain as Princess Luna is pushed further and further down. Assessing her situation, Princess Luna looks over to the mare Twilight and her friend Applejack, watching as the two mares’ eyes glow in unison, the farm mare’s Stand wood armored stand to take on a new saddle adorned appearance and drawing out a new power that even now seems to be pushing her into a corner. Years of tactical experience flows through Luna’s brain as she instantly works on not only a way out of the force that is currently crushing her to death, but the reason for the orange mare’s sudden power increase.
“Give it up, Luna,” Twilight says as the Stand Foundation presses the gravity down on Luna harder.
“Yawl don’t stand a chance, now let us out o this crazy dream.” Applejack gestures threateningly at the prone mare.
Luna muses for a second as she watches the two mares move so well together, their focused bodies seeming to move as one. Suddenly, in a flash of inspiration, rare magic technique comes to the forefront of Princess Luna’s mind. “A mind link that boosts one’s power. That is an interesting ability, no doubt.”
The lunar mare grunts heavily, her horn glowing with a dark blue light as a spell charges and spreads across her from. As quickly as it descends the magic dissipates and she spreads her wings as a shockwave of force blows over the ponies like a gust of wind. “But twenty Earths of gravity is nothing here. Gravity has no power over one who has walked the heavens, or have you not had a dream about flight? Adjusting one’s gravity in a dream is foal’s play.”
Twilight and Applejack smirk collectively. “Well, Princess, have you ever had a dream…..”
Applejack points her hoof above the goddess. “….where somethin was fallin’ on yawl?”
Curious, the Princess of the Night looks up to see a large storm of shattered stone and debris falling straight at her head, the force of their fall augmented by the intense gravity of Foundation. Together both mares muster their strength, increasing the force of the gravity even further, sending the storm of masonry speeding towards their foe even faster. Both mares smile at their combined scheme, thousands of tons of Dreamscape rubble flinging towards the Princess faster than she can disperse it, and should the Princess dodge to the side they can rush in from behind and finish her. Both mares coil their hooves, preparing to jump in and attack at the slightest hint weakness, waiting for the Luna to dodge so that they can attack.
However the Lunar monarch does not run, she does not flee to the left or the right; she does not try to run and dodge from such an obstacle. Rather she smiles in the face of a decent challenge. Manifesting her Stand, the Princess primes her hooves and leaps off the ground, plowing right into the center of the hail of boulders.
NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI! NOCTI!
Swinging her hooves like a frenzied fighter the Princess punches the rubble to pieces, the rainbow colors of the Dreamscape’s sky rippling from the force of her every blow. Boulder after boulder is sent flying at the goddess, and blow after blow shatters the rock until it is naught but gravel. The blows continue to fall upon the tons of stone and rubble until no stone bigger than a marble remains, the goddess of the night lowering her wings as she lands with a loud thud on the ground. Every mare in the room looks on the sight of the goddess before them, Twilight and Applejack’s connection dispelling from the shock of the Princess’ overwhelming display of power.
“Huzzah! What a warm up! Our hooves have not had practice like this for millennium.” The Princess cheers on the ground, the shattered remains of the stone crushed into dust from the full bombardment of the entity of the night. “Please kind ponies, if thou are so steadfast in attacking me I suggest ‘upping your game’. Otherwise I shall not even sweat a break!” The Princess of the Night laughs uproariously in cheerful glee, however to the ponies present might as well be their dirge of defeat.
“What-what do we do, Twilight?” Fluttershy quakes in her hooves as she looks at the invincible goddess stretching merrily before her. “How do we fight? How? This- this is a world with no rules.”
Applejack takes a step back. “As much as Ah hate ta admit it, Fluttershy may be right.” Applejack gulps. “This is a world with no rules of any kind! Common sense doesn’t work here! It’s a world in which she can do whatever she wants!”
“She’s truly invincible! There’s no way we can win!” Rarity shivers in terror as she backs away.
The mares are about ready to retreat when they are stopped by the sound of ragged breathing that originates from behind them. Rising from her place in the dirt, Rainbow Dash places a strong hoof on the yellow pegasus’s back. With cool practiced action, she wipes a small dribble of blood from her mouth, her body shivering as she struggles with the pain of her wounds. With a cocky, steady voice she gives her a clear answer that is heard by every pony in the room.
“What do we do?” Dash asks, her face resuming its trademark cocky smile. “That’s easy, we fight anyways. That’s what we do.”
With a tremendous force of will the mare leaps off the ground, the rainbow pegasus readying her Stand to fight. She soars towards the goddess, her eyes burning from resolve. “So you wanted me to up my game? Well here’s my ‘A-game’! Enjoy!”
Luna smiles, her heart pumping furiously and her veins throbbing from the excitement of the fight as well. Raising her wings the cobalt alicorn pushes off the ground. Her wings flapping powerfully across the dreamscape, Luna conjures her Stand, priming her hoof to strike as she rushes on a collision course with the prismatic speedster. “You are quite spirited, Rainbow Dash. Tis not often that I get to face so worthy of an opponent as you. Thoust should make a good warm up after a thousand years of idleness.”
With the roll of thunder the two mares’ hooves collide, the force of the impact pushing against each other as both mares try to shove the other back on wing power alone. Dash smiles back at the cheeky mare in front of her. “Warm-up my flank! By the time I’m through kicking your butt your throne will have to have an ice-bag for your fat flank!
“That I would like to see!” Luna retorts as both mares continue to push harder and harder against each other, both their muscles straining as neither one gives an inch. Suddenly Luna’s Stand raises its other hoof to strike and Dash, who responding in kind, readies her hoof with her Valkyrie’s rainbow aura.
With a monumental explosion both mares punch each other straight in the muzzle, the blow alone sending thunder-intensity shockwaves echoing through the air. The resulting feedback of their own blows ripple through their own bodies impact with deafening force as both mares smash through the walls behind them with tremendous force. The walls crumble to dust behind them as the cracks in the reality of the Dreamscape give way more and more, the dream castle fading into the aether around them. Princess Luna, ever resolute, picks herself out of the rubble, raising her hoof to lick away the blood on her hooves, staining her tongue a dark red as she savors the taste of battle. “Is that the best you have, Dash? Thou thought thou would kick mine flank? With such a pitiful display?”
Dash picks herself from her respective pile of rubble, unable to keep a smile from her face. Despite how much she wanted to escape from this crazy dream world, even though she was fighting for her life, part of Dash didn’t want this fight to end. It was just that awesome. “Heh! Me and my friends are just getting started, Black Snooty!” Dash retorts. “You’re the one whose going to be begging for mercy in ten seconds flat!” With no more words to be said, the rainbow mare rushes back at her opponent, the two of them trading blows yet again as she shockwaves from their punches echo through the Dreamscape.
Yet despite Dash’s bravado it is clear that Luna has the upper hoof. Dodging Dash’s blows by a hair, countering only non-critical areas to keep her opponent standing against the force of her blows, her cool demeanor and her firm guard that blocks Dash’s attacks give every pony watching the fight the impression that the goddess of the night is dominating the fight. Applejack turns to her friends eager to spur them into action against their foe. “Now are we gonna just sit here like louts an let Dashie get the stuffin kicked out of her? Come on and let’s help the gall!” Everypony nods as they all manifest their Stands, each and every one of them putting aside their fear of the Goddess to rush in and help a friend in need.
All save Pinkie Pie, who is grabbed in mid jump by a familiar magical aura. “Not you, Pinkie, I need your help here.” Twilight Sparkle the unicorn adept watches as her four friends attack the Goddess, who is getting respectively faster in response to each blow thrown at her.
“But Twwwwiiiillllliiigggghhhhhtttttttt! My friends need me!” Pinkie whines and struggles against the magical field holding her. “Let! Me! GO!”
The lavender mare sighs as she sets Pinkie on the ground. “I know our friends need our help Pinkie, that’s why I need you to help me think. As much as I hate to admit it I’m not the dream expert, and besides, your ability to think outside the box is perhaps our only hope.” Twilight flinches as she watches Rarity take a strong blow sending her skidding on the floor, only for her to leap up to attack a moment later with a sheik about her mane being ruined. “As you can see, none of our attacks are working against her, and even if they were, she could just leave the Dreamscape if she wanted and we’d lose no matter what, if that happens!”
“She can just leave?” Pinkie asks with a twinge of fear. “A-Are you sure?”
“Remember what she said, Pinkie? She said she was going to leave us here, that means that she could leave us trapped in the dream anytime she wished!” Twilight watches the fight before her with rising worry. “She’s just toying with us, Pinkie, that’s why we need a plan to get out of here, or to force Luna to let us go; and you’re the expert on dreams, so I need your help. THink very hard Pinkie, do you have any idea on how we could escape this dream?”
Pinkie taps her chin as she drums up another of her Pinkie Ideas; all her brainpower focused on finding a weakness in Luna’s power, before giving up and shrugging helplessly. “Sorry Twilight! I got nothin’, It's just too bad, too. Princess Luna seems like a real crazy pants, but I don’t think that she’s a bad guy.” The pink mare watches the cobalt goddess as she takes one of Applejack’s powerful bucks only for the goddess to bounce back from the blow a second later. “Plus, from what you said Princess Celestia is really worried about her, if only we could make friends with her……”
A lightbulb goes on above the unicorn’s head, her brain churning with a rapidly forming idea. “That’s it! Pinkie, I have an idea. Remember how I beat Dash in the first place? I just have to show Luna like I showed Dash that we aren’t her enemies!” The lavender mare’s optimistic demeanor returns as she pats Pinkie on the head. “Thanks for the lightbulb by the way, Pinkie. It always helps me come up with ideas.”
The pink mare smiles as she turns the light bulb back into felt before placing the felt in her mane. “No problem, Twilight, I’m always happy to help with metaphorical gags!”
Twilight nods as she puts her large brain to use in working the kinks out of her plan. “Alright, if this is going to work at all I need to get into point blank range with the Princess. First, I need to get past her guard so she can’t defend herself, but Luna’s defenses are too strong to just wink in with teleporting.”
The lavender mare muses as she analyzes the Princess of the Night’s fighting style. “In order to get in I’ll need a distraction and an attack that is capable of blowing past her guard. But she took Applejack’s and my attack like it was nothing; I’d need an incredibly destructive Stand power even give me the chance to get into her range.”
As if summoned by fate, Rainbow Dash lands with a thud at Twilight’s hooves, her head spinning as she tries to right her sense of balance. Both mares look down at Dash then back at each other as Pinkie smiles sheepishly.
“Pinkie, NO.” Twilight waves her hooves. “Absolutely, NO.”
“Aw come on, Twilight! Why not?”
“Pinkie, were you even there the last time we combined powers?” Twilight extends her hooves in exasperation. “It blew a hole in the library wall! And I personally enchanted the wood to be stronger than steel! Dash’s power nearly killed us and you want us to fire it off like this?!”
“But you said that you needed a Stand with a lot of destructive power.” Pinkie picks up the dazed cerulean mare with her hooves, presenting her to Twilight like a lost puppy. “And no Stand is more destructive than Dashie’s.”
“After what happened to my library!? Do we have to?” Twilight whines, knowing there is really no way around it. “Grah, fine. Dash, come here.”
“Who’s that, what?” the speedster says woozily.
Twilight sighs as she ignites her horn, filling Dash’s vision with lavender light. Not a second later the rainbow mare comes to, shaking her head to get out the last remnants of the fog from her mind. “Twilight! Mare am I glad that you are okay!” Dash turns back to the goddess of the night with a fierce look on her face. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to shove my hoof up some pony’s flank.”
Dash tries to fly off only for her tail to be grabbed by Twilight’s telekinesis, much to Dash’s frustration at being dragged back to earth. Placing the gouchy blue mare gently on the floor Twilight clears her throat. “I know Dash, I know, that’s why I need you to……”
The lavender mare’s voice drones out, much to Dash’s disappointment. “What was that? Speak up, Egghead. Princess Snooty’s flank isn’t going to kick itself.”
“I need you to fuse with me!” Twilight blurts out.
“We’re fusing?” Dash asks. “But didn’t you say that my power was way too…..”
Twilight places her hooves over Rainbow’s trap. “I know what I said. But there’s no time to talk. Let’s fuse. Preferably before I change my mind.”
Dash looks at the mare in front of her for a second before she breaks out in a cocky grin. “About time. All this warming up, and I couldn’t bring out the big guns till now.” Dash looks over at the Lunar Princess “Well if my A-game didn’t do anything, I guess it’s time for my A+ game!”
A short distance away, breathing heavily from exertion that would drop a normal pony, the Monarch of the Night stands victorious. Her foes, defeated and unconscious, lie at her hooves bested in glorious battle. And though they all attacked as one with flawless teamwork, none could stand against her and her divine power. Her breath returning to its normal rate, the Princess grins; it had been a long time since she had enjoyed a fight this much. Perhaps once things cool over she and that rainbow-maned one, Dash, could spar again. And perhaps next time the speedster might be able to actually wind her.
Luna stops as she looks at the ponies around her. “Wait, where is that Dash mare? She couldn’t have vanished, could she? Thoust knowest she wouldn’t have fled from such a glorious battle.” Princess Luna watches as the other three unconscious mares disappear in a flash of lavender light. Raising her head towards the origins of the teleportation, Luna smiles as she comes face to face with her sister’s protégé, and the brave warrior Dash, standing fast and ready to fight.
“Alright, Black Snooty!” Dash points her hoof at the Princess. “Listen, it’s been great and all, this little dream showdown.” The blue mare yawns. “But I’m afraid it’s past my bedtime, so I’m gonna beat you down so I can get some real sleep.”
“Interesting.” The Princess of the Moon readies herself “It seems that you still have some spirit left. Very well, I too have grown tired of this warming-up. Come, let us see how strong your power can become. I take it that you and Twilight will be performing that mind link trick you used on the orange farm mare.”
Luna spreads her wings, her Stand manifesting itself as she readies for Twilight and Rainbow's combination attack. “However it makes no difference! Your best attacks shall break upon mine coat like water on the cliffside, and once thus defeated you shalt reveal mine sister’s plotting schemes to me so we might thwart her twisted ambitions!”
Twilight however can’t help but smile at Luna’s predictability as she readies her own Stand. “Luna, I know it, I know what your next line is,” Twilight exclaims as her Stand reaches over to touch Dash’s arm. “Your next line is…”
The two ponies connect, their eyes glowing as Dash finishes the line. “……Bring it on, I shall be the one to blow you away!”
“Bring it on! I shall be the one to… What!?” Luna states in awe.
“And the line after that is….” Dash says as the rainbow aura peels off her hooves, its prismatic energy taking on a new form as Dash and Twilight’s eyes begin to radiate with a white glow.
“…..How didst thou predict mine words?! What sorcery is this!?” Twilight exclaims as Twilight’s Stand bends and buckles, it’s star spangled pony-like shape taking a far more humble form.
“How didst thou predict mine words!?” Luna snaps as her guard begins to break down. “What sorcery is this?!”
“WHAT!?!” Luna exclaims as she watches the rainbow-formed Stand change shape into a simple ribbon of seven colors. Twilight and Dash can’t help but smirk as the rainbow ribbon takes its complete form, its sleek, lithe shape revealing its radiant beauty as it circles around the two mares who stand before the Princess of the Night. Appearing as no more than a simple rainbow sthe stand circles about the air it’s boundless and eternal from coling like a serpent about to strike.
“Can-can it be?” Luna stutters as she tries to back away from the sentient rainbow that orbits the two mares. “The mythical Rainbow of Light? It exists?!”
Suddenly, faster than the alicorn's eyes can follow, the rainbow arches up into the air, its speed unrivaled by any earthly thing as it comes crashing down directly on the alicorn’s head. The Princess watches in part fear and part awe as the majestic beam of light speeds towards her at 299,792,458 meters per second. Faster than it takes for light to circle the earth nine times, the rainbow hits the royal point blank, her Stand’s armor shredded by the sheer force of the blow as the rainbow seems to rake across her stand’s very essence. Light of the purest white courses over the Princess, the shockwave of the blow resounding through her solid frame like a jackhammer, as the prismatic light melds together producing a terrible explosion of prismatic light.
Then, just as quickly as it struck the rainbow disperses, reduced back to ordinary light by its sudden explosion of power, leaving behind only a steaming crater where Princess Luna once stood. Twilight and Rainbow Dash collapse on the ground, completely exhausted by their sudden last burst of power as they gasp for air. For a moment it looks as though, after all their efforts, it is finally over: no living creature could survive such an onslaught, surely anything struck with such destructive force must have been defeated without the shadow of a doubt.
Yet the night is not so easily vanquished.
Rising from the mist with a dreadful mien, her breath ragged, her pelt scorched, her mane disheveled and her body bruised, the Goddess of the Night picks herself out of the dirt as she emerges from the dust. The goddess’s horn ignites with powerful magic and the power of her Stand as she pours the magic of the Dreamscape around her into her wounds. Princess Luna watches with gratitude as her wounds evaporate, her body healing itself at an exponential rate as she rises to her hooves. “I truly commend you both, that was a devastating attack. Were we in the real world even I would have been unable to defend against it, even with my strongest shield. I was a fool to try and take such an attack head on with no magical defenses.”
Spying Rainbow Dash lying off to the side, the Princess of the Night continues to channel her healing magic and the power of the Dreamscape towards patching her wounds as she advances menacingly on her. Dash, utterly exhausted in every sense of the word, lies prone on the ground, unable to move in the slightest as the Princess of the Night stomps closer. “But as I said before, in this world I cannot be felled. No physical blow can harm me.”
The lunar monarch, her peerless senses so occupied on the cerulean mare before, fails to notice the lavender mare falling from the sky right on top of her. Luna turns her head just in time to see Twilight Sparkle grasp onto her with her hooves with an iron clasp. Twilight grins in the Princess’ face as she manifests her Stand. “Well then, it’s good that my stand doesn't inflict physical blows now isn’t it?!”
With practiced precision Twilight touches the Princess with her Stand, pouring all her power into making a link, no matter how tumultuous, between the two mares. Before either mare can adjust to the suddenness of the mind link, of their two minds coming in contact, both double over in pain as their minds scrape against each other like sandpaper on a chalkboard.
In contrast to the link between Twilight and Dash that had created a link os such harmony, the link between Twilight and the Princess of the Night is forced, artificial, and the strain of both minds pushing against each other create mental agony. Both mares writhe on the ground, their minds each struggling for control and dominance over the other, Twilight struggling to show the Princess her good intentions and Luna trying with all her might to destroy the invader that would violate her mind. Twilight tries to show the Princess that she is not a pony to be feared, but Princess Luna pushes against the lavender mare with all her strength as they each vie for mental supremacy over the other.
“N-No…..” Twilight whispers, “N-Not yet…… can’t let it, end like this…..”
With phenomenal willpower the lavender mare holds onto the Goddess, her mind blazing with pain, begging the purple unicorn with every throb of pain that passes between them to let the bond break. Yet just as the lavender mare is about to collapse, a familiar and old memory enters the minds of the two mares at once, as pure white fills their respective visions.
Two minds scream as one, both falling through the shifting void in front of them. Their perceptions stretch and bend as they try to make sense of their surroundings. Suddenly the lavender mare and the azure goddess land belly-first on a cold tile floor. The room around them though regal and well adorned is empty and devoid of anypony. Yet the room itself seems to give the presence and warmth of a sunrise at the end of a dark night. The white tapestries emblazoned with the golden stitching of the Sun Princess flutter in the cold night air, the brilliant moon shining through the window and reflecting off the white-washed tile. However all these small details are currently lost on the two mares as they struggle to pull the pieces of their rattled minds together.
“Ow, my aching head……” Twilight rubs her horn as she slowly picks herself off the ground. “Where… where are we?”
“You do not know where we are, Twilight?” Luna says, rising to her hooves prepared to fight. “We thought that you had better control of thy powers, but it seems that we were mistaken.” The Princess of the Night, unused to being taken anywhere against her will, stomps on the illusionary floor with such force Twilight fears it may shatter. “Now deliver us forth from this room!”
“I don’t know where we are, Princess.” She rubs her sore horn some more. “The last time this happened, I landed in Dash’s memory and saw something that she remembered from a long time ago.”
“Then how did thou escape last time from the shifting world of memories? And whose mind have we landed in?” The Lunar Princess looks uncomfortably off to the side. “We are not comfortable with you sifting through our memories like this.”
“Look I don’t know how to get out. Last time it sort of happened by……”
Twilight’s words are cut off at the sound of a creaky door opening behind the two visitors to the past. Both mares turn to the source of the sound to see a small filly and the majestic monarch of the sun enter the room, the filly balancing a medium-sized box in her telekinesis.
“Wait, I know where we are now!” Twilight exclaims in sudden realization. “We’re in MY memories. I remember this! This is the night I finally convinced Celestia to stay up stargazing with me. And this is Celestia’s room at the castle!”
“This is Celly’s room?” Luna’s eyes gaze at the paper-filled monstrosity of a desk, the rumpled sheets and the stacks upon stacks of romance novels piling in the corner of the room. “My sister’s tastes have certainly changed in these past thousand years. In the past she would never have let a room get this messy, and she would have never have had a room with so few booby traps. What if somepony decided to try and fill her bed with acid in the middle of the night?”
Twilight opens her mouth to berate her on the effectiveness of the royal guard in protecting their Princess when she is curtly cut off by her past self.
“Yeah! We’re finally going stargazing!” the little filly Twilight hums, “For some reason princess Celestia you don’t seem to stargaze very often. And since I got this nifty telescope, tonight is the perfect night for to do it together.”
“That’s because I raise the sun, Twilight. If you didn’t know already, I’m more of a morning pony than a night owl. But I did promise you one activity of your choice, so stargazing it is.” Celestia leans in to whisper in the ear of her student mischievously. “However, that’s only if you keep your end of our little arrangement.”
“Don’t worry, Princess. You taught me to never go back on my word, remember? Even though my dad caught you with icing on your crown, I’ll claim that I ate my entire birthday cake, no matter how many times he asks!” Twilight hops and skips through the room, eager to spend time with her most favorite pony in the world. “I’m just glad that you want to spend time with me, for a moment I thought…….”
“Hum?” Celestia stops in her tracks. “Thought what, Twilight?”
“Well, it’s just sometimes…..” The lavender filly rubs her foreleg, as if ashamed to talk about a sensitive topic. “I mean, what you do is so important and everything but I’m, well, not. I mean, you move the sun and the moon and run a kingdom that hasn’t ever seen a war or had a major disaster in hundreds of years! I just feel that sometimes I am wasting your time with looking at stars and stuff.”
“Twilight Sparkle!” Celestia shouts in her most authoritarian teacher voice, “I can assure you that I love spending time with you; you aren’t a bother in the slightest.” The celestial monarch pulls her student into an embrace. “And I couldn’t be prouder to have such a smart young mare as my student.”
“I know that….” the filly begins, “it’s just that I, well, it’s silly, but I can’t help but think that well that you only made me your student for some ulterior motive or something. Pretty stupid, hunh?”
At Twilight’s words the monarch stops, her cheerfulness beginning to erode as she takes on a much more serious tone of voice. “….Tell me, do you know why I chose you as my student, Twilight Sparkle?”
The filly tilts her head. “Because my grades were the best in all of Canterlot?”
Celestia chuckles. “Well, that certainly helped matters; your knowledge of the arcane and your passion for learning are phenomenal for your age. I can’t remember the last student who simply loved learning and magic as much as you.”
The solar monarch picks up the filly in her telekinesis, causing the lavender filly to flail about in the air for a bit. Celestia lets loose a small burst of laughter as she lies down on her bed, cuddling into the bedspread in preparation for a long story. Placing the filly on the covers between her forelegs, the monarch begins her tale. “Do you remember the qualifying test for the magical exams? Where everypony was required to bring something to prove their magical talent?”
The little filly nods, her face the exact picture of a perplexed little filly waiting on an answer only the teacher can give.
“That was only a year ago,” the monarch reminisces with pride, “but to tell you the truth, I can’t even remember what everypony else brought and did. It was all the same things that I had ever seen, self-righteous nobles trying to fluff up their sons and daughters with petty performances to show how much better they were than the competition.”
Poking her student gently in the tummy, the monarch smiles at the accomplishment of her student. “Except for you, Twilight. The moment I heard what you had brought and why you had made it, I knew you were the one pony I knew would be the best student I would ever had the pleasure of teaching.”
Twilight sags. “And I brought a plant……” Only for her to perk up a second later. “Wait, you mean my lunar flower? But you rushed out of the hall right after. I thought you hated it!”
Celestia places a soft hoof on the lavender unicorn’s head. “No, Twilight, it was the greatest gift that I remember receiving for over a thousand years. It was then that I knew that you were the one I needed, the one pony who would be my greatest apprentice.”
Twilight gapes, almost unable to understand Celestia’s reasoning as the goddess continues without a hitch. “The reason I had to leave the hall is because it moved me, the monarch of the sun, to tears.” Celestia smiles gently. “And if I was seen crying by a bunch of little fillies, somepony might have hesitated to become my apprentice.” Celestia and Twilight chuckle at the thought of Celestia crying in front of an entire audience, Celestia’s cheerful demeanor returning with every giggle.
“I’ll never forget what you said.” Celestia closes her eyes, her millennia-old mind recalling a simple child’s project, yet the smile on her face makes one think that she were remembering the secret to eternal life. “You had heard about how, once upon a time, a demon had been banished to the moon, a demon known as Nightmare Moon. So you had spent weeks and weeks making a plant that could survive the cold chilling vacuum of space. However it was what you said in that moment that let me know just what a kind and noble filly you were.”
“You said, and I quote, ‘Well if I was all alone trapped on the moon for thousands of years, I’d be pretty lonely. So I thought that If she had something to take care of, like this flower she wouldn’t be so lonely. I mean, even if she did something really bad I bet she’d still get lonely and sad, and who knows, maybe she could be nice if somepony got to know her.’”
The stunned lunar monarch turns to the adult Twilight Sparkle, her face a mask of disbelief and joy. “You….. you were the one who sent those Ambrosia flowers? I remember those even when I was devoured by a nightmare…… that, that was you?”
Twilight rubs the back of her head in embarrassment. “Well, we all do pretty silly things when we’re fowls. I never really tested them so they probably just died anyways.”
“No, they didn’t!” the Lunar Princess claims, “in fact I loved them, they were one of the first things that I had to eat in a thousand years! And since they grew like weeds I was able to eat a full meal without worry for the first time in ages.” With all of the grace a Princess can muster, the previous mare in the moon bows curtly. “Twilight Sparkle, I thank you. I thank you for such bestowing a treasure on mine self.”
The lavender mare waves her hooves with embarrassment. “It’s like I said, it was nothing, just a random gift, there’s no reason to get all worked up about it.”
Luna’s further protests are cut off as the memory of her sister clears her throat, drawing both of their gazes to Twilight’s memory of the Goddess of the Sun. The solar monarch brushes a sole tear from her eye as she resumes her praise of her student. “You, a little pony in the prime of her life, were willing to slave away to make a priceless gift for a pony that was vilified as a monster for a thousand years. It was then I knew that, out of all the ponies in Equestria, you were the one I wanted as a student.”
Celestia smiles as she looks out of the window at the dark and scarred moon outside, emblazoned with the face of a dark alicorn. “If only I was as kind and considerate as you are, Twilight, then maybe, maybe it wouldn’t have been necessary to seal Nightmare Moon away. Had I been more patient, and listened to her when I had the chance, then perhaps the world would have been a much better place.”
The little filly’s eyes pop out of her head as she looks at her starstruck mentor before her, unwilling to believe that she is regretting her most famous victory aside from her defeat of Discord. Surely she can’t regret vanquishing the demon that tried to destroy the world? “But that was a good thing, right? Banishing Nightmare Moon and imprisoning her on the moon saved all Equestria. I mean, that was before I found out that Nightmare Moon tried to kill everypony on the planet!” Twilight yells, extending her hooves to the heavens. “She’s big, scary and a big fat…”
“Nightmare Moon is my sister.”
“…..Nice pony to be around!” Twilight finishes. “Also, WHAT?! How could a pony like Nightmare Moon be…… Princess, are you crying?”
Present Twilight and Luna both watch the scene before them as the monarch of the sun begins to visibly weep, her mask of perfect calm breaking before the filly in front of her. Luna stands visibly affected, her eyes watering as both sisters, who have inflicted so much pain on each other, for the very first time cry together.
“P-Princess? Why are you crying? Was it something that I said?”
Realizing that her student is clearly in distress, the monarch of the sun quickly brushes off her tears, however her sorrowful demeanor remains. “I’m sorry, Twilight I didn’t mean to bother you with my problems. It’s just that, well, I may have not been entirely truthful when I said that I chose you as my student without an ulterior motive.”
“Y-You mean that you really don’t want me to be your apprentice?” Twilight gasps in fear as her eyes begin to fill with tears. “It was all a big joke?”
“No, Twilight! In fact, it was because of those reasons that I knew that you were the only one who could help me.” Celestia quickly reassures her student, brushing her mane with her hoof in a calming manner. “You are the kindest, gentlest, most considerate mare that I have ever met, and I would never regret taking you on as a student,” the Princess claims with complete honesty as she brushes the errant tears out of Twilight’s eyes. “Not only that, but your understanding of magical theory incredibly advanced and is growing by the day; perhaps in time your knowledge of magic will be equal to my own.”
The celestial monarch gently pushes the filly’s muzzle upwards so that she is looking directly in her eyes. “And that is why I needed you, Twilight. I have discovered a way in which I can save my sister from herself. But I need the help of a smart and caring mare like you, a mare who was willing to give a thoughtful gift to a pony that she had never even met.”
The filly fidgets in the arms of the solar monarch, doubtless confused by her teacher’s rapid changes in mood. “I-I don’t understand?”
Celestia watches her student, her newfound uncertainty as clear as day break to the experienced monarch. “Let’s put it this way, if your brother Shining Armor and you got in a fight, would you do anything to set things right between you two?”
Without a second’s hesitation the filly nods emphatically. “Good, and that is why I need your help, Twilight,” Celestia claims. “I need you, Twilight Sparkle, to help me make things right between me and my sister, between me and her.”
“I-I-I made a mistake, Twilight,” Celestia admits with shame as she looks sorrowfully out at the moon, her wounds still as fresh as the day she and her sister were separated. “I chose the world over my own sister without a second’s thought. It was more painful than death, but I thought that I had made the right decision; but when I listened to her claims and studied the Holy Cor..…. I mean, when I learned what I had really done to her, I realized that she was right.”
Celestia bows her head, the weight of her shame overcoming her strength. “I chose them over her, I abused my position as a ruler, and more horribly I abused a power that was not mine even when I knew that all magic has consequences. And because of it, I lost someone irreplaceable to me.”
“Twilight, I do not ask this easily, and I do not demand it as your ruler or your mentor or an immortal ruler of the sun.” Discarding her poise and discipline the goddess kneels before the filly Twilight Sparkle, her heart bare and her secrets exposed. “No, in fact I am begging you, as a sister who has made a terrible, awful mistake. I make this request of you as a pony that has hurt somepony she loves.”
Every mare in the room, both past and present, look on the solar goddess completely stunned. Each and every pony watching as small rivers form on the muzzle of the most powerful creature short of Discord to ever walk the mortal plane, crying in front of a powerless filly, begging for help.
“Will you help me?” Celestia wails, “Will you be willing to pour years of your life into atoning for a mistake that I have made? For a crime that I have committed? Would you be willing to sacrifice time that should be spent with family and friends, slaving away for a broken old mare such as me? Even knowing that nopony else would ever learn of your sacrifice? Would you……”
A warm small pair of forelegs envelops the large neck of the goddess, the immortal goddess recovering from the shock as a little filly looks up into the eyes of her hero. Celestia looks down in surprise, the filly’s tears mixing with her own. “….you had me at ‘ruler of the sun’, Princess. Of course I’d help you.”
No words need be said, no words could describe the complete pricelessness of the moment. For both the Twilight of the past and the Twilight of the present, this moment will always hold a place inside her heart. Whenever she will doubt whether or not her mentor is a pony to follow, whether Celestia is somepony that she can look up to, she will look here to this very moment in her memories and say ‘YES’ without a shadow of a doubt. Because in her heart of hearts Twilight knows that, deep down, Princess Celestia is a pony like any other, a pony who strives towards the best for her little ponies, a pony who loves and cares, a pony who never stops fighting for what is right.
As for the other pony in Twilight’s mind, the cold Princess of the Night, she has been bawling her eyes out for what must be minutes now. Her mind in complete turmoil as every suspicious thought, every hateful word and distrustful view she ever had about her sister in her thousand year isolation is blown to shreds by a picture of overwhelming Love.
“She……” Luna sobs, snot and tears running down the muzzle of the goddess, “She loved me……. She never stopped…… Loving me…..”
Both mares look on the scene before them and, in a flash of white light as the connection ends, the heartwarming memory fades back to the black.