A sliver of pale moonlight peeked through the overcast sky high above Canterlot. Lampposts blazed blue with arcane flame and all was quiet. It was picturesque really. the Herongrove District represented the very best Canterlot had to offer: buildings hewn from alabaster stone, elegantly carved pathways, gardens, parks, and even the chance orchard. It was a wonderful illusion. The curfew was in full effect here as anywhere in Canterlot as the City Guard patrolled the streets with horns alight, or lanterns fixed to barrels. Such a shame the skies were left unguarded, but such was the unicornian city. Up above a shadow flitted from roof to roof, keeping low and to the darkness. Silver eyes gazed down at the world with an amusing light in them, ever searching for the errant eye of a guard. She was a Pegasus, almost invisible against the sky thanks in part to her dark overcoat, and she was on the hunt.
Kitty perched herself atop an awning above a gilded balcony. Her cloth covered hooves made her silent on the ceramic tile. She gazed down at the armored unicorn below who searched in vain for curfew-breakers. Little did he know the one just above him. Kitty shook her head and searched for her mark. One balcony in particular was her target. Kitty’s smile turned downward as she jumped to an adjacent building, wings a blur of motion. There! She smirked as her keen eyes caught the telltale glimmer of a silver moon chime hanging from a balcony awning down the way. Kitty glided toward it only to be forced to halt mid air, wings flapping frantically. Fixed to a wooden beam was a faintly glowing red crystal. If she had entered the balcony she’d have set it off.
Kitty rolled her eyes in annoyance and pulled a small black marble from a pouch on her foreleg. Something roiled inside. She tossed it into the crystal’s line of sight. The marble defied gravity, fixing itself in the air. Both glowed in tandem as black mist traveled from marble to crystal, darkening. The light sputtered as the magic that powered it was snuffed out. Kitty caught the marble just as gravity reasserted itself. She cast an eye down at the guard strolling up and down the streets, none the wiser. Kitty landed, snorting; foal’s play. The ornate chime she’d spied earlier twinkled in the breeze. With a trained wing, Kitty pulled it from its hook with nary a sound. Very real silver gleamed from its razor edges. She slipped it inside one of the saddlebags that hung at her sides just under her thick coat before peering into the apartment through a set of dual glass doors.
The studio of Matte Palette, Canterlot’s up and coming artist, greeted her. An easel rested in the rooms sent with a stool and paint brushes scattered about. A desk sat just inside the darkness that consumed half the room, and bookcases lined both walls on either side. Her eyes fixed on the stand beside the easel, on which was perched a painting fitted into a gilded frame. Kitty resisted the urge to giggle like schoolfilly. Her knife flicked out from her hoof-guard and slid between the glass doors. No lock, just a simple iron hook kept them secured. She pushed one open with care and stole inside, silent as a shadow on the wall. Kitty’s ears perked up, swiveling in all directions as she froze in place, ready to bolt. When only quiet answered back Kitty was able to breath. She trotted up to the painting easy as you please, the wooden floor underhoof offering no protest. Kitty beheld Matte Palette’s latest masterpiece.
Equestria’s new regent, Nightmare moon gazed right back. The ebony alicorn sat atop a regal throne, looking as though she’d always belonged atop it. Darkness seemed to fight along the edges about her. She was garbed in silver armor studded with sapphires and amethysts with gold filigree about the edges. Her helm sat at the throne’s feet, her starlit mane left to fall down her shoulders in an ethereal wave. Twin dark blue tapestries hung at either side of her bearing the nightmare's sigil, a simple silver moon; its simplicity looked almost out of place among the grandeur of the rest of the painting. But what caught Kitty’s attention was the mare’s face; she was beautiful, no doubt, but the cyan eyes- not unlike a dragon’s- seemed to stare right back at her. Her lips were curled up into a slight yet arrogant smirk, head turned slightly up. Kitty smirked back, flicked her knife out again, and took to removing the canvas from frame.
Rolling the canvas up, Kitty removed the leather tube resting across her wings and placed the painting inside with all the caution of a mother handling her newborn foal. Sealing the top she slung it back across her back. Now for the fun part. Kitty scooped up the fine bone brushes scattered haphazardly about the floor and placed them in her bags. Gliding across the floor to the desk, she took to perused its contents. Her search came up with several capped bottles of fine ink, some fresh parchment, and even a box of quality writing quills. She knew more than a forgers who’d jump at the chance to restock their stores. Into the bags they went, alongside the brushes. On the desk she also caught sight of a letter from the subject of Matte’s painting.
Subject Matte Palette,
I am pleased to hear of your work's completion. I will have it sent for on the marrow and it will be revealed on the eve of my Starfall Gala. Your invitation is herewith enclosed and you would do well to attend to celebrate my return with the peers of Canterlot. Though you lack the blood of the truly noble, I would have my grand visage unveiled by you and you alone. The night will hold fine food and dancing as well, so you may enjoy yourself, save that you stay close to my side. I will have my most trusted Shards act as your guards throughout the night to discourage…. accidents as to assuage your fears of retaliation.
Your Illustrious Majesty,
The nightmare had chosen her artist well if his work was anything to go by and it was clear he had some favor with the new queen of Equestria. The script throughout the letter was obviously that of a court scribe, but the signature was much different, it had to be the nightmare’s own horn-writing. Kitty folded the letter and placed it in her coat's pocket. That signature was worth almost as much as the painting she’d come for.
Her next stop was the kitchen; she turned the corner and her eyes nearly came out her skull. Apples! A whole bowl of them left on the counter. Beside the flat, stone alchemical stove. Kitty scooped one up and scarfed it down in three large bites, sweet juices dribbling down her chin. It had been ages sin she’d had fresh fruit. She bade another to join its sibling before slipping two more of the sinfully delicious fruits into her bag. Maybe Talon will like the peace offering, she mused, chuckling softly. Kitty then raided the pantry, pulling two bottles of sweetest blackberry wine and cheese wrapped in wax paper out where they followed the apples. Kitty thanked the Fates for her good fortune, she had to steal from artists more often. There was one more room yet to be ‘inspected’ in the small apartment. Kitty made her way down the hall and stopped at Matte Palette’s bedroom.
The stallion himself lay sprawled across the bed, snoring softly in the moonlight the peeked through his tall windows; it seemed the cloud-cover broke. Kitty had to admit he was a pretty stallion, lithe. His light blue mane was a mess of tangles while his silver fur sported splotches of paint and ink. His blankets covered his flank sadly. He looked to be in a deep sleep, held by a wondrous dream if his blissful expression was anything to go by. Kitty wiped away the juices still clinging to the fur on her chin and pulled her muzzle mask up. She crept into the room. It was a simple set up: bed, dresser, nightstands, and a glass cabinet laden with trinkets.
What was astounding however was the amount of night themed stuff. Maps of the stars, moon tapestries, statuettes of a black alicorn, some old and some new. In the corner he even had a silver astrolabe. On the nightstand sat an onyx statuette of a mare in the breeding position, tail flagged high and ruby eyes looking back. Kitty bagged it and the gold watch lying beside it. She made for the glass cabinet and ignored all the other knick-knacks. No, she picked up the polished black jewelry box inlaid with silver moons and sapphires acting as stars, all held up by an elegant wooden stand that was the cabinet’s centerpiece. Oddly enough it was empty inside but Kitty set in her bags all the same.
“Nice,” Kitty whispered. Matte stirred and she froze. Kitty let go of the breath she’d had caged in her breast when he merely mumbled something intelligible and didn’t stir again. With saddlebags near bursting with enough loot to choke even Leech, Kitty made for her exit. She was greeted by moon glowing bright and full in the sky as she exited the balcony. Kitty shut the door gently and took to the air with a single pump of her wings. She flitted to the roof tops and landed, crouching low.
“Pickin’ a pocket’s all well and good, heck the easiest part,” she recalled Lyka saying. “But the getaway; that’s the hard part.”
Kitty looked to the sky, cursing her turning luck. No cloud cover meant it was much easier to be spotted. “You there! Stay where you are!” Like that; of course a random wing patrol would be flying by. Kitty swore under her breath and bolted. Glancing behind Kitty spotted two stallions with bat wings clad in the grey armor of the City Guard. The silver moons on their chest plates reflected the pale light of the nightmare’s celestial orb. Kitty jumped down into the narrow streets and spread her wings, gliding on the wind. She could hear them shouting after her, ordering her to stop in the name of her illustrious majesty. She wouldn’t have done it in Celestia’s name, much less the nightmare's. Kitty smirked despite herself.
Alright colts. Let's see if you’ve been running your drills.
A Nightmare Takeover AU
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