Rarity tried her best to keep from scowling when she noticed the royal unicorn colt heading in her direction. She knew that it was very childlike and made her seem somewhat immature, but she couldn't help herself.
Seeing the prince brought back memories of the Grand Galloping Gala that she didn't care to remember.
"Hello, Prince Blueblood" she began, swallowing back feelings of disgust as she spoke to him; after all, she was still a lady, and a lady always at least attempted to be polite.
"To what do I owe the…pleasure?" she asked, referring to the fact that he was at the palace.
The question was actually a valid one. While Blueblood was a royal, he didn't actually live in the palace with his aunts; he had only been visiting during the Gala.
Blueblood began to answer, when suddenly Libby ran down the hall, with what appeared to be a rather sticky-looking gummy worm hanging from her mouth.
As soon as the filly got within three feet of him, the prince looked absolutely revolted.
He backed away as though he believed touching her would cause him to break out in hives or something to that effect.
"Keep that revolting, sticky, little creature away from me" he demanded of Rarity, pointing at the turquoise-maned unicorn filly.
Rarity narrowed her eyes, angered by the fact that the spoiled royal had just insulted her daughter.
Libby, on the other hand, remained silent. She simply swallowed the candy worm in her mouth and gave Prince Blueblood a sharp-toothed smile.
Blueblood shuddered at the grin before turning in the opposite direction and starting to walk away.
The white unicorn mare sighed in relief, happy that she didn't have to deal with the rude stallion any longer.
She didn't notice that her daughter's eyes had begun to glow slightly.
I cannot believe Aunt Celestia and Aunt Luna would allow one of those…baby things inside the palace!
They are absolutely horrid creatures.
All they do is whine and make messes everywhere.
They're even worse than Aunt Luna's pet bats.
I hate those bats…I hate them even more than I hate rats. At least rats can't fly.
What was that?
Something just touched my throat.
I check my neck.
Bat! There's a huge, disgusting bat on my throat! Get it off me! Get it off me! Oh, oh, it's drooling!
I try to scream but the creature squeezes my throat preventing the sound from escaping.
There's more weight on my throat now. Has the bat gotten bigger? I look to see.
No, the bat hasn't gotten any larger.
No, it's something far worse: three bats, each bigger than my hoof, are clinging to my throat.
One of them turns into a rat, with beady little red eyes and wings on its back.
Some-pony please please please get these creatures off me.
I'll do anything. Anything, I promise. Just please get these horrible creatures off of me.
The flying rat climbs up my face. I can't move; I'm too terrified.
One of the bats climbs up the back of my neck, using its claws like little hooks.
I want to scream, but the other bat is still squeezing my throat and all I can manage is a whimper.
The bat on top of my head pulls on my horn. It snaps.
I let out a strangled scream.
It hurts so much…
Nothing could feel worse than this. Nothing…
The rat must be able to read my mind. It starts to claw at my eye.
I close my eyes, trying to keep it from scratching. It doesn't. It's scratching my eyelids; I can feel them bleeding.
At last, the bat on my throat releases its grip. I start to scream.
"Some-pony! Any-pony! Help me!" I shout at the top of my lungs.
There's no response.
I open my mouth to scream for help again, but the bat sinks its fangs into my throat. I scream again.
No words come from my mouth this time, just a pained screech.
"What are you doing?" Rarity asked Prince Blueblood.
The white unicorn stallion was screaming something about rats and bats tearing him apart, climbing all over him, yet there was nothing there.
Rarity was truly concerned for the prince; even if he was a royal pain, no-pony deserved to be in that much pain…even if it seemed to all be in his head.
She walked over to him and gently shook his shoulder with one of her front hooves, trying to snap him out of his delusions. All she succeeded in doing was making him freak out even more.
Libby giggled maniacally, causing her mother's attention to shift from the currently insane prince back to her. The mare noticed that the baby's eyes were glowing slightly and she became somewhat concerned.
"Libby? What are you doing?" she questioned, knowing her daughter understood her perfectly.
The filly answered in a sing-song voice.
"I'm tormenting him!" she giggled, smacking the floor with her front hooves.
Rarity instantly demanded that Libby stop torturing Blueblood, resulting in the younger female asking why she needed to stop.
For a moment, the fashion-savvy pony was at a loss of words. She went through her mind, trying to think of a reason that would get her daughter to stop tormenting the prince.
Finally, she was forced to resort to the "Because I said so" excuse.
Thankfully, Libby was far less stubborn than most ten-week-old foals, and that was a good enough excuse for her. Her eyes stopped glowing and Prince Blueblood's delusions came to an end.
Once he snapped out of the nightmare he had been having, the blond stallion began touching his horn, his face, his throat, seemingly checking to see if any of the injuries he'd dream of sustaining were real. After a quick examination, he got to his feet and walked away. Rarity couldn't be sure, but she thought she heard him crying.
"Why'd you make me stop, Mommy?" Libby asked, looking up at Rarity with a genuinely confused look on her face.
Rarity wasn't sure how to answer for a moment. Yes, her daughter was quite a bit smarter than most foals her age, but her mindset was still that of a child. Could she truly comprehend what right and wrong were at this age?
"It's not nice to do that, Libby" was all she could manage to say.
The ivory-colored filly blinked twice, and then yawned.
Rarity couldn't help but smile slightly.
"You ready for a nap?" she questioned gently, chuckling slightly when the baby protested, despite the fact that she yawned once again and rubbed her eyes in a classic sign of tiredness.
Rarity had to admit that the sudden tiredness was a little strange to her, but she couldn't say she wasn't happy that Libby would be sleeping soon.
As turquoise eyes began to close, Rarity picked up the foal, using her mouth rather than her magic, and carried her to the nursery.
She placed her baby into her crib, kissing her forehead once before putting the bars back up.
She was about to leave when she noticed something on the floor.
Curious, she used magic to pick up the object, a piece of paper with a rather crude drawing on it.
Almost immediately, she regretted examining the drawing.
Despite the fact that it was mostly composed of scribbles and the occasional circular or ovular shape, it was clear to Rarity what it was a drawing of.
It was a depiction of Discord; abstract, of course, but it was still fairly obvious.
Rarity quickly crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it into a small trashcan that stood by the door. She would see if Spike could burn the picture for her later.
Maybe she was overreacting, but she didn't want to take any unnecessary risks.
When the foals had discovered Discord's stone form six weeks ago, no-pony had thought too much of it, even when they cried after being taken away from the statue and called him "Daddy".
Their mothers had figured that it had just been a case of playful toddlers, all of whom seemed to at least recognize that they didn't have a father around, claiming a stranger as their father.
After all, Discord was the first adult male the babies would have seen in the gardens, so it only made sense.
The mares had figured that their children would forget about Discord and the fact that they thought of him as their father, before a full month had passed.
However, the drawing Rarity just discovered proved that not only did the foals remember Discord, but they still felt an attachment towards him.
That was the last thing any of them wanted or needed.
"That's fine, Meadow. You can play with the animals, but don't hurt them" Fluttershy told her daughter, raising her voice slightly to ensure the filly heard her.
Meadow Lark released the squirrel from her mouth. The little creature had been unharmed as the young pony had not put enough pressure into the "bite" to break skin or even hurt the squirrel, but it was still frightened from the experience.
It darted away.
Meadow allowed the squirrel to escape, having had enough fun with that particular animal for the day.
She spotted a couple chipmunks standing by a nearby tree.
Her lips curled up, her mouth opening just enough to reveal the sharp points of her fangs.
She began to playfully stalk the chipmunks, looking much more like a cat than a baby pony.
Fluttershy kept a watchful eye on her daughter, not so much out of concern for the filly, but rather out of concern for the animals.
Meadow Lark, like the rest of her siblings who shared her…unique dentistry, had recently begun to crave the taste of meat. Even Roxbury, despite having teeth like a normal pony, with the exception of four oddly sharp teeth (both top and bottom) where the canines would be for an omnivore, couldn't resist stealing a bit of meat whenever the mares decided to indulge their offspring's odd (for ponies) cravings.
Fluttershy wasn't surprised at this development. After all, she had seen enough animals to know that sharp teeth meant that an animal was at least able to ingest meat, even if they were able to eat other things as well.
And, thankfully, not only could the fillies and colts eat fruits and vegetables and other things more typically suited to ponies but they were also quite willing to eat them, even if they preferred the taste of meat, poultry, and fish.
The six mothers had agreed that they could deal with this. They would feed their foals with a traditional pony diet, and occasionally purchase meat products and seafood from the few ponies who actually sold them.
Even Fluttershy, who hated the idea of animals being killed, could bring herself to stomach the idea of buying already killed and carved up or ground meat and fish. After all, she never saw the face of the animal when it was alive and it would be for her baby.
But, she had to make sure that Meadow Lark knew that live animals were not food; that they were not to be hunted.
The others each had one pet that they would have to teach their babies to see as friends, rather than potential meals. Fluttershy had dozens of animals back at in cottage in Ponyville, and thus, had more reason to want to ensure that Meadow knew the difference between animal friends and meat before they returned home in two weeks.
Thankfully, the yellow filly seemed to be taking the lessons to heart.
She did still practice hunting, but she never actually harmed any of the animals she was able to catch and that was fine with Fluttershy.
As her mother watched, Meadow pounced in the direction of the two chipmunks, alerting them to her presence.
The two rodents jumped in fright before scurrying up the tree they had been standing near, desperate to escape their attacker.
Meadow frowned; the squirrels had climbed into a small hole near the top of the tree. The hole was too high for her to reach and too small for her to be able to reach in and pull out either chipmunk, so she had lost two playmates for now.
A small chirping sound caught her attention. She looked up and smiled when she saw a mother bird, sitting on a nest that clearly housed her eggs.
The young pegasus began to flutter her wings, trying to reach the branch that the nest was on.
Unfortunately, her wings could only give her so much lift and even though the branch was fairly low, she was unable to reach it.
Meadow pouted with disappointment before she got an idea and her expression brightened.
Her front and back hooves suddenly grew sharp claws, which she dug into the bark of the tree. She slowly began to climb up the trunk of the tree, like a young bear cub.
Fluttershy instantly got to her feet when she saw that Meadow had reached the branch she had been aiming for. She knew that pegasus foals would instinctively use their wings to decrease their speed as they feel to avoid injury from high falls, but she would rather be safe than sorry.
Meadow Lark ensured that she would not fall by sinking the new claws on her hooves into the branch as she climbed toward the nest.
The mother bird, a crow, began squawking and flapping her wings angrily in an attempt to frighten away the intruder.
Meadow Lark simply smiled and locked eyes with the bird.
The bird was unable to look away as the filly's red-and-yellow eyes began to rapidly change colors, from different shades of reds to purples to blues to greens, each eye changing to a different color than the other.
The bird's eyes flashed the same colors.
Once both the filly and the mother bird's eyes stopped flashing, the bird climbed off her nest and examined the three eggs inside.
Considering the season, they were likely to hatch soon, possibly within the week.
The mother looked at the eggs for another moment, before pushing them, one by one, out of the nest.
Once the nest was empty, the adult bird flew away and Meadow Lark jumped from the branch, using her wings to glide down to the ground, the claws vanishing from her hooves.
Fluttershy, who had watched the mother bird push her unborn offspring out of nest with a sense of horror, could only watch as her daughter began to eat the contents of the now broken eggs.
"W-what happened?" was all she could ask, her voice shaking from the immense emotion she felt. She hadn't been able to see the confrontation between the filly and the bird before the bird pushed the eggs out of the nest.
Meadow didn't answer until she finished her meal, leaving only the shells behind.
"The mama bird pushed them out. She did" the brown-maned filly told her mother, nodding slightly as though to confirm that she was speaking the truth.
Fluttershy tried to comprehend why the mother bird would have chosen to kill her own babies, especially when they were so close to hatching.
Had she sensed that none of the eggs contained live chicks anymore, and decided to spare herself the grief of having this confirmed when the eggs didn't hatch.
Yes, that had to be it.
After all, the only other living thing on the branch at the time had been little Meadow Lark, and she couldn't have done anything to make the bird do something so awful.
"Fight fair, Butterscotch!" Roxbury demanded as Butterscotch appeared to literally climb air in order to avoid being tackled by him.
"She's a girl. They never fight fair" Firestorm stated from where he was watching the action, alongside Velvet and Spike, who was currently watching the four foals while their mothers were out buying some food.
The two earth pony foals had decided to start play-fighting, though the filly kept using her ability to utterly defy the laws of physics in order to get an advantage over the colt.
He couldn't reach her when she got so far off the ground, even when he jumped as high as he could.
However, when she heard the comment that Firestorm had made, her eyes narrowed and she allowed herself to drop to the floor.
"I don't have to cheat to beat you. Either of you" she said, looking from the green earth pony to the cyan pegasus.
As if showing how ready she was to prove it, the filly reared onto her hind legs and kicked her forelegs in front of her, a classic battle stance.
The young dragon kept a watchful eye on the battling foals, watching for any signs that the fighting would go out of hand. He may have still been considered a baby himself, but he was stronger than the young ponies and could restrain them if need be.
Velvet was content to just sit and watch her half-siblings fight with each other. Whether or not she would have been able to handle herself should they decide to force her to join was unknown; she was always an observer, never a fighter.
The fight between the other three foals continued.
By this time, each of them was going against the other, rather than the two colts teaming up against the filly as they originally planned.
At first, things seemed to be going fine. The foals were happy and had thus far avoided causing any injuries that would result in more than them feeling sore or having small bruises.
However, things quickly turned sour as Roxbury aimed his back legs towards Firestorm, apparently planning to buck the pegasus onto his side.
Firestorm noticed this and began to flap his wings in order to get out of reach of the earth pony's legs. Unfortunately, his timing was horrible, and before he knew it, his left hind leg was met by a strong pain brought on by an earth pony's hoof.
Instantly, Firestorm dropped to the ground, his clearly broken leg bent slightly to avoid touching the ground.
"Sorry…" was all Roxbury said before he looked to the floor, covering his mouth with a foreleg in shame.
Spike began to panic. He rushed towards the door, planning on contacting Dr. Castaway to help mend the broken limb. He wasn't looking forward to having to explain how the colt's leg had broken, especially to Rainbow Dash, but he knew the leg had to be fixed.
"Big brother" Velvet called softly, using a term of endearment she loved to use for her mother's assistant in order to get his attention. "Stay here. It's fine".
The purple and green dragon was about to ask her what she was talking about, when he heard the small cracking and popping sounds coming from Firestorm's direction.
He turned his head to look at the young pegasus and was shocked and amazed to see that the injured leg was straightening itself out.
With a small pop, the leg straightened completely.
Firestorm shook his leg slightly, as though testing to see if it was still broken, before restarting the brawl with Butterscotch (Roxbury had apparently lost interest in the fighting).
Spike stared for a few moments in silence, before he turned to the grey-blue unicorn filly next to him and asked her a question.
"Can all of you guys do that? Can you all…heal yourselves?"
She didn't say anything, though whether that meant they did all share this trait or they didn't, Spike didn't know. Finally, she nodded her head slightly, a silent answer to his question.
Author's Note: I hope I didn't go too far with the Prince Blueblood "nightmare" or the scene with Meadow Lark and the eggs or the end scene with Firestorm's leg breaking and healing itself. If it makes you all feel better, this story won't get any darker than that.