Princess Luna watched over all the ponies that slept through her beautiful night. She smiled with warmth to all those sleeping peacefully, knowing that they would be safe under her watch. However, as she gazed through her telescope, she noticed something wrong…very wrong; Somepony was not having a good dream, and it was coming from down in Ponyville.
She widened her gaze and she soon found where it was coming from: the house of the Step Family…in the bedroom of the young stallion by the name of Courageous Heart. She gasped when she saw that the Champion of the Light was in trouble. Courageous tossed and turned in his bed as he slept; For the first time ever in his life, he was having…a nightmare:
Courageous found himself running slowly through a field of grass in the middle of the night. He had no idea where he was, but it looked all so familiar; It looked just like the fields of his homeland of Einhorn. As he ran, he noticed some figures out in front of him a ways away. He galloped to see what it was. Once he got close enough, he gasped to who he saw before him: His father, Stoutheart.
He was tied up with rope and being pulled away by gargoyles. Courageous remembered this as the day his father was taken by the very evil that turned him into one of them.
“Courageous! Courageous…!!!” Stoutheart pleaded, as he tried to fight against his gargoyles captors, “Help me!!!”
“Father!!” Courageous cried as he ran to help him.
But as he galloped to save his father, he heard a wicked, maniacal laugh coming from behind him.
“HAHAHAHA! MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!” The laughter grew louder as the one following Courageous walked on four hooves, only it had an upper body with arms and claws. With piercing dark eyes and two great horns on its head, the Champion recognized who it was as it laughed with such evil in its voice: Tirek, “MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!”
“No…” Courageous could not believe he was here and real. Quickly turning back towards his father, the panicking young stallion ran as fast as he could. He reached out to Stoutheart. “Dad! Please, take my hoof!!” He pleaded, reaching for this father, desperate to save him this time. Stoutheart reached for his son’s hoof. Neither wanted to be separated from the other.
However, a dark force of wind began to pull Courageous away from Stoutheart. He turned and saw Tirek holding up his black amulet, attempting to draw the pony inside, to be sealed away in the Darkness for thousands of years.
“THIS TIME…YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE!!”
Courageous gasped as he tried to fight the pull of the amulet, but then he turned back to his father once he heard him cry out his name.
“Courageous…!” Stoutheart cried as the gargoyles hoisted him up off the ground and carried him away.
“NOOOOOOO!!!!” Courageous screamed as he watched helplessly as his father was taken away from him once again. Enraged, Courageous Heart turned towards his enemy and shouted, “TIREK!!!”
The giant shadowy form of Tirek laughed on, only to change it’s shape…to something different. It was no longer that of the demon centaur, but of another familiar face that made Courageous gasped once again.
“FirmHoof…?” He muttered when he saw the dark blue coated unicorn with red eyes glaring at him with a wicked smile. The very pony that was responsible for Stoutheart’s capture was now holding the amulet, which continued to draw Courageous in.
Soon, the young brown stallion was sucked into the amulet and found himself falling…falling…into Darkness; A prisoner for four-thousand years.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!” He screamed as he was sucked into the blackness empty void…
“NOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!” Courageous screamed as he quickly awoke, to find himself in the arms of his foster mother and father, Grace and Tap Step. They came to him once they heard the screams, and found him crying and panting with fear.
“Please, Courageous. We are here…please…” Grace pleaded to her son as she held him, trying to calm him.
“We are here, my son. It’s going to be okay,” Tap hugged his precious colt. He was so worried and he tried his best to comfort his son.
Courageous calmed down a little, especially when he saw Shammy walk into his room. She wondered what was going on, but she joined in to hug her big brother.
“Father…I’m…so sorry…” He cried as tears poured down his face.
The parents and daughter just held him close, trying to ease his pain with their lovefor him. They told him it was just a nightmare…and it was not real. Courageous wanted to believe that…but this one was more real than any dream he had ever had. Something…was definitely wrong.
Upon watching the whole thing from her telescope, Princess Luna knew something had to be done; As ruler of the night and dreams, she could sense this was no ordinary nightmare…and she knew Courageous felt the same way. Quickly, she would take to the skies and make her way down to the sleepy town of Ponyville. There, she would awaken a few certain ponies and round them all up at the Step’s house to have this important matter looked into.
Once this was accomplished, the Princess had Courageous and his parents sit on the couch in the living room, where they could all discuss what transpired here tonight to the six ponies that were there with them.
“So, what’s the problem that you had to get us all out of bed for, your Highness?” Rainbow asked, half awake.
“Yes, why indeed? Can’t a lady get her beauty sleep before-” Rarity whined.
“That’s enough!” Twilight snapped at her friends, “If the Princess got us up then it has to be important!”
“Twi’s right, ya’ll,” Applejack supported her friend.
The girls sighed but agreed; Whatever was going on, it could not be ignored.
“Now, due tell us what trouble thy has seen from thy dreams, Champion,” Princess Luna commanded Twilight’s coltfriend to reveal.
The girls and the parents of the young stallion all listened well to what he had to say.
“Well…I was running through a field…” He explained in full details about everything he encountered in his dreams. His parents held him close to comfort him when he started to cry.
“Oh, you poor dear…” Fluttershy frowned when she heard her friend had a bad dream about when his father, Stoutheart, was taken away from him when he was just a little colt.
“I’m so so so so so sorry, Courageous,” Pinkie Pie said, “But I know a way to help turn that frown upside down.”
They all turned their gaze to Pinkie, with a firm expression of “No Thanks” on their faces. The little pink pony sat down and remained quiet…but hoped to cheer her friend up later on.
Twilight came up to her boyfriend and placed her hoof on his. There was a tear in her eye and she felt so sorry for him to relive that terrible experience, “I am so sorry, Courageous….”
Courageous nodded lightly, while his parents hugged him, trying ever so to comfort his saddened heart.
“It is not your fault, my son,” Grace assured him with comfort.
“Do not blame yourself for this, Courageous,” Tap hugged his son as a tear ran down his cheek.
Everypony there felt sorry for what Courageous went through…twice now. His greatest fear that he felt was also his greatest failure, “I just wish…I could have…done something…”
Twilight shook her head, “Listen to us, Courageous. It was not your fault. It was Tirek who did all that, and you saved your father from him. You brought him back from the Darkness…so please don’t ever think you failed him.”
“Twilight Sparkle is correct, Champion,” Princess Luna supported, “Thou saved thy father from The Great Evil and saved the world. Thou must not blame thyself for such a heroic and noble deed.”
Courageous felt comfort in the Princess’s words, as well as Twilight’s. The rest all agreed and did their best to comfort their friend and family member; He needed it to help himself overcome the pain he was feeling.
“Thank you…everypony,” He smiled and shed a tear, as they all were there for him, even his little sister who climbed into his lap to hug him.
Once Courageous felt better about the nightmare he had, he got up from the couch and thanked everypony again for helping him overcome something as personal and difficult as this.
“We are always here for you as your friends and family…” Twilight assured as she embraced him, “…and I will always be here for you as the one who loves you.”
Courageous Heart smiled and held his precious unicorn close to him, returning the feeling; He loved her with all his heart and would always be there for her too.
Princess Luna politely interrupted their moment and spoke, “Forgive me, but the matter of the Champion’s nightmare is still present…and we must take action!”
The others were confused with Luna’s choice of words, “What in tarnation are ya talkin about, yer Highness?” Applejack questioned.
Courageous sighed and answered that, “She means the fact that I had a nightmare in the first place,” He then explained the whole story, “As the Champion and protected by the Light, I do not have bad dreams…not even ones like this.”
“So, what does this mean exactly?” Rainbow Dash asked as she yawned.
“It means somepony…or something…brought this nightmare upon me…” He then added, “…and the only power strong enough to do this…is Darkness itself.”
Everypony there gasped at the mention of the Darkness; the source of all that was evil was used to corrupt Courageous’s dreams. But the question was…who or what could be powerful enough to do this?
Twilight pondered and gulped a little, “What if…the one responsible…was…”
“No, Twilight! Don’t even think that!” Courageous shook his head and stroked the mane of his worrying girlfriend, “Though…it almost seems likely…but I wont jump to conclusions until we find out for ourselves.”
“How are we going to do that, Courageous?” Twilight asked her boyfriend.
“That is simple, Twilight Sparkle,” Princess Luna explained, “I shall bring thee into Courageous Heart’s dream itself and together thy shall vanquish the evil that so foolishly failed to avoid my ever watchful gaze!!” She announced in her loud voice.
“Uh, Princess. Other ponies are still sleeping,” Twilight reminded.
“Oh…sorry,” Princess Luna apologized, blushing as she lowered the volume of her voice.
“The Princess is right: Entering my dreams is the only way to bring out the evil and drive it away,” Courageous supported.
“Well, alright den. Let’s get to it!” Applejack said, ready to get going.
“Actually, only one will be able to enter Courageous’s dream and aid him in driving away the Darkness that invaded,” Princess Luna informed.
“What?! Why only one?”
“Because I can only use enough of my power to send one into another’s dream,” Luna explained, “I can move through dreams easily, but to allow another to enter another pony’s is quite complicated.”
The girls agreed, but they did not need to decide who was the pony to go in; it was already obvious who would volunteer: "I’ll be the one to go,” Twilight stepped up, “After all, he is my boyfriend.”
The girls, along with the Steps, agreed. They would sit down and give the three some space in order for this to work.
“Now, Twilight…thou must help Courageous fight the Darkness from within thy dreams by any means at thy disposal,” Princess Luna instructed her sister’s student.
“I can use the Element of Magic in-”
“Nay! The Element of Magic has no power in the dream world…not alone anyway.”
Twilight felt that she would be entering her boyfriend’s dream without any means to protect herself. She knew her own magic would not be of much help against the Darkness, but she would go nonetheless.
“Are thy subjects ready?” Princess Luna asked the two before her.
Twilight and Courageous held hooves and nodded firmly. The rest wished them well and hoped they would make it back safely.
Luna powered up her magical abilities and soon the two fell to the floor, now in a deep sleep. Courageous, while immune to most magic, allowed himself to fall under this spell in order to end the danger within himself. The group watched as the two ponies slept and hoped this whole thing would end soon…since most wanted to go back to bed.
Twilight found herself in a large field of dark grass with the skies covered in dark clouds. The wind was cold as it blew, and made her shiver. “It’s been so long since I’ve been in a dream with Courageous…only this time it is his I am in instead of mine,” She said to herself as she looked around for her boyfriend.
“Courageous?!!” She called out. There was no answer.
Suddenly, thunder cracked and the wind blew harder; Twilight felt so cold she wished her dearest was with her now. The clouds rolled in and a large dark fog was coming towards the frightened little unicorn. A sinister laugh was heard from within it. She recognized that voice.
“Tirek!!” She yelled as the fog formed a face with dark purple eyes and two large horns. It was him…without a doubt.
Twilight tried to use her magic against it, but nothing worked; Every shot she took went right through, “Nothing is working…”
She then gasped when she saw a pony lying in the fields in front of her. Twilight immediately recognized who it was and ran up to him, “Courageous!!” She screamed.
Courageous Heart had been weakened for some reason; the effects from the dream that the presence of the Darkness made it difficult for him to fight back…even with the aid of the Light.
“Please…get up!” She begged of him as the Darkness came closer, along with the laughing of the shadowy face on it.
Courageous tried to regain his strength as he struggled to get back on his hooves, “The Dark…ness…is strong. I tried to…fight it myself…”
“We can defeat it, I know we can…but only if we work together. Please…get up!” She tried to help him up as the Darkness got closer and closer.
“GIVE IT UP, YOU FOOLS! NOTHING CAN SAVE YOU NOW!!!” The wicked voice bellowed.
Twilight was afraid and felt their attempts to stop Tirek were hopeless…until her boyfriend quickly rose to his hooves and glared at the approaching shadow.
“Courageous…?” She whispered in surprise to his sudden quick recovery.
“That’s not Tirek…!”
“That’s not Tirek!” He replied again, “I know his voice from anywhere…and that is not his!!”
Twilight looked over at the shadowy form of Tirek’s head. She did not understand; he had every feature and his voice sounded the same. But if what her boyfriend says was true…
“If that’s not Tirek, then who is it?” She asked as she stood by Courageous’s side.
“I don’t know…but I do know that since this is not the Master of Darkness…we can defeat it easily…together!”
Twilight smiled as she and her handsome stallion stood together. Together they aimed their horns at the fog and prepared to fire all they had at it.
The fog roared in anger and the face of Tirek began to change. It nearly looked the same, but it’s horns were now curved and the eyes were now red instead of purple. Although this form of Darkness was new to them, they still had to drive it out as they planned. With the strongest amount of Magic and Light they could summon, Twilight and Courageous shot their beams together at the fog. The two combined and hit the Dark fog with the wicked, mysterious face on it.
The dark face roared in agony as it began to disappear, but not before bleating for some reason. Soon, the Darkness vanished and Courageous, along with his marefriend, were alone in his dreams.
“We did it!!” Twilight cheered as she hugged her boyfriend.
“Yes we did!” He returned the hug, but still could not help but wonder who or what it was that attacked him in his dreams.
“What’s wrong? Are you alright, Courageous?”
“I guess so,” He admitted, “The presence of the Darkness is gone, but I still cannot help but wonder who’s face that was.”
“Your sure that wasn’t Tirek?”
“I know Tirek well to recognize his voice…even if it sounded like his,” Courageous pondered, “I may not have had a chance to see who or what it was, but I have a feeling it will return eventually.”
Twilight had the same feeling, but kissed her stallion’s cheek, “If it tries to, we will drive it out like we did here.”
Courageous blushed and smiled; Twilight was right…as she always is.
“Well, let’s wake up and inform the others of what we encountered,” The Champion insisted.
Twilight smiled and nodded. Together, they returned to the living room of the Steps, where all their friends and family were there to welcome them back. The couple explained everything and ensured them all that the danger has passed.
Once that was all settled, everypony immediately returned to bed…desperate to get some sleep. Twilight kissed Courageous goodnight and returned home to get some sleep. The Champion smiled and returned to his own bed…with his chances of having pleasant dreams again at a good rate.
Still hours before dawn, Courageous Heart slept soundly as he rested his head on his pillow with his covers over his body. He smiled as the rest of the night seemed promising. “Big brother…”
Courageous awoke to see a sad little filly in the doorway, “Shammy? What’s the matter?”
“I…I had a bad dream…” Shammy muttered with a sniff, “Can I…sleep with you…please?”
Courageous felt sorry for his little sister, and scooted over to give her some room, “Sure.”
Smiling, she ran and jumped into his bed and laid herself down. Holding her little stuffed teddy bear, Shammy fell asleep, knowing her big brother would be watching over her while she slept.
Courageous placed the blanket over her, kissed her cheek and went to bed, “Goodnight, Shammy.” As the two siblings slept, the Princess of the Moon smiled as she watched them through her telescope. With things back to the way they were, she resumed her duty to watch over the night as everypony slept sweet dreams until the sun would rise.