• Published 11th Sep 2013
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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 22

-and while I feel that the others may feel difficulties in carrying out my decision, I none the less believe it is the right choice. Night Walker has expressed minor concerns, but overall stands by my choice, just as I have done for him.

I hope the repercussions of this act will not estrange us further than we already are, but it will ultimately secure our positions and livelihood in this region. And we cannot lose any more ground…

Ruby stuck a purple feather into the book, feeling it an appropriate bookmark for such a personal item, and closed it with a thoughtful look. She had just read an entry where she had come to a decision on wiping out a village of troublesome ponies that were the main resistance in the area. They had been gathering other local towns in efforts to combat the vamponies encroaching onto their lands, and were building a sizable force.

From what she gleamed from her journal entries, the amount of land and villages purely under control of vamponies were few and far between, completely dwarfed by the neighboring countries and kingdoms. Vamponies seemed to have favored mercenary work in the stead of conquering armies, taking out high targets or even at time armies with a small but elite force. And while they would have loved to increase their numbers, it was a fine balance to have well feed troops when your livestock was ponies. Thus it came down to slowly over the years expanding territory when a new influx of vamponies had been initiated, or more workers were needed for more trade goods.

The ponies under the vamponies rule were separated, but treated fairly by Ruby’s account of her mentioning them. It seemed that they were given plenty of supplies to fund their own operations and increase their productivity. Ponies under their watchful eye rarely were ever attacked for fear of their master’s wrath, and income was almost always inbound due to the quality of their goods or spoils of war. Ruby had even read a line of her being amused at a saying that had reached her ears from the surrounding towns.

Life is good when vamponies war, for they drink the blood of our enemies rather than our kin. May they never be given a moment of peace for the sake of our health, and our trades.

And while Ruby did not find the same feeling amusement from the line, she was in awe at the type of pony she had been all those years ago. She was strong, cunning, fair, and often thought of others so that their lives may be good. But she was equally deadly as she was kind, and there had been a few recounts of times where foalish ponies had aroused her ire in such a way that she had left none alive. She was to be feared as much as she was to be loved, and she cared about her ponies so much that she had been willing to go great lengths for them.

That part of her she still felt was alive and strong. The urge to protect those around her that depended on her guiding wings, to ensure they lived comfortable lives while growing all the while to reach higher in life. So it was with renewed pain that she felt her chest torn in two, created by the fact that she had been kept away from her ponies for over more than a thousand years. And to top it off, the Royal Sisters were the ones responsible for casting her ponies into such a state of degradation and suffering. They even had the gall to remove Ruby’s memories of them so that she could never help them again.

Just the thought of it brought forth a rancor in Ruby, causing her fangs to grind against each other and her hair to stand on its edges.

To her delight and anger, she had found an entry or two that mentioned the Royal Sisters. It seemed they were during those times, simply other players in the struggle for control of the land. Though they were alicorns like Ruby, they did not have the foothold they held today. They were one of the more promising candidates to gain control over Equestria, but were rather passive in their actions, preferring diplomacy over violence against the other kingdoms.

Ruby had wanted to tear out the pages that mentioned them after reading, but decided against it in favor of nursing a cool anger that had been building since she learned about them. She still didn’t know how she and Night Walker had been imprisoned, or why they did what they did to her, but at this point she simply did not care. Her curiosity was to the reasons of their actions was a tiny flame dwarfed by a bonfire of anger and vengeance.

She mentally made a note to ask Night Walker later the details of their capture and anything else of the Royal Sisters that he knew of. She would need as much information as she could muster if she were to stand up against them and restore her ponies to their former status, something that would be inevitable now that they held all of Equestria under their hooves.

Which led her to another question, one that doused her burning flames quickly. This new world is so different than the one we used to live in. Just where exactly do we fit in? Sighing to relieve the trailing bits of frustration leaving her chest, she looked thoughtfully to the ceiling for some answer. What are we supposed to do now?

Having no answer come to her mind, she decided now would be a good time for a break reading, and perhaps take a walk outside. Night Walker had said that tonight’s moon was very lovely and that she should take some time beneath its glowing light. While she would have preferred flying beneath its light, ducking above and below the clouds like she wished to do ever since they had arrived to the cave, she knew it would be too risky to expose herself like that. Even if they were being searched for by normal pegasi who lacked her night vision, she couldn’t take a chance at them being discovered and putting them in danger.

A walk will just have to do, it’s been awhile since my last one, she mused, trying to muster hopeful thoughts at the disappointment of not being able to fly. She had been outside a few times since her encounter with the fox, having found a particular path she enjoyed that made a loop with the forest back to the cave. Her spirits brighten as she thought more about it, itching to stretch her legs after spending the last few days in more study and practice.

She had made much more progress in her magical studies, and she had thankful found out there was no shortage of bat ponies to be willing practice subjects for her Soul Sight practice. Ever since Night Walker snapped at her for peering into his soul, she had made it a point to always ask before looking into another. And now that she had done so, she believed she was getting a grasp on exactly what was wrong with them.

It took some time to figure out the general portions of the soul and what they represented, even with only her soul to reference from, feeling that it better not to pry into Night Walker again, but she slowly began to find the anomalies plaguing the bat ponies.

Similar sections inside herself where the vampirism held strong bonds, appeared nearly torn and fragmented within the bat ponies. It was almost as if it had been ripped from them barbarically, and was healing as best as it could. To her surprise, the only thing keeping those sections together was a faint trace of magic.

Night Walker had explained that the Royal Sisters had used alicorn magic to transform them over the years, and with some experimentation, Ruby found she was capable of casting the same type as well. But it’s power proved difficult to handle, and it fell out of her grasp easily. What was strange to her however, was the method of how it worked. It was unlike any other magic she knew, or even vampirism from what little Night Walker had explained to her. Alicorn magic used something Night Walker had called Soul Resonance, the effect of bouncing energy back and forth within your own soul to build a powerful wave. It had only taken a few tries for it to quickly fall out of control and break apart, while also leaving residual effects that were not physical pain, but close to it as if her very soul had cracked under the pressure; if such a thing was possible. Though she did not know if it was.

Even worse, was that the magic was a sickly black and green, and had left purple trails emanating from her eyes. Since then, she had kept away from it, and chose to only study it within the bat ponies, preparing herself for the eventual time she would need to remove it from them.

And so it was with all her thoughts of study, Soul Sighting, hypotheses on how to fix the bat ponies, reading her diary, and the vengeful desires within her that she felt now was a good time to go for a walk, and clear her head with some fresh air.

Ruby exited her alcove and passageway with a relaxed pace, taking her time to reach outside as she let herself de-stress and simply enjoy the moment. She entered the cavern and glanced about with a smile, giving hellos to anypony that had come near her as she made her way up the slope. A quick inspection of everything showed that most of them were either busy with combat practice, or in deep conversation amongst themselves. The pile of fruit looked to have been restocked recently, and everypony seemed fairly relaxed within what some were beginning to call a sanctuary.

Ruby felt a longing desire to spend more time with them, enjoying their company at every moment and helping in any way she could. Some of them had been taken aback at the request she had once made on helping them weave baskets, and had given her reassuring pleas that it was alright to not trouble herself on such a mundane task. But she had insisted and plopped herself down onto the cavern floor anyways, and had attempted trying to make one herself. She quickly learned that she was terrible at it.

The bat ponies had suppressed their amusement at seeing a fabled vampony princess grow frustrated at jumbled pile of supplies which quickly became broken pile, but were unable to contain themselves when she had looked up sorrowfully to them with twigs and leaves that somehow had manage to lodge themselves into her mane. They had immediately shut their mouths at the sound of their laughter, but a low giggle from Ruby that eventually became fits of laughter put their worries aside as they joined her laughter.

She felt they were still uneasy on exactly how they were supposed to act around her, but they seemed to be understanding that she was a princess they could be themselves around, and enjoy even the little moments instead of a distant and ruling figure. Ruby wondered on how she had become such a ruler, mingling amongst her subjects in a way that was not often reflected in her diary. Perhaps she was just always like this, or maybe she had learned by example from another pony. Either way, she thoroughly enjoyed her time with them.

She had even learned exactly how they lived in the town that was called Dusk Hoof, what their daily routines were like, and how they were treated by the guards. Some of them had been nice, but others ranged from distant or troubling caretakers that simply wanted nothing to do with them. She even learned of a tale of one guard that had fallen in love with a mare batpony and risked his life and position to be with her some few hundred years ago. Unfortunately, it was a story that did not end well.

As she approached the top ledge before the exiting passageway topside, a tiny voice called out to her.

“Ruby wait!”

Turning around, Ruby smirked at the sight of Lunar Pearl rushing up to join her, her wings flapping lightly to help her gain ground.

“And exactly what do you think you are doing Lunar Pearl?” Ruby asked teasingly.

“I wanted to go with you on a walk!”

“Lunar, you know young ones aren’t allowed outside,” Ruby stated.

“Yeah, but that’s only without adult supervision! If I’m with you, then it’s alright. And what pony is better for watching than the princess?”

Ruby lifted her chin as she stood in a royal pose, looking to think heavily on the matter. When Lunar Pearl’s initial smile dipped into a unsure frown that her foalproof reasoning was going to be rejected, Ruby chuckled softly and wrapped a wing around her. “Of course you can come with me. If you had let me finish what I was saying, I would have said the same exact thing. You got to stop rushing everything.”

The words of advice were lost on Lunar Pearl as her grin returned with force and she cried out with a happy ‘yay’.

The two of them made their way topside together, Lunar Pearl slightly in the lead and Ruby just shortly behind keeping a watchful eye on her, both of them smiling along the way. It wasn’t long before they stood at the mouth of the cave, looking out into the forest as the moon peeked behind various clouds that drifted lazily across the sky.

Ruby looked upwards in yearning, wishing to feel the wind beneath her wings and soar the open sky she had first been introduced to since she had woken up. She would at times have dreams of flying the sky once more, and she could not await the night she would be able to soar freely once again. But for now her duties and responsibilities of being a princess were more important, and she already promised to herself that she would put them above her own whimsical desires.

The two made the short trek down the loose stones that separated the cave entrance and the clearing, but Ruby paused in her descent as she noticed off to the side of the clearing were two young bat ponies sitting in the grass. Narrowing her eyes as in attempts to make out who they were, a the voice of a mare from above answered for her.

“Young Night Grass and Cobalt Cloud, your highness.”

Craning her neck up, she saw batpony perched above the cave mouth, only a part of her body revealed from a crevice she appeared to be hiding herself, a quick reminder that a guard was stationed near the cave at all times; though some of them Ruby had never seen them.

“What are they doing out here?” Ruby asked.

“I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve been keeping an eye on them so they don’t enter the forest.”

“Night Grass likes to come outside and sit in the tall grass,” Lunar Pearl said. “She doesn’t hear much, but the few times she does hear is when there is nopony else around to make noise. I think that’s how she got her name is because she likes to sit in the fields and listen to the wind blow and move the grass.”

“She can’t hear other things, but she can pick up those kind of noises?” Ruby asked.

“I don’t know… maybe she just likes to feel them brushed against her?” Lunar Pearl replied.

Ruby decided to leave it alone and turned her gaze back onto the two ponies in the distance, noticing that Cobalt Cloud become aware of them and was staring back.

“And what about Cobalt?” Ruby asked.

“He just likes to keep her company, and sometimes tell her if anypony is coming close I think,” Lunar Pearl stated.

“Hmmm,” Ruby simply responded. “Do you think they would like to join us on our walk?” she offered.

“No, Night Grass likes to do her thing and not be bothered,” Lunar Pearl said grumpily, recalling a few times the filly had attacked her, all because she didn’t find the idea of sneaking up and catching her by surprise fun. Since then, she had learned to be a bit more mindful of Night Grass, but had somehow managed to become somewhat friends with her; at least more than other fillies and colts were. But she still didn’t come close to how she always tolerated Cobalt Cloud’s company.

“Well, if they are still out here when we come back, how about we pick them up and I read a story to you three?”

“That sounds perfect!” Lunar Pearl exclaimed before rushing down the rest of the way and onto the grass.

Ruby smiled at her energetic behavior, then turned up to the guard. “Has Night Walker returned from his trip yet?”

She shook her head. “Not yet your highness. Shade Flare had instructed me that he won’t be planning to return for at least another day. But rest assured, I will keep a diligent eye out for him in case he decides to come back early.”

Ruby gave a simple nod in affirmation, then made her way down to join Lunar Pearl.

Cobalt Cloud kept his gaze locked onto them as they entered the forest on the other end of clearing where he and Night Grass laid. Ruby was confident that while he had heard their voices, he had not heard what they said. Her heart melted somewhat at the sight of him and his watchful but protecting eyes while Night Grass laid motionless in the tall grass, her head up in the air and her eyes closed as if she was focusing intently.

Ruby watched them as long as she could before the trees eventually blocked her vision, then she turned her attention to the makeshift trail she had carved out for herself during her time here. It wasn’t recommended to explore far on your own, but everypony needed some exercise and fresh air. To her surprise, her simple trail had become a popular path for the bat ponies to stretch their legs. The young ones would be lost in awe at being in a new place they had never seen before, and the adults felt safe as it was the same route she would used, and was still within the patrolling routes the guards on the forest’s edge watched. With all the walking on it, the trail had quickly becoming flattened with each set of hooves, making it easier distinguish from the rest of the forest and all its turns and twists.

Ruby discussed whatever topic that came into Lunar Pearl’s mind, deciding to let her take control of the conversation. They talked about her life back in Dusk Hoof, and whatever new thing caught her eye in the forest. Many of the plants and animals they saw while they walked were ones Lunar Pearl had never seen before, and quickly became captivated by the way they looked or moved.

Though Lunar Pearl was very interested in the forest, she had heard from the other children that there was a bear seen in the forest, and if you got lost on the trail, it would come and gobble you up. But whenever she heard a rustling that might be the noise of a hungry bear, she only needed to look up to Ruby, and felt her fear dissipate, confident that she and her could handle anything that would dare cross their path.

But it was when a strange smell that wrinkled her nose caused her to halt, and quickly end what she had been talking about. Ruby opened her mouth to ask what was the matter, before she too caught wind of the smell. It made Ruby’s pop open and a tingle run down her spine.

“Ruby?” Lunar Pearl asked quietly. “What’s that smell?”

Ruby did not respond, for she was too captivated by the tempting scent that nearly all of her thoughts were completely focused on it. The smell, of blood.

It was only when Ruby felt a tug at her leg did she snap too and look down. ”Ruby? Are you okay?”

“Oh… oh yes. Sorry about that, I just… got a little distracted by that… smell,” Ruby said slowly.

“Is… is that what blood smells like?” Lunar Pearl asked.

“Uhmm…”

“It is blood, isn’t it?” Lunar Pearl pressed.

“I…” Ruby replied hesitantly, before another sound reached their ears. The sound of a pony moaning in pain.

The two of them turned their heads to the source of the noise, sounding like it came from only a short distance away and slightly off the trail. It was the voice of a mare from what Ruby could tell, and she was most definitely hurt by the way she sounded. She was even able to make out a few words between the groans of ‘help’ and ‘please’.

Ruby was completely frozen on what to do. She was sure it wasn’t a batpony from the cave, which meant that it had to be a normal pony from outside. A pony that somehow had stumbled through hole in the patrol route, and was uncomfortably close to their hiding spot only a twenty minutes’ walk back the way they had come from.

Is it a guard? Or is it just a normal pony? What do I do? Should I go get help? Or… do I leave them there. But they’re in pain! UGH! What should I do?

Ruby found herself locked in internal conflict as how she should respond, trying to call back on her diary entries on how she might have handled the situation back in the day.

Do I help her? Do I just leave her there and hope that she doesn’t the cave? Or do I…

She felt her tongue threaten to slide out her mouth as the smell of blood wafted across her nose again. Or do I drink?

Still unable to come to a decision, her focus was brought back as Lunar Pearl started making her way towards the noise. “Lunar Pearl!” Ruby hissed. “Don’t go any closer!”

“But she’s hurt,” she said in a worried tone. “We got to help her!”

“We don’t have to do anything,” Ruby said, trying to not breathe in any more of the smell. As tempting as it was to perhaps put herself in a situation for the opportunity for a drink, she was not about to risk Lunar Pearl in case something went awry, let alone let her witness Ruby feeding if she chose to. “We’re going back to the cave.”

“But, Ruby!” Lunar Pearl shouted, eliciting a shush from her. Lowering her voice, she said again, “But, Ruby… she’s hurt. And she might be a nice pony.”

Ruby’s eyes shifted back and forth between her and the direction of the noise and smell, finding it harder with each moment to convince herself to just turn away there and then.

Eventually she reasoned a single glance at exactly what they were dealing with wouldn’t hurt. With a sigh she said, “Fine, but we’re just going to check on her. That’s all.” Lunar Pearl nodded quickly as she turned back to make a trail through the undergrowth. “But we’re to be quiet and not reveal ourselves. And you’re staying behind me!” Ruby hissed.

Slowly they made their way between the trees, careful not step on anything that would make a noise as their eyes glistened in the night, picking up every detail of the forest easy as the moved forward. They followed the sound and smells, until they froze after passing the corner of the tree, Ruby immediately putting a hoof in front of Lunar Pearl to prevent her from continuing forward any further.

Ahead, beneath the shadows of the trees, was a mare lying on the ground, her hoof held to her side. “Ugh… I’m in trouble if somepony doesn’t help me soon…” the mare said softly. With a groan as she shifted about again, she sucked in a breath to shout louder, “Is anypony there? Hello?”

They watched the green colored mare shakily lift her head and glance about the forest, her eyes desperately searching the woods for some sign of rescue. She had a saddle bag lying beside her, its contents spilled out. The mare looked to be just a simple traveler or perhaps a camper by the look of the items and the sprawled out sleeping bag they had failed to notice the first time. It seemed that she had an unfortunate experience that had left her on the ground in pain, and near a the cave full of on the run bat ponies.

Ruby sucked in another breath as the mare removed her hoof to inspect her wound on her side, revealing the blood that had matted her coat. It didn’t look like a fatal wound, rather more painful than life threatening, but it was still enough to make Ruby’s tongue salivate, and to stir a small burn in her throat.

The last time she had drank blood was from the bowl that night when she fought Night Walker, and had been careful to not use any of her powers since so as to prolong the inevitable thirst that would come again. But she figured she had at least another week or two before the cravings would kick in. At least, she would have if she had not practiced her Soul Sight as much.

Ruby mentally berated herself at forgetting that Night Walker had warned her at one point that even Soul Sight would drain her reserves, and now it had led her to a difficult position. She assumed by now that the pony was just a hiker exploring the countryside, and that she had three options on what to do with her.

A, leave her here and hope she doesn’t stumble to the cave, as well as warn the nearby guards to not interfere with her. B, help her and send her on her way. Or C… drink…

Ruby figured that while it risked revealing herself, that option B would be the best bet. Even if the mare did not die, Ruby had no idea if she was expected to come back to her home wherever it might be. If she went missing, there would be no doubt a search party sent to find her, and there was simply no way to know if she had told anypony where she had gone to.

And the same scenario would play out if Ruby killed her, another option that despite the growing burn in her throat she was heavily against with Lunar Pearl nearby. Either way, those two options would possibly give a time limit on when a search party would enter these woods, and eventually find the cave. Ruby still didn’t even know if there were any towns nearby, but she could not discount the possibility.

After reasoning, she decided though the riskiest, she would help the mare out of the woods, and hope she didn’t come back. A nagging feeling in her chest that seem to emotionally agree with the decision also supported the choice, leaving Ruby little doubt in her mind that it was the way to go.

“Lunar Pearl,” Ruby whispered, drawing her wide and astonished eyes from the mare. “I want you to head back to the cave while I deal with this.”

“But why?” she asked back in a low tone. “If it’s because you’re going to drink I don’t mind. I promise!”

Ruby looked aghast as she turned to her. “Lunar! Why in Equestria would you want to watch that?”

Lunar Pearl rubbed her foreleg with a hoof as her eyes shifted away. “I know it’s not something the grownups like to talk about around me, or any of the other fillies and colts. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know it’s going to happen. It’s no secret that we eventually will have to drink it…”

“But that doesn’t mean you should be watching it at your age!” Ruby exclaimed as softly as she could. Bringing a hoof to her forehead she sighed in frustration. “Lunar… even if I was going to drink from her, which I’m not by the way, it’s not something I want you to see, let alone have you experience someday.”

“But why?”

“Because you have to hurt other ponies to do it!” Ruby hissed. “I don’t want you to have blood on your hooves if I can help it!”

Lunar Pearl’s tuft ears flattened as she crouched down, her eyes looking away from Ruby who was currently giving her a stern glare. But the hard facade faded away she Ruby heard the quiet sound of sniffling.

“H-Hey… what’s wrong?”

Lunar Pearl buried her muzzle into the ground as a tear dripped down her face, mumbling something that Ruby couldn’t hear. Ruby immediately took on a much more concerning outlook as she knelt down by her and wrapped a wing around her. “Shh, shh, don’t cry. It’s okay…” she cooed while she rubbed her back with a hoof. “What’s the matter?”

Lunar Pearl mumbled again with her face in the ground, still muffled enough by the earth and grass for Ruby not to hear. “I’m sorry, Lunar, but can you please say that again? This time, without your face in the dirt maybe?”

Still sniffling as she lifted her head, Lunar Pearl took in a ragged breath before she squeaked every so quietly,”… I don’t want to die…”

The words had barely left her mouth before Ruby scooped her up, and wrapped her with her arms and wings, covering her as much as she possible could. “Shhh,” Ruby cooed again with a voice that threatened to crack. “You’re not going to die. Who told you that nonsense?”

With her sniffles and hard breaths becoming more relaxed as she felt the warmth of Ruby all around her, Lunar Pearl quietly whispered, “N-Nopony told me… I … overheard it from one of the guards and unicorns that look at us. T-They… they said that we might all die someday… and…” Lunar Pearl dug her face deep into Ruby’s chest as she gripped her with her tiny hooves, nearly shouting into her coat, “I don’t want Lil’s or me to die!”

Ruby held her even tighter as her own tears started to leaked from her eyes, pulling her wings around the filly as close as she could. Oh Lunar… I can’t imagine how hard this has all been for you… I can’t imagine how confusing everything seems right now… Ruby tilted her head down so she could rest it against the filly’s cheek, pressing into her softly but firmly in a protective embrace. By the night… what am I supposed to do!? I just want you and every batpony happy…

But the moment ended as quickly as it begun, when the voice of the strange mare reached their ears. “H-Hello? Is somepony there? I heard something… hello?”

Ruby scooted herself and Lunar Pearl closer behind the tree, making sure they were still out of sight. She warily peeked around the corner, eyeing the mare that was currently looking in their direction. It still wasn’t too late to just leave now and never let her see them, but that still didn’t solve the issue of somepony coming to find her if she wasn’t able to make it back to wherever she was from.

“R-Ruby?” Lunar Pearl managed to say after a catching her breath.

“Yes, Lunar?” Ruby replied while still watching the mare from the shadows.

“I think… I think that we should help her…”

Turning her gaze back to the filly, Ruby looked questioningly at Lunar Pearl who took another deep breath before continuing. “Sh… She looks like a nice pony… and she’s hurt. So… shouldn’t we help her?”

Ruby’s eyes fell as she replied, “It isn’t that easy of an answer Lunar, we don’t know how she will react.”

Lunar Pearl was beginning to look much better after her outburst and seemed to be returning to her usual self as she wiped away the last remnants of a tear. Speaking more confidently, she said softly to Ruby. “But weren’t we looking for somepony to do the same for us? I mean… we’re hurt and nice, so shouldn’t somepony help us like we should help her?”

Ruby opened her mouth to argue, but stopped herself in defeat. This wasn’t a world that was so simple or innocent as the eyes of a young filly might perceive it to be, but she couldn’t argue any further against her pleading or the accompanying feeling in her chest that seem to resonate with her words. Looking back to the mare one last time, Ruby narrowed her eyes in deep thought, and eventually sighed.

“Alright… we’ll help her.”

Lunar Pearl’s eyes lit up and opened her mouth to mutter something, but was quickly shushed as Ruby continued, “But you are still going back to the cave, got it?”

She was about to argue against it, but the glare she received from Ruby was clear enough she wouldn’t have it any other far. So far she hadn’t seen her command another pony to do something, but if this is how she did it, then Lunar Pearl understood fully as to why anypony would jump right away on the task.

“…Okay…” Lunar Pearl said quietly.

“Good,” Ruby replied with a nod of her head. “Now run along while I deal with our guest.”

Ruby waited until she couldn’t see Lunar Pearl down the trail, and waited a minute or two to check if she could hear anything, but the little batpony was simply too quiet to begin with to even hint if she had indeed continued onward. Trusting that Lunar Pearl would follow her directions, Ruby turned to the matter at hoof; a still talkative mare that had managed to get herself into a sitting position.

Taking a deep breath in mental preparation for whatever may come from this risky move, Ruby tried her best to ignore the smell of blood as she called out loud enough for the mare to hear. “Hello? Are you hurt?”

The mare’s head quickly turned to the sound of Ruby’s voice, her eyes wide and shifting as she scanned the darkness. “Y-yes! I feel from a tree I had been climbing and hurt myself! Can you please help me?”

“You fell from a tree?” Ruby asked in disbelief as she stepped into view.

The mare’s eyes locked onto Ruby right away after revealing herself and wearily laughed, happy to see a pony was indeed nearby for her rescue. “Heh heh, yeah… It was kinda stupid of me when I think about it. I was trying to find a good spot to see the stars from a high branch, but slipped and fell. I nicked my side on a sharp bit on the way down.”

“Uhm… wow. Yeah, I agree, that’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing,” Ruby said with a forced laugh, trying to feel out the situation and deciding to roll with the mare’s humor. “Do you need help getting out of here?”

The mare nodded thankfully. “That would be wonderful, but there’s no town for miles. Honestly right now I just need help bandaging myself and getting a fire going. Maybe I could join your campsite?”

Ruby hoped the mare wasn’t able to see her panicked eyes in the darkness as she approached closer. “Well… to be honest, I don’t really have a campsite.”

Ruby was able to clearly see the green mare rise in eyebrow in confusion. “Then, what are you doing out here?”

“Uhm… going… for a walk?”

There was an awkward pause in the conversation before the mare responded, “Wow…. You must really like long walks then.”

“Yeah, I do... A-anyways, you said you need help bandaging?”

“Oh, yeah. I have some wraps in my saddlebag right over there. I would do it myself but I don’t think I could get it tight enough without being a big baby about it and stopping. The pain’s finally starting to dull enough that I can sit up.”

“Okay, just a moment,” Ruby replied in what she hoped wasn’t a nervous tone. Walking around the mare Ruby moved to the saddlebag, and began rummaging through its contents with her hoof.

There was some silence before the mare suddenly gasped and said excitingly, “Oh my gosh! Are you an alicorn!? I didn’t even see your horn with how dark it is!”

“Uh… yes… yes I am,” Ruby nervously responded, having just found the wraps and beginning to walk over to the mare.

“That is so cool! I never thought I’d meet an alicorn,” she commented happily.

“Well, I’m glad to be the first for you, I guess,” Ruby said with another forced laughed. At least everything seems to be going good so far. But it sounds like I was a real BONEHEAD to not realize alicorns may not be common, she thought to herself as she wore a fake grin. Breathing as shallow as she could as to not smell the blood more than she already did, she cheerfully spoke as she approached the mare, “Alright, lets wrap you up and get you on your way!”

Ruby flared her horn to life as she magically grasped the bandages and floated them around the mare’s torso, unraveling them as she prepared to loop them around her chest. But as soon as she had, the mare looked up to her and became pale as a ghost, her eyes widening in terror as she let out a scream at the sight of the crimson eyes and noticeable fangs before her.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHH! MONSTER!”

Ruby nearly jumped out of her skin from the mare’s outburst, watching in confusion as the strange pony suddenly sprang to her hooves and began swinging at her, all while screaming at the top of her lungs, “GET AWAY! GET AWAY!”

Ruby retreated a few steps from her reach and rose a hoof up in protection, a look of fear and confusion on her face. “What's wrong with you!?”

“SHUT UP YOU MONSTER!” the pony shouted, her scared demeanor quickly becoming replaced with rage as her eyes dilated and her muscles tensed. “I’LL KILL YOU!” she screamed before lounging at Ruby.

Too taken aback by the turn of events, Ruby closed her eyes and threw up her hooves in protection as the mare swung at her with every bit of force she could muster, dealing blows that would leave slight bruises on another pony, and would soon enough leave them even on her.

But Ruby was still in shock at how the mares entire demeanor changed so drastically and sat in a half protective stance as her mind tried to work out what was happening. It even seemed that the mare was oblivious to her injuries as she continued to attack wildly.

What the hay is wrong with her!? I don’t want to hurt her but I can’t let her keep wailing on me!

But she was unable to make a decision in time for the situation when suddenly the beating stopped the same time a small voice cried out, “LET HER GO!”

Opening her eyes, Ruby watched as the mare slid onto the ground a short distance away, a small furry figure on top of her that she assumed had been the projectile that had knocked her away.

“L-LUNAR PEARL!” Ruby cried in surprise and worry.

However, the mare in her fury was quick to react, and bashed Lunar Pearl’s head on the side with a foreleg, knocking her off and onto the grass next to her. Not even giving her the chance to even register the hit, the mare rolled on top of her and pushed a hoof into her throat. Lunar Pearl’s eyes went wide as she felt the suffocating force dig into her airways, causing her to immediately tear up struggle with her hooves as she desperately reached for air.

“DAMN YOU VAMPONIES TO TARTARUS!” the mare screamed as she raised her other hoof above her head.

Lunar Pearl’s eyes followed as she raised a hoof, filled with fear at the sight of the snarling and wild expression the pony held on her face. The way she stared at her caused Lunar Pearl an unimaginable terror to build within her, unable to fully understand why she was staring at her with such hatred in her eyes. Lunar Pearl could only weakly grasp at the mares strong hoof, feebly trying to pull it off her with her tiny forelegs. She began choking on the tiny amount of breath she had left as the pain increased along with the pressure of the strong hoof, forcing her to remain still to watch as the mare fully raised her other foreleg above her head.

Then swung down with all her might.

Author's Note:

Been a bit since we had some action, but unfortunately this will be a short one. But I promise there will be some more coming up! Hope I don't leave you all too mad about this cliff hanger, at least not as bad as the one with Twilight vanishing. I'll just let you all speculate on how this turned out the way it did.

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