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Dream Walker’s Nightmare Part One: To be in the Everfree Distorted reflections of the Mare in the Moon shimmered on a pond in front of a stallion with a solid dark green coat. He had decided to pause for a break to the subtleness of the pond and the softer shades of light that filled the clearing. Everfree was a dangerous place for most ponies but this at that moment, at the pond, it was peaceful and almost enchanting. The stallion sighed and turned his gaze from the moon to his blank flank. A perfect coat of solid dark green, unblemished by a Cutie Mark. The anomaly was unheard of, no pony had ever reached adulthood without receiving their Cutie Mark. It was a personal sign to their purpose as to what they would do once they had grown into a Mare or Stallion. The event itself was seen as a joyous occasion that brought much celebration. Yet here he was, a full-grown stallion, and no Cutie Mark. It’s not like it was due to a lack of effort. He had tried everything he could to earn it, and through the skills and knowledge remained the Cutie Mark never came. Fortunately, many of those skills had helped him survive in the Everfree. The Everfree, he never thought he would be living in such a hostile wilderness. Though technically he grew up in it, but within the safety of his own village. Reflecting on it now a tinge of pain still came to his heart. It felt like a betrayal from everyone and grew up knowing, but the truth still remained that he was one who left willingly. It wasn’t much of choice really. Rooms hushed when he entered. Stares and whispers started when he went to the market. His parents tried to comfort him saying that his Cutie Mark would come in time, but at that point what stallion would want to celebrate something that he was supposed to have received when he was a foal. Being seen as inferior, as something broken, it was becoming too much. So he left. “I wonder,” He turned from his flank back to the moon. “Was this what it was like for you when your subjects were banished? The loneliness I mean.” Comparing himself to the Mare in the Moon felt silly, but it’s not like there was any pony around to judge him. The Mare in the Moon had once been a princess ruling Equestria alongside her sister. At least that’s how the stories went anyways. The stallion’s people had been banished to the Everfree before the Mare in the Moon ever appeared so they never knew what truly happened. It was only a guess that it was their night princess up their still looking for her subjects. The somber nature of the ponies of the night never fit in completely with the lighthearted nature ponies of the day. Bat ponies were mischievous and playful compared to their Pegasus counterparts who helped other ponies as they manipulated the weather. The spiral-horned unicorns didn’t exactly get along with their solid horned kin either. The solid horns may have sought the pursuits of magic, but they cared more for traditions. Whereas the spiral horns, though more broody, sought to be more creative with their magic even at the cost of traditions. When King Sombra rose to power in the Crystal Empire he didn’t do any favors for the night ponies’ reputations. He may not have been a night pony, but that didn’t stop any pony from thinking that he was one. His affinity for smoke and darkness only fanned the flames to the rumors. Causing the entire empire to vanish only made things worse. For if Sombra could make an empire disappear than what else could any of the other night ponies do? And so the bat ponies, spiral horns, and the other ponies of the night were shunned and pushed into the forest as banishment by the ponies of the day. Since that day the forest became the Everfree as it filled with night magic. The spiral horns casting spells to make the forest go wild and untamable so that the day ponies would never be tempted to seek the night ponies out to finish what they started. At least, that’s how the stories were told anyways. The spiral horn stallion lowered his gaze from the moon but something on the tree line caught his attention. It was rigid and unmoving, unlike the organic moving trees in the wind. His nocturnal slit eyes quickly made out the details of a tower. A tower in the Everfree? It was unlikely. That is unless… The stallion’s horn glowed purple, the same color of his midnight eyes, as his saddlebag glowed the same color and levitated from the ground and onto his back. The wind brushed against his red and dark grey mane as he galloped off to the direction of the tower.