• Published 29th Sep 2013
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Midnight Star: The Frozen Empire - Nebula Star

Midnight Star was given a second chance to be happy without the horrors of her memories; but those memories were never truly gone. They are only the beggining of her struggles however, Equestria is about to face a new threat; The Frozen Empire

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Chapter 1: Nightmares

Author's Note:

This is a sequel and in this case it is best if you first read Midnight Star

Midnight Star: The Frozen Empire
By Nebula Star

Part 1: Shadows of the Past
Chapter 1: Nightmares

With a gasp, a deep purple unicorn mare woke from her restless sleep. Her body was covered in a cold sweat and she laid there a moment gasping for breath as her mind slowly took in her familiar surroundings. Then she closed her eyes.

“Another nightmare,” Midnight Star said softly to herself. With some effort she got her breathing under control and worked to slow her racing heart. She was getting tired of this; it had been nearly four weeks now and the nightmares only seemed to be getting worse.

She wasn't sure what had started them; she couldn't even remember what they were about exactly. What she remembered of them was vague, blurry. All she knew was that there was a lot of suffering in them. And in every one, she seemed to be the one causing the suffering.

Midnight laid back a few moments more trying to calm herself enough to fall back asleep, but she knew it was a futile effort. Finally with a sigh she rolled out of bed. Sunrise wasn't far off.

Her bedroom was small but well furnished, she'd never wanted for anything. But then when your mother is a princess, that's to be expected. This was her own house though, she'd bought it and moved in a little over a year ago. Twilight had been disappointed to see her go but she'd also understood. Midnight had enjoyed her years at the library but after nearly eight years living in a makeshift bedroom in the basement, she'd needed to get out.

Besides, it wasn't like she'd gone far. The house was a small one on the edge of Ponyville, less than a two minute flight from the Library for Twilight and only a short walk for her.

Finally getting her breathing back to normal, Midnight started toward the short hall that led to the entry room. As she did though she caught her reflection in her bedroom stand mirror.

“Horse-feathers!” She cursed. The reflection she saw looking back at her was the same purple mare with a cutie mark in the shape of a cluster of stars, the large center star silver and five surrounding stars red, but it wasn't her normal mane that she saw, and it wasn't her tail. Instead they had been replaced with flowing energy of such a dark indigo they were almost black, speckled with countless shimmering stars.

They were her mane and tail; she'd earned them. But she wasn't about to show them in public. The only ponies that had ever had such a mane and tail before were alicorns and for a unicorn to have them would certainly draw attention.

Such a mane and tail appeared when the amount of magic the pony's body produced far exceeded the amount they naturally used, and so the excess drifted off of them, transforming their mane and tail as a side effect. Focusing she felt the flow of magic leaving her body and carefully cut it off, containing the magic within her. Immediately the flowing star-fields faded away and her normal mane and tail returned. They were still an almost-black indigo, but they were normal hair with red and purple stripes.

Midnight stared at her reflection a few moments more, slightly disturbed. She'd never lost control of her mane and tail before. Ever since the day they'd first appeared, she'd always been able to keep them hidden, even while sleeping. Her other nightmares had not caused her to lose control like that. The nightmares were definitely getting worse.

Finally she turned away from the mirror and headed out to the entry room. With a bit of magic she opened the front door and went out into the night.

She'd always felt at home in the night. Even when she was young she'd never been afraid of the dark. The night may belong to Luna, but she was glad to share in its beauty. And this night was as lovely as the countless others she'd enjoyed over the years.

Following a familiar path she soon found herself on a small hill just outside of Ponyville, and there she gazed up into the sky and tried to find peace in its serenity.

She wasn't there long though, before she felt a familiar presence and saw a soft glow coming from behind her. Midnight smiled. “If you really want to sneak up on somepony, you really should hide that mane and tail of yours, mom.”

“Now why would I want to sneak up on you?” Twilight Sparkle said softly as she stepped up beside Midnight and giving her daughter a smile. Since everypony knew about it by now, she no longer bothered to hide her ethereal mane and tail. “What are you doing out here, Midnight?” She asked gently.

With a sigh, Midnight looked back up at the stars. “I just couldn't sleep.” She said, not really wanting to talk about her nightmares. “What about you? What brings you out here?”

Twilight gave her a knowing smile. “I couldn't sleep either.”

Midnight snorted in disbelief. “Mom, you and I both know that when you can't sleep, you study,” she said rolling her eyes. “So why are you really out here?”

“Alright; you got me,” Twilight said just continuing to smile knowingly. “I sensed a powerful surge of magic from this side of town...”

Midnight winced. She should have known that if the nightmare had made her lose control of her mane and tail, that it had likely caused other involuntary reactions as well, and nopony was as attuned to magic as her mother. Even her own attunement was nowhere near as advanced as Twilight's.

“So why couldn't you sleep, Midnight?” Twilight asked, motherly concern touching her voice.

There was no use trying to hide it, she knew Twilight wouldn't let it go until she got an answer. “I had a nightmare,” Midnight said with a sigh.

“A nightmare?” Twilight repeated. “You haven't had trouble with nightmares since you were ten.”

“I know.”

“What was it about?”

Midnight shook her head. “I don't remember...”

Twilight looked at her a few moments concerned. “This isn't the first is it,” she said, not really a question.

“No,” Midnight admitted knowing it would be no use denying it. “I've been having them every few nights since the hydra attack.”

Twilight winced reminded of the incident. “I still wish you would have waited for me to handle that,” she said softly.

“You were ten minutes flight away!” Midnight objected. “If I hadn't acted when I did, somepony could have gotten hurt!”

“I know, I know,” Twilight said putting one wing around her in a gentle hug. “You did the right thing, but that doesn't mean your actions were without... complications.”

“Yeah, I know” Midnight said with a sigh. “I'm the first unicorn in recorded history to have an ethereal mane and tail.”

“Yes, but you were able to keep that a secret,” Twilight reminded her. “The real problem is that some of the ponies in town are starting to wonder just how powerful you are. If they were to find out...”

“...That there's unicorn that is more powerful than Celestia, it would be rather humiliating to the princesses; I know.” Midnight finished for her. In truth she was a little tired of always restraining herself, of having to hide her true strength.

“It wouldn't just be humiliating for them, Midnight. If ponies were to find out that a unicorn, even one as talented as you, has become more powerful than Celestia and Luna, it could cause them to lose faith in Celestia and Luna's ability to protect Equestria.”

Midnight sighed. “I know... it's just, sometimes I want to show everypony what I can do. You know? Let them see the real me.”

Twilight hugged her gently with her wing. “I know, and maybe someday you'll be able to, but for now it's important that you keep your powers hidden.”

“For the good of Equestria?” Midnight asked softly.

“Exactly,” Twilight said with a nod.

With another sigh Midnight looked back up at the stars and together they watched the silent beauty of the twinkling stars for a few moments.

“About your nightmares,” Twilight said breaking the silence; “you said they started right after the hydra attack. Could that be the cause?”

Midnight shook her head. “No, the nightmares have nothing to do with the hydra.”

“You said you couldn't remember them.”

“I know, but... I'm sure that they're not about the hydra. That wouldn't scare me.”

Twilight nodded accepting that, Midnight had proven that she wasn't afraid of such monsters. “Do you have any idea at all what the nightmares are about?”

“No, the only thing I can remember when I wake is that there was a lot of suffering...” She trailed off, not wanting to say the rest.

Twilight looked over at her concerned, seeming to sense there was more Midnight wasn't telling her. “Well, if you want to talk about it, I'm not far away.”

Midnight smiled. “I've been tempted to ask Luna to help me out like she did when I was little.”

“I'm sure she would if you asked her,” Twilight assured her. “With her talent for dream-walking she'd probably be better able to help than me. There's nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.”

She laughed softly to herself. “Why is it whenever we talk about something important, I always end up feeling like a filly again.”

Twilight smiled. “A daughter will always be a filly in her mother's eyes,” she said softly giving her daughter another squeeze.

“Yeah, well it also doesn't help that you're still taller than me,” Midnight said looking up at her. Midnight was in no way short, but Twilight still stood a good head taller than her. She was growing. Even while Midnight was growing up, Twilight had been growing into her alicorn stature; and though Celestia had told her it would be another twenty years or so before she matched the Royal Sisters, she was already nearly as tall as Cadence.

“Well if you ever want to match my height, you'll just have to become an alicorn yourself,” Twilight joked.

Midnight laughed. “Yeah, I guess I'll have to,” she said laughing, but then Twilight gave her a much more somber look.

“I really hope you do, Midnight... It's going to be hard enough losing my friends; I don't think I could bear losing my daughter,” she said softly, holding Midnight tight.

“I know, mom,” Midnight said just as softly leaning into her mother's embrace. “It's not exactly an easy thing to do, though.”

Twilight smiled. “I know, but you're well on your way. You've got three great friends that have helped you learn all about friendship, and once you understand friendship, it's only a small step to truly understand harmony as well.”

Midnight smiled. “You make it sound so easy.”

“The hard part is taking that understanding to heart.”

She snorted. “Knew there was a catch.”

“You'll get there. I'm sure of it,” Twilight said confidently. “It may be selfish of me to want you to become an alicorn so that I won't lose you, but I want it for your sake as well. If I could, I'd help everypony in Equestria ascend...”

“I think that would cause some population issues if everpony were immortal alicorns.” Midnight said with a grin, and Twilight had to laugh softly as well.

“I suppose it would,” she admitted, then sighed. “Perhaps I'm wishing for too much.”

Midnight smiled and tucked her head against her mother's neck. “I think being immortal would be difficult for me too, but then at least we'd have each other.”

Twilight smiled and held her daughter close for a few moments, watching the stars as the sky slowly began to brighten with the glow of the coming sunrise. Again, it was Twilight that broke the silence.

“Speaking of your friends, what have you been up to lately? I've seen you heading out into the forest rather frequently.”

“We like it out there, it's quite and nopony ever bothers us,” She answered with a shrug.

“And why would you not want to be 'bothered' by anypony?” Twilight asked and Midnight almost laughed at what she was implying. Two of Midnight's friends were stallions after all.

“Mom! It's nothing like that. We just like to get away sometimes. Most the time I just practice my magic while Copper works on whatever project he's got going, and Wind and Sky usually just fly around and exercise their wings.”

“Okay, okay, I believe you,” Twilight said with a smile. “The forest isn't exactly safe though.”

Midnight rolled her eyes. “Mom, I fought off a hydra by myself. We're not exactly afraid of a few timber wolves.”

“I suppose that's true.” Twilight smiled looking proud. “So, what have you been working on with your magic?”

“Well lately I've been trying to make an enchantment spell that will draw magic from the pony wearing the enchanted item when activated, basically letting pegasi or earth ponies use their magic for a specific spell,” Midnight told her.

Twilight looked at her seeming surprised. “Have you gotten it to work?”

Midnight sighed. “Well, not completely. I've been trying to make it work with a simple levitation spell and Sky's been testing them for me. I managed make the spell so it does draw magic from Sky when she's wearing the necklace, but I'm still in control of the spell, not Sky.”

“I see, so you have to find a way to transfer control of the spell to the wearer... even so, that you've made a spell that draws magic from another pony is still impressive, Midnight. You definitely have a talent for magic.”

Midnight smiled. “I think that's well established by now. After all, our cutie marks are almost the same and everypony knows your talent is in magic.”

“True,” Twilight admitted smiling. “So you think you'll be able to get it to work? Maybe I could help? It sounds quite interesting.”

“Maybe, I'll show you what I have so far when we get together on Tuesday,” Midnight told her. Though she hadn't been given any lands to rule over, Twilight had far more responsibilities and demands on her time these days; but they had still managed to schedule a couple days a week to spend some time studying together.

“Alright. I'll look forward to seeing what you've accomplished.”

The horizon was growing brighter now, the sunrise was moments away. Midnight smiled watching as the sky lightened resembling Twilight's mane and tail quite closely. “Looks like twilight's almost over...” she said giving her mother a grin.

“Well midnight was over hours ago, so there.” Twilight retorted, smiling. She gave her daughter a squeeze and just then the brilliant yellow disc of the morning sun broke the horizon as Celestia raised it to begin a new day.

Midnight grinned and looked over at her mother. “What do you think Celestia would do if I stopped her from raising the sun?”

Twilight couldn't help laughing at the thought. “Don't you dare!”