• Published 18th Jul 2014
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The Balance of Harmony - Thornwing

Discord's lost his mojo. Can the ponies help get it back? What happens if the balance of harmony can't be kept? Another adventure begins.

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Chapter Sixteen - The Hardest Pony To Love

It took a while for Twilight and her friends to calm down from their excitement having just kicked up their hooves with a bunch of high society ponies. Their dresses made them feel extra special and they all got multiple compliments as Celestia showed them off throughout the later part of the evening to all those who came to pay their respects. Rarity had a number of open-ended orders made for anything she cared to make her new clients – they weren’t going to be picky when they had a chance at getting an original anything from the star of the night’s show.

It felt good when Twilight’s head finally hit her pillow. She slept soundly. Even Spike’s snoring didn’t cause her any trouble. The evening hadn’t been perfect – far from what she expected – but it did get them closer to their goal of collecting all the Elements of Disharmony. Only one remained.

The entire night flew by in a blur. Mostly because there was nothing to remember about it. While sleep came easy, there were no dreams to accompany it. The ponies all lay in their beds - well past what should have been sunrise - without a single spark of a dream to illuminate their overnight adventure of the mind. That is -- all but one pony.

Celestia tossed and turned. She was asleep, but somehow lost within her own nightmare. The dark images of the past haunted her every thought. A lifetime of horrors, most of which wern’t known to any other pony, flashed like lightning in her mind.

The events of a thousand years ago appeared like the present as they taunted and tormented her. Her battle with Discord and the fight for the Crystal Empire, she remembered those like they were yesterday. Sombra’s evil laugh echoed and returned again and again. The most haunting of all her nightmares was yet to come, however – her battle with Luna, Nightmare Moon.

It all seemed so real. Celestia struggled as she fought to contain the dream. She tried everything she could not to relive that day when she had been forced to banish her own sister. Something else fought against her efforts and forced the events to play out again on the battlefield of her mind.

As the battle waged on, nopony was the wiser. It should have been the middle of the morning; the sun high in the sky shining down over the spires of Canterlot. For Princess Celestia, the nightmare had just begun.

Nightmare Moon stood before her – black and billowing mane like the smoke of a raging volcano. Her red eyes burned as rage and envy boiled over and consumed the young Luna. Celestia looked around her as she found herself back in the Castle of the Two Sisters. Instead of being forced to watch the replay of the previous events, however, she found that she presently had some control over her own actions.

She leapt backwards as a magic beam shot from the horn of Nightmare Moon and blasted the spot where she stood. Celestia knew her only option was to use the Elements of Harmony to stop her sister and banish her to the moon once again. The tragic decision of a thousand years ago haunted her even now.

She flew into the air as the barrage of magic blasts continued. The ceiling was stuck, just as before, and Celestia flew out into the darkness of the night hanging over the castle. Nightmare Moon was right on her tail. Celestia flew quickly, trying to keep her distance from her sister and also trying to buy some time to think of a better plan this time around.

She dove behind a parapet just in time to avoid another blast. The air rushed by as a heat wave followed the scorching magic. She wanted to try and reason with Luna – maybe now she could make her see the error of her ways. Celestia loved her sister and wasn’t sure she could go through with banishing her again – even if this was just all in her head. With Nightmare moon closing in, she resolved that the Elements of Harmony were her only real option.

She dropped down low, trying to stay out of sight as she cautiously made her way back to the throne room and the hidden elements that lay beneath. It wasn’t easy to stay hidden with her bright coat being a dead giveaway in the blackness all around her. She was careful and felt like she took the necessary precautions to avoid her pursuer. Once she arrived, she quickly used her magic to summon the elements from their hiding place.

The statue holding the elements rose from the ground. To her shock and dismay, however, it no longer held the relics of the Elements of Harmony. Instead, Celestia beheld the chaotic forces of the Elements of Disharmony. The maniacal laughter of Nightmare Moon echoed through the chamber as the lightning crashed breaking what remained of a few still whole windows. Celestia knew now that this was not a dream after all.

Multiple trails of smoke seeped through the cracks in the walls and down from the blown out rooftop. They gathered together just above the elements and formed into the mare of nightmares. The castle around them faded away as Celestia opened her eyes. Nightmare Moon stood at the foot of Celestia’s bed as she finally awoke from her tortured slumber.

“Luna! Sister!” cried Celestia. “What are you doing? How have you allowed the powers of envy to cloud your mind again?”

“Poor Celestia, still so naïve to the power of the magic of the night.” Nightmare Moon glided over the floor as she swung around to the side of the bed. “We’ve had enough of your interference – this time it will be you that it banished, along with your precious sun.”

Nightmare Moon raised up to line up her magic shot with the princess who was still trying to recover from the shock of her bad dreams. The dark mare’s dark horn glowed with an empty, negative energy as it sucked what little light there was from its surroundings. Celestia had no time to react and could only throw up her hoof to hopefully shield herself from the blast that was moments from being delivered. A million more thoughts of happy times with all her subjects and especially those moments she cherished growing up with her little sister flashed through her head. The last words out of her mouth: “I love you, Luna!”



Celestia gasped as she recoiled from the expected blast that never came. She opened her eyes expecting to see only the void of her own banishment. To her surprise, by the glow of the soft moonlight that peaked through the still flapping curtains to her balcony door, she saw a rainbow haired pony had embedded herself into the now flattened mass of Nightmare Moon.

“Rainbow Dash?” gently spoke a still confused Celestia.

“Oooo boy! That sure felt good,” called out Rainbow Dash as she pumped her hoof in the air. “Kickin’ tail and takin’ manes!”

The exuberant pony danced around her fallen foe, shadow boxing in the moonlight.

“Whaaaaaa…. Who…..” Nightmare Moon struggled to raise her head as she tried to peel herself up off the floor.

“I believe you owe the princess an apology.” Rainbow Dash lorded over the fallen pony.

“Luna!” Celestia leaped off her bed and fell over the body of her sister still trapped in her nightmare form. “Sister, please come back to me!”

Celestia’s tears mixed with the starry night sky as it danced across Nightmare Moon’s mane. Little sparkles danced amidst the stars and wove the patterns of the constellations as they swam.

“Sister?” the dark mare lifted her head and tried to speak. “What… has happened?”

“Luna, my dearest little sister, I knew you were in there. Please come back to me. You know I love you!”

Celestia hugged her sister with all her might. Both their tears now began to mingle and swirl together. A steak of daylight followed by a streak of moonlight chased the other’s tail as the magic of the sister’s friendship once again found its balance. There was the magical yin of Celestia’s sun followed by the spiritual yang of luna’s moon. The magical essence floated around them as it scoured all aspects of the former Nightmare Moon from the now present Luna.

“Now that’s what I’m takin’ about!” hollered Rainbow Dash.

The essence mopped up the last bits of the former host of envy before gliding over to Rainbow Dash’s gemstone and filling it with a brilliant red light.

“Thank you.”

The words came strained but pure from the still shaking shell of the former nightmare pony. Luna finished her hug with her sister and gingerly got to her hooves before proceeding to give Rainbow Dash an unexpected, but grateful hug of her own.

“I deserved that.”

“Anytime princess,” Rainbow Dash gave Luna a huge smile and a big hug in return.

Celestia rose to her full stature, her mane glowing in all its normal glory. “I believe we have one more thing to do before we can say things are settled – wouldn’t you agree, sister?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything, dear sister.”

Luna rose and walked out to the balcony. Celestia followed her as did Rainbow Dash. Luna spread her wings and rose up into the still moonlit sky as she brought her magic into focus. Celestia walked forward and did the same. Rainbow Dash had a front row seat to one of the most amazing events in all of pony history. The moon gently lowered beyond the horizon as the sun rose to take its place.

“Now that’s what I call awesome.” Rainbow Dash gazed up toward the princesses as the sunlight filtered down through their sparkling manes and wings. Her own gemstone glinted in the bright rays of the noonday sun.

Once their task was complete, the three ponies sauntered back inside. With the hold of Nightmare Moon broken, the castle and all of Canterlot quickly got back into the regular swing of things. Luna and Celestia came back to ask a few questions of Rainbow Dash, both curious to know how she had been able to come to their aid.

“My dear little pony,” Celestia addressed her, “how was it possible that you were able to resist the magic of Nightmare Moon?”

“I guess it’s just my normal routine,” casually replied Rainbow. “I get up every morning before you raise the sun and go for a little predawn flight.”

“But how did you know to come looking for me here?” questioned Luna.

Rainbow Dash replied, “Well, I didn’t really think I woke up all that early this morning, so after I took a few laps around the city, I went to your room to see what was up with the late sunrise and all. I found two of your guards asleep on your balcony, so I knew something was up. Then, I made a beeline straight over here and, well, you know the rest.”

The doors opened and Twilight and the rest of the bunch walked in on the conversation.

“Did we miss anything important?” Twilight pulled up as she found the two princesses and Rainbow Dash already engaged in speaking.

Rainbow Dash responded, “Oh, nothing except me being awesome – so just the regular!”

Twilight caught a glimpse of the shining red bolt of a gem set into Rainbow’s necklace as she turned. The young princess gave a satisfied smile as all her friends piled around Rainbow Dash and joined together in a big group hug.

Author's Note:

I wasn't sure how I was going to pull off the Nightmare Moon part of the this story when I sat down to write this chapter. I knew I wanted it from the very first outline I put together, but never really imagined how I would eventually work it into the story or how I would resolve the conflict once there.

I hope things ended up making sense here - I just started with the conflict within Celestia and let things flow. It was pretty much a one shot written as it hit the page with only minor edits for the usual typing issues.

Let me know if you think it worked or if I just totally missed the mark. I've still got some pretty cool stuff coming before the end of this book, so stayed tuned for that as well.

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