• Published 4th Sep 2012
  • 5,136 Views, 78 Comments

Nightmares Alive - Horsegirl123

Luna has been having dreams of Nightmare moon lately. And now she must decide, friend or foe?

  • ...

To Hear the Wind Scream

Through the open windows of her private quarters, a cool breeze wafted in, bringing along with it the sounds of chirping crickets and snoring ponies. There was no distinct sound like there was during the day, of carts clacking on the road and barters being made; but rather a peaceful tone that induced relaxation and serenity. A soft rapping echoed on the large wooden doors, which Luna answered with a soft ‘enter’.

A young unicorn mare slowly peeked through the doors, and bowed to the ground as soon as she met Luna’s eyes. “Excuse me Your Highness, but court is about to begin,” said the unknown pony. Her cutie mark was that of a checkmark, for whatever that meant.

“Who are thou?” questioned Luna towards the white mare with the jet-black mane.

“Forgive me, Your Highness. I am Moon Shine.”

“And pray tell, what business do you have of informing us of our schedule?”

“I-I’m your new assistant, Your Highness.” The poor pony never looked up from the ground.

Luna studied the mare for a minute, but concluding that she was not an assassin in disguise, nodded and walked towards her door. Using her telekinesis, she shoved her drawing into a drawer, and re-scattered the overdue budget accounts across her desk. That way if Tia came to check up on her work, it would look as if some progress was being made in the national bit crisis.

Moon Shine held open the large doors with her own magic and the Princess sauntered through them, as a Princess should. The two ponies walked through the dimly lit, halls; the silence of the night, making each hoof step sounded like a falling bomb that radiated throughout the palace. Few servants were up at this hour, mainly because 90% of them waited on Celestia, not Luna. Although Luna often wished to be equal to her sister, she understood that most had families that they could not afford to be away from all night long.

Luna could practically feel the sweat pouring off her worried new assistant. She had seen it too often with every replacement. But it wasn’t nerves. It was genuine fear. “So Ms. Shine. What happened to Ms. Beam? She was present yesterday.” Luna said, trying to break the obvious tension between the two ponies. Gathering what she learned from Twilight and her friends about meeting new ponies, she decided it was best to start the conversation.

“Oh, um, I think she took personal leave,” answered Moon Shine in a shaky voice. She levitated her clipboard from her back and scanned over it.

“Very well. We suppose we can’t execute her for that,” said Luna with a joking smile. Hoping it did the trick to ease her assistance, Luna was more than disappointed to see even greater fear in the mare’s eyes as she hurriedly flipped through her checklist. Clearing her throat, Luna tried again at the conversation. “For whom are we making an appearance?” asked the Princess.

With a few more nervous flips of the never-ending checklist, Moon Shine answered. “Tonight you are meeting with Pegasi in charge of the weather for your meteor shower next week and a few common ponies with extreme time zone difference. The astronomers are expressing concerns over the stars and there is a pony guilty of threatening the crown.”

“Time zone differences? Why does that concern us?” huffed Luna. Night court was always slow, but some requests were just too stupid to get by to Celestia’s court, so they got shoved into Luna’s.

“W-well you see Your Grace, these ponies come from far away, so when they are able to come for a meeting, it is night when it is day at their homes. So they can only attend night court.”

“Hmm, we see. Well, onwards we suppose.” Luna and Moon Shine walked through the tall hallways of Canterlot Castle. Tapestries decorated the walls depicting major fight scenes between Celestia and mythical creatures (most of which were fabricated to make her seem like a hero); a large painting of the Royal Sisters stood alone between two doors, painted centuries before Celestia’s mane had even started to flow.

Navigating perfectly through the endless series of hallways in the castle, Luna and her assistant were soon upon the throne room in which the honorable Night Court was held. The looming doors swung open with the magic of the unicorn guards, squeaked loudly as it had for over a thousand years. Celestia and Luna’s thrones stood together regally in the center of the room; boasting their elegance and fineness to anypony who passed. Celestia’s throne shone with a brilliant gold luster, complete with hoof rest and pink cushion. It had forever been a rumor that her throne was carved from the horde of gold kept by the strongest dragon of the land, Perithemus. As a token of gratitude to Celestia for sparing his life, he melted his treasure into the shape of a throne; the same of which she rests on to this very day.

Luna always smiled when she heard the tour guides recounting the story to the awestruck foals.

Luna’s throne, however, had a different backstory. For once in her life, it was just as epic as Celestia’s. Famed for her bravery during battle, and her loyalty to her subjects, Luna would often fight alongside her ponies in battle. When the ponies defeated the Zebras 3,000 years ago, a blacksmith by the name of Hungaar the Great melted the armor of the Zebra king, and created Luna’s throne. Today it still boasted a metallic silver gleam and bore a plush blue cushion that much resembled the darkness of the night. All though she had once been jealous of Celestia’s day and the colors it brought, she was now thankful for the soothing, deep colors that her night brought.

Luna unfolded her wings and flew up to her high throne while Moon Shine sat on the cold tiles below. Moon Shine’s once soft voice suddenly became assertive and harsh as she screamed “Pony #1, we are ready for you!”

A Pegasus pony sauntered into the room with his head held high. Luna rolled her eyes at his cockiness, but quickly snapped to attention as he cleared his hoarse throat. Splotches of his light blue coat were still visible among the dark blue stains of a rainstorm. His blonde main was knotted; yet he still strode up to the throne with the same attitude of Prince Blueblood himself. “General Stormcloud, Captain of the Weather Patrol, your Majesty,” he said as he bowed.

“Charmed,” stated Luna as she was expected to.

Knowing that a princess’ time was valuable, General Stormcloud immediately stated his business. “You requested my presence to discuss the weather schedule for your meteor shower next week.”

“Yes, what are the arrangements?”

“Well your Highness, a thunderstorm was previously scheduled for that day. The outskirts of Canterlot badly need the rain, as Celestia herself has admitted that the sun is a bit close to the Earth than usual. She believes that is was a slight shift in the atmospheric pressure-“

“Yes, we are quite aware of our sister’s dilemma,” said Luna, purposely cutting him off.

“Uh, of course Princess.” He cleared his throat. “Well you see, this has caused an increase in temperature in areas not protected by your climate control spell-“

“It is a hard spell General. I am not going to waste my magic on uninhabited areas so that the animals of the Everfree and the Badlands may have a cool spring morning.”

“Yes, I understand. If you’d please let me finish-“

“Will it be cloudless or not?” asked Luna.

She could see his deeply furrowed brow and his self control about to crack, but in a sweep of his mane to the side, all composure was returned. “We have decided to push the storm towards Baltimare two days early. It will slowly ride the current back to Canterlot, but will arrive hours after your meteor shower is complete.” The General finished with a sigh. “Thank you for your time.”

“You are excused, General.” The Pegasus pony bowed and flew out of the room. With a loud close of the door, Luna rolled her eyes dramatically and blew a raspberry. She looked down to Moon Shine who was busily scribbling down notes. She cleared her throat loudly, and Moon Shine looked up to her with scared eyes. “I don’t see why they have to come talk to me if they already know the answers to their questions. I’m beginning to think that they just come to hear themselves talk. Couldn’t he just send us a scroll that said ‘the weather will be good’?”

Luna had never seen such a large amount of sweat filter off a single pony as Moon Shine stammered for words. “Uh-uh, uh I-I didn’t know-“ as she flipped through her clipboard with crazed eyes.

Not knowing what to do, Luna tried to pull a Pinkie Pie. “Whoa, looks like somepony is weathered from this situation,” she said with a large smile. Her face was strained from the masked grin, something her face didn’t experience much anymore.

Looking at the oddly smiling Princess, Moon Shine broke into tears and hid her face as she curled up into a terrified ball. “Don’t hurt me!” she whispered. Luna blew yet another raspberry. ‘Every assistant. Why can't they realize I’m a different mare?’ she thought to herself. Luna felt a stress migraine coming on, but quickly zipped up a spell to nip it in the butt.

Seeing as her assistant was unfit to do anything at the moment, Luna yelled out “Pony #2, you may enter,” herself, something she knew Celestia would have her flank for. A black stallion pranced in with his head held high and with a skip in his step. His cutie mark of a moon somewhat pleased Luna, for she always enjoyed seeing ponies that enjoyed and studied her night. His facial expression, however, looked a tad testy. Behind him levitated maps and stands and a projector wrapped in a lime green aura. He bowed at the foot of the throne, and Luna nodded, signaling him to proceed with what he was there to discuss. He stood and conducted himself in a manner only an astronomer would attempt towards the Night Princess. “Your Highness,” he said in a graceful bow, “it is lovely to see you again. Are you well?”

Luna was not much for personal chatter with common ponies, or noble ponies for that matter, nor did she want to stay in court for any longer than was necessary. She was a Princess, ruler of the nighttime realm and all of Equestria: she should be treated as such.

“I am not your next door neighbor Shadow. Do not address me as if I were,” said Luna, biting back a snarl at the informality that this pony was addressing her with.

“M-my apologies, your majesty.”

“What business do you bring?” said Luna.

The black stallion cleared his throat and set up a display on the projector in front of the Princess. “Yes, you see Princess, the astronomers and I noticed an unscheduled addition to the stars last night. We were wondering what the occasion was?”

Luna raised an eyebrow. “We did no such thing,” she said dumbfounded.

The pony pointed to two stars on the projector’s screen. “Well, you see Your Grace, that there are in fact two additions. Here,” he pointed, “and here.” Luna squinted her eyes to see what the pony was yammering about. Her eyes shot open with recognition.

“Impossible…” she whispered.

“Excuse me, Your Majesty?”

“We don’t remember making those,” lied Luna.

"Perhaps they are a mistake," Shadow said with a similar lack of honesty as he flipped to a new slide on the projector. “But you see, they are going to cause some problems. In six months time, Orion’s Saddle will be overlapping them, adding two more stars to his stirrup than usual. This cannot go unfixed, Princess.”

“I am quite aware of this, Shadow, and intend to fix it. If you are here only to berate me, I suggest you pack up your belongings now and exit my courtroom,” she said curtly, eyeing daggers into the stallion. He did not mind, but instead shook a hoof playfully at her as he gathered his materials in his magic.

“Always so serious, dear Luna. Celestia would be more subtle about her annoyance.”
Luna felt a heat rising from inside her, but washed it away with a deep, soothing breath. “Get out, Shadow,” she said quietly, and the stallion trotted away. With a loud thunk of the door, the room was once again silent.

Luna’s mind raced, trying to come up with explanations for the situation at hand. She remembered creating those: she remembered it all too well. She made them with her severed hair. In her dream.

‘This isn’t possible. I cannot influence reality from within dreams, not even for other ponies. How could this possibly have happened?’ fretted Luna in a panic. But they had been there. As clear as night. They were there.

A loud creak snapped Luna out of her madness. Sometime in her frenzy Moon Shine had called for the next appointment, and two pegasi guards were escorting an Earth Pony in shackles towards the throne. His coat was a light yellow: the fur was ragged and unkempt, sporting multiple dirt stains and prominent blood splatters on it.

They threw him down in front of Luna and he coughed in agony. One of the guard spoke. “We bring thee a pony who has been accused with threatening the royal crown!” bellowed the nocturnal guard before her.

Luna eyed the accused pony. “And why does thou threaten my rule?” she said as she looked up to the royal crown she had atop her head.

The pony tried to rise to his feet, but the guards pushed him down so that he remained in a bow. “I never threatened you, princess. Nor did I the crown. I am the royal crown polisher,” he said. Luna raised an eyebrow and eyed his cutie mark of a sparkle. “When I was cleaning your crown the other day, I found an ink stain. I was scrubbing it, and when it wouldn’t come out, I said ‘I hate this stupid thing’. I didn’t mean I hated you or the crown itself. Just the stain.” He started sobbing. “Just the stain!” he cried into his hooves.

“You idiots,” she yelled to the pegasi guards who were now looking sheepish. “Set him free at once!” The guards whimpered like beaten puppies, kicking their hooves loosely at the ground but eventually bowed to their master and unhinged the pony’s chains.

Without so much as a thank you, the accused pony galloped out of the room in a panic. The pegasi guards remained bowing before Luna. She knew them; she knew all her guards by name. “I expected better from you two.” Luna stood from her position, spreading her majestically feathered wings and alighting down before them. Their golden eyes looked up for a second, but quickly shot back down to the marble tiles.

“Whiz. Melano. How dare thee maim one of my little ponies when he has not been proven guilty of anything! Thy carelessness is unforgivable ”

The two ponies tried to stay cool, but were obviously shaken by being personally reprimanded by their god. “We were just trying to protect you,” whimpered Melano.

“And why would thou believe we need protection? Does thou not think that we are capable of defending ourselves?” Luna said, enraged. She hardly even noticed it as she took them in the grasp of her magic. Whiz cried out softly, terror in his eyes. “We wonder how you might like it,” Luna mused, and lifted the guards off the ground.

“Your Majesty...” whimpered Melano.

“To be at the mercy of somepony far more powerful than yourself. And to realize that there would be no mercy,” Luna interrupted.

Luna lifted the guards higher and higher off the floor. “You’ll get that same mercy,” she said quietly, calmly, and dropped them to the floor.

There was a crunching sound, and then silence.

Luna looked to Moon Shine, whose eyes were filled with terror. Her incessant scribbling had stopped, and her expression was frozen in fear at what she had just witnessed. However, her gaze did not last long, for with a slight tilt of her head she caught Luna’s stare, and immediately snatched her notepad up again, furiously writing once again.

‘Why does she even bother?’ thought Luna. ‘It’s not like I read the notes anyways.’

Luna returned to her throne, regaining her regal composure for the next client.

Through the door on the opposite side of the room poked the head of a brown Earth Pony. His eyes widened at the sight of the expressionless princess and grew to the size of ripe pumpkins when he noticed the unconscious forms of the guards but he quickly scurried to the center of the room and bowed respectfully. “M-M-My name is Rusty, Miss Luna.”

“Good evening. What business do thou have in the royal court?” asked Luna.

“I come from a farming village outside of Trottingham, Our corn and hay are coming in late so my village sent me on behalf of asking how l-l-long we have until eternal n-night. So w-w-we can prepare our crops?” Luna’s eyes shot open, and she suddenly lost her breath.

“W-what hast thou said?” she stammered. She cleared her throat quietly, cursing herself for allowing a stammer to leave her lips. She racked her brain for an appropriate response, but she couldn’t; who dared to encroach upon her domain and insult her so blatantly?

Her anger boiled over the edge, spreading through her body with a burning rage that was entirely inappropriate for a princess. Her horn glowed, and a bright white light erupted from her eyes. A set of storm clouds formed on the ceiling, crackling with lightning and roaring with ominous thunder that caused Moon Shine to start sobbing again from the terrifying princess. ‘I guess they’re not scared of Celestia anymore. She warned them not to do this. Why would they do this? The audacity, the nerve, the criminal!’

“Its just that we need more time to harvest, Ms. Nightmare, and-“

“What hast thou said?!” screamed Luna in her Royal Canterlot voice, forgetting the lessons Twilight Sparkle had taught her. “WE BRING THEE BEAUTIFUL NIGHTTIMES AND HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT LOYAL TO EQUESTRIA. AND THOU HAST THE AUDACITY TO OUTRIGHT ACCUSE US OF STILL BEING THAT MONSTER?”

“I-I was just sent. I didn’t mean to-“

“WE ARE NOT HER!” shrieked Luna so sharply that her voice broke, going up a few octaves. The stained glass murals that surrounded the room shattered, sprinkling glass down like the tiny stars in her dream. With that she teleported out of the room, dismissing court for the night to mull things over.

With a brilliant beam of white that eliminated the darkness from her chambers, Luna appeared. A thousand years of pent up emotion blew out of her. She paced around sobbing for the first time since she had reunited with Celestia after being purged by the Elements..

Using her telekinesis, she hastily tore her crown out of her mane and brought it in front of her face to examine it. The fine blue etchings on its black surface, the shine and care put into making it; all the details showed it was meant for royalty, and only for the most beautiful of mares.

But in it, she also saw a creeping darkness that made her grit her teeth. This crown was not meant for a tyrant, a dictator, or a mare of darkness. It was made for a peaceful and dedicated ruler of the night, who only loved her country. She did not deserve this crown.

Luna threw it against the wall of the room with a loud thud, and continued to pace. The clattering of the metal ceased as it bounced under the bed, and Luna’s horseshoes also found themselves hurled to the same fate. But then Luna realized something even worse than a pony insulting her. She had just injured, perhaps crippled, two members of her own Night Guard, and just verbally harassed probably emotionally scarred an innocent pony that just happened to call her Nightmare Moon. But now that she’d done so, Luna wasn’t so sure that Rusty was entirely wrong.

“Oh Tia shall have my neck for this!” Luna peered into her mirror; a dark blue mare glared back at her. A horn of freshly buffed ivory was sharpened to a point; tradition for battle. Her ethereal mane danced beautifully on a wind that only it felt, cascading stars and sparkles wherever it flowed. But she could not see past her own dead eyes. They were full of sadness, anger, strife, and yet nothing. No emotion other than hate and anger. She needed to vent, so she lit her horn with her blue aura, enchanting the glass before her.

Her reflection distorted and twisted, until a beam of light filled the mirror. When the light faded back into the oblivion from which it had appeared, her regal blue mare no longer glared back. Instead, a mane of dancing rainbows joyfully wriggled around the angel white face of Princess Celestia. Not Celestia herself, but a copy Luna had formed when she needed to practice how to break news to her sister. Never would the white alicorn know of the conversations Luna was having with the copy.

“So, Tia, please don’t be mad. But I acted barbaric towards one of my subjects during Night Court tonight.”

“You what!?” yelled the imaginary sister.

“I’m sorry! But he called me Nightmare Moon!”

“Luna! As a princess with a country to uphold, you cannot allow your emotions to get the best of you. These ponies will never take to you again if every time you get angry you summon dangerous weather and use your Canterlot Voice. They need patience and nurturing, not cruel punishment for believing what has been fed to them since they were foals.”

The not-Celestia’s voice always cooled Luna down in her fits of rage. Celestia never got angry like Luna did. She puts on a calm face and saves her anger until she is in private. ‘Why do I always have to go insane?’ thought Luna ho-humly.

“I know that. God damn it don’t you think I know that!?” screamed Luna.

“See, right there. You cannot lash out like that; these are your subjects, but they are also much younger than you. You must be patient and forgiving with them, Luna.” Not in the mood for being lectured, Luna snorted and the image evaporated. Even the copy she controlled tried to constantly improve her.

Luna flapped her wings and hovered around her dark room in thought. Tapestries that depicted her raising the glorious moon hung in the quarters. Every article of furniture was a dark, rich purple that only accented how dark and dreary her room was. Celestia’s room had some dark cushions and such, but in the day it shone with the brightness of the sun with beautiful pastels and bright yellows that burned Luna’s eyes. The only time she was up during the day was for special outings (which were very rare for mostly they wanted Celestia) and if she had a nightmare and had to wander through the blinding light to her sister’s room for comfort.

Luna pulled out her journal from a pile of papers she had discarded on the floor in response to one of her previous fits of rage. Pieces of loose leaf flew off of it, and she brought it close to her. She didn’t know what to write, and usually didn’t write much. She stared at the leather binding, seeing the ink splot of a crescent moon that acted as a cover photo. Luna grabbed a quill, and began writing what had happened.

'They can’t forget can they? Why can’t they forgive me? I’m so sorry for what I’ve done, but with how I’ve been treated since I return I’m starting to not be sorry. Like they deserve it. No, I take that back. I really do. I just want them to love me like they love Tia. I don’t want them to think I’m that monster Nightm-' Luna stopped her entry, not being able to bring herself to write the cursed name.

She dropped onto her bed and smothered her face with a pillow. She couldn’t take it anymore. Nothing good had come to her in the time she had returned home from the moon. Everypony she met was terrified of her, and she had to admit that Celestia was her best friend. And only friend except Twilight and the occasional guard that Celestia had bribed.

A cool breeze tickled Luna’s flank, and she uncovered her face to see the source; an open window. Luna rolled off her back and glared out into her darkness. She stretched her wings and flapped them, gazing at their dark blue tint and beautiful plumage. “Well, I haven’t had a fly in weeks…” said Luna aloud to nopony as she smiled to herself. She stood and bounced off the bed, fluttered her wings, and soared out the window. Celestia would be enraged when she found out Luna was out alone; especially with all the death threats she had been receiving. Luna didn’t like to dwell on the hateful threats she had been receiving since she returned. Some times some school fillies would send her pictures of her in a heart. Most of those came from Pip and his friends from Ponyville, but many others were amateur drawings of Nightmare Moon eating young fillies and colts. And those always cut the deepest. That even her youngest subjects were raised to believe she was a monster. Nonetheless, she need not dwell on the matter while she soared through her sky. It was dark, but the sky was illuminated at the same time by the millions of stars she had painted into the heavens tonight. She dropped down from her window in a perfect nosedive. The wind attacked against her favor, begging her to pull up soon. But what’s the fun in that? Luna continued down in a spiral, cutting through the air like a sharp knife. A stone patio was closely approaching, but she didn’t care. Beneath it was another half of the castle, and she couldn’t miss out on the fun. Lighting her horn, she masked her body in blue. Her bones and muscles tingled like a thousand chills, but it only made Luna giggle. She was a foot from the stone patio. Then she was a foot underneath it. Luna laughed out loud. “Walk through walls. Never fails!”

Gaining more speed than any pony could, Luna continued her descent alongside the castle. Before she reached the earth, she spread her majestic wings high and pulled up, missing the ground by mere inches. Her wings took the weight of her body easily, and she soon left the castle far behind her. Canterlot was spread beneath her, but didn’t even bother looking down. She knew what she would find. Dark houses and closing bars that made her sick. No pony enjoying the night. The cool mist of the nighttime clouds licked her face as she breezed right through them. She thought about resting on one, but decided she had the rest of her life to rest, but might not get the chance to fly unsupervised for some time. She barrel rolled and looped and zig-zagged until she couldn’t see straight anymore. It was such a rush. It was so great. If only Celestia was here. ‘No,’ thought Luna. ‘I can do things on my own.’ Her stars twinkled above as she flew over her amazing country at speeds that would make the Wonderbolts envious. After a while of uneventful flight, Luna even tried to attempt one of those sonic rainbooms that the Element of Loyalty had performed at Princess Cadence’s wedding, but she failed as the force tossed her backwards after refusing to split. After tumbling backwards in the air a few times and rubbing her head, Luna was fine, but decided not to attempt again.

Town after town flew beneath the rogue princess as she continued her rebellious flight. The moon princess spotted Ponyville beneath her, but decided against visiting Celestia’s star pupil at this time at night. However, she was fond of Ponyville’s scenery, and decided it would be a nice break area. Carousel Boutique almost scratched her legs as she descended into the sleeping village. ‘Wow, I remember when I was there. It took a lot of magic to wash off the pink dye Miss Rarity put into my coat,’ reminisced Luna with a joyful chuckle.

She landed as silently as possible in the quiet town. Collective snores could be heard from open windows, and every house had a welcome mat on the doorstep. Flowers bloomed even in the dark of Luna’s night with colors that could be faintly made out at this hour. She strolled through the town, not sure of what to engage in now that everypony was asleep. Hearing the audible effect of her hooves on the cobblestone streets of the main town square, she decided to use her wings a little more to be as silent as possible and not give herself away. It’s not like she would be mobbed by fans anyway like Celestia would. Well, maybe by a mob with pitchforks and torches. She passed the Town Hall and thought of the dusky mayor that refused to welcome the royal sister to their celebration. Hanging her head in sadness, she continued her flight/stroll and came across Ponyville Park. Multiple bridges came in and out of the public area. A cute fountain adorned the center while flowers bloomed everywhere. Tulips and petunias and roses and daisies. Seeing a particularly beautiful daisy, Luna plucked it with her magic and plopped it in her mouth. A savory and sweet sensation flooded on her tongue as the delicious aroma matched the wonderful taste that overwhelmed her mouth. Luna rarely got to experience a simple flower, for every single meal in the castle was as extravagant as Celestia’s mane was rainbow. She looked at the Ponyville Bell Tower, and saw that it was 4:00 a.m. “Okay, I have a few hours or so.” Luna decided to practice a little singing, for this was the only time she would get to be alone and away from Celestia’s put-downs about her pitchiness. The only time she got to sing was when she soundproofed her room with a spell, and even then Celestia would still send her notes that would say ‘Shut up. You’re hurting my ears,’ like any sister would.

Remembering the lullaby her father used to sing, she put a soundproof bubble around herself to not wake the residents.

“Can you see the night? Burning stars oh so bright. Bringing peace and happiness. Nothing more that perfect bliss. Can you see the day? In the sun’s warmth we lay. Bringing joy and light to all. Beauty like a waterfall.” Forgetting the rest of the words to the old folk song, Luna just hummed the melody over and over again. And then, she looked to the moon. And it stared back at her. The imprint. Left to forever haunt her of her errors. When Nightmare Moon had initially escaped, the silhouette had vanished from the moon’s surface. However, to further convince the ponies that Luna was no longer a monster, Celestia painted an identical silhouette on the surface so ponies would think the monster was still trapped. It was fairly faint, but it was still there. It didn’t work well enough. For now it just served as a reminder to Luna of the monster she had become.

Looking away from the painful memory bringer, she found a wooden bench next to a dimly lit lamp post. A few moths buzzed stupidly towards the light, only to get knocked back by the glass each time. She blew a raspberry and used her magic to open the glass so they might succeed at one thing in her life. With the glass opened and the light finally in range, the moths buzzed to it, only to be burned to death in a flame by the light’s intense heat. Luna’s eyes went beady as she quickly shut the glass and walked away whistling.

Luna looked around the park. North. South. East. West. There was nopony in sight. A shiver assaulted her spine as the wind crept through her body. It was cold. Not cool. But shiver inducing. Yearning for a warm blanket, Luna realized that for the first time she sort of missed being waited on hoof and hoof by her terrified servants. Luna wished that she could control the weather as well, for her night always seemed to bring coldness. She knew the sun brought warmth, but why did her night have to bring coldness? Her ears picked up the sound of clopping hooves. Luna sat straighter on the bench, trying to hear more. They were a steady beat, a trot. They were approaching. Closer and closer. Heavy and light. Light and heavy. Ever changing. Two ponies? Three? One? Luna could not tell from the changing sound of the clopping hooves as they approached her from the street. Luna slid off the bench and straightened her breastplate, trying to look as imperial as possible without her famed shoes and crown. She licked a hoof and smoothed her horn. The sound of the hoofs was now almost deafening, approaching closer and closer. There they were. She couldn’t see them, but she could hear them. The pony’s hooves were directly in front of her. Or at least from what she heard. And then there was silence. Shifting uncomfortably in the sudden silence, Luna cleared her throat loudly. “Wh-who goes there?” she commanded. No response. Just eerie quiet. The wind howled and whistled as the mosquitoes buzzed, but the hooves were gone.

Feeling somewhat scared and uncomfortable in the lonely night, Luna decided to fly back to Canterlot Castle before Celestia and her guards realized she was missing. She sat back on her haunches and took off, right into a branch.

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