Marching down the hallways of Midnight Castle, the Captain of the Guard plus two of his best arrive at the huge, iron doors of the Throne room. The guards stationed there open the doors with their magic, allowing the three to enter.
Shining Armor and his two elite guards make their way towards the throne where their master, Tirek the Supreme, sits; His two greatest minions are by his side.
Celestia stands on the left; Her orange mane is like fire that flows endlessly while she wears orange armor on certain places of her body. The former princess is now a bodyguard for the Supreme Master of Darkness, and will protect him without question.
Spike the dragon stands at the right side. His eyes are dark green with an eerie glow…and every time he snorts, small amounts of smoke exit from his nostrils. He has become Tirek’s pet and faithful servant.
“REPORT, CAPTAIN.” The demon centaur orders as he strokes the scales on the head of his pet dragon, who sits there and purrs softly at his master.
“Master…everypony and creature within Cloudsdale and Ponyville has been converted…and are yours to command.” Shining Armor answers as he and the other two bow before him.
“WELL DONE.” Tirek rises from his throne, “NOW, SEND FORTH YOUR BEST, AND CAPTURE ALL THE CITIES WITHIN THE EAST AND THE WEST.”
“Yes master. By your will, I shall obey,” The kneeling Captain Shining Armor obeys, then rises and makes his way out of the throne room to prepare the invasion forces.
Tirek sits back down and turns his attention to a certain pony hidden in the shadows, “AS FOR YOU…YOU WILL TRAVEL TO THE FROZEN LANDS OF THE NORTH. SUCCEED WHERE MY LAST SERVANT FAILED.”
The pony steps out of the shadows and bows to her master, “By your command, I obey. I will take the Crystal Empire in your name…Master.” Princess Cadance rises and heads out of the throne room.
Tirek watches her leave and turns his gaze to an amulet he is wearing around his neck, and now clutches in his hand, “SOON, ALL OF EQUESTRIA SHALL BE MINE…AND THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL FOLLOW.”
The centaur turns to the night sky outside his balcony, “BUT FIRST, IT’S TIME TO TIE UP A LOOSE END…”
Deep within the Everfree Forest, the seven ponies haave taken shelter in the hut of Zecora; The zebra from a far away land who specializes in herbs and medicines, and is also a good friend to many ponies in Ponyville.
Princess Luna explains the situation to Zecora quietly while the other six spend their time trying to recover from what has happened, but unsuccessfully.
Fluttershy is lying on the floor, with her face buried in her arms. She weeps as her thoughts dwell on her little animal friends…especially Angel, her pet bunny.
Applejack sits in the corner with her hat tipped forward…just so it can hide her face as she cries. Her mind is on her big brother, little sister, granny, and even her dog Winona. She wishes to see them again, but knows it is inevitable to what has befallen them.
Pinkie Pie sits at the other side of the room crying her eyes out, wishing she can find a way to smile again. She remembers leaving Sugercube Corners earlier this day to prepare for the Gala, and saying goodbye to the Cake family…and to Gummy, her pet alligator. She now fears she will never see them again.
Rarity walks up to Pinkie and offers her a handkerchief, which she accepts. Rarity stays close to her pink pony friend, wishing she could cheer her up somehow, but inside her heart feels the same pain. Her parents, little sister, and her cat Opal are all she can think about. Rarity starts to weep, and is offered the same hanky back by Pinkie.
Rainbow Dash, as tough as she is, can not hold in the pain she shares with her friends. Everypony she knows, including Scootaloo, who is like a little sister to her…as well as Tank, her pet turtle…are now servants of Tirek. Believing she has lost them forever, she moves her way to the other corner, covering her eyes as she cries.
Twilight Sparkle lies on Zecora’s bed, and is in more pain than her friends; She has just witnessed the ones she loves dearly become servants of evil and turn on her. She rubs her cheek gently, remembering how her own brother hurt her. Then she recalls how Princess Celestia saved her from the Darkness…at the cost of falling prey to it instead. Finally, Twilight can not forget the look Spike gave her when he became one of them too.
“Celestia…Shining…*sniff*…Spike…” she weakly mutters as tears continue to pour down her face. As her face remains buried on the covers, her thoughts turn to the previous night and to what that pony in her dream said.
“He was telling the truth. He…he tried to warn me, and I…I…” She is unable to finish her thoughts, as her sorrows took her once again.
Princess Luna watches sadly as her friends weep for their loved ones. She slowly goes over to the window and stares outside. A tear runs down her eye as she whispers, “I am…so sorry…Celestia. Forgive me…sister.”
Zecora finishes preparing something for the ponies to drink. She fills seven small bowls and places one of each on the ground near them, “This may help ease the pain. I made it from special herbs and grain.” She says softly to everypony.
Twilight sniffs and replies, “Thank you…Zecora.”
The others appreciate the zebra’s kind offer and slowly drink the warm brew, which has both a sweet and nourishing taste.
Rainbow Dash finishes her brew first, wipes her eyes, and decides to be the first to speak, since nopony else will, “So…what are we going to do?”
Fluttershy looks up and responds, “I don’t know, Rainbow. I…I wish I knew.“ The others remain silent, for they have no answer to give.
Twilight look sover at Luna staring out the window…no doubt watching for any signs of trouble in the woods. She gets up from Zecora’s bed and walks over to the her, “…Princess Luna…?”
“Yes…Twilight Sparkle?” Luna answers.
The lavender unicorn can see the expression of sorrow on Luna’s face, but she cannot put aside the question that is on her mind, “I’m sorry, but…do you know anything about Tirek? Anything that could help us?” Twilight asks her.
The others hear the question and look over at Luna, wondering if she has the answers that can help stop the Dark Master.
The Princess hangs her head in shame, “I am sorry Twilight, but I know nothing of-”
“He seemed to know you pretty well! You must know!” Twilight interrupts bluntly.
The Princess sheds a tear at Twilight’s response.
Feeling sorry for her outburst, she gave Luna a hug, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout like that.”
“It’s alright, Twilight. I should be sorry, for lying to you.” The hug ends and she turns to face the rest of the ponies, “I do not know much, but I can tell you what I do know.”
Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Rarity, and Rainbow all sit around Luna and give the Princess their full, undivided attention:
“It all happened long ago; 1000 years to be exact. It was when Celestia and I ruled Equestria together…but, it was also around the time I started to grow jealous…” The Princess explains, although the ponies have heard this tale before, but allow her to continue, “As I watched over the night, I saw only ponies sleeping until the day. It felt so unfair…and that was when I heard it.”
“Heard what?” Pinkie Pie asks curiously.
“I heard a voice. It spoke to me and…convinced me keep the moon up, so ponies all over would play in my beautiful night.” The Princess hangs her head once more, “I listened to it, and refused to lower the moon that night. I had hoped my sister would understand what I felt, but she would only tell me that it is my duty and I should accept what comes during the night.”
“I take it that didn’t sit well for ya, your Majesty?” Applejack assumes.
Princess Luna shakes her head, “No…it didn’t. I loved my sister, but to disobey her was hard for me, especially when she started lecturing me on my responsibilities.” Luna takes a moment to sip some of Zecora’s brew, then continues, “I felt scared and grew more bitter towards my sister…then I heard the voice in my heard grow louder, telling me to rise up and take what should be mine, and it would aid me, if I gave in to my hatred...”
“…and you became Nightmare Moon,” Twilight concludes.
Princess Luna nods, confirming that Twilight is correct . Everypony in the hut is in shock by all this…now that they realize that there was a higher power responsible for Luna’s decent into Darkness so long ago.
“Well gosh, a’ never would have guessed,” Applejack answers sadly.
“You poor darling…” Rarity replies as she comes to Luna’s side to comfort her.
“Now I’m starting to hate Tirek even more!” Rainbow Dash exclaims.
“Me too! What a rude, selfish pony…thing…oh whatever he is,” Pinkie Pie states.
“If you ask me, a centaur is what he be,” Zecora answers, who is currently busy digging through her books.
“What…what’s a…centaur?” Fluttershy asks nervously.
“An ancient creature from long ago, a few thousand years or so,” Zecora continues searching for something, “I have a book that might reveal the truth, one that was read to me in my youth.”
“Come on ya’ll, lets help Zecora find that there book,” Applejack announces to her friends, to which they agree and assist the zebra.
While the others start searching for that particular book, Twilight stays by Luna’s side, keeping her company.
The Princess looks at her friend and smiles a little, “Thank you, Twilight Sparkle.”
“For what, Your Highness?”
“For listening to my story, and understanding,” She replies.
Twilight smiled back, “I should be the one thanking you. I am glad you told us the truth. It helped us realize that it was not your fault you became evil.”
Luna sighs at Twilight’s words, “Perhaps, but I should have listened to my sister, then maybe this would never have happened. I…should have been stronger.”
Twilight places her hoof on Princess Luna’s shoulder, “It’s all in the past now. What matters right now is finding a way to stop Tirek and save our family and friends.”
The Princess nods in agreement, “Right you are, Twilight. That foul creature will pay for what he has done.”
Twilight is glad to see Luna’s confidence rising, which gives her some as well,
“We will get them all back. I just know that we will.”
The Princess leans towards the lavender pony and hugs her, “Celestia chose her student well.” Twilight happily returns the hug upon hearing Luna’s kind words.
“I found it!!” Pinkie Pie informs everypony as she holds up a dusty, worn book.
“Well done, Pinkie,” Rainbow Dash cheers for her friend.
“You have done well indeed, now at last we can proceed.” Zecora says as she gently takes the book from Pinkie and places it on the table.
Twilight and Luna end their hug once they hear the book has been found, “Go ahead and listen to what she has to say, Twilight.”
“What about you, your Highness?”
“I will watch the outside, and warn you should any dangers be near.”
Twilight obeys the Princess and trots over to where her friends are, while Luna returns her gaze to the outside of the hut, keeping a watchful eye out for any trouble.