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Luna and the Dreamscape - Episode 7: Shadowe Flare

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It was raining pretty viciously in Canterlot. Sometimes Luna wasn't sure if the pegasi really knew if they got their wind bearings right. The need for such a windy storm could be avoidable, should things go as planned. Of course, it would never be perfect. The princess of the night started walking towards her dream chamber, ready to begin another night of tempting ponies with solutions to their nightmarish issues. It had been a couple nights since Luna had seen a pony have a good scare in the dreamscape, and it seemed as though her hard work was starting to really pay dividends to bring peace to the ponies of Equestria. But just like a princess pony, Luna's work would never really be considered done. And a night off would invite another possibility for another nightmare to infect a pony with its fear and doubt.

When Luna opened the door to the chamber room, she felt cold. The window was left open and the rain was sneaking in in puddles. "Ugh!" She would go light a candle to see, but as soon as she would light it, the candle would blow out from the wind current pushing its way around the room. So Luna had to cross the room in the dark and close the window in order to kill the torrenting breeze. On her careful hoof steps over, her eyes were not properly adjusted and her hooves occasionally collided with tables that she didn't even know were there. Even though she navigated this room almost every night, she failed to remember her steps in count. When she got to the window, the wetness on the floor caused her to almost slip down entirely, she was able to catch herself on the window sill. And with one full shove downward, Luna closed the window.

A quick spark of magic from her horn re-lit the candles around the room, and it immediately filled its warm light. As the objects were now realized, Luna felt pretty silly that she was unable to determine where the items were to step around. The darkness of the room was even enough to keep her magic from properly grabbing the window to close it.

Now more relaxed, Luna sat back into her dreaming chair. She thought about dreaming for a few seconds, and few deep breaths later, her head and legs went limp.

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Shadowe gave a brief smile to his mother as they said good night, their usual routine altered only slightly in the farewells given for the day.

"Good night, Sweetheart. Dream well." His mother stated softly, the proximity of her voice telling him she was waiting near the door.

"Good night, Mother. I'll see you in the morning.' He stated, feeling his eyes grow heavy as his mother sang softly on her way out of his bedroom.

The little colt stirred when he felt sunlight on his pelt, his eyes opening to see a field of reds, blues and vivid yellows. He blinked. He knew only what the colors were called, not what they actually looked like. He rose slowly, taking in the verdant green of the grass and stems of the brightly colored flowers around himself. He gave a joyous laugh as he ran through the flowers, pausing momentarily to check his flank. Still blank. He nodded, ambivalent about not discovering his true passion just yet. An idea came to him. Looking at the flowers around him, he began to focus. The silvery aura of magic surrounded his horn as he tried to pick a single blue flower for his mother, his focus so tight on the one he wanted that he almost missed the fading of the color from the red flower beside it. He stopped, his body trembling a moment. No! He couldn't be...He had to believe that is was just an effect of his concentrating on one flower instead of the others as well. He sighed. He was still smiling, although the smile wasn't nearly as bright as it had been before. He decided to try something else, another simple spell he had struggled with. He closed his eyes to focus on the sounds of the newly developed breeze rusting the grass, his horn glowing as he began levitating bits of fallen petals into the air. When a scream sounded, he dropped the spell immediately. His eyes flew open, clear evidence that color was fading from this wonderful place around him. The reds, blues and yellows were almost too dark to be called by their proper colors now. He shivered, desperate now to cling to the images around him. He concentrated again desperately, trying to get the scenery to stay the same. When the smell of the changeling cave hit him, he groaned softly and opened his eyes. The screams continued in his ears and the colors were now gone, all he had was darkness.

He tried one last time, a desperate attempt to go back to the field and see once more the colors he wanted to enjoy so very much. His mother's voice came to him then, full of pain.

"Shadowe, stop! You're hurting me, Sweetheart! Please...Please!" She cried out, other voices mingling with hers as the colt did his best to not shudder with self-loathing. He was hurting his friends and family, just by trying to restore some color to the world. He stopped after a brief time, hanging his head in shame.

"I might as well face it...I'm a complete and utter failure as a Unicorn..." He sighed to himself, laying down and curling up as tightly as he could to protect himself from his own magical attempts.

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Luna entered the dreamscape. Immediately around, she could see the normal tapestries the dreamscape always wore. Random assortments of memories, projections of the real Equestria copied into this new realm, complete with imaginary beings that all seemed self-aware. As Luna trotted through the aura, she noticed a disturbing scream coming from a door. She flew to this door and examined it. It appeared to be shut tight, and sounded like somepony was in agony on the other side. With haste, Luna would use her magic to open the door and step inside.

Once the door shut behind her, what was revealed to her was a dream from a colt unicorn who was surrounded by colorful flowers. But he seemed upset as what seemed to be the burning smell remnants of a spell he tried to perform was coming from his horn. His body was curled up in some sort of regretful retreat of his own actions. Luna decided to make her presence known. "Shadowe? Can you see me?"

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Shadowe lifted his head slowly when he heard the voice, looking around. He knew somepony was there....but where?

"Who....who are you? Where are you? It's not safe around me! I can't....stop hurting ponies with my magic." He said, hesitating before acknowledging what was happening. He rose slowly to his hooves, taking a defensive posture almost as second nature.

"Are you a changeling?" He asked, fear touching his voice.

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Luna quickly grew impatient, as she realized the dreaming pony was not aware of his surroundings. And he could not recognize the Princess by sight nor sound. "Fear not, Shadowe. Do you know who I am? Can you not see me? Can you see anything?" Luna could have probably assumed some kind of deficiency present in the pony's ability to see, but she would never be sure if his senses or lack thereof, were a projection of his reality or a situation in which a nightmare caused him to react to. She would get to the bottom of it, but she would have to do so with questions that may frustrate the dreamer.

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Shadowe shook his head sadly, unsure of how to answer the pony questioning him.

"I'm afraid I don't know who you are. I wish I could see, at least then I'd know what was going on right now." He responded cautiously, reluctant to reveal his disability to anypony. Deep down, however, he knew that this pony--a mare, he was sure---wouldn't harm him.

"You sound familiar to me, if that helps. Have we met before?" He asked, not putting the idea that he was dreaming together.

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"I think not." Luna answered quickly, as the pony continued to wonder who she was. But he wouldn't have to wonder for long, as Luna's socratic method failed to reveal any impurities in the dreamer. "I am Princess Luna." The Princess unfolded her wings majestically. Though the pony would not be able to see, she figured at least he would feel the short breeze coming from her direction, or the sound of the wind vibrating passed. "I could not help but hear your cries for help in this place. This place is very cold, filled with the warmth of your wish for a moment, but is now filled with the void you experience with your apparent short comings." Luna knew how to lay it thick, although her intent was to properly grab the pony's awareness, not necessarily to scare them out of their skin on where they were. "Do you know your surroundings? Do you know which way is home?" By a response, Luna should be able to recognize exactly where this pony was, not physically, but in spirit. The chimes and rings of the dreamscape littered its fragrance and in the backdrop of every vision, but some ponies were unable to sense their reality was a lack of truth and that their experience was but a mere projection of their honest thoughts and feelings. A scary place, some ponies would imagine. A daily chore of exploration for the Princess.

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