• Published 11th Dec 2015
  • 4,080 Views, 51 Comments

The Nightmare Knights and the Crystal Wars - Pen Mightier



Heroes are not born. They are made. And the Crystal War was a forge of heroes, turning even Nightmares into hope. This is the story of six Nightmares; Twilight, Starlight, Sunset, Trixie, Luna and Sunshine, the first of the Nightmare Knights.

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Operation Just-Beat-It

“Sunset Shimmer, do you realize what you did?”

Yes, I was saving her time and trouble. That Trixie filly didn’t even know the basics of Starswirl’s seven precepts. She would have totally failed the entrance exam.

“Maybe, maybe not. Now we will never know for certain. But one thing is certain, my faithful student. You have failed her.

No! I never fail! I cannot fail! I always win! Ponies aren’t tests! How the hay do you even fail somepony anyway?! Is there even a way to win somepony?

“Don’t you always win, my faithful student?”

I hate it! I hate it when she gives me that stupid smug know-it-all smile! I hate it when she knows something I don’t! I’ll show her! I’ll win that pathetic little filly. I’ll win everypony!

....

Funny. You don’t realize just how horribly you’ve lost until you realize you can’t win. And not winning ponies means you’re losing them; You’re alone. Only then did I realize there was something that sucked more than losing. It’s being alone.

The Life and Times of N3 - 23rd of Sunwane, C.E. 1007
Oh buck.

I’m alive.

Well, either that or Sombra’s managed to bring Tartarus here. Well, buck you too, bro.

….

Nah, sissy things like death happens to other ponies. Sunset Shimmer is totes alive.

Hah! Betcha didn’t see that coming, huh, tank?! Think you’re an iron hardass? Well, I’m alive! You’re not alive! That means I win! And you just got your tanky flank whooped by a filly! How do you like them apples, huh?

Ouch ouch ouch ouch that hurts!

Buck, I hate tanks. Hear that, tank? I hate you. Please rot in tank-hell, tank.

Tank you.

Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch! Gotta stop crackin’ such awesome jokes. Might kill myself.

Oh Celestia, it feels like a hamster died in my throat. Need something to drink. Pretty sure bucking up a tank ten ways to Sunday earns me a hospital bed, right? And a hot nurse to gimme all the prescribed tender love and care a winning hero needs, right?

I could totally do with N14 from the medic’s chapter. I’ve got her fully checked out, she’s definitely grade AAA under the sheets with those soft marshmallowy badonkadonks. She’s probably a screamer too. Hmmm. Or maybe N86? Not done staking her out yet, but she swings them buns like a champ!

I slowly cracked open an eyelid. That didn’t help much, seeing as the rest of the world was pretty damn dark. How am I supposed to see the goods in all this murk?

I just about made out a faint glow from what looked like a medical crystal ball set on a trolley next to me. Faint zig-zaggy lines ran across its surface to the sound of faint beeping.

Oooh, is that my heart? Woo, awesome beats, sis! Keep it up!

I’ll be here aaaall night, folks.

No, seriously, I will.

My ears twitched at a sound. “Dosey…” I heard somepony whisper behind the curtain around the bed opposite me. Oh, might be one of them hot nurses? Oh, yes, my body is ready!

“H-Hay, Mich.” I heard another voice whimper in reply. I felt my fur stand on end, my nightmare rippling in sudden agitation. I could sense her. A fully awakened nightmare was in the bed opposite mine. I could see the faint blue glow of her nightmare aura casting the silhouette of a human woman against the privacy curtain around her bed.

Why’s somepony got her nightmare on full release inside a hospital?

Unless...

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Dosey. I-I should’ve given you the release command sooner.” The first voice hiccuped. It came from the human silhouette.

“It’s...it’s alright, Mich. H-Honest. I-I was dead the moment that sub blasted the ammo dump. I should have done as you told me and secured it before we opened shop.” The Nightmare said, soothingly. “Did...did the ammo make it?”

“Yeah. You shielded everything.” Silhouette said, reassuringly. “Even the supplies of pea soup.”

“Thank goodness.” Nightmare chuckled. “I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I had to tell N1 she’d be tossing rocks at the enemy for the rest of the war.” She trailed off into a soft little sigh. “I...I’m glad you gave me the release command though. I...I wanted to speak to you one last time.”

Okaaay, aaaawkward. Why’d I wake up for this? Buck my life. I’ve got the timing from Tartarus.

“Mich, I need you to do me a really big favour.” Nightmare whispered. “It’s gonna be tough but...you’re a strong girl. I know you can do it.”

“Anything, Dosey. Anything.” Silhouette said, her hands grasping something on the bed.

“I need you to give me the stand down command. Please, bring me home, one last time.” Nightmare pleaded.

“B-but...Dosey! Your nightmare’s the only thing keeping you alive! If I do that you’ll die!” Silhouette cried.

“I know, Mich. But...I’m not alive either. I’m only a quarter of a pony, and that’s a hard sell, even for me.” Nightmare chuckled, bitterly.

“The medics chapter can put you back together! N3 designed all those nightmare prosthetics! We’ll make you right in no time! Promise!” Silhouette said, her voice full of thin, frail hope.

“But I’d still need to remain in a waking nightmare to keep what’s left of me going, Mich. If you keep anchoring me forever, you’ll….” Nightmare faltered. “I-I mean, I’d never be able to feel, I’d never be able to tell you what I really want to tell you.” She said, softly. “Please, Mich, I know I’m being selfish, but….please, please do it for me.”

“Dosey…” Silhouette sobbed. “God, please, please stay with me. I’ll make you all the chocolate pancakes you want! I’ll give you belly rubs and raspberries till you’re sick of me! Just….just please...I can’t do this alone. I need you. I need you, Dosey.” She pleaded.

“Hay, I’m not going anywhere, Mich. You know I’ll never miss a snuggle, right on the clock.” Nightmare said, soothingly.

“You realize the whole snuggle gauge thing’s a hoax, right?” Silhouette gave a wet chuckle. “All of us humans know that.”

“Heh, busted.” Nightmare giggled, softly. “I know this sounds cliche as buck, Mich, but I’ll be right beside you, every trot of the way. You’re not getting rid of me, not by a long shot.”

“Dosey…” Silhoutte whispered. “I-I’m sorry. I was only thinking of myself. You...you deserve better.” She choked. “I...I’ll….I’ll give you the command.”

“Thank you, Commander.” Nightmare whispered, gratefully.

“A-are you sure?” Silhouette asked, one last time, one last quiver of hope in her voice.

“Yes. Please, do it.” Nightmare gave a grateful sigh.

“Command Pancakes.” Silhouette whispered. “Remember the pillow fight, remember the pancakes, remember the belly rubs. Please, come home to me, Dosey.” She recited their stand-down command, simple but very personal, very powerful words that, uttered by an Anchor, can tame even the most powerful Nightmare.

“Urgh!” Nightmare cried, her bed suddenly squeaking under her jolt. The soft blue glow of her nightmare faded from the curtains.

“D-Dosey?! What’s wrong?!” Silhoutte cried.

“N-nothing.” Nightmare panted. “Just...just all the bruises coming out to play. Heh. Subs hurt.” She rasped. “Mich, I don’t have much time. I-I wanted to say, I, Mich, I lo-….all this time I’ve…I really, really lo-...” Nightmare gave a soft, contented sigh. “No. I….yeah, I really want you to live happy.” She said, sounding suddenly calm and strangely content. “I...I don’t want you to forget me. I want you to remember me by being happy. Find more friends. Make’em chocolate pancakes. Give’em all raspberries and belly rubs. Remember me by them. And please….please make it out of this alive.”

“Dosey…” Silhouette whispered.

“I’m...happy, Mich. I can feel happy again.” Nightmare giggled, bravely. “I’m happy that you’ve been my...my friend. Thank you, for letting me feel happy….one last time.” Nightmare whispered, softly. “Hay, Mich, sing me to sleep, please?”

Silhouette took a slow, deep breath.
“Hush now, quiet now, it’s time to lay down your sleepy head.
Driftin off to sleep, exciting day behind you.
Driftin’ off to sleep, let the joy of dreamland find you. …”
She sang, gently.

A long, happy little sigh filled the air. A faint, distant beeping faded into one flat tone.

Silhoutte’s voice shook.
“Hush now, quiet now, close your sleepy eyes.
Hush now, quiet now, my...how...how time...sure flies…”
She gave a quiet sob. “...D-Dosey….D-Dosey...Dosey…”

Oh, sweet heavens, why?!

I couldn’t listen. Not anymore. I wanted to just curl up and disappear. I pressed my head against my pillow as hard as I could, willing myself to fall back into sweet, sweet stupor. Whatever it takes to escape this place.

I felt something reach out to me. It gently stroked my cheeks, wiping tears I didn’t even know I had. It softly petted my ears, just the way I always liked it. I felt so safe and warm all of a sudden underneath its touch. With a sweet, firm but loving caress, it lulled me back into deep, welcome sleep.

I only wish I never ever woke up again.