|Published:||March 27, 2013 (#5)|
April 24, 2013 (#6)
May 16, 2013 (#7)
June 13, 2013 (#8)
G. M. Berrow (#6 pp. 25-27)
|Credits • Gallery • Allusions|
The Return of Queen Chrysalis
Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair
The second arc of the comic series, untitled within the comics themselves but titled Nightmare Rarity in a tumblr post by Brenda Hickey, spans Issues 5-8 of the comics. It features an original villain, as well as the return of Nightmare Moon.
The story begins with Twilight Sparkle having a nightmare, galloping away from something through a dilapidated village. She screams in horror as shadows reach for her, only to be woken up.
Twilight has apparently been suffering from nightmares for an entire week. As she and Spike walk through Ponyville, she looks through her books for a cure, to no avail. As Twilight wonders about what's causing the nightmares, a half-asleep Rainbow Dash crashes into her. Dash reveals that she'd been having nightmares over the past week as well. Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy walk up and reveal that they've all been having nightmares too.
The friends decide to having a slumber party at Pinkie Pie's house that night; while they're still concerned about the nightmares, they're certain a night of fun will help them sleep peacefully. A few hours after they go to sleep, they experience the nightmares again—as a strange, black mist seeps into the room through cracks in the window and enters the ponies' ears. Twilight dreams of being dismissed from the royal court of Canterlot forever. Applejack dreams of her family blaming her for losing their land to drought. Fluttershy dreams of her animal friends running from her in fear. Rainbow Dash dreams of being unable to fly with the Wonderbolts. Pinkie dreams of being unable to make ponies laugh. Finally, Rarity dreams of her friends rejecting her gifts and abandoning her in favor of a new pony named Maybelle.
Twilight and her friends are awoken as the black mist swirls around Rarity and carries her out of the room and up toward the moon. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy fly up to rescue Rarity, but she and the black mist vanish into thin air. As Spike breaks down in tears over Rarity's abduction, Twilight writes a letter to Princess Celestia. The five ponies wonder about the connection between the black mist and their dreams and decide to seek out Princess Luna, who controls dreams and was taken over by Nightmare Moon. Twilight is about to write another letter, but Celestia and Luna have already arrived on the scene.
Princess Luna explains that, although she doesn't have a clear answer for what's happening, she knows that dark and evil forces have taken Rarity to the Nightmare Dreamscape. According to her, when she was Nightmare Moon, she thought that she could show other ponies how special she was by making them fear her. Often, these "Nightmare Forces" would decide for her on what to do. Once Luna returned to normal by the Elements of Harmony, she hoped that these dark forces would disappear. However, they somehow got enough energy from the new moon's cycle to claim what Nightmare Moon promised them: a powerful kingdom of their own.
Alarmed, the ponies decide to take immediate action, but Luna warns that the dark forces, having been defeated by the Elements once before, will come after them and destroy Ponyville. Luna proposes that she go alone, to the ponies' protest. Celestia tells Luna that the Elements are no ordinary ponies and to trust in them. Reluctantly, Luna agrees to this. Celestia explains that she can send Twilight and her friends to the Dreamscape and will help prepare Ponyville for the upcoming attack. Luna says that she hopes Rarity is brave, for "the Nightmare Dreamscape is not for the faint of heart."
Within the Dreamscape itself, Rarity is seen bound to a throne. She puts on a tough face at first, but as the dark forces whoosh around her, her determination falters. The dark forces surround Rarity and glare menacingly at her, to which she remarks, "Oh, dear. That is definitely a step up... Good show, wooshie things."
Princess Celestia magically lassoes the moon, and she, the ponies, Spike, and Princess Luna pull it closer to Earth. Celestia goes to prepare Ponyville for battle, while the others walk across the rope to get to the moon. Luna warns the ponies that the Nightmare Forces will confront them with their greatest fears, but they're determined to save Rarity. When Spike, clad in knight's armor, accidentally snaps the rope, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Luna save Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Spike from falling. Spike nearly loses a fire ruby intended for Rarity, but Twilight recovers it with her magic.
Upon arriving on the moon, Luna says that when the Nightmare Forces came back to life, they needed a form to take and put the peaceful inhabitants of the moon under their spell.
Elsewhere on the moon, Rarity is confronted by the Nightmare Forces' leader, Larry, who prefers to be called Shadowfright. Shadowfright and his sidekick take advantage of Rarity's generosity, telling her that only she can help them and that they'd never reject her as they say her friends eventually will. As Rarity is overcome with a desire to help, the Nightmare Forces shroud her body in black mist.
Twilight, Spike, Luna, and the others run into the Nightmare Forces and, following a brief pursuit, are subjected them to their worst nightmares. In Twilight's nightmare, Celestia dismisses her (similar to her nightmare in The Crystal Empire - Part 2) and says the magic of friendship is dead because of her, until Spike and Luna tell her it's just a nightmare, and she breaks free. One by one, Twilight, Spike, and Luna help the others break free of their own nightmares: Rainbow Dash's nightmare of being unable to fly and help a flooding Ponyville, Pinkie Pie's nightmare of being jeered on stage and pelted with tomatoes, Fluttershy's nightmare of being growled at by her animal friends, and Applejack's nightmare of being blamed for the land becoming barren and causing everypony to starve.
As Twilight and the others face off against the Nightmare Forces, Shadowfright and his sidekick arrive to taunt and threaten Luna into becoming Nightmare Moon again in exchange for sparing the others. Twilight and the others stand by Luna's side—as her friend—and she refuses. The Nightmare Forces, however, were prepared for this and introduce to Twilight and company their new queen: Nightmare Rarity.
A Crown Achievement
A "FREE first look" at chapter 1 of the prose story Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell. Twilight Sparkle is nervous about what her newfound status as a princess of Equestria means for her future. She searches the Golden Oak Library for a book on how to be a good princess and leader, but she doesn't find anything. When she laments needing help, Spike reminds her of a similar situation Daring Do faced in one of her books and suggests she ask someone with leadership experience.
Princess Celestia prepares the citizens of Ponyville against an imminent attack by the Nightmare Forces, and is almost certain they'll be ready for whatever comes. A silhouette of Nightmare Moon suddenly appears on the moon's surface, to several ponies' horror, but Celestia remarks that it doesn't look like Luna.
Rarity has been turned into the new Nightmare Moon by the Nightmare Forces. The others try to get through to her, but are unsuccessful. Nightmare Rarity taunts Princess Luna by saying if she'd become Nightmare Moon again, her friends would be spared, and her refusal means they'll never forgive her. Nonetheless, Twilight and the others stand by Luna, and a fight ensues between the ponies and the Nightmare Forces. Rainbow Dash incapacitates Shadowfright, but his sidekick hurls Spike into the distance. As the battle tips in the Nightmare Forces' favor, Twilight tells Luna to go back to Ponyville and help. Reluctantly, Luna flies back to Earth as the ponies are captured.
Nightmare Rarity has the five ponies imprisoned in a dungeon below her castle. The ponies start to give in to despair; Twilight says that without Rarity, they can't use the Elements of Harmony, and a spell on the castle prevents her magic from working. As Fluttershy befriends a Nightmare-corrupted rabbit (whom she later names Miss Buffy), the others presume Spike is dead.
Spike had survived his fall, however. He gets back up and goes to the Nightmare Forces' castle, using small slug-like creatures as camouflage to get close. Nightmare Rarity plans an attack on Ponyville and tells Shadowfright she chose Rarity as her vessel because she had a deep, dark secret that made it easier to possess her. When asked what to do with the imprisoned ponies once they conquer Ponyville, Nightmare Rarity jokes they could lock them up and throw away the key. However, Shadowfright's sidekick misplaced the key, and an angry Shadowfright sends him to find it while Spike looks for the dungeon.
Spike eventually finds himself in a throne room where Rarity appears and asks him to be her king. She tells him to forget the past, but he doesn't want to. When Spike shows Rarity the fire ruby and she doesn't recognize it, he realizes that it isn't really her, causing Nightmare Rarity's dream to fade away. Spike tries to tell Rarity he loves her, but Nightmare Rarity says it's too late for Rarity. Shadowfright and his sidekick restrain Spike as he declares he'll never help the Nightmare Forces. Nightmare Rarity, however, says there's nothing he could help her with, and that this nightmare has only just begun.
Princess Luna returns to Ponyville to inform her sister of the ponies' capture and of the Nightmare Forces' impending attack. Celestia says they'll be ready, and Luna is resolved to help.
In the dungeon, Rainbow Dash throws a fit over her and her friends' situation, annoying Applejack and spurring an argument. When Fluttershy reminds them of what good friends they all are, a warm glow envelops their bodies; Twilight thinks the glow is their friendship lighting them up from within.
On the castle balcony, Shadowfright continues to taunt the restrained Spike, telling him that Rarity's transformation will soon be permanent and breaking his fire ruby into pieces. As Nightmare Rarity, now clad in gold jewel-studded armor, and the Nightmare Forces commence the attack on Ponyville, Spike, using the camouflage slugs from before, manages to sneak away. He gathers up the pieces of his fire ruby and goes to free Twilight and her friends from confinement. Guided by the light of the ponies' friendship, he sneaks past Shadowfright's sidekick and into the dungeon. Spike tries in vain to set the ponies free from their cages; luckily, Pinkie Pie has the sidekick's key, which had fallen out of his pocket earlier and she'd forgotten about afterward. When the sidekick catches wind of the group's escape, he blocks the exit and prevents them from leaving. However, it's clear to the ponies that the rest of the Nightmare Forces don't respect him—Shadowfright doesn't even know his name. Nonetheless, he refuses to let the ponies leave.
Meanwhile, in Ponyville, Rarity and the Nightmare Forces begin their attack, and the village turns into a warzone. Princess Luna faces off against Nightmare Rarity, and an exploitation of Luna's weakness gives Rarity the upper hand. However, her efforts to turn the other ponies against Luna are futile; in spite of her past as Nightmare Moon, Celestia and the citizens of Ponyville accept Luna as one of them. With renewed confidence, Luna resolves to protect Ponyville and defeat Nightmare Rarity, and her mane becomes a rippling, translucent blue.
As Nightmare Rarity spits at the sentimentality, Shadowfright's sidekick, apparently named Jerome and now no longer smoky in appearance, arrives with Spike and the other Elements of Harmony. Princess Luna, channeling the Elements' magic, purges the moon creatures of the nightmare energy as well, including Shadowfright. Luna and the Elements then shower the still defiant Nightmare Rarity in magical light. The nightmare energy's grip on the real Rarity is momentarily loosed, but due to Rarity's lack of certainty in herself, the energy's too powerful to destroy. Twilight rallies her friends to remember the things about Rarity that they love, to show how special she is to them and how she'll never be forgotten. The power of the love they hold for their friend restores Spike's shattered fire ruby and banishes the nightmare energy from Rarity's body completely. With the Nightmare Forces' defeat, Rarity tearfully reunites with her friends and family.
Later that night, Princess Luna goes to escort the moon creatures back home, promising to visit Twilight and her friends soon. Fluttershy leaves the rabbit she befriended in the dungeon in Jerome and Larry's care. Luna bids goodnight to her friends and thanks them for freeing her of her nightmare.
The story ends with Twilight, Spike, their friends, and Princess Celestia looking fondly at the full moon.
- "Nightmares are nothing but fear that lives inside all of you. You've shown me that we all have the power to defeat them if you just shine a little light of love on them!"
- — Princess Luna, final caption of issue #8
- Spike: Morning, Twilight! How'd ya—
- Twilight: Don't even ask, Sir Sleepsalot.
- Spike: Not another nightmare! That's every day this week!
- Twilight Sparkle: Have you had nightmares, too?
- Rarity: Whenever I close my eyes, I'm struck with those ghastly images!
- Applejack: Every single night, I reckon, Rarity, er, Twilight.
- Fluttershy: The baddest dreams ever!
- Pinkie Pie: If anything can chase away those heebie-jeebie dreams, it's a girly night of fun! Right, Rainbow Dash?
- Rainbow Dash: Super. Duper. Fun.
- Rarity: Please, let me help... Don't forget about me.
- Twilight Sparkle: If we have to face our fears to get Rarity back, then that's what we'll do.
- Pinkie Pie: Yeah!
- Fluttershy: Meep.
- Pinkie Pie: We're jump-roping to the moon?!
- Shadowfright: Without you, our existence is meaningless... Your generosity would save us.
- Rarity: No! My friends! They need me!
- Shadowfright: Do they? Or will they reject your gift once somepony new comes along? Somepony with a bit less attitude, maybe?
- Princess Celestia: The magic of friendship is dead, Twilight, and it's all because of you.
- Twilight Sparkle: Friendship is not dead... And nightmares aren't real!
- Pinkie Pie: Guess what, nightmare schitemare?! I am the most laughter-giving, fun-having, friend-making pony ever! You have no power over me!
- Princess Luna: I'm your friend?
- Pinkie Pie: Well, duh!
- Princess Celestia: The preparations are almost complete. Whatever nightmare may be coming for Ponyville, we'll be ready. I hope...
- Scootaloo: A "saves Ponyville from certain doom" cutie mark would be so cool!
- Apple Bloom: Not now, Scootaloo... But it would be awesome!
- Cheerilee: Nightmare Moon is back?!
- Princess Celestia: ...But that doesn't look like Luna.
- Nightmare Rarity: You ponies are dense, aren't you? Remember those Nightmare Forces you "destroyed" with your little Elements of Harmony when Luna was around? Well, guess what? You didn't do such a super job after all—they now control your friend... Me, I suppose. Rarity is gone! Do I need to make a diagram or something with pictures so you can understand?
- Spike: That's the first time I've ever hated you saying the word "cute," Rarity. But you're not Rarity! Not my Rarity!
- Princess Luna: How could you leave the ponies? Your weakness made you Nightmare Moon once, and now you're weak again... You'll never be strong, Luna.
- Nightmare Rarity: Are my ears burning? Because with how hot I look, I should be on fire!
- Nightmare Rarity: Still trying to fight back your fear and anger, Luna? Tsk-tsk. Give into the darkness! Join the party.
- Princess Luna: I will defeat you! Alone!
- Trixie: Everypony deserves a second chance—even a third chance!
- Nightmare Rarity: You are all fools! Love! Trust! Friendship! Bleh! Try power! Fear! Darkness!
- Spike: You mean everything to me. Please come home.
- Fluttershy: And you'll change her bows every other day? Promise?
- Jerome: I promise! We'll have so much fun with her new baby, right Shadowfright?
- Larry: Call me Larry.
- Brenda Hickey. Guess what’s coming to a comic store near you this November?. tumblr. Retrieved on 2013 September 27.