• 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 34

Rarity, Applejack, and the bat ponies charged across the yard, steadfast in their approach even as the enemy ponies turned to gallop towards them. During that tense but brief moment before the two sides collided, a dozen details flashed across Rarity’s mind, some so small they would would be irrelevant. The look of uncertainty on some of the ponies faces, the echo of hooves across the hard ground, Twilight’s form dropping onto the five ponies in the distance, and the weight of the metal pipe she pulled along with her.

Of all her previous experiences in fighting—times she often looked back on with displeasure—none of them matched the odd feeling that filled her now. Or rather, the lack of.

There were no fleetings thoughts for distraction, no qualms of how dreadful the situation was; even though such thoughts plagued her head only moments ago. There wasn’t even a hint hesitation as she lifted the pipe above her head so that she could swing it onto the first pony. She was now only a few hoofsteps away from the other pony, and there wasn’t anything coming to mind that was telling her what she was about to do was wrong, or anything else otherwise. It was just simply something she needed to do. And with a twitch of her horn, followed by the thud of metal bashing into the pony, she swung.

Time resumed for Rarity, and she resolutely continued forward.

In the corner of her eye, she saw another pony being launched forward into the rest of the oncoming foes from a kick that could only be attributed to an Apple’s legs. Rarity wasn’t sure what was running through Applejack’s mind, or if it was as strangely numb and clear like hers, but there was a sense of reassurance as Applejack’s orange coat pulled up on her left to join her in facing the ponies.

Another swing from Rarity sent another pony crumbling, and a second swing sent another down to clutch at their shins. The fight had just begun, and she had already sent three ponies down.

Turning her head, she scanned for her next target, and found to her surprise that none were approaching just yet. Instead, the ponies were now keeping a safe distance from her and her pipe; eying her and Applejack in frustration as they milled about them in search of an opening to exploit. But while they needed time to figure out their next move, Rarity had already planned hers.

Rarity took a step forward, already knowing which one she would strike first, as well as the second, third, and fourth. In fact, despite their defensive postures and careful spacing, they appeared as nothing more than a stack of dominoes for Rarity to smackdown. Though she noted that they had some fighting experience, they had no chance in dodging her attacks, or even the bravado to charge her all at once for fear of being clubbed by her. She needed to move in, keep them on their hooves, and strike as many as possible before they started to recklessly pile on top of her. It clear what she needed to do, and she would have done it if Applejack hadn’t spoken.

“What’s wrong with all of you? That’s Twilight dammit!”

Rarity paused in place as her senses suddenly dulled from the earlier clarity. Fluttering her eyes, she glanced down at the unconscious pony she had hit, then towards the one skippering away on their knees. The weight of the pipe in her magic suddenly changed from a familiar sensation into something alien, and it even threatened to be dropped from her grasp entirely in appal.

I was… I did.. I was about to…

“She’s a princess!” Applejack shouted again, bringing Rarity’s focus back. “Why in Equestria are you trying to hurt her?”

“She’s not our princess anymore,” one of them replied; a mare. She gave a noticeable gulp as she found her voice, but kept speaking steadily. “She’s been cursed and she needs to be dealt with.”

“She ain’t cursed!” Applejack exclaimed. “She’s just… she’s in trouble, alright? And it’s our job to help her!”

“If you want to help her, then help us!” the mare shouted. “You!” Rarity flinched as the mares eyes focused on her. “You should be with us! You should be helping us capture her!”

The odd fact that all of the ponies shared white coats and similar mane hues as Rarity was brought into detail again. Indeed, if she was on there side, it wouldn’t be hard for her to blend in like a piece of background. But despite her curiosity at what it all meant, she would not let such a trivial fact persuade her. “I… I think not!” Rarity stammered. The weight of the pipe suddenly became more reassuring as she pulled it close to her chest. “Why in Equestria would I hurt Twilight?”

The mare let out an irritated tsk. “And this is why our family’s fallen apart.”

“Family? What are you talking-” Rarity began, but was caught off by the shout of a particularly loud stallion in pain.

“Just stay right there!” the mare shouted at Rarity and Applejack. “Let us do our job for the good of Equestria!”

Applejack lowered her head and scuffed her hoof on the ground. “Ah don’t know what’s wrong with yer heads, but you are not going to hurt Twilight.”

Rarity fell into a similar position, and while letting out a breath, she trying to formulate a plan on what to do next. There were enough of them to surround them if needed, despite how many good hits she and Applejack could get in. They needed leverage, something to swing the tide, even just for a moment. Flicking her eyes across the yard, she settled on a nearby pile of knocked over supplies beside them, and gave a snort in satisfaction. In one motion, two more pipes of different design were magically pulled from the pile, and twirled about her body as she tested their weight. Now that she had three tools that she could bludgeon with, the ponies gave a nervous glance back and forth, not entirely sure which one they should be looking out for. Their reactions already gave Rarity a clue for which one to go for first.

Despite all her concentration and analytical skills happening during this moment, she had failed to notice how easily she had slipped into this state again.

“We don’t have time, Applejack. Twilight’s in trouble.”.

“Right then, let’s go,” she replied, having only taken her eyes off the ponies to give a reassuring smirk at the twirling pipes. “Glad to see moving all that fashion stuff is paying off.”

“It always did, darling. It just won’t be in bits this time,” Rarity replied flately.

Applejack raised an eyebrow, but shook it off as the other ponies tensed their bodies, looking like they might try to get the first strike in.

With no more time for words, Rarity and Applejack leapt forward in unison to deny them the advantage, and set about on pushing their way through to where Twilight was.

While Applejack had to deftly handle the ponies surrounding her, only being able to land a single kick here and there while holding her own defense, Rarity calmly went about her targets in a calculating manner, and without restraint. The ponies weren’t able to get a hoof close to her without receiving an sharp smack from her metal clubs that either reminded them to keep their distance, or crumple them to the ground in pain. Even when two unicorns flared their horns to wrestle them from her grasp, the third pipe was quick to smack them smartly on their horns and return to her side again before anypony could seize the opportunity. There wasn’t even a flinch of sympathy from Rarity for how much their horns must have been hurting after her hit.

The similar colored ponies learned very quickly that Rarity was beyond their means to detain, and kept extending their distance from her with each painful reminder of how close she would let them in. While they could still say they were similar to Rarity in color, that was were all similarities ended. She was calm, in control, and ever so dangerous despite the odds facing her. And unlike her, they failed to notice the opening they had created that she took without a moments hesitation.

“Applejack, I’m going to Twilight. Join up with the bat ponies,” Rarity called over her shoulder in a calm tone that went defied her rapid heart rate and coursing adrenaline. She heard Applejack yell back to her to question, but she ignored it in focus of making sure the few ponies in front of her kept their distance as she twirled the pipes in a dizzying fashion.

She figured she had only a few moments to get to Twilight before the rest of them would come after her, but it was worth the risk it if it meant she could at least help her if but for a moment. Breaking away from the group, she galloped across the yard with all her strength until she arrived on scene where Twilight and the five ponies fought, and saw with more curiosity than disbelief that Twilight was having difficulty with them.

She was about to swing down onto three of the ponies as she drew close, but the shouts of the group behind her alerted them to her presence. So much for the element of surprise. With that plan out of the way, she had only one other to go on.

“Pardon me!” Rarity yelled as she sent two pipes towards the nearest ponies, causing them to jump back with greater reflexes than she had expected them to react with. With a brief glance at the ponies as she ran between them, she slide to a halt by Ruby’s side and faced them off, completely ignoring the look of surprise and anger in Ruby’s eyes.

“You!” Ruby shouted, even as she began to turn her fangs towards her.

“I’m here to help,” Rarity said flatly while still keeping her eyes focused entirely on the other ponies. Regardless of her calm state of mind, there was a flicker of worry in the back of Rarity’s head that risking herself in a such a vulnerable way to show her trust towards Ruby would backfire. But despite the risks, she needed to prove she was an ally, and offering such an easy chance at her life was the quickest way to show that. Like Applejack had said, she needed to prove that she was a friend.

It then occurred to Rarity why she had never looked on similar dangerous situations like this before.

After a few tense moments of which Rarity thought Ruby would take the opportunity to latch onto her neck, Ruby finally let out a snarl and stepped beside her. “Don’t think this changes things between us.”

“We’ll deal with that later. First things first…” Rarity began to spin the pipes around her body in what appeared to be a random fashion, but was actually a carefully laid out planned formation. Years of spinning fabrics, needles, and other assortments of items in perfect tune with each other had its merits. Everything needed to be in the right place at the right time, ready to zip in the moment each item was needed, and prepared to step up should an unexpected tear or misthread occur. In this case, it was more about responding to ponies and properly smacking them back into their places than unruly fabric.

But while her impressive display had caused some doubt onto the ponies from before, the five in front of her and Ruby had no noticeable reaction whatsoever. Instead, they cooly regarded Rarity as she had them, and were even carefully noting how Rarity twirled about her weapons. Seeing them merely look upon her as some new puzzle was to say the least, disarming for Rarity. Since she had begun fighting, the first flicker of doubt and worry played across her mind.

“Ruby,” Rarity said, making careful note on which name to call her for the moment, “something’s off about these ponies.”

“You're telling me,” Ruby growled. “They keep countering my magic before I can get a hold of one of them, and they don’t move like any normal pony I’ve dealt with.”

The mention of Ruby ‘dealing’ with ponies didn’t bother Rarity in the slightest, despite some tiny notion in the back of her head that it should.

But as to show her point on her difficulty with them, Ruby flared her horn to make a grab for one of them, only to have the two unicorns of the bunch flare their own horns and quickly stop it. While it wasn’t ever easy to stop another unicorn from using their magic, let alone counter an actual spell, a quick push of ones own magic into another’s horn usually was enough to disrupt it. The fact that two unicorns were able to manage it given Twilight’s natural magically ability showed how skilled they were. Rarity was sure given that enough concentration, Twilight would be able to magically muscle her way past their suppression with little effort, but she doubted the two pegasi and one earth pony would give her that chance.

Ruby let out another growl of frustration before Rarity cooly replied, “Stay calm, Ruby.”

“Easy for you to say,” Ruby replied. With a snort of irritation, she tentatively asked, “Since when did you have any sense of keeping calm? All I’ve ever seen you’ve done is paw at your hooves and whine.”

“I’m not sure,” Rarity replied, allowing herself a moment of introspection. “I must say that it is curious, and not at all how I imagine myself behaving in such a situation. But that’s to figure out for later. Right now, we need to get you and the bat ponies out of here before sunrise.”

Rarity spared herself a moment to turn her eyes towards Ruby who gave a small smile in reassurance, though a bit more forced than she figured it would be. “I’ve told you, I’m your friend. And friends don’t let friends down.”

An uncertain look played across Ruby, but quickly vanished as she refocused on to the five ponies. “Let’s just get this over with.”

Rarity and Ruby faced off their opponents, who in turn prepared themselves. But even with the advantage of numbers on their side, they held themselves back from making the first move. If Rarity had to guess, they were biding their time until reinforcements arrived, or until the sun came up. Regardless of their reason, Rarity felt that they would prove to still be difficult to face without either of those two factors.

“We need to take down the unicorns,” Ruby whispered. “The problem is that they keep staying in the back.”

Rarity glance a quick glance at their surroundings, noting details of the space around her as she would a piece of fabric; where she would lay out the lines, the sections that she would cut, and the places she would need to stitch. It occurred to her then that fighting was a lot like dressmaking, once she spent a moment to actually compare the two without distractions.

“Then we should stop their movements,” Rarity replied after formulating the beginnings of a plan. “Follow my lead.”

Ruby gave a grunt in dissatisfaction, but firmly nodded her head that she was in agreeance.

Rarity whipped her head back, and began chucking her pipes as swiftly as she could, while simultaneously grabbing more debris around her to add to her salvo. “Get close!” Rarity shouted to Ruby who eagerly obeyed. As she darted in to square off against the closest two, Rarity continued to chuck piece after piece at the pegasi in efforts to keep them from going airborne. She even tried to bounce pieces of spare metal off the ground so that they would fling upwards while they ducked an overhead shot.

While doing so, Rarity ensured that some items remained firmly in her grasp so as to swing them like a distant club, but the unicorns were making it difficult as they latched on to her magically held objects to prevent them from swinging further. Her distractions however, were beginning to have their effect as the two unicorns kept their eyes shifting back and forth from Ruby to Rarity. It wasn’t enough to stop them from countering Ruby’s horn each time, but enough for what Rarity had been laying out.

While one pegasus and the earth pony sparred with Ruby, and surprisingly keeping good pace with her, the other pegasus darted towards Rarity. While pegasus was quick, Rarity had plenty of chances in dealing with a much speedier and more colorful colliding object, and deftly hopped out of the way.

“Ruby! I’m out of things to throw!” Rarity shouted in alarm as she backed away from him. There was a grunt of irritation from Ruby, and the two unicorns turned their attention to her as she defiantly tried to use her magic again.

With a quick recovery, the pegasus flexed his wings and eyed Rarity as he advanced. The two of them locked eyes as they shifted about, observing the other as much as they could. “For somepony who shows potential, you sure are a lousy shot,” he idly remarked. “It’s too bad you didn't join us when this all started. ”

“Don’t flatter yourself into thinking I would ever join whatever group you’re apart of,” Rarity said as she kept backing up, ensuring she kept a proper distance from him. There was a nagging thought at the back of her head. The pony seemed familiar, and his raspy voice even more so, but it was too dark to make out his features, and there were more pressing matters that demanded her attention. “Nor should you feel so important in thinking that I was aiming for you.”

The pegasus furrowed his eyebrows in a questioning glance, but readied himself when Rarity floated a pipe she had stepped over, having been purposefully thrown a short distance. “If there’s one a fashionista needs to be aware of, it’s where she needs to place her pins.”

The pegasus readied himself for her next attack, but paused when he noticed that while her horn was flaring with activity, the pipe in front of her remained still. Catching on faster than she had expected, the pegasus peered behind her time in time to see two previously thrown pipes lift themselves from the ground, and swing towards the horns of the unicorns whose entire focus was on Ruby.

To Rarity’s amusement, the pegasus went slack jawed at her precise strike that she performed behind her back, and at the distance she was able to grab the pipes. His reaction, however, was short lived as he quickly collected himself and began to charge Rarity. It was a shame he lacked the level of awareness that Ruby had.

Before his hooves could reach her, the other pegasus who was wrapped in a velvet glow was thrown into him, sending the two tumbling across the ground. Just in the nick of time. If Rarity had thrown correctly, than Applejack should have had a few less ponies to deal with and be here shortly herself. Which meant that only two dazed unicorns and one earth pony was all they had left to deal with. After that, they could regroup with the bat ponies and stave off the rest of ponies. Like the rest of the battle, it only took a moment for the decisions and conclusions of each step to flash across Rarity’s mind. For her, the fight was already over with. They just needed to apply the finishing details and complete the order.

But even unexpected outcomes would complicate even the most simplest of orders, and while none had been beyond Rarity’s ability to correct—simply only needing to pick herself back up to tackle the problem—nothing prepared her for the sight she saw as she turned around.

Behind her, Ruby held the earth pony’s neck in her mouth, and had clamped down with such force that it looked almost cartoonish on how thin his neck was where she held him. Blood freely dripped down his body, staining his white coat and adding a purple hue to his blue mane. Rarity was unable to see his eyes due to how his limp head hung away from her, but she could clearly see Ruby’s; the way they shimmered with such a color of crimson, putting any red dyed fabric Rarity had worked with to shame, it caused her to freeze in place. Ever since the fighting had started, crippling hesitation began to flow through Rarity for the first time, and she became very much afraid.

“Twi...light…” Rarity whispered.

Whether Ruby had heard her or not, she dropped the pony unceremoniously, and gazed at Rarity with contemplation. Staring across the yard like this, eye to eye, Rarity felt small, isolated, and vulnerable. She hadn’t even been aware of the fact that she had slumped down onto her knees, or how her mouth kept opening and closing, torn between the decision of screaming in panic or remaining deathly quiet. But when Ruby took a step towards her, she couldn’t stop the stream of words from her mouth.

“Twi-Ruby! P-P-Please… stay back… I… I… don’t…”

Ruby then darted across the yard towards her, and Rarity ducked her head between her hooves as she screamed in terror. She futility shielded herself with her arms, unable to hear anything outside of her own rapid heartbeat that had finally made it’s way to her attention. She shivered in place as tears began to stream down her face, all while whispering beneath her breath for Ruby to stop. But as the moments passed, and no fangs had brutally tore through her arms yet, she tentatively lifted her head, and shakily looked around her.

Ruby had charged, but she hadn’t been aiming for her. Instead, she had lunged onto the two recovering unicorns, and was just finishing up with the both of them. Rarity stared in horror as Ruby only some feet away drank deeply from the body of the one whose neck hadn’t been broken, then dropped him into a puddle of his own spilled blood. Like the earth pony, they were both dead, and Ruby had killed them.

That last thought played across Rarity’s mind over and over and over again.

Looking about the yard in a cold fashion, Ruby turned her eyes to Rarity, who in response gave a small squeal as she defensively raised her arms again.

Peeking through her hooves, Rarity fearfully locked eyes with Ruby. A questioning look played over Ruby’s face, which slowly turned into something Rarity wasn’t able to decipher. If anything, she was now looking at Rarity with a look of disappointment, or judgement. She wasn’t able to tell.

Time seem to stretch as they as stared off at each other, until it was finally broken by the shout of the pegasus who had lunged at Rarity from before.

“Fall back! Fall back!”

Ruby gave a scowl as she looked upwards at the pegasus who was already turning to run, guiding the ponies who were still standing towards the entrance of the yard. Ruby flared her wings and looked ready to take after him as well as the other ponies who hastily followed his lead, but the shout of one of the bat ponies caught her attention, and she instead let the pegasus off with nothing but an unpleasant snarl.

Even as Ruby galloped away, Rarity remained staring in place where she had been standing. Her arms gave out and hung limply by her side as the adrenaline finally began to fade, and small shakes played out across her body.

Celestia… What have I done? I… I hurt other ponies… I nearly killed them and… Twilight… Twilight…

“Rares…” a pony said behind her.

Flinching at the voice, Rarity slowly turned her head around, and saw Applejack staring open mouth at her, and with tears of her own beginning to form in her eyes.

At first neither of them spoke, they just simply stared at each other, silently asking if everything they had just dealt with actually happened. Eventually though, out of curiosity and to ensure her own sanity, Rarity asked with a dry mouth, “Applejack… did you see her…”

The way she tightened her eyes and bit her lip told Rarity that she had seen it all. They knew it had happened, but despite the evidence around them, neither of them truly believed it. Neither of them really accepted it. Nothing they had done prepared them for this moment, no matter how times they went over it, or even talking about it freely with the bat ponies.

Twilight had killed, and she had done in front of them.

Applejack and Rarity remained quiet for sometime, simply staring at each other because they couldn’t bear the sight around them. They couldn’t turn their heads the few inches it would take to see the ponies now lying in a pool of their own blood. So when Ruby suddenly spoke, it surprised them that they hadn’t jump right out of their skins.

Not entirely sure what she had said, they both turned to look at Ruby standing only a short distance away from them, a guarded but questioning look on her face as she looked them over. She appeared as if she was talking to the Flim Flam Brothers, skeptically curious about some product instead of standing near dead ponies. To Rarity, there was something that was just so wrong but also naturally fitting about that.

“Are you hurt?” Ruby repeated, cautiously keeping her eyes shifting between the two of them.

“I…” Rarity began to say. She didn’t even know what to say. There were a hundred words she could say right now, a hundred things that needed to be addressed. But none of those words were coming to her, so she went for the only ones that did. “I’m… alright.”

Ruby gave her a once over, then turned her head to Applejack, and narrowed her eyes from how she winced.

“Ah… Ah’m fine too…”

There was tension in the air between them as they looked at each other. Much different than from before, but it seemed it weigh more heavily on their side than Ruby’s this time.

“I just want to…” Ruby said. She quickly licked her lips and gave a small nod. “I just want to say thank you for your help.”

Ruby was finally talking to them in a normal fashion, and was even thanking them. If it weren’t for the pools of blood steadily growing in size, Rarity and Applejack might have reacted more than just staring blankly at her.

Ruby furrowed her eyebrows at their lack of response, and swallowed as she thought over her next words. “I… I need to go. Mist Hoof’s been hurt, and…” Looking over her shoulder, Applejack and Rarity followed her gaze to Mist Hoof being being held by a few of the bat ponies, the rest of them diligently keeping guard in case the attacking ponies decided to come back. There was even another bat pony stallion that she hadn’t seen yet, but assumed had joined the fight at some point. From the looks of it, he was losing blood too, and fairly bad. The ones carrying him didn’t seem to mind for some reason. In fact, none of them seem to mind too much what everything around them looked like. That thought sent a shudder through Rarity on how in Equestria she had a similar opinion only sometime ago.

“So…” Ruby continued, “Thanks again, and… I’ll… just... thanks.” Gritting her teeth, Ruby spun around and took off into the sky that was beginning to show the faintest signs of sunrise. Rarity wanted to call out to her, ask if she was going to come back to them at the hotel soon, but she just couldn’t will herself to make the effort. It was all just so much.

Applejack and Rarity spent sometime there, staring into the sky Ruby had flown into. Even when the sun was well over the horizon, they continued to stare. Eventually, reason and awareness came back to them, and they shook themselves from the chill that had crept onto their bodies.

“What do we do?” Applejack asked, unable to help herself but glance fearfully at the bodies of the ponies who never managed to crawl themselves away.

Rarity was silent for sometime before she swallowed a lump in her throat, and shakily spoke, “We need to contact Princess Celestia right away. This has gone to far.”

“We should have just done that in the beginning…” Applejack forlornly said.

Rarity wanted to stand up and hold Applejack, but she was still too shaken up to muster the effort. “You couldn’t have predicted any of this, sweety. No pony could.” Another period of silence passed them, and Rarity finally managed to stand herself onto her hooves. With a few forced breaths, she collected herself the best she could.

“We… We need notify Princess Celestia right away. If we’re lucky, she’ll be able to arrive by nightfall. But before that, we need to figure out where Twilight is.” Rarity glanced at the bodies of the ponies around her, then turned to peer at a distant section of crates where she had struck the head of a stallion. “And with any luck, I know just the pony to get our answers from.”

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

“Hold on, Mist Hoof! We’re almost there!” Ruby exclaimed. He faintly replied back, but she wasn’t able to hear it from the high winds as they gained altitude to land at the tower that was still some distance away. “Hang in there! Just… hang in there!”

Mist Hoof was in bad shape, more than she initially had thought. Something must of been torn inside of him, and she suspected the internal bleeding was more severe than the external. She couldn’t help but look towards him every few seconds and bite her lips. She hadn’t been there to protect them. She gotten so caught up in her worry of what happened to Shade Flare and the others that she actually risked herself in trying to see if the three mares had any info. Even worse, she never got an answer from them. She never even had the chance to ask them. It had all just went so wrong so quickly, and now Mist Hoof was dying because of it.

And even after all they went through to help us...

Twilight!

Y-You can hear me again?

Yes, I can! A shudder passed through Ruby. Where have you been!? Mist Hoof is-

I know… I saw everything... Twilight forlornly replied. I’m worried that he won’t make it too.

Ruby winced as a Mist Hoof gave guttural cough, and wheezed as breathing was becoming more difficult for him. Everypony else looked onto him in concern, and they redoubled their efforts again to get to the tower in greater haste.

“We’re almost there, you old fart,” Willow Shade murmured.

“Ruby, what are we going to do?” Cloud Shadow asked fearfully. “Can you save him?”

Ruby was silent as she looked over Mist Hoof in worry, and found that her vision was getting misty the more her fears for him sank into her gut.

“I…” Ruby began. Closing her eyes and gritting her teeth, she focused on the tower in the distance. There’s only one way that I can save him.

Do you think you can do it on your own?

Yeah… I think so, Ruby replied. But if you could… I… I think I could use your help.

Twilight was quiet for a moment, then the sensation of tingling excitement and happiness began to wash over Ruby, only to die down immediately when the direness of the situation came back to mind. Of course I’ll help. I’m just… so glad you’re finally accepting me.

Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done it tonight. Ruby replied with a tired smirk.

Ruby spun through the memories of the last few hours, highlighting the key notes while ignoring Twilight’s aversion to some of the more colorful ones. They protected you, and the bat ponies, Twilight mumbled in awe.

Yeah, they did, Ruby wistfully thought. The others told me how they worked with them to get to me, and how they saved Mist Hoof’s life. They really were looking out for me...

... Does that mean you trust them now?

... No, not yet, Ruby thought slowly. But... I’m not against seeing them again, she added with a small smile. Twilight returned one of her own through the mental mirror. Their thoughts drifted over the memories of Applejack and Rarity again, noting how they had charged into the fight to help her, how their faces looked as faced their foes, and how they looked at Ruby. Even if it was odd how they behaved at the end, seeing them come to her aid filled Ruby with the same feeling she felt whenever she looked onto her bat ponies. Except that Applejack and Rarity-

Ow! Ruby groaned as she brought a hoof to her head.

What’s wrong?

Just… a headache.

Are you sure? It feels kind of the same when you ran from the motel room, Twilight thought in concern.

Does it hurt for you too?

No… but-

I’m fine, Ruby grunted as she shook it away. I’m fine. It’s just a headache.

Ruby...

I said I’m fine. We’ve got bigger problems. Squinting at the tower in the rising sunlight, she saw they had covered some distance, but it would still be a few more minutes before they arrived. Ruby gave a growl in frustration as she flared her horn. “We’re teleporting the rest of the way!”

The bat ponies gave a wide eye look before they felt the magic flow around them, and tensed their muscles for the sudden shift.

With a pop, they vanished from the sky, and appeared some feet over the balcony at the tower. Had it not been for Ruby catching them all in her magic, they would have tumbled into a rough landing onto the stone. But the worry was an afterthought as Ruby set them down and they rushed Mist Hoof inside.

“Get him on the table! I need room for the transformation. Somepony! Close the curtains! Ebon Wing, get Silver Platter and let him know what’s going on.” Ruby gave quick reassurances to the bat ponies who had been lounging in the living area that everything was okay while the rest set about her orders. It took only seconds before everything on the table had been knocked away to make room for Mist Hoof, and the curtains drawn so the room fell into a more comfortable darkness with only a few glow lamps left on.

Calming herself, Ruby approached Mist Hoof and rested a hoof carefully over his forehead as she examined in.

“Is… is it… bad?” Mist Hoof weakly murmured. Now that they were in a relatively quiet room, she was finally able to hear him.

“It’s alright, you’re going to be fine,” Ruby softly replied reassuringly. “I’m going to begin the transformation process, alright? It’s the only way we can save you.”

Mist Hoof gave a hoarse laugh that was disappointingly mild to his usual hearty laughs, sending the tightness in Ruby’s stomach only deeper. “Told… you I was… gona be…”

“Shhh, don’t talk anymore,” Ruby said as she brushed a hoof over his head. “You’re going to be fine.

“Ruby,” a batpony behind her tentatively said.

“Not now,” she firmly replied without looking back.

“Oh… yeah,” Mist Hoof casually said, like he had just remembered where he put his glass. “Ruby, I need… to tell you about… those mares…”

“Stop talking, Mist Hoof,” Ruby cooed again. “Save your strength, you can tell me afterwards.”

Whether he was finally listening to her words, or if he was beginning to become too tired, Mist Hoof quieted down, and shut his eyes as he breathed as steadily as he could.

“Ruby, you should know-” another batpony said before being silenced by her glare.

“I need to start on him right away! Whatever it is, it can wait!”

Turning back to Mist Hoof, Ruby quieted herself as closed her eyes in preparation. After a moment, she bent her head down to Mist Hoof’s neck, gently extending her teeth for a bite not in malice, but in respect and care. Turning her bat ponies into vamponies was an act of love, and required all the delicateness she could muster. She was only inches of away from beginning the process when another pony spoke again.

“Well, it seems things got lively,” a stallion casually commented.

Ruby closed her jaw in frustration and whipped her head around. “How many times do I have to tell you all to be-” Her words became caught in her throat as she looked at the two ponies standing at the entrance of the room, and were casually looking at the messy scene on the table.

“N-Night Walker! Shade Flare!” Ruby exclaimed in disbelief.

“Hello, Ruby,” Night Walker said with his trademark carefree smile, while Shade Flare stared passively beside him. “It appears that some complications have arisen.”

Author's Note:

The problem in writing in a story is that you have little clue as to what parts of it your readers enjoy. From certain scenes, to thoughts of specific characters, to just random events that make you love something about a story. I don't know what it is exactly that you all enjoy, but I hope I can keep delivering it. We're nearing the end of Act Two of Second Princess of the Night. And though I've said it before for the other two parts, I can't imagine how long the third and final act will be. There is a lot of open space in the plot for it I still need to come up with. I suppose I will just go about it as I've done with the rest; know where the beginning and end are, and just find the pieces in between step by step. Honestly, I never imagined this story would become this long, and I feel like the third act will be short compared to these first two without making it feel stretched, but we'll see. Additionally, I may rework these last few chapters in the future as it feels like some parts should have been their own section, with Rarity's perspective being an example. To be honest, I had intended all of this to be one chapter, and it turned out to be three. Funny how things work out like that.

Hope you all enjoyed this chapter, and continue to be angry at these cliff hangers I'm leaving you all at. Also, I BROKE 200,000 WORDS!

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