• Published 11th Sep 2013
  • 17,958 Views, 1,389 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 I - Chapter 3

I met a stranger the other night,

His sudden appearance causing a fright,

But he assured me quickly, that he meant no harm,

And so I believed him, and never saw the dawn.

Twilight was at a loss for words for the stallion before her. She didn't know what to say, feel, or even think as he stared expectantly towards her for a response to his introduction. What was beginning to develop into an awkward silence was thankfully broken by Spike speaking first.

"Nice to meet you, I'm Spike," he said without care, oblivious to Twilight’s frozen composure.

Trail turned his head to look at the little dragon, while smiling, the ominous atmosphere that had engulfed Twilight's moments before now vanishing like an afterthought as his attention focused on Spike. "A dragon? How academically wonderful!” Trail coughed into his hoof to recompose himself for another introduction. “It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance as well, Spike," he said in cheery disposition.

Twilight remained quiet and motionless as the two exchanged greetings. Still shaken by the moment that had passed between her and the stallion, she hadn't noticed Spike poking her until a rather painful jab broke her out of thought. "Uh, Twilight?"

"Wha—oh! Sorry," Twilight quickly said, her cheeks holding a touch of pink.

Trail leaned forward. "Are you alright, Twilight? You seem preoccupied, is now a bad time?"

Twilight shook her head in reply. "I'm fine. Just a little... tired, that's all. What was it you were looking for?"

Trail's face quickly returned to the frustrated mood—though at a more respectable level with a princess near him—they had met him with as he waved a hoof at the library. "The library is closed even though their time says they should be open. I don't know how ponies conduct business here, but I, for one, become greatly bothered when I am not able to peruse books."

"I’m sorry, I hadn't intended to be gone for so long," Twilight said apologetically. As the conversation became more casual, the intense atmosphere from before faded into an afterthought for Twilight.

Trail's eyes went wide as he processed what she had said. A flash of panic passed over him. "Y-you mean to tell me that you're the librarian?” The look on his face showed desperation that she was not the owner of the establishment.

"Yes, I am."

Trail immediately knelt again, this time spouting apology after apology. "My sincere apologies, Princess Twilight! I had no intention of disrespect to you or your library! Please forgive me!"

He continued apologizing profusely and asking forgiveness, not allowing Twilight a chance to stop him. It only took moments before his actions drew the attention of other ponies. Twilight felt a wave of embarrassment as the everypony’s eyes turned towards at her and the kneeling pony that still was babbling apologies.

Unable to handle the growing attention, Twilight used her magic to quickly lift Trail onto his hooves. Before he could speak again, she pushed him into the library, wiping the dirt off his tie and cuffs while blurting, "Okay that's plenty, thank you! We should probably go inside and get you a book! We can't have anypony not being able to get a book when they need it, right?” Twilight nervously laughed. “Lets go in now and get you a book!"

After they had hurried inside with Twilight’s laughter and pushing, she slammed the door and let out a deep breath. Trail looked towards her with confusion at the alicorn's hasty hustle before asking hesitantly, "Did I do something wrong?”

Calming down from the embarrassing scene,Twilight replied, "Yes. Well, no. I just don't like being treated like that in public. Or at all for that matter. Still getting used to the whole ‘princess’ thing."

"Oh, well I am very sorry. I didn't mean to bother you such. I was just trying to be as courteous as I could be. Like you said, you are a princess, an... alicorn."

Twilight raised an eyebrow. "You call groveling in the dirt at my hooves courteous?"

This time it was Trail that became embarrassed. He rubbed one forehoof against the other. "No, I don't suppose that would classify as being courteous. My deepest apologies for my... apologies. It's just I have never meet royalty before having lived in Fillydelphia."

"You're from Fillydelphia?" Twilight’s mind was already matching up the pieces.

"Why yes, allow me to introduce myself again." With a small bow, the stallion said once more, "My name is Midnight Trail, and I am a therapist. I have spent a number of years of getting into ponies minds to treat symptoms and disorders as well as lending an ear. I am qualified for colts, fillies, stallions, mares, and I prefer Pearl Grey Tea."

"Don't you mean Earl Grey Tea?"

"I like to add a fair amount of cream, so I call it Pearl Grey Tea. As you can imagine, it takes on a, well, pearl-like appearance," Trail replied before chuckling.

Twilight and Spike exchanged a brief glance, not finding the comment nearly as amusing implied. A little unusual, but seems friendly enough, she thought. All traces of the stallion’s intimidating presence had vanished throughout the course of their conversation, causing her to wonder if she had just imagined the tense atmosphere to begin with. Now whenever he spoke, it was like he couldn’t contain his excitement. It reminded of her of a certain pink pony she knew.

"So, I take it you are our new neighbor then?" she asked even though she was more than confident of the answer now.

"Why yes!” Trail replied with surprise. “I just recently purchased some property in Ponyville and was moving in today. How in Equestria did you know that?"

"We stopped by your home to welcome you to the town, but the movers said that you probably wouldn't show up until later tonight."

Trail nodded. "Ah yes, I mentioned that to the company. I gave them the key to the house to start without me just in case I was late. You see, I had a few final affairs to settle before leaving Fillydelphia, but thankfully they did not take as long as I thought."

“However, I must say,” Trail continued, “the thought of you coming to welcome me personally is a little flattering. I don’t think I have ever had somepony so prestigious welcome me before.”

“Well, we don’t get many ponies moving here, so it’s only natural to say hello to a new resident. But to be honest, we had no idea you were moving to Ponyville until Pinkie Pie told us.”

“Pinkie Pie?”

“Don’t worry, you’ll meet her soon enough. I’ll see you again at the party,” Spike chimed in.

“Oh, I see.”

The three of them stood around for a moment, neither of them sure what to say next. Once again, it was Spike who broke the silence. "So what book were you looking for?"

"Oh yes of course!" Trail replied before turning to look upon the many shelves lining the library. "You see, I’ve sort of adopted the habit of purchasing a new book whenever I do something as significant as moving.” His eyes played over the various titles. "I would love nothing more than breaking in the new house with something I haven't read prior. Although, I dare say that I have found it increasingly difficult as time goes on, due to the amount that I read during my spare time. I suppose sometimes I like to think moving as an excuse to get another."

Twilight perked up as he examined the rows of books. Now this is something I can work with. A smile forming at the idea of another pony who might read as much as her, she trotted to Trail's side as he continued browsing. "Well, we have a large selection to choose from. Any particular genre or topics?"

"I'll read just about anything: comedy, action, romance, technical manuals, and theories." Trail followed a row of books as he talked. "But if I had to choose one thing… You wouldn't perhaps have anything on mythology, would you?"

"Mythology?" Twilight raised a hoof to her chin in thought. For a moment, she was silent, and her eyes drifted towards a row of books near the ceiling. A smile appeared on her face as she spotted the shelf that contain the genre he was looking for. "Yes, I believe we have a few that you might be interested in." She motioned for Trail to join her as she walked towards the bookshelf.

With a glow of her horn, a dozen books off the top row were wrapped in a purple hue and brought down to eye level. Turning them about, she floated them in front of Trail; showing the titles of each book while keeping them separated and in order.

Trail leaned forward to inspect each book, mumbling beneath his breath as he read off the various titles. "Old Mare's Tales, Fantastical Forgotten Legends, Mystifying Creatures..."

Trail's voice dropped to a barely audible mumble as he continued to read the covers. As he moved down the line, he paused when one caught his eye. Flipping open its front page, he quickly inspected its table of contents. A grin formed on his face after a once over, and he reached for the book. "I think this will do nicely. ‘Thousand-Year Old Tales’ sounds right up my alley. Nothing like seeing each authors opinion of history."

Twilight floated the rest of the selection back to its proper shelf, a satisfied look on her face at accomplishing once again, finding the perfect book for a customer. "If you like old mythology, then that one should be just perfect. To be honest, I wish I had it earlier when I first moved to Ponyville."

"Oh? And why might that be?" Trail said as he flipped through the book idly.

"As you know, the Mare in the Moon is a thousand-year old legend that turned out to be real. Nightmare Moon escaped her prison and threatened to plunge all of Equestria into eternal darkness. Thankfully, the books I had at the time were enough to help my friends and me in defeating her, turning her back into Princess Luna."

Twilight vacantly stared in reminiscence of the first time she had come to Ponyville, vividly recalling the adventure and experiences she and the girls had shared. Her attention was brought back as Spike spoke.

"Geez, that was a long night," Spike said. "It threw off my sleep schedule for a week! With the sun not coming up until hours later and all."

Twilight giggled. "Funny how the longest day of the year turned out to be the shortest."

Annoyed by the memory, Spike asked, "Why didn't Princess Celestia keep the sun up for a little longer? Maybe then the day could have gone on as normal."

"Spike," Twilight replied with a narrowed glare. "You know full well the consequences of keeping the sun or moon out longer than they need to be. Besides, Princess Luna had just returned and it would have been unfair to hold off her night for any amount of time."

"Even if she held off the sun first?"

"Even if she held off the sun first," Twilight replied in a tone that meant the end of the discussion. "Honestly Spike, you need to think of how things will affect other ponies more often. We don't want a repeat of that growing incident do you?"

"No..." Spike answered as he crossed his arms.

Satisfied, Twilight turned to Trail to talk further about the book he had selected. But she paused when she saw his eyes widened and his mouth hanging open slightly. "Is something wrong?" she asked.

Trail shook his head in response as he recomposed himself. "No it's... talking about Nightmare Moon and the princess so casually is... just a bit to take in. But I suppose you are an Element Bearer and a princess to top it off. I understand that it might be a normal conversation for you and the residents of Ponyville but for somepony who doesn't live here, well, it would catch one off guard.”

"Oh!” Twilight said in realization. "I'm sorry. I guess I forget sometimes that other ponies aren't used to it. To be honest, I haven't traveled across Equestria much, so I'm always around ponies that are normally involved."

"Then you might be surprised of the gossip that floats around Fillydelphia.” Trail chuckled. “Everypony somehow manages to slip in talk of the powerful Element Bearers that reside in Ponyville, fending off untold dangers and threats. Some of them even have come to think that Ponyville is the first line of defense against any threat, as they seem to happen so often here."

“First line of defense? Ponyville?” Spike asked, already chuckling at the notion.

“Absurd, isn't it?” Trail an replied with a chuckle. “I couldn’t believe it the moment I laid my eyes on this place. I know Ponyville has had its fair share of events. But honestly, some of the things ponies fuss about would cause any sane pony to giggle. Why, just the other day, I overheard that Manehattan suffered a power outage due to some sea monster attack, when in fact it was just some crabs that had snipped a few cables for a single building.”

Spike and Trail laughed together as they shared over-the-top tales. Twilight pitched in now and then, but she mostly stood back and watched the two laugh. For her, seeing a pony talk so casually to Spike was a nice sight, and an experience he did not have often save for the ponies who had grown accustomed to him.

During their discussion, Twilight took the time to observe Trail. The color of his coat was the first thing to catch her attention, since black was not a common color for ponies. In fact, she knew the gene for black coats had become extinct over six hundred years ago. Maybe he dyed it, the cities are known for stuff like that. His silver mane however, wasn’t too out of place. If anything, he had it longer than what she figured most stallions preferred. Mane extensions?

But for some reason she couldn’t quite place a hoof on, his general appearance made him seem older than what she assumed he was. Some parts of him such as his face were that of an adult stallion, while everything else appeared more aged or thin. It was, in fact, the subtle differences about his body that kept Twilight’s eyes moving back and forth, not entirely sure what it was about him that felt so off. Her focus however, returned to the conversation when Spike asked him why he had left Fillydelphia.

"Actually, the gossip is why I decided to come to Ponyville."

"Why would that make you want to come here?" Spike asked.

"Ponies living in a town constantly on the verge of destruction? That is exactly what my line of work could thrive in!" Trail said.

Twilight opened her mouth to ask what it was he did exactly again, before recalling he had already explained. Right, therapist. That does make sense I guess. Come to think of it, I never thought about the mental health of everypony in Ponyville. With the disasters and monsters we have experienced, maybe it is something that could be needed. I wonder how everypony has been coping with everything?

"Excuse me, but are you alright?" Trail asked Twilight.

"Huh, what?" Twilight blurted.

Spike rolled his eyes as he answered for her again, "Don't worry about it. Twilight gets lost in her thoughts a lot."

Twilight shot a glare at Spike and opened her mouth to retort. Trail however, spoke before either of them. "Is there any place better to be lost in?" Twilight and Spike exchanged glances before looking at him questioningly. "The mind is a wondrous place, after all! It contains the essence of who every pony is, and who they can be. It is the gateway to a pony’s emotions, and if you look deep enough, their very soul. If you ask me, I'd rather be lost in my own thoughts than on any dirt road or spooky forest."

Spike was at a loss for words for a moment before slowly responding, "I guess. I never thought about it that way..."

Twilight beamed. That is a great way to look at it!

"And with that insight, I'm afraid I must request my absence. If that is alright with you Pri— I mean, Twilight! Almost said it again, my apologies."

“It’s fine,” she said, rolling her eyes quickly. "I'm sure you have a lot to do with your new house. If you need anything just ask. And you don't need my permission to leave."

"I suppose I will have to get used to that," Trail said with an embarrassed smile. "If only some of my clients in Fillydelphia could see me now though. Casually talking to a princess! And on a first name basis!"


Afterwards, Spike had fetched a bag for Trail’s new book, and with goodbyes said, he departed the library. As he left, he invited Twilight and Spike for dinner once he had settled into his new home. Both of them agreed, Spike a little more quickly at the mention of some northern mist sapphires Trail had laying around that he said he wouldn't mind parting with.

With the promised engagement set, Trail proceeded to make his way to his new residence, greeting ponies along the way and stopping for a quick, idle chat when he was able to. If his uncommon coat color did not hold the attention of passing ponies, his introduction of being the town’s new therapist grabbed their interests. Most of the ponies he spoke with confessed they had never even thought about seeking help for any mental problems, but his assurance that every customer's visit was confidential and would only serve as a checkup with additional appointments if necessary made more than some curious.

The rest of the way back was spent admiring the town itself in the evening sun. Everything was bright, cheery, and welcoming. Considering the town’s reputation, it wasn’t quite what he had expected when he had first laid eyes on the town.

As he approached his front lawn, one of the lead moving ponies paused to greet him. They exchanged details of the trip and where the movers had left everything they unloaded. Trail voiced a few changes on where some items would be deposited, thanked them for their assistance, and walked up the front path and into his home.

Some hours later, the last of the items was unloaded and placed within the house. A quick exchange of paperwork and signatures was given before the movers tipped their hats, and departed while wishing him good luck in his new home.

Trail watched from the doorway as the ponies left on their carriages, their silhouettes disappearing down the road. It was well past sundown when they left, and the only source of light was the bright windows of the homes of Ponyville.

Trail had set up a few candles around the first floor, bringing in for the first time in months lights in the windows of the house. Shadows from objects still wrapped in sheets bounced across the room as the candles flickered. Everything except a few large items still needed to be unpacked, something Trail figured he would surely spend all day tomorrow doing.

Trail then made his way up to the second floor of the house, which still remained shrouded in darkness. Silently, he made his way over floorboards that should have creaked, passing through halls that should have been too dark for a pony to navigate, a shadow amongst shadows.

It was not long before he stepped into a grand room with a large window opposite the door, revealing a wide view of the town. Moving towards it, he regarded the quaint scene before him: The soft glow of lights from windows cutting across the shadows of the streets, tuffs of smokes rising from chimneys, and the muffled voices of the few ponies still walking about. It was, without a doubt, a pleasant night in Equestria.

"Quite the charming little town here. I must say, it’s not what I had in mind." Trail watched as two ponies passed by on a evening walk, their heads turned to the lit rooms of the house that normally remained dark and empty. "It seems that the lifestyle of everypony here is safe and peaceful, even with the dangers of the Everfree forest threatening them, albeit less than they used to. They hold no fears in their hearts, or worries in their minds, save for the daily grind. Much more... relaxed, than what it used to be."

Trail's eyes closed as he drew his focus inward. After a few moments of inward concentration, he exhaled and postured himself into a more regal stance. While his body had remained the same, his composure and presence took on a drastic change. If it wasn’t for his coloring, a pony would have thought him to be somepony completely different than the cheerful ‘therapist’ trotting about earlier that day. Even the atmosphere itself had changed with his new demeanor. And when he opened his eyes, his red pupils flashed momentarily and he looked out into the town again.

After a sigh, he spoke in a low tone, all traces of his high inflections or random volume increase in his sentences gone. "That persona is tiresome at times, too excitable for my taste. But I suppose it is needed for this."

He faintly smiled at the day’s events. The power of an alicorn's blood still astounds me. The little that I had drank from her earlier easily powered the magic for me to walk in sunlight without difficulties. It seems I no longer have to go through the trouble of rounding up over a dozen ponies and draining them of all their blood. I can only imagine the difficulty of such a thing in today’s time.

Trail's smile faded at that last thought. "Today's time..."

Watching a happy couple walk down the street caused Trail to scowl. "The ponies of today have no idea of what it was like a thousand years ago. They know not of the fear that would freeze their hearts, despair that would ruin even the bravest of heroes, or the sacrifices one would make just to even survive. They only know of the carefree days of Celestia’s rule."

His gaze adjusted to focus on the faint reflection in the window, his red eyes staring back at him from darkness; eyes that have haunted him since the day he had walked down the path he intended to repeat.

"Celestia... you have certainly accomplished what you set out to do. I commend you for that. And in the end, your sister was able to join you after all. I imagine you are very happy with this world you have created, a place where everypony can live in relative peace. You also had done well in glossing over the past, much lighter in tone than what I remember."

Trail stared out across the town as he reminisced, watching the lights of homes flicker out one by one as the ponies went to sleep. He ran over the events from so long ago that eventually led him to why he was here now, and his tongue licked the tips of his fangs at the thought of the potential that laid before him. Laughing softly, he spoke aloud again. “All of Equestria is open to me now. Sombra was vanquished, and the other shepherds remain sealed who knows where, leaving only the sisters to deal with.”

“Celestia and Luna, while you might have refused my offers, I think your new royal sister will find it more difficult to pass the opportunity. She knows not of the forces that once walked this land. She is unprepared, vulnerable, and so… tempting. Just the thought of tasting her blood again stirs a fire that I have not known in such a long time. Its texture, flavor, and power... "

The night scene suddenly became brighter as a dim white light flooded the land. Looking up, he saw the moon beginning to peek behind wisps of clouds and steadily climb into the sky. “Oh Luna, how I missed your light. The only consistent source I would draw comfort from during those times. As you imagine, I was quite pained about your refusal to join me. How we could have ruled together still burns my thoughts from time to time. You could have been a true Princess of the Night, to walk its shadows without fear, powerful and singular. You would have even been able to resist that thing that whispered to you while you dreamed, haunted your waking thoughts,and eventually turned you into another monster of the night. But as that delightful mare I chanced across, c'est la vie.”

Trail remained at the window for some time, watching as it vanished behind another row of clouds that drifted across its face. “I wonder… How will the raising of the moon work? When there is a second Princess of the Night.”

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