• Published 13th Oct 2019
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The Life and Times of Everypony - Leafdoggy



A collection of short stories set in the same ever-evolving world.

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A Waking Nightmare (AJ, Luna)

“Don’t you move a muscle!” Applejack leapt heroically onto the raised platform in the middle of the wide throne room. Around her, all was dark. No sun hung in the sky outside the shattered stained glass windows, and the unyielding moon did little to brighten the gloom around her.

The soft, blue glow that did illuminate what little she could see of the crumbling castle came from the pony she was facing off with. High in the air, still and unflinching, flew Nightmare Moon. While everything around her was wreathed in darkness, she seemed to glow with all the ferocity of the moon itself. It was as though the moon shone only on her, and what little light reached the rest of the world was only what she allowed to shine.

Unbeknownst to either of them, a third force was quickly approaching.

Nightmare Moon cackled and slammed down in front of Applejack. She stood tall and proud, towering above the little pony with her nose stuck high in the air. Her ethereal mane flowed down to pool around their hooves, enveloping Applejack like a thick fog.

“Who are you meant to be,” Nightmare Moon snarled as she glared down at Applejack.

“I’m your nightmare.”

Nightmare Moon howled with laughter. “You? One little pony with a silly hat?” She began to pace in circles around Applejack, like a predator stalking its prey. “What are you going to do, throw apples at me? Or maybe you’ll talk me to death with your insufferable slang.”

Another shriek of laughter rang out through the halls of the castle, echoing out into the barren landscape. It was only a whisper when it found the ears of a third pony, but she knew the source in an instant. What had been a casual glide over the treetops now turned into a mad dash through the sky, blazing a trail of starstuff behind her.

Princess Luna didn’t know what the laughter meant, but she knew she had to stop it.

She misjudged her speed and nearly crashed into the ground outside the castle. Just barely, she was able to dig her hooves into the ground and skidded to a stop, leaving deep grooves in the dirt behind her. The haphazard landing left her right outside the hole where a window had once been, giving her a full view of the scene inside.

In the castle, Nightmare Moon leaned forward with a wicked smirk, coming nearly nose to nose with Applejack. “Tell me, little morsel,” she said, “why I should not launch you into the stars for your impudence.”

Luna crouched down, preparing to spring into action, but a strange through stopped her. “Just Applejack?” she asked herself under her breath. “This isn’t a nightmare. Where are her friends?” Her curiosity piqued, she elected to abstain from intervening for now, instead crouching behind the window to watch.

“I don’t think you’ve got the guts,” Applejack said. “If you were fixin to take me out that quick, you already would’ve.”

Nightmare Moon resumed her taunting pacing. “Oh, you misunderstand.” As she walked past Applejack, she reached out and stroked her cheek playfully. “I just like to play with my food.”

“Well this apple bites back.” In the blink of an eye, Applejack drew out her lasso and flung it with an astonishing speed. It blasted through the air, as fast as a whip and as accurate as an arrow, headed straight for an unsuspecting Nightmare Moon.

Or so she thought, but Nightmare Moon didn’t so much as look at the projectile. With a spark of her horn, massive blue flames erupted in a circle around Applejack, eviscerating the rope. Not even ash remained as the flames ate away the rope's very being.

The heat should have been unbearable, but the flames seemed to let off no heat at all. They weren’t exactly cold either, but Applejack could feel the lack of heat as clearly as she would have felt the heat itself, and it sent shivers down her spine. In a way it was something more than cold, a chilling void that devoured the heat around it.

The flames tightened around Applejack until she barely had the space to turn around. She could feel the chill of the flames seeping into her bones as they drew nearer and nearer. Nightmare Moon rose up in front of her, the brilliant fire licking at her chin as she bent forward to stare into Applejack’s eyes. “I certainly hope you didn’t start with your best attempt, because that would be sorely disappointing.”

“You wish.” Applejack spun around and bucked as hard as she could, but by the time her hooves reached the space Nightmare Moon had been in, the dark Princess had already circled around to meet Applejack’s eyes again. All her hooves met was empty air and the sharp sting of magical flames.

Applejack quickly regained her footing, but the burns on her hind legs left her stance shaky at best.

Still, she wasn’t done. With her hind legs weakened, she turned to her forelegs instead. She rolled forward into a headstand, then sprang into the air, soaring over the flames and straight to where Nightmare Moon had been.

Again, though, Nightmare Moon was already gone.

When Applejack looked up again, panting with exhaustion, she saw Nightmare Moon standing in the midst of the ring of fire with a cunning sneer.

“Tired so soon?” Nightmare Moon shook her head in disappointment.

With another flash of her horn, the flames shifted again. They flew back around Applejack, but this time left her no room at all to move. The ghastly blue wall arched over her head, making a dome that completely surrounded Applejack. The only opening was right in front of her, and only large enough to let her see her captor.

“Fight me fair and square,” Applejack demanded, “and we’ll see who’s laughing then.”

“Why would I do that?” Nightmare Moon didn’t bother to lean in close this time. Instead she towered above, high enough that trying to meet her wicked gaze made flames lap at Applejack’s face. “I’ve already got you right where I want you! There really is nothing left for you to do but give in to me.”

Outside, Luna was enraptured by the spectacle. “Come on, Applejack,” she whispered, “don’t let her beat you! You’re stronger than she ever was!”

“Give in to you?” Applejack barked out a laugh. “In your dreams. I’ll fight you with every ounce of energy I’ve got in me.”

“Come now, Applejack,” Nightmare Moon cooed, “you’re not the element of loyalty. Join the winning side!”

“You’re barkin up the wrong tree, lady,” Applejack told her. “It ain’t happening.”

“Applejack, Applejack, Applejack.” Nightmare Moon shook her head and leaned down to the window in the flames. “It will happen.” She reached inside the cage and gently cupped her hoof under Applejack’s chin. “With you by my side, I’ll be unstoppable.”

Applejack narrowed her eyes. “What exactly makes you think you can make me some kinda stooge?”

“Do you still not understand?” Nightmare Moon pulled Applejack closer, nearly close enough for their muzzles to touch. The flames around them licked them both. “I want you by my side.”

“‘Scuse me?”

“Must I really spell it out?” Nightmare Moon’s breath was hot again Applejack’s icy skin as she talked. “I’m the most powerful being in all of Equestria. Naturally I would want the second most powerful to be my bride.”

“I’m flattered,” Applejack said sarcastically, “but I don’t really go for the maniacal and power hungry type.”

Nightmare Moon growled and pulled back, swiping her hoof through the flames dramatically. “You stubborn pony! I’ll not have my advances rejected so easily. Believe me, I will find a way to woo you.”

“Lady, the only way you’re gonna ‘woo’ me is if you quit bein evil, and I don’t see that happening.”

Nightmare Moon scoffed. “You don’t just stop being evil. It’s a way of life!”

“Well then at least quit actin on it,” Applejack said. “Maybe then I’ll consider it.”

Nightmare Moon eyed Applejack suspiciously. “What do you mean?”

“Just stop doin evil things,” Applejack explained. “If you get a bad idea, just ignore it.”

“I’ll not give up my conquest,” Nightmare Moon said, “but… Perhaps I could be persuaded to do as you say after I am in power.”

“How ‘perhaps’ are we talkin?”

Nightmare Moon walked up close again. “Will you join me?”

“If you keep up your end of the deal?” Applejack shrugged. “Why not.”

“Then it is decided.”

With a grin, Nightmare Moon bent down again to meet Applejack, and this time Applejack moved forward as well. The flames blazed against Applejack’s chin, sapping away at her very essence, but she didn’t care. She was too entranced by the mare coming to meet her, this beacon of might that was infatuated with her. The blue flames glinted in the reflection on Nightmare Moon’s eyes, making her look ravenous. Her mane billowed up, nearly enveloping Applejack as Nightmare Moon cupped a hoof around her cheek and—

“Enough!”

Princess Luna leapt through the broken window, and the dream froze around them. Nightmare Moon, the flames, everything stood completely still as Luna walked slowly over towards a stunned Applejack.

As soon as Luna was close enough to Nightmare Moon, she dissipated her with a swipe of a hoof. The dark mirror of the princess dissolved into smoke that twinkled with stars. Then Luna stared down at Applejack, still encased in flames. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Luna?” Applejack was looking around in confusion. “What in the sam hill is—” She groaned and walked out of the fiery prison before throwing her hat to the ground in frustration. “Luna, were you spyin on me again?”

“I think that that is hardly relevant here,” Luna said indignantly. “Not when I just saw you being romantic with- with…”

“With you?” Applejack suggested. “Luna, you cannot get jealous of yourself.”

“That wicked creature is not me,” Luna said.

“Yeah she is,” Applejack said. “She’s a part of you that you don’t like all that much, and I get that, but that don’t mean she ain’t in there.”

“But you should not be fantasizing about her,” Luna said. “She is every part of me that I despise!”

“Luna, I know you know I can’t control my dreams. I can’t just shut off my feelings, especially ones I didn’t even know I had.”

“I know that, but…” Luna sighed and looked away. “But her?”

Applejack walked over and stood close to Luna. “I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not a dream I’ve had before.”

“She is nothing like me, though,” Luna said. “What could you see in her?”

“You can’t expect to be everything I find attractive,” Applejack said.

“No, but I thought that I knew you well enough to know what else you would like.” Luna turned to Applejack with a deep frown. “This is just jarring. She’s a cruel, despicable monster! How could she be attractive to anypony?”

“Well, I mean, she’s…” Applejack tapped a hoof on the ground anxiously. “I-I dunno. It’s hard to say.”

“Applejack…” Luna sighed and put a hoof on Applejack’s shoulder. “You have nothing to feel shame about. I apologize for my outburst, I was simply… Caught off guard.”

Applejack sighed and looked up at her. “Thanks, Luna.” With a soft smile, she moved in to nuzzle against Luna, and Luna nuzzled her back. “You really gotta quit spyin on me, though.”

“I hadn’t planned to,” Luna said, “but you were facing off with her on your own and I… Well, I was curious why you would have such a dream.”

Applejack chuckled. “Well apparently it’s because she’s hot.”

“Am I not… ‘Hot?’” Luna put on an exaggerated frown.

Applejack punched her softly in the side. “Of course ya are, ya big goof. She just… She’s got that presence about her, you know? Like you can’t look away from her, and she knows you can’t.”

“I like to think I’ve done well in refining my stature. Especially here in the dream realm.”

“Yeah, for other ponies,” Applejack told her, “but not with friends. Not with me.”

“Would you want me to be more assertive when we’re alone together?” Luna asked.

“Nah, of course not,” Applejack said. “All that’s just stuff I’m attracted to, but you, the you that comes and visits me here every night, well… You’re the pony I love. I’d never want you to change who you are.”

“Oh, Applejack, you have such a way with words.” Luna bent forward to give Applejack a kiss, and Applejack kissed her back. It was soft and brief and just like all the other kisses they’d ever shared, but it still filled them both with a blissful warmth. “I love you too.”

“Hey, let’s go somewhere comfier,” Applejack said, and the world around them changed. Gone were the cold stone walls, replaced with the brown and green of dense forest. The hard floor changed into a bed of leaves, and the world got brighter, albeit not very much. The forest they were in now was thick, and they were deep inside. The only light that fell on them was the few rays of sunshine that managed to break through the canopy above, but they could do little to fight back the cool shade of the woods.

Applejack laid down on the leaves, easily getting comfortable on the cushy pile, and patted the spot next to her. Luna smiled and joined her, laying down so she could gaze dreamily into Applejack’s eyes. Then, with a mischievous laugh, she finished getting comfortable by taking off her crown and fitting it snugly onto Applejack’s head.

Applejack laughed with her. “You like puttin this thing on me way too much.”

“Well, you may not want the position in the waking world,” Luna said, “but in here you’ll always be my princess.”

The two sat like that for a while, chatting and laughing and cuddling and kissing, all backed by the sounds of rustling treetops and chirping insects. Every so often an animal would come up to them, or the wind would pick up and shower them with foliage, but other than that everything was still, quiet and peaceful.

Some hours later, a thought came to Luna. “Applejack,” she said, “I know you said you wouldn’t want me to change who I am, but… We are in a dream. There are less drastic options.”

“What’re you gettin at?” Applejack asked.

“Well, much is possible in this world,” Luna said. “I see no reason why I could not, perhaps, tap into the power of Nightmare Moon for a short time.”

“What, like just… Become her for a while?”

“More or less,” Luna said. “She is a part of me, after all.”

“That sounds kinda dangerous,” Applejack said hesitantly. “I mean, I kinda doubt that she would wanna turn back into you. She’ll fight it.”

“I’ll put up safeguards,” Luna told her. “I can tie the magic to your dream. When the dream ends, the spell reverts, and if the spell is tampered with, the dream ends. She could only ever exist here.”

“Seems like a recipe for gettin me trapped in an eternal dream.”

“She would be stuck here, too,” Luna said. “I have faith in you to talk her out of believing that’s a good idea.”

“I guess,” Applejack said. “It might take me a couple days, but I can’t imagine anypony bein too keen on an eternity of solitude.”

“So?” Luna asked. “Would you like to try?”

“I suppose I’m up for it. What do you want, though? You’re the one who’s gonna be givin in to darkness.”

“I think that it is worth at least one attempt,” Luna said. “It could be good for me to let out some of that energy, and I'll still be the one spending time with you.”

“Sure, then.” Applejack shrugged. “Whenever you’re ready, let me know.”

“Oh, I was thinking that we would try it now.”

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “You don’t wanna prepare or nothin?”

“No, I would just become anxious.” Luna stood up at steeled herself. “It is better to just… Jump right in.”

Applejack stood up beside her. “Alright, well, have at it then.”

Luna nodded, then took a step back and closed her eyes in concentration. A thick, inky darkness began to seep from her horn, swirling around her more and more every second. Her eyes started to glow, and her horn seemed to pull her into the sky as the shadows swallowed her. Before long she had vanished completely, now just a dark, shapeless cocoon in the sky.

There was a long, breathless pause where time itself seemed to stand still.

Then the cocoon exploded. The darkness shot out like needles into the world around them, and a dark blue smoke began to fill the air. Slowly, light found its way back into where the dark had been, and there it illuminated the tall, regal form of Nightmare Moon.

Nightmare Moon took a deep breath and fell from the sky, landing with a thud that shook the ground beneath them. She was staring at the sky, grimacing, and then lit up her horn. Night swallowed the land as the moon rose and blocked out the sun, casting the world in an eerie shadow.

Only then did Nightmare Moon deign to look down at the little pony staring at her in awe. “Hmm…” She hummed in thought as she looked down her nose at Applejack. “Something isn’t right… Ah!”

Nightmare Moon bent down, bringing her muzzle right up to Applejack’s, and she smirked as Applejack’s jaw dropped. Then Nightmare Moon flashed another blast of magic, this time aimed at Applejack, and struck the crown sitting on her head. It morphed where it sat, growing darker and more jagged, sharp spires piercing the night sky, until finally it matched the rest of Nightmare Moon’s attire.

“Much better,” she purred. She reached out and adjusted the crown in an intimate gesture, never moving her face away from Applejack’s. “My Princess must look the part, don’t you think?”

Applejack was having trouble finding words, but her heart felt like it was going to pound out of her chest. “N-Nightmare Moon…” she muttered under her breath.

Nightmare Moon stroked Applejack’s chin. “In every way.” Then she stood back up, leaving Applejack panting to catch her breath. “Well, aside from my conquest of Equestria. That Luna really is too clever for her own good. Oh well, though.” She grinned down at Applejack. “I do still appreciate being let out to play.”

Applejack gulped as her head finally started to clear. “Wow,” she said. “Is that really still you, Luna?”

Nightmare Moon cackled. “Oh, I assure you, I am still the same pony. Nightmare Moon is just such a better name. Far more attractive, don’t you think?”

“Um, well…”

“Oh, come now, Applejack.” Nightmare Moon wrapped Applejack in her magic and pulled her up to speak eye to eye. “I am still the pony you love. Being honest won’t hurt me, even after I turn back.”

“I dunno if I can really trust that,” Applejack said.

“Why would I lie?” Nightmare Moon asked. “If Luna is hurt by what happens tonight, then this will be the last night that I get to spend with you. This may not be the ideal way for me to return, but I would be a fool to let it slip from my grasp.”

Applejack eyed her suspiciously as she thought. “I suppose that makes sense,” she said eventually. “So you’re interested in just a regular date?”

Nightmare Moon set Applejack back on the ground. “Well, I wouldn’t say regular,” she said. “After all, I must be entertained.”

“Oh, I think I can manage that,” Applejack said. She smirked and concentrated on pulling them into a new place.

The world around them didn’t change, though.

“Huh?” Applejack said.

Nightmare Moon laughed again. “What ever would give you the impression that you were in control of this dream?”

“I mean, it is my dream.”

“Please.” Nightmare Moon scoffed. “I am the ruler of the night! All dreams belong to me.”

“Fine, miss ruler of the night,” Applejack said sarcastically. “I guess it’s your dream, but uh, that does mean that you’re the one entertaining me.”

“I am entertaining myself,” Nightmare Moon said. “Things are simply more enjoyable with an attractive mare by my side.”

“Aw, you think I’m cute,” Applejack said. “So, where to first, Miss Ruler?”

“Let’s start small.” Nightmare Moon lifted a hoof dramatically, then stamped it on the ground with a mighty force. The shockwave took the entire world with it, the dreamscape around them dissolving into a dark void.

Then there was a light, small and insignificant in the sky, followed by another, and another, until above them was a vast sea of stars stretching from horizon to horizon.

A horizon that, Applejack realized, was made completely of barren gray stone. Craters dotted the surface of the monumental rock they stood on, and the sight of hills and crags jutting out against the backing of galaxies and constellations was breathtaking.

“This is small?” Applejack asked.

“I lived here for a thousand years,” Nightmare Moon said as she gazed up at the stars. “There is nothing so normal to me as the surface of this moon. There was, however, one small part of my time here that I always felt the desire to share with another pony.”

“Alright, well where is it?”

“Have some patience,” Nightmare Moon told her. “I know I had to.”

Then Nightmare Moon sat on the ground and got comfortable. When she looked over and saw Applejack still standing still, Nightmare Moon sighed and lit up her horn. Her magic took hold of Applejack, lifting her gently off the ground and pulling her to a rest in front of Nightmare Moon. Then she wrapped a leg around Applejack and held her close as she watched the horizon.

Nightmare Moon had none of the warmth Luna had. Her presence around Applejack was an icy cold, a frost that bit into her and wouldn’t let go, but Applejack found herself leaning into it anyway. She relished it, longed to let go and let herself be frozen down to her core.

A squeeze from Nightmare Moon jolted Applejack out of her fantasizing, and she looked up to see the horizon changing. Something was cutting into the black, something impossibly large. Oceans and continents crawled into the sky, like an intricate map. Applejack could see mountains, rivers, even cities, she thought, if she looked hard enough. She recognized Equestria, knew where Canterlot would be, and Ponyville and all the rest. She could spot the places outside Equestria she had been, and past those saw places she had never even heard of. The scale of it all left her jaw hanging open.

“Celestia’s parting gift to me, I suppose,” Nightmare Moon mused. “Something that only I would ever see. Ironic, I suppose, that it was the one part worth sharing.”

“It really is amazing,” Applejack said. “Thank you for showing me.”

“Well, I must treat my Princess well, yes?” Nightmare Moon stroked Applejack’s back as they gazed at the world below.

Then a light broke out over the horizon. “Ah, yes,” Nightmare Moon said. “As with anything, I could never enjoy this long without my sister making her presence known.”

The light washed over Equestria below first, bathing it in a peaceful morning. The highest peaks, the lowest valleys, the densest cities, everything felt the warmth of Celestia’s light. Then it broke the horizon. To the side of Equestria, the unbearably bright, boiling ball of light rose into the sky. The darkness of the sky seemed to flee from it, hiding in what few spaces it could find as the sun doused them in its radiance.

“Woah,” Applejack said. “It’s a lot brighter up close.”

“Indeed.” Nightmare Moon suddenly stood up. “Come. I have no desire to subject either of us to the remainder of my time here.”

Applejack got up and stood beside her. “Alright, well then what’s next?”

“How about we go find something?” Nightmare Moon leapt into the sky and scooped up Applejack, carrying her snugly against her chest as she hovered in place.

“W-Woah there, where are you takin us?” Applejack clung tight to the legs holding her.

“Down.”

Nightmare Moon blasted off like a rocket, so fast that the moon was a distant memory in a matter of seconds. It shrank behind them as Equestria grew, all the forests and lakes and other landmarks slowly becoming more and more real.

At first, Applejack was terrified. She tried on instinct to hold onto the legs keeping her in place as tightly as possible, lest the falter and drop her, and she closed her eyes tight in fear.

Then Nightmare Moon gave her a soft, delicate squeeze, and Applejack remembered where she was. Not plummeting through the atmosphere, but dreaming of being held tight by the pony she loves, and slowly her eyes opened.

When she saw Equestria, nearly too close now to see all of it, her eyes went wide. Now she really could see everything, Canterlot and Manehattan and even Ponyville coming into view, and she could see even more clearly how beautiful it all was. All the delicate little details carved into the world, the way the rivers dug through the land and the mountains pierced the clouds, it all seemed too incredible to be real.

As the wind whipped past her, billowing her mane out and stinging her eyes, Applejack’s heart started to race again. Every time they would blast through a cloud was like a whole new experience, every instinct in her body screaming at her as the walls of white grew terrifyingly close, and the euphoric rush of relief as they burst out the other side. Before she knew it Applejack had flung out her legs and was cheering with every dip and turn.

Applejack’s delight came with great amusement to Nightmare Moon. She played it up, doing steep dives and tight turns, occasionally even doing corkscrews and flips. She aimed for the densest clouds and the strongest currents, and smiled wide as she watched the pony in her grip screaming in fear and exhilaration.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and the ground was fast approaching. Nightmare Moon decided she wanted to give the flight a flashy end, and so she turned sharply and started to speed towards the nearest forest.

When Applejack realized Nightmare Moon had no intention of slowing before they reached the trees, her heart leapt into her throat. “U-Uh, Nightmare Moon,” she called out, “I’d really rather not find out if I can die in a dream!”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Nightmare Moon called back. “It would only hurt a great deal!”

As Applejack tried once more to wrap herself up as tightly as possible, Nightmare Moon started to store up magic in her horn. A great mass of swirling blackness slowly grew at the tip, dripping with dark energy.

Once they were close enough, Nightmare Moon aimed her horn at the forest and let loose. An incredible blast of magic ripped through the air, so strong it seemed to spark out and destroy the light around it, and slammed into the forest below. With a single flick the beam of darkness razed the land, leaving behind nothing but a deep, wide trench.

The trench was so long that, when Nightmare Moon used it as a runway to land on, Applejack couldn’t even see the end of it. Nightmare Moon set Applejack down gently, and pain immediately crept into her hooves. “Aah,” she yelped, dancing to keep her hooves off the ground. “Cold, cold, cold!”

“Ah, right.” Nightmare Moon scooped Applejack back up and decided to just hover in place above the ground. She squeezed Applejack tightly against her chest, radiating that same cold into her. “I can’t have my toys getting damaged, now.”

Applejack chuckled. “Yeah, okay. Whatever you have to tell yourself.” She yawned and nuzzled up against one of the legs holding her. “Well, Miss Ruler, this has been a hoot and a half, but you’ve got me plum tuckered out in the middle of a dream. I think I oughta relax if I wanna get any work done after I wake up.”

“Well, I only had one more thing in mind regardless,” Nightmare Moon said. She grabbed Applejack with her magic and floated her up so they were face to face. “I believe I interrupted quite the pleasant looking dream when I arrived.”

“Yeah, but I don’t mind,” Applejack said. “That wasn’t the real thing anyway.”

“No, but I am.” Nightmare Moon stroked a hoof from Applejack’s chest up to the tip of her chin, inching her ever closer as she did. “So tell me, Princess, should I bring back the flames?”

A light blush came to Applejack’s cheeks, and she swallowed hard. “I-I suppose I didn’t really think about that part.”

Nightmare Moon chuckled. “Well, I liked them.” Blue fire erupted below them, licking at them and singing them both just enough to feel it.

Then Nightmare Moon put a leg around the back of Applejack’s neck, pulled her closer and kissed her. The freezing cold that seemed to radiate off of Nightmare Moon rushed into Applejack all at once, seeking to stab into her very soul, and Applejack let herself fall into it. The ice engulfed her, embraced her in a way unlike anything else, and bit in so deep that it would forever be there, burning away like a longing ache in her bones.

Eventually, Nightmare Moon ended it. If she hadn’t been holding her up with magic, Applejack might have fallen on her face trying to lean forward and keep it going. Instead, she just slumped over in midair and let out a contented sigh. Nightmare Moon couldn’t help but grin and chuckle at the sight of it.

Nightmare Moon put a hoof under Applejack’s chin and lifted it to meet her eyes. “So, my Princess, you will convince dear Luna to let me loose from time to time, yes?”

“I’ll certainly try,” Applejack said.

Nightmare Moon pulled Applejack closer and held her tight, gazing lovingly into her eyes. “And perhaps,” she cooed, “you might even—”

“In your dreams,” Applejack said with a sly smile.

Nightmare Moon laughed. “Well I had to try.”

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