• Published 31st Oct 2014
  • 1,853 Views, 10 Comments

Lunar Slender - Jade Ring



Princess Luna leads a band of gods and monsters in a final offensive against the menace that is devouring Equestria. But in the end, the Princess of the Night will have to face the evil alone.

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Mortals

Luna woke up with a gasp.

She took deep shuddering breaths as her eyes darted about the room she found herself in. She took in the dark decorations, the plush pillows, the assorted books, and the still-burning candles. If she didn’t know any better…

…this looked just like her tower.

A knock came on the door.

Luna gasped as the door opened… and a ghost stepped inside.

“Luna? Why are you still here? Aren’t you going to Ponyville for Nightmare Night?” Princess Celestia, very much alive and shining with the very light of the sun, stood in the doorway and smiled at her little sister.

Luna crossed the length of the room in the blink of an eye, grasping her sister in a rib-crushing hug. “Tia! I missed you so much!”

Celestia confusedly returned the embrace. “Missed me? You just saw me yesterday.”

Luna pulled back. “You… you don’t remember?”

“Remember what?”

Luna offered an uneasy smile. “N-nothing.” She motioned to her saddle-bags lying on the bed. “I’ll be leaving for Ponyville shortly.”

Celestia nodded and turned to leave. “Happy Nightmare Night, sister.”

“Happy Nightmare Night.” Luna returned to her bed and stroked the blankets absentmindedly. Was it possible that she was the only one who remembered those dark days? Did nopony have any clue about the nightmare they had all suffered? Could it be that since she had been the last in all the land, that she alone knew?

A thought popped into her head. Had it all been some horrible dream?

She reached into her saddlebags and pulled out the heavy scrapbook of Leo Heartship and knew that it had been no dream.

She opened the book to the first page and stared at the headline of the newspaper clipping. In her heart, she knew that she was not the only one who remembered.

The Slender One had existed for longer than Equestria itself. Before it found the Everfree, surely it had taken scores of ponies. But somehow she knew that the creature had only returned to life every victim it had claimed since that dark day when it found a new home in the trees.

Which meant that if she, the last, remembered what had happened… so too did the first.

PONYVILLE IN PANIC: MAILMARE’S DAUGHTER LOST IN THE NIGHT

///////////////////////////////////////////

On her way out of the castle, Luna stopped in the dark chamber that housed the mirror that acted as a gate to other worlds. She considered her reflection for a moment, then lit her horn and blasted the glass with a blaze of magic.

The mirror’s surface warped, twisted, and then the entire mirror exploded in a hail of glass and stone.

Not missing a beat, she lifted Heartship’s book from her bags and tossed it to the floor. A second blast, and it burst into flames.

As she left the room, she could have sworn that the burning book sounded like the screaming of thousands of lost souls.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

“Dinky Hooves?”

The small violet unicorn looked up from her pile of candy and smiled at Princess Luna. “Hiya princess. Do you like my costume this year?”

Luna smiled at the filly wearing a shockingly well put together manticore costume. “Indeed. You clearly worked very hard on it.”

Dinky beamed. “Yep. Mommy had to help out a lot though, since…”

“Since?”

The filly’s grin vanished. “I haven’t been sleeping well.”

Luna nodded. “Nightmares?” When the filly nodded yes, Luna sighed. “A thin stallion?”

Dinky closed her eyes. “It’s not a stallion anymore. It walks on two legs now, and it's muzzle is gone. It still doesn't have a face.” Dinky looked up at the Princess of the Night with tears in her eyes. “Why do I keep seeing it?”

Luna sat beside her. “I believe it sees you as a way back to this world, should the need ever arise. You were the first it took after it took up residence in the forest. That was when it was strongest.”

“I remember being in the dark, but I couldn’t see. Everypony was always screaming…” Dinky started to cry. “Mommy says it was just a nightmare, but it felt so real. Why doesn’t anypony else remember? Why is it just me?”

Luna put a comforting hoof about the filly and looked over at Ponyville’s Nightmare Night celebrations. There were ponies everywhere, all in costume and having a wonderful time.

She spied the Cutie Mark Crusaders bickering as they tried to maneuver in their chimera costume.

Macintosh Apple appeared to be putting the moves on an icy blue pegasus hovering by his side as he pulled a hay-cart full of ponies of all sorts, from fillies and colts to full grown mares and stallions. An orange pegasus pulled a rabbit from her top hat to the cheers of the assembled ponies. A white unicorn clapped her hooves as she snuggled up to a very militant-looking stallion.

A purple zebra toasted a lime green unicorn, two snoring foals tucked into the carriers hanging from her sides.

Applejack busted a gut at Granny Smith’s attempt to mimic the poses of Bulk Biceps.

Everypony seemed so happy.

Everypony but this one little foal.

“Dinky?”

“Hmm?” Dinky looked up just in time for the tip of Luna’s glowing horn to tap the tip of her own. Magic surged through her for a moment and she rubbed her eyes. “What… what happened?”

Luna rubbed her mane. “I was complimenting your costume. It looks like you worked very hard on it.”

Dinky nodded. “Yep. Well, me and my mom.”

“And why did you need her help?”

Dinky shrugged her little shoulders. “Because she always helps me with my costumes. We do it every year.”

“Dinky? Are you bothering the princess?” Derpy Hooves emerged from the crowd, a tie-wearing stallion at her side. “Why don’t you come try and beat Uncle Doc at the spider toss?”

Dinky nodded excitedly and hugged Luna tightly. “Happy Nightmare Night, your majesty.”

Luna returned the hug. “To you as well, little one.”

Dinky gathered her candy into her bag and raced off with her mother.

Luna watched her go and smiled sadly. “I know one day, you may find a way back into this world. But I will not make it easy for you.” Her horn lit once again. “For all our sakes, and even your own, I pray that you remain in whatever world I sent you.” The aura about her horn glowed brighter. “Let there be light…” she whispered.

A blinding light filled her vision and faded just as quickly.

“Princess Luna?”

Luna looked up to find Applejack looking at her with concern.

“Ya’ll alright?”

Luna smiled and nodded. “Yes. I believe I am.”

As she stood and followed the young farmer into the party proper, she racked her brain, trying to figure out why she couldn’t remember anything about the previous day.

In the end, she simply shrugged and joined the party.

If it had been anything of great importance, she would have remembered by now.

Somehow, she knew that everything would be okay.