• Published 13th Nov 2015
  • 1,019 Views, 13 Comments

The Unfortunate Case of Doctor Luna and Mistress Moon - cleverpun

After the board rejects her research application, Doctor Luna tries something foolish; using herself as a test subject. Surely diluting a pony's inner darkness is a worthy goal?

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Author's Note:

My editor (correctly) pointed out that the story might be stronger solely from Luna's perspective. The story went through a few rewrites before I gave up on it, but perhaps the things I removed hold some lesson.

“Why, Luna, it did exactly what you wanted.”

Luna started. She scanned the room, but nopony was there besides her. Beakers clogged one table, and books piled on another, but there was nowhere for anypony to hide.

“Over here.”

Luna’s ear flicked. She turned to the mirror in the corner. She had only placed it there out of necessity. Too many of the other faculty had berated her for appearing unkempt. Nopony could have fit behind it. She approached it, and saw only her reflection.

“Hello,” her reflection said. Before Luna could react, the image shifted. Her coat darkened until it was as black as coal. Her pupils narrowed, her mane shifted hues. Her canines became more pronounced. The change happened swiftly, like flipping the page in a book. Her clothes did not change.

“What are you?” Luna whispered.

The creature laughed. “Why, I’m you, of course!”

Luna brought a hoof up to her chest. The mirror did not match the motion. “Darkness…”

“I think Nightmare Moon sounds better, don’t you think?” She chuckled. “I thought it appropriate, considering I was born under the moonlight.”

Luna glanced down at her dress. “You were the one who…who accosted that mare last night…?”

Nightmare Moon licked her lips. “Oh, yes. She tasted wonderful.”

“This…this cannot be. I… I diluted it before I started! I ran so many tests!”

“And your potion worked perfectly!”

“No!” Luna jabbed a hoof towards the mirror. “I didn’t want this! You can’t be real!”

“Oh, but Luna, I am real.” Nightmare Moon took a step forward, and the mirror rippled. The glass bent and warped as a hoof slid out of it. “Why, I’m realer than you are!” Another hoof emerged from the mirror. “Tasting that pony was so…invigorating.” Nightmare Moon stepped out of the mirror, her teeth glinting in the early morning light. “I could smell her fear, taste her blood, feel her body.” She licked her lips again. “It felt incredible. More than incredible. I felt so…so alive! When was the last time you experienced such a rich sensation?”

Luna stepped backward. “I just wanted to help ponies. To dilute their inner darkness. This must be some…some hallucination, some mistake…”

Nightmare Moon laughed. It sounded like bells in a rainstorm, reverberant and low. “Oh come now, Luna. There’s no need to lie to me. I know why you really did it. Better than anyone else could.”

Nightmare Moon stepped forward, and Luna stepped backward. Luna’s backside bumped against something. Nightmare Moon stepped forward again, and Luna had nowhere to retreat.

“I can see it in your memories. Our dear sister outshined you.”


“She overshadowed you.”


“All the grants and admiration and newspaper articles and fame. And for what? ‘Harmonic medicine!’ Pseudo-scientific garbage!”

Luna shook her head. She had been alone during that conversation. The professor had promised it was confidential. This Nightmare Moon couldn’t know that.

“But I can.” Nightmare Moon stepped forward, ran a hoof along Luna’s chest. Crusted blood flaked off the fabric, fluttered to the floor. “I would think you would be happy. After all, I was your most successful experiment.” She leaned in, put a hoof on either side of Luna. “Just think, all those things our sister got, all those things you deserved, we can have them together.”

“I didn’t want them like this…”

“Didn’t you?” Nightmare Moon leaned in, and Luna twisted her head to the side. “Fame, fortune, recognition, power!” Nightmare Moon whispered. “We will take them all.”

Nightmare Moon pushed forward, and saunk into Luna. Their faces and clothes and bodies merged. It caused no sensation. When it ended, Luna only saw herself in the mirror, alone, still covered with blood.

“All you have to do is put me in charge. Just submit, and I’ll handle the rest.” Luna felt her mouth form the words, but Nightmare Moon’s voice came out.

Luna screwed her eyes shut. “Is it really that simple?”

“It could be,” Nightmare Moon said. “After all, everyone will find out soon enough. “That dead student, she meant nothing to us. But ponies will ask questions. They might find out about me eventually. Why make the next pony a meaningless one? Why not make it someone important? Someone satisfying?”

Luna shook her head. “I…I couldn’t.”

“But we could. It’s exactly what you wanted, after all.”

Luna shook her head. “No!” She turned to her table. “I will not listen to this. You are a mockery of me, a crude illusion! I will not let such a creature loose.”

Luna took a step forward, but her hooves did not move. She tried again, but her body remained frozen.

“Oh, but Luna! I am a part of you. The most important part. I always have been, and always will be.”

Luna screamed. She felt her teeth shift. Her legs cracked and crumpled. Her body burned., Ttears streaked her face.

Nightmare Moon stood up. She licked her lips. “That’s a pity. It would’ve been easier, had you agreed with me. We could have experienced all these wonderful sensations together. Now you will have to make do with the memories afterwards.” She strolled over to the table, picked up a few beakers and vials. “It’s really quite simple, you know. The potion concentrates all the right things, but afterwards it stays in the system for too long.” She poured one liquid into another, added a few more from a different beaker. She swirled the bottle a bit. The liquid inside looked so innocuous: clear and shiny, like water.

Nightmare Moon fished a tourniquet and syringe from the pile strewn across the desk. She tied the tourniquet onto a foreleg. “All one needs to do is purge it, and it will work perfectly.” She sunk the needle into a vein. It stung. She flung them aside and waltzed into the powder room. She lurched, but reached the toilet just as she vomited.

She rose up and wiped her mouth. She licked her lips. “I will need something to get this taste out of my mouth. I should pay a visit to our dear sister. She always feigned interest in your research, after all.”

Pinkie stepped into Celestia’s office. She had been in there before, a few times. It still loomed over her. Bookshelves reached to the ceiling. Books, past issues of research journals and magazines, and rewards covered every inch of them.

In the center of the spacious office, Celestia’s desk sat alone. It looked immaculate and pristine, compared to the clutter around the walls. Not a single thing cluttered it, besides the sign with Celestia’s name and title, and a single photo frame.

Celestia took a sip of her tea. “Please, Pinkie, have a seat.”

Pinkie complied.

“I just wanted to check in with you. I know it must be tricky, being handed such a unique case, let alone one so far outside your focus.” Celestia gestured to a small table in one corner. “Tea?”

“No thank you, Doctor Celestia.”

“Perhaps some wine? Or brandy?”

“I’m fine.”

Celestia leaned forward, templed her hooves. “How is she?”

“I think the prognosis is positive. There’s no trace of any sort of foreign chemicals in her system, and we haven’t seen any transformations in the time we’ve been monitoring her,” Pinkie said. She had rehearsed the whole thing carefully, but the phrasing still felt odd to her. “Psychologically speaking, she will need some time.”

“Of course.” Celestia leaned in again. “May I ask; what did you tell her?”

“You know I can’t tell you that professor; patient confidentiality.”

“Of course. But I was asking as a sister, not as a doctor.”

Pinkie shook her head. “I Pinkie Promised I wouldn’t tell anyone else.” Pinkie glanced at a random book. Saying no to Celestia stung her. The concern in Celestia’s tone felt accusatory and blunt, especially since Celestia restrained her emotions so often.

“I understand.” Celestia leaned back. “After everything that has happened, I imagine she would not want me to know.”

“She’ll recover, eventually.”

Celestia sighed. “Chemically, perhaps. I made certain the university gave her everything it could. Yet, chemicals are not my concern. I always say that harmonic medicine is there to treat what chemicals cannot. But this…”

Celestia shook her head. “I’m sorry, I should not be burdening you with this. Thank you for checking in, Pinkie. I knew asking you was the correct decision. I knew you would have some insight into my sister.”

“I suppose I did,” Pinkie said.

“Please make sure nopony disturbs her, unless absolutely necessary.” She picked up her teacup again. “The constables and university staff are preoccupied with an…unrelated incident. I expect Luna will have time to recover before they hound her.”


“Did you have any recomendations about her treatment?” Celestia asked. “You’ve spent the most time with her, since she was admitted.”

“I think she needs some more time with other ponies. She…needs a better sense of herself. Sometimes spending a lot of time alone in your own brain can ruin your perspective.”

Celestia nodded. “I’ll see if Twilight is free once a week, then. I imagine the two of them would get along well enough.” She took another sip of tea. “Was there anything else?”

“Who is that picture of?” Pinkie asked, gesturing at the lone photo on Celestia’s desk. She had just realized that she had never seen the other side of it.

Celestia smiled. She turned the picture around. It had faded somewhat, but the subjects stared back clearly. Celestia and Luna stood together. Two framed diplomas were visible on the wall behind them. “Luna never enjoyed posing for pictures. I had to convince her that two sisters, each with their own doctorate, warranted a few minutes to take a photo.”

Pinkie nodded. “I imagine this was even more upsetting for you. Having something like your sister walk in and threaten you.”

Celestia pursed her lips. “I suppose it was.”

“Don’t worry, Doctor. I’m sure that once this is all over, you two will be closer than ever.”

Celestia nodded. “Thank you, Pinkie.”

Pinkie stood up. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to my rounds.”

Celestia nodded again. “Of course. I will speak more with you later.”

Pinkie left. Once the office door had clicked shut, she paused. Something felt wrong. She turned back to the door, pressed her ear against it. The faintest sound of crying wafted through.

Pinkie jerked back. It felt like a piece of information she shouldn’t have. Would it comfort Luna? Or would it make her feel worse? Should she go back in and talk to Celestia?

Pinkie put a hoof up to her mouth. An honorary Pinkie Promise, then. She made a mental note. Something would be done, when the two of them were ready. They had warned her that adults didn’t solve problems the same way as children most of the time, but that was okay.

Pinkie turned and began trotting down the hallway. They would recover. That was her job after all. To heal the body and mind, no matter what it took.

“Wake up, Luna,” Nightmare Moon whispered.

Luna froze, in motion and in temperature. “I must be dreaming.”

“Oh, but you are,” Nightmare Moon smiled, and the white shine of her teeth poked out of the blackness. Her other features and parts remained invisible. “But why would that make it any less real?”

“They said they expunged you. Destroyed you.”

“Oh, Luna, how you wound me.” Nightmare Moon’s eyes joined her smile. Her features reminded Luna of blood on snow; stark and mismatched. “I’m a part of you. Why would I ever leave?”

“You can’t be here. They said you were gone.”

“How could a few bits of magic remove a fundamental part of you? They might have hidden me, buried me, but they could never separate us.”

Luna turned away. Nightmare Moon’s eyes and mouth waited for her, in the same position and expression, no matter where she looked.

“We belong to each other,” Nightmare Moon whispered. “I am the real you, all the hate and greed and desire that you can’t admit to yourself. And you are the cracking facade that everyone else sees. Two halves of one pony.”

“Leave me be, monster!” Luna tried to make a threatening gesture, but her body remained still.

Nightmare Moon’s mane joined her other features, starry and bright in the black void. “Just imagine what we could do for each other! I already helped you confess your feelings to Celestia, helped you tell off that clown trying to treat you. Just think about what we could accomplish if you set me free, if we worked as one. It would be gorgeous, exhilarating, euphoric!”

The last word leaked out of Luna’s mouth. She clamped her mouth shut, shook her head violently. “No! Tempt me all you like, but you are not a part of me! You can not be!”

Nightmare Moon leaned in. “Why? Because that pink clown said so? Because she claims Celestia thinks that?” Her nose and neck leaked out of the darkness. “Would it be so bad, for us to work together, as one perfect creature?” She draped a hoof over Luna’s shoulder, whispered in Luna’s ear. “I didn’t want to take control of you, really. I was just doing what you wanted, and you resisted so much. We could strike Celestia down, if we were of one mind.”

Luna kicked backward, but her legs did not connect with anything. Nightmare Moon stood a few feet away, still smiling.

“So violent,” Nightmare Moon whispered.

“I understand, now. You are here as a test.”

“I am here to help you understand the truth. You are nothing without me, and we are everything together.”

“If you will come to tempt me every night, then so be it. I will be ready. I will not shy away from penance for my failure.”

“You find me so torturous?” Nightmare Moon asked? “We felt differently, not long ago. The feel of another’s body on ours, the taste of their blood and the smell of their fear. You were there.”

“It is only fitting,” Luna muttered. “My arrogance, my incautious measurements, my research, they let you take hold of me. If I must relive those memories, if I must confront you each night in my dreams, then it is only fair.”

Nightmare Moon laughed. “And how long will that resolve last? How long before suppressing your true self breaks you apart?” Nightmare Moon’s face cracked, cuts spiderwebbing across her mane and nose and neck. “And how long before I pick up the pieces, and put you back together?”

Luna’s eyes snapped open. She jolted out of bed, the catheter stinging her foreleg and the starchy sheets constricting her chest.

Comments ( 8 )

Good stuff. So now I have to read this.

'cause it's gonna bother me if I don't say something...

Surely diluting a pony's inner darkness is a worthy goal?

I think you meant to use 'distilling' rather than 'diluting'.

6630980 The potion was intended to dilute it. Things don't always turn out like we want, though :raritywink:


<uncomfortable British policeman's cough>

Well, then, carry on as you were, good author.

Oh, right. I should comment on this.
It kind of... rambles. Overall, it's good, but it doesn't seem to actually conclude.

Still, I like it.

Despite you saying that the story is not good, I'd say it's great the way it is. I see it as a neat origin story for Nightmare Moon and how she was suppressed or "killed". Not sure if you can kill a nightmare. -shrug-.
Thank you for sharing this.

dr.jekyll and mr.hyde nice i love it

Good premise, execution is... well. The story isn't even <10k words so I'd say this was just a concept story.

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