by TGM

Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Breach

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Luna relaxed as a cool wave of magic, not unlike water, swept over her body from head to hoof. Though seconds ago she’d been in her dreaming room, it was time to tend to her world, the dreamscape.

The transition from reality to the dream world was second nature to her, as easily done as breathing. She took a breath in reality, and when she released it and opened her eyes, she found herself floating among an ocean of dreams.

Luna flapped her wings and glided forward, her first target already in sight. A glowing sphere not unlike a bubble came into view, and within it lay a lone colt curled up on the ground. Darkness pressed at him from every side. Wicked, clawed fingers reached for him from the darkness, beckoning death and despair. Luna touched the dream with a hoof, and the dream world melted away.

When her eyes opened, she had the young colt’s sight. Eyes watched her from the darkness, their deep blood red color reflecting a malevolence that belonged to something she could not see.

Princess Luna lit her horn, and the dream glowed in response. The eyes, the monsters that danced in the darkness, all dispersed with a scream as Luna banished them with a wave of her hoof. The calm night sky remained where the oppressive darkness had been, the glittering stars far above seemed not unlike a nightlight. Luna smiled, then carefully placed a hoof on the young colt’s shoulder.

Luna could make out the two tear trails on the young one’s face as he looked up at her and silently mouthed, ‘Thank you’. Luna nodded and quietly lifted away from the dream. It glowed once she retreated and then turned a soft blue as it drifted to join the other dreams floating amongst the aether.

Her duty finished, Luna turned to continue her nightly routine. There was always something about the dream world that brought some peaceful serenity to her thoughts. Helping others was what made her happy, but just the mere act of being in the dream world brought a smile to her face.

There were no temperatures or breezes in the dream world, so she couldn’t pin down exactly what it might have been. Perhaps the mere act of helping ponies was what made her feel so at peace.

That peace was not meant to last.

Luna had an intimate connection to the dream world, and she felt when something was amiss. She would spend the day tossing and turning in her bed, unable to sleep, or if she found herself awake at the time, she would feel a shiver up her spine. This was like that, only the shiver felt different, somehow. It left a feeling in her chest that made her heart drop into her stomach. She could not shake the feeling in her gut that told her to spare a glance behind her, and she quickly obeyed.

A sound akin to glass shattering pierced her ears. Luna cringed but kept her eyes open. Before her very eyes, a crack like one might see on a glass pane stained her beautiful dreamscape. It spread in a spider web pattern, making sharp, jagged turns as it widened. Luna gasped and flew closer to mend the breach, but just as she came close, it opened.

Some unseen force pushed Luna away. She spiraled through the air, and frantically flapped her wings to regain her balance before she could look up at the opening that was created.

Dark, sinister wisps of some unknown substance seeped from it. Luna’s eyes narrowed. She flapped her wings and shot towards the anomaly.

A clawed hand grabbed the jagged edge of the breach. Luna gasped and charged her horn, but it was too quick. A dark, lumbering shadow tore itself from the breach and shot into the dreamscape. Luna growled and shot her magic towards the opening, which began to knit itself back together. Then, with another flap of her wings, she flew after the thing that had come out of it.

It was fast, faster than any dream or nightmare she’d encountered before. She only barely managed to catch sight of its retreating tendrils before it was out of sight again. Luna grit her teeth and willed herself to go faster, desperate to banish the shadow back to where it had come before it could do any damage.

Just as she caught sight of the shadow’s presence in the distance, she flapped her wings and came to a stop.

“Oh no…” Long, black claw marks stained the dreams leading to where the shadow had fled, and darkness seeped out of them. It spread to the dreams they were gouged into like a plague, and turned pleasant dreams into nightmares. A small filly gazing up at the stars was now running from a meteor storm, a mare enjoying a nice hayride now struggled to gain control of a runaway wagon, and a stallion who was on the winning team of a hoofball game broke his leg, and suffered jeers from his teammates and opponents alike. Their cries of pain pierced into Luna’s head worse than any migraine.

Luna charged her magic and passed over the nightmares. They glowed a soft blue, and the claw marks scraped in them healed. Luna smiled before she looked in the direction the shadow fled. It left a trail for her to follow, long jagged marks stained her dreamscape with corruption. They seeped a foul darkness that started making its way to other dreams. Luna snorted, and then summoned her magic once more. She closed her eyes and released a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding, let the magic build, and then released.

A soft blue aura radiated out from her horn, and extended to every dream she could find plagued with the darkness that seemed to follow the shadow.

“Be calm. Be at peace.” Luna spoke softly as the cleansing spell took hold. The nightmares of her ponies turned into peaceful dreams, the corruption banished from their minds. As the dreams drifted off, at peace once more, Luna opened her eyes. The culprit floated in front of her. It held no defined shape, but limbs seemed to form in the void that was its body, only to shrivel away like the branches of a dying tree. Black, jagged tendrils writhed behind it, and dark magic leaked off of it like ink. Two burning red eyes gazed out from its body, and, ever so slightly, it cocked its head to the side.

Luna glared, then spoke. “I will not—“

It shot past her, faster than her eyes could follow

“Stop!” Luna shouted before she turned around and gave chase. This time, she caught up to it rather quickly. It stopped in front of a dream, one that belonged to a dreamer she recognized. Luna gasped as she shot forward to blast the shadow away, but it reacted first. It dove headfirst into her friend’s dream, and disappeared from view. Luna cursed under her breath and folded her wings in, then dove in after it.

Pipsqueak ran as fast as his legs would carry him. He didn’t know where he was going, but all that mattered was that he get away from the thing behind him. He didn’t even dare to turn his head to peek; he knew it was there. He could feel it. The raspy breath on the back of his neck told him as much.

His legs began to ache, and every step felt like agony to his hooves; he wasn’t sure how much longer he could run. He didn’t need to run forever; maybe if he could just find someplace to hide, it wouldn’t be able to find him. Pipsqueak lifted his head, and then barely moved in time to dodge a tree that rushed up to meet him. The forest wasn’t familiar to him, they definitely hadn’t started there. A thunderous roar from his pursuer quickly reminded him that he didn’t care where he was, either way, he was still dead.

There! A large tree with a small hole at the base of its trunk. With all his might, Pipsqueak turned and threw himself at it, just as he felt something clang together right behind him. He sailed inside, and impacted the dirt with a heavy thud. He pushed himself back as far as the small hiding hole would allow, just as a pair of claws tore at the ground he’d just been sitting on. Pipsqueak curled into a little ball and kept his eyes shut tight as the beast rammed and pushed at the tree he was hiding under, releasing its fury with a mighty roar that left him shaking.

Suddenly, a bright blue flash filtered through his eyelids. Pipsqueak opened his eyes, then watched in awe as the beast outside was thrown backwards, impacting the ground with a mighty crash before finally settling a good distance from his hiding place. Pipsqueak peeked out, then let out a squeal as he was yanked out with magic. But, much to his relief, the magic belonged to a familiar face.

“Princess Luna!” Pipsqueak rejoiced.

“It is good to see you again, my friend,” Luna spoke, but didn’t take her eyes off the beast that was now climbing back to its feet. “But now isn’t the time for talking. You must run, and I will purge this abomination.”

“What is it?” Pipsqueak asked. His hooves set back down onto the dirt. He felt himself lock up again as the beast let out another roar.

“Now Pipsqueak, run!” This time, the young colt did as he was told and ran for his life. He heard the beast charge, but Luna’s urging voice gave him the strength he needed to continue. He kept going as fast as he could until a sharp yank backwards caused him to faceplant onto the ground.

He glanced back, and saw the burning red eyes of the monster staring back. It grabbed his leg with its clawed hand, and its mouth was wide open, ready to devour him. Pipsqueak screamed, and closed his eyes. He didn’t dare open them, not even as he felt the beast’s grip release him. It wasn’t until he felt the cool, familiar magic of the princess did he dare to look.

Princess Luna stood before him, and he floated in the air behind her. “So it is the little one you want, is it?” Luna asked, but the beast only seemed to growl. Pipsqueak noticed then that its hand was missing. Luna must have blasted it off when she saved him. “You will have to get through me first, demon.”

The monster seemed to take this as a challenge, as it released another roar and charged. Luna reared back, forelegs curled and wings spread, then slammed her forelegs back onto the ground and released a mighty blast of magic, one that lifted the beast off the ground and slammed it into the trees on the other side of the clearing. The beast shook itself off and glared at Luna. Luna glared right back and charged up another blast. This time, it seemed to get the hint. It released a screech before it turned into a black, smoky form and took off into the night sky, then it disappeared from sight.

Luna sighed and set Pipsqueak back onto the ground. Without saying a word, she spread her wings and launched into the air after the shadow.

“Wait! Princess!” Pipsqueak tried to call after her, but she’d already disappeared. Pipsqueak frowned and wiped away a tear. “Please be careful.”

Luna shot from Pipsqueak’s dream, back into the dreamscape once more as she quickly scanned the area from left to right. A glimpse of some retreating darkness was all she needed to start giving chase once more.

“You shan’t escape me, monster!” She called after it as she flew through her realm, healing the nightmares as she went. She caught the shadow in her sights again as it stopped to eye another dreamer, but before it could act she quickly blasted it. Her attack caught it in the side, and the shadow writhed in pain, then plummeted down for a moment before it regained itself and stared up at her. Voices reverberated in Luna’s head the longer she held its gaze, whispering in languages she could not understand.

“Your corruption ends here, demon.” Luna grit her teeth and charged her magic once more. “I will not allow you to harm my ponies!”

The shadow seemed to sway for a moment, then its gaze quickly shifted to the right. A dream drifted into view, and the shadow cast its gaze back to Luna. Luna saw its plan and fired her horn. Still, the shadow moved too fast. It dodged her attack and dove into the dream. A dream of another she recognized.

Luna folded her wings in and dove towards it, but just before she entered, the dream vanished with a flash of light. Luna sailed into the empty void of the dreamscape, she spread her wings and spiraled for just a moment before she regained her balance, then flew up to where the dream was. She scanned right, then left, then her ears pinned back and her eyes grew wide.

“Oh no…” Luna said. “They’ve woken up.”

Author's Notes:

The first chapter into a new story. I haven't done a multi chapter story in a while, and I really liked this idea. I'll try to keep the updates from taking too long, but it probably won't be consistent.

Next Chapter: Chapter 2 - Corruption Estimated time remaining: 25 Minutes
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