Well Petina’s little fashion show is over for now so back to more regular Equestria dreamscape related business and the growing friendship between Luna and Applebloom.
While it has required some juggling of the palace duties, Luna has been able to visit Sweet Apple Acres at least once a week if not twice. The number one reason for the Princess of the Night’s regular appearances is her continuing efforts to extract and destroy all of the nightmare seeds the Deception left embedded in Applebloom’s dream fabric.
Since her first unsuccessful attempt to remove a nightmare seed, link link
Luna has been delving into various obscure, and ancient grimoire attempting to develop a strategy for safely extracting the dream seeds. Luna knew that the magic system that Payne Grey link
had invented in his book The Kingdom of Shadows was not unicorn magic, but it probably contained some elements of it even if only on the unconscious level. After all Payne’s was a unicorn so logically his training would likely influence his choices. Most of the magic books Luna had been consulting were written after the time of Nightmare Moon, but Payne’s study of magic would be more rooted in the style that he had learned over a thousand years ago. A style that by modern Equestrian standards was somewhat antiquated and archaic.
Yes many of the spells used by modern unicorns are as old if not older than the time of Nightmare Moon. However over the centuries these spells had been altered, rewritten and reinterpreted by successive generations of mages. While subtle these changes had slowly morphed unicorn magic into something it was not over a thousand years ago.
This meant once again Luna was picking my brain, almost literally, to glean out what tidbits of information she could find about Paynes Grey’s writing from the few phantom memories I still had from him. When normal interview techniques did not produce the desired results she asked if she could once again take a dream walk through my dream fabric and see if that would reveal anything. I concurred and with Celestia as a witness, she went a wandering through my subconscious. When I awoke I could tell she’d had some success although she would not go into detail.
With renewed vigor Luna once again plunged back into the Royal Canterlot Archives. She even succeeded in enlisting the help of Ponyville’s own resident scholar Twilight Sparkle to assist with the searching and organizing of data. After several days of she felt she had a better understanding of what she was facing. It was not pretty.
She had figured out how she would be able extract the spells and she was certain that she now knew how to erect an isolation barrier that would not collapse and accidentally expose Applebloom to the effects of the nightmare spells.
Unfortunately she did not see anyway she could avoid activating the spell seeds when she removed them, which meant that she’d have experience them in their full horrific effect.
She also expressed concern about what was providing the magical energy to power the spell. She had her suspicions but needed actual proof.
At the same time, Luna began preparing her first astronomy lessons for little Applebloom. link
This was actually something of a fun challenge since she had figure what she first wanted to teach the little filly and then how to explain it to the filly in way that she’d understand.
Along with astronomy instruction the Princess of the Moon began teaching the little filly basic lucid dream techniques and rudimentary dream defenses she could use if she had a nightmare. After all the little filly was still experiencing ordinary nightmares as a result of all the abuse the Deception had on her.
So a weekly routine evolved. After sundown Luna would arrive at Sweet Apple Acres. After partaking of some dessert, Luna did confess she found Granny’s cooking to be reason enough for visiting, Luna and Applebloom would go outside and for next hour or so the little filly got the greatest astronomy lesson ever.
It is one thing to have somepony explain how stars, planets and galaxies work. It is another to have an instructor who can make shooting stars appear on command and can make the constellation draw themselves out across the vaults of heaven.link
Once the lesson was over, Luna and Applebloom would come back inside. The little filly would brush her teeth say good night to her family then head off to bed. Luna would tuck her into bed and then cast a sleep spell on the little filly.
Once Applebloom was in what we’d call REM state, Luna would then enter into the little filly’s dream fabric. The princess would select a dream seed; erect an isolation barrier around the nightmare seed and herself. Then she’d activate the spell. Once the spell activated she could magically latch on to it and permanently extract it from Applebloom’s dream fabric and break the rejuvenation part that permitted the spell to regenerate. There were dozens of them and she knew that she could only safely remove one a week from little Applebloom. Once this was accomplished she’d leave Applebloom’s dream space and then physically go downstairs and give the rest of the Apple family a weekly update on the little filly’s condition. Then Luna would take her leave and teleport back to the palace.
Slowly Applebloom condition was improving, however the stress on Luna was beginning to show. Luna had dealt with ponies nightmares for centuries however these nightmares were the direct product of foul magic. Celestia insisted on being briefed after every session ended. The violent nature of the Deception’s nightmares often left Celestia stunned and Luna crying at the end of the debriefings, worse Luna was now having unsettled sleep as a result of her efforts. Luna assured her sister that she was taking all the necessary precautions, and this was just part of her duties as a Princess. Besides she genuinely considered Applebloom not only her student but her friend, and in the name of friendship she was willing to go through this to help her.
To be continued.