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Fan Fic: Night Of The Shy
Night of the Shy is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic that takes the Word of God that Princess Luna was corrupted into Nightmare Moon not just by jealousy but by evil magic, and runs with it.

The plot begins as Ponyville prepares to once again host the Summer Sun Celebration (the one-year anniversary of the series premiere, in fact), while Twilight Sparkle has been called back to Canterlot to partake in combat training. When she inquires as to why, she is informed of the shocking truth behind her apprenticeship to Princess Celestia — she is being groomed to one day be heir to the throne of Equestria. Meanwhile, the entity known as Nightmare — the same evil that had once possessed Princess Luna and turned her into Nightmare Moon — returns, this time making Fluttershy her victim, taking her body as her own before declaring war on the Princesses and all of Equestria.

Now, Twilight must face her new destiny, and the surviving ponies must find a way to stop their friend... perhaps at the ultimate cost.

Sadly, due to the author's unfortunate passing, the story will now be left incomplete.

This story contains examples of:

  • The Ageless: Any pony with Alicorn blood. At the very least, they age very slowly, as both Blueblood and Spur were around during Nightmare Moon's reign and look middle aged at best in present.
    • The Sand Mantas were all ageless as well, but as proven when the "Mad Princess" Sunride killed most of them, they weren't true immortals.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Nightmare starts off her war by attacking (and ultimately destroying) Ponyville, followed by having her Diamond Dog armies assault Canterlot and eventually overrun it.
  • Alternate Continuity: For the time being, at least, the story seems to be ignoring the events of "A Canterlot Wedding", with the only element from those episodes present being Shining Armor. (Justified by the fact that it was first written prior to that episode's airing and not being able to fit it into the fic's established setting/mythology.)
  • Anypony Can Die: That's been made very clear.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The sand snakes the protagonists encounter in the desert past Newgate. But even they are dwarfed by the now-extinct Sand Mantas, who were so big that the ruins of just one of their buildings covers an entire valley.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: When we see him in action, it becomes clear that General Spur didn't get his job just because of his friendship with the Princesses.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: General Spur and Colonel Nuntia during the Battle of Canterlot.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: The Mayor of Cloudsdale. Not only does he refuse to evacuate with the civilian population, but after the Royal Guard contingent is petrified by Nightmare's cockatrices, he picks up a sword and tries to fight himself (unfortunately, Nightmare is quick to kill him).
  • Bad Dreams: Pinkie has a rather disturbing one in chapter 6, complete with Catapult Nightmare.
  • Batman Gambit: Nightmare is good at performing these — first, she uses the Mane Cast's pets as bait to lure Fluttershy into the Everfree Forest so she can possess her; then she tortures Spitfire in order to anger Rainbow Dash into attacking her so she can kill her; and finally, during her fight with Luna, she lures her into the Forest where she's rendered powerless, and killed by the cockatrices.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Pinkie kills a Nightmare spy by breaking its neck with a single kick. (The fact that it was a zombie probably helped with that, but still...)
    Gilda: "Whoah... Okay. Glad I didn't piss you off like that the first time we met."
  • Big Bad: Nightmare.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Fluttershy, of all ponies, gets this when she saves Applejack and Rainbow Dash from a "werebunny" (actually Nightmare in disguise as a test); first, after flying away in fear, she comes back so fast she breaks the sound barrier — actually managing to perform a Sonic Rainboom in the process — before performing The Stare.
    • Luna saves Twilight from Nightmare Shy during the attack on Ponyville only for it to be subverted when Nightmare leads her into a trap and kills her.
    • Gilda saves the (very few) survivors of Ponyville from burning to death after Nightmare locks them up and sets the town on fire.
    • During the Battle of Canterlot, a flight of pegasi Royal Guards sneak attack the squadron of Diamond Dogs guarding Sweetie Belle in order to free her. Unfortunately, it's subverted again, as the Dogs see them coming and kill them.
  • Blessed with Suck/Cursed with Awesome: The Sand Mantas were this — whatever magic made them giant and moved them from aquatic to land-based also made them ageless and removed their need to eat, but also made it so that they could never return to the ocean they were spawned in.
  • The Brigadier: General Spur, the head of the Royal Guard and Twilight's combat instructor.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Why wasn't Celestia around during the events of the series premiere? Because Nightmare Moon corrupted the stars not just to free herself, but to pull Celestia into space, which caused her soul to be sent to the Flame of Limbo as a defense mechanism. In other words, until Nightmare Moon was defeated and the spell undone, Celestia was effectively dead.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Sand Mantas are mentioned several times before we actually meet one (the last one, as it turns out).
  • Cliff Hanger: A painful one, and one that will never be fulfilled due to Author Existence Failure.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Nightmare takes all of the Mane Cast's pets and transforms them into monsters.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Zecora is viciously beaten by Nightmare (including having two legs broken), and chased through Everfree Forest by her minions after she witnesses Nightmare's possession of Fluttershy.
    • During the attack on Ponyville, Nightmare tortures Spitfire in order to goad Rainbow Dash into attacking her so she can kill her. It works.
    • After Canterlot falls, Nightmare tortures General Spur to force him to reveal the location where Luna hid Discord's statue — information he doesn't have. He mocks her about it.
  • Compelling Voice: The Stare is apparently a latent version of this that Fluttershy's been tapping into when under duress. Nightmare Shy is implied to be actively using it as part of her recruitment of the monster races, though the Diamond Dogs were recruited through brute force, and the dragons seem to have joined willingly (though they seem to have their own agenda)..
  • Continuity Porn: Practically every episode from at least the first season and a half gets a Continuity Nod or Call Back at one point or another.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Flame of Limbo, an eternal flame sealed in a diamond, from which the Elements of Harmony were formed, and which contains the collected memories and magic of every Royal in Equestrian history. Naturally, Nightmare wants to destroy it badly.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Battles of Ponyville and Cloudsdale very quickly go in Nightmare's favor. The Battle of Canterlot is somewhat more even-sided but Nightmare still wins.
  • Dark Fic: As of only four chapters in as of this writing? Oh, Hell yes.
  • The Dark Times: Judging by Luna's description, the show only gave the G-Rated versions of Nightmare Moon and Discord's reigns over Equestria.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: We find out a little of the Princesses', when we're told that Discord killed their parents.
    • Scootaloo grew up in an orphanage, where she was apparently beaten on a regular basis, until she ran away and ended up in Ponyville.
  • Dead Fic: As a result of the aforementioned Author Existence Failure.
  • Defiant to the End: The Mayor and cloud factory workers of Cloudsdale; when the town is evacuated, they stay behind to make sure the weather control is maintained. After the Royal Guard contingent in the city is petrified by a swarm of cockatrices, the Mayor tries to fight himself, and even after he's killed the factory workers refuse to serve Nightmare. Because of this, she has them all petrified.
  • Demonic Possession: What Nightmare did to Luna a thousand years ago, and what she's doing to Fluttershy now.
  • Disney Villain Death: Many of Nightmare's Dog soldiers during the Battle of Canterlot end up getting thrown off the mountain.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The dragons use almost this exact phrase when describing their outrage at the dragon from "Dragonshy" agreeing on behalf of the whole race to serve Nightmare in exchange for revenge against the Mane Case for disrupting his sleep.
  • Dramatic Irony: After the Princesses die, leaving Twilight Sparkle in charge, the sun and moon are locked in place, leaving the world in a state of permanent twilight. The pony in question makes note of the irony, and is not amused by it.
    • In a flashback, Celestia is shown speaking in the Traditional Royal Canterlot Voice (royal "We" and all), while Nightmare Moon is speaking normally and tells her to get with the times.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: For a Physical Goddess, Celestia died rather easily. True, she was taken off guard, but still...
    • Rainbow Dash and Ditzy Doo's deaths are also rather sudden and unexpected. One can argue that the shock factor of these deaths actually makes them more effective, as it sells the Anyone Can Die angle very well.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Nightmare, who's possibly the oldest being in Equestria, and whose true form appears as a living cloud of smoke. However, unlike most examples of this trope, she has a definite gender.
    • Actually, according to General Spur, Nightmare actually is genderless (which is odd, considering it speaks in a female voice and forms the image of a female face when in its true form).
      • On top of everything else, Nightmare is about a billion years old, and is described by Chief Thunderhooves as having existed since before the concept of reason had come into existence.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The King of the Diamond Dogs apparently used to serve Nightmare Moon centuries ago, but was so sickened that he betrayed her during her Final Battle with Celestia. Needless to say, when Nightmare decides to re-recruit the Dogs for her new army, he dies first.
    • Similarly, the dragons (who, admittedly, are probably more in the Neutral category) also hate Nightmare and only serve her because the one from "Dragonshy" foolish agreed to on behalf of the whole race, while apparently running their own agenda.
    • Believe it or not, Nightmare seems to have some standards, albeit twisted ones — of all things, she takes issue with the ponies' control over the weather, viewing it as unnatural.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: As noted above, the dragons are probably closer to Chaotic Neutral than any evil alignment, but in any case, they're well aware that if Nightmare wins she'll just destroy them too, and seem to be pretending to serve her while running their own gambit against her.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Fluttershy is trying (and apparently cursing up a storm), but her efforts are just amusing Nightmare — who also claims that Luna did the same, and that a thousand years stuck with it drove her to the point of letting the Mane Cast defeat her, just so she could get away from it.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Spur. Even when being tortured, he mocks Nightmare to her face.
  • Happily Adopted: Blueblood adopts Trixie's orphans and Dinky Doo, so that he can properly protect them.
    • Then Rarity agrees to marry him, and effectively adopts the children as well.
  • Heroic BSOD: Twilight has one after the events of chapter 4, and it takes an emotional conversation with Applejack and Pinkie in the following chapter to get her out of it.
    • Rarity has a brief one when she finds out Sweetie Belle's been taken prisoner by Nightmare, but quickly switches into Determinator mode in order to save her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sort of performed by Birostris Oswaft, the last of the Sand Mantas. While trying to convince the Mane Cast and co. to Mercy Kill him, he says they can use a portion of his massive body as a makeshift boat to cross the ocean on their quest for the Flame of Limbo.
  • Hope Spot: There are a few regarding Sweetie Belle's attempts to escape from her imprisonment by Nightmare's forces.
    • During the Battle of Ponyville, it almost appears at one point that Luna will succeed in defeating Nightmare (though this would mean killing Fluttershy). Unfortunately, the Everfree Forest neutralizes Luna's powers, and she gets petrified by Nightmare's cockatrices.
  • I'm A Ponytarian: Nightmare has a taste for ponies — it seems that as Nightmare Moon, she had a policy of having regular blood sacrifices.
    • The parasprites were originally created to serve this purpose in battle. Fortunately, they appear to need a higher intelligence (namely Nightmare) to guide them to do so.
  • Immortality: The Royals appear to be a combination of The Ageless and Resurrective Immortality — in addition to not aging, if their bodies die it's apparently possible for their souls to be retrieved from the Flame of Limbo and given new bodies. Doing this for Celestia and Luna is the Mane Cast's current goal, along with defeating Nightmare.
  • Internal Reveal: Fluttershy is possessed at the end of chapter 2. The other characters don't find out about it until chapter 4 (except Zecora, who witnesses it, and spends the next two chapters on the run).
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Rarity starts showing an interest in Blueblood again (thanks to his Character Development) and Spike gets jealous about it, the two have a discussion about it; Spike admits to knowing he and Rarity can't be together for the obvious reasons, and says that he's happy as long as Rarity's happy.
  • Jaw Drop: Rarity and Spike's reaction to meeting the new and improved Trixie. They close each other's mouths.
  • Jerkass Realization: Apparently happened to Prince Blueblood and Trixie as a result of what they went through in their respective episodes — they both realized what epic Jerk Asses they were and dedicated themselves to changing their ways. Blueblood abandoned his position as a member of the royal family to live on a farm and run a bakery, while Trixie now runs an orphanage.
    • Gilda had a partial one after her own episode, but it didn't really set in until she found out about Dash's death. After that, she was so ashamed about what she had done, she first saves the survivors of Ponyville, and then decides to help the remaining Mane Cast fight Nightmare.
  • Just Toying with Them: In canon it was already established that Discord was just playing with the Mane Cast. Twilight's conversation with Luna reveals this was taken to a greater extent than we believed.
    • They also discuss the possibility that Nightmare Moon was also playing with them due to not viewing them as a threat. For her part, Nightmare claims that she threw the fight because she wanted out of Luna's head.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally everything Nightmare does is either this or a Moral Event Horizon.
  • Kill It with Fire: After attacking Ponyville, Nightmare eats many of the citizens, and then leaves the remaining survivors behind to burn to death when she sets the town on fire. Fortunately, Gilda and Scootaloo show up to save them.
  • Killed Off for Real: As of chapter 4, Princess Celestia, Ditzy Doo, Rainbow Dash, Princess Luna, and all of the Mane Cast's pets, in that order. And those are all in the space of one chapter.
    • And now we can add pretty much all of Ponyville, except the remaining Mane Cast, Spike, the CMC, Applejack's family, and Doctor Whooves.
      • Actually, a significant portion of the population escaped and are now holed up in refugee camps.
  • Last of His Kind: Not only did Discord kill the Princesses' parents, but it seems Nightmare then proceeded to kill the rest of the alicorns, leaving the two of them as the last of their kind. And now they're both dead by Nightmare's hoof, making the alicorns extinct.
    • Birostris Oswaft, the last of the Sand Mantas, who convinces the Mane Cast to Mercy Kill him so that he can join the rest of his kind in death.
  • Legion of Doom: Prior to and after possessing Fluttershy, Nightmare gathers together an army of various monster races to serve as her army.
  • Like Brother and Sister: How Trixie describes her relationship with Blueblood.
  • Mama Bear: Trixie towards the orphans under her care.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Nightmare was behind both Nightmare Moon (via possession, obviously) and Discord (she's his mother).
    • She's also implied to be behind a few of the monster attacks on Ponyville that occurred in-series, as a way of testing the Mane Cast and Celestia's involvement.
      • Also, remember the Windigoes? Turns out, they either served Nightmare or were a story created to hide the truth of an actual attack by her in the past (it's not clear which).
      • On top of that, it's implied that she's the reason the "Mad Princess" Sunride wiped out the Sand Mantas.
    • Discord created the parasprites. That makes him responsible for all the damage they caused in canon, and technically in-story as well (even though Nightmare is the one using them here).
  • The Masquerade: Luna admits to Twilight that she and Celestia have glossed over some of the darker parts of Equestria's history for the sake of the public. Afterwards, Twilight suspects there are things the Princesses still aren't telling her.
    • General Spur confirms this, and states that he doesn't understand why it was done.
    • Specifically, they're hiding the fact that the alicorns used to be as numerous as any other pony race, until Discord and Nightmare Moon wiped them out (including wiping an entire city off the map). The Princesses and the other few survivors from that time period (including Spur and Blueblood) swore an oath to never speak of it again, and removed all references from the records, which led to the widespread belief that Celestia (and Luna, when she returned) were the only alicorns, and thus, gods.
  • Mercy Kill: Birostris convinces the Mane Cast to kill him, as he's grown tired of being the Last of His Kind.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Scootaloo ran away from her abusive orphanage and never went back to help any of the other orphans. The guilt over this is what drives her to go for help when she escapes from Nightmare's occupation of Ponyville.
  • Number Two: Colonel Nuntia to General Spur.
  • Oh Crap: Pinkie, when Gummi mutates into a monster.
    • Celestia seems to realize what's about to happen right before she's sneak-attacked and killed.
    • Luna when she realizes that her powers don't work in the Everfree Forest.
    • The Royal Guard have a collective one when Nightmare manages to release a parasprite swarm inside Canterlot's defenses.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: It's been repeatedly stated by several characters that Nightmare won't stop until she's destroyed everything in Equestria.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Pinkie's family throws a party to celebrate their reunion, she refuses to partake, stating that she won't throw or partake in any parties until Nightmare is defeated.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Scootaloo grew up in one, and eventually ran away when the abuse became too much.
  • Parental Abandonment: Applejack's parents disappeared when she was a foal.
    • The Princesses' parents were killed by Discord (this being the reason they fought against and imprisoned him).
    • Pinkie Pie hasn't seen her family since she left the rock farm.
      • This turns out to be an inverted example — Pinkie ran away from home because she didn't want to live on a rock farm. She's regretted it ever since.
  • Parental Substitute: This story takes the fanon approach of Scootaloo and Spike viewing Rainbow Dash and Twilight as this.
  • Prehensile Hair: Nightmare Shy's mane seems to have been granted this ability.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Blueblood and General Spur are both over a thousand years old. Apparently, any pony can live that long, but association with the royal family, at least, seems to ensure a youthful appearance.
    • Actually, it's because they both have alicorn blood.
    • Birostris Oswaft, the last of the Sand Mantas, is at least several thousand — if not several million — years old.
    • Topped by Nightmare herself, who claims to be a billion years old.
  • Red Baron: A past Princess named Sunride is known as the "Mad Princess" because she went crazy and wiped out the Sand Mantas. It's strongly implied she was possessed by Nightmare.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Fluttershy's eyes (and mane) turn red after her possession.
  • Running Gag: Twilight's parents ruffling her mane as an act of affection, to her annoyance.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Turns out, Zecora doesn't talk this way naturally. She started doing it in her homeland to entertain children, and when she came to Ponyville and was initially treated with disdain, she started doing it to annoy the ponies as a form of payback. After she was accepted into the community, she went back to doing it for entertainment. Of course, now she's started doing it even when alone out of habit, much to her own annoyance.
  • Shipper on Deck: Trixie and her orphans (the ones adopted by Blueblood) actively ship Rarity and Blueblood and try to get them to admit their feelings for each other, and are overjoyed when it happens.
    • Granny Smith seems to ship Big Macintosh and Inkie.
  • Ship Tease: Rarity's old attraction to Blueblood is renewed by his Character Development, and he ends up genuinely attracted to her this time around. Eventually he proposes, and she accepts.
    • There's the slightest hint of attraction between Big Macintosh and Inkie Pie (Pinkie's sister).
  • Shoot the Dog: It's discussed at several points that the Mane Cast may very well have to kill Fluttershy in order to stop Nightmare. Luna actually tries during the Battle of Ponyville, but is killed herself before she can.
  • The Siege: Nightmare's Diamond Dog armies lay siege to Canterlot in chapter 6. They win.
  • So Proud of You: Twilight's parents tell her that they're proud of all the good she and her friends have done.
  • Soul Jar: One of the functions of the Flame of Limbo is to contain the souls and memories of every Royal who's ever lived since its creation.
  • Taken for Granite: Courtesy of a swarm of cockatrices, and followed by Literally Shattered Lives, this is the fate of Princess Luna.
  • Tempting Fate: When Twilight first learns of her status as heir, Luna assures her that she shouldn't worry about it, since she and Celestia have no intention of dying anytime soon. Three chapters later, they're both dead.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: In her true form, at least, Nightmare seems capable of this.
  • War Is Hell: General Spur makes it very clear that he only fights when he has to, saying that the best war is one that never happens.
    • Blueblood fought alongside Spur during the last war, and was apparently so sickened by what he experienced that it's what caused him to lose himself in the trappings of royalty and become the Prince Charmless we saw in canon.
  • We Have Reserves: Due to needing to preserve her own power, Nightmare lets her Diamond Dog and parasprite troops get slaughtered in order to wear down Canterlot's defenses.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 4. See Killed Off for Real above.
    • Chapter 6 — Canterlot falls to Nightmare. Meanwhile, the Mane Cast and their allies flee to a possible safe haven, which happens to be where Pinkie's long-lost family live.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Certainly not Birostris Oswaft after ten thousand years of being the Last of His Kind, so he convinces Twilight to Mercy Kill him.
  • You Are in Command Now: Twilight is forced into the role of Princess when Celestia and Luna die.
  • Zerg Rush: Nightmare is fond of this tactic. It's not that she can't be strategic (far from it, actually), it's just that her minions mean nothing to her beyond their usefulness, so she doesn't mind sending them in in droves.
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