Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / My Little Mages: The Nightmare's Return

Go To

My Little Mages: The Nightmare's Return is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic that reimagines the characters as humans in a Medieval European Fantasy/Dungeons & Dragons-esque setting, and reenacts the series pilot (with some changes other than the above):

Twilight Sparkle, Arcane Mage, knows that there is some truth to the story of Nightmare Moon, but her mentor, Princess Celestia, dismisses the matter in a heartbeat. She sends Twilight to the town of Magiville to oversee preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration, much to Twilight's distaste.

Unbeknownst to her, the darkness is gathering in Mystica. Assassins lurk in the shadows, Undead gather in the forest, werewolves sharpen their claws, and criminals and mercenaries prepare themselves.

To win the coming battle, Twilight will have to rely on her wits, her magic, and the five mages she's been saddled with. No matter how much they annoy her.

The fanfic is based on a series of drawings called My Little Mages, which is created by the artist Didj. The link to its gallery can be found on Deviantart.

Their are other fanfics based on the pictures by different authors.

Can be read on


  • When exposed to Heart's Desire, Pinkie basically turns into her Cupcakes self, but manages to stop herself before she kills Twilight.
  • An Axe To Grind: Iron Will's Weapon Of Choice.
  • Back from the Dead: Celestia is killed by Nightmare Moon and the Grand Master in chapter 4, but the last scene shows Philomena (in an unnamed cameo) incinerating her body. The last chapter reveals that this resurrected her.
  • Badass Pacifist: Just like in canon, Fluttershy would prefer not to fight, if possible. However, this doesn't mean she won't bring plants to life and immobilize you, like she does with the Diamond Dogs.
  • Badass Preacher: Applejack, as a Paladin, naturally qualifies.
  • Bag of Holding: Twilight's Tome, into which she is able to transfer anything (it makes carrying around the Element chest very easy).
  • Beam-O-War: When the Elements of Harmony magic is fired at her, Nightmare Moon responds with a beam of shadow magic. She still loses.
  • The Beastmaster: As a druid, Fluttershy can control non-sentient animals.
  • BFS: Applejack's sword.
  • Big Bad: Nightmare Moon, obviously.
  • Black Sheep: Pinkie is this to her family but since they're all Shadow Blades, it makes her more of a White Sheep.
  • Blade On A Stick: Nightmare Moon's Weapon Of Choice is a double-tipped spear.
  • Brick Joke: Pinkie giving Twilight a wet willie.
  • Broken Pedestal: Rainbow Dash was once a big fan of Nightshade. She isn't anymore.
  • The Brute: Iron Will and the Diamond Dogs.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played for laughs. It's stated that most people would call the victory celebration in the last chapter the party of the century, but that Pinkie calls it Tuesday.
  • Casting a Shadow: Nightmare Moon, the Grand Master, and presumably the other Shadow Blades. This includes Pinkie, who doesn't like using these powers.
  • "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: Spaht and Fie-Doh at one point argue over the proper way to cook meat. For his part, Roh-Ver firmly believes that Diamond Dogs should eat their meat raw and squirming.
  • Chainmail Bikini: It's noted that Nightmare Moon's armor shows off more skin than necessary.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The tip of Twilight's staff is a six-pointed star. At first, this seems like just a Mythology Gag to her cutie mark, but then she fuses it with Celestia's tiara to create the Element of Magic.
    • Similarly, Pinkie's party cannon makes an appearance when she first meets Twilight in another apparent Mythology Gag, and then reappears when she uses it as a finishing move in her fight with her father.
  • Circling Birdies: Fie-Doh gets these at one point after Roh-Ver beats him up. When he remarks on it, he gets hit again, and they change to stars.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Pinkie Pie, obviously, though being human somehow makes it seem more extreme.
  • Cooldown Hug: Pinkie tries to give one to Twilight after Celestia dies and Nightmare Moon takes over. Twilight pushes her away and runs off. Later, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Applejack find her at the library fighting back tears and blaming herself for what happened to Celestia, because the Arcane Mage didn't push the topic when the princess dismissed Nightmare as a fairy tale. When Twilight lashes out at them, Applejack who recognizes her anger and grief over Celestia's death responds by hugging the Arcane Mage, even when she tries to resist. The others make it a Group Hug, with Twilight calming down, tearfully admitting how scared she is, and allowing them to help her defeat Nightmare.
  • Combat Stilettos: Subverted. Rarity wears high heels, and repeatedly complains that she shouldn't be in a situation that requires running and fighting.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The Elements of Harmony, rather than being an instant One-Hit Kill spell, instead give the girls a Psychic Link, which culminates in them combining all their magic in one attack to finish Nightmare Moon off.
  • Cool Airship: Celestia's ship, the Alicorn. Subverted with Nightmare Moon's vessel, the Hades, which is described as rotting. Also, Twilight repeatedly refers to the Charon as a dinghy.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Rainbow Dash to Twilight, albeit narrowly. Of course, since Rainbow Dash is moving at a fraction of the speed of sound, Twilight is understandably unhappy.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Celestia spent the last thousand years working on a spell to purify her sister. But just in case that should fail, she has a message and the Elements of Harmony prepared to be sent to Twilight, as well as a sleeping spell trap laid for Nightmare Moon when she goes looking for them. Plus, she has Philomena waiting to revive her.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Mystica's religion (rather than being based on Celestia like in most other FIM fics) seems very Catholic, save for the fact that it's a built around a Goddess who's obviously supposed to be Lauren Faust.
  • Cult: The Shadow Blades Order, a Religion of Evil built around Nightmare Moon and led by Pinkie's father.
  • Dark Action Girl: Nightshade.
  • Dark Chick:
    • Iron Will doesn't believe in Nightmare Moon's vision like the Diamond Dogs or the Shadow Blades, or have an alternate agenda like Chrysalis (who wants to reclaim a place for Necromancers) or Nightshade (recognition as the best Elementalist in the world, which she'll get as leader of the Shadowbolts). He just wants to make enough money to buy a beach house to retire to.
    • That said, Nightshade kind of stands out too. Even her goal is pretty separated from Nightmare Moon's, and she doesn't seem to really care about fighting the mages until Dash pisses her off.
  • Dark Is Evil: Nightmare Moon and the Shadow Blades. Subverted with Luna.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Nightmare Moon.
  • Dead Man Writing: Celestia has a message prepared to be sent to Twilight along with the box containing the Elements should she fail to defeat Nightmare Moon herself.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: While Nightmare Moon is introducing herself to Magiville with a megalomaniacal rant, she's hit in the face with... a muffin.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Nightmare Moon is announcing herself as Queen to Magiville, someone in the crowd interrupts by throwing a muffin at her (probably Derpy).
  • The Door Slams You: Twilight's five friends makes a big entrance by blowing the stone door of its hinges, right into Nightmare Moon.
    Magical defenses were notoriously useless against heavy stone doors.
  • The Dragon: The Grand Master definitely holds superiority over the other minions, even though they're not Shadow Blades themselves.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Or Flies Like Crazy — Twilight, much to Spike's distaste.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Animals instinctively flee from Chrysalis, and plants whiter at her touch.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Clydesdale honestly cares about Pinkie. For her part, Pinkie still loves him too, but refuses to join him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Played for laughs. When the Diamond Dogs hear that Iron Will cut off Stvenmgynt's mustache, they're horrified.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Grand Master of the Shadow Blades is only ever called by his title, though Nightmare Moon herself just calls him by the generic "Shadow Blade". His real name is Clydesdale Augustus Pie.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Subverted. None of the Quirky Miniboss Squad can stand each other.
  • Familiar: Spike to Twilight.
  • Fighting from the Inside:
    • After Pinkie Pie's dark side takes over (with help from the Heart's Desire), her normal personality literally fights back to prevent herself from killing Twilight.
    • After the Elements of Harmony are used on Nightmare Moon and weaken her, Luna is able to fight her off and completely regain control of her body.
  • First-Name Basis: Celestia insists on Twilight not being formal around her.
  • The Fool: Pinkie Pie, of course, who's even classified as a Trickster.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: "Pinkamena Diane Pie" from the Grand Master of the Shadow Blade, her father.
  • Furry Reminder: When the mages are first confronted by the Diamond Dogs, Pinkie Pie scratches Roh-Ver's ear like a normal dog. And he momentarily enjoys it, before realizing that he's supposed to be trying to kill them.
  • A Glass in the Hand: When Twilight first mentions Nightmare Moon to Celestia, the Princess breaks off the handle of her teacup; Twilight catches it before it can crash.
  • The Glomp: Twiight's reaction on finding that Celestia is still alive is to hug her, hard enough that the princess protests for her poor squeezed ribs.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Nightmare Moon is the self-proclaimed true Queen of Mystica.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Grand Master used the Heart's Desire to release Pinkie's inner darkness. Said darkness promptly nearly kills him.
  • Green Thumb: As a druid, Fluttershy can control plants.
  • Healing Hands: Fluttershy's wings are replaced by healing power in this fanfic, first demonstrated when she healed Angel's bite on Twilight's hand. They become useful during the quest to stop Nightmare Moon.
  • Hammerspace: All mages are able to summon items from nowhere. Pinkie naturally takes this to extremes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Diamond Dogs chase the girls into an Ursa Minor's cave. Fluttershy befriends it and promptly sics it on the Dogs.
    • See Gone Horribly Right for how the Grand Master's plan to force Pinkie into a Faceā€“Heel Turn backfired on him.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Holy magic, such as Applejack's, is the only thing that can permanently kill an Undead.
  • Honor Before Reason: Iron Will. He never breaks a contract... even if it turns out to be helping a goal he has serious moral trouble with.
  • Hope Spot:
    • When Nightmare Moon first emerges, Celestia very nearly manages to purify her. But since that would render the entire plot null and void, the Grand Master interferes and mortally wounds her.
    • After Nightmare Moon announces herself and that Celestia is dead, Twilight receives a letter via Spike, which implies she's still alive. However, it turns out the letter was only supposed to be sent if Celestia died, which kills the mood.
  • I Am Not My Father: Pinkie Pie.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Spike doesn't like being called an iguana, at all.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The first Undead that Chrysalis is shown summoning tries doing this in defiance. It doesn't work, and she tortures it into submission. Applejack, as a Paladin, has more luck.
    • The Grand Master does this to Celestia, though it doesn't kill her right away; Nightmare Moon finishes her off with a Neck Snap.
  • Improbable Weapon User: As a Trickster, Pinkie fights with everything but traditional weapons. Juggling clubs, vuvuzelas, cards, a cannon...
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Celestia, after her conversation with Twilight in the beginning of the story.
  • It's All About Me: Why did Nightshade kill several of her fellow Wonderbolts (and a janitor)? Because Spitfire was chosen over her to be the new team captain.
  • Killer Rabbit: As Spike finds out the hard way, Angel Bunny. Spike tries to snack on him, and nearly gets killed. Angel also almost bites Twilight's hand off before Fluttershy calms him down.
  • Knife Nut: Pinkie, when affected by the Heart's Desire.
  • Large Ham:
    • IRON WILL! Something that annoys heroes and villains alike.
    • Roh-Ver has shades of this as well, given the monologue he insists on giving in chapter 2.
  • Legion of Doom: A meta example; Nightmare Moon recruits several other FIM antagonists, but In-Universe, the protagonists haven't fought any of the villains before, so they're more of just a plain old Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: When Nightmare Moon is purified, her form cracks apart and reveals Luna inside.
  • Made of Iron: Fittingly, Iron Will, who is able to shrug off most attacks, including deflecting a diamond thrown at him by Rarity with his face.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Celestia is referred to as such In-Universe by Nightmare Moon when the latter realizes how Crazy-Prepared she was.
  • Mooks: Chrysalis' Undead, the Diamond Dogs under Roh-Ver's command, and the Shadow Blades (though the Grand Master is the only one we see in action).
  • My Greatest Failure: How Celestia feels about letting Luna be consumed by Nightmare Moon. Luna likewise blames herself for succumbing to her jealousy and letting Nightmare Moon be born.
  • Mythology Gag: In addition to the ones mentioned under Chekhov's Gun...
    • Iron Will considers getting out of mercenary work to become a motivational speaker.
    • Celestia's airship is called the Alicorn.
    • The name for the river serpent from "Elements Of Harmony" is Steven Magnet. Here, he gives his name as the more fantastical-spelled Stvenmgynt, which he says can be shortened to Steven.
    • Similarly, Word of Godinvoked gives the Diamond Dog leaders the names Rover, Spot, and Fido. Here, they're spelled Roh-Ver, Spaht, and Fie-Doh.
    • The Element of Magic is referred to as a big crown thingy.
  • Necromancer: How Chrysalis is interpreted in this setting. Interestingly, she appears to be undead herself.
  • No Immortal Inertia: When Chrysalis is killed, her body dissolves to a skeleton, and then dust.
  • No-Sell:
    • Nightmare Moon is so insanely powerful that she's able to shrug off the attacks of every mage in Magiville at once.
    • Chrysalis, as an Undead Necromancer, is unaffected by most attacks, not even minding having an arrow shot through her brain. Since Applejack is a Paladin, her attacks are more effective.
    • Iron Will, thanks to sheer strength and muscle mass. Rarity is ultimately only able to beat him by immobilizing him.
  • No Sense of Direction: Twilight, time and time again.
  • Not Worth Killing: Rainbow Dash decides this about Nightshade, leaving her to be arrested.
  • Once More, with Clarity: When Twilight realizes that her friends are the Bearers of the Elements, she suddenly flashes back to things they each said earlier in the story, which in hindsight exemplify how they represent their respective Elements.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Unlike canon, Spike looks hardly any different from an ordinary iguana, save for his coloring (which annoys him), and also due to his young age can't speak yet and can only communicate with Twilight telepathically until the end.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Diamond Dogs are interpreted as werewolves, who in this setting are ordinary wolves who managed to learn magic and became human-like in appearance.
  • Physical God: Obviously, Celestia and Nightmare Moon. In this case, they're presented as demigoddesses, as a way of saying that while they're ageless, they're not completely immortal which is a plot point, with Celestia's death.
  • Pillar of Light: When Applejack casts her massive Undead-killing prayer spell.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Fluttershy is cornered up a piece of wreckage by Chrysalis' zombies, she's saying "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness", but it's shown that what she's thinking is more along the lines of "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh fuck, oh shit".
  • Predecessor Villain:
    • Discord is briefly mentioned by Celestia as being responsible for Luna's fall, as his last act was to plant within her the seed of dark magic that became Nightmare Moon.
    • Chrysalis is the Demoted to Dragon variant. Fifty years ago she led one side of a war between the living and the Undead, but was defeated and forced to go into hiding, before Nightmare Moon recruited her.
  • Pre-Explosion Glow: Cracks with light pouring out of them covers Nightmare Moon's body, preceding her falling apart to reveal Luna.
  • Psychic Link:
    • Spike, being Twilight's familiar, has one with Twilight that allows them to communicate (since he's too young to speak yet).
    • The Elements of Harmony, once activated, allow all their Bearers the ability to hear each other's thoughts and coordinate their attacks (it actually borders on Hive Mind). As a bonus side effect, they're all able to hear Spike afterwards.
  • Psycho for Hire: Nightshade only joined Nightmare Moon for two reasons: to get out of jail, and because she'd be allowed to kill people for a living.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Unlike the rest of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, Iron Will isn't a believer in Nightmare Moon's goal, and isn't being offered anything other than payment in exchange for his services. That being said, he always upholds his contract, even after Rarity points out that Nightmare Moon's success would mean that he'll never be able to reach his own goal of retiring to a beach to work on his tan.
  • Punny Name: Inverted. The canon show took the names of actual cities and made them into equine puns (Camelot=Canterlot, Stalingrad=Stalliongrad, etc), so this story just restored the original names. This even extends to changing the names of Ponyville and Equestria itself (to Magiville and Mystica, respectively), since they don't make sense with human characters.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Nightmare Moon, when she realizes that she's about to lose.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie, on meeting each other for the first time. Twilight because she's startled, while Pinkie thinks they're having a screaming contest.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Greek Mythology is referenced several times.
    • The prophet Delphi, whose emblem was a green snake.
    • The Charon is named after the ferryman of the River Styx.
    • The Hades is named after the Greek God of the Underworld.
  • Royal "We": Nightmare Moon. The fact that she stops using it during the Final Battle is a sign of her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Rule of Funny: Pinkie says that this is why Twilight's No Sense of Direction won't be in effect when they're trying to get to the castle; it wouldn't be funny at this point.
  • Running Gag: Twilight's lack of a sense of direction.
    • People mistaking Spike for an iguana.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Happens twice:
    • First, the girls have to fight each member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad (or a trap laid by them, in Iron Will's case) while making their way to the castle in the Everfree.
    • The second time (which ends up more like The Rest Shall Pass), has them running into each villain again while fighting their way through the castle itself, with the girls peeling off one by one to deal with them and catching back up later.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Almost everyone in Magiville has this exact same thought (with almost this exact same wording) when Nightmare Moon No Sells their combined attacks.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Nightmare Moon at the beginning of the story, obviously. Unlike her canon self, we actually get a glimpse of her in the moon, and she's able to communicate with beings outside her prison. This is how she founds the Shadow Blades and recruits the other villains.
  • Senior Sleep-Cycle: Granny Smith. Asleep in her first appearance, wakes up, back to sleep not two minutes later.
  • Sequel Hook: Like in canon, Twilight ultimately chooses to stay in Magiville with her new friends, opening up the possibility of more stories.
  • Serious Business: How Rarity, Aloe, and Lotus treat Twilight's desperate need of a makeover.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Squee: Twilight's rather literal reaction when Celestia is revealed to be alive.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The Diamond Dogs chase the girls into an Ursa Minor's cave in the hopes that they'll enrage it and it will kill them. Fluttershy calms it down, and then sics it back on the werewolves.
  • Talk to the Fist: Rainbow Does does this quite literally when she recognizes Nightshade.
    Nightshade: Oh, you're trying to look tough in front of the big, bad murderer? I'm so scared! Somebody save me from this fangirl's righteous f— (punch)
  • This Cannot Be!: Nightmare Moon's reaction when the Elements of Harmony are activated.
  • Traumatic Hair Cut: Iron Will cuts off part of Stvenmgynt's mustache in order to enrage him into attacking the mages. Rarity "avenges" this by shaving Iron Will bald after defeating him.
  • Tunnel King: The werewolves of the Diamond Dogs clan.
  • Turn Undead: The paladin incantation used by Applejack to wipe out the undead horde that is closing on them. It's dangerous (she says there is a risk of all of them dying in the process) and quite lengthy (necessitating the other mages to set up a protective barrier in the meantime) but very efficient in the end.
  • Ultimate Universe: As noted above, the story re-imagines the pilot two-parter with humans and a medieval fantasy setting. In addition to that, it also incorporates characters and concepts that wouldn't appear until later in the series.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Twilight gets suspended on a tree by Pinkamena, so that she can have some fun.
    Twilight: Pinkie, why am I hanging from a tree?
  • Villainous Breakdown: When the girls manage to activate the Elements of Harmony, Nightmare Moon flies into a rage, and even stops using the Royal "We".
  • Walking Wasteland: Chrysalis the Necromancer.
  • Weak, but Skilled: How Nightmare Moon feels about Twilight.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    • The Grand Master repeatedly tries to get Pinkie to rejoin the Shadow Blades, but she refuses.
    • Nightshade offers Rainbow Dash a chance to join the Shadowbolts. Dash responds by shooting her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Chrysalis is the only one of Nightmare Moon's minions killed. We're never shown what happens to the others after they're defeated.
  • Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: Pinkie Pie closes an imaginary zipper over her mouth, but even then she can't help repeat Are We There Yet? again. Thanks to Twilight's magic, the zipper gets a lot less imaginary.
  • Worthy Opponent: Iron Will has barely any negative qualities, he just accepted a contract he is loathe to break.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: How Nightmare Moon speaks, including using the Royal "We".
  • Your Mom: Nightmare Moon gives a your mom joke to Rainbow Dash.
    Nightmare Moon: Is this how thou treat all visiting royalty? With threats of violence thou cannot hope to fulfill? Or was thy mother too busy whoring herself to teach thee proper manners?
    Rainbow Dash: Congratulations. That was the worst yo mama joke I've ever heard.