• Published 3rd Apr 2014
  • 4,472 Views, 153 Comments

The Dark Side Of The Sun - ocalhoun

Celestia will always struggle with the pain and shame of what happened that fateful night, but it's nothing compared to what happened next.

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Chapter 1 ~ Monsters In The Night

My face slammed into the throne room's floor. I could feel every speck of grit digging into my cheek. An armored blue horseshoe crashed into my skull, just behind my ears. It smashed me down into the marble with the full weight of a deranged alicorn behind it.

I struggled, straining against the crushing pressure holding me down, but I had no leverage, and the smooth floor offered no traction.

My sister's face dropped down to my level, her pitch-black fur and slitted eyes filling my view. She drew in even closer. “Had enough, Celestia? Or do I need to–” she licked her lips “–finish it?” Her eyes flashed along with a bolt of lightning outside.

My chest heaved. A deep ache shot through my jawbone where it ground against the unforgiving stone floor, but I couldn't let it end now. I struck out with a hind leg, kicking my sister's feet out from under her.

The floor cracked where Nightmare smashed into it.

I twisted myself up to my feet. My eye twitched as I felt the gash along my side tear open wider, but I managed to keep my composure, despite the wound my sister's sharpened armor had given me. “No, you don't have to do this. You can still stop, even now. We've been through worse, Luna. We can work this out.”

Nightmare rose to her feet and hissed, her horn leveled at me. “I told you not to call me that!” She lunged and only barely missed impaling my neck. “My name is Nightmare Moon!”

I unleashed a wave of magic to shove her away.

Thousands of years' worth of stained glass shattered outward behind Nightmare as she skidded away. She didn't even glance at it. Her horn glowed, and she slung a writhing tangle of impossibly black energy toward me.

I batted aside the attack with another blast of pure force. It splattered against the wall behind me, devouring a priceless tapestry in black flames.

“I will never allow you to do this, Sister.”

Nightmare froze, letting her next arcane attack fizzle out to nothing. She glared at me.

The slitted eyes staring into my own chilled my spine. I wondered what had happened to my loving sister. Where had this monster come from? I tensed as Nightmare crept up to me. Most importantly, what was she doing now? Had something I said gotten through to her?

Step by step, Nightmare sidled up to me, until her nose brushed up against my ear.

She spoke in a whisper so fleeting I had to strain to hear it. “I know you'll never let my stars reign supreme. I know you'll never risk ponies appreciating my moon more than your sun. I know you'll never stop until daylight is returned.”

She pressed in even closer. I could feel her lips moving against the soft hairs of my ear.

“That's why I have to kill you.” She darted in lightning fast, sinking her teeth deep into my neck.

I gasped and jumped back away from her. I tore free and backed away, up against the throne room's wall.

Nightmare grinned, letting her sharp teeth show. A red drop of my blood dripped from one of her longest fangs.

Yet another source of pain screamed into my head. I brought a hoof up to check the bite. Blood seeped from it, but it didn't spurt. I allowed myself a sigh of relief – she had missed my jugular... just a flesh wound. Not giving the bite another thought, I focused back on Nightmare.

The black alicorn stood entirely still, wings outstretched and eyes closed. Her billowing mane began to glow with different colors – familiar colors – the bold red of Loyalty, the soft pink of Kindness, the rich orange of Honesty...

Nightmare was unleashing her three elements of harmony! “Sister! No! We vowed to never use those again after we defeated Discord!”

I rushed toward Nightmare, but stopped short when the violet-lidded eyes opened, revealing not the dragon-like slits from before, but an intense white glow.

Three colored gems shot out from Nightmare's mane.

Clenching my eyes shut, I braced myself for being encased in stone, or whatever else the elements might do to me.

Nothing happened.

With a wince, I let one eye dart open. The three glowing gems weren't attacking me. They floated gently toward me. As they sank into my own mane, I knew what happened.

Nightmare snarled. “What did you do?” She bared her teeth and pinned her ears back.

“Kindness, Honesty, Loyalty...” I shook my head. “I've done nothing. You betrayed your elements, and now your elements have betrayed you.”

For one tiny moment, Nightmare's eye twitched, so slightly I wasn't sure if I'd actually seen it or not.

“Luna, it's over now. I have all six elements.” I took a step forward. “Please, just let me raise the sun, and we can talk about how to get you more recognition.”

“I told you not to call me that!” The rage in Nightmare's voice concealed squeaking cracks of desperation. “The elements don't matter. I will still win this fight, and for the same reason.” She stalked toward me, smirking. “You don't have the guts to kill me.”

“The elements won't kill you, Luna...”

At the mention of her old name, Nightmare's smirk melted into a sneer.

“... They will only turn you to stone.”

Nightmare drew dangerously close again. “What's the difference? Stone is as good as dead.”

I struggled to quell the churning inside me. I knew she was right, but I also knew I could never allow her to continue her insane plan. “I will do what it takes to stop you.”

In a flash, Nightmare teleported right up into my face.

I flinched back reflexively and then winced, knowing I had played right into her trap. Knowing all too well what must be coming, I summoned up the strongest magical shields I could.

Nightmare loomed over me. “Even with all the power in the world, you're still weak. That power belongs in the hooves of a pony with the will to use it.” She smiled. “Don't worry. You won't be around to see it.”

“Luna, I never–”

“Even if it takes a thousand years, I will destroy you, Celestia. You know that.”

Luna, please! It doesn't have to come to–”

A dense blast of starlight stabbed toward my chest.

I tumbled across the room and slammed against the huge golden doors. My head rang, and my fur smoked where my shields hadn't been quite strong enough, but I didn't have time to recover. I threw myself to the side just in time to dodge a beam of deadly cold. The doors groaned from the sudden temperature change.

Nightmare rushed toward me, taking to the air.

I dove down across the floor, sliding out from under Nightmare's swooping strike.

Her helmet clanged against the golden doors.

Using her crash as an opportunity, I released a searing blast of solar fire.

Nightmare and the doors disappeared behind a bright wall of golden flame. As the flames died down, though, Nightmare emerged unscathed, standing in a glowing red puddle of molten gold. A smug grin spread across her face.

I knew what that would mean; I rushed to put my most potent shield spells in place.

Nightmare's answering blasts of purple flame hammered into my shields, driving me back. She kept them coming relentlessly, pushing me further and further, until I felt the smooth wood of our twin thrones against my back. A few more blasts of arcane fire lanced out, and those thrones were nothing but smoldering ruins.

A short pause in the fireblasts came. I gasped in relief, assuming Nightmare must have run out of energy before my shields failed.

The purple flames cleared away, revealing not an exhausted alicorn, but a vast cone of pitch-black energy bearing down on me.

I had no time to react.

The energy slammed into me. I felt like a mountain peak was driving into my chest. My shields buckled, nowhere near strong enough to cope with the force of it. The cone of shadow enveloped me, and darkness overtook me.

* * *

“... never could have turned out any other way, Celestia. I am destined to kill you. That's why you're weak. That's why I'm strong.”

I groaned and opened my eyes. I laid, bruised and bleeding, in the crumbled remains of our marble dais. Just breathing was excruciating.

Nightmare stalked toward me, taking her time. She moved with fluid power, gloating even in her gait. “Now the sun will vanish forever, and the night shall reign supreme!”

She stepped on me, purposefully stomping on the worst of my wounds. A whimper of pain escaped my lips.

“And now, all the ponies will finally look upon my night sky in awe! They will love and fear the glorious night, just as they love and fear their queen... at least, until they all freeze or starve.” Nightmare's grin grew. “They will lament their love of the sun before they perish, and I will have my vengeance.”

I stared up at the monster on top of me – what had my sister become? Luna would never have condemned ponies to death. What was wrong with her?

Nightmare's shimmering mane sank toward me. I could already feel the seeping cold of it against my back hooves. I clenched my eyes closed, feeling a warm tear squeeze out. I knew what I had to do. “I'm sorry, Luna. I'm so sorry.”

I focused on the energy of the elements inside of me. They would save the world from Nightmare Moon, but at what cost? If only I had enough ponies here, we could take full control of the elements and blast the evil from her... but the elements were too much for any single pony to control. Knowing my control over so much energy would be limited, I hardened my will. I would not let the elements kill her. I would not let them permanently imprison her in stone. Had she said she would kill me, even if it took a thousand years? That's what it would have to be, then.

Taking a deep breath, I activated the powers of friendship. Fire pierced through all four of my legs. I could feel tendrils of unbearable power twisting through me, burning me from the inside out.

I screamed. I screamed like I never had before. The elements were supposed to be used by a team of six. Using only three against Discord had been painful, but this... Red-hot snakes writhed inside me. It was too much to bear. I knew I would never survive it.

I opened my eyes, letting the tears flow. Nightmare stood before me, her face twisted in genuine fear... only, without her malignant confidence, I could see a tiny glimpse of Luna inside – a scared and helpless Luna...

I clenched my teeth. Even if it killed me, I was not going to let my last living act be the murder of my sister.

The moment I tried to take control of the elements' powers, the fire inside me shot through to the tip of my horn. I could feel every joint, every muscle of my body burning in the overload of power. A searing-hot pressure burned into my horn.

I didn't falter. I stood my ground against forces that would instantly consume an ordinary pony. I was no ordinary pony. I was an alicorn princess, born of the Celestial Fire and tempered by millennia of experience.

The boundless power of the Elements of Harmony bent to my will, even as they scorched my body. The petrification spell faltered, replaced by my own. Luna would get her thousand years, and she would get her moon. She would never be killed by her sister.