• Published 8th Apr 2013
  • 4,616 Views, 428 Comments

Dusk Dawns - AlphatheGriffin17



Book IV Now taking up lessons with the Princess of the Night, datingthe student of the Princess of the Sun, coping with some bad memories and being the Seventh Element, Dusk certainly has a lot on his plate. And that's just stuff to do with hi

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Late Night Learning

"Twilight, you don't have to stay up with me," Dusk insisted, his eyes moving from the book he was reading to his marefriend. "You can go home to the library, I'll be fine."

"I know, but… I want to be here with you for this." She suppressed a yawn and snuggled up closer to him on the couch. "I know you're nervous about your first lesson with Luna and I want to try and lessen it a little before she gets here."

"Nervous? Um… who said I was uh, nervous? I'm uh, not nervous um… what are you… talking about," he stammered in reply.

"Dusk, you only ever stammer or pause these days when you're either nervous or unsure about something," she said matter-of-factly. "It's kind of easy to notice."

"I suppose," he admitted. "But still, you don't need to be here. I… I'm sure I'll be fine."

"I don't doubt that, but remember what we learned a few days ago?" she asked him. "Your problems are my problems and I'm going to help you cope with them, okay?"

"Alright…" He nuzzled her cheek a little. "Thanks Twi…"

"Anytime," she replied quietly. "Now come on, this is a good bit." Revelling in her warm presence beside him, Dusk returned his attention to the page.

Though it was only half past eight, the sky was already beginning to darken outside, the sun lowering in the sky and signs of a definite chill descending upon the land. The leaves on the trees outside were shifting colour to an earthy brown or sunset orange and dangling on their branches, animals were stocking up their supplies for their long sleep and ponies were starting to wear scarves and woollen hats to keep the cold at bay. Though the sun still shone, the influence of the rays was weak and still made them shiver in the wind.

All of these were sure signs that summer was behind them and autumn was beginning to settle in. Quite fitting that, when the nights should begin to grow longer, that was when Dusk's lessons with the princess were beginning.

According to the letter she had sent him a few days ago, she would be arriving at nine o clock to begin his education with her, only a mere thirty minutes away, yet time seemed to slow in anticipation for the event and build upon Dusk's already erratic nerves. Though he knew Princess Luna and considered her to be as much his friend as the girls, he was still shivering with anticipation as to what she might be teaching him, as to how much his powers would be expanded upon and how their relationship with each other might change.

These fears and more had been pressing down upon him, to the point that as the night drew nearer for her lessons to begin, he had become a lot more jumpy and erratic, sometimes raising his voice without noticing it or rambling whenever the subject came up in conversation. Occasionally, he might snap at somepony or else just become generally worried when his thoughts strayed to it for even a moment. He'd already had to apologize to Fluttershy on three separate occasions for raising his voice to her and making her cry, something that still made his insides squirm.

As if I hadn't caused her enough pain already, he thought fearfully, the laughter echoing again in his mind…

Fortunately however, it could have been a lot worse if it hadn't been for the support of his special somepony. Whether it was by her own volition or by some kind of spoken agreement between her and the others, Twilight had been immensely helpful to him at this nerve-wracking time. Whenever his voice rose to shouting level or his stammering would become too much, she would always calm him down and point it out. She would tell him about her own experiences with Celestia to soothe his own anxieties towards it. When he started reading through the books she had given him, she would be there to read with him and make it more enjoyable.

In short, she was there for him in whatever capacity he needed in order to make his transition into his new education that much easier. She was, of course, the logical choice to go for in this capacity. She had also been taught by royalty, had a great enthusiasm and interest in educational study, she was his marefriend and his best friend, knowing him the best out of all of them and because she knew how it felt to worry so much about a problem that it would become huge. Neither of them mentioned that particular event, but he was still grateful for her help.

Even with her beside him and all of her counsel, Dusk was still nervous about it and couldn't really focus. Twilight seemed to sense this and placed a hoof on his shoulder.

"Dusk, you're going to be fine." She laughed lightly. "Honestly, you're supposed to be the level-headed guy in our group."

Dusk raised an eyebrow. "Twilight, I'm the only guy in our group."

"What, does Spike not count?"

"Well, only guy pony I mean."

"That doesn't excuse missing out Spike," she persisted. "That's just offensive to dragons."

"I uh… I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

"Dusk, I'm only joking. Come on, lighten up a little," she assured him gently.

"Right… sorry, it's just…" He trailed off, not wanting to end up repeating himself. She was probably tired of hearing that anyway.

"I know, believe me I know, but it'll be fine."

"Yes… but… what if I'm not good enough to be her student? I mean, I was in the school, but this is a completely different level." All of his anxeteies came flooding to him in that instant. "What if I make a mistake and she doesn't think I should continue? What if I can't learn to the degree that she wants me to or I can't handle what she has planned for me? I might fail at later spells, or not even make it past the first ones! I don't think I can-!"

"Dusk!" Her sharp voice and raised tones cut him off. "Calm. Down. Do you hear me? Just take a deep breath and calm down."

Suddenly remembering other times he had helped to calm her in similar situations and feeling a greater rush of gratitude for her, Dusk closed his eyes, drew in a long breath and exhaled slowly until his frantic mind was soothed and his heart rate lowered. Once he had himself under control, he opened his eyes and looked at Twilight.

"Right… I'm calm…" He took another breath just to be sure. "I'm sorry Twilight, but… I'm just so nervous…"

"I know, I know and I understand completely, but you have nothing to worry about. Do you want to know why?"

"Why?"

She put on her best matter-of-fact tone. "Firstly, unlike when I first met Celestia, you already know Luna. The two of you are already good friends, so you don't have to worry about making a good impression. Secondly, you are certainly intelligent and talented enough that she would actually want to teach you in the first place. And thirdly, the most important reason, is I know for a fact that nopony deserves this honour more than you do and that is the honest truth."

Those words comforted and touched him more than he could comprehend. "R-r-really? You… you think so?"

She answered by allowing her lips to brush against his, only for a few seconds, but it was to make him feel like he could fly. "Does that answer your question?"

"Yes… I think so." He chuckled bashfully and smiled at her. "Thank you, Twilight."

"Don't worry about it," she said gently. "What is you always tell me?"

The words came so easily. "Have faith."

"Exactly, so have a little now, brave believer."

"Right…" He blushed from the compliment. "Thanks…

"Happy to help. Besides, it's my job to get worried and hysterical about this kind of thing," she pointed out. "We certainly don't need another of me."

"I don't know, Twi, I certainly wouldn't mind… having two of you," he said, trying his best to sound flirtatious.

"Oh really?" Despite how unsure he felt about it, his worry was lessened when she returned the tone. "And how would you decide which one of us you liked better?" she asked, gazing at him with her eyes half closed.

"I don't know… perhaps some form of test?" he replied, drawing closer to her.

"I see, and what form would this test take?" she asked, mirroring his movements.

"I think, perhaps…" Forcing himself to relax, he closed the distance and kissed her once more. It was worth it for these little moments.

They remained like this for a little longer this time before they broke apart. "Did I pass?"

"I would say so…" They gazed at each other for a long time until Ophelia's hoot made them both jump. "Right um… back to studying?"

"Yes, yes… of course." Visibly disappointed, Twilight diverted her eyes to the floor. They were still getting used to that… but it was getting better.

For a while, there was nothing but the occasional squeak from Dusk's owl and the ticking of the clock, counting down the seconds. A silence, that varied somewhere between comfortable and awkward, passed between them for a bit until Twilight laughed unexpectedly.

"What is it?" Dusk asked curiously.

"I just realised, your first lesson with Luna is coming up and it's almost Nightmare Night," she told him.

"Ah yes," Dusk said with a nod of recognition, recalling the festival of the creature their princess had become. "I've never been part of it, but I always thought it would be a fun event when I read about it back in Canterlot."

"Is that so? Well, I haven't either, but what appeals to you about it?" she asked.

"For one thing, it's associated with Luna, who I always more pitied than feared and for another… it would sort of give me the chance to pretend to be somepony else," he added pathetically.

"Oh… I see…" She looked at him pityingly. "But, you've changed since then, haven't you?"

"Oh yes, but… maybe being somepony else wouldn't be such a bad thing…" The guilt, the laughter, the screams flooded back to him in that instant.

"What do you mean?" Twilight's expression changed from one of pity to one of searching, of scrutiny almost. "Dusk, what's wrong?"

"Oh um, nothing…" He quickly suppressed the memories again and tried to look her in the eye. "It's fine, I'm fine."

"Are you sure? Dusk, what's-?"

"It's fine," he repeated, perhaps a little too quickly. "Just something that… I'd rather not talk about."

"I see…" She didn't sound convinced, but thankfully, she didn't broach the subject further. "So, who are you going as for Nightmare Night?"

"I'm not entirely sure. I have some ideas, but none of them really concrete," he admitted.

"Really? Care to share those thoughts?"

"I'll be fine, I'll figure something out." he dismissed. "What about you? Who are you going as?"

She looked at him incredulously. "What? I ask you to tell me who you're going as and you don't say a word. Now you expect me to tell you just like that?"

"Well, if you wouldn't mind… yes please."

"Well, tough, I'm keeping it a surprise," she said with a smirk.

"Can I try and guess?"

"You can, but I still won't tell you even if you do."

"Well, let me see… a gorgon?" She shook her head. "A princess?"

"Oh please, can you imagine me as a princess? I don't think so."

"Okay, okay…" He tried to think of common costumes a mare might have for the occasion. "A nurse? A vampire? A cat?"

"I notice you're only saying things a mare might dress up as," she pointed out. "How do you know I'm not going to dress up as a guy?"

She had him there for a bit. "Well… I was just… I mean I was…"

"Honestly Dusk, I thought you were a little more open minded than that." She rolled her eyes insincerely. "Sexist…"

"Well, on the subject of doubles, I don't think we need another Rainbow Dash," he quipped.

"Touché," she remarked lightly. "How about we settle for that we're just going to surprise each other on the night?"

"Agreed." His eyes drifted to the clock. "Almost time…"

"So it is…" She sighed and started to rise from the couch. "I guess I'd better get going."

"You don't have to go yet," he insisted, fear returning once more. "Please… don't go."

She picked up on this and cupped his cheek. "Dusk, you'll be fine. Just stay calm and be yourself, just like always, okay?"

"Okay… right, sorry. I'll show you out," he said reluctantly.

"Thank you and you don't have to be sorry," she added, when he opened the door for her. "Like I said, I'm happy to do it."

"Right… okay…

"Besides, you don't owe me anything," she added. "In a way, I'm making up for what I've done."

"What for?" he asked, surprised by this.

"It's just, I still feel bad about what I did to you a few days ago… you know…" He nodded, knowing what she was talking about. "I know it couldn't have been easy for you having to deal with that, so, I guess this is my way of saying sorry for… for everything."

"I told you, I already forgave you. Believe me, I know how it feels to be responsible for somepony else's… pain," he murmured.

"I know." There was understanding in the way she said that, more than he would have expected. That brief moment of complete comprehension, but it was there, he saw it… then it was gone. "Well, I'd better get back to the library. Who knows what Spike may have been up to while I was gone?"

"Yes, he probably slept for an extra three minutes," he remarked with a chuckle. "I'll see you tomorrow Twilight."

"Likewise, let me know what she teaches you and good luck!" Heading off back to town, occasionally glancing back and waving a few times, Twilight was gone.

Dusk stared off in the direction she'd headed off in for a little bit, like he was caught in a trance. I never noticed how quiet it really was, he thought to himself before returning inside and shutting the door behind him. Almost as if she had been keeping them at bay, the memories returned again, creeping slowly back into the forefront of his mind…

"Stop it, right now! Give me back that book, Blackhole!"

"You dare to order me?! You attempted to defy me before, Sparkle and, as I recall, you failed!"

"Then I'll try and fail again! Now, give me that BOOK!"

"You still don't know your place? Then allow me to remind you who's in control here! You want a book, Twilight Sparkle? Allow me to oblige. ATTACK!"

He clutched his head, doing his best to keep them down, keep the guilt from coming back, most of all, keep from hearing her screams while his darker side had set about his work. She had been so brave, he had been so cruel… he hadn't. He'd run away, tried to hide and that had only made things worse. This was why he had never sought to be a hero, a daring fighter leaping into the battle… because it was just so hard…

He lay back down on his couch, concentrating with all of his might to keep the memories from surfacing again. Apart from Princess Luna and Pinkie, he was still the only one who knew that he and Blackhole Doom were one and the same. Though he had promised to his princess that he would speak to them about that at some point, for now he was resolute to keep it to himself. He would be able to deal with this on his own, after all, he had done so for other problems. He'd found solutions when he'd been by himself when it was just him and he was coping just fine now.

But no, that was only one way of looking at it and it was barely even close to the truth. The actual truth was the same as he had held last time, the real reason that he kept quiet about the whole thing: he was scared. Just when he thought he had finally become settled and happy with his friends, here was something else that threatened to take him away from them. He didn't want to tell them, or even mention it because he didn't want them to view him as a monster, as the evil beast that had terrorized them ever so briefly, yet had left such an impact. He didn't want to lose them, not after all this…

And that was just the girls. He still heard other ponies around town talking about Blackhole in hushed, terrified tones from all of the horrible things he'd done and it made him feel physically sick. He knew that even now, they still hated and feared the pony… no, the monster that had helped bring tyranny to their home. What would they do to him if they knew? They'd run him out, cast him away like a leper and he would be alone again. He didn't want to leave, Ponyville had become his home, even more so than Canterlot.

No, it was better to keep it secret, keep it safe…

And yet… in that little moment before Twilight had left, he had seen something in her eyes, some sort of recognition or understanding for what he had been talking about. For anypony else, it would have been easy to dismiss it as Twilight just being comforting towards him, acting out of compassion because she was his marefriend. But for Dusk, he knew that it was more than that. She knew something about it, that there was some kind of connection for what he had said to her. But what did she know and if she did know, why didn't she say anything?

Because she might know that you're a monster and she doesn't want to talk to a monster about what he's done, a harsh voice said in his head. Once that sounded suspiciously like another voice that had echoed in his thoughts not too long ago…

No, that idea was too horrible to comprehend, he didn't want to think of her like that, nor did he want to discuss that yet. He had caused her enough pain and she didn't need reminding of it. In the end, Dusk decided to go with the easier answer. She had just been compassionate towards him and trying to make him feel better, as she always had done. He just needed to calm down, stop being so suspicious and just wait for Luna to get here. Then everything would be fine, like she had kept telling him and since when was Twilight ever wrong.

Somehow, those words sounded false to him, no matter how many times he repeated them in his head.

Wanting to distract his thoughts away from that, he looked over at the clock. Nine o clock, he noted. It was time to begin. Stomaching his nerves as best he could, he opened the door again and ventured out into the night to await the princess's arrival at his home. The night air was chill when he stepped outside, enough to make him shiver a little from the cold and another sure sign that the warm season was coming to an end.

"It's really quite chilly tonight," he remarked to himself, pacing around a little to keep warm.

His thoughts were interrupted by an commanding, but gentle tone behind him. "I would think that is to be expected, mine little pony. After all, winter is coming."

He whipped around to see the Princess of the Night descend majestically from the star-filled sky, almost as if she had been born from existence from it. Her constantly flowing mane was glittering with the same qualities as the sky above and she had a serious look on her face, one that matched her usual speaking tone in the slightly quieter Royal Voice.

Dusk couldn't help but smile at her words. "I didn't know you read those books, Princess."

"What books?" She raised an eyebrow in confusion. "I was not aware I had referred to any literature."

"Oh… never mind," he said, feeling a little foolish. "Just a um… a series I started reading." Now he was wasting time. She wouldn't be happy with that…

"Well, it pleases me to know thou are still keeping that up." When he looked back up, she had a much more pleasant smile on her features. "It is good to see thee again, Dusk Noir."

"As… as it is you, Your Highness…" Dusk replied, with a slight bow.

"Dusk, I have already told thee that it is permissible for thou to call me Luna," she reminded him.

He was surprised at this. "I know, Highness, but it's just… you're my teacher now and… I thought you'd prefer it if I referred to you more… respectfully…"

He heard her step closer as he bowed his head, then lift it up gently. "Dusk, just because thou art mine pupil does not mean thou art any less my friend."

"R-r-really?" This actually surprised Dusk, for he had expected her to exert her authority as both his teacher and his princess.

"Why of course," she said with utter sincerity. "While I do expect respect and dedication from thou in thy studies, I already know that thou art polite and well-mannered. Thou hast more than earned the right to call me by my name."

Feeling slightly overwhelmed that she would think of him so highly of him, Dusk broke out into a smile again, his anxiety and worry over the matter now mostly gone, if not entirely.

"I'm… touched you think so, Princess but… if it's all the same to you, I'd prefer to refer to you by title in our sessions together," he confessed. "It just feels more… proper."

If Luna was surprised by this, she didn't show it. "Very well, if that is what thou would prefer." She drew back and gestured to her side with an open wing. "Come then. Before we commence our lesson, let us 'catch up' as I believe it is termed."

Even more relieved that his worries so far were unfounded, Dusk walked with her under the gentle shine of the stars above and in the enchanting glow of the moonlight. Their talk was relatively basic, asking each other about their health and how they had been doing since they had met last time. Luna was glad to hear that he and Twilight were doing fine in their relationship and offered congratulations to the two of them, while Dusk had a slight blush to his cheeks.

All in all, they were essentially two friends catching up on old times, rather strange considering their statuses. She remarked upon his new glasses, asking if they were helping him to see better, to which she was relieved to hear he could see clearly again and commenting how well they suited him. Dusk also found himself asking about his Element of Harmony, Unity. A question that sort of tumbled out when he thought about it.

"Have no fear, it is being kept safely in Canterlot Tower, along with the others," she assured him. "Thou did not think we would simply leave it somewhere for anypony to find?"

"Of course not," Dusk replied, smirking at Luna's rarely displayed humour. "It's just that… no, it's nothing…"

"Speak thy mind Dusk, what troubles thee?" she asked

"Well, I suppose…" Out of a kind of instinct, he went to feel the stones around his neck only to realise they were no longer there. "I had that necklace for a long time, it was Twilight that made it for me and… I just miss it, really…"

"I see," she said simply. "I can somewhat understand that, but take heart, I'm sure thou will find a suitable replacement."

"Possibly. It's not a necessity but… it would be nice to have it back," he admitted.

"It would, but considering its current state, I think it not wise to wear it in public now."

"I didn't think so." Dusk smirked again. "A lot of things have changed, I know…" He looked away from her when he heard the laughter again.

"Dusk, what is wrong? What dost thou refer to?" she asked.

"Just um… my cutie mark, I suppose," he lied. "It's um… rather surreal, now it's changed… still getting used to it, um, really."

She raised an eyebrow cynically. "Understandable, but I do not think that is what thou meant."

"What um… what do you mean? It was, really…"

She remained unconvinced. "My friend, has anypony told thee thou art a terrible liar?"

"A um… a few times, yes…"

"Thou should know that it is not encouraged to attempt to deceive royalty," she said in a firm tone. "Speak the truth, I command it." When he looked back up at her, she had her answer when she looked into his eyes. "Ah… him."

"Yes. Him," Dusk agreed.

"Thou still has not told them, hast thou?"

"…No…"

She sighed and he cringed a little in shame. "Dusk, thou cannot run from thy fears forever."

"Why can't I?" The question surprised him as much as it did her.

"What did thou say to me?"

"I um… never mind…"

"Thou said thou thought thou could hide from thy fears rather than face them."

"I didn't… I mean I-"

"I know what thou meant, Dusk, but explain why thou thinks that."

"It's… it's nothing…"

"No, it is not. Explain."

"But I-"

"Explain it to me."

"Why should I-?"

"Do not attempt to defy me, Dusk!" she boomed. "We command thee to explain to us, this instant, why thou thinks it right to run from what thou fears!"

"Because it's what I've always done!" he yelled back. "I've always done it before. Running, hiding… it was so much easier than standing up. It got me through just fine before…"

This was true enough. Why face the fear of being rejected when he knew what the answer would be anyway? Why seek out friends when he knew they weren't going to do the same? Everything was set in stone, clear cut and simple. It had worked, that much he could say and it had kept him safe.

"I see…" Her voice lowered a little, but she still sounded sceptical. "And tell me, young Dusk, for the same period of time thou didst remain in thy fears' shadow, did thou ever know friendship, laughter or kindness? Wast thou ever happy?"

"Well um… I suppose I was…" No, there was no point in trying to lie to her. "No…"

"And are thou happy now, coping with this by thyself?"

"Mostly, yes, but… there are times when it… he comes back," he told her. "I do my best to keep him quiet, but… he always comes back…"

"So often dost one meet their fate on the road they take to avoid it," she mused. "Dusk, I know it is difficult, believe me I know and it can seem daunting. But thou must talk about it with thy friends at some point, otherwise… you and they will simply suffer all the more."

"I… I understand."

"Good. I will not mention this again, but I trust thou will take my words to heart." She studied him for a few more seconds, then returned to a more light tone. "Now, I believe we have spent enough time on these matters. It is time to focus on the reason we are here: your lessons with me."

"Yes, Princess," Dusk said in an equally bright voice, now eager to begin and even more so to change the subject. "So, what do we start with?"

"Before we begin with that, first thou must answer me a question: what exactly is magic?"

Thankful for the studying Twilight had given him, Dusk recalled a few facts he'd read to compose an answer. "It's something to do with our brains, I think… mostly, ponies only use a small part of their brains, with the exception of unicorns who use a larger percentage. Basic magic is an expression of thought projected into will in the form of the aura we produce and projected through the horn and this is what most unicorns can use to carry out their special talents. A unicorn with a talent in playing an violin, for example, only needs enough will to lift their bow to pull across the strings and it generally doesn't go much further than that."

"A good answer," she said proudly. "Yes, magic is primarily an expression of will from thought for, as thou says, basic magic. But what of the cases of rarer unicorns, such as Twilight Sparkle or perhaps that Trixie character?"

Dusk scowled at the memory of the egocentric mare and tried his best to answer. "Well, I would think that um… they use an even larger part of their brains to project more energy and more will to… well, get what they need done. That would probably also make them cleverer too, having more of their brain to use."

"Partially right, but not entirely. Yes, the case might be they have use of a larger part of their brains and can project more energy, true enough, but there is another influence upon their powers that is equally important: emotion."

"I um… I'm afraid I don't quite understand."

"It's simple enough. In a duel, for example, which unicorn dost thou think would be able to achieve more? One who is consumed with anger or one who is calm and collected?"

"Hm…" Dusk thought for a little about that one. "Well, the angry one would probably have more raw emotion to call on and could channel all of their energy fuelled by their rage." Dusk knew that all too well. "But the calmer would be able to think more clearly and cast spells with better effect and clarity until, perhaps, the anger of the other abates."

"Well reasoned," she noted. "The point is that emotion is as much as an important influence on magic as mind power and intelligence. A unicorn who has had years of study, but little confidence in their abilities would perhaps be vulnerable to one who is not as skilled, but has complete self-assurance they can do their best."

"I think I understand…"

"Thou thinks or thou knows?"

"No, I know, sorry." Another question surfaced in his mind. "So, where does that leave me?"

"I was coming to that," she said. "With thou, Dusk, I would think emotion is even more important to thee with thy magic than thy skill, though the latter still plays some importance too."

"Why is that?"

"Again, the answer is simple. When thou uses thy forms to track thy friends, what is it thou focuses on?"

The answer came easily. "I think about how they make me feel whenever I see them, the good memories of times I've spent with them."

"Exactly! It is because of thy emotional connection to thy friends that this is possible," she explained. "The stronger the emotional connection is to a pony for thee, the more influence it is likely to have on thy magic. That is why also, I think, thou were able to use it to defeat the Paraserpents on the hill, though I think also thy Element had a hoof in that as well."

"I see," Dusk nodded. "So my emotions are more involved with my magic than my mind?"

"It stands to reason, yes, but learning about spells and casting them is also just as important. This what I aim to teach thee in our lessons, to, in a sense, convert thy magic so it becomes more than just flying swirls of colour, though those are equally as beautiful to watch," she added. "Provided we do this right, we should be able to have thee performing some basic alteration and conjuration spells with them, among other things. It might be prudent to ask Twilight Sparkle for assistance in that, since she has more experience."

"Duly noted," Dusk nodded, excited that his magic might become more useful than before. "But are there any unique abilities we can attribute to my magic?"

"Well, we already know that thy magic is remarkably similar to my own," she reminded him. "Which brings me to another influence that magic can have, one usually associated with alicorns like myself and my sister, namely for what is above us."

Dusk looked up at the starlit sky. "What, the sky?"

"In a sense. Thy magic is more light-based than most others, which I think why they get bright the bigger they get, for it is adding more light to the mass. In any case, my magic is influenced more by the light of the stars and the moon, Celestia's from the sun. Our power is strongest at these times, which is why one watches over each stage of the day respectively. My sister told me that, when I was imprisoned in the moon, she sometimes had trouble coping with her energy reserves to run both night and day."

"I would imagine so. What about Twilight, is she affected in that way at all?" he asked.

"One would think, since she is taught by my sister, thou I would think that, like her, her power is strongest during the day, when the sun is shining, though it might have a smaller influence."

Dusk remembered her telling him when she'd cast a powerful spell to rid the town of an Ursa Minor and how it had taken a lot out of her. That had been at night, so it stood to some reason that this might be true.

"So, since you're teaching me, will my powers be more effective at night if we do this right?"

"That is what I aim to do," she told him. "With my help, thou should be able to become formless, like I can, but also perhaps have other powers of the night, most of which can be applicable to combat. Such abilities include changing thy appearance, melding into shadow, calling upon the power of the stars to aid thee, power over the dream world and some battle powers, such as shields and magical blasts."

"Do I have to learn battle abilities?" Dusk asked, his revulsion to violence surfacing.

"Yes, for this is what I have decided thou shall learn." She put on a more sympathetic look. "Dusk, I know thou hast aversions to fighting, but as you well know, sometimes it is necessary to fight. I simply hope to better equip thou for such a time, so thou can be better prepared for it. Or would thou prefer to use thy fists?"

"Not really." Though Dusk was fine with hand-to-hand fighting, it was very basic and it was only if he knew the weaknesses of his opponent. Otherwise, his lack of physical strength and stamina made his strikes weak and ineffective, plus it hurt from the force exerted from the punch or kick anyway.

"I'm sorry, but I'd much rather thou be prepared than not at all. Besides," she added with a smile, "I know thou will only use it in self-defence. I do not expect thee to start burning down villages or going on a rampage with thy powers."

"Good to know you trust me," he chuckled. "Do you… do you really think I can do this?"

"I do," she said with complete confidence. "Twilight Sparkle could and thou two are rather similar, in that the both of thee possess a natural magical talent and share an interest in studying and learning. I am sure that thou can master these skills with my guidance with the right mind and intrigue."

"Have faith," Dusk remarked. He wasn't sure how he felt about being compared to Twilight like that in the way of abilities, but if Luna had confidence in him, he would do his best. "I'm ready to learn whatever you have to teach. So, where do we start?"

"For the remainder of our session tonight, as I am sure thou will want to sleep soon, we shall simply try and test thy boundaries concerning thy magic. We shall continue this over the first few lessons, with thou also practicing in thy spare time and see where things go from there," she explained. "Clear?"

"Crystal, Princess."

"Very well then." She stood back and prompted to him. "Whenever thou art ready Dusk, let us begin!"

Calling on his magic, he produced a colour shape and enlarged it as much as he could, a sure sign that his education with the Princess had begun and he would see it through to the end.


In the Ponyville library, a lone purple figure watched from the window of her room, seeing the lights that had started to glow in the direction of her coltfriend's home. It looks like his lessons have started, she thought to herself, wondering about what might be going on over there. I hope he'll be okay…

But her fascination for Dusk's education wasn't the only reason that Twilight Sparkle was staying up later than her usual bedtime hour. In truth, she was also worried about him and, again, not just because he had been anxious about beginning his lessons with Luna, although that also factored into it a little. It was something she'd been reminded of before she'd left his house, that little moment before she left.

She'd seen it, very briefly… a flash of jade green against emerald, a shadow of darkness against the light she was used to see shining in his eyes.

This was the problem that she had. She knew about what he was, who he had once been during Discord's reign, as did Pinkie, but she hadn't really mentioned it either. Dusk didn't know that she knew and he mostly seemed to keep it to himself. Most times, he did fine and just acted as he normally did but sometimes, there were little occasions she saw it. A little flash to his other side, still lurking under the surface.

The question was should she talk to him about it? She didn't want to think that he was suffering by himself, but at the same time she wanted to spare him pain by reminding him of the horrible things that Blackhole had done, the things he now had to endure. What if it reminded him so much of it that he gave in to the despair that it would bring with it? What if he would be driven to insanity by the memories?

What if, it was so strong… he came back?

Twilight shuddered at the thought. She'd had enough of that dark-hearted stallion to last her a lifetime. She had been through so much to get him back and she wasn't about to lose him again, but the question still remained… what should she do?

"Ugh, come on Twilight, go to sleep," Spike moaned from his own bed. "Dusk'll be fine, stop worrying about it…"

She glanced back at his home for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, he will…" Reluctantly, she crawled into bed and turned out the light. "Goodnight Spike."

"Night Twilight… time for ice cream dreams," he said drowsily and soon fell silent.

Twilight was awake for a few moments longer, her gaze still lingering out of the window. She knew the dragon meant that in a different context, but she took comfort from them. Dusk would be fine, he usually was in the end. If he needed to talk to her, he'd just come to her and talk about whatever was bothering him. That was what he would do.

Wouldn't it?

Author's Note:

This might sound redundant, but those who've favourtied, may I ask that you also give it a thumbs up? Thank you.

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