• Published 19th Mar 2018
  • 3,645 Views, 87 Comments

Redemption of a Nightmare - Sandstorm94

This is a sequel to "A Fragile Nightmare". Luna-Moon, now redeemed by the Elements of Harmony, has a steep learning curve ahead of her. With her sister and the Elemental Bearers at her side nothing could possibly go wrong... Right?

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Something Wicked This way Comes...

In the days following the ceremony, the word spread like wildfire. All throughout Equestria, ponies looked up to the portraitless moon, finally accepting that the princess that had fallen from grace had returned once more and had been redeemed by using the Elements of Harmony. Thousands flocked to the capital, soon overwhelming the capacity of the castle, and forcing the sisters to arrange public meet and greets. However, despite the frenzy, one group of ponies was rejoicing.

To the general populace, it was still a relative unknown as to what took place when Celestia and Luna-Moon swapped domains. For the most part, the lowering of the sun signaled when it was time to turn in and sleep, allowing Luna-Moon to do her secondary job and patrol over the dream realm. Yet, the opposite was true for bat ponies, and anypony who stayed far from the city could tell numerous tales of hearing bat ponies communicate in their little-known tongue. The ‘eee's and ‘keke's sounded like random noise to normal ponies, but bat ponies understood every syllable, every tone, and were able to interpret them as normal words. Considering that their sounds could project for up to ten miles in the right conditions, it also served as a highly effect messaging system.

Unknown to most of Canterlot's society, with the sole exception of the Nightguard, there was a small group of bat ponies living in the outskirts of the city, living in the cave located a little higher up on Mount Canter. To keep themselves hidden, and to prevent alerting their presence, they choose to use simple Ponish unless they were far enough from town to use their echo system.

Having witnessed the Princess of the Night themselves, they were the ones to alert the other Enclaves, the few that remained. Much enjoyment and merriment were had, but not every bat pony was celebrating. A lone figure glided beneath the treetops, following a ragged and run down trail as she neared her destination, the town of Peachhill.

Peachhill was an old village that had its origins back in the Discordian Era, being secluded by a dense forest and far enough north that even during the summer the nights remained cool with the crispness of fall. It did have one distinction, one that was the only way modern day Equestria knew of its existence, and that was the fact it had a grove of the sweetest mangoes in the land. The trade was good, and by wearing cloaks when making deals, nopony suspected a thing.

However, a deal was not was what was on the mare's mind as she cleared the trees and entered the clearing where the village rested. The tall, ancient peach tree that was the hallmark of the town towered into the sky, the light from the moon cascading through its leaves like silver ballerinas. The houses, remnants from a time long lost, were neatly arranged in a semi-circle around the tree, each identical to one another. In the center of the town, a larger building resided that held the bar.

It was the bar, or rather, somepony in the bar, that was her reason for visiting.

“Who goes there?” The bouncer said, making his way through the swiveling double doors and greeting the mare outside. “Drop your hood and reveal yourself and purpose.”

“My name is not important, and I am here to visit Madame Nightengale.” The mare said, pulling back her hood to reveal a white coat, two-toned grey mane, and beady red eyes that could be easily mistaken for brimstone with slitted pupils. “I have an appointment with her, and I don't think she would take kindly to being told you held her guest up.”

“Y-your,” The bouncer stuttered, the color draining from his face as he looked at the albino bat pony in front of him. Albinos were extremely rare in the bat pony race, and one living to full adulthood was even rarer, so seeing the mare in front of him chilled him to the core as he stepped aside. “Madame Nightengale is in the back, in her private room, and I do apologize for the delay.”

“Since you were apologetic, I will let it slide,” The mare said, moving past the guard and entering the bar, everypony staring as she did. Ignoring the looks, she made her way to the curtained room, where Nightengale herself resided. “Thank you for meeting me on such short notice Madame, I hope it wasn't a bother.”

“None at all, I do tend to get bored quite easily.” Madame Nightengale said, flashing her fangs as she smiled. The rugged soot-grey coat and unkept purple mane and tail did wonders to make her seem intimidating, especially when you added her eyes were a deep scarlet color. “However, before we begin business, I have two questions for you. First question: what gets wetter as it dries?”

“A towel,” The mare said, fully pulling back her hood but keeping the royal purple scarf around her neck in place. “That really wasn't hard to figure out since my Enclave is in the Amarezon and we constantly have to use them to keep fruits from getting moldy.”

“I figured that would naturally come to you,” Nightengale chuckled, but soon leveled her face once more. “The second question: What is soft, but firm, welcoming, yet intimidating, and can both build you up and tear you down at the same time?”

“A mother's love,” The mare said, pulling out a scroll from under her cloak. “As per the scroll your messenger gave me.”

“Very well Ghost Fire, you are who you say you are.” Nightengale said, taking a sip of her drink as she peeked her head through the curtain and motioned over a waiter “May I interest you in a mangorita while you are here? You must be thirsty after such a long flight.”

“No alcohol, but a virgin one is fine.” Ghost Fire said, the waiter retreating to fill the order. “I’d rather not fly drunk, not after somehow ending up in the Amarezonian Jungle Pony village the last time I did…”

“You escaped one of their villages?” Nightengale said, a look of pure surprise and shock becoming evident even in the low light. “How in Tartarus did you manage to pull that off?”

“Wasn't easy, trust me,” Ghost Fire said, nodding in thanks at the waiter for bringing her beverage before he retreated once more. “Especially with my wings bound, hooves shackled, and mouth bitted and bridled. Luckily, a young filly saw I wasn't happy, or a demon from their lore, and snuck me out. She was a very eager convert, and is currently trying to broker peace between her old tribe and our Enclave.”

“That must be rough on her,” Nightengale said, sipping her beverage with a look of concern. “To be put in such a position at such a young age, and in an incredibly dangerous circumstance at that.”

“No kidding,” Ghost Fire said, a sigh escaping her lips as she swirled her drink. “At first, her tribe thought we had taken her by force, brainwashed her, and converted her as a way of payback for my imprisonment. That little debacle nearly caused a full out war between the two sides, until the filly put them in their place by reminding them who she was… the village chief's daughter.”

“No wonder they reacted the way they did…” Nightengale said, her tone even and her eyes unreadable. “Was the conversion painful for her?”

“Considering she was a unicorn beforehoof, there was a lot of pain involved.” Ghost Fire said, a shudder running through her at the memory. “We did our best to suppress it with the herbs we had, but she is without a doubt the bravest filly I ever met. She really took it like a champ, the heart of a true warrior.”

“That's good,” Nightengale said, her posture relaxing as she stretched in her seat. “I hope all turns out for the best. Now, let's get down to business, shall we? Surely you didn't fly all this way just to give little ol’ me a status report on your Enclave's happenings.”

“Had to get to it eventually,” Ghost Fire said, abandoning her drink. “I know that our most glorious Night Mother has finally returned and once against walks amongst us, but I am greatly concerned that the demon is still within her.”

“Ah, the Nightmare,” Nightengale said, nodding her head as she figured the purpose of the meeting. “You want this old sage to make her be gone no doubt.”

“Yes, I do,” Ghost Fire said, leaning up and crossing her forehooves as she rested them on the table. “There must be some way that you can perform some sort of ritual that expels that menace from her, you are the greatest bat pony sage to ever live!”

“I appreciate the compliment, but that is far from the truth little one,” Nightengale said, looking directly into Ghost's eyes. “The reports that I've heard indicate that the Elements of Harmony spared the Nightmare, so therefore there is nothing I can do.”


“Not a thing Ghost Fire,” Nightengale continued. “I’m a mare of many talents, having learned under the old Zebrican king before his son took over and kicked all the sages out, but going against Harmony itself? That's a line I will not cross. You are not the first of our kind to visit me this week over this matter, and I doubt you will be the last, so I will give you the same advice and say that you need to accept the situation as it stands. Besides, we are her Children of the Night, so she will guide us and keep us safe no matter what.”

“I just have a bad feeling about this,” Ghost said, adjusting her scarf. “It's just something that is nagging at me I guess, like a feeling that everything is going to backfire and our Night Mother will be forced into another exile.”

“Worry not night sister, I see a grand future ahead of us for our kind,” Nightengale said, drinking her beverage. “However, I can't say the same for one of the nobles, a unicorn who goes by Prince Blueblood.”

“There is a Prince in Equestria?” Ghost Fire said, mentally shuddering at Nightengale's warning. “Why isn't that well known? None in my Enclave have heard of such a thing.”

“That is because it is more of an honorary title more than anything, he holds no pull compared to the sisters,” Nightengale explained, drawing back the curtain. “He will let his own goals be his own doom and corruption, this I have foreseen in more than one vision.”

“That's not good for him then,” Ghost Fire said, shrugging off what Nightengale just said. “What about our Enclaves?”

“That is one thing I can't tell you Ghost Fire, no vision will show me,” Nightengale said, watching and listening to a villager play on the bar's piano. “However, I also know what you plan on doing. I am wise enough to know a transformative scarf when I see it, and this why I gave you the warning for your own future… Blueblood.”

“How did you know?” Blueblood whispered, loosening the scarf just enough so he could use his normal voice. “It could have been anypony, yet you knew from the beginning didn't you?”

“I did,” Nightengale said, drawing back the curtain once more when she knew nopony had heard the admission. “I was just waiting to see how long you could keep your ruse with my baiting lines, and I must admit you did handsomely. Your only flaw was using an albino disguise, for they are quite rare and draw attention. You think burning down this village will draw us to anger? No, it won't, we will rebuild and I will testify against you, for I could end your plan before it fully begins. There are many spells that allow a pony to gaze into another's past, so that would be the only evidence needed.”

“So, you'll turn me in, just like that?” Blueblood scoffed, and despite his outward demeanor, he was mentally nervous. He knew those spells existed, but he had not planned on Nightengale figuring him out so soon and was willing to do whatever it took to keep her quiet. “Surely there must be some way I could ‘persuade’ you to keep this to yourself.”

“Oh, Blueblood,” Nightengale chuckled, a mirthful grin forming on her face. “Everypony has a price, some more than others, but the question is what are you willing to give me?”

“Look,” Blueblood said, leaning in close to the bat pony's ear. “As long as it is within reasonable bounds, I will give you whatever you ask.”

“Hmmm…” Nightengale hummed, closing her eyes in thought. “I want you to make things hard for the Zebricans, really make them look bad as it were.”

“You want me to commit specism on your behalf?” Blueblood was shocked, not expecting such a demand to be given. “Isn't that a bit outside reasonable bounds?”

“Says the pony who wants to commit murder of half of the Night Mother's soul,” Nightengale said, baring the full length of her fangs. “Don't make me use force Blueblood, just one bite will have you doing what I say, regardless if you want to or not. I'm sure during your research of me you found out my special talent no doubt?”

“I did,” Blueblood was scared. He knew how rare Nightengale's gene was, being rarer than even the albino chromosomal strain, and that her cutie mark of a pink rose with blood-red tips had more than one meaning. “But my point is that is a little too forward for my tastes. It has to be something covert, something that will be easy to pull off behind the curtains without anypony being one the wiser. Also, you have lost your advantage, because if you have that memory spell used against me, you would be incriminating yourself as well.”

“Political move then?” Nightingale said, rubbing her chin. “There are several potions I know that involve poison joke as an ingredient. I could easily whip up a few, pull the old bait-and-switch during the next trade, and make it seem like they gave the nobility a bad batch of ‘horn hardener’.”

“And when the potions are going to be analyzed, I secretly swap them back, so the real brews are the ones inspected,” Blueblood said, earning a nod from Nightengale. “I think that plan will work, but you do realize that by cooperating, you will be aiding the downfall of your precious Night Mother.”

“I-” Nightengale said, shuffling her hoof. “Umm…”

“Figured that you would hesitate,” Blueblood said, tightening the scarf once more and bringing it over his disguise's nostrils. “It really is a pity, because I was hoping to have somepony as skilled as you as an ally, but I see that isn’t going to happen. Now, sweet dreams.”

Walking back into the main bar area and flicking his right ear twice, Blueblood smirked as several potions started flying through the windows. A purple haze soon filled the air, affecting everypony besides the disguised unicorn, and soon every bat pony was asleep. Upon reaching the front door, several ponies in full Solar Zealot armor approached.

“I assume that talks went south?” Satchel Quill, the Captain of the Guard, said as he approached the still-disguised prince. Once the most dissipated, the captain made a motion with his wing, and his small group of soldiers stormed into the bar while being careful not to hurt anypony as they trashed the place. “You gave the signal quicker than I thought you would.”

“She knew it was me from the beginning,” Blueblood said, placing a piece of fabric on a broken table, bearing the insignia of the Solar Guard. “Luckily the potion has a twenty-four-hour memory blocker, and is weak enough that it just knocked them unconscious, so they are not dreaming nor can alert Auntie Luna.”

“I do have a question,” Satchel said, moving aside so Blueblood could pass by him. “You know I am going to probably be intensely interrogated, along with my troops, so why not place blame on the Lunar Guard to make it seem like their own kind betrayed them?”

“It wouldn't work,” Blueblood said, pulling out a cloth tipped arrow and lighting the end. A unicorn private, using his magic, brought over a crossbow. “They would see it as they somehow brought their Night Mother’s wrath upon them and would go to Canterlot to know why. By using the Solar Guard, it would cause friction between the princesses. Now, Captain, I want you to take this arrow and set the first house on fire. We are going to leave only the bar and peach tree untouched.”

“Say what now?” Satchel said, blinking in surprise. “I was not told that was going to be a part of the deal when you requested my services.”

“Actually, it was,” Blueblood said, aiming the crossbow at the nearest house while offering it to Satchel. “I specifically told you ‘do not ask what will be required, force may need to be used.’ By burning down the village, it buys me time, time to set my next phase into action. If you do as I ask, I will triple the agreed upon price.”

“T-triple?!” Satchel said, stuttering in surprise. “Is that just for me, or my troops as well?”

“Each of you,” Blueblood said, grinning as the pegasus took the crossbow and lined up his shot with his wing. “You may fire when ready.”

Taking a calming breath, Satchel pulled the trigger and fired his shot at the nearest house, silently praying to Celestia that nopony was home as Blueblood presented him with a bag of thirty silver bits.

Unfortunately, his worst fear was reality.

Sunshine Glade was one of the few non-bat ponies that lived in Peachhill. As a young mare, she had gotten lost in the woods, and had stumbled on the town by pure accident. Lost, afraid, and on the brink of dehydration and exhaustion, she had been taken in by Shadow Slight, a local mango farmer. The bat pony was more than eager to help, and soon after the two had fallen in love. With their oldest filly off studying farming in Appleloosa, Sunshine had given up her modeling career in Manehattan to help raise the youngest foal.

“Hey honey,” Sunshine said, shaking Shadow awake as she bolted upright, senses on full alert at the sound of shattered glass. “Did you hear that?”

“Dear, I stayed up half the morning making sure our fields were properly perspiring,” Shadow said, a heavy yawn escaping his mouth as he shifted in bed. “I'm exhausted, so can I sleep in for once? Also, if you have something cooking, I can smell it burning.”

“That's the thing Shadow,” Sunshine said, leaping out of bed as the smell of smoke started to burn her nostrils. “The sound of breaking glass woke me up, I haven't been able to start cooking anything.”

That caused all traces of the Land of Nod to release their grip on Shadow. Joining his wife, the two raced down the hallway to where the foal was asleep. Seeing that the little bundle of joy was still asleep, Sunshine scooped the filly up in her magic as flames started to leap from under the doorframe of an joining room.

“That's Sky Streak's old room,” Shadow said, gathering what few belongings he could hold. “ We need to evacuate while we still can, how far can you teleport the three of us?”

“Er, two, maybe three miles tops?” Sunshine said, calling upon her dormant mana pool as her horn flared to life with a bright orange glow. “What direction do you want me to teleport us in?”

“Southwest,” Shadow said, nudging Sunshine down to the end of the hall as the door finally gave way and flames started to spread. “I know some old logging trails that will get us close to Mares Hill, then from there we can take the train down to Fillydelphia, then eventually Canterlot. I grabbed enough bits so cover the fare, plus whatever else we will need along the way.”

Shedding one last tear, Sunshine activated the spell, plunging them into the darkest depths of the forest.

Far away in the South Tower of Canterlot Castle, Pinkie Pie stirred from her restless slumber. She had not been having any nightmares, so Luna-Moon had no reason to visit her; however, something kept swirling in the back of her mind and finally brought her back to the waking world.

“Something is not right…” Pinkie said, whispering into the silent room. Her Pinkie Sense was warning her, warning her of evil ahoof, and she had to know what it was. Moving across the floor with the swiftness of a mamba, she pressed a tile by the door that activated a privacy rune, keeping any sound from escaping into the hall.

A little known fact, one that Pinkie had kept from her friends, was that when she was a filly Moohemians had took her on a tour of Equestria. The year that followed was one of the best of young Pinkamena's life, and along the way they had taught her how to use a scrying pot. It was something that she rarely had to use, but this felt like an exception considering the heavy sense of dread that she was feeling. Reaching into her mane and pulling out the pot and ingredients, she began the scrying chant.

”Fifths the hodgepodge that has since long cooled
Fifths and thrice the years Tia has ruled
For as rotten melons shed their rind,
The time has come, with nowhere to hide

Over and under Eques I stir,
Searching for the source like an enchanted lure
Teeth of the old and hair of the young,
It is now this chant's begun!
Like a dragon looking at his treasured lot,
Show me the things in my scrying pot!

Round the world, and back again
It isn't over til evil ends

Skin of a rattler,
To help strengthen the matter
Eye of fae and fang of spider,
And a piece of Jacolt's ladder
A silver fork and a golden ring,
By this chant, my heart does sing
Show me the one with wicked desire,
As this brew steams like Tartarus fire!

Round the world, and back again
It isn't over til evil ends

Tail of rabbit and scale of fish,
Help me Goddess to grant my wish
Four-leaf clover and strong aged leather,
Mix with the bond of a pegasus feather
Claw of bear and hoof of ox,
I will find these things like a wise, sly fox
With a writer's quill and a noble's wine,
Cast the net and connect the line
Salamander slime and antler of game,
Help me discover what is no longer the same
Pinch of despair from when all hope was lost,
And ground dust from the Statue of Chaos
The ethereal haze is now lifted!

Round the world, and back again
It isn't over until evil ends

With the power of my Element of Laughter,
Let me see what I'm after!”

The brew stopped simmering, the surface turning into a pseudo looking glass, revealing a scene that made Pinkie's mane and tail fall flat. She saw a burning village, the flames outlining the silhouette of a bat pony and pegasus, a bag of bits being exchanged as the two shook hooves. The scene then shifted, showing a unicorn and bat pony galloping through the woods with several bundles on their backs, including what looked like to be an infant. Before Pinkie could even blink, the view clouded once more, returning to the bubbling cocktail.

“This isn't good,” Pinkie said, doing each step in reverse so she could safely put the pot back in her mane. “By the tingling in my hooves, somepony dark has found their groove. I swear to the curls of my mane, we won't stop til the being is slain!”

Author's Note:

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