• Published 22nd Jun 2014
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Nightmare Moon's Tiny Adversary - CommanderX5



Twilight has been a tiny, hardworking student for many years, willingly deciding to stay two hooves tall after discovering a love for the adventures and challenges that came with it. How will the rest of the mane six and Nightmare Moon react to her?

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Nightmare - Luna

Nightmare Moon's Tiny Adversary

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Chapter 2

Part 3

“What happened next?” Twilight asked curiously, trying not to let her excitement show through.

“Screams of fear. Locked doors. Abusive insults calling us the monsters. Prayers for my sister to come save them. Some even threw whatever they could get their hooves on at us, and a few particularly foolish ones tried scaring us with garlic,” Nightmare Moon said, grimacing at the taste left in her mouth after her recollection of Luna’s memory.

“That's horrible!” Twilight exclaimed, stomping her tiny hoof on Nightmare Moon’s silver horseshoe. “How could they be so ungrateful and disrespectful towards the princess, especially after she protected their town?”

Nightmare Moon cleared her throat at Twilight with a tiny smile, showing her fangs, and the tiny mare was quickly reminded who she was dealing with. “Umm…” she began, much more demurely, “what happened to Princess Luna and her guards after that?”

The dark alicorn closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. “We tried to keep them alive until we reached the barracks, but some of them, poor unfortunate souls, died from their wounds or froze to death without shelter and care. No pony gave us shelter on our long way. If even one of them had done differently...” Nightmare Moon said, before she trailed off into a respectful silence that Twilight dared not disturb.

“Erm...hmn.” Nightmare Moon cleared her throat again. “Have you any more questions? As much as I enjoy this conversation, my time is a bit limited.”

“Well... I can now understand why you—I mean Luna—felt so betrayed. But then, why would you try to destroy the world a thousand years ago if you would show us mercy now?”

Nightmare Moon's eyes widened briefly before narrowing dangerously. "Destroy the world?" she snapped. "What manner of slander is this? I tried no such thing!"

The force of the alicorn’s voice physically propelled Twilight off her hoof, but the little mare lit her horn and levitated herself back up into place before she fell too far, much to Nightmare Moon's surprise, before she began massaging her ears.

The dark alicorn took in a deep breath to calm herself before speaking, "Our apologies, but thy false accusations angered us."

Twilight furrowed her brow in confusion at Nightmare Moon’s statement. “‘False accusation’? From what I read, you tried to bring eternal night to Equestria, even though without the sun, the everything would freeze and all the crops would die...”

Twilight stopped herself when she saw Nightmare Moon glaring daggers at her. “Did I say something wrong?”

“Yes, you did! Your ignorance is something I would not have expected from our sister’s student. Our goal was to regain the love and respect of our subjects, to show them that we are not a mere pet of their beloved sun princess. It was not to kill them all. Do you think we would be so stupid as to try and gain respect and love from corpses?” Nightmare Moon said, her regal voice fuming as she tried her best to restrain the strength of her voice for the tiny unicorn’s sake.

“B-b-b-but that’s what was in the book! Wait a minute, if your eternal night wasn’t eternal, why did you refuse to lower the moon and keep the sun from rising?” Twilight asked suspiciously.

Nightmare Moon frowned. “We did so to weaken that traitorous wretch you call your mentor. We both possess a bond with our respective heavenly bodies, so we sought to cut off Celestia’s power source. Once we had overthrown her tyranny, we would force an implementation of another form of rule much more equitable to us, something much more permanent than her empty promises, and thus restore control of the sun to her. We never meant to harm our subjects, even if they deserved punishment for their misdeeds against a princess.”

What? So the tale about the two pony sisters would be a lie! Or... maybe Nightmare Moon’s lying, but then again, that would go against what she says about honesty. If she really is telling the truth, then...

“It’s all just a big misunderstanding?” Twilight said, tapping a hoof to her chin in contemplation.

Nightmare Moon blinked a few times. “Care to explain?” she asked flatly.

“Err, well, when you refused to lower the moon, you must have made everypony and your—erm, Luna’s sister think that you were trying to bring about eternal night. That has to be why Princess Celestia banished you to the moon with the Elements,” she said slowly, more to herself than to Nightmare Moon. “She had to choose between you and the lives of all her subjects and, more broadly, every single living creature on the planet. Back then, she must have thought that was the only way!”

Twilight turned to Nightmare Moon excitedly. “The world today has changed, and ponies are much more open minded than in the past. I’m sure your sister’s very sorry for what she had to do, so if you can tell her the truth, I am sure she would forgive you, as long as you can forgive her as well,” she said, but her speech had the opposite effect of what she expected.

A loud crack resounded through the air, and Twilight looked down to see that all the tiles around where Nightmare Moon was sitting had broken, with the alicorn’s horn burning dangerously.

"I will forgive your ignorance,” Nightmare Moon began, in a low, tense tone, “for you have never known us before and the books you have read were the works of fools who knew even less, but we cannot forgive our sister hers!"

Nightmare Moon straightened up, her sudden movements jolting the tiny mare on her hoof around as she glared into the space before her. “We hate our sister for how she treated us! She turned our own subjects against us! She sealed us on the moon! Is it not logical that I would think her goal was to become the sole ruler of Equestria?”

“But to think,” the dark alicorn said, grinding her teeth together as she continued to rage to the empty Town Hall, even with Twilight leaning backwards as far as possible to try and put distance between them, "to think that she banished us because she thought us so foolish as to doom our subjects to a cold death is far more insulting! By the honor of the moon, I cannot allow this affront to stand! For insulting our intelligence so, she will pay!"

Nightmare Moon swung her hoof up unexpectedly, leaving Twilight briefly suspended in the air. With an enraged feral cry, the dark alicorn slammed her hoof down hard to the ground, unintentionally catching the little unicorn midair and pinning Twilight between her silvery horseshoe and a small crater in the marble floor.

The alicorn’s eyes widened, and she quickly withdrew her hoof to reveal the tiny mare she had accidentally battered.

***

Twilight took a deep, frantic breath to replace the air that had been knocked out of her, and she immediately winced, clutching at her ribs. More than a few bones had been broken, and her body was now covered in a collection of cuts and marble dust. Her nose was also bleeding freely and was no longer aligned correctly, if her eyesight was to be trusted.

Alternating between trying to fill her lungs with air and coughing out dust, the tiny unicorn eventually managed to look up at Nightmare Moon, finding that the alicorn’s snarl had been replaced by a worried expression. Too ragged to do anything further, Twilight just laid motionlessly on the ground, barely registering as Nightmare Moon’s horn sent waves of magic into her body.

She wasn’t quite sure how much time passed before the alicorn spoke again. “Stand.” Nightmare Moon commanded.

Twilight tried to move her legs, and to her surprise, they cooperated. Most of the pain had disappeared without a trace, and she did her best to comply to Nightmare Moon’s order.

“Thou hast endured worse. We can see it in thy resolve.”

Twilight took a deep breath and gritted her teeth before lifting her forelegs and pressing her hooves against the floor’s surface, her legs trembling as she did her best to ignore any lingering soreness in her bones. After the little mare had finally stabilised her shaking hooves, she took few quick breaths before looking up at Nightmare Moon, who observed her every motion carefully.

Twilight blinked. “W-wait, how? I’ve-I’ve never felt a healing spell that powerful before!”

Nightmare Moon let out a snort, faintly smiling. "Thou art mistaken. Healing magic is light magic, and so would belong to that wretch's domain. We have merely blessed thee as we would our Night Guards during times of hardship and war. Consider it an apology gift for our carelessness."

“Blessing...?”

"All will become clear with time. We promise. Now, how art thou faring?" Nightmare Moon asked with concern as she lowered herself to Twilight’s level.

“B-better, I guess. My body still hurts a bit, but I’ve long since gotten used to aches like this,” Twilight replied as she stretched out a few kinks in her back and smiled. “Thank you.”

"It is we who should thank thee. Thou hast been the first pony in eleven hundred years who dared speak to us so casually. Even our own guards hath never been so open with us as thou hast been," Nightmare Moon said calmly. "We are thine enemy. We have sworn to kill thy mentor. We are terrifying to behold and we have even hurt thee, but thou hast shown nothing but bravery and understanding, despite our sister's lies. If we had had more subjects like thee in our times, we might never have rebelled against our sister in the first place."

Twilight was stunned beyond words, staring back in shock as she registered the fact that she was not only pleased by Nightmare’s praise, but even found it heartwarming. The more time she spent in Nightmare Moon’s presence, the more she felt as if she were speaking to her own mentor.

I don’t understand. She’s acting as if I was the only pony who has ever looked past her appearance. The only...

Twilight’s thought was broken when she felt the tip of Nightmare Moon’s wing brush across her aching back protectively.

With a proud smile for her little subject, Nightmare continued, “In the past, we used to craft and shape the night sky, turning it into a wondrous masterpiece for our subjects to admire. Regrettable that it was only for ignorant fools back then, but for a subject such as thee, it would give us great pleasure to add to the majesty of the stars in your honor.”

Twilight found herself blushing at the praise, though she soon found herself recalling a certain memory to mind.

"Wonderful, isn't it?" Twilight asked.

She caught Celestia's attention and pointed a hoof upwards. "Your night sky is so wonderful. The stars are so bright and though ponies see them every night, there’s so much still unknown about them. I found an astronomy book about the constellations and, though there were many things I didn’t understand, I’m sure that when I grow up I’ll be able to learn everything about the night sky and the constellations that you’ve made."

Twilight felt a small surge of guilt she had not expected to feel, and she looked up into the black alicorn’s eyes with a shamefaced expression, rubbing at the back of her neck anxiously. “I-I have to apologize about something...”

Nightmare Moon’s expression softened with confusion as she spoke in a low calming tone. “We should be the ones apologizing, not thee...” she said slowly.

“I praised my mentor for your hard work.”

Nightmare Moon went silent, and her questioning expression now had a hint of a scowl in it.

“I’ve always loved the night sky, and I’ve spent a lot of time studying the stars and constellations. It was a hobby of mine that brought me great joy,” Twilight said in a low voice, looking down as she absentmindedly tapped her hooves together, “and I’ve always praised my mentor for making it so beautiful, even more than I praised her for raising the sun... I’m sorry. I see now that you’re the one who deserves that praise.”

Nightmare Moon blinked a few times as her eyes began to water. For the first time in millennia, she had been praised for her work, by her enemy, no less—no, by the student of her biggest enemy. Midnight blue washed over her dark coat, and she even became a little smaller as she grabbed up the unicorn in a tight hug against her belly. “Thou hast no idea how pleasing it is to hear such words.”

Twilight winced as her already crushed body was once again squashed, though she was far less concerned with steadily increasing cramps in her back and general lack of air than she was with the indigo fur she was stuck in. After few more seconds, Nightmare Moon released her, and she took in a gasp of breath as she lightly pushed herself from the belly, landing on her hooves with a light clop before losing her balance and falling back into a sitting position. Twilight lifted her head to look at the alicorn, who grew taller again, regaining her dark, intimidating appearance, much to the little unicorn’s surprise, though Nightmare Moon still had an embarrassed blush on her face as she quickly raised a hoof and cleared her throat.

“We-we are very pleased. Thou hast proved thyself to be not only strong and brave, but also very wise. Tell us, are there any other ponies such as thee who admire our nights?”

Twilight smiled with renewed hope as she got back to her hooves, for in that one moment, she saw the true form of her mentor’s sister, something that was possible to restore.

“Oh, I’m not the only one. There are many ponies who enjoy your night,” Twilight said, causing Nightmare Moon to eagerly lean in closer. “There’s always the nightclubs where ponies go to have fun in the late hours after sunset. Ponies in love often spend time together under the blessed light of your moon. Many great scholars have entered the field of astronomy and dedicated their lives to studying the secrets of your sky, and did I mention that ship captains still use the stars to navigate at night?”

Twilight finished with a beaming smile, and Nightmare Moon’s fur color seemed to revert again, though the tiny mare’s optimism waned when it switched back to its resolute black.

"We are pleased by your news,” Nightmare Moon said, straightening up into a regal posture. “Thou hast restored our faith in our subjects. Once we defeat Celestia and take the crown—"

To the alicorn’s astonishment, her mouth was sealed in a magenta aura. She blinked a few times, looking between the unicorn and the magical telekinesis around her muzzle with a furrowed brow.

“W-wait! There’s a better solution!” Twilight desperately squeaked out. “Just tell your sister the truth! Tell her how she and your subjects hurt you, and how you never intended to hurt anypony. Nopony remembers you, so nopony would fear Luna for what you did in the past. You and your sister can share the throne equally and I would be honored to be a subject for both of you! There’s no need for more violence!”

Twilight’s magic briefly flickered, before going completely out. The increased mental strain in addition to the ordeals her body had gone through caused the tiny mare to fall to her knees, breathing heavily. Now that I think about it, maybe I should’ve let her finish before I started speaking. I’m not sure if I can take much more punishment today.

Nightmare Moon looked down silently at the exhausted pony, and when she finally spoke, it was with a hint of regret in her voice. “We are sorry, but we cannot fulfil your wish. We have gone too far and done too much to live under our sister’s shadow again. We shall take over Equestria or die trying.”

The alicorn’s ears suddenly perked up, and she looked up as if searching for something, a tiny smile playing at the edge of her mouth. “It would seem that our sister approaches. As much as we have enjoyed thy company, we must ask thee an important question,” Nightmare Moon stated curtly as Twilight used what strength she had left to look up.

“Wouldst thou join us?”

“W-what?”

“If thou shouldst join us, we would reward thee beyond thy comprehension. Power. Riches. A spot at our side, ruling Equestria as our advisor... “

Twilight shook her head as she tried to stand defiantly on her shaky limbs. “You want me to betray Equestria? Betray my mentor?”

“Thou hast heard my story. Thou hast seen how wrong thy mentor is. We are in the right. Wilt thou not join us?” Nightmare Moon asked desperately, sensing her sister’s concentrated aura of power grow ever closer.

“That’s true, I sympathise with you, but I will not betray my mentor. She’s almost like a mother to me.”

Nightmare Moon frowned, but she pressed on. “Thou carest for thy fellow ponies. Thou wouldst even risked thy life to save them. I pray thee, join with us, or they shall suffereth.”

Twilight could hear the desperation in Nightmare Moon’s voice. She’s bluffing. She doesn’t want to hurt anypony. On the other hoof, she seems desperate to recruit me and is too honest for her own good. Come on Twilight. Play it smart. She’s a prideful pony, and it can be played upon.

Twilight’s thoughts were cut off as Nightmare Moon slammed her hoof down in front of her, shaking the ground with a thunderous crash.

“Thou hast a limited time to decide. We shall bring destruction to this town and its citizens until thou wouldst agree to serve us,” Nightmare Moon growled, lighting her horn and spreading her wings impatiently.

The hammering of Twilight’s heart grew to a fevered pitch. “I will join you,” she announced in a loud, clear voice, trying not to show the panic she was fighting.

Nightmare Moon smiled. “A wise decision. A decision thou shalt not regret.”

“And I will stab you in the back the moment you’re weak!” Twilight added, catching Nightmare Moon off-guard.

“W-what?”

“You said yourself that you don’t tolerate dishonesty. Even if you force me to follow your orders, but I will be anything but loyal. Is this the kind of subject you want to rule? The kind of loyalty you desire?” Twilight played her ace, a very risky attack on Nightmare Moon’s pride. The little unicorn took a few deep breaths as she continued to match gazes with the dark alicorn, who stared back at her in disbelief.

The dark alicorn sighed. “Thou art wise indeed, and thy honesty impresses us. Using force to make others respect and follow us will not give us the loyalty and love we desire.”

Twilight let out a sigh of relief.

“Instead, we shall defeat our sister and take over Equestria, and then, with a wise rule, we shall prove to all that we deserve their respect and loyalty. We swear it on the honor of the moon!”

With that final line, Nightmare Moon swirled into a fog and flew outside of Town Hall, leaving Twilight motionless and stunned.

All her attempts to save Luna had failed, and soon Nightmare Moon would face Celestia in combat. Twilight, weak and crashing from her adrenaline high, collapsed again as sleep tried to overtake her exhausted body and mind. The little mare fought the allure of rest, the urge to just close her heavy eyelids and forget about what was to come, as she crawled towards the exit.

“I... have to... tell the princess... that her sister... her sister…can still be saved...”