• Published 11th Sep 2013
  • 15,893 Views, 1,377 Comments

Second Princess of the Night - Senyu



With King Sombra gone, is Equestria truely safe from harm? Or will another foe as old as the Crystal Kingdom itself appear now that the dark unicorn's position of evil is vacant? What new danger will threaten the land and the Elements of Harmony?

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Act II - Chapter 31

Blueblood sat in his office chair, carefully examining the hoof-size piece of equipment he held aloft with his magic. He meticulously followed each gear, spring, and copper circuit on the cubelike device, noting how the joints would move when the gemstone that sat at the center of the contraption would activated. Yet, for all its complexity, it was but a small piece that would work in unison with the rest of the devices on his desk. An organized mess of clockwork and gemstones that only he, and the few unicorns that were part of the development team, understood and could work on.

While many thought he was at his best in a sea of sociable ponies that were eager to praise and speak with him—and they would not be wrong at such a guess—he was also able to reach the same level of contentment and joy in working the finer details of his business. Be it attending a ball, or setting a series of circuits together, both were the natural environments that Blueblood thrived in.

However, he never was able to mix the two environments together, and closed his eyes with a calming breath at the disturbance that was making its way to his door.

What had started as a mix of muffled voices, shortly became frustrated hoof stomps, and quickly changed into his office doors being thrown open.

“I apologize, Sir,” Silver Platter said calmly, “but I could not convince her to wait for an appointment.”

Blueblood opened his eyes and looked to Ruby standing resolutely in his doorway. Her lips were tight, and her eyes focused on him with a furrowed brow. It was a look he had seen many mares give him, unable to stand a moment of his presence any longer. But when it was not for that reason, it usually meant trouble and work on his part, and he could only imagine the demands a vampony princess would make.

“I don’t suppose you could come back another time?” Blueblood said in annoyance. “I’m fairly busy at the moment.”

“We need to talk,” Ruby stated. “There’s been a development.”

Blueblood’s eyebrows rose slightly, and stared closely at Ruby. It was clear she was not going to leave, leaving him only one option to get her out of his office as quickly as possible.

“Silver Platter, some coffee please.”

“Yes, Sir,” Silver Platter replied dully, then left in a casual pace, respectively closing the doors behind him.

Blueblood carefully set down the device he was working on and sat back in his chair. “What can I do for you?”

“Shade Flare and his group of ponies are missing.”

A long silence filled the room as Ruby looked expectantly at Blueblood, waiting for him to jump from his chair or at least widen his eyes in surprise. What she got however, was a slow blink followed by a sigh.

“And?” he asked.

“And what?”

“Is that it?”

Is that it? Ruby scoffed. “Ponies are missing! Something needs to be done!”

“Such as?”

“Rescue maybe!?” Ruby almost shouted.

Another silence passed through the room.

“I’m having trouble understanding how this has anything to do with me, or why you are even bringing it to my attention.”

Ruby’s jaw clenched as she grit her teeth. “Listen, you uncaring pompous spoiled child,” Ruby growled as she walking firmly to his desk, completely ignoring the open chair in front of it for guests. “My ponies are missing and I am not going to stand around and do nothing about it. I know you have resources and connections, and I want you to use them to help me find out where they’ve gone!”

By this time, Ruby had placed her hooves on top of his desk, scattering a few pieces of stacked paper onto the floor.

Ruby, I’m just as worried as you are, but I don’t think threatening him is going to help.

Are you saying we should do nothing!?

No! But acting like this isn’t going to provide an answer either, Twilight thought pleadingly. I know you’re scared and upset, I can feel it.

I’m not scared, Ruby growled.

Yes you are. You’re feeling just like that time when we were escaping the cave. When that stallion…

Twilight didn’t finish, but she didn’t need to. Ruby briefly reflected on the memory of the young stallion atop of Ebon Wing, and how she shortly held him in her mouth. Ruby felt the odd shivering sensation Twilight made whenever such thoughts came to mind.

You are scared… and when you are, you deal with it violently. You had almost done the same thing to that mare who cornered us in the alleyway. What was her name again?

Applejack… Ruby thought distastefully.

Yes, Applejack. You almost killed her.

That’s how vamponies deal with things, Ruby stated. If something is threatening us, we make sure it can’t do it again. Ever. Or are you really not apart of me?

No, I am. And I know that’s our nature… Twilight thought sadly. But it isn’t going to help us here. You need to calm down.

“Are you alright?” Blueblood asked curiously.

Ruby blinked her eyes, and realized she must have been propping her front hooves on his desk while staring into space for something.

“I… um…” she mumbled while putting her hooves back onto the carpet. Before further embarrassment could mingle with her anger, she raised a hoof to her chest, and slowly exhaled while extending it out.

“I’m fine,” Ruby declared after a few moments.

Blueblood continued to look at her warily, not even paying attention if he was setting his papers back to their correct spots as he levitated them from the floor.

A soft knock was heard on the doors, and they swung open as Silver Platter walked towards the desk, pushing a cart with cups.

“Coffee for you, Sir,” he said dryly. “And for you, Princess Ruby.”

Ruby blinked in surprise as a teacup filled with blood floated just in front of her.

“Oh, uh… thank you,” she said in surprise before taking grasp of it with her magic, and idly sitting herself back into the chair in front of the desk.

“That will be all, Silver Platter,” Blueblood said before dismissing him with a wave of his hoof, but not without a quick nod of gratefulness for Ruby’s cup.

Silver Plater departed, leaving the two of them alone again.

Ruby stared thoughtfully into her cup, letting its scent take her mind away into a gentle bliss. Even though she had drunk a large amount the night after her exhausting trip from the city, the familiar and sweet call of blood never failed to make her hungry.

I know we're a vampony, but how can that stuff make you feel like this?

Are you kidding? How can you not enjoy this?

It does smell good... Twilight thought slowly. But that doesn't mean it's something I'd personally like.

How aware have you been whenever I drank?

If you’re asking what I think of its taste, I’m sorry to say I was usually more focused on the other and less appealing things at the moment, Twilight replied in a testy tone.

Ruby smirked mentally, then raised the cup to her lips. Well then, get ready for a world of deliciousness.

Oh dear…

Ruby slowly sipped from the cup, which began as one gulp, that turned into two, then three, and continued on until there was not a single drop left.

Sweet Equestria…

Ruby let out a happy sigh and giggled slightly, ignoring the increasing look of concern from Blueblood.

What did you think?

It’s… It’s… so wrong, but so good! Twilight moaned in joy. I shouldn’t like this, but that taste… I… I don’t think I can get enough! Why didn't I know how wonderful this tasted?

Ruby did her best to suppress the wave of emotion Twilight emanated within her, fondly reflecting her own feel-good mood when she had her first drink from the bowl in the forest clearing. For her, it was like being able to experience something tasty for the first time again.

Now do you feel better about being a vampony?

I still don’t want to kill, but I would do just about anything else to taste it again, Twilight thought, still buzzed by the flavor. If she was in control of the body, Ruby suspected she would have begun to drool in the happy memory of how the blood tasted.

Still giggling at Twilight’s response, Ruby shifted her due focus to Blueblood. Had a grin not send the already wary and nervous unicorn into a even more perplexed state, Ruby would have laughed at how uneasy he looked.

“Sorry about that,” Ruby said in a relaxed voice. “Now, back to business.”

“Yes… back to the matter at hoof…” Blueblood said while repositioning himself in his chair.

“What can you do to help me?”

“Though I understand how important this is for you,” Blueblood began, taking extra care to not voice his personal opinion on the matter any further, “I unfortunately have little to offer for a solution.”

Ruby’s good mood fell as she fixed an intense glare at him.

“What I mean is,” Blueblood added quickly but still remaining collected, “there is nothing in my resources that could help you on the kind of search you want to happen.”

“Really? Nothing at all?” Ruby asked skeptically. “I thought you were a Prince, a pony who can do many things.”

“While I’ll always accept it, flattery and mockery will not get you anything from me,” Blueblood said. “I don’t know what kind of notion you have of me, but just because I own a capable business and am at the forefront of tomorrow’s market doesn't not mean I don’t have my limits. Do you really think a team of train conductors and engineers could enact a secret mission to find out where your ponies have gone?”

Ruby wanted to argue against him, but found nothing coming to her mind. She floated her cup down to an empty space on his desk, and frowned at the floor. As much as she hated it, he was right, and she began to wonder if there was anything she could do at all.

While Ruby searched the floor for an answer, Blueblood shifted his eyes to a nearby clock, and mentally grunted in annoyance at the time.

With a gulp, he decided to risk her fluctuating mood. “Now, unless if you have an idea on something I can actually assist you with, I would be… grateful, if you would leave me to my work.”

Ruby sighed. “I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t have just barged in without a plan…”

“Don’t worry, it’s perfectly alright,” Blueblood said while leaning back expectantly.

“I suppose I should first come up with at least a few scenarios and contingency plans…”

“Of course.”

“And to be honest, I still don’t even fully know what you even have at disposal. I guess I should have figured that out first…”

“It’s quite alright,” Blueblood said while shifting his eyes from her to the door.

“And you’re sure you have nothing that could help?”

“Quite.”

“Then… that’ll be all, I guess.”

Much to Blueblood’s relief, Ruby finally lifted herself from the seat and made her way to the door.

I don’t suppose we could hang around for a minute? Those thing’s on his desk looked interesting. From what I could tell, it looks like he’s trying to combine perpetually charged gemstones with automatic gear suppression with copper wires as the transfer line.

Not now, we’ve got more important things. And besides, I doubt he’s figured out how to prevent mana leaking from a unsealed environment. It’s one thing to make a self-driving carriage, it’s entirely another for… whatever he’s making.

There it is again.

What?

Something else that just popped into our minds without us knowing what it was before.

You do remember when I read those technical manuals in his library right? And as far as things are concerned, it’s still my mind.


Twilight grunted in reply. Still, I’m pretty sure your knowledge of dynamically based mana storage and it’s underlying theories didn’t come from those manuals.

Yeah… you’re right. Do you think-

Ruby continued down the hall, completely oblivious at having left Blueblood’s office doors completely wide open. With a ‘tsk’ of irritation, Blueblood shut the doors and swiveled himself to face the balcony door behind him. As if fate had been orchestrating his evening, a griffin happened to land only moments later onto the balcony.

He tapped his hoof impatiently as the griffin emerged from the dark balcony and stepped into the light, carefully opening the glass door between the two with her claw.

“You are very lucky that I am tolerating your lateness tonight,” Blueblood said.

“It’s not my fault if these things are so heavy,” Gilda replied in annoyance.

“Be happy you’re carrying mobile prototypes. Do you have all of them?”

“Yeah, yeah, they’re all here.” Gilda unceremoniously slung the satchel from her chest and hung it out in front of him.

The moment Blueblood took a hold of it, Gilda stretched her wings and walked past his desk. “Let me guess, I’m sleeping in the spare bedroom by the fireplace again?”

“You should feel honored,” Blueblood said as he inspected the wrapped contents in the satchel, and depositing various pieces of metal and trinkets into neat piles. “Normally I wouldn't allow anypony to use my private office bedroom.”

“No offense, but I’d rather sleep in those cushy rooms you got downstairs. Maybe even the one closest to the bar?” Gilda asked hopefully.

“The rest of the penthouse is still closed,” Blueblood simply said.

Gilda gave a huff and rolled her eyes. “Whatever… I’m going to bed.”

As she was turning away, a faint scent trailed across her beak, and she looked back in annoyance.

“Don’t tell me I have to share a bed with one of those guys.”

“What do you mean?” Blueblood said without lifting his eyes as he measured two pieces against each other.

“The other griffin shippers? I swear by the seasons, if it’s Fen I’m kicking him out onto the balcony.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Blueblood said, his voice growing more irritable by the second.

“Wait, so I’m the only griffin here?”

Yes, you are. Is there something strange about that?

Gilda flashed him a glare, before ruffling her feathers. “I swear, if I find him in there hogging the entire thing…”

“As much as I find Griffin-mannerism refreshing, can you just leave me alone until your next delivery is ready?” Blueblood exclaimed. “How many times do I have to tell you, you are the only griffin here!”

Gilda, initially taken aback, opened her beak to respond, but quickly shut it at the thought of the lashing Feathermane would give her, and decided not to risk her paycheck.

“Nevermind, thought I smelled some blood and figured one of the guys had a meal here or something. Anyways, I’m going to bed.”

Gilda headed across the large office and into the private bedroom, oblivious to the fact the Blueblood had frozen in mid place, and was staring at an empty teacup at the edge of his table. He was so locked into his mistake, that he didn’t even register her last comment as the door shut.

“And tell your butler to stop waking me up until he’s got breakfast ready and hot.”

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

So what do we do?”

I don’t know, but we need to figure something out.

Ruby was walking absently through the hallways, unable to keep her restless legs still. Worry weighed heavily on her mind, and all possible avenues for a solution were quickly closing as she and Twilight had run over possible scenarios. In the end, they were only left with Ruby going out Vanhoover herself on one of Blueblood’s trains, but both were in agreeance that they couldn’t leave their group of ponies.

Ever since the cave, Ruby had been on edge and wary of the world. The Royal Sisters’ power was all over the land, and she had little doubt it was them that were responsible for the disappearance of the Vanhoover group. There was so much she did not know, and each day of not knowing became more and more dangerous. She need to prepare, she needed to plan, she needed… knowledge.

If she could not directly assist Shade Flare, then she could at least gather what had happened, or begin preparations for her next move. Far to many things had not gone as planned, and with the uncertain horizon that loomed in front of her, she had to brace herself for whatever may bring.

But there was no source to draw upon. Every book she had read in the penthouse had nothing useful, and she doubted she would be able to get the answers she needed from Blueblood. Which left her stuck, and her fears were gnawing at her insides on what might be happening to Shade Flare and the rest at every moment, and what to do with her group.

The blood from Blueblood’s office was only a short distraction from the reality of the world, and only served to give her more energy of which she had no target to use it on.

I’m sure Night Walker will be there soon, he said he would take care of it.

I know, I know, but I still can’t help feeling like this. Isn’t this bothering you just as much?

Of course it is, but it isn’t going to help if both of us worry like this.

Well we certainly aren’t coming up with any plans!

And exactly what do you want to do?

I don’t know! Anything!

Ruby, if there isn’t anything we can-

Don’t say that!

Calm down!

Ruby’s hoof stamped onto the carpet, and she blinked away a tear she had not be aware of in her eyes. Finding the most of her anxiety dissipating from her confusion, she curiously turned her head down and stared at the hoof.

Did you just…?

I… I think I did...

“Ruby!”

Hold on, Ruby thought quickly, shoving her questions aside before turning around and seeing Mist Hoof trotting up to her.

“What did Blueblood say?”

Ruby read the same level of worry on his face, and sadly shook her head after a few calming breaths. “There isn’t anything he can do.”

Mist Hoof sighed and let his eyes drift. “Then, we’ll just have to hope Night Walker finds them, and soon.”

“I’m afraid so,” Ruby reluctantly agreed.

Mist Hoof looked thoughtfully into space, then took a breath as he straightened his posture. “I think we need to talk about something, Ruby.”

“What is it?”

“Without knowing what has happened to Shade Flare, we need to prepare for the alternative.” Mist Hoof looked her in the eye and spoke firmly, “We need to start the transformations.”

Ruby’s ears faltered as she lowered her head, “Mist Hoof, I still don’t think-”

“I know you can do it,” he said. He then knelt down, causing her to shift on her hooves even more. “Please, use me as the first test subject.”

“Mist Hoof, I am not going to test on you like some guard!” she exclaimed while nudging him back up with a hoof. “We still don’t know how Shade Flare reacted to the transformation.”

“And we might never know!” Mist Hoof said louder than he intended, but being impolite to his princess was the least of his worries. “Ruby, you already promised me you would use me if it came to it.”

“And I said after a week!”

“We may not have that long!”

“There’s too many possible complications,” Ruby defended firmly, despite her voice cracking now and then. “There’s no telling what may happen, or if I am even doing right. The only reason I was able to do it on Shade Flare was because Night Walker was right there!”

“And you’re just as good as him,” Mist Hoof pressed.

“Are you kidding me? I barely know anything about the soul compared to him! Just because I know how to change a few things, doesn’t mean I can shape it like he does. I don’t even know if I did mine correctly when-”

Ruby cut herself off, but it was too late.

“When you what?”

Ruby bite her lip as she averted her eyes.

Aren’t you going to tell him about me?

No, I can’t.

The visual image of standing front of a mirror appeared in her mind, and her reflection gave her a questioning but worried look.

Why not?

But Ruby shook her head, causing the image fade away.

Don’t do that when I’m talking to somepony!

“Ruby, what’s the matter?” Mist Hoof asked anxiously.

Ruby snapped back to physical world, and shook his hoof from her shoulder. “I just can’t! I’m not willing to risk you!” Ruby then turned away and began trotting down the hall. “There’s too many answers I still need.”

“And where do you think you are going to get them?” Mist Hoof called after her.

“From the only place that might give me them,” Ruby mumbled.

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

*Knock Knock Knock*

The three ponies in the room stiffened at the rasping of a hoof on the door, and warily looked at each other, seeing they all held the same hopeful but also nervous expression.

Without delay, one of them got up and headed to the door, using all of her willpower to not trot at a dead run and throw it open to sweep the knocker in a firm embrace. They couldn’t treat her like they used to, not without risking the chance to scare her off or spark her anger. They would have to be patient if they ever wanted a chance to return things back to how they were.

Walking at a steady pace, opening the door normally, and standing still was undoubtedly one of the hardest things Applejack ever had to do. Even with a disguise on, she could immediately recognize who it was at the door.

“Twalight, I’m so glad you came-”

“It’s Ruby.”

“Right… Sorry…” Applejack mumbled, trying her best to keep her smile. “It’s just… we’re so happy to see you again. Ah was worried you wouldn’t come back.”

Ruby flared her nostrils in discomfort, and carefully glanced inside, seeing Rarity and Rainbow Dash both giving her nervous but welcoming smiles as well. Ruby didn’t give one in return.

“I’m just here to talk, and maybe get some questions answered,” Ruby stated loud enough for all three of them to hear.

“O-Of course,” Rarity said. “Please, come in. We’ll answer any questions you have.”

Ruby gave them a skeptical stare, and a cursory glance about the room for any sign of danger, and stepped inside.

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

Across the street and atop a roof top, five bat ponies huddled beside the ledge, eyeing the motel complex Ruby had gone into.

“Why is Princess Ruby at a place like this?” Willow Shade whispered.

“I have no idea,” Mist Hoof replied, his eyes not having left the building for a moment. “Willow Shade and Cloud Shadow, go to the back of the building and keep an eye on the exits.”

“You think’s she's going to ditch us?” Cloud Shadow asked.

“No, I don’t think she noticed us, but I’m not taking any chances of losing her. Remember, this is as much as tracking her as it is looking out for enemies. If you see a single guard go into that building, let me know.”

“Alright, heading out.”

The two mares gave each other a friendly hoof shove before darting across the roof top, looking for the darkest street to fly over and work their way to the back of the motel.

“Ember Mane and Ebon Wing, we’ll stay right here.”

The two stallions gave a silent nod in reply, and reaffixed their eyes to the street below, diligently watching each pony that entered and exited the building.

Everything had gone smoothly since they left the tower, also keeping Ruby within sight as they slinked between the shadows, ducking beneath and behind corners whenever a drunk pegasus haphazardly flew above in vain attempts to find his house.

And now that they had found where Ruby had headed, they need only wait to escort her unknowingly home, after which Mist Hoof would decide to confront her or not on what she was doing.

If only things were that simple, for even as the five bat ponies kept a vigilant watch, thirty other ponies were doing the same exact same thing. And though the two groups had the same target, only one was aware of the other.

Author's Note:

Poor Ruby. All this frusteration with an unsolvable problem and nothing to take it out on. Well, she can't always be at her best, and just may need to freak out now and then. It's a good thing she at least has half a mind that can remain cool-headed for her. Might be useful for the two of them to be able to rely on each other when one falls in someway.

Anyways, here it is! Back to updating! I will warn though that it will not be at the rapid pace I had delivered before. Being back at my normal job of working on computers consumes a lot of my thoughts and mental stamina compared to the eight-hours straight of staring at a wall I had to do for the last nine-months. It was so much easier to think about what would happen next in the story. And to top it off, I'm having a hard time just to find an evening to myself. I've never been used to having to many people want to spend time with me (it's like only 2-3) but it's nearly everyday and weekend. Today was the first time I've had to just chill out on the couch and watching tv in weeks. Though I have to admit, it does help me deal with my divorce. Just waiting to fill out paperwork and submit it through now.

So while updates will not be as quick (especially now that I am focusing on programming. Just started learning about NetFramework and API's, man its fun and hard learning how to use them in Powershell) they will hopefully be coming out more regularly. So most likely no three-month hiatus like I've just experienced.

Thanks so much for everyone reading this and having waited so long for me to slowly get back into the swing of things. I'm not going to lie, thinking about how many people have read this and enjoyed it does sometimes bring a tear to my eye. It literally does. To think that I've made something that this many people can enjoy... it's just... wow. It feels amazing. I am so happy that I am able to give something (even if it's little compared to the rest of your life) that you can make smile or feel something, even if just for a moment. It's small to you, but it means so much to me. I hope I can continue to deliver for all of your enjoyment, and start cracking on this story. After all, it is only Book One of Four.

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