• Member Since 17th Jul, 2018
  • offline last seen June 2nd

James Pwyll

Everything is awesome!


Twilight, having just been through a harrowing time-travel ordeal thanks to Starlight, is finally able to enjoy some time with her friends. And naturally, they're keen to know of what she and Spike saw in all those parallel versions of Equestria, with one in particular catching their interest.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 40 )

Yeah from what the Nightmare Moon timeline showed us the only bad thing was every pony's loyalty to Nightmare, not to mention Rarity's rudeness to Spike claiming she doesn't associate with dragons and doesn't know any pony who even would. Which also makes me wonder if Nightmare is hostile to all other species in Equestria and taught her subjects to feel the same.

Huh. This was an interesting little read. Part of me does feel kind of like you could have gone a bit deeper in regard to the issue that Twilight raises here... but on the other hand, I also have to admit, I'm frankly a little grateful too that we're not seeing any deeper discussion on whether or not freaking Nightmare Moon would have been a better ruler than Celestia. XD

Well, this was a very nice read.

Nightmare Moon might have been a stricter but better ruler than every other villain, but that doesn't mean she's qualified. She still has Celestia imprisoned, and eternal night will be the planet's demise in the long run.


We know from the Tirek incident that alicorns can bestow their magic on another, perhaps Nightmare coerced Celestia into giving up her power and somehow voodooed the moon.

This was a good little read. Though I think Fluttershy would have had some input when Twilight brought up Discord's rule.


Yeah, Xenophobic against other races is definitely bad still.

I figure it's certainly a darker Equestria, but if it keeps pace with the regular timeline it's years of night later. Either putting sunbutt in the moon makes it acceptable for supporting life or some other factor is fixing it.

Either way, NMM doesn't have worshipful minions if they're all dead. Tirek/Discord/the flimflams/Chrysalis give a crap only as far as magic/entertainment/money/love are still extractable. NMM's Equestria probably isn't a wholly pleasant place to live, but to quote an old tyrant, 'As long as I rule, the worst you shall have to fear is my wrath.'

What I wanna see that never gets gone into is the timelines developing. Is it just the rainboom not happening not forging the connection? Is it specifically and only the main six that can do it? How differently do the dominoes fall to lose to that specific villain and no other?

That was something to think about on that NMM world, at the very least I'm sure they don't give a crap about other species with the way Spike was treated there. :twilightoops::moustache:

Good work here! :twilightsmile:

Hmmm, thinking about it, what happened to Ponyville? Assuming that the Map stayed at the same spot (outside Ponyville), why was it in the 'middle' of the Everfree Forest? Ponyville would have been settled by the Apple Clan (since that's Granny Smith's fillyhood) so either the town hadn't grown as much or they were unsuccessful in trimming the Forest in that direction. AJ would have been on the farm and Rarity was as well but the others ...

As for other relations, trade is an important part to the economy, plus Celestia got the dragon migration and I don't think Moon is going to stop that (she can take on how many dragons at once or even just Torch?) [no rainboom, no Twilight hatching Spike's egg, and no catching Celestia's attention, so no baby dragon in Canterlot or Ponyville]

As for the internal, well Moon has had five seasons for strengthening her rule after capturing/imprisoning Sun-butt ... and restored their old castle during that time ...

If you think about it, Twilight interacted with each of her friends in the alternate timelines
Sombra - Applejack (despite the fact that we saw the others)
Chrysalis - Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie
Nightmare Moon - Rarity and Rainbow Dash
Be interesting to know more on these timelines.

Twilight stared down into her cup. "Yes, all of them. Tirek was rampaging across the land with stolen magic. Discord was being a never-ending headache for Celestia and Luna. Sombra had torn our land in half through endless war. Chrysalis had driven our people into hiding. Every possible bad version of events you could think of had played out. And all of it culminated in a version of reality where...where..." She struggled to get her next words out, but eventually worked up the nerve to do so. "Where all life was gone. Not even a single leaf on a tree or blade of grass could be seen in that final world. What caused it I don't know, and to be frank I'm not all that keen to find out."

Oh yeah I remember that Wasteland it was horrible

Rainbow's expression soon turned into a combination of disappointment and confusion. "So...I wasn't some awesome rebel leader fighting back against the cruel oppressor?" Seeing Twilight look to her stoically before shaking her head again, she pounded the table. "Rats! There goes my power fantasy!"

Well actually if i remember correctly during the crystal war against King Sombra you were part of the army

Boy there was so many possible ways it could have happened if Rainbow dash didn't perform the Sonic Rainboom and kind of spark so many ideas fanfiction stories during that time but I guess out of all the alternate universe that Spike and Twilight saw Nightmare Moon wasn't too bad but I'm sure it's not pleasant either because she has all the strong magic and that's why a lot of ponies did not oppose her but once again there was so many things that we could have thought of what may happen if things could have gone differently this was a pretty good story keep up the good work

Perhaps sealing Celestia in the moon imbued it with some of the sun's life giving attributes?

Though I’m a fan of seeing Nightmare Moon AUs, The idea that her rule would be better then Celestia’s had never sat right with it. NM rule seemed to be one of fear, everyone who worked for her like we saw obviously didn’t want to be Theresa you can tell my Rarity’s attitude.

Fun AU, but Celestia’s rule was about elevating ponies to become their best selves. Nightmare was all about elevating herself above others, it’s what originally caused her fall after all.

As for the fic itself, it’s really nice. Characterisation is on point, and it’s always nice to see the aftermath of their major adventures

I was hoping you’d make Twilight delve deeper into some of the implications we saw in that timeline. No one ever seems to write about the why things had gotten to the point where we saw them.

Why was Nightmare Moon ruling from the Everfree castle and not Canterlot?
Why was her capitol surrounded by a hostile Forrest where a normal civilian couldn’t come or go without some kind of escort?
There didn’t seem to be any kind of settlement close the castle as you would normally have with a capitol, the castle was pretty much the only structure not enveloped by the Everfree.
When they do a pan shot over the map table, not only is the table also enveloped by the Forrest implying that the forest had expanded but the map of Equestria shown is vastly different than the other timelines. It even looks worse than the wastelands Equestria in some ways.
The hostility towards dragons, since they are the only creatures that could feasibly survive indefinitely in eternal night. They can eat gemstones so the need form crops or grazing animals is negated.

I like the implications that things are much worse than they seem at first glance but no one ever really goes into them. I like to think that Nightmare Moon has enough power grow food for a small population and that’s why she downsized to the Everfree castle. She only cares about her most loyal subjects and they are overly hostile to any outsiders that are managing to survive in that timeline. We’ve seen twilight is strong enough to grow crops on pure magic so there must be other towns that survived.

You have made things logically darker, that's for sure.

For that matter, Youtube personality Lily Orchard put forth a pretty convincing case that life under Nightmare Moon's rule would be nowhere near as bad as is commonly assumed:

Basically, Nightmare Moon came about because Luna was jealous of ponies appreciating the sun and mostly just sleeping at night. As such, Nightmare Moon would want to be loved, not feared. This doesn't mean that she'd necessarily be fit to rule (nor answer how she's going to keep the food supply going without the sun), but it does mean that she would in fact want the ponies to be happy.

I still agree more with Silver Quill on this point. It's not that things are bad, it's that, as present, Equestria is a bit of a hell world, Faerun from DnD but worse. A few stable nations, but otherwise, wilderness and monsters, such that a group of 'heroes' really can roam the land and win acclaim. Under NMM there is safety, in the same way there is under Celestia, but at the same time, there is no freedom, no drive to better one self, save for what benefits the ruler. She is the top, and no one better ever come near her. Think Beerus from Dragon Ball Super. She's tolerated because of her power, and because when she does move, she helps. Yet, she is not respected or even liked by those beneath her, and it's obvious that, were the power gap not there, or were they not necessary in their role, they would be torn down in a moment.

Oh, and just to link to it, here's Silver's Video


Nightmare Moon smashed the Elements of Harmony in her first appearance. Without them, there's no way to restore the Tree of Harmony, so it will have been killed by the Plundervines. And the Everfree Forest expands in Ponyville's direction when that happens.

I just realized: it might have been nice to see Rainbow Dash's reaction to hearing that her Sombra-timeline self had a prosthetic wing.

It's all speculation one way or another - we never actually saw anything to indicate what life was like for the average pony. Though with Nightmare Moon taking Spike hostage, and her reaction to time travel magic being "No one should have that kind of power except me!", I guess it's not unreasonable to assume that she's not entirely benevolent.

Nightmare Moon didn't do anything to the actual elements - they were spawned from the Mane Six through some friendship magic shenanigans. Or not, in the alternate timelines.

If I recall, there's also the fic The Story of Twilight Glow (written by Jeweled Pen) where Twilight ends up being an earth pony as opposed to being a unicorn, resulting in a lot being different. As a result, Moondancer and her friends end up being failed Elements of Harmony, and Nightmare Moon rules Equestria with an iron hoof, though at the same time, desperately trying to get her ponies to love her.

It's great and moving and pretty dang well written. As well as bringing up the same points that Twilight and friends here just brought up.

Good read! But there is one notion about Nightmare Moon's rule that Twilight may not have considered. One that makes Luna's world's peacefulness even more terrifying.

As suggested by A Hollow in Equestria by Charlie K, Nightmare Moon is still a Dream Walker, capable of entering and altering the dreams of others. What's to say she didn't crush her opposition, even Rainbow's, by either using their dreams to brainwash them, or worse, to torture them endlessly until they gave up literally overnight? All she had to do was catch Rainbow sleeping, then trap her in a nightmare that seemed to never end, torturing her for years and years until she finally gave up...and then Rainbow would wake up one day after it all began, her sanity still intact, but with vivid memories so terrible she couldn't bear to risk going through with it again...and so she joined the enemy.

Alternatively, Rainbow WAS working as a rebel, but posing as a spy among Luna's most prestigious ranks, revelling in the glory she recieved there enough to maintain the ruse until it was time to mount a proper assault.

I played around with a story based on the basic plot of "It's a Wonderful Life", with Discord showing Fluttershy what would happen if she was never born. Without her, the race never occurred, their lives went in a different direction, and Nightmare Moon wins

Twilight fails her magic test, but she loses control of her magic at a later date, and unintentionally injures some ponies. Not wanting to hurt anyone else, she lives in a cave far from anypony else. In her seclusion, she managed to invent Sun Lamps, a special light that brings heat and light, allowing ponies to survive eternal night and even grow food. She sells the patents to two companies, hoping that the competition between them will keep prices affordable.

Pinkie eventually runs away from her home on the rock farm, and her Pinkie Sense attracts the attention of Nightmare Moon. She becomes a royal seer, allowing her to warn Nightmare moon of dangers that have not yet occurred.

Rainbow Dash, since she's the only known adult without a cutie mark, is unable to find work. She crashes at Gilda's place, gets drunk on hard apple cider, and is often passed out on the couch.

Applejack is able to open a successful business in Manehatten, but still worries about her family back in Ponyville. She sends them a check every so often to help keep the farm running, but her coltfriend is trying to convince her to forget about her old life and fully embrace her new one.

Rarity still sells clothes, but she doesn't like the designs. Since ponies are more interested in being able to stay warm and alive, she has to make clothes that are warm, but also boring and drab. Also, without Fluttershy to help them, Sweetie Belle fell victim to a cockatrice, and her statue/memorial is in the back room of the botrique.

We do get to see various hints that Nightmare Moon's rule is rather tyrannical though. They're not as in your face as Chrysallis or Tirek, but they're definitely there.

Take for example Rarity's snobbishness and Rainbow Dash's aggression and contrast these with their usual personalities. Both of them changed significantly under Nightmare Moon's rule, and for the worse. They're lashing out against others, and I would argue this is in no small part this is because they themselves are incredibly frustrated with their own lives and are looking for an outlet.

Then there is the location of the map. It's smack-dab in the middle of Everfree forest, yet we know from the Crystal War timeline that the map spawns where Twilight's castle used to be. What this tells us is that the map didn't move, Ponyville got overrun by the Everfree. Which makes sense, because we know the Elements had to be returned to the Tree of Harmony to stop the Everfree, and we know Nightmare Moon would never do this because she herself tells Twilight that only she should have access to such powers. Nightmare Moon let the Everfree destroy Ponyville for her own convenience.

And speaking of the Everfree, why does Nightmare Moon rule from the Everfree? Yes, granted, so did the Sisters during their dual reign, but one of the best moves Celestia made after Luna's banishment was move the capitol to a far safely reachable location. Nightmare Moon could have easily waltzed into Canterlot and ruled from there. But she didn't, because Everfree Castle was her castle and she would not rule from a palace Celestia established. Even when the Everfree expanded, making it even more dangerous for ponies to reach her castle, she remained ruling from within Everfree. Once more, Nightmare Moon's own desires trump the health and safety of her ponies.

But most damning of all is the reaction of Rainbow Dash and one of the other guards when Spike mentions Celestia. Their flinching back in fear shows that Nightmare Moon rules not by being loved, but by being feared. "Love me, or else."

As an interesting counterpoint:

Twilight Sparkle: Rarity?
Rarity: The castle isn't open for viewings today. The tapestries all need changing. Again.
Spike: Rarity, it's me!
Rarity: I don't socialize with dragons. I don't know anypony who would.
Spike: [whimpers]
Twilight Sparkle: Rarity, you have to listen to me! The future of Equestria's at stake!
Rarity: I don't know how you know my name, but I am far too busy to entertain some tourist's ridiculous fantasies.

It's interesting that Rarity's first assumption when finding strange ponies in the castle is that they're tourists who didn't read the posted tour schedules. Which of course implies that there are tourists, and despotic madmares generally don't have citizens lining up to see their palaces.

You'd be surprised. From the top of my head, places like Russia's mausoleum for Lenin and North Korea's Palace of the Sun are popular tourist attractions.


Yes, and both of those are accessible to the citizenry rather than hidden away in a nightmarish cursed forest. Whatever the disposition of the greater Everfree, Nightmare's château is clearly safe to approach.

Sure, but for a varying definition of safe. We know the Everfree isn't safe enough for casual travel, given how Twilight and Spike got jumped by timberwolves practically the moment they popped out of the time portal, and even on the way back Nightmare Moon had to zap a couple of them to show who's boss. What route exists between Château Nocturnal and the rest of Equestria is likely heavily guarded just to keep it safe enough to travel.

Based on my current rate , in about three months I'll publish a story about just what caused that final time-line where everything is gone. Coincidentally, it involves the same lunar pony you theorized about here.


An interesting assumption you are both making is that its not both.

We all know Stalin was a tyrannical and horrifying leader, who disappeared those who he considered a threat, who caused massive famines and whose actions to minorities in the USSR can best be discribed as "F%#k your communities, I am doing what I consider best for Soviet Unity."

And yet, not only was he loved at the time, according to survey's done of in 2019, 70% of Russians approve of Stalin and his actions. This is across all demographics, the elderly don't remember the fear and the youth either don't believe it, or believe his good actions are more important.

And their are multiple rulers in history who achieve this balance. Niccolo Machiavelli claimed it was near impossible to achieve, but I can think off the top of my head a few leaders who have achieved it. Mostly Communist Leaders, but their are a few democratic leaders who do something similar (In their case, they love you, and fear your opposition.)

Nightmare Moon could easily achieve something like that by stocking up racial tensions between the tribes. IF I was her, I would paint Celestia as a Unicorn Supermist, (Canterlot was mostly Unicorns, she ran a school that catered to Unicorns, etc, etc) who had banished the Batponies from the kingdom (painting the bat ponies as a sympathetic minority that couldn't survive in Celestia's harsh sun, thus justifying the eternal night.) for no justifiable reason, and who abandoned the Crystal Ponies (Seriously, Sombra coming back and getting crushed by her would be big propaganda points) and left the Earth Ponies undefended against the murdering Yak, Wilderbeasts, Dragons and Griffons.

You may even preform False Flag operations and blame the Dragons to emphasis the point.

Then as the final win, you start to reveal to the public expanding Storm King Empire and the fact that Celestia let an ally fall without attempting to fight or even Marshall the royal guard. The Storm king is perfect for Nightmare Moon as its a massive existential threat to the Pony way of life, (Think Communist Propaganda about the Capitalist nations or capitalist propaganda about communists) who Celestia let blindly destroy an ally without aid or intervention (Compare to the anti-Tsarist messaging. Not Propaganda in this case as in both Celestia's and the Tsar's case the ineptitude is clear and accurate) who enslave and murder innocents. (Stopping myself from Godwining here).

If she really wants to go all out, she tricks the Storm King into attacking her, giving her a war to unite the pony's behind her.

At the end of this Propaganda campaign the common ponies see Celestia AT BEST as an kind but completely inept leader who had Nightmare Moon not come along would have led the nation to ruins in a few short years AND who repeatedly betrayed her allies, and some of her little ponies. Nightmare Moon is harsh and scary but these acts are justified by the fact she is saving Equestria.

At worst, Celestia is seen as a racist, who is blind to the struggles outside Canterlot, whose desire to remain in the peaceful age that was most of her rule completely blinded her to the vast geopolitical changes happening around her, to the point that she didn't even bother to investigate the disappearance of a major ally because she didn't want to know, and Nightmare Moon is the only hope the world has for salvation at this point.

Meanwhile those close to Nightmare Moon, understand the truth behind the Purges.

This in fact explains Rarity's racism towards Spike AND her Disdain for tourists. As so close to the throne, she knows more about the reality of her leader, but still has to deal with sycophants on a daily basis, and if she slips up and reveals the truth, she will be disappeared. Meanwhile being so close to the propaganda machine doesn't make her immune to its effects entirely, so she has picked up some of the racism against Dragons.

"Twilight? What...what about Nightmare Moon?"
Rainbow looked over to her childhood friend, gaining a look of realisation. "Oh yeah! I'd almost forgotten about her!"

Princess Luna: "I'm unsure whether I should be relieved or insulted..."

"But...why would we do that? Nightmare Moon was Equestria's enemy! She came back to the world wanting to usurp Celestia and bring eternal night! What pony in their right mind would just go along with that?!" [...]
"Well...maybe...she wasn't a bad ruler?"
"Look, I know this sounds crazy. But out of all the bad realities we went to, and there were a lot...the one Nightmare Moon ruled was the only one where Equestria wasn't in some kind of catastrophe or disarray."

Princess Luna: "Huzza! Even while being evil I was good!"
:twilightsheepish:: "Actually, I didn't say good. I merely said not bad..."
Princess Luna: "Good enough for me."

Nightmare Moon herself was pretty rough with me, I gotta say, but the other ponies?

To be fair, you did say she was an imposter spy.

Good story!
I enjoyed reading it.

But is it really far off from canon though?

Zecora is the easiest example. Other than that pretty much every freaking time they interact with a new race before the movie the immediate first reaction is pretty bad. They have to be pretty much hit with a verbal hammer to not be horrible. Then there was the thing with trying to open the School of Friendship.


Oh yeah! Good points on that! I mean, don't get me started on Neighsay's attitude!!!!! :ajbemused: :twilightangry2: :facehoof:

He did almost start a war from the MANY Non-Pony Races, and badmouthing the Leaders that are already in a bad mood, DOESN'T HELP ANYBODY!!!!!

I'm surprised Celestia didn't punished him severely, or even fired him in canon for this?! Luckily, their are what if/fix fic stories that it does happened! :trollestia:

A great follow-up story to my favorite of the season finales! You brought up some really good points here, definitely giving some food for thought.

I'm sure there are a many stories that explore the implications of the NMM AU and everyone's reaction to what Twilight saw, but this is the one I found, and I like it. :) It remains endlessly fascinating to me that the show writers were emphatically ham-handed with all of the other alternate futures, making it clear that Sonic Rainbow Doesn't Happen = terrible, terrible things... and then there's NMM. She's the only instance where the show doesn't show bad things happening and given how every other instance removed every possible doubt that (insert AU here) is a dark and terrible timeline... I think the viewer is intended to suffer cognitive dissonance between the fact that NMM is evil and her victory is a bad thing, and the fact that she doesn't act like a monster at all. Egotistical, paranoid, petty, but not a monster. In one of the only instances I've ever thought that Lily Peet might possible have a little bit of a point, she theorized that the NMM AU is... not bad. It may even be a little good.

And that possibility, which does not exist in any of the other AUs, fascinates me.

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