Sorry for not getting a post up in while. Luna’s rehabilitation of Applebloom continues in my Equestria dreamscape. After a sort hiatus due job-related stress and some consultation with Zecora link the Princess of the Night had settled on a strategy for removing nightmare seeds/ spells that the Deception had planted in the poor filly’s mind. Once again she resumed her weekly sessions with Applebloom at Sweet Apple Acres.
Luna would spend some time talking with the filly and her family about how their week had been, and over dessert she’d asked Applebloom if she had had any other dreams she could remember. Luna had started to routinely reviewing Applebloom’s dream journal and asking her about how she was a sleeping. Luna also continued to expand her instructions to Applebloom on the principles of lucid dreaming.
Along with the counseling Applebloom on sleep related subjects, Luna continued giving astronomy lessons to the little filly during her weekly visits. After an hour or so of stargazing they’d go up to Applebloom’s room. Luna would cast a sleep spell on the little filly and then the Princess of the Night would get to work extracting the next spell from the little filly’s dream fabric.
After several false starts Luna had finally begun to grasp the nature of the spells that the Deception had woven into Applebloom’s psyche. link They were ingenious and horrifying at the same time. Not only would the spells repeatedly trigger but the very act of them activating and resetting slowly tapped the very life essence of the victim. Like parasite feeding on its host every time the spells activated they would slowly suck a bit more of its victim life away. Over time these repeated resets and activations would shorten the life of the victim. Fortunately the effect was cumulative and Luna now felt that if she removed them within a year or so there should not be too much adverse effect.
This evening was starting out like several before. After making certain that Applebloom had settled into REM asleep, Luna entered into the little filly’s dream fabric. A quick check that Applebloom’s sleep patterns were normal and then Luna would select the next foul spell/ seed for removal. Luna would carefully erect a barrier around herself and the seed then she’d attempt to extract it. So far had been unable to successfully remove the spells without triggering them. This resulted in Luna having to experience the brunt of the nightmare. The sheer ferocity, horrific nature, and savage barbarism of these nightmares were enough to leave even the Princess of the Moon stunned and shaken at times. Fortunately except for the first attempt she had been able to successfully shield the little filly from any of their effects. More importantly it appeared she had been able to extract several of spells completely and they did not appear to be growing back.
Celestia had expressed concern about Luna’s repeated exposure to such gut-wrenching events as it was even affecting Luna’s own sleep. link Luna assured her big sister that she was taking necessary precautions. After all she was the Defender of Dreams so she had dealt with ponies that had been afflicted with nightmares before. This was part of her office and title; she would not ignore her duties. Besides Luna was optimistic that Zecora's theory was correct, Luna believed she now knew how to remove the spell seeds without triggering them. Which if she was correct meant neither the littlest of the Apple family or herself would be subjected to their effects anymore.
In her past visit Luna had noticed a particularly vile looking black twist knot of foul magic. Tonight she planned to remove it. After erecting her isolation barrier Luna began examining the spell. It was an ugly thing, but she smiled all the same. This one seed looked like an excellent candidate for her new technique if she were careful. Now all she had to do was erect a second smaller barrier spell around the seed and…
BAM! Luna sighed as the spell activated anyways. Quickly she looked around to get her orientation and figure out what was “suppose” to be happening. Might as well take notes for posterity. It was nighttime in Ponyville, and it only took a second for Luna to realize it was suppose to be Nightmare Night. Mentally she winced at this realization but she resigned herself to the fact that it made sense that the Deception decided to plant a spell seed in context to this holiday.
Something had gotten the inhabitants stirred up because ponies were fleeing by her in sheer terror. Abandoned party favors and now empty game booths told of a festival interrupted. As she watched see saw Applejack and Rarity come galloping into view with a sobbing Sweetie Bell in tow. Diving out of the night sky came Rainbow Dash who landed in front of her two friends.
“Did you find Applebloom?” Asked the visibly distraught Applejack. The prismatic pegasi mare shook her head.
“No AJ. I’ve looked all over the town square for her. Have either of you seen Twilight?”
At that moment Celestia’s star pupil flashed into existence having finished a teleportation. Tears were streaming from her eyes.
“It’s no use!” Sobbed Twilight. “I’ve sent several letters to Celestia but I have gotten no reply! Cloudchaser just made a flight up to Canterlot. She says the fires are spreading from the palace to the city and main the rail bridge has been smashed!”
Luna tore her gaze away and looked in the direction of her home. Even from this far away she could see flames bursting through roof the palace that casted a red glow on the nighttime sky. As she watched in horror the palace observatory collapsed and tumbled down the slope of the mountain. Luna’s heart was suddenly hammering in her chest. A deep dread began to grow in her.
At this point Applejack looked over at Luna and exclaimed. “Applebloom there you are! Where have you been? I’ve been so worried about you! Now git over here!”
In her confusion it took Luna a second to remember that this was suppose to be Applebloom's nightmare. Without thinking she trotted over to AJ. In the mean time Twilight was arguing with Rainbow Dash.
“I don’t know for certain RD!” Yelled the purple unicorn mare. “It's all so confusing at the moment. All I know is before this all this started tonight I received a hastily written note from Princess Celestia. It just said that ‘she has returned.’ Then there was the sound of an explosion in Canterlot and soon after we noticed the fire starting.”
Rarity spoke with a trembling voice. “Twilight dear, you don’t think that, that “she” has come back do you?”
Twilight looked at white unicorn mare. “I don’t know yet but I have a bad feeling.” The violet unicorn mare reared back on her hind hoofs and pointed at her home. “ Girls let’s head back to the library we need to plan our next…”
From a darkened alleyway a violet blue bolt of energy shot out and hit Twilight in the chest. In horror the others watched as Twilight disintegrated before their eyes. The other ponies stood rooted in their place for a second then fled in terror leaving Luna standing there alone. She was trying to make sense of everything when a voice drifted out from the alleyway where the magical blast had come from. It was refined and smooth but filled with malice and contempt. It was a voice she had consciously hoped she’d never hear again.
“That went very nicely.” Purred the voice. “The Elements of Harmony are not much of a threat to me if one of their wielders is dead.”
The sound of metal war shoes slowly approached Luna. The princess was trembling now with fear. She kept trying to tell herself this was just a dream, a fabrication, a spell, but her heart was pounding so hard now that she thought her chest would explode. Whether intended or not Applebloom’s nightmare now was hers. Emerging from the shadow was large blue-black alicorn mare in steel armor. Cat-like eyes of cold jade green looked at her with disdain. Nightmare Moon stood before her.
To be continued.