• Published 5th Jun 2012
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Twidark - Isseus

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What The Moon Brings

Death is a curious thing. When it comes to you, you're the last one to know. Nopony is present at their own death, because their body shuts down systematically moments before it happens. It's not called "the great sleep" for nothing. And nopony ever wakes up from that dream. It is the final mercy at the end of a long road. Usually it takes away all the pain and suffering that one has accumulated in their lives, however long or short. For many, it comes as a relief, as there is no more hurt or loneliness. Some even welcome it with open hooves, diving into it's embrace prematurely, because their lives have become unbearable. And so it was for Pinkie Pie too. The great sleep of death swept her up with it's gentle whispers of oblivion, telling her it would be okay. That she'd been brave and fought hard, and now it was time for her to lay down her mortal coil and go forward into the darkness beyond.

That is probably the reason that the bright lamp of the hospital room, and the terrible pain at every single part of her body, came as such a surprise to her. She screamed and begged to go back to the darkness, because here existed only pain. She didn´t notice the ponies around her, working, mending, healing her broken form. All she knew was torture, and the few thoughts she could spare for anything else hurt even worse, for she knew who had done this to her.

It had been her bestest friend in the world.


Rarity also regretted getting better. Her ears had always been quite delicate, and now that her perforated eardrums had been repaired with the combination of earthpony medicine and unicorn magic, the noise from the next room was driving her mad. There was no mistaking who was suffering there, and she would have given anything to help her friend out, or just to make the awful noises stop. And there was nopony there to complain to. Even all the nurses were busy helping with Pinkie. Not that she'd have it any other way, of course.

But it wouldn't hurt to have somepony there to complain to. Or ask for earplugs.

They'd told her she shouldn't try to walk around yet. Apparently her sense of balance was still off, and the feeling of vertigo she got from even shifting on her bed made her agree. She was wondering if maybe she could appropriate a wheelchair, or maybe even move her hospital bed with her magic, so she could go see her friend. Even the thought made her ears ring with a high-pitched whine.

Ever since they'd brought Pinkie in, she'd been dying to get some information on what was going on. Fluttershy had vanished immediately from her bedside, and she´d only seen the occasional glimpse of one her friends hurrying past her door. Nopony had told her what'd happened. She'd heard a few words here and there, about the library, and Princess Luna. Apparently the princess had come to Ponyville, and soon after Pinkie had been carried to the hospital by Applejack and Rainbow Dash. What in Equestria was going on?


Twilight Sparkle, or Inferno, whichever name you preferred, was sitting quietly in her cellar. The moment of prescience and insight that usually followed her transformation was fading fast, so she was determined to make the most of it. Her fiery mane was lighting up the room, but all it accomplished was make the destruction clear for her to see.

Broken pieces of machinery and tools of her occupation were scattered around the room. Only the instruments that had been made out of metal were left, and even they had been twisted out of shape, some of them merely mounds and puddles now. Everything else in the room had been turned to ash when she'd changed. Even the walls had changed shape, the stones having melted in the heat. The masonry in the walls had flowed like molten glass a few moments ago, and was now cooling into a mirror-like sheen all around her. Where once the walls had been made out carefully laid stones and mortar, they were now a solid piece of stone. The air was full of the sounds of the rapidly cooling stonework and the few patches of molten metal strewn around. She felt a small, distant twinge of regret for all the work that she'd put into her little sanctuary under her library-home. But it had all been worth it. She was victorious, and that was all that mattered.

She knew that soon someone would come down to meet her. Someone of great power that she shouldn't even consider fighting. It was time to give up. She'd fought the cursed book off, destroying every last page of its contents. That was her limit and she was well aware of the fact. The events of the last few days had clicked together in Inferno's mind. She was well aware of all the facts that had led to her release. Usually she and Twilight weren't able to communicate, and could be considered two separate beings. This time Twilight had given herself over completely to the side of herself she was most afraid of. It had been wise, for the mind-control that the curse had put upon her would have broken Twilight´s will in no time at all. She could understand Twilight's feelings and fears too. All the memories and knowledge of her host were now her's as well. She shared every intimate thing with the unicorn, and was impressed of how far she would be willing to go just to fight off an invader in her mind. It was almost ironic that in doing so, she had given free reign to another. Twilight's original gambit to hurt herself so badly that she'd lose consciousness to repel the curse might have succeeded, but it would also have left her damaged beyond repair. The fiery unicorn'd had to intervene.

The determined but wary hoofsteps coming down the stairs from the main floor announced the pony she was waiting for. The dark blue alicorn descended the gap from the last remaining steps with a light flutter of her wings. She was all business, just like Inferno remembered from all those years ago. And just like all those years ago, she knew it to be just a mask, trying to hide the insecure mare underneath. She was also clearly surprised to find the white unicorn standing amidst the destruction.

After taking a sweeping look through the room, the blue mare finally spoke:

"Inferno."

"Princess Luna."

"I didn't expect to meet you here of all places."

"Did your sister not tell you that I was with Twilight Sparkle now?"

"It must have slipped her mind. You know how she is with her royal duties."

"Yes of course. And I see you've returned from your imprisonment."

"Two years ago, yes."

They watched each other in silence. The flames in the white unicorn's mane were flickering and slowly dying down.

"It seems I will not be here for long, my dear Princess."

"I always feel sad to see you go, Inferno. Your existence is always so brief."

The mask of composure on Luna's face was slowly breaking, allowing the hurt in her eyes to show.

"I missed you."

"I missed you too, my Princess."

The white unicorn took a step forward, as if to embrace the alicorn, but stopped a few inches short.

"My time is once again nearly up. Before I go, I must tell you a few things about what happened here."

The Princess of the Moon could only nod.

"The book that Twilight Sparkle received contained a powerful curse, laid by the mad bedouin himself. It invaded her mind a few days ago, when she was working on restoring the book."

"A curse? In this day and age?"

"It had been dormant for hundreds of years inside the book. It took hold of Twilight´s mind slowly, first creeping into her subconsciousness, making her cut her ties with her friends. Then it made her expend most of her magic energy to allow easier passage into her mind. It mixed truths and lies inside her head, teaching her of ancient magics and powers of the earth."

"I remember those spells. They were forbidden because of all the unicorns who lost themselves into the dragon-lines. The decision to destroy all knowledge of them saved many lives back in the days."

"But she was able to use them."

"Twilight Sparkle? Using the dragon-lines? I know Tia always speaks very highly of her but I never knew she was that strong-willed."

"Apparently she was able to tap into a mainline, and repair the dam all by herself. She did have a small piece of Tass to help her, which was very lucky for us. Had she not, we might have lost her."

Princess Luna raised one of her eyebrows at this.

"This day keeps getting even more surprising. Tass? Another relic of the ancient times surfacing at the same time as the book? Can this be a mere coincidence, I wonder?"

"Yes, the thought crossed my mind also. You will wish to speak with a zebra called Zecora in Castle Forest."

"It's called Everfree Forest now."

"I can't really keep up with the names. If Twilight hadn't allowed me to take over, I wouldn't even know we're in a town called Ponyville, and that the pony she almost tortured to death is called Pinkie Pie."

The expression on the white unicorn's face didn't change at the mention of the pink pony, but Luna couldn't suppress the wince of revulsion on her face.

"She's still alive. At least she was when I broke the barrier around this building. Her friends took her to the hospital."

"Twilight thought her just one of the phantasms that Discord conjured up. She really didn't know it was her real friend. She'll be devastated when she finds out. Also ... I'm a bit worried that she might have enjoyed hurting this Pinkie for her own personal reasons as well."

The blue alicorn couldn't stop herself from shivering at the thought of Twilight Sparkle actually hurting someone on purpose and liking it.

"That is ... I must tell Tia about that. She's her student after all and will probably know what to do."

"Don't be too hard on her. She is a very strong little pony to have fought off the curse as long as she did."

"She was very lucky to have you as her friend, Inferno."

The fiery-maned unicorn bowed deep in front of Princess Luna.

"I only exist to serve, My Princess. I always have, and always will. But now, it is time for me to rest. And for Twilight Sparkle as well."

Luna walked to the bowing pony and gently touched their horns together.

"Thank you, my friend," she said, as the last flames on Inferno's fiery mane were snuffed out.

Now lying before her was the slumped form of her sister's Most Faithful Student, who groggily opened her eyes.

"Princess ... where ... what has ... "

"Sleep, my little unicorn. You need all your energy when you awaken, but until then, sleep," Luna whispered, and with a gentle flow of her magic, sent Twilight drifting off to sleep. She carried the limp unicorn upstairs like a small filly. Luna gently piled a few pillows under Twilight and covered the mare with the soft cover of her wing and lay beside her.


"... and not notice the curse? I could feel it squirming in the air even after it had been dispelled!"

"But I just wanted to give Twilight something nice as a present and you know she loves to read—"

"The ramblings of the cursed bedouin are your idea of a good read?"

The two familiar voices brought Twilight back to the realm of the waking. After she got her eyes open, she recognized the surroundings as her bedchamber in the library. For some reason she was on the floor, not in her bed.

But why were the Princesses at the library? Did they want to borrow a book? But didn't Canterlot have well equipped libraries for that? The personal collection of Princess Celestia alone ...

Everything that had happened caught up with her.

"You must understand, dear sister, that—"

"Don't you dare ´dear sister` me! Your oversight almost caused the destruction—"

The two arguing alicorns were interrupted by the panicked shriek coming down from the bedchamber upstairs. When they got to her, Twilight had curled up into a tight ball on the floor and was crying hysterically. Princess Celestia went to her side and took her into a tight embrace, like a mother cradling a child after a bad dream. She gently stroked her student's mane and told her:

"Everything is going to be alright, Twilight Sparkle. The bad things are now past and everything is alright. Just try to breathe. That's all you have to do right now. I am here and I will not leave you."

The only person to see the tears running down Celestia's cheeks was her sister, who closed the door to the bedchamber, and walked out the front door of the library with a heavy heart.

She took a deep breath of the cool evening air. It had been two days since she came to the town, and life had returned to normal in the small town. All the ponyfolk were still giving the library a wide berth, which was only natural. The memories of the fighting mobs and panic were still fresh in their minds.

Luna took wing into the darkening evening, landing at the top of a tall white building in the middle of the town plaza. Turning her face skyward, she called out the stars from their places behind the curtain of daylight, and gently lifted the satellite that had so recently been her prison above the horizon. A few ponies on the streets below were watching her with mixed expressions of fear, awe and respect. It was not the way she ever hoped her subjects to have to look at her, but she couldn't do anything about the fact now.

What she could do was push herself back into the skies with her night-blue wings, and silently glide over the darkening town to her destination. She gently landed down at the grassy field next to Ponyville Hospital. Luna walked inside, barely giving a nod to the nurses at the counter, and continued to the room at the second floor of the building. The sounds of quiet speech flowed through the partially open door.

"... an tha's how Big Mac got his cutie mark. Ah remember how he'd prance around the farm showin' his flank to all the farmhands until granny told 'im ta stop it or she'd make 'im buck all tha trees in tha orchard by 'imself. An all Big Mac said was `Eeeyup´ and galloped to work like it was nothin."

As the Princess pushed the door open, she was met with the rest of the Elements Of Harmony. Near the door, the cyan pegasus was napping on an empty hospital bed, and leaning onto him was Spike, snoring quietly. Fluttershy and Rarity were reading some fashion magazines on two small chairs near the back corner. Applejack was sitting on the other bed, talking to the patient. Pinkie Pie was covered from head to toe in white casts. Her limbs were supported by a series of pulleys and rings that were suspended from the ceiling. All that gave a visible sign of her even being alive were her eyes, that turned to the princess as she walked inside.

"Good evening my little ponies," she said and walked next to Pinkie's bed.

"Any news, yer highness?" asked Applejack, hopping down from her perch on the bed and pulled out a chair for the Princess, who sat down gratefully.

"Your friend Twilight Sparkle has awakened."

Everyone else in the room took in a sharp breath. The duo lying on the other bed were now wide awake, and were listening intently on the words of the blue alicorn.

"She's been sleeping for a bit over two days straight, and it'll take time for her to be able to see all of you. I recommend giving her at least until morning. I left her with Celestia and came here, because you asked me to tell you as soon as there were news."

"How is she? How's she doing? Is she hurt?" the questions assaulted her from everywhere at once.

"I'm sorry but ... I can't really tell. She's been through a lot, and it'd be a miracle if she'd escaped ... damage."

As the silence fell in the room, a small moan could be heard from Pinkie. Her eyes were wide, running with tears, and her breathing was rapid. The sound that escaped her was one of the eeriest things Luna had ever heard. The cast covering her mouth and her broken jaw made the sounds coming through it muffled, but it was the sound of pure pain, hatred and fear. The pink pony on the bed tried moving, to run away from the horrors that were going through her mind, but she could hardly move her head enough to bang it onto her pillows.

Her friends were next to her in an instant, holding her, trying to calm her down. Fluttershy ran out and soon returned with the doctor in tow, half carrying him inside. When they couldn't make Pinkie relax, the doctor deemed it necessary to inject her with a sedative so she wouldn't asphyxiate with her cast mask. Pinkie's eyes slowly shut as the medicine took effect, sending her into a happier place than her current broken body.

As their friend was finally still again, the rest of the ponies could let out a sigh of relief. Could, but Instead, they started shouting.

"How could Twilight do something like this, huh?" shouted out the blue pegasus. "I'm gonna—"

"That Twilight! Ah'm gonna—" shouted the farmpony, while throwing her Stetson to the ground.

"... .. .. .. . . ... .. .. .. . . ," said the yellow pegasus, her voice drowned in the noise.

"Please don't shout so loud, it's hurting my ears!" shouted the marshmallow white unicorn, clutching her ears.

Only the reminder of their other friend still being injured brought any semblance of order to the room. The doctor who marched back inside, telling them all to be quiet or he'd throw them all out of the building, helped too. When there was a small calm in the storm, Princess Luna spoke up:

"Please. I already tried to explain that it was not Twilight Sparkle's fault what happened. You have to believe me. If you want someone to blame, then blame me and Tia for sending that book to her in the first place! And if I had arrived sooner, then maybe—"

"Please yer highness. It ain't your fault for being late. You had ta help tha workers out tha Ghastly Gorge after Twilight put them there, or so ah hear. If it weren't for y'all they'd still be stuck there. It's just ... seeing Pinkie here hurt so bad ... ah just can't understand this stuff about curses an' other mumbo-jumbo."

"Umm ... excuse me but ... I think we should be thinking about Twilight too ... I mean ... she hurt Pinkie, but what if she really didn't know what she was doing? Or was forced to do against her will? I can't imagine how she'd feel right now."

"Oh ... horseapples. I hadn't even thought about that ... ARGH this is SO confusing!" the rainbow-maned pegasus said, as she once again landed down on the bed, next to the quiet baby dragon. He hadn't spoken a word ever since he'd seen what Twilight had done to Pinkie, two days ago. Luna walked over to the angry pegasus.

"I understand it is hard. But right now both Pinkie Pie AND Twilight Sparkle need their friends more than anything. You don't have to choose a side. What's important is for you to try and help them forgive, either themselves, or the pony that hurt them."

"Can you be sure that it wasn't Twilight who did it? That it was the book?" asked Rarity as she walked over to the group..

"Yes I can, Miss Rarity. From what I saw when I went to the library, and what happened when Twilight woke up, there is no doubt in my mind."

"Then," the white unicorn laid a hoof on both Applejack and Rainbow Dash's shoulders "there is no way I'm going to let two of my best friends be torn apart by cruel fate. It seems Twilight is a victim of circumstance as much as Pinkie, and we should ALL go see her the first thing in the morning and tell her just that."

That seemed to be all that was needed for their anger to dissipate. The room was soon full of chatter of when they should go meet Twilight, what to bring her, and what to say to her. She could even swear that she could have seen a small smile cross over Spike's lips. Luna thanked Rarity silently for being the first one to extend her hoof to the possibility of forgiveness. It wouldn't be easy for any of them, least of all for Twilight and Pinkie, but the first step had been taken, and that's all it took for the second to follow. She sat there, listening to their chatter, with a small smile on her face. She couldn't help feeling a bit envious of how good friends Twilight Sparkle seemed to have.

It was just like her old friend Inferno. Whenever things were at their darkest, she would appear and bring with her the fire that lit a small light in the darkness. And when you could see where to take the first step, you could find your way out of the dark. She could only think in horror what would have happened if Inferno hadn't shown up. Well, it did no good to look a gift horse in the mouth. Things should work out fine now for Ponyville, and she should return to her duties. Wishing a good evening to the group of friends, the Princess of the Night walked out, and took wing to the beautiful midsummer night sky.