• Published 2nd Sep 2011
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Vengeance - Shader



He stood by Luna's side for millenia, until that fateful night. Now, he desires revenge.

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Part III - Infinite Dispise and Endless Jealousy

Nightmare Moon stood over the sleeping pair, a smirk strung across her lips, watching the little black pegasus as he hung over the white alicorn. Both slumbering, trapped together in a world of the colt's making, and pretty as a picture. Neither would wake until she was ready, and by then it would be too late.

It had been so simple. A Mental Entrapment spell cast on the colt, goad him into hitting Celestia, and she was quickly and efficiently taken out of the picture. The little fool had only ever been meant as a distraction, and never in all her wildest dreams would she have expected him to actually succeed. Not that she minded, of course.

That pegasus though. Oh, he'd been perfect. An endless hate for the monarch, an unstable mind, and one of the few ponies who resided amongst the wild magics of the Everfree Forest. Anywhere else and Celestia might have detected her presence, and the last thing Nightmare needed was for an overly cautious Princess finding her hoofprints.

"Ex-Princess now." She reminded herself. "I'm in charge. Princess Nightmare Moon. Hmm... no, Queen Nightmare Moon." A fitting title for a new, glorious reign.

From beyond the thick curtains separating the backroom and the hall, the obnoxiously loud mare continued with her little speech. "And now, it is my great honour to introduce to you the ruler of our land. The very pony who gives us the sun and the moon, each and every day. The good, the wise, the bringer of harmony to all of Equestria. Princess Celestia!"

"Looks like somepony is going to have to correct her." The dark mare murmured, her body fading into a glittery, smokey haze.

Peering back at the two slumbering ponies, she allowed a small wisp of cloud to break off from her. Softly floating over to the duo, it condensed around them, holding them firmly within it's grasp. I will deal with you two later, she chuckled, watching as it lifted them out and through the open window, floating off into the night. While slightly worried about using so much power on the pegasus, she deemed it a satisfactory low risk. One could not rule while locked in combat, after all. Best to let the minion deal with it.

Besides, she still retained enough magic to deal with any would be challengers.

* * *

Nimbus was trapped. He could feel it. Surrounded by an inky black from all directions, a void unbroken even against his body, his coat blending in perfectly.

"Hello?" He whispered. "Anypony out there?"

When nopony answered, the black pegasus gingerly stood, a surprisingly difficult task on the strangely soft surface. It was almost as though he was floating, and even with four hooves firmly planted he could feel it move and sway. Everything about this place gave a general sense of unease... it just wasn't right.

What happened? Where am I? Wracking his brain for the answers brought up frustratingly little. Much of the previous day was blurred, as though watching through a fog. Vague notions of leaving somewhere with trees, a place with lots of ponies, and striking something. Something large, and white.

The black pegasus's heart sank. Celestia. I hit Celestia. Oh Goddess, I actually hit her. Nimbus peered back out into the endless dark. She must have killed him. Is this what dying looked like?

"Hello?!" He called out, louder now. If there was life after death, or whatever it could be called, shouldn't something happen? "Hey! Anypony out there?!"

Again, other than the sound of his own increasingly panicked breathing, nothing. Not even an echo.

"HEY!" Nimbus screamed.

Silence.

That damned voice, it was probably working for Celestia. She must have known all along and hadn’t been satisfied with just taking Luna from him. She'd watched him. Played with him. Then tricked him into coming to her for a grand finale.

Nimbus collapsed, his legs refusing the hold him any longer, a dampness wetting his cheeks. Celestia had finally won. She'd killed Luna, and now she'd grown bored and killed him. And now he was lost, confused and alone.

A muffled thump and groan nearby shook him from his sorrow, his ears jumping to full alertness, puffy eyes wide and darting. The dark hid something. Something close. Images of demonic creatures and unknown beasts rolled through his mind, each larger than the last. He could barely contain the scream lodged in his throat.

It's too dark! I need a light!

Instantly the black void flashed to a brilliant white, blinding him, bringing from him a groan of discomfort. The sound copied just in-front of Nimbus, the creature seemingly as blinded as he. He stumbled backwards, the uneven and still unseen ground catching his steps. He had to get away. It was going to kill him. With blood stained teeth and gory talons and vicious beady red eyes and... and... Oh, Luna.

Instinct roared to life, the need to survive pushing aside any logic about the situation. He was blinded by the searing light, and something was going to eat him. Nimbus spun, quickly throwing himself forwards in a gallop. Closer to running through water, the surface gripped and pulled at his legs, tripping him. Having sent him face first to the ground, the spongy material enveloped around his muzzle to the back of his head, thankfully muffling a yelp.

"Oh Heavens. What happened? Where am I?" Celestia’s voice muttered, sounding confused and disorientated.

Oh No. No... no... no.

Why was she here? She must have followed him, obviously not content with simply killing him. Even death couldn't save him from her. He had to run... to get away from her. A choked sob escaped him, lost in the gooey nothingness.

He wanted away from this place, to curl up with a warm fire. To forget anything had happened in the past few days, all the pain and fear. He just wanted to go home.

Suddenly, the soft surface beneath Nimbus's hooves firmed, the harsh glare of the light cut from his vision. His flailing became panicked pushes against grassy, solid dirt as he attempted to free his trapped head from it's new earth prison, wings beating frantically. A gasp from the Princess told him that more than just his tiny cage had changed.

"What is going on?!" Frustration was laced throughout her voice, a most unusual sound coming from her. "Oh! Oh dear. I'm sorry, I didn't notice you there. Are you alright?" The sound and vibration of heavy hooves reached his ears as Celestia's concerned voice approached. Ignoring the howls of protest from his neck, the pegasus pulled harder, tears again welling in his eyes. "Calm down, I'll help you."

Nimbus screamed wordlessly in reply.

With a warm glow that brought light to the dark hole, a magical grip pulled back the dirt. Without the soil's resistance, a final tug flung the black stallion backwards, almost colliding with the alicorn's chest. Landing heavily on his back, he looked up into the familiar face of Celestia, split with an amused smile as it hung upside down in his vision. The dank, starless night of the Everfree framed her white coat.

"There. Now isn't that..." Her grin died, eyes growing wide, shocked. "N... Nimbus? Is that you? I... where... What happened to you?!" she stammered, her usually stoic expression shattered.

He simply stared, breath catching itself in his throat.

"I was worried sick! I had the Guards scouring the castle for months looking!" She berated him, her face flickering from relief to anger. "We thought you had died! Where were you?!"

The terrified pegasus's mouth worked, unable to bring forth any words as the monarch sat, glaring as she awaited an answer. Every fiber of his being told him to lash out, hopefully buying himself enough time to escape. But his limbs remained locked, steadfast against his wishes. Slowly, Celestia's face lost its heat, the beginnings of concern showing as she looked into his petrified eyes.

"Nimbus? Are you..." She closed her eyes, touching a hoof to her forehead, and breathed deeply. "Okay... I'm sorry, I was just frustrated. We can discuss this afterwards, but for now we must hurry."

As Nimbus watched, a gold covered hoof reached down towards him. He recoiled from it, as though it were a snake. He could never let his guard down, not for a second. Not around her. The involuntary movement was just enough to finally shake him from his stupor.

"Get away from me." He breathed, the whisper barely audible to his own ears. Celestia blinked, her hoof freezing as he shied away from her touch.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Get away from me!" He screamed, the lump in his throat vanishing.

A confused noise had barely passed the stunned alicorn’s lips before he lashed out. A black hoof flicked up, catching the unaware pony solidly across the nose. The dull silence of the ruins split with a resounding crack, throwing her head back.

Scrambling to his hooves, Nimbus quickly spotted Celestia crumpled on the ground in a groaning mess of legs and wings. Finally free from her reach, he glanced around. Everfree Castle's courtyard surrounded him, its weather torn walls and familiar overgrown plant life lightly illuminated in the moonlight. Even the barracks had been returned to it's former glory, sturdy and as strong as he'd remembered it. His home for a thousand year, all before the recent happenings.

He was pulled from his reminiscing by a pained grunt from Celestia. While he'd been sightseeing, she'd managed to right herself, slowly beginning to stand. Her legs trembled, and a trickle of blood streaked from one nostril, her eyes wide, uncertain.

"Nimbus?" She probed, cautiously.

Nimbus stared at the mare, trying to calm his racing mind, quickly backing away. He was dead, and yet she was here with him. And, somehow, he had hurt her. Did she die along with him? Had she lost her power? Or was she playing with him again? One thing he always had to remind himself about her, was that she was a master at manipulation, able to convince anypony to do her bidding. And each and every time, they would come out thinking it had been their own idea.

"What's wrong Nimbus?" She asked carefully, a final heave pushing her upright, her legs slowing their shaking. "What is going on?"

Possibly she was still enjoying her game. Giving a sense of hope, then crushing it under hoof. He might have already been dead, but nopony could really know the limits of what Celestia was capable of.

"Please, speak to me." Celestia said, taking a few steps closer before wiping her nose clean with a foreleg, bright crimson staining the white coat.

While terrified at finally facing down the massive alicorn, the new red streak across her leg gave a surge of hope. If she can bleed... Nimbus bodily turned to face his foe, wings flared, stance wide, even breathing, just as he'd practiced. Aggressive, ready to move.

Nothing to lose.

Celestia's eyes widened, startled at his outright hostility, clearly expecting him to lay down and submit. One leg raised itself in a natural defensive stance, brushing the blood against her chest.

"Nimbus! What has gotten into you!?"

He replied with a snarl, his wings launching him through the night with an echoing snap, hooves outstretched towards his enemy.

"For Luna!"

* * *

Nightmare groaned inwardly. This was not what she had expected. She was supposed to swoop in, remove Celestia, scare her new subjects and rule forever more. Not playing hideaway while attempting parlor tricks! 'Still had enough magic to deal with challengers' her rump.

It was that purple unicorn. That one little foal. Celestia's prized student. Little Miss Know-It-All alone knew who Nightmare was, and she alone knew of the Elements. Even convinced five others to accompany her. Two earth ponies, two pegasi, and another unicorn.

Worst of all, she was powerful. Powerful enough that as soon as the dark alicorn had entered the Town Hall, she could feel it. So much so that in Nightmare's current shape, a direct confrontation would go poorly. Oh, she could retrieve her power from that foolish pegasus, and crush her like the pathetic insect she was, but doing so could easily cause the release of Celestia.

And whatever problems she would have with the little unicorn paled in comparison to Celestia herself.

The six of them together were amusing enough, at the very least.

From her vantage point, floating through the trees as a sparkling mist, she watched the spectacle unfold. A few magical lights directed at the trees, creating faces in the gnarled bark, had them screaming in abject fear. Grown ponies, squealing like little fillies! If she had a solid form, Nightmare Moon would have given herself away from laughter. She was shaken from her amusement when somepony actually did burst out giggling.

"Hee hee hahahaha! Hahahaha!" The pink earth pony laughed, making various ridiculous faces at the trees, drawing shocked looks from all present.

The five followers may not have been a threat, but that one's voice could have been used as a weapon. Ever since she'd began following them, the earth pony's constant chatter and inane babbling had been grating her nerves thin.

"Pinkie! What are you doing!? RUN!" Twilight screamed after her.

Pinkie simply shook her head, grinning ear to ear. "Oh girls, don't you see?" She replied, tapping her hooves to a beat only she could hear.

"When I was a little filly, and the sun was going dooooooown!"

... What?

"The darkness and the shadows, they would always make me frooooooown!"

No. No singing. Why is she singing!?

"I'd hide under my pillow, at what I thought I'd saw!"

ARRGHH! Pinkie's voice dug into her mind like pin pricks, amplifying her already increased irritation over being held at bay by a mere unicorn. Dropping her magical grip on the lights, allowing them to flicker and die one by one, Nightmare fled deeper into the dark forest. All to escape that accursed singing.

That voice could start a war.

* * *

"Where are you?! Come out!" Nimbus bellowed, his voice seemingly amplified by the stark silence of the forest. He'd been thrashing around for several minutes looking for her, ever since she'd fled the castle into the outlying forest.

The Everfree was just as she'd remembered, gnarled roots and constricting vines, the plants choking the life from the ground. All of it born from wild magics so long ago.

Propped up against a tree, Celestia fought to control her gasped panting, finally having a moment of peace. Everything about this night had gone horribly wrong. One moment steeling herself for the arrival of her sister, the next fleeing from a fanatical ghost, one she had long thought dead.

Guess I can't really call him a ghost. She thought, bringing up a hoof to lightly brush her cheek, wincing as it touched one of several bruises.

Sighing, Celestia willed herself to relax, to hopefully sort out the crazy happenstance. She had no idea why he'd turned on her in such a fashion. This... this creature was out for blood, growing more and more frantic and insane as time went on. That wasn't the Nimbus she remembered. He'd always been a polite, if overly headstrong, pony. Loyal, and a steadfast friend to her sister. Ever since Luna had created him, so long ago. The alicorn's eyes widened as she stared into the perpetual dark of the Everfree, pieces of the puzzle slowly falling into place.

He had always favored Luna, following her almost like a foal would it's mother. Watched over her, tried to be as protective as he could. And he'd vanished the day Celestia had banished her sister to the moon. He hadn’t died that night. He must have blamed her and fled.

"I know you're out there! I know you can hear me!" Celestia grimaced at the sound of more crashing and the enraged pegasus's screaming.

Whatever the case might be, she still had to keep survival as a priority. Only through luck had she gotten this brief respite. Her magic would not come to her, and the robustness she'd taken for granted had failed her. The Goddess felt... mortal. And it terrified her. She strongly suspected Luna to have been behind it, though she really must have changed for the worse to have gone this far.

The snap of a breaking branch was Celestia's only warning as her advisory resumed his attack. A hoof found the back of her head, throwing her across the ground. Tumbling end over end, with a insane pegasus latched onto her, she bucked and kicked blindly. Blunt teeth latched onto her hide, pulling and heaving, leaving welts and cuts in their wake. Eventually, one of Celestia's flailing hooves struck flesh, sending her attacker sprawling.

Free from the shifting weight of Nimbus, the alicorn rolled to her hooves. The pegasus before her groaned, slowly standing. A bright red mark almost glowed through the coat on his forehead. After a few moments of swaying, and a hoof held to his head to steady himself, his lips split with a grin. A most unpleasant grin.

"Found you." The black pony hissed, circling the alicorn in a slow, deliberate arc, his eyes locked to her's. Celestia turned with his movement, never allowing him to leave her sight. Diplomacy was her only option now, his smaller body giving the agility and speed to prevail in hoof to hoof combat. His black coat blending in with the night didn't help matters either.

"Nimbus, please. Stop this. I'm sure if we sit down-"

"Oh no. No, no, no." He slightly shook his head, chuckling. "I know you. So very well. All your little tricks. I'm not going to fall for them."

He threw himself above and to the side, launching into the air, darting and weaving towards her. Losing him in the pitch black of the canopy's shadow, Celestia could do little to track the pegasus until it was too late, only able to make out his rear hooves moments before they connected. The now familiar pain lanced through her face, the force of the blow knocking her back to the ground.

"I've watched you." Nimbus snarled from behind her. "I know just how easily you make ponies dance. So no, we're not going to play that game."

A muffled thump of a wing beat reached the white alicorn's ears, as did the soft rustle of feathers in flight soaring overhead. Still dazed from the previous buck kick, she could offer no resistance as four hooves landed solidly into her unprotected ribs, knocking the wind from her abused lungs. Coughing and gasping, Celestia lay against the cold grass, desperately trying to regain her breath as Nimbus hopped off her fallen body. Long moments ticked away.

"Why did you do it?" A barely audible whisper came, somewhere to Celestia's left. "She looked up to you. Adored you. You were her big sister." A confirmation to her theories. Luna's banishment was the root of the problem. "And don't lie to me."

"Lun... Luna tried to... bring an eternal night. Refused to lower the moon. Then... she attacked me!" She gasped, barely able to force the words out, ribs flaring in pain with each ragged movement. "I had no choice!"

He sighed, soft hoof falls approaching her prone body, coming to a halt by her head. A soft hoof brushed against her neck, stroking through the white coat.

"Is that right?" Nimbus asked, almost directly into her ear. From the corner of her vision, she could see his facial features soften, bringing a guarded hope to Celestia's chest. Perhaps his madness was calming. Fighting against the strain and swelling, the ageless mare nodded slowly, not wishing to disturb her lungs with speech more than necessary.

"That is a pity." He whispered. Slowly, the almost wistful touch grew, pressing down until it scraped across the alicorns skin. It hovered briefly over her throat, before suddenly slamming downwards, cutting off a choked cry as her air way became constricted. She bucked as well as she could, lying on her side, but her already exhausted and ragged body lacked the power to do much but weakly squirm.

"I told you not to lie."

* * *

Nightmare Moon was tired. Tired of being weak, tired of humiliating herself with these petty tricks, tired of these irritating ponies. And tired of HER.

"Whoa!"

Yes, you blasted little unicorn, 'Whoa'.

The rag tag collection of ponies had finally made it to their destination, despite their new Queen's wishes. The Everfree Castle. Or the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, as it now seemed to be called. Still as ruined as it had been when she had come to collect her living tool. Filing in through one of the few still standing doors left in the ruins, the colourful little group stood inside a massive room, one quite familiar to the dark alicorn.

"Come on Twilight, isn't this what you been waitin' for?" Asked the orange earth pony, looking up in awe at the massive object that stood in prominence within the otherwise empty chamber. Why one would speak while afflicted with that sad commoners drawl, Nightmare Moon would never know. Considering the apples on her Cutie Mark and the stetson on her head, she's probably proud of it.

"The Elements of Harmony! We've found them!"

All six of them stared up at the display before them. A giant pedestal with five arms, vines encroaching around its form. Each limb holding at it's end, in small divots, a large engraved stone ball. Its surface displayed the wear and tear of the ages, exposed under the night sky, the room's roof having collapsed untold centuries ago.

Impressive as always, and the one thing Nightmare could not allow to be used. But as with everything this night, to leap in would be folly. Just had to wait...

Kicking up dust and dirt, the two pegasi fluttered up to each runed sphere, picking up and setting them haphazardly on the solid rock floor. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy if she wasn't mistaken.

"Careful... Careful." Ordered Twilight, keeping a close watch. The shrill voiced pink pony hopped up beside her.

"One, two, three, four... uh, there's only five!"

Congratulations, filly, you can count.

"Where's the sixth?!" Demanded Rainbow Dash. Everything about the blue filly a pony could ever need to know, encased within a name. Rainbow for a mane and tail, loud and fast in personality.

Twilight leaned down, intently studying the markings across the stones surfaces. "The book said, 'When the five are present, a spark will cause the sixth element to be revealed'"

"What in the hay is that supposed to mean?" Applejack asked.

Her horn glowing a soft purple aura, the purple unicorn closed her eyes. "I'm not sure, but I have an idea. Stand back! I don't know what will happen."

"Come on now, ya'll. She needs to concentrate." One by one, the rest of the group filed out of the room back into the chilled air of the night, leaving the teacher's pet behind. Silently, the Nightmare peeked from around a crumbling wall. She would have grinned if she had a mouth.

Opportunity!

After one last glance at the five other ponies now milling outside the door, the swirling mist darted in through the crack, swooping down upon the Elements. How could they use the Elements... without having the Elements? Quickly, but with care to remain silent, the new Queen spread her form over the stones. Concentrating on a nearby tower, she began gathering magic.

One more spell! Just one more!

Her magic fumbled and clambered into a teleportation spell, slowly but surely. The Nightmare had taxed herself far too much that night. But the end was so close. Just a touch more.

A horrifying scraping echoed throughout the chamber. One single moment of distraction in her efforts to finish the spell and she'd nudged one of the blasted stones, rolling it against the rough flooring. The lavender unicorn whipped her head up at the sound, eyes flying open in panic. And screamed. She had to get out of there.

Throwing all pretenses of stealth out the window, Nightmare Moon ripped the elements from the floor, caught within a tornado formed from her sparkling body. Hopefully out of reach of Twilight.

Finally, the last charge of magic lay itself over her teleportation spell. With a sizzling crack of energy, and a most satisfyingly mortified gasp of "The Elements!" from a particular purple little nuisance, she vanished.

As the blinding flash from her sudden arrival faded, Nightmare Moon found herself standing upon a slightly raised platform, facing the remains of a massive arched window. As decrepit as the rest of the ruined castle, vines and cracks ran through the walls, slightly obscured by the smoke from her unstable teleportation. Allowing herself to return to her solid form, she had to fight down the desire to dance. She'd made it! The Elements were in her control! Nothing could stand in her way!

A sudden coughing drew her attention from her reveling. Spinning around, she peered out into the billows of smoke as they cleared, hoping to catch a glimpse of the presence. Eventually the cloud dissipated enough to find the source of the cough. A lone purple figure lay on the cold stone floor.

* * *

He could feel the muscles in her neck shifting beneath his hooves, pitifully attempting to free themselves. Nimbus could only grin. The vibration of blood pumping through the little vessels, the desperate gaping of her mouth, her bulging eyes and blue tinted skin! It amused him! Made him feel alive! Made him feel... vibrant!

He was in control. After so long of Celestia playing with him. Mocking him. Laughing at him. Watching him.

Now who was the one wallowing in the dirt like a insect?! Now who's scared?!

Not him! Not anymore!

Never again!

* * *

Nightmare Moon's steel shod hooves came crashing down upon the hard stone, shattering the physical representation of the Elements of Harmony into broken chunks of rock. The foalish unicorn had had her little moment of defiance, charging the dark mare in a unicorn jousting stance. Even going so far as to humiliate her, teleporting behind the alicorn and leaving her goring air. But what strength she had in her eyes died as the shards tumbled the floor. The new Queen could almost taste her helplessness.

"You little foal. Thinking you could defeat ME?! Now you will never see your Princess, or your sun! The night. Shall last. FOREVER!" Nightmare moon screamed, unfurling her vast wings and bringing her ethereal mane to bare, brewing it into a violent storm that circled above. Pure euphoria pumped through her body, and she cackled, laughing as her foe's face fell further into despair.

Voices from the staircase brought her back down to Equestria, the figures of five ponies coming into view as they rounded the corner. Nightmare Moon simply glared daggers, her brief duel with the brat must have lead them there. Not that it mattered, the Elements were reduced to dust around her hooves.

A airy gasp from Twilight caught her attention, the little unicorn smirking infuriatingly. Obviously something had snapped in her mortal brain. They really were ever so fragile.

"You think you can destroy the Elements of Harmony, just like that?"

What?

"Well you’re wrong! Because the Spirits of the Elements of Harmony, are right HERE!" While Nightmare Moons attention had been taken by the purple filly, her 'friend’s' had taken position behind her, fanning out. Each with a determined look on their faces.

What?

A chill ran down the Goddesses spine as around her hooves, the shattered pieces of the destroyed stones shifted, each lit with a faint inner glow. No longer content to lay there, the shards rose into the air, surrounding the dark mare.

"What?!"

"Applejack, the Spirit of Honesty! Fluttershy, the Spirit of Kindness! Pinkie Pie, the Spirit of Laughter! Rarity, the Spirit of Generosity! And Rainbow Dash, the Spirit of Loyalty!" As each pony was referenced, a group of shards would separate from the rest and begin orbiting the pony in question.

"The Spirits of these five ponies got us through everything you threw at us!"

No, no no no no NO NO NO! Wait...

"You still don't have the sixth element! The spark didn't work!" Nightmare Moon cried out, desperately clutching at anything. Anything that could cause the terror to recede from her breast. This couldn't be happening! Not NOW!

"But it did. A different kind of spark." Turning from the alicorn, Twilight faced the rest of the mortals. "I felt it the very moment I realised how happy I was to hear you. To see you. How much I cared about you. The spark ignited inside me, when I realised that you all. Are my FRIENDS!"

From above Twilight, a new runed stone materialised. Memories of that very stone, the catalyst for the Elements power, orbiting Celestia so long ago froze the dark alicorn in place. The shear pain it caused her. Even the light coming from it in it's inert state felt like fire across her face, and she cringed behind a wing to shield herself.

"You see Nightmare Moon, when those Elements are ignited by the... the spark that resides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth Element. The Element of... MAGIC!"

It was sappy, mushy trash, enough to make the Nightmare retch. But fear had taken hold of her. Everything she'd planned and millennium of waiting was burning down around her. A flash of light ripped through the night, bright as the sun, again forcing Nightmare Moon to shield herself behind a scorched wing. When she finally peeked around it, the orbiting shards had condensed into golden necklaces, adorning each pony. A gem, symbolizing their individual Cutie Marks, shone brightly with inner fire.

And atop the purple unicorns head sat a gold Tiara, a purple gem in the shape of a six pointed star embellishing it's crown. The dark mare could almost taste the raw power coming from it, and it had only just started building the spell.

An unfathomable rage swept over Nightmare Moon. She would NOT be stopped by these pathetic wretches! If they wished to play with the big ponies, then they would play with a big pony! They would play with a Goddess!

Reaching out with her consciousness, she quickly located her pegasus minion Nimbus, still draped across her 'sister'. His body teemed with her dark magics, almost bursting with it. With but a thought and a tug, she ripped her power from his body, disrupting the spell binding his and Celestia's minds. The sleeping Goddess would wake, but a far more pressing issue was at hoof.

It roiled over her like a tsunami, a wave of pure power. She felt alive, her ethereal mane lashing with renewed vigor. Unbeatable and unstoppable. As a true Goddess should. Quickly turning her attention back to the mortals before her, she brought all of her power to dwell within her horn, awaiting her will.

Already the Elements spell had reached it's apex, two vibrant rainbow's coiling themselves like serpents around the now levitating forms of six ponies. The focus of the spell shone like the sun between the six, making it impossible to make out anything other than silhouettes.

Before she could ready her attack upon the upstarts, the twin rainbows launched themselves into the air, twisting around each other like a dance. Reaching the roof of the room, they altered their path, aiming directly for the alicorn's breast.

Startled by the swift movement, Nightmare Moon resigned herself to ignoring the ponies, her revenge for their defiance would have to wait. An attack of that magnitude would destroy her completely should it strike. Locking her slitted pupils onto the incoming twin beams, the Goddess let loose her terrible power.

Waves of dark magics lashed forth from her horn tip, blasting against the incoming harmonized energy, splitting it in twain. What little hope was gained from the sight, was just as quickly dashed as the multitude of colours swarmed in, absorbing everything the dark Queen threw out. Closer it pressed, paying little attention to the raw power of a divine being.

With a last burst of speed, the beams rammed into Nightmare Moons chest, shrugging aside her armor like paper. Her magic crumpled to nothing as an agony like she'd never could have imagined lanced through her. She could feel it shredding through her body, through her soul. Tearing and gouging.

It continued for what felt like hours, tears of agony sweeping down her face. but eventually the torture ended. Briefly aware of herself falling to the ground, she lay there, struggling to breath.

A swift, blissful dark swept over Nightmare Moon, and she slumbered.

* * *

Celestia couldn't breath, her lungs having been struggling for oxygen for far too long. She longed for the comfort of unconsciousness, but its sweet release refused to come.

Before she could once more wordless cry for mercy, the owner of the hooves on her neck screamed and reared back. The sudden rush of air into her system sent her mind spinning and like a drug addict, she consumed it with relish, great heaving gasps making her chest convulse.

After several moments, she dragged her head through the grass, the white mare attempting to catch a glimpse of what had attacked her assailant.

Oh my Stars.

The vision was one of a nightmare. The skin of Nimbus's face hung in strips, exposing the flesh and bone underneath. The very muscles seemed to be melting, dripping to the grass in bloodied chunks. The horrifying effect slowly worked it's way down the neck and across his chest and torso, as an inequine scream tore from his lips. It was as though nothing was left inside of him to hold his body together.

Turning from the gruesome sight, Celestia's stomach heaved, though nothing was present to regurgitate. Covering her ears with her hooves did nothing, the demonic wailing rebounding through her skull, howling in tortured agony.

Only partly aware of her surroundings, the Goddess vaguely noticed the trees encircling them growing faint, as though vanishing from reality. Chirping of birds and rustling of leaves in the wind replaced screaming. The lands around her fell to an impenetrable blackness, the aches and pains her body had suffered faded to nothing, and a new weight pressed down lightly on her side.

Attempting to look at what was trying to pin her down failed, the all encompassing dark giving up no clues as to its origin. Reflexively attempting to close her eyes to think brought no movement of her eyelids, and in a stroke of genus, opened them.

Dirt and patches of grass surrounded her, tree's holding a thin canopy above, lit in the soft glow of the moon. A quick glance showed her to be in a wooded area, however with no landmarks to speak of, she wasn't quite sure which one.

Celestia's head jerked, suddenly remembering the strange weight on her side. A black pegasus lay there, still and cold. No longer shredded and dripping, his unblemished face stared back. Worried, the princess freed a wing to lay it over him, feeling for any movement of breathing.

Nothing. Not even a fading sign of a pony’s natural magic. Everything was simply gone.

Sighing and moving carefully, Celestia stood, laying Nimbus's limp body to the ground. Leaning down, she gently nudged his head into a more natural position, softly whispering into an unhearing ear, tears glistening unshed in her eyes.

"I'm sorry my old friend. I am so... so sorry."

Standing once more, and spreading her massive wings, Celestia took to the sky. After one last glance back to commit the location to memory, she let her magic flow through her horn, quickly vanishing in a flash of white.

There would be time to figure out where she had been later. But for now, her little ponies needed her.






A/N: Not happy with this chapter, but throwing it up anyway. Sick to death of looking at it. On a second note, does anyone know why the first chapter has 500~ views, yet the second has 1500~?