• Published 28th Oct 2012
  • 2,661 Views, 108 Comments

What The Night Remembers - TCSNxs



After a successful festival for Nightmare Night, Luna comes to terms with a pony she feels a longing for, both in the past and in the present. What happens when she realizes she isn't just waxing nostalgia?

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1. Remember The Night

What The Night Remembers
By: TCSNxs

Chapter One
Remember The Night

It's often been said the night holds a magic all its own.
Being the realm of dreams, shadows and mystery, it behooves
a pony to understand its meanings. Through the meandering
understanding of its shadows and symbols, we may gain
greater insight into the more magical side of the life we live.
~ Excerpt from Starswirl's "Serenade: Divinations By Moonlight

Discord went down to Appleloosa,

he was looking for a soul to steal.

He was in a bind 'cos he was way behind

and he was willin' to make a deal.

When he came across this young mare

sawin' on a cello and playin' it hot.

And Discord jumped upon a hickory stump

and said, "Filly let me tell you what”

The band on the large stage started their last musical number, further enthralling the mass of costumed ponies around it. This was the second Nightmare Night since Luna first graced Ponyville’s festival and had promised to return. Of course, the annual festival grew once it had gotten the tacit “royal sanction.” Such things tended to draw ponies from all over Equestria. Luna anticipated it and helped the town prepare.

With the moon in full glory overhead, Princess Luna, dressed as a Prench Maid of all things, was stomping to the music along with Applejack while an impromptu hoe down gathered pace in front of the stage. Getting Charlie Maneniels and his band wasn’t cheap, but royal allowances had that effect. Getting Applejack in a similar outfit, on a dare from her brother, required a lot more coaxing.

"I guess you didn't know it,

but I'm a string player too.

And if you'd care to take a dare,

I'll make a bet with you.”

"Now you play a pretty good cello, filly,

but give Discord his due:

I bet a cello of gold against your soul,

'cos I think I'm better than you."

A light grey earth pony stood up, drawing the attention the audience. Her purple eyes were sparkling with confidence as Maneniels deferred to the famous Octavia. She braced the large instrument as she spoke into the mic,

The mare said, "My name's Octy

and it might be a sin,

But I'll take your bet, you're gonna regret,

'cos I'm the best that's ever been!"

Luna looked around at the ponies who had done so much for her, even offered her their friendship, and felt her pride swell. Luna looked to Applejack, “How do you like the night, Applejack?”

The farmer turned to Luna with a big grin. Her Prench Maid costume seemed an odd choice, but Luna had to admit that it worked well for her, “Mighty fine job, Princ...Luna. Mighty fine!”

Luna smirked. She and the Elements were long past formalities, though there was the occasional slip. Her eyes sparkled, "You know, fair Applejack, I have need of another maid for my wing of the castle."

"Thanks all the same, but Ah'm happy where Ah'm at," Applejack replied with a smirk.

"I could make it a Royal Sanction."

"Ah could buck ya in the teeth," Applejack shot back, keeping her smirk. Luna let the matter drop as she resumed stomping to the beat to the music. Maneniels and Octavia both crooned into their microphones at that moment.

“Octy, rosin up your bow and play your cello hard.

'Cos all hay broke loose in Appleloos’ and Discord deals the cards.

And if you win you get this shiny cello made of gold.

But if you lose, Discord gets your soul.”

Celestia made an appearance this year as well, though it took Luna a lot of hooftwisting to get her sister there. The Solar Regent was dancing up front in the impromptu hoe down with her prized student, along with Pinkie and Rarity. Luna looked up and spotted Rainbow hovering along side Wonderbolts members Soarin’ and Spitfire while doing something of a jig herself, though it were probably involuntarily. Maneniels voice continued to enthrall the crowd.

Discord opened up his case

and he said, "I'll start this show."

And fire flew from his clawtips

as he rosined up his bow.

And he pulled the bow across the strings

and it made an evil hiss!

And a band of demons joined in

and it sounded something like this.

As Maneniels and the band on stage broke into a heavier, darker tone in their music, Luna happened to spot Fluttershy a comfortable distance away from the crowd with Angel Bunny giving a look of supreme indifference. The Lunar Regent supposed it was an accomplishment to even get the shy pegasus anywhere close to the festivities, so she took some satisfaction in that. A few of the Lunar Guard were also in various areas, keeping their slit irises over the gathered ponies. Luna made a promise to Mayor Mare to keep things in check, and her beloved Lunar Guard fit the atmosphere much better then the Royal Guards of Celestia's hire.

In truth, she expected little to happen. Between the Elements of Harmony, her sister and herself, even Tirek would be hard pressed to cause any sort of fracas that evening. However, given the small town’s propensity for disaster, she wouldn’t take any chances. The heavier set finished as Octavia moved to the mic, as if challenging the legendary singer.

When the Devil finished, Octy said,

"Well, you're pretty good ol' son.

But sit down in that chair right there

and let me show you how it's done."

Maneniels grinned as he stepped back while his band took the cellist's lead. The tone of the song immediately grew lighter as she sang. It was rumored that the fiery cellist practiced months for this part.

“Fire on the mountain, run colts, run.

Discord's in the house of the risin' sun.

Chicken in the bread pan, pickin' out dough.

"Granny, does your dog bite?"

"No, my foal, no."

Octavia's instrumental solo that electrified the ponies in attendance. Indeed, the entire night had gone well. Luna had worked multiple personal angles to give each of her friends a gift of sorts.

Twilight and Celestia spent a fair majority of the night just talking, away from prying eyes and royal obligations. Pinkie, with some help from Luna’s majordomo, organized most of the evening’s events, cementing her reputation as Ponyville’s, and maybe Equestria’s, premier party planner. Rarity designed the costumes for the royal sisters, which would make her boutique a name as far away as Manehattan. Dash would get her chance to perform with the Wonderbolts, even if it were a small display, and hang with two members of the team in the process.

Applejack catered most of the evening’s delightful sweets, which would be a long term boon for the farm. Even Fluttershy got to see the show, thanks to Luna solving all her excuses. Though Luna didn’t want pictures of her beloved (and fearsome looking) Lunar Guard chasing baby bunnies to appear in the “National Equestrian”, it was a risk she was willing to take. Maneniels and Octavia were moving towards the finish of their duet.

Discord bowed his head because

he knew that he just lost.

And he laid that golden cello

on the ground at Octy's hoofs.

Octy said, "Discord, just come on back

if you ever wanna try again.

'Cause I've told you once, you son of a gun,

I'm the best there's ever been!"

Indeed, she worked hard to ensure that this Nightmare Night wouldn’t end in near disaster as her first one did. The song was approaching the end as she snapped back from her reverie. Luna’s horn glowed softly, urging the moon to shine all the brighter as the two performers sang in unison.

And she played "Fire on the mountain, run colts run.

Discord’s in the house of the risin' sun.

Chicken in the bread pan, now they're pickin' out dough.

"Granny, will your dog bite?"

"No, my foal, no."

As the song ended in the usual hard fashion for a Maneniels composition, fireworks were shooting up and outward from the stage. Sparks showered the sky above the stage as Octavia and Maneniels both bowed along with the band. Ponies rabidly stomped their approval as two blue streaks, trailing colorful sparks and smoke, soared in an arc over the stage. Dash hit her cue perfectly, streaking upward before releasing a Sonic Rainboom. The mass of ponies stomped all the harder as the fireworks continued on for another few minutes. Luna was beaming with pride. The night had gone flawlessly.

“Mighty fine, Luna,” Applejack spoke up as she smiled and nodded at the princess.

“Indeed, my friend,” Luna couldn’t hide her grin. Not that she could lie to the Element of Honesty anyway, “Indeed.”

~(o)~

The afterparty at Sweet Apple Acres turned into something of a bacchanal. Luna watched it with innocent detachment. Applejack lent the friends the use of her barn for the soiree. She and Macintosh spent some time clearing it out and prepping it, setting up a few tables and even a makeshift bar. An old gramophone had been playing some Rockafilly albums with charming flair and barrels of hard cider were setup in the back of the bar.

Octavia and Charlie were discussing more collaborations off in a corner, with Vinyl Scratch promising to mix the record. Vinyl and Octavia were hanging on each other in a very familiar fashion that Luna didn’t miss. Celestia and Twilight were still talking about whatever subjects happened across their lips while Pinkie, Rainbow Dash, Spitfire and Soarin’ were within earshot of the duo. They seemingly created a drinking game out of the teacher and student's conversation. Luna willed her magic into being, manifesting a spell designed to amplify the sounds and sights of a location she wished within line-of-sight. The only downside was it brought the rest of the world out of focus, but it still had its uses.

“But Princess, doesn’t amniomorphic magic,” Twilight asked as Dash, Pinkie, Soarin' and Spitfire all took a slug of cider, “usually require a pony to change their physiology?”

“No, my faithful student,” Celestia smiled warmly to Twilight as the drinking ponies took a longer draw, “its only the illusion of morphing. It does have it’s uses though. The magic,” another slug was had by the four eavesdroppers, “can be used for a number of different reasons without harm to the pony casting it. The next time you are in Canterlot, I shall show you.” The Solar Regent finished with a wistful grin.

“Really,” Twilight’s glazed eyes betrayed her gleeful expression as she sipped her cider.

Celestia took note of something before continuing, “In fact, my faithful student *long slug*, I will give you access to Star Swirl’s magical *slug* compendiums, so your resources on magic *slug* won’t be dried up. My faithful student,” Celestia finished pointedly. She glared at the four ponies, whose empty mugs far exceeded the full ones, were finishing another long draw. Her suspicions were confirmed.

“Oh Dashie,” Pinkie said to her pranking pal, “My tummy is all warm and my head is all swimmy-whimmy.” She hiccuped and somehow streamers flew out of her mouth along with a honking noise.

“Yeah,” Dash spoke as she were having problems keeping her head still, “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.”

Soarin’s head hit the table with a groan while Spitfire leaned into Rainbow, “Dashie, you're cute. You know that?”

The Captain of the Wonderbolts giggled like a school filly with the smell of cider heavy on her breath. Rainbow turned to Spitfire, who’s orange eyes twinkled in the soft light of the barn. Dash looked longingly to her and even started pressing forward before Celestia pointedly interrupted them. The rules of the game were always to be abided and none of those ponies would admit defeat. Three because of their competitive natures and Pinkie just because it was a party game.

“Now, my faithful student *long slug*, did you have any other inquiries about magic *slug* or magic *slug* related topics? I can do this all night, my faithful student. *long slug* In fact, my faithful student *long slug*, the night has been so magical *slug* that I could discuss all things magical *slug* for an eternity.” Celestia kept a pointed glare at the eavesdroppers. Twilight, feeling a little fuzzy herself and apparently missing the point of Celestia’s pointed word dropping, just nuzzled her teacher.

Soarin's face took on an unnatural shade of green, while Dash and Spitfire fell into each other. Pinkie looked at the three pegasi, suddenly remembering the rules of the game.

"I win!" she chirped. Suddenly, her tummy felt a little too warm. "Oh pickles!" was the only cry before a pink streak weaved to find a bathroom.

Luna smirked at her sister as she let her magic go. And ponies wonder where she got it from. She spotted Rarity and Fluttershy were near the makeshift bar. As the two mares were nursing mugs of cider, Fluttershy seemed more animated than at any point since Luna met her. Curious, Luna called forth her magic again.

“So anyway I was wondering have you had a chance to try the new Trotsdam technique from Aloe and Lotus? Oh it's so wonderful because it makes your back feel like jelly. I wonder if Angel or Twilight would come with us. Do bunnies like massages? You know it’s funny because you would think that I would know that, but I don’t oddly enough. Do you think Macintosh would come with us to the spa? I would pay so many bits to rub down that flank,” Fluttershy said rapid-fired without pausing to breathe. Her normally gentle eyes were somewhere between mirth and full-on possession.

Rarity simply hovered her cider with her with a bemused look on her face, ”Indeed, dear. I bet many a mare would pay handsomely for a piece of that Apple.” She glanced to snoring Angel Bunny, who was splayed on the bar, a shot glass and a half empty mini-bottle of Carrot Vodka next to it.

"You know,” Fluttershy continued, “I bet all of Ponyville would to, but I would be so sad if anypony else touched him,” Fluttershy took a quick drink of her cider, spying the giant farm pony nursing a cider of his own off in a corner. Something clicked in her brain as her look shifted from mirth to predation, “Excuse me a moment, Rarity.”

Rarity moved to a full blown grin, “Of course, dear.”

Fluttershy weaved her way through the small crowd of ponies, somehow making her way towards the corner where Macintosh parked himself. “Hey...Hi Big Mac,” Fluttershy spoke in her most sultry voice, “How are you?” She gave the stallion a devastating flutter of her eyelashes.

Mac, breaking himself out of his pondering daze, gave the yellow pegasus a casual smile, “Ah’m good, Miss Fluttershy. How abou”

Fluttershy cut him off with a sudden press of her lips with an audible “Mmm...” . Rarity put a hoof to her face, trying not to laugh. A part of her figured they’d both regret it in the morning, but she made no move to stop her friend as one of them had to break the ice. Rarity, being the friend she was, was already mapping out possible plans to guide them forward. Mac, normally a shy and chivalrous stallion, didn’t seem to object too much as he closed his eyes.

Luna’s horn grew still as she had to stifle her own giggle. Indeed, though she were privy to many things, she would let ponies have their privacy. She glanced around, looking for her remaining friend. However, Applejack was nowhere to be seen.

Luna quietly excused herself from the party. Fluttershy and Mac were still off in the corner preparing tomorrow’s regret. Celestia and Twilight were giggling as Pinkie pronked her way into a distracted Rarity. The Wonderbolts and the aspirant Dash were left in dreamland. The trio of musicians were still debating if Dubstep and Country could actually mix. Maneniels cited the “Oil and Water” argument, to which Vinyl counter attacked with the “Peanut and Jelly” maxim. Octavia gave her DJ marefriend a peck on the cheek. Apparently Vinyl was so cute when she got flustered.

Luna stepped outside, still looking around for the farmer. A Lunar Guard stepped from the shadows near the door, his bat-like wings as stoic as his face, “Your Highness,” the guard bowed, “Is everything okay?”

To her credit, Luna didn’t jump though she completely forgot about the guards posted around town. Apparently, they took it to mean Sweet Apple Acres as well. “Yes,” she spoke with a soft smile, “have you seen where Applejack went off to?”

“I saw her leave towards the orchards, Your Highness,” his wings flitted a bit as he, “Shall we look for her?” The guard, Lt. Silverhawk, was already motioning to his companion, another guard by the name of Storm Wind, on the other side of the barn. Luna always appreciated his initiative and discretion. During the height of the Changeling Invasion, Luna walked into the guard's dormitory to find him instructing his charges in a plan to retake the city before the invaders were cleared via Shining Armor's spell.

“No, I shall find her,” Luna spoke at length, “but do keep watch over the...festivities inside and keep the paparazzi away from them.”

“Yes, Your Highness,” Silverhawk nodded, and moved to discuss matters with his partner.

Luna expanded her wings out and took off with a powerful flap. Her eyes were better suited to the evening time, though the full moon helped matters greatly. It wasn’t long until she spotted the farm pony under a tree at the edge of the orchard, staring up at the sky with a content look on her face. Luna landed quietly a few trees away and watched her friend for awhile, trying to decide if she needed privacy. The Lunar Regent noted the farmer bundled her regalia under the nearest tree and replaced it with her trademark hat.

There was something naked about the scene, something unabashed about it. Luna studied her friend with fascination. Her toned body and long blonde mane complimented her green eyes so well. She probably could have been a model should she have chose to. But such a lifestyle seemed antithesis of who Applejack was.

“So like her progenitor,” Luna whispered, referring to the original Applejack, the founder of the Apple family line. Luna, being the eternal Goddess of the Night, was quite familiar with her, going so far as calling her a friend. The original Applejack was bluntly honest and fought for what she believed in.

Luna chuckled to herself as she remembered her old friend.

~(o)~

Celestia was showing her sister and the farmer her latest dress for the Spring Regalia. Though the fashionista that designed it swore that it was all the rage, the layers of black fabric wasn’t doing her any favors.

Applejack shook her head instantly, “Now Ah’m not gonna say it’s not flattering, Princess. But that dress makes your haunch look like two zebras are having a pillow fight,“ Applejack said after taking a drink of her cider, “Y’all may want to get a different design.”

“She has a point, sister,” Luna followed as she lifted her wine in a mock toast, “Though I would say it were closer to two griffons fighting over a watermelon.”

“Are you calling me fat,” Celestia’s horn glowed in a dangerous light.

“Nah,” the farm pony smirked, “Ya just need to lay off the cake is all.”

“Care for a banana,” Luna deadpanned as she telekinetically offered one to her sister while peeling one for herself, “I do hear they are less generous to one’s haunch.”

Celestia stomped with a indignant “Harrumph” before storming out of the room. Luna and Applejack turned to each other before falling back into fits of laughter.

~(o)~

Luna almost chuckled despite herself. Indeed, the current farmer was so like her. A strong-willed and fiery pony, but also dependable, generous and slow to judge. Luna’s smile nearly took her ears as she felt the pained hint of loneliness break her reverie.

The Lunar Regent was always slow to befriend others and slower to forget them. In truth, she had few friends over her long life that meant as much as Applejack’s namesake. Now here Luna was, with six friends that meant everything to her, indeed having risked their lives to free her from her madness. Luna remembered finally breaking free from the Nightmare. She felt the spirits of the bearers of the Elements keenly, each of them as beautiful as a winter night. There was one she felt the most though, familiar like a welcome and warm memory.

Luna didn’t try to give it much though in the whirlwind that followed. Between the sudden reuniting with her estranged sister, learning about a country she was co-ruling, and attempting to find herself again, it was a lot on any pony’s plate.

As things settle down, she had some time think things through. She knew the Elements and considered them friends, but Luna would be lying to herself if she didn’t think about one over the others though. In the end, Applejack was a pony who meant more to Luna. Whether she was waxing nostalgia or something else, she accepted it for what it was. But what exactly it was, she couldn’t put a hoof on it.

Luna sighed and moved to leave Applejack to her peace. But a quick snap of a twig stole Applejack’s attention and betrayed Luna’s presence. “Horseapples,” Luna cursed under her breath.

“Who’s there?” Applejack called to the darkness.

“Tis I, fair Applejack,” Luna strode forward into the moonlight, “I did not wish to intrude.”

“S’alright Luna,” Applejack smiled, “Ah was just taking in the night. Ya did a beautiful job with it.”

Luna blushed underneath her fur. She brought a hoof to her mouth and coughed before speaking, “Thank you, my friend. That means a lot.”

“No problem. Care to sit for a spell?”

“I’d like that,” Luna parked herself next to her friend looked over the scene down the slope. A pond reflected the moonlight as small waves lapped the shore. Leaves of myriad colors dotted the top of it and rolled with the motions of the waves. A few trees lined the shore, making it seem like a painting. Luna thought it beautiful. The two took the scene in a comfortable silence for a while.

Applejack rose after a while, “Ah gotta make sure my foalish brother didn’t let them ponies burn the barn down.”

Luna shrugged, “Last I checked, he and Fluttershy were discussing the finer points of dental hygiene.”

“All the more reason to check on ‘em.”

Luna looked over the scene and pondered her thoughts for another second, “I shall join you then.” The two made their way back towards the farm proper.

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