A Different Kind of Mentor

by Jay David

Chapter 1: A Different Kind of Mentor

It would have been tradition, in days gone by, for the darkness of the night to be met with one thing; fear. Fear of what may lie within the shroud of night, waiting to strike out at mares and stallions alike. But, those days had come to a close, and with the era of eternal night, darkness had simply become one of those things that ponykind had grown used to. But, the big change they truly had to contend with was their new ruler, Nightmare Moon. Where once, there was a kind, wise and benevolent Princess Celestia to guide them in life, now there was her once-exiled sister, who ruled Equestria with a dark and iron hoof. Today though, their reigning princess was not busying herself with the minutia of court, but instead, was out of her palace, walking alongside not only her personal guards, but also a newcomer to her world.

Twilight Sparkle, a young alicorn who, to Nightmare’s great surprise, had simply turned up on her doorstep mere minutes ago. However, such a shock soon gave way to a sense of opportunity, as the young mare had afforded her knowledge of a hitherto unknown type of magic; that of time travel. Armed with this new knowledge, the mistress of the night now strode alongside the young alicorn, making her way towards the great Everfree Forest that bordered her lands. With a young dragon being kept as hostage, the dark alicorn kept a wary eye upon the lavender mare beside her, as she confidently strode past the first of the many ancient trees of the forest. Nopony said anything along the way, though all had their minds at work, none more so than Nightmare herself. For as she looked to Twilight, a single thought took centre stage within her. And it was a thought she was more than willing to voice.

“You are a student of my sister, yes?”

Twilight looked to her, half surprised and half fearful at the question. But, before she even got the chance to answer, Nightmare Moon gave a dry chuckle.

“There is no need to deny it, Twilight Sparkle. I could sense Celestia’s influence upon you the moment I laid eyes on you. Though your own remarks about her would have been more than enough evidence to that regard.”

Twilight looked away, frowning slightly.

“Yes…in another time…she was my teacher. It was because of her that I became what I am today.”

To that, Nightmare raised an eyebrow.

“Indeed? I see Celestia’s talent for spotting extraordinary individuals has not diminished in the passing centuries. But to find one capable of ascension to alicorn? You must have been a worthy student indeed.”

Looking back up to her, Twilight narrowed her eyes.

“I became this way because of Celestia’s teachings, not just because of some talent of mine.”

Nightmare rolled her eyes briefly upon hearing that.

“Oh please! Spare me the praise of my sister. I had to endure more than enough of that in the past.”

For a moment, Twilight’s expression softened, and while she knew what she needed to say, she was more than a little hesitant in doing so.

“Luna, I know things fell apart between you, but…”

However, the young princess was interrupted, as Nightmare looked down upon her with fury.

“Do not speak of that name! It no longer has any meaning for me!”

Needless to say, all of Nightmare Moon’s personal guard took a step back at seeing their princess so enraged. But Twilight, while remaining silent, nevertheless stared at the imposing mare before her, never wavering or giving up any ground. While Nightmare herself witnessed this, her expression soon changed from one of anger, to one of intrigue.

“Interesting…you do not falter in the presence of great power. You are either very brave…or very foolish.”

Turning, the dark alicorn actually let out a brief laugh.

“Or perhaps…it is both. Who can say?”

Again, Twilight said nothing, instead turning so she was no longer looking Nightmare in the eye. At first, the older mare seemed annoyed by this, but soon, a nearby rustling of leaves distracted her. All turned their heads to the direction of the sound, and within moments, their fears were confirmed, for out of the gloomed leapt a large and menacing timberwolf. While many in their entourage backed away, perhaps readying themselves for a fight, Nightmare Moon stood perfectly still, narrowing her eyes at this creature. The timberwolf growled angrily before making an almighty leap towards the dark mare. However, this act of aggression was short-lived, as the alicorn’s horn glowed brightly for a few brief moments, before sending out a single shot of magic. It wasn’t even a challenge, as the timberwolf now lay ruined upon the ground, shattered into many wooden fragments. Twilight, seeing this, frowned at the nearby mare.

“You could have just scared it off.”

To that, Nightmare Moon turned to look at her, smirking slightly as she did so.

“You are my sister’s student indeed.”

Walking closer, the older mare looked down at twilight, right into her eyes, before speaking in a tone that was at least marginally softer than it had been for most of this trip.

“Remember, young one. Celestia may have spouted the values of friendship and teamwork throughout your life, but there is one lesson she doubtless never gave to you.”

Standing tall, Nightmare Moon attempted to be as imposing as possible before continuing to speak.

“Power. Never underestimate the value of having power over others. With it, you can do so much more than you ever could before.”

Standing her ground, Twilight frowned at that.

“Power alone isn’t everything, princess. What of friends?”

Again, Nightmare Moon rolled her eyes.

“The more I speak to you, the more you sound like Celestia herself. What of friends, you ask? To that, I say this. Look at me. I never had a single friend in my entire life, and yet, in the face of that solitude, I returned from exile, usurped my sister, and brought about an age of eternal night.”

Lowering her head, the older mare frowned deeply at the young princess before her.

“Tell me, Twilight Sparkle…what value could friendship have when power such as mine could accomplish all that?

And here, Twilight already knew what to say.

“…Friendship…would have stopped you.”

As one would expect, many among Nightmare Moon’s guards, looked utterly aghast that Twilight had dared to speak like that to their princess’ face. However, Nightmare Moon, more than anything else, actually seemed amused by the younger mare’s words. Throwing her head back, she let out a hearty laugh, before turning around and starting to walk back in the direction of Twilight’s alleged magic table.

“Stopped me? Look around you, Twilight! Does it look as if friendship could stop me?”

To that, Twilight’s expression became one of sadness, as she hung her head low.

“No…no it doesn’t.”

Hearing those words, Nightmare formed a distinct smirk upon her face.

“And therein lies the truth. You may believe in the power of friendship, but at the end of the day, what matters is that we are stronger than our foes. Through power, I have brought order, stability. For none would seek to challenge one who is so much greater than themselves.”

Turning, Nightmare cast a glance back in Twilight’s direction before starting to move off.

“You may doubt, young Twilight, but know this. A day will come when you will pray, not for friendship…but merely for the strength to have your world the way you want it.”

As Twilight stood there, seeing the older mare walk away, her expression became one of melancholy and thoughtfulness, with her head hanging low. When she finally spoke, her words were hushed, yet tinted with clear concern.

“Perhaps…that day is already here.”

Return to Story Description


Login with