• Published 28th Jun 2012
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A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf



What if there was another pony who joined the pony gang? (Look at longer description...)

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The Night That Never Was: Part One

Episode 90 – The Night That Never Was: Part One


I stared out to the full view of my mother's moon. I had no balcony, so in order to simulate being on one, I chose to just quietly sit on top of my roof. I was dead silent as a matter of a fact. It would have been uncomfortably soundless had it not been for the slow breeze rummaging across the area.

I heard a small flap of wings near me.

Owlowiscious decided to join me on the rooftop, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't for the lifeless mediation I was doing.

"Who." He shared, curiously looking at me.

"Oh, right…" I returned to him. "I forgot you guys were nocturnal."

"Who." He repeated, but probably in a different manner.

"It's been hectic for all of us lately…" I said. "I feel so…off now…" I sighed and thought about the events recently. "I wonder…what's with Fluttershy and me now… I mean…how did she react to my reaction after Discord betrayed us? Is she mad at me for not forgiving him?"

"Who?" He questioned.

"Discord." I answered, and then realized that he may have not been necessarily asking who, but I resumed talking. "But I mean, it's understandable, right? Like…how could I not get mad at him for doing that? Why should I have to forgive him for being a little…" I sighed and paused before I could let myself rant off like that. "…they understand…right…?" I looked out to the sky. "…they all know how personal I take 'betrayal' kind of stuff…especially in a using kind of manner… Argh…" I placed my hooves in frustration on my head. "Even after what happened…I still feel…isolated…broken…nothing feels right… I almost feel like…not wanting to exist anymore…"

"Who." He reiterated.

After hearing that last "who", I stared at him and questioned myself whether there was a point in telling him all this. "Do you even understand what I'm saying…?"

He only returned a blank stare.

I sighed and looked back, ending the conversation.

He turned his head easily away and gave another "Who". Then, he flew off.

"Huh?" I turned. "Where are you going?" However, the reason for his departure most likely revealed itself when I saw her carefully landing near me. Seeing her specifically, I already kind of knew the reason why she showed up. "Let me guess…you came here to check up on me because I haven't slept at all, right?"

"Of course." Princess Luna returned, taking a seat next to me. "Have all the events that recently occurred been taking a toll on you?"

"Probably…" I stared out to the sky. "I don't feel the same anymore…"

"Why is this so?" She questioned. "You and your friends have conquered villainous attempts before, and after those victories, I believe you've only grown from those experiences. Why is it now that you feel…the opposite?"

I didn't know how to answer that right away. "I really don't know…" I slipped out. "I guess I just…feel like something's missing. I think…I still have a lot of loose ends to tie up."

"What do you mean?" Luna inquired.

"Like…everything right now feels just…unanswered. And it's bugging me so much. I feel like I can't rest until I get the answers I need."

"Pray tell…" Luna reacted in a slightly surprised manner. "What unanswered questions are burning you up inside so much?" She obviously didn't know those specific things I went through…and I didn't really want to tell her for her sake.

"I don't know…" I dropped my head in somewhat defeat.

Luna observed me for a moment in silence before she felt the need to bring something up unexpectedly. "Alex…do you remember…him?"

"Who?" I questioned, raising my head.

"Night Terror." The mentioned of his name sent a chill inside me.

"I do…" I mentioned, looking away in discomfort. "To be honest…I haven't even thought about him ever since the last time he was mentioned. I guess…I was just so held up with other stuff. Why do you bring him up?" She looked away with a troubled face, as if there was something she was too afraid of saying. "What? Do you feel he's finally coming back or something?" I asked.

"N-no…" She returned. "It is…something else…"

I couldn't read her mind, so I had no clue with what she was trying to spit out. I didn't try to force it out of her. As I thought about it in the silence, I realized something else that was left unanswered. "That raises another question…" I brought up, gaining her attention. "Remember when…he had control of that 'darkness' inside of me? Well, I haven't felt anything like it at all. It almost feels like it just disappeared. Or is it because he still hasn't 'returned' yet?"

"When he does…" Luna began a little terrifyingly. "I believe…we…we must…"

There was a sudden knocking on my front door. Since we were just outside on the rooftop, we were able to hear it clearly. There was a weak and practically fragile voice that sounded afterwards. "Alex…? Twilight…?" The voice sounded almost disorientated. "…are you in there…?"

I stood up and flew down to see what the matter was. I spotted Rarity standing at my front door without balance. Luna soon joined me afterward. "Rarity?" I questioned. "What's going on? What are you doing up so late?"

She began to turn, hearing my voice. As she did, she greatly stumbled as if she could barely stay standing straight. "Darling…I…" She continued to be a little wobbly. "…I don't feel so good…"

"What?" I questioned in alarm and then began to help her inside the house. By what I could feel from her body, it really raised fear inside me. It was almost like her body wanted to give out. I helped her to my couch and laid her there. She really didn't look so good, and I could tell it was serious because it definitely wasn't one of her dramatic moments. "Rarity, what's wrong?" I asked worriedly.

"I've…" She seemed to be able to hardly speak. "I've been having the most terrible dreams…" She mentioned. "Nightmares if you will." She groaned a little, feeling feverish. "As I woke from one, I couldn't sleep. I felt absolutely dreadful. I've never fell so ill before in my life."

I placed a hoof on her as she breathed uncomfortably and l looked towards Luna, hoping she would have something to help with this. Luna stepped in and placed a hoof on her. She closed her eyes and bowed her head, letting her magic take in what she had to. Not too long after, she quickly opened and widened her eyes in both shock and surprise.

"What is it?" I immediately inquired.

"Rarity… I…I can feel terrifying dark magic in her…" Luna mentioned terribly. "It…it must be related with what happened with 'Inspiration Manifestation'. She shook her head in disbelief. "How can it be so powerful? I could understand some discomfort…but I never imagined it exceeding beyond this point!"

"Can you help her?" I responded, sparing no unnecessary words.

She turned to me and nodded. "I should be able to do something…but this is much more difficult than removing dark magic from lifeless objects. It is also risky when dealing with a life of another." Luna looked out and boldly spread her wings. "I must get my sister. Under this chancy circumstance, I cannot risk harming your friend here without Celestia's help. We must hurry before this dark magic grows too powerful to handle."

"Please, go!" I requested of her without sounding too desperate that I could have been. She turned and hurried out my door. I looked at Rarity and noticed her just open her eyes slightly to look back at me. I could tell in her sight and in my heart that she was afraid. It was the kind of fear of just losing everything you had at any second. "Don't worry, Rarity." I grabbed her hoof and held on, trying to assure her when I was too afraid myself. "Princess Luna and Celestia will know what to do. Just give them a little time."

"Don't leave." Rarity requested. "Stay by." A quick unfamiliar but strangely dear image flashed in my mind, leaving only the colors of a certain somepony memorable. "My heart is beating so fast. It's…terrifying…"

The way she looked was also starting to hurtfully remind me of Spirit. Like how I had held her unconscious body in my hooves. I placed a hoof over hers and mine. "Please. Don't be scared. You're going to be fine. You've just gotta hang on a little while."

"Yeah… You wouldn't want to miss out for your dreams to finally come true, huh?" I heard a familiar but unwelcoming voice nearby.

I looked towards where my doorway was to see an unidentifiable stallion standing.

"Huh?" I questioned before I could actually realize who this was. "You! You're…!" Despite the light from outside, the entire room was covered in darkness.

The first thing that came to mind was protecting Rarity. Since I was right by her on the couch, I quickly turned to try to form a magical shield. However, just before I could gather the magic from my horn, a presence swept by me. Then, there was an extremely sharp scream from Rarity.

"Rarity!" I called, but felt extremely helpless since I couldn't see anything at all.

"Too slow!" The stallion returned in a provoking manner.

Just as the area cleared up of its darkness, it grew immensely silent. Rarity was nowhere in sight, leading me to run towards the door and slam it open. I checked everywhere in sight, but I couldn't find a trace of Rarity anywhere! "Rarity!" I cried out.

"What's going on?!" I heard in a galloping voice towards me. "What happened?" An alarmed Twilight appeared by my side, along with Spike.

"Rarity's gone!" I exclaimed in distressed shock. "Someone took her!"

"Rarity…?" Twilight repeated in a confused tone, seeing as she had been asleep the entire time.

"What?!" Another voice landed by us. "What are you talking about?!" Luna appeared, along with Princess Celestia, who looked like she had just woken up and was now alarmed by the sudden news.

"After you left!" I began explaining. "Somepony just…just came in and took her! This pony had dark magic too or something!"

"Did you see where they went?!" Luna questioned with a raised hoof.

I shook my head, feeling deep anxiety after what I had just witnessed. "The whole room filled with darkness and I couldn't see anything until they had already left. I don't know where they went!"

"Guys!" We heard a new voice and a group of hooves gallop towards us. Rainbow was seen dropping near us as the others joined. "Something strange is going on!"

"We've all been havin' weird dreams!" Applejack added. "And it ain't no coincidence if it's happened to all of us at the same time!"

"None of us can go back to sleep!" Fluttershy concluded.

"You don't think…" Luna slipped, glancing towards Celestia and me.

"First, we've got to get Rarity back!" I announced orderly. "Whether or not it has anything to do with the dreams and sleep problems, we can't leave Rarity all on her own!"

"What happened to Rarity?" Rainbow Dash questioned in high concern.

"Apparently, she was kidnapped by someone." Twilight answered, raising alarm in the others.

"What?!" They all screamed out together.

"Yeah!" I added a bit angrily. "Which is why we have to do something now."

"Is there something you can do to find her, sister?" Celestia asked Luna.

Luna looked down in thought. "I might be able to. If I am able to find the source of this dark power, the stallion that took Rarity, with what I know to control and watch over the night, I might just be able to find his trail before it disappears." She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. There, she began using the magic of her horn and continued concentrating while we waited to see on what she would come up with. "I see it." She mentioned while keeping her eyes closed in focus. "There's some kind of…shadowy mist."

"Where does it lead to?" I quickly asked.

Luna strained her face as she tried to keep ahold of this trail as she began walking. We all anxiously stayed by her side until she received more news about Rarity's whereabouts.


Eventually, we reached the outskirts of Ponyville, where the edge of the Everfree Forest was visible. Luna finally released the hold she had on the trail and opened her eyes, holding a hoof to her head as it must have caused her some trouble. "This is where the trail is stronger."

"Are you saying he went into the Everfree Forest?" I turned and asked.

"Most likely." She answered.

"Well, let's go!" Rainbow exclaimed. "We need to go find Rarity and bring her back!"

"Just one minute." My mother halted. "There…is in need of planning." She included. This interested us, especially even her sister. It seemed that Princess Celestia knew the most back when Tirek was trying to reign. Now, it appeared that Luna was now in command for this new issue.

"What is the matter?" Celestia asked as Luna returned a worried look.

"You all speak of…odd dreams." Luna turned to the Everfree Forest. "Before Rarity was taken, she mentioned about having nightmares that didn't allow her to sleep. Dark magic had been making her ill. The issue at hoof seems much larger than your missing friend. It is…frightening me."

"What are you trying to say?" Twilight asked in concern.

Luna remained silent for a moment. "I…am not completely sure what to make of this…but I must investigate these occurrences you all have been speaking about. This includes me taking a visit to the dreamscape, and I must check on all the other ponies to see what the situation is with them. It's…not going to take a short moment."

"What about Rarity?" Applejack brought up. "You're the only one who seems to be able to know where she might be. How are we going to find her now?"

"I will try to draw a visible path for all of you to follow." Luna answered. "As much as I would want to accompany you all to this matter, I'm afraid you need to find Rarity without Celestia or me. We must take safety measures starting here in Ponyville for everypony. If you come across your friend, please bring her back here as soon as possible. We will see what to do from there."

"I find my sister right." Celestia added. "If all of you were able to handle Tirek, I'm just as sure you can handle this issue together."

Luna focused her magic once again and eventually formed, not an obvious but visible, trail to follow. "You must hurry. Not only will the dark magic fade, but so shall mine. You do not have much time before the trail I leave slowly vanishes." She stepped forward a little and squinted her eyes in a certain direction towards the Everfree Forest. "If I had to make an assumption, I would say that Rarity might have been taken to our old castle…" She widened her eyes and turned to us. "It's the only logical thing I can think of, considering it relates to where the Inspiration Manifestation book was originally held."

"Okay." Twilight nodded and understood. "We don't have much time. Let's go!" She directed.

"Wait, Twilight!" Spike called out, jogging towards her. "I'll come help!"

"Spike…!" Twilight reacted, seeming to be surprised by Spike's offer. "Listen…" She turned and placed her hooves on him. "I know you want to help…but I think you should stay out of this one."

"What?" Spike responded in slight shock. "Why? I want to help find Rarity too!"

"I know, I know." Twilight dearly understood. "But…" Twilight sighed. "I feel…like you should stay here… Remember the last time you were exposed to dark magic?"

Spike looked back in defeat, remembering the bad vision he went through at the Crystal Empire. "…yeah…"

"I'm sure the Princesses could use your help." Twilight offered Spike a caring smile. "You should stay with them. We'll go get Rarity and come back. Then you can help her!"

Spike sighed. "Okay, Twilight…"

"We shouldn't waste any time." Luna shared mostly towards her sister.

"Come on, Spike." Celestia held out a welcoming hoof.

Spike glanced over to us for a moment and then reluctantly decided to follow Princess Celestia.

"We should get going." Twilight suggested, standing by my side.

As I looked over to the entrance of the Everfree Forest, I spotted a familiar figure. The color of her coat and mane was what instantly got my attention. It looked like…Spirit! Without sparing a word, I immediately ran towards this sight, hearing Twilight question my action behind me.

By the time I reached where Spirit was supposed to be, she was gone. At that time, I figured it must have been just another stray figure from my mind. Realizing this disappointment, I sighed and looked out towards the Everfree Forest.

"What?" Twilight inquired. "Did you see something?"

"No." I admitted. "I guess I didn't." I began placing a hoof to my head, feeling a strange familiarity with my current posture and position.

"What's wrong?" Twilight asked next.

"I don't know…" I returned. "This all…feels really familiar to me."

"We have been through the Everfree Forest a bunch of times before." Applejack recalled.

"It's not just that…" I answered with a shaking head. "What we're specifically doing right now. It feels like… deja vu."

"Not to throw the subject off-topic to what you're experiencing…but we better focus on finding Rarity for right now." Twilight recommended honestly.

"Yeah… Sorry…" I apologized and analyzed the trail Luna left for us. "Luna said Rarity was in the Castle of Two Sisters." I recapped.

"We have no time to lose! Come on!" Rainbow Dash lifted up in flight and began dashing through.

"Rainbow, wait!" Twilight called, but it seemed she didn't hear her or pay attention. She sighed a little in frustration before she began our gallop to catch up with Rainbow Dash.


On our way to the Castle of the Two Sisters, we still weren't able to find Rainbow Dash in our sight.

"Seriously?" Twilight questioned a little in annoyance. "Did she think she could find Rarity all by herself?"

"That was kind of dumb, flyin' off like that." Applejack commented.

"She better be close or that's another pony we have to worry over." I mentioned with furrowed eyebrows.

"Ahhhhhh!" We heard a frightful exclaim.

"What was that?!" Fluttershy asked in fear.

"That sounded like Rainbow Dash!" Pinkie Pie pointed out.

Soon enough, Rainbow came flying straight back towards us, allowing us to not have to go look for her. "Guys, guys!" Rainbow stated quickly, as if she had just seen a ghost. She rubbed her hooves together in panic. "I-I-I saw something! A-And it wasn't any kind of pony or animal from the Everfree Forest!"

"What are you talkin' about?" Applejack questioned with a confused face and raised eyebrow.

"I-I-I don't know!" Rainbow tried to explain. "It was this…creepy thing! I've never seen anything like it! There were lots of them! It looked all weird!"

"You're right, Rainbow!" Pinkie Pie reacted cheerfully, happily pointing out to something nearby. "They do look funny!"

I turned my head to see what Pinkie was talking about, and I witnessed something I knew I had seen before but didn't recognize. She laughing at some kind of dark but misty creature. It actually looked to have originated from the trail of darkness we were unable to see earlier.

"What in blue blazes is that?!" Applejack cried out in surprise, noticing the sight of it.

"Whatever it is…!" Twilight looked around, noticing more than just the one of these beings beginning to surround us. "I'm pretty sure they're not friendly!" Twilight lit up her horn, ready to fire her magic.

Unsure it would be efficient, I followed in her manner. Fluttershy tried to back away as much as she could from the terrifying figures. I took her side to keep them away from her, allowing Twilight to get another. When they started attacking, Applejack joined in by bucking a few, along with Rainbow Dash. Pinkie Pie only seemed to try bouncing and hopping onto them.

However, no matter what we did, it really seemed to do no harm to them at all. By either firing a beam of our magic, or fighting with physical force, they really were just darkness. It was more like we poked a hole in a cloud, and it just patched up the hole with its other self in an instant. It was as if we couldn't even touch them. And we didn't want to see if we were vulnerable.

"Nothing's working!" Rainbow Dash shared in an absolute tensed manner as she continuously looked around for any hostile attacks.

"We've gotta run!" I announced. "Get going!"

None of them thought twice about staying behind and fighting. We all quickly just ignored every one of those creatures we saw and headed straight towards the Castle of the Two Sisters.


Rarity


"Let me go you cretin!" I demanded, attempting to wiggle free from the binds that left me helpless on what appeared to be one of the princesses' old thrones. The next thing my eyes were laid on was some kind of physical object that was hurling towards me. I shrieked shortly and managed to move my head to avoid it. It lightly slammed against the back of the throne and fell towards the floor. "R-Really?" I tried to act brave. "Is that the best you've got?! I've endured worse things than some silly child's toy!"

The pony that so horribly kidnapped me revealed himself from the dark. He began to walk slowly towards me, having my body tense up in fear. However, I tried to the best of my abilities to not show it. Nonetheless, I could feel myself actually sweating in anxiety.

"You really are annoying, aren't you?" He questioned once he stopped not too far in front of me.

"I demand you release me at once!" I ordered.

"Sorry, can't do that." He responded, reaching for his toy and leaving my nerves winded up along with it. "But don't worry." He seemed to focus his sight on his object, but I couldn't tell as his face was hidden with his apparent helmet. "You'll be free soon enough."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, still remaining furious with a dash of fear.

"You'll know soon enough." He played with the item now, answering in a careless manner.

"If you're not going to release me, the very least you could do is answer me clearly!"

"You've wanted to be a princess your whole life, haven't you?" He replied.

"…um…" I was shocked to hear this. How did he…know what I dreamed of…?

"What?" He asked, ceasing to fumble with his object. "Opal got your tongue?"

My eyes widened. It seemed this stallion knew me much more than he should have. "Who are you…?!" I anxiously demanded.

"Someone that can actually make you useful for once." He answered vaguely, but I was too distracted by his personal verbal assault.

"I-I-I am plenty useful!" I returned.

"Don't make me laugh." He responded casually.

"What right do you have to say that I am not?!" I shouted.

"Remember your little 'crush' on a certain somepony?" He mentioned, stunning me again. "It's like you're so helpless when it comes to that, and he doesn't even like you back."

"T-that's not t-true!" I returned, feeling awfully ill once again. "That's wrong in so many ways! I am not 'helpless' and he loves me as a friend!"

"Yeah, you keep telling yourself that." He answered briefly. "Think about it. Why didn't he end up being with you instead of that other timid one?"

"…what?" I felt immensely weak.

"Well, you both are artistic. You say you're beautiful. I don't know, I'm just giving some examples. Surely, you know more the reasons why you two should have been together instead?"

"W-well…I-It's…just…" I honestly couldn't answer that. It's not that I believed we should have been a couple instead. It was that I couldn't think why it wasn't us. Why we were honestly not given a chance before he fell in love with Fluttershy.

"It's just that he plain doesn't like you?" He brought up. "That he only stands being near you because he feels bad for you?"

"N-no." I felt tears begin to form. I was telling myself not to believe it, but his words somehow were getting under my coat. "It's not like that…"

"Give it up." He sternly stated. "Now's the time to stop acting like anything will change and learn to live with being rejected. Soon enough, you'll lose the rest of your friends, along with every little thing you hold dear."


Alex


As soon as we galloped past the castle doors, we immediately worked together to close them shut. I'm sure I wasn't the only one hoping that they wouldn't go through or past the doors somehow. After we took a moment to pant and catch our breath, it seemed we were fortunate to not be chased anymore.

"Okay! Something weird is definitely goin' on!" Applejack stomped her hoof in confirmation.

"Ya think?!" Rainbow Dash returned.

I gasped lightly, having a possible realization. "What if...that stallion took Rarity to lure us here? It has to be related with the reason why those things are out there."

"As dull as ever." We heard from the top of the castle stairs. "That's not why I went through the trouble of taking her."

"You…!" I growled and clenched my teeth at the sight of him, feeling deep resentment.

"You were the one who took Rarity?!" Twilight surprisingly exclaimed, as if she knew this guy previously.

"Look what the cat dragged in." He made his way closer to us while still remaining a length away. "Of course, I shouldn't be surprised to see you here too."

"You know him?!" I earnestly inquired.

"I…" Twilight seemed hesitant to answer.

The stallion laughed for a few seconds. "Oh, the joy to be friends, huh?"

"Where's Rarity?!" Twilight took ahold of the reins.

"Rarity's here." He answered. "But I'm not so sure you want to see her now. After all, you probably wouldn't like the 'new' Rarity anyway."

"Release her!" Twilight demanded angrily.

"Whatever you say…princess." He complied shadily and turned towards a hallway. "You wanted to get back with your friends right? Well, go on. Get out."

Twilight and I, along with the rest of us, anxiously looked in the direction he was facing. There, out of the darkness, we saw a hoof slowly step out. Not only did this stallion's immediately compliance bother me, but at the first sight of Rarity's hoof, something was completely off. It didn't contrast with the immense amount of shade we were given in the castle. Instead…it almost remained hidden in the darkness.

We were unable to clearly see her for a moment as she gradually began to reveal herself. I, for one, couldn't tell if my mind was playing tricks on me again. Rarity appeared to be a lot taller, along with her mane being immensely longer. A part of her mane covered her right eye. And her left eye just opened to meet with us. This guy was right… It definitely wasn't the Rarity we remembered seeing last.

As she began to step out onto the light, this unidentifiable stallion only leaned by and watched. If it wasn't for his covered face, I'd be certain he was enjoying the scene. As she was now fully into the moonlight, we all absolutely stunned to see what was supposed to be Rarity.

"R-Rarity?!" Twilight covered her mouth with her hoof, as if she had just seen Rarity after a terrible accident. "Wha…What happened to you?!" She cried out in emotional agony, observing her nightmarish appearance.

"What happened to me?" She repeated, the tone of her voice losing its eloquence and instead replaced with dark mature intention. "I'm finally free." She continued. "I'm free to earn what I deserved for so long. To be a princess – no – a queen in Equestria. No longer will I go through these feelings of pain and suffering." She mentioned with absolute disgust. "Everything I ever wanted shall be mine."

"What are you talkin' about?!" Applejack questioned in horror. "We're your friends! Why are you talkin' like if that's never what you wanted?!"

"Friends?" She reiterated with a raised and skeptical eyebrow. "Such kind of ponies only slow you down. They only want you to do what they believe is 'good'.

"Rarity!" Twilight exclaimed her name. "I don't know what he did to you, but I know you're still in there! Please! Fight whatever's controlling you!"

"Rarity is gone!" She picked up her hooves and slammed them on the ground, causing an absolute terrifying echo.

"Yeah." The other stallion joined in for the brief moment. "You can think of her as…" He paused to tap a hoof on his chin. "What's-her-face? Nightmare something… Whatever."

"No…!" Twilight refused to believe. "She's not the same!"

"Call me whatever you wish, it does not matter as long as you acknowledge my higher authority. I am the one who will be the queen of all Equestria." Rarity stated selfishly.

"Rarity, stop it!" I finally exclaimed, only having the urge to have her back.

"These ponies are starting to annoy me." Rarity turned to her aid. "Would you kindly please dispose of them from my sight?"

"Sure." He ceased his leaning and faced us. We immediately prepared ourselves for any kind of assault. "After all…you have a pretty important job to do…"

Just like during her capture, the entire area grew completely dark, and aggressive panic ensued.


Luna


I returned to Celestia, feeling unsure of the results.

"What did you find, Luna?" She asked me.

"I didn't seem to find anything abnormal with the others dreams here in Ponyville." I reported. "It appears…only the girls mentioned having odd dreams."

"What about Alex?" She inquired.

"He hasn't slept. And I don't believe it was because he had nightmares. He has…much on his mind." I stated.

"And it appears he has much more with his friend missing…" My sister mentioned.

"Perhaps, I should return to them, sister." I suggested. "I still don't like the idea of leaving them alone like that…especially with what dark power that has been mentioned recently."

"That might be a good idea." She returned.

"Princess!" One of the Royal Guards landed by us, but mostly faced Celestia in order to report to her. He came from the team assigned to stand guard by the Everfree Forest in order to watch and look out for any more suspicious activity, especially for this stallion that took Rarity. "We've recently witness some strange sightings of unidentifiable objects."

"What are you talking about?" Celestia inquired, looking a bit surprised by this news. "'Unidentifiable Objects'? Were they not ponies or creatures from the Everfree Forest?"

"I don't believe we've ever seen anything like them. It definitely wasn't any wild animal, nor was it a pony. It moved…strangely." He stated.

"Can you clearly describe what it looked like?" I requested.

"I didn't get a good enough look." He shook his head with his answer. "We remained by our post and made sure nothing made its way past us."

I furrowed my eyebrows and prepared to take charge in this investigation. "I'll go and see to this—"

"There's too many of them! Move back!" We heard various voices calling for a retreat.

As we witnessed various guards running back, trying to keep whatever was chasing them away, I was able to observe these "unidentifiable objects" for myself. However, realizing what they actually were, I widened my eyes in horror. "These aren't inhabitants of the Everfree Forest!" I pointed out. "They're…nightmares from the dreamscape!"

"We must keep them away from Ponyville, Luna!" Celestia urgently requested, readying her horn. "Spike, keep away from—" Celestia turned to face Spike, only to find that he wasn't where she remembered him being. "Spike?! Where has he—?"

"Let's hope he's somewhere safe!" I wished, having to drive my attention to these nightmares. "For now, we must fend these travesties off!"


Alex


"Hey!"

"Ahhhh!"

"Let go of me! I'll knock you out with one kick!"

I felt myself being thrown into this dark and small room. We had been completely helpless as we previously had no idea what happened. We had all been blinded by darkness and still were at the moment. Twilight and I tried creating some light to allow us to see during that sudden moment, but the darkness seemed too powerful. Instead, the light from our horns had actually only dimmed.

Once multiple thuds from bodies were heard, there was a loud sound of an entire wall scraping in movement. Finally, there was silence…until I heard something from Twilight.

"'With one kick', Rainbow Dash…?"

"What? I was trying to be like Daring Do! You know, intimidate him?" Rainbow reasoned.

"I don't think he was the type to be intimidated, Rainbow." Applejack returned.

"Did he invite us for a sleepover?" Pinkie Pie asked.

"Can we please get some light in h-here…?" I heard Fluttershy ask with terrible shakes. A purple aura slowly sparked up some light until there was enough to allow the room to be seen fully, but it was not completely lit. "…thank you…" Fluttershy continued with relief but still seemed to shake a bit.

I made my way towards her and wrapped a hoof around her, not wanting her to be alone.

"Where are we?" Rainbow Dash asked, looking around at what little space we had.

"This room looks familiar…" Fluttershy mentioned as she began to slowly calm down in my hooves.

I took a look for myself and realized that this was especially true to me. "It is!" I almost shouted in realization. Remembering my…experience with Spirit…I quickly turned to the hole that was across me and prepared to trot towards it. "Maybe we can get out!" I made my way swiftly and stuck my hoof through it. I began attempting to look for the lever that was supposed to get us out, but I seemed to take longer than I should have in turning the wall.

"What? You know the way out?" Twilight questioned.

"The lever to move this wall is supposed to be…somewhere around here!" I began to feel myself furiously and even desperately try to look for it. "Arghh!" I sighed in frustration.

"What?!" Twilight inquired worriedly.

"I can't find it!" I shouted out in anger. "I don't know if he broke it off or something!"

I finally gave up and forcefully pulled back my hoof.

"That's okay." Twilight placed a hoof on me in an attempt to calm me. "Maybe I can teleport us out. We can't be too far from the castle entrance!" She closed her eyes and began focusing her magic. After waiting to see where it would literally take us, she instead flinched her head and placed a hoof on it. "Ow!" She cried out. "Something's like…blocking me…!" She rubbed her head.

I sighed, feeling on the brink of absolute lost. "…probably the dark magic…" I took a leave to the side of the wall and only sat there in silence.

"So…?" Rainbow Dash asked, hoping for an answer as she was starting to look worried herself. "…what now?"

Nopony answered.


Spike


After a couple of songs to get me through the creepiness of the Everfree Forest, I think I turned out okay. I know Twilight didn't want me to, but I just had to go after them, especially with Rarity on the line.

I wasn't hoping to find all of them with Rarity already as soon as I entered the castle, but I didn't. It was only the spookiness of the barely lit place inside that was there to see me. At least it wasn't as creepy as going through the Everfree Forest by myself. But it was still pretty high up in the charts.

Either way, I had to find them and see if I could help in any way. As I began exploring at the stairs of the castle, I began hearing some faint voices. That was my only clue on where the others were, so I began following that.

It seemed to lead me higher up in the castle, but as the voices got louder and clearer, I realized it wasn't the ponies I was looking for. Instead, they sounded like ponies I had never even met.

"I must thank you once again for the strength you have given me. Perhaps I could make do with you to rule by my side…you know…to replace the other one I couldn't have." What sounded like a mare mentioned.

There was a stallion's laugh. "You really haven't changed."

I arrived at what looked like to be the balcony of the castle and made sure to hide myself where none of them could hopefully see me.

"Mmm." This extremely tall mare, who really looked awfully familiar, stared out into the distance outside. "I suppose we can come to that matter later. For right now, what do you say we make our first strike? Equestria's 'heros' won't have any chance to stop us. Not with them being locked away."

Equestria's heros? Was she talking about them?!

"You do whatever you want." The guy she was with answered. "I'm not stopping you."

"Aww…" The mare said sadly as he seemed to turn to leave. "You're not leaving me, are you?"

"Sorry." The stallion responded. "I have business to take care of."

"But surely you're coming back to answer me on my offer?"

He paused for a moment and seemed to answer a bit deviously. "Sure."

As I noticed he was heading my direction, I quickly tried to run back down the way I came from. If it was true that my friends were 'locked up', then I had to go find them as soon as possible! Who knows what'll happen without the magic they hold together!


Alex


"Ahhh!" Rainbow Dash screamed out. "Let us out you…you dingus!" She cried out, hoping for the stallion to be near and obey. "DINGUS! DINGUS! DINGUS!" Rainbow Dash began pummeling at the wall, even though it was utterly a waste of energy.

"Please, Rainbow Dash!" Applejack requested. "Enough of the dingues…es! Dingusi? Whatever it is in the plural."

"Dinki!" Pinkie Pie added in cheerfully, despite the situation we were in.

"Then what are we gonna do, huh?" Rainbow turned to Applejack, expecting that she had a better idea.

"Apparently, overreact in a completely unhelpful way!" Applejack began to start an argument. "…like you always do."

"What?!" Rainbow Dash yelled out in surprise. "That's insane, Applejack! Completely insane! You're the one who is all 'Howdy, pardner' about everything!"

"What does that even mean?!" Applejack reacted in a slightly offended manner.

"Seriously, stop!" Twilight tried to cut in, fed up with situation tensing up even more. "Fighting is going to get us nowhere!"

"Well, I don't see what else we can do!" Rainbow continued bickering. "I've tried at least doing something, but Applejack here thinks she has a better idea!"

"I don't!" Applejack admitted in annoyance. "But I do know you're wastin' your breath. What do you expect him to do? Just open the door and let us walk free like nothin'?"

"When he realizes the pony he's dealing with, he's sure to let us out!" Rainbow tried to reason.

"Seriously?!" Applejack couldn't comprehend that statement. "Get something to your head, Rainbow Dash! You're not some kind of invincible pony who can do anything! You're just as helpless as we are!"

This then sparked Rainbow Dash's anger, leading to a heated and vicious debate between the two. I was definitely getting fed up with it just as much as Twilight was. I had to place two struggling hooves to my ears in order to try to get some time to myself, but their words were loud enough to break any sound barrier.

"Enough!" I finally yelled out after I couldn't take it anymore, catching them unexpected and causing them to turn to me. I let my hooves fall to the floor and felt absolutely disappointed in myself for being unable to think of anything. I honestly didn't see any way out. I sighed. "Seriously…? You two can only think about fighting when we've possibly lost a friend…?" I felt myself start to become an emotional wreck, having the tendency to probably even rock back and forth like a mad one.

"We haven't lost Rarity!" Rainbow Dash opposed strongly. "And we never will!"

However, I didn't feel mutual.

"I feel like…such a jerk…" I began confiding. "She's wanted my attention for so long…and this happens? I feel like all I really did was just ignore her. Just tell her that we would always be close friends even though she really wanted more inside…" I wanted to bury my head so bad. "I feel…like all I really did was just take advantage of her...like I didn't really care about how she felt inside… But what was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to handle it? I…I couldn't give her what she wanted… Now…I'm starting to feel like I'm disappointing everyone…"

"Alex, what in the world are you talking about?" Twilight asked with a clear expression of both shock and surprise. She knew absolutely nothing of what I was talking about.

"She…" I felt my whole body shake and my eyes become blank in horror, not for what I was about to say, but how I was about to prove myself. "…she…she's had feelings for me for the longest time…" My answer caused everypony to drop what they were thinking and become dead silent if they already weren't. I stared at the floor and began feeling claustrophobic by all the emotions crowding inside the room. "…and I didn't take them as serious as she probably wanted. I kept thinking…maybe it was just puppy love? That's what she said anyway… She said it was only really admiration…nothing more…but was it truly? Right before she was taken away, the look she gave me…she…she was counting on me to keep her safe…and I screwed that up…because…look where she's at now… But what am I supposed to do? I don't know how to do everything… I don't know how to handle it when someone has feelings for you when you're already taken by somepony else… Even if we do bring her back…is she not going to be the same pony? Is she going to be disappointed in me and possibly never talk to me again because I never took her seriously…? I already lost so many… I feel like… I'm falling apart… I'm letting everyone down…" I continued shakily as every past joyful memory faded away and I was only stuck with disappointment and self-consciousness.

"Get a grip!" Rainbow Dash shouted out loud. "You haven't let anypony down! We're just…in a rough patch right now."

"Alex." Twilight began, placing a hoof on me. "You can't let your thoughts distract you from what we need to do right now. Don't worry, I totally get you, but you're wrong. You haven't let anyone down. Don't feel like everything is your fault. I don't…exactly know what's going on between you and Rarity, but if that's bothering you, you just need to hold on a bit longer when we rescue her. If you need to get anything off your chest, you can tell her then. No matter what, Rarity would never stop talking to you. I know that for sure."

The noise inside me began lowering as I still felt the need to not give up. I knew sitting here moping wouldn't get us anywhere and that I would be doing Rarity a worse favor if I really didn't put my all into saving her. However, there was still a hoof-full of noise bothering me.

"But…I still don't know what to do…" I replied honestly relating to the situation we were in. "We're stuck in here…and I can't figure a way out…at all…"

"I can't either!" Twilight exclaimed truthfully. "But that's why we need to all stop fighting…" She glanced over at Rainbow Dash and Applejack, who held their heads down in guilt. "And not let our thoughts of doubt get in our way. It's not over yet. You do know how strong our friendship is, right? And it's not going to die that easily."

The noise lowered more, but it still wasn't completely gone. And I didn't think it would entirely go away unless I had absolute strong reassurance…which I didn't think talk was enough to do. However, I managed to somewhat 'get a grip' like Rainbow Dash said.

"…okay…" I stopped shaking for the most part, and my eyes weren't so lifeless anymore. "Please…" I requested. "I need all your help in getting out of here and saving Rarity."

Twilight turned away from me and faced the hole in the wall. "You said the way out was here, right? Well, maybe we shouldn't lose hope. We can probably still use it!"

"How?" Applejack questioned. "Alex said the other guy probably broke it or somethin'."

"Well…" Twilight rubbed a hoof on her chin. "We can't exactly break out of here any way else. Rainbow made sure of that. So, if we keep our hopes up, we have to believe we can possibly still get out of here using this way!" She pointed towards the hole. "If he really did break the mechanism to get us out, there has to be some way to manipulate it to still get us out. But what'll really help is if we figure out what exactly he did to have it so we couldn't so easily get out. Maybe he didn't break it at all? Maybe he just…moved something…?" Twilight sounded a little unsure at that last part…but I had to admit she was still pretty on to something.

"I guess it doesn't hurt to take another try at it…" I mentioned, standing up and walking towards the hole. I carefully placed my hoof through and felt it come out the other side. I took in a deep breath and exhaled it, closing my eyes so I could focus on the mechanism and try to imagine what it looked like at the current moment. "Come on… Just need to think this through…" I told myself. I reached out to where the lever was supposed to be. Of course, it still wasn't there. Instead of panicking and raging like I did, I kept calm and continued feeling around the area. As I explored every inch I could, I found something odd. Everywhere I touched seemed to only be the part of the wall…except for the top. That's where the frame was supposed to be…but why was it that I felt a part of the frame and not the lever to get us out?

I gasped loudly in realization.

"What?! What is it?!" Twilight asked, almost in impatience.

"I just realized something." I opened my eyes and looked back to them. "I…I think the lever is still intact!"

"Really?" Rainbow Dash returned. "Then, why isn't it there to get us out?"

I placed a hoof to my chin and thought about it. "First of all…here's the reason why I think the lever is still there…" I began to recall. "Now, it isn't exactly solid evidence, but it's all we got. Did anyone else hear anything breaking as we were or after we were thrown in?"

Everypony looked at each other and mainly shook their head.

"I don't think so." Twilight responded for them.

"Well…" I tapped my hoof. "If he had broken the lever… I'm sure we would have heard it, as it's right outside this hole. Second…this is less reliant on evidence but…I honestly don't think he's done with us. This vibe I get from this guy…it feels like he wants us to take as much hurt as we possibly could. In conclusion, despite lacking proof, I just have a feeling he wouldn't want to break the only thing that can get us out. After all, jailing us here feels more like stopping us from doing something than getting rid of us forever, right?" I asked all them.

"That's sounds reasonable…" Twilight returned for the group once again.

"Now…onto why I can feel the base of the plaque where the lever is…but not the lever itself… Let's assume that the lever was never really broken…but only somehow moved to where we couldn't use it. If I can feel the base of the plaque, then the lever has to be near. And I'm pretty sure he couldn't have switched the plaque with another because one: it would've been difficult and take too long to do, and two: we would have heard that kind of sound too. I believe all we did hear was the wall move."

"Alex." Twilight called me, as if she suddenly had an idea. "How does this 'lever' look again?"

"If I'm correct, we're in…" I paused to remember the name of the hallway. "…Hall of Hooves. The lever is actually on this plaque. It's a disembodied hoof with an unlit torch. So in summary, I can feel the plaque, but not the disembodied hoof."

"Then…" Twilight tapped her chin as well. "Is it possible that the lever itself was somehow moved?"

"Huh?" I tilted my head in question.

"Not broken off, but somehow moved meaning…it's still on the plaque. However, it's not on the same exact position it was."

"Well… The lever moves up and down for the wall…so the only way it could have really been most likely moved…" I thought about it for a moment and slowly widened my eyes in realization. "…if it was rotated." I pressed on with this new theory. "If it was rotated, then it has to be on its side, because it's definitely not in its normal position, and it's not upside down, or I would have felt the top of the hoof."

"Is there any way to see if this is true?" Twilight asked.

"Not entirely…" I shook my head. "I can't even extend my hoof out long enough to touch the lever if it's pointing sideways. Who knows how much farther it is to touch…"

"Hold on a sec!" We heard a familiar voice outside. After a few grunts, the wall suddenly spun around, finally granting us the freedom we so wished to have for the longest time.

When Twilight finally pushed herself up from that daze of a fall, she looked up and her eyes sparkled in jubilance. "Spike!" She called happily and hugged him gratefully.

"Spike…!" I repeated in surprise. "How did you…?"

"Sorry…" Spike apologized. "I couldn't handle being away from you guys. I was so worried about everypony…and I felt like I needed to follow you, even though you wanted me to stay back. I came looking for you guys and when I heard a lot of yelling, that's when I had a good sense of where you could be. As I closed in where all of you where, I began hearing stuff about the lever being moved. And that's when you said that it had to be rotated, so I looked and it was! And well…you know…I moved it and here you guys are."

Noticing the candles he had and must have lit, I felt so entirely grateful. "You're awesome, Spike!" The other girls joined by cheering him on, causing him to blush. However, there wasn't any time for celebration yet. We still had to get back Rarity. "Leave the celebration off for now." I advised. "We still have somepony to save!" I mentioned, feeling a lot more confident than I did in the room.

"He's right!" Twilight agreed. "Spike, do you know where they went?"

"I'm not sure." He answered. "I kind of overheard some ponies talking. There was one saying that she was ready to make her first strike or something."

"Her first strike?" Rainbow inquired.

"We saw those weird creatures hanging around the Everfree Forest!" Applejack recalled.

"And the Everfree Forest is right next to Ponyville!" Fluttershy added.

"Maybe she's making her first move to Ponyville!" Pinkie Pie concluded.

"It's our best bet!" Twilight acknowledged. "Come on everypony! To Ponyville!"

With a collective group of nods, we all rushed through the castle to make our exit and gallop to Ponyville.


Luna


My face was struck with grief as I laid my eyes on the clouds of darkness that arrived below the sight of my precious moon. It was bad enough that everypony had to come out and defend their homes themselves…instead of staying inside where it was safe. These…nightmares were too much to handle on our own…

"Sister, what is happening?" Celestia calmly inquired as she took notice of these dark clouds gaining size by the second.

"…" I couldn't answer as quickly as I hoped. "These nightmares…they're growing stronger… Is there some leak from the dreamscape I did not foresee?" I held a hoof to my head in horror, beginning to feel that these creatures were of my burden.

"Never mind that, Luna." She encouraged. "We must focus. These ponies protecting their very home need to be led to victory."

I wanted to be sure they'd stay safe…but something was tugging at my confidence. Soon enough, I saw a figure emerge from the darkness. It was another pony…about the height of Celestia.

"Take heed, little ponies!" She announced her first words. "Fighting is futile. I claim this piece of Equestria, and soon all of Equestria, to be mine! It will be all mine!" She released a piercing villainous laughter, highly reminding me of the one I shared when I was…still Nightmare Moon.

"What are you?!" I cried out, feeling my fears began to invade me.

"Me?" She placed a hoof on her chest as if she was shocked to hear me say that. "I am every pony's new Queen, including the mighty princesses of Equestria! Those who defy me will get a taste of this intimidating darkness!"

"Stop!" I almost pleaded. "Nightmares aren't meant to be released from the dreamscape! They're too dangerous!"

She laughed horridly once again. "Exactly! Under my power, they will give me what I want! Everypony, bow to me!"

Before I could converse any longer, she released many more nightmares from the clouds of darkness. "Nooo!" I wailed desperately. As they began their invasion, frightening memories suddenly flashed before my eyes. I had all experienced this before… I remember this very scene! All of it was horrible! So horrible!


Alex


Each one of us gasped when we arrived in Ponyville. It was definitely not the way we had left it before. From our position, we could see Rarity leading packs and packs of those creatures that had been in the Everfree Forest. Everypony in Ponyville seemed to be trying to defend themselves, defend their family, and defend their home… It was a sight that I couldn't witness for too long without doing anything in attempts to stop it all!

However, there was one thing in particular that completely shocked me the most. On the grass, my mother laid in defeat in front of Rarity. Tia attempted to keep Rarity away by standing between the two.

"Mom!" I cried out, automatically running towards the sight without bothering to make some kind of plan.

"Well, well, well…" Rarity caught sight of us joining in. "Look at who decided to crash the party. It's fine and dandy. You're all early to be succumbing to my rule."

"Rarity, stop!" I cried out, placing myself close to Luna.

"This is Rarity?!" Celestia questioned in big shock and surprise.

"Wrong." Rarity disagreed. "I am no longer Rarity. In fact, I am a better and new Rarity. I am… Nightmare Rarity!" She labeled and then turned to Luna. "This pathetic and weak pony attempted to stop me all on her own. HA! No wonder she couldn't handle being a nightmare of her own!"

"I'm sorry…" Luna released weakly. "It's all my fault…"

"What are you talking about?!" I responded. "None of this is your fault!"

"I'm supposed to be the protector of dreams…" She returned. "If I had not failed, this never would have happened…"

"I don't know how this happened." I referred to the whole situation that we resided in now. "But it doesn't fall on you! Nothing should fall on you! We're all one big family and we're supposed handle things like this together!"

"He's right, Luna." Twilight joined in. "It doesn't matter how this mess started. What matters is that we get it cleaned up!"

"Darn tootin'!" Applejack stomped her hoof assertively.

"Nopony's taking our home!" Rainbow joined.

"Or the critters!" Fluttershy stepped up, even showing Spike as an example.

"Rarity, we're coming for you!" Pinkie Pie pointed at her with furrowed eyebrows.

"Nightmare Rarity" was only taking all of this with a sign of utter disgust and rolling eyes.

Twilight revealed her charm to Luna. "Remember." She shared with a smile.

As Luna widened her eyes in realization at what Twilight was doing, I pulled mine out of the hoodie I still surprisingly never took off since I got it.

As she observed mine next, she rested her worried eyes and seemed to be seeing the spark of us all. Finding it absolutely unprogressive to lie on the grass in defeat, she took a turn to see a successful future for us all. "You all right." She mentioned as she managed to push herself up and join the rest of us. "This is our home. As long as all of us work together to keep it clean from such mess, we can be victorious!" Everypony that seemed to be following Princess Luna's hoof beats behind her cheered loudly, their spirits rejuvenated. "Together we will defeat this Nightmare energy and it will never hurt anypony ever again!" She exclaimed proudly.

The Nightmare possessing Rarity growled at the sight of all us standing together in unison. "You are all fools! Love! Trust! Friendship! Bleh! Try Power! Fear! Darkness!"

"You can't be Rarity!" Sweetie Belle surprisingly stepped up from the crowd. "She would never say such an awful thing! She loves all her friends and would never want to hurt anyone!"

Nightmare Rarity seemed to be struck with shock for a moment, as if Sweetie Belle had gotten to the true Rarity inside.

No matter, she shook it off. "Can't you see?! None of you have nothing left! While you may feel happy and spirited, it doesn't matter! I have all my darkness! And darkness is never-ending! You will all fall short anyway!"

"No!" I jumped in, tired of all of this. I just wanted Rarity back. "There's us and our friendship! We were able to use it against Tirek. We can use it against you too!"

"That's right!" Twilight added in confidently. "Because we have the most powerful magic of all! Magic that your darkness can't stand against!"

"Now, we're gonna ask nicely." Applejack shared. "Give. Her. Back." She stated in an absolute stern voice.

"Never!" Nightmare Rarity growled, scrunching up like an angry hissing cat.

"Then we'll just get her out of you!" Twilight exclaimed.

"And I shall lead!" Luna offered and charged towards Nightmare Rarity. In a second, she held the tip of her horn on Nightmare Rarity. Luna began creating this strong light on her that pierced through Nightmare Rarity's darkness. "Your darkness cannot survive in the light! Loosen your grip on generous Rarity's heart and let her speak!"

Nightmare Rarity began struggling under Luna's power, attempting to scramble away from it. However, Luna made sure to hold on tight. A voice came from under the darkness that protruded from Nightmare Rarity. "My friends! It's you all!"

"Rarity's still in there!" Twilight pointed out. "Come on! We gotta talk to her and free her!"

"Right!" The girls nodded and proceeded to do so.

"Rarity! Don't worry! We're coming for you!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

"Afterwards, we're going to throw a big 'Rarity is back' party!" Pinkie cheered.

"You really mean it?!" We heard her voice speak out.

"Of course, Sugarcube!" Applejack assured.

"We couldn't without you!" Fluttershy mentioned with soft glee.

"Fluttershy…" Rarity's voice suddenly saddened in its tone. "I'm sorry…"

"What?" Fluttershy questioned, surprised of this apology.

"There's something that's been bothering me…I…" Rarity tried to say.

"Rarity!" I exclaimed. "You can tell her later! Right now, you have to focus on getting out!"

Nightmare Rarity began laughing. "Keep thinking those negative thoughts! You're only driving yourself deeper in the darkness!"

"No!" Rarity cried out, her voice beginning to become distant.

"Rarity!" Twilight called in distress, afraid that we would lose connection to her.

"Please, no! Help!" Rarity wept inside. "I don't want to go back! It was so cold and lonely! I wasn't helping anypony! I was hurting them! Help!"

"Rarity!" I called as well.

From the darkness, I could see a hoof of the color of her coat come out, desperately wanting somepony to grab it and pull her out. With no hesitation, I ran towards it and grabbed ahold of it. However, I didn't seem strong enough to pull her out. Instead, I was immediately pulled in, feeling myself surrounded and dwelling in the deepest darkness imaginable.


Everything was silent. There was this kind of…eerie sound as if it was letting me know I was completely lost. I was almost panicking until a sudden light appeared in front of me. In some kind of ball, I could see Rarity trapped unconsciously inside.

"Rarity!" I called out in relief and heard the echo of my voice as I began to gallop straight towards her.

However, this terrible laughter sounded clearly. Out from the darkness in front of Rarity, Nightmare Rarity appeared. "You and your friend are now trapped inside. And there is absolutely no way you're going to get her out."

"You're wrong!" I exclaimed, making sure in my heart that I would get her out by any means necessary. "Your darkness won't last! In fact, I have light inside me that'll prove that!"

She released a loud confident laughter once again. "Oh really…? That's not what I heard." She mentioned, looking away with a smirk. "You have nothing against me. Your magic is useless, and your words are futile. Try if you must. I'm not going anywhere!"

Believing she was wrong, I kicked the darkness I seemed to be standing on and began galloping straight towards her. All the while, she only stared at me with the deadliest smirk. As soon as I began to close in, I closed my eyes and focused on the light within me.

I thought the second after, I would be right next to Rarity ready to help her. Instead, I was unexpectedly thrown back. Back to where I first started in this putrid darkness. This caused her to laugh yet again. "You're amusing!"

I growled and stood up, charging at her to try again. However, I was kicked back for a second time. Why wasn't my light working?!

"Give it up, pony!" She recommended. "You have no light! It is gone! All gone!" She cackled.

"No!" I reasoned. "It's not! It's always been inside of me! It can't just…vanish!"

"Oh…" She placed a hoof in front of her mouth and chuckled mockingly. "I'm sure somepony made sure of that."

"What?!" I angrily got up and made my way towards her. As I did, I tried using my magic, hoping in one of the shots, I would spark up the light inside. I even tried it right in front of her, but she seemed to find it annoying.

"Enough!" She struck me with her dark power. I could feel it linger and spread around me, holding me in place. "Your persistence is irritating. For it, you can have a front row seat and watch as I dive straight into your friend's heart and allow the darkness to devour it!"

"No!" I exclaimed, trying to struggle free.

Nightmare Rarity roamed around the trapped and unconscious Rarity. "Say your final words, for you shall not see her again…ever!"

I felt myself tear up in frustration again. I didn't want to lose her. I wasn't going to lose her! I couldn't! "Get…away from her!" I bellowed out.

Nightmare Rarity seemed to become surprised all of a sudden, but it wasn't because of my shout. These rays of light began protruding from my chest and striking everywhere that was dark. Her eyes widened. "What?! But…but you don't…!" The light cleared up most of the darkness, but there was still one piece that remained. "No…! No!" She began backing away, even though it wouldn't matter in the end. "I'm supposed to be the supreme ruler! ME! Darkness conquers all!" The light struck her, causing her to scream in defeat as she was disintegrated.

I didn't know what happened afterwards. The next thing I knew was that I was hearing my name being called. I opened my eyes and spotted Twilight worriedly looking my way. I quickly turned my head, scanning for Rarity. There was this patch of darkness nearby, and it was fading from existence. As it did, I noticed the sight of Rarity begin to appear.

"Rarity!" I pushed myself up and ran towards her. As the last of the darkness fled, I dropped by her. She seemed to still be unconscious, but seeing her now like this was really scary. I kept calling her name, trying to wake her up. But it was like she didn't listen. Or more like she couldn't even hear me. I tried tapping her body or lightly shaking her, but it didn't work. I felt the lingering fear fall upon me once again. The worsened state of the fear I endured when I was trapped in the Castle of The Two Sisters with the others. "Come on, Rarity. You're free now." I began pushing at her chest, trying anything to wake her up since I had no logical idea at the moment. "Wake up. Wake up!" When she still didn't listen, I clenched my teeth and felt anger rising. There's one other thing I can do…but will it really work…? In my peripheral vision, I could see Fluttershy among those watching. I hope this doesn't hurt you, Fluttershy… I turned to her with tears brimming in my eyes. "Please forgive me!" I begged, which immediately surprised her because she didn't know what I was about to do immediately after.

Opening Rarity's lips, I connected our mouths together. Searching for the biggest breath I could find, I prepared to give the most living blow to Rarity's body. However, it wasn't any kind of regular breath. The magic in my horn reacted…and it seemed to add some kind of magic to that breath as well. As soon as I finished, I felt a jolt come from Rarity's body. I pulled away and observed her, desperately hoping to see her lively self once again.

Suddenly, she made a big inhale, as if she just barely escaped leaving us forever. She struggled with composing the rhythm of her breathing, but it soon came onto a steady motion. Her eyelids twitched for a bit, but she managed to finally open them. She seemed absolutely shocked to see everypony around her in her eyes. "I…" She tried to speak, but felt like she had nothing fitting to say.

"You're okay now, Rarity!" I wanted to shout out loud, feeling so grateful at that time to see her well.

The rest of the girls gathered around Rarity and expressed their joy to her free state while she still seemed to be confused.

Princess Luna released a great sigh of relief. "It is over…" She turned towards the sky and took notice that the clouds of darkness were no longer there.

"Friends…" Rarity began to look as if she was regaining herself. "…I…I've missed you all so much!"

"We missed you too, Rarity!" Twilight returned.

As they began to express all their relieved emotions, I only stood by and watched. Yes, I was relieved as well, but I still felt…uncertainty inside of me.

Princess Luna turned around to announce to the other ponies that helped defend their home. "We are successful!" She held a firm hoof up in the air. "The darkness has fled our home because of all us! Thank you, everypony!"

Everypony then burst into a loud cheer that was probably heard from so far. As everypony celebrated in a verbal manner, I felt alone once again. I was the only one who didn't seem into it as everyone else. Despite saving Rarity, I was still in the same position as I was before she was taken.


All of us convened at Sugarcube Corner since Pinkie Pie pretty much meant her word. I believed the princesses were finishing up in Ponyville and probably making sure this "darkness" was brought to an end.

Pinkie Pie whipped up some late night snacks. I didn't really take any since I wasn't hungry or feeling the mutual as the others were.

Rarity glanced over to me and then to Fluttershy. She released a heavy sigh, as if she was about to get something off her chest. "Fluttershy…" She caught her attention. "…there's something…I think I need to tell you…"

"Is this about the whole thing with you liking Alex and stuff? Because it's not really surprising." Rainbow Dash mentioned, biting casually into a cupcake.

"What?!" Rarity began blushing immensely, completely surprised that they knew this. "How did you—?"

"Sorry…" I apologized and spoke up. "…I kind of…lost it and…told them…"

"I…" She appeared speechless and buried her head on the table. "I'm so embarrassed!"

"Don't be." Fluttershy stated, looking completely calm. Happy even. "We're all just glad you're back."

"But, Fluttershy…" Rarity began attempting to face her without feeling guilty or odd. "I…I feel horrible because of my feelings with somepony you're already with."

"Why should you feel horrible?" Fluttershy looked at Rarity, furrowing her eyebrows in concern. "You've done nothing wrong."

"But…but…"

"Rarity, you can't help the way you feel. Nopony can." Fluttershy mentioned. "You can't make yourself feel happy whenever you want to. Otherwise, ponies could easily feel brave when they're scared. You don't really control your feelings… I shouldn't be mad if you like Alex more than a friend, and I'm not." Fluttershy shared a small smile. But then it kind of disappeared for the next thing she was going to say. "But…actions are another thing…" She hinted. "You can't really control your feelings…but you should be able to control what you do with them."

"I…I understand…" Rarity returned, getting the message. "I'm sorry, everypony…"

"Forget about it." Applejack advised. "Chow down! It's time we be happy for being together!"

As Rarity began to unwind, I rubbed my head against Fluttershy's.

"Thanks for understanding…" I said softly. She accepted my move with a delicate rubbing of her own. "I love you…"

"I love you too." She mentioned at the same volume.


I decided to take a breather for a minute outside. Just to see the place we call home at peace again. Outside, Luna met with me. I assumed it was to discuss the after-events.

"How is Rarity?" She inquired.

"She seems to be doing alright." I responded and thought back. "She seems like herself again."

"That's good." Luna expressed. "I believe any darkness she held, Nightmare Rarity, is gone. She was apparently eliminated after all."

"Yeah…I guess…" I merely stated.

"Please keep an eye on her, just in case." She requested.

"Don't worry." I replied, nodding my head. "I will."

"Get some rest now, Alex." Luna suggested. "You need it."

I decided I could try sleeping later on… "Okay."

She smiled softly and kissed me on my forehead. "Good night." She flew away, possibly heading towards Canterlot. I supposed Celestia had already left, especially since she had to expend so much energy during the time she was supposed to be sleeping.

"Don't be so tired yet, 'hero'." I heard nearby, causing me to quickly turn in alarm. "This 'night' isn't over yet."

It was him again… The stallion who never uncovered his identity. "What are you talking about?" I asked, feeling there was nothing else I could really do.

"I hope you didn't really think this 'Nightmare Rarity' was the whole plan." He chuckled menacingly. "In fact, you all did exactly what we expected you to do."

"What?!" I felt my teeth clench.

He turned his head towards the moon. "Someone's waiting for you. He's been waiting a long time to see you again." He faced me again. "Wouldn't be polite to keep him waiting, would it?"

I had a troubling feeling that I knew exactly who he was talking about. "You…you can't mean…"

"Stop stuttering and face it." He responded bluntly. "You know exactly who I'm talking about."

"And what if you're just trying to trick me? What if you're just leading me into a trap?" I brought up.

"Please." He scoffed. "I think I'd try harder if I wanted to get rid of you. Besides…even if you don't believe me, I've got something that'll make you want to."

"Huh…?" I wondered greatly on what that could be.

"You wanted to know the truth behind the so many secrets from a certain mare right?" He caught me completely off-guard as soon as he mentioned that. "Well, you better prepare yourself. It's not going to be fun fighting a wimp like you if you don't have any surprises for me." He turned away as if he was prepared to leave. "Make your way to the Castle of the Two Sisters. Especially if you want to know why that mare had been keeping secrets from you all this time. Don't keep me waiting. It's going to be a fun…'family reunion'."

Afterwards, he disappeared into the shadows.

I stood there utterly dumbfounded in horror.

He knew her…

He knew Spirit…

Not only that…

He was talking about my dad…

Was this the confrontation that was bound to happen between the two of us? Is it finally going to happen? I never wanted to think about it, but I wasn't expecting it to happen like this… What do I do? Everypony already went through enough with Nightmare Rarity…is that what he meant?

Is this real? Or am I just dreaming…?

He's right…

This night isn't over yet…

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