Winning Luna Story

Coco Forest

This… this wasn’t what Misty was expecting to come back to.

She had travelled the vast lands beyond Equestria, trying to find her old home town. After waking up in an unrecognizable dark cave, she knew that she needed to get back home, she needed to find her parents. The only problem was, she didn’t know how to find them. So she went searching for them. After all, it was the only thing she could do.

Thank goodness she still had her trusty scarf with her so she could calculate the winds. It served as her navigation tool as well, though she had no luck in knowing where she was until she came across the forest that would lead her to familiar sights. From there, it was easy enough to fly home.

But this… this had been the most confusing thing Misty had seen during her travels.

Pumpkins were everywhere, and she meant everywhere. On the floor, hanging on the sides of walls, sitting on the tables. What was stranger was that ponies had carved faces into the pumpkins. It confused Misty - she would much rather have baked the pumpkin into a pie than create art with it. 

There was also the glaring difference of the ponies in general. They were all dressed up for some reason or another, even the elderly ponies. Little fillies were running about with bags in their mouths, clearly too hyper to be reasoned with. The whole scene baffled Misty. 

An old pony she had never seen before, dressed up as some sort of cowpony, trotted up to her with a grin. “Hey there, are you new?” he asked her in a broad accent. “You look like you’ve never seen ponies celebrating Nightmare Night before!”

Misty shook her head, trying to get rid of the dazed and confused expression she must have had on her face. “Nightmare… what?” she managed to say.

“You’ve never heard of Nightmare Night before?” the stallion looked at Misty as if she was from a different planet. “Why, we here at Ponyville celebrate Nightmare Night every year! Ponies dress up, go trick-or-treating, get candy and hope that Nightmare Moon don’t come and gobble us all up!”

“Gobble us up?!” Misty gasped.

“If you ask me, it’s just a myth, but hey, it keeps us ponies here entertained!” the pony laughed. “Not that it matters to us anyway. We just like a good celebration here, keeps us all happy.” 

“Oh, Nightmare Night!” Misty laughed. She remembered celebrating it as a filly, but it had been so long since she had been in Equestria, she had forgotten that annual celebrations were a thing.

Although Misty was fascinated at the celebrations going around her and longed for nothing more than to join in, she realised that she had more important matters in her hooves before she could celebrate.

“Thank you for explaining it to me, but I really need to find my parents. I’m sorry to cut this conversation short, but I’ve been looking for them for a while now.”

“And who might you be looking for?” the pony asked her.

“Oh, sorry, I never introduced myself. I’m Harriet Misty Fairsky, but you can just call me Misty.” Misty held out a hoof to the pony in front of her.

“My name is Apple Crunch. It’s a pleasure making your acquaintance.” Crunch bowed his head to Misty and shook her hoof.

“Hey, are you part of the Apple family, by any chance?” Misty asked him.

“Well, they don’t call me Apple Crunch for nothin’.” Crunch smiled.

“My parents are really close to you all! Have you heard of the Fairsky lot by any chance?“ Misty asked him eagerly.

“Can’t say I have, unfortunately. My grandson and his wife down at the farm might know your family though. They’re much more sociable than an olden like me is. I tend to keep to myself when it comes to family friends.” Crunch lowered his top hat a little as he spoke.

“Do you reckon I could trot down to your farm and ask if they’ve seen them?” Misty smiled.

“That won’t be a bother at all, missy.” Crunch gave her a sincere smile. But if Misty had been paying more attention, she would have seen the sadness in his eyes.

“Thank you so much, Mr. Crunch, you’ve been a great help!” Misty grinned. “I’ll talk to you more after, okay? I just need to find my parents!”

Before Crunch had time to reply, Misty used her scarf to calculate the winds, then took off at a speed even a Wonderbolt would be proud of. She paid no attention to her surroundings or the other ponies around her, just focusing on getting to the apple farm as soon as possible.

Once she was there, she took a second to admire the effort the apple family had taken to decorate their barn and farm for Nightmare Night. She knew that the Apple family put in a lot of effort every year for Nightmare Night, but this year they blew everything Misty had remembered out of the water. A maze, a “haunted house” (which Misty realised was their barn decorated to look like one), a pumpkin patch and so much more going on around her. Again she was tempted to join in with the festivities, but she knew she had something to do first. 

She flew up to the entrance to the barn, where there was another old pony standing guard.

“Hello missy, do you wish to enter the haunted house? You’ll be scared beyond your dreams!” the pony tried to entice her. 

“That sounds lovely, but I’m looking for somebody here, actually.” Misty smiled at the mare.”I’m Misty, pleased to meet you.”

“I’m Gala Delight.” the other pony smiled back at her. 

 “I met up with Apple Crunch in the town centre, he said that his grandson and his wife were about? Would you be able to tell me where they are, please?” Misty enquired.

“Ah, Apple Crunch’s grandson!” the silver maned pony laughed. “He’s such a handsome stallion. Such a shame, what happened to him.”

Misty debated as to whether to ask the old mare about what she had just said, but tactfully decided against it. “Umm… do you know where he is?” Misty prompted Gala.

“Oh, yes, sorry about that, dear! I tend to get caught up in my memories. He should be down by the east orchard. Said he didn’t want to participate in Nightmare Night this year. Knowing his wife, she’ll be down there too, keeping him company.” Gala supplied to Misty. 

“Thank you so much, you’ve been a great help!” Misty smiled at Gala. “I promise I’ll come back to see the haunted house once I’m done!”

“Oh, one more thing, before you go, deary.” Gala dipped into a chest that Misty didn’t realise was there until now. Gala bought out some fake teeth and handed them to Misty. “Here you go, now you can dress up and be part of the celebrations!”

Misty smiled as she attached the teeth to her own, her heart warming at the helpfulness of the ponies she has met so far. After thanking Gala once more, she consulted her scarf and took to the skies.

Once she got to the orchard, she realised that, in order to see the ponies in the orchard, she would need to trot about, as the trees were too densely packed together for her to see anything through the branches and leaves. And so, she landed, before trotting into the orchard in search of the ponies who would be able to help her find her parents. 

In the foliage of green and brown, it wasn’t surprising that the two ponies who were harvesting apples would stand out. The stallion was yellow coated with bright red hair, whereas the mare had two different shades of orange for her mane and coat. They looked about Misty’s age, if a bit older.

The two of them turned in surprise once they heard Misty approaching, which quickly turned into grins as they charged toward her. Misty barely had time to prepare herself before the two ponies were right in front of her. 

“Hey, you’re part of the Fairsky family, aren’t you?” the stallion asked her.

“Yeah, I am.” Misty said to the two of them. She wanted to say more, but before she could the pair had wrapped themselves around her.

“Oh, it’s so good to see you!” the mare squeezed Misty before she let go and laughed. “Well, not really, but you know what I mean.”

“Did one of the older family members send you over our way?” the stallion enquired.

“Yeah. I’m trying to find my parents, and Apple Crunch said his grandson would be able to help me. Would that be you, by any chance?” Misty enquired, puzzled a little at the mare’s words.

“Sure as sugar is.” he removed his hat and bowed to her. “Bright Mac, at your service. This here is my beautiful wife, Buttercup.”

“My real name is Pear Butter, but everyone calls me Buttercup.” the mare in question smiled and shook Misty’s hoof. 

Misty had a feeling that she had heard those names before, but she put the thought out of her head. They must be some distant cousins of Applejack that she’d heard her talk about.

“I’m Misty, it’s nice to meet the two of you!” she smiled at the two of them.

Instead of returning the smile, the two of them froze in place. Misty looked at them with a confused expression. 

“What’s wrong?” she questioned. 

Buttercup managed to recover first. “Are your parents Anson and Athena?” she asked, stuttering a little as she spoke.

Misty broke out into a grin. “Yeah, that’s them!” she beamed. “Do you know where they are?”

Bright Mac lowered his head to the ground, tears in his eyes. “I’m afraid… they aren’t here yet.”

“What do you mean, not here yet? They live here!” Misty was highly confused. “Unless they went on a trip somewhere, but that doesn’t sound like them at all.”

“No, they don’t live here.” Buttercup spoke in a soothing voice. “Do you know where you are, sweetie?”

“I’m in Ponyville!” Misty told them. “I woke up in a cave somewhere and had to get here. It took a while, but I’m here now!”

“You’re not in Ponyville.” Buttercup told her.

“Huh? But it looks exactly like Ponyville!” Misty was even more confused than before.

“This is… a reflection of Ponyville, so to speak.” Bright Mac picked up the story. “It’s for ponies who have… passed on.”

“Passed on? What does that mean?” Misty asked. 

“This is the afterlife. It’s for the ponies who have died.” Buttercup said, trying to soften the final blow as much as she could.

“But I’m not dead!” Misty laughed. “Last thing I remember before waking up in that cave was that I was participating in an epic flying race! It was a cross country race that took us all sorts of places! Rainbow Dash was winning, of course, but I wasn’t going to let her win that easily! I decided to take a shortcut through the mountains, when...”

Suddenly, it all came back to Misty. The monster that had surprised her in the mountains. How she tried to duck and dive past them as they tried to eat her, but had no luck. She had yelled out for help in vain; nopony was around to hear her. She tried one last thing - tricking the monster as to where she was going, but she got unlucky. She managed to avoid the monster, but she had impaled her neck on one of the sharp bits of rock that jutted off the mountains. The final memory she had was falling, falling and seeing the blood fly from the cut to her neck as her vision got darker and darker. 

Once those final moments hit Misty, she couldn’t help but wail. She fell to the ground and sobbed, not being able to believe that she was dead. Bright Mac and Buttercup hugged her as she wept, patting her hair to try and provide some form of comfort for the grieving mare.

It took Misty a long while to cry out all of the emotions she felt, but afterward she stood up and took a deep breath.

“Thank you, you two, thank you so much.” Misty smiled, though her voice shook and her eyes were still damp. “I’m sorry for crying so much.”

“There’s no need to apologise dear,” Buttercup said softly. “Bright Mac and I cried for hours when we passed. It hurt so much to leave our three babies behind.”

“Our little Apple Bloom was only a foal when we died.” Bright Mac told Misty.

“I don’t have any children,” Misty wiped away a stray tear. “But I do have my parents. I just wish there was a way to let them know that, even though I’m dead, I’m okay. At least, I will be.”

Bright Mac and Buttercup exchanged looks, before seemingly coming to an unspoken agreement.

“Us ponies in the afterlife…” Buttercup started. “We do have ways to communicate with the living.”

“You do?!” Misty gasped.

“Now don’t get too excited now.” Bright Mac stepped in. “It’s not like we can talk to the living. We can just send signs to them, let them know that we’re thinking of them, that we’re looking over them.”

Misty’s face spelt a question mark. “How in tarnation can you do something like that?”

“Well, Bright Mac and I here sent a couple of shooting stars Applejack’s way when she hosted her first Apple Family reunion.” Buttercup explained. “We wanted to let her know that we were there in spirit, and that we were oh so proud of her.”

“But, how did you know that she was doing that?” Misty questioned. “Can you see what the living are doing?”

“No,” Bright Mac admitted. “We can’t see what the living are doing. It’s a little confusing, but you can feel when the living need a sign from you. Like when we felt that Applejack wanted a sign from us that time. It’s like an echo in your head.”

Misty realised she must have looked even more confused than before, as Buttercup started to elaborate. “You know when you send a message to your deceased loved ones in your mind? You talk to them and ask for their support or guidance. That’s what we can hear. In return, we can send a sign to them to let them know that we’ve heard them. We can’t directly talk to the living, but the plane between worlds chooses the sign that suits your message the most.”

“There’s even rumours that it’s much easier to do on Nightmare Night! Probably because of all the kiddos that dress up as ghosts and all that.” Big Mac interjected. 

“It’s not easy to hear those voices though,” Buttercup told Misty. “You’ve got to look really deep inside yourself to hear what the living want to say to you. Otherwise, everyone in this town would be hearing voices all of the time, and that wouldn’t be fun.”

Misty took a couple of deep breaths, then nodded her head. “Okay,” she decided. “I’ll try and focus, see what I can hear.”

“Buttercup can guide you,” Bright Mac smiled. “She’s got a lovely, soothing voice.”

He looked at Buttercup and smiled fondly, to which Buttercup blushed in response. Misty giggled, before looking at Buttercup for help.

“First, you’ve got to get comfortable and close your eyes.” Buttercup instructed. Misty complied, waiting for the next bit of information. “Now, you’ve got to take slow, deep breaths. Calm your body, focus on your breathing.” 

After a couple of minutes of breathing, Buttercup continued. “Now, listen to your heart. Not your heartbeat, but what your heart is trying to tell you.”

Misty found it weird that, even in the afterlife, she still had a heartbeat, but she listened to what Buttercup had to say. At first the feeling was faint, but it grew stronger and stronger. Soon enough, she could hear the cries of her mother and father. The desperate pleas, wondering where she had gone. With a jolt, Misty realised that they must never have found her body. That sent a wave of guilt through her new body. Maybe her old body had been eaten? Or, it was in the cave that she had woken up in, so far away from Ponyville? She brushed those thoughts out of her head though - she realised that what she was doing now would set things right. She would provide some closure to her friends and family.

“I… I can hear them.” Misty whispered. “They don’t know wha-”

“You don’t have to tell me what they’re saying,” Buttercup interrupted Misty before she could finish her sentence. “What you need to do now is send your message to them. You say what you want to say, either in your head or out loud, and the plane between the worlds will do the rest.”

Misty nodded once in confirmation, then started her message in her head. Mom, Dad, I’m okay. I might not be with you anymore, but I’ll be okay. I’ve got a couple of friends who are looking out for me. Everypony here is lovely, I’m sure that I’ll manage to adapt here. I’m sorry for leaving you, but you have to be strong. Enjoy Nightmare Night for me, will you? I’m sure we’ll see each other again someday.

As Misty finished her message, she felt a rush in her body, and she knew that her message was going to be delivered. She opened her eyes to see Bright Mac and Buttercup in front of her, both of them smiling at her.

“It’s done.” Misty told them. “I’ve told them… I’ve told them goodbye.”

The two ponies in front of her smiled more and nodded.

Now that that was over, Misty wasn’t sure what to do anymore. Where was she going to live? Did she need to get a job? How do you live in the afterlife?

As if reading ehr thoughts, Bright Mac put a hoof around Misty and grinned. “I know there’s plenty more to figure out, but for now, why don’t the three of us go and have some fun and go and join the celebrations?”

“But… I was told you two don’t celebrate Nightmare Night?” Misty questioned.

Bright Mac bowed his head a little. “I don’t like to celebrate. It’s the night when I passed on. I wanted to spend the night with my wife here. But that was before you showed up, that is!” he tried, yet failed, to end the conversation on a little bit of a high note.

Misty looked a little scared. “Oh no, you don’t have to worry about me! I’ll be okay.”

“Nonsense, our family and your family… well, we’re like family to each other!” Bright Mac grinned. “Buttercup here was telling me before you showed up, as well - there’s no use dwelling on the past. What’s done is done. We need to spend our new lives in the present, and what better way to start doing that then to spend Nightmare Night with one of our honorary family members?”

Misty thought for a little, but then grinned. “Alright, you’ve won me over. But, this is my first Nightmare Night in the afterlife though - you’d best make it a good one!”

“Oh, don’t you worry about that, Misty.” Buttercup told her, the hint of a smirk on her face. “Us apples know how to give you a few spooks and scares!”

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