The shadowy alicorn landed in front of the steaming cave by the base of the volcano. Her wings folded against her side as she trotted closer. Taking a deep breath, she shouted into the cave.
“Come forth Ille Qui Gubernat Monte Ignis - He Who Governs The Mountain’s Fire! I would speak with thee!”
A plume of smoke flowed from the cave, followed by a tremendous yawn. Soon came the sounds of smacking lips and then a snarl that grew into a voice:
“Who dares speak my true name? What fool offers themselves up as a morsel to fill my belly?”
A ponderous thudding filled the air, growing closer and louder until coming to a sudden halt.
A great scarred head emerged from the cave. The dragon stared down at the alicorn with its one good eye, drawing its head down and peering at her. Luna stared up at the dragon, shivering slightly despite herself.
“Hmph. You know my true name and are brave enough to stand firm upon seeing me. I suppose I shall honor your bravery and daring and not turn you to ash or devour you where you stand. Yet. Who are you and why do you awaken me?”
“Do you not recognize me, my friend? Does my voice mean nothing to you?”
“I have seen many things, young filly - mostly meals and foolish folk who confront me as you do, which are often the same thing. I have heard many voices - mostly raised in screams as I devour them or free my flame upon them. Though I confess yours does ring familiar, though I remember not where.”
“Does not my appearance remind you further?”
“My vision is not what it once was, filly, and I have only the one eye to see with, the other taken by a younger dragon than I. Let me look upon you more closely.”
The dragon brought his head forward slowly. Luna stepped back.
“Worry not, young filly. I have given my word that no harm will befall you. Is my word not good enough?”
Luna remained in place. “I apologize O’ great lord of the mountain, for though I know you, you do not appear to recognize me.”
The dragon snorted. “I will not be swayed so easily by compliments, filly, deserved though they are. I admit you are a fine figure of a unicorn filly and your voice stokes a memory within my mind, but beyond that, you are a stranger. And yet you seem insistent that we know one another, and quite well at that. You know my name - pray offer me yours.”
The alicorn sighed. This would be the turning point of the conversation.
“My name is Luna, Princess of the Moon, O’Lord.”
The dragon’s head reared up and he snarled, smoke flowing from his nostrils. Luna stepped back, truly afraid for her life.
“What trickery is this?!” he roared. “My dear friend Luna has been dead a thousand years hence and yet you come here under her name! How dare you! Had I not given my word, I would kill you where you stand. Get thee gone, liar, lest I choose to do so anyway. Begone and never return!”
“I said begone, filly.” The dragon lowered his head again, the smoke from his nostrils becoming infused with sparks.
Seeing that her words merely served to infuriate the great beast, Luna took the only other option she could to prove her identity. She opened her wings and spread them wide.
Immediately, the smoke and sparks dissipated from the dragon’s nostrils and his one good eye sprang wide open.
“Luna? Is it truly you?”
“Yes. When we were both younger and you were much smaller, you and I played together. You had not yet found control of your flames and thus I named you ‘Sparkmuzzle.’”
A small tear formed under Sparkmuzzle’s good eye. “You are truly she then, to know that nickname, as I in turn named you ‘Moonfilly.’ But how is it you are here? I was told you were killed by a demon which called itself ‘Nightmare’!”
Luna sighed. “Worse than that, Sparkmuzzle. Far worse. I was not killed by the demon, I became the demon. Nightmare .. I tried to usurp my sister and rule the sky. Thankfully, I failed.”
Sparkmuzzle cocked his head. “And the story of your death?”
Luna sighed. “A misinterpretation - my sister had banished me to my moon and told the others I was gone. It was taken to mean I was dead. In a manner of speaking, I was. A thousand years later, I found a way to escape and attempted to take over once more. “
She sighed. ”Fortunately I was defeated by six ponies wielding the Elements of Harmony. Nightmare was destroyed forever and I have since been trying to reintegrate myself, given that I’m a thousand years out of date. I came to visit you as soon as I could. I should have expected you had forgotten me.”
“Forgotten you? My dear Moonfilly, I mourned your loss for more than a year! But over a thousand years, one’s memory can fail them, often requiring a slight nudge. It is good to see you again, Moonfi…Luna.”
Luna raised a hoof. “No. To you I should always be considered your Moonfilly”
The dragon grinned. “And to you, I will always be ‘Sparkmuzzle’ despite the fact that my flames are now under control.” He let off a short burst and Luna laughed. Sparkmuzzle joined her but soon the laughter died down.
“Well,” sighed Luna, “Despite renewing our friendship we are at somewhat of an impasse. We are neither of us the children we once were. We cannot play as we once did - I am far too small, and you are far too large…”
Sparkmuzzle smiled at his old friend. “No, but we can change the type of friendship we have. For instance, I have a thousand years of tales for you to hear, dear Moonfilly.”
Luna smiled in return. “And for you, dear Sparkmuzzle, I have all the time in the world to listen.”
D’aww. This is very cute, and it made me smile. I really like the way that it took Sparkmuzzle time to recognise Luna - and that when he did, it clearly affected him a great deal. I also like the idea that not everyone knew Luna was Nightmare Moon - and not through a deliberate coverup by Celestia, either. It’s interesting stuff. Also, Luna’s unhappiness at what she had become is great.
Nice work. ^^