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Through Dark of Night

By AutoPony
Created: 18th December 2020 11:01:41 AM

  1. >"Time to wake up."
  2. >Your eyes snap open at the melodic call of a familiar voice, jumping to your hooves in an instant.
  3. >You may be queen of Tartarus, but it still is vital to stay on guard, as adversaries are only wiling to try things now while you rest.
  4. >But as you scan the area, it is clear this is not Tartarus.
  5. >Daylight shines through the stained glass windows to your right, illuminating the spacious room in a dazzling rainbow of colors.
  6. >The years you've spent in your own kingdom have been in eternal darkness, even before you took control.
  7. >At least, you believe it has been years.
  8. >Time is hard to tell without any sort of cycle in the sky.
  9. >It seems you are in some sort of castle, but where?
  10. >And that voice.... who was that?
  11. >"Welcome back to Equestria, sister."
  12. >As the cheerful voice echos around you, you spin around, finding a towering set of oak doors slowly opening, letting out a reluctant groan.
  13. >Even before they fully open, a glimpse of a pastel-colored, waving mane jogs your memory.
  14. "Celestia," you hiss, lowering your head.
  15. >You try to charge up a spell, but to your surprise, nothing happens.
  16. >While you try to make sense of this, Celestia calmly struts into the room, stopping just in front of where you stand.
  17. >"It has been a while since we last met," she says with a warm smile.
  18. "Not long enough," you grumble under your breath.
  19. >"Pardon?"
  20. "I said your mane looks nice," you retort in a sarcastic tone.
  21. >Even so, her radiant smile only seems to get brighter.
  22. >"Thank you, I am trying a new conditioner right now," Celestia says, tossing her brightly colored mane from side to side. "But I assume you are wondering why you are here."
  23. "I assume you would be right. And I assume you are the reason my magic is not working," you reply.
  24. >Raising a hoof, Celestia points towards your neck, and you follow her direction.
  25. >There, just visible to your eyes, lies some sort of collar, etched with various archaic runes.
  26. "So you're keeping me for a pet? That's really cute," you snap, receiving a light chuckle from the white alicorn.
  27. >"No, that is merely for precaution. I do not wish to fight you, Luna, be it verbal or physical," she says, her demeanor switching from light-hearted to serious. "I have brought you here from Tartarus because I want to give you a second chance."
  28. "There is no Luna anymore," you growl. "And I am not your sister."
  29. >Celestia winces a bit at your response, but remains cool and collected.
  30. >"I understand, Nightmare Moon," Celestia corrects herself with a frown. "But I am still willing to give you an opportunity for life in Equestria, if you so desire."
  31. >You hate this pastel pain in the ass with a passion, but you would be a fool not to accept this offer.
  32. "Sure, yeah, great," you say, rolling your eyes. "I'll be a good little angel. I suppose I'll be following you around so you can teach me the wonders of friendship?"
  33. >Celestia's smile seems to brighten the whole room, while she shakes her head at your question. "No, Nightmare Moon, I have somepony else that is willing to help you."
  34. >Try as you might, you cannot even begin to fathom who she has brought in.
  35. >"You may come in," Celestia calls behind her.
  36. >The pair of doors open once again, as some.... thing walks in.
  37. >Attired in plain dress clothes from head to toe, it walks only on its hind legs.
  38. "You sent a monkey to help me adjust. Har har," you groan.
  39. >The creature stops next to Celestia, just staring at you in silence. Celestia turns to the being, offering a reassuring pat on the back with a wing.
  40. >"This is Anonymous. He is a human not from our world, and he has offered to help you along your journey," Celestia says, turning her focus back to you.
  41. >Anonymous? What a stupid name.
  42. >He continues to just stare at you silently, his arms crossed in front of him as his eyes study you.
  43. "Taking a picture would last a lot longer," you snap.
  44. >"It would, but I'm not sure if the camera would hold up," Anonymous says, breaking his silence.
  45. >Does he not know who he is talking to?
  46. >Meanwhile, with a glow of her horn, Celestia's magic weaves its way towards you, before focusing on the runic collar around your neck.
  47. >"I am allowing you some basic magic for now," she says as her horn stops its golden glow. "As I feel you have made progress, I will allow more leeway. Now, I will let you two get acquainted, as I have matters to attend to. Anonymous, let me know if you need anything."
  48. >He nods as Celestia turns, walking out of the room.
  49. >"So, what's your name?" Anonymous says as the oak doors creak closed. "I can't say I was listening that closely when I was waiting outside."
  50. "You do not know who I am?" you say, your voice bristling with irritation. How is that even possible?
  51. >"Look, I'm sure in your mind, you're super important. Here, not so much," he says dismissively, unfolding his arms.
  52. >Struggling, you keep your temper under control for now.
  53. "I am Nightmare Moon, Queen of Tartarus."
  54. >He doesn't seem impressed in the slightest as he begins to slowly circle you.
  55. >"I figured you would have some sort of dark and edgy name. You certainly didn't disappoint," he says.
  56. "Oh, and what kind of name is 'Anonymous'?" you retort.
  57. >"First off, we'll just shorten it to Anon," he says as he continues to study you. "And Nightmare Moon, Queen of Tartar Sauce is way too long."
  58. "Tartarus, you imbecile."
  59. >"Same thing, right?" he says, blowing you off with a wave of his hand.
  60. >This has to be a joke, right? There is no way Celestia would let such a clueless being watch over you.
  61. "It is just Nightmare Moon," you grumble, your patience already beginning to run out.
  62. >"Mmm, I don't like that, either," Anon says. "How about 'Moon'?"
  63. "You don't have to like it, it is my name," you hiss through clenched teeth. "It is NIGHTMARE Moon."
  64. >"I heard you the first time, edgelord." Suddenly, his eyes light up as he snaps his fingers. "Darkie."
  65. "What? No!"
  66. >"You don't get a say in this, Darkie," he scolds.
  67. "I am not your pet to command, mortal," you growl, baring your sharp teeth to him.
  68. >However, he seems unaffected by your aggressive display, instead turning and walking away.
  69. >"Come on Darkie, we'll head up to my room," Anon says.
  70. >Facing no other option, you reluctantly stand and follow him.
  71. >Is this really what you've fallen to? Pathetic.
  72. >You catch up with him as he weaves his way through various corridors, an awkward silence hanging in the air.
  73. "So, I assume you are not of this world. How did you get here?" you ask, curious.
  74. >"Why do you care?" he says nonchalantly.
  75. >You find yourself thrown off by his blunt response, and quite frankly, a bit offended.
  76. "I don't care. I was merely trying to make small talk," you reply sharply.
  77. >"Oh," he says, stopping at a door in the hall.
  78. "Oh? That's it?" you say, confused.
  79. >"You said you didn't care, so I figured it would be a waste of time to answer," he says with a smirk, opening the door and walking into the room.
  80. "Just answer the damned question," you growl, following him into the room.
  81. >Anon's room is quite sparse, with very little decorum along the stark white walls.
  82. >The high ceiling doesn't help the feeling of how empty it is, with a simple bed, a desk, and a few other items of furniture.
  83. >You stop in front of him as he turns, falling backwards onto the bed.
  84. >"Well, I don't remember anything until I woke up in Princess Celestia's chambers in the middle of the night, butt naked. That was a fun one to explain," he says, rising himself upright on his elbows. "But this isn't about me, Darkie. Why did you get sent to Toys 'R Us?"
  85. "Tartarus!" you snap, struggling to remain calm.
  86. >"Right, that thing," he says, pointing at you.
  87. >You take a few seconds to regain your composure, as well as to think of how to explain your history.
  88. "Celestia and I.... have never quite seen eye to eye on things," you say.
  89. >"That's what you call trying to bring about eternal night and murder your own sibling? That's.... interesting."
  90. >You grind your teeth in frustration.
  91. "If you knew what I had done, why did you ask such a stupid question?!"
  92. >Anon looks up at the ceiling, averting your eyes for now.
  93. >"I wanted to see if you would tell me what you did, or if you would embellish the truth," he says.
  94. >You feel your face grow warm in embarrassment.
  95. >Is this all you are to him? A pawn in a mind game?
  96. >"Enough questions for now though, we need to start getting you on the road to recovery," he proclaims, standing with an enthusiastic hop to his step.
  97. >Cringing at this odd fellow, you can only begin to imagine what he has in store.
  98. >You don't have to wait long, as he walks up to you wordlessly, putting his hands out to either side of your head.
  99. "What do you think you're doing?" you demand.
  100. >"First off, this helmet doesn't exactly scream, 'I'm ready to change to a good pony.' So let's get rid of it for now."
  101. "How about you take your hands away before I bite them off," you threaten, flashing your sharp canines.
  102. >"That's not nice, Darkie."
  103. "Stop calling me that!"
  104. >Distracted by his pet name for you, you aren't fast enough to react as Anon moves quickly, his hands deftly removing your headpiece in one movement.
  105. >You scrunch your face as your temper builds up, while he stares blankly.
  106. >After almost a minute, he holds the helmet out to you silently.
  107. "What?"
  108. >"Put it back on," he says. "I didn't realize how horrifying you look without it."
  109. "This coming from a hairless ape?" you retort, using what little magic you have to grab your helmet back and place it over your head. >You can't help but smirk a bit at your own jab, while he remains cool and collected.
  110. >"That may be, but at least I don't look like the result of a sloppy drunken one night stand between a horse and a dragon," Anon says with a straight face.
  111. >Your composure instantly vanishes.
  112. "I'm sorry, for a moment there I thought you called me a HORSE!" you shout in a fit of restrained rage.
  113. >He only shakes his head, not rattled at all by your outburst.
  114. >"No, I was referring to your mother as a horse," he says, pausing. "Actually, probably your father, considering the size difference, otherwise you dad would probably have split your mom in half."
  115. "Enough," you blurt, rising from your haunches.
  116. >You take a few steps toward Anon, until your nose is mere inches away from his, your nostrils flared in irritation.
  117. "Listen here, human. I tire of your games, I am not a little toy for you to play with," you hiss, pinning your ears back. "Maybe you think you are funny, but I assure you, they do not call me Nightmare Moon for nothing."
  118. >"Who's they?" he says with a smirk.
  119. "Do you ever get tired of being a smartass?"
  120. >"No, but that's besides the point. Outside of this wonderful little meeting, I have never heard of you, be it from another pony or book."
  121. >You can't help but laugh at the absurdity he spouts.
  122. "They may not have loved me, but I guarantee after my rebellion, they respected me out of FEAR."
  123. >Without a word or warning, Anon walks towards the open doorway, causing you to quiet.
  124. "Where are you going?" you inquire with suspicion.
  125. >"Follow me if you don't believe me. I'm heading to the library right now," he says, before disappearing around the corner.
  126. >With a huff, you once again trail behind him.
  127. >Why did you agree to this shit?
  128.  
  129. >Frustration only mounts as hour by hour, book by book you sift through the expansive archive amassed through the years, searching for mentions of you throughout history.
  130. >On the verge of losing your cool, you snatch the last book off the shelf of history,flipping through it at a feverish pace.
  131. >Nothing, once again.
  132. >"Well?"
  133. >You glare at Anonymous, heaving the book to the floor in rage as he displays a very smug grin for you.
  134. "You are pulling something here," you bark angrily. "Clearly you or that neapolitan horse are hiding books that DO reference me. I refuse to be pulled in by your ruse."
  135. >His cocky demeanor doesn't dim in the slightest, holding a single book out for you to see.
  136. >"There was this one. Remember?"
  137. "A fairy tale book, you dolt!" With your magic, you swipe the leather-bound book from his grasp, before opening it and ripping it in half at the binding.
  138. >As you let it drop to the floor, he only stares down.
  139. >"NOW there's no books about you in the archives."
  140. >His remark only makes you angrier, and more determined than ever as you seize him by the wrist.
  141. "Hey, be nice now," Anon says, worry creeping into his voice.
  142. >Grimacing, you find it difficult to pull him along with what little magic you are allowed.
  143. >"I'll follow you, you don't have to drag me," you hear Anon say behind you.
  144. >You are relieved to hear him offer to follow.
  145. "Fine. But you will not be looking so smug once we get out in the streets."
  146. >Behind you, Anon sighs.
  147. >"Whatever you say, Darkie."
  148. >Surely the ponies of Equestria will recognize your form, and you intend to prove it.
  149. >Through the twists and turns of the castle, silence remains between the two of you.
  150. >Finally, after almost twenty minutes of walking, you find yourself on the streets of Canterlot, amidst the thinning evening crowd.
  151. >You puff your chest out in pride and stand up straight, waiting to hear or see a response.
  152. >To your dismay, nopony seems to bat an eye, let alone notice you.
  153. >"So, you're quite a renowned pony, huh?" comes Anon's voice behind you, dripping with sarcasm.
  154. >This can't be right, you should be striking fear into this crowd.
  155. >"Nice costume, but Nightmare Night is a few months away."
  156. >A voice causes you to look down, finding a young colt before you.
  157. "I beg your pardon?"
  158. >The colt rolls his eyes. "You know, Nightmare Night? When all the spooky stuff comes out? I mean, that's a decent Nightmare Moon costume, but it's only July."
  159. >You lower your head to his eye level, frustrated by his tone.
  160. "Little foal, I AM Nightmare Moon."
  161. >"Sure, whatever you say. Except for the fact she isn't real."
  162. >With that, the youngster abruptly wanders off.
  163. >You shake with anger, with hatred of this place as you feel Anonymous's gaze upon you.
  164. >"So, do you believe me now?" he says.
  165. >Whirling around to face him, he backs up a few steps, startled.
  166. "NO, I do NOT believe you!" you shout, causing a few passing ponies to stop and stare. "I don't know how you did it, I don't know what spell Celestia cast, but I refuse to believe I have been forgotten to time!"
  167. >To your surprise, Anonymous doesn't back off, instead taking a step toward you.
  168. >"You never will get it, will you? You are NOTHING to this world, you have NO reputation. All you have is an over-inflated ego and sense of self-importance," he angrily replies.
  169. >Your breaking point reached, you throw a hoof at him in a blind fury, catching him across the face hard enough to put him to the ground.
  170. >Gasps erupt from the gathered crowd, as you struggle to keep yourself from completely losing it.
  171. >Gritting your teeth, you open your wings and throw yourself into the air.
  172.  
  173. >With your magic drained away by the arcane collar around your neck, you have no choice but to reluctantly return to the castle after a bit of flying to relax yourself, landing on the balcony connected to Anon's room.
  174. >At this point, night has completely taken over, the moon hanging low amidst the stars in the clear sky.
  175. >Anonymous is not in his room when you return, so you take the chance to throw yourself onto the bed, exhausted both physically and emotionally.
  176. >Taking this offer to return was a mistake, as it has jogged your memory.
  177. >Nopony cares about you.
  178. >They never did a thousand years ago, and nothing has changed since.
  179. >No matter, as your blowup in the streets all but guarantees your return to Tartarus.
  180. >You look forward to leaving Equestria behind this time.
  181. >"Are you alright?"
  182. >Anon's voice quietly interrupts your thoughts as you gaze out at the dark skies.
  183. "Leave me alone," you mutter without looking.
  184. >Rather than listen, you feel the bed sink as he sits next to you.
  185. "I said go away!" you bark, your voice trembling as you turn to look at him.
  186. >Even in the dark, you can see the ugly bruise your hoof left just below his left eye, as well as a bit of dried blood just under his nose.
  187. >And yet he sits next to you, after that?
  188. >"No," he simply states, his hands folded in his lap.
  189. >You just shake your head, turning away from him as you try to keep your composure, your lower lip trembling at this point.
  190. "Why? Why do you belittle me all day today, show me the ugliness in this world I had forgotten, and yet sit beside me now? To gloat?"
  191. >"Because you're not alright," he says in a soft tone, as you feel him brush your ethereal mane. "I didn't mean what I said earlier."
  192. "It doesn't matter, you are right," you say as the dam inside you breaks. You can't stop yourself as tears begin to cloud your vision.
  193. "Nopony cared about me, respected me or my nights in the past like they did my sister and her daylight, so I changed to make them at least respect me out of fear. Yet they still do not care. They do not even remember me, not even who I once was."
  194. >"I care."
  195. >You turn back again to look at him as you sniffle, his expression one of sympathy as he continues to stroke your mane.
  196. "Yeah, right. Even if you did at one point, I ruined that," you say, pointing to the bruise upon his face.
  197. >"Well, I kinda deserved it, to be quite honest," Anonymous says, cracking a smile. "But I somehow had to get through to you."
  198. "It still does not matter. You are but one pony," you mutter as tears stream down your cheeks.
  199. >"You don't think your sister cares? I think she cares a lot, considering she's giving you another chance."
  200. >You start to argue, but stop.
  201. >Even after rebelling against her, attacking her, Celestia has allowed you back.
  202. >You put her through so much, and yet she still is trying to forgive you.
  203. >Before you can say anything, Anonymous speaks up once again, rising off the bed.
  204. >"And I don't think you realize how much you WERE respected, and are to this day," he says, pulling a small calendar off his desk before sitting down again.
  205. >He points to various dates, each with a small circle on them.
  206. >"Do you know what those are?" he asks.
  207. >Using a hoof to rub your eyes, you strain through your clouded sight to read the small symbols.
  208. >Each one of them refers to a phase of the moon, from a new moon to the full moon.
  209. "Ponies.... keep track of the moon?" you stutter.
  210. >"Yes, they have for a long time. Hell, in my world we do as well. They keep track of the stars, too," he says. "Not only for navigation, but to marvel at the beauty of the night sky."
  211. >Once again, he rises off the bed, beckoning you to follow him as he heads for the balcony.
  212. >Slowly, you rise off the bed and join him, as he points down below to the houses of the city.
  213. >Few lights remain on in Canterlot, but as you scan the city, you see ponies gathered on the rooftops, their eyes pointed skyward.
  214. "What is going on?" you ask, perplexed by the sight as you turn your focus on Anonymous.
  215. >He only smiles as he pints upward towards the sky.
  216. >As you follow his direction, your eyes are met by the cascading lights of a breathtaking meteor shower.
  217. >How had you not noticed this before?
  218. >Anonymous seems to read your mind as you continue to watch the lightshow in awe, tears streaming down your face again.
  219. >"We're all guilty of losing sight of the little things, Darkie," he says. "And yet, it's the little things that mean so much. True, ponies aren't normally up and about at night like they are during the day, but it is your night that allows them to rest, to relax after a long day. You and your night are just as important as Celestia and the daytime."
  220. "I.... I never knew," you stutter, looking into his eyes as he resumes stroking your mane in comfort. "This whole time, I was so jealous of my sister, that I made myself blind to the truth."
  221. >"It happens to the best of us," he replies with a smile. "Even to a princess of Equestria."
  222. >Your ears droop at the phrase, realizing you abandoned those you had sworn to protect so many years ago.
  223. "Not anymore," you sullenly say, dropping your gaze to the floor in front of you, turning to head back into Anon's room. "I have ruined what prestige I once had."
  224. >"It's not too late to change," he calls after you, making you pause. "What I said earlier was partially true, no one remembers you. But that also means you have the opportunity for a fresh start."
  225. >Your breath caught by his statement, you turn back around as Anonymous steps towards you, holding out his hand.
  226. >"All you have to do is let go of the past. What do you say?"
  227. >Even after everything you've done to him, Anonymous smiles, his eyes begging you to accept his offer.
  228. >A new start.
  229. >Leaving the past mistakes behind.
  230. >Choking back a sob, you place your hoof in his hand, as you let yourself go.
  231. >Instantly, it feels as if every fiber in your body takes a deep breath, rejuvenated as you close your eyes.
  232. >You let the sensation wash over you as the strife and pain of the past harbored within seem to melt away.
  233. >It is unclear how long you relish the feeling, as when you open your eyes again, you find yourself laying on the floor.
  234. >Anonymous is crouched in front of you, looking nervous and a bit shocked.
  235. "What happened?"
  236. >You put a hoof up to your mouth in surprise, as your voice comes out more higher pitched than normal.
  237. >"I don't know, but that's not all that changed," Anon replies, helping you to your hooves.
  238. >Rather than standing at eye level with him, you only come up to Anon's chest now.
  239. >Desperately, you scan the room for a mirror, finding one laying on his desk as you pick it up with your magic.
  240. >As you look, you find not the black foreboding alicorn you are used to, but of a shorter pony with a deep blue coat.
  241. "I'm me again..."
  242. >"That's what you're supposed to look like?"
  243. >You turn back to Anonymous, giggling as you throw yourself at him.
  244. "Thank you, thank you."
  245. >You feel his arms wrap around your form as the two of you stand there.
  246. >Never did you imagine you could get a second chance after everything you have done.
  247. >And now, you intend to make the most of it, as you feel you are seeing the world for the first time.
  248. >"What do you say we show your sister the new you, Darkie?" Anonymous says as he lets you go.
  249. >You can't help but smile at him.
  250. "Please, call me Luna."
  251.  
  252.  
  253.  
  254.  
  255. [Originally posted 24 May 2016]
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