• 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 29

Shadows came and stole away,

Memories that should never fade

Robbing her of heart and mind,

Taking her home and friends alike

At first she forgot their names,

And then she forgot their faces,

But etched in the approaching darkness,

Was the calling of their somber voices…



“Twalight? Is that you?”

Ruby ever so slowly lifted her head, feeling as if there was a great weight holding her down every one of her muscles.

When she was able to finally look up, she saw in front of her an orange earth pony. She was sporting golden locks that were set into a flowing ponytail, along with a worn looking cowboy hat atop her head. Her cheeks were speckled with freckles, and her green eyes were large and wide as she returned Ruby’s stare. Upon first glance, there was nothing familiar about the mare in the slightest, and yet, her voice held a firm grip of nostalgia that made Ruby’s head spin.

“That is you, ain’t it, Twalight?” she asked again as she stepped forward, speaking softly as if in awe. Again her voice went through Ruby, and continued to firmly fix her in place. Ruby didn’t know who she was, or why she was calling her Twilight, but regardless of why in Equestria the pony thought she was someone else, her mind screamed in the back of her perplexed and froze state to run.

But try as she might, she found it impossible for her to move her legs.

The cowpony peered closely with a mixture of scrutiny and disbelief, before her eyes became even wider, and the largest and happiest grin Ruby had seen spread across her face.

“It is you!”

“Applejack? Whatever is the matter?” another voice said, impossibly doubling the weight that Ruby felt within and on top of her. It was the voice of another mare, and though it was the exact opposite of the southern accent of the cowpony before her—sounding as if she was from Fillydelphia herself—her words were equally as holding.

“Rarity! Come here! It’s Twalight!” the cowpony replied before sweeping Ruby into a firm embrace. “It’s really her! We found her!”

“What!?” the voice shrieked.

Ruby gasped for breath from the strong embrace of the cowpony, and frantically looked about for some way to escape before she spotted the approaching figure of a white unicorn with an elegant flowing purple mane. She looked upon Ruby with a look of scrutiny that was even more intense than the pony swinging her around. But when Ruby’s wig shifted further, revealing her purple mane beneath, the white unicorn’s face changed into one of excitement similar to the cowpony, except with the addition of tears beginning to stream down her face.

“Oh, Twilight!”

She then ran forward and wrapped her hooves around her, sandwiching Ruby between the two of them. “Oh my heavens! We’ve been looking all over for you!”

“Ah told ya, Rarity! I knew we’d find her!”

Ruby stared out helplessly as the two ponies gripped her tightly in their arms and pressed their heads against her.

“I can’t believe we finally found you!” the unicorn exclaimed as she manage to wipe a tear without letting her hold on Ruby loosen. “We must tell the girls and Princess Celestia and Luna right away!”

“WHAT!?”

This time, it had been Ruby who shouted.

At the mention of the Royal Sister’s names, Ruby found herself able to move again, and forcibly squirmed her way out between the two of them.

“Ow! Twilight! Careful!” the unicorn complained as she rubbed her ribs from a swinging hoof from Ruby.

“Are you okay, sugarcube?” the cowpony asked with concern, reaching out a hoof towards her.

“Get away!” Ruby shouted again before smacking the offered hoof away.

“Twalight…” the cowpony said as she looked at Ruby with a hurt expression.

Catching her breath, Ruby was semi crouched as she shifted her eyes between the two of them, then onto the crowd of ponies that were beginning to stand around them.

“I’m sorry, but you must have mistaken me for another pony,” Ruby replied as she slowly backed away.

“Twilight, it’s us!” the unicorn said. “Rarity and Applejack! Don’t you recognize us?”

“No, I don’t!” Ruby replied. In truth, their appearances and names held no meaning to her. But their voices, they still held a mysterious grip that kept her retreating steps small and forced. If it wasn’t for that, she would have torn off long ago before the orange one would have even grabbed ahold of her, something she was cursing herself for even allowing.

Come on, legs! Run! Ruby yelled internally.

The one she gathered that was called Applejack moved towards her with a sorrowful expression, but then stopped as she narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth.

“This is Night Walker’s doing ain't it? Princess Celestia was right, he messed with your head!”

Ruby paused for a brief heartbeat, then spun around and sped off into the crowd as nearly all of the strange sluggishness in her limbs vanished.

“WAIT! COME BACK!”

Ruby didn’t respond, and kept her gaze focused forward as she nimbly ducked through the crowd without wasting her momentum.

What’s going on? Why are Celestia’s agents walking about the streets like this? And why didn’t they attack me?

Ruby leapt through the a hotdog stand that had been occupying the bulk of the sidewalk, and turned down the first road that appeared.

Why did they call me Twilight? Is that a name they coded me while I was held captive? Where they the guards? A small inkling of desire to turn around and find out what they knew past by her thoughts, but she shook her head and added to her speed. No, I can’t risk them catching me, or me leading them back to the tower. I need to make sure I lose them and make my way back carefully. Just a few more streets and-

“TWALIGHT! GET BACK HERE!”

Ruby caught her breath as she nearly halted from shout from behind her. Her body wanted to obey the command with practically every fiber of her being, but she forced herself to continue on, and quickly picked up the speed she had wasted. Once she was sure of her footing, she warily risked a look behind her, and saw Applejack in hot pursuit.

Though she wasn’t as agile as Ruby, she had plenty of speed and strength, and had no issue barreling past ponies that were more than glad to make way for her.

Who in Equestria is she? Ruby thought in panic. Seeing Applejack cover the ground between them at an alarmingly rate, Ruby pushed herself forward again, clenching her teeth as she moved her reluctant legs that made her feeling as if she was running through mud.

How are they doing this? What kind of magic did Celestia give them?

Ruby didn’t know where the one called Rarity had gone, or if she was even behind her, but she wasn’t about to let herself become caught by some earth pony that thought she could out race her.

With a growl, Ruby sped onward through the streets of Fillydelphia, ducking past corners and even skirting across traffic once or twice. But no matter how she tried, Ruby could not shake off Applejack who always managed to keep her in sight, and was steadily closing the gap between them.

I can’t lose her, Ruby thought in annoyance. Looks like I’m going to have to fly.

Ruby scanned for the next alleyway that she would pass, readying herself to duck into it at the last second and rip off the outfit so as to free her wings. She would just have to hope that nopony saw her flying through the sky.

So when her eyes flickered to a dark line between two buildings only some distance ahead of her, she pushed forward with all her strength, and rounded the corner in a full on gallop. But as she did, she halted immediately as she found herself skidding to a brick wall that blocked off the rest of what should have been a longer alleyway.

She stared up in disbelief at the shorter building that was apparently wedged between the two taller ones on her side.

With a frustrated ‘tsk’, she turned around to find another one as quickly as possible, but the pony that had been hot on her heels was already standing between her and the street, panting as heavily as Ruby was.

“Yer… not getting away… Twalight,” Applejack said between breaths.

“I… told you… I don’t know… who that is!” Ruby replied in kind.

“Give it up… and come with us. Were only here to help ya,” Applejack stated as she took a step closer.

“Stay away!” Ruby shouted, instinctively backing up.

“No, ah’m not leaving ya,” Applejack said with another step.

“I’m warning you!” Ruby shouted, but Applejack continued dutifully forward.

Ruby inched backwards as she ran possibility after possibility in her head as to how she was going to escape, wondering if she even could with the strange power Applejack held over her. When Ruby’s rear legs brushed against the brick wall behind her, realization set in, and her mind shut down.

She was cornered, and there was only one thing she could do.

Crouching low, Ruby flared her horn, and curled her lips and gave a low snarl. She made her fangs clearly seen, and instinctively twitched her muscles, preparing herself for a leap.

Applejack stopped immediately, and felt a cool chill run down her spine. The way Ruby held herself, and the look in her eyes, was exactly how Applejack once saw a Timberwolf look when confronted by a group of ponies. From what she remembered, it hadn’t ended well.

With a fresh bead of sweat, Applejack nervously gulped, and whispered softly, “...Twalight… hold on a minute now…”

Applejack stepped one hoof back, and it was all Ruby needed.

NO!

As Ruby began to flex her muscles, the magic in her horn faded out, and her legs became slack, causing herself to fall forward onto herself.

Groaning, she propped herself up and tilted her eyes to her horn in disbelief.

“Twalight? Are you okay?”

Ruby snapped her eyes onto Applejack who had taken a few steps closer but still holding a somewhat safe distance. Snarling again, Ruby summoned her magic and stand up to lunge at her again. But even as she tried to grasp her with her horn, a sudden pain flared in her head, and sent her back to her knees with a anguished cry.

“Twilight! What’s wrong!?” Applejack asked frantically as she rushed to her side.

“GET AWAY!” Ruby screamed, blindly throwing her hoof in Applejack’s direction

“Twilight…”

Applejack stared helplessly at Ruby, fidgeting on her hooves at the urge to rush to her side even though a flailing hoof kept her back. As Ruby shakily stood up and fell against the wall for support, Rarity turned the corner with heavy breaths.

“There… you… are!”

“Rarity! Something’s wrong with Twi!” Applejack said without taking her eyes away from Ruby.

“What is it?” Rarity asked as she pushed herself to trot the remaining distance. She stopped next to Applejack, and gave a small gasp of fright at the sight of Ruby keeping herself propped up with the wall, her hooves near her head as she growled in pain, and her crimson eyes staring fearfully and hatefully towards her.

“Stay… away…” Ruby growled as the pain began to subside.

Some moments passed between the three, Rarity catching her breath as she eyed Ruby worriedy, Ruby glaring at the both of them as she tried to formulate a plan, and Applejack biting her lip as to what to do.

When Rarity’s breaths became easier, she took a single step to gain Ruby’s attention, and swallowed a lump that had been in her throat.

“You… You really don’t remember us, do you?”

“No, I don’t” Ruby growled.

Rarity’s lips quivered and her eyes watered, but she quickly shut them, and took a deep breath. After a visible shudder ran through her body, she straightened her posture, and opened her eyes.

Her eyes did not have the softness and hesitation that were there moments ago.

“It appears we have only one options then,” Rarity said heavily. She glanced at Applejack and gave a small nod. Applejack lowered her ears and opened her mouth to protest, but clenched her jaw as she looked back to Ruby. Hesitation was still in Applejack’s eyes as well, but they were resolved as Rarity’s.

“I’m sorry, Twilight,” Rarity said, “but for your own good… you’re going to have to come with us.”

“Don’t you even dare,” Ruby hissed.

“Sorry Twi, but like Rarity said, its fer your own good,” Applejack said as she drew forth a rope. “Were only here ‘ta help ya.”

“Get back!” Ruby threatened. But Applejack did not cease as she continued forward, and Rarity flared her horn to levitate a small object in view that Ruby did not recognize.

“Please, sugarcube, don’t fight this, ” Applejack said softly.

Ruby’s breath quickened as her eyes darted between the two of them. She couldn’t outrun them, and for some impossible reason, she couldn’t kill them. Which only left her her original plan, and it would take all her willpower to see it through.

With one swift motion, Ruby threw her head to the side, magically tearing apart the outfit she wore and flaring her wings out. Applejack and Rarity paused only a few seconds in surprise, but it was more than enough than what she needed. Jumping as high as she could, Ruby kicked off the brick wall and flew over their heads.

Applejack spun around and readied a lasso, but Ruby was already moving to swiftly pass her. A glimmer of hope appeared inside her, before being snuffed out in but a moment, as a new voice shouted, one that made her wings lock up instantly.

“NO YOU DON’T!”

Her escape plan however, was countered by a sudden blur of a rainbow tackling her from the sky, and back to the alley floor below.

Ruby didn’t have a chance to react; she hadn’t even seen where the pegasus had come from. The blur of rainbow collided with Ruby, and crashed them both onto the alley floor with a thud.

Whether if it was because she was a vampony, or the way the pegasus had hit her, she had not broken a bone and could only feel the warning signs of bruises. But even that sensation was dim for the air in her lungs had been expelled by the force of the impact, and she remained dazed as she attempted to recollect herself.

“Rarity, Do it now!” the pegasus shouted above her before pinning Ruby down with all her might.

The pressure of the pony’s grappling her back legs and sitting on her back brought Ruby into a more aware state, and she began squirming with all her strength. “GET OFF OF ME!”

In the few seconds Ruby flailed, it was clear the pegasus was not going to be able to hold her down for long, and some relief filled her as she began to slip away from her hold. But for all her might and will, the sudden sensation of an object wrapping around her horn, followed by the sound of metal locking onto itself, Ruby found her strength to keep fighting vanishing.

And before she knew it, she had slipped into darkness.

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

The first thing that came to Ruby’s mind was how weak her body felt. It was like a heavy blanket had been draped across her, making even her attempt to stir as she woke nearly impossible. A groan died in her throat at not even having the strength to open her mouth. Even opening her eyes seemed beyond her power.

Why… is it so hard to think?

Narrowing her eyes in confusion, or at least an attempt to, Ruby tried to clear the haze from her mind, all while trying to will her limbs to move. Slowly, her thoughts gathered, and involuntary twitches spread across her. She realized that she was on something soft, and actually had a blanket laid over her.

That’s right… I was being chased…

If she had been able to, her eyes would have snapped open.

Where am I? What’s going on? Wh-

“Did you have to be so rough Rainbow Dash?”

Ruby faintly sucked in a breath at the familiar sound of one of the mares nearby her.

“If I didn’t tackle her when I did she would have gotten away!”

“But still, I think-“

“Relax, Rarity, Rainbow’s right. She would've gotten away if it weren’t for her. None of us wants ‘ta hurt Twalight, but we have to protect her, even if it’s from herself.”

“I know I know… I just still don’t like how this is turning out.”

“Duh, none of us are.”

Ruby let her mind drift as she listened to their voices intently, focusing on remembering who was who. It was easy to remember Applejack from her country twang, and the articulate voice of Rarity. The more raspy one however, was unfamiliar, until she recalled a similar voice yelling just as she had been tackled. If she had to guess, her name would be Rainbow Dash.

“You okay, Rarity?” Rainbow Dash asked

“Hmm? Yes, I’m fine.”

“Then why are you staring at Twilight like that?”

Ruby swore she could have felt her eyes on her the moment it had been said.

“It’s just… I was hoping more than anything that it wouldn’t come to this.”

“Ah hear you there,” Applejack said, followed by the sound of her hoofsteps. “Ah mean, look at her.” Ruby tried her best not to recoil what little she could as a hoof gently brushed across her bangs. “Sleeping like this, it’s like none of this has happened at all… It’s hard to think that only an hour ago she looked like she was about to do away with me...”

Some moments of silence passed, of which Ruby spent in relief at how short of a time had passed since she had been captured.

“...So what happened when you first found her?”

“She didn't recognize me or Rarity, and high-tailed it when we talked to her.”

As Applejack relayed the tale, along with snippets of Rarity’s side of trying to catch up, Ruby found her thoughts drifting, and her muscles easing into the blankets. The way the talked around her, their unique voices and accents, it felt familiar, soothing even.

It was when she felt her herself hum gently that she realized she was faintly smiling.

Wait…

Her good mood vanished, and she furrowed her brows, finding that her body was still steadily becoming more responsive.

Why in Equestria would I be happy to hear them? No, this isn’t right. This has to be a trick. They must be using some weird power again.

These mares were dangerous, and Ruby needed get away from them. Even if she was bound helplessly as she was, she still needed to try.

I can’t feel anything holding me… Why do I still feel so weak?

Refusing herself to become lulled by their voices again, Ruby forced her attention away from them. She tried drawing magic into her horn, but found it unable to gather past the base, almost as if something was blocking it. It was then she noticed the extra weight that was on her head.

Ruby struggled to pull her hoof from beneath the blanket, and cautiously touched her horn. She drew her hoof over something metallic that was clasped around her horn, and weakly tried to undo it.

“Uh, girls? Twilight’s awake,” Rainbow Dash announced.

Ponyfeathers…

With no options left, Ruby brought her hoof back down, and opened her eyes. She half expected them to rush about her and put her back into a sleep, or bound her limbs together so that she could not move. But as her vision cleared and the room came into focus, she saw the three of them simply standing around her bed, staring at her in what could only be described as concern.

“Wh… who… are you?” Ruby asked.

“Well, darling, to put it simply,” Rarity said quietly, “we're your friends.”

“F-friends?” Ruby asked, before giving them a sour look. “You really… expect me... to believe that?”

“Were not lying, sugarcube,” Applejack said as she leaned forward. “All three of us are your friends from Ponyville. Can you remember that?”

“…No,” Ruby answered. Seeing that they weren’t trying to put her back under, she decided to risk sitting up.

She gave a grunt as she pushed herself upright, her limbs struggling at the exertion alone. When she slipped once, Rainbow Dash by immediately by her side, and much to her chagrin, assisted her the rest of the way up.

“Easy there, Twilight,” Rainbow Dash said gently.

Ruby scowled but let her help. Once she was seated up she tried to shove her away, but ended up only gently nudging her.

“Get… off me, and stop call me that.

The more she pushed the more strength she found coming back to her. Even speaking was becoming naturally easy again. Yet, she despite how reassuring it was, she bettered that whatever they had done to her, would not allow her full strength to return, let alone enough to resist them.

“But that’s your name,” Rainbow Dash said slowly. “Twilight Sparkle.”

“No, it’s not,” Ruby corrected while glaring. “My name is Ruby Sparkle.”

The three of them stared dumbfounded at her.

“It must be Night Walker’s doing,” Rarity commented, eliciting agreeing nods from the other two.

“What is going on? Why have you captured me?” Ruby asked as she looked back and forth between the three of them, remaining as inconspicuous as possible in taking in where they were.

From first glance it looked as if they were in a cheap motel. They were in the corner of the room near the only bed, with two windows with blinds drawn on the adjacent walls, and two doors; one to the left, and one to the right. She assumed one of them lead to the bathroom, and the other out into the hall. She had to figure out a way to get out of here, but she had no clue how with the strength she had now. Even if she had managed to get herself through a window, she doubted she was capable of flying right now. And since she had first awakened, she had still yet to draw forth her magic. Whatever was sapping her physical strength, was completely nullifying her magic.

“Were here ‘ta rescue ya,” Applejack said with a gentle smile, something that only made Ruby grimace.

“Rescue me?” Ruby scoffed. “By chasing me through the city and restraining me? For what? To give me back to the princesses so I can be a prisoner again?”

“Twilight-“ Rarity began.

Ruby,” she corrected again.

“Er… Ruby,” Rarity said, appearing discomforted as the word rolled off her tounge. “I know you are currently experiencing some memory problems, but you must believe us, we are here to help you.”

“And what exactly are you helping me from?” Ruby asked, still icing each word with her obvious distrust and frustration.

Rarity looked as if she was about to answer with a pleading face, before she inhaled and recomposed herself.

“Ruby, I know all of this seems very strange. And I can only imagine what you have been falsely-lead to believe in. But the fact remains is that you are Princess Twilight Sparkle, and for nearly a month you have been missing. You were kidnapped by a pony named Night Walker, a dark stallion who threatened and killed ponies nearly a thousand years ago. And as we have feared, he has stolen your memories and filled your head with lies.”

This time, it was Ruby who stared dumbfounded at the three of them.

“Your… Your crazy,” Ruby muttered in disbelief. “What makes you think I would believe such an obvious lie?”

“Then, you tell us who you are,” Rarity calmly asked.

Ruby glared at her for some sign of deceit or trickery. She needed to get as much information from them as possible while at the same time, reveal as little of hers. She didn’t know what games the three of them were playing, but she hoped that she wouldn’t spill anything that they didn’t know.

“I, am Ruby Sparkle, Princess of the vamponies, and co-ruler alongside of Night Walker. I have been imprisoned for the last thousand years, in which my memories were stolen, but by Princess Celestia and Luna. And now their minions have captured me and are trying to convince me that they have my best interests in mind. But in reality, you captured me and are probably going to ship me back off to the princesses!”

“Well, while you are right on that last bit, the rest I’m afraid, are the lies I had mentioned,” Rarity said. Her expression however, changed back to her concerned look before. “Twi-… I mean, Ruby, you are in need of help. And right now, only Princess Celestia and Luna can do that. I don’t know if they can restore your memories, or reverse this… disease that has infected you, but I assure-“

“It’s not a disease!” Ruby screamed as loudly as she could muster. “The disease is the fact that your princesses removed it! Do you know how many bat ponies have died because of their tampering!?”

“So it is true,” Rainbow Dash said with a frown. “He took off with a bunch of bat ponies, and now he’s trying to make a vampony army!”

“Rainbow, yer not helping,” Applejack commented. “Look umm, Ruby, I know you’re going to find it hard to believe what we’re saying is the truth, but if you just come with us, we can prove everything we’re saying.”

“There is no proof in all of Equestria that what you are saying is true,” Ruby growled. “And if you think I’m going back to the princesses willingly then you’re even crazier than I thought.” Ruby lowered her chin and stared darkly at them. “I will fight you at every chance I get, resist every inch of the way, and if I get the opportunity... I will kill you.”

All three of them held their breaths at the intense glare Ruby gave them. A lump built in their hearts at the reminder that the Twilight they once knew was no longer her. Instead, they were left with a dangerous and distrustful creature named Ruby, whose red eyes stared with a hate their purple counterparts had never shown before. And from her demeanor, she meant every word she had said.

Rarity suppressed a gulp as she recollected herself. “Then, we’ll just have to make a change in plans, and call Princess Celestia and Luna here.”

Ruby’s glower fell at her words on the stop. “No, please don’t!”

“I’m sorry, Ruby, but you leave us with no choice.”

Ruby’s ears fell, and her desperate hope for a chance for escape vanished in a snuff. I… I’m going back into imprisonment. Her body felt numb as her head drifted downwards and hung limply, letting herself stare idly at the blanket on top of her. I’m going to be taken away from everypony...

“Ruby? What’s wrong?” Applejack asked.

They are going to take me away from them... Everypony won’t have me around...

“Ruby, please answer me?” Applejack pressed, her worriment growing exponentially when the first tear fell onto the blanket.

I won’t be able to save them… I won’t be able to save them… I won’t be able to save them…

Unable to handle the gravity of the situation, and the implications it meant for all of her ponies, she fell onto the bed, and sobbed into the blankets, desperately covering her head as to put something between her and the mares that were going to take her world away.

“Way to go, Rarity, now you’ve gone and made her cry,” Rainbow Dash scoffed.

“That’s not helping, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said with a frown. “You know as well as I do that this is what must be done. You think I enjoy this?”

“Of course not! But we weren’t trying to make her break down and cry!”

“Then how would you have handled it?”

While Rarity and Rainbow Dash began to argue over the situation, and Ruby laid down with a growing wail, Applejack stood quietly to the side. She was ignoring what Rarity and Rainbow Dash were doing, unable to pull her eyes away from Ruby. Her ears however, perked from the faint mutterings beneath Ruby’s hooves.

“Girls.”

“Like that would have helped!”

“Oh, and what you have done so far that has?”

“GIRLS!”

The two of them nearly jumped at Applejacks shout, and flusteredly turned to her, before they two heard Ruby’s words during their moment of silence.

Rainbow Dash tilted her head as she leaned closer. “What’s she saying?”

Applejack bent down and carefully put a ear closer, straining to make out Ruby’s pleas between her crying. When she pieced it together, Applejack’s eyes went wide, then lowered sorrowly, and she pulled herself away. Instinctively she reached out a hoof to console Ruby, but withdrew it when she barely brushed her coat, causing to Ruby to gasp and flinch at the contact as if her very touch caused pain.

“Ah think… she’s saying ‘Ah can’t save them’...”

“Them?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“The bat ponies,” Rarity answered immediately. “She must be talking about the bat ponies.”

“Big deal,” Rainbow Dash said with a wave of her hoof. “We get her fixed up by Princess Celestia, and then she’ll fix them. Simple as that.”

“Unfortunately, dear, Princess Celestia said that ever since the bat ponies had come under her protection, that she had been unable to fully cure them. Don’t you recall what she told us?”

Rarity and Rainbow Dash set off into another series of arguments, leaving Applejack to stare at Ruby. Her gut was being contorted by the whole thing, and she gritted her teeth at the thought of what to do about it. “This isn’t right…”

“And secondly, Rainbow Dash, I… APPLEJACK! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”

Rarity and Rainbow Dash looked in horror as Applejack reached for the magical lock strapped onto Ruby’s horn, and unfastened it.

“Are you crazy!?” Rarity and Rainbow Dash shouted simultaneously. Rarity’s horn was already glowing to grab the lock and put back in place.

Applejack however, held it tightly in her hooves and pulled backwards. “We can’t do this!”

Ruby’s crying ceased the moment she had felt the stifling pressure on her horn vanish, and her strength began to flow back again. She flexed a limb, then another, and was in awe at how quickly their movements came back. Unable to believe what had just happened, Ruby lifted her head up looked to Applejack, searching for some reason as to why she would set her free.

Applejack gave one last scowl to Rarity for trying to take back the lock, then turned to Ruby, speaking loudly so as to address them all.

“Were your friends, and friends help each other in any way possible. And ah don’t think turning you over to Princess Celestia is what you need right now.”

“Applejack!” Rarity shouted.

“Listen ‘ta me! This isn’t right! Look at her!” Applejack said pointed a hoof to Ruby. “Our friendship has been tha thing that gotten us through every trial and hurdle we’ve faced. And if we abandon her now, were just throwing all that away!”

“We aren’t abandoning her!” Rainbow Dash yelled. “Were helping her!”

“Not like this!” Applejack declared. “If we really want to help her, then we need to treat her just like a friend! It’s obvious she doesn’t trust us and would fight every moment we have her. And you all know we can’t do a darn thing until we get that amulet back from Night Walker!”

Applejack stared at Rarity and Rainbow Dash, daring them to refute what she had said. When uneasy silence was their only response, she continued. “If we are going to help Twi-, I mean, Ruby, then we need ‘ta be honest with her. And not just honest.” Applejack pointed to them in turn. “We need ‘ta be loyal, and generous. We need to trust her first, before she trusts us.”

Applejack threw the lock to the other side of the room, and looked back down to Ruby. “You’re free to go.”

“What!?” all three of them exclaimed.

“Ya heard me,” Applejack said, giving a scowl to Rarity and Rainbow Dash. “If Ruby is going to trust us, then we need to trust her. And the first step ‘ta doing that is not keeping her captive. If she wants to talk to us, then she’ll talk to us on her own.”

Ruby still looked at Applejack in disbelief, unable to comprehend the fact that she had decided to just let her go. Feeling enough of her strength return to be able to walk, she cautiously sat up in her bed and stepped onto the floor, her eyes remaining locked onto Applejack the entire time, who returned her stare without wavering.

Ruby then turned to the other two, noticing how they visibly stiffened upon her gaze. They didn’t plan for this, Ruby realized. She really means to let me go. But… Ruby turned back to Applejack, flattening her ears as she asked, “But why?”

“Like ah said,” Applejack spoke without hesitation. “Your our friend, and we need ‘ta treat ya as such. I don’t believe what we were doing is going to help ya in the way you really need it.”

“And what makes you think that?”

“My gut tells me.”

Ruby blinked at that statement, having difficulty that she had made her decision to set free a vampony that could kill them based entirely off intuition.

Trust her.

You!

Ruby shifted her eyes downward, pretending to be mulling over the option. What in Tartarus are you doing!? Why didn’t you let me kill them when I had the chance?

They’re telling the truth.

And how do you know?

I don’t know.

You don’t know!? Ruby screamed mentally. Well, for all I know, you’re simply a spell the princesses put inside me to reel me in whenever their minions are near! Tell me, how can I trust you!?

Ruby heard the voice sigh in what was either in exhaustion or uncertainty. Like I said before, I’m apart of you that you have grown detached from. And despite your theories, you know I’m telling the truth.

Ruby revealed her fangs in frustration, eliciting a raised eyebrow from Applejack. On an afterthought, Ruby had to admit that despite being face to face with a vampony queen, Applejack was handling herself well, unlike the other two behind who gulped when they heard the low hiss emanating from her.

Ruby did not understand what was going on, but she decided this was neither the time nor place to figure out how she had managed such a stroke a luck. She needed to get out of there, and she wasn’t going to waste another moment as to why she had the chance.

“I’m going now,” Ruby declared.

“Haycart street, Rosebud motel, room thirty-six,” Applejack said. When Ruby frowned in confusion, she continued, “That’s the room we're in. We’ll be here when you feel like coming back and talking to us. We’ll answer any questions you have, and tell you everything you’ve missed. Including tha things Night Walker hasn’t told you.”

Ruby stared questioningly at her for a few moments before closing her eyes in what appeared to be another moment of deep thought. In truth, Ruby felt enough of her strength had return to muster at least one look, and she briefed a glance into the soul of Applejack.

And what she saw inside of her supported everything she had been saying. She was being honest, down to her very core.

While that alone did not shake off Ruby’s suspicions this was all an elaborate ploy, thinking that maybe the princesses even warped their agents minds to the point of unwavering and blind loyalty, it was enough for her to trust that she was indeed letting her go, and would wait for her like she said she would.

Dismissing the soul sight, Ruby opened her eyes and gave one last glare at Applejack, before wordlessly turning away and heading for the door. She gave a quick glance to Rarity and Rainbow Dash, both of them clearly unnerved by Applejack’s decision, but were not voicing further complaints. It seemed to have taken forever for Ruby to walk across the room, exit the door, and close it behind her, feeling as if at any moment their trap would spring, or common sense would kick back in. But it had only taken seconds for the tense moment to transpire.

Ruby gave a quick glance at the room’s door, confirming that it was indeed room thirty-six. And with a flustered ‘tsk’ to the strange and alarmingly evening, she quickly made her way down the stairs, and out the motel.

Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash stared wordlessly at the door for a full minute. Eventually though, Rarity broke the silence.

“Well, Applejack, I hope you have a well thought out plan for all this.”

“Like ah said, Rarity, it just felt right.”

“For her sake, darling, I hope it is.”

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

Down the street and by a corner, a stallion watched the motel. He jotted down into his notebook its address, and the description of the ponies that entered and exited its doors. However, his eyes shifted back to the establishment as purple head poked out of the doors and looked around. The street only had a few ponies at this time of night, one of the rare moments of emptiness that the city had. But with dawn already beginning brighten up the skies to the far east, this barrenness would not last for long.

He watched curiously as she stepped out a few steps onto the street, the pumped her wings skyward and away from the motel. His eyes watched her ascending form as it became increasingly difficult to spot in the night sky. However after a few circles, she headed off into the direction he had predicted she would go; Skyline Tower.

Smiling to himself, he closed his notebook and heading down the street, wondering what this new turn of events would mean for his orders, and the plan set for the unsuspecting bat ponies, and Twilight Sparkle.

Author's Note:

Here's the update. To be honest, I come back to updating eagerly and reluctantly. I had intended to first pour through every chapter and correct all mistakes, as well as work on a few of my other stories and side stories planned. Well unfortunately that did not happen as well as I thought. The polishing of 2POTN is going painfully slow right now, and it would have taken who knows how long to complete. My editors have jumped down from six to two, either without word or because of lives becoming busy. And the remaining two are have a lot of work themselves so they are only able to help when they can, something I am still grateful for them still willing to do. In addition, these past few weeks have been down right depressing for me. I've found it hard to do anything productive, and editing alone is sucking my life away along with the other things going on. It's not really the best time in my life right now, and I only do well while in motion. So I am returning to updating this story as it progressing and writing is one of the few things that help cheers me up. I will still edit and polish the remaining chapters, but I feel I will be more successful if I expend some of my energy also progressing the story.

Another note, the first side story for 2POTN has been created, and can be viewed in the Side Stories chapter I placed in the beginning. Right now it is very short, and I don't know how long it will actually turn up. But it will give some hint to parts of the world that I have only hinted at, the stallion watching Ruby at the end of this chapter being connected to it.

And finally for those who follow Writer's Block, I promise an update is coming, I just don't know how long. I have what I want in mind, but I can't write it until I rewrite the existing chapters. I want to change some things about James, and need those established first before I move the story along. Unfortunately, that as well suffered my depression lately, and I hope updating 2POTN will renew my spirit to edit in general again.

Thank you all for the support, whether you know it or not, the fact that you all have taken such interest in this story has caused a great deal of joy during the last some months of my deployment, and possibly the only positive side of being away from home and my wife. You seriously have helped me get through a lot, and I only hope I can deliver stories that captivate your interest in thanks of your support, and bring some enjoyment to your days.

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