• 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 7 Discoveries at the Temple


The Darkmage certainly had better days, but he was still alive despite the pain. He would carry on, little surprises like this would not hold him from his destiny. Finally, after what felt like hours, he had cut his way out of his refuge. He sheltered himself beneath a dome of stone he had managed to drag from the floor in the last moments before the falling ceiling would have crushed him.

He had no idea what that attack spell was, too much had happened in just a few seconds. Whatever happened, it slammed him into the wall shattering it. It's horrid sound alone would have broken his bones and rendered him out cold. If not for the sacrifice of his remaining servants, he would have been dead.

He dragged himself out of the hole staggering to his hooves. "It has been a long time since I have felt pain, well played, Twilight."

He looked around; most of the entrance chamber was nothing but shattered rubble and piles of debris. Gone were the mage lights, now it was lit only by unearthly purple and red flickering fire cast light from outside. He could feel the flames with his horn, and he could hear its need to consume him singing with magic. He had made Twilight very angry at him if her magic left that type of residue.

A flame scorched crater was the only sign of where Twilight lay as she launched her attack, any hint as to what spell she used was destroyed by whatever made it.

This was not how things were meant to happen. He had her at his mercy, completely restrained, horn removed. She was helpless and yet somehow she had healed herself and found the spare time to craft a full set of blood armour. Then calm as can be, she walked up and challenged him, and she won.

Clearly, his information on Alicorns had some gaps, large gaps. More of Celestia's information suppression he supposed. Leaving enough to let him think he was fully prepared. To find out Alicorns can cast magic without a bucking horn. Were screams and pleas nothing more than superb acting skills. Did Alicorns even truly feel pain? Was she just biding her time? If so, why? He would need to gather everything that survived and find a new place. He did not want to be here when Twilight returned.

A massive wave of magic stung his horn, and a loud thundering crack came from outside. It felt like teleportation but that loud, it must have been both long-ranged and heavily laden. He checked for the chain around his neck, yes he was still wearing the Temple's keystone. His horn rippled with magic and he faded from view. He hoped the anti-detection properties of the Temple were still functional.

Six of Luna's Nightguards rushed in and in moments secured the room. Despite their armour, they were as silent as ghosts. His heart skipped a beat. If he had not hidden as soon as he felt that teleport, they would have found him.

Outside he could hear the sound of many armoured hoofs drawing closer and what sounded like Princess Luna and Prince Shining Armour talking.

"See those flames, how they move and how it still burns even upon the bare rock?" Luna asked. Her forced calm tone making it clear she was suppressing a lot of anger.

"Yes, it seems a bit like dragon fire. Do you know what it is? Is Twilight safe?" Shining responded crisp and solid sounding.

Another group of six Nightguards silently rush in and past the first hardly even disturbing the air, heading further into the temple.

"Yes, I know what it is," Luna spoke solemnly as they both trotted into the chamber surrounded by six Crystalguards.

Shining looked straight at her waiting for the rest of the answer. Luna simply let out a detection pulse from her horn. The Darkmage held his breath. The magic pulse washed over him without reacting, he was safe. He settled in, breathing as silently as possible, he got the feeling he would be stuck here for a long time.

Luna looked at the guards "Leave us."

The guards hesitated until Shining nodded his approval. The guard moved outside earshot, setting up the perimeter. The Nightguards were already gone, the Dark Mage had not noticed them leave.

"Soul Fire, the fatal result of setting somepony's wellspring on fire. With these streaks of crimson, it was caused by blood magic. With this much power, it will burn for many years. There are only too possibilities that can explain this and given Twilight was most certainly no twisted warlock practising blood magic... I fear our dearest of Twilight is dead."

"..." Shinning's hesitation spoke volumes.

"Shining," Luna's now forceful voice called out.

"She... Twilly knew blood magic."

Luna stomped a hoof stone shattering, the room shaking and rock dust falling from the ceiling. Her eyes were terrifying to behold, becoming glowing draconic slits for a moment. The Crystalguards snapping their head round to her. "Explain, now!" she forcefully said.

"She knew blood magic, but the memories were sealed away by Celestia," Shining admitted fearfully, waving the guards off with a hoof.

The reasons for Twilight difference in behaviour now apparent to the Darkmage, something he had done had broken the mental seal. Instead of weakening her, he had empowered her and left her with that much reason to hate him. Clearly, it was time for a new appearance, yet another chore to even get back to where he was only hours ago.

"How?" Luna's response was cold, flat and dangerous.

Shining lifted a hoof to take a step back before slowly putting it back down. "A spellbook was hidden in her tower. The book was under a powerful illusion. So nopony knew it was there. When Twilight found it she thought it was left there by Celestia as a test so... she learned the full contents of the book in a week."

"Pray tell us which tome she found."

"Red Hooves Blood Magic, I think."

Luna lowered, her body tensing up, wings half flared showing her agitation. The Dark Mage eyes widened, even he had not had a chance to study from that most coveted of books. He could only get hold of a single damaged scroll that had allegedly been copied from it.

"I must ask, what sort of monstrous deeds did my sister cause to be forgotten for her student?"

"None,"

"None?" Luna questioned.

"She invented a new spell and demonstrated it to Celestia."

"And what did this spell do?" Luna bit back impatiently.

"It would act like two cups of coffee and a meal. One simple spell and then back to studying. It’s the reason she keeps falling asleep studying, part of her expects that spell's effect despite the seal."

Luna's body relaxed dramatically. She laughed, "Of course dear sweet Twilight, you learn some of the most dangerous war magic and craft yourself something entirely peaceful with it."

That level of control with blood magic, by Tartarus, the bucking Princess of Friendship is a master blood mage. If it were not for whatever caused her to collapse during their conversation, things would have gone very differently. Was her seal only partially broken and she had a relapse of some sort? That's just too good to be true. This changes everything. She could be an ally, scape-goat or at least a distraction. He would wait to see how she now acted, free from her mental seal, before settling on anything more about her. If he decided to let her keep her life, he would have to be careful, they would be sharing eternity after all.

"So Princess, why do you fear Twilight is dead?" Shining grimly said.

"Answer me this first, is there perhaps anything else, bizarre, magical or forbidden secrets about Twilight I should know?"

Shining nodded, Luna slowly rubbed her hoof under her horn. "Please, do go on."

"I don't know much, but a year or so later Celestia had to put another seal on her. A teacher at her school was unhappy that she’d hatched spike's egg. That test was meant to check how somepony reacted to failing. So to fix that he found a book of a spell that only an Alicorn could cast."

"She successfully cast the spell, yes?" Luna interrupted, hoof still against her head.

Shining nodded "Yes, and she was not the only one."

"Who?"

Shining shrugged "You would have to ask your sister, I believe it was only one other though."

"Anything else you remember about the incident?"

"When we next saw her, she seemed withdrawn, colder, like some of the light had been taken out of her. Her work suffered, she was still brilliant but just not quite as much as she was before. There was a reason she needed friendship lessons."

"Tia," Luna sighed before carrying on, "If that book is the one I think it is, it will have no bearing here."

Shining waited, clearly impatient to learn about the possible fate of his sister.

Luna continued sadly, "With the utter destruction outside, the only way I can fathom her being alive is if she overcharged another creatures wellspring with her magic, ignited it and used them as a bomb. Do you think your sister is the type of pony to do that?"

The Darkmage knew Twilight was alive, if she planned to do something as self-destructive as detonating her wellspring she would have done it in the temple to make sure he was dead, not outside. Somehow, whatever level of destruction Luna was talking about, it must have been part of her escape, likely to prevent her being tracked. A little extreme but who knew what this new Twilight would do.

Shining shook his head, ears falling as he lowered his gaze "No." He took a deep breath then raised his gaze with determination. "She will have found another way. It would not be the first time she had done the impossible."

Luna offered Shining a weak smile, "I truly hope you are right," she said.

An unarmed group of ponies carrying boxes of equipment entered, ending Luna and Shining's revealing conversation. They started checking the chamber in detail. Clearly, they were some of the investigators.

Luna lit her horn using a narrow beam to carve a stone chalice, then careful by hoof used it to scoop up some of Twilights Soul Fire. Its red and purple flames seemed to calm as she moved back towards Shining.

Luna's eyes flicked down to the now much calmer flames she held, "Yet more proof this is your sister's fire." She presented the chalice to him, "to keep your hope alight Prince Shining Armor."

He needed to rethink his plans taking into account everything he learnt today. It seems he would not be getting an Alicorn sacrifice anytime soon. He would have to make do with multiple weaker ones, the displaced Manehatten ponies should do.

"Princess," one of the investigators called out.

Both Luna and Shining looked up and headed towards the pony. The brown unicorn in a lab coat pointed a hoof at the Darkmage's stone dome.

"Somepony cut their way out of there less than an hour ago, we have a clear magical signature. It is from a male unicorn with natural affinities for dark, earth and an unnatural blood aspect."

Luna growled "If not for sister dearest delaying us, we would have been here in time to prevent the filth's escape."

Quick to change the subject Shining asked. "Unnatural blood aspect?"

The Darkmage bit his tongue, how could they get that much? He would need to see what new forensic spell they had developed recently. They now had a lot of information about him and would be able to identify him with a detailed affinities scan. He put his hoof on the keystone and hoped their new spells could not breach its concealment.

The investigator nodded, "Yes, some spells, items or training methods can cause somepony to develop unnatural aspects. They are the same as natural ones other than how they are acquired and sometimes being a bit unstable. Our current theory is that Twilight was captured, broke free somehow, then engaged in a battle of spells here." He gestured around the chamber. "Then as she was leaving..."

"Her wellspring detonated," Luna solemnly added.

He nodded, "We have at least five ponies dead under the rocks here and here. Need to dig them out to be sure."

Luna looked to Shining, "Shining you and your guards help secure the ruin, I will search from the sky. Let us see if we can catch ourselves a runaway. Use extreme caution, if he is the one that caused Twilight's wellspring to detonate he could do it to others. Disable him as soon as you see him, in any way you feel necessary."

Shining saluted out of habit before heading off, his emotions now hidden by duty. Luna looked around as if she suspected somepony might be watching her, then walked toward the exit.

"You had better hope Shining finds you first," Luna growled softly as her walk turned to more of a prowl, her mane rippling violently.

The Darkmage smiled to himself. He would wait for his chance, then head to the secret tunnel. He still had his samples from Twilight, and now he knew so much more. The day was not so bad after all, even if they now had his magical scent.


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