• Published 11th Sep 2013
  • 15,916 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 18

“Are you sure you don’t need help?” Ruby pressed, having refused to be more than a few feet away from him.

“I told you, I’m fine,” Night Walker replied for the umptenth time. “I just need some time to rest, and I’ll be good as new.”

“If you say so.”

Ruby bit her lip as she watch Night Walker wince while climbing up the small slope, then hobbled into the cave.

Figured it would be another day or two at least before she began using her magical abilities again, Night Walker thought. I suppose this is punishment for underestimating things again. At least it’s not a crystal coffin like last time.

He cracked his spine as joints rearranged themselves, causing him a feel good pain as joints rearranged themselves back into proper positions.

Been awhile since I’ve had a toss up like that. Makes me miss the times Grousom would argue against a plan of action. You really can’t compare a friendly bludgeoning followed by a refreshing feast to todays way of talking and apologizing. Still, I suppose it saves some trouble in getting things down.

Closing his eyes momentarily to feel the regeneration spread across his body, Night Walker’s ears twitched at the lack of hoof steps behind him.

Turning around, he looked back to the entrance and saw Ruby standing there, her eyes looking far off into the sky. She stood sideways as if caught in decision of coming inside or going back into the woods.

Night Walker watched her for sometime, waiting patiently for her to make up her mind before moving himself. Though he thought little of it, he had to admit that she had an air about her as she stood gazing into the night, her mane fluttering from the occasional breeze, and the moon reflecting her crimson eyes that appeared to be searching for something. For what however, he did not know, but he didn’t need to. To him, she appeared very much as he did so many years ago. Young, fresh, and searching the night, going wherever his hooves took him.

I hope you will enjoy nights such as these as I do, Ruby. They will bring you much comfort in troubled times.

As he looked onto her, a fanciful thought crossed his mind, causing him to smirk. If I were my younger self, I might have pursued such a beautiful mare. Perhaps someday once you’ve had a few hundred years under your saddle.

As time passed, a sudden sharp pain from his shoulder socket finally setting back in place caused him to grit his teeth. After it subsided, he looked back up to her and asked, “Ruby, what’s on your mind?”

She breathed in sharply as her ears twitched at the sound of his voice, acting as if she had forgotten he was there. Turning her head towards him, she looked at him with wide eyes, eyes that were all too familiar to him.

Of course, how could I forget the look of a new vampony?

For what he had mistaken as appreciation for the night, was in actuality the searching of the unknown for answers. He could see it plain on her face, her uncertainty of the world, of others, and of herself. It was that self contemplation of when everything had suddenly changed and your life was thrusted onto a new course. And he could only imagine how it was for a pony who had less than forty-eight hours of memories in her life. It was a short time to come to terms with everything, but it came with a lifetime of emotions to sway and guide her.

There were only a few things that had helped Night Walker in such confusing and thoughtful times, and he decided to gift her with it.

“Ruby, I’m going inside to rest. Stay out here as long as you need.”

She blinked in surprise at the sudden freedom. “Are you sure? Shouldn’t I not be alone?”

“It's fine. You’re a grown mare and a vampony at that,” he said dismissively. “If you need help there should be a guard around the cave entrance, and there should be some bat ponies collecting food in the forest. Just call out and somepony will come. All I ask is that you don’t go far from the sanctuary. Your subjects and I would not like to lose you a second time.”

“O-okay! I promise!” Ruby called after him as he descended into the passageway, a feeling of excitement and nervousness filling her. She waited until he fully disappeared, then looked out into the night, before she too moved, and made her way back into the forest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Night Walker carefully treaded his way back into the cave, thankful that the more severe injuries were nearly healed leaving only the finer cracks and damaged nerves. When he entered the main section, he paused briefly to look over the groups of bat ponies. To his satisfaction, they appeared to have settled in well, and held overall good spirits.

I should get with some of the elders later and see if there is anything they can recommend in helping everypony’s stay. Then Mist Hoof and Shade Flare to begin training sessions. Hopefully they have found a suitable stalking teacher now that everypony is here. The ones gathering food should be back shortly, then-

Night Walker ran over list and plans in his mind, ensuring that everything was in place and prepped for the various events and plans he had. Eventually however, the beginning signs of a burning sensation appeared in his throat, and a sudden shift within him brought out urges that were not there moments before.

Scowling, he continued making his way down to the main floor, and towards the side passage that would lead to his alcove. He was able to afford small delays of greetings to bat ponies that crossed his path, and having quick conversations on how they were adjust and if they needed anything.

After fervent thank you’s and assurances they were alright, he quickly headed down into the twisting passage, and into his own alcove, well away from prying ears and eyes. Immediately he made his way past various items, and straight to a chest that held a gem fixed onto its front, then flipped it open.

Within it, were many flasks that were chilled to the touch, as well as having a slight charge to them thanks to the magic that enchanted the chest. As he pulled one out and uncorked it, he felt the magic that kept it cool vanish, then slowly sipped at its contents.

Not as good as fresh, but it will do.

After a few mouthfuls, he pulled it away to let out a relieved sigh from the taste that tingled within his mouth, and at the fading sensation of the internal urges and burn in his throat.

I shouldn’t have gone so long before testing Ruby like that. I of all vamponies know I can’t afford letting such alter-egos out.

Feeling better already as his body absorbed the blood to help his regeneration, he admired the chest before him. Quite the feat todays magic and technologies can create. We will probably need another ten or twenty units once things begin.

A smile spread across his lips as his mind begun imagining the possible scenarios that could play out. From the restoration of the hundred bat ponies within the cave, to the liberation of the rest of their kind in Dusk Town, to the feats they could achieve coupled with modern magic and technology.

Our dear benefactor is right. Today’s time is truly one of opportunities.

As he settled himself to relax for his body to finishing healing, his thoughts were interrupted at the sound of hooves echoing down his passage. With a sign, he straightened his posture into something more dignified, then waited patiently for whoever was approaching.

“Good evening, sir,” Shade Flare greeted as her round the corner, halting a respectable distance just shy of being inside the alcove.

“Good evening, Shade Flare. Is there something I can help you with?”

“I… I just wanted to see how everything went,” Shade Flare said hesitantly.

Night Walker gave him a passive stare, before giving up and letting out a chuckle. “Really, you are too serious sometimes. You mustn’t draw all your mannerisms from the guards that watched you. I assure you, you are not a bother. Please, come in.”

Night Walker watched humorously as Shade Flare fidgeted at the entrance, then smartly entered and sat himself across from him.

“Forgive me, I just… I don’t always know what is appropriate behavior I should strive for.”

“Were you looking for appropriate behavior when you punched me that night during your training in Ponyville?”

“I… uh…”

“The answer is no, you weren’t,” Night Walker spoke for him, a grin on his face. “The most appropriate way for you to behave however, is by being yourself. I’ve had enough share of acting and being somepony else, so much that it is rather dull being able to tell when someone else isn’t acting themselves. And to be honest, I much rather avoid the guessing games. Now, whether you are actually a military figure, or just the simple batpony who’s trying to figure out the future of himself and the rest of his kin, I leave for you to decide.”

“I’m sorry, I will…” Shade Flare began, before catching himself. Clearing his throat, he looked straight at Night Walker. “I’ll will be myself.”

“Good.”

“... May I ask one thing though?”

“Of course.”

“How can you remain so calm and carefree?”

Night Walker let out a laugh. “Why, whatever do you mean?”

Shade Flare’s eyes flickered about with uncertainty, before he forced them straight again and pushed himself to continue. “We are fugitives of the Crowns, we are with no doubt being hunted as we speak. If we are found and caught, all the effort we have spent so far could go to waste. We could even…”

“Die?”

Shade Flare blinked in surprise as Night Walker looked at him coolly.

“Yes, we could very well die,” Night Walker said. “But such is the fate of those who deal in death. I figured you of all ponies would have learned that by now.”

“F-forgive me, it’s just…”

“Shade Flare,” Night Walker said suddenly without a hint of humor in his voice, drawing his attention towards him. “Everything is alright. If anything, you should expect things to go wrong. You should be prepared for everypony in this cave to be dead by tomorrow in the event we are caught by surprise. Such is the way of life of a predator.”

Shade Flare looked at him thoughtfully, before turning his gaze downwards to contemplate what he said. “But… you wouldn’t let them die, would you?”

“Rest assured, Shade Flare,” Night Walker said, drawing his gaze again. However, when Shade Flare looked to him, he felt his very blood freeze at the piercing glare Night Walker gave him. “Anypony that harms our family, will face a very painful and bloody death.”

The air became very still as Shade Flare felt his neck hairs rise under his eyes, before the mood passed and a much calmer expression washed away the vengeful demeanor. It had been such a dramatic change, that Shade Flare hadn’t realized he had been holding his breath throughout it.

“Now to answer your question, things went well.”

“I take it then that Twi… Ruby’s, performance was good?”

“It was exceptional,” Night Walker said with a grin. “She was utterly ruthless, proficient, and acted without hesitation. She quickly took control of the fight and acted splendidly in all accounts. Had I not lain still after the last tree she shattered with my body, I imagined she would have continued mercilessly for awhile longer.”

“She… she injured you that much?” Shade Flare asked in disbelief.

“That she did.”

“To imagine that even I had been unable to even moderately hurt you…”

“Oh come now, you don’t have a unicorns horn to assist you. Nor should you doubt your own abilities. I would say on a hoof to hoof fight, you have a fairly good chance of winning against her.”

“Really?”

“Indeed. It actually makes me look forward to sparring sessions with the two of you later on. Maybe then I can start actually using my full potential.” Night Walker gave a smug look at Shade Flare, who in returned exchanged it with a determined stare.

“Sounds like something to look forward to Midni- I mean… Night Walker,” Shade Flare corrected once again.

Night Walker raised an eyebrow before letting out a sigh in understanding. “My apologies, one moment.” Closing his eyes once more and focusing inward, a gesture Shade Flare had come to grown accustomed to, he visibly shook then exhaled outward. “There, much better.” Opening his eyes again his face took on a more serious and less eccentric outlook. If Shade Flare had to give it a word, emotionless would be the best descriptive. “I’ve been rusty since my unsealing, easy to let a personality slip out now and then.”

“Onto business then,” Night Walker continued. “I need you to go to the southern edge of the forest. A delivery of supplies is arriving soon. Take one of the older bat ponies with you, and that bag over there as payment for it.” Night Walker motioned to a brown coin pouch set aside by the cave wall.

Shade Flare went to retrieve the coins, curious as to whom the pony might be. “Is it wise to let him see us?” he asked while feeling the weight of the bag.

“He will be taken aback by your appearances, but certain… agreements, his higher up and I have made will ensure he does not report you to the Crowns.”

Shade Flare nodded in understanding. “Is there anything else?”

“That’s all for now,” Night Walker said simply.

With a respectful bow, Shade Flare dismissed himself and began heading back up the passageway, his mind focused on his new task. He decided he would pick one of the older batponies, one that would not question the obvious reasoning of remaining hidden in case something should go awry. The mentality of remaining hidden was well ingrained and practiced in the older ponies, the younger ones not having learned the lesson yet or were simply to energetic for it. The only pony near his age that held such outlooks was Ebon Wing, and he proved impossible to find if he did not want to. Only Night Walker was capable of finding him in his shadows and he was not about to disturb his healing time for such a frivolous search. When he left the passage and stood at the edge of the cavern, looking over the various nearby ponies to choose from, a sudden reflection crossed his mind.

It had hit him a few times before, but here he was, with a group of his fellow kin, outside in the world; no longer the prisoners he believed them to be in that town the princesses had built for them so long ago. Here they had a chance to be free, to live out a grander life than rotting in some town that nopony could find on a map. They had a chance of living outside those walls, but even the promise of escaping their slow and decaying fate came with a price that had seemed affordable at first but grew more concerning over time.

Ruby attacked him, no doubt in a similar manner to how I had. She probably was even willing to go as far as to kill him…

The action made sense to him having lived it himself. He understood how a pony could become so wrapped up in their thirst that nothing else mattered besides that desperate and burning urge to drink. But even then he felt conflicted at the idea he was capable of such a thing, now even more so that the vampirism continued to wear off him much to his and Night Walker’s dismay. It seemed that they truly needed an alicorn to fully reverse the effects the princesses had put on them. He did not understand the subject matter entirely, but what little he gleaned from Night Walker was that there were few magic’s more capable than that of an alicorn; exampling its power a few times by referencing King Sombra, a unicorn Shade Flare heard to have sought and wielded alicorn magic ruthlessly.

But now that he was a batpony again, his own internal conflict at the path of life he had set himself and the rest of the ponies around him down upon nagged at him. Hunting things in good fun came naturally to bat ponies, even fighting. Perhaps it was the remaining after effects of generations from being descended from vamponies, but to do it in such a hostile manner, and to even kill?

Even if he would only kill ponies just to feed in survival, Shade Flare found it difficult to find a clear answer if everything he had done so far was indeed for the better. Yet, even considering the alternative was not an option, as he could not accept the state the bat ponies had fallen into, their stagnant and dying way of life only becoming worse with time. At times he had seen it in the eyes of the elder ponies, eyes that were dim and held no life. And even if he could not find an easy answer, and that becoming vamponies once again was the only way, he could never allow himself or the rest of his kind to live ever again with eyes like those.

He would never allow those lifeless and hopeless eyes appear again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ruby walked quietly through the woods, staring wistfully into its shadows and greenery. Her brain had spun endlessly at the two conflicting sides within her, both of them in the back of her mind facing each other off. She had grown tired, or rather overwhelmed at the struggle on how she felt over the fight with Night Walker ,and the knowledge that she needed blood to survive.

The blood of a pony.

That line had run back and forth so many times that she couldn’t muster the energy to even contemplate it anymore, simply wishing to distance herself from everything and enjoy the cool night. And so she picked a random direction that did not lead to the bowl that was still sitting on the stump, unwilling to return to the scene of the self-induced debate.

The breeze played with her tail and mane now and then, bringing a slight chill that did not bother her, but rather felt refreshing. Watching the moon rise into the sky, she kept her attention on the environment around her, not wanting to give her mind a chance to come back at her in force with the internal conflict.

So she focused on the woods, to lose herself and enjoy the beauty of the night. The way the moonlight filtered through the trees, the soft grass beneath her hooves, the looming shadows the trees casted, all of it seemed so peaceful. Whatever instincts that had told her to be fearful of the dark before no longer existed, leaving her only content as she walked through the dark.

While the night held a certain mystery to it, she felt as if nothing could escape her attention should she choose to focus closer. The owl perched on a branch in the distance, a family of squirrels with young ones that scurried about their hollow, the sleeping figures of birds in their nests, to the slithering snake that she decided to give plenty of space to as she walked around it. Everything was revealed to her while she herself felt comforted in being shrouded in the shadows, a silent observer that confidently wandered the sleepy woods with all seeing eyes.

It was when she passed by a low series of bushes that the sound of a mouse squeaking caught her attention. Turning her head, she became very still as she noticed the tiny movement within tall blades of grass, and the lurking red form some distance away that had also taken notice of it.

Crouched low was a fox staring intently at the movements of the disturbed grass, its ears pointed forward and eyes unblinking. The mouse’s continued shuffling indicated it remained unaware of the fox, similar to the fox being unaware to the silent spectator watching the unfolding event in awe.

Ruby was transfixed at the scene as it stealthily crept up to the flickering grass, only moving ever so slightly forward in tune with each movement the mouse gave. It was hunting that much was obvious, but the way it looked as it did, it somehow left Ruby feeling privileged to see such a thing. The way its body was perfectly dispersed in an even but loose stance, the graceful way it crept forward, the intensity of its focus on its prey, the twitch of its whiskers and the brilliant gleam in its wide eyes, all of it displayed the true markings of a hunter, a predator that was dealt death to those that were its prey. It was a creature that lived on the line between the beautiful and warmth of life, and the cruel and permanence of death. Ruby found it hard to breath in apprehension as she watched it hunt, noticing all of its performed behaviors with a sense of familiarity, each motion held in some recognition or understanding on an instinctual level..

Then, the fox became very still, and its muscles became tense. Ruby watched in awe at the approaching moment, when it would leap upon the unsuspecting mouse and flash its deadly fangs. A part of her felt appalled at being so drawn to such an event, but sure enough another part felt appreciation at the sight, seeing its cruel yet beautiful moments play out before her. The fox twitched slightly, readying itself for the burst of strength and speed, waiting for just the right moment to pounce. And just as the mouse inched forward yet again, still unsuspecting of the awaiting danger only some feet away, the fox leapt.

It had lasted only a moment, but to Ruby it seemed to have paused in time. The way its form held in the air, basking through the beams of moonlight that shone through, the red fur covering its body ruffling from the wind, and the intensity in its gleaming eyes. Its eyes held a depth of emotion and focus that she found impossible to put into words. They were eyes that if the mouse had seen in its final moments, it would have been petrified in their gaze at the overwhelming will they held. And just like that, it was over.

The fox landed, the mouse was caught, and promptly finished off with the snap of a jaw. The hunt had ended, and hard won meal had been claimed. Lifting its head from the grass, the fox held its kill tightly in its maw, the lifeless limp body of its prey dangling between its lips. It stared off into the forest, ears pricked forward for the signs of any other movement that may betray more prey or a competing foe. Slowly it scanned the undergrowth, turning its head until its gaze rested upon Ruby. Finally aware of the spectator, the two of them locked eyes, both remaining motionless as they contemplated one another silently.

Ruby felt her chest tighten at the exchange between them, wondering what to do in the sight of the hunter she had just witnessed perform beautifully. But as they regarded each other, the battle that had raged inside of her earlier gave away slightly. It was like a moment of calm and understanding suddenly swept over her. Staring at this predator who could only live through the death of others, whose eyes had once been cold and merciless as it hunted but now held a more lively and yet relaxed expression, she could not help but see apart of herself.

Here was a creature that killed, and did so to live. It did to survive so it may continue to walk these forests and exist apart of life. It wasn’t evil, it was natural, part of nature as were so many other things. And as simple as that realization came, so too did Ruby’s perception of the world she had come to only know for a short time. While a part of her still argued against everything she had learned so far of being a vampony, she now felt more at ease with it, a step closer to being at peace with who and what she was. She would need to drink blood, and she might have to kill ponies for that which still bothered her thinking about it.

But now, she felt a step closer to possibly accepting that fate in full. Night Walker’s words rang softly in her mind, that she too had the right to exist. And nopony could argue against that. It was like arguing against nature itself. It was like saying that even the fox should starve, and never hunt again. That only the mouse had the right to live.

Then, the fox twitched its whiskers once, and slinked away, disappearing into the undergrowth. Ruby stared thoughtfully at where it had vanished, trying to understand all that she had gleaned from the spectacle. It may have just been a simple fox going about its daily life, but to her this night held a deeper meaning to it. It was a step closer to accepting a part of her that she struggled to find peace with or even agree upon.

And she wondered, would she ever fully accept her vampony side that conflicted her so?

Author's Note:

I wonder, what would the fox say to Ruby?

Yes it was really hard to not include that reference in the story and instead keep it in the author notes. Well we got a bit of a glance to Shade Flare and for some of his reasoning, and some towards Ruby after experiencing a conflicting event in the previous chapter. Hope I am capturing the moments and struggles well and not overpanding/being boring about it. You can only be conflicted about something for so long. Sorry for the shortness of the chapter and hope you enjoy it as they come out!

And yet once again... I'm staying up late for this release.

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