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You Can't Always Get What You Want · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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“What did you say?” Nightmare Moon’s voice was the kind of quiet that was more hair-raising than a scream, and the expressionless neutral eyes she stared with were more blood-chilling than the worst contorted glare of apoplectic rage could ever be.

This was the demeanor reserved for being a special harbinger of impending, inevitable terror about to befall those who showed her defiance.

“We need the sun,” the pony before the throne said, her voice equally quiet but firm as stone. She paused. “Your highness,” she deferentially broke eye contact, glancing downward at the stone floor of the Castle of the Night.

“And why, Miss Petals,” Nightmare Moon hissed, progressing dangerously toward the tone signifying the phase in which she played with her prey before the cruel and grim killing blow, “do we need the sun, exactly?”

“Long version or short version?” Rose Petals answered the question with a question and an ever-so-slight sarcastic intonation, eliciting a narrowing of eyes from Nightmare Moon.

“Okay, right, sorry, that was uncalled for,” Rose Petals backpedaled swiftly. “Cutting to the chase of both versions: the reason is because we can’t live without it. I… surely, you must know this already, however.”

“What I know is that with the banishing of Daybreaker, we no longer need live with the sun and her tyranny hanging over us,” Nightmare Moon growled, continuing to stare down imperiously from her throne. “This I have done for my little ponies, and it will not be undone.”

“Please, your highness,” Rose Petals said in exasperation, “the truth is, we really are running out of time. Crops only grow so fast, and our existing stocks of grain and so forth will only last so long. If we don’t take these facts into account and coordinate appropriately…”

“Out!” Nightmare Moon snorted haughtily, raising a hoof and pointing away into the distance. “Get out of my sight!”

“As you wish,” Rose Petals bowed and backed away.

“Unfair, sister!” Nightmare Moon snarled, pacing in her chambers. “In your presence, you take away my part in the love of my subjects. In your absence, you take away our lives! Unfair, I say! I was the victor that night. The spoils and the conquest should be mine, but still I am under your hoof. Is there no hope for me? No way whatsoever to have what I seek?”

I also made many compromises, as you well know, sister, she could almost hear the voice, that infuriatingly measured, calm, noble voice of reason. But you’re right. You are the victor, after all. I’m in the sun, what can I do? The choices are all yours for the choosing, now.

“Yes.” Nightmare Moon nodded. “Mine. Mine for the choosing.”

So make them, the imaginary response prompted her. Go on.

“Yes, well!” She snapped back. “Perhaps I will!”

“You sent for me, your highness?” Rose Petals bowed before the throne.

“What is the bare minimum of sun your precious crops need to survive?” Nightmare Moon asked.

A tiny, hopeful smile curled up the corners of Rose Petal’s lips. “Eig-- Ten hours daily?” she ventured cautiously.

“Hmmm. Are you sure you didn’t mean to say eight just then?” Nightmare Moon stared at Rose.

“Ummm… yes. Yes, we can try eight and see how it, uh… how it goes.” Rose said nervously.

“Very well.” Nightmare Moon nodded. “Draw up a schedule. Submit it for my approval. We will see that the weather pegasi coordinate to ensure that what time I allow for the sun is not wasted behind clouds and so forth.”

“Yes, your highness!” Rose said, in half-hidden excitement. “Thank you. I will, with all haste. Thank you!”

Nightmare Moon stared as Rose Petals exited the throneroom, showing the hint of an excited spring in her earth pony hooves.

She seemed… happy.

The realization gave Nightmare Moon pause.

She’d thought only of herself until now. What she wanted was power. So she’d taken it. What she wanted was to be free of the sun. So she’d banished it. There was great peace in the certainty of knowing what she wanted, and what to do to have it.

But more than anything, she wanted the adoration of being a good ruler of happy subjects, and seeing how happy the prospect of the sun had just made her agricultural minister…

Uncertainly writhed and roiled in her heart, and in that moment, her peace withered away.

Is this what you wanted, sister? Well, you have it. Make the most of it.
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#1 ·
The most interesting line for me occurs in the second vignette, where Nightmare Moon admits that

In your presence, you take away my part in the love of my subjects. In your absence, you take away our lives!

Though it's not her need for happiness which gets me, but the recognition that she and the others can't live without the sun. There is simpatico in the pronoun 'our' which points to maturation--something like 'forced motherhood'--that might be a surprising side of her character, if it were explored further in a longer format.

I also thought the pacing was done very well here; it has an even, rounded quality to it.