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This is but one of the legends of which the ponies speak…

Long ago, there was a land governed by madness. No happiness existed for the ponies there; life was miserable and brief.

As the ponies of this land cried out for salvation, two sisters answered their call. They cast down the chaos and brought order with the magic of the Elements of Harmony.

The elder sister raised the sun at dawn and bathed the land in the warmth and heat of day. The younger sister called the moon to the sky at dusk, and by her grace the evenings were calm and pleasant. Together the two sisters ruled the land in harmony and equality.

But the younger sister grew angry at the ponies who were her subjects, for they relished her sister's day while casting aside her own lovely night. The younger sister's hate and fury consumed her; she became Nightmare Moon, a wicked pony who wished to plunge the world into eternal shadow.

To free the land from Nightmare Moon's darkness, the elder one used the Elements of Harmony to seal her sister into the moon. The elder sister, now sole proprietor of the land, scattered the Elements of Harmony and took responsibility of raising both sun and moon.

However, Nightmare Moon's imprisonment could never be permanent. One thousand years later, she escaped her confinement. Six ponies united as the new wielders of the Elements of Harmony to cast down the darkness once more.

…Or so it should have gone.

The six ponies meant to wield them never appeared, and the Elements remained scattered and forgotten. Nightmare Moon banished the elder sister, and now the land stands threatened with perpetual night and anguish.

In this land, where Laughter is but a dream…

Where Generosity is unknown…

Where Kindness gives way to hatred…

Where Loyalty is a mere memory…

Where Honesty lies forgotten…

And where the only Magic is the pitch black rule of the night…

Is there any hope left?

"Twilight! Twilight Sparkle!"

The lavender unicorn tossed and turned at the sound of her name. "Nnggh…not this early…" she grumbled underneath the warm covers of her bed. "It's not even light out yet…leave me alone."

"Twilight! We need you!"

Twilight's eyes snapped open as the unwanted cacophony continued. "All right," she muttered. "All right, I'm coming!" She shuffled through the cluttered, book-stuffed confines of her small apartment and nudged the door open. A shifty, pale brown colt with a cutie mark like a stopwatch—one of the Mayor's many assistants for the Summer Sun Celebration—stood at the door.

"Yes?" she said. Twilight readied her mouth for an oncoming yawn, the sort that always appeared whenever she was so rudely awoken, but to her bemusement none came. Odd… she thought. Her body lacked the aches and stiffness so typical of early risings. It's still dark out, so why do I feel as though I've a full night's rest?

The colt trotted back and forth nervously. "Twilight," he began, shaking his head to and fro in distress, "this is just terrible! The Summer Sun Celebration—"

"What about it?" Twilight interrupted, tossing her head about. "We've still loads of time before Her Highness raises the sun—"

"No, we don't! Twilight, did you take a look at your clock?"

Twilight turned and, with a sensation of unease settling in her gut, stole a glance back into her apartment. Her clock sat perched on the small desk next to the cot which served as her bed. The darkness impeded her vision, but the hands were still visible.

"Nine o'clock?" Twilight yelped. "But—but the festival should have started hours ago! How can it be this dark? Where is the Princess?"

"We have no idea," the colt replied. "She never showed up, and the sun has yet to rise. The royal guards are in a terrible fuss! They're practically tearing Ponyville to confetti in their search! For some reason the Mayor thinks we ought to speak to you. We looked for you at the ceremony, but your absence was conspicuous."

"The Mayor asked for me? You can't possibly think I have knowledge of the Princess?" Twilight said, shocked. "I'm nopony at all—just a bookish clerk living at the edge of town, a unicorn with no magical talent…"

"Nonetheless, I've been sent to escort you. Come along, then!"

Twilight stepped out of her small abode, uncomfortably looking at the blackness of the night sky above her. This can't be… Twilight thought as her hooves brushed against the dirt pathway. Nopony in the world is as powerful as Princess Celestia…she's ruled Equestria for hundreds of years! She has mastery over the sun itself!As she gazed at the stars and moon hanging motionlessly in the celestial ceiling above her, her pace slowed considerably.

"Twilight! Twilight!" The unicorn snapped out of her thoughts to find the neurotic colt glaring at her. "You do realize this is a crisis?"

"Sorry," Twilight said, speeding her trot to match his. "I was just lost in thought—wondering what on earth could cause this. I mean, have you ever seen the Princess raise the sun?"

"No," he replied. "Ponyville hasn't hosted the Celebration in decades."

"Well, I have. I remember seeing her lift the sun into the sky as a little filly…it was incredible. I consider it one of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life. I couldn't imagine the magic it would take to pull that off…"

"That special, eh?" the colt said with a sideways glance at Twilight. "I suppose that's why you stayed home from the festival—no need to see an once-in-a-lifetime sight twice?"

"No," Twilight replied in discomfort.

"Well, why would you miss something this special?" her companion asked.

Because my awe at the Princess' control over the sun ignited an unrealistic dream in me, Twilight thought with anguish. I can't forget the humiliation I suffered that day at the academy…the same humiliation that inspired me to move out to a boondocks village and escape my parents' disappointing eyes.

"It's…complicated," she said.

The colt took the hint; the two ponies walked the rest of the distance in an uncomfortable silence.

As they approached the festival plaza, a nervous crowd of ponies gradually parted to allow Twilight through. She heard muttering all around her.

"Thisis who we're meant to put our trust in?"

"Isn't she that egghead clerk I see around every so often?"

And then, a filly's voice rang through the air like the peal of a bell, cutting across the murmurs. "Mommy, mommy, she's a grown-up pony! So why is her flank blank?"

The filly's mother quickly silenced the child, but the damage had been done; Twilight's cheeks burned crimson in shame. Most ponies got their cutie marks in adolescence. Some lucky ponies got them even earlier than that. Twilight was nearly full-grown, yet her flank was blank.

Just another failure from everypony's favorite screw-up, Twilight Sparkle. The thought rang bitterly through her head. Can't even achieve the most fundamental action any pony could hope to accomplish.

Twilight stepped inside the small makeshift tent serving as the Mayor's field office. A number of ponies occupied the enclosure, most of them bulky, armored royal guards. The Mayor of Ponyville, an earth pony with a light brown coat and a wavy grey mane, glanced at Twilight as she entered.

"Finally!" said the Mayor. "What in the name of Equestria possessed you to skip the Celebration?"


"Never mind! As I'm sure you've pieced together, Ponyville faces a huge crisis right now! Her Highness is missing and the night never ends!"

"I understand," Twilight said sheepishly. "But what I don't get is…why have you asked for me? I'm nopony…just a clerk who likes books…"

"Not long after Her Highness' disappearance became known to us," the Mayor said, "a strange being appeared to us. It called itself Amethyst. It said that a terrible foe has unleashed itself upon Equestria and that powerful magic is required to counteract this threat. You will go and meet with this being on behalf of all the ponies of Ponyville."

Before Twilight could respond, a mocking voice cut in. "Powerful magic? Surely you wouldn't entrust a rank neophyte with such terrible power."

The speaker stepped forward—a blue unicorn mare wearing a cape of purple with silver star designs and a jewel brooch. "Surely you would entrust this awesome responsibility to a unicorn of demonstrated magical finesse—indeed, a unicorn none other than she who stands before you at this very instant! The great and powerful TRIXIE!"

"Miss Trixie," the Mayor said, placing a hoof to her face in exasperation, "as…appreciatedas your offers of assistance have been, I feel the need to remind you—yet again—that you are merely an entertainer Ponyville booked for the celebration. This is a matter of great delicacy, so please, step outside."

"Hmph!" said Trixie. "A matter of great delicacy, you say? And yet you send away the great and powerful Trixie, only to turn your attentions to this mediocre unicorn." Trixie's eyes fixated on Twilight, and her mouth twisted into a vicious smile.

"Even if Trixie were to commit the injustice of categorizing herself as a mere 'entertainer,'" the blue unicorn said, "would that still not prove a better alternative than a blank flank who hasn't a talent to her name?"

Twilight stared at the ground, incapable of meeting anypony's eye.

"Miss Trixie!" the Mayor said in outrage. "Now is not the time to snipe at one another. And Twilight Sparkle will be the one to meet with Amethyst—because Amethyst specifically requested her!"

"Wh-what?" Twilight said in shock, looking up to see surprise on the faces of all the other ponies present—especially Trixie. "How—that can't be! I'm just a quiet unicorn from Canterlot! I have nothing to do with any of this craziness…"

"Amethyst is our greatest lead—no, our onlylead on this occurrence," the grey-maned mare said. "And it has said it will speak to you and nopony else. For the safety of Equestria and all of Ponyville…"

"All right," Twilight said. "I'll meet with this…thing. What is Amethyst, anyway? You speak as if it's not a pony…"

The Mayor exchanged a look with one of the guards. "It's difficult to describe," said the guard. "You'll just have to see for yourself."

"Amethyst has taken residence in the town library," the Mayor stated.

"It's a bit of a walk through the darkened streets from this plaza," said a grey-coated royal guard. Unlike most of the entourage Twilight had seen, this pony was a unicorn, not a pegasus. "Already ponies have begun reporting of strange things writhing in the dark…allow me to accompany you, miss."

"That isn't possible," interjected the Mayor. "Amethyst specifically stated Twilight was to visit alone, and said that escorts absolutely could not be permitted."

"I understand," the guard said. "But at the very least, Miss Twilight, permit me to give you something with which to defend yourself. It's dangerous to go alone. Take this."

The guard levitated a sword over to Twilight.

"Oh!" the Mayor said in surprise. "You got a brass sword! Royal unicorn guards control these with their magic to engage in combat. It should be very useful!"

The guard helped Twilight put on the sword's strap—it wrapped about her body, holding the sheath in place atop her back.

"Good luck," he said after the process finished. Twilight nodded her nervous agreement and stepped out of the tent.

As she trotted away from the festival plaza and into the blackness of the unnaturally-dim Ponyville streets, Twilight found herself consumed in thought once more.

What time is it? She did the mental calculations in her head. If I'm right it's nearly ten-thirty.She couldn't help but look at the sky again, and shuddered. The blackness above her was too unnatural.

As the lights and sounds of the festival plaza faded behind her, strange sounds met Twilight's ears. She turned to spy a pair of gleaming ruby-colored eyes leering at her from the shadow of a building. The brass blade slid from its sheath with intense speed and hovered in the air as Twilight's telekinesis held it in place. The horn atop her head shimmered with purple light as it always did when she used magic.

The creature in the darkness scuttled away at the sight of the blade, but more sounds registered behind her. Twilight spun about, her hooves clipping against the earth, the sword held threateningly as pair after pair of beady red eyes met her gaze, only to slink away into the depths of the night.

No use standing here, Twilight chastised herself. Stay calm. Stay collected. A cool head is the greatest asset one can have during a crisis.

She marched slowly through the streets, ignoring the creatures around her and scaring away the more adventuresome ones with a few brandishes of her sword. Keep calm…don't let them see fear…

Her eyes adjusted to the black shroud of the unnatural night. With the stars and moon as light above, Twilight's eyes now picked up a great deal in the darkness. A fair ways down the street she saw the Ponyville library—a building built from the hollowed husk of a great tree. Twilight often wandered there in her time off, to browse through the scrolls and books.

As Twilight approached the library, her confidence took a dive as she noticed a plethora of the red-eyed creatures swarming about the door. She saw them clearly for the first time—small oval-shaped blobs of a mysterious black material with long, thin spider-like legs ending in small but fierce claws. The trademark pair of gleaming, round red eyes hung above a wide mouth filled with rows of tiny teeth.

I'm going to have to go through them if I'm to meet with Amethyst… she thought. And I doubt I can scare all of them away with my sword…

She stood still for a moment, her fear and doubt grappling with her resolve and the desire to help Ponyville in any way she could.

Whatever this Amethyst is, it's given me the opportunity I've wanted since I was a filly—to be something special. The thoughts swirled in Twilight's brain. But do I deserve this chance? I thought I was going to prove myself in the school, but…

Twilight shook her head. Whatever happened is in the past, Twi, she scolded herself. Now's not the time to dwell on it! And, since I'm going to meet with Amethyst and run into those creatures anyway, I might as well…

"CHAAAAARRRRRRGGGGEEEEEE!" Twilight screamed and, sword brandished, rushed the swarm of creatures surrounding the library.

They turned to her in surprise as she fell among them, blade swinging wildly. The creatures' constitution proved rather weak; it only took roughly two hits to slay them. To Twilight's astonishment—and relief—they didn't seem to be true living creatures, crumbling into what appeared to be soot after a few hits from her sword.

Many of the creatures scattered, fleeing in fear, but a few were brave enough to try an attack on Twilight. Their small claws and fierce teeth stung, but Twilight shook them off easily. It's not serious, she thought as small claw gashes registered in her flank. I'll recuperate later.

A ring of the creatures formed around Twilight, low guttural voices screeching as they threatened to rush her from all sides. As the sootlings surged forward, Twilight focused her magic power and spun her blade in a circle about herself. The sword clove through the sootlings, rendering them back to dust. Not a single one of the creatures survived the spin attack; the display proved impressive enough to frighten the others away.

Twilight exhaustedly sheathed the sword in its proper place on her back. Well, that wasn't too bad for your first time, Twi,she thought. Part of her wondered if a swordplay cutie mark graced her flank, but no great surprise registered when she confirmed it as still blank.

As the last of the sootlings dashed away, the sound of a lock being undone met Twilight's ears.

Whatever barred the door to those creatures…it's opening it for me.

Twilight took a deep breath and slowly nudged the door open.

Bookshelves lined the central room of the library, reaching higher than any pony Twilight knew. She saw recognized several titles: Pip's Awakening, Flight to the Past, Oracle of Courage.Being a hollowed-out tree, the library possessed a pleasant, earthy scent which hovered lightly just under notice. The familiar and comfortable smell put Twilight at ease, as it always did.

"I'm home…" she said quietly.

"You don't know how true your statement is."

The mysterious voice reverberated through the building, scaring Twilight into a small leap of fright.

"Wh-who's there?" the lavender pony cried out in shock. The brass sword quickly hovered before her once more.

No answer met her ears. Twilight's eyes scanned the room, but she found no sign of anypony.

A book suddenly levitated out from one of the many shelves, sliding slowly from its place. It almost looked as though it was being manipulated by unicorn magic, but none of the telltale sparks—sure sign of any object enchanted by a unicorn—emanated from it.

The book slowly floated over towards Twilight. Though she tried to keep a brave face, the unicorn couldn't help but back up a hoofful of steps.

The great unicorn hero, Twilight thought wryly. She does battle with the creatures of the night, only to cower at a book. Way to go, Twi.

The book dropped to the floor, pages flapping unassisted. The pages stopped on the heading of what looked to be a folk tale, with an illustration of a stylized black pony rearing against a white silhouetted moon.

"'The Mare in the Moon'…" Twilight read.

"You know of it?"

The mysterious voice rang out once again. Twilight managed to avoid a startled jump this time around.

"It's a folk tale," she said. "The Mare in the Moon—otherwise known as Nightmare Moon. Demon of Nightmare Night, haunter of ponydom's nightmares for one thousand years; the fallen sister of our beloved Princess Celestia. But what does this old mare's tale have to do with me?"

"The story speaks of Nightmare Moon's goals, does it not?"

"Nightmare Moon wished to cover the land in eternal darkness," Twilight replied. "But—surely you're not implying she's behind this darkness!"

"I can't think of anypony else who could benefit from eternal night," the voice replied. "And who could match powers with Celestia? Very few beings—her own sister might fit into that tier, however.

"And now that you understand the seriousness of the situation…"

A flash of light briefly illuminated the library. Twilight desperately shielded her face with her hoof, closing her eyes against the harsh brightness.

When she dared to look, she saw a ball of shining violet light hovering above the floor at about shoulder height.

"Amethyst…?" Twilight ventured.

"The very same," rejoined the translucent orb. Twilight couldn't pin the voice as either male or female, and it seemed to come from the air in the library, not Amethyst itself.

"I don't understand. What are you? How do you know of these events? And of all the ponies in Ponyville, why pick meto speak with?"

"Why choose you, Twilight Sparkle?" Amethyst said. "Because you are the only choice. Your magical strength and pugnacious will are the only things capable of harnessing the Elements of Harmony."

"Magical strength?" Twilight laced her reply with disbelief. "I know you're crazy, you…whatever-you-are. You're talking to a failed student of magic, a pony who couldn't conjure or enchant for her life. I humiliated myself at the exam for the Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns; I'm probably the wimpiest unicorn in Ponyville. In Equestria!"

"You wield that sword well," Amethyst noted. "Your magic is quite dexterous."

"Telekinesis and item manipulation are standard to all unicorns," Twilight said, downcast. "Every single one of us can do it. There's nothing special about waving this glorified stick around. My shoulders can't handle the weight of true magic power."

"And yet, it is your shoulders which bore the responsibility of confronting Nightmare Moon."

"'Bore?' That's past tense! Are you saying I've defeated Nightmare Moon somehow? Then why is it still dark?"

"It will be difficult to explain," Amethyst said. "I called you here to this library to make a point. Tell me, you've come here before, yes? What sort of feelings does this place instill in you—comfort? Familiarity? Nostalgia, perhaps?"

"So what if I feel those emotions coming here?" Twilight said huffily. "I enjoy reading, why shouldn't I feel content in a library?"

"You find this building pleasant not because it is a library," Amethyst said, "but because it is your home. Or rather, the home meant for you. But many things meant to be have not come to pass—you have not studied for years under Celestia, you have not become a celebrated scholar of magic, you have not attained a great bond with those who wield the Elements."

Me, a scholar of magic…a student to the Princess herself…respected…and I have a 'great bond' with the wielders of the Elements? I have…friends?

"I…don't know who or what you are," Twilight said after a moment's silence. Her voice strained and her face held an image of pain and confusion. "I don't know how you discovered my deepest hopes and dreams…or why you're throwing them in my face. I don't know what you want. But I want you to stop. Do you understand me?"

"You're upset," Amethyst said. "My apologies. That was not my intent. I don't blame you for the distress you feel right now. And I don't blame you for that which has not come to be. Fate has been thrown off-track and everypony's lives are suffering for it.

"But Twilight…you are a pony which destiny rages about like a great storm. There are tremendous things in your future. You have a calling before you now—unite with me and reclaim the Elements of Harmony from Nightmare Moon's clutches. Cast down the darkness and save Equestria. Or return to your life as it was. Return to the monotonous days as a do-nothing clerk, wandering through life with nothing but broken dreams and a sorrowful soul. Return to a world where the sun never again rises. What have you to lose?"

Nearly a full minute passed before Twilight responded.

"All right," she said quietly. "I'm probably crazy. I'm probably going to humiliate myself, or get myself killed. But I'm with you, Amethyst. I'll search for the Elements of Harmony."

"Very good," Amethyst said, and for a miniscule second Twilight thought she detected immense relief in the being's voice. "As proof of our union…take these."

A flash of light heralded the sound of an item hitting the floor of the library. As Twilight blinked, trying to reorient herself after the temporary illumination, her eyes gradually picked up a small pouch lying on the floor beneath the hovering globe that was Amethyst.

"What are they?" Twlight asked suspiciously, poking through the bag. Inside the pouch were a small number of strange round items which very faintly radiated magic power.

"Materials constructed from discarded dragon eggshells," Amethyst explained. "They're infused with dragon fire and powdered fire ruby—a spark of unicorn magic ignites them, producing small localized explosions. I've taken to calling them bombs. Always keep them at the ready. If you see something suspicious…bomb it!"

"Uh…thanks," Twilight said. "So, what's our first agenda?"

"We must find the Elements of Harmony," Amethyst told her. "I know they were originally kept deep within the Everfree Forest, but it appears Nightmare Moon has claimed them and scattered the Elements. I can feel one nearby, Twilight."

"How nearby?"

"It appears to be…movingtowards Ponyville," said Amethyst in some degree of shock. "What this means, I cannot say. We must return to the festival plaza, quickly."

Twilight quickly galloped out of the library, speeding back to the festival plaza. As she approached she saw the ponies clustered together—and a massive horde on the horizon.

As Twilight integrated herself into the crowd of huddling ponies, she saw the mass of creatures approaching in deeper clarity. Her heart raced in fear—such an assortment she had never seen.

Snakes with the heads of birds, spiders the size of fillies, living statues, small serpentine dragons, creatures that looked like slime muck moving of its own accord. She saw dozens if not hundreds of the sootlings scuttling between the writhing roots of strange plant-like beings. Creatures that looked like vaguely like ponies but with five legs, each spindly and twice as tall as a normal pony—their heads displayed solitary red eyes; fangs lined their wicked mouths. The skeletons of pegasi soared through the sky on their bony wings and higher still a huge swarm of round, bright-eyed insects obscured the stars.

The mob of monsters approached the gathered denizens of Ponyville, quickly encircling the ponies. Many foals and more than a few adults began to cry. Twilight desperately fought to keep her panic down, and prepared to draw her sword.

However, she soon noticed that the ring of creatures, though intimidating, had yet to approach the enclosed group of ponies. Hey eyes darted from beast to beast, never lingering on one. Should I ready my sword? she thought. I don't want to provoke the monsters into attacking, but not arming myself could be a mistake…

Before Twilight's thoughts progressed further, the swarm of beasts slowly split, and a trio of creatures approached the ponies. All three resembled dogs, but they stood bipedal and wore shabby clothing. Their arms were long, nearly the length of the rest of their bodies. One, shorter than the others, sported tan fur; another hulking creature looked almost blue. The one walking in front had grey fur and looked to be the leader.

"Poniessss…" hissed the dog-like creature. "Greetings. I know what you are. Can anypony say what I am?"

The ponies in the crowd nervously shifted amongst themselves. Nopony spoke.

"A Diamond Dog," hissed the creature. "I am not shocked you do not know. What use have ponies for the other creatures in the world? You drive us all away and claim everything for your own.

"But thissss has changed!" howled the dog in triumph. "Nightmare Moon is free once more. The wicked Celestia is locked away—and Nightmare Moon has decided that you ponies who shunned her and served the Princess do not deserve this world!

"Nightmare Moon has promised this land—all lands!—to us, the hated creatures who lurk at the edge of your beloved Equestria. Now the time for poniesssss is finished! The sun has set, and with the moon rises a new age. One of Diamond Dogs and hydras, of parasprites and Windigos, of dragons, chimeras, manticores, cockatrices, Ursas, and eels. You filthy poniesssss will serve us for all time, our workhorses and our slaves!"

The citizens of Ponyville began screaming and jostling into one another. Twilight dared not unsheathe her blade, worried that a panicking pony might accidentally run into it.

"BUT!" screamed the dog, getting the attention of the frightened equines. "But…Nightmare Moon is not unreasonable. Ponies that acknowledge the wrong in her banishment those many long years ago and accept her as the true queen of this world will be allowed to live alongside us as followers of the night. Those who still cling to the accurssssssssed Celestia will never again know freedom!"

"You brute!" a voice cried out from amidst the throng of ponies. They split to reveal the royal guards—Twilight noticed the same unicorn that'd given her the sword strapped to her back.

"We will never give up on our Princess!" a white-coated pegasus called out. "We will never surrender to you or your false leader, Nightmare Moon!"

The guards charged against the monster horde. The Diamond Dog gave a small, almost amused shake of his head, and waved the monsters forward.

It ended quickly. The guards, though brave and talented, found themselves outnumbered nearly fifteen to one. Dozens of the sootlings swarmed over them, and the greater monsters ganged up on the guards, easily dispatching them. Skeletal pegasi and parasprites quickly knocked the winged soldiers out of the sky.

As the royal guards lay beaten on the ground, a cockatrice slithered over to them and transformed each and every colt into a cold statue. The crowd of ponies was silent, filled with quiet dread.

"Uehahahahaha!" the Diamond Dog laughed throatily. "Take these statues to the Diamond Temple and unfreeze them—and let them live their lives as workhorses, carting gems for all time! But before you saddle them up, carve out their tongues—those same tongues that dared to blaspheme against our beloved Nightmare Moon!"

He turned to the crowd. "Poniesssss…" he said in a low whisper, barely concealing a chuckle. "Though defiance cannot be allowed to slip by, know that if you swear fealty, many great things will befall you! Nightmare Moon is generous to her followers—look what she has presented to the Diamond Dogs!"

From an inner pocket on his tattered red vest, the dog pulled out a bauble the likes of which Twilight had never seen. It was a stone orb, shining with a tremendous brilliance. Twilight felt it emanating waves of raw magical power.


"Huh?" the lavender pony said. She knew that voice. "Amethyst, is that you?"

"Yes. I dimmed myself to avoid attention and accompanied you out of the library; I've never left your side. Twilight, that orb the Diamond Dog is holding…it's one of the Elements of Harmony!"

"Then we have to get it back!" Twilight said decisively. She prepared to loose her blade.

"Wait!" Amethyst's voice met Twilight's ears once more. "Didn't you see what happened to the guards? You can't win at this stage, Twilight. And besides, even if you took the Element from him, you still need the pony meant to wield it. I feel waves of Generosity from the orb the Diamond Dog possesses…we must find the pony with a destiny intertwined with Generosity and with their help take the Element from the Diamond Dog, preferably when he has far less monster company."

But it's so tempting…! Ah, forget it, Twi. Amethyst is right; as much as it irks, I have to let the Element slip away right now.

The Diamond Dog had been speaking all through Twilight's and Amethyst's conversation.

"So I now demand of you, poniessssss, an answer! Will you submit to Nightmare Moon? Or join those foolish warriors as slaves?"

One pony spoke out from the throng. "I will accept this!" she said. Twilight turned to see the speaker: a white unicorn mare. "I submit to Nightmare Moon on behalf of myself and my family!"

And thus, the floodgates opened. Pony after pony swore fealty; the Mayor, Trixie, and many others. Twilight herself spoke up, though she had no intention of keeping her oath—she found the thought of being corralled as a slave counterproductive to her efforts to reclaim the Elements.

As the monsters collected the few ponies who still voiced support for Celestia, the Diamond Dog gave a large smile. "We thank you for your cooperation, poniesssss," he hissed. "Enjoy your new world of night—and your new neighbors! Uehaha!"

The monsters slowly dispersed.

"All right," Twilight said, hoping Amethyst was still accompanying her. "Now what?"

"Now, your quest truly begins, Twilight. To reunite the Elements, we must first find the pony of Generosity."

"All right," Twilight affirmed. She glanced about—the remaining ponies, having sworn to obey Nightmare Moon, looked uniformly miserable. Tears peppered the faces of many.

"I will stop this," Twilight said. "For the ponies of this town…for the Princess…and for light itself. I will unite Harmony!"Bottom of Form