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Jul 23, 2019 8:51 PM
and meets Peter Pevensie
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Nightmare Moon is pacing. And thinking. And worrying. Pace, think, worry, pace, think, worry. She's already dismissed the (trembling, terrified) castle servants. Equestria is starving. The night has lasted for 83 hours now. Without the sun's warmth and light, crops are dying. The ground is cooling, bringing an unnatural winter. If she can't figure out how to raise the sun, she'll be the only thing left alive on this half of the planet.

But only Celestia can raise the sun.

And Celestia is dead.

Nightmare Moon killed her. She doesn't know if she meant to. Doesn't know if she wanted to. Right now, she mostly wants to throw up. It doesn't matter anyway. She can raise and lower the moon, can make it do loop-de-loops, can make it seem to bounce along the horizon, but she can't so much as touch the sun. She's tried. She spent fifteen minutes unconscious and an hour nursing the migraine from magical backlash before she stood up and forced herself to cast an anesthetic spell so she could keep thinking.

Nightmare Moon paces. And thinks. And runs into a table. Startled, she looks up and discovers that she's no longer in the corridor, and in fact that the room she's now in looks like nothing so much as a tavern, albeit an eerily silent one. There's only one other patron, a strange gangly thing that pulls up short to avoid running into her. "Hello," it says. "You look confused. Let me be conveniently very helpful. This is Milliways. Time is stopped in your world until you leave." Nightmare Moon blinks, but the thing keeps going. "It's some kind of dimensional nexus. You can leave whenever you want but if you let the door close no promises you'll make it back here. Don't try to fuck stuff up or Security will hand you your ass. Bar can make stuff, as long as it's not alive, not magic, and fits on the counter. First drink is free, you look like you need one. Cheers." And it's gone.

Well. That's... huh.

A wave of relief nearly swamps her, leaving her surprised by the force of it. Time. She has time, time to figure out what to do, time that won't be wasted as long as she doesn't leave. She walks to the bar. "Milliways? Do you have access to printed materials?"

A napkin appears on the counter in front of her. Call me Bar, but yes. Could I get you a drink first?

As much as Nightmare Moon would love something alcoholic enough to kill a normal pony, this isn't the time. Or... wasn't she just thinking she had all the time she needed, now? "Can you make moonshine?" she asks, curious despite the situation.

I can make almost anything, Bar replies, and sure enough, next to the second napkin a flask appears of the star-brewed stuff Lu... Nightmare Moon made one night several hundred years ago (and then banned the following morning). She uncorks it, takes a shot, then gags after choking it down. "Stars, that's vile." She takes another gulp. Okay. Time to do some research.

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A small bipedal creature opens the door and is delighted to see a winged unicorn, but nonetheless retains a dignified demeanor (although the nuances of human body language may be lost on the princess).

"Good day to you, Madam! Pray tell what land is this?"

(he has dealt with Horses enough to know a Mare from a Stallion)

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Her ears flick towards the sound before she decides that she's really not going to get anything out of this book the 38th time through that she didn't get on the 37th, and picks her head up to regard the creature. It's the same sort of gangly thing the first one was, and it, too, only comes up to about her chin.

"Milliways," she says, a little belatedly. "Can you move the sun?"

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"I don't believe I can move the sun- why do you ask?"

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Nightmare Moon snorts. "It seemed about as likely as me finding out how to manipulate my cutie mark in Starswirl's old notes. A unicorn has no excuse for fieldwriting that bad." She eyes him. "What are you?"

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"I am a Human. What's a cutie mark? Why do you need to move the sun? I'm afraid I am entirely ignorant of the affairs of Milliways."

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"Hm. Like a minotaur without the bull. Strange, but that explains the lack of a mark. And no, I don't know anything about this place anyway, I came in like you did. Well, I assume like you did. Your cutie mark represents your destiny, your true talent in life. Usually for unicorns it influences the kind of magic you can do, or possibly the other way around, it's rather complicated. Mine is the moon." She indicates her flank with a nod of her head. The movement sets the miasma of her mane rippling over the book on the counter, but it ebbs after a moment. "I need to move the sun because...." She can't force the rest of the sentence out; briefly, she moves her mouth but cannot speak. She changes what she was going to say. "Our usual means is... indisposed."

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He has also dealt with Horses enough to recognize when they find a topic upsetting.

"So, Milliways isn't your native world either? You know the name, though, so you must have heard more about it than I did when I came here.

I'm afraid I can't be much help to you yet on questions of destiny or changing it, I'm rubbish at theology. It sounds like my sister or my tutor would be more use to you. Would it be possible to move the sun using the moon, say by pushing it around, or is that a daft idea?"

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"No, I'm from Equestria. Another human ran by and told me some of it, but you can ask Bar questions and she certainly gives much clearer answers. Not to mention alcohol." She gestures, this time at a stack of napkins set aside from her book.

Then she pauses, considering his words, and looks faintly amused. "How much do you know about astrophysics as it applies to magical masterworks? The short answer is no. If either of those people is a quick learner I could certainly use the help, but I'm guessing you've got earth magic, if anything, and all I've been able to do with that is estimate how much longer I have before everything on the planet either freezes or burns."

She takes another long draft from the flask next to her, using a telekinetic field to manipulate the glass. A similar field emanates from her horn, and winks out when she sets the flask down again.

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He speaks with more urgency now, but still does not seem to be panicking.

"How long do you have? Do you know if time is passing at the same rate there as here?"

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She seems much less concerned than he is. Also a good deal more inebriated. "Apparently time is stopped there unless you hold the door open. Not that I have any way of verifying that, but either it's true and I don't need to worry about it, or for some reason the Bar has decided to lie, in which case there's nothing to be done anyway, everyone is going to die, and I may as well not worry about something I can't stop." She picks up the flask again and toasts someone imaginary. "Fuckin' Celly, stupid perfect sunbutt," she grumbles.

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(Wow, whatever she's drinking is apparently strong enough to get a Horse drunk.)

His attitude of urgency lessens.

"Does Celly normally move the sun? What's happened to her?"

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Nightmare Moon's expression turns guarded. "None of your business. She's not around."

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She's in mourning but doesn't want to talk about it even to be comforted. Well, what other options do they have.

"Okay. Will the twilight part of your world stay habitable? Could we evacuate people there? Or could we evacuate people into Milliways, or into my world through Milliways? My country is currently at war and rationing food as it is, but people who can eat things humans can't can probably survive there, and some of you could be able to get to countries further from the front."

he turns to Bar

"How well equipped is Milliways to accommodate refugees?"

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Her brow furrows in thought. "The twilight.... Tell me, do you know what an eclipse is? The trouble would be getting it right quickly enough. That, and reassuring the population Discord is still imprisoned before they riot. And of course that only helps half the planet, there's not...." She trails off, staring into the middle distance, thinking.

The number of rooms here is not necessarily finite, Bar explains, on a napkin that Nightmare Moon pays no attention to. While there is rent, it can be added to one's tab, to be paid off at a later date. You may also camp out in the backyard free of charge, though the chance of non-Euclidean geography increases with distance from the establishment.

"What is your magic like?" It's quite a feat to interrupt a piece of paper, but Nightmare Moon manages it. "Who are you at war with, what are their capabilities? Are humans herbivores or carnivores? Bar, I need every account of any eclipse during the Discordian era that mentions quantifiable data, and other nations' contingency plans in the case of a war with Equestria." A stack of papers appears in front of her; she picks it up and shuffles through it with her magic. "Thank you."

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"I'm familiar with eclipses, yes. Good idea. We have very little true magic, but we have invented marvelous machines, such as ones which can fly, ones which can move across the ground or water at great speeds, and boats which can travel under the water to ambush ships, marvelous chemicals such as liquids which set into stone, and powerful explosives and poisons, and a technique which can render people immune to certain diseases. Humans are omnivores, but there are plants we can't eat and animals we don't eat in my country. Our enemies are the Germans, Italians and Japanese. They seek to conquer the world, and the Germans in particular also seek to massacre certain ethnic groups they consider inferior and enslave others. They have machines, explosives and poisons similar to ours."

He reads the napkin.

"And it looks like Milliways is a good place to evacuate to, in any case. Is there anything the people of Milliways need help with, Bar?"

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She's thrown briefly at the lack of magic. "Hm. Even more like the minotaurs, then. You're at war with three other species at the same time? That doesn't seem like a very good idea. Ponies are herbivores but we do eat dairy and there are even a few ambassadors to the griffons who've acquired a taste for fish. Dragons eat gems... I think. We don't really know much about dragons. Zebrica is on the other side of the planet, but zebras are pretty much like ponies. Biologically, anyway. How do you fly without magic to offset the weight? Who controls the weather and regulates the day and night? Who governs?"

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"I don't think it was a bad idea at all compared to the alternatives. If we hadn't fought them we'd have been betraying our allies to conquest and we'd still have had to fight them later when they conquered our neighbours and moved on to conquering us. Unless we were prepared to surrender and let them massacre or enslave our own people. In fact, given the circumstances I'd say it was so clearly the best choice as to barely be an idea at all."

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"What, do you have no artifacts? No conc- well, whatever the equivalent of ritual casting would be." She shakes her head. "Never mind. Equestria is by far the most powerful force on Equus; I had assumed the same of... what is the human nation called?"

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"The United Kingdom. Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, ruling over of the British Empire. I suppose being overwhelmingly more powerful than any enemy would make avoiding war much easier."

He pauses to think.

"There are non-talking horses in England who are able to live mostly on plants humans can't digest, like grass. No-one in England eats gemstones, but they're rare and expensive even without people eating them, and we can only get more by mining for them.

Do you think your peoples' magic could be used to produce food? I know when Narnia was locked into a long sorcerous winter its people survived in large part on magically conjured food.

I don't know exactly how we fly without magic- I think our flying machines push against the air somehow, but not quite the same way you do. So far as I know only God controls the weather and the heavens. And the United Kingdom is governed by an elected Parliament, a Cabinet they appoint, and a House of hereditary lords and ladies, with a mostly symbolic King. Other countries have other systems."

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"Well, there you go, get God to deal with the germans and japanese and whoever else. Bribe her if you need to, seeing as she is the sort who would sit idly by while her people are slaughtered.

"And I thought you said you had close to no magic. If you have the means to produce food in winter then why aren't you using that? Even earth ponies need something to work with, they can’t grow crops in cold dead soil."

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"... I don't think we can rely on being able to get God to do anything. And I think we might be His way of dealing with the Germans. I wish my sister Lucy were here, she's much better at dealing with this sort of thing. My brother Edmund could probably be much more help than me with figuring out evacuation, for that matter.

And England is a different world from Narnia. We don't have Narnian magic there."

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"He sounds utterly useless, then, you should overthrow him when you get the chance and see if you can't take or replicate whatever he did to get power. There's plenty of ways to win a war with weather. The pegasi pioneered most of them, and six out of seven of them have feathers where their brains should be.

"Can you get them here? Or could you tell me where they are, so that I can fetch them while you hold the door? Teleportation is probably out, unless you're so good at describing things that I can get an accurate picture of it in my mind's eye.

"I take it Narnia is like Milliways, and you don't have reliable access to it or you'd already be using it to solve your problems. Shame."

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"Just in my family's experience, he saved my brother's life and helped mend the rift between him and the rest of our family, deposed the murderous tyrants Jadis and Miraz and ended Jadis' magical winter, turned my cousin out of a dragon and helped him become less obnoxious, rescued prince Rilian from imprisonment, and is most likely going to save our souls. Not to mention having created the worlds and everything in them. He might not be reliable, but he certainly isn't useless."

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"He's useless here," she points out. "And did any of that happen in the world you're in now? Maybe he's just the ruler of Narnia and not your United Kingdom. What's a soul and why do they need saving?"

She pauses. "I will give you the dragon thing, though. It's hard to imagine anything more obnoxious than a dragon."

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He sighs and puts a hand to his face.

"I'm pretty sure He's the God of all worlds, but I think you'd need to ask my sister or my tutor for an explanation of how or why, or of whether that also makes him the ruler of them, or for what exactly a soul is and why they need saving."

He sits down.

"You're right that Narnia is like Milliways, and my brother and sisters aren't anywhere near here. You could fly to where they are, but..."

He thinks.

"I'm reluctant to let people into my world unnecessarily given how bad that sort of thing has gone before, but we might need to bring your people there eventually and your being a winged horse is definitely a good omen. Okay."

He hesitates some more.

"Do either of you have a pen?"

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