• 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 27 Portents


It had taken a week for Luna to become frustrated enough to turn to her most powerful but least reliable method of divining information. She floated in the air of her Bastion over a dozen dream orbs. She had pulled them into her Bastion to utilize an ability none of the ponies would ever know they had. Each of the souls she viewed all shared the ability, a sensitivity to the winds of Fate that sometimes could be felt in the dream realm.

It was always vexing that as soon as somepony found out they had this ability, they lost it. Until Luna had discovered her own ability, her mumbling in her sleep had been used many times to predict the future. She paused for a moment and considered if Little Star could have inherited this ability. Would it be wrong or right to try and keep her in the dark to maintain such an ability should it manifest?

With a wave of her hoof, all but one of the orbs formed into a pattern as threads of Luna’s magic formed a web between them, creating a dreamcatcher, her Dream Augury.

Luna examined the white orb of the last mare. She was an interesting mare, one of the few hybrid ponies that survived past early foal hood. Her talent was finding patterns in seemingly chaotic things and using that to solve all kinds of puzzles. An ability she was recruited for, being put to use supporting Celestia's agents.

From what her guard had seen, this mare had sometimes displayed some springingly good instincts. She was probably slowly becoming aware of her ability. Luna wondered how long it would be until she became certain enough in it for it to stop working. She hated to think how many adventures, oracles and prophets died because their ‘luck’ ran out.

This Candice practised both unicorn and pegasus magic, having two separate wellsprings. Perhaps it was to do with her twin’s soul that fused with her in the womb. She had two complete sets of ley lines that did not touch but spiralled around each other. She could have been deliberately created, but as she had no traces of Alicorn magic, that was highly unlikely. Unless it was Discord’s doing… which could explain his interest in her. But if that was true, she fell a long way from the chaos tree.

Discord had taken delight in pulling pranks and otherwise causing trouble for her. Although the mare seemed rather resilient and just took it in stride, even managing to prank him back. The end result was, she kept doughnuts in her desk specifically for Discord now. Given her talent was essentially finding order in chaos, it made sense, she was a natural foe to Discord. If it were not for his reform, he would likely have killed her or worse. His interest was why Luna was always so wary about including her as part of the Dream Augury.

She rolled the orb across her hoof and then on a whim added it to the Augury. The webs embraced it, lighting up as it activated.

In a flash of motion, a shrieking face of a skeletal mare clad in golden crystal with eyes of magenta flame burning with anguish-fueled rage rushed towards Luna.

Despite the spike of fear rushing through her veins, Luna was too experienced to freeze. Her defences solidly snapped into place in an instant. Only to see the image fade before it even reached her. Oh, how she hoped this was just another one of Discords so-called ‘jump scares’.

She spent a long moment centering herself before moving on to her next task. It would not do to contaminate her gifts.

Luna kissed each orb as she placed them back into the sky of her Bastion, returning them to the Dream Realm blessed with the sweetest of dreams for their unknown services.

As she placed Candice's, she caught a glimpse of the dream. Well desiring a princess is not uncommon, but both myself and Twilight? She is ambitious. She thought with an amused grin. At least she has good taste.

“Well, if that’s the dream she wants,” Luna said, letting her magic adjust the dream, blessing the imaginary Luna and Twilight with some of her many years of experience.

Looking to her Bastions sky, smile fading, her eyes turned to slits as she scanned the sky once again seeking the dream of her Twilight’s assassin.


Many hours later, Luna had abandoned her search in the Dream Realm. Now she was taking tea with Cadance who sat across from her. Luna was using magic to ignore her body's need to sleep. It would slow the rate she recovered her power, but that was not much of a disadvantage at the moment.

“So you still can’t find him?” Cadance asked

Luna shook her head. “I fear he knows of my talents and is somehow concealing himself.”

“What are you going to do Aunty?”

“This hunt is not over. I have my Nightguard hunting for him. He will be found." She declared.

"What are you going to do when you find him?"

"You would not wish to know," Luna said, in a flat cold voice.

Cadance covered her discomfort by drinking from her cup and changing the subject. “How are things with Twilight?” she asked, changing the subject.

“They are … Interesting."

Cadance raised an eyebrow "That is your answer?"

"Tiz true."

The pink Alicorn’s playful glare encouraged Luna to continue.

"We have talked, I think she is planning something, but she won't tell me and has expressly forbidden me to try and find out."

Cadance looked thoughtful. "So she is taking this seriously," said humming for a moment before continuing. "Even if what she arranges falls flat, try to appreciate it."

"I imagine she will prevail at her self appointed task. She does have my former companion for help. She will know my preferences better than any other." Luna said, trying to hide the small amount of uneasiness she felt whenever she thought of Night being one of Twilight's companions.

"You can trust them," Cadance said, placing a comforting hoof against Luna’s.

"You are sure?"

"It is my talent and my domain. I know love and I can see into their hearts."

"Mayhaps it is just me being jealous, my bastion has been such a lonely place since my return," Luna mused.

"So maybe you should visit their's or invite them into yours."

Luna nodded. It was a very personal request, but given they were going to be married... It was an appealing idea, but she was still a little concerned about how Twilight, Night and Dreams would react.

Cadance interrupted her contemplations. “Any thoughts of what you will do to try and woo Twilight? And I don't just mean nibble her ear till she melts against you.”

“I can do much more than that,” Luna said, teasingly.

A rolled-up newspaper lifted in Cadance’s aura before she continued as if she was not threatening the Night Princess with rolled up paper. "I have no doubt that if you want this to last, you need to tend to the emotional side first before you go any further with the physical side. Now I know you would be happy with a purely physical relationship, but once Twilight gets over the newness of this side of her, she will want more."

Luna did her best to think and avoid laughing. Cadance’s weapon was just so silly. Luna knew Twilight cared deeply for all her friends but had not been able to see into her dreams since her carnal side had awakened. This was likely because she did not know how to allow others past her Bastions defences.

“What would you advise me to do?”

“Find things that Twilight enjoys and always remember to be yourself. You can’t…” Cadance paused for a moment before giving Luna a serious look. “You should not build relationships of any type with lies, wearing a mask or playing a role, trying to be somepony else would only backfire.”

“Niece, I am more than confident in myself, I need no such deception.”

“Remember Twilight is your equal and not one of your ponies, and you should do fine.” Cadance cautioned.

“Now I do believe I promised to tend to your leylines.”

Cadance shifted nervously. “And you challenged me not to enjoy it.”

With a wave of her wing, Luna directed some shadows to billow out, forming into luxurious cushions. “Lay yourself down and spread your wings, I promise I won’t do anything you would not approve of right now.”

Cadance carefully walked over and settled down, spreading her wings as requested. “What should I expect?”

Luna moved over, keeping her usual teasing nature incheck. This was just a simple task, as mundane as every day ablution. As much satisfaction as she could gain by teaching Cadance how much pleasure could be had, she would not.

Luna reached out with a single primary, charging it with a mix of earthpony and pegasus magic. Cadance followed the feather with her eyes, clearly having sensed the magic being used.

“Aunty, before I forget, you have to teach me to make these,” she said, snuggling down into the comfortable cushions.

“Of course,” Luna said, letting the charged feather trace along the main ley line in Cadance’s wing. Luna watched the muscles in her back tense and then relax as a content hum escaped from her niece’s lips.

“Oh that is pleasant, but I have had better massages and far better preening, this is not…”

Luna reached out with her other wing and placed a single feather on Cadance's beautiful horn. “Brace yourself.” she cautioned.

“Why?” Cadance asked.

Luna knew exactly what she was doing, Cadance’s horn had an immense amount of built-up crystal magic residue, this would take a lot of power. She slowly moved atop Cadance, pinning her in place.

“Aunty?”

“Be at ease, I just need to be able to hold you still and counter any magic you may release when your horn is cleared.”

Cadance took a calming breath, Luna could see the trust in her niece’s eyes. The benefit of being able to know the hearts of anypony, she could have utter faith she had nothing to fear from her.

Looming over Cadance and placing her own horn against her niece’s, she began.

The Nightguard’s training in stoic composure was put to the test when Cadance reacted. Luna knew what she would be seeing in some of their dreams when they slept.


An hour later, Luna looked at the sprawled out form of Cadance. She was still purring, wings trembling at every slight breeze and small sparks falling from her horn. Noting the convulsions had stopped she used her shadow magic to wrap Cadance in a blanket, tucking her in.

Having the attractive form of the pink Alicorn laying like that was more than a little distracting. If it were not for the hunt for the missing teacher and the fact she was soon to be married to Twilight, she would have been very tempted to use her own wing instead of the blanket. A few words, a few gentle ministrations with her fangs and Luna knew she could make Cadance at least consider upgraded from Shining Armor, at least for a whole second.

Luna turned back to her painting that she had been working on to pass the time, it was a life-painting of Cadance, in her current state, captured in exquisite detail. She could have used magic to simply conjure the image, but she much preferred to work with wing, hoof, mouth and mane. It just felt more tangible somehow.

The Tantabus slunk in, stepping out from her shadow. “No luck?” Luna asked.

Luna’s creation seemed to curl in on itself. Luna put down her brush and reached out, stroking the Tanatbu’s mane reassuringly. “It will be alright,” she said in a warm tone, not letting her anger or disappointment enter it. The Tantabus would think at least some of them were directed towards her.

“Show me the report.”

The Tantabus stepped closer, placing her horn to Luna’s. The collected intelligence gathered by her Nightguard in Fillydelphia flowed into her mind. Many less important problems were located but nothing that would be dealt with this moon and maybe not even the next one.

“Good girl,” Luna said affectionately, again stroking the Tantabus’s mane. “Now go and check in with our family in Cloudsdale.” Luna continued sending the mental image both the location and the Nightguard assigned there.

The Tantabus nodded and took a single step back, then slipped back into Luna’s shadow.

Luna sighed. She wanted to smash something or more accurately somepony, somepony she could not currently locate. She glanced towards Cadance then after one moment copied her breathing technique. What do you know? She thought as she felt some of the stress leave her.

She turned back to her painting, considering, “Now… how to finish the painting… do I make it a work of art or a prank?”

“Don’t you dare…” Cadance slurred, still drunk on all the sensations she was feeling.

“Or what?” Luna teased.

Cadance spent a vast amount of effort to get her next words out carefully, “I, will, tell, Twilight.”

Luna expression fell. “You win.”

Cadance snuggled into the shadowy fabric that wrapped around her, seeming to fall back into a slumber.


Sometime later, her most recent work of art finished, Luna felt somepony move through the shadows in her wing of the castle. A slight effort of will and she could see the pony in question. Candice was approaching with far more haste than expected, an unfortunate amount of paperwork levitating in her aura. Luna considered it might have been wise to at least indicate she did not need to carry it, as her Nightguard had already acquired a copy. Alas, she was not one of her own, she was one of Celestia’s, so a certain amount of theatrics was expected.

Candice glanced around as if looking for door guards, then advanced to the door lifting a hoof to knock.
More decisive than most. Luna thought, using her magic to open the door just before the hoof would have connected.

Luna knew she was playing up the theatrics but such things were both expected and fun. The only thing in the now dark room the mare would be able to see would be Luna’s glowing eyes.

Candice almost did not falter, recovering from the unexpected with reactions quick enough that most ponies would not have noticed there was a pause at all. She walked into the room calm and professional but seeming to be concealing something.

Luna why is there a mare in here that has feelings for you? And why am I stuck behind a wall of shadows? Cadance mentally sent to Luna.

She is one of Celestia’s tools that had been looking over all the RGIS files for me.

Letting the glow of her eyes fade, she snuffed the light coming from Candice’s magic. Luna closed the door and blanketed the room in total darkness so that her guest would not be able to see anything at all.

That's not the bit I am interested in… wait I know her, she is the one I was considering pushing towards Twilight before I found out how uninterested your future wife was in having any relationship at all.

Luna raised her eyebrow. Verily? So if it were not for my sister’s meddling, my Twilight would be with this mare? she sent to Cadance, making sure to keep her wondering about Candice’s oracular ability to herself.

Candice kept walking into the darkness like she still knew exactly where she was going. The twitch of her ears giving away how she was navigating. Luna deepened the darkness absorbing all the sounds leaving the space completely silent. Candice, despite the silence, advanced to almost the proper place before her desk to report. She deposited the stack of paperwork on the ground next to her.

Luna observed her guest watching for a reaction. Most ponies did not last long in total silence, not even being able to hear their own breath or heartbeat.

Candice’s body relaxed, a content smile slightly forming on her muzzle. Luna blinked, that had not been a reaction she had ever seen before from any but sleep-deprived thestrals.

Why are you playing with her? Cadance asked.

You thought she would be worthy of Twilight. We will find out. Luna responded.

Luna… Cadance warned.

If I break her, I will fix her.

Candice waited a few seconds before her professional stance returned. “Lieutenant Candice, reporting as ordered your highness,” she said, still unable to hear the sound of her own voice.

Luna spent a moment considering before grinning. She leaned over her desk, getting into position, closing her eyes. Her magic dragging Candice through the shadows, depositing her victim right in front of her, almost muzzle to muzzle.

Candice’s wings snapped partially open catching the slight breeze, her legs dropping down just enough to cushion her landing.

Suddenly she snapped open her glowing slit eyes, casting just enough light that Candice would be able to see the outline of Luna’s muzzle. Luna was mildly annoyed at the lack of surprise on her victims face, instead was the stoic look of somepony taking a test.

Luna used her magic to pull the desk aside and circled Candice, trailing a single feather along her back. Luna could see the muscles fighting each other as Candice forced her wings to remain still. She altered the darkness to allow their voices to be audible to each other.

Hmm, for once your victim seems to be enjoying your performance as much as you are. But that’s no excuse not to be careful with her. Cadance added.

Pressing her muzzle next to Candice’s ear, Luna whispered. “Would you mind if I happened to steal you?”

Candice quietly but confidently replied, “Whatever way you happen to need me, I would not be opposed.” Curiosity evident in her voice.

“That's a rather open-ended offer,” Luna said, her voice a mix of sensuous and dangerous.

A slight smirk on Candice’s muzzle told Luna she could take that however she desires. Though the light shiver of desire did not go unnoticed.

“You are a bold little one,” Luna said, letting a hungry grin with just a hint of fangs be visible. She trailed a wing over Candice’s back and wings again.

Be careful, you are toying with her heart. Cadance warned.

I am aware, I know very well what her dreams are.

Candice looked straight at Luna, “Nopony ever got anywhere by being timid. Well, with the exception of Fluttershy.” Then she straightened up being professional again.

Luna moved closer, almost pressing her side against Candice, bending her neck and placing her muzzle almost close enough for a kiss. “Why are you even with the Solarguard?” she purred. Trying to break her professional mask was proving to be entertaining in its own way.

Luna observed as Candice inhaled a slow breath, taking in Luna’s scent. “I’m only in the Solarguard because the Nightguard wasn’t an option at the time. Had the Nightguard approached me, I probably would have said yes.”

Luna silenced the sudden ultra-high-pitched chattering of the concealed Nightguards in attendance with a slight flick of her wing.

“What a strange one you are,” Luna said, embracing Candice with her wing fully, still looking into her eyes. She saw a genuine smile appear on Candice’s face. “You are wasted on my sister,” Luna said, guiding her further into the darkened room.

Candice let herself be led easily, seeming to be quite comfortable with the way things were going. “The regulations and bureaucracy waste a lot of ponies. At least I can still do some good, so I haven’t been completely wasted, outside of a couple of times,” she replied.

“Would you appreciate the opportunity to be able to do more?” Luna asked seriously, not showing her eagerness but letting a touch of seduction into her voice.

You’re not allowed to poach your sisters Solarguard. You know that right? Cadance mentally admonished Luna.

My sister owes me a boon, so yes, I can actually.

Candice looked up at Luna, “I would appreciate that opportunity quite a bit. I take it you can get me released from my Solar Oath?” she asked with hope in her eyes.

“Tis but a triviality.” Luna casually intoned.

Candice smiled at that, then asked, “Am I correct in thinking there would be a test to make sure I qualify first, and training after that?”

Luna looked down upon Candice, “What makes you think there is only going to be one?” she said with an amused glint in her eye.

“Fair point, the only thing I can promise you at this juncture is that I will perform at my best,” Candice replied back.

“I have no doubt you will if you want to avoid scars.” Luna said with a pleasant smile.

A hint of playfulness entering her voice, Candice replied, “Would you prefer me without scars?”

“Scars well earned tell a story, scars from training can teach lessons, but scars from stupidity are just a mark that the stars decided to let you live,” Luna said, considering the many scars she would have if not for her regeneration.

“That is the absolute truth, I have a quite a few of each but I managed to reduce them down to just hairline ones.”

Luna let her eyes wander over Candice’s body, selecting the largest scar, she trailed a feather along it from her left shoulder all the way to her tail. “Pray tell, which is this?”

Candice seemed to fondly recall, “That was from grabbing a foal out from under a falling cart. I was fourteen at the time. I got slashed by the corner of the cart as I slid out from under it. That was muscle damage, skin laceration and several ribs broken.”

Luna stroked along the scar again thoughtfully, wondering how it was healed. “Then there is a pony out there that has a lot to thank you for, are you still in contact with them?” She asked with curiosity.

Looking saddened, Candice spoke, “No, I’m not. He died a few years after I saved him. His father is in prison due to fatal negligence. Lets just say, that wasn’t the only cart that had fallen at his warehouse.”

Luna paused, she never liked hearing of foals perishing. Mortal ponies had such a short span in this life that cutting it any shorter was a tragedy. “You have my sympathies,” Luna said, all hints of games and tests gone, replaced with a solemn tone.

Candice nodded and gave the colt a moment of silence. After, she said, “I was affected by it. Some of my first investigation leads where into criminal negligence cases. The end result was that the laws were tightened up and enforcement rose. At least some good came from it.”

Luna retracted some of the shadows in the room, revealing some cushions in a comfortable corner. Removing her wing from Candice, she gracefully settled down. “So do you have any thing you wish to know? This is the last chance you will have to decline my offer,” she said, extending her wing, inviting Candice to make herself comfortable.

Candice laid down facing Luna. “I know that yourself and Twilight are together. You seemed to be making subtle invites for me to pursue. I have the desire to do so, but the last thing I want to do is come between either of you and your happiness. I fear what might happen if I did follow my desire. Would I cause a rift between you and Twilight?” The first hint of worry showing on her face.

That was not the question Luna was expecting. Flicking her eyes in the direction where Cadance was hidden, she could see her expression. She was one part smug because she was right, two parts concerned about what might happen next.

Luna turned her gaze back to Candice. “With your dreams and how I have been… encouraging you, that was not what I expected you to ask. You have a level head and a heart that is willing to listen to reason,” she said, leaning in closer.

Candice tilted her head in curiosity, gesturing for Luna to continue,

“So if there were no consequences, what would your intentions be towards my Twilight?”

With a calm surety, Candice replied. “To see that she is happy, that is all I want for her. I hope that I can add to her happiness, and yours. If I could accomplish that, then I would be thrilled. If I couldn’t, then I would still desire that happiness for both of you.”

Is she being honest? Luna asked despite the fact she was almost certain it was true.

You are going to have another of your pet Nightguards besotted with you. Yes she is being honest, even you can’t be that dense. Her heart is too selfless to risk hurting another when trying to claim what she wants. Cadance lightly admonished.

“Are you sure you want to be one of mine and not one of Cadance’s?” Luna asked teasingly.

Aunty!

Candice showed a slight smile at the question. “Honestly I would prefer to be both yours and Twilight’s, but I don’t know if that is an option. I would even be there for Little Star in that perfect case.”

“Naturally, with the marriage our guards would become different units in the same force. As Twilight has no guards of her own that means my Nightguard will be responsible and beholden to both of us.”

Candice’s head lifts a bit at this, her hope rising just a bit more. “I would pledge myself to both of you without hesitation. I could only hope that Twilight accepts.”

“Oh I think she will, but you may end up playing test subject in her lab with your unique nature.”

“I would welcome it actually. I love learning about how the world, and even my own body, work. It was one of the ideas I had for a date. To ask if she wanted to discover new things about magic with me.” Excitement and desire coming into Candice’s voice once more.

“I think at least intellectually she will enjoy your company,” Luna said resting her head on her hooves. “You might make for a guard that she would be willing to keep around. She would relish all the conversation and experiments you two could get up to.” Luna shrugged her wings. “Only time will tell if she will have any interest in you beyond that. Can you accept that? Being so close to somepony you want and always being denied?”

“Yes I can, I have been prepared for the possibility of that for years. If all I can achieve is a genuine friendship with her, then that would be enough for me. If all I can get is the position as a guard, then I can let those feelings go. If she did show interest would I be free to return it?”

“I would only ask that you don't accept her advances if her mane is on fire. Let her cool down and check again.”

Should you really be sharing all this? Cadance mental interjected.

If in the highly unlikely event Candice proves to be untrustworthy, she will wish she did not live to regret it. So where is the problem? Luna responded, she could feel Cadance recoil from the deadly cold mental tone used.

Candice slightly cocked her head. “I’ll promise to follow your advice on that, though it is confusing to me. Is that because of an Alicorn trait?”

Luna looked at her thoughtfully. “She has an affinity for fire that sometimes leads to her passion or anger getting the better of her.”

“I see. I hope I can figure out how to calm her down quickly then. Any advice?” Candice implored.

“That is something I have still been discovering. So far the best I have discovered is reasoning with her before it consumes her.”

Any trepidation Candice felt seemed to melt off of her. “That should be a good start then. I’m good at reasoning.”

How long are you going to keep me trapped here? Cadance inquired.

You could just teleport. Luna said, a little bemused.

There was a long moment before Luna felt the ripple of a departing Alicorn teleporting. Celestia still had so much to answer for, Luna had not even considered Cadance would feel trapped. She had to restrain a smirk when she noticed Cadance had taken the cushions that Luna had created.

Candice flicked her head in that direction for a moment before looking back to Luna, no apparent concern on her face.

Luna pulled Candice’s file from her shadow, the one that clearly said ‘do not remove from RGIS headquarters’ on it. Slowly she paged thought it.

Candice let out a small chuckle and a smirk. “Feel free to ask about anything you like. I would be happy to answer.”

“Why are you so at ease in my presence? No bowing, no groveling, no fearing I would end you for even a perceived insult? It is almost as if you think I am a normal pony.” Luna asked, raising an eyebrow.

A slightly louder chuckle escapes from Candice at the question. “Sorry. It’s because I trust you, and you are a normal pony. I can elaborate if you like.” With a gesture of her hoof Luna indicated for Candice to continue. “You still have the same needs that regular ponies do. You still feel stress and can make mistakes. I would also think that you would appreciate a pony who can talk to you as who you are and not what you are. At least in a relaxed atmosphere anyway.”

“You do realize that I could have you arrested for disrespecting the crown?” Luna interrupted in a stern voice, her eyes sparkling with mischief.

“I do. But I don’t think that you really see my words as being disrespectful,” Candice smoothly replied.

“I don’t?” Luna asked teasingly. She knew those of her guards that could hear this were likely taking bets on how Candice would react.

“If you were the type to be honestly disrespected by that, I don’t think you would be ‘encouraging’ me. By the way, what exactly did you mean by that?” Candice inquired.

Luna smiled, stretching luxuriously. “You have me there,” she said, solidifying a feather from the shadows behind Candice, she dragged it seductively along the same path her own primary had traced. “An example of said encouragement.” She moved the ebony feather to tap Candice’s nose.

Looking at the feather for a moment, Candice turned her gaze to Luna, “I see. So is the information about ‘clearing’ your ley lines actually correct? I thought it might just be my own imagination.”

Luna assessed the mare before her, wondering if this was her foresight or some insight gained from the pleasant dream she had granted her. “So you dream about doing that to me, to a crowned Princess?” She said keeping her tone a neutral pleasant, trying to give no indications as to how interested she was in the idea. A team of mortal ponies working together could not match a single Alicorn, no matter how hard they tried to perfect their coordination. Candice was proving to be more and more enticing. How has my sister not claimed this one as one of her personal servants?

Candice nodded, “If the dream is accurate then it wouldn’t have the normal reaction but rather a quite sensual one. That and it’s health-related for Alicorns. Though if the instruction I got was real, then I could only attend to your pegasus and unicorn lay lines.”

Luna mentaly cursed as her wings involuntarily rose above her back, slightly spreading in invitation. Having already been discovered, she swept one wing in front of her, offering it to Candice, “Care to offer a demonstration?” Luna asked teasingly, taking back control of the conversation.

Candice just nodded as she rose. Luna could feel the pegasus magic charging in her feathers and the unicorn power sitting right behind it. Relaxing into the sensation of the opposing magic running through her wings, she let out a thoughtful hum, “Are you sure you don't want to become one of my body servants instead of a Nightgaurd?”

At the same time, Luna noticed Candice casting a spell, it only took a moment to tell it was not an attack and was focused on Candice herself. Shortly after Luna started feeling, seemingly well trained, hooves massaging her back and wing muscles. She is pretty good at this for a mortal. Mentaly shrugging, she let out a small contented sound.

Candice continued her ministrations to Luna’s wings then proceeding to her horn. “I could do both, if that is your wish,” she said softly, but mostly professionally, into Luna’s ear. ”Nightguard would still be my preferred primary role, however.”

Luna let out a fake sigh. “Then, as sentence for your most horrid of actions, for this assault upon my being, it seems I will have no choice but to conscript you.”

A surge of power spread through Luna’s ley lines as she could feel Candice exert herself. Luna arched, a pleased sigh exiting her, taking a deliberate effort keeping even the hint of a moan from joining it. This exotic hybrid had more power than her official record suggested, and Luna was thankful she was not concealing any of it now.

This is not how she had expected this encounter to have gone, but Luna was not complaining. She did not expect Candice to have gained anything usable from the dream she had given her.

Luna turned her eyes to Candice, seeing a look of calm satisfaction upon her face. Showing her fangs, Luna suddenly moved. Rolling over and pining Candice against the cushion with her larger size, she spoke in a menacing tone. “So you still haven’t stated why you are willing to trust me.” Moving her muzzle closer, almost brushing her neck with them as she spoke. “Expound, please.”

Candice’s fetlocks came to a rest on the base of Luna’s forelegs. Luna could feel her little pony’s heart start to beat faster, though no sign of fear presented itself. Candice’s wings lightly brushed her side but didn't move to hold her.

Luna enjoyed the warmth of the mare beneath her, taking in her unique scent, the clean airy scent of a pegasus mixing with the tingle of unicorn magic combining to make something wholly her own.

Candice spoke into Luna’s ear, “Well I’ve read what you have done since your return. Personal time to recover and gain your strength back, but everything you’ve done since has been in the interests of the populace. You’ve even gone out and helped many ponies directly. A third, maybe half your Nightguard I think are ponies you saved from destruction. Not by other guards helping either, with the way they seem to revere you, I would say you saved them personally.” Candice’s mind seeming to restrain her body’s obvious cravings.

Luna licked her fangs, grinning as Candice’s eyes glanced at them. “You are rather well informed… Have you been spying on me?” Luna asked with a tilt of her head, spreading her wings impressively showing off a little bit. “Found yourself unable to keep your eyes off your Princess?” She continued before playfully nipping at Candice’s throat.

With a brief hitch in her voice, “At the moment, no,” Candice stated, as Luna took up the whole of her vision, “But I was not spying at all actually. These are connections I made while doing my job in RGIS. The information was just not relevant to any of my reports, so it never made it into any of them.” Candice said, letting the facts speak for themselves.

Ah so my sister had been spying on me then. Luna thought, knowing if something interesting entered Candice’s mind, Celestia could simply take a quick look to find it. Using her staff’s nature to discover what she wanted, instead of leaving a paper trail. Classic Celestia.

“Are you disappointed I have yet to save you?” Luna asked, her voice dangerous with just a hint of a purr and lifted her head to look Candice straight in the eye.

Candice slumps a bit, her voice sounding slightly distraught, “It has never been my desire to get your attention that way. I am more worried that I might have to save you and Twilight,” she said, seeming to be really wishing she was wrong about something.

“Not even sworn in and already you take your duties so seriously,” Luna said jovially, but her mind darkened with the results of the Augury.

Candice seemed to have missed the tone in Luna’s voice. A tear appearing in each of her eyes as she remembered something. “I love you both. I don’t want to lose…” she choked. Holding Luna around her neck, several seconds pass with Candice having her eyes closed, tears appearing at the edges.

Love? She does not want to lose us? What Vision has she seen? Luna thought, looking at the distraught mare before her. She used a wingtip to gently wipe the tears away. Luna looked at Candice’s eyes as she opened them, with her own full of concern. Luna’s fear that something terrible was waiting in the future was hidden safely behind the walls of her Bastion.

Candice looked into Luna’s eyes with sorrow in her own. “I’m sorry, I keep having this dream where Twilight is attacked by this massive energy blast. You get hit too and you’re both left as nothing but skeletons.”

Luna froze, even her breath ceasing. Her expression became cold and impassive. It took an effort of will for Luna to keep her magic in check. She needed to not damage the one under her. The image of that screaming crystal-covered skeleton with eyes burning with Twilight’s magic, lept towards her.

“I just hope it isn’t like the others I have that keep coming true. I so hope this is just a nightmare… Are you alright?” Candice asked with sudden concern upon her face.

“Yes, We are well, We thank you for your concern,” Luna stated, rising, poise now that of a sitting Princess and not the playful teasing mare she had been earlier. She could feel herself hiding behind the old way.

Candice used her wings to sit up. As she sat in front of Luna she placed her hoof upon Luna’s own, despite her own sorrow, she still offered comfort and succor.

At a sudden motion from the far side of the room, Luna’s head snapped up as she leapt to her hooves in a moment, Candice’s hoof retreating. Her senses confirmed it was one of her Chosen a moment before her power would have lashed out.

The Nightchosen Moonstone Striker burst from the shadows and moved up, ignoring the fact that Candice was in the room. “They’re about to strike Vanhoover.” He said, sounding out of breath. Luna could feel he had depleted the extra power she had given him. As he was here and not in Vanhoover, he likely used it to transport himself halfway across Equestria.

Candice’s previous sorrows seemed instantly forgotten. Duty seemed to call her to attention.

“Where?” Was Luna’s one-word response. Her voice seemed to shake the very room itself.

Striker presented his horn to Luna. Placing her horn against his, she used her magic to view the report he had prepared. Striker swayed on his hooves for a moment as he had fallen asleep for a split instant. The images of Vanhoover, the feel of dark magic and the exact location Striker recommended for her arrival, all appeared in her mind.

Luna turned hard eyes upon her newest aspirant Nightguard. “Candice, you’re with me.”

Candice nodded and rapidly moved to her side, all thoughts about the prior conversation apparently gone from her mind.

Luna walked towards a wall, it melted into shadows, falling away revealing an armoury. Luna flicked a wing to racks of weapons and armour. “Take what you wish.” She said as she moved to her own personal section.

Scanning the room in just a second, Candice’s eyes land for a moment on a set of well crafted wingblades. “I’m good with just myself. Most of the supply I don’t know how to use and the ones I do, would just slow me down.” Her voice quick with haste.

Luna nodded once to Candice before she stomped her hoof, the sound echoing round the room, a dozen Nightguard came rushing in. They were not her most experienced, but they were all she had left in the Castle as the rest were out hunting.

They only needed one glance at her to know something was happening. Without a word, they all rapidly gathered weapons and armour. A few of them glanced at the unexpected mare here, not one of them made even a single comment.

Luna shifted her body to shadows and reformed herself inside her armour, teleporting the armour stand out of the way. Her aura grabbed a dozen blades and slipped them into their sheaths on her flanks. With her hoof she opened a large enchanted chest. Her flowing mane reached in picking up her beloved hammer, Starfall.

She spun the weapon once, testing its weight. Its silver form radiating faint light. The motion dragging everything and everypony other than Luna a few steps out of position.

The Nightguard quickly recovered, moving into position close to Luna, Candice’s eyes widened a bit, fixing on Starfall for a moment and then moved to Luna’s side.

Luna glanced around the group once, depositing Starfall within her shadow to avoid complications with it suddenly arriving in Vanhoover.

For one moment she thought about contacting Twilight. With the vision, she decided to do everything she could to keep Twilight away from danger.

Flaring her power, Luna enfolded the room in darkness, tearing space open, she teleported the group to Vanhoover.


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