• 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 21

Later in the night, after having spend some quality time with the bat ponies, Ruby made her way to Night Walker’s alcove. To her surprise, she found a bat pony standing by the entrance, who relayed to her that under Night Walker’s orders, no pony was to disturb them.

Though Ruby thought it was a bit extreme, she merely nodded and continued past, even more curious at exactly what Soul Sight was and why Night Walker included the extra measure of not being bothered.

Shortly she made her way through the twisting passage, and knocked lightly on the side of his room even though she suspected he already knew she had arrived.

“I’m here.”

“Please, come in and have a seat,” he called.

Entering, Ruby glanced about his alcove, having only been in it a few times herself. To her initial surprise on her first visit, she found that his room was smaller than hers. However, his was more cluttered with items, even after she received the large volume of books. There were chests and saddlebags that made her curious as to what they contained, as well as various scrolls and parchments stacked in neat piles.

She made her way to a spot on the circular carpet that sat in the middle of the room, large enough to allow at least half a dozen ponies to lay down albeit close to each other, and sat down, tucking her legs beneath her.

“How are the children doing?” Night Walker asked as he rolled a parchment and made his way to join her.

“They seem to be doing well. Besides a little boredom of having explored all the passageways, they're finding things to keep them busy.”

“I’ll see to it that some trails are made in the forest so they can stretch their legs and wings more.”

“That’s… actually a good idea,” Ruby said, surprised that he had made the suggestion. “But aren’t you worried about them being caught?”

“I’ve had Shade Flare position more scouts near the edge of the forest. If any guard approach, we will soon know about it. Besides, it will be good for everypony to be able to get out the cave. Despite some similarities, we aren’t bats, and I think you would agree that it would be best for now not to induct the children into the combat training.”

“Y-yes, your right,” Ruby stammered. “I’m sorry, I guess I am just still a little worried.”

“And you should be,” Night Walker said flatly, drawing Ruby to stare at him directly. “We are refugees and fugitives. Everyday we spend here risks a chance for us to be discovered. But we must make due with what we have, and keep morale high. Despite how well of a face each of them put on, fear and worry still plague their hearts. It is our job to rectify that.”

“Of course,” Ruby agreed quickly, caught by the speed and control Night Walker had over the conversation. He was the only pony that had such an effect with her, and she found it hard to establish something that he had not already somehow accounted for. If anything, no matter how much she worked, she always felt as if he was one step ahead and more prepared on any subject they discussed. He even held a large amount of knowledge regarding magic much to her surprise.

“But I cannot monitor and defend them myself,” Night Walker continued. “For you to help and read the hearts of our ponies, it is time you relearned an ability some are privileged to use. The fear and often misunderstood power, of Soul Sight.”

Night Walker cleared his throat for what Ruby was sure would be a lengthy discussion, and shifted her legs beneath her to make herself as comfortable as possible.

“Soul Sight,” Night Walker began, “as it is aptly named, is the ability to see into another creature’s soul. While many ponies have pondered over the ages exactly what it is, including the Royal Sisters who refuse to acknowledge it as a proper form of magic, its secrets are known only to those who are capable of seeing it. If you can observe it, you can manipulate it. And if you can manipulate it… then nopony is outside your reach,” he added with a sly look. “Their has been very rare instances of ponies being able to use it since birth, but it is more common for those who have faced death to develop the ability. You and I fall into the latter,” he stated with a pointed hoof.

“I… died?”

Night Walker paused for some moments, before closing his eyes. “Forgive me, I sometimes forget what you do and don’t know. Yes, you have died, but it was only for a short time.” Thinking to himself for a moment, he let out a defeated sigh as he finished, “I supposed I should just probably re-introduce you to everything regarding vamponies, seeing as you still don’t remember anything.”

“I would like that,” Ruby said gratefully. “But I’m curious as to why that kind of knowledge isn’t coming naturally to me like everything else. If I’ve been a vampony for so long, shouldn’t I remember things like that like I do with magic?”

“The princesses were trying to remove your vampirism, and no doubt they would probably remove your memories of it as well. As I said, I had to return you back into a vampony,” Night Walker coolly answered.

“So I died twice?”

“Well…”

“I guess it depends on how much of the vampirism was removed,” Ruby continued, bringing her hoof to her chin. “I still don’t understand the mechanics of how it all works, but I guess if I knew how they kept me sealed and what they did to me, I could deduce if I did indeed died twice. I wonder how that would affect me in performing Soul Sight. Would it make it easier for me to manipulate? Or would it simply allow me to see it more easily? How many times can a pony even die?”

“Ruby.”

“Yes?”

“…May I please teach you the basics first?”

“Oh! Of course! I’m sorry, please continue,” she said with a blush.

This mare… Night Walker thought to himself, suppressing an twitch in his eyebrow at how she always remained so analytical regardless of the situation. He had been learning quickly that her thirst for knowledge could potentially outweigh his thirst for blood.

“As I was saying,” he resumed followed by a deep exhale. “A soul holds the essence of a pony. When you see the soul, you will see the complicated and ever shifting structure of who that pony is. While it won’t reveal particular details such as their name or exactly what they are thinking, you can see their emotional responses to events in real time, their general personalities, and overall health and structure of their mind.”

“Should I be writing this down?”

“…”

“Sorry, I’ll do it later…”

Night Walker shook his head in reply. “Don't bother, there's no point in recording any of this at this stage.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I believe experience is a better teacher than a teacher. Or a book,” Night walker said with a smirk. “Let’s start by making you aware of your own soul.”

“Oh! Okay,” Ruby said cheerfully, unable to contain herself as she shifted her legs beneath her.

“First, you need to relax,” he emphasized with a small smile. “You’re much too excited to be able to sense the subtle sensations you will be picking up.”

“Right,” Ruby replied in affirmation, looking much more serious about the matter than a few moments ago.

“Now, close your eyes, and listen to what I say…”

Night Walker guided her into a twenty minute relaxation exercise, easing her anticipation into a much more manageable level that would not distract her focus. During his guiding, he reminisced briefly on the days that were only a month or two ago when he could put her into a trance at the flick of a hat, something he was unable to do so now. Hypnotizing her was simply no longer an option now that she was a vampony, a fault that he sorely thought over much back in the day. While it wasn’t impossible, the effort required simply was not worth it. A command here or there might eventually settle in, but impactful changes he always enjoyed setting were just not possible on something that had died before.

But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t take pleasure at teaching her how to hypnotize others by herself. Night Walker always found some joy at spreading one of his favorite techniques to another pony. It was one of the many reasons why he was referred as the “Alluring Shadow” in poems, showcasing how ponies would become captivated by his presence the most out of the Four Shepards; tempting others to fall before him or to spread his techniques.

“Now that you’re relaxed,” Night Walker said soothingly, “draw your focus inwards, and imagine a sphere nestled within your chest. It doesn’t matter exactly how you imagine it right now as we’re just practicing and getting you used to the concept. But eventually you will be able to see how it really looks and-

“I see it,” Ruby whispered.

Night Walker paused, and tilted his head towards her. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“I said… I see it,” she repeated softly, an edge of wonder on her voice. Night Walker was utterly speechless as a small smile spread across her face and her eyes fluttered lightly beneath her lids. “It’s… beautiful. There’s so much to it that I don’t even know where to begin.”

Ruby saw a soft glowing sphere within herself, becoming aware at the same time of its ethereal yet tangible feeling that made it appear like a balloon made of Jell-O within her chest. Its insides were a series of rounded shapes and strings; connecting to each other with such complexity that she felt that she could easily become lost within its web work if she tried to trace each line. She could literally see how her emotions would connect to certain parts of her, and how much they would react if other aspects of her became active. How what she assumed was her ego, could so very easily flare up when anypony besides those not close to her would doubt her capabilities, or how her mind was held in a very rigid and firm shell that could lock out any connection it held, allowing it to override anything else that may affect its decisions. It was the flowcharts of her entire personality that defined her as who she was.

But what made her catch her breath, was the deep crimson coloring that accented her soul. She did not fully know, but she was certain that what she was looking upon was the vampirism inside her, and she could only admire how beautifully it was placed within her, evenly balanced across nearly every fiber of her soul.

“This is incredible,” Ruby breathed out in awe.

“I… am pleased to see you took to it so quickly…” Night Walker replied.

His hesitation drew Ruby’s focused away from herself, causing her to wonder about his reaction. Is he disappointed? Did I do something wrong? She was sure he would be happy that she was easily able to use Soul Sight again, an ability that seemed to be crucial in being a vampony. Maybe… she thought slowly, an idea forming within her head. Maybe I can see why he’s bothered.

She cautiously opened her eyes, not wanting to make any sudden movements that would cause the second sight to fade away; its use took constant concentration from her, and she did not want to lose so quickly something she had become so captivated on. With her eyelids half open she locked her eyes onto Night Walker, and stared deep into his chest, and what she saw made her gasp.

She was no expert on how a soul should look, or at least couldn’t remember if she was. But even she could not deny that what she saw within the vampony lord made her pause in shock and worry, for it was nothing close to hers.

Night Walker’s soul was an organized chaos of colors, fibers, and shapes. Each piece of emotion appeared grotesquely shaped, yet was separated into different sections, almost as if each emotion could be activated to varying degrees. The bridging fibers that were the connections for each piece of the soul appeared to be multiple pieces merged into one, branching off where Ruby somehow felt they should not naturally be able to. And even stranger were some fibers that appeared to be floating off, completely separated from any adjoining pieces, but still vibrating slightly in efforts to reposition themselves back into whatever place they could fit.

To her, it seemed as if his soul was a massive collection of connections and overly formed pieces that strained to move and snap in random and haphazard ways; none of them seeming to be natural positions in the slightest. And while her soul held beautifully blended variations of her soul and the vampirism, Night Walker’s soul was drenched with varying mixtures of the red. It permeated into just about every ounce of his being, causing her to wonder exactly what kind of effects that would bring onto a pony. The sight of it almost made her not want to know as a feeling of dread crept into her. But what was more shocking than the amount of it and how it was placed about him, was the addition of the color black set strongly into the darkest and deepest recesses of his soul. Of all the things that he was composed of, those jet black pits entranced her with a growing sense of wrongness at their presence.

During the few seconds she had managed to glimpse into his soul, wondering how in Equestria he was even able to function, a loud and disapproving cough snapped her out of her second sight.

“It’s considered rude to view another pony’s soul without their permission, especially another vampony” Night Walker said darkly.

With her sight of their souls vanishing in an instant, Ruby shook her head at a lingering sensation from her eyes and flattened her ears apologetically. “I-I’m sorry…”

Night Walker held a slight scowl to his face, eyeing the mare with a glare she had not seen on him before, but eventually sighed and turned away from her. “The lesson is over.”

“Walker, I really am sorry,” Ruby pressed. “I had just gotten so caught up in it all that I couldn’t help myself but take a peek.” She waited for a few moments for a reply, and continued desperately when he still said nothing. “Please forgive me…”

When it was clear that he did not intend to respond Ruby guiltily hung her head and proceeded to stand up. “I-I’ll go…”

As she turned around to leave the room her ears twitched at the sound of a sigh escaping the his lips. “No… it is I who should be sorry.” Turning his head towards her, he suddenly looked very tired, an expression she had never seen on him she realized. “You did not know, and I should remember how curious you were. You’re intentions were innocent… and I shouldn’t blame you for wanting to know who I am.”

Ruby swallowed in hesitation. She was happy that he forgave her and was not shutting her out, but she wanted to inquire further on what was obviously a very personal matter for him. “…M… May I ask why your soul looks like that?”

Night Walker’s eyes drifted away as he stared off into a piece of the room, taking his time to answer. “...Having to do what I have done… does not come without consequences.”

Ruby instinctually opened her mouth to ask more, but decided otherwise when she looked upon him. He always held a certain mood to him, a passive calm that dictated how he saw things with only rare spurts differing behavior now and then. She believed it to be how he always saw things so logically and level-headed, a trait she very much admired in him. And though physically he looked like a stallion who had only been an adult for a few years, at that moment, he looked as old as his true age.

She wasn’t sure if it was because of the way he held himself, or the way his eyes stared out in some unseen world he saw within his mind, but Night Walker looked old, worn, and very tired. She was smartly reminded then of how many centuries he has lived, and what things he might have seen during those times.

She wondered if her memories ever came back to her, if she would look like him as well.

“Let’s call it a night, the sun will be up soon,” he simply said.

“Okay… good morning…” Ruby said gently as she turned to leave again.

“Oh, I nearly forgot,” Night Walker said in a slightly more cheerful tone. He pointed a hoof onto a chest in the roof, directing her to a book lying atop its wooden lid. “That’s for you.”

“What it is?” she asked while moving over to pick it up.

“Just something I figured you would enjoy reading through. I promise I haven’t looked at it myself. After all, a diary is such a personal thing.”

“My diary?” Ruby exclaimed in surprise.

Night Walker finally gave a grin that seem to fit his face so well. “Yes. It had taken a bit to find, but I knew you would want to see it again. Even if you can’t remember writing in it, I’m sure it will help clue you in on your past.”

Ruby flipped open the cover and flipped through a couple pages, eyeing with wonder at the written words that filled the book, still coming to terms with the fact that she would ever find something so personally from her time of ruling so long ago.

“Night Walker… I don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t say anything, just read it, and get a good day’s rest.”

Ruby gave an appreciative smile. She had no idea that she was the type to keep a diary, but was glad that she was. She could only imagine what was written inside, and had to hold herself in check from running out of the room at that very moment to retreat into her alcove and dive right into it. She had been so caught up with everything else that had been happening that there had been little time left for her to explore herself, who she was before this mess and what she had done. But now that she had such a personal item written by herself of all ponies, maybe now she would finally have a chance to remember who she was.

Ruby clutched the book against her chest at the excitement and hope that fluttered in her chest. “Thank you, Walker, really… thank you.”

Night Walker only gave a content humph and laid down all the way. He still looked tired to the her, but he seemed better now. She made a second mental note to not bring up such a sensitive topic regarding himself again until she knew more. She didn’t like seeing the usually calm but jubilant stallion so down or passive.

Turning away from him to head out and back to her own room, Ruby gave him one last glance, taking every detail she could about him before she left. When he raised an eyebrow at her curious behavior, she simply flashed him a smile and proceeded out. “Sweet day, Walker. See you later tonight.”

Night Walker waited until she had gone some distance down the rocky passageway, before resting his head back onto the ground again, staring intently at the wall in front of him as he brooded over the situation.

Recapping everything that had just happened with her to bring some order in his thoughts, he picked apart each instance in reverse in attempts to focus on each troubling aspect to understand them better.

Firstly, she has the book, and it is filled with personal encounters, thoughts, and feelings written as closely to her personality as possible. It is the only evidence to show that she was truly alive back in the day. The dam thing did take some time to write, but hopefully it will take her longer to read and think about than its previous contents of the Corpus Nocte Morsu.

He still had trouble believing how quick she could read, always peeking into her alcove and staring in disbelief at how many she had read in that day alone.

Second, she peered into my soul…

Even recalling the moment caused Night Walker to grimace. He had not expected her to see her own soul tonight, let alone his. But when she had opened her eyelids, and that familiar glow of white shined out from her eyes, he realized that she saw him for who he was, even if it was a single glance.

And out of all the things the vampony lord would tolerate with a smile, or simply push aside as if did not matter or was worth his thoughts, having somepony else see into him was one of the few things that had always greatly unnerved him to no end. He could never find the exact words to express why he was so bothered by the fact, thinking it was perhaps due to him not having the advantage in a situation, or the fact somepony else would be able to see what he had done to himself over the years. But either way he hated it, and would not tolerate it if possible. Even if it was from the mare that was the key to the bat ponies restoration.

I can only imagine what she thought about it, he mused in his hot flash. The amount of red permeating my soul has only been matched by few vamponies. And none of them were strong enough to overthrow me.

But thinking of all the times he had inspected other souls of ponies, the final and perhaps most pressing issue rambling in his brain came into focus. While she had been looking at him, he had been looking at her.

When she first said that she could see her own soul, Night Walker immediately switched to his sight, wondering how such a thing could have been possible. No vampony has developed their powers so quickly, and he figured that it would at least taken a month for her to develop the ability; an amount of time that would be unimaginable for anypony to achieve but reasonable estimate for such a talented pony. But on a first try? That was simply unheard of.

But when he did gaze into her being, he was left in awe at the sight before him. Never before had he seen vampirism placed about a pony in such a way, never before had he seen it so delicately balanced and reinforced, and never before had he seen one’s soul become so beautiful after being accented by its touch. It was almost as if her soul had been created with the fact that one day she would become a vampony.

But he knew such an ideal was foalish to consider.

He was there when she did become a vampony, and her soul most certainly did not look like that. While he was good at his work, he wasn’t that good. Although he had not peered into her since her transformation, partly because he was confident the changes would progress in the way they always would, and partly because he did not wish to expend the energy in checking on something that should be normal. But it was very apparent now that he should have invested more time into check ups. At least then he would have become aware of her quickly her vampirism was developing and could have been more prepared for it. Which now begged the question that had been rattling around in his brain since he first saw her soul.

What in the Night happened to have her turn out this way?

He spent a long time running over the possible answers in his mind, staying up late into the morning in brooding thought, considering each possible answer from her being an alicorn, to her cutie mark and affinity of magic. But none of those seemed likely answers based on his experience with them.

He growled softly in frustration at what could have been responsible for such a change in her, a change he had never seen in any vampony in his entire existence. There had been nothing else that was so different that could have warranted these results.

All except one…

With widening eyes in realization, followed by narrowing them to slits at what was the only possible answer, he gritted his teeth and whispered darkly.

“The Elements of Harmony.”

Though he had never seen such a soul of a vampony, and could only dream at the potential Ruby Sparkle would have, he did not like being in the know or working with variables he was unaware of. He had underestimated the Elements of Harmony, something he berated himself for. They had exceeded his expectations that night when he observed the girls trying to reverse the vampirism in her, but this was far beyond anything he had considered.

“Elements of Harmony… how so appropriately named. I never figured they could literally bring harmony to something like that of the soul.”

With a deep breath that made his nostrils flare, he mulled over the nights experience over and over to make sure some other detail would not be missed or unaccounted for.

And to prevent himself at being risk of such a situation again, he stared resentful at his cave wall when a chilling notion crossed his mind.

What else could the Elements have done?

Author's Note:

Hmmm... Night Walker doesn't seem to be aware of the black within his soul. Am I foreshadowing? Or am I just typing this to make you all speculate and come up with theories? Who knows!

Let me know what you all think, and sorry if things have been a bit more explainy lately. I promise some progression and action will be coming soon.

Also, I love criticism on what I can work on. Am I rushing character interactions? Do my scenes have to much or to little detail? Is it annoying when I always try to show how each character looks or feels as they talk? Please let me know my faults so I can improve on them and write a better story for everyone!

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