• Published 22nd Nov 2022
  • 174 Views, 15 Comments

Of Moon and Stars - Isuvyw



Nightmare Moon is coming back, and it's up to a griffon to stop her.

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Chapter 3: Seek

“Everything ready?” whispered a voice.

“Yes, milord,” answered another. “The Elements are stored in the basement. We’ve covered them with a thaumic-resistant tarp to mask their location.”

“Add another for good measure. We can’t have the princess detecting anything off.”

“But how do we keep her from suspecting?” questioned a third. “You know the princess’ innate connection with those things. She knows when something isn’t right.”

“Relax,” assured the first. “We can make her feel secure. Just reassure her with the power of eloquence.”

“What, you think flowery words will change her mind? Please,” snorted the second.

“Hey, don’t underestimate the tongue,” chided the first. “It is the perfect and most misunderstood tool of the body – I’d say it is a burning fire, capable of kindling an entire forest.”

“Where’s the fuel?” joked the third.

The first shot him a glare before continuing. “She has other pressing matters to attend to – enough that’ll keep her busy. We can take care of the rest.”

“Are you sure the Crystal Province’s unrest is that much of an issue?” doubted the third.

“It has the potential to become one, given their volatile relationship with Equestria. I did poison their ambassador, after all,” boasted the first.

“Well-played. Distraction is such a beauty,” quipped the second.

“Let's just hope she stays beautiful,” snarked the third.

“Anyway, when can we start the fusion process?” asked the first, ignoring the third's comment.

“I’m glad you asked,” smirked the second. He lifted a briefcase from beneath his chair and placed it on the table. The other two leaned in, curious.

“This,” the second explained, “was very hard to obtain. Believe me when I say I paid for it with another life.” The other two looked at each other and smirked.

“Consider it a small sacrifice,” commented the first, motioning for him to continue.

“It’s a complicated formula,” warned the second. “It requires tons of thaumatic energy and acute alertness, because it only takes a small margin of error to destroy the entire process.”

“Well, I wasn’t really the brightest in maths…” mumbled the third.

The second frowned. “Unless you want to wait for the next summer solstice?” he chided.

“No, no. We have to do it now, for there can be no more perfect time,” declared the first. He stood up.

“For too long has Celestia sat on that throne alone, deceitfully thinking she can handle this nation by herself.” He scoffed. “How unfortunate her ministers took advantage of her. Day by day, she overwhelms herself with the petty complaints of her little ponies, while outside her gilded gates are the unanswered cries of a thestral for justice, or a batpony’s desperate pleas for mercy!”

“Do not forget the misery of the Dogs,” added the second voice. “We work fang and bone molding silver and casting gold, yet my brothers still starve and sleep in graves while I lie sleepless in my bed of luxury.” He growled. “I shall never forget the names of every minister who has dismissed my every request for aid!”

“Remember the griffons,” came the third. “For despite our rightful and well-deserved defeat, we will never forget the Rape of the Coast.” He puffed out his chest and stretched his wings. “My blood cries vengeance for the virginity of my sisters!”

The first slammed his hoof against the table. “By all means, let us take this path to see the Diarchy restored! The Princess of the Sun has been blinded enough by her court; we will dispose of them and let her sister rule alongside her, as it was before, and as the Princess of the Night so wanted.” He turned to the diamond dog. “Let us begin the process.”

The dog smiled as he retrieved a large box from behind a curtain. “I do hope you remember your chemistry lessons from school.”

The griffon’s eyes widened when he saw what was inside. “Is that a..?”

“Yes. A thaumatic distillator. One of the finest in the land.” He gently placed the brass and glass instrument on a larger table. “There used to be hundreds of these around Equestria. Now” – he huffed – “there are only five.”

“Well then, we shan’t waste any more time,” responded the thestral as he trotted closer. “Let us begin.”

***

Tarla drank her coffee. Her eighth coffee. Aidan eyed her with a worried glance. “Are you sure you won’t… you know, suffer from caffeine overdose?”

She looked up with a bored look. “You mean die?

Aidan put a hoof behind his head. “Well, I’d rather put it in a nicer way…”

“Nah, don’t care right now. I’ve had a terrible morning. Just let me drown in this rich goodness,” she remarked, before downing the cup.

Aidan reached out and squeezed her talon before she could ask for another. “Please, Tarla. Don’t do this to yourself.” She glared at him, but softened at his firm but gentle gaze. He smiled a little.

“Why do you care so much?” she sulkily asked.

He smiled wider. “Why do you think?”

Tarla’s eyes widened, and so did Aidan’s. Both cut off eye contact and looked for something else to gaze at. Tarla wondered whether the coffee was too warm, or if the weather was a little hotter than usual. Pegasi really know how to heat a griffon’s cheeks, eh?

“You don’t think… ponies are staring at us, do you?” asked Tarla, eyeing the sack of beans on the counter.

“Probably best we just leave like normal creatures,” mumbled Aidan, quickly finishing his cocoa.

“You’re right,” agreed Tarla. With a silent, mutual 1… 2… 3! they trotted out of the cafeteria like normal creatures, trying their very best to hide the blushes beneath their cheeks.

Tarla stayed silent, thinking about Nightmare Moon. Just… why had Princess Celestia told her not to look into it? She thought the princess would be ecstatic about recounting her victories. So why wasn’t she this time?

Maybe the princess wasn’t so willing to share certain details with outsiders. Perhaps Aidan knew some things..?

“Aidan, remember when you told me about Nightmare Moon?” she asked.

“Hmm, yeah,” he answered.

“Anything else you know about her?”

The pony jogged his memory a bit. “Well, I know she was related to Celestia in some way. Can’t remember the exact details.” He glanced at her. “Why?”

She sighed. “I’ve been a little curious about her. I’m sort of… wondering if last night’s event has something to do with her.” She paused in her steps. “The prophecy said the stars would help her, right?”

“Yeah, it does, but…” Aidan hesitated. “It’s just a foal’s story – at least, that’s what I’ve been told.” He frowned. “I do agree, though, that last night was… strange. The best explanation I can think of is some complicated thaumatic disturbance.”

“Yeah, I guess. I only wonder why the princess advised me not to look into it. Well – too much into it.”

Aidan thought for a little while, then sighed. “If you really want some answers, you could go to the… thestral quarters.”

Tarla fixed a puzzled look. “Thestral? What’s that?”

Aidan said nothing for a while. Or maybe, he was thinking of what to say.

“Well,” he began, “they’re basically dark-colored ponies with leather wings and fangs. It’s almost like… a bat mixed with a pony.”

Tarla raised an eyebrow. “That’s… ok, that’s fine, but, why are you like– wait, are they bad creatures?” she questioned.

Aidan racked his brain for a suitable answer. “Well, not really, I guess?” he answered with a nervous grin. He wiped it off and sighed. “It’s just that… we have a low opinion of them. A… very low one.”

“Basically, how almost every pony treats griffons?” Tarla responded with a low voice. Aidan slowly nodded, cringing inside. “I… Please don’t be mad at me,” he whispered.

Tarla raised a brow. “For what?”

He gritted his teeth. “Well, I… I’m… Look, it’s not like I hate them, but, it’s just that I was raised to see them in that light.” He sighed. “Now… reminding me how ponies treat griffons – treat you – it… it makes me feel stupid.” He gazed down. “I’m sorry.”

Tarla pulled him into a corridor. Making sure nopony was there to watch, she wrapped a wing around the stallion and leaned close. “Hey, of all the ponies in this world, you treat me the best.” She smiled a little. “You don’t see me as some… enemy or some liability. You see me as a friend” – And hopefully much more, whispered her heart – “and I’m glad for that.” She brought the other wing around and embraced him.

“I’m sure you can do the same with these ‘thestrals’.”

Aidan sighed and buried his head in her chest. “Thanks, Tarla.” She giggled, then slapped him hard. He yelped in pain as the griffoness moved away. “Quick, before somepony sees us!” she hissed, before quickly trotting out of the corridor.

She ruminated on the issue. Thestrals… half-pony half-bat, eh?

Both words in the same sentence sounded kinda weird (well, she refused to admit that “lion” and “bird” made as little sense), but she knew “bat” equaled “night.” And right now, she needed some answers about last night – perhaps they knew much more about the moon than the rest of ponykind?

Yup, she was definitely gonna see these creatures. Perhaps her question could be answered. Besides, curiosity had sparked – now she really wanted to see what a half-pony, half-bat creature looked like.

She turned to Aidan, who’d caught up to her, his cheek smarting red. She giggled. “Could you run along and get me a parchment? I’ll need to take some notes.”

Author's Note:

Looking at the time and date, and with a busy schedule, I might not make it in time for the deadline. However, I'm trying my best to get as much out. I'll work on this until it's time's up.

Comments ( 7 )

Tarla raised an eyebrow. “That’s… ok, that’s fine, but, why are you like– wait, are they bad creatures?” she questioned.

Well, they're at least jilted creatures, if the ongoing conspiracy we the readers have been made privy to has anything to say about it...or at least they think they're jilted...

Hmm, pacing is definitely on the slow side so far; there's a lot of talk from the characters, setting up prejudice and distrust themes, and it is very much feeling like it'll build to a bloody affair, but not much is really happening. I would've expected things to kick off by chapter 3 for sure.
And...at this point, I'm rather worried this won't be completed in time for the contest deadline.

11436617
Well, I figured it as much. I guess I'll just have to let it be disqualified :fluttershbad:

Hopefully next time I can make it.

Hmmm. Interesting stuff. Non-pony Elements? I'll read it. Hopefully it will be completed.

It's a real shame this wasn't finished in time for the contest, but I am certainly intrigued by the premise so far, and would love to see it finished. There's so many questions about this world setting and characters you've raised in the first few chapters that I'm interested to see how they pan out.

11437264
Well, are you going to finish it at least? Nice start, would be a shame if it just DIED now.

11464697
Well...

I really wanted to give up on this story, but... seeing you guys wanting more is now making me reconsider. Part of the reason I didn't want to continue is because it was written in a rush. I had little time to properly think the structure and all, since the contest deadline was approaching fast.

Well, I guess I'll give it a go.

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