The Dream Stalker

Princess Luna slips through the dreams of her subjects, helping them conquer their fears and anxieties in any way she can.
But its a thankless task... one that often leaves Luna filled with the old bitterness she once felt before her banishment. The bitterness begins to take hold until, one night, she stumbles upon a pony who dreams exclusively of her... Perhaps her task wasn't as unappreciated as she thought.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/196944/the-dream-stalker

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5. Night 5: Sweetie Belle, Discord & ???

Sweetie Belle stared at the clock with unflinching attention. The second hand ticked on, marching to the beat of time. When the minute hand finally clicked over to the hour, Sweetie Belle turned to the door.

Nothing.

Her ears dropped and her shoulders slumped. Disheartened, she slowly turned her attention back toward the clock. Tick. Tick. Tick. She watched the hands spin on… Slowly. Surely. Ticking.

 

Nothing.

The dream was silent save the ticking of the emotionless clock. Luna didn’t understand what was happening. Sweetie Belle had been staring at that clock since the start of the dream. Just… staring.

Luna stepped from the walls of Sweetie’s Belle house and stood before the tiny filly.

“Luna?” Sweetie Belle gasped. “Does… does that mean I’m dreaming again?”

“What do you think?” Luna asked with a smile.

“I… I don’t know… It seems so real…”

“What are you waiting for, Sweetie Belle? Why do you watch the clock so?”

“I’m waiting for my sister, Rarity. She said she was going to pick me up, but… but she was supposed to be here two hours ago.” Sweetie Belle hung her head and sighed. “I guess she had more important things to do…”

“Sweetie Belle… You know your sister loves you very much.”

“I know, I know. I just wish… I just wish she showed it more.” Sweetie Belle picked herself up from the floor and shook off her depression like a dog with water. “Nope! I’m not going to let it bother me! I know Rarity can get lost in her work sometimes. That’s okay. Mistakes happen.”

Luna smiled, again wishing to help ponies through their dreams. “Are you not busy then, Sweetie Belle?”

“Busy? I guess not.”

“Then come with me. There is another pony I wish you to see.”

“Okay!”

The two of them trotted from Sweetie Belle’s house and into the dreamscape of Ponyville. It had been midafternoon according to the clock, but outside it was night. Using her magic, Luna rearranged the dreams of her pony subjects, again linking ponies that would have never interacted with each other without her intervention. When they arrived, they were standing before an outdoor stage…

“Who wants to see more of The Great and Powerful Trixie!?”

Sweetie Belle looked up at the demonstration with wide eyes and fascination. “What’s going on?” she asked happily. “Is this a magician?”

“Who wants to see your new alicorn princess raise the stlab!?”

The crowd of ponies cheered and encouraged. Sweetie Belle got swept away in the excitement, even though she had no idea what a stlab was. Soon the giant multi-colored orb rose up into the sky, washing all the ponies with its kaleidoscope rays of light.

“Wow!” Sweetie Belle gasped. “That’s awesome!”

Trixie heard the filly and lifted her head with pride. “I know, dear. I am amazing.”

“Can I try?”

Trixie was suddenly taken aback. “Can you try?” she repeated with a dramatic flair. “I am the princess of the stlab! Only I can raise it!”

Sweetie Belle hung her head and sighed. “Oh… Just like Rarity… I guess I’ll never be given a chance to do anything…”

The dream crowd continued to cheer for Trixie, but now the unicorn was struck with guilt and compassion. Luna smiled to herself. It wasn’t enough to tell Trixie she should act differently to garner actual love from others, she had to want to change.

“Little filly,” Trixie addressed Sweetie Belle. “I’ve changed my mind. Your princess wants all her subjects to be happy. You can come up here and… and… help me raise the stlab, hm?”

“Really!?”

“Of course. I am not only awesome, but I’m also worthy of your love and affection.”

“Wow! All right!”

Sweetie Belle ran onto the stage and hoped up and down, excited to be a part of the action. Trixie smiled and was hesitant having the filly help her, but… Luna could tell it warmed Trixie’s heart to see the filly happy. Just like it warmed Luna’s heart to have Pip so close…

Just thinking about Pip made her turn away from the dream. The faster she got this done the quicker she could return to Pip. With a few powerful flaps of her wings, Luna ascended out of the dreamscape and into the next…

---

The gentle breeze and soothing tone of a peaceful river took Luna by surprise. The dream she had stepped into was lovely… a peaceful paradise. There were green fields of emerald grass, birds in the sky, a beautiful sunset and a single blossoming cherry tree. Nothing was out of place and the world was filled with order and reason.

Which made it all the more jarring when Luna spotted Discord near the trunk of the cherry tree. Slowly she walked over, confused by the serenity around her.

“Princess Luna,” Discord said aloud, without even bothering to turn and see her. “What brings you here?”

“D-Discord,” she stammered. “This is what you dream of?”

“Of what?”

“Of… order and peace? I thought, as a god of chaos, you would dislike such things…”

“Sometimes the things you cannot have are the ones you covet most,” he answered cryptically while picking a single pink flower from the tree. “What brings you here this evening?”

“I… I am the Princess of the Night. It is my duty to come into your dreams.”

“My dreams? Am I a citizen of Equestria now?”

“Of course.”

“How very interesting…” Discord released the flower to the wind and watched it sail away.

Luna walked up beside him and looked around. Nothing seemed amiss. “Is there anything troubling you, Discord? Anything at all?”

“Nothing your magic can help me with,” Discord earnestly replied. “My turmoil must be solved internally. As yours must.”

“Turmoil?” Luna asked incredulously. “I have long gotten over my turmoil.”

“We both know that’s a lie, princess,” Discord said with a half-smile.

“How would you know of my turmoil?”

“I know a lot of things. Like… you would much rather be in a different dream right now, wouldn’t you?”

Luna took a step back, confused by Discord’s freakish knowledge. “Perhaps I would, perhaps I wouldn’t.”

“It matters nothing to me where you are, princess. Why don’t you go to that dream now? I’m fine by myself. I’ll think some more…”

“Maybe I will.”

“Farewell, princess,” Discord said with a dark smile.

Luna turned away from the chaotic creature and flew through the sky. She never understood Discord. Even now, seeing his dreams, she still didn’t understand. That doesn’t matter, Luna thought. I’ve found my rhythm. I know how to help ponies now… Nothing will get in my way. Nothing.

---

Luna touched down into the dreamscape of Ponyville with a smile. She wanted to take Pip on another adventure tonight. A happy adventure. One with caves and puzzles and dragons… She flew through the streets, eager to see the tiny pinto colt.

“Pip!” she called out. “Pip! Where are you?”

The deafening silence bothered her. Didn’t he say he would wait for her? Didn’t he say he would be outside? Her guardian of the night?

“Pip?” she asked the empty ghost town. “Pip? I… I’m not playing.”

Silence.

Luna raced through the streets. There was nopony here. It was empty. Only the wind and her shadow were companions. Where was Pipsqueak? Wasn’t this his dream? Wasn’t this where she was supposed to meet him? Where was he?

“Pip! Pip, where are you!?” she called out.

All that responded was her echo.

Standing in the middle of town square, Luna took a few deep breaths. Perhaps he was playing hide and seek? It’s just a game, Luna tried to reassure herself. Just a game… I’ll find him. I’ll find him soon enough.

“You will never find him.”

Luna cringed away from the dark and malevolent voice. “W-who is there?” she asked, her voice cracking from fright. She already knew the answer…

“You know me. I know you. We are one in the same.”

“No!” Luna immediately barked back. “No! We are not the same!” She backed away and watched in terror as shadows began slithering through the streets of the dreamscape… creeping ever closer… “What have you done with Pip!?”

“Pip… Stop fooling yourself, Luna.”

The shadows and darkness ate away at the town, destroying all that was left of the dream. The evil and hate was all around her now… an aura of bitterness and rage… she couldn’t shake it. She could never shake it.

“You thought this was all real? Poor, stupid, Luna…”

“What… what do you mean?” Luna asked, trying to keep her composure. What was she going to do? The Nightmare Force was all around her now… threatening to drown out her very existence…

“You’re dreaming, Luna. You were always dreaming.”

“What? I… I don’t understand.” Luna backed away, keeping her head low and her magic ready. She would attack the darkness if need be, but she knew that wouldn’t help much. What was she going to do?

“You’re dreaming. You’re dreaming of helping ponies solve their dreams. You’re dreaming of being their princess once more… You’re dreaming you were back in Equestria… back with your sister…”

“I am back on Equestria! I got rid of you! The elements of harmony saved me! I’m free!” Luna was yelling now, trying hard to push the darkness back with everything she had, even her voice.

“You know in your heart that isn’t true. If the elements really saved you, why do you still feel my presence? Why do you still suffer the same bitterness as before? You’re a dream stalker, Luna. You live in your dreams and create worlds with which to cope with your problems. You’re nothing more than a husk for my magic to dwell in.”

“No!” Luna defiantly shouted. “No! You’re wrong! I’m not dreaming! I’m not!”

She struggled to break free but the more she tried to escape, the more she realized… She was dreaming. Luna spread her wings and tried to fly, but right-side up was now reversed and all of reality false… She was dreaming… This was a dream… But did that make everything a dream? Had she been dreaming when she helped all the ponies? When she spoke to Discord? When she played with Pip? Had they all been a figment of her imagination?

Luna crumpled to the ground, shaken by these troubling questions. “No…” she whispered to herself. “No… it can’t be…”

“Can’t it?” the Nightmare Force whispered in her ears. “But fear not, Luna. Close your eyes and dream further… block out your problems with a dreamscape so pleasant you’ll never return. It’s the only way to find happiness, Luna. The only way to survive your fears.”

The Nightmare Forces crept up on her, blocking out all light and sound. It was dark now. Unnaturally dark. Luna shivered, fearful of the darkness consuming her body… “I can’t… I can’t become Nightmare Moon again… Leave me alone… Leave me alone…”

“Dream me away, Luna. Fall asleep in your dream and never return to this place. Pip is waiting for your there. They all are. Your sister… your subjects… Close your eyes, Luna. Dream of them and forget you ever saw me…”

Luna closed her eyes and wiped away the tears on her face. Was this all just a dream? Had it all really been in her mind’s eye? “Somepony… Anypony…Help me…”

Suddenly a light appeared! A light so marvelous and stunning it cast out the shadows and the darkness with just a few rays. Luna blinked back the brilliance, stunned by its presence.

“Leave my sister alone,” Celestia commanded, the rays of the sun emanating from her horn. With a wave of her head an arch of light cascaded through the darkness and banished it from Luna.

“S-sister,” Luna said, barely able to believe her eyes. “You…”

Without warning, Luna jerked awake.

She sat up on her bed, covered in her own sweat and shaking in fear. This was her room in the Canterlot Castle… And Celestia was next to her bed. The sun was up and all seemed well…

“Sister?” Luna gasped, barely able to understand what was happening.

“My dearest sister,” Celestia said with a sad smile. “You were having a nightmare.”

“I… I was… How did you know to come rescue me?”

Celestia levitated a letter over to her bed. “I received this message the other day from a pony in Ponyville. It seems they were correct. Why don’t read it?”

Luna glanced down at the parchment and stared at it for a moment before comprehending the writing. It was from a foal but still legible. It read:

 

Dear Princess Celestia,

I promised Princess Luna I would be her Guardian of the Night, but I’m not old enough to move to Canterlot yet. Could you please watch over Princess Luna until then? I’m afraid she might be having nightmares and she doesn’t have a princess that will help her unless you’re there to wake her up.

I will see you once I become a royal guard.

Pipsqueak

Stunned by the contents of the letter, Luna allowed it to sink in for just a few moments. Pipsqueak really had saved her… If he hadn’t written this letter… who knows what would have happened.

“I think the colt is taken with you,” Celestia said with a smile. “I’m glad he was looking out for you like he did.”

“Yes…” Princess Luna muttered. “I’m glad.”

“You’ll be glad to hear that he also got all the ponies in Ponyville to write you thank you letters. They’re out in the grand hall whenever you’re ready to read them.” Celestia turned and left Luna a moment to recover from her terrible nightmare.

Luna glanced back down at the letter and studied it. Without hesitation, she pinned it up to the wall next to a picture of the moon she kept hanging by her bed. Pip was her star. The light that guided her when all else was dark. The light that was always by the moon’s side.

Thank you, Pip, she thought. My Guardian of the Night.

 

The End

 

 

Author's Note:

The sequel: The Guardian of the Night.

 

 

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