• Published 7th Oct 2012
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A Nightmares return - Befram



During the changeling invasion exactly where was Luna, and what could haves stopped her from helping?

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Passing out responsibility

Her hooves laid out on the desk, Breeze whistled a tune to herself, warily eyeing the piles of paperwork in front of her. She had come up with two theories during her time as captain; the first one involved the reports breeding right under her nose. The second one being that the castle employed ninjas, sneaking right past the guards while she was away and increasing the piles. Of course there was also a third one coming to think of it.

“Hey, you two out there!”

Opening the door, Breeze blinked in surprise, two expressionless guards entered, clad in the golden armor of the royal guard.

“Hey isn’t the night guard meant to keep watch out there? I’m sure I asked some to be sent for when I saw you two out there before.”

“Yes ma’am, we were told no guards were available. They all needed rest from their duties last night.”

“What, all of them?” She raised her eyebrows, and then shrugged. “I check that out later. Now, you didn’t let anypony in with these papers while I was away did you?”

“We did.”They said, absolutely no hesitation in exclaiming the vile truth.

“Get out and leave me alone,” she growled, waiting for the door to close before she reached for the papers. “Good grief, sure am glad I’m no longer one of them.” She muttered, scrambling on her desk to retrieve the reports from last night, setting her hooves back up once accomplished, reading the report any leftover thoughts of vile betrayal left her mind.

“What the, where did this order come from?”

Suddenly the door burst open, “I said leave me alone!” She roared, casting a furious glare at the offender. Her fury quickly changing to shock, throwing her hooves from the desk she knocked the rest of the paperwork down in her haste, toppling over her chair. Rubbing her head a shadow fell on her, looking up she saw Luna leaning over the desk, glaring.

“Get up Captain,” she said coldly, setting herself in the chair across the desk while Breeze got up.

Her heart started beating even faster when Luna levitated all the papers together, going through them with a speed Breeze only dreamed of. For every piece of paper read Luna’s eyes narrowed further.

“Look princess, I know this looks bad but-“

“Enough Captain, I am not angry at all these leftover reports. Annoyed, yes, however it is my fault for neglecting to assign you a helper to assist you. What I am angry about is something else entirely.”

Putting down the papers she locked eyes with Breeze. “Why did you not tell me that my sister went to you and ordered away all my guards, I expected you to be capable to tell me that. While I can easily defend myself I do find it disconcerting, both to find my guards have left me without my consent, and not being aware of these orders. Now, an explanation.”

“Wait, wait… Wait just one second.” Breeze waved her hooves in front of her, “Wait. You mean it was Celestia ordering out all my guards last night? Cause I sure didn’t, nor was I told of this. I had to read a report to find it out! All I told her when she came in yesterday was that she could have those not doing anything important right then. I sure didn’t tell her to take away every guard under my command on active duty!” Breeze slammed her hoof on the desk, sending the papers scuttling for the floor again. Looking between Luna and her hoof she retracted it, smiling awkwardly.

“But, no offense meant against her of course”

“… I’m sure she would take none, it seems I was misguided. It seems the guards themselves are to blame for moving out.” She replied tersely after having scooped up the papers again, turning back for the door.

“Eh, princess should I tell them not to go out tonight, recall Celestias order?” Breeze felt a nervous itch coming on, didn’t all this seem awfully similar to the old Nightmare Moon bedtime stories she been told as a filly?

Luna merely shook her head. “No, if there is a threat they need to be out, if we recall a single one of them it will just make us seem like the villains if something goes awry. Now, I was on my way to promote our latest batch of recruits, you may accompany me if you wish.”

All too happy to skip her paperwork Breeze fell in line with Luna, walking together in silence, the weight of future paperwork weighing on Breezes mind while Luna, well who knew what she was thinking about.

Reaching Breeze knew very well they began their ascent, she noted as always how the torches disappeared the further up they went. But instead of the darkness one would expect a soft glow lighted their way, enough for her enchanted sight to see every detail just as well if the torches had been there. Finishing the staircase, the pair found themselves in one of the spires towering high above the rest of Canterlot.

The stone around them were at spots draped over with dark cloth, the windows on Luna’s decree to be covered up until nightfall. The door on the other hand was in full display, the stony surface painted dark blue, a shade away from night black, with a brilliant full moon carved into the stone glowing slightly. All these changes hadn’t existed before Luna came, yet nopony had seen any workers enter, one of the many mysterious surrounding her.

Stepping up to the door Luna’s horn began to glow and with a slow, ominous creak the door swung open.

“Should I get some oil after this?” Breeze whispered.

“No” Luna responded striding in, struggling to contain her smirk Breeze followed, sometimes even a mysterious princess was easy to read.

Once inside the door slammed shut, leaving them in complete, utter darkness, the moon symbol giving of no light on this side.

Yet Luna’s enchantment couldn’t be denied, waiting for her eyed to adjust, Breeze eventually managed to make out the shape of fifteen ponies. All of them getting up on their hooves, whispering between themselves.

Slamming her hoof down, instantly silencing the whispers, Luna surveyed the ponies, waiting until the last echo had faded away.

“There will be no glorious ceremonies, nor any celebrations in this room. You been left here in utter darkness for one day and night, not much some of you may say, while others might resent me for it. However this is the life you are about to take up. Your duty will be to serve in the dark and against it, it will be hard, I won’t lie. There will be pain and fear the moment you accept your armor so if anypony have any second thoughts, leave now.”

Waiting for several moments nopony moved, unseen by anypony except Breeze, Luna’s shoulders sagged in relief, the comparison of a nervous mare waiting for her confessions reaction crossed her mind.

“You have my gratitude, come.” Her horn lighted up, bathing the room in its soft glow, illuminating carvings of past events. One after another the carvings light up, Celestia and Luna ruling together, the banishment of discord by the elements of harmony and the redemption of Luna. The carvings spiraling higher and higher, each one glowing in turn until at the utmost top the shape of three ponies appeared, unicorn, pegasus and earth pony all standing together, wearing the armor of the night guard.

The recruits slowly stumbled forwards, shielding their eyes from the sudden light while doing their best to take in the sight. Breeze couldn’t help but smile despite the severity of the situation as she too admired the walls. She must have looked just as ridiculous when it was she standing before Luna, except she had been alone at the time. Ah, how things change she thought as the last recruit got into line.

Fifteen ponies of different origin standing before them, all wearing an unadorned steel plate, except for a small moon inscribed into it marking them as recruits of the night guard. Her smile fell at the reminder, there was nothing funny in what was about to transpire.

“I will now enchant your armor, giving you the benefits that come along with it when worn. When I have done so you will be forever pledged into my service, until the day you would pass away or I free you from this duty.”

Coughing loudly, sixteen heads turned towards her, she ignored the irritated look one gave her. “Actually you will all be free to quit whenever you want, as long you turn over your armor of course. Sorry princess, got to remember there are different rules nowadays,” she shrugged.

“Times have changed, yet some things are meant to return.” Without warning the previous soft glow erupted into a storm of brilliant, silvery light.

Shielding her eyes Breeze could make out fifteen dark tendrils of pure night coming out of Luna’s horn, snaking their way towards the recruits. Some shied away, others stood completely still but to their credit nopony ran away.

Eventually the tendrils reached each pony, encircling their armor, leaving behind trails of dark sparks in their wake.

After several minutes of this, each recruit straining to stand completely still, the tendrils reared up and dived into the recruits’ armor, disappearing inside. On cue each of the recruits cried out, their armor beginning to darken and the metal starting to change shape, melding into the proper night guard version. A change that went unnoticed by the recruits as they screamed out as one.

Breeze winced at the memory as she watched them all cringe, the magic forcibly molding their bodies, the earth ponies and unicorns clutching their eyes, some hitting them repetitively while others banged their heads desperately at the floor, crying out even louder as their eyes began to change from their previous pony shape to snake like slits.

The pegasi had it the worst, they threw themselves all around the floor, like dogs gone mad. One second clutching their eyes only for the next second to clutch their wings, somehow screaming even louder as their feathers dropped one after another, the dark sparks turning the previous soft flesh into leathery membrane.

Rubbing her own bat like wings Breeze waited, and after a few minutes the last scream had died out, the former recruits only punctuating the silence with the occasional sob or wince. After a few moments some of them dragged themselves up, staring with widened eyes at ponies they never seen before.

“Rise.” At the sound of her voice the last stragglers got up, Breeze didn’t fail to miss the hasty eye rubbing that happened beforehand.

“That pain is the burden you bear, I expect you to be the shield between Equestria and its foes. You have experienced the pain that comes with it, that is what you are protecting Equestria against. And to answer your question, no, you will not feel any pain when you remove or adorn your armor. This is just a separate occurrence. Now report to your barracks, or the sickbay for any self inflicted injuries, those of you able to will take up patrol duty tonight. Dismissed.”

Magically opening the door she and Breeze parted away, leaving a clear line for the guards. Raising her hoof in salute Breeze cast a meaningful look at Luna who raised hers in an identical position. The recruits’ pain lined faces shined up at the gesture, their chests puffing out and their steps gaining purpose until the door closed behind the last of them.

Turning to Luna, Breeze gave her a hearty clap on the shoulder which to her surprise sent Luna staggering. First now she noticed the beads of sweat dripping from Luna, panting slightly the alicorn wiped it of her face.

“Don’t worry captain, its mere exhaustion. The magic I cast is not an easy one, even for me. But we need the soldiers.” She whispered before Breeze could say anything. “Now you can return to your other duties, I will find a suitable helper for you when I can, I trust you to go sort out your remaining paperwork.” The light in the room retracted towards Luna, the carvings dulling as their light joined the rest, binding itself around her and then she was gone, the whole event taking less than a second.

Shrugging, Breeze went for the closed door and began pushing; looking up in annoyance she took a wider stance, straining her limbs against the obstacle to no avail.

Stopping, she scanned the entirety of the room, a round chamber which she could barely see in now, just enough for her to know one important fact, no windows. Giving the door another inspection she scratched her head and sighed. “Well, this day has been going well so far.”

_______________________________________________________________________

Frowning at the pink alicorn in front of her, from every pink detail to the ridiculous small crown and chest armor she wore. Chrysalis turned away from the mirror, a frown plastered on the face of Princess Cadence.

The room was filled with everything from flowers, cakes, cookies and mannequins. Everything one needed for a wedding, all painstakingly created and brought to her by those horrible six ponies.

The memories of the day she had spent played out before her, from eating disgusting sweets made by that farmer, to listening to that arrogant fashion designer, and the pink pony. Crazy pink reality altering pony she corrected herself. The mere memory of that one gave her such a headache she sat down on the bed. Still that one wasn’t the worst of her problems, once walked away from she was gone unlike somepony else.

“Why isn’t she here yet?” She winced at the sudden noise bouncing inside her head.

“Oh be quiet and wait. I don’t need her to get suspicious about why her niece is talking to herself. Are you really sure you can take control of her? I have no trouble controlling you after all.” Chrysalis growled at the invasive voice. Ever since she had saved Nightmare moon from the ruins in the Everfree the spirit had quickly regained her intelligence, she suspected by somehow slightly leeching of her own power despite her precautions.

And that wasn’t the only problem. Levitating a pillow at random she frowned at the green aura surrounding it, her shape shifting should mask the true color of her magic, but no longer.

“A foreign body and my own are two completely different matters. You would have known this if you’d just let me retake her last night.”

“Don’t test my patience Nightmare, just do as you’re told and we both get what we want.”

“And after that?”

Studying her hoof the pause continued for several moments. “After that we will reconsider our positions.”

“Trust me I will…” the grating presence in her head faded temporarily, along with the ill hidden threat, signaling that at least for now the alicorn was done speaking. Without saying it they both knew that the second Nightmare Moon regained her freedom she would attempt to establish her eternal night once more.

Walking over to the window, giving Chrysalis an amazingly clear view of the entire city, together with that foul barrier she smiled at the thought of the crazed alicorn believing she would pose a threat.

Closing her eyes she felt the magic ripple through her, connecting her to one of her officers. Opening her subject’s eyes the serene view of Canterlot was replaced by the cold, damp refuge of a cave. She urged her commander to shift gaze to the back of the cave, obligating her impulse a huge giant wave of living darkness appeared. Urging him to light up his horn he obliged once more, the light reflecting on the carcasses of the wave, showing it to be an army of changelings pressed together in the cramp confines of the cave, ever shifting and pulsating as they moved around. Yes, that should be enough.

Severing the connection between herself and her officer, Chrysalis returned to her own body just in time to hear somepony knocking. Hadn’t she said she was not to be disturbed?

“Cadence, it’s Luna. May I enter?” Ah, that would explain it.

She couldn’t help but shake her head at the idea of someone of Luna’s power asking for permission. “Please come in aunt.”

Watching the regal alicorn take a few uncertain steps inside she mentally rolled her eyes; pony society was so different from her own. To imagine royalty showing uncertainty in front of what in essence was their lesser, princess or not Cadence wore nothing more than a glorified title when standing beneath the shadow of Celestia and Luna.

“Aunt Luna, I’m so glad you could come, do you want the servants to fetch something? You look tired” Luna’s eyes were sagging, and she had already suppressed several yawns from entering

Sighing she sat down next to Cadence, not far enough to be insulting but neither was she close to her by any means.

“I’m sorry but I been forced to settle some issues today, my duties left me more drained than I imagined.”

“Really? What could leave you so tired, surely you and Aunt Celestia haven’t had a fight?” She laughed, not failing to notice the hardened line of Luna’s mouth or her tensed up position, interesting.

Sighing Luna relaxed, rubbing her eyes. “My sister and I have our differences but that’s between us. It’s the night guard. I have promoted fifteen new recruits, meaning that I had to imbue their armor. It’s a taxing experience to change a pony’s appearance and enchant their senses, but I should have recovered by nightfall.”

“I understand.” She replied calmly, internally screaming. This was her chance; she wouldn’t have a weakened Luna alone like this again before tomorrow.

Reaching out with a hoof for a friendly tap at the shoulder Lunas eyes widened in alarm as she practically flew out from the bed, away from Chrysalis grasping hoof.

“Cadence, what?” She appeared as surprised by her reaction as Chrysalis.

That idiot! First now she felt the alicorns power struggling to break out of her hold, spreading a chill to her very bones. Luna must have unconsciously felt the remnants of Nightmare moon and jumped away.

“Cadence, I think we should go to my sister and talk, something is wrong here.” Alright perhaps she was wrong, Luna might be very conscious of what she had evaded.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s nothing wrong.” She said edging closer, reaching out for Luna only for the shadows around the alicorn to condescend and slap her hoof away.

“Don’t move an inch Cadence, in this I will not be denied. Exactly what is going on here?” Her eyes began turning white, her horn turning azure with awakened power.

Flinching at the power displayed Chrysalis rallied, taking one more step forward, head hung low. “Auntie, don’t you trust me?” She said, faking her best hurt expression as she struggled to contain the spirit inside.

“By the moon, your eyes.”

Swinging her head to the mirror Chrysalis starred aghast, her eyes had returned to their original emerald color, and already she could see the fire every changeling used to transform gnawing at the tip of her tail. The internal struggle of keeping Nightmare Moon in bounds had now somehow disturbed her very most basic power.

Already she could see Luna readying herself. The pressure in the room increasing as her full might was prepared, but she had one last card to play.

Concentrating her magic the fire spread out from her tail, overtaking the rest of her body, the crackle of the blaze accompanied by Lunas startled cry. Stepping out of the inferno that had held her Chrysalis towered above Luna, flaring out her wide white wings, she watched the alicorn with a face of deepest disappointment.

“Planning to hurt your own family? I am so disappointed Luna, I wish you never returned.”

“Wha, Celestia? No, no I’m not like that!” She cried out, her widened eyes turning back into teal, the magic at the tip of her horn disappearing while she begun backing away towards the door, the image of her sister following.

“So disappointed”

“But you’re-“ With a jump Chrysalis pinned down Luna and held her, the princess of the night too shocked to be attacked by her own sister to retaliate for a moment, which was all she needed.

“Now” she hissed and for the first time Nightmare Moon obliged her words. Out from her hoofs a thick, dark, fog like substance came out, traveling down toeards Luna and passing right through her skin. Crying out, Chrysalis pressed her leg against Luna’s mouth, struggling to keep her pinned down. The alicorns eyes bulged out, her entire body going into spasms, hitting Chrysalis with several kicks. Gritting through the pain she endured her grip until the last essence of Nightmare moon had entered her and with a last shivering breath Luna passed out.

Staggering back, clutching her stomach, Chrysalis revealed in the sensation of heat rushing back to that cold core Nightmare Moon had been residing at.

Seeing Lunas eyes fluttering she quickly changed back into the form of Cadence, just in time as Luna opened her eyes seconds later, awkwardly getting up on her feet. Still in shock, or perhaps not used to having a body to control any longer. Was this truly Luna she was looking at now, and if it was would she remember what happened seconds ago?

“Ugh, Why am I on the floor? And is it merely me or has it gotten chilly?” She said surprised, which Chrysalis was sure she was. For the being meant to dominion the cold night itself it must be a surprising sensation.

“You fainted Aunt, perhaps you should go and rest for now? You must have overexerted yourself with your guards today, we can talk after the wedding.” Placing a hoof on Luna’s shoulder the alicorn flinched but relaxed shortly afterwards, now that the presence of Nightmare Moon was no longer inside Chrysalis she felt nothing.

“Perhaps you’re right, still it’s strange that I would faint. Perhaps I am still weaker than I thought; we have to meet another day Cadence. I had hoped to talk with you properly before the wedding tomorrow but that obviously have to wait, I wish you a pleasant day.” Without waiting for a response Luna left the room, the last glimpse of her Chrysalis could catch before the door closed was of her shivering.

Alone again Chrysalis dropped down on the bed with a long sigh of relief, recalling just how close that had been, if Luna had remembered anything she would have been done for. Now all she had to do was hope that Nightmare Moon could hinder Luna from attending the wedding tomorrow, and Celestia… She would have to improvise that one she thought with a frown. Yet she’d have an army of changelings backing her up, but the ponies had their own forces.

“Of course, I have other means” she mumbled as the familiar sensation of her newly acquired servant approaching entered her mind, knocking and opening the door she didn’t even need to look at him. No proper red uniform or blue mane was needed for her to know who it was.

Stalking towards she softly stroked his mane, “Ah, my husband, came for me to cure your headache again?” Without waiting for an answer an emerald glow enveloped her horn, she watched with pleasure as her spell enveloped the head of Shining Armor.

“You know dear I believe you need another pet name, one that shows exactly what you mean to me. Don’t you think so, my little battery?”

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