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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.

 

Part 1 in the Everfree.jpg

Edited by Cosmic Spiral

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Part Two: Castle of the Two Sisters

                The Castle of the Two Sister had not been seen by a night pony for hundreds, not since their banishment. The Everfree had long since overgrown passed its sacred walls. The green stallion spiral horn had searched the grounds looking for any answers as to why the once great castle and the symbol of the Equestria nation were now in the state that it was in. The only conclusions he could come up with is that there was some kind of battle that was fierce enough blow holes in the walls and ceiling as well blowing out the bridge. Dread that the night ponies were perhaps the last of ponies of all Equestria began to fill his heart and mind. Even worse, was that he was the only pony who would know and would have to tell his village. That was until he found the chamber rooms of the royal sisters. Their journals help fill in the blank.

“I haven’t seen much of my sister the past few days. She has been keeping long nights recently and sleeping during the day. She isn’t taking the disappearance of all the ponies of the night very well. I have done what I can to find answers to their location but all my efforts have been in vain. Where could they have gone?”

                Celestia’s journal read toward the end of the entries. It was enlightening to know what the princesses were going through at the time so long ago. Yet he found it perplexing that the princesses knew nothing as to what had become of his kind. He continued to read.

“It has been so long since I have seen Luna smile. I am really beginning to worry about her. She has been starting to raise the moon before dusk and let it linger after dusk. I think she is trying to use the moon to send some kind of message to the ponies of the night. I hope they see it soon. I dread what might happen some night pony doesn’t show soon. I think she is beginning to dabble in transformation magic. I don’t know what her plans are, but they don’t seem to be promising.”

                The last entry of Celestia’s journal was covered in scribbles. It seemed as if a few entries were attempted but were then inked out. There were warped spots on the page as well. The paper must have gotten wet at some point, but the spots were small and only on one page. Beyond the inked out page there were no further entries. For more answers, he would have to turn to Luna’s journal. The princess of the night, his princess. Even looking at the journal felt like treason and a betrayal. However, if it was truly her in the moon now then the consequences were unclear to him. He flipped through the pages. Like Celestia’s journal hers to ended abruptly in the middle of the book. He turned to the later entries.

“The night has become silent. My subjects were not as numerous as my sister’s but I adored them all the same. I never could understand how my sister could keep track of so many subjects anyways. Now the night is lonely without them. I am lonely. Once, the night sang as a lullaby with them. Now the nights have become a nightmare of defining darkness. I need answers. I must know what happened to my subjects. I don’t care what it will take I must find them.”

                The stallion took a deep breath. Princess Luna was deeply pained by his kind’s disappearance. He felt that even comparing his loneliness earlier was an offense to her. Her subjects were taken from her. He simply left his own kind. There was no comparison. He turned the page to the final entry.

“I know I am pushing my sister. I have been trying to keep the moon up so that my subjects will know I am looking for them. If they left willingly hopefully they will understand this sign to mean that there is still someone in Equestria that care for them. I did not betray them. They are my subjects and I am their princess. I may have been born a pony of the day but they accepted me counted me as their kind and even called me their princess. I will never betray them. The new spells I have been working on have been successful. The night will no longer end. The moon shall no longer lower. My subjects will return and if they do not then my sister’s subject will have to do.”

                Once again the journal came to an abrupt end. With the sun and moon still rising and lowering he could only conclude that his Princess Luna had not succeeded, and the likeliness of her being the Mare in the Moon was solidifying any doubts he may have had before. However, the image on the moon was becoming less of a sign of comfort of his princess looking for her subject and more of a warning to any who would defy the day.

                He still had doubts though. He could hardly accept that Celestia had betrayed her sister, his Princess Luna. He looked around at the ruins of the castle. At a closer look, the majority of the damage was centralized in the throne room. Had the two alicorn princess sisters fought over the loyalty of their own subjects.

                Questioned buzzed through he mind. The journals had only given him more questions than answers. Combing the library and scouring the royal chambers for anything that might lead to answers to even one question, he found the personal spell books for each sister. The collection of spells and knowledge was filled with notes they took while they were under the tutelage of Starswirl the bearded and well beyond what they had learned after they became alicorns. If he was to find answers then the spells in those books would be how he would find them. The castle would provide more than adequate shelter, or at least better than the trees he had been sleeping under since he left his village, while he mastered the contents of the books. Master them he would. If he was would have to confront Celestia he would need to master both the day and night.

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Part Three: What the day does dream

                Celestia’s personal spell book was full awkwardness. Most of the spells felt useless if not completely meaningless to the spiral horn unicorn. Manipulating the very fibers of reality to bend time and space to a pony’s will was enough to give him a headache. However, Luna’s spellbook was full of spells that came as natural to the stallion as breathing did. The spells mainly focused on spells that affected the mind such a making an object more desirable or increasing a pony’s confidence. However, as the book continued it seemed that Luna had changed her focus from mental spells to dream spells. There even several notes stating that most spells that involved manipulating a pony’s mind with mental spells were completely obsolete when compared to the effects of what could be done when visiting that same pony in their dreams.

                It was the path to the answers he was searching for, the spell to visit a pony in their dreams, Luna’s signature spell. It had taken him weeks to master a handful of spells already, and as complicated as the dream spell appeared it didn’t matter if it took him just as long to master that one spell. If it would give him the confirmation of what happened to his princess then he would do it.

                The months passed on but at last, he had managed to break the dream barrier that separated the dreams of different ponies. Which led to several startling discoveries. The first one he noticed was that it was easier to enter a day pony’s dreams than it was a night pony. Even though his kind was nocturnal and so he had to change his sleep schedule for a few days to attempt the spell, but as of yet he still couldn’t even enter a night pony’s dream. The second thing he noticed was that there were more than just the dreams of ponies that inhabited the dream world. After a few run-ins with the creatures, he concluded that it was best to stay clear of them as much as possible.

                Finally, the night had come when he felt confident enough to enter Celestia’s dream. He often wondered what the princess of the day did dream about. He had concluded that it was most likely rainbows and sunshine. A not to comforting experience the more he thought about it. Regardless, it was time for him to find out.

               

A valley of sweets laid out before the green unicorn. In the distance mountains where shaped like pieces of cake. The trees next to him were that of chocolate. In the middle of it all, between two rivers, one of milk and the other of honey, was a light colored mare with multicolored mane bouncing on a gelatin dessert. Laughing as she took another bite with a jump from the same dessert she was frolicking on. The unicorn stallion had a feeling that this may have been a rather favored dream of the day princess. A twinge of guilt slightly pulled at his heart as to what he would have to do next.

                He focused on simulated the feeling of nostalgia mixed with the image of Princess Luna and projected it at the alicorn princess. The mare stopped her playful game immediately. He head jerked up to where the unicorn was hiding. Before she could do anything the valley of deserts melted away and was replaced by the cold stone walls of the castle of the two sisters. Except it wasn’t as he knew the building to be. Instead, it was the glorious marvel that the stories had described it. The Everfree was nowhere in sight or at least what he could tell from outside the windows. Before him prancing out from behind the thrones was his beloved Princess Luna. A glare of anger and hatred stained her eyes. He witnessed the exchanging of words between his princess and Celestia, and then the moon princesses transformation.

                Nightmare Moon was glorious but unnaturally daunting to the night pony unicorn. The slit pupil eyes and the fangs made it was clear to him that Nightmare Moon was Luna’s attempt to turn herself into a pony of the night. However, it was also clear that the spell was incomplete. Her wings didn’t turn to the leather complex skeletal structure of a bat pony. Nor did her horn convert to the spiral nature of the spiral horns. She was some kind of hybrid of the odd mixture of both day pony and night pony. It was immaculate to the night pony stallion, but also unnatural, a mixture of some kind of sickening beauty and a perversion to the glory and glace that was natural to his Princess Luna.

                The dream continued with the fight between Celestia and Nightmare Moon. Finally, the moment came that confirm everything. Celestia used the Elements of Harmony against her own sister. Nightmare Moon was, in fact, the Mare in the Moon. The legend was false. The Mare in the Moon wasn’t his princess still looking for her subjects. It was her prison for her loyalty to her subjects. A sign of what happens when night stands up to the day.

                “If it’s any consolation, I was never able to wield the Elements of Harmony after that.” Celestia sat next to crestfallen stallion. A younger Celestia lay in the now ruined throne room crying like a foal.

                “You betrayed her.” The stallion muttered. Now was the moment he had been waiting for. His questions answered. Justice was waiting.

                “I could not let her rage be taken out on the remainder of our subjects. Her anger would in time subside, and she would look out on the devastation she could have caused and it would have devastated her to the point of her own self-destruction. You may see it as a betrayal because she loves your kind so very deeply. However, this was for her protection.”

                “Protection! You banished her to the moon!” The stallion stood on all four hooves. Even as a full grown stallion he was dwarfed in comparison to the size of Celestia who still calmly sat in front of him with her flank to him.

                “It’s not permanent.” Celestia looked up at the now scarred moon.

                “What?”

                “The enchantment that keeps her there. It’s not permanent. She will return. Her wrath still raging. All the Elements of Harmony did, was buy me time.” The day princess looked at the spiral horn unicorn for the first time. “I don’t know where you came from. For centuries your kind has vanished from the face of Equestria. Yet here you are. It’s as if you are a dream yourself. Will you help me save my sister? Will you help me save your princess?”

                “But, but you are the enemy.”

                “Do you really believe that?”

                “Your subject, the day ponies, drove us from the face of Equestria, and you banished our princess. What else am I to believe?”

                “I would ask that you believe that I seek for the unity of all living things, especially ponies. It doesn’t matter if they are day ponies or night or crystal. I desire to build a nation where each one can live a life where they can find joy in fulfilling their potential. It’s just become difficult for me these past several centuries to see that nation come true. One alicorn can only do so much. So I ask you, will you aid me?”

                “I… I can’t. I can’t even help myself. If you haven’t noticed I don’t even have my Cutie Mark yet and I’m a full grown stallion. How can I help a princess with her glorious purpose if I can’t even find my own?”

                “The lack of a Cutie Mark did not escape my notice, nor did it cause me to hesitate to ask for your aid. Whatever your Cutie Mark will be, I am certain it will be one that ponies will revere for a long time.”

                “What makes you say that?”

                “You managed to pierce the veil between dreams. I have only seen one pony quite as skilled as that, and she is a wondrous pony that I hold dear to my heart and take great pleasure to call sister. If you will meet me at my new castle in Canterlot.” The Castle of the Two Sisters faded into a newer brighter colored castle. “Then together we can plan for how to reclaim Luna back from Nightmare Moon. I only request to know your name young spiral horn.”

                “It’s… Dream Walker.”

                “A fitting name. I look forward to meeting you.”

                The dream began to fade but not before Canterlot Castle zoomed away. Before he knew it he was looking up to the mountainside that the castle rested on, the Everfree to his back and a trail stretching out before him. It took him a moment that Celestia was giving him directions just before the dream faded out completely.

 

Dream Walker woke up startled. That was not the experience he had thought it would be. The questions that itched at his mind where satisfied with a somewhat eerie satisfaction. He looked up at the moon. The image of the Mare on the Moon stared back at him. He knew he would never see the moon quite the same way again. Even though he now knew the truth he couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of guilt by siding with Celestia, as if in doing so he might be betraying his own princess.

                Before he could do anything else his flank began to tickle and a comforting light engulfed him. When the light subsided he looked down at his flank. His green coat was no longer unblemished. He now had a Cutie Mark. Celestia was right, its speckled pattern was one that would be remembered, but not for reasons that comforted him.

                He gathered the few belongings he had included the sister’s spell books among them. No doubt Celestia would want them. Before leaving the Castle of the Two Sisters, he quickly hemmed a cloak together from an old curtain. As grateful as he was to finally have a Cutie Mark it came with mixed feelings. On one hoof he finally felt competent as an adult stallion. However, on the other hoof, if his new Cutie Mark was ever found out he feared that it would bring even more persecution than when he had a blank flank. So he secured the covering over his Cutie Mark, tightened his saddlebag, and parted for Canterlot Castle.

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Part Four: Facing the Nightmare

                Dimming light cast long silhouettes over the buildings of Canterlot. Shortly the moon rose. It’s hollowed light sending soft shades over the castle garden. The pale alicorn cast her gaze over the beauty of it all before reverently staring at the moon and the haunting image that made up the Mare in the Moon.

                “I didn’t imagine that it was that difficult for you.” Dream Walker stepped out of the shadows. It had taken him several days to make it from the Everfree forest to Canterlot Castle. “Do you miss her?”

                “It’s hard not to. Every night I rise her moon and her with it. Every morning I lower it just the same. It helps if I imagine that I am tucking her into bed.” Celestia holds her eyes on the moon.

                “So what is this great plan of yours to return Luna to her former glory?”

                “Strait to point I see. By the way, how did you make it into the gardens without getting noticed anyway?”

                “Are avoiding my question?”

                “Not at all I’m just concerned about the security of the castle is all and possibly my castle guards.”

                “You guards are fine. I didn’t harm any of them. However, they aren’t exactly the most competent individuals I’ve met. They seem too focused on keeping a presence and being seen. Staying in the light blinds them from what goes on in the shadows.”

                “Very interesting. I see both the practicality of this and symbolism.”

                “I’m sure you do. Now if you don’t mind what is your plan?”

                “You lack a certain finesse yourself.”

                “All due respect Celestia, but you may be an alicorn and all. However, you are not my princess. At least not yet. Respect for your authority doesn’t really mean much. Not-”

                “I understand completely. You blame my subjects for what happened to your ancestors and I, as their princess, must be held responsible for the tragedy that happened so long ago. It’s not the only thing I feel responsible for.”

                “Oh, well I admit you aren't exactly the tyrant that I imagined you would be. You haven’t really shown any manner of hostility toward me. I’m not sure if this is a trick to gain my trust or not. Regardless, even in your memory of what happened to you with… Nightmare Moon, you showed no aggression. You didn’t even fight back. I’m not sure if this is a fabrication or not though.”

                “You find it difficult to trust me.” Celestia looked down from the moon and looked Dream Walker in the eye. “I don’t blame you.” She stood up from where she sat. “Now about this plan to save my sister. I hope you trust me enough to help me.”

                “I left my village because I didn’t feel like I belonged without a Cutie Mark. In the wilds of Everfree, I would look up at the moon for guidance. In a way, it gave me comfort that I was alone as was the Mare in the Moon. I felt that were alone together which didn’t make the loneliness feel that bad. Now that I know the truth about the Mare in the Moon I will do anything to return Princess Luna to her former glory.” Dream Walker looked down at his flank that was cover by his cloak. “I suppose you could say it is my purpose.” He turned back to Celestia. “So if you are going to do what you can to return my princess to me and her subjects than I will help you any way I can.”

                “I am opening up a school for unicorns.” Celestia was so matter-a-fact that Dream Walker wasn’t sure if he heard her correctly.

                “What? How- how does that have to do with anything about freeing your sister?”

                “The Elements of Harmony needs a new holder or rather holders. Nightmare Moon has consumed my sister to the point that she will not be able to return without the Elements. By operating a school for talented unicorns I will be able to find new holders for the Elements. However, I will need teachers I can trust to help me find potential candidates.”

                “This feels a little extravagant. I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more you aren’t telling me.”

                Celestia turned to the castle and began walking through its halls. Dream Walker was too curious not to follow. “I know if I am to gain your trust I can’t keep any secrets from you. With that said it’s not that I not purposefully keeping anything from you. It’s just that I haven’t told you yet. You see, I have been the princess of Equestria for hundreds of years now. My reign wasn’t meant to be this… empty.”

                “You’re lonely too. Aren’t you?”

                “I have seen my subject grow old and pass away only for a new generation to rise up and give away to the generation after them. I may be surrounded by ponies but it’s not always easy for them to relate to me. I’ve lost count as to how many fillies and colts that I have adopted as nieces and nephews.”

                “I never would have imagined.”

                “After Luna became Nightmare Moon and subsequently the Mare in the Moon my most loyal subjects formed the E.U.P. guard so that I would be well protected and never alone, but it never prevented the loneliness. I trust you because you know loneliness. However, I don’t want any of my subjects to know such a sickening feeling or the emptiness and never have a pony to go to when they are in need. This school is in hopes to raise up new leaders to guide the following generations.”

                “Why unicorns? Why not pegasi as well or earth ponies?”

                “They may have their own magic, but not like unicorns do. If a unicorn train hard enough they can master great spells and even… control their own age.”

                “So that there is at least someone to at least wait with you until you sister returns.”

                “Yes.”

                “How much time will it take for your sister to return?”

                “You will have grown old and your bones dust before a wielder of the Elements will have been born in time to use against my sister.”

                “So I will never see my princess… No. I can’t allow that. You said that a unicorn, if powerful enough, can command spells powerful enough to control their aging. Teach me. Train me. If you want my loyalty- No. If you want me to consider you my princess as well then allow me to learn these spells.”

                Celestia giggled lightly. “If you promise me to remain as casual with me as the day we first me than the libraries of Canterlot will be open you.”

                “Casual?”

                “When my subjects are so formal it’s as if there is a wall there. A wall I can never pass. They may feel that they are paying their respects but it just increases the loneliness that much more.” She frowned but quickly smiled. “I sometimes pull harmless pranks or joke with the ponies I feel closest to just to make sure that casualness remains. I thought you might want a fair warning.”

                “Wait. Then am I to expect such juvenile behavior from a princess in the future?” Dream Walker was completely taken aback. Celestia was nothing like what he expected.

                “We’ll see what happens the next hundred years now won’t we,” Celestia grinned but she got serious one more. “I have another request of you. Your kind, how many are left?”

                He was expecting something like this. That she might want to know more about the night ponies so she could finish them off. “A few. I won’t tell you how many or where they are. If that’s what you want to know.”

                Celestia stopped. “You left your own kind because you felt like an outcast. Yet you are still loyal to them.” She smiled warmly. “That’s good. It means you have a good heart under all that rough attitude. I’m not asking so I can plan an invasion if that’s what you are wondering.”

                “How did you…?”

                “With as mistrusting of me as you are it’s not hard to figure out what you think of me. I was only asking because I think it would be nice to see more night ponies around the castle. Maybe have some in the guard, to know what happens in the shadows. It would also be nice to have a herd of night ponies to welcome Luna back when she returns.”

                “Oh. To be honest, I actually couldn’t help you with that even if I wanted to. You see when I left my village I lost my way. The Everfree has its ways of changing on you so it’s hard to navigate or not get lost.”

                “In that case would you mind staying at the castle for a while?”

                “Me? Why?”

                “For starters, you want to learn more spells, don’t you? Wouldn’t it be easier for you to stay here while you begin to continue your studies?”

                “I suppose you are right.”

                “Also, if you could train the night guards to better fulfill their duties I know I will be able to sleep better at night.”

                “So you feel safer?”

                “So they are safer. If there is a sneak attack the guards are the first to be in harm’s way. I told you, I don’t want any harm to fall on my subjects.”

                “Oh, you really aren’t what I expected you would be.”

                “I’ll take that as a compliment. Now if you are going to live here then you need to know your way around the castle. Let me show you around. I’ll introduce you to my guards in the morning and you can begin training them that evening after full day’s sleep.”

                “I… I don’t know what to say.”

                “Well saying that you accept would be a huge relief.”

                “Ok. I accept.”

 

Dream Walker had gotten to know the castle fairly the next passing years and had mastered enough spells to be more than an adequate teacher once Celestia’s school for gifted unicorn began. In time he even mastered the aging spell so that he could see the day of Luna’s return. There were many powerful unicorns that were trained, but Celestia wasn’t always concerned with power when it came to determining the next wielder for the Elements of Harmony. The dedication for power and glory commonly outweighed the desire for compassion or friends.

                When Dream Walker saw a sonic rainboom one fateful day he hoped that it might be a sign of good things to come. Later that same day Celestia informed of her newest student, Twilight Sparkle. That she believed that that little filly had the potential of being the next wielder of the Elements of Harmony. He, however, was bit skeptical, but he always was. Less so than when he first met Celestia, but she also encouraged him that a little bit of skepticism was healthy and balanced overconfidence. Over the following years, he watched as Celestia carefully played her part. Twilight Sparkle wasn’t their only candidate to plan for, but she seemed the most promising. When Sunset Shimmer fled from the school into a magic mirror Dream Walker was more than disappointed. He actually thought that she had a better chance than Twilight Sparkle. He had thrown everything he could at Sunset, but she passed his tests with surprising skill and creativity. When the day finally came it was Twilight Sparkle who ultimately saved Luna.

When that day finally came Dream Walker couldn’t look at Luna. She seemed so weak and frail. It was as if she was filly all over again. It wasn’t long before she had once again regained her former glory, but by then he couldn’t stand to be in her presence. He could speak to her. He could look at her.

 

“I know I said having some skepticism is healthy but you haven’t so much as greeted yourself since Luna’s return.” Celestia walked up to Dream Walker. Her entrance gave him such a shock he felt his prostatic that wrapped his horn come loose. When he first arrived at the castle he found the rumors of night ponies returning to being distracting so he created a prostatic to fit into the groove of his spiral horn. The rumor died down and become nothing more than stories older student would tell younger students at the school that a night pony lives somewhere hidden in the school and would hunt any student who let their grades slip. He was fine with those rumors and jokingly spread from time to time himself. Claiming that the night pony lived in the dungeon or in a tower or in a secret passageway. Even Celestia chuckled at what the legend had become. As for his eyes, he wore glasses with tinted lenses to hide his nocturnal slit eyes. Plus the glasses help tolerate the sun whenever he was out during the day.

                “I failed her.” Dream Walker closed the book he was reading.

                “How can you say that? We have worked well over a century to return my sister, your princess, back to us, and you say you failed her.”

                “I wasn’t there for her when she needed her subjects. Instead, the bat ponies we found a few years ago aided her back to strength.”

                “So what? You are the one who convinced them to stay. They are even her escort.”

                “Yes, them. Not me. I couldn’t be around her when she was recovering because I wasn’t sure if she would ever recover. Because I didn’t want to blemish my image of the glorious princess I knew she was. Now that she is recovered I can’t be around her because I didn’t support her. I’m not worth being her subject.”

                “What do mean? Is that your old saddlebag?”

                “I’m leaving, Princess Celestia. Your hospitality has been more than I could have ever imagined, but it ends up I’m not worthy to stay here.”

                “I think I’m the one to make that judgment.”

                “When Discord escaped I was helpless to stop his chaos from spreading. During the changeling invasion, all I could think about to protect Princess Luna, but I kept on getting fooled by one changeling after another.”

                “In your defense, she wasn’t on the castle grounds during the invasion.”

                “I know that know. However, when the Crystal Empire return all I did was sit back and watch.”

                “I gave direct orders that no pony was to act until we the situation worsened. Princess Luna wanted to attack, her anger at Sombra for being the cause of her subjects being banished still burns in her. At least the time it did. You gambled on your prized student and it paid off. There would have been no telling what damaged would have been caused had we attacked the Crystal Empire. Regardless there are so many times I could have been the loyal subject that I thought I would be. Even during Tirek terrorized Equestria I did nothing while my princess was imprisoned.”

                “Tirek didn’t know about night ponies. We could risk letting him get ahold of your magic.”

                “I don’t know why you trying to get me to stay. You’ve been a good friend. A better one than I could have asked for. You even got me really good with some of your pranks.”

                “You got a few good ones on me yourself.” The princess chuckled. “Haven’t you ever considered that maybe you could Luna’s student?”

                Dream Walker froze. “Me?”

                “Yes, you. Twilight Sparkle was my student. She even has one with Starlight Glimmer. Cadence has her daughter to raise. Don’t you think that Luna could use a student as well? I can’t of a better unicorn, and she would be ecstatic to have a spiral horn as her first student.”

                “I can’t.” Dream Walker shook his head to remove the fantasy Celestia was beginning to implant in his mind. “I just can’t. It’s tempting. It’s so very tempting, but she would never accept me. I would be a fool for even considering it.”

                “Why? Because you don’t have Cutie Mark? I don’t think she’ll care.”

                “No. I… It’s because of my Cutie Mark.”

                “You finally got yours. When? You always keep your flank covered. I just-”

                “I got after I visited you in your dream.”

                “You kept it hidden for so long. Why?”

                “It would only be a reminder of the past that we have all fought so hard against.”

                “You mean to say-”

                “My Cutie Mark is the Mare in the Moon down to the very last speck. How could Princess Luna accept me? I would be nothing of a constant reminder of everything that she never wants to be again. How could I do that to her? How could I ever do that to my princess?”

                “So this is the real reason you have kept your distance from her?”

                Dream Walker only nodded his head tears starting to form.

                “Then there really isn’t anything I can do to convince you to stay. I’m starting to think I should be amazed that you have stayed as long as have if this is how you really feel.”

                “It is.” He choked.

                “Then promise me a few things while you are away.”

                “What?”

                “First, never forget you have a home here. Second, at least consider becoming Luna’s student. Finally, return. If I find myself the last alicorn in Equestria again and you aren’t back at this castle then you might be the first pony I might not be able to forgive.”

                Dream Walker smiled. “I’ll at least keep that last promise. That is if I don’t get myself killed. It gets pretty dangerous outside Equestria.”

                “I might not forgive you if you let that happen either.”

                “Well, maybe this might soothe your rage if that does happen.” Dream Walker pulled out the old spellbooks he had grabbed in the Castle of the Two Sister so long ago. “I’ve managed to master all the spells in them, even as perplexing as your day spells can be, so I figured you might want them back.” He placed the Celestia’s and Luna’s old spell books on the desk.

                “This means a lot.”

                “Yeah, well your horn writing is horrible.”

                “I do not. My students have always claimed that I have the best horn writing then have ever seen.” Celestia noticed the smirk Dream Walker was holding back. “Oh, that was a good one. How long were you waiting for that one?”

                “Oh, a few decades or so.” Dream Walker finally released his laughter.

                “You will be missed, Dream Walker. So don’t think I won’t hesitate to summon you when I need a good joke.”

                He scoffed, “In your dreams, princess.” When that the green spiral horn walked out of Canterlot Castle and tried his hardest to not look back.

                Celestia pondered on her old friend’s final words. She was certain there was a spell for that.

 

The End…

…of Dream Walker’s Nightmare

More adventures of Dream Walker yet to come.

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