• Published 14th Aug 2017
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Ghosts of A Different Kind - TerraeAntiqua

Celestia watched as an injured colt was rushed to the hospital wing of the castle, clinging to life by a thread. Luna battles her demons as she tries to help the colt heal from his, all so that he may continue to live.

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Those Living And Those Dead

Year 7, Return Of Luna
15th of Discordia

Luna didn't bother to think much on what Thanatos had just accomplished. She was more focused on catching up to him, which proved to be a feat in itself. After an initial teleport to just a few paces outside the throne room doors, the dark alicorn found herself racing alongside the her self appointed charge, only glancing at him every so often when she could afford the slip in focus.

Despite several stitches bursting wide open he didn't wince nor stop to tend to them. Despite the rush, Luna couldn't help but worry. Not just for him, but for the ponies in the courtyard that they were fast approaching.

The crow black alicorn beside her was naught but a blur, a shadow on the wall that moved and blinked even as he himself paused, a light surrounding his form that had an ethereal quality to it [1]. He passed through walls and doors to get here, even ponies as it seemed he could not be bothered to move out of the way. While it made keeping up with the colt difficult, and required the use of teleportation so that he remained within her eyesight, it also gave a very real sense of urgency.

They were on a time limit and Luna was painfully aware that she didn't know how much time was left. Or what would happen if they got to their destination too late.

As the open space came into view, there stood all those gathered for Day Court and no less than two dozen guards, all forming a circle around something she could not yet see. Nobles stood beside civilians and neither were batting an eye, where they otherwise might've protested. Loudly.

There was also the eerie quiet of it all that set her fur on end and the hairs on her horn prickling as if sensing magic nearby other than the magic of the colt she was following. Thanatos had sensed this before they were even aware of what they'd heard. He had some sense for whatever this was and had instantly moved toward it. A learned instinct, the lunar goddess could tell. One born of having done an action many times over.

A voice rose above the crowd, grating at her ears not unlike the manner in which Thanatos' mental voice had. This one however did not possess the soothing, peaceful quality that his had. It was all distorted maddening wrongness that had her fighting the instinct to bare her teeth -sporting fangs left over from her time as Nightmare Moon.

The young alicorn leaped over the crowd to land in the empty center, leaving her to do the same a moment later.

"That's why I had us come here like this, because I know my sister and I know that whatever or whoever you are, you are not her."

It was Rarity and Sweetie Belle. Sweetie Belle being the one who was hissing, eyes red in a manner that reminded the alicorn of the night of her own eyes as Nightmare Moon. With the exception, she noted quickly to keep her thoughts clear, that these eyes were glowing, Sweetie's body had that same glow as Thanatos did now, and the little detail of her floating off the ground a few inches, defiant of gravity.

She was being possessed by something. A spirit or a demon, perhaps?

This rose so many questions, yet she could not spare a moment to dive into them.

The alabaster mare was on the tips of her hooves, keeping a distance between herself and her younger sibling despite the possessed filly -who was giggling like a mad mare- constantly moving toward her with every step back that she took.

Thanatos was speaking harshly to the being that had taken over the filly's body, his now green eyes a mirror image of the red and every time he opened his mouth Luna could've sworn on her mother's grave that she saw fangs. The growling deep in his throat reverberated throughout the courtyard, echoing off the walls and setting all of the civilians -noble and normal alike- out of their entranced state and into a right panic. The guard were, thankfully, trying their best at getting the area cleared out.

Stepping toward the two, who were now locked in a staring contest it seemed as there was a pause in their conversation, resulted in her being pushed back by a wave -gentle yet no less firm in it's demand- of green death-ice-ozone-something burnt-decay magic. The scent alone assaulted her nose and kept her at bay even after the magic itself had gone, leaving her at the inner edge of the dispersing crowd. Only a few of the bravest, or the most foalish, stayed. Their forms hugged the walls as the royal guard took up posts at doorways and at the castle gates. Above them, pegasi guard were circling the area, keeping an eye on the conflict below.

Thanatos had refused her help.

That thought took at least a full wick to sink properly into her mind.

He knew -or thought he knew- what he was doing here. He had experience with this -or she thought so. Thinking and assuming would only get anyone so far, though. The unicorn filly was now wrapped in that green aura with more foreign words being exchanged back and forth faster than a ball in one of those "tennis" matches that her sister had tried to introduce her to, once. Thanatos was aggitated, furious, perhaps. The being he was speaking to had a feral grin and an amused tone to her -their?- words. The only good thing she could see from this situation was that the being could no longer move Sweetie Belle's body.

She could not stand idly by and just shove all the work onto the young colt's shoulders, help wanted or not. He wanted to be the sword? Fine. She would be the shield and assist him in a more defensive manner. Sure he seemed to know what he was doing, but she knew battle, she knew the things that lurked in the dark that liked to drain ponies of their life, and she knew that everyone made mistakes. Thanatos wanted to be the hero of this story? She would not let him go with the worry for the ponies around him. She would not let him go without her strength at his back and her presence assuring his absolute victory.

One spell brought Rarity closer to her as a another a heartbeat later formed a dome around Thanatos and the possessed filly.

"What are you doing? Shouldn't you be helping him?" Rarity asked sharply, "I mean, er, that is-"

"Keeping those not involved in the conflict safe is just as important as making sure the conflict ends swiftly." Was Luna's prompt reply, cutting off the element's words, "We were denied in assisting him and so we shall make sure there are as few things to distract him as possible."

That said, there was one other thing she could do.

Thanatos walked up to the being who'd taken over Sweetie Belle. She was on her side now, laying down on the smooth stone floor. He raised a hoof, brought it down through her side -using the same trick that got him through the door- and raised the filly up and away. All the while the spirit used its fading control to make the newly marked filly screech in a way that couldn't possibly be equine.

One other spell that Luna knew she could cast, least this foul spirit become mad and attack the colt for exorcising it-her-him. One way that she could protect him from further harm -thank Harmony above that his reopened wounds were now covered in that ice-crystal Celestia had said his armor had been made out of. Had it really just appeared? She'd hardly seen his horn blink!

A dark black shadowy looking being, hoof by hoof[2], was separated from the young unicorn. Once the connection was cut, the filly fell limp, her breathing ragged and her limbs shaking. Rarity was practically oozing relief however, as Thanatos wasted no time in setting Sweetie Belle down next to her sister.

Luna hadn't used this spell in well over a millenium and a half, during a war between pony and dragon kind. At the time it's purpose had been the reverse of what she'd be using it for now on top of it already being one that drew from her own reserves, but that hardly mattered now.

His shield and armor shall be herself.

There were only a few words exchanged back and forth between the two as Luna weaved the spell into existence. Only a wick of time for it to be established that Thanatos somehow knew this shadowy spirit personally and they were not on friendly terms.

A thin barrier of translucent magic, appearing like heat rising off stone, wrapped itself around both the alicorn colt and herself, only a hair's width from their fur.

The shadow lunged, eyes ablaze as her hooves took on the color of a raging inferno, striking so fast that he hadn't the time to react other than stepping to the side. Something that the mare quickly adjusted to, landing, twisting, and making striking at his shoulder. Contact was made and the barrier proved true in that Luna was the one who took the hit. Burning pain registered in her mind a mere heartbeat later as a burnt hoof shaped mark appeared there on her left shoulder where Thanatos had been hit.

She kept her focus on both the shield spell and the barrier linking herself to the colt more so than the fight, closing her eyes tight in concentration. If she had, she'd have noticed how both ponies looked stunned that nothing had happened from that strike. If she had, the alicorn of the night would have noticed how Thanatos positioned himself while avoiding the spirit's blows to be able to see her, and see the injury that he should have sustained.

Rarity, bless that mare to the most distant asteroid and back, stood tense at her side, multitasking between comforting her sister until medics could take her to the hospital wing to check her over, and keeping a running commentary of what was going on.

"So the colt that kind of looks like you just noticed whatever spell you did to keep him from being injured and looks, well, if looks could kill that mare would be dead right about now. Or sent to Tartarus." Luna could almost hear her shrugging her shoulders, "Oh, would you look at that, the poor mare is scared of him now. Tch, looks like I'll have to deal with the leftovers then. No one hurts my sister or controls her mind and gets away with it. Princess Luna...Princess? Are you okay?"

No, she was not. The lunar goddess could admit that much. There were more hoof shaped burns. One on her left wing, one on the right side of her muzzle, and a bite mark on one of her hind legs below her cutie mark. She felt no more than those few after receiving the one on her leg.

"We will be fine, Miss Rarity. Has Thanatos subdued the spirit?"

A moment passed before Rarity spoke again, "If you're certain, Princess. The mare had yielded, I think. They aren't fighting anymore and she doesn't look like she's about to attack anyone else. Thanatos keeps on giving her death glares though." Luna let out a heavy sigh of relief, "Where is Princess Celestia? Should she not also be here?"

The night alicorn dropped the shield spell before she responded.

"Neigh," Luna opened her eyes to see Thanatos trotting over to her, eyes full of concern, horn aglow with his magic as he half dragged the restrained shadowy mare along with him in his magic, "She and Twilight Sparkle are likely keeping the ponies who took refuge in the castle as calm as they can. Someone had to stay, we supposed, and though we admire Twilight for her skill in battle, being able to placate frantic ponies is not her strongest quality."

"Twilight's here?" Luna nodded her head as she wrapped a wing over Thanatos as he neared her, finally releasing her second spell and letting her horn and forehead cool. Using magic continuously heated the forehead and horn on a unicorn, the wings and hooves of a pegasus or thestral, and the hooves of an earth or crystal pony. Using too much without letting one's body cool down could have rather nasty effects.

The dark coated mare gave the spirit a dark look of her own, promising much worse than what Thanatos had done to her -cuts that didn't bleed even though they should, frost coating parts of her fur, glowing green pseudo-burns that felt cold even from here- should she ever dare to do something like that again.

Even without words, the flinch that the mare gave -replacing the sneer on her face with carefully controlled apathy- let Luna know that her message had been received.

"Come on. We better get inside. If our sister does not have a fit when she sees us then we shall eat our tail."

Author's Note:

[1] - Danny doesn't exactly go ghost in this AU. He can disguise himself using several methods -shapeshifting and his ghost glow/aura among them- but there is no separate forms for his living and dead halves. He has thus had to get creative with the powers he uses in either persona (Marvel universe means superpowered heroes/villains, aliens (see: Thor) and mutants), so if he limits his human persona to, say, ice and telekinesis, he could pass off as a mutant if he wanted.

Speaking of ice, yeah, most people (outside of those in the know) do think of him as a mutant or something similar. I mean, he had to get out of that GIW facility -with Danielle/Dana- somehow.

[2] - a hoof is about a foot.