• Published 27th Oct 2011
  • 2,885 Views, 132 Comments

Lunar Apprehension - Vypor

A mysterious pony attempts to show Luna her work is appreciated, but Celestia sees him as a threat.

  • ...

Prologue 4

The sun had begun to set, and a shadow slunk to the back of a house. The door swung open and they leapt inside, without a sound, closing it behind them. “You migth want to turn around.” Gem said, walking around the corner.

Cyrus grunted and looked around to see Tsyreim just behind him. “Cripes!” He gasped, shaking his head. “Must you always sneak around inside?”

Tsyreim simply grinned, prodding his father's shoulder. “You're going to have to get used to that, dad. Mom is already.”

“Knowing your mother, she probably taught you that.” Cyrus huffed, stepping away from his desk. “The mare barely makes a sound moving about. That's not really something the blind are known for either.”

“That's my mother.” Tsyreim grinned as Gem shuffled extra noisily into the room. “Better dear?”

The flustered schoolteacher rolled his eyes. “You're both working against me, I just know it. But ah, it's nearly time for lessons now isn't it?” Moving over to the center table, he motioned for Tsyreim to follow. “We can't have my wayward woodland son skittering about the forest without an education now can we?”

Tsyreim sat down and listened intently, scooting near his father whilst studying the various sentences and phrases he outlined. Several days had passed since Gem's mysterious return to Saddleburg. And both she and Cyrus were never happier. Tsyreim made it a point to return at night for the sake of family time. A new tradition now that they had all come together.

While Tsyreim may not admit it, he did feel a bit lonely now that Gem was no longer in the cave. As a result, he felt more responsible. But it wasn't the same without her. Then again, that's why he looked forward so much to the nights now. Running briskly through the forest at night, he always admired the stars. Taking note of their positions and arrangement. The night sky was something he felt was somewhat under-appreciated. After all, most ponyfolk slept through it all.

Gem smiled as she felt her way to the table. Listening to both father and son banter back and forth. They had moved on to Tsyreim's side of the teaching, and he was tutoring his father in the older magic language.

“Look now.” He pointed to the parchment. “You see, the language we speak now is actually an altered form of the Prequestrian Dialect.” He began to scribble something down. “Your name is Cyrus, but in the Prequestrian, it is Hylof.”

“Hee-loff?” Cyrus tilted his head, looking down at it.

“Certain letters have kept resemblance to the language now. The letter Y stayed somewhat the same. But is always pronounced as, E.” Writing a few other things down, he continued. “What ponyfolk speak now, is a form of the ancient Prequestrian. Altered to be more pronunciable. The language of the magic however, was tied to the Prequestrian Dialect in the beginning, and thus, is why the spells when coupled with the spoken words are more potent.”

“If it was such an effective use of spells, I don't see why it was abandoned.” Cyrus mused, looking over several spellsheets.

“Spellcasters found silent spellcasting more in tune with the budding society of the more refined pony. Hearing unicorns shouting out strange words in a language nobody used to communicate with anymore became archaic, and just generally annoying to some.” Tsyreim sat back and explained more of the history. “Eventually, the demand for silent spells became so great that unicorns basically abandoned spoken magic altogether it seemed.”

“Interesting...” Cyrus rubbed his chin as he pored over several spells he had recorded down. “So eventually it was forgotten.”

“Unused languages generally are.” Tsyreim nodded. “Nobody used it for anything, except for the few mages whom study older spellcasting arts. I believe the one known as Starswirl the Bearded is one of the very few left who uses it.”

“That would explain his magical prowess.” Cyrus nodded. “So if I spoke this spell rather than silent casting...” He scooted a spellsheet to Tsyreim.

“...Then you would likely blow half the house up.” Tsyreim chuckled. “Another reason it was abandoned was due to the power of the spells. And in many cases it wasn't just abandoned, it was banned. Some saw the spoken magic as a way to gain power.”

“Understandable.” Cyrus shook his head, looking over some more spells. “All these can be altered with spoken magic. But if calculations based on the altered power are correct, they could be catastrophic...”

“And not only to property, but yourself as well.” Tsyreim continued. “Spoken magic requires tempering yourself to withstand effects. Some would argue that that too had something to do with it becoming an abandoned language. Spellcasters wanted to use spells, not have to exercise so that they could use spells.”

“I should start an exercise regiment then shouldn't I?” The teacher smiled.

“You wish to use Prequestrian Magic yourself then?” Tsyreim inquired.

“Not so much use it, as learn it.” Cyrus looked at him. “I'm not interested in utilizing it, so much as discovering it.”

“Discovering, I can help you do.” Tsyreim stood up. “But judging by Gem standing patiently in the doorway over there, it is time for dinner.”

“I was wondering when you'd notice.” The gray Pegasus said, moving out of the way of the approaching hoofsteps.

“Your skill in preparing a meal while sightless perpetually amazes me.” Cyrus spoke, helping her to her seat.

“It's not so difficult when your sense of smell is honed due to the absence of sight.” She smiles warmly. “Enjoy.”

Training each other was over once dinner had begun. This was Gem's time, and she made sure Tsyreim had been keeping up with his own studies and training. Though she technically already knew when he arrived to teach Cyrus what he knew. Her ruse was mostly just to make sure Tsyreim was kept in line. And keep in line he certainly made sure to do.

“So how has teaching treated you after your 'unexpected reuniting' with Gem?” Tsyreim chuckled.

“Are you kidding?” Cyrus laughed, scooting a fresh bowl of greens closer. “They gave me the week off so I could spend more time with her. I'd be a fool not to accept that offer.”

“Now that you mention it, I suppose that would make sense.” Tsyreim mused, sitting back and chewing thoughtfully. “But I have to wonder, has nopony inquired as to the fate of 'the child'?”

Cyrus paused and looked over at Gem. “I'll just say no. A mother lost in the forest, I think they all made up their minds on what happened to 'the child' on their own. Or they dare not ask out of not wanting to remind Gem.”

Gem spoke up. “Actually, really nopony has asked us much of anything. I think they realize we want time together rather than a deluge of questions.”

She smiles. “But then again, all that matters is that WE know what happened to that child. Don't we?”

“Indeed we do.” Tsyreim chuckled. “Besides, I suppose if I was revealed. They would expect to see me here all the time too.”

“Oh no, we couldn't have you be sociable could we?” The unicorn laughed, his mother's sarcasm never failed to amuse.

Glancing at the clock, he thought for a moment. He had never had to tell specific times before, and now once he had arrived in regular pony society, he had to learn the cycles. To him, it used to just be day was day, and night was night. Nay, there were numbers now. “I'm still not used to this device. What time is it again?” He asked.

“Half past ten.” Cyrus replied. “Remember, the shorter hand designates the first number. And the longer hand is the faster, second number.”

“I would assume the longer would be the first number, but okay.” Tsyreim shrugged. “Then I do suppose it is about time for me to make my leave.”

“So soon?” Gem sighed.

Tsyreim walked over and nuzzled her slightly. “I know you miss me, but I return every night, ok? I have other duties to attend to.” He grinned slightly. “And if I recall correctly, you always drilled it into me that I need my sleep.”

“Going to play that card with me are you?” Her mouth twisted into a smile. “Alright. Go get your sleep. And as always, do be careful.” She gave him a small kiss in the cheek. “I love you son.”

“I love you too mother.” He smiled and hugged her. “Until tomorrow night. Farewell.”

After bidding his father goodnight, Tsyreim crept out the back and slipped through town, to the forest on the other side. Taking a look back, he galloped off through the forest, making his way back toward home.

He glanced up at the sky, and something seemed off slightly. The trees were too thick at that time however, and so he waited. When he finally arrived back at the cave however, he realized what it was.

“...The stars are out of alignment...” He gazed at the sky. How could this be? The stars were never out of alignment. “Speil, have you noticed?”

“I have.” Came the reply. “I have suspected it for some time. But the fears have grown to reality.”

“Then speak.” Tsyreim sat on the hill, studying the sky. “What are these fears you have?”

“Jealousy.” Speil simply said. “Princess Luna has grown jealous of her sister. And the attention she receives for her daylight. While Luna's nighttime goes under-appreciated.”

“I appreciate it...” Tsyreim muttered. “Jealousy can be dangerous, but surely she is not so rash as to try something for the attention is she?”

- - - - - - -
Royal Palace, Everfree Forest
- - - - - - -

Tsyreim could not know how true his questions were. For at that very moment, Princess Luna paced her chambers, livid with the thoughts that echoed through her mind.

“Nobody cares...” She groaned, glancing up at her mirrors. “Nobody pays any attention, it's always about Celestia this, and oh Celestia that.”

She stomped her foot and gazed out at the night sky she had fussed over. A single tear rolled down her face, but she didn't even notice. Much in the same way that her work went ignored by others.

“I need to do something, she needs to know...” Luna looked back into the mirrors, staring at her own reflection almost as if she didn't recognize it. “Yes. We will show her what we require.”

Tearing her gaze from her reflection, the Princess marched out of her room. It was high time Celestia took note of her work.

Celestia however, was far too busy, and was looking over some papers for supplies needed by several pony colonies as Luna trotted in. “Oh sister...” She called out with a gleam in her eye. “Is not the night sky beautiful?”

Celestia, still hunched over the papers shrugged. “I'm quite sure it is Luna. That generally is the case is it not?”

Luna's temperament flipped. “I'm sure you would know wouldn't you, sister? Since I see you study it so laboriously. With the hail of compliments on my work.”

Celestia sighed and raised her eyes to meet the rather angry gaze of her sister. “Are we really going to have this discussion again?”

“Apparently not.” Luna spun, heading back to her chambers. “I bet you didn't even notice that the very stars of the night sky were out of alignment did you?”

Celestia spoke up. “Luna! That is uncalled for, you know the sky is not a playground! Fix it and stop acting like a spoilt filly.”

Luna froze in her steps, it was all she could do to keep from snapping right then and there. Turning slowly, she looked back at Celestia. “Oh I would have fixed it by now... If I cared anymore.”

Celestia stood up and stared sternly at the livid Alicorn. “Don't you even talk like that! You are-” Her mouth hung open in shock as Luna completely ignored her, teleporting out of the room as her sister spoke.

“What in Equestria has gotten into her?” Celestia muttered, walking to Luna's room. Her thoughts were interrupted as she bumped into a magic wall in fron of the door. “L-Luna? What is this? What's going on?!”

She listened, but Luna seemed to be completely oblivious to her presence. All Celestia could seem to hear was low random mutterings from inside Luna's room. “Luna, Luna come out. I'm sorry about bursting out like that before, but I'm worried about you.”

More random mutterings.

“Is someone in there with you?”

It persisted for hours. Celestia attempted everything she knew to try and get through to Luna, flying around to her balcony, but that too was locked tight.

Days passed, and nothing changed. The guards tried to coax Celestia away, but she was consumed with trying to get through to her sister. Yet all that could be heard was the same low mumbles from inside.

The conditions were right for the perfect storm.

- - - - - - -
Three days later, Tsyreim's cave
- - - - - - -

Tsyreim groaned and opened an eye as Speil's voice plagued him. “Geez, can a pony sleep around here?”

“Master Tsyreim, I don't think you understand the urgency of the situation.”

“Urgency? What kind of urgency? Is something attacking the cave?” Tsyreim rubbed his head, sat up and looked around.

“No, but I'm afraid to say I think I would wish that instead.” Speil replied. “No, instead, it seems things are coming to a head in the royal palace. Luna's jealousy has become overwhelming. In fact, it's no longer jealousy, but rage. She has not lowered the moon.”

“And you expect me to do... What?” Tsyreim blinked, trying to think of something himself.

“It's not just rage, Tsyreim.” Speil continued. “There's, something else. It's like a completely split personality. I sense Luna, but something else as well. If this is her rage acting in place of her, then Celestia may be in grave danger.”

Tsyreim stopped Speil for a moment. “Are you saying that you want me to go to the royal palace? Cause if that's your plan, you might as well just say it.”

“To get straight to the point, yes.” Speil sighed. “However, you are to remain hidden unless absolutely necessary. An Alicorn when in a rage can be a terrible sight, and we both know Celestia's guards will be as useful as dust in the wind if it comes to that.”

“And you expect me to do more?” Tsyreim shook his head. “I'm a powerful unicorn, sure. But I'm no Alicorn royalty who alters the very stars of the sky. What honestly do you expect me to do?”

There was a pause before Speil spoke again. “That, I cannot tell you. For once, I cannot outline what will happen for you. But you are a Guardian. Regardless of your lack of power to Alicorns, you are still more powerful than any other pony who could arrive there. And that may be all the more needed to stop Luna's rage.”

“As a Guardian, you protect more than just this forest and cave. You also are expected to do your part to hold and protect the peace of Equestria when need be. Even if that means overwhelming odds.”

Tsyreim looked down as he listened, realizing that Speil didn't know what was going to happen. And knowing that he very well could be going off to a suicide mission if Luna's rage turned into physical violence. But every word Speil spoke was true, he knew he had to go. The peace had to be held at any cost.

“Her rage grows by the minute.” Speil spoke again. “I realize you wish to tell your parents, but that trip to and from will cost you nearly half a day. And that is time we may not have.”

“This job is all about taking chances.” Tsyreim mused, walking outside and looking up at the unmoving moon. “I guess this will just be the first in hopefully, many more to come. Right?”

“We can only hope. Just remember, you must stay safe. Take every precaution Master Tsyreim.”

“I am well aware by this point.” The unicorn replied, walking down away from the cave. He knew the general direction of the palace, and that it was situated on the top of a large hill, so it would be easier to spot.

“Then this is it.” Tsyreim took off. “Wish me luck, I'm off to become Alicorn fodder.”

As Tsyreim ran, he had plenty of time to think about what was ahead. While he may have tried to keep a lighthearted perspective, he realized this was the most serious situation he may ever encounter.

- - - - - - -
Royal Palace, Everfree Forest
- - - - - - -

Celestia glared at the door. She had hardly eaten or slept, entirely consumed with trying to find out what had happened to her sister. The guards had to resort to putting all diplomatic relations on hold because of the situation between the Solar Sisters.

Celestia's mind had plenty of time to wander, and she believed Luna to be speaking to someone in the room, a plan maybe. Someone who was turning her beloved sister into the angry spiteful pony she had become.

She was in a way correct however, as Luna was speaking to someone. Her self-created altar ego. The side effect of her jealousy and rage. Nightmare Moon.

Nightmare Moon was who Luna had begun to confide in. Speaking to her mirrors and reflection. She had created her own advisor, and they had taken more shape through her frustration than Luna could have ever realized.

Nightmare Moon's very being had begun to seep into Luna, corrupting her mind, and telling her lies. And Luna believed them, all of them. Nightmare Moon fed off of Luna's anger and frustration, growing stronger. She had grown to the point that she literally controlled Luna at this point, blocking out Celestia and anything that could potentially distract Luna from her anger.

Finally Nightmare Moon decided it was time to strike. And controlling Luna, she chose not to lower the moon. Which further maddened Celestia, the unknowing of what was happening only fed her paranoia.

Celestia's guards approached her slowly. “Princess, you need to come back... We don't...” The guard stopped and swallowed, looking at the other. “We've been thinking, maybe your incessant assaults to the door are... Making Luna angrier?”

They cowered back quickly, it was a long shot they knew, but Celestia had to be pulled away somehow. She stared back at them, her eyes almost mad with confusion. “How DARE you suggest it is I! There is someone in there who is twisting my sister to do this!”

The guards quickly retreated, not wishing to become the object of their princess' rage. But Celestia's attention returned to the door as it creaked open.

“Luna! What is happe-what...?” Celestia stared at the large, dark Alicorn who plodded nonchalantly from behind the door.

She looked down at Celestia, smiling warmly. “Ahh, Celestia, whom I've heard so much about.”

“Who are you?” Celestia spat, instinctively scraping her hooves on the floor. “What have you done with my sister?!”

A twisted grin crossed the mare's face. “What? Do you not even recognize your own sister?”

Celestia charged forward in attack, but the dark Alicorn proved well and ready for her assault. Celestia soon found herself on the defending end of the battle, and while the guards quickly arrived to try and put down the fight, they proved to be little more than nuisances when involved in the battle.

Celestia watched the mare fight, and in her eyes she realized Luna was trapped. Unable to fight this, there was only one way to solve the problem. Celestia quickly retreated, flying down the halls as Nightmare Moon pursued her. “Come back, I was just getting started!”

Slamming a door behind her, Celestia galloped through the main hall, her eyes fixated upon the statue before her. Five orbs hung along it. The Elements of Harmony. She blinked back tears as she looked back at the door, which was quickly losing it's durability to Nightmare Moon's assaults.

“Why Luna do you force me to do this...?” Celestia blinked back a tear, looking back at the elements. The door soon gave way and pieces of it skidded across the floor. Celestia stood at the ready, the five orbs floated about her as she snorted. “You leave me no choice, sister...”

- - - - - - -
The forest below the palace
- - - - - - -

Tsyreim looked up at the imposing cliff. He could try to scale it using various spells, but that would prove tiresome and exceedingly dangerous, he couldn't risk it. Looking ahead, he saw a large hill connected to the palace grounds by a long rope bridge. That would be his best bet, but judging by the flashes coming from the palace, he would need to hurry.

Tsyreim galloped between the trees, teleporting across a large gap through the middle all while keeping pace. He didn't have time to waste. As he climbed the path, he saw guards posted along the entrance. But they weren't doing much of a job guarding, they gazed back at the palace and muttered to each other.

The gap would be too far to try and teleport across, so the bridge was his only option. If he timed it right, he could speed across without the guards getting a clear view of him. He huffed, took a few steps back, and ran forward toward the center of the bridge. He charged the spell, then spoke out. “Dleir fneem!” His horn flashed brightly and he made a mere green blur across the bridge as the guards stumbled over each other from the wind.

Tsyreim took cover in some bushes across the way, looking back at the befuddled guards, who were still trying to figure out what had just happened. “Hidden for now, good.” The unicorn realigned his attention on the palace, instantly ruling out traveling through the interior as a bad option with all the guard activity.

He ran around the side and studied the various decorative outcroppings. Tsyreim grinned at the delightfully exploitable jumping positions from each. In no time, he was leaping across the gaps, casting foothold spells when need be so he could make some of the longer jumps.

He landed and gazed up at the bright rainbow beam that shattered a stained glass window from the main building. It didn't take a second's thought to realize the battle was in full swing. Tsyreim had to get there soon.

Teleporting across various other gaps now, he made it to the roof, running along the curves of it till he reached the main building. He scoped the area, and leapt off into space, his body flashing in green light as he reappeared on a balcony further over.

“Almost there...” He huffed, worried now that he was using too much energy getting to the battle, and would prove absolutely worthless if he tried to intervene.

But to his surprise, he was already there, signified by the explosion from inside, followed by the banter of the two combatants.

He risked a peek inside and took stock of the battle. On one side, obviously Celestia, she had several orbs levitating around her that glowed in various colors. On the other side, was a darker more sinister looking pony, who cackled at every shot that missed. Tsyreim didn't have to think about who was the one needing helping at this point.

The orbs around Celestia glowed and fired beams together, the blast traveling toward the darker. But she proved too nimble, avoiding the blasts almost rather easily. Celestia tried to trap her in the corners, but well aware of her plans, the darker easily avoided them, keeping the battle in a delicate dodge and attack battle. Which Celestia appeared to be losing.

The firepower was easily in her favor, but the blasts obviously were draining her strength. It was only a matter of time before she would be too weak to attack, and that's when the darker would close in.

Intervention was needed.

Tsyreim looked around the palace, deciding a head on confrontation would be suicide, he instead decided to do his best to distract the shadowy mare. Hopefully allowing Celestia a clear shot.

There was a rim that ran the circumference of the room, it was wide enough that it could give him a grip and some moving space as long as he kept moving. And it would prove some helpful angles.

He leapt up, teleporting to it and scrambled for footing. As soon as he had it, he was moving, running along the side and keeping an eye on the two. Looking at Celestia, his eyes met her's, he knew if she was successful, she would be looking for him afterward.

Tsyreim's horn glowed as he charged an attack, glancing down at the dark Alicorn's position. Then leaping down, he focused all his concentration on her. “Frob Psifr!”

The glow shot forth from his horn, hitting the shadowy mare square in the back. She roared out and struggled in place as Celestia took the chance.

The following blast easily enveloped the dark Alicorn, who screamed from the surging power constricting her. Celestia glared at her, and their eyes locked. “You gave me no choice sister! Your crimes are punishable by the only sentence I know to be severe enough... Banishment to the moon... For a thousand years.”

“I will return!” The dark mare screamed as the energy grew. “You all will rue the day you banished Nightmare Moon!”

The energy exploded and the shockwave sent Tsyreim skidding across the floor, where he thudded to the wall, coughing. When he looked up, the room was silent, and the one known as Nightmare Moon had vanished completely.

He scrambled to his hooves and looked up to see Celestia trotting straight toward him. Her mouth opened in a snarl. “You...”

“...Have to go.” He swallowed, shouting out a spell again. “Dleir fneem!” He shot as a blur across the palace and straight through the door as Celestia roared out. “Seal the doors!”

The guards sealed all the doors near them, but the only thing they stopped was the debris skidding across from Tsyreim's wake.

Celestia slammed them open and galloped outside, taking to the air as she frantically searched for the mysterious young unicorn. “It must have been him Luna was speaking to...” Her mind raced with thoughts. “How else did he get here so soon?”

Tsyreim however was clinging to an outcropping in the shadows below the palace. He didn't hardly dare breathe for fear that Celestia would hear him. Ordinarily he would have spoken to her about what happened, but her glare told him she wasn't interested in thanking him. He couldn't grasp why she would be so angry with him, what had he done that was so bad?

He wasn't about to find out either, he waited probably forty-five minutes before he dared move to a more gainly position.

Celestia finally gave him up for escaped, and called all guards over to her. “I don't care how you do it, but I want that unicorn brought in for questioning. You send out an order to all the colonies, that they are to detain him on sight!”

The guards immediately set out, flying and galloping down the paths to send out word. Celestia stood out front of the palace, staring blankly down the path at the slowly vanishing guards.

The handful that remained approached her finally. “Your highness... What, what should we do?”

“Go about your lives...” She muttered. “Do your duties. Guard the castle as you always have. I have much to think upon. Do not disturb me until further notice.”

She trotted back inside, leaving the Guards to ponder how to clean up the mess in the main hall now.

- - - - - - -
Base of the Royal Palace mountain
- - - - - - -

Tsyreim leapt to the ground, gasping. He dared not take the main path out, so he had resorted to various slow and platform spells to descend the precipice. Tiresome, yes. But safer than facing Celestia. He looked up at the palace, smoke slowly wafting out of the windows. After that battle, it was a mess.

He took off into the forest and didn't look back. “What in Equestria did I just witness?” He huffed, looking up at the moon. “Is she... Really there? Was that Luna? Or her rage?”

The unicorn shook his head. It was all so much to take in, he didn't know how to process it all. He finally arrived back at the cave and ran in, collapsing on the floor.

“Master Tsyreim! You're back, I sensed... Luna's signature vanished. I cannot sense her anymore, what happened?” Speil flooded the poor pony with questions.

“Gone... Banished, to the moon for a thousand years if what Celestia said is true...” Tsyreim propped himself up, taking a few deep breaths. “I ran. I got out of there as fast as I could... Celestia looked like she wanted to kill me...”

“What did you do to incur her wrath?” Speil questioned.

“That's the thing... I don't know.” Tsyreim stared at the floor. “I stunned Nightmare Moon, I guess that's who that was anyway... And Celestia got off a clear shot. I helped, but Celestia... The way she glared at me. Well I'll just say I wasn't gonna stick around to find out what she wanted to talk about. If it even involved talking in the first place.”

Speil paused for a bit. “Very well then. Though if your story is correct, I see no reason why she would be so angry with you.”

Tsyreim shook his head. “I don't know, I don't wanna think about it either, I'm tired... I'm gonna sleep. Just... Just leave me alone, please.”

“Understood. Get your rest Master Tsyreim.”

“Please, stop calling me that. I'm no 'master'...”

“Noted. Get your rest, Tsyreim.”