The sun had set over the western horizon of the enchanted lands that is Equestria once again, as the dark orchid unicorn Tempest stepped out from her room that she had just rented all to herself, right onto the balcony that overlooked the capital, Canterlot.
For the room inside that she had stepped out from, it was your usual design for the nearest hotel stay - for Tempest didn't exactly have anywhere to go to. This was nothing more but a mere retreat to get away from all of the whispers around her that spoke directly of her when she passed by in the streets of cobbled stone.
Her moderate opal eyes watched from the top of the balcony, seeing all of those ponies trotting to and from every direction to get to wherever they needed to go, or to merely hold a conversation as they were heading off somewhere for a get together. Maybe gathering into the Garden district to host their 'fancy' parties that they really enjoyed.
From her involvement with the Storm King and his plans, she couldn't face speaking with anypony here nor going back home to where she had grown up. Her old friends was the one at concern when it came to thinking about home. How would they react to seeing her again, still with a broken horn and having been taken under the Storm King to betray all of Equestria? Would they give her a cold shoulder, or still do what they did when she lost the one thing she loved, to run away?
Sure... she had friends down the mountain in Ponyville like Princess Twilight and her friends. Tempest had thought about going back to visit there, but had contemplated because she seemed really busy, especially with the School of Friendship next to the princess' castle. She didn't want to distract her with the role of being both headmare and princess which looks to be a huge role.
The glimpse of Luna's rising moon can be seen to the visible eastern direction from where she stood, placing her hoof onto the white balcony railing, where some green, healthy vines were growing out a bit for the early summer air.
Princess Luna... her glimpse of Tempest after the Friendship Festival when she and her sister Celestia met the broken-horned could tell that she was thinking about something. Tempest didn't really know what it was until weeks later, when Princess Luna had sent her a letter by mail mare.
The letter was still sitting there on the desk inside of the room, having been opened a few days after immediately seeing it with Luna's seal on it. At the time, being that the color of the letter was mere dark than her own sister's would get Tempest a bit suspicious. The ink from the princess was written, taking a brighter near-aqua color to the dark gray paper that was inside the envelope upon opening.
"Tempest Shadow aka Fizzlepop Berrytwist,
I know that this is very unexpected to receive from me, Princess Luna. But you have been on my mind for a while, a few months after the Friendship Festival and I believe that it is the necessary motivation to get in contact with you as I have with a few others who have been in your hooves as you have.
What I am proposing is an opportunity to leaving the past behind that you look to dwell upon. I have seen your nightmares while you are asleep, the memories of the Storm King's betrayal and refusal to fix your horn, the realization of what you were really doing to your home when you turned your back on it, and petrifying my sister into stone. Guilt is what you are feeling, hurt and sorrow.
The few that have been recruited are one that you have met before as commander of the Storm Army. Two others, you haven't met before but would take the opportunity to welcome you into the group that I have brought together called the Nightmare Knights.
Your broken horn has quite the power we need to gather in order to foil dangerous criminals throughout Equestria, especially those with intentions of taking the throne to themselves. Your name will be taken off from the bounties by my request from wherever you are wanted for the war crimes you committed in different parts to the south. Should you reject the offer, there are plenty of others who are willing to take the position that I am offering to you.
Give yourself all the time you need to think this over. Should you accept, come to the Garden District by the pondside view at the stroke of midnight, when the moon is high above. I will be there, waiting.
Tempest's eyes weren't turned towards the parchment from her position, remaining where she was - her eyes set out towards the gardens and then to the castle where she remembered her own hoofsteps. Nopony below noticed her, but she could remember them by the design of their faces.
Those horrified faces when the Storm King had them enslaved and either placed into cages or been chained up to do the dirty work of that yeti-satyr when he had still walked on Equestria's soil. Then they saw her, who gave the orders from the king to the armies with fear to even her own name that she had to stick with for many months when he had found the broken horned, lost and alone.
Still, she was thankful that the Storm King never knew her true name. But she would never forget her victims that were frightened as she made haste to the castle in the capital. Especially one very little filly that she had separated from her family in the conquest against Canterlot, that face would practically haunt her in her sleep. The look of fright, the tears in her eyes and the screams as the filly was dragged away to be thrown into a cage. It truely was guilt that Tempest felt, even for her actions on the young who she now feels didn't deserve it.
The family? They wouldn't forgive her for what she did to their daughter and will most likely pin the blame on Tempest for all of their problems as any other pony would when she was involved with whatever the greed-filled, power hungry king wanted.
Tempest wanted to stop, but didn't have a choice. She would always oblige to the demands of him, just with the need of wanting her horn back; the one thing she loved as a filly just to make her feel whole again.
"...Your horn won't be the only thing that's broken..."
That voice of her leader that betrayed her would repeat the certain memories in her head as she lowers her head, trying not to think about it. No matter how hard she tries though, it seems the bad outweighs the better memories after.
"Who cares about that dinky little horn of yours?!"
From that balcony of hers, the memory began to form as it look similar to that of the castle, out back from the throne room. The voice of the Storm King spiraling around her head as she was trying her best to slip away, but being trapped in it like quicksand. She closes her eyes, feeling only a small bit of power slipping towards her horn. It was like he was still right there behind her as the voice was saying all of his words.
"So you don't believe in bad luck. I do..."
"Tempest, honey, open up your eyes... Did you really think that I would have such a power to heal that cracked horn? Take a good look at me. I am the Storm King, not the Horn King. I make storms happen, it's the thing I do. Me, a horn healer? Ding ding ding! Answer is wrong. Why? I've used you..."
She began to grit her teeth as if the Storm King was ready to strike at her with the Staff of Sacanas he had in his possession. The sound of crackling from her horn can be heard, as if reliving that same memory again. Even Tempest's own voice can be heard from the events with the princess and her captives.
"Trusting strangers? Big mistake..."
"About your betrayal..."
"That princess is not going to keep me from getting my horn back!"
"Why are you doing this? You're a pony just like me."
"...I'm more than you'll ever be..."
Tempest opened her mouth, trying to scream but there was no scream at all. If any, it was mostly all silence that came out from her mouth as the power began to flow throughout her horn and was unable to calm it down. At any given moment, she would unleash her fury through power from all the haunted memories that wouldn't go away.
She turned and saw the Storm King herself, as her eyes still remained closed and he had a look of malice on his face as he approached her with the intent of possibly killing her. His armies were right behind him as the shadows of whom she had commanded under his wing. He looked all too real as she had remembered. That staff that she had found for him before her conquest of Equestria, in his right hand while his left is reaching for her.
Even so, his hand began to grow and change in appearance, becoming more blue in appearance as well as being filled with stars as it was nothing more than an illusion that was all too real. She saw the one creature that was responsible for everything that happened to her in her past.
Her leader's betrayal... his form had changed by her imagination into nothing more than what linked back to fillyhood that was lost to her. Its yellow and red dotted eyes staring down at her as it prepared to swipe at her for a kill. The Ursa Minor.
The noise in the background was nothing more than ringing in her ears. Tempest grunted, trying to just stop reflecting about this. She was already starting to pray that Celestia would help her.
The ringing grew louder, and so did the Ursa Minor in her memories. Her horn sparkled more now than ever and she was ready to fire at the illusion in front of her.
Knock knock knock!
Tempest opened her eyes from hearing the familiar sound of knocking on her door. The illusions of the beast and her betrayal... gone. Her horn powered down from leading into an all-out charge. She was still there in the present, the same sundown... the same moonrise. The same ponies that were captured before, still trotting to and from the gardens, still having not noticed the broken-horn watching them minutes before.
She didn't know who was at the door, but trotted forward with the intention of opening up and seeing who it was. If it was another one of those mailmares delivering another recruitment form from Princess Luna, she would probably shut the door on them - considering that she wasn't thinking about joining.
Her hoof unlocked the door and she had her hoof on the doorknob for a moment, stopping to think for a moment. If this was Princess Luna, then she could just say that she wasn't interested in the position that the night princess was offering her. That might work, just so she could get back to her privacy of trying to forget. She turns and opens the door, revealing the figure standing there before her.
It's Princess Twilight Sparkle.
She stood there with a warm expression to her face as she saw her open up the door, having assumed that she wasn't expecting her. For Tempest's expression in response, it was more surprised than her warm, friendly emotions that she usually shared with everypony who knew her. Those violet eyes locking onto Tempest, whom in return just stared right back at her.
The broken-horn doesn't know what to say yet, pausing for that moment to breathe through her nostrils and then finally saying something. "Twilight." It was little, but better than nothing at all.
"Is this your room? It looks really good," Twilight says, her eyes turning to observe around her room for that moment. "Do you mind if I come in?"
She couldn't just say no to the alicorn, as she had helped turn away her from her role under the Storm King. What else was left for her to lose anyway? "Yes... come in."
Twilight stepped right inside, trotting by Tempest, closing the door behind her once she was inside. She hasn't noticed about how quiet the broken-horn was, the hurt emotions of the past years still tormenting her to this very day.
"A very nice place, but I am not sure why you don't want to live closer to friends or anypony you know." Twilight says to her, looking around.
"I tend to keep to myself," Tempest responded to her. "I'm not really one for noise or loud city lights, but in this part of Canterlot it can be a lot more quieter for me. It helps me to concentrate on my thoughts."
"After all that I have done with the Storm King, well, what remains of it in my memories keeps me back from anypony who tries - as old friends have done in the past. I am not really in that kind of moment to open up to friends."
"You are still troubled with guilt?"
Tempest didn't want to admit it, but it was something inside that really got to her when that yeti-satyr came to mind. "...Yes."
"It wasn't your fault."
The broken-horn doesn't respond to her. Her eyes just look down onto the plush colored carpet floor, trying to shake away the feelings from her mind, and act like everything was alright. Twilight was still in her sight, but she doesn't see her head turn to look at the desk where the open letter was.
"Is this a letter from Princess Luna?" Twilight asked her. Still no response from Tempest. The sound of Twilight's magic is heard as the magic aura surrounds the parchment and she begins to look through the letter. "The Nightmare Knights? She must be really eager to have you join."
"That's... something I've kind of considered, but never acted on to joining."
Twilight lowered down the letter, seeing the sad unicorn trying to be as quiet about it as much as she could. The emotion in the alicorn's eyes had changed, seeing that when Tempest had a downcast expression, she knew that something wasn't quite right. She places the written parchment back on the desk, slowly trotting towards her. Her friend didn't try once to even move from her position.
"Tempest..." Her voice said to her, watching Tempest close her eyes for a moment. "Is everything okay? What's wrong?"
"It's..." Tempest didn't want to reveal her troubles to the Princess of Friendship. Even so, she knew she couldn't just shut her away like her old friends back in her village did. Twilight alongside her friends, were the only ones that understood Tempest this whole time. "It's everything from the moment I lost my horn."
Twilight remained silent, listening to Tempest as she exhales some breath and is trying not to get too emotional as she speaks with her.
"My horn was the very special thing to me from the moment that I was born. Having it ripped away from me, at such a young age was rather traumatizing. The days and nights that I spent crying over the loss, my old friends abandoning me which set me out into running away. The years passing, trying to find a new place to clear my name..." Twilight unfurled her left wing, placing it around the broken-horned to give her some comfort, sharing a saddened and concerned expression. "Through my own frustrations, I taught myself how to fight with my hooves - back to front, defend myself with what magic could be used from my severed horn. I thought I would destined to travel and live an outsider to all of Equestria. My dream of being a princess, just like Celestia... gone down the toilet. All because I was foolish enough to lose my horn and get dragged under the wings of someone who said they'd fix my horn, and lied to me."
"It wasn't your fault, Tempest. You had no idea that-"
"It was, Twilight," She interrupted her. "I was lost in the idea that I would get what I loved back, and didn't realize I was being used until it was too late."
Her eyes turned to the mulberry colored alicorn next to her, seeing her saddened expression on her face. "Yet... I still feel lost, even when I have returned home."
"You're not lost, Tempest. You feel lonely, with no one to talk to and to express your feelings to," Twilight said to her. "Do not let yourself get angrier over this, and shut yourself out from everypony over it. You have me and my friends. We're here for you."
"It's easy for you to say," Tempest exhales a sigh. "You're a princess. You have more to attend to than just me."
"I came, because you're my friend. I'm concerned about you." Twilight was calm when she spoke with her. "I know that it's not easy to let go of your past. The only thing I can say, is that there is help that can move you forward."
Tempest's eyes changed towards Luna's letter on the desk when she had mentioned moving forward. With Twilight right there, seemingly trying to sway her - she still seemed so undecided about joining Luna with the Nightmare Knights or not. Her eyes turnback towards the alicorn, her wing still around her.
"There is a first step to all this," She continued. "Even after facing the Storm King, you've never really expressed much emotion except happiness when faced with it. The memories of your lost horn, you have to let it out."
"I..." Tempest paused for a moment. "I don't think I've cried for a very long time. Are you sure this will work?"
Twilight turns slightly, opening up her other wing to curl around her. "You need it." She tells her. Tempest wanted to respond to her with a small bit of doubt, but was caught a little unexpected by the princess coming closer and wrapping her hooves carefully around her, giving her a heartwarming, friendly hug.
The broken-horn caught in the moment, hadn't expected the Princess to show an open-welcome to her. The last time that she had ever felt a hug from somepony was when she was a filly and it was her mother giving it to her when she had lost her horn. It was like she was experiencing the mother love all over again, when somepony had really cared about her own loss.
A small spark lit from her emotions, her eyes beginning to water up a bit. Those small remaining memories of love from family and friends when she felt down up until the loss of her horn and the endless nightmares to waking up screaming from losing her horn all over again.
For the first time in years, the broken-horned unicorn had finally shed a tear.
"You don't have to apologize to me a second time, Tempest," Twilight said to her. "I already forgive you for your actions."
"I... I committed treason against my own home. I'll be punished for sure if the elite here in Canterlot had control."
"Don't worry about them Tempest. They don't hold any influence in the capital."
Tempest even when she had already shed tears could only smile at the assurance from her friend. She rose up her left front hoof a bit, seeming a bit hesistant. No other way to be made, she placed a hoof gently around Twilight, sharing the hug with her.
"I'm not going to force you into joining the Nightmare Knights," Twilight says, not having let go of the hug just yet. "The only thing I'm just going to tell you is that you should just give yourself more time to think about it. When you have come to a decision, I am sure that Princess Luna will understand."
They held the friendly hug for a few more moments, and then let go when Tempest felt a lot better; all of the stress she had experienced, gone from her mind.
"I'll still think about it. I will consider the offer, but it hasn't mean that I have said yes," Tempest said to her, clearing the teardrops from her eyes. "But until then, I think I can try my hardest to move forward. This time, I will be the one who helps to defend Equestria from those who want to destroy it. Something to help me become grand again and to prove myself to everypony who still doesn't trust me that a pony who turned against them can change back to their side."
Twilight was no longer looking saddened, even when she had let go of the hug, sharing a small smile on her face. "The time seems to be still very good at this time of oncoming night, so I believe I have time to spare to spend some time with you." She tells her. "Want to leave for a bit to go and get something to eat?"
Tempest nodded her head. "I haven't done that for a while since I was a filly, doing that with friends. Why not?" A smile appeared on her mouth, when had turned towards her front door.
"You can tell me what you would like, and I will happily pay for you," Twilight says, trotting towards the front door. "If anypony gives you trouble, let me know."
Tempest giggled for a moment, trotting towards the door and opening it up to let her friend trot out with her.
"How about hayburgers?"
"Haven't had those in a long time," The broken-horn responded to her question as she followed behind Twilight, turning to close the door behind her. "Especially the hayfries, those touch up the meal just perfectly."
A/N: Thank you for reading this oneshot. I came up with it sometime this early December, and just doodled with it. Hoping you all had a Merry Christmas, and hoping you all have a Happy New Year as we enter 2019.
Three things to note:
1. I have no plans to move forward with finishing Consign To Oblivion because I have more stress when having to focus on two stories, plus I had run out of inspiration for the story. Hence, it is on indefinite hiatus / cancelled.
2. Next year will be when the final season for FIM airs. Whether you believe the late 2017 leaks or not, the show is inevitably ending because immediately when 2020 comes, Flash which is used to animate the show will become obsolete and shut down for HTML5. Technology is changing, and they already have plans in Spring 2020 to begin G5. At least for the final season, we will have Grogar coming.
3. To repeat what I had said in the Author's Note for CTO, LTL is closing its book real soon, as there is only 22 chapters left, with an ending 100% fully developed. I currently have no plans for a sequel, but I will try to see if I can work in as much as I can in regards getting an appearance in LTL for one of the Student Six. (Maybe it'll be Gallus, Silverstream or Smolder. Possibly Yona?) I really am hoping to finish LTL as soon as I can, because it is mostly work that keeps me busy, plus I have an original idea for books that I want to get into as soon as I wrap up everything.
Again, I thank all of you for reading this. Hope to post more chapters for LTL in the new year.