• Published 14th Feb 2020
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Imperial Revision - The Sound of Loneliness

What would you do if you already had everything? Or everything you wanted. Her Majesty Nightmare Moon has recently discovered there is more to life than war, intrigues and edicts. Luna is trying to be helpful. She has no choice.

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“Your Highness,” someone shook Celestia in her sleep. “Your Highness,” the Princess was now certain she wasn’t dreaming. Celestia opened her eyes and looked at the Imperial Guard by her bed. She didn’t know him, probably from the Crystal Regiment.

“Could there be no knocking?” Celestia rubbed her eyes.

“I did knock, Your Highness. You are being called for, by Her Majesty.” Celestia looked at the window; it was bright outside. “This is urgent,” the Guard explained.

This was enough for the Princess of the Sun to shake off the rest of her sleep. Celestia began searching for her mane brush.

“No time,” the Guard stopped her. Celestia gave him a surprised look. What could be this urgent? “Everypony is waiting for you.”

“Let us lose no more time then,” Her Highness only took her crown.
The Guard led her in total silence, likely under the order. Celestia noticed he had a large bruise around his neck, somepony nearly choked him off with magic.
“What is this about?” Celestia tried to pry him.

“It’s better if you see for yourself. Your Highness,” the Guard said very morbidly. Celestia refrained from other questions

Inside, she immediately was greeted by Cadance and Shining’s condolencing looks. Celestia swiftly looked around the rest of the room and found Nightmare Moon, thank goodness, standing on her own in the room’s farthest corner. She refused to meet her eyes. There also were five soldiers staring at the floor and a pony on the table, covered in cloth.
Celestia knew why they called for her. She stepped to the body and began slowly taking off the cloth. First, the deep blue horn appeared, Celestia sweated. Then it was the mane, regular one, skyly blue. Celestia didn’t want to see further, but she had to make sure. Celestia, with a glassy look to her eyes, stared at her sister’s motionless face for a few long minutes; then, she simply put the cloth back and walked away. No words were needed.

“Tell nopony,” the icy cold, steady, warning arrived.

“Of course, Your Majesty,” Cadance responded, managing to keep her voice from flinching. “We will prepare her for your departure. Nopony will find out.” Nightmare Moon nodded to the couple and went for the door. Celestia closely followed.

The pair left the room, Nightmare Moon didn’t know yet where she was leading Celestia, but they needed a place to talk. One turn, then another; Celestia sharply looked behind her, ensuring nopony followed and stopped, Nightmare Moon, did the same. Celestia joyfully smiled at her Empress.

“Sister!” the mare was all but bouncing from happiness. “Thank you! Upon seeing the corpse, Celestia simply shut down! She didn’t even try resisting! I just had to make a sad face so that Cadance wouldn’t notice!” Daybreaker proceeded to deeply bow, “I am at your full disposal!”

Nightmare Moon felt her mind blacking out. This was too much.

“Sister?” Daybreaker lifted herself up. The black mare was about to collapse. Daybreaker grabbed Nightmare by the shoulders,
“Sister!” she called. “This is not how an Empress should behave! Get yourself together!” Daybreaker took her hoof and gave her sister a hard slap on the face. Nightmare blinked and re-focused her sight, “There you go!” Daybreaker smiled again, stepping away from Nightmare.

“I...I’m sorry.” Nightmare Moon took a dignified posture again, “This was an exhausting endeavour.”

“You don’t have to lie to me,” Daybreaker knowingly smiled. “I know what I see. You grieve.” Nightmare Moon looked away, “Is it Luna, sister?”

“It is... sister,” Nightmare Moon admitted.

“Well, why didn’t you say so from the start? I have to say: I thought you were simply using Luna to maintain control over those who won’t recognise your strength; but if this is what you want, you’ll have the poor filly back and well! I’ll be glad to help you!” the fiend promised.
“I’ll see if there is anything useful in the Crystal City’s libraries. Don’t worry, there’s nothing impossible for someone like us, dear Nightmare!”

“Thank you, sister.”

“I am looking forward to my involvement in your future plans, Your Majesty,” Daybreaker bowed and happily trotted away. Leaving Nightmare Moon alone, mostly. There was still the King.

“You made a costly mistake,” Sombra stated, emerging from his hideout in between the walls. “Your ‘sister’ is now a threat.”

“Do you think what she promised is possible?” Nightmare Moon asked, ignoring the accusation.

“If it is, I know nothing of it. If there was a way, I would have found it by now,” The Shadow King grimly established.

“Will it stop you from looking?”


“You’ll have any resources you need and I will make Sparkle search every book in the Empire.”

“Deal with your kin, while you are at it.” The King was done,
“Also, search behind the corner, you had listeners,” he dropped before disappearing back into the air shaft.

Nightmare Moon turned her head to the suggested corner but noticed no one. She waited.
Obeying the silent summon a pair of Guards emerged from behind the edge.

“Have you heard everything, my Shadow?” she asked.

“Yes, Mistress,” guilty Shadow replied.

“Good,” Nightmare Moon was glad she didn’t have to explain anything. “Are you Thorax?” she asked the second changeling. “Princess Cadance told me of you.” The changeling bowed.

“Mistress, what are my orders?” Shadow asked; she made a poor job at handling herself, Nightmare noted.

“Stand down, my Shadow. I have no more labours for you,” Shadow looked her in the eyes.

“Don’t you want me to watch Princ… your sister?” Nightmare Moon managed to smile at her changeling.

“No, Shadow. I’ll handle my sister myself.”

“Then what would you have me do?” Shadow obediently asked. Poor, loyal Shadow. Nightmare Moon had to do something.

“My Shadow... there is something you need to understand.”
Nightmare Moon led the way down the corridor and pushed the first door she found, the luck was on her side this time and delivered her another guest room, with a table and chairs,
“Sit, both of you,” she ordered.

“Is this because of Princess Luna, Mistress?” Shadow did as requested.

“My Shadow, allow me to tell you a story.” Nightmare Moon sadly smiled at the sparking excitement in Thorax’s eyes,
“This story started a long time ago, long before you were born. Long before almost anyone was.
I was a very different pony back then. I was foolish, my Shadow. I did a lot of harm to Luna, Princess Celestia and their ponies.” Nightmare Moon held back the coming tears, this was not the time. “This is why they fear me now. And this is why I and Luna had to be sent away. My single-minded way brought me great sorrow, my Shadow.”

“But that was a long time ago, Mistress.” Nightmare Moon gestured Shadow to keep quiet. The changeling obeyed without a second thought.

“Ponies have a lot to fear, my Shadow. They know that easy change is just as easily reversed. I demonstrated as much. Why would they trust someone so secretive and treacherous as I? But I cannot simply explain myself to them, my Shadow. They need to see me as being in total control to allow themselves to sleep soundly, no weakness is too small to hide when it threatens my subjects wellbeing," Shadow nodded, she knew as much.
"But there is another way. Control can be achieved not only through intrigues and force, my Shadow. Simple confidence is, sometimes, all that is required. Did you pay close attention to my Princesses, my Shadow? They need not know everything about their subjects, nor they need to show their might. Do you see now?”

“I understand, Mistress.”

“Do you, now, understand why it has to be this way?”

“I do, Mistress. I will disappear,” Nightmare Moon nodded.

“Ask Princess Twilight to help you, my Shadow. She will show you the way. Go; from now on, I am no longer your Mistress, Shadow.” Shadow mechanically stood up and went for the door, Thorax tried to follow, “Thorax, stay. There is something I require of you too.”

“Of me, Your Majesty?” Thorax widened his eyes. Nightmare Moon slowly nodded.

“I have a very important mission for you.” Nightmare Moon checked the door was closed and leaned to the changeling’s ear,
“Thorax, my Shadow is in grave need of aid now, she will need much more help than Princess Twilight can provide. Now you are the only one who can help her; Princess Twilight alone won’t suffice, she doesn’t know your kind well enough to understand what Shadow needs right now.
Thorax, I trust you with this, because there is no one else: will you watch her for me?”

“I will do everything I can, Your Majesty!” Thorax solemnly promised. Nightmare Moon made the most grateful smile she could muster.

“Don’t let her go, Thorax. Make sure she will stay safe. Don’t let her dismay you, she needs you even if she doesn’t know it.” Thorax solemnly nodded, “Go, she is waiting for you.” Thorax followed the order.

To Nightmare Moon the door closing sounded like a knell. It echoed in her ears and thoughts. The now solitary Empress dropped her head on the table; she tried to cry silently, there could be no telling on how far the Crystal Palace would let the sound fly.

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