• 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 23.1 Summons

Celestia lit her horn, an image of Twilight Castle in her mind. It was shortly followed by the spell array needed to teleport there.

Come now, Celestia. Do you want me to have to block your magic as per rule two-hundred and four? Daybreaker’s mental voice interrupted her.

She let her horn dim, making sure her Mask had full control of her expression as she made her way from her room.

Celestia considered Daybreaker’s warning, she was right yet again. As much as wanted to teleport directly to Ponyville but she dared not, she knew there were spies from other nations about. They would each take careful note of every spell she cast. With how free she had been lately, it would not do to give the impression she was no longer able to rain judgement upon any nation that sought war with her ponies.

The words of Cadence’s letter kept playing through her mind as she walked through the halls of her home. A powerful warlock as bad as it was was still nothing she had not dealt with before. Twilight having a foal, that was a little unexpected, but she could cope with that. The fact that she had had that foal with Luna… That is what truly rocked her world. How? When? She thought.

If not for Twilight’s current disposition towards her, this would be joyous news. Luna finding happiness in the hooves of her Faithful Student could have worked perfectly in another twenty to thirty years. Now with everything it risked causing a divide with her sister when the nation was under threat.

With her long legs, it did not take overly long to reach her destination. Her guards, well trained and efficient, were ready. Even without announcing her intent a team of Pegasus were standing ready by her chariot.

She nodded once to them, stepping about. “Ponyville,” she commanded.

Just like that, they were in the air, heading towards Twilights home, answering the summons from three other Princesses.

The flight had been as smooth as she could have wished. With a slight tip of her head, Celestia left her guards at the chariot. Turning up with an armed escort would not aid the peaceful image she wished to portray here.

Approaching her destination, she could see the many wards dancing over the surface of the Crystal Castle. If Daybreaker would let her, she could overpower them, but she would try knocking first.

With a metal-clad hoof she rapped on the large door three times. A moment later, from the other side of the door she heard distinct pop sound of air displaced by a teleport. Tellingly she did not feel the ripple of magic caused by such. Her estimation of the wards went up a notch.

“Who are you?” A familiar filly’s voice spoke. It only took Celestia a faction of a second to remember it was not the voice of the young Twilight from her memories but rather who she now knew to be the daughter of Twilight and Luna.

Celestia could not honestly remember the last time anypony had to ask her that. Before she could answer the voice spoke again. “Are you a Bad Pony?”

“I am Princess Celestia, do you think I am a Bad Pony?”

There was a long pause and then she finally answered. “Yes.” The voice held such certainty, such resolve it almost seemed like a judge handing down a sentence.

It was only her Mask that kept the look of shock from Celestia’s face. “And what makes you say that?” She enquired.

There was another long pause before the door lit with a light blue aura, revealing Cadence standing just inside. No sign of the young filly.

“Aunty, so glad you could make it,” Cadence greeted her in a friendly tone, but her body language was guarded, her posture slightly tense as if she was ready for the unexpected to happen.

Celestia nodded her head as she moved forward to enter. “I’m glad to see you again. I hope that Twilight is open to speak more. I am terribly sorry about how our last meeting ended. I sincerely hope I can have a chance to talk things out with her, and her friends.” She was being diplomatic but keeping a good deal of sorrow in her voice so as to get Cadence to feel at ease.

This time her Mask would help her rather than being absent. If she had it with her last time the conversation might have gone much more in her favour and not have alienated Twilight nearly as much.

“Luna has given you a chance, please don’t waste it,” Cadence warned.

Crossing the threshold she sensed Twilight’s masterfully constructed mental wards really drove home the severity of the damage she did to her relationship with her former student. It would take a year or two of energy to break through these wards. Daybreaker intoned, ever assessing the tactical situation.

This is not going to become a battle. Celestia responded.

“I won’t. I promise. Cadence, I care about her deeply, you know that. I know how she feels from the last time and I can tell that she is on edge and being protective even now considering the mental wards I am feeling. I don’t blame her at all for that. She has every right to be defensive with what she has been through. I only want to help her.” She let her genuine sorrow through in her voice this time.

Cadence looked back, her gaze lingering on Celestia’s own for a moment. Her eyes were slightly out of focus that in that particular way that meant she was assessing her own domain. Cadence was looking at her very heart, her bear emotions. Something her Mask could do nothing to veil from her. Despite their difference in power, this talent of Cadence’s always left Celestia feeling a little vulnerable, her layers of control, the shield of her Mask stripped away.

Cadence led Celestia through the castle, passing a room set up for a party. The banners congratulating Twilight and Luna on their little filly. The pair of Alicorns moved through the next room, the elements with the exception of Twilight sat in the room looking at Celestia as she approached.

Even though she was not wanting to look inside their minds, merely having the option removed was feeding Daybreaker’s paranoia.

Rainbow’s eyes were hard and judging tacking Celestia’s own as she passed. Rainbow’s powerful body was tensed as her wings silvered, radiating power, ready to leap into action at a moments notice. Celesta could feel Daybreaker plotting defensive options should Rainbow attack. Don’t hurt them. Celestia commanded.

Don’t worry they will live even if they are foolish enough to attack us. Daybreaker responded with concealed scorn. They would have to do something truly dire for your rules to force me to end them.

Fluttershy’s ears were down and she was hiding behind her mane. She looked sad and would not meet Celestia’s eyes, the kind animal caretaker feared her. It was not the first time she had been feared but still made her heart sink.

Rarity looked impeccable as usual, even in harsh situations she looked her best. She offered a polite bow, clearly withholding judgment and not willing to offer any disrespect at this time.

Applejack’s stern and dependable gaze held mild reproach as it looked out from under her favoured hat. Her firm stance was defensive, her ears attentive. She was clearly assessing Celestia but was reserving judgment for now.

Pinkie smiled and waved like nothing was wrong. That in its own way was disturbing.

As she left the room she could hear them start to talk, Celestia ignored them turning her attention to the reason she was here. Luna and Twilight sat side by side, watching Celestia as she entered the room. Luna’s gaze was welcoming but Twilight’s was wary. Cadence directed Celestia to take a seat as she walked around the table and sat down next to Twilight.

A magenta aura closed the door behind Celestia as Cadence’s horn lit blue warding the room from eavesdroppers.

The three other Princesses of Equestria sat offering a unified front. Luna sat there proud and noble-looking as if presiding over her court. Her closer wing to Twilight twitched, the subtle motion signalling her desire to wrap it around Twilight. Her breathing was relaxed and for a moment Celestia could see a faint smile. ‘It will be alright sister’ it spoke with their many years of shared experience.

Cadence’s perfect poise gave away the intensity of her emotions. She had none of the natural grace and serenity she normally projected. Every gesture precisely controlled. It was not as effective as Celestia’s Mask but was close.

Twilight’s eyes were hard, small sparks of flames kept appearing within them before being banished. Even with her horn dim and no active spells she was radiating power. In an instant, Twilight would be ready to turn this into a battle. The Crystal beneath her showed signs of cracking with the force she was pressing her hooves into it in an effort to maintain her regal posture.

“Thank you for answering our summons so swiftly, Celestia,” Twilight said, an almost inaudible growl accompanying the name.

“I could do nothing less for my peers, especially for you Twilight.”

Twilight twitched, her ears laying back for a moment. Cadence placed a hoof upon the youngest Alicorns shoulder.

“Thank you, Aunty,” she said, smiling warmly. “I take it you read the whole report?”

Celestia nodded before looking to her sister and former student. “Congratulations and I wish you all the happiness you can find together.”

Luna bowed her head, accepting the comment. Twilight nodded at least pretending she thought Celestia meant what she said.

“Thank you,” Twilight said in something like her normal voice but by the tensing of her jaw muscles and along the line of her neck spoke volumes of how hard she was finding it to stay civil.

Celestia cast her mind back to the explanation from the scroll Cadence had sent if it were not for the seriousness of the rest of the information on the report she would have thought it was part of the endless prank war between her and her sister.

Cadence and Luna shared a look, clearly conversing somehow. It can’t be mental communication, maybe some pre-arranged code? She thought, noting Twilight’s wards were still up.

“About the investigation?” Cadence asked.

“I approve your use of time magic to investigate your attack.”

Twilight nodded, “May I have that in writing?”

Celesta summoned the scroll she had written after reading of their plans and floated it over to Twilight in her golden aura. The distrust such a request represented still stung even if it was not unexpected.

Twilight accepted it with her aura, rapidly glance over it before setting it down before her. She tilted her head and flicked her ear.

“And sister about our daughter?” Luna said, placing her wing over Twilight’s withers possessively.

Twilight tensed as a quick hungry look that flashed in her eyes made it clear she was more than happy with the contact. Banishing the lust in her eyes, Twilight focused on Celestia. “Do we have your support in this?”

Celestia was honestly glad that she had one thing she did not have to worry about. With Luna and Twilight pairing off, neither of them would have to again feel the sting of losing a mortal consort. Her eyes turned to Cadence, she truly did fear for what she would become when Shining Armour shed his mortal coil. “Of course, it will be a hard battle to get this past some of the Nobles but I will stand beside you on this.” Celestia smiled warmly at her sister and Twilight.

Twilight looked at Cadence, who nodded. At that Twilight’s body relaxed and she let herself lean into Luna’s side.

“So you are not disappointed, sister?” Luna said, eyes looking into Celestia’s own, teasing evident in her familiar expression, as she started nibbling Twilight’s ear. Twilight let her eyes roll closed pressing closer against Luna. She seemed to have completely forgotten that she was not alone in the room with her new fiancé. A few ripples of fire danced along Twilights mane, doing nothing to harm Luna or damage the surroundings.

“Disappointed no, surprised yes. Also, I would appreciate it if you kept your… activities to yourselves.”
Is she is trying to make me jealous? Celestia wondered. At least it is settling Twilight’s anger.

Cadence flicked her wing slapping both mares across the horn with one motion. The pair recoiled both turning on Cadence. “Not until you are married,” she reprimanded them, a slight smirk on her lips.

Luna grinned, Twilight rubbed her horn and grumbled.

“Do you have any court-approved evidence?” Celestia asked.

“My Lineage spell,” Luna answered.

“As reliable as it is, you know it has been banned in Canterlot,” Celestia said regretfully.

The tilt of Luna’s head and the tightening of her eyes let Celestia know that her sister would be changing that law as soon as she could.

“I am not letting some court mage beholden to the highest paying noble take blood samples,” Twilight said threateningly.

“We need somepony the Nobles will accept, and that we can trust,” Cadence said.

“Find somepony you can trust, I will deal with the approval process,” Celestia offered. It would be easy enough.

Luna moved her head one way then the other, her eyes grateful but concerned. Her sister was torn between being thankful for the support and doubtful about what she would do to provide the offered assistance.

Celestia let her sister see a slight change in her expression. ‘It will be alright’ it said.

Cadence’s aura started pulling over a tea service from the side of the room. Soon the scent of the heavenly brew started to float upon the air.

“Sister, this investigation will take my self and Twilight away from our normal duty,” Luna said. “Even Cadence will have to return to the Empire before long. Will you be able to cope with the increased duties this will force upon you, Sister?”

“I have coped with it before,” Celestia answered, glad that Luna did not react badly to the indirect reference to her banishment.

Cadence smiled, the glint in her eyes that she failed to hide, marked her as little too knowing. “I can stay and help, I trust the ponies I have left in charge.”

What does she know? What has she learned? Again Celestia felt the temptation and current inability to just look into her niece’s mind. Have I let myself get too reliant on that ability?

If you have an advantage, you would be foalish not to use it. Daybreaker counselled.

Cadence took on a playful menacing aspect. “And if you think I’m leaving before the wedding?”

Celestia smiled, “Who would dare keep the Alicorn of love from this wedding?”

A short time later Celestia left the meeting room, mind full of all the things she would need to set in motion. That did not go too badly she thought turning to leave

Applejack blocked her path “We need to talk Princess.”

Author's Note:

Edited and dialogue improved by Cander. Thank you for your help.

Thank you for reading.

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