• Published 2nd Sep 2017
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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic What If?: Volume 5 - SuperPinkBrony12

The fifth installment of a What If series, that involves the rewriting of episodes. But this collection contains only ten episodes from Seasons 1, and 4-6 (Warning!: Episodes rewritten based on personal opinion, please respect it. Thank you.).

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S5 E13: Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? (What If?)

In the hallways of Canterlot Castle, six pairs of hooves were frantically rushing! Their destination was the throne room, and they had very little time to act! All they knew, was that they were the last line of defense against a returning threat to Equestria!

Standing near her throne, Princess Luna became aware of a glowing dark blue/purple, smoke like object. She knew at once what it was and what it was going to do. She made no efforts to resist, fight back, or call for help. In fact, she simply said to the object. "Ah, greetings, Tantabus. We meet again. Yes, I am ready. Do your worst." And Luna began to grunt and groan, as she was enveloped into a spear of darkness, slowly transforming.

The six pair of hooves entered the throne room, their owners revealing themselves as the six ponies chosen to wield The Elements of Harmony up until recently. But when they laid eyes upon the throne, they gasped in horror! They were too late to stop the transformation.

"Princess Luna's turning into Nightmare Moon again!" Twilight exclaimed.

And indeed she did, Luna fully transformed into the wicked mare of darkness that had long since been dismissed as legend to all but a few. She immediately cackled, as her hooves landed on the ground and shook it like thunder. "How observant you are, fellow princess. But it will do you no good. Welcome to your destruction!" She proclaimed in a thunderous tone of voice.

"Oh yeah? Well, we've got the cure for that!" Rainbow Dash boasted. "Ready girls?!"

All nodded at once. "Ready!"

"Good!" Twilight smiled firmly, as she stepped forward. "Time to show Nightmare Moon the true magic that is friendship!" Then with a repeated chorus of "Almighty Rainbow of Harmony, unleash your power and grant us your aid!" The six mares transformed into the forms they had previously taken on to combat the dreaded Lord Tirek when he escaped from Tartarus just a few months ago.

"What's this?! A new form?!" Nightmare Moon mockingly commented. "Well, it won't do any of you any good! The time has come for you all to cease to exist!"

"Not today, Nightmare Moon!" Applejack cried out, and a beam of rainbow colored energy suddenly shout out from the six ponies! Nightmare Moon quickly threw up a magical barrier to protect herself, and an intense struggle quickly unfolded! Magical energy crackled and sizzled, as sparks flew everywhere! Luckily, the castle had long since been abandoned of all its inhabitants, save for the dueling combatants now fiercely entangled in the clash!

Nightmare Moon seemed to be gaining the upper hoof in combat, as she continued to laugh while her barrier slowly seemed to push the rainbow beams back! But then suddenly, the puff of smoke from earlier seemed to take on a mind of its own! With a ripping sound, it began to cut a hole in the sky and slowly slip away! "Wait! What is it doing?!" Nightmare Moon exclaimed, just before she saw the thing vanish! "No! It's gone! But, that's impossible! It's not supposed to do that!" She protested, and began to grunt as she felt her powers weakening, while the rainbow beams began to envelope her entire body! "Noooooooo!" She cried, while the six ponies all cheered at their victory!

Luna's eyes suddenly fluttered open, and she woke up in her bed in a cold sweat, panting heavily to herself! It took but a moment for her to regain her bearings, and realize what had just transpired in her sleep! "What? My dream ended... happily? No. That. Cannot. Happen!" She vowed!

The next morning started off like any other for Princess Celestia. She rose before dawn to raise the sun, refreshed and ready after a good night's sleep. Then she made her way to the kitchen, quickly whipping up some pancakes for herself and her sister, even though Luna never had time to enjoy them. Who knows? Maybe this time would be the lucky occasion on which Luna would finally acknowledge her sister's carefully crafted culinary creations.

But when the doors to the kitchen were flung open with a light blue aura, and Celestia got a good luck at her sister, it quickly became obvious that Luna would once again be in no mood for breakfast, no matter how tasty and tempting it might be.

Normally, Luna was groggy, and at times a bit grouchy when she awoke but for a few minutes to rest. As Princess of the Night and guardian of the dream world, it was kind of expected that one forgo sleep at the usual time. And only fits of sleep, no matter how envigorating, were never enough to put one in a good state early in the morning. However, it seemed like last night had been especially taxing on Luna. The bags underneath her eyes seemed to be much more pronounced, her entire appearance seemed much more dishelved and disfigured. It seemed like Luna hadn't slept even a little, and was ready to fall into a deep sleep at a moment's notice.

Naturally, Celestia's sisterly instincits immediately kicked in. Sure, Luna may not be all that little anymore, but she was still the little sister. And all good big sisters were expected to take notice when their younger siblings were not well. She was at Luna's side in but a minute, and was quick to help her to a seat at the kitchen table. "Good morning, Luna," Celestia greeted warmly, hoping to gauge Luna's overall mood. "Rough night last night?"

"No, just a very demanding one," Luna insisted, even as she almost faceplanted right into the pancakes on her plate. "Sister, I appreciate this gift, but I'm afraid I must again decline your offer to dine."

"Luna, please don't lie to me!" Celestia spoke up, taking on a tone of seriousness. "You look unwell. I know something is bothering you. What happened to you last night?"

Luna only shook her head. "It's nothing that need concern you, Celestia. It concerns matters of the dream world, which you cannot enter without me. Your magic holds no sway there, and you know it."

Celestia put a hoof to her chin in thought. "Technically, I never fully gave up that power. I could still enter of my own free will if I so chose."

Luna smirked. "We both know you'll never do that, sister. You only briefly wielded that power in my absence, then abandoned it before the end of the first year I was gone."

"You know me too well, Luna," Celestia sighed longingly. "That was too much power for any one pony to wield. The more I held onto it, the more it spoke to me, telling me things I didn't want to hear. I don't believe it was the work of the same Nightmare Forces that manipulated you and ultimately exploited your own insecurities and dark desires. But all the same I couldn't risk the possibility that I would too would fall from the light."

Despite her tired state, Luna couldn't help but laugh a little. "I remember the first time I encountered that projection of you when I regained my dream powers upon my return. I must say, I didn't imagine an evil version of yourself to look so much like my dark form, Nightmare Moon. Are you sure you weren't secretly envious of her, just a little? I hate to compliment such a foul creature, but Nightmare Moon was good looking. I can see why she left such a strong impression on ponies."

Celestia laughed as well, even though she didn't find it all that funny. If it gave her the ability to lure Luna into a false sense of security and get her to open up, she'd take a little bit of self deprecating humor. "I assure you, I was never jealous of Nightmare Moon, or of you, despite what my darker self might have led you to believe," Then she added. "You wouldn't wish to see me become that, would you sister? Surely, you would not subject yourself to the agony I had to endure for a thousand years?"

"No, I would rather die than be forced to turn on you again, sister!" Luna vowed, pounding her hooves on the table. "And if this is all some secret test or prank, it's not funny and I want no part of it!"

"Then please, for your own sake, you must tell what is troubling you!" Celestia pleaded quite insistently, shooting Luna her best pair of puppy dog eyes as she all but dropped to her knees in a begging pose. "Luna, I can't stand the thought that something might be wrong and that there's nothing I can do to help you. Without you, I will have nopony to interpret my dreams when they become visions of the future. And worse still, I may lose you to the darkness forever, and I can't live without you, not even now that Cadence and Twilight are alicorns!"

Luna opened her mouth to speak, but then she paused and clammed up. Should she really tell her sister about the Tantabus? What would Celestia think of such a creation, especially if she knew of its origins and intent? Up til now, Luna had prided herself on keeping the existence of the Tantabus secret, even from her sister from whom she could hide almost nothing. "The Tantabus couldn't have gotten that far! I should be able to track it down within the dreams of Twilight Sparkle and her friends, and without assistance. No need to worry my sister unnecessarily." She thought to herself, and thus she only said to her sister. "I... cannot discuss this with you, dear sister. If you knew of what I have tried to hide, you would surely turn against me."

"Luna, you mustn't keep secrets from me!" Celestia insisted. "Aren't you aware of what happened the last time you tried to do that?"

Luna reluctantly nodded, but she only said. "I am aware, but I still cannot discuss such a matter with you. However, I would be open to the possibility of taking to a trusted third party. Somepony that will keep the matters discussed confidential."

At that comment, Celestia paused and a faint glint seemed to come into her eyes. But if she was at all up to anything, she didn't show it. She merely presented a small business card to Luna and told her. "I believe this will help you greatly, my dear sister. This pony is a direct descendent of the pony who helped me to cope with the first few years of your long absence. She's a very skilled therapist with a resume and clientele to match. I've no doubt that she'll be able to help you with your problem, whatever it may be."

Luna examined the card carefully, checking for any hidden details. Be they a faint smudge of ink, a scribble not so cleverly hidden from sight, an address or name known to be false, or even some secret message on either side of the card. Nothing about it seemed phony, everything was as it should be. Even the name sounded professional. The card read: "Sunshine Smiles: Determined to help you find that light at the end of your tunnel."

"Please, Luna. You must do this!" Celestia again pleaded. "Either for my sake, or for your own."

"But what about my duties as Princess of the Night?" Luna asked with concern. "What will happen if I don't return by nightfall?"

Celestia just winked. "Don't worry, Luna. I have a feeling Sunshine Smiles will be very understanding if you need to cut your time short. Few ponies ever solve their problems on their very first therapy session."

Luna reluctantly accepted the card, and sighed. "Very well, I suppose I'll give this therapist a try," She then got up from her chair and with a yawn she added. "That is, after I take my customary early morning nap."

"You do that, Luna. And I hope you sleep well." Celestia politely responded, watching as her sister departed from the kitchen without another word, and without grabbing a bite to eat. "Oh Luna, I just know you're going to love talking to Sunshine Smiles." She thought to herself.

Luna spent most of her nap trying to hunt down the Tantabus, to no avail. With Twilight and her friends all awake, she couldn't enter their dreams to check if the Tantabus resided there. And a search of the few ponies that the six mares knew who were also asleep at the time, turned up no trace of the Tantabus anywhere. "Curses, how could something I created become so good at hiding from me?!" She thought to herself. "It was never supposed to do any of this!"

When Luna awoke, she felt refreshed and invigorated. After a quick shower and a little bit of time spent combing her mane and tail to look presentable, she set off for the location of Sunshine Smile's office. To her surprise, said office resided within the confines of the castle. Just across the courtyard and on the first floor of the tower Celestia often resided in when not on her royal throne. Luna found this fact most peculiar, what kind of therapist would choose to live in a castle, let alone in the one that housed the rulers of Equestria? Come to think of it, Luna couldn't remember ever having seen this office anywhere before, and she knew she had come this way at least twice (probably more than that when she was still small and regaining her powers, thus needing the comfort of her big sister to get her through the night).

The princess shook her head. "I'm thinking way too much about this, especially in my still sleep deprived state," She thought to herself. "I simply never noticed this detail before on any of my visits, because I was not aware of it and thus didn't think to look for it. I'm sure that if I had known this place existed, I would've looked out for it and spotted it long before this point," With a sigh, Luna reluctantly reached a hoof out and knocked on the door. "I hope I'm making the right decision by coming here. The Tantabus and the problems it's created are my burden and my burden alone to bear. The things I do to alleviate my sister's concerns."

The door swung open, and a warm and friendly voice called out. "Ah, you must be my next client. Please, do come in and make yourself comfortable."

Luna did so, and she was instantly greeted with the sight of an office that seemed almost out of place in the city of Canterlot. Whereas most buildings were built and designed to be as lavish as possible, this office seemed almost comforting in its simplicity. Just a soft, carpeted floor, and simple but soothing colors that made up the roof and walls. There was no receptionist's desk or chairs, let alone any sembelence of a waiting room. Instead, at the end of a short hallway, resided the door to what was likely Sunshine Smile's personal office. And there stood a mare who Luna presumed to be Sunshine Smiles herself. She had a beautiful yellow coat that was almost the same color as the sun when it first rose in the east, her mane and tail appeared to be a simple pink in color, while her eyes were the beautiful blue color of a cloud free sky on a sunlit day. Her cutie mark depicted a smiling sun, not that Luna had expected anything else.

The mare approached Luna, and lightly shook her hoof as she introduced herself. "As you've probably guessed, my name is Sunshine Smiles, professional therapist. Your sister sent a message informing me that you would be arriving here, Luna. Or do you prefer Princess Luna?" Sunshine spoke with a warm and gentle tone, not unlike that of a warm breeze on a lovely Spring day.

"Please, just Luna will do, thank you," Luna nodded, returning the hoofshake. "I am... pleased to see you, even if I came here mostly to please my overly worried sister."

"It's what sisters do," Sunshine replied, as she used her magic (which Luna noticed seemed to have the same color to its aura as that of her older sister) to put on a pair of red tinted glasses. She then instructed. "But we can discuss these matters more in depth once you're in my private quarters. If you'll kindly step this way, Luna."

Luna did so, and it wasn't long before she was firmly inside what seemed like a traditional therapist's office, complete with a long reclining sofa that almost liked like it had come from another town over or so.

Clearing her throat, Sunshine grabbed a quill and paper, and motioned for Luna to sit down on the couch. "Please, make yourself comfortable, Luna. I find it much easier to discuss the issues with my clients once they're in a relaxed state of mind."

Reluctantly, Luna did so, the couch just barely fit her length wise. "So, this is what waking world therapy feels like?" She thought to herself. "Perhaps I should consider this approach the next time I confront a pony struggling to deal with their fears? I have netted a few successes, most noticeably with The Cutie Mark Crusaders, but there have been those I've unintentionally frightened with my ways."

"So, Luna," Sunshine spoke up, rapping a hoof at the edge of the sofa. "Your sister tells me that you appeared... 'troubled' as she put it when you woke up this morning. Is that true?"

Luna nodded. "Indeed I was. But it's hardly the first time I've had to deal with this sort of concern," And she explained to Sunshine. "As Princess of the Night, I often tend to stay up during dark in order to guard the dream world and watch over the dreams of all, both young and old alike. And sometimes there are problems that arise which my sister is ill equipped to deal with it and require my expertise. Needless to say, sleep doesn't come easily. When possible, I have caught a few winks in the dream world to catch up. But usually I require at least a morning nap after lowering the moon. Fortunately, I have my trusty pet Tiberus to ensure I'm not disturbed."

"Tiberus, eh?" Sunshine commented, lifting her glasses for a moment. "Please, tell me more about him. What's he like?"

Luna smiled. "Tiberus is an opossum, one that I found on one of my night time strolls about a year or two after my return. By now it should be common knowledge I was banished to the moon for a thousand years, no?"

Sunshine nodded. "Yes, though I also remember that many still regard Nightmare Moon as nothing but an old legend. Anyway, is there anything more you can tell me about Tiberus? Any details at all?"

"But I thought this therapy was about me, not my pet?" Luna questioned.

"It is, but I find it helps to build a bridge with my clients before I make a major effort to try and discuss and diagnose their problems," Sunshine explained to Luna, as she jotted down a few notes. "So tell me, what kind of pet is Tiberus like? Is he playful, protective, demanding, uptight, scary?"

"Oh no no no, nothing along those lines," Luna retorted with a firm shake of her head. She found it hard not to sigh, as she fondly recalled all the happy memories she had with Tiberus. "Aside from having to clean up after him per my sister's orders, Tiberus is a very well behaved and friendly pet. He loves cuddling and like me he prefers the peace and quiet of nighttime to be active. Fortunately, while he has a big appetite, he's not very picky when it comes to his food. He usually eats whatever I give him. And in return, I can always count on him to keep watch while I sleep. Regrettably, however, Tiberus is away for right now. It's mating season, and I can tell he longs for a family of his own. I just pray that should he find one, he won't have to leave me behind. The only other pet I ever had, was an owl when I was just a little filly. But my parents wouldn't let me keep it, it kept shedding feathers and bringing back presents from outside."

"Sounds like you and Tiberus are very close," Sunshine commented, jotting down more notes on her pad. "So, tell me, Luna, what is it that caused you not to sleep even remotely well last night? Is it possible for a princess to have nightmares?"

Luna seemed to hesitate for a moment, and her lips quivered, before she reluctantly confessed. "As ashamed as I am to admit it, yes. The nightmares began before my banishment, and at first they were harmless enough. It was through these nightmares that I first encountered the nightmare forces. They tempted me, exploited my fears and concerns, and played to my feelings of jealousy and anger. The end result, was my decision to embrace the darkness and block out the sun in order to force my subjects to appreciate the splendor of my night. But that caused me to become Nightmare Moon, and if you've heard the stories then you know what happened next."

"I can sense that this... Nightmare Moon you mention is something you regret deeply," Sunshine noted. "But tell me, why is that so? Aren't you and Nightmare Moon technically separate entities?"

"No, I despise any such notion! Even my own sister has sometimes made that mistake in my presence!" Luna bellowed, slipping into her Royal Canterlot tone of voice, which caused the very room to shake and Sunshine's glasses to almost fly right off her face! Realizing her mistake, Luna blushed and lowered the volume a little, even as she continued to angrily rant. "It would be too easy to say that I was not in control, that Nightmare Moon was not my decision or my responsibility! While I may have been 'influenced' by the nightmare forces into being their pawn, the fact of the matter is I still chose to accept their terms! I acted irrationally, simply because I wasn't willing to talk things out with my sister, and thus I bear the responsibility for everything that Nightmare Moon said and did! Even upon my return, I was still at first jealous and full of rage, for I thought that everypony had forgotten about me! It was only once the Elements of Harmony found new bearers and purged me of my darker self, that I realized such was not the case! But while I at first made the mistake of wanting to forget about my past as Nightmare Moon, I soon came to realize that like it or not it was my legacy, and thus my burden!"

"Burden?" Sunshine asked, as she slowly pushed her glasses back into their proper place.

Luna nodded once again. "Yes, burden. I could never allow myself to forget that experience, because if I did I knew it would inevitably happen again. That is why I had to resort to 'extreme measures' to ensure I was always reminded of my painful lesson."

Upon hearing Luna speak the words "Extreme Measures", Sunshine Smiles suddenly felt her heart fill with dread. Whatever Luna was about to tell her, she was sure she wasn't going to like hearing it. But it was her job as a therapist to help her client overcome the issue or issues most troubling them, and in order to do that she would have to get as many details as she could, even if that meant having to press in areas her client might not necessarily be comfortable discussing. Still, sensing that this could get heavy, she retreated but for a moment and soon came back with a tea set that had seen better days. It was old and worn, the paint almost chipping away in spots.

"What is the meaning of this?" Luna inquired of her therapist, as she sat up on the couch. "I thought I was here to discuss the matters concerning my inability to get even a few hours worth of good sleep the previous night, not sip tea like some little filly."

Sunshine only laughed, as she poured herself a cup and offered one to Luna. "I thought a princess like you would understand more than anypony else, tea is not just for little fillies playing tea party and dressing up," She commented with a smile. "For centuries, tea has been known to have a powerful calming effect when drunk under the right circumstances. I'm not sure what these 'extreme measures' you've mentioned are, but I can sense they involve a subject very personal to you. One that carries with a lot of emotional baggage. It might be wise to have something to calm the nerves, just in case. It worked wonders with your sister when my ancestor Sunshine Goodness was helping her cope with your absence. And it's been a well known fact that the royal family extending back to your grandmother, believed fully well in the healing and spiritual powers associated with tea. Surely, a cup before you discuss any further will at least hopefully unnerve you a bit."

Luna eyed the tea cup very skeptically. A part of her felt very thirsty, and that tea seemed like just the thing to quench her thirst. But was she really going to sip tea from a mare she didn't even know all that well? What if this mare held some kind of grudge against her and was going to poison her? Or what if she had secretly slipped something into the tea that would make Luna talk about anything and everything, even if the alicorn would rather it be kept to herself? At last, against her better judgement, Luna enveloped the cup with her magic and slowly put it up to her lips. The tea worked its way down her throat very slowly, yet once she'd drunk it, the tea seemed to have an almost soothing effect, as if the princess were doing induced into a trance of some kind. "What did you put in this tea? It's like nothing I've ever consumed before. I must know what the ingredients are." Luna demanded of Sunshine.

"It's a family recipe, passed down from generation to generation," Sunshine explained and gave a knowing wink. "It's a secret that I will take with me to my grave, unless of course I have foals of my own that follow in my hoofsteps."

"Curses! So secretive and mysterious! I swear, she's almost as sneaky as my sister!" Luna thought to herself. Knowing that she couldn't pry any details from such a pony, she just lay back down on the therapy sofa as Sunshine sat back down in her chair and made sure her glasses were secured properly. "Well, I suppose now you want to know what I meant earlier when I mentioned the 'Extreme Measures' I took to make sure I wouldn't become Nightmare Moon again, correct?" She asked of Sunshine.

Sunshine didn't nod or even smile, she simply encouraged. "I would like that very much, but I can't force you to confront anything if you're not ready to address it. I can try to nudge and steer the conversation towards that, but in the end it must be you who chooses to confront whatever it is that troubles you. After all, as Princess of the Night and guardian of the dream world, I'm sure you know how fear works and how it must be overcome. So, if you're ready, please enlighten me on the details."

Luna sighed yet again, but this time the sigh was long and drawn out, indicating that whatever was about to be discussed was not going to be easy for the alicorn. But it had to be done, Sunshine seemed intent on getting an answer, and if she didn't, Celestia probably would. "There's...no easy way to describe what I'm about to tell you. And I ask that you please not judge me for it."

"It's not my place to pass judgement on the actions of my clients," Sunshine reassured Luna, lightly patting her on the head. "Now, if you would be so kind. But know that you're free to stop at any time."

But Luna only adopted a rather serious and even seemingly regretful tone of voice, as she elaborated in no unclear terms. "I ended up drawing on my experiences from my time as the nightmare forces' pawn, and was able to create a being that I dubbed Tantabus," She appeared to shudder a little, as she went on. "It was a small, whispy little thing that was supposed to be harmless enough and pose no threat to anypony. All it was intended to do, was make it so that my dreams would always involve the same nightmare over and over again. In the nightmare, I'm alone in the palace with nopony in sight. Only six ponies chosen by harmony seek to stop me, but they never arrive in time to prevent my transformation into Nightmare Moon. At first they wielded only the Elements of Harmony, then later they took up a new form I've been told they call 'Rainbow Power'. But no matter what they use against me, it never works. They are always defeated, and I laugh and cackle at my victory, before I proceed to plunge the entire world into eternal night, forever! But last night, it was different. It seems I underestimated the extent to which the Tantabus could have an influence, or just how powerful I had made it."

Unsurprisingly, even though she wrote down as many details as she could, Sunshine was horrified by what Luna was telling her! Still, she managed to find the courage to ask. "So, what happened? I take it you wouldn't tell me about this without a reason."

"Yes," Luna said to Sunshine, then she reluctantly added. "The Tantabus somehow escaped from my dream, and is most likely hiding out somewhere within the dreams of Twilight Sparkle or one of her friends. Which one, I'm afraid I can't say for sure as they're all currently awake. And I fear that if any of them dream of anypony else, the Tantabus will escape to the dreams of those ponies and grow stronger. Soon it may even grow powerful enough to develop a physical form and enter the waking world."

"I see," Sunshine commented with concern. "And does your sister know about any of this?"

Luna firmly shook her head in protest. "No, my sister's magic has no power in the dream world. But I wish more than ever that it did, and that she was aware of this problem. Oh, I can't believe I was so stupid as to not tell her all this myself! What was I thinking?!" And she hung her head in shame and guilt.

But then, all of a sudden, Luna could not believe the sight that unfolded before her very eyes! "So, you really don't recognize me, do you?" Sunshine asked, as she approached Luna and looked liked she was going to take off her glasses.

"Why, whatever do you mean?" Luna commented in response. "Should I know you?"

In response, Sunshine took off her glasses, and taking a towel she rubbed the spot on her flanks were her cutie mark was, revealing itself not as a smiling sun but just a normal sun. Luna realized at once who that cutie mark belonged to! "Sister?!" She happily squealed, albeit with some surprise!

"That's right, it's me, Luna!" Celestia revealed, as her horn lit up and she transformed to her normal appearance in the blink of an eye. "I'm sorry I had to lie to you and trick you like this, sister. But it was the only way I could find out what was troubling you," She added with tears in her eyes. "I thought we agreed not to keep such big secrets from each other like this? Not after what happened last time."

Luna, with tears in her eyes, threw herself into her sister's embrace and apologized profusely! "Celestia, I'm sorry! But I thought for sure you wouldn't understand about the Tantabus! You'd think I was conspiring against you!"

"Luna, why would I ever think something like that?!" Celestia asked somberly. "I seriously want to know! It's like you don't know me at all! After everything we've been through over the years, and after the 1,000 years of separation, why would I believe you'd conspire against me a second time?!"

"I... don't know, I really don't know," Luna apologized, sobbing heavily. "I just got scared once Nightmare Moon was defeated! She'd keep haunting my dreams, promising to come back! I couldn't let myself be tempted, all I could think about was making sure I remembered how terrible Nightmare Moon was, so I'd know why I couldn't ever go back to being her or rise up against you! I never intended for any of this to happen, it was just supposed to be a harmless way for me to keep myself on the straight and narrow path."

"Yet look what you were doing to yourself, dear sister," Celestia commented, while she lightly stroked Luna's mane to try and calm her sister down like she used to do. "You were torturing and tormenting yourself, all behind my back and in a place where I couldn't get to you. And look at what you're doing now, look at the pony you've become since all of that. If you were truly still tempted by the darkness, you wouldn't be so afraid of it."

"But sister, what if I ever do turn against you for one reason or another?" Luna asked with worry. "What will happen if we are driven apart again, or I'm forced to rise up against you?"

Celestia was silent for a moment, as she allowed her sister to blow her nose with a tissue. But then she spoke in a soft and gentle voice. "I understand your concerns, Luna. I've had many a sleepless night worrying about them myself. But I learned long ago that it doesn't do good to dwell too much on the 'What Ifs' of the past, and even the possibilities of the future, as we can't truly change either of them. The past is in the past, we can only learn from it. The future is determined by our present, in what we say and do, and fail to say and do. It's our job to learn from the past, to face the challenges of the present, in order to leave a better future. So do you understand now? You can't let yourself worry to the degree where it paralyzes you with fear. In the end it never does you any good, it just leaves you feeling worse and prevents you from truly coping with and learning from your mistakes."

Luna continued to sob for a little bit, but gradually her sobs deminished until at last they ceased entirely. "I'm so sorry, Celestia. I never meant for any of this to happen!" She apologized, and then with newfound determination she declared. "Now it's up to me to make things right! I shall lure the Tantabus back on my own, I created it and part of it is still obedient to my commands. The time has come for me to atone for my past mistakes, and finally put them to bed for good."

Surprised and concerned, Celestia asked Luna. "Are you sure you don't want me to accompany you into the dream world? I could do it just this one with my own power."

But Luna stomped her hoof down, as she firmly insisted. "No, you need only rest, my dear sister. I created the Tantabus, so it's my responsibility and therefore my burden! I can't ask you to risk yourself for me, we both know what you risk by coming to the dream world on your own power. Besides, I'm not a scared little filly who has to cower behind you anymore. The time has come for me to truly step out of your shadow and be my own mare."

Celestia sighed. Her sister seemed quite determined if the expression in her eyes was any determination. It was the same look of determination she was used to seeing in the eyes of her former student (and now fellow princess) whenever she took on a challenge from her mentor. When a pony got like that, there wasn't much that could be done to talk them out of whatever they were about to do. She reluctantly relented. "Very well, Luna. But if you need me, I trust you know how to enter my dreams?"

"Indeed I do, but I assure you I can manage just fine on my own," Luna commented. "But thank you, sister, for the appreciation and concern. I doubt anypony else would've done what you did for me today, you are truly the best sister I could ask for!"

Celestia just smiled. But deep down she was worried, even though she kept it confined to the deepest part of her mind. "What else are you are keeping secret from me, Luna? What else do you not wish to trouble me with? I just want to help you, but I'm not a mind reader." She thought to herself.

That very night, Luna found herself alone in the confines of her dream. Nopony was around to help her this time, and her dreams were what they usually were, calm and serene. But they would not be that way for long, as the Princess of the Night took a deep breath, and then called out. "Tantabus! Hear my voice and do as you are told! You shall terrorize the innocent no longer! Come back to me so we can end this!"

Sure enough, the Tantabus slowly came creeping back. And not surprisingly, it took the form of Nightmare Moon in all her wickedness, cackling like crazy! "Ah, hello Luna! A pleasure to see you again!"

"Nightmare Moon, I might have figured you'd show up again." Luna commented with narrowed eyebrows.

"So, have you finally given up trying to fight the darkness?" Nightmare Moon taunted, flashing a toothy grin. "Are you ready to accept that I AM you?"

"No." Luna said in a low tone of voice.

"Excuse me?!" Nightmare Moon exclaimed, sounding quite offended.

"You may be a part of me, as much as I hate to admit it," Luna spoke, her tone of voice slowly rising as her confidence began to build up. "But you are NOT me, and you won't exist independent of me in any way, shape, or form, ever again!I I am the Princess of the Night, protector of the dream world, and the rightful and respected co-ruler of Equestria alongside my sister! No longer am I a darkness loving tyrant like you, or the scared little filly who feared you for far too long! You and the Tantabus exist because of me, a mistake I shall rectify this instant!"

As Luna spoke these words, Nightmare Moon suddenly found herself being pulled towards Luna! Slowly, the Tantabus found that it couldn't maintain the form it was in, and try as it might it could not escape as Luna slowly walked up to it! The Tantabus had now grown to the size of a fully fledged alicorn, one even bigger than Celestia! But Luna wasn't afraid, she just approached the Tantabus and reached a hoof out to it, even as it briefly reverted to Nightmare Moon! "What are you doing?! You're a fool to deny the power I brought you! If we joined together again, we could truly prevail over Celestia and rule Equestria forever!"

"Sorry, that offer has expired!" Luna taunted. "And now, Nightmare Moon, I think it's time you got a much needed time out! Go to your room, you're grounded!" And with that, she recalled the Tantabus back into herself!

"Nooooooooooooooo!" Nightmare Moon screamed, even as she began to revert back to the Tantabus! "Mark my words, you can't be rid of me forever, Luna! Somehow, someway, I will be back! I'll remember thhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiissssssss!"

In a matter of seconds it was all over, the Tantabus was nomore, pulled back into the neck of its creator. And Luna stood there in the dreamscape for a moment, triumphant but very tired. "When was the last time I ever had a night off?" She asked herself, and almost instinctively she began to lay down and close her eyes. Normally, Luna would avoid falling asleep in the dream realm. But tonight, she felt she'd more than earned a rest. She had finally overcome her greatest fear, and all with the help of her big sister.

But just before she dozed off, Luna found herself wondering. "If Celestia was able to hide all those pains from me for so long, what else has she been hiding from me? Perhaps I should talk to her someday, preferably once I've gotten enough sleep to think properly."

Author's Note:

The suggestion for the meat of this rewrite goes to Comickook, who in my previous rewrite volume suggested that this rewritten episode see Luna going to a therapist appointed by Celestia. I decided to take the idea and opt for a twist in the form of the therapist's identity. Many people agree that regardless of how this episode played out in their books, the absence of Celestia during the climax was a major missing point.

That being said, this is perhaps the most polarizing episode of the series, or at least Season 5. People seem to be split into mostly two camps, those who adore this episode and those who despise it (among the despisers are Lilly Peet who labeled it the worst episode of the whole show due to the revelation of the Tantabus). The main point of contention is the Tantabus and its existence. Luna confessing to creating it to punish herself for her deeds as Nightmare Moon.

I decided to keep that for the beginning, but rather than be an attempt at doing the "Nightmare Rarity" arc from early in the IDW comics main series run (which is where the concept of the nightmare forces comes from), I opted for the therapy angle and have Luna confront the Tantabus at the end on her own. I also threw in a few foreshadows to "A Royal Problem", which may or may not be on my next rewrite list depending on how the rest of Season 7 plays out.

And the bit from Luna about Nightmare Moon and the nightmare forces, I decided to include as a way of addressing a criticism some people have with the comics expanding on Nightmare Moon's origins. Silver Quill even complaining that this means Luna was basically forced into being Nightmare Moon against her will, and thus is immune from the consequences of her actions. I like to think that even if Luna was tempted, manipulated, influenced, tricked, or whatever by the nightmare forces, at the end of the day she still chose to give in and embrace their power, all for the sake of making her subjects appreciate her night.

Since "A Royal Problem" confirmed Celestia does indeed not work in the dream world, I decided to throw in an explanation as to why that is beyond "Drama Preserving Handicap" and giving the writers a convinent excuse to have Celestia be unable to detect some of Luna's problems. Celestia comments during the climax that Daybreaker will "Never exist again!", which could imply Daybreaker is a persona Celestia has at least dreamt of or considered as a form she might take if corrupted. And so I decided to hint at a possible origin for such a darker half.

Funny how this rewrite is coming out on the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It was not intentional by any means, and is by no means an official tribute to her legacy, simply because what she said and did in her short time on Earth cannot be properly celebrated in a fic like this. If she were alive today, I have a feeling Diana would be very proud of what this show has taught for all ages.

Now, hopefully I can get the next rewrite out by the end of this week and have the first of the Season 6 rewrites completed by either Monday or Tuesday so I can be halfway done by the time school starts for me. I don't know how demanding my courses will be this semester, for now I'll try to stick to two rewrites a week, but I may have to drop to just one a week if necessary. As always, release dates are not set in stone, because life can be unpredictable.

Episodes to be rewritten:
Swarm of the Century
Twilight Time
Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?
Rarity Investigates!
Starlight and the Pies (Gift of the Maud Pie)
A Hearth's Warming Tail (Two Parter)
28 Pranks Later (Bonus Chapter)
Where The Apple Lies (Bonus Chapter)
Top Bolt

Previously rewritten episodes:
Boast Busters
Look Before You Sleep
Feeling Pinkie Keen
Green Isn't Your Color
Over A Barrel
Luna Eclipsed
The Cutie Pox
Hearth's Warming Eve
The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
It's About Time
One Bad Apple
The Show Stoppers
Owl's Well That Ends Well
Dragon Quest
Spike at Your Service
Just For Sidekicks
Games Ponies Play
Rainbow Falls
Three's A Crowd
Filli Vanilli
Somepony to Watch Over Me
A Bird In The Hoof
A Friend in Deed
Apple Family Reunion (Bonus Chapter)
Power Ponies
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 (Bonus Chapter)
Castle, Sweet Castle
Appleloosa's Most Wanted
Princess Spike
Canterlot Boutique
Scare Master
What About Discord?
Bridle Gossip
Family Appreciation Day
Magic Duel
Keep Calm and Flutter On (Two Parter)
Flight to the Finish
Tanks for the Memories
Fillydelphia Follies (Made In Manehattan)
The Cutie Re-Mark Parts 1 and 2
No Second Prances
Newbie Dash
Applejack's "Day" Off
Spice Up Your Life
The Cart Before The Ponies (Bonus Chapter)
Every Little Thing She Does
Swarm of the Century
Twilight Time

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