• Member Since 19th Jul, 2018
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Just a gay bun having fun.



Luna has fallen back to Equestria. And, to her shock, she is no longer Nightmare Moon. Perhaps this is her second chance at life. Will she find it, wandering aimlessly into the nearby town? What will the new ponies she meets think? Can she truly hide among them, disguised as one of their own? Well, perhaps, with a little help from some new friends, as she leaves behind her crown, to run away from her past that haunts her.

But can you ever truly escape the monster you've become?

Chapters (6)
Comments ( 97 )

This was the persona she had dawned so long ago: Nightmare Moon.

In a rush, the duo dawned their cloak and hat, respectively, and threw together a couple packs of basic supplies.

I thought the first one might have been a pun I was missing, but I'm pretty sure you mean "donned" in both these cases.

“A dang ol’ storybook for foals come to life just gal palled me, unbelievable.”

I haven't finished reading all that you've published yet and I'm saving my full comments until then, but this is potentially the funniest thing I will read all week. I also want to say I'm really enjoying this so far! I can't wait to finish the other chapters. I wish I had better commentary, but it's late where I am, and I do need to sleep.

Well this was an interesting read, truth be told, I was rather wondering when Twilight would show up. Though I was expecting some lavender conspiracy theorist rushing about in the background as absolutely nothing momentous happened.


Wow. That was certainly a different retelling of events.

I honestly think my favorite bit is Rarity having a SWORD. Covered in psychic serpent blood. That's awesome.

And Celestia created six new alicorns to be the Elements, but...guess they weren't needed? Huh.

You are correct, I did mean "donned," and frankly, I'm mildly ashamed of myself. Whoops. But don't fret about what little commentary you feel you have, I'm loving every comment I've gotten so far! Normally getting commentary on my work at all is hard to come by, so I'm very appreciative of how much I've gotten in relatively little time!

I'll be honest, that sounds like a far funnier take than the direction I went. I'm almost a little envious I didn't think of that instead.

I was worried the bit about a sword might be veering a little into edgier territory, which I wasn't quite aiming for? But like, if Rarity totally seems the type to me to have a rapier on hand, just to complete a faux officer outfit. And the trope of "Chekov's Gun" came to mind, and I figured if I was going to include a sword, it ought to see some use at some point.
Also I guess I did use this opportunity to ponder why Celestia created more alicorns in the show as well? Like, I know the real answer is Hasbro wanted more princesses they could model toys after. But the narrative never really addressed why exactly she ascended Cadence or Twilight. So that aspect, while not important to the plot of my own story here, is kinda my own thinking on how it could be potentially explained in-universe.



Also I guess I did use this opportunity to ponder why Celestia created more alicorns in the show as well? Like, I know the real answer is Hasbro wanted more princesses they could model toys after. But the narrative never really addressed why exactly she ascended Cadence or Twilight. So that aspect, while not important to the plot of my own story here, is kinda my own thinking on how it could be potentially explained in-universe.

According to supplementary material, Cadance ascended herself by teaching a miserable and lonely old witch how to love.

I think she wanted some properly immortal company, or just help with the paperwork.

You know, that actually makes a lot of sense. Being an eternal being, and watching all your friends die and eventually forgetting who they even were sounds pretty miserable.
Huh, neat. Is that in the comics? Kinda dropped off on those around I wanna say issue 15/16 I think. How exactly does one ascend to demigod status all on their own though, that's a wild concept. I should go back and read more of the comics...


It was in one of the chapter books, actually. Basically, Cadance used to be a Pegasus orphan adopted by an Earth Pony couple in a small town out in the sticks. A sorceress named Prismia tried to use an artifact of Cosmic Spectrum (same material as the Crystal Heart) to steal everyone's love, because she had none of her own. Cadance had so much love in her heart she was unaffected and freely offered love to Prismia, redeeming her and triggering her ascension. Celestia sensed this and showed up soon after to take her up to Canterlot to be a Princess.

Think so? I'd thought about it, but figured, like, it's not technically the actual main six, so to speak. 🤔

I guess it counts. The main six are all actually in there, after all. Thanks for the advice, though; I went ahead and added all the key contributors to the actual plot (even if Celestia hasn't actually shown up (yet)).

This is a great start of a "Luna is the New Twilight" timeline!

Overall, your characterizations are great. A few specific reactions:
- Luna is well done as a self-redeemed princess in hiding
- Applejack is perfect, just the right combination of cautious suspicion and down-home hospitality
- Granny Smith is letter perfect, crotchety voice and all
- Pinkie gets a little too didactic at times; you need to keep her short attention span firmly in mind when you write her,
- Rarity is perfect when we first meet her, but later on is really out of character as a gung-ho action hero; this would be fine if they all were like that, but you've done a good job of keeping the other Elements in character, so Rarity doesn't really work like this here -- remember her neatness fixation!
(an idea here: what if she was *drafted* into the militia as a result of the emergency, and is having a real problem dealing with it... some good humor possibilities there!)

The overall pacing is good, though it's a little slow in the beginning of chapter 2, and in the journey to the Two Sister's castle later on, particularly the start of chapter 4, which after the battle in chapter 3 seems to slow the pace down again.

Much as I understand the need for a few "set piece" battles, and the fact that this is flagged as an Alternate Universe story... well... not to sound overly care-bear, but swordfighting is really out of place as a solution in the pony world. In the original two-parter, the closest they came to a sword was Rarity yanking a scale from the sea-serpent, and then using it to slice off a hunk of her own tail. There's likely a more interesting way of combining Rarity's unicorn magic and some creative thinking from the other ponies to get through the battle scenes, and it will make this a more distinctive and better story overall.

One really strong suggestion: DON'T have Twilight show up at the end. You've done a terrific job setting this up as "Luna is the New Twilight", and having Twilight show up _already_ an alicorn princess seriously weakens that. Instead, you should have Celestia appear, as at the end of the original two-parter, and reconcile with Luna as the new leader of the Elements.

(I realize you might have something else planned up ahead, but I'm commenting based on what you're presented up to this point -- and I like where it seems to be going based on these chapters alone!)

I have some more specific feedback notes -- I'll add them as chapter comments.

- overall, the pacing here is just about right, you do a good job scene by scene of communicating information, introducing new characters, and holding interest

Pinkie Pie didn’t appreciate “blurted” being the word used there, as it sounded much ruder than she intended.

- Pinkie breaking the fourth wall is *definitely* allowed, but works much better in a comedy setting, rather than a drama, so it feels a little out of place here and breaks the flow. Otherwise, her character is spot-on, and a good introduction to her.

Above him, Luna had suspended all the liquid mid-spill in a magical aura. She replaced every drop back into the cup, which she then gave to Dash.

“Would you like to try again?” Her brows were quirked and she gave unto him a most peculiar little smile.

- That is so Luna. Good one!

a cut stone of perhaps sugilite

- "amethyst" would be better here -- sugilite is not as well-known as a gemstone, and sounds a little TOO gemologist for the overall tone of the piece

Louise smiled, and cheers were had. Finally, the future looked bright.

- A great ending to the first chapter: start on a low note, end on a high one.

- minor typos / tweaks:
- fritter, frie(s), and juice -- fries is always plural
- She peaked over -- "peeked"
- what to make if this brash blue girl -- if -> of
- She scanned the dust to avoid eye contact -- "Looked at the ground" works better, "scanned" sounds strange here.

- The first three scenes here run a _little_ slowly. You might want to tighten them up, and maybe hint at them playing other games as well for depth, even if you don't show them.

“A baby dragon! Aw, I always wanted to see a baby dragon.”

- A nice way of pulling that line in from the original. I hope you do decide to have Spike team up with Luna -- it could be interesting!

despite any odds and even some logic, it bounced once more at the perfect angle, hitting the lid of the grand prize ring, rolled around its circumference, and fell through with a thunk.

- This was a good way of ending this, tying perfectly into Pinkie's character. You almost don't need the gameskeeper to fumble the ball, since having Pinkie get it all on her own as a bank-shot without looking is even funnier. (I would leave out "despite any odds and even some logic", though, since that's basically gilding the lily... we know Pinkie defies logic, physics, and sanity!) :pinkiehappy:

Applebloom’s little ombré eyes lit up

- "ombre" (gradation of color) is a little too high-fantasy, and is confusable for "hombre", so it reads strangely. I'd keep it simple, and just describe her eye colors.

“Then I’m sure you’ll get your cutie mark one day very soon, little one.” Louise beamed with pride as dinner was served.

- This is another nice Luna touch -- good work keeping her character balanced between naivete and worldly-wise!

“Give it a rest. We are one and the same. Come now, it’s time to make them suffer for how they’ve hurt us.”

- A good reintroduction of Nightmare Moon -- making her an aspect of Luna herself deepens the pathos of Luna's attempts at self-redemption. You just need to be careful not to let Nightmare Moon become simply a generic villain, completely separate from Luna -- she needs to be an aspect of Luna herself, constantly pulling at Luna, trying to make her return to her dark past.

"Oh, you weak little girl!”"

- perhaps "weak little foal" instead?

It had not budged even one perspective inch.

- I'd omit "perspective" here entirely -- you really mean something like "visible" or "perceptible", and neither is really necessary.

- Also, I'd add Applejack saying "The Sun hasn't come up", just to make the point clear. (The first time I read through this, I found I'd missed this point because it was a little _too_ subtle -- and it's important because it's the beginning of the rising tension in the next chapter.)

- The last few paragraphs are a little uneven, and it would be worth going over them again to make the action more clear.

“Well,” Luna told her, rather flatly, “to be fair, I do have a lot of the same… visual distinctions as the monster who is currently causing all this. You see my dilemma?”

- We haven't yet seen Luna tell Applejack about Nightmare Moon, or even hint at it, so "the monster" here reads like we've missed a step. Remember that in the original it took Twilight to put the Mare in the Moon and Nightmare Moon together from old legends, so it's not something Applejack would have just known about already.

this mayor (surname Mare, oddly enough),

I'd just call her by name, since readers are already familiar with the pun, and explaining it is heavy-handed.
(BTW, have you read the bit in Catch 22 about Major Major Major Major? It's a hoot! :twilightsmile:)

Luna stepped forth, inserting herself into the middle of the crowd, ignoring the confused protests of Rainbow Dash and Applejack. A couple incantations, and magic sparked off her horn. She took a deep breath.


- Another good Luna moment -- taking charge without taking charge!

“However, come to think of it, there is that dusty old library I still haven’t found a keeper for.”

- This is perfect -- Luna is slotting into the gap left by Twilight, piece by piece. Nicely done.

two ostrich feathers dyed red and purple. And on her right side, most peculiar of all, hung a long and narrow sword with a swirling swept hilt to protect one’s hand.

Only, she had no hand.

- Until I realized this was Rarity, I first pictured an amputee veteran! Also, it should really be "hoof", not "hand".

if this one was Stoneheart or Horace, Rarity’s friends knew not.

The narrator is coloring outside the lines a little here. ;-)

The oh so merry quintet crested a hill.

- This is veering over into high-fantasy voice, which doesn't quite work, since up to now it's been pretty consistently low-fantasy -- it's better to be consistent in tone overall.

“Or not to be,” broke in Rarity, for no real rhyme or reason

- That grinding sound you're hearing... it's William Shakespeare spinning in his grave. :-)
It's really better not to use a joke at all, rather than fall back on a very old pun, if you're stuck for a lighter moment.

- Luna's reaction to the reading of the legend is great -- coldly self-recriminating while
on the verge of losing it. You should give the descriptions another pass, though, in particular
"One hoof dragged like a slug across her cheek, leaving a smearing of tears like a slug’s slimy trail."

"So I struck a deal with an otherworldly denizen, and it all fell apart from there."

-You need to be consistent about whether Luna and Nightmare Moon are one or two -- as noted, I think one works better from a character standpoint, but overall consistency is the important thing.

“I sort of broke the stone railing on said balcony when I did.”

- Ouch. That's going to leave a mark. A good example of backhanded wit to lighten a moment!

Now come, you two tepid ponies. Let us aggress the monster.

- Rarity sounds like she's been at the Poison Joke here, and is veering close to caricature. I think it would really work much better to have standard "Ooh, is that dirt?" Rarity trying to talk herself into doing battle, and then accidentally winding up pulling off something amazing.

Like Luna’s bleeding head!

- This wasn't hinted at in the battle, and coming from the narrator it reads as out of the blue here. It would be better to have one of the other characters observe that Luna is wounded instead.

“Rarity? Your nice red coat.” Luna looked on, dismayed as Rarity’s telekinesis tore a long section off the coat.

- This would be a good place to work in Rarity's Generosity element. Although to stay in character, it would be better for Fluttershy to be doing the bandaging, while Rarity willingly sacrifices her coat:
:raritywink: "I'm not really good with blood, dahling, but I'm only too happy to help!"

- One issue with the beginning of this chapter is that after the huge set-piece in Chapter 3, the challenges here are pretty lightweight and the pacing is much slower -- you might want to reorder things so there's more rising tension on the way to the castle.

“Look, Luna, things are pretty dark right now. But you are not your past mistakes. You’re already a million times better than the pony you keep saying you were. You’re so worried about the magical night demon you created hurting your friends, that you can’t even acknowledge that you, the right-now-better you, lunged in between them and her.”

- This is an example of a line that's really too long-winded and mature to be coming from Pinkie Pie. You should tighten this up so it fits her rapid-fire pacing, and look at her other lines in the same light. (What she's saying here is important -- it's how she's saying it that needs tweaking.)

And they all cantered off after her. Somewhere down the line, Luna remarked that Pinkie Pie almost ruined the trap. How, she might ask? Why, Luna’s snickering at her wordplay almost gave them away. To this, Pinkie only offered a shrug and stuck out her tongue.

- This feels like outline text -- maybe this didn't get expanded into dialogue?

...And hers, she could paint from memory; white crescent moon glowing out of a splotchy, inky black shadow.

- The point being made about their cutie-marks here isn't clear -- you've noted that the other marks are all based on threes, but haven't indicated how Luna's single moon connects with that.

Unluckily however, it was pinned in place, with none other than Rarity’s sword jutting out of a throat still spurting blood now and then.

- This is pretty gruesome, and it's not really needed -- one of the things that made the original scene between Rarity and the sea-serpent great is that it played off the old trope of battling and killing the monster, and turned it into an example of Rarity's generosity when she cuts off her own tail instead.

- Thebius -- I dunno about this... if it's a reference to Theseus and the Minotaur, it's not really coming off the way you might intend. It sounds too much like a name with one letter changed, if you see what I mean. And for someone who doesn't get the reference, the joke doesn't work at all. (You could just _call_ the minotaur Theseus, and have Luna make an offhand comment about the story of Theseus and the Minotaur -- which none of the other ponies get, much as might happen with Twilight.)

"Maybe I should start a mythology reading group... I bet everypony would love it!" :twilightsheepish:

And on the center post, rising above them all, the sixth and final sphere of stone.

- Hmmm, I dunno here -- it is easier for the Element of Magic just to be there, but part of the point of the original was that Magic had to be discovered through forming friendships, and you could easily still pull that off here with Luna.

“Ugh, are we learning?”

- Good Rainbow reaction!

“L-L-Luna,” she stammered, “y-your sh-sh-sh-shad-dow.”

- The Doctor: "I'm sorry... I'm very sorry... but you have two shadows." (Sorry, couldn't resist! :twilightsmile:)

“Thanks for getting me inside, Luna.” Nightmare Moon’s tone was as smug as it was venomous.

- Oooh, nice one -- I didn't see that coming! Though it would be good to foreshadow it at least once, like with Luna eyeing her shadow suspiciously on the way to the castle.

much to the sorrow of the drooping portal.

- "much to the detriment" would be better -- conferring emotion to objects can come off as overwrought if taken too far

A quick scan revealed...

- "glance" would be better -- "scan" as a term for looking at something sounds way too mechanical, except when speaking of examining text or other material in fine detail

- The battle with Nightmare Moon is great overall, but you could stand to trim it back a bit, since it's running a little long.

“Or should I say ‘Louise?’ Just some timid scholar who’s gotten her friends all in over their heads. Pathetic.”

- This is a good dig, and again hints at the Luna <-> Twilight connection.

given from by pain and bitterness.”

- Feels like there's a word missing here.

“And thus, I refute thee,” sentenced Luna.

- This is a nice Luna grace note at this point.

But then a voice called out from behind the lot of them. One Luna had never before heard in all her long life, yet still it commanded them with utmost authority in tone and cadence. When she turned about, a total stranger of an alicorn fluttered down to the floor through the expanded opening Thebius had left.

- I completely expected this to be Celestia, coming to welcome Luna back. And I have to say it was really disappointing when it wasn't! Bringing in Twilight at this point, without knowing where you're going to take it yet, really detracts from the entire tone you've set throughout this story, and feels like one of those "they died but they really didn't" endings that tries to have it both ways.

I'd strongly vote for keeping this a non-Twilight world, and letting Luna have a go at it in her place!

“Afraid so, sugarcube. She turned ‘em into alicorns, and well, now that I think about it, each of them is kinda like some sort of expansion on the Elements of Harmony.”

- Eeeegh, this could get ugly! Six princesses, all ready to receive the Elements -- and they're already taken! Can you say civil war with nuclear weapons? :pinkiegasp: As noted, I'm not certain it's necessary to go this route. You could tell some really interesting stories with Luna as the Princess of Friendship Magic, and the other Elements as they are. Luna has Twilight's bookishness, but she can bring a level of experience and "we are not amused" to situations that would make for good storytelling.

As noted below, this is a good story, and a cool AU timeline with some potential. Please take my comments as constructive suggestions, and keep at it! (I've added notes on individual chapters, and a high-level summary as a separate comment.)

I just wanna say that once upon a time I would've done nearly anything for critique half this in-depth for any of my work, and I am super grateful you took the time out for it. You needn't worry about your tone, you've been nothing but constructive and helpful. Thanks!

I think you have some real good points, like I did kinda struggle to handle Pinkie Pie; she's pretty at odds with who I am as a person, so there's a certain amount of friction when I try to write for her. I did always love her ability to switch into big sister mode, like how she handles Fluttershy in a lot of episodes, and I think I leaned on that side way too much. Similarly, I think latched onto the times Rarity threw herself at a raging manticore, or into the changeling skirmish, and ended up having her go too Errol Flynn.

I think there's a couple alterations I can make to parts 3 and 4 to clean some of it up, and fix some of those embarrassing typos (there've been times when I've literally forgotten to write entire words, only noticing on the second pass oTL), even if I can't really fully overhaul the story top-to-bottom. Not for lack of wanting to, but a lack of time. C'est la vie.

Had I a chance to do the entire thing over, I'd try harder not to veer right back into my comfort zone of high fantasy, and wouldn't have gone so far with some of the darker details. Although, I am glad the fight scenes came out passable, if overstayed and overplayed. To be honest, I think they're all rubbish, and hated writing them, ha. I also worry I didn't really do enough with Rainbow or Fluttershy? Idk, sometimes it feels to me like they're just sort of there.

At any rate, hope I can shape this up into a slightly better story, and have the last chapter out within a week or two, depending on the wrist I just hurt today, whomp. Thanks again for all your feedback. I really think it's gonna help me improve my writing on the whole; because my prose is so insulated at this point, there are times where things aren't quite as explicit/obvious as I think they are, and of course it's clear to me because I'm the one picturing it. (Also it's funny you mention Catch 22, because I have an unfinished copy of that around here. I read the first chapter, decided I loved it, and promptly forgot about it, because I'm terrible about that. Just ask my unfinished copies of The Mouse that Roared, Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and Pillars of the Earth. It's a bad habit..)

Jesus, this took forever to binge read, but holy moley this was incredible! I love everything about this, Luna automatically coming back reform, to Rarity being a soldier, & to Twilight already a princess, this is pure gold!

alskdfjoasij I've never had my work compared to gold, thank you so much. I promise you guys I'm working hard on the last chapter, it's just slow going right now since I bruised my wrist from longboarding.

Well I will say I do have at least the beginnings of an idea for a sequel. It's a ways off, and wouldn't be quite this thrilling, at least not with where I'm at with that concept right now.

All's well that ends well, and I'd say this ended very well indeed. I quite enjoyed this, thanks for writing it.

Oh lord, what a rollercoaster this was, (literally it was, I got confused on some parts & had no clue what was going on) but it was phenomenal from start to end & I wish this was longer!

P.S. If this is the last chapter, why does it still say "incomplete"

I couldn't resist adding an epilogue. It's not wholly necessary, but I felt it tied up a loose thread, and created a little setup for a (very eventual) sequel.

Harmony Unbound Season 2: Pinkies Revenge :pinkiecrazy:

Ohhhhh Pinkie, you evil, evil, pony! I demand a sequel!

Sequels is it? I approve of this plan.

So Luna is replacing Twilight in the Elements of Harmony, and she's off to fight herself ... Cool.:pinkiehappy:

It was good, special and not re-used again and again... Just a question, Are you going to make a sequel? Maybe with how all things did go during season 1 and Discord?

I've got a sequel in mind, though I'm currently in the stage of mapping out all the story beats I want to hit. And yeah, actually, part of my original plan was to have this be the intro, and basically just do the rest of season 1 from there. But, like, I stretched two episodes into over 100 pages, so that's pretty daunting when looking at the rest of the 23 episodes from that season.

Not to mention, I don't really know how much I could change certain plots from some episodes, which would make entire swathes of that potentially massive story feel pretty redundant. So my current plan is to cherry pick what I feel might be the most important elements and work them into a story that spans the rest of the summer after the Sun Celebration, with a few twists that'd be appropriate for the AU, etc.

This was a very, very well done story.

The Monk
“On her doorstep was Twilight Sparkle. While Derpy deeply respected the mare, like most in Ponyville, they wished she'd either switch to decaf, or start hitting the harder stuff.” -Dan_s Comments

“She’s just about the friendliest gal I know. Always such a hoot.” Fluttershy eagerly bit into a fritter. “Mm, but she did seem to dote on you. If she likes you, then you must be good.” She beamed up at her.

Fluttershy is hanging out with Apple Jack a but too much.

I will admit that the Pinkie part is a bit strange, but does fit very well with her character in the real show and it's just the perfect amount of Fourth wall breaking to be funny and not annoying.

Theory: Twilight gets possessed by Nightmare moon and she's doing it.

I know that in this Alternate Universe, there was no prophecy of Luna coming back, as the legend in the book stated that the dark sister was banished forever...

But Celestia ascending at least six ponies to princesshood before Luna returned? She really moved on from Luna hard. As in, Luna barely has any place in the world to return to.

I'm really upset with this turn of events.

Generally good, spotted a mistake or two here and there, but nothing of note nor do I really remember where, but then mistakes always slip through, no?

Ummm, let's see, wasn't impressed by the explanation for Fluttershy, but liked the others. Interesting tweaks to both the mythology and the individual characters, nothing huge, just little differences. Perhaps the one thing I would've done different would be having Luna change her name to Luna Moonshadow in the end, since a new name is fitting for a new beginning, no?

Any how, read this quickly, and now chewing on the sequel, let's hope it's just as good.

I think like, that's partly why I wanted to write this? Even in canon, the world Luna returned to had long moved on without her. Which is pretty depressing to think about, which is probably why it's underexplored in the show as it might come off a bit out of place with the overall tone. I sort of made it worse by leaving out the prophecy and doubling down on how much Celestia had moved on, whoops.
Even glossing over some of it now I wonder what happened, like there's a letter or comma missing here and there that feel obvious in hindsight. And yeah overall I feel I left Fluttershy out a bit and I could've worded Luna's explanation there better. Solid idea about a new name to a new start though, sorta wish I'd thought of something like that.
At any rate, cheers for the feedback, and I'm also hoping the sequel turns out as good in the end. If nothing else, I feel confident in saying the prose ought to be more consistent overall. So far.
I'm not the most expert linguist I know, but I've got a few of those "five dollar" words tucked away. Though, I tend to decide on my phrasing less to impress, and more either to put something a way you wouldn't normally, or simply because it would sound more fun if said aloud (like there's a line somewhere in here like "She inadvertently intervened" for example). Over the years I've found my word choice leans towards novelty.
And thank you very much for reading my work and saying you've enjoyed it!

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