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No Longer a Nightmare [OPEN]


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Princess Luna made her way through Ponyville. She wore a dark hooded cloak, which lay over her back and wings. The hood shrouded her face, although her horn protruded out from under it. To anypony else, she could have been mistaken for a normal Unicorn, despite her tall and lanky appearance.

The first attraction Luna came upon was the Corn Maze, and decided that this would be an excellent place to hide out while she worked up the nerve to join in some of the more eccentric and social activities.

She tried to keep a low profile, but at the sound of somepony approaching, Luna scrambled to hide in a patch of corn. Unfortunately, after the pony went by, Luna found that she was stuck! The corn stalks were grown high and very close together, and Luna was wedged between quite a few stalks. The corn leaves tangled into her mane and tail, Luna reluctantly realized that she wouldn't be able to get out of this herself.

Oh horse apples! Luna send to herself, struggling to break free of her veggie confines once again. “Can somepony help me?” she called out. “Is anypony out there?”

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The orange pegasus, Candy Catch-Em, was dressed as a manticore and currently enjoying the corn maze. It was hard to resisit the urge to simply fly up and out but she was determined not to cheat.

She perked her ears when she heard somepony calling for help -behind her somewhere.

Candy turned and trotted back "Hello?"

She thought she heard the voice somewhere around... here!

The cornstalks looked oddly bent and there might be something in it moving around.

"Scuse me, is there somepony in that buch of cornstalks?"

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Luna shuffled about, shaking the cornstalks and making the leaves rustle. “Yes, and I—I'm afraid I'm a bit stuck.” she said. Luna didn't like the idea of asking somepony for help, or of being forced into a social interaction with a stranger. Well, her cloak hid her wings, so maybe she wouldn't be recognized and this pony would let her go on her way without incident.

It was very un-Princess like to be caught in such a position. Luna hated the thought of somepony getting wind of this and mentioning it to Celestia. How embarrassing. She should have never come to the Harvest celebration. Then this mess would never have happened/

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The orange prgasus pulls her rubber manticore muzzle down to her neck so it wont slip off. "Happy Nightmare night, ma'am. Now lets see.. Ah! there!"

She bites at the bases of several stalks, eating them off and letting the stalks come loose. She then tugs them aside to let the unicorn free "And there you are, free! I would have to guess you are from Canterlot to get stuck like that." She stuck out a paw-clad hoof "I am Candy Catch-em, Critter Wrangler and animal control."

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”Oh, th-thank you.” Luna said shakily. She looked at the filly before her, her head jerking back in surprise for a moment at the costume. “Thank you immensely for rescuing me. I was worried I'd be stuck for the rest of Nightmare Night.”

Luna moved forward now that she was no longer trapped. She failed to notice that her cloak was still tangled among the higher stalks, and as she removed herself fully from the confines of the corn, the cape and hood were torn off.

But Luna didn't notice, and extended her hoof for a hoofshake. “It's a pleasure to meet you, Candy Catch-em.”

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Candy touched hooves and shook it, noticing the taller mare had an elegant costume horseshoe on.

She continued the hoofshake. "Likewise, Miss..."

Suddenly, Candy noticed the 'unicorn's mane was rippling in a wind that wasnt' there, making her pause a little longer as she noticed the mane was transparent and shot through with stars. A glance further back showed magnificent wings a little larger than her own. They were definitely not costume wings either.

Her mind silently screamed * ALICORN! * at herself, and there was only one Alicorn it could be.

Her eyes widened in surprise and her hoof pumped two more times automatically as she gasped out "...L-luna.."

She was not one to stand on ceremony, even in her dealings with members of the court, but if she hadnt' momentarily frozen in shock, she would have bowed right then and there.

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Luna saw the Pegasus' eyes widen as she stared at her. Luna turned around, to discover that the secret was out. She groaned inwardly. So far, her public appearances hadn't turned out very well, and from the reaction so far from this mare, this instance would be no different. Luna inwardly prepared herself for the screaming and the running, and the loud announcement that would make her presence known.

But the pony just continued to shake her hoof, seeming unphased by the appearance of “Nightmare Moon”, as Luna commonly found herself titled. Then she—called her by her correct name? Luna looked puzzled for a moment, before she composed herself. It was actually a welcome change to be recognized for who she really was.

“Yes, my name is Luna.” she said, grabbing her cloak and pulling it free using her magic. She place it around herself again, but left the hood down this time. Then she turned back to the mare, who had failed to move an inch. “Are you alright?” she inquired.

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Candy finally took a deep breath and fluffed her wings as she got control of herself, forcing herself to relax.

She looked at Luna with a sheepish smile "Y-yes.. Ah, yes your Majesty. I'm sorry, I was just caught by surprise, is all. I really had not expected ta run into any of the court out here. Y'see, I'm from the Northern Solstice Heights on the outer edge and run an animal hospital there. I try to keep on my best behavior for the Nobles so I'm the first pony they think of when they need my help. So, I'm sorry if I was unmannerly there for a moment, Ma'am."

Candy looked around to be sure they were alone. She had heard about what happened in Ponyville last year, after all.

"Um, it's a bit lonely out here... Would you be "Testing the waters", so to speak, your majesty?

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Tongight he was dressed as what his father had done for a living. Grinning lightly as he looked down at the armor that he had manged to obtain from a local shop, and a blackish-green cape; he nodded safitfed "Well, this looks heroic...I guess"? As he trotted through Ponyville, he blinked as he looked up at the Corn Maze. "Well, it's not a problem for one with wings, but what the hay!! I'll play by the rules" he grinned lightly as he trotted inside. He was quiet surprised by how tall the corn was, and how difficult it was to actually navigate his way through. It was a wonder really how the ones who made this maze got through without screaming for help. Chuckling, he said "I'll find my way through, and when I do..I'll...OOf". He had been looking in the opposite direction as he accidentlay bumped into an ornage pegaus, colliding and falling over. Shaking his head, he realized his mistake as he got up apologizeing quickly "Oh Celestia!! Im sorry!! It was an accident".

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”I apologize for not revealing my identity in a more proper manner.” Luna said, after listening to Candy. She wasn't exactly sure where Solstice Heights was, but from the sound of it, Ponyville was not a normal visiting place for Candy. “If the fault is anypony's, it's mine. And uh—“ she cleared her throat, “—you may be correct in assuming that I am here purposely avoiding most other ponies.”

Just then, a Pegasus appeared from out of nowhere. Luna shirked back in surprise, nearly tripping over the broken cornstalks behind her. She pulled her hood over her head, and turned away so as not to attract attention to herself. He would probably just excuse himself for the mishap and move on.

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As Candy was speaking to the princess, she suddenly heard a voice behind her and a sudden bump knocking her over. "I'll find my way through, and when I do..I'll...OOf".

The mare quickly got up and found the other pony had also fallen over and was scrambling up to his hooves and apologizing.

She noticed the pegasus was wearing armor and a cloak while she checked to make shre her mane, styled up like a mantacore mane was still properly styled and that her fake mantacore tail was still covering hers. "Oh no problem. Im fine, just a little shaken up. My name is Candy Catch-em and I'm dressed as one of my specialty catches."

She glanced to see where Luna was and saw her trying to blend into the background. Well no reason to force the issue, so she did not point out the cloaked Princess.

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Valoren gaped in surprise. H..had he just heard correctly? Did she say that she catches Manticores? Her costume was already very impressive, but to catch a manticore? Val had traveled over Equestria, and didnt meet alot of ponies like this. Clearly, she was a force to be recokend with. Grining, he rmeatrked "That..that's really something to be able to catch a manticore". Looking down at himself, he siad "Im dressed as a Knight, something I orginally wanted to be before my cutie mark first apperaed". Trotting up to the mare, he stuck out a hoof. "Valoren Seeker, Adventurer" he grinned lightly. Noticing the cloaked pony, he waved with his other hoof friendly towards her.

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Luna felt a little bad for not helping either pony, but she was just so focused on not letting another pony see her that she didn't even consider it until too late. Luckily, neither pony was harmed, though Luna continued trying to remain unseen.

She could try excusing herself, but... oh, this new Stallion would likely recognize her immediately, even with her attempts to hide her identity. She could see now that there wasn't going to be an easy way out of this, so she slowly turned around, still pulling her cloak close over her face and hair to hide them as much as possible. She saw the black Pegasus wave to her, and had to stop herself from backing up a couple of steps.

“H—Hello.” Luna said.

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When Candy Catch-em saw how surprised the knightly pegasus reacted, she hoped she hadnt' sounded like she was boasting.

"Yes, well, they can be a hoof-full to deal with at times. There is some luck involved at times. A manticore sting is nothing to sneeze at, and.. I've had my wing badly cut by... other creatures.."

She looked back at her right wing, where some of the plumage was still a little lighter colored.

Candy ulped when Valoren introduced himself to Luna and hoped he wouldnt' frighten easily if he found out. "Um, yes, I just met her here in the maze. She's very nice. Arent' you, Miss."

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"A couple of times I've had to face against a manticore. Fighting one Solo is no picnic" he admitted as his faced darkned slighlty, most likely from memories of almost meeting his end. Smiling, he responded "But it sure was alotta fun since it was a great way to challenge my limits, and to see if i could exceed them". Noticing her wing, he did notice that it did look rather cut up abit. She must have had her fill of dangerous monsters to stand against. Nodding, he complimented "Well, you have my respect right off the bat for facing against creatures and coming out on top". Nodding his head towards Luna, he smiled "You seem very nice miss".

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Luna moved closer despite her body fighting to go back. Well, it was now or never now. She blushed at the compliment from Candy, even as she noticed the hurt wing. Manticore's were nothing to mess with, and yet this pony brushed off encounters like they were a walk in the park. Surely catching them wasn't nearly as easy as she was letting on. And what in Equestria for? Luna wondered to herself.

As the dark Pegasus acknowledged her, Luna relaxed slightly. She pushed her hood back with a hoof, though if he hadn't recognized her by this time he probably wouldn't. She cleared her throat before she spoke to him. “Thank you, sir. Though perhaps you should not be so quick to judge a book by it's cover.” Though she was a changed pony now, nopony knew anything about her or her intentions, and the same went for anypony else.

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Candy nodded at Valoren "I'm glad you are good enough to use them as a learning experience, from the way it sounds."

Before she could explain her job, Candy watched nervously as Luna stepped out into the moonlight. The Princess was about to reveal herself to Valoren, and had herself given Candy a wondering glance at her healed wing.

She held her breath, hoping the knightly pony would not freak out. Candy did not really want to use her STARE around other ponies even to prevent a panic...

She looked at Valoren "If you keep quiet for the Princess, perhaps you would like to hear about why I catch manticores?"

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Grinning at Candy, he said "Have you ever tried to take on a Dragon? I'm not the best at it, but I'm pretty close I think to being good enough to take on one solo. Still need a bit more training before I can do it though". Valoren stared over, and blinked in shock as he was taken back by the princess's appernace. Opening his mouth, he quickly put a hoof in it to prevent himself from giving away the princesses postion. Waitin a moment for himself to become recollected, he slowly took his hoof out as he smiled warmly to Princess Luna. Coughing, he bowed his head to her. "I am honored to meet you Princess" he said, smiling. He had heard of her being freed, and wanted to meet this princess he had kept hearing about but never really got a chance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Luna paused for a moment as the orange mare revealed her true name. She had hoped to keep her identity a secret for as long as possible, but now that was defunct. But, she continued forward, as if she hadn't noticed that the black stallion had not yet mentioned her name.

Although, now that the cat was out of the bag, he stared back in shock, eyes wide as he realized just whose presence he was in. But, he was quick to put on a brave face, genuine or not. He coughed, perhaps to hide nervous jitters and correctly compose himself.

“The pleasure is mine, I assure you.” Luna said, in princess-y fashion.

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Candy blushed at the shocked look the Princess sent her. She waved a hoof helplessly "I'm sorry You Majesty, but when you pushed your hood back from your head, theres no way he could not know. I have seen ponies dress as you earlier tonight and they do not compare at all."

She sighed "I was afraid he would freak out. I am sorry if I overstepped my bounds."

Candy looked over at Valoren "Um, well, I have not had to fight a dragon yet, but I've had to talk younger dragons into settling someplace else. One was dug into a cliffside prone to flash floods so it was just not safe at all..."

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"I have always wanted to meet the princess" Val blushed lighlty towards her as he smiled. He had heard alot about Princess Luna, but had never really seen her before. Hearing Candy's statment, Val blushed embarrsed "Ah, not to say that I go around picking fights with dragons, or saying all dragons are bad. I was uhh...refering to the ones that umm...are not uhh...nice"? Smiling weakly, he chuckled "I guess I should have thought better before speaking that last part". The last thing he wanted to come off as was a bully insted of an adventurer.

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