Winning Nightmare Moon Story
“Nightmare Night, what a fright, give us something sweet to bite!”
Misty smiled as she walked through the streets of Ponyville, the chanting chorus of the foals all around echoing around the dark and foggy streets. Carved pumpkins stood proudly on many doorsteps, skeletons hanging from lamposts danced in the breeze, and frightened screams - quickly followed by loud laughter and cheering - could be heard coming from the Town Square, where Princess Luna was once again acting the part of Nightmare Moon.
Misty adjusted her flight goggles and walked up to a house, whereupon she knocked on the door gently. A unicorn mare holding a bowl of sweets in her aura answered, only to be taken slightly aback at the sight of her visitor.
“Oh, evening, Misty.” she put the bowl down on a table next to the door and fixed Misty with a wry grin. “Never expected to see you out and about tonight, though I feel I should remind you that you might be a bit old for this.”
“Very funny, Haywick.” Misty rolled her eyes and ruffled her wings. “You of all ponies should know that I’m actually here on behalf of the hospital, to collect candy for the foals who can’t come out tonight. Can you spare anything?”
Haywick picked up the bowl again. “Of course I can,” she replied, levitating some of the treats into Misty’s saddlebag. “I forgot we’d asked for volunteers to help us out this year; we’ve been busy preparing for flu season, after all, so you’ll forgive me being a bit out of order right now.”
“No worries, Haywick,” Misty replied. “You and the other staff are doing a great job. Anyway, I’d better go and visit Zecora; she’s promised a whole heap of stuff for us, and it’s getting dark.” She glanced around. “Well, darker.”
Haywick nodded. “I won’t keep you from completing your task, then,” she replied. “Have a good night, Misty, and stay safe.”
“Thanks, Haywick.” Misty placed her goggles over her eyes and opened her wings. “Goodnight!” She called over her shoulder as she shot into the sky, the town quickly becoming nothing more than a dot on the landscape. Soaring above the Everfree Forest, Misty headed for the small column of smoke that marked the location where Zecora’s hut was located.
She had almost reached it when she saw something out the corner of her eye; slowing to a hover, she glanced in the direction of the ancient Castle of the Two Sisters to see a dim light coming from one of the windows.
“That’s odd,” she said to herself. “That place has been abandoned for years; why would somepony be there now? I’d better go and take a quick peek, just in case it’s a traveller in need of some assistance.”
She flew over to the window and peered inside. A candle on the wall burned slowly down to the base, the fading light casting shadows of an era long since passed. Misty entered the room, landing gently on the floor, and looked around. Rotting bookcases lined with mildewed books, layer upon layer of dust covering every square inch of every surface, cobwebs - each one with an enormous, hairy spider - hanging in each corner, and small piles of festering rubbish all combined to form the stench of a thousand years of decay. Misty screwed her face up in disgust as she picked up the candle and made her way to the door.
“Hello?” she called out. “Is there anypony here? If so, it’s okay to come out; I’m not going to hurt you, I promise.” Her calls were met with an eerie silence. “There must be somepony here, because who else lit this candle? My name is Misty, and I just want to make sure you’re all right, so please come out.”
Misty slowly walked down the corridor, her hoofsteps echoing around her, while she watched faded banners adorned with the cutie marks of Celestia and Luna waving pathetically in the same breeze that she had felt in Ponyville. The moon was a waning crescent, though what little light did manage to get through the windows showed the crumbling ruins of a once magnificent building. Misty could not help but wonder what life in this castle had been like prior to Princess Luna’s transformation and subsequent banishment.
Misty sighed. “Whoever it was must be long gone by now,” she muttered. “I guess they just didn’t blow out the candle before they left.” She looked around at the wondrous stone arches and marble statues. “I’ve wasted too much time doing this; I’d better leave and head to Zecora’s before she gets worried.” As she turned round, the breeze blew over her again, causing her to shiver slightly. “Hoo, boy, I can’t wait to get near a fire again.”
THAT IMPLIES YOU’RE GOING TO BE LEAVING.
Misty froze on the spot as the voice boomed inside her head; she looked around her for any sign of life, but the only company she had was the candle flame that was slowly fading out of existence.
“W-who’s there?” she asked. “Show yourself!”
With a last flicker, the candle extinguished, allowing darkness to claim control over the hallway. Misty’s breathing quickened as her eyes began to adjust, making out a shadowy mass floating in front of her face. She opened her mouth to scream, only for a tendril to extend from the entity and clamp it shut.
THIS IS THE ONE NIGHT OF THE YEAR WHEN I AM ABLE TO TRANSCEND THE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN WORLDS. the voice said. I HAVE WAITED CENTURIES FOR A MORTAL TO VISIT THIS PLACE, AND NOW MY TIME HAS COME. The tendril around Misty’s muzzle moved to caress her cheek. YOU MAY NOT HAVE HER POWERS, BUT YOU SHALL MAKE A FINE VESSEL NONETHELESS.
“‘Her’ powers? ‘Vessel?’” Misty’s voice trembled with fear, betraying the stoic glare she gave to the entity. “What are you talking about?”
YOU SHALL SEE. Misty gulped as a malevolent grin brimming with sharp teeth appeared on the entity’s features. IN TIME, ALL SHALL SEE.
“Who are you?” Misty’s eyes filled with tears. “What did I do to deserve this?”
HERE’S A CLUE. the entity said. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE CARRYING IN THAT SADDLEBAG OF YOURS.
“My saddlebag?” Misty shrugged. “Why, the only thing in there is… candy.” Realisation hit her like a train; the colour drained from her face, her eyes shrank to pinpricks, and sweat began to form on her forehead.
The entity chuckled. I TOLD YOU THAT YOU WOULD SEE. It said. THEY THOUGHT I HAD BEEN DESTROYED, BUT THEY WERE WRONG. NOW, ALL OF EQUESTRIA WILL BOW DOWN TO THEIR RIGHTFUL QUEEN ONCE AGAIN, AND YOU SHALL BE THE VESSEL BY WHICH I EXACT MY REVENGE.
Misty shook her head. “No!” she shouted. “I will never be a pawn of the Nightmare, nor will I ever forsake Equestria or my Princesses!”
BE SILENT. the Nightmare snarled. YOU ARE GOING TO HELP ME WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, LITTLE ONE, SO HOLD STILL.
“NEVER!” Misty turned and ran down the corridor, ignoring the darkness closing in on all sides. The Nightmare entity let out a guttural, blood curdling screech and quickly began pursuing her.
DO NOT THINK THAT YOU CAN ESCAPE ME, SUBJECT! the Nightmare bellowed. THE DARKNESS IS MY DOMAIN!
Misty ignored the entity and continued running, watching in horror as it attacked her from every conceivable angle with tendrils of pure shadow. Misty ducked, dodged, rolled and dived with expert precision, narrowly avoiding being caught, until up ahead she saw a window.
I need to get back to Ponyville and tell Twilight about what I’ve seen here! she thought. Only then can we make sure nopony ever comes back to this place.
She opened her wings and flew straight at the window, ignoring the screeching of the Nightmare entity.
I. WILL. NOT. BE. DENIED!
A tendril shot out; Misty cried out as it grabbed her by the leg, sending her careening into the window, which shattered and caused shards of glass to cut into her body. The momentum carried her onwards, sending her into the bottom of the window, from which large pieces of glass poked out like spears. One such shard embedded itself in her throat, severing an artery and causing a cascade of blood to add a grim touch of colour to the drab grey of the castle exterior.
Misty fell backwards, though the glass in the window did not come with her. As a result, a sickening shlick filled the air as her lower jaw was torn open by the force. From the floor, she could see the moon and stars, a view which was soon replaced by the Nightmare entity floating above her.
NO! It shouted. MY PLAN IS RUINED!
“Good.” Misty let out a gurgling laugh.
The Nightmare let out a growl. YOU COULD HAVE HAD EVERYTHING YOUR HEART DESIRED. it replied. INSTEAD, YOU WILL DIE HERE, YOUR CORPSE LOST FOREVER BECAUSE NOPONY WILL DARE TO LOOK FOR YOU IN THIS FORSAKEN PLACE.
“I… don’t care,” Misty said. “It is better for me to die... as a free pony... than to live... as a slave of... a villain like you. I go... to a better place now.” She coughed again. “When this night ends... will you be able to say the same?”
The Nightmare let out a hiss by way of reply and disappeared, leaving Misty to look at the land she had saved for the final time...
... although, deep down, she knew that nopony would ever know of the events which had transpired on this aptly named ‘Nightmare Night.’