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Forbidden Knowledge · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Truth Unwanted
Another night, another set of nightmares. Luna scratched her eat as she looked at the dream door. This one was a regular. Again, Twist? It's become a routine with you. Every second night of the week, just like clockwork, the Princess would find herself venturing in the filly's dream. Tenth time so far, and if the past was any infraction, there would be at at least as many to come.

Let's see what we have. Luna opened the door and stepped inside. Pink sky, candy cane trees, fluffy sheep hopping about... no doubt about it, this was very much a Twist dream. The only difference Luna could see was the huge Moon covering half the sky. This is new, the alicorn thought as she made her way through fields of blue flowers.

"Twist," she said loudly. It was a bit strange that she couldn't spot the filly right away. Usually the subject of the nightmare was smack middle in the dream. "Twist, it's me. The real Luna." Quite the deviation from her usual behaviour" if a Celestia were here she'd stammer at the lack of professionalism. Luna, however,preferred a more casual approach when visiting the dreams of her regulars. After all, there was only so many times one could perform the "wise and all knowing" act.

"I'm here, Prinpheph," a voice squeaked in front of her. "Phorry."

Luna looked down. Indeed, curled up under a patch of flowers, was a very frightened filly. She was shivering, her glasses were cracked, and she was completely transparent.

"Why are you invisible?" Luna arched a brow. No wonder I didn't spot her right away. I must make a note to look more closely for invisible things next time. "And why do you have a lisp?"

"It'ph the poison joke," Twist said, timidly looking up. "It made me invisible."

"For stars' sake." Luna rolled her eyes and stomped on the ground. Within seconds all the poison joke changed into blue tulips. Twist, however, remained just as invisible as before. "Is there something you wish to tell me, Twist?" Just say it, filly. "something happened in school, didn't it?"

"No," the filly squeaked, her body trembling twice as violently as before. "Nothing happened!" Luna just waited. She had seen this often enough to know that more would come. Gradually the trembling subsided. Shortly after, Twist stood up. "I don't think I want to be friends with Apple Bloom anymore." Her outline gained a bit of colour.

"Oh?" Apple Bloom? Didn't see that coming.

"Phhe phaid phhe'd fix my liphp," Twist went on. "Pho phhe went to phee Phecora." You're o eroding it again.

"She brought you some poison joke, didn't she?" Luna shook her head. I see where this is going. "She hoped it would fix your lisp."

"A-ha." The filly was almost entirely visible now. That was good, it was a sign she was calming down.

"And?" Luna urged with a warm smile. Whatwver happens, I mustn't laugh.

"And it made me in invisible." The was slight hesitation. "And Nevause I couldn't phee myphelf I tipped down the phtairph and broke my glapheph." Ouch. Nasty, but that doesn't sound like the core of the nightmare. "And then Apple Bloom got all worried, because phhe couldn't find me and phaid..." Twists lower lip began to tremble, tears firmed in the corners of her eyes. "Phhe phaid 'say something, Twist Ah'll find ya by your lisp'."

Oh. Sensitive, as always, Twist. Sometimes I really don't know what to do with you. Gently Luna placed her hood on the filly's head. The nightmare setting made perfect sense now — the fields of poison joke, the in invisibility, the lisp. Why was the Moon there, though?

"She didn't mean it. You know that the CMC—" Mess things up every three times out of four. "—are accident prone at times. Apple Bloom didn't know this was a sensitive topic for you. Just as cutie-marks were before she got hers."

"I gueph..." Twist wasn't entirely convinced.

"Did you talk to her about it?"

"No, I ran straight home." The lisp was starting to disappear. Halfway there. At least till next week. "I guess, I should talk to Mom. She's probably worried that she can't find me."

"Yes, that will be best. And maybe talk with Apple Bloom after that?" Just a little bit more.

"Maybe." Twist adjusted her glasses. They were no longer broken and the arms had transformed into candy canes. "What was it like spending a thousand years on the Moon, Princess?"

The question hit Luna like a jolt of lightning. Where did that come all of a sudden? That was a problem with the sensitive ones — the moment their problem was resolved they I'm immediately directed their attention to somepony else's. What was it like on the Moon? where do I even begin? Lonely, cold, empty? I was so full of hate towards Sis that I... That was strange. Something seemed off.

"Princess?" A note of concern was felt in Twist's voice. "Was I insensitive?"

"What? Oh, no, nothing to worry about, Twist." Luna smiled, but she couldn't kick the feeling. Something about the Moon troubled her, and it was not the banishment. What did I do on the Moon exactly? Being angry a few years, a few decades, I could understand, but then what? Make castles of sand dust? Write threats to Celestia with my hoof all over the Moon surface? "The important thing is that you now know what to do." She directed her attention towards the filly. "Right?"

"I know, I know!" Twist started hopping in place. "I go tell Mom I'm invisible, then go to Miss Zecora to make me un-invisible, then go talk to Apple Bloom that were still friends."

"There you go." Honestly, I envy your rebound, Twist. "And let's hope I don't have to come take care of another nightmare next week."

"Aww, but you are so much fun..."

"Tell you what." Luna patted Twist on the head. "Stop having nightmares and I'll pass to visit you from time to time just to have fun, okay?"

"Yes, Princess!" The filly beamed.

Another nightmare gone, Luna left the dream and went back to the dreamscape. The thought still bothered her, though. Why should I care what happened on the Moon? I'm here now, things are great between be and Sis, I have friends, ponies actually like me... what more could I want? And yet the question lingered in her mind.

"I'm overthinking this," the Princess said out loud. Maybe Twist was true and the Moon really was a sore topic? After so many millennia, Luna had hoped she could handle her past, but apparently not. All this time and I still act like a spoilt little filly. And still, what was it like on the Moon?

"No one must know of this! Not pony, griffin or dragon!"

"That might be tricky. It's not something you can explain away, my dear. Unless you lock yourself forever, ponies will notice."

"I'll make it so they don't. You just worry about getting your... contraption to work.

"It will. You'll have to find a way to explain it away too. Having other use it might get annoying."

"How much time will you need?

"A few decades. Half a century at most. And a volunteer. Know where I can get one of those?"

"Get started. I'll find you your volunteer.

Mornings were the worst. Thank the stars Luna could sleep through most of them. Every now and again there would be some pesky event or other that required she change her routine. Today was brunch with Twilight Sparkle. Truth be told, Luna had no idea why she had to be present. Not that she hated Twilight, but she preferred not to spend a few hours leaning on a table half-asleep, while her sister and Twilight discussed spells and friendship news.

Waiting, waiting and more waiting. Luna looked at her hood. There had to be an excuse that she could come up with. If she could leave the table now, before Twilight arrived, maybe Celestia would forget about her, just as she did after banishing her to the Moon. Wow! That was harsh. Or is it?

"Did you check on me while I was on the Moon?" Luna suddenly asked. An innocent questions, yet enough to cause Celestia to freeze in place. The teacup levitating in front of her mouth shook slightly. "All that time I I was there, did you pass by, or use a spell to take a look?"

"Is everything all right, Luna?" Celestia looked at her, as if she were a foal about to fall from its bed. "Did you have a rough night?"

"I'm just curious." Luna tried to suppress another yawn. Feeling it overpower her, she placed a hoof in front of her mouth. "I was there for a long while. What did you do in the mean time?"

"Not a day went by without me thinking about you, Lulu." The usual response. It still made Luna feel happy, though. It was always nice to know she wasn't forgotten. "I've told you before. Banishing you was the most difficult decision I ever had to make. The first few decades I couldn't think of anything else. Part of me even wanted to bring you back, but I was afraid what might happen."

"Yeah, I know." Luna felt her eyelids grow heavy. Not sleeping. I'm listening to everything with my eyes closed. "But you did visit me?" She cracked an eye open.

"A few times, yes." Her sister levitated a piece of cake towards her.

"Nice," Luna yawned. "What was I doing there?"

"Well," Celestia scooped a strawberry with her spoon, "that is where you died!"

Both Luna's eyes popped open. Terror with with pain flooded through her body. Fight or flight! a voice yelled in her mind. If she was going to survive she couldn't hold back! This wasn't going to be a repeat like last time! This time she would overcome! A powerful blue aura started surrounding her horn, just as a spoon spoon slit the air straight at her.

"What by all the stars!" Luna jumped out of her bed. Her mane was dripping with sweat.

Where am I? The question immediately crossed her mind, followed shortly after by Why am I alive? Her heart was beating frantically. It took minutes for her to calm down for her mind to process what her eyes were seeing. She was in her room, the same she had been ever since her return to Equestria — soothing blue walls, dark curtains, a cozy fireplace she barely used... Everything was there to the pile of letters she had received in thanks for the last Nightmare Night.

"A nightmare," she managed to say in a while, eager to hear her own voice. "Just a nightmare." Why did I lose control? The last nightmare that gave me this trouble was centuries ago, and I destroyed it. There's no way it could harm me again. No way any of them could.

Still shaken, she went to the bowl of water on the nightstand and took a sip. That felt somewhat better. Moments later she took another. Isn't this embarrassing? she tried to laugh her way out of the initial scare. The Princess of the Night, shocked by a mere nightmare. Tia will have a field day if she learns. There was nothing funny, however.

The Moon. She had been dreaming of the Moon. Actually, she had been dreaming asking about the Moon. Was that important? Possibly. It was the only part of the dream she remembered with perfect clarity. That and Tia killing her with a spoon. Guess I now know never to get between Sis and her cake. She made another attempt at humour. It didn't make her feel any better.

"Is anything the matter, you Majesty?" A voice came from outside her room. Her captain of the guard, no doubt. Good to know he took his job seriously. "I thought I heard a scream."

"Just practicing my singing, captain," Luna lied. One of the advantages of being a princess was that she could get away with saying anything, no matter how outrageous the explanation. "I think there will be no more attempts for the night."

"Very well, your Majesty." The stallion didn't sound convinces, but then again he didn't sound not convinced. The perfect guard. Celestia sure when how to pick them.

Magicking the sweat off, Lina went back to the bed. The sheets were absolutely drenched. No way she was lying there. In fact, she wasn't sure she wanted to even if they weren't. One rude awakening was more than enough. Besides, in this state, she was hardly fit for work. A pity for the ponies that had nightmares of their own, but Luna was going to make up for it some other time.

Stretching her wings, Luna opened the window and flew outside. The breeze felt good tickling her feathers. At least I could count on the night. She glided aimlessly forward. Whatever happens the sky will never betray me. Or the Moon. The huge pale orb shined in the distance, perfect as Luna remembered it.

"How long were we together?" she asked, flapping her wings. "How long have we known each other?"

"It was your mess, wasn't it? I always knew you were an idiot, but this takes the cake!"

"You're one to talk..."

"He was your creation, don't deny it! I could recognize your face anywhere!"

"So, what if it was? If you had found me a volunteer, as you promised, we wouldn't be having this conversation! This isn't one of your wishy-washy spells! This is complex stuff. It takes experimentation, trial and error, at times accidents happen."

"You let him escape and take over one of my cities! Do you have any idea what might have happened if I hadn't intervened?!"

"Bleh! He'd probably have died in a few decades. There are still some kinks I have to iron out in the process. And don't you pretend you aren't pleased. Now you have first hoof proof it works. And it only took me twenty seven years. Half the time I said it would!"

"I'm starting to think this project was a mistake."

"Save the act for the foals! It was your idea and you sure as Tartarus didn't have any doubts when you brought me into this."


"No, you won't stop this. You won't it more than ever."

"Just see there are no further 'accidents'."

"And my volunteer? You know, the one you promised I'd have?"

"I have your volunteer. She'll be brought to you tomorrow."

"A female? Magnificent. That's likely to speed things up. Is she unusual in any way?"

"You have no idea..."

A book fell on Luna's head, snapping her out of her doze. Damn you! She shook it off violently, then slowly stood up. Books of various size and colour were scattered all around her. [i]Sheesh! I'm like a dragon guarding her hoard. How long have I been here?[/b] It was night outside, so that means she had spend the entire day going through books in the library.

The Princess stretched, yawning as she did. Several popping sounds made her instantly regret it. And they say alicorns don't have to keep on shape. She extended her wings, knocking a few more books in the process. In theory, she could have used magic to keep the, from falling, but at this point why bother? The library wing was a mess as it is. On the positive side, it was a restricted section, which meant it was unlikely anypony would see her in such an embarrassing moment. On the negative side, she still hadn't found anything of remotely connected to what she was searching for. Five thousand years of history, five thousand, and only three somewhat in-depth references to the Moon itself. Nightmare Moon had a whole shelf dedicated to her, but as for the Moon itself — nothing. This was more than strange, this was absurd! Surely some scientist or theologian should written something on the subject. The bloody glowing ball was right there! Let alone that she was controlled by a "living goddess". Even the forbidden occult books only mentioned the Moon in passing.

If Starswirl were alive he'd tear off his mane in horror at the pinnacle of stupidity the modern ponies had achieved. Even Tia's Sun is barely present!

"Let's see what you've got." Luna levitated a rather large tome from the top shelf, hoping that speaking to it would miraculously cause him to have at least a hint of what she wanted.

Full history of Equestria the title read. On the surface it seemed moderately promising, but Luna had already let herself be disappointed too many times. Prepared for the worst, she glanced at the index.

"And there we go!" She shut it almost immediately. Can't ponies get a simple chronology right? If the book was to be believed the defeat of Discord, the disappearance of the Crystal Empire, the banishment of Nightmare Moon, and the capture of the Sirens took place within months of each other. What kind of idiot could believe that?!

Full of rage, Luna slammed the tome on the ground and stormed out. Several librarians watched as she passed through the library lobby. None dared say a word.

"If you want something done right," she grumbled, leaping into the air, "go do it yourself!" Why didn't I think of this before? The first thing I should have done was go to the Moon! It was going to be a long flight, the Moon was much further than most of the ponies believed, but at least that might jog her memory. Surely when she got there she would recognize something familiar.

I wonder what it would be like, the alicorn mused. Sort of a homecoming of sorts. I bet that—

A bolt of purple lightning shot through Luna, tearing her in two. I'm the distance the Moon started dropping red.

"Nooo!" Luna kicked the covers across the room. She was in her bed once more, all trembling. What? Her heart was beating as fast as the wings of a hummingbird. Her hooves hooves as ice. What was going on?! Why was she dreaming these things?

"Are you all right, Majesty?" The captain's voice sounded from outside the door. "Or are you practicing your singing again?"

My singing? "Yes, captain, I'm practicing again," Luna managed to say. "Just practicing..."

Practicing... as if anypony would believe that. The captain knew. Heck, probably the entire palace knew! In a few days rumours would spread thought the whole of Equestrua, each more embellished than the last. Within leeks Luna would become a laughing stock, the dream walk that cannot prevent her own nightmares. Lying in her own sweat, the Princes stared blankly at the ceiling.

This is getting out of control. I have to tell Tia...

"There's nothing to worry about, my dear. The process is completely painters. I've tested it on myself a few times."

"Why am I in chains?"

"Just a precaution. It's quite difficult to find a subject as suitable as you."


"Now, I'm going to do something, and when I do you'll lose all your memories. Not to worry, though, knowing you, you'll quickly make new ones."

"All my memories?"


"Will I forget how to sing?"

"Sing? No. You'll still be able to sing. Everything you've learned will remain intact. You'll only forget your history, so to speak."

"That's good."

"You'll forget your name, as well, but I'll tell you what it was the instant the—"


"You don't want to remember your name?"

"I want to have a new one..."

"Tia, can I talk to you for a moment?" Luna felt nervous. This was the first time she had bothered asking for anything since her return. It felt strange.

Celestia looked back with her ever present smile. "Court is about to start, Lulu," she explained. "Could it wait till lunch? Why don't you go get a nose long nap. I'll wake you before you know it."

"No." No sleep! I'd rather fight Discord than sleep! "It's rather important." That certainly grabbed Celestia's attention. Not enough to to dismiss the Royal Guards, though. In theory they could be trusted, they were supposed to be trusted, yet Luna would have preferred them not be present. "I've been having nightmares."

"I see." Celestia's smile vanished. A single gesture and the the pair of guards rugged out if the throne room. Thank you, Sis! Luna relaxed. "His long has. This been going on?"

"I'm not sure. A few nights, maybe more?" Why was it so hard saying this? "Each time I'm doing something, then I die."

"That's..." The concern on Celestia's face rivaled the time she had gotten news of Tirek's escape. "I knew something was wrong, when I hit reports of you 'practicing your singing', but I never imagined things would be that bad. Do you think it's a dream demon?"

"It can't be. I killed the last one even before you banished me." This didn't come out right. "Also, I've never encountered something that could manipulate dreams like that. At times I cannot even tell I am in one! It's as if I'm one of those foals that I visit every night."

"And you are sure it's related to the dreamscape?" What else could it be? Luna gave her sister a confused look. Were you even listening? "What if you are creating those dreams? A reaction to something perhaps?"

"I shouldn't have told you anything." Luna south through her teeth. She wasn't going to stand for this! Of course, she had considered that possibility! She had considered all possibilities! The reason she had come to share with Celestia was to get support and understanding, and so far she gaunt gotten either! "I'm going out!"

"Luna, please!" Celestia's voice sounded behind, yet Luna was no longer listening. "I'm just trying to help."

Trying to help! Luna fumed with rage at those words. She had heard them so many times, and the one occasion they were true was when Twilight Sparkle had transformed her back to her normal self. Celestia never seemed to get the point. Even in their old home she was like that! She'd look on calmly as a mess happened before her very eyes, only to be torn apart by guilt and regret moments after.

The old castle! That was an option. Luna hadn't set hoof there since the unfortunate battle with her sister. Maybe it was time she finally did? If nothing else she had fond memories of her time there as a filly. With luck that would be enough to prevent any further nightmares from occurring. We did play a lot of silly games there. A smile formed on her face. The games, the pranks, the secret diary. The hall of hooves instantly came to mind. It was insanity to have that built. But Celestia had somehow managed to convince everypony it was of the utmost importance. She really did get away with anything back then.

"It's settled," Luna whispered as she galloped out of the palace. She was going to visit her old home.

The flight to the castle was short, but the whole time Luna felt uneasy. The recent experience of being torn by lightning had her slightly on edge. It didn't particularly matter that there ere no clouds in the air. Her rational mind could not control what her subconscious feared. On two occasions she found herself landing on the ground, ready to engage in battle with unseen adversaries. Naturally, none emerged, leaving her even tense than before. Now I know what Twists feels like, the Princess sighed. She could use someone to help her get through this nightmare. Yet who dreamwalks the dreamwalker?

It was almost noon when Luna reached the deserted castle. The Everfree forest had made several attempts to destroy what remained of its glory. Another thousand years and it would probably succeed. So many things significant had happened in this place — the first time Luna felt she had a home in Equestria, the first time she became Nightmare Moon, and the last. With luck, maybe she'd find answers to her current problem here as well?

The main hall was deserted, untouched since the last battle held there. Once it might have seemed nice, but right now it gave Luna the chills. Too soon. I wonder if I'd feel the same once I go to the Moon. Again with the Moon! Why couldn't she stop obsessing about it?

Making her way to the far wall, Luna pulled one of the banners. The entire wall spun around, taking her to another part of the castle. Well at least the shortcuts work. She'd expected them not to. Starswirl really knew how to build things to last for millennia, it seemed. Pity he was no longer around. Luna had felt unusually close to him, attached almost. Of course, her sister never approved. That's why they stopped sharing the same diary. There were things Luna wished be kept private, even from Celestia.

The diary! That's a nice piece of nostalgia. I wonder if Tia continued writing after out fight. She always did say she left it here. I guess, she didn't want to relive the past. Still, she could have taken it to Canterlot after a few centuries. Reading through it now was probably meaningless. That was precisely the reason felt the urge to do so. She could use a bit of meaninglessness at a time like this.

Another banner pulled, another passage opened. Those were definitely enjoyable. As she walked through the library, Luna glanced at the shelves of books. It was tempting to stop and go through a few of them for information on the Moon. Most of these were probably untouched by modern pony stupidity, they could have real facts for a change. As alluring it was, however, Luna preferred not to. The memories of her latest library nightmare were too fresh in her mind. Maybe some other day. She pushed a chair, revealing the passage to the private library chamber. Moments later she gasped in horror — the diary wasn't there.

"Looking for this?" a mocking voice asked. Discord? Lina jumped to the side, feathers ruffled. [/i]What is he doing here?![/i] "I must say this is good stuff." He turned a few pages pages, smirking. "I particularly enjoyed a few passages."

"Discord, what are you—" Luna managed to put in a few words before the draconequus unceremoniously interrupted her.

"This is a good one!" Discord grinned. "I find myself more and more attracted to Starswirl. I know it's hardly proper, but it's beyond my control. I try hiding it by being mean to him, but I think he knows. It's so complicated. He's the one pony I could trust and yet I find myself torn between confessing and asking him to leave." Luna felt herself blush. "Oh, the romance! Oh, the drama!" Discord said gleefully.

"How dare you read my thoughts!" Luna's nostrils flared.

"Your thoughts, my dear Luna?" The draconequus laughed. "Those are Celestia's. That naughty girl had quite the thing for that old coot. Shocking, if you ask me." Luna froze. Celestia? She was in love with Starswirl as well? Why don't I remember any of this? She never mentioned anything. "Oh, don't look so surprised." Discord waved a paw dismissively. "What did you expect? I think they even did the deed a few times. Or was it a few hundred times? It's so difficult to keep track of what's real and what not these days."

"Discord, I am warning you..." Luna's hooves were itching to land smack on in his face.

"Fine, straight to business, then." Discord snapped his fingers. The two of them were instantly transported from the library to a new room, one that Luna recognized. "You've come for angry to your current 'sleep problem'," he said making air quotes. "Well, without my help you'll never find them! At best you'd be stuck in this loop and things will only get increasingly painful."

"Loop? What loop?" Luna blinked. A time loop?

"Ignore that for a while." The draconequus moved beside her. "On a few minutes you'll die again and wake up screaming in your room. From then on, you'll never be able to visit this castles again."

"What? Why?"

"Too long to explain." He places a talon on her lips. "Now, in order to use my help you need to do two things. First, not tell anyone of our little talk. Second, I want you to get a Tartarus ring from Celestia's room, without her noticing and bring it to me."

"Are you insane?" Luna would laugh if the matter weren't so serious. "You want me to sneak in Tia's room, steal an arcane relic and give it to you, of all creatures? Why, by the stars, would I do that?"

"Because you need answers?" Hardly was there ever a more smug expression as Discord's. "Tell me, do you recognize this room?"

"Don't be stupid!" the Princess snorted. "I did the instant you moved us here. It's my room." Did you seriously expect this would soften me up, so you could trick me into going along with your absurd request? Well, think again!

"Wrong!" Discord lit up like a red lightbulb. "It's Celestia's. You don't have a room!"

"I'm tired of your games!" She was also curious in a horrifyingly scared way. Discoed had shown he knows a about her nightmares. What if he knew more? "I'm leaving and telling Tia about this talk first thing when I get back!" And also I'll prove that what you're saying is utter crap!

Discord didn't try to stop her as she went passed. He simply stood there, draining, as if he had all the answers in the universe. That angered Luna, but she remained focused on her priorities. There was a simple way to tell if this was her room. Both her sister and she had the emblem of their cutie-mark on the drawn on the outside of the door. Celestia had her golden sun and Luna had—

"A golden sun?" She stared in disbelief. "This can't be. That was my room! I recognized everything inside!" Desperately she galloped through the corridor in search of her own room. Maybe she had mistaken? Maybe she wasn't remembering things properly?

"You've about two minutes left," Discord said calmly, looking at an unusually large hourglass watch on the back of his paw.

"You are doing this!" Luna shouted. "It's nothing more thank tricks and misdirection!"

"Well, if that makes you sleep better at night." The draconequus shrugged. "Oh, wait. It doesn't!"

"That can't have been Tia's room! I recognized everything inside! The drawings on the wall. I used to scrape them with my hoof when I was feeling alone. The empty shelf that I kept for the day I wrote the greatest novel of all Equestria to impress—"

"Lovely, I am sure." Discord cut her off. "Sadly we are running out of time. You know what to do if you want my help. Think it over. Just ask yourself this — are you sure that Celesria really is your sister?"

"My sister?" Luna could feel cold sweat covering her entire body. "O-of course she is! Are you saying she's a changeling? I would have felt it!"

"Now, now." Discord shook a talon. "You know what to do, if you need my help. Let me leave you with two things, though. When you wake up screaming tonight, tell the captain of your guard that you've hurt your hoof. He'll then ask if you need help. Tell him yes. Shortly after Celestia will run in your room. That would be enough proof to convince you, I hope?"

Luna didn't say a thing. She was terrified to admit he was right. If things happened as she said, that would provide more than enough proof, especially since she was already half convinced at this point.

"And the second thing?" The alicorn asked.

"Oh, here." Discord snapped his fingers. Luna and Celestia's diary popped into existence on the floor in front of her. "Don't say I didn't warn you, though!" And just like that he was gone.

This is a nightmare. It has to be a nightmare! Luna closed her eyes. For the sake of everything in the sky, she refused to believe this was reality. Nothing seemed to make any sense! Cautiously, she looked down. The diary was already open. Luna could clearly see the last entry. It was Celestia's.

[i]Today Luna died.[/i]

Moments later the ceiling of the hallway collapsed, crushing Luna under it.

"Starswirl, you are an idiot!"

"I don't see what you're complaining about. They would have caused problems if they had remained. This way everypony's happy."

"Happy? You call this happy? They nearly enslaved half Equestria! and how is it they escaped? I thought you grade taken precautions after last time."

"Nopony's perfect. Accidents happen."

"I wonder..."

"Just let it go. It happened, it's over, time to move on. I've perfected the process now. A few more months and it should be ready."

"Perfected the process, my hoof! I saw your creations, each one worse than the last. The final one was a complete moron. I doubt she could even survive on her own!"

"Do I take it you are having second thoughts? I can more to other things, you know."

"No. We go on. Just make sure it works as it should this time."

Another night, another set of nightmares, yet this time Luna's heart wasn't into it. She hardly said anything as she blasted away the fears of colts and fillies. Even Twist, who usually managed to lift her spirits, wasn't able to cheer her up. Currently there were only two things on Luna's mind — the Moon, and her talk with Discord. The pesky, prediction had come to pass exactly as he had said it would. The question, the reaction, even Celestia galloping into Luna's bedchamber were so spot on it was frightening.

Two more nightmares gained form in the dreamscape. Luna ignored them. She was not in the mood to deal with other pony's problems right now. Three nights! Three whole times she had "died" only to have everything restart. Each time she believed she was making progress, only to find she knew less than before.

"No, I am not helping Discord!" she hissed. Surely there had to be another way! "Wake up!"

The dreamscape immediately disappeared, replaced by the familiar surroundings of Luna's room. Her room. At least here she had one. Looking at it, it seem foreign somehow. What if it wasn't her room, but part of the nightmare loop? To be honest there was no guarantee she could ever escape it, provided it was what Discord had claimed. This wouldn't be the first time he'd clips a pony's mind yo get what he wants. He had gone the same to Celestia, shortly before making Equestria his playground, and also when he had distorted the Elements of Harmony upon his return. Why should Luna be any different?

"I will resist!" she repeated loudly. I should just go back to my old castle to prove him wrong! Discord said I'd never be able to, so if I manage then I'll know everything he's said is a lie! Yet, as much as her will urged her to go, her body refused to. The mere thought of going back there made her wings freeze.

"Your Majesty!" The all too familiar voice of the captain of Luna's guard boomed outside her room. "It is time for the setting of the Moon."

"I'm not feeling well," Luna lied. "Ask my sister to take care of it." What am I doing?! I can't be seriously considering that snake's offer! "She'll understand." By the stars, I am! I really am!

As much as Luna didn't want to go on with this, a greater power forced her to. Almost in a dream-like state, she stood up and went to the door. The captain outside muttered something resembling an agreement and galloped away to inform her sister. Luna could hear the sound of horseshoes echoing away. That gave her about two minutes. Knowing Celestia she'd first pass by her room, to see what has happened. Not getting an answer she was just as likely to break the door down, as she was of raising the Sun on her own. Either way she wasn't going to be in her room, and that was precisely what Luna wanted.

Celestia always leaves her window in the morning. Just a crack, so Philomena could fly out if she wishes. Instincts took over. Luna surrendered herself to their call, dashing out of her own window and along the palace wall. She knew nopony would pay any attention, all of them had gathered expecting the rise of the Sun ceremony. Even the pegasi guards had their eyes off the palace itself.

Philomena always flies out at the very last moment. Unlike what ponies think, she isn't just a pet, she's Celestia's eternal guard dog. Any secrets Celestia had, Philomena keeps. The only time she leaves her post is when ordered, or the minute of the Sun rise. That is the only é indie in which Celestia is vulnerable, and that is the moment I'll use to sneak into my sister's room.

Hovering above Celestia's window, Luna waited. As expected, the golden phoenix flew out, heading directly for the royal balcony where the ceremony was held. There was a chance she'd seen Luna, but that didn't matter. The bird would never risk leaving her owner in danger, whatever the consequences. Luna made use of that and slipped into the room.

The second brick of the fifth top row of the fireplace is hollow. Celestia uses it to store her most dangerous magical artifacts. Alicorn amulets, Tartarus rings, all of them are hidden there for the time they would come in use. A powerful magic dampening spell protects the fireplace. Even Chaos magic wouldn't be able to have an effect.

Luna's hooves moved on their own, pulling the loose brick out. How do I even know about this? She asked gazing inside. Half a frozen artifacts glowed ominously in front of her. Some of them she recognized, others she had never seen before. All of them radiated power, almost as much as the Elements of Harmony. The ring, I must only get the ring. Luna moved the pieces of dark jewelry about.

The ring was just as she expected — a small metal band large enough to fit on a unicorn's horn. A single red symbol was etched on the silvery surface, indicating its power over the eternal prison. So, this will bring me answers? The Princess gazed at it. Funny, really. All her hopes lied in the absurd notion that this tricked would be able to save her, as well as the Spirit of Chaos would keep his word. For all his faults he had never broken his word, yet he had always bent it beyong recognition.

The first rays of light shone into the room. The ceremony was almost over, which meant it was time for Luna to go. She didn't bother placing the brick in place, nor closing the window behind her. There was no longer any point in remaining hidden. All that mattered now was speed, and that meant using something that was believed to be achievable only by one. Placing the ring on her horn, the Princess burst out of the room. A few seconds later, she went super sonic.

"I told you this might happen, but did you listen to me? Do you ever listen to me?"

"Not now, Starswirl."

"If not now, when? Staying here and crying over her won't help! The are enemies at your doorstep! This Tirek character isn't just some brute you can let your minions handle."

"I know that, but... She didn't deserve this!"

"And I agree. I've been telling you that from the start. You insisted on going on with this. Now you'll have to live with it."

"I want you to continue."

"What? Are you serious?!"

"Now I'm convinced more than ever that this could work! We just need to be more careful next time!"

"Well, it's your funeral. Who am I to say otherwise?"

"Discord!" Luna shouted. "Discord, where are you?"

She didn't like going to the real of chaos. It was a disturbing place, not so much for the chaos of the creatures that roamed within. The fact that there could be a place for Discord to call his own, made her literally sick to her stomach.

"No need to shout. Sheesh!" The draconequus popped into existence. "I heard you the first time." He pulled a walrus out of his ear and let I floating away. "So' did you bring me anything?"

"You can see that I have!" the alicorn hissed. "It is right there on my horn!"

"Oh really?" The draconequus took a magnifying glass out of nowhere and, very much to Luna's annoyance, started examining the ring. "It is rather small. I was expecting something more flashy with glowing rubies, sparkling diamonds and the like."

"Discoooord!" She was losing her patience.

"Fine." He threw the magnifying glass away. "A deal is a deal, I guess. What do you want to know?"

"Tell me, who Is Celestia!" Sweat trickled down her forehead. Is that something I really want to know? What if I've been living with a changeling this entire time?

"Celestia." Discord said dramatically. "Is." He took a deep breath. "The Princess of the Sun, ruler of Equestria, strongest of all alicorns, Starswirl's lover, and..." He made a dramatic pause. A series of drums appears performing the drum roll. "Your sister."

"What?" Luna felt dizzy for a moment. "My sister? But you said—"

"I only asked you a question. Not my fault you came to the wrong conclusion. Now the ring, if you will." He extended a paw.

"But the my nightmares?" Luna refused to believe it. Had she down all of this for nothing? "And the things you said that would happen. There's no way you could have guessed that!"

"You want answers? Just give me the ring."

Hesitation. Doubt. Mistrust. There was no reason for her to do so. He had shown he couldn't be trusted. Giving him the ring would only make matters worse. It was not too late for her to get out of here and return the ring to her sister. Maybe a Celestia would tell her what really was going on.

"Give me the ring and you'll know everything," Discord tempted.

Damn you Discord! Damn you to stone! "Here!" She removed the ring from her horn and tossed it to him. "Happy?"

"Very." The draconequus grinned widely as he caught it. "You've no idea how long I've been trying to get one of these!" He started polishing it with a silk hoofkerchief. "Did you know, the ring is one of nine items that lets one freely enter and leave Tartarus with no questions asked? Why, I can go party there every second night and still be home by the morning!" Luna's deathly glare said more than a mountain or words could. "Ah, not a party mare, I see. Oh well."

"Talk!" She spat the word out.

"Well, here's the thing, my dear." Discord threw the ring in his mouth and swallowed it. "You are not Luna. You are but a copy made by Celestia to keep her company."

"Eh?" Luna was definitely not expecting this.

"I killed you, my dear," he grinned. "Way back when I started the war for Equestria. It was a shameful accident' I regret, but it happened. You never defeated me. That was all Celestia."

Luna's legs gave in. He's lying! He has a to be lying!

"Oh, don't look so glum. It's not the only time you've died. There have to be at least a hundred more. Sorry, I spent a few millennia in stone' so I may have lost count." he shrugged as if it were nothing. "Only the last week you've died three times. Your personal best, I might add. Each time you get closer to the truth... *BAM* dead! Kaput! Dear Celestia just can bear you knowing."

"You are lying!" Tears formed in Luna's eyes. "Lying!"

"Don't believe me? What if I send you to the Moon? You. Been wanting to go the, haven't you? In fact that's what started your unfortunate series of deaths. The way things stand you can't reach the moon without dying. I could make it happen, though. A small loophole Celestia never considered. What do you say?"

The moment of truth. Every fiber in her body screamed for Luna to refuse. There was no way for him to be trusted. It was still not to late to go back and forget.

"Do it..." Luna whispered. Hardly had she done so, everything around her changed. She was no longer in Discord's dimension. Instead she was on the Moon... and the moon was full of skeletons. Her skeletons! Thousands upon thousands of Luna's lied dead as far as the eye could see. She could recognize three one them — one crushed to a pulp, one sliced in two, and one with a spoon sticking from her head. So it was true. She had died... again and again and again.

"I knew you'd come here," a sad voice said behind Luna. It was Celestia. "I hoped you'd reconsider, but..."

"So it was true? I died?" Luna could barely ask.

"Things are not that simple. I couldn't go on alone. I needed somepony to—"

"It was?!"

"Listen, Tia, Just calm down. This is all just a dream. Discord is—"

"What did you call me?" No answer. "My stars! Discord was wrong. You never had a sister! It was only you all along! It wasn't me that you copied thousands of times! You copied yourself!" No denial. "Why, Tia? Just tell me why!"

"I... I was tired of being along." Celestia looked away. "The only alicorn in creation. The only that was and would be... until Starswirl helped me change that."

"The only?! You mean?"

"Yes," Celestia nodded. "Cadence, Twilight, even Flurry Heart. They were ponies that died to become what they are now. Just as you will... again."
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#1 · 2
The rate of typo's in this is painful. I will assume it is thus because you spat the entire thing out in less then 6 hours and didn't have time to read it.

Now there are some story problems...

You never explained why Luna has to be repeatedly killed.
If Luna exists in a state of perpetual death and recreation then... Celestia doesn't have to banish her and can just kill her and make a non-Nightmare Moon version.
Luna skeletons look like regular generic alicorn skeletons if they don't have some meat on them.
If Luna is not Celestia's sister then Celestia cannot be Luna's sister. It's a mutual relationship.

Despite writing Discord properly you used him in the worst possible way, namely as a higher power to force the resolution of the story. He is a giant crutch holding up the back end of your story.
#2 · 2
I assume you type at near-olympic speeds - hence the long trail of typos and auto-correct word-swaps.

Also, a person (or pony) who lisps usually has issues with sibilants so that "s" is pronounced like "th" in thick and "z" is pronounced like "th" in this. I haven't a clue where you got the "ph" idea.

I also have a real problem following the logic of this story - and at least in my case the "friction" of these errors may simply overpowered the "fiction".
#3 · 1
As the others have mentioned, the amount of typos and the odd handling of Twist's lisp made the story a bit hard to read. You also had a few instances of formatting errors with what were supposed to be either a italicised or bold lines

[/i]What is he doing here?![/i]

[i]Sheesh! I'm like a dragon guarding her hoard. How long have I been here?[/b]

[i]Today Luna died.[/i]

Still, all the previous points can be fixed when editing the story. Moving on to story issues, while the "Luna was a construct of Celestia to keep her company" isn't a bad idea, I don't think you exploited it to its full potential.

This could be a solid Mystery/Thriller but you'd need to work that angle a tad more.

Also, this is just me, but I don't see how the Star Swirl fragments did much to enhance the narrative.
#4 ·
I abstain from reviewing this work, until the author requests for me to do so. I will however commend and give credit for having the guts to just come out and share your work with us. By no means is your work horrible. Nor is it great. What I can see is great potential. I advise you to keep writing. You played Discord well and actually have a certain way with words. Especially your dialogue for your characters. So much in fact that I'd love to see a Discord fiction from your. Keep at it. The build up is great but by no means did it all come together smoothly. I advise scripting to make a line up of what you want to happen in the story. I'm sure with more adequate time you would make a very fine story.
#5 ·
A very long time ago, Princess Luna died. Today, she'll die again. One day, she might even learn why.

This was a fairly messy story. There are numerous grammatical errors. The prose tells, rather than shows. There are numerous cliches; sometimes in the same sentence.

The moment of truth. Every fiber in her body screamed for Luna to refuse.

These things are partially attributable to an author not used to working under a time limit, and that's fine. They are things to work on. But the story itself also suffers plot-wise; Obscure covered several points in his review, which I won't repeat. I'm meant to empathise with Luna, author, but I'm not. She seems rather out of character; emotional swings, frequent idiot-balling, and the like. And if I'm not empathising with her - if I'm not concerned for her - then the ending holds little power. Horror works of you have you reader invested in the characters' fates; unfortunately, the errors described above prevented me from being so.

Tier: Needs Work
#6 · 1
Truth Unwanted - C - Grammar pedant triggered in first paragraph, that’s a bad sign. Unbound bbs codes, another sign. And I’m totally lost. It’s not a bad story if it will get tidied up and straightened out later. It has a fair plot, but since it’s from Luna’s POV and she doesn’t know what is going on, it confuses the reader. Ambitious, but needs a lot of work.
#7 ·
Okay, let's get the first quibble out of the way: Typos. There are lots of them. You know it, I know it, everyone else who's read this knows it. I'm betting you finished this at the last moment, as I did, and thus just didn't have time to proofread. I'll not deduct points for that, because , well... People and glass houses, stone throwing, etc.

Now, onto the meat of the story... Which, by and large, leaves me going "Huh?"

Okay. Celestia is lonely and all alone. She get's Starswirl to work on creating her a sister. There are a few... missteps. Eventually it works, creating Luna... Okay. Strange, but I can roll with it.

But the timeline, the deaths, the other alicorns... It doesn't make a lick of sense! She's producing a recolored, amnesiac clone of herself.. Fine! But why is she constantly KILLING them when they get close to the truth? HOW is she killing them, and getting away with it? If she's killing them, and creating a new clone, won't that clone be amnesiac at THAT point?? Why was 'Luna' gone for a thousand years then? Just pop out a new one!

And what's the whole Volunteer thing? Is she murdering normal ponies as base material for her clones? Because that doesn't make much sense either! We know Twilight Sparkle before she becomes an alicorn! If Celestia is murdering a pony to create an alicorn clone of herself... How is it that Twilight remembers herself and her history and name and whatnot?

Also, there's the whole thing about the moon... As if the moon itself did not exist until recently... Whaaaaa? How the heck does THAT work? Celestia just tossed it up there like some sort of shotput and then put her clone in charge of it? And.. Nopony noticed this? Or commented on it? Or wrote about it? Or anything? O.o

It's an interesting idea, at least in terms of Luna's origins, and the writing isn't bad (typos aside)... But the plot is incoherently inconsistent. I just couldn't make much sense of it. Sorry!
#8 ·
I really must echo the others. There's an idea here that's interesting, a possible horror bit, but it's very much a rough gem at the moment in need of much cutting and polishing to bring it to its full potential.