• 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 33

Have you seen her, my darling?

Have you heard of her plight?

I'm searching, and wandering,

I must find her tonight.

She's lost and alone,

And hurt beyond pain,

I fear for her safety,

Can you not say the same?

Please help me,

Answer my plea,

I must find her, my darling,

She'll be safe with me.

-Sunsky, the Wanderer



It was an almost clear night as a few stray clouds drifted over the sky. The city’s lights dazzled like the stars above, and the wind held a slight chill that would cause all but a pegasus to shiver slightly. The scent of cut wood and stained metal wafted on the breeze, the remnants of a day’s construction and hoof work. The smells emanated from the various buildings and pallets of supplies within the concrete yard, appearing as dark shapes that formed a maze of materials. It was after all, a construction site for airships, and it held a vast amount of materials.

In one moment, the entire world was clear for Ruby. From the twinkling stars and the moon, down to earthy smell of metal and woodcraft. All of it was clear to her, even the faces of the surrounding ponies charging towards her. But as they closed in, her awareness of the world faded, leaving only a deep thirst within her, and a rivaling sense of protection for the bat ponies beside her. And tonight, she would act on both.

With instinctual speed, Ruby casted a teleport spell over her and the bat ponies, bringing them to another point in the yard behind crates and skeletal frames of hulls.

“Get Cloud Shadow into cover!” Ruby immediately ordered. “They’ll have seen my flash and be on their way over to this spot!”

“R-Ruby!” Mist Hoof said as he blinked the effects of his first teleportation away. “We should run while we can!”

“I can’t teleport all of us back to the tower, and they’ll catch us if we try to carry Willow Shade while she’s still unconscious.” The shouts of ponies and unicorn light drawing closer through the stacked supplies drew Ruby’s ears. “Until they back off, or there are no more left, we’re going to fight them right here and right now.”

“Ruby, I don’t-”

“I’m not running, Mist Hoof!” Ruby growled as she whipped her head towards him. He felt a chill pass through him as she narrowed her crimson eyes at him, glaring in a fashion he had never seen directed at him and accented by the glint of the city's lights. She meant for blood, and he doubted he could find a reason within time to convince her otherwise.

“If they want to hunt us down, then they should be taught how it’s done,” Ruby said darkly. “No more running. No more getting cut down from behind. It’s time they became our prey.”

Mist Hoof, Ember Mane, Ebon Wing, and Willow Shade stared open mouth at her, unable to believe what she was proposing, but knowing full well that their options were limited.

“Get her out of here!” Ruby shouted again, sending Willow Shade scrambling to grip Cloud Shadow securely before dragging her off into the recesses of the shadows.

“You three, get ready!,” Ruby commanded as as she flared her wings in preparation. “It’s time to show them what we're capable of.”

Mist Hoof opened his mouth to protest again, but the sudden arrival of pegasi above them made him grit his teeth. “Fine then!” he growled before baring his fangs as well. “Let’s go!”

Ruby afforded herself a brief glance towards them, letting a proud smirk play across her face as she watched them throw open their leathery wings and shout back towards their attackers. You better keep yourselves safe, she thought as she leapt upwards onto a nearby stack of crates. Without pause, she continued up the stack with zealous speed, before finally reaching the top and kicking herself off, and directly towards a nearby pegasus who spotted her far too late.

Because I won’t forgive you if you die tonight!

Snarling furiously, Ruby tackled the pegasus out of the air and dragged him downwards, her fangs clamped onto his neck to ensure that it would be the last fall he would ever have.

Go!” Mist Hoof shouted at Ember Mane and Ebon Wing before he too fluttered on top of nearby crates and darted off in a different direction, all the while daring any ‘gutless dogs’ to follow him.

Without further words, Ember Mane and Ebon Wing did the same thing, and the hunt within the construction yard began.

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

Rarity panted heavily as she ran through the maze of materials, scanning every crevice with her eyes and flicking her ears to each noise that echoed out. It was difficult keeping up with the fight, even more so with just figuring out where it was. Her heart raced within her chest from the physical exertion, but also because of the fears that lay within her. She needed to find Twilight, and save her from this dreadful mess. It was why she was here in the city now, and why she couldn’t give up despite the pain beginning to build in her legs. She couldn't give up. Not yet.

“Do you see them, Applejack?” Rarity called out ahead of her, hoping that Applejack was able to spot them from atop a pile of folded tarps.

“Over there! Ah think I see one that’a way!” Applejack shouted with a pointed hoof. “Ah can’t tell if it’s Twa- WOAH NELLY!” In mid-sentence, a dark shape zoomed over her head, only to be pursued by three pegasi moments later.

“This is crazy!” Applejack shouted as she held onto her hat, trying to follow the figures with her eyes. Apart from the fact that both bat ponies and normal ponies blended into the night, the search beams of unicorns shining in every direction in search of targets made it dizzying to sort out anything in the confusion.

“We need to find Twalight and get her out of here!” Applejack said as she leapt down to Rarity’s side.

Rarity opened her mouth to agree, but the blood curdling scream of a pony sounded out through the yard, only to be abruptly cut off in an unsettlingly way held her speechless. Moments later the shouts of ponies converging on the far off position was heard.

Rarity shivered from an uneasy feeling passing through her, and turned back to Applejack. “We’ve got to figure out something before things get worse than they already are.” A sudden motion some distance behind Applejack caught Rarity’s eye, and she spotted the darting form of the stallion. It was brief, but she believed it had been the stallion who had spoken to her previously that had started the entire mess.

“And I think I know just the pony to help us figure it out,” Rarity said firmly. “Let’s go!”

With Applejack behind, Rarity galloped down the path she saw the stallion had gone through. Around corners and through open holes between stacks of metal, they ran onward, somehow managing to keep the tail of the stallion within sight. And between their own pulsing hearts and clopping hooves, they guessed they were drawing closer to where most of the fighting was as its noise grew closer. As if to confirm their guess, another shape flew over their heads, narrowly avoiding a beam of light that attempted to reveal it.

After rounding another corner, Rarity and Applejack skidded to a halt at the sight of the stallion standing in still in the middle of a small open area. In reply to their arrival, he gave them a quick glance, then dismissively turned his head back forward.

While huffing and wiping away bead of sweat, Rarity suspiciously eyed the stallion as she slowly approached. “Do you *huff* have any idea what you’ve done?”

“I’d leave if I were you,” the stallion replied, his head still facing facing forward as if waiting for something.

“I think not!” Rarity replied.

“Why are ya attacking Twalight and the bat ponies?” Applejack asked in demand. “Who are ya’ll?”

“I don’t want to hurt the Elements of Harmony,” the stallion replied. “So for your own sake, leave this matter to us.”

“We are most certainly not leaving, not until we get some answers or until you cease this pointless fighting!” Rarity firmly stated. “If you keep this up, some pony could get hurt, or…”

“Or what?” the stallion asked, turning his gaze back to them.

Rarity’s face tightened as she stared back at him. Even with her frantic breathing she tried to control, her mind wandered to memories before tonight. She knew full well of the report in the forest, of the casualties for both the guard and the bat ponies. She and the rest of the girls were fully aware of how dire the situation was, and how carefully they needed to tread. It wasn't like the other awful times they've faced, and she constantly told herself thus.

But for all her preparation, for all her nights awake thinking what she was going to do about Twilight and how she would get her back home, she still could not bring herself to say that word.

“Or this will happen!?” the stallion suddenly shouted, bathing himself in horn light, a detail they had failed to notice in the dark. As he showed them his face, so too did he shine over the lump on the ground he was standing in front of.

With a silent gasp, Rarity and Applejack stared in disbelief at the body of a pony lying atop a pool of blood; far too much blood.

“This is what our Princess has become!”

“No, it may not have been her,” Rarity retorted, but with great difficulty as a wetness formed in her eyes.

“I saw her with my own eyes in the forest when we first found her! She’s a monster now!” the stallion shouted. “She’s no longer our Princess, no longer among the living!”

Applejack and Rarity clenched their jaws as they tried to not listen to him, but were unable to tear their eyes away from the body at his hooves. They knew things might have gone this way, and refused with all their strength to hope that it wouldn’t come to this. They hoped that things would work out as they always have; without tragedy, and without death.

It was only then that their fear of how far Twilight had been taken from them truly began to set in.

“She and the others of her kind need to be dealt with!” the stallion continued on. “For the safety of all of us!” With a sudden motion, he spun his head towards a section of shadows, and magically grabbed ahold of a pony Applejack and Rarity had not been aware of hiding within them.

Shouting in surprise and anger, a batpony with a hint of silver in his coat was unceremoniously dragged out from his spot, and thrown out into the open. Groaning from aches and frustration, he stood onto his hooves and faced the stallion with open fangs. “Seems like there are a few of you that are different,” he said in a gruff voice.

“You have no idea,” the stallion replied as he flared his horn.

Before the batpony could jump away, a magical glow enveloped his neck and thrusted him against a wooden crate. Gasping for air, he futilely ran his hooves over the magic and flapped his wings. But the grasp did not slacken, and held firmly as the stallion closed in on him.

Rarity and Applejack stared, slackjawed, at what was happening before them, unable to process or act on the matter; Rarity even more so.

What do we do? He’s going to kill him! By Celestia, he’s going to kill him! What do we do? What do I do?

The stallion slammed the batpony's head against the crate, unaware of Rarity approaching them.

He’s a batpony, he’s working for Night Walker! But he’s also with Twilight! What do I do? What do I do? Celestia, he’s choking him! What do I do!?

The stallion peered closely at the batpony’s face as he tightened his grip, watching as the fight within his captive begin to give away by the second.

Without thought, Rarity's hooves stepped forward, and her horn magically grabbed a nearby pipe resting on the ground. He’s going to die! A pony is about to die! She wasn’t aware of her actions or approach, even as the pipe lifted above her head. Somepony needs to do something! I need to do something!

The batpony’s wide eyes slowly turned from the stallion, and fearfully looked upon Rarity and her raised weapon.

I need to do something!

With closed and tearful eyes, Rarity swung her head down, and with it, the pipe onto the unaware stallion. A low thud rang out, and he crumpled onto the ground, dropping the batpony next to him who began gasping for air.

Rarity fearfully peeked out from behind her bangs, and meeped at the sight of the unconscious stallion in front of her. Bringing the pipe in front of her, she stared hard at her weapon, then back to Applejack who was even more stunned than her.

“Rarity…” was all she could say in reply.

The gruff coughing of the batpony caught their attention, and they both turned to face him.

“Well… didn’t expect that,” he wheezed as he eyed her.

“...Neither did I…” Rarity numbly replied, still working out what she had done.

“So now what? You going to try and finish me off?” the batpony asked, already crouching down in preparation. “I may be old, but I’ve still got fight in me.”

“Oh… Oh! Heavens no!” Rarity said, letting go of the pipe and allowing it to clang onto the ground. “We want all of this to stop! Twilight is in danger!”

“Twilight?” the batpony asked.

“R-Ruby, she means!” Applejack said as she rushed to Rarity’s side. “Our friend, Twalight, is Ruby!”

He raised an eyebrow at the two of them.

“What she means is,” Rarity said, shaking her head as she began to recollect herself, “Ruby, as you know her, is actually our friend Twilight, a princess of Equestria.”

A moment of silence passed between them as they stared back at each other, before the batpony gave them a furrowed look. “Are you sure you didn’t hit yourself in the head with that last swing?”

“You’ve got to listen to us! Twilight is-”

The sudden clamour of crates being smash and metal ringing on top of metal rang out through the yard, drowning out their voices.

When the commotion had cleared, the batpony gave a grunt in frustration and began to turn towards the direction of the sounds. “Thanks for the help, but I’ve got to get going.”

“We’ll come with you!” Rarity immediately shouted. “Please, all we want to do is protect Twi-, I mean, Ruby!”

The batpony gave them a wary glance, and opened his mouth to protest further. But another noise of more destruction caused his ears to twitch, and nestled his worries deeper than they already were. Additionally, the appearance of more ponies appearing a ways behind Rarity and Applejack cut his time for contemplation short.

“Fine!” he barked before spinning around. “But don’t make me regret trusting you two dames! Keep up!”

Rarity leaned her head back as she scoffed. “Did he just call us…?”

“Now’s not tha time!” Applejack interrupted, having noticed the approaching ponies behind them. “Let’s go!”

With an eep and fearful leap, Rarity and Applejack hightailed it after the batpony. Rarity only looked back long enough to grab her impromptu weapon, and bring it close to her chest.

“The name's Mist Hoof!” the batpony shouted over his shoulder.

“Applejack!” Applejack replied jovially.

“Rarity!” Rarity screamed as she looked over her shoulder. A pegasus from the group was flying directly toward them, planning on tackling Mist Hoof with his entire body. Unfortunately for him, the haphazard swing of a floating pipe that he narrowly dodged sent him off course, and straight into a pile of thick coiled rope on a pallet.

“You’re pretty mean with that pipe!” Mist Hoof said with a laugh.

“I never knew!” Rarity cried in distaste.

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

“So let me get this straight,” Mist Hoof replied while peering from around a metal girder. “You think our Princess Ruby is actually Twilight, the Princess Twilight, and that Night Walker stole her memories?”

“In a nutshell, yeah,” Applejack answered.

The three of them had spent a good few minutes ducking through the yard, hiding whenever a group of ponies came nearby or fighting off the few that did manage to find them. So far, all of their encounters had been quick or avoidable, but weariness was growing on them, and they still had yet to find Ruby, or any other batpony for that matter.

Additionally, as if on cue, the yard suddenly became silent, and the sounds of fighting could no longer be heard. The ponies were still searching, but at a much more cautious pace, and so far without any retaliation from Ruby. Whether that meant she was taking a break, or had been captured, none of them knew. If anything, the silence was becoming nearly as unsettling as the sound of fighting only sometime before.

Mist Hoof craned his neck over their hiding spot and let out a ‘tsk’ in frustration. “More of them just arrived through the front gate.”

“Just who are these ponies?” Applejack asked.

“No idea,” Mist Hoof replied. “I don’t suppose you have any clue either?”

“I’m afraid not,” Rarity answered as she fidgeted with her pipe. “The only ponies who should even be aware of you are some of the guard and the Princesses. But even then, I couldn’t imagine who in Equestria would be trying to tackle this problem on their own.”

“So… you work with the Princesses then?” Mist Hoof asked as he stepped back down and turned a careful eye towards them.

“Yeah, we are,” Applejack said, matching his own gaze with one of her own. “But that doesn’t mean we’re trying to kill you or nothing. All we want is to get Twalight back.”

“Let’s say I believe you,” Mist Hoof said slowly. “Suppose everything you just told me is true, and that Ruby really is Princess Twilight, and that Night Walker indeed stole her memories. What then?”

“What do you mean?” Rarity asked.

“What would happen then?” Mist Hoof repeated. “Do you expect Ruby will just switch sides and end this fighting?”

“Well I-”

“Or maybe that she would come home and have things go back to normal?”

“Why are you asking this?” Rarity replied as she leaned back. “All we want is for our Twilight to come back.”

“And what I’m saying is that maybe she’s not Twilight,” he said firmly.

“Are ya saying you don’t believe us?” Applejack asked.

Mist Hoof looked over Rarity’s and Applejack’s firm expression, then let out a sigh. “I’m not saying what you’ve told me isn’t true. As far fetched as it sounds, it’s crazier to even make something like this up than for it to be true.”

“Then you do believe us?”

“I’m not saying that either!” Mist Hoof snapped before closing his mouth quickly from his volume. “Look, I’ve been with Princess Ruby these past weeks. I’ve been by her side as much as I possibly could be. And from what I’ve seen, she only has a few similarities to Princess Twilight from what I know of her. And while you may think that’s because of Night Walker supposedly stealing her memories, I find it hard to believe that’s the case.”

“Let me guess, you just happened to be an expert on evil magic and villains?” Applejack sarcastically commented.

“I may be a fan of crime novels, but I won’t say I’m an expert on the matter,” he replied. “But… for reasons I can’t really explain, I believe Princess Ruby and Princess Twilight are two separate ponies.”

“And just how did ya come to that conclusion?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

Mist Hoof was silent for some moments as he peered out around the corner, before finally replying, “...My gut tells me.”

“Really?” Rarity deadpanned. “You honestly can’t believe in something as silly as that.”

“Hang on, Rarity, he may be right,” Applejack said after a moments reflection. “The gut is an important thing.”

“Puh-lease! You can’t really believe in such nonsense as well!”

“Shh!” Mist Hoof suddenly whispered as his ears pricked up. “Did you hear that?”

Rarity and Applejack opened their mouths to reply, but quickly shut them as they too listened.

The three of than panned their heads about as they warily scanned their surroundings, tensing their muscles from the prickling feeling of somepony watching them. Their tension however, was alleviated by the sound of giggling.

Mist Hoof let out a sigh and turned towards the source. “About time you woke up.”

Appearing from from their hiding spot, Cloud Shadow and Willow Shade walked into view, a mischievous smile plastered on both of their faces. “You try taking four hooves to the face and see how you feel,” Cloud Shadow teased.

“How are you feeling?” Mist Hoof asked, ignoring the remark.

“Ready to kick flank.”

“You might actually get that chance for once…” Turning his head to peek from their hiding spot, Mist Hoof looked over the yard. “Things are getting worse. More of them have shown up, we have no idea where Ruby, Ember Mane, or Ebon Wing are. And I can’t imagine it’ll be much longer before sunrise.”

“Ruby, huh?” Willow Shade commented. “And here I thought you were actually going to believe that she’s Twilight.”

“You two be listening to us the whole time?” Applejack asked.

“Of course, Applejack,” Cloud Shadow replied with a toothy smile. “If we were guard ponies, we could have caught you three a looooong time ago. You and Rarifruit.”

“That’s Rarity,” she replied testily, subconsciously gripping her weapon tigther.

“This isn’t time for games,” Mist Hoof said sharply. “We need to find the others and get out of here soon. Shouldn't be much of a problem now that you're up.”

“Princess Ruby’s over by the heavy machinery, watching those group of those ponies form up,” Cloud Shadow replied.

Mist Hoof let out a groan as quietly as he could. “And you’ve just now told us?”

“When in doubt, stalk it out!” the two bat mares whispered in unison with toothy grins.

Rarity gave them a deadpanned look. “... Are they always like this?”

“No, they're usually worse,” a new voice chimed in.

“W-Who?” Rarity asked aloud.

While Rarity and Applejack looked to and fro, the two bat mares simply flashed wild grins, and Mist Hoof rolled his eyes as he continued to stare out into the yard.

“Who in tarnation was that?” Applejack asked while still searching.

“Cooooome on ouuuuut, Little E,” Willow Shade quietly sang.

In response, Ebon Wing materialized from a nearby shadow, walking straight out as if he had been standing there the entire time. “I hate it when you call me that.”

“By the stars,” Rarity gasped. “Where did you come from?”

Willow Shadow looped a hoof around his neck and pulled him into her, while Cloud Shadow noogied his mane. “This little guy can hide in shadows; the only reason why he's the only pony from the entire town that we can't catch."

Applejack and Rarity, still in disbelief of his appearance, watched as he begrudgingly took the punishment from the two mares.

“Enough, all of you!” Mist Hoof snapped, drawing all of their attention. “We need to get going. And unless Ember Mane also happens to be nearby…”

A moment of silence passed as they gave a once over their surroundings, waiting for another pony to appear from Equestria knows where.

Mist Hoof flared his nostrils when nothing happened, and continued on. “We’re heading over to Ruby, and hopefully find Ember Mane along the way.”

With that, Mist Hoof slinked out of their hiding spot and began leading the way to the other side of the yard.

Rarity and Applejack both gave each other a nervous glance before looking over the new bat ponies, still unsure on how exactly things ended up like this.

"Come on you two," Willow Shade cheerfully said. "We wouldn't want to miss the fun."

"I don't know how you find any of this entertaining," Rarity said beneath her breath as she followed in step.

Cloud Shadow however, paused for a moment and turned her head back. “Oh, and Applejack?"

“Yeah?” Applejack replied.

Cloud Shadow gave a sly grin and said teasingly, “If you happen see to a tree along the way, try to hold back the urge to hug it.”

Applejack stared dumbfounded as the batpony snickered uncontrollably and caught up with the other one. Even when she had just learned their names, she was having a hard time figuring out which one was which.

"Are they sisters or something?" Applejack asked aloud.

"No, just super annoying," Ebon Wing answered.

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

The six of them spent the next few minutes stealthily making their way out to where Ruby had last been spotted, as well as to where the majority of the ponies were. Why the ponies had reduced their frantic searching, the six of them hadn’t a clue. But given the strangeness each of the bat ponies had glimpsed tonight—ponies that seemed different than the others, the one who caught Mist Hoof being an example—they believed it to be more than a coincidence that they were gathered near Ruby’s position.

There was more happening here than they knew, and they were not sure if they wanted to risk finding out what it was.

Having eventually arrived at the scene, the six of them peeked out from hiding places to the large open space where the gathered formations of over two dozen ponies stood, along with five noticable ones at the forefront. Unlike the rest who fidgeted in place, the five in front calmly peered into the rows of machinery before them. And—much to the Rarity and Applejack’s uneasy stomachs—more ponies could be seen lying still on the ground.

Ruby had been busy during their run about through the yard, and they pushed away thoughts of how many more might be lying around the construction site.

“Ah… Ah can’t believe she’d do this…” Applejack whispered.

“What?” Cloud Shadow replied, all hint of her cheekiness gone as she peered at the gathered ponies. “Defend herself?”

“Defending yerself is one thing, but this…” Applejack forced herself to keep her eyes on the ones standing, and not let her vision drift downwards. “Killing ain't right…”

“Maybe for you, but I doubt you’ve had to live through what we’ve dealt with,” she replied.

“Ah faced plenty of dangers,” Applejack retorted back in whisper.

“I’m not doubting your life, oh great Element of Harmony,” Cloud Shadow said while rolling her eyes. “Yeah, we've heard about you. Kinda hard not to. But despite the things you’ve done, dealing with death hasn’t been one of them. You didn’t watch your family die in bed when they were barely old enough to start running on their own.”

Applejack turned to her with wide eyes and an open mouth. “What?”

“And I’m sure you didn’t have to watch your friends get burned alive by a fireball. Did you even know that some of us died just trying to escape a cave?"

“Ah… Ah heard the reports but…”

“But what?”

When Applejack didn’t respond, Cloud Shadow gave a sneer and turned her eyes back to the yard. “Killing is the only thing that’s keeping us alive, and even though I don’t like it, I’d rather kill than be killed. I get that, every batpony gets that, and Princess Ruby especially gets that.”

Applejack’s eyes became tight, and she turned away, unable to look out into the yard anymore. She just wasn’t able to stop herself from looking at the ground. Instead, she gave a desperate and silent look of plea to Rarity.

Rarity bit her lip, knowing full well how Applejack felt. She hated it too. She hated that it had come to this so much. There was nothing good or right about any of the things that happened tonight, including her own use of her makeshift weapon that she gripped closely to her chest, just so that she could hold onto something.

Even though she had only minutes ago felt a sense of peace—if not still concerned—among the bat ponies and their jokes. But when it came to talks about this, of hearing their mentalities and seeing ponies only yards away who apparently felt the same, and had even died with that belief, she felt appalled, disgusted, and as lost as Applejack did.

So why was it that there was some part of her deep inside that agreed with it all?

“Princess Twilight!”

Rarity snapped her head up at the sudden shout, and peeked around the corner to see the mare who had spoken loud enough for all of them to hear.

“We can play this game until the sun comes up. Come out and face your fate!”

Even as the bat ponies narrowed their eyes at the name the mare had called their princess, a deathly silence filled the yard. Rarity could hear her heartbeat in her ears, as she waited with bated breath for something to happen.

Then, she saw the bat ponies stiffen and shift their gaze upwards, as well as the five ponies in the front. Looking to them for a moment, she followed their gaze and squinted to make out what they were staring at. At first she wasn’t able to see what they apparently could, and subconsciously leaned forward even as the bat ponies wings bristled with tension.

But slowly and surely, a shadow moved within the depths of the tall machinery, and a pony could be seen making it’s way to the top of a crane, above and in full view for all to see. It was in those final steps that Rarity could finally make out Ruby as she stepped in front of the city lights behind her, perched atop the crane with folded wings like a hawk eyeing a mouse.

Up there, half in the shadows, and with crimson eyes Rarity swore she could make out from her spot, Ruby truly appeared as another pony entirely; a mare of a different breed that was deadly, and unfamiliar to the same one she knew from only a month ago.

“Twilight…” she whispered.

The ponies in the yard shuffled nervously as they squinted to make out her form, all except for the five still standing bravely in the front. Instead, they eyed Ruby in a cold and calculating manner. They held themselves without a trace of fear, and their heads high with a defiant manner.

A sense of pride filled Rarity at the sight of them, only to be thrown away quickly in disgust of even having the thought.

“Are you ready to face your fate, Princess Twilight?” the same mare called again.

Even for her lack of sight, Rarity could clearly see the signs of agitation in Ruby in the way they addressed her.

“This is bad…” Rarity whispered to the others. “She’s about to panic.”

“How do you know?” Mist Hoof asked.

“It’s the same thing that happens every time we call her that,” Rarity replied, unable to take her eyes away from her distant form. “She can’t handle the stress of being called Twilight. Every time she is, she either becomes very hostile or spaces out in random bouts. She can’t afford to be vulnerable during this, but neither can she afford to be baited.”

“How in Equestria would you know she’s freaking out?” Cloud Shadow replied with a furrowed brow.

“Because she’s my friend!” Rarity firmly replied. “I know her! I know her strengths, her faults, and her anxieties! Her left wing is bristling more than the right, shes tucking her chin downward, and her tail is twitching clockwise, the opposite of when she’s excited! She’s about to panic and possibly get herself killed!”

The bat ponies stared in disbelief at Rarity who now had a clear line of wetness in her eyes.

“She’s our friend, and I won’t stand for her to be hurt!”

“Ah couldn’t have said it better than myself,” Applejack added with a warm smile. “Ah may not have Rarity’s eye, but I know Twilight as good as any of my friends.” Walking to Rarity’s side, Applejack placed a reassuring hoof on her shoulder. “And no dark magic or vampony mumbo-jumbo is going to change the fact that she’s our friend. Ain’t that right?”

Rarity gave a small sniffle as she pulled herself together, and meekly replied with a nod.

“Mumbo-jumbo?” Willow Shade replied in distaste.

“There she goes!” Mist Hoof nearly shouted.

Together, they all turned their heads in time to watch Ruby leap from the crane, and begin a speedy descent towards the ponies on the ground, who were already preparing themselves.

“Let’s go!” Mist Hoof shouted as he leapt from his spot and galloped across the way.

Ebon Wing, Cloud Shadow, Willow Shade, Applejack, and Rarity all fell right behind him, and ran with all their strength, and shouting at the top of their lungs. Even when the ponies in formation turned to break out and charge them directly, they still kept running forward without hesitation.

“WE’RE COMING TWILIGHT!” Rarity screamed, moments before she swung her pipe into the chest of the first pony that dared to block her path.

Author's Note:

Surprise update! I'm hoping some of the more light-hearted moments of this chapter helped pick up the dark mood that has been going on for a bit, as well as provide some much needed hope for Ruby's/Twlight's situtation with her friends. Honestly though, it was hard to decide when to call her Ruby or Twilight in this chapter. Additionally, I'm glad to finally have the chance to shed some light on Rarity. I think she has a lot of a potential, being a pony who can levitate so many things with such precision and skill. Expect awesome things from her through the series.

I hope the length I put into this story hasn't been too detrimental for everyone. I'm fast approaching another point in the story where I have a good idea of where I want it to go, but not entirely sure how I will reach it. And unfortunately, I no longer have the luxary of thinking about where the story should go for twelve hours straight when I need to pass the time.

Hope this chapter was enjoyable, the pacing didn't feel quick, and the dialogue wasn't to bare. Who knows when the next chapter will come out. Could be tomorrow, or could be a month! We'll just have to find out!

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