• 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 32

A friend I had,

One so dear and kind,

We always played together,

Laughing all the time.

Then one night came,

And a dreadful event occured,

My friend I had known so well,

Was cursed and could not be cured.

He was told by new friends,

That I was nothing more than food,

I was told by those still left,

He was gone and there was nothing I could do.

Our worlds may have changed,

And with it, our roles in life as well,

But even though we were now different,

Our friendship would remain, greater than any spell.



Outside, the sounds of the city’s nightlife was heard through the closed windows of the motel room, muffled beyond recognition save for the random whooping and hollering of exceptionally loud and intoxicated ponies. But for all the noise of the busy street, a tense and heavy silence filled the second floor room, and it was nearly suffocating for the four ponies that sat on the floor in a circle.

With a hat for concealing her horn set aside, Ruby held herself upright in an authoritative manner, eyeing each of the three mares across from her with a level of scrutiny that caused them to look away whenever their eyes met. She had placed herself closest to the door, and despite her posture, kept her muscles tense in the event she needed to run. The mares had managed to detain her once, and she wasn’t going to give them a chance to try it again.

Which is why she glared at them even more so, because for all her impressions and thoughts, they were not behaving at all as she had expected.

Applejack was working her jaw subtly as if searching to find something to say. Rainbow Dash periodically shifted her eyes to random spots on the floor, furrowing them now and then from some internal thought. And Rarity would bite her lip before letting go and repositioning herself, only to bite her lip again moments later.

They were beset with uncertainty, and it bothered Ruby for reasons she couldn’t place, for like them, she wasn’t quite sure of how to proceed. While she herself had only half a plan in mind for this encounter, she figured Celestia and Luna’s agents would have been at least more prepared, or at least not so awkwardly quiet.

After sometime, Applejack finally worked up the courage to go first, and broke the silence with a hesitant voice.

“So, Ruby… how have ya been?”

“Fine,” Ruby replied flatly.

“Oh… that’s… good,” Applejack said as she lowered her ears. She opened her mouth to speak again, but instead closed it and clenched her jaw, letting the room fall back into silence.

Ruby suppressed her irritation enough to only allow a raised eyebrow. “I guess I should start then,” Ruby said in distaste. After giving another sweeping glance, only pausing a moment to inspect Rainbow Dash’s still glower demeanor, she cleared her throat.

“You said that you were my friends, right?”

Are your friends, dear,” Rarity corrected softly.

“If that’s so,” Ruby said with a brief glare towards her, “then there shouldn’t be any issues in asking you some questions.”

“Ask anything you like,” Applejack said, and surprisingly to Ruby without a trace of hesitation. “Don’t matter what it is, we’ll answer.”

Ruby eyed Applejack carefully, noting the sudden look of determination in her eyes and the sudden change in her mood, and briefly considered risking a glance into her soul for confirmation that her mood change wasn’t a trick.

Well? Aren’t you going to ask them about Shade Flare and the rest? Twilight interrupted, causing Ruby to forgo the idea.

Why in Equestria would ask that right away? Ruby scoffed mentally. I thought you could read my mind?

I only know what you are directly focusing on, and so far all you’ve been doing is glare at them.

Glad to know you can’t read the entirety of my mind. But no, it would be stupid if I asked them right away.

Why?

It’s called gathering intel. I don’t know if they know what’s happened. And while I figure it out, I can at least try to learn more about them and my imprisonment.

But I thought you were giving them the benefit of the doubt?

You don’t honestly still believe in the friendship charade do you? And please be quiet for a moment, I can’t focus on them with you talking.

A small ‘humph’ rang in Ruby’s head as the mental image of Twilight within a mirror crossing her arms, but followed her request and spoke no more.

“First,” Ruby began, “I want to know who each of you are.”

“Ah’m Applejack,” Applejack replied first again. “Ah was born ‘n raised on Sweet Apple Acres in Ponyville. Ah buck apples, take care of the farm, and help out ponies where ah can. It’s where ah learned everything ah know about life and friends.” The determination in her eyes however, fell away as she added softly, “And it’s where ah met you.”

“Really?” Ruby said with distaste. “Ponyville?”

“That’s right.”

Ruby gave a sneer. “And just how did I find myself in Ponyville? You know, since I’m a vampony and all?”

“You weren’t a vampony back then.” Applejack’s features became tight as she leaned forward. “That no good Night Walker came into town and turned you into one! And then he stole your memories and took you away from us!”

“How can still believe I would fall for such an obvious lie!?” Ruby suddenly shouted while throwing open her wings, causing all three of them to flinch back. “I don’t know what your game is, but I’m getting tired of it.”

“But it’s tha truth!” Applejack protested.

“No, it isn't,” Ruby growled.

“Sugarcube, listen-”

“Don’t call me that!” Ruby shouted again.

Then, the sound of a hoof being slammed onto the floorboards rang throughout the room, and everypony turned their heads towards Rainbow Dash.

“I can’t do this…” Rainbow Dash muttered angrily.

Before anyone could reply, Rainbow Dash stood up; her wings were bristling in irritation. Immediately, Ruby lowered her head and glared darkly at her, alighting her horn in preparation for confrontation.

“You want a go at me again?” Ruby growled. Her words caused Rainbow Dash to bristle even more than she already was.

“Rainbow, dear…” Rarity cooed cautiously. “Please sit down. We don’t want to do any rash right-”

“I CAN’T DO THIS!” Rainbow Dash screamed.

Ruby flared her horn, readying herself to magically grab ahold of Rainbow Dash and slam her promptly into the ceiling. But instead of lunging, Rainbow Dash simply lifted her head, and looked directly at her, causing Ruby to pause.

If it wasn’t for how her teeth were clenched so tightly, or the wetness that had built on her cheeks, it was Rainbow Dash’s eyes that disarmed Ruby the most. Upon seeing the look on her face, Ruby lost all focus on her magic, letting it flow away harmlessly, and stared slack jawed in disbelief at the pain in Rainbow Dash’s eyes.

With a harsh wheeze that could have been either a grunt or a sob, Rainbow Dash turned around, and stormed towards the window.

“Rainbow Dash, wait!” Rarity said while reaching a hoof towards her.

But Rainbow Dash did not reply, and threw the window open, and left leaving nothing but a fading trail of colors that matched the neon lights of the city.

The remaining three of them stared at the open window, dimly aware of the increased volume now pouring in from the street outside. Rarity sighed and turned her head back to Ruby, Applejack gave a solemn look to somewhere distant, and Ruby stared wide-eyed at the window.

She looked hurt...

Ruby didn’t comment, but didn’t need to as Twilight played the scene again in her mind.

That look she had… her pain... it’s almost like the bat ponies…

Ruby gulped as she recollected herself. No... she isn’t anything like them. And don’t let them fool you, this is all an act, remember?

You saw how she was. There’s no way that could be fake. Twilight’s thoughts ran over the image over and over again, sending a wave of heartbreak from Twilight through Ruby that caused her to shiver. I think we should go after her.

Stop it! It’s a bluff. It has to be, Ruby commanded. But whether it was to convince Twilight, or to convince herself, she couldn’t tell.

“Ruby, are you alright?” Rarity asked again.

“Huh?” Ruby replied as she looked towards her, realising then that Rarity had been speaking to her during her inner-conversation. Ruby’s astonished look quickly fell, and she returned a skeptical glare. “I’m fine.”

Rarity gave her a quick once over with her eyes, and continued. “I was just saying that I’m sorry for Rainbow’s behavior.”

“Why should you be?”

“Well, it’s just…”

“Just what?” Ruby said with a scowl.

Rarity was quiet for a moment in thought. “It’s just… we weren’t expecting things to go like this.”

“Celestia and Luna’s finest can’t handle unexpected developments?”

Rarity pursed her lips. “We are not guards.”

“Of course you are,” Ruby sneered. “Or something similar. Why else would that pegasus get angry? It’s because I’m right in front of you and there’s nothing you can do capture me.”

“That isn’t why Rainbow’s bothered, Ruby,” Applejack said, and with a more patient tone than Ruby would have expected.

Ruby turned to her malice towards her. “Then why is she bothered?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Applejack said.

“No, it isn’t,” Ruby replied, and glared at her menacingly.

But for all of Ruby’s will, Applejack didn’t even wince at the stare. “She’s worried about you, and there’s nothing she can do ‘ta help right now.”

“Why in Equestria would she be worried about me? Wait, don’t answer, it’s because you're my friends, right?” Ruby said as they opened their mouths to respond. “What kind of friend runs away like that then? Huh?”

“One who is very distraught and cannot help herself feel powerless in this situation,” Rarity answered sternly. “Ruby, you may not remember, but Rainbow Dash holds the element of Loyalty inside of her. Her connection to her friends means the world to her even if it isn’t always apparent. She has always been by our side in the toughest of times, and is willing to go to any length to ensure she takes care of others.”

Rarity’s features soften, and her voice became more soothing. “But right now, one of her friends is being unknowingly hurt, and there isn’t anything she can do about it. There’s nothing to latch her hooves onto, or a place for her to fly towards. I believe she left because she thought she would cause trouble if she stayed, and didn’t want you to leave us again. She’s only feeling what we all have felt.”

“...Why?” Ruby whispered.

“Why what?” Rarity replied.

Ruby tilted her chin down as she looked at them with more uncertainty than malice. “Why are you still doing this? Why… Why are you still trying to convince me you're my…”

“Friends?” Applejack finished for her. When Ruby turned her head towards her, she saw her flashing an impossibly compassionate and warm smile. “Because we’re your friends. Always have been, and always will be.”

Ruby started hesitantly into her eyes, then to Rarity’s, and finally, to the open window Rainbow Dash had flown from. Then… something inside of Ruby stirred; a sensation that she couldn’t quite identify.

Ruby, I think… I think we should listen to them. They might be telling the truth.

No, they can’t be. It’s impossible, Ruby replied hesitantly back.

You saw how Rainbow Dash acted, and they aren’t trying to hurt you.

No! They captured me! The took away my magic and made me a prisoner!

They let you go.

They’re lying and I know it! I’ll even prove it!

At once Ruby closed her eyes, bringing a frown to Applejack and Rarity.

“Ruby? Are you alright?” Rarity asked in concern.

“Be quiet for just a moment, I’m thinking,” Ruby replied harshly. She imagined that Rarity might have pursed her lips at her again, but shoved the thought aside.

They’re lying, they have to be!

Ruby leaned her head towards Applejack first as inconspicuous as possible, bringing into sight her luminescent soul.

Ruby’s heart beat loudly in her ears as moments passed.

See? I told you.

Without care of subtlety, Ruby swung her head to Rarity, and desperately searched inside her soul as well.

It… it has to be a trick! Celestia and Luna must have done something to them!

Ruby, you know the princesses don’t have that power. Night Walker said so.

He must have been wrong then! They learned some ability without him knowing!

Ruby, please listen!

Or they’re sick! Sick and warped beyond reason! They think they have the best intentions for me, but they’re really just demented!

Ruby, calm down! It’s starting to become overwhelming!

“Ruby,” Applejack said loudly. “What’s wrong?!”

Ruby snapped her eyes opened, and she look frantically about the room with rapid breaths. At first she was confused as to why everything had moved, but then realized she was standing up. Rarity and Applejack were standing as well, and were looking at her with nervous expressions.

“Are you alright?” Applejack asked tentatively.

Ruby didn’t reply, especially considering the Applejack’s words were muffled beneath a sudden ringing sound filling her ears, along with the quickening beat of her heart that was now louder than the music outside. Ruby’s eyes dashed back and forth between the two as he breathing became erratic, and reactively took a step backwards.

“Ruby, what’s wrong!?” Rarity asked.

Then, something snapped within Ruby, and it was all she could take anymore on the matter.

Without another word, or even consideration for the remnants of her disguise, Ruby spun around and bolted for the door. She threw it magically open with enough force for the handle to indent into the wall, and galloped down the hallway with all her speed.

“Ruby!”

The rapid thump of Ruby’s hooves through the building caused motel guests to poke their heads out in the hallways in curiosity or irritation, only to wonder briefly what had ran by before the blurs of Applejack and Rarity passed them by.

Ruby, stop! You going straight for the-

Twilight’s warning abruptly ended with a mental wince as Ruby lept through the air, and through the large window. Shielding herself with magic, she scattered the falling shards away from her and opened her wings for flight.

Groaning in effort, Ruby flapped to gain altitude, to escape whatever sensation that was plaguing her. But the ringing only grew, and it began to invade her mind and muscles along as her vision blurred, and vertigo overtook her. Bringing her hooves to her head, Ruby’s wing flaps became erratic.

She was only only dimly aware of the ground being a few feet in front of her before she gasped and flung herself into a haphazard landing. Breathing heavily, she reached her hooves out on the cold pavement beneath her,

Ruby breathed heavily as she felt the cold pavement beneath her hooves, forcibly trying to blink the world back into focus.

“What’s… happening?” She brought her hoof to her head, confused as to why her voice sounded so muffled. “W… What did they do to me?”

Shaking her head to dispel whatever was ailing her, she perked her ears at what she thought was the sound of a pony calling her name. She groggily turned her head towards the source, and blinked her eyes profusely at what she thought was the form of a pony flying towards her.

The first emotion she felt, and was most definitely not hers, was that Rainbow Dash was on her way towards her. But the feeling subsided when the blur turned into two, then three, and suddenly became eight.

“Get away from Princess Ruby right now!”

The familiar sound of one of the bat ponies voice cut through the engulfing sensations, causing a new surge to flow through Ruby’s chest that drove away the numbness. With her pupils dilating, the world around her quickly came back into focus, and she let out a gasp when everything was clear again.

She found herself in a open pavement area that was behind the motel, a place that looked to be an open work yard for the warehouse behind her. There were large crates of wrapped supplies, row upon row of covered material larger than her, and lined skeletal forms of hulls in a varying materials and shapes. Even with her vision, it took a few moments to realize with the distant source of light from the motel and other buildings that she was in an airship construction yard, completely separated by a series of fences from the busy nightlife some ways behind her. It was an isolated and quiet place, save for her and the other ponies around her.

She immediately recognized a bat pony she recalled was named Willow Shade standing protectively in front of her, who also happened to be snarling defiantly at a white pegasus that was holding a bloody lip. Around him, were six other pegasi that were beginning to fan out and circle them.

“What’s going on!?” Ruby cried as she fell into a crouch besides Willow Shade, glaring at the pegasi closest to her.

“The moment you left the motel, these jerks came flying right to you,” Willow Shade replied. “We need to get you out of here, I saw more coming this way!”

In response, the pegasi flared their wings, and a few became airborne so as to block their path.

“Hold them here until the unicorns show up!” one of them barked.

The group’s circling closed tighter as Ruby and Willow Shade pressed against each other’s back.

“Mist Hoof and the others are on the way,” Willow Shade whispered. “But I don’t think Cloud Shadow will-”

Before she could finish, a victorious shout rang out, and Ruby and Willow Shade turned their eyes to another distant group of ponies, and spotted the Cloud Shadow’s limp body being placed onto their backs to be carried off.

“Cloud Shadow!” Willow Shade cried out while stepping towards her, but the pegasi around them would not have it, and shouted back at her to stay still.

Their attention, however, was quickly drawn to the shouts of Mist Hoof, Ember Mane, and Ebon Wing now flying into the situation. The three bat ponies dove straight through the circling pegasi and protectively surrounded Ruby. Mist Hoof began speaking urgently while issuing orders for them to follow.

But Ruby did not hear a word. Instead, the world around was fading out again, numbing her senses and her awareness of the other ponies nearby. But unlike back in the motel room and during her flight, her thoughts did not become scattered, but rather focused. Her vision narrowed until the unconscious body of Cloud Shadow and the ponies around her were the only things she saw, and it sparked a fury that tore through her like an inferno.

Before another thought could cross her mind, Ruby leapt over the bat ponies and charged the pegasi barring her way, letting loose a fierce snarl that caused their bravado falter the few seconds she needed to barrel through. The bat ponies behind her shouted after, but she did not slow, or pay them any heed.

Ruby dashed across the dark ground of the yard, closing the distance between her and the fleeing group of ponies before they even reached the nearest entrance. It was only when their brethren’s shouts of alarm did not cease did they look back, and saw too late the leaping form of Ruby descending upon them with glistening fangs.

Ruby dove into the middle of them, and sank her fangs directly into the neck of the first pony she could get her hooves on. Even as she tightened her bite to crush the pony’s neck, her eyes were already picking out the next target, failing to miss the look of fear and surprise in their eyes.

Before they could regain their postures, she magically grabbed a hold of another one, and swung his body like a batter would, knocking each pony hard enough to send them off their hooves. Then, after depositing her club and mouthful of stallion, she delicately grasped Cloud Shadow in her magic while simultaneously throwing a hoof into the face of the pony carrying her. Cloud Shadow remained in the air as the pony who had been holding her fell to the ground, then drifted into Ruby’s awaiting arms where they held her tightly.

Ruby gave a brief glance about her to ensure none of the groaning ponies were able to get back on their hooves just yet, then gave Cloud Shadow a once over. She was unconscious, and save for the developing bruise on her cheek, appeared fine overall. A sigh of relief escaped Ruby’s lips, but she had no time to spare for further checking as more shouts played across the yard. She saw the approaching forms of more pegasi in the sky, as well as the bodies of earth ponies lead by glowing unicorns through the distant chain link fence.

Ruby curled her lips back and felt another rush of energy course through her as she saw them begin to spill out from the entrance, and twitched her wings from the urge to propel herself directly at them. But for all her fury and desires, the weight of Cloud Shadow in her arms held her in restraint

With a snarl, Ruby magically slung Cloud Shadow onto her back while also securing her, and with a quick once over and a brief glare to her would be captors, she sped back towards Mist Hoof and the others.

The pegasi that had originally circled them gave a double take at Ruby’s approach, and parted for her lest they be the next to fall under her wrath like the others. But even as Ruby skidded to the bat ponies sides, the large group of ponies arrived, and were already spreading out to surround them.

“Willow Shade, take her!” Ruby ordered as she magically lifted Cloud Shadow off her back and into Willow Shade’s eager arms. Willow Shade pulled her tightly and ran over her face.

“Cloud Shadow, wake up! Please!”

“She’s alright, Willow Shade,” Ruby said as she glared at the circling ponies. “She’s just unconscious.”

“This is bad, Ruby” Mist Hoof whispered.

“No kidding,” she replied.

A tense silence filled the yard as the two groups stared off against each other. Ruby and the others drew closer around Cloud Shadow and Willow Shade, only stopping when their rear hooves brushed against each other. In response, the surrounding ponies tightened the circle, all maintaining an orderly fashion about their behavior. But despite the aggressive posture in their stances, two details were immediately apparent to Ruby. The first being that though their acted in a military fashion, none of them were wearing armor, and the second was that their supposed bravado was lacking in the eyes in more than a few. Some of them appeared even hesitant as they closed the circle, bringing questions to Ruby’s mind that had no time to consider them.

Even if she did, her thoughts would have most certainly been knocked aside at the sudden appearance of Rarity and Applejack trotting into the yard.

“Ruby!” they both shouted in unison.

Every head immediately turned towards them, causing Rarity and Applejack to skid to a halt at the sudden attention of everypony. An awkward moment of silence passed between them all as the ponies hesitantly glanced back and forth between each other, the bat ponies looking for a opening to escape to, and Ruby furrowing her eyes in new rage at the two mares entrance.

“What’s going on here?” Applejack said as she suspiciously eyed them all. “Who are yall and why are you surrounding Ruby?”

“How long are you going to keep this farce up?” Ruby growled in a low tone, drawing the attention of everypony. The attacking ponies immediately postured themselves into a defensive stance, and the unicorns began to light their horns. “You’re still trying to pretend to be my 'friends', even when your soldiers are right in front of me!?”

“Ruby, I swear, we have no idea who-”

“STOP LYING TO ME!”

Applejack, and many of the ponies flinched at her shout that exceeded any normal ponies voice; only a few of them held their positions without a single twitch.

“Trusting you was a mistake,” Ruby said venomously. Shifting herself, she felt her hind leg brushed against Cloud Shadow’s unconscious form, causing her teeth to grate in fury. “I don’t know what magic you have that makes it so I can’t kill you,” Ruby hissed at Rarity and Applejack. Letting magic pool in her horn, she revealed her fangs and cast her crimson eyes that were now fine points across the ponies around them, causing them some to shirk back. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t kill the rest of these ponies.”

The clopping of over two dozen ponies preparing themselves echoed across the yard.

“Ruby, please…” Rarity said as calmly as she could. “No pony needs to be hurt... “

When Ruby did not respond, Rarity gulped and reached a hoof towards one of the ponies. “Please… I don’t know who you are, but let them go. There’s no reason we should fight.”

One of the ponies—a stallion—turned his head towards Rarity, and gave a quick once over with a flat expression. Rarity eyes and his eyes remained locked for a moment as she silently pleaded with him. But for all her hope, he merely gave a dissatisfied snort, and turned back to Ruby, and spoke with a gruff voice, “You of all ponies should have reason to fight, just like us.”

Rarity blinked in confusion, and opened her mouth to ask what he had meant. But in slow realization, she saw a trait that was similar across all of the ponies, and naturally, herself as well. It was such a simple thing, and yet it raised a level of confusion and yearning within Rarity in a way she had never known. For once in her life, Rarity was surrounded by ponies who all shared coats of white, and manes with varying shades of blues and purples.

Turning her eyes back to Ruby, she saw in fleeting hope that Ruby had caught onto the realization as well, only to serve to darkened her already furious mood.

“Ruby… I… I’m not-” Rarity stammered, but was cut off by the stallion who had spoken to her.

“ENOUGH! FOR THE LIVING!”

And with that, the surrounding groups charged towards Ruby and the bat ponies.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the late release for this chapter, but it was giving me problems that I'm not entirely sure I have solved. There is a moment I want to happen, but was unsure of how to achieve it. I had originally planned a different outcome for this fight, but as I was writing it, to many issues popped up that I felt would be a problem. It may just be paranoia, but if you all would like, I will link what I had in mind below. The main goal was to reveal the plot device that would affect Rarity in this story, and in future stories, but also have the aforementioned event occur that did not happen in this chapter in its current state. Because of the change, I will need some time to come up with it and the soon to be fight scenes, and I felt a cliff hanger would serve the purpose of getting content out for you all, while giving me more time to plan this out. This is one of the best and shitty things about releasing a story one chapter a time. Often I feel like it's an unfinished product and see errors I need to fix in earlier chapters as I progress through the story, but it also allows intant feedback and reader suggestions, support, and critique. So please, share your thoughts!


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1upd-SOxxnyYrE6Pbkfgh0qWo7x0vlQhKvpEO4JIUy2s/edit?usp=sharing

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