• Published 17th Feb 2018
  • 2,213 Views, 63 Comments

Compatī - Corejo

Sunset Shimmer lived a perfect life. Nightmare Moon destroyed it. When Luna seeks reconciliation years later, past demons resurface to threaten all that Sunset holds dear. Though she is willing, the question remains: is there a limit to forgiveness?

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I - A Distant Nightmare

’Twas a long while I journeyed through the dreamscape for Sunset Shimmer's dream.

Innumerable were the spiraling galaxies and twisting nebulae that made up the collective Equestrian subconscious, but time being malleable as it is in the dreamscape afforded me time enough to wander.

At first I feared her cluster of stars merely an echo, a distant memory of our world, as she had long since found her place on the other side of the mirror. But she was forever a daughter of Equestria, and so her mind yet came to rest within my bosom when she slept. I need only close my eyes and follow my heart, for it would never steer me wrong.

Hers was a radiant star amidst the dreamscape, a beacon to all that here slept one of Equestria’s great heroines of this age. Though, as I neared, something seemed off.

’Twas translucent. I saw and felt all there was to it, yet its presence was somehow diminished. I assumed it a side effect of her place across the mirror. I touched the veil of her consciousness, and as if passing through gossamer curtains, I entered her dream.

’Twas innocent enough at first glance. The dream itself retained that translucency, as if concealed by a dense fog, but I could tell easily enough that I stood in a courtyard of grass and concrete. A building of brick and mortar rose before me, with two flanking arms that enveloped the courtyard. ’Twas all blurs and suggestion, the broad strokes of a distant mind.

Dreams did not maintain their details. Only as the dreamer neared them would they sharpen and take on their real-world properties. And as the dreamer left them behind, they would lapse back into blurs and suggestion.

Despite that fact, however, this place was devoid of any living creature. No ambient noises sounded overhead—no birdsong, no insects. There should have been the blurry interpretations of ponies or whatever sapient creature ruled her world, at the very least.

I stepped up to the entrance and cast open the doors. Within awaited a darkness blacker than death. ’Twas as if her dream did not exist within this space.

Though I had entered Sunset's dream, I had not yet made myself a part of it. I remained a ghost, an observer. I was impervious to anything this dream might contain, yet still I spread my wings in anticipation of the unknown.

This was a nightmare, not a dream.

I felt it before I saw it—a fanged grin painted on the blackness. I heard the beating of a heart in the cavernous dark. I stepped forward, nose set low.

I knew this demon. I knew it before it rose a maniacal laugh to the void, before it spread its wings and let loose the maelstrom that was its mane. I knew it before those slitted eyes fell hungrily upon the figure collapsed at its hooves.

’Twas Sunset lying before that monster. I knew it by the tether that held her soul fast to mine, that reached out and begged I offer succor.

Hers was an odd form. She no longer took the shape of a pony, but rather some other manner of creature—this oddly shaped body, this 'human' form Twilight had once mentioned.

I knew not what to make of it, yet fear was a universal language, a wide-eyed gaze that drew her eyes up to that demon.

“That is enough,” I said. I was starlight and fire. This was my domain.

I flared my wings to make my presence known beyond the veil of Sunset's subconscious. But nothing happened.

I faltered. The magics that veiled me from the dream itself did not fall away at my command. I was still a ghost, yet I knew not why. I cursed my weakness and redoubled my magic. My mane and tail lifted into the air about me.

There was a density to the air, a thickness of atmosphere I could not penetrate. I saw it in the light of my horn, a haze that suffused the dream and sapped the power from me. ’Twas the distance between our two worlds that chained me so. I could only watch as that thing lorded overtop her like a wolf before the killing blow.

A fierce grin tugged at the corners of Nightmare Moon's mouth. It rolled out a slavering tongue to trail up Sunset's chest, neck, cheek.

Sunset shied away from it. She winced as it caressed her cheek and continued on to loop around her ear. She had not the faculties to move in earnest, merely to squirm and cry out.

I… I turned away. I shut my eyes and flattened my ears to drown out her whimpers. There was nothing I could do.

I folded my wings about my chest and lifted from the ground. As if falling upward into the soft pillows of my bed, I passed through the veil and again drifted among the stars of the dreamscape. I watched them twinkle for me, let my body tumble in lazy silence.

The nightmares I had wrought in my search for vengeance yet plagued her.

Twilight had regaled me with her exploits of the human world, and Sunset seemed well on the surface. She had learned to hide her pain, yet she knew not how to overcome it.

The scope of my transgressions was beyond me. I knew it my responsibility to see that she find peace, but if the past had taught me anything, I needed counsel before I acted, lest I set in motion even greater catastrophes.

Sister knew Sunset better than anypony. She would understand the gravity and the intricacies of my query.

A final flash of light from my horn, and I opened my eyes to my bedchambers. I gave my legs a quick stretch ere I rose for the door.

Sister would know what to do.

Stone Wall, Sister’s personal bodyguard, stood aside when I approached her bedchambers. His was an understanding mein, one that knew my presence a harbinger and not to be hindered.

I rapped my hoof on the door.

Inside, Philomena stirred, her gentle coos turning irate for the intrusion. ’Twas not often a phoenix fell victim to irritation, but Sister did oft spoil her.

The door opened. Sister did not have her regalia, and she seemed almost taken aback at my presence. “Luna? What’s wrong?”

“Sister, may we speak in private?”

She held her gaze upon me a moment before stepping back.

Though there was no breeze to speak of, ’twas cool in her room, a benefit of the wide windows and balcony separated by only sheer white curtains. I made myself comfortable at her tea table in the middle of the room.

Sister sat opposite me. She poured a cup of tea for me before I could decline, so I took it out of politeness. ’Twas still warm, meaning she had only recently bedded down. She had been up thinking about things again.

“What’s wrong, Luna?” she asked.

“I spoke with Twilight yesterday,” I said. I took a sip. ’Twas bitter, whatever it was, meant to sharpen the mind rather than relax it. Her late-night musings were of some higher importance than mere day-to-day affairs.

“Yes, I remember you saying something about meeting her for dinner.” She did not pour a cup for herself, perhaps intent on returning to bed the moment I left.

I curled my lips at her remark. “If by dinner you mean having hundreds of astronomy books shoved down my throat, then yes.”

Sister chuckled. “Twilight has always been eager to please. But I assume that's not what this conversation is about.”

Sister wore her signature smile. Beneath it, however, lay her true statement: ‘what is wrong, little sister?’

“She... has a book.”

“She has many of those, Luna.” Her smile turned to a smirk.

I rolled my eyes. Even in the sublunary hours, she spared me no expense of her witticisms. “’Tis Sunset Shimmer’s. They use it to speak with each other.”

Sister’s smirk faded. We shared a moment of silence.

“You still feel guilty about it.”

’Twas not a question, though I frowned and let the bridging silence be an answer regardless.

Sister came around the table. She half spread her wings, ready to drape one over my shoulder should the need arise.

Not that I would allow myself to show such vulnerability. Though, the look in her eyes bespoke I had failed in that regard.

“It was a long time ago, Luna,” she said.

“But it has not left her, Sister. What I did still haunts her. What I… What I did to her.”

“She’ll work through her dreams in her own time, Luna. You’ve told me that time and again.”

I shook my head. “That may be true for normal nightmares, Sister, but this was more than simply a nightmare. There is a piece of Nightmare Moon still inside her.”

Sister knitted her brow. “How’s that possible? Didn’t Twilight and her friends cleanse all traces of Nightmare Moon when you first returned?”

I slanted my mouth to deflect the sting of her words. I had to remind myself she did not mean it as such.

“I do not know. My only guess is that since she was on the other side of the mirror at the time, hers was unaffected by it.

“Same as how my dream magic is greatly diminished when I explored her dream,” I continued. “I had hoped time would heal her wounds as it is wont to do, but this wound runs deeper than I have yet seen if the Elements could not cleanse it.”

“We all have our scars, Luna.” She placed a hoof on my shoulder. “Some of them are larger than others, but we all learn to heal. For some ponies, it takes longer than others.”

I remained silent.

No, Sister. This was not a scar. This nightmare that yet plagued Sunset was a festering boil that needed lancing, and, perhaps, more abrasive measures.

Though I was the knife that wounded her, I could also be the salve that saves her. I could be the smile that sees her Tantabus to rest. Mine still lay dormant in my heart. ’Twas like an old ache that never truly left.

“I must right this wrong…” I afforded Sister a pleading gaze, despite knowing I must do this alone.

“Are you asking me for guidance, Luna, or permission?” Hers was an inquisitive face, one I had seen few times in my life. ’Twas a serious question, one that knew the gravitas of my worries. She was right, however.

Now that I knew my wrongs still plagued Sunset, to even step hoof into her dream felt criminally invasive. I knew trespass the most straightforward method, and part of me wanted some outside volition to give me direction. Yet two wrongs did not necessarily make a right.

“I… I do not know, Sister. All I do know is that she does not deserve to suffer for my transgressions.” I looked away. I could not bear Sister's gaze.

Sister might have forgiven me, and I too have found peace with myself. But to see the consequences of my actions yet lingering in the mind of one I had sworn to protect stirred within me that phantom doubt—the Tantabus that I would forever carry with me. I could not allow it to consume me as it nearly once had, yet I refused the prospect of ignorance.

“I know what I must do.” I smiled at Sister, as briefly as it might have been. “’Twill not be easy, but I must face my fears all the same.”

“May I ask?”

I looked at the fleurs-de-lis in the carpet beneath me. “I will write to her, in Twilight's book. I must explain myself.”

“Are you sure you want to tell her who you are? Who you were?”

A pause. I nodded. “I must. ’Tis better to be honest than to let that hammer forever hang above my head. I will swallow my pride. I will dig out this cancer by the root.”

I headed for the door. I expected Sister to leave me a few parting words, but she remained silent. Only Philomena bid me farewell with a little chirrup before I shut the door behind me.

’Twas dark in the hall. The night sky outside the window twinkled its well wishings to me, and I saw that circular void in space, the new moon that bid due omen of things to come.

’Twas quiet enough to hear the blood flowing through my veins, and in the nighttime silence of the hallway, I heard Sister pour herself a cup of tea.

Author's Note:

Apologies for the week I missed posting something earlier. I'll try and stick to that weekly Saturday post I intended setting out with this one.

Onward and Upward!