Dusk and Dawn

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Chapter 9

It took Moonlight a month to hammer out the details of the move, and a week to finally get the house and furnish it. It helped that Luna was helping pay for it, since Twilight had to share the house payments with Hermione just to be able to afford buying the place.

Finally they were able to settle down in Ponyville, more or less.

Moonlight had taken extra care to find a spot in Canterlot inside the palace grounds for her to teleport to so the guards wouldn't react to her sudden appearance, despite the fact that Shining was aware of the new arrangement.

She was still trying to help restore the old Night Guard. Right now it was full of the dregs from the other guards that no one wanted.

"Everypony, we have a new student joining us today! Please welcome Storm Dancer," said Miss Cheerilee.

Storm walked in, his stripes displayed proudly. After the talking to Moonlight had given Applejack and the others about their treatment of Zecora (helped by Twilight, amusingly enough) none of the students overreacted to his appearance.

It helped that he had been the one to tackle the 'scary' pony who lived in the forest and dispelled some of the rumors about her.

"What's with the stripes?" asked Diamond Tiara snidely. She was a stuck up filly who very few liked that much.

"I'm half Zebra. I got my momma's stripes and eyes and I inherited my dad's wings," said Storm. He was used to explaining this.

"Storm Dancer is coming from Canterlot. Does anyone have any questions?" asked Cheerilee. Applebloom raised a hoof.

"Is it true that Zecora is your aunt?"

"Yup," said Storm, popping the 'p' sound, "Zecora is my aunt on my momma's side. She was supposed to take me in after the attack, but according to Mom the ones in charge of placement didn't even bother to check if she was able to take me in once they found out where she lived."

"Why do you talk as if you have two mothers?" asked Diamond.

"My momma died after a Diamond Dog attack and dad died protecting her. Mom, that is Moonlight Sparkle, found me in the Canterlot Orphanage and recognized that I had a rather unusual talent that they didn't really appreciate. She knew Auntie from her time in Ponyville renovating the library."

Realizing it was a touchy subject, Sweetie Belle raised her hoof.

"If you're half Zebra, does that mean you'll never get a Cutie Mark?" she asked.

"Momma said that it's a distinct possibility, or that I'm just waiting before I find which field of cooking suits me the best. She said that potions are just as varied as spells for unicorns," said Storm.

Zecora had backed that claim up. She had been fascinated with some of the potions books Moonlight had pilfered from the Black Family library and the fact that there were some decent battle potions.

At this point Moonlight theorized that it was entirely possible that his cutie mark might be around a specific field of potion brewing, or he might have a talent for flying that had yet to display itself.

Between Moonlight, Rainbow and Zecora's lessons, he was sure to figure out what his cutie mark was soon enough.

"Storm, would you mind sitting next to Scootaloo?" asked Ms. Cheerilee.

"Yes ma'am," he said, sitting next to the orange and magenta colored pegasus filly.

Storm followed Hedwig into the Everfree Forest so he could have another Zebra potions lesson from his aunt. Moonlight had said that she trusted Hedwig and his own common sense to keep him off the more dangerous paths into the forest. Zecora only lived in the fringes after all.

Storm flew a little faster when he heard Zecora and Moonlight shouting. He stopped cold in surprise when he realized what was actually going on.

His new momma and auntie were sparring. Moonlight was a firm believer of being prepared for the worst, which was why she had a full stock of healing potions and spell books in the house. She was also taking lessons from Private Practice on basic field aid.

Then again she rarely had anything interesting to occupy her time during her multiple trips to the Guard's infirmary, so it was only natural she would ask for something, anything to read. She was rated as a competent field medic in case of battle.

Zecora landed a rather painful looking blow to Moonlight's flank, though his mom did an odd looking spin on her back hoof and sent Zecora flying into a nearby bush.

Zecora laughed.

"I can see that your skills are indeed no match for me!" she said with cheer.

"To be fair it was either learn fast or feel the price. I'd be happy to share some of the hoof-to-hoof lessons I've been taking with you. I know Rainbow's been cheering over the fact she has someone who can spar with her properly, even if I have to make fake wings in order to keep up with her aerial ones," she said.

"That was sooo cool!" said Storm in awe.

"It seems we lost track of time. I see you for dinner Storm," said Moonlight.

Moonlight's schedule was rather simple.

She woke up around noon, ate lunch and walked around. By the time Storm got out of class she would walk him to Zecora's and listen to his day. Once he was there she teleported to Canterlot to await Luna's lesson of the day. She spent nightfall to around three in the morning acting as Luna's secretary and then teleported back to Ponyville to sleep for six hours before taking Storm to school.

Occasionally she spent a few hours with her sister, Hermione or often times Zecora.

At least twice a week she managed to fit in an intensive sparring session with Rainbow Dash or Zecora, seeing as how they were the only ones who knew how to fight hoof-to-hoof without looking like an idiot.

A rather simple schedule but rather full.

Back on Earth...

"Are we sure this will work?"

"He left those notes on purpose, but we don't have a choice," said the other.

"I bet he thinks we'll bring her back...or at least retrieve Hermione," said the first annoyed.

"I'd love to know how she managed to keep Fawkes from coming back. I've never heard such language!" laughed the second.

"We have everything?"

"Absolutely. Our store's not much use with the war going on, and it would be better to have our best work with us rather than in their hands."

"Right. Let's cast this ritual and see where we end up."

Moonlight touched the mystery speakers, revealing an identical pair of red heads.

Moonlight was awoken from her deep sleep to the sound of a thunder crack outside the Everfree forest.

"Oh for the love of Luna! Who is it this time?!" she said.

The crack had been louder than normal, indicating more than one had appeared.

Seeing the identical stallions with near identical cutie marks and flaming red manes, she had an idea of who these two were.

It didn't help that for some reason they had wings instead of the horns unicorns had. She had noted that as long as a focus was present, pegasas and earth ponies could use wizarding magic.

Luna and Celestia had said that if more 'humans' were going to show up in Equestria that perhaps they could create a specialty school for those interested in learning Earth magic, since ponies were magical by nature.

If a Cutie Mark wasn't a universal sign of magic, then nothing was.

"Welcome to Equestria... Gred and Forge," said Moonlight grinning.

"Blimey! That was a real toss up!" said George.

"Don't I know it!" said Fred.

They both yelped in surprise when they realized that they had turned into horses.

"Rule one of Equestria: any humans seeking to teleport here automatically take their pony or creature equivalent. In your case your skills as Beaters translated to you becoming Pegasus Ponies. There are currently four other humans who live here. I'm sure Moony and Padfoot will be happy to have you crash in their house," said Moonlight.

"Dawnie," said Fred, glad to have run into her so quickly.

"It's actually Moonlight. Moonlight Sparkle. By the way... You two are no longer the only twins around," she said grinning.

"What?!" they said in unison.

Moonlight grinned evilly at them. Time to see their reaction to two Dawns...or Moonlight in this case.

Hermione took one look at the twin Pegasus stallions and scowled.

"No...no no no! Why did you two come here?" she whined.

"Mione!" said George grinning at her.

"Who are these two?" asked Twilight.

"Fred, George, meet my twin Twilight," said Moonlight, standing next to her sister.

Twilight turned to look at the twin pegasus brothers and recognition hit.

"You're those twin stallions Moonlight mentioned aren't you? Gred and Forge... Weasel?" she said.

"Weasley," they corrected in unison.

Moonlight grinned at them.

"I bet you ten bits that they'll end up dating Rainbow and Pinkie by the end of the year, or at least convincing them to help around their shop," said Moonlight.

"That's a sucker's bet and you know it!" said Hermione tiredly.

"What?" said Twilight looking at her sister wide-eyed.

"These two...are unrepentant pranksters. I'd be very surprised if they didn't take a strong liking to Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie," said Moonlight in way of explaination.

As it turned out, her prediction was entirely accurate.

Once they had managed to get the permits for their new store and found a way to translate some of their pranks to their Equestrian equivalent, the two mares in question were frequent customers.

Fred seemed quite taken with Rainbow Dash and the two could often be seen horsing around in the distance. George would debate pranks and recipes with Pinkie Pie for hours.

If those two pairs didn't end up with each other, she would eat her favorite book.

"I have heard that two more wizards have shown up in Ponyville," said Luna. Moonlight had spent several days coaching her on the more modern speaking.

Luna's Shakespearean speech had been giving her a bigger headache than Zecora's rhyming or the Weasley twin speak combined.

"At the rate this is going I would be shocked if Snape or Luna didn't show up..." said Moonlight.

Princess Luna perked up.

"You know someone who shares my name?"

"Luna 'Looney' Lovegood. Nice girl, though she's a bit odd. I'm almost certain she has Fae blood in her with all the weird creatures she sees that no one else can," said Moonlight.

To her surprise, Luna got a rather...odd...look on her face.

"Did you just say Lovegood?" she said.

Moonlight looked at her teacher/boss in curiosity. How did the princess know Luna?

"You know her?"

Luna had an uncomfortable look on her face...was that embarrassment?

"During my time sealed in the moon, I have occasionally dabbled in the affairs of multiple worlds. For example the one you were trapped in until recent years. On one occasion a witch begged the Moon Goddess to send her a daughter, as she had been barren from a poorly cast spell during the war. As she was a devout worshiper of the Moon, I did my best to give her what she asked for. There was an...unexpected...result..." said Luna, her dark blue coat gaining a hint of red from her blush.

"Was her name any chance Selene Lovegood?" asked Moonlight, having an idea of where this was going.

"Indeed."

Moonlight put a hoof to her face.

"So all those odd creatures Luna could see... She has the ability to see into dreams doesn't she?" said Moonlight.

"If this indeed the same child I helped the witch to bring into being, then it's entirely possible. The world of dreams is vast and highly malleable. If she can see into the dream realm, then considering who she was born to she could easily mistake the dreamscape for the real world. If she's not careful she could even get trapped there," said Luna, confirming that suspicion.

Moonlight looked like she desperately wanted to bang her head against something.

"So Luna's father was killed for passing on messages to various Order members? What of Luna?" asked Moonlight. She was talking to Fred and George.

"Luna's gone missing. She'd be presumed dead, except the goblins haven't closed the Lovegood vault," said George.

"Well there's no way I'm leaving my best friend all by herself after she lost her father," said Moonlight.

She had been meaning to make a trip back to Earth after finding a two-way portal spell that would allow her to access it.

"Bring us back some potion ingredients! We're running low!" they called out to her.

"You're planning a trip back to Earth?" said Twilight excitedly.

"I have to. If I'm right then Luna is quite possibly the closest thing Princess Luna has to a daughter right now. Princess Celestia was surprised when Princess Luna told her of the woman she had helped, and said that if my friend really could see into the dreamscape like her sister, then we have to find her quickly."

Celestia, when she had been told of this girl, had been horrified...especially when told that the girl's last family had been killed recently. If she truly had been given life through Luna's magic, then chances were very high that this girl was an alicorn, or had the blood of one in her veins.

So she had given Moonlight permission to head to Earth to retrieve Luna Lovegood and to take whoever she needed.

Twilight had been learning the basic hoof-to-hoof combat, if only so she could have something in common with her sister. She found the various forms of combat to be fascinating.

Well that and she had learned that gymnastics really weren't all that different from martial arts, flexibility wise.

"So you want to come with me do you?"

"I want to see where you grew up," Twilight corrected.

Moonlight made a face. It wasn't a nice one.

"There is no way in Tartarus that I am ever exposing you to those people," said Moonlight grimacing.

"Still...a whole culture based on magic! It must be fascinating!" said Twilight.

"Not the word I would use to describe it, but I suppose it would be to a newcomer..." said Moonlight, stowing away another potion into her bag.

"So who are we taking with us?"

"Five of the best fighters in the Night Guard, and I'm borrowing one of the ponies who specializes in field medicine as a precaution. Since there's no telling how long this might take, Luna's making sure we're prepared for a fight."

"What about Shining?"

"He's to guard the portal until we return," said Moonlight.

Twilight seemed unsure.

"Are we really going into battle?"

"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. You have been practicing your spells that Sirius has been teaching you, right?"

"My curses aren't that great, and my hexes could use a little work. I'm not comfortable with battle magic," said Twilight.

"I was planning to have you on support anyway. Here, start reading this. If all else fails you can be our strategist since I wasn't that good at it," said Moonlight.

It was Sun Tsu's Art of War. Twilight dove into the book, fascinated.

Princess Luna in particular had been an instant fan of The Prince, which Moonlight had found by accident in the Black library.

Celestia disapproved of Moonlight encouraging her sister's rather militaristic behavior, but the unicorn could care less.

A ruler should always be prepared for such things as an invasion, and with the recent opening of the portal to Earth it seemed only logical to brush up on her old occupation. They could protect the peace, but they should always be prepared for war.

Which was why Moonlight had suggested Celestia focus on keeping things peaceful for the ponies while Luna continued to make sure that nothing tried to threaten that peace.

Two days later, Moonlight cast the spell to open the portal, and the group of ten ponies, including her twin sister, walked through it.

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