• Published 11th Sep 2013
  • 15,889 Views, 1,377 Comments

Second Princess of the Night - Senyu



With King Sombra gone, is Equestria truely safe from harm? Or will another foe as old as the Crystal Kingdom itself appear now that the dark unicorn's position of evil is vacant? What new danger will threaten the land and the Elements of Harmony?

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Act II - Chapter 17

Tell me, oh bloodless one,

What do you dream when you slumber?

Do you chase fanciful mares,

While ripping their hearts asunder?

Do you dream of purer times,

When your heart was not so cold?

Do you wish you could go back,

Before your soul was not sold?

What nightmares does evil have?



“Get away!” Ruby shouted while simultaneously jumping up onto her hooves, her wings flared out and her entire body crouched in a defensive position. Her teeth exposed in a snarling expression, fangs bare and ready at whatever had dared to approach her. Her mind was completely focused at the foe that had managed to sneak up, but would not allow any closer as expressed in her threatening body language. However, the behavior disappeared immediately at the recognition of the stallion standing just a little ways before her, a perplexed but wary expression on his face.

Night Walker stood at the entrance to her alcove, leaning back slightly as he regarded her posture. They stared at each other for a few heartbeats before he spoke up to break the silence. “If I had disturbed your sleep that much, I can always come back another time.”

Ruby quickly shuffled up from her low crouch to a more proper and upright position, a small flare of pink built on her cheeks. “I-I’m sorry, I just reacted and… I guess I was asleep…” she said while shifting her eyes away.

She had been in a deep slumber living out a dream she could no longer recall now that she was awake. But at some point during her sleep her ears twitched at the sound of approaching hoof steps, and a fierce instinct overtook her at not allowing a threat to sneak up on her vulnerable form. It was with that emotion and mentality that she had leapt from the dead of sleep onto her hooves, ready to attack whatever had dare to challenge her. A reaction she was beginning to feel more embarrassed of having with each second.

But the sound of Night Walker’s laughter brought her out of her self-embarrassment and her head up. “It looks like you're returning back to your good old self.”

“How does nearly attacking a pony in my sleep count as good?”

“It means your predatory instincts are coming back to you,” Night Walker simply said. “But we can discuss that later tonight. Come, there is a matter we must address.”

“Is it about your missing wings?” Ruby asked with a tiny amount of worry. She noticed that the leathery wings that had carried her to the cave and the ones she had slept on were no longer tucked at his sides. In fact, they weren’t even there anymore.

Night Walker gave a quick glance at his sides before replying, “I forgot you don’t remember. To answer your question, no. My ‘missing’ wings are not the issue and I will bring you up to date on why that is later on as well.” Turning around he called over his shoulder, “Come along now, I would like to take care of this as quickly as possible."

Ruby’s mind puzzled at what he was referring to as she followed him out of the alcove. When they entered the opened cavern, her eyes passed over the wondrous sight of the glowing blue stadium like area that bat ponies had been living in. There were tents now pitched on some of the larger ledges, and bits of carpet along with packed baskets set neatly around the cave. The first thought that came to her mind from the scene was ‘refugee’, as it looked to be only essential items stacked about. She had wondered when they had time to set it all up, thinking perhaps it was during her time with the two batpony sisters before the rest of the crowd came to greet her.

Her thoughts quickly changed from curious yet sad realization at the state of her ponies, to simple and happy observation as she watch them move about, some of them having looked to have just woken up. Adults were moving out from their tents or beds of soft lichen, stretching their wings and giving wide yawns. Some of the fillies and colts were chasing each other about, appearing to have already been awake for perhaps some time now. Though they wore silly grins, their voices never became too loud as to flood the cavern with their laughter. Ruby didn’t know why, but she had expected them to be louder while the played, surprising her at how quiet they were. All in all, seeing them begin their night was a happy and satisfying thing to watch. And to know despite the dangers that are now surrounding them, that they could look so normal and carefree. It made her proud at how strong they could be in the face of strife.

As she and Night Walker climbed up the slope that lead to the ledge she had first stepped out on to show herself to the bat ponies and inevitably lead back topside, one of the fillies stopped running and began to wave to her. Lunar Pearl had spotted the two of them and was waving good evening towards them, shortly accompanied by the rest of the children when they had followed her gaze as to what was so important to stop playing. Ruby returned it with a wave of her own, smiling at the group of children and a few adults who had also taken notice.

A small grin of satisfaction grew on Night Walker at the sight. Things are progressing even more smoothly than I had expected. Which means sometime soon, something will most definitely go wrong if the literature of today has any say on it. He held off a light chuckle at the anticipation of what kind of disastrous and inevitable event may occur, an outlook he had to forcibly foster onto himself due to the many unexpected and often negative events or outcomes back in his time. He found reveling in unfortunate circumstances would work more often to his advantage than be in distraught over them. After all, life is about ups and down. All you can do is prepare for it.

Night Walker and Ruby left the cavern and made their way up the winding path to the surface, a trip that seemed much shorter than on the way down to Ruby. It wasn’t long before they stood at the mouth of the cave, the last remnants of the orange sky becoming dim as the sun set.

Ruby happily took in a deep breath, reveling in the fresh air that held the coolness of the coming night. As comfortable and safely inclosing the cave was, she much preferred the open air over the damp and stuffy atmosphere of underground. Here, she was free in the open world, able to see the land around her should she choose to fly high enough. That is, if she could fly high enough.

She had forgotten she hasn’t exactly flown by herself, yet she already knew what it would feel like and the sensations it would bring. She began to pass it as a side effect of the tampering the Royal Sisters had done to her and what else they might have, before a scent that wafted on the wind locked her entire body and shut down her mind.

She suddenly became very aware of a burning sensation that began to fill her throat; it was like she had swallowed a mouthful of scorching sand that clung to her insides, remaining locked in her esophagus and threatening to burn even greater the longer she waited. Her eyes scanned the area immediately, easily piercing through the building darkness for whatever it was that was emanating the smell. Autonomously she moved forward, mouth hanging open as if to taste the smell in the air, driven by an unknown urge to seek out the scent.

It held a metallic smell to it, but it was sweet at the same time. She couldn’t begin to explain how tantalizing it smelt, or understand why it made her mouth water slightly. Leaving the mouth of the cave, she began making her way past the small clearing and into the dense forest.

Her eyes darted about as her nose wrinkled with deep but shallow breaths, picking up the faint trail of what she sought. The rest of her senses became heightened in kind, how the soft grass felt when it became crumpled beneath her hooves, the rustling of the tree branches and scurries of critters while her ears flicked to and fro, to how tense but loose her muscles were as she walked, ready to spring to action in a moment’s notice.

The only thing that was not behaving in superiority was her mind, for it was too locked up in the uncontrollable urge to find the smell. In fact, not even a single thought had crossed her mind since she first caught wind of it.

Then as she turned a tree, she spotted the source.

With her dilated eyes, she easily spotted the bowl of red liquid, sitting perfectly serene atop of a stump. She froze on its sight, taking in the way the bit of moonlight that filtered through the branches shined across its surface. She had never even had notice when the moon came up, or cared. All that mattered was the liquid that bombarded her senses and whispered for her to do one thing.

Drink.

She gulped as the burning in her throat flared at the sight of the liquid, somehow knowing that it would be able to ease her soreness. Instinctually, she moved forward again, her eyes remained locked onto the bowl, not even daring to blink as she approached it. She didn’t know why she felt like this, or what exactly the bowl contained, but then again, she never had a moment to consider such things. The only thing that made her even pause at downing the liquid immediately was the sudden noise of a branch snap on her left.

Whirling her head around, she fell into the same position she had woken up in earlier in the night, fangs bare and muscles tensed as she glared at what had made the noise.

Standing calmly some twenty feet away, and just as equally far from the bowl, was Night Walker. He held his usual grin as he stared at her, and watched her intently. Ruby had never even noticed him following her, in fact, she had completely forgotten about him when she first picked up the smell. Yet unlike this morning, her posture did not flinch in the slightest.

Her brain then finally began to churn, assessing him as to what he was doing, and wondering automatically if he was going to get between her and the bowl. She didn’t care she was being aggressive to him, nor did an ounce of embarrassment come to her from her behavior. The only thing she cared about, and was deathly serious on, was that he did not get in the way of her drinking from that bowl.

He let out a bemused chuckle that made Ruby’s feathers quiver and her muscles flinch, having nearly lunged at him on the spot. Then, his head slowly turned away from her, and onto the bowl. Her eyes widen at the forced conclusion that he had the same target, that he was going to drink it instead of her. In suit, he took one step forward toward the bowl, flashing his eyes at her as what she saw was a mocking gesture, that he was going to drink it all before she could.

But she was not going to let that happen.

With a bloodcurdling shriek that would even give a manticore a pause, Ruby lunged at Night Walker, easily covering the distance with a single leap. Night Walker jumped to the side just shy of Ruby’s fangs, giving a growl in kind as he pulled away from her and raced towards the bowl. Hissing in anger, Ruby chased after him immediately, fury overcoming her at the notion he would dare challenge her for the liquid.

Flapping her wings again in time with a kick, she thrusted herself with enough momentum to catch and tackle Night Walker, knocking them both to the ground in a tumble. Snarling in fury she moved on top of him and shoved her hoof down onto his back, pinning him beneath her. Then, she mercilessly began stomping down onto him with her other hoof, striking with force that caused Night Walker to roar out in pain.

But he would not yield to her right to drink so easily. Flipping over, he threw a foreleg crossways, catching her side with force that sent her flying off of him. With a stabilizing flap Ruby caught herself nimbly as she landed away, wincing slightly at the soreness that spread from the hit. She gently placed the hooves down on the side that received the blow, but her attitude did not falter as she hissed menacingly at him.

The pain of the attack had given her a hint of the strength her opponent possessed, and it was more than she could muster. Her eyes narrowed as he resumed a standing pose, flexing his shoulders and eliciting audible pops from his bones. Though he tried to shake off the soreness as a harmless, the deep bruised marks on his back indicated she had done some damage to him.

Now they stood across from one another, watching the other intently. Though her opponent was closer to the bowl, she held his attention and knew he would not risk another move to the bowl while he had to contend with her. He was stronger of that she was sure, and possibly more durable than her. If she wanted her drink, she would need to disable long enough to swig it all down. Even the idea of killing Night Walker if necessary had crossed her mind.

She needed to get around him, use her wings as an advantage, and bite on one of the six locations on his body she had already selected; throat, the artery under each leg, and the back of the neck. She needed to end this as quickly as she could, one for not wanting to prolong the fight and take a chance at receiving more blows, and because the burning in her throat was beginning to become painful.

All of those thoughts were decided during intense stare down they held that had only lasted a few seconds. Her body, mind, and behavior were all running on pure instinct. Faster than thought, and with no room for questioning the morality of her actions. Only survival.

She slowly moved to Night Walker’s left, while he moved to the right. Both of them circling each other as a predator would, patiently waiting for the tiniest of openings to exploit and finish the job. Her breaths were shallow as wild red eyes remained locked onto his, waiting for some hesitation or sign of weakness in him. But he held her gaze evenly, his similar eyes focused and unwavering. Though they regarded her as an opponent as well, they held a calm about them that Ruby lacked, a sense of confidence and control over the fight, some superior advantage she did not have. And that attitude only infuriated her even more.

From the mixture of the burning pain that tore at her throat and the inner rage that had steadily rose throughout the fight, Ruby’s horn glowed from building magic that she beckoned. Night Walker’s eyes widen at the glowing light, betraying his control of the situation and creating an opening, one she did not hesitate to use.

Wrapping him in her magic, she threw his body up thirty feet, and then promptly slammed him back into the ground with the same force. Not waiting to see how he fared after the blow, she flung him against a tree, then another, and another. On the fifth tree she threw his body against, she had done it with such force that it cracked the trunk, causing the tree to bend at a lopsided angle and seemingly ready to break off with the rest of the splinters that fell out.

Ruby dropped the motionless body onto the ground, watching closely as he fell with a solid thud onto the forest floor. Her horn remained aglow, waiting for him to move again in case he needed to break apart another half a dozen trees. When he continued to remain still, Ruby let out an exasperated breath.

Her vision became hazy as her breathing became ragged pants in desperation for air, something that was becoming harder to inhale as the pain in her throat that had started to spread into the rest of her body. The sensation was that of her flesh searing from a flame and she could not wait any longer. Content that her foe was no longer capable of impeding her desire, she moved shakily toward the bowl. Once she had reached it she stared longingly onto its surface, the crimson color of it calling her like a siren. Wide eye and with drool leaking down her chin, she threw mouth into the bowl and begun to gulp large mouthfuls of the liquid.

The sensation was incomparable to anything else.

The fire in her throat was doused almost immediately, cooled by the crimson liquid as slide slowly down after heavy swallows. While the soothing effect it held on her body was amazing, the taste of it was even more so. It held a copper like taste but it was not displeasing, rather it mixed well with how else it tasted. Not bothering herself on how she knew, the closet thing she could describe it was something that was as sweet as honey yet held a rich, deep, and refreshing flavor similar to strawberries. The faint taste of the metal somehow complimented it perfectly, giving the taste a weight on top of the sweetness that made her feel like she could bite into it at times. The way her tongue tingled from touching it as it slide down it was like having soda and pop gems in one’s mouth, eliciting a fuzzy sensation that exploded about her mouth in euphoria, making her let out soft moan as she continued to drink. The feel of how her tongue lapped more of it into her mouth, the way it oozed past her teeth and down her throat, and how her body cooled while her brain send waves of pleasure after mind forcing pleasure and contentment… it was like being in ecstasy simply from drinking. It simply tasted too good, and made her brain send euphoric signals to keep drinking, all while letting out soft moans of satisfaction.

It wasn’t long before she downed the entire bowl, licking her muzzle on the left overs that stuck to her coat. “Oh sweet Equestria was that good…” she said happily, her eyes half opened as the lingering but rushing sensation of the drink died down. She sat down in a slight daze, her mind somewhat fuzzy after the matter, and her body to decide to simply relax and let the good feeling work its course. But it did not last long as her brain caught up on the fact of what happened before she began drinking.

Snapping her eyes open, she spun around. “Night Walker!”

She spotted him sitting up near the tree she had last thrown him into, rubbing his hoof against his back as she gave a careless smile. “Well… that went a bit differently than I imagined.”

“Night Walker!” Ruby shouted as she ran over to him, frantically spouting off apologies. “Oh my gosh oh my gosh! Are you okay!? I’m so sorry! I don’t know why I did those terrible things to you!”

“It’s okay,” he said with a forced grin. “I guess… I forgot, how strong and proficient you were with magic, especially levitation.”

“I’m so sorry,” Ruby said dejectedly, falling onto her rump as she stared at the deep bruises left on his body. How could I have done something like this? Not entirely sure she wanted the answer, Ruby asked hesitantly, “Wh… why did I do those things?”

“Well,” Night Walker replied while flexing a foreleg. “You smelled the blood I left out for you and followed it. Then you saw me, returning immediately to the lovely mannerism that you had greeted me with this morning.” Ruby looked down at her hooves as he repeated the experience, almost unable to believe everything he was saying was true were it not for her memory of it. “I took a step toward the blood, fully intent on drinking it before you,” Night Walker said with a smirk. “And you took exception to that.”

“Why… why did you have to get between me and the… blood,” she said, her voice cracking over the word. She should have known what it was, and a small part of her said that she had the entire time. But she was too caught up in the situation to put a thought to it. “Why did I crave it so much that I… that I hurt you?”

Night Walker regarded the Ruby who was still staring at her hooves like she was a monster, unable to come to terms with what she had caused with them. “Ruby…” he said drawing her attention. “You did what you had to do to survive.” When Ruby’s face still held a confused expression, even having a bit of wetness around her eyes that had built up, he continued. “When I had freed you from the Royal Sisters, you were in a bad state. I had to give you my blood to return you to what you once were, but that wasn’t going to be enough for you long. For all intents and purposes, you are like a newborn vampony, and you will suffer through the initial stages.”

“And… what are those?” she asked slowly, her mind now come to grips on what she had done and focused on what she could do to prevent it from happening again.

“I don’t know if now is best to explain everything, you should probably take some time to rest and-“

“No,” Ruby interrupted. Putting her front hooves back down onto the ground she looked at him, her face holding a half hearted look of determination. Her demeanor might have looked more serious if it wasn’t for the recently wiped away tear and the stain of blood on her chin. “I want to know now.”

He gave her a once over before sighing and shuffling himself in a more comfortable and less sore position. With a calm voice, he began what was to be a long winded explanation. “Much of the vampirism inside of you had been warped or somehow removed, and it needed to be restored or else you would have died. To do that, I needed to feed you my blood. With that the vampirism was restored, but it will take a toll on you as it is recouping many things that once were there. No matter how the stories of this age portray it as, a significant change such as becoming a vampony isn’t an easy and instantaneous process. It requires time and energy for it to develop. That is why even the amount of blood I had given you only lasted a night. You needed to feed again, and I wanted you away from the bat ponies.”

“In case I…” Ruby tried to finish objectively, but found it too difficult to say. Even the brief thought of hurting them such as Lunar Pearl flashed crossed her mind before she forcibly shoved it away, to disturbed at the notion to even let it play out.

Night Walker’s nod confirmed the awful conclusion. “You would have eventually smelled their blood, and being at the beginning stages again, you would have done anything it would have taken to sate your needs. Right now your body is going through a difficult process, and you need plenty of blood to fuel the transformation until it settles.”

“So… it’s not permanent? How I acted?” she asked hopefully.

With a reassuring smile he answered, “No, it’s not.” A relieved sigh escaped the Ruby’s lips, feeling better at the fact she wouldn’t treat ponies with such disregard once everything settled. “But that doesn’t mean that instinct won’t kick in should you become severally hungry again,” he said, dashing her hopes slightly. “It becomes much more manageable the more you experience it, only taking control of you during dire times, and only for survival. It actually has a name, often called in germane der Letzte Drang.”

“The Last Urge?” Ruby replied.

Night Walker blankly blinked at her understanding of germane before letting out a chuckle, “Yes, that is the translation.”

“And what is it?” she asked, her curious and analytical nature coming back despite the horrible topics and experiences that had come up within the last hour.

“It’s when a vampony spends too much of the energy, or are simply starving and need to feed. The more you spend the blood inside of you, the quicker you approach the der Letzte Drang.”

“And how long does a vampony last if they don’t use their powers?”

“About two, maybe three weeks if it’s a good meal and they don’t use any powers and only come out at night,” Night Walker replied slowly.

“Sun light has a detrimental effect on a vampony’s blood reserves?”

“Yes,” he said, a little taken aback at her questions that were starting to come faster.

“Can a vampony eat or drink things besides blood?”

“If… they so choose...”

“Does it have any effects?”

“I guess you might be able to stretch out another week before you need to feed again…”

“Does vampiric power's burn through normal food first before blood?”

“I’m not entirely sure…”

“What about-“

“Ruby,” Night Walker interjected quickly.

“Yes?”

“Could we perhaps talk about this another time? I would like to heal a little first,” he said, nodding towards the marks over his body.

“Oh!” she replied, her demeanor once again becoming sullen as she looked once over the nearly splintered in half tree then over his battered body again. “I’m sorry, I should probably let you rest those injuries which… don’t... look as bad now…” she trailed off. Taking a closer looked, she was sure that the size of the bruises had lessened.

“One of the perks of being a vampony,” Night Walker grinned. “We're tougher than your everyday pony, and heal faster. But even that takes a toll on your blood preserve. In fact, I think I will head back to my alcove and have a drink myself so help the process.”

“Um… Walker?” Ruby asked tentatively.

“Yes?”

Her eyes shifted back and forth as she squirmed over the question. “Whose… blood did I just drink?”

Night Walker was silent for a moment before responding, “It was blood I had saved over some time. One of my natural talents that I will show you later. Do not fret, no pony died for it.” Ruby’s face brightened immensely at the fact, glad that she did not have to kill anypony for her first remembered taste of blood. As delicious as it was to drink, she didn’t quite see herself willing to kill another pony for it. In her mind she hoped that in the future she might find a way to get her nourishment without much harm to the pony; dim fragments of pony anatomy flashing in her head as to where the safest location to draw blood from would be.

And while she looked hopeful to the future, Night Walker’s mind was concerned on the present. I hope the beginning feelings of regret for one’s food does not last long for her. I would hate to think all of this would go to waste if I had preserved too much of her former self from the vampirism.

“Oh! One last question, I promise,” Ruby suddenly said.

“Ask,” Night Walker said as stood up.

“What do bat ponies eat?”

Popping his back he replied, “From what I understand, the Royal Sisters used a type of fruit bat as a template for the transition back to being normal ponies. It was supposed to be an intermediate stage but they never seem to have gotten past it. They can eat normal food but they have strong cravings for fruit, one of the reasons we picked this forest as it has some naturally growing fruit trees within it, enough to keep supplies stocked if rationed, but not enough to seem like a likely place for us to hide.”

“Oh, okay,” Ruby replied. She had more questions to ask just from the information alone if she ignored every other one in her mind, but held herself in check, deciding to spare the poor aching pony from further harassment from herself tonight.

“Let’s get back to the cave. If you want I have some books you can read to bring yourself up to date on some things. You just fed so you shouldn’t have to worry about harming anypony,” Night Walker preemptively answered before Ruby could ask, her mouth open and hoof in the air in preparation of asking if she was safe or not.

As he began to walk back through the woods, only wincing now at putting down a single hoof, Ruby mulled over the experience. She wondered if nopony else’s mind mulled over multiple facts at once, seeing how nopony else had yet to show the multitude of thoughts and question. But one notion did nag at her, a question about herself that had been spurred after learning the violent capability she and Night Walker possessed; a first hoof learned lesson that still made her feel awful just thinking about.

“Walker…” Ruby said softly, making his halt and turning around unenthusiastically at another question. “If we are so harmful to everypony, why do we even exist? Isn’t the world better off without us?”

Night Walker’s brows furrowed as his mouth fell instantly and his teeth flashed, grinding against each other in a flash of anger that made Ruby recoil. She could see his muscles visibly shake in what she assumed was a silent but hot fury before he took in a deep breath and closed his eyes. The sudden change from calm, to angry, to calm again threw the Ruby for a loop, not daring to speak as he remained still least she draw out his flash of anger again.

After some moments he let out a breath and opened his eyes, regarding her coolly before turning away. Speaking softly but loud enough for her to hear he said, “Don’t you ever tell yourself you shouldn’t exist. Not yourself, nor anypony else in this world.”

Author's Note:

To be honest I don't particularly liked this chapter. But it was needed and had to be done with and away before I can start tackling the more fun and interesting sides of Ruby learning about batponies and her new predator like nature. I'm sorry if it became a little to explanation heavy at the end, I warn there may be more of it in future chapters. It is hard to match Ruby/Twilight's obsessively learning mind while still giving the readers what they need to know. Anyways I hope you all it enjoy and I will try to make the coming chapters of learning about batponies a little more exciting if not more entertaining and less boring.

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