• Published 31st May 2015
  • 2,061 Views, 85 Comments

Shadow's Flare - MrAlterad



Trixie works to break a curse of eternal slumber cast over Equestria, with some unexpected help from a former enemy.

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1. New Nightmare

She was having a dream. One that was longer than any she could ever recall. At least, she felt that was the case, for as she began to stir she could already feel the traces of the dream fading away. And though she tried to grasp at the fragments, they simply slipped by her hooves and vanished. Her heart ached as she saw those fragments slip away, but she steeled herself as she looked towards an approaching light. A warm, blue light, that was guiding her out of the darkness of that long dream. And after casting a brief glance back, she left the darkness behind her, and Trixie Lulamoon awoke.

“-go, see if you can find any other of Luna's students.” A familiar voice commanded, prompting Trixie to let out a groggy groan as she tried to look to its source.

“Yes, Your Highness!” Another voice let out, followed by the sound of its owner departing from Trixie's carriage. Trixie's body ached as she turned to the tall figure standing close to her bed. She then rubbed her eyes, thinking that she was still asleep, as she saw that it was the queen of the changelings in her carriage.

“Chrys ... why are you in my- Why are you in Trixie's bedroom?” She asked, then winced as she put a hoof to her forehead. Her mind not quite awake, she failed to pick up on the oddity of the situation as she looked to Chrysalis, her eyes half open. “Ugh, please tell Trixie it doesn't involve cider and a long night of regret.” Oh horseapples. I can't recall what I was doing last night... She thought, still looking to Chrysalis with half-open eyes, who was a little taken aback by her words, but quickly collected herself.

“Despite my curiosity, what you do with your free time doesn't concern me, Trixie.” Chrysalis stated as she shook her head, “Get moving. We need to save Equestria.” She stated, and Trixie looked at her for a moment before slowly nodding her head.

“Sounds good, how about breakfast first-” Wait. Trixie thought as she attempted to alleviate her headache. Waaiiit. Something's not right about this. Let's see, Chrysalis is in my home. And, she's asking- No, telling me, me, that we need to save Equestria? She looked to the changeling queen, who was standing next to the bed with a very impatient look on her face. “Is this real?” Trixie asked, which only made Chrysalis's brow furrow further. Trixie adopted a sheepish smile as she then added, “So, breakfast first?”

“Well, everypony in Equestria's been out cold for a week, but sure, have breakfast. I suppose the most important meal of the day is also more important than waking everypony up.” Chrysalis stated snidely, making Trixie blink slowly again.

“You don't need to be mean about it.” Trixie mumbled as she shuffled past Chrysalis, who was slowly turning a shade of red.

“Trixie! You're not even hungry!”

Well, that's weird, she's right. How'd she know? Trixie wondered as she looked to Chrysalis, who was looking over her for a second before letting out a long, heated sigh.

“You're clearly not a 'morning' pony.” She stated, with Trixie offering no argument against her. “Fine. Hurry and do whatever you need to get going, we have a lot of work ahead of us.” She said, and Trixie gave her a small nod in gratitude, her mind slowly winding up from the odd encounter.

“Save Equestria...” Trixie mumbled as she moved from her bed, shuffling around the large changeling to reach the mirror in her 'kitchen'. She was a little confused that it was still dark out, and that the lamp wasn't lighting when she willed it. Looking to the offending object, her morning grogginess shifting towards frustration as she tried turning it on again. Her frustration shifted towards confusion when she finally noticed that it wasn't the lamp, but her magic that wasn't working. “Hey Chrys, did you do something to Trixie's magic?”

“Oh, now you want to ask pertinent questions?” Chrysalis replied as she rolled her eyes, “I suppose I can indulge you, not like I have better things I could be doing.” She stated as she looked to Trixie, “It's a side affect of waking you up, I suppose.”

“Waking Trixie up? You suppose?” She asked, barely recalling what Chrysalis said concerning everypony being asleep. “Wait. So, everypony in Equestria is asleep?”

“That's what I've been saying! Everypony but you.”

“But Trixie...” But what does that make- Oh. Right. I guess it's different for changelings. She thought as the last traces of a week-long-sleep's worth of grogginess finally dissipated. Her eyes widened, her mind starting to pick up its pace as the gravity of the situation dawned on her. Asleep, for a week? Everypony!? Trixie looked to Chrysalis with a distressed look on her face, “What's going on, where's Luna?” And how am I suppose to help without magic!? She wondered as she glanced out the window, seeing Canterlot blanketed in a moonlit night.

“One thing at a time,” Chrysalis said calmly as she placed a hoof up, “Now, a little over a week ago, the sun didn't rise when it should have.” She said as she gave Trixie a somber look, “Which has caused no end of complications.”

“The sun...” Trixie said as another worry was added to a growing pile. “Why isn't it cold, shouldn't it be freezing?” She asked, and Chrysalis gave her a slightly pained expression as she shrugged.

“Whatever magic that's been cast on the ponies seems to also affect their land. Equestria is, simply put, asleep, which is lucky for you, I guess.” She said as she looked away from Trixie, concealing her face. “The badlands, they've become snow ridden.” She stated as she rubbed her hoof into the ground, the wooden boards creaking in protest. “We had to abandon our home." She added as she eased up on the floor. "I, I'm truly hoping it'll recover when this matter is taken care of.” She finished, and Trixie's brow furrowed, her own anxiety fading as she approached the changeling.

“Well, you clearly have something in mind,” Trixie started as she placed a reassuring hoof on Chrysalis's shoulder, “So let's get it rolling,” she then gave her a fiery look, “Trixie doesn't doubt that Luna and Celestia will help with the Badlands afterwards, so let's stay focused on how to fix the sleeping problem.” She said, and Chrysalis briefly glanced to her, giving her a small, thankful smile, before hiding it behind an equally small scowl.

“Hmph, I didn't need your reassurance.” Chrysalis replied as she glanced to the side, getting a small smile from Trixie. “I take it Luna talked to you about Nightmare?” She asked, and Trixie nodded.

“It's a mass of fear and other bad things that was defeated by Luna long ago. She told us about it after Shadow Flare's defeat last winter.”

“Right, well clearly it's done something to completely mess with everyone. Everypony that was connected to the Realm of Dreams where Nightmare resided is caught under an enchanted slumber. Since it lives where my kind can't go, I had to wake a pony I trusted with some dark magic.” She said, getting another smile from Trixie, which the changeling hadn't expected.

“Trixie's glad that you trust her!” She exclaimed, making the changeling blush as Trixie's brow furrowed in realization. “Wait, dark magic? No wonder Trixie's head hurts!” she said as she let out a small sigh. “You changelings and your dark magic. So, Trixie assumes that your plan has more to it than waking her up?” She asked, and Chrysalis nodded.

“Well, first, the headache isn't my fault. You can chalk that up to being asleep for a week. Second, the rest of the plan involves trying to wake up the others before sending the sorry lot of you into the Realm of Dreams.” She explained, and Trixie stared at her blankly for several moments before giving her a slightly disappointed look.

“Well, Trixie thinks it's not a bad plan.” She replied, making Chrysalis roll her eyes.

“Look, unless Luna told you something helpful that you're withholding, I'm pretty sure none of us were expecting Nightmare to find some means of making everypony in Equestria fall into an eternal sleep. It's really the best I've got right now, so we'll have to make due.” She curtly finished.

“Yes. Well. How are you gonna send us into the Realm of Dreams?”

“Luna taught me a spell for that a long time ago.” Chrysalis then adopted a slightly a disgusted look, “I think she wanted me to use it to make pony friends,” she stated as she shook her head, “I mean, the spell doesn't work on myself or my children, only ponies.”

“Umm, okay then. By using it on 'the lot of you', you mean Trixie, Twilight, Sunset and Cadance, right?”

“Cadance? Who's that?” Chrysalis asked, caught off guard by the additional name.

“She's an old friend of Trixie's! She helped Luna and Celestia up north, and she's one of us Bearers of Harmony!”

“You managed to find the fourth?” Chrysalis asked in surprise.

“That's right!” Trixie then glanced to the side, “Though, it would have been nice if The Great and Powerful Trixie had gotten her element second, rather then Cadance.” She said with a sigh. “Still not sure about the fifth and sixth pony though, maybe we'll find them through this mess?” Trixie wondered out loud with a hopeful look as Chrysalis shrugged.

“I'm not fond of Luna's prophecies, so I'll let you ponies worry about that nonsense. Now, any idea where the others are? I don't know about this Cadance, but Sunset and Twilight aren't in Canterlot.”

“Umm, give Trixie a moment.” She replied as she tried to recall. Being asleep for a week has really messed with my head- “Ah! Cadance and Sunset were heading back from the Crystal Empire the night before all this happened, so they're probably...” she then adopted a rather troubled look, “Anywhere between Canterlot and the Crystal Empire... Oh! But Twilight should be in Ponyville!”

“Well, at least one of them is close.” Chrysalis stated as she rubbed her chin, looking a little conflicted as she glanced to Trixie. “You ready? We should get moving. I mean, it's been over a week, I'm not sure if time is of the essence anymore, everything's been strange since it all started.”

“Strange?” Trixie asked, and Chrysalis nodded as she glanced out the window.

“It's quiet. No birds or bugs or anything making a sound. Not even a breeze. It's very ... disconcerting.” Chrysalis said, looking uncomfortable in stating it.

Trixie considered what she said while looking out into Canterlot. It looked no different from any other night, but now that she was giving it more of her attention, she could feel how quiet it was. Even in the midst of night, there was always something stirring in Canterlot. Be it a passing breeze, the buzzing of insects, or the miscellaneous late-night pony. Seeing the quiet scene before her made it easier for Trixie to understand the scope of what was happening, and that understanding made her brow furrow.

This won't do. We need to get the show going sooner rather than later. She thought as she adopted a determined look.

“Chrys. Does Trixie need to go with you to find the others?”

“Trixie?” Chrysalis asked curiously, then quickly looked to the side, “Well, not entirely, and I'll admit, I wasn't looking forward to carrying you to Ponyville.” She said, and Trixie blinked before adopting a smile.

“Hah, like Trixie would trouble a friend by riding her!” She then blinked as Chrysalis looked at her incredulously, making Trixie cough into her hoof, “T-That aside, maybe it would be better if you sent Trixie into the Realm of Dreams now, instead of later. She can take a look around and see what's up while you and your children look for the others.” Trixie suggested as she adopted a smug look, “Or even better, maybe Trixie can take care of this whole thing before you find her friends.” She said, making Chrysalis scoff as she shook her head.

“You'd get lost as soon as you got there!” Chrysalis said sarcastically before readopting a serious look, “Twilight's not that far from here, she could help,” she then hesitated as she added, “Then again, she may not wake up.” She added, getting a concerned look from Trixie.

“What do you mean by, 'she may not wake up?'”

“Well, I tried waking Tell Tale, as well as several others, but there's something happening on the other side that's keeping my spell from working.”

“Then why'd it work for Trixie?” She asked, feeling like she was forgetting something as she took note of Tell Tale's name.

“I don't know, but I'm relieved that it did.” She admitted as she glanced to the side.

“Oh! Trixie remembers!” She let out suddenly, catching her companion off guard. “When Luna took her sister, Cadance, and Sunset north to fight the crystal ponies, Luna insisted Trixie stay behind to look after Spike and Page.” Trixie noticed Chrysalis adopt a curious look upon hearing that. “Much to Trixie's griping and complaining, she'll add.” She added as she glanced to the side, then looked back to the changeling with a fiery look in her eyes. “Chrysalis, did you see Spike sleeping in Tell Tale's home?” She asked, glancing out the window again, seeing the stallion's home right outside her carriage.

“Spike? Sunset's dragon?”

“Right! He's not a pony, so he may not have been affected by Nightmare's magic!”

“...And you're sure he and Page were staying in Tell Tale's home, not the castle?” Chrysalis asked, making Trixie wonder why she was also asking about Tell Tale's daughter.

“Nope, they were staying there.” Trixie replied as she pointed to his home, “That's why Trixie's carriage is here. Let's go check-”

“That's not needed. Tell Tale was the only pony there, I've already looked.”

What!? Spike not being there, I can get, but Page too?

“You're sure?” Trixie asked as she got closer to Chrysalis, a worried look on her face, which slightly flustered the changeling.

“I'm positive.” Chrysalis quickly replied, then noticed Trixie's ears fall before adding, “Trixie, let me worry about finding the filly and the dragon, you've got someplace to be right now.”

“Chrys.” Trixie began, giving the changeling an almost pleading look. What would those two be doing, wandering outside in an Equestria gone dark...?

“My children will find them,” Chrysalis assured, “so don't worry about your charges. I promise you, we'll find them. Okay?”

“Right, thank you.” Trixie replied with a small, relieved smile. “Well, now Trixie wants to help look for them!" She admitted as she lightly kicked the floorboards, "But well, she's already pitched looking ahead. So instead, she'll trust Chrys, just as she trusts Trixie.” She stated, making Chrysalis blush slightly as Trixie looked to her, “So, ready?” She asked, getting a hesitant nod from her friend. “Alright! Let's get this show rolling! The Great and Powerful Trixie never disappoints!” She declared with forced bravado as she got back on her bed, finding a small amount of humor at the thought of going back to bed after having made such a grandiose declaration. Well, it would have been grandiose, if she could use her magic.

“Just so you know,” Chrysalis began, “I won't be able to assist you once you're on the other side.”

“Well, Trixie figured you'd be busy with finding her friends.” She said as she let out a sigh. “It's okay, Trixie will play it safe.”

“Be sure that you do. Trust your instincts, and for what it's worth, good luck.”

“Trixie always trusts her gut, but, thanks.” She replied as Chrysalis's horn began to glow.

“I really don't deserve your gratitude.” Chrysalis mumbled, making Trixie adopt a confused look before everything grew dark.

~~~~~~~~~~

Trixie's been to a lot a places, having toured all of Equestria after graduating as Luna's student. However, she's never been to the Badlands, which was outside those borders. The closest she's been was a small border town a day's trot south of Appleloosa. It was hot and dry. So much so that she had to drop pyrotechnics from her show or risk setting the town on fire.

Now that she was in the Realm of Dreams, she couldn't help but think that Chrysalis would simply love this place. Here, it was also hot and dry.

Trixie stood upon cracked earth, surrounded by dead trees which cast sinister shadows. The air was heavy, and still. Yet the branches of the trees still shook as if blowing in a breeze, generating an ambiance that was starting to put Trixie on edge. Though this was her first venture into the realm outside of her own dreams, she knew from the way Luna described it that this was far from its normal state.

Well, this is a fine start.” She said as she looked up, her eyes widening as she took in the scenery above. Rolling dark clouds with purplish lining blanketed the sky, the clouds themselves shifting into shapes that brought to mind common fears, such as spiders or monsters. Between the clouds were large floating chunks of broken earth, and constant flashes of lightning left plenty illuminated for one's eyes to fall on. But the most prominent feature Trixie's eyes were drawn to was the moon, which was wreathed in purple fire.

The moon is on fire!? How did this happen? Luna made it sound like that Nightmare thing wasn't capable of something like this! She thought as she started to get a better hold of the land. Well, at least my headache is gone now, so there's-

There was a bright flash of light, followed instantly by a deafening boom that made Trixie hop in fright. Her ears were ringing as she put a hoof to her chest, feeling her heart pounding as she saw a tree that was uncomfortably close was now on fire.

“Okay, calm down Trixie, it's just a dream.” She said as she took several deep breaths. “Whether they know it or not, everypony is counting on you, so keep it together.” She stood there for several moments, taking in the troubling ambiance as she felt her heart calm down. “Okay, since this is a dream, we should be able to take control.” She told herself as she pictured the tree not being on fire. Her confidence then found an unexpected boost when she saw the fire die down to her will. “See, just a dream!” She affirmed as the fire poofed out.

Trixie then let out an indignant yelp as another flash and boom drove away her bravado. “Right! Nightmare, Trixie meant to say Nightmare!” She stated as she put some distance between herself and a newly ignited tree. Maybe I should avoid drawing its attention, wherever it is. She thought as she started seeking direction, Let's see, maybe if I can find Tell Tale's dream, it'll help me figure out what's going on. That, and maybe it'll be safer there! She thought as she briefly glanced to the lightning racing across the clouds. So, what would his dream look like?

Eyeing her surroundings again, she spotted a change in the landscape a long trot away; a patch of land that was covered in a fog-like dome. Trixie turned towards the landmark, immediately finding the ball of fog to be far less sinister then her current surroundings.

Is that Tell Tale's dream? It must be! Since I'm close to his home, his dream should be the closest! She thought with a nod as she eyed the distance between here and there, not liking the idea of going on an hour long trot through lightning land to reach her destination. Well ... here's hoping I'm right about not needing my magic. She thought as she went through the motions of teleporting, changing locations in a flash of light.

Hah! Trixie doesn't need her magic to use her magic while in a dream! She thought heartily as found herself at the edge of her destination. Shame it's just a dream, I really wish I could teleport like that outside! I'd be able to make my shows even more spectacular, packing that much magic!- She then caught herself, and shook her head, Focus Trixie, focus.

Standing at the wall of fog, she could pick up a salty smell in the air ahead of her, as well as a cool breeze as she saw the cracked earth shift into sandy terrain at the fog's edge. And though she couldn't see through the fog, she could also hear the crashing waves from beyond, giving her the impression that an ocean was close by.

Moving forward, she passed through the fog, immediately revealing a large ocean ahead of her, and the open blue skies that accompanied it. This is it! I'm in somepony's dream now! She thought, no longer feeling any of the ill tidings that came with the dead forest behind her. So, whose dream is it? Pretty sure Tell Tale wouldn't be caught dead slacking on a beach-

Trixie's mouth fell open as she spotted the dark blue stallion, wearing sunglasses as he lay relaxing on a towel under a Luna-themed umbrella. Her surprise then shifted to something far less friendly as her brow furrowed. Equestria is in danger, and Luna's bookkeeper is relaxing on a beach!? She thought as she approached him, stomping her hooves in the sand as she did. When she reached him, he gave her a very casual glance before looking back to the sea.

“Here for more advice, Trixie?” Sir Tell Tale asked, “Or did you decide to take a break from it all as well?” His words made Trixie hesitate as she appraised him.

“Take a break!?” She let out in surprise. I didn't even know Tell Tale knew that word! She then blinked as she appraised the stallion, who was also looking at her, reading her reactions. Wait, is this Tell Tale?

“You don't need to be so surprised, even I need a vacation sometimes.” He stated, making Trixie give him a very unamused look.

So what, is this Tell Tale's nightmare? He's not one to go on vacations, least of all when Equestria is in peril! She thought as she looked around again, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. Well, besides the burning moon, which was taking the place of the sun in the sky. Then again, there was that time with Shadow Flare- No, that's not right. Luna sent him away during all that. She thought as Tell Tale cleared his throat.

“Something wrong?” He asked, sitting up as he gave her more attention.

Wait! Maybe that's it! This is Tell Tale's nightmare! Maybe if I end it, he'll wake up! Trixie thought as she looked to the stallion. So, how do I do that?

“You seem to want to help me with something. Maybe if you helped me see what the problem was?” Tell Tale pitched, starting to look a little annoyed with Trixie's silence.

Would it be that easy? Trixie wondered, hoping there was no harm in trying.

“Tell Tale, you're asleep right now, and this is all a nightmare.” Trixie curtly began, going into what she knew about the whole affair while her old teacher listened intently. After talking to him for several minutes about what was going on outside, Trixie's doubts of him being the real Tell Tale were dissuaded. He was very patient with her, and was confident that what Trixie was telling him was true.

“Why, that's terrible!" He said after Trixie was finished with her explanation, "I need to wake up and see to Princess Luna! But, how do we go about doing that?” He asked, then nodded to himself before Trixie could reply, “I suppose it would start with ending the dream.” He stated, looking to Trixie, “Though, I don't think this is a nightmare, as you suggested.”

“Huh?”

“I don't have some hidden phobia about going to the beach. Indeed, I've been here several times over the last few years.”

“Well, that's true. Trixie does recall you telling her that Page loves the ocean.” She admitted, then blinked as she realized something. If that's the case, why isn't she here as well?

“Who's Page?" Tell Tale asked, "She sounds like somepony I should know.” He said, making Trixie's blood run cold as she looked him in the eyes, seeing nothing but ignorance.

“Page. Your daughter.” Trixie explained, prompting the stallion to raise an eyebrow in doubt, which only made her brow furrow deeper. “The one filly you wish you could spend more time with! You asked me, The Great and Powerful Trixie, to foalsit her in Cadance's place, and I humbly did so!”

“Trixie, calm down.” Tell Tale calmly replied, “You're mistaken,” he said with a certainty that briefly instilled doubt in Trixie, “I've never been a father. And If I was, I'd likely be a pretty poor one.”

“Hah! No argument there.” Trixie curtly replied, now understanding exactly how this was a nightmare. This must mean that Tell Tale is afraid of forgetting his daughter! The darn workaholic! He should just retire already and spend more time with her! She thought as she let out an annoyed sigh. Okay, so, a nightmare is a manifestation of your fears. And to beat your fears, you need to face them. She thought with a nod, giving Tell Tale a determined look.

“What are you intending, Trixie?” Tell Tale asked, prompting her to take a step closer to him.

“Tell Tale, you're a father.”

“I told you, I've never-”

“Her name is Page.” Trixie started, taking another heavy step towards him as she looked into his eyes. “She's shy and clingy and adorable and you both really love each other even though you're always very busy helping Luna.”

“Trixie-”

“She's got a cute little crush on Spike. She's scared of Sunset, and loves to play with Twilight and Cadance. She used to be scared of me too, but I won her over with my magic and charming personality, and she's your daughter.” Trixie finished, giving him a hard look. He looked back at her with a patient expression, but Trixie could tell she was accomplishing something, because the sky was becoming overcast.

“That's quite the delusion you've conjured up. It'll take more than your honest words to convince me of something that doesn't-” Tell Tale was interrupted when Trixie used one of her older tricks, and brought forth an illusion of Page to stand at her side. The white filly looked to her father, her limp light brown mane shifting slightly in the wind as she gave him a smile, which prompted the stallion to take a step back.

“Papa, let's make a sand castle~!” Page let out, making the stallion and Trixie both blink.

Th-That's not what I wanted her to say! Trixie thought, seeing the illusion act outside of her intentions as it approached Tell Tale.

“You're not real, leave me be.” Tell Tale asked of the filly, trying to act composed as he dodged a hug from her. His flustered actions struck a cord with Trixie, making her feel an urge to corner him on his fear, which she was quick to listen to.

“Why are you so scared of her?” Trixie ask as she got closer, getting a disconcerting look from him, “If you're right, then why are you so troubled?”

“S-She's not mine!” Tell Tale insisted, “I wouldn't forget my own daughter!

“But you're afraid that you will.” She stated, making him freeze as he appraised her, then Page. There was a troubling pause, making Trixie more aware of the growing storm as Tell Tale spoke up.

“I- I'm Princess Luna's bookkeeper! I don't have the time for a family. I mean, there's no way I'd have a daughter-”

“But you do! And Trixie knows that you love her!” she declared, practically in the stallion's face. “She knows that you want to hug her! Stop lying to yourself and see the truth!”

“The truth?” He said as he avoided Trixie's gaze, “That I'm a father?” He asked, and Trixie was about to reply, but was cut off by, of all ponies, Page.

“Papa? Are you scared?” Page asked as she looked up to him, making him take a step back. “If you're scared, a hug makes it better, right?” She asked as she tilted her head, making Tell Tale blink. Trixie sensed that there was some sort of connection formed from those words, for comprehension dawned on Tell Tale's face as he looked into Page's eyes. Trixie then stepped back, her heart aching slightly as she saw that the stallion was fighting back tears.

“Trixie, you're right, I'm a father. A foolish, scared father.” He said as he made a welcoming gesture to Page, who quickly excepted it, giving him a hug, which he immediately returned. “And the truth, is that I do forget about her.” He admitted as his ears fell.

What?” Trixie asked, completely blindsided by his confession.

“I get so caught up in my work that I forget about her. There are so many days where we don't even see each other. I leave to aid the princess, and Page smiles as I do. I come home late, and she's already in bed, having fallen asleep waiting to show me how she did in her arts and crafts. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if I woke up one morning, and forget to wake her up before leaving. Or that I'd forget to reassure her when she's sad, or scared.” He said, pulling his daughter closer for a moment before letting her go.

“Tell Tale...” Trixie said sympathetically as she approached him, “Take it from Trixie, you won't forget about her. Even in this nightmare you still remembered her. Trixie kind of admits, it's scary, forgetting the small things, but Page is too important for you to forget.” She then gave him a determined smile, “But, don't worry, if you do forget, you've got plenty of friends who'll smack you upside the head for it.”

“Heh, I guess you're right.” Tell Tale said as he shook his head, adopting a small smile. "I suppose you're really not a student anymore." He stated as he gave her a smile, his words causing Trixie's chest to well up with an unexpected feeling of accomplishment.

“Come here sweety.” Tell Tale asked of his daughter, who let out a happy little cheer as she hopped on his back. Trixie's mirth then shifted to confusion when the sounds of the crashing waves and coming thunder stopped, as if the dream had frozen. “Thank's Trixie, for opening my eyes. It's time this nightmare came to an end. I hope you find what you're looking for, before it's too late.” Tell Tale said as he and Page began to fade away. Trixie looked on in surprise, reaching out for them as Tell Tale looked to his daughter. “Now, what's this about you having a crush on Spike?” Her asked her, and Page's ears dropped as she gave him a sheepish grin, before they both completely vanished. Trixie's hoof passed through where they had just been, and she stood there for a moment in confusion as the environment around her started to shift.

Where Tell Tale once stood was now an emblem on the floor that mirrored his cutiemark, an open book with a magnifying glass looking over it. The floor spread out, made of marble, and as it did the sands of the beach vanished in sparkling light, spreading out as the beach gave way for a stone home. The emblem being the home's center, pictures adorned the walls as they formed. Pictures and portraits, Trixie noticed, of important events and ponies in Tell Tale's life. She then noted that the interior of the home resembled his Canterlot home, only with more potted plants, and looking more damaged and worn.

As the rest of the building fully materialized, the fog outside dissipated, and the nightmare outside the dream made its presence know. Cracks lined the pillars holding the structure up, and a number of the portraits fell dark. As Trixie was taking in the damage with a concerned look on her face, she noticed a small portion of the sparkling light, the last traces of the dream that was, approach her, and infuse itself with her cape, to her surprise. The lower end of her cape was now white, instead of its usual light purple.

Taking in her new surroundings and slight change in her attire, Trixie's confusion shifted towards optimism. She wasn't sure if ending the nightmare had awaken Tell Tale, or if what she'd done really helped Equestria, but that honestly didn't matter. Tell Tale had done a great deal for her over the years, and she helped him face his nightmare. A fact that brought a proud smile to her face, as so looked off into the broken dreamscape.

Wait, are my friends like Tell Tale? Are they dealing with their own nightmares too? She wondered, adopting a fiery look, which quickly shifted into a heated glare aimed at the very dreamscape outside. Not if The Great and Powerful Trixie has anything to say about it!

Author's Note:

**Opens up the big book of dream tropes, and lets out a small sigh.**
Let's see if I can manage to surprise my readers.
Oh hey! It's Shadow's Flare! I'm expecting this story to about about twice as long as Midnight's Radiance, so I hope you enjoy what's to come!
Also, dark tag because, well, nightmares.
I promised Cadance would play a big role here, but I've decided to tone it down from my original intentions, mostly because that'll be better explored when I work on the story that immediately came before this one, chronologically speaking. She will, however, be in this story. Very soon, I might add. :twilightsmile:
Now, I'd like to take this moment to reaffirm, that you are awesome, and thanks as always for reading my story!

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