• Published 16th Mar 2013
  • 2,103 Views, 51 Comments

Every Night After - General_Darkfang_NLR

As Equestria is once more shrouded in eternal night, the very land begins to die. One lone mare desperately tries to hold an entire nation, and herself, together.

  • ...

The Monster Within

The white light remained for what seemed like an eternity, thought it might have been only a few seconds. The sheer oppressive power behind the light made it difficult to breathe, let alone tell exactly how much time had passed. Seconds? Hours? Years? In all honesty she didn't care. She just wanted it to end. Almost as soon as the thought flitted through her head, it did just that.

Gone was the merciless white light, replaced by the dungeon chamber's dull and impassive red stone floor. Though the magical oppression in the air still weighed down upon her, making her feel as though she was going to retch because of it. Looking up from the floor towards the magic's source she was met with a sight that would forever haunt her darkest of nightmares. She saw herself.

The Twilight before her hovered about two feet off of the ground, eyes ablaze with barely constrained raw magic. Her mane and necklaces flipped wildly about by an unfelt wind, and her horn blazed with a dark raspberry glow of a charged spell. However this spell was far greater in power than any she had cast in her entire life. The energy from merely charging it sent currents of raw magical power darting through the air in random bursts, cracking the very stone it touched. However the most terrifying part of her appearance was her eyes.

Gone was the mare she had once known, replaced by something whose face was contorted in unbridled fury... and showed no mercy. No empathy. Only fury. The thing before her was a monster. With barely a thought she brought her dark ebony wing to cover her face in a feeble attempt to survive the imminent coup de grĂ¢ce, and to avoid having to look at the horrible thing looming over her.

Wait.... wings?

Blinking in confusion she found her vision changed once more. Now she looked down upon the battered form of Nightmare Moon, cowering pitifully in a corner of the room with a wing raised over her face. The goddess' whole form shook with tremors from fear, pain, or a mixture of the two. For a long time Twilight stared in horror at the scene before her. The rage and immense magical power that ran wildly through her very veins confirmed her fear: She was the monster she had seen only moments before. Even now part of her brain screamed at her to kill the pitiful, helpless, creature before her and be rid of it forever. But... she coultn't.

All at once everything ceased, and she fell to the ground with an audible thump. Gone was the oppressive magical pressure. Gone was the hatred, and malice that filled every fiber of her being. Gone was the monster that had been about to kill somepony without a second thought, and relish in it. All that remained was a broken pony, whose mane and coat was in disarray. Silent tears flowed freely from her tightly shut eyes, leaving wet trails down her muzzle in their wake.

Nightmare Moon, for her part, could only look on with a mixture of fear, bewilderment, and something else. On one hoof she knew that she should be dead right now. The spell that had been about to be used against her was much more powerful that anything a normal unicorn should have been able to cast, let alone know. It was an ancient alicorn spell, that was used in the time before time to kill others of her kind. Back in the days where her race fought with amongst themselves for power and dominance.

\ Nightmare had seen the currents of power being drawn from Twilight and the elements to charge the spell, and was both terrified and in awe. This lone unicorn was bending the elements power to her will, a feat that not even she or Celestia could achieve. But now as looked at the mare across from her, her own body still shaking and demanding her to flee to safety, she saw something. She saw something that reminded her of an innocent foal princess who spent nights locked away in her room crying herself to sleep. She saw the same anger, and fury, that had once reigned in her mind so many moons ago.

Despite her minds insistent protests she reached out a trembling wing slowly, in an effort to... well she didn't know what exactly. However, before her outstretched obsidian primaries closed even half the distance between them there was a great flash of light, and Twilight was gone. The only thing of her remaining was the small wet droplets upon the stone floor where she once was.

Princess of the sun's private chambers, several hours later

"Twilight... what's wrong? I can not help you if you don't tell me what happened..." Said Shining Armor in a soft, but pleading, voice. He had been asking this very question for what seemed like the past hour now to no avail. Twilight sat across from him in a red velvet chair behind her ornate oak desk, staring out the window at the pale moon. She had not moved once since Shining began trying to figure out what had taken place in the Nightmare's cell. All he knew was that the magical suppressing unicorn mages had been ordered, by Twilight herself, to stand down. Nightmare was still very much alive, and somehow had not yet broken out of her cell to kill every last one of them. With a resigned sigh he put his head in his hooves upon the desk, for the first time admitting defeat. He wasn't even sure if she heard his questions at all.

"Am I a bad pony..... Am I a monster?" Came the all to soft reply, filled with such pain. Shining's ear twitched at the sound, not sure if he had heard correctly. However, as he picked up his head to look at his sister he realized he had heard correctly. She was now looking directly at him, her lavender muzzle matted with dried tears. The realization of which left him with his mouth hanging open utterly baffled, unable to answer for a few moments.

"What...? What are you talking about?" He asked, concern clearly in his tone. He had never heard Twilight talk like this before.

"I asked you if you thought I was a monster. The mandate, the executions, this war.... Do you think I have become the very darkness that we have fought to prevent from taking hold of Equestria? Please... be honest." She replied, her head falling to look at her hooves as she waited for his answer.

Without hesitation Shining gently reached out his hoof and placed his hoof over her own reassuringly, and spoke in a soft but confident tone. "You are not evil Twily... You know that. If ever there was a time where I had thought otherwise, if I ever doubted your heart, I would have told you. Consequences be damned, I would have told you. You are my sister Twilight, and quite honestly the only thing that has kept Canterlot and all of Equestria collapsing into utter chaos in Celestia's absence. You've done everything you possibly could have to ensure everypony's safety."

"But I haven't.... I've killed them as well. How many has it been? Tens? Hundreds? More? How many ponies have had to die because of me Shining? How many have I killed?" She asked

"You have not killed anyone!" Shining said, his voice rising. "They brought their fates upon themselves by the choices they chose to make. You are not responsible for that!"

"But I am... Celestia entrusted me with protecting everypony. I may have not done the deed by my own hoof, but it was I who signed that mandate. I was the one who signed off on the executions, and the re-instatement of the castle dungeons. Their blood is on my hoofs just the same, and for what? The moon is still out there. The night is still reigning, and the crops can not grow without a sun. You know as well as I that the magical substitution for food will not work forever." She said, once more turning her gaze to the ever-present moon.

"But we have Nightmare. Can't you force her to release her hold on the night?" He asked, confused.

"Nightmare is not behind this. She never was." Twilight replied after a pause, in a soft and defeated voice. "We were foalish to presume that she ever wanted an everlasting night in the first place."

"What do you mean? Ever lasting night has always been one of Nightmare's ultimate goals, everypony knows that. That is what caused the civil war over a thousand years ago." Shining replied, confused once more. This was a basic fact that foals were taught in pre-school and even in bedtime stories.

However Twilight only shook her head, sighing. "No, it is much more complicated than that. Nightmare loves her ponies just as much as her sister. Perhaps more so. She only wished for them to recognize her and her work, not ignore them. She never intended for the night to last indefinitely."

"Wait... 'her ponies'? That thing in the dungeon is not a princess Twily. What are you saying?" He asked, hardly believing that she was talking so highly about the very being he was certain she was about to destroy only hours prior.

"That thing is just as much of a princess as Luna is." She said in reply, her words more harsh than she had intended. Clenching her eyes tightly she inhaled deeply, taking her time as she let the air out to calm herself before replying. "What I mean to say is that, like it or not, Nightmare is Luna essentially. She deserves just as much respect as Luna or Celestia."

For a long time Shining only sat there, his mouth open to say something without words actually coming out. Twilight said nothing further, waiting for him to regain his senses. Which eventually he did.

"What do you mean, the same? Twilight... That isn't possible." He said incredulously, sounding more as though he was trying to convince himself rather than her. "Luna would never have done those things in the past.She wouldn't have done what she has now."

Twilight only shook her head She knew just how insane it sounded. But Shining hadn't been there. He had not seen Nightmare's memories, nor had he felt her pain, her sorrow, and her anger. "Nightmare and Luna were the same being at one time, but now I am not so sure. I have a theory, after what happened in the dungeons, but I need to talk to her. I want you to ask her to please come speak with me. If she agrees then you are to escort her alone, and if not then leave it at that. There have been enough hostilities between us all."

Shining stared at his sister, for the first time wondering if she had truly gone insane. But if there was one thing Shining was in this world it was a soldier, and soldiers did not question their superiors. He loved Twilight as much as any brother ever could, and would follow her above to the very gates Tarterus and back. Even if it meant his death. Standing up he gave her a stiff bow of acceptance, before turning to complete his assigned task without further comment.

Twilight watched him go, not missing the stiffness with which he departed. She knew he loved her to a fault, and that was what made it impossible for her to take his earlier assessment to heart. Perhaps she was corrupted. By power, by anger, or by just not being qualified to lead. The more she looked at herself the more she began to realize how far from Celestia she truly was. As a solitary tear slid down her violet cheek, she picked up a quill and a scroll in her telekenitic grasp and began to write...

"Dear Princess Celestia..."

Author's Note:

Thank you all who have stuck with this story after such a long time for an update, and for your patience. It means the world to me, and I do apologize for the wait. The story itself is indeed not dead, and will be releasing chapters much more frequently (promise).

Also, I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving!
As always comments/critiques are appreciated <3

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