Love Is Patient

by Bico

Chapter 1: Love Is Kind

The wedding hall was silent save for the heavy panting of a somewhat larger than average mare in the middle of the room. Her head was lowered so that her long, dark horn nearly touched the ground, and her light blue mane covered her somber face. Her translucent black bat wings were flared and tense with ebbing anger, revealing her triple “Z” cutie mark.

Beneath the wedding arch, a turquoise unicorn with a neatly combed orange mane wearing a white collar lay unconscious. Beside him on the left a pretty pink unicorn mare with a flowing chartreuse mane was nearly engulfed by her white wedding gown while on the right a large, verdant dragon-stallion in a tuxedo and lavender bowtie was snoring softly. The rest of the wedding party was in a similar state, the guests and staff all sprawled in various awkward locations.

“After all I did,” Nidra hissed through clenched teeth. “All the times I used my authority as a princess of Equestria to do you favors and improve your life… in the end, you choose a simple, blind commoner over me? Turquoise… why?”

Her eyes squeezed shut, forcing back the tears shimmering in her catlike golden eyes.

“Don’t be a foal,” a familiar, matronly voice interjected.

Nidra jerked up and looked behind her, brows furrowed and lips tight as she curled slightly into herself. “Mother…”

Luna regarded Nidra studiously. “Daughter. You knew well this was coming. Anthea and Turquoise have long had a close relationship. She has been his best friend. What have you been?”

Turning herself completely around, Nidra stomped her hoof on the floor, her face set in a petulant scowl. “I’ve been a princess!” She began to pace back and forth, stepping gingerly over the comatose ponies beneath her as she raged. “I’m the obvious choice. Class, power, beauty…” Her horn glowed a tarnished gold and she lifted T up by his membranous wing and put her own up beside it. “And look! We even have the same kind of wing! We’re meant to be!”

“Well, I can’t argue with that irrefutable logic,” Luna said dryly as she continued to track her daughter’s movements impassively. “But in spite of your obvious worth, Turquoise has chosen her. What are you planning on doing about it?”

Nidra looked around the wedding hall, taking in the sight of the sleeping ponies; of T and Annie seconds away from exchanging their vows. A small smile played at her lips. “I can do it. I can keep them from ever being married. Then he'll be mine!”

A grimace pulled at Luna’s cheeks. “I’m afraid I cannot allow that.”

Anger flashed in Nidra’s eyes as she turned on her mother, fangs bared and back hunched like a feral cat. “Oh? You think you can order me around because you’re the princess of the night and nighttime accessories? Well, you may be able to enter ponies’ dreams, but I’m the one who decides who sleeps and who shuffles around their house all night opening and closing cupboards.”

“Indeed you are,” Luna said, unperturbed by her daughter’s vehemence. “Though you’ve never forced an entire town to sleep like this before. I must say that I am impressed, if disappointed with your behavior.”

In spite of herself, Nidra couldn't help but puff out her chest at her mother's mild praise. "I may not be as powerful as you or aunt Celestia or even my royal cousins, but I'm still an alicorn princess." She looked back at the sleeping bride and groom with a tight smirk. "I can ensure that their sleep... will last... forever."

A sigh escaped Luna's lips even as her gaze turned to steel. "Daughter. I'm afraid if you won't listen to reason... I shall have to subdue you, myself." Her horn flickered to life and she approached her daughter with purposeful steps.

Nidra backed away, her own alicorn magic burbling to life in black and gold as the whites of her eyes turned green. "You can't stop me. You think you're so great?"

"Young lady!" Luna barked, fury seeping through her stoic visage. "I have obviously been too light-hooved in your upbringing. To brandish such magic against me..."

A harsh laugh burned from Nidra's throat as her mane whipped above her and mottled light shone from her eyes and horn. "You haven't seen anything, yet, Mother. My fury gave me the power to put all of Ponyville to rest. Now I'll use it to try something else I've never done: shroud you and all of Equestria in slumber eternal!" Her mane exploded into a starry nebula, much like her mother's, as she fired her spell.

Nidra stood atop Ponyville's city hall, overlooking the town. All was still, and even the starry skies above Canterlot in the distance were empty. She chuckled to herself, enjoying the way her mane wafted in the nonexistent breeze.

Her mirth shortly became muted, however, and a look of concern crossed her face. "I hope nopony was in the middle of anything dangerous when I did that. Was... was that okay?"

An icy blue beam struck Nidra, sending her flying from the roof and into the side of a nearby house. Lightning flashed revealing Luna's form in stark relief hovering in the night sky. "No," she affirmed. "It was most decidedly not."

Nidra snarled and brushed the splinters of the house's siding out of her coat. Her bat wings spread and she took to the air like a missile, target locked on her mother. She screeched as she swung a hoof at Luna, but it passed right through as her mother turned to mist.

Luna reconstituted a short distance behind Nidra, and she cast a gravity spell which pulled Nidra sharply downward. She dove for her daughter like a falcon for prey and winged her, sending her spiraling into the ground.

"You can't stop me!" Nidra said, and she jerked her head to the side. Her telekinesis pulled a building from its foundations and catapulted it into Luna.

Luna huffed as the house struck her, but she teleported into the clear and shot a glare at Nidra. "I would prefer not to. Rather, you should stop yourself."

"And why should I?" Nidra demanded. She summoned a colony of vampire fruit bats, which swarmed at Luna. "This is what I want."

"Is it?" Luna asked, dodging the irate creatures. She gave the creatures a hard glare, and they dispersed from her, fleeing in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres. "I thought you wanted young Turquoise Blitz."

Nidra choked. "It's too late for that. He loves Annie!" She blasted lightning from her horn at her mother, who tried to deflect the attack, but was jolted back by the surprising force.

Luna shook her head, trying to clear it of the electric shock. "Th-thou dost believe this means he has no love for thee?"

"He rejected me," Nidra spat, blasting her mother with another bolt. "He denies me my right."

"We are cognizant of yon sentiment," Luna said as she stood shakily. “Yet you fail to understand…”

“What do you know of love?” Nidra shouted, her face filling Luna’s vision at the speed of thought.

Luna held her ground before her daughter’s anger, staring her down. “Nidra,” she said, her voice wavering. “Even before my thousand year exile, I lived for much longer than any normal pony. Do you think your father was the only one who I have loved?”

The mask of Nidra’s rage cracked, but she pressed on. “But I’ve lost him…” she said hoarsely.

“I lost them all, eventually,” Luna said in a whisper. “Some were quick with rejection. That was easy. The hardest were those I lost to old age, even as I remained young.”

“So, what?” Nidra said, backing away. Her face was still aflame, but her pique seemed to be cooling. “Are you saying that I should be thankful he rejected me?”

“No,” Luna said. “But remember that you are my daughter, and thus your lifespan shall be… rather long. I can tell you from experience that driving away or isolating yourself from those friends who do not love you as you want them to will lead to far more regret than allowing them to love you the way they want to with what little time they have left.”

Nidra simmered in silence, the rims of her eyes red. Finally, she spoke. “I don’t care. I’d rather they sleep for a thousand years than see her take his ring.”

“Think about what you’re saying,” Luna said. “Anthea is a mortal pony. She will not last beyond a century, at most. Turquoise’s dragon blood will certainly carry him longer, but no more than a few more centuries, and I’ve heard of no dragon hybrid who lasted an entire millennium. Your lifespan will carry you well beyond…”

“Wait,” Nidra interjected. Her eyes were wide and her tone wondering. “Dragon hybrids… they live for centuries?”

Luna grimaced. “Unfortunately, yes. They do not inherit the full immortality of their draconic parent. Granted, there have been few examples in history, and most do not make it past foalhood, but of those that do, most give up their ghost by their fourth century.”

“I see,” Nidra said. She sighed and her body relaxed. She looked her mother in the eye and gave her a weak smile. “I’m sorry, Mom. I kinda blew my stack back there.”

Luna blinked. “You… are no longer vexed?”

“Nope,” Nidra said, a titter escaping her throat. “That was a good talk. Thanks.” She looked around at the somewhat battle damaged buildings around town and her smile dropped. “Ooh… but it’s going to take some time to fix this up, isn’t it?”

Luna smacked Nidra across the face with her hoof, eliciting a shocked cry. “Oh, I’m sorry, did that hurt?” she asked.

“Did it hurt?” Nidra shouted, touching her hoof to her cheek as she hunched over. “What are you talking about? Of course it…” she screwed her eyes up in confusion as she poked at the spot Luna had struck. “Didn’t? Wait, what…” She turned back to her mother, but she was gone.

“You used a powerful spell back there. One that only a fully developed alicorn could use,” Luna’s voice boomed from above. A shadow oozed across the moon, taking the shape of her head. “It was successful, but as you are not quite fully developed, it backfired and caused you to lose consciousness as well.”

“So… this whole thing…” Nidra said, inclining her head up to look at her mother’s shadow. “It’s been a dream?”

“Yes,” Luna said, her silhouette showing a glowing white grin. “It is fortunate that as the protector of dreams I was still able to reach you, for this spell would have indeed caused everypony affected to sleep forever without you to lift it.”

Nidra nodded. “I understand. I guess I’ll have to face the music for interrupting T and Annie’s wedding, too…”

“Oh, don’t you worry about that,” another voice, loud and boisterous, echoed from the heavens. The stars in the sky began to rearrange themselves into a familiar constellation of a horse-headed serpentine creature with mismatched body parts.

“Uncle Discord!” Nidra said happily.

“Discord…” Luna acknowledged, somewhat more grumpily. “Why must you defile my night sky so?”

“Hey, it’s not even the real night sky, this time,” Discord’s constellation said. He leaned in to regard Nidra. “Well, my cute little niece, you really messed things up, didn’t you? Brava. Still, I can’t have dear Annie’s special day being completely ruined by your little temper tantrum. Honestly, I’d be tempted to make her immortal just to spite you for that.” He crossed his stellar arms and snorted. “Not that that ever works. Chaos magic isn’t so great at keeping anything the way it is, I’m afraid.” He snapped his claws, and the star of his fingertip went supernova. “So, instead, I’ll merely settle for putting everything back relatively where it was when you wake up.”

“That… doesn’t seem very chaotic,” Nidra said.

Discord belly laughed. “Not from your perspective, no, but imagine the rest of the world’s reaction when they see the sun reset itself in the sky. Celestia is sure to be getting some letters soon from the Griffon Empire… oh, I relish the look on her face.”

“Thanks, Uncle,” Nidra said with a disgusted scrunch of her muzzle. “I don’t need to hear about you and Aunt Celestia’s flirting.”

“Indeed,” Luna concurred, her silhouette managing to look nauseated. “Now, if you don’t mind, vacate my dreamscape so that my daughter may fix the rest of her mess, herself.”

Discord’s constellation beamed. “Sure thing, Sis.” The stars which made up his body dispersed like a swarm of fireflies back to their original positions.

Nidra sighed and closed her eyes in concentration. Now that she knew she was in a dream, she knew that she could act in the waking world as well, and she forced her physical body to build up the magic for the counterspell. She felt the world of illusions around her drop away and her awareness of the waking world grow until…

“You may now… kiss the bride!” Snips concluded to a deafening barrage of cheers as the newly married stallion did just that.

Nidra watched with tears in her eyes, but a small smile on her lips. She saw Annie hoist the bouquet in her magical aura and toss it blindly into the crowd. It arched over the outstretched hooves of the other single mares, seeming to float briefly as if held aloft by magic, though no aura was visible. The bouquet landed with a thunk, impaled upon Nidra’s long, gray horn.

Anthea was looking directly at Nidra through her glazed eyes, unable to see her form clearly, but probably able to recognize her as the largest gray and blue blob in the room. She smiled with all the gentleness of her adoptive mother, disarming any residual resentments Nidra had from across the room. That had always been one of her more irritating qualities.

With a hasty application of her magical telekinesis, Nidra pulled the bouquet from her horn and levitated it gently in front of her. It wasn’t too long into the reception before she was greeted by the bride, herself.

“Princess Nidra, I’m glad you came,” Anthea said softly. “You seemed a bit distant when you first arrived. I thought you might be… angry with me.”

“What? No!” Nidra said hastily, an embarrassed smile on her face. Her ears drooped a moment later as she averted her gaze. “Well… maybe a little.” With some effort, she made herself look back at her one-time rival and this time gave her a genuine grin. “I realized, though, that all this time I’ve been treating you like… like a competitor, I guess.”

Anthea blushed deeply, a sympathetic look on her face. “Oh, Princess, I never meant to compete against you… I just…”

“I know,” Nidra replied with a rare kindness to her voice. “All this time I’ve treated you like that, and really there was no contest to begin with. I’ve learned that it’s far more satisfying to just let you be happy and… and enjoy that. And I do because… you’re my friend, Annie. I mean… I want to be your friend…”

Anthea looked absolutely giddy. “Nidra, of course I’m your friend! Thank you so much.” She nodded her head in the general direction of the flowers Nidra was holding. “And it looks like it will be your turn before you know it.”

“Oh,” Nidra said slowly as she looked at the lovely bouquet. She gave it a thoughtful look. “You know… I think I can wait for a good, long while until that day.” With a shrug, she chucked the bouquet over her shoulders, where it promptly landed in the unsuspecting claws of Turquoise’s older sister, who gave Discord’s son, who was standing beside her, a sheepish grin as she blushed furiously.

Anthea merely put her arms around Nidra’s neck fondly. “Well, no matter how long it takes for that day to come, I’ll be happy for you, too.”

Author's Notes:

Prereader: Imaginary Valued

A special thanks to Kilala for creating her Next Gen characters and allowing us all to use them, as well as for the beautiful cover art.

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Other Titles in this Series:

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