• 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 19

Ruby retraced her steps back to the cave, and while her body stepped lightly throughout the undergrowth, her mind was a mile away; finding herself lost in her thoughts as she sifted through the emotions that had sprung forth since she had left the cave earlier that night. From seeing the hunting fox, to feeling the soft breeze caress her mane, everything about tonight seemed to have some hidden and deep revelation just waiting for her to understand and make sense of it all. It felt like all the answers in the world were around her, but she was unable to hear what they were. Even something as mundane as walking through the grass felt like it had some soul searching answer to a question she did not even realize she had.

But she wasn’t plagued with only hidden answers, for her violent actions against Night Walker earlier over the bowl of blood still lingered in her thoughts. She still wasn’t sure what to make of everything that had happened since she woke up tonight. She felt like she was trying to find some peace between what seemed to be two sides of the same coin, one that justified all of her actions, and another that was appalled for some unknown reason. Thinking about it logically, everything that had happened made sense and she came to the same conclusion no matter how she spun it. Everything was justified.

She was a vampony. Vamponies needed blood to survive. They preyed on other creatures and are thus predatory in nature. They need to be violent if they want to survive. There wasn’t any way around it.

But yet… some tiny part of herself, deep down inside of her, just could not agree with everything, that it was all some horrible mistake, a nightmare that she will eventually wake up from. It was all these thoughts and feelings that caused her to feel such turmoil inside, a raging clash of thoughts and emotions that were only now beginning to subside in favor of her accepting everything that had happened.

Though she was coming to terms with the world around her, she was still trying to understand the turmoil of her inner world, and looked to everything else for some possible answer to quell it.

But how she would quell the conflict within would have to wait for another time as she realized she was already heading up the small slope into the cave, and was only minute away from her ponies. Just thinking about them caused the divide within her to cease, as if two forces were aligning for a common goal.

At least I can be certain about them.

Before she made the rest of the way up the short slope and into the mouth of the cave, the sound of hoofsteps from above her caused her to pause. Looking up, she saw Shade Flare and another, older batpony standing on the edge of the slope, their wings spread in preparation of taking flight. However, Shade Flare caught side of Ruby below him, and tucked his wings to his side and gave a small bow.

“Good evening, Princess Ruby,” Shade Flare greeted. The batpony beside him quickly looked over him and nearly snapped to attention when he saw her. Tucking his wings as well, he bowed with Shade Flare.

“Good evening, Shade Flare and… Mist Hoof, was it?” Ruby said with a returning nod.

“Yes, your highness,” Mist Hoof replied. “It makes me happy you remember my name.”

“Of course I would remember,” Ruby simply said, causing Mist Hoof to blush somewhat.

“Were you returning to the cave, your highness?” Shade Flare interrupted.

Ruby replied with another nod as well as a sigh. “Yes… I was just enjoying a walk through the woods. I figured it was probably time I should come back.”

Shade Flare stared passively at her, before speaking slowly, “You do not have to explain yourself to us, your highness. You… are our princess… and whatever you wish to do is for your knowledge and your knowledge along if you so will. If you wish to take a walk through the woods, we can only oblige your desire.”

Ruby flattened her ears as she looked back up to him sternly. “I’m not be the type of pony that keeps others in the dark. At least, I don’t think I ever was…”

She looked up to them with a much more uncertain look, wondering if they were judging her in a similar way as the Royal Sisters.

Shade Flare felt his eyebrow twitch in annoyance, but Mist Hoof answered before he could.

“We meant no disrespect, Princess Ruby. I think Shade Flare only meant that you don’t have to act so timid about your actions. It is a lovely night, and if you want to enjoy it, then you shall.” He looked towards Shade Flare with a supportive smile. “Isn’t that right, Shade Flare?”

“Yes… that is exactly what I meant…”

Ruby smiled shyly at the two of them. “T-Thank you. And I promise, I won’t keep any secrets from you.”

Mist Hoof gave her a smiling nod, while Shade Flare averted his eyes back to the sky.

“I apologize for cutting this conversation short, but we have an important matter to deal with.”

“Oh… I’m sorry for keeping you…”

“Have a good rest of the night,” he simply said before jumping off, and soaring across the clearing and near the tree tops, skimming their branches as close as he could.

Mist Hoof gave him a scowl before flashing Ruby a smile. “Have a pleasant night, Princess Ruby.”

Ruby simply nodded to him, then he too lept and flew off, cutting through the air to catch up with Shade Flare.

When he did, and they were well away from the cave, he gave Shade Flare a curious look.

“Rather rude of you to jump off like that wasn't it?”

“I did not want to keep her from resting. She is still recovering, and needs all the time she can get.”

“Didn’t seem like it to me,” Mist Hoof commented before turning his eyes forward.

Shade Flare raised his eyebrow, then did the same, the two of the spending the remainder of the flight in silence.

If only you knew as well that the mare masquerading as our long lost princess is actually royalty, the same kind that have kept us in that town for our entire lives, Shade Flare thought darkly. I don’t understand how everypony else can like her so much. It’s obvious that she isn’t our princess by how weak she is. She’s far too timid and unsure, it’s almost sickening that so much depends on her.

Shade Flare flicked his tail in irritation, knowing he could express it in very little ways while Mist Hoof flew alongside him.

I hope Night Walker plans to get rid of her once she has served her purpose. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to stand her otherwise…

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

Ruby had watched the two vanish into the expanse of trees before reluctantly she crossed the remaining distance of the cave and began the trek back underground, away from the open night sky that calmed her so.

Her mind once again lost in an ever searching state of mind she walked the enclosed underground path, her mood having only been distracted momentarily by Shade Flare and Mist Hoof.

Once she had reached the large cavern, she paused to take in the sight of the bat ponies going about their nightly lives. She held mixed feelings towards them that ranged from fascination and curiosity, to sorrow and motherly protection. She was their princess, and though they needed her help, she didn’t know how she could yet.

She had just finished her trek down the high rise and to the main cavern floor before the soft yelling of a filly accompanied by a plethora of hoof steps reached her ears. “Princess Ruby! Princess Ruby!”

Turning to Lunar Pearl, she saw her as well as a small group of other ponies her age, their bright faces bringing a smile to her lips as she waited for them to run towards her. “Hello, everypony,” Ruby greeted.

“Princess Ruby, you have to help us!” Lunar Pearl quickly said, wasting no time for pleasantries.

Ruby’s face immediately flashed to concern as she tensed her body. “What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”

“We need your help to find Ebon Wing!” Lunar Pearl cried, followed by murmurs of agreement from the other children.

“Ebon Wing?” Ruby asked. The name did not ring a bell from any of the introductions she had with the bat ponies last night. Feeling awful she had already forgotten a pony so easily, she quickly asked, “Is he okay? Where was the last time you saw him?”

“Over in one of the back passages!” A colt jumped in.

“Come on, Princess Ruby, we’ve got to find him!” Lunar Pearl shouted.

Ruby nodded her head firmly, ready to face the plea for help and do her royal duties of protecting her ponies.

“Lead the lead way!”

The group of children gave a small shout in joy and began trotting over across the cavern to one of the archways, Ruby following closely behind with a determined expression. It was when they had crossed half the distance when a stallion they passed by asked in alarm, “Is everything alright?”

Ruby skidded to a stop on her hooves as the fillies and colts continued onwards. “No, we need to get a search party formed immediately. The children told me Ebon Wing is missing. Were about to head down that passage there, can you gather more ponies and begin searching the rest of the cave?”

The stallion stared blankly at her before much to her surprise, began laughing. “I guess they got you in a lost cause to hunt for Ebon Wing again.”

Ruby’s mouth hanged open at how easily he dismissed such a worrying situation. “H-How can you act so calm? Ebon Wing is missing!”

A few other ponies nearby who had overheard the conversation began laughing light heartedly at her distressed behavior. Before she could snap at them for being heartless, the stallion raised a hoof to explain. “Ebon Wing is always missing. He finds some spot to hide and lets the children try to find him. He’s their baby sitter, though how good of one he is can be debated.”

Ruby stared blankly at him for, then shuffled back into a more composed standing position as her cheeks flushed red. “Oh… I see.”

A mare that was still laughing walked up to her and lowered her head respectfully. “It’s alright, your highness. The young ones act like it’s the most important mission in the world. We should have seen it before they startled you and stoped them. Our apologies for them roping you into a goose chase.”

“It’s okay,” Ruby said quickly, trying to defuse her reddening face at acting so brashly. And here I thought I was finally able to do something to help… “So Ebon Wing isn’t in danger?”

“No, not at all. He does this kind of thing all the time,” another and much older stallion chipped in. “That boy is almost always away on his own. He’s probably the worst pony to be put in charge of the children actually, but they become so focused on finding him that it completely absorbs all their time and energy. He’s actually saved a bit of headaches on the days they are really rambunctious,” He gave a loud laughed at the end, and Ruby’s breathed out a sigh of relief.

“But I suppose in the end he does look out for them,” the senior continued. “Why, I remember when little Moon Tear had somehow managed to climb onto a roof to find him. Poor thing was scared senseless, but she decided to it anyways on a dare from the other children,” he said with reminiscing eyes. “She had slipped and fell, caused my old heart to almost stop in fear. But Ebon Wing zipped out from the shadows at the last second, catching her in his arms.”

He gave another laugh, this time ending in a horse wheeze as he cleared his throat. “He’s a lazy and shy one for sure, and his ability probably doesn’t help him get over that… but he has a good heart.”

The red on Ruby’s cheeks had completely faded at the end of his story. “I see, thank you for clearing everything up for me.”

“Not a problem at all,” the senior said with a wink.

“Princess Ruby, Are you coming?” Lunar Pearl’s voice called from across the main room.

As Ruby turned her head to reply, another one of the bat ponies began moving towards the children for her. “Don’t worry, your highness. I’ll explain to them that they shouldn’t be bothering you with things like this.”

“No, it’s okay,” Ruby replied. When the ponies around her looked at her curiously, the saw her with a beaming smile. “I don’t mind playing a few games with them. It’s a tough situation we are all in, and they need to know everything is okay. What’s better to help with that than their princess playing along with them?”

They were silent as they watched her make her way towards them, albeit at a much more relaxed and less urgent pace. She called out to the children as she approached, and let them gather around her, some tugging on her gently to get her to hurry up for the hunt. And soon, she and the loud group had entered the tunnel, their voices a gentle echo that faded away.

A loud ‘humf’ was heard from the senior, catching the attention of everypony who had witnessed the event. Looking to him, he raspy wheeze. “I like her.”

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

“Ebon Wing! Where are you?”

‘Oh, Ebon Wing! Come out, come out!”

The group of fillies and colts called out as they made their way through the cave, knowing full well he wouldn’t answer, but had fun calling out regardless.Their voices echoed throughout whichever corridor they were currently searching, but even though they found no sign of the elusive pony no matter how many passages they had traversed down, their spirits remained high as they simply enjoyed the thrill of the hunt and Ruby’s company.

They were simply content to prancing along side her, running ahead then back behind, and then returning to her side, asking if she thought a rock they found was neat or what was on her mind. Ruby answered each question happily, content at the wave of calm the rambunctious bunch of children brought her.

“Princess Ruby?” Lunar Pearl asked, possibly the filly most enamored with her.

“You can call me Ruby,” she replied with a giggle. There was no way she could hold the adorable children on calling her by her royal title, not with how young and sweet they were. Her heart couldn’t take the idea of separating them by status, and felt it right to remain as normal as possibly around them.

“Ruby,” Lunar Pearl said in correction along with a smile. “How long have you been a vampony?”

“I’m not exactly sure.”

“Oh, right,” Lunar Pearl replied. She scrunched her face up slightly at attempting to come up with another thing to ask, but was beat to the punch by a young colt.

“Wuby?” he spoke softly and with possibly the most adorable lisp that made her heart melt. “Awe you going to help us become betteh?”

“If I can,” she replied sweetly. “Night Walker and I are still trying to understand what is exactly wrong, but when we do, I promise we’ll make everything better.”

The colt gave her a big smile, then immediately ran ahead to a filly that Ruby noticed had been keeping some distance from the group.

“Night Gwass! Pwincess- I mean, Wuby!” he corrected, causing Ruby’s heart to melt again. He bounded right up to her and stepped in front of her. “Wuby said that she can fix us! That means she can fix you to!”

“Really?” the filly she assumed was pronounced Night Grass replied.

“That’s right,” Ruby called over.

“What did she say?” Night Grass asked the colt.

“Well, I said that-“ Ruby began before receiving a shaking head from the colt who briefly glanced her way.

“She said she was she was going to figueh out whats whon with us with Night Walkeh and then they can make you betteh!”

Curious as to why she was replying to her, Ruby made her way to them. Could be that’s she’s still shy or nervous around me?

When she only but a few steps away, Night Grass turned to look at her, then squeaked in surprise.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to sneak up on you,” Ruby said soothingly.

Night Grass merely tucked her chin to her chest, and looked up at Ruby between her bangs. “Can… can you really fix me?”

“I’m going to do my best,” Ruby replied. But as she did, she then noticed one detail about Night Grass, something she began to suspect to correlate as to why she did not respond to her. For when she spoke, Night Grass eye’s were glued to Ruby’s mouth, paying close attention to how her lips moved.

Is she… deaf?

A hopeful smile grew on Night Grass, before it was replaced with a scowl, followed by her promptly hopping away from Ruby. “Come on Cobalt Cloud, let’s look over there!” Grabbing his hoof, Night Grass lead him away from her and the rest of the children, with Cobalt Cloud looking back towards Ruby apologetically.

Ruby watched her leave, her mouth hanging open with worry.

“Don’t worry about, Ruby,” one of the children said. “Night Grass doesn’t like ponies thinking she needs help.”

“Well she does!” another one exclaimed. “Her hearing is the worst! Sometimes I wonder if she can even hear at all sometimes. You see how she always has to look at our mouths to know what were saying.”

“Hey, be nice!” Lunar Pearl shouted.

“What? It’s not like she can hear us unless were like... talking right into her ear,” another replied.

“I don’t think it’s nice to be talking like that though…” another one chipped in.

Ruby paid half attention to their conversation, for she was still watching Cobalt Cloud and Night Grass just ahead. Every now and then, Cobalt Cloud would glance back at them, a worried look on his face at being able to fully hear what they were saying. But it would always replaced with a smile whenever Night Grass turned her head to him, asking him to look at whatever she had found.

“I wonder how she can even read Cobalt’s lips?” a colt asked in simple curiosity.

“Now that’s enough! All of you!” Ruby snapped with a flap of her wings, having had her last straw on their conversation.

The group immediately crouched low and flattened their tuft ears, some of them even covered their heads with their wings. They had only ever seen Ruby a happy mare that was willing to play with them, but her new tone coupled with her flash of fangs quickly reminded them she was more than that. She was an adult, and even more so, the Princess of Vamponies, and they felt a sense of dread at having angered her.

Ruby on the other hoof, quickly retracted her wings and closed her mouth when she saw how terrified they had become of her. Even Cobalt Cloud had shrunken somewhat while Night Grass poked at a mushroom.

Taking a breath to recollect herself, she spoke softly, “It isn’t nice to make fun of Night Grass. Just because she can’t hear you, doesn’t mean you should talk about her like that. Understand?”

Each one of them nodded their heads fervently.

“Good. Now, let’s go find Ebon Wing.”

Slowly, they picked themselves up, and continued through the cave with Ruby. Their timidness however, did not last long, and in no time they were back to their joyful selves of hopping off rocks and seeing how far they could glide. But as easily as their spirits came back, Ruby’s firmly remained on Night Grass’s dilemma.

I can only imagine how long it took her to learn how to lip-read. I wonder if she is completely deaf, or partial. The fact that she has a level speaking voice indicates she has some hearing.

Though Ruby’s heart twanged as she saw her scurry about, looking over her shoulder every few moments to see where Cobalt Cloud was, the way she had scowled at Ruby when speaking about fixing her continued to flash across Ruby’s mind, and with it, Lily Wing’s words about Lunar Pearl.

<”She has a chance of growing old as a normal filly like I’ve managed, but these days... it’s becoming less promising for a batpony to make it that long.”>

What do I do? Ruby thought helplessly. I want to help her and the rest, I really do. But helping them means that they would be turned into…

Images of the laughing children were replaced with those of snarling faces, their tiny white fangs that normally drink the juices of fruit covered in blood. Ruby found her stomach almost doing a flip at imagining them acting so violently.

How can I ask children to be turned into what I am? I understand the adults wanting to, that’s their decision, as it was mine when I became a vampony. Or at least, it might have been… I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask Night Walker later if he knows how and when I had transformed. But regardless, how could I turn them into me?

I’ve been looking at this to simply, and I’ve been caught up with myself that I have hardly considered everypony else thoroughly. Even if we turn them back to vamponies—something I’m still unsure on how we will—how would we take care of over a hundred vamponies? What would happen to the children? Would they become more prone to violence at their young emotional states? How would everything be kept secret if the Royal Sisters are looking for us? What if they regret becoming vamponies and want to go back to their old life? Can we reverse it?

Her mind began to race faster and faster as scenario after scenario played across. She was caught between two extremes. Change the fate of every bat pony to forever feed on others, or doom them to a slow and crippling extinction. And neither seem possible for Ruby to pick.

She quickly wiped away a tear that had formed before any of them saw it, her insides split into two at the dilemma of the entire situation, and she couldn’t come up with an alternative to their plight, not until she at least had a closer look at the cause of their problems.

Making a mental note to get with Night Walker immediately at his plans for curing them, a change in the air stale air occurred, and with it, a scent that did not belong to her or any of the fillies and colts around her.

“Do you smell that?” Ruby asked. Immediately, each filly and colt turned their noses upwards, with Night Grass following shortly after seeing what everypony else was doing, and began to sniff the air. They eventually gave a collected ‘No’ when they could not pick up anything besides the natural smell of the earth.

“I think… it’s over here,” Ruby stated, following the direction she believed it to be coming from. It smells like a batpony. Maybe it's…

Moving more quickly, Ruby moved down the passageway with the children closely following behind, their eyes transfixed on her as she lead the hunt. The smell lead Ruby to a particular section of the rock wall and upwards, towards a small collection of stalactites above them. Narrowing her eyes, she could see clearly between them from the dim glow of the mushrooms, but was unable to spot any pony. Yet, her nose told her otherwise, and for some reason, the dark shadows seemed more prominent amongst the ceiling formations.. Focusing more closely, she stared unblinking at the section, willing for whatever was hiding to reveal itself to her.

After a minute of concentration, a strange tingle flashed across Ruby’s face, and she could have sworn she saw a reddish light amongst the soft glow of blue on the stalactites. There was a pony there, of that she was sure. And she had a good idea as to who it might be and how it was so hard for them to find him.

“Hello there, Ebon Wing,” Ruby said devilishly.

The children were about to open their mouths at why she was speaking to the rock, before the shadows above them began to blur, and drifting aside to reveal a troubled look of a batpony hanging upside down.

“Great, not only can Night Walker find me, but now you can too.”

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

“So, Ebon Wing, how were you able to hide like that?” Ruby asked in earnest interest, smiling slightly at the bouncing children as they chanted victory at finding Ebon Wing.

The almost stallion aged pony kept his gaze away from her as he mumbled, “I… can wrap myself in shadows…”

“That’s amazing!” Ruby exclaimed, genuinely excited about such an ability, and in part to pick up his mood. He had been acted distant and sour ever since they had found him, something the children were promising to never let him forget about.

Ebon Wing only nodded in reply to her praise, keeping his eyes cast ahead and downwards on the cavern floor.

“Well, I think you're very lucky to have something that like,” Ruby said coaxingly. “And I also think you’re a very nice pony to be looking after these fillies and colts.” Ebon Wing gave a halfhearted hum in agreement, still not having lifted his eyes. Come on, there’s got to be something of you I can pry at, Ruby thought.

“Don’t mind him, Ruby, he’s always like this. Even when we don’t find him!” Lunar Pearl said teasingly. “He’s just a big doofus that never wants to talk to anypony.”

“Hey!” Ebon Wing snapped, giving her a scowl as she stuck her tongue at him. “Who was it that scooped you up that night we all met Night Walker for the first time when we were almost caught?”

“Pssh, anypony could have done that,” she responded nonchalantly.

“Wait, you were there too, Ebon Wing?” Ruby asked in interest.

He eyed Lunar Pearl for a moment longer, before glancing back at Ruby and turning his eyes forward again. “Yeah, I was there.”

“You also said you were almost caught?”

“Yeah, some orange mare with a goofy hat. She apparently knew Night Walker from the way she talked about him, though she called him a weird name.”

“Wait, she knew him?”

“Hmhmm,” Ebon Wing replied lazily. “But I don’t think she knew who he really was, if you get my drift. He acted all weird in front of her like he was somepony else. He even told her about vamponies. But he sounded like a lunatic from the way he was raving about them. Kinda reminds me of some of the unicorns that visit us...”

“Well, I think you were very brave in protecting Lunar Pearl like that. Something she should be grateful for,” Ruby said while giving a stern look towards her. Lunar Pearl simply rolled her eyes and kept walking forward.

But still, Ruby thought to herself. I wonder what Night Walker was doing with her. Who is she? After making another mental note, she continued. “Well, I’m just glad nothing went wrong by the sound of it. I would have hated to think if she had discovered you all.”

“It’s not like we could have taken care of ourselves,” he said defensively. “Even if Night Walker wasn’t there, we could have handled her no problem. She wasn’t even a guard from the looks of it.”

“You… would have fought her?”

“Well yeah, if it came down to it I guess,” Ebon Wing said in surprise, finally turning his head to her. “It’s not like we’ve been doing nothing all these years you and Night Walker had apparently been locked away.”

“Oh? And what have you been doing?” she tactfully edged on.

“Well, we practice with the guard for training.”

“You practiced with your captors?” Ruby asked in disbelief.

Ebon Wing shrugged. “They weren’t all bad. Princess Celestia rotated them out now and then for some reason, but we were on pretty good terms with them most of the time. You’d only get the bad ones sometimes. But they would teach us some of the basics in their training, while we would practice by ourselves stuff like hunting. In fact, when Princess Luna came back, she even let some of us pull her carriage when she went on important visits.”

“That… sounds pretty important,” Ruby hesitantly replied, concealing the irritation that flared up at the idea of even a single batpony pulling the carriage for either of the Royal Sisters. She still could not remember who they are, but if they were indeed responsible for her holding and the tampering on the batpony race, then they were certainly not in good first impressions for Ruby.

Ebon Wing on the other hoof misinterpreted Ruby’s pause and gave a small realization how much he had talked to her. He quickly diverted his gaze again and returned to his distant and standoffish mood from before.

Ruby painfully took notice of this, and opened her mouth to try and coax him out of his shell again as they entered the main cavern. But Night Walker’s voice called out to her before she could. “Ruby! Please come over here.”

Looking across the cavern, Night Walker along with Shade Flare, Mist Hoof, and various other bat ponies, were standing around a wagon that she figured was the delivery they had picked up. Ruby and the children curiously made their way over awhile Ebon Wing slinked away. As she approached, she noticed the wagon was filled with a variety of books that were being dumped out of large bags.

“What are all those books for?” Ruby asked curiously, a strange feeling of familiarity washing over her at the sight of the pile; her body automatically moved closer the wagon to begin inspecting the covers.

“Those,” Night Walker said passively, “are a collection of books regarding magic. From Magical Basics 101, to Advance Theories of Transmutation. These, along with a few tomes of my own, will help your research.”

“Research for what?” Ruby asked, her eyes still not having left through the various titles she shuffled about.

“For refreshing your knowledge of your immense magical abilities. And to help you devise a spell. The spell that will undo the tampering of the Royal Sisters, and restore everyponies vampiric heritage.”

Author's Note:

Woot! Finally passed the 100,000 word mark. I never knew how long this story would be when I first started but I had not expected it to be this long! I still don't know how many words the rest of it will be but were perhaps getting halfway there based on the current road goals I have planned (which can always change for more or less).

Hope everyone is still enjoying! Please don't hesitate to critic something you don't like as I will take any feedback good or bad. In the end, it can only help me be a better writer.

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