• Published 11th Sep 2019
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Twilight's Nightmare - Nightsclaw

Twilight in her most desperate of moments issues a cry for help, she was not expecting the Nightmare to be her saviour.

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CH 17 Tears of the Sun

Celestia sat in her mental garden, looking at her game board. This was a bad situation, Twilight was not her foe, but could no longer be counted to be the unwavering ally she was just a week ago. Here, where nopony could see her, she had let her tears fall, their trails still visible on her coat.

The whole of Twilight’s rant kept going through her mind. Those last two words stuck like daggers to her heart. ‘Please leave.’ Her tone had just been so heartbroken. Twilight was no monster; she was just a hurt filly whose world had been shattered.

She had gone out hoping to rescue her Twilight, ready to heal her, and fearing she would have to end her. The one thing Celestia was not prepared for was a sane but angry Twilight, That now might hate her for all eternity.

“She was not meant to find out for at least ten more years. How could this happen?” Celestia slumped, resting her head on the table, a few game pieces fell and rolled to the grass. Years of preparation wasted. She lamented the loss of the journey of discovery she had planned for her former student.

“Even with everything that happened, she is still an overachiever,” Daybreaker said pushing Twilight’s game piece towards her.

“How do I keep failing my students?”

“You did not; she is strong; she is willing to stand up to you. She is ready and able to defend her ponies. She is almost everything you wanted.” Daybreaker said, her gaze challenging Celestia to disagree.

Celestia looked at the figure of Twilight, recalling every cut she used to shape it, every stroke of the brush as she painted it. Her creation was perfect, lifelike in detail, a true masterpiece.

The smallest tilt of her head and the figure shifted, Celestia's eyes now seeing the mare she knew so well. The Garden faded as her mind drifted into the past. She thought back to every lesson and each kind word, all the hints subtly placed and the delicately crafted situations. Everything deliberately done to encourage her to grow. Twilight was her masterpiece, and she was nearly perfect.

Daybreaker's voice shattered the image. “You still need to find out about the blood magic and how she survived.”

“It can wait," Celestia said her tone flat. She wanted nothing more than to return to her memories. A small lavender filly nestled under a wing, listening with rapt attention to the latest lesson. The joy that lit up in Twilight's eyes when she spoke just three words. My faithful student.

“Are you sure?” Daybreaker was insistent.

Celestia sighed. “No… I will ask Luna to find out, or perhaps Cadance will have more luck.” Celestia sat up back into her noble bearing and restored the position of everything on her grand game board.

“Remember, nopony taught her how to manifest Crystal Armour, and she displayed vast improvement in control of her Alicorn power compared to when you last saw her. Not to mention that young filly, now we know she is not Twilight.”

Leaving my Mask behind to deal with things in Canterlot had been a mistake, She thought. She knew It left her acting far too emotional.

She would find what answers she could, a goal in mind, she acted. With a wave of her hoof, a stone arch rose from the ground. Within its span, last night’s meeting replayed. Celestia leaned closer, watching them even from a more detached perspective, rather than merely remembering it.

Celestia watched as her past self appeared from her teleport.

Past Celestia stood by the external entrance to the Map Room in Twilight’s home. Her eyes found Twilight and widened with hope. Twilight was covered in bandages, her horn was blackened and had freshly healed cracks in it. For an Alicorn to be this injured for this long spoke of extraordinary violence being inflicted upon them.

“Twilight?” Her past self’s voice was full of hope.

Twilight body tensed slightly, her ears flicked and eyes widen in panic for a moment. “Prin… Celestia.”

“I am so glad to see you safe, if unfortunately not unharmed,” Past Celestia said her horn lit with all the spells she feared she might need reaching for a scroll as cover.

Twilight’s eyes tightened slightly, glancing at past Celestia’s horn for only a moment timed between blinks.

“Her observational skills have vastly improved,” Daybreak commented.

Crystal Armour flashed into place effectively warding Twilight from any spells the other Elements would survive being in the same room as.

Everypony just stood still in a mix of shock and surprise. Past Celestia was unsure what to do, that Armour had just denied most of her available options that would leave the building standing. Past Celestia’s face changed; she was just about to speak.

Twilight acted first. "You will not use more Mind magic on me," She bellowed in the RCV, flaring her wings and jutting her chest out aggressively.

The voice was amplified with Alicorn power and air aspected magic. It pushed the other ponies back, if it was done by volume alone, everypony would have been bleeding from their ears.

“A perfect defensive move and then denying you a chance to explain yourself. She was in control of the situation even then.” Daybreaker said.

“With what she feared I might do, it was an expected response.”

“Too well-timed if you ask me, she was trying to keep you off balance, she was wearing away at your position and setting up for what she would reveal later.”

“How certain are you?”

“Not as much as I would want to be to take action… but be aware it is a very real possibility.”

"What in tarnation are you talking about, sugercube?" Applejack was the first to speak.

"So Celestia, why are at least half the spell forms in your horn to do with mind control and memory alterations?"

Rarity’s eyes widened as soon as spell forms were mentioned. The others only reacted when mind control came up.

"What the hay?" Rainbow blurted out. "We just get Twilight back, and you're going to zap her in the brain?"

“Don’t be silly that’s Dizz’s trick, you need your own Princess.” Pinkie said.

“Comparing us to Discord, how unflattering,” Daybreaker spat.

“Keep your comments relevant, please.”

The Elements lined up in front of Twilight, clearly in a protective line. Even Fluttershy terrified as she was, stood strong.

Past Celestia put on concerned smile number six and spoke. "One of the possibilities I was worried about was that Twilight was affected by dark magic. I was only ready in case somepony had compelled her to attack us, or worse"

Applejack watched Celestia very carefully before turning to Twilight "She ain't lying Twilight,"

"Forgive me for being a little on edge, with everything that happened, it is hard even to be sure any of this is real." Twilight returned to a neutral stance, but the motion was slowed by more than her injured body.

“She was still expecting to have to fight you then, look at how she is holding her barrel.” Daybreaker pointed with her hoof. “And the line of the muscles in her back left leg.”

“She was ready to drop and roll to the side, placing the table between us.”

Daybreaker Nodded.

“Why did you not tell me at the time?”

Daybreaker shrugged. “I did not notice; I was on guard for what magic she might use. At the time, I was not expecting a purely physical defence. That is not something your 'Faithful' Student has been trained in.”


"Err… Twilight if you don’t mind telling us. What did you mean by more mind magic?" Fluttershy's voice was so quiet but firm. It was clear this was a point she was not going to back down from. Her eyes were just a bit more intense than normal.

Twilight nervously looked to Celestia. Her body-language cycled through a mix of fear, panic, calculation and possibly regret. "I am not sure I should tell you, I don't think you want to know," Twilight said, looking back to her friends, hesitation on her face.

“Honesty is the best policy, you know that Twilight.” Applejack said, placing her hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. In a soft whisper meant only to be heard by Twilight, she added, “We are here for you.”

Twilight nodded to Applejack in thanks. Something changed in her eyes, Twilight’s resolve hardened and her body straightened “Girls, you never met the original Twilight, she died long before I came to Ponyville.”

“If Applejack had not said that, we could have had a quiet conversation and dealt with this peacefully,” Celestia said, voice full of regret.

“I am not so sure; I believe she was playing Applejack, leading her to say something like that. She was setting up her verbal attack on you, framing it perfectly so her friends would side with her, no questions asked.”

“Are you always so untrusting?” Celestia asked.

Daybreaker smiled proudly. “It was one of the tasks you made me for, so you could always look for the good in each pony.”

Twilight pointed her hoof at past Celestia. The motion so forceful, it seemed like she was commanding an attack. “You murdered Twilight's children and used the remains to craft your own patchwork filly. Your own perfect tool, just to save your sister.”

The Elements all reacted with horror, Rainbow's masked with righteous anger.

“Children.” Fluttershy whimpered and by the looks of it almost fainted.

Rainbows eyes shifting to hate as they aimed at past Celestia, her body tensing readying for violence, wind aspected magic gathering along the edges of her wings.

“You are going to have to watch out for that one; she is a hothead.” Daybreaker commented.

Celestia looked to her Warmind. “Like you?”

Daybreaker let her fangs show. “Yes, and if she were not a potential foe at this time, I would go back to trying to get you to bed her.”

“She is mortal.” Celestia protected.

A sneer crosser Daybreaker’s muzzle. “So? You always liked the fast flyers, and you don't see that stopping Luna.”

“She loves loosely, but I can not.” Celesita did her best to displace none of her regret.

“Then let me, you can just enjoy the experience.” Daybreaker said a hint of lust flavouring her words.

“No.” Celestia’s response was as cold as the frozen north.

“Fine, we will just wait for the perfect Alicorn stallion to ask for your hoof in marriage then,” Daybreaker said before mumbling. “It is not like Alicron stallions are uncommon or anything.”

Celestia turned her attention back to the memory.

Twilight advanced her hoof slamming into the floor; the sound boomed loudly around the room. “What did you think would happen when I found my Library? What did you think would happen when I had a chance to see the aftermath of your magic, of what you did to the original Twilight?”

Twilight glared at past Celestia hints of flame in her eyes as actual fire flowed along her mane.“Those chains are sharp, they hurt, but you would not know that, would you? You are the only Alicorn that is free of them, right?”

“It was the only way to save Twilight…”

Celestia winced at her weak response, if she was not so off-balance, she might have been able to control the situation. But her own words had set Twilight off instead.

“Save her? Save her! She was already gone! All you did was kill her children to make a copy,” Twilight screamed, Her trembling arks of rage-filled lightning danced over her feathers only one act away from throwing a powerful blast at past Celestia.

“Ancient pegasus lighting shaping now? I know Twilight reads a lot but is this not getting just a bit suspicious, your Radiance? Daybreaker asked with a touch of scorn.

“I will admit I did not see the slight twist of her wings then,” Celestia said. “But when she became an Alicorn she read every book she could get her hooves on that had anything to do with the abilities of the three tribes.”

“That still leaves the question of the Armour.” Daybreaker said reinforcing her suspicion.

Celestia considered the facts for a moment. “She could have read about it in the Empire.”

“We need to purge that Library of any restricted books.” Daybreaker decreed.

“Hard to arrange.” Celestia mused.

Daybreak shrugged her wings. “Then task Luna and her Nightguards with it. They are most suited to the work.”

Celestia nodded.

“They all would have died in days!” Past Celestia shouted back. “It was the only way to save anything, to save anypony, to save you from that disaster.” she ended in a solemn whisper, tears shimmering in her eyes but refusing to fall.

Celestia looked expression falling. “I should not have raised my voice… that was my last chance to keep her.”

“How can I trust you are even telling the truth?” Twilight asked. “You, messed, with, my, mind!” She advanced one step with each word; her thundering hoof falls cracking the floor.

Twilight and past Celestia stood looking into each other's eyes as if they were the only two in the room. With Twilight radiating Alicorn power, it may as well have been true for nopony else was capable of acting.

“Is that how you feel, my…”

“Don’t you dare!”


Twilight stomped her hoof a ripple of earthpony magic rippling out from it. “You say being a Princess requires making the hard choices, you are right. The thing you have to remember is that each choice has consequences. I am yet to make my mind up what they should be for you.”


“Don’t worry ‘Princess’,” Twilight said with venom.

Celestia could see the hate in those eyes, a wave of blazing anger visible just for a moment before Twilight got control of herself once more. She went on in a more normal tone. “I will still play my part. I will protect Equestria, my ponies, and my friends.”

“Duty first, despite how she might feel about you. You should be proud of her; you raised her well,” Daybraker said.

Twilight turned her back on past Celestia, letting all of her displays of power fade. She walked away limping, the strain on Twilights injured body now showing, she looked like a Breezy could push her over now.

“Please leave.” The tone was dejected, heartbroken, betrayed.

Celestia ended the memory, fresh tears falling from her eyes. Those final two words were jagged in her heart.

“The petitioner you wish to see is here, your Radiance.” Her Mask's voice was as flat and emotionless as always in this mental space.

Celestia looked away from the frozen memory, noting that she was pressed against Daybreaker sheltering under her wing.

“Go, you have work to do,” Daybreaker said using a wingtip to wipe the remaining tears from her eyes.

Celestia nodded, it only took a single thought, and she was in her throne room, back in control of her body. Her Mask directing her body language and regulating her tone of voice to precisely what she intended.

Once more she was Princess Celestia, the majestic ruler of the sun. The Princess spoke, her voice clear and pure, carrying the warmth and confidence that had guided ponies for millennia. “Noble Guide, you may approach. The Solar Throne is ready to hear your petition.”

Standing before her was a handsome, well-dressed unicorn stallion. His black mane matched his brown coat. His mark was a map with trails marked on it.

She listened to him speak, taking in his long-winded words. The petition Noble Guide had was a pleasant surprise, and hence, she was looking for the trick. His request was utterly selfless. It was a plan to build a semi-permanent settlement for the Manehatten ponies and later maintain for possible future need. Adding to her doubt was the fact this was just what her ponies needed right now.

His breathing was calm; his expression spoke of sincerity. Celestia studied him intently, every gesture, every motion of his body, the flicks of his ears and change in his gaze. There was nothing to give her any reason to doubt him. This is too good to be true. Daybreaker commented Celestia agreed.

As the conversation continued, she extended her Alicorn senses taking in everything about him. She could feel his wellspring, examining his very soul. It was pure, free of both dark and blood magic. He was strongly earth aspected, and unfortunately his life was fading. He had at most three years left. Does he know? Is he seeking to leave a legacy? She wondered with a hint of sadness.

You have to be sure. Daybreaker instructed.

Gazing deeper into his very being with her mystic vision, Celestia looked into his mind. Compared to an immortal's, his mind was a simple thing. His mind felt neat, tidy, organised. It would be easy to reach in and alter it to her whim.

She examined his intent; it was simple and bright. He wanted to help the ponies for two reasons. The first because it was the right thing to do. Celestia instructed her Mask to let a little more eagerness show. The second reason was not unexpected but was what kept so many of her ponies from being great. Noble Guide wanted the influence such an achievement would grant him. Such a shame, you are nearly the pony I need on my council. She thought.

Celestia knew she could change him, but she would not. He was doing the right thing, for, mostly, the right reason. She had no justification for meddling.

Out of grim curiosity, she peaked for one more fact. No, he did not know that he is dying. She would not tell him, somethings it was better for her ponies not to know. Perhaps I will name a charity after him, it could encourage others to follow his example. She thought.

She let her Mask smile, she would approve his petition. Now all she had to do was wait the hours for him to finish talking.

With hope restored that at least some of her nobles had value, she was feeling a little better. Her emotions had calmed, the familiar traditions of the court bringing her some measure of peace. Still, it was dull, and she had more important things to focus on.

Twilight, what am I going to do with you. Celestia thought as she retreated back to her garden, leaving her Mask to be the Princess once more.

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