• Published 5th Jul 2015
  • 3,847 Views, 325 Comments

The Phantom Pony of Everfree - LightningSword

Who is the Phantom Pony of Everfree? What is he? And can he be approached with anything but fear?

  • ...

What Lies Ahead

After what could have been hours, Nocturne and Fluttershy pulled away from their deep embrace, and stood up in a haze of awkwardness. Nocturne felt weak and shaky on his legs, and his face felt warm and wet from crying. Looking into Fluttershy’s smiling face, feeling her fur pressed against his, knowing she’d forgiven him after everything that had happened—the knowledge that she was his first true friend—gave his face another reason to warm up.

“Nocturne, I want you to promise me something,” Fluttershy asked earnestly. “I want you to be able to apologize to my friends, too. Especially Twilight and Rainbow Dash.”

“Uhhh . . . who?”

Fluttershy sighed and answered, “The Alicorn and the Pegasus with the rainbow mane.” She leaned in closer and spoke low, “You know, the one you beat up the other day.”

“Oohhh . . . her . . . .” The look on his face and the tone of his voice clearly proved that Nocturne remembered fully well whom she meant.

“Yes. They’ve been through a lot, and I want you to show them you’re different now. Show them you don’t mean them harm, and show them how you feel about what happened before.”

Nocturne seemed to shake in place where he stood, only just enough for Fluttershy to notice. His eyes widened and his brow furrowed.

“I . . . I don’t know,” he said, “. . . I . . . w-would they accept my apology? Will they forgive me the same way you did?”

“Well, maybe not right away,” Fluttershy admitted, “but like I said, if you show you’re willing to work with them, everything will be fine.”

The stallion released a sigh. “Will I have to go out there again?”

“Yes, but only when you’re ready. I want you to be comfortable in this, okay?”

Nocturne nodded. “I . . . well, I actually want to try . . . going back out there . . . .”

“Really?” Fluttershy gasped, her eyes widening. “You really want to?”

“Y-yes . . .” Nocturne answered. “I can’t expect you to always be able to come and visit me. You have a life out there. So . . . I . . . I want to do my best to have a life out there too.”

“Nocturne, that’s wonderful!” Fluttershy cheered and hugged her new friend. “I promise you, Ponyville is not at all like you remember it! Everypony is friendly, and my friends and I will do our best to help you fit in! We might even be able to help you remember your talent, so you can share it with the whole town!”

“Whoa, whoa, hold it,” Nocturne calmed her. “That sounds great and all, but . . . they still think I’m the Phantom Pony . . . I can’t go out there yet. Not until they know I’m not bad . . . and that’s taken a long time to build up for it to just go away overnight . . . I . . . I don’t . . . .”

“It’s okay, Nocturne,” Fluttershy replied with a grin. “Baby steps. Only when you’re ready. Okay?”

Nocturne felt a smile creep over his face—the first true smile he’d had in years—and nodded.

“Okay . . . and whatever you need me to do, I’ll do my best . . . oh, but first . . . .”

Nocturne suddenly turned away and trotted towards a pile of leaves behind the tree that the bushel leaned against. He dug through the leaves, found what he was looking for, and carried it back to Fluttershy in his teeth. When he dropped it at her hooves, Fluttershy saw what it was, and gasped.

It was the duck plushie she’d given him as part of her care package to him, from what seemed like a lifetime ago. It sported deep slash marks in the shoulder, stomach and back, patches of its yellow plumage were bald, one leg literally hung on by a thread, and most of the stuffing was gone.

“The Lamia tore it up when it came back,” Nocturne explained. “I know I shouldn’t ask favors, but . . . could . . . well . . . could you fix it for me?”

Fluttershy looked up at Nocturne with a soft, glowing smile.

“Of course, Nocturne,” she said. “I’m sure my friend Rarity would be more than happy to help.”

Nocturne felt his blush strengthen as he dipped his head down, looking up at Fluttershy and smiling.

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure, Nocturne.”

From a few feet away, hiding behind a tree, Twilight Sparkle observed the whole scene without being spotted. After Nocturne’s unexpected appearance at Applejack's farm, she had only one thought coursing through her mind as soon as she saw Fluttershy hours later. The same thought played on a loop in her head as she flew over Ponyville, watching Fluttershy like a hawk until she made it to the border to the Everfree Forest. It continued to play from the moment she snuck in just past the border, hid behind a tree, and began watching them in the dark of the woods to this very moment:

I need to be sure she’s okay.

What Twilight ended up seeing was nothing short of extraordinary. The so-called “Phantom Pony of Everfree”, in tears? It was far more unbelievable than seeing Nocturne in the flesh earlier that day. And yet, somehow, having heard a majority of everything between Fluttershy and Nocturne, it made sense. At last, seeing him at Sweet Apple Acres today made sense, and everything came together, just as Twilight was sure it came together for Fluttershy in the same way.

Suddenly, the prospect that seemed the most unusual and unlikely didn’t seem all that bad anymore: everything about Nocturne that had ever been said may have been wrong, and everything Fluttershy had said about him was right.

“She did it,” Twilight mumbled, feeling a generous swell pride in her friend. “She tamed him. I guess I should know better by now than to underestimate Fluttershy.”

“She really did become Nocturne’s friend.”

Twilight jumped at the voice that piped up beside her, despite it being almost as hushed as her own. She glanced down to see the speaker: Sweetie Belle. She and Apple Bloom and Scootaloo had followed Twilight to this very spot.

“What are you girls doing here?!” Twilight hissed, keeping her tone low.

“We wanted to come by and thank Nocturne properly for savin’ us,” Apple Bloom whispered.

“We’ve been putting some stuff together for the last few days,” Scootaloo added, hushed, “and we think we might be able to help Nocturne, too. You see, something happened to him when he was a colt—”

“Girls, please,” Twilight said, holding up a hoof. “I know you want to help, but this isn’t the time.”

“But that thing in the paper—”

“He might have been attacked—”

“We could help him find out what happened—”

“Girls!” Twilight spoke up, a bit louder than she’d meant to. Hurriedly, she pulled the girls away from her spot in the woods and ushered them out of the Everfree Forest. Once a safe distance away (Hopefully, we’re out of earshot now, Twilight thought in a panic), the Alicorn addressed the Cutie Mark Crusaders more formally.

“Look, girls, I know you’ve done your homework on Nocturne, and it’s wonderful that you want to help him. But this is going to be a very strange and very overwhelming time for him. He’s on the road to convincing an entire town that he’s not the ghostly being they thought he was. That’s going to be enough on his plate without bringing up things in his past he may not be ready for. So, I want you girls to make a promise to me that you won’t talk to Nocturne about his past until he’s ready.”

“But Twilight—”

“We’re so close—”

“We can help—”

“Girls, promise me!” Twilight spoke over them. “Please. At least for Fluttershy’s sake. You could end up hurting Nocturne, and that will upset Fluttershy. If not for his sake or mine, then at least for hers, okay?”

Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom glanced at one another, sharing frowns and shelling out cut off attempts to protest. After a few seconds, though, each filly muttered her consent:

“Okay, Twilight.”

“We’ll try.”

“Sorry, Twilight.”

“There’s no need to apologize, girls,” Twilight assured them. “None of us realized how . . . well . . . sensitive Nocturne can be.” It still sounded strange, even as she said it now. “So, he needs to figure things out before anything else. He’s proven he’s capable of making up for what he’s done, so let him do that first. Then you can help us help him remember his past. Fair enough?”

The Crusaders glanced at each other again, this time furtively, and all nodded in agreement.

“Good.” Twilight nodded as well, then turned to leave. “You girls go on home for now. Let Fluttershy handle things from here. She’ll have everything under control.” And this time, I won’t question her, she added in thought. She can do this. I know that now more than ever.

“Where’re you goin’ Twilight?” Apple Bloom asked as Twilight walked off.

Twilight stopped long enough to turn back toward the Crusaders, gave them a wide smile, and said something she hadn’t said in a long time:

“I’m going to write a letter!”

Dear Princess Celestia,

I know it’s been a while, but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you in regards to some recent events here in Ponyville. I recently met a rare pony who clearly needs help, but does all he can to reject it. This can be a huge friendship test; that kind of insistence may just be the biggest sign that you should be strong, fight your fears, and never give up on a friend.

Admittedly, I learned quite a bit from this situation. This same stubborn pony has taught me that fear takes many forms. Fear of being different, fear of reliving the past, fear of change—all of them can lead to anger, bitterness, and even vengeance, if not properly handled. But any way it goes, nothing quells fear like knowing there's somepony there for you.

Finally, I've learned that emotions are easy to hide, but hard to lose, and what goes on in a pony's mind isn't always out in the open. It's best to treat those that hide their pain with compassion; they're fighting a battle we may never see.

I'll be sure to update you on how the situation is going. I think this pony will show us new things, especially now that he has at least one new friend he can count on. I expect good things from him, and the new friend he’s found in Fluttershy.

Your still-faithful ex-student,

Twilight Sparkle

Author's Note:

And here it is, the final chapter!

Thank you all so much for making this a long, successful story! You readers are the best! Thank you all!

Comments ( 49 )

7571995 Not just a sequel. If I can manage it, an entire Nocturne-verse. :ajsmug:

7572009 huh that actualy sounds cool

I'm actually really excited that this is finished. I make it a point never to read incomplete stories (just in case) and this seems like just the right kind of Anti-Hero story for me.

Should I expect any romance?

7572062 I've seen people try to ship Nocturne with Fluttershy, despite my best efforts to assert otherwise. I didn't want this to be like every self-insert "date one of the Mane Six" story, so I avoided setting them up as a pair.

But shippers gonna ship anyway. :twilightoops:


Shippers gonna ship! :yay:

(I want that on a T-shirt)

P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I LOVE IT. I can't wait the continue of Hearts a-Flutter. Please I need to see what will happen after the first chapter.

7572133 I'm building it up more. It started badly, so I needed to redo it. And it seems to have succeeded, so I'll continue it from here. :scootangel:

Ah. Good story with a good ending. Looking forward to more of Nocturne!

any plans for a sequel?

7572728 If I can manage, there will be many more Nocturne stories in the future. :twilightsmile:

7572774 a direct sequel taking place just after this happened he never did go into town apologize after all although he has nothing to be sorry for since it WAS rainbow who attacked first

7572791 True. Actually, my currently unpublished first story, "The Gentle Dark", technically takes place directly after this one. And I suppose I could rewrite some things there to make it a more direct sequel. Now I think I'll do just that.

I would say something stupid and insensitive, but this was truly an awesome story. Ah, what the heck? I practically live off of doing stupid stuff.
Seriously though, great work.

I was happy to share the ride with you! A story like this is why Fluttershy is my favorite pony. :yay:

7573197 You were actually one of many to help make this story possible. Your helpful critique of "The Gentle Dark" helped me make this story into the success it is now. Thank you. :twilightsmile:

7573007 Maybe another time. :raritywink:

7573340 You are very welcome!

7598207 I'm sincerely flattered. Read to your heart's content. Hope you enjoy! :twilightsmile:

7600358 That's the point. To give mixed feelings about Nocturne's actions and intentions, while Nocturne himself has mixed feelings of what's happening to him. It's all a part of the change he goes through, and the change of how others perceive him. :twilightsmile:

Very interesting similarities between this and The Vagabond. I like this story a LOT. It resonates with me like few, if any, ever have. This story might almost be that of my own life, with a few changes. I want to see much, much more of this story continued.

Liked and Faved.

7600949 I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you so much for reading through to the end. If you're interested in reading more about Nocturne, feel free to check out "Fluttershy's Bad Patient" and "It's Cold Outside". A couple of cute one-shots with Nocturne and Fluttershy playing off one another for laughs. :twilightsmile:

Thanks again! :pinkiehappy:

7601013 Already finished Bad Patient. Rather funny.

7601104 Ahh, I see. Thanks for favoriting! :pinkiehappy:

7605152 Yeah, I've gotten that reaction in the past. But it might happen someday . . . . :rainbowkiss:

i have been gone for a month only to see this?!
so beautiful!
i ship it

7608994 Thanks so much for reading! :pinkiehappy:

i have read this in my previous accounts before and it is has gone quite the change for the better bro, and also you might wanna make a alternate ending/story for the nocturnexfluttershy thing.........
i ship it

Well this was a nice long trip. Sad to see it end.
Loved the story man hope you keep making shit good like this.

From some random twat on the internet.

7660426 Thank you! I'm tinkering with another Nocturne story right now, so keep an eye out! :raritywink:

7572809 Oh man! I wanted to read the sequel! Oh well, guess I'll have to wait for a while.

7674515 Don't worry, I'll work on it as much as I can. Thanks so much for reading and favoriting! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!:pinkiehappy:

Easily one of my favorite stories created by you.


7793458 The shipping? Lol No prob. :twilightsheepish:

7793789 Well, I meant thanks for reading, but that too! :twilightsheepish:

I give you the great congratulations banana! nice story too!

8016941 Actually, I have often pictured Nocturne in a Death Battle-style fight with all kinds of characters. :rainbowlaugh:

Sure, if you want to. :twilightsmile: Would it be a story or just a blog or group post kind of thing?

8197832 Self-preservation is not cowardice. Picking on the helpless is.

But in any case, thank you for the favorite. :twilightsmile:

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the fave! :pinkiehappy:

Hey dude! I just wanna say that I loved your story! I especially love the way you made your OC, especally with the bat wings:pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:!! That was what I like the most, espcially how big you made them!! I always wished that Pegasi wings were made much bigger than in the actual series. The descirption that you gave him based on other Ponies perspective too, that was absolutely rich!!! I loved it all! Loved it loved it LOVED IT! :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:

Also, do you mind if I used that cover art for an MLP Alternate Crossover Series that I'm currently writing right now? I'll even let you folloy my story if you'd like! It's called the 'Guardians of Harmony Book '1! I put in a couple of folders in a crossover group that I recently joined. Though you may be surprised by the completely different personality and name that I give your OC along the way...:twilightblush:if you let me...:fluttershysad:

Also, Fluttershy is my second favotrite pony! The Cutie Mark Crusaders being at the top:scootangel::scootangel::scootangel:!!

I'm not really comfortable giving people those kinds of liberties with my characters, so I'll have to pass. It would be best for you to stick with your own OCs and write them in a way that makes them likable or makes readers invest in them.

Thanks for the favorite, though. :twilightsmile:

I understand. You're welcome!:scootangel:

Now that I think about it, it really wouldn't be a good idea, especially since Nocturne's Cutie Mark is literally standing out right behind him:twilightsheepish:. I will say this though, one of my OC's are pretty similar to yours...excpet he's a colt and a completely different species of pony:scootangel:.

Slight spoiler, he's a Kirin:pinkiehappy:!

Wow this story is finally finished?? :pinkiegasp:
Guess I’ll have to set aside some time to finish reading it ^-^

It’s been finished for the last two years. :twilightsheepish:

LOL I’ve been on break from fim for roughly 2 years (not sure exactly how long) guess I better pick up some slack :rainbowlaugh::unsuresweetie:

Dear Princess Celestia

I've been thinking about this for quite a while, but why won't Luna help Nocturne? Or is it that she doesn't know about him? Does she avoid the Everfree forest? Wouldn't that be a little irresponsible? Or am I just wrong about what's Luna's job?

Anyway, I enjoyed the story. I always love when a story ends differently than what I expected from the beginning.

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