Twilight sighed as she sat down for the night, using her magic to pull a book off the shelf to read. It had been a long day managing the library, with many ponies stopping by and dropping off or checking out books. Even Rarity, her friend and a fellow Unicorn, had been by to choose a fitting dress color that would work well against the different purples in Twilight's mane and tail. And now she was ready to be off her hooves and ready for a nice calm relaxing night. But before she could even start reading, she noticed somepony walking by the window to her library, one that she recognized as well.
Blinking in surprise, her tiredness forgotten, Twilight got up and trotted over to the window and looked outside. She was right too, on who she thought she had seen. It was Princess Luna. But this was weird as Luna snuck off into the darkness heading out of town. As she was the princess and guardian of the night, for her to be sneaking around meant something really big or weird was going on, possibly both.
Twilight was off at once, out the door, following the blue colored mare away from the town. Twilight blinked when she noticed a large wooden box on Luna's back as she passed through spots of moonlight. After seeing it a few more times, she was sure it was the same one that held the Elements of Harmony, the most powerful items in Equestria.
Soon they reached the forest that was a little ways outside the town. Twilight stopped for a few moments, not sure if she should continue. The Everfree Forest was considered to be one of the most dangerous places a pony could venture. But before Twilight could decide if she really wanted to risk following Luna into the forest, somepony spoke behind her, causing her to jump rather high into the air in surprise.
"Twil, what are you doing out here?" asked Applejack, another close friends and a cowboy hat wearing Earth pony with an orange coat and blonde mane and tail done up in ponytails.
Twilight spun around as she landed, glaring lightly at her friend as she almost yelled, "Don't do that!"
"Okay, but you still have not answered the question," Applejack said, looking at Twilight.
"I am following Luna," Twilight said. However, when she looked back towards the forest, Luna had vanished fully from sight.
"Luna, as in Princess Luna?" Applejack asked confused.
"Yes, as in, the Princess Luna, and thanks to you scaring me, I lost track of her," Twilight said slightly exasperated.
"Well, let's go and get Rainbow Dash, she can help us find her again," Applejack said, walking towards her friend's cloud home.
"Fine, but we had better hurry up then, if we want to have any chance of finding Luna again," Twilight said, setting out at a gallop that was soon matched by Applejack.
"Okay, but why do we need to find her? I am pretty sure Luna can take care of herself," Applejack asked, looking at her long time friend.
"Because Luna had the Elements of Harmony with her, and for some reason she did not want to be seen at all. And as much as I may trust her, that still deserves some looking into," Twilight said as they moved rapidly towards the floating house of clouds belonging to Rainbow Dash, their Pegasus friend.
"But why would she need those? Or, for that matter, why would she be sneaking around?" Applejack asked, though it was mostly a question to herself.
"I am not sure, but it cannot be any good," Twilight said, looking slightly worried.
"But you proved she was completely normal during the Nightmare Night Festival just a few days ago. Why would you think she would start something bad now when she was so willing to make friends then? It just does not make sense," Applejack said thoughtfully.
"No clue, but I plan on finding out," Twilight said, putting on a burst of speed before skidding to a halt below Rainbow Dash's house.
Twilight groaned, remembering one slight problem with Applejack's idea of getting Rainbow Dash to help them. They were on the ground, and Rainbow Dash's house was nearly thirty if not more feet floating above them without any way to access it from the ground. And the house was also slightly soundproofed thanks to the clouds Rainbow Dash used to build it. So she did the only thing a Unicorn in her position could do and used her magic to make a rather large air horn and blasted the castle full of sound. It took less than a second before a blue mare with rainbow colored mane and tail appeared, flying out the main door and kicking said blow horn right into the ground.
"What was that for?" Rainbow Dash yelled out as she came down and landed by them, looking rather annoyed.
"Sorry, I needed to get you up quickly in case you were asleep," Twilight said before pointing to the Everfree Forest and explaining what was going on.
"I see. Well, I can find her," Rainbow said, taking off quickly towards the forest.
Twilight just nodded as Applejack and she took off back towards the forest and the main path through it. Quickly they entered into the forest and followed the path, soon reaching one of the few splits in the path. Here they would have to wait for Rainbow Dash.
"Found her, she is headed for the old palace it seems," Rainbow Dash said, swooping down and hovering above them.
"I see, how far ahead of us is she?" Twilight asked as she and Applejack took off at a gallop while Rainbow Dash flew alongside them.
"Nearly at the old bridge that was broken down when we first came here. Also, she seems very worried about something," Rainbow Dash said, looking slightly concerned.
"Did she say anything about what she was worried about, or were you too far away?" Twilight asked.
"Moved by too quickly when I passed her, searching that path, so I did not have enough time to hear anything. Then I turned back and returned here at top speed," Rainbow Dash said.
Applejack looked at the other two, "I may not be as smart as you, Twilight, but I do think it sounds like she stole the Elements."
"Yes I know, and since I know where we are going, get ready to teleport," Twilight said, her horn glowing a soft purple color.
Twilight did not wait for a reply before she teleported them. They vanished with a small flash of purple light, to reappear a second later at the site of the old castle they had once been to around two years back. They had defeated Nightmare Moon during that time and had freed Luna from her own dark side. And now it looked like they were going to have to stop Luna as well.
As they entered into the castle, they could hear Luna talking, but it was hard to tell where she was, as her voice was very faint. Twilight looked at the pedestal where the elements had once rested when they had first visited this castle, before looking at her friends.
"Okay, split up and search!" Twilight said.
"Right!" was the reply from Twilight's two friends.
But before they could move an inch a flash of light came from another room, alerting them to Luna's location. She was in what had once been the throne room. Sneaking up, Twilight peaked in with the others and saw Luna casting some weird magic as markings formed on the floor, moving out from five different points in the room. At each of these five points sat one of the Elements with the sixth element, the Element of Magic, being worn by Luna herself as she worked.
Twilight sighed, speaking in little more than a whisper, "I cannot see what that mark is for sure. Rainbow, can you move about and check on what it looks like?"
"Sure, but how can that help?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"Some spells use special marks called runes; I never got this far in my training as it is rather far up there in terms of difficulty. If you can describe for me for sure what it is, then maybe I can figure out what we are dealing with," Twilight said, explaining quietly.
Rainbow Dash nodded, but, before she could move, the ground seemed to shift around them, causing all three of them to nearly yell out in fear. The magical symbol pulsed twice and the ground stopped shaking. Luna stopped her chanting and her horn lost its glow, though the rune remained glowing.
"Come on out, you three," Luna said rather softly.
Twilight sighed and lead the way out as her two friends followed, before asking, "How did you know we were here?"
Luna pointed to Rainbow Dash with her hoof, "I knew you were following as soon as I saw her do a flyby before. And I saw the flash of magic of your teleportation spell."
"Oh. Might I ask what you're doing with the Elements of Harmony and sneaking about?" Twilight said, jumping right back to business.
"I am using them to make a portal that can lead to another world," Luna said rather bluntly, causing all three of the ponies watching her to blink in surprise.
"A portal that leads to another world," Applejack said in surprise, "I did not know such a thing was even possible."
"Yes, I have some business there with Night, my twin sister. Or as you probably know her, Nightmare Moon," Luna said, causing all three of the other ponies to again look at her in complete surprise and shock.
"But she was destroyed when we used the Elements to free you from her two years ago," Twilight said confused.
"No, Night was not destroyed. She was merely teleported to another world, where she would be safe to live out her life without threat from somepony attacking her, till I could bring her back to this world. But something has happened, so I must go and see her. And most likely bring her back to this world," Luna said as the lines of the rune, a star Twilight now realized, began to glow brighter as the rune slowly filled in with a pale blue light.
"We cannot let you do that," Twilight said, wondering why Luna would bring back someone so evil.
"I am afraid it is not up to you. I have been planning on bringing her back for nearly a year, though it was only within the last half year that I gained a reason to do it quickly," Luna said, looking back at the star.
"What do you mean, plan? She was in control of you from the time you were sealed in the moon! Why would you want to bring her back?" Twilight asked as Applejack and Rainbow Dash moved to either side of her in case this came to blows.
"We were never one pony once we were sealed into the moon. And a week before it was time for our return we made a deal so we could both live a happy life. It was actually you who helped us make it possible when you used the Elements to try and stop her," Luna said, stepping backwards while the now filled in star glowed even bright than before.
"But how? There was no way we would have helped her," Twilight said confused.
"Actually you did. We knew about all six elements well before you were even born, and wielded them to stop Discord a long time ago. I myself was the bearer of the Element of Magic," Luna said as realization dawned on Twilight, "And I knew that someone would know the legend of Nightmare Moon. Thus, Nightmare and I set up a few tests to see if you and your friends would truly be able to wield them."
"Tests? Those were no tests, that was Nightmare trying her best to stop us and you know it!" Twilight said angrily.
To their surprise Luna laughed rather loudly at this before saying, "You really think if Night had wanted to stop you that any of you would have been able to even reach the castle? Remember, she beat down three of Celestia's best guards without even drawing upon her Unicorn powers! To beat you six, if she had really wanted to, would have been beyond easy."
"So you were with her all along?" Twilight asked angry.
"Yes, though it is not as bad as you make it sound, Twilight. She is not evil like you may think, but as it is, I don't have time to explain. I must be going," Luna said, before turning around and dashing into the light.
"After her! We cannot let her bring back Nightmare Moon!" Twilight said, charging forward into the light followed by her two friends.
They were blinded and not able to see anything before they reappeared in a different world, crashing to the ground. They slowly got up, regaining their sight enough to see they were in a rather large forest. Luna was moving about, collecting the glowing Elements of Harmony that had reappeared on this side of the portal. As she put the last one back into the box she finally noticed them and sighed.
"This is going to give me a headache," Luna said, trotting over.
Twilight got ready to fight but without warning she and her two friends fell asleep as Luna's horn glowed. Luna sighed again and shook her head, "Well I may not be where I want, but hopefully I will be able to get some help from these three. In the meantime I need to find out what has been going on."
With that, she set up a protection spell over the three before she vanished into the night.