• 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 III - Chapter 42

The sound of magic tinkled softly within the living room as a needle and thread floated through the air. Though the thread was less elegant and the tools less numerous than normal, Rarity’s focus remained, which she exercised as she carefully magically wove the needle in and out of the wide brim hat she worked on.

Then, for the fifth time that day, she stuck it through a few millimeters further than she had intended, and she frowned at the mistake.

“By Celestia, I can’t be this out of practice…” Rarity whispered to herself. Leaning closer, she continued her threading with more caution, pausing now and then to ensure the needle was in the correct place before pushing it through.

On the other side of the room, Pinkie Pie sat in front of an assortment of colored paper, markers, ribbons, and other various party supplies all while happily humming to herself. With swift and precise motions, she folded and cut paper, drew fanciful and decorative lines, and glued shiny beads on top of her creations; they were preparations for the party that Twilight had promised she would attend after things had calmed down.

Rarity let out a ‘tsk’ at yet again missing the spot she had intended, and exhaled sharply as she readjusted herself in her seat. Leaning absurdly close to the hat, she aligned the needle for placement, slowly pushed it closer, and then abruptly jerked to the left when a sudden noise of tearing followed by a thump sounded behind her.

Startled, Rarity swung her head around with pricked ears and wide eyes. Her alarm, however, was relieved by the sight of Pinkie Pie laying on her back, the remains of a tangled ribbon held in her hooves.

“Sorry,” Pinkie Pie said while upside down and with a guilty smile.

A held breath escaped Rarity, and she closed her eyes as she recomposed herself. Though, when she opened them, she only then became aware of the extra magic her horn was performing. She looked in surprise to the four floating needles accompanying the first, all of them pointing towards Pinkie Pie. With a gasp, she dropped all five of them, and stared as if they were something awful and alien.

Pinkie Pie tilted her head as she watched the upside down Rarity bring a hoof to her chest, wondering why she looked at the needles in such a way.

“They don’t bite,” Pinkie Pie casually stated.

Rarity gave her a brief glance, then sighed as she went to pick them up. “I’m sorry for pointing them at you, Pinkie.”

“That’s okay!” Pinkie Pie said as she rolled herself right side up. “Ponies have point lots of things at me!”

Rarity opened her mouth, but shook her head instead, deciding it was best not to ask such questions. “Still, I shouldn’t have done that.” With hesitation, Rarity magically lifted them one at a time back onto the table, looking over them with a mix of regret and curiosity. “This… thing that has come over me has been nothing but unpleasant. I can’t imagine why anypony would want something like this in the first place…”

Pinkie Pie’s ears folded back as she watched Rarity become lost in thought while staring idly at her tools. Rubbing a leg against another, Pinkie Pie cautiously asked, “I guess I should tone it down on the surprise parties for you then?”

Rarity turned to Pinkie Pie with a solemn expression, but forced herself to smile. “That might be best. I’m sure you can think of something that would be more appropriate.”

Pinkie Pie gave her a small smile. “No surprise parties for you because things might get pokey, and no surprise parties for Twilight because I can’t sneak up on her. I guess I’ll just have to think of another way to surprise you at a no-surprise party.”

Rarity gave a small chuckle and began to turn back to the table. As she did, though, she caught sight of Twilight already halfway down the steps, and had to make a conscious effort not to flare her horn at Twilight’s sudden appearance.

“Good afternoon, Twilight”, Rarity said cheerfully.

“Afternoon…” Twilight dully said as she finished her descent.

Pinkie Pie bounced her way over and wrapped her hooves around her in a hug. The welcomed touch brightened Twilight’s mood somewhat, and she couldn’t help but crack a smile as she returned the cotton candy-smelling embrace.

“I made cupcakes!” Pinkie Pie said as she pulled away. “And I promise they aren’t the kind that needs a bandaid afterwards.”

“A cupcake and an apple sound nice,” Twilight said.

“Coming right up!”

As Pinkie Pie made her way into the kitchen, Twilight moved towards Rarity, yawning wide as she looked over the half finished yellow sunhat with a purple ribbon, unaware of Rarity purposefully looking away from her briefly exposed fangs. “That looks nice,” she commented.

“Not as nice as I had been hoping,” Rarity replied, looking over her work space with mild irritation. “I haven’t even gotten to the feathers or gems for it. It’s been a bit more difficult than I thought getting back into the swing of things...”

“Mmmm,” Twilight responded in a mixture of empathy and sleepiness. Looking about, Twilight asked, “Where’s everypony else?”

“Applejack is picking up some groceries with Fluttershy,” Rarity said as she tidied up the table somewhat. “Spike is grabbing more quills and parchments, and Rainbow Dash said she would be back after making sure the guards Princess Celestia posted are ‘up to snuff’ as she said.”

Twilight’s ears lowered. “I was hoping I’d actually wake up on time to go with Applejack and Fluttershy.”

“Next time, dear,” Rarity said as she cleared enough space on the table for the three of them to eat. “You’ve been out and about nearly every single day, and in that old mare’s ensemble no less,” she added with distaste. “You need to make sure you aren’t pushing yourself. Even more so now with the sunlight and all.”

“I know, it’s just… I don’t want to stay cooped up inside,” Twilight replied as she lowered her head. “Especially when everypony has been so wonderful to me.”

“Hmm, I have noticed that,” Rarity said with a sly tone. Sitting herself in a chair, she magically pulled one out for Twilight. “You’ve become less hesitant on receiving Princess attention lately.”

“What else can I do?” Twilight replied as she sat herself next to Rarity. “Everypony had been so worried about me, and I can’t really show how much that meant to me if I only come out at night. I just want them to know that I can be there for them.” Twilight lifted her head and stared off at nothing in particular. “I want them to know that they can depend on me…”

“Is something the matter?” Rarity asked in concern. Twilight’s lack of response and shifting eyes made Rarity rest a hoof against her. “Twilight, is something wrong?”

“Besides the usual?” Twilight mumbled. Though, when she glanced back at Rarity, the expression she received made her nibble her lip in apprehension.

“Twilight, what’s bothering you?”

Sighing to herself, Twilight sat upright, but left her gaze lingering on the table. “It’s Ruby…”

Rarity’s muscles tensed at the name, and she had to take a moment to keep her voice even. “What about her?”

“Last night... I spoke to her, and it didn’t go as I had thought it would,” Twilight mumbled.

Rarity was quiet as she waited for Twilight to continue, not entirely sure how much she wanted to hear about the matter.

“I don’t know why I even tried,” Twilight began after some moments. “She’s just…” Twilight’s sullen demeanor slowly changed as she searched for the words, her brow furrowing slightly as she remembered the conversation. “She’s was just as difficult as she’s always been. She never wants to listen or talk things through. She gets angry so easily, and completely ignores anything that I have to say.”

Rarity opened her mouth to speak, but Twilight continued on, unaware that her ears had fallen back or that she was revealing her fangs more and more, a physical detail that Rarity tried hard to ignore.

“Sure, she’s had it rough,” Twilight grumbled. “But it’s not my fault she was created. If she had listened to me from the beginning, then none of this would have happened! It’s not like she was a pony before all this began, with a life and friends before they were ripped from my memories!”

“Twilight…” Rarity cooed, placing her hoof on top of Twilight’s.

“Is it so awful of me that I’m more upset with what happened to me than her?” Twilight asked in a pleading voice, and with a small tear falling down her cheek.

“Of course not,” Rarity assured. She tightened her grip around Twilight’s hoof and scooted her chair closer.

“I mean, it’s not like she was forced to do things without her control!” Twilight continued, her voice becoming louder and more uneven. “She made all those decisions by herself! She’s the one who killed ponies! She’s the one who drank their blood and enjoyed it! She’s the one that almost did something awful to you and the others! She-!”

Rarity’s sudden embrace cut Twilight off mid-sentence, and within moments she began to shake within the gentle but firm hold. Immediately after, Pinkie Pie’s arms were around her as well, having walked in on the scene halfway. Twilight shamelessly buried her face into their arms, grasping onto them as if they were her lifeline. Their constant presence since her return had nearly removed all her fears of being around them, and she now sought their comfort without hesitation, unwilling to face everything alone as she so desperately tried to before.

“All… All she cares about are those bat ponies!” Twilight said between shuddered breaths. “She doesn’t care about anything else! She doesn’t care about the lives she’s taken, or what I’m going through!” Rarity held Twilight tighter, and Pinkie Pie buried her face into Twilight’s shoulder, her tears also trailing down her coat. “I know she’s went through something awful,” Twilight said as her shaking slowly lessened. “I know she did… But that doesn’t mean what happened to me didn’t matter! It doesn’t mean that I have to live like this. I never asked for any of this! I didn’t ask to have her life!”

Twilight held onto Pinkie Pie and Rarity firmly, forcing her thoughts to focus on them and everypony in her life instead of the ones from Ruby. Even now in her emotional plight, the sensations from last night of Ruby’s attachments to the ponies far beyond Ponyville was alarming to Twilight, and she forced the memories aside for the sensation of her friends who were here and now. Friends that were a part of her life, and hers alone.

Then, the library door opened, its creaking noise bringing her back to reality. Twilight forcibly calmed herself down, pulling away from Pinkie Pie and Rarity as she wiped her eyes. “It’s okay… I’m okay…”

Rarity remained close as Twilight recomposed herself, half focused on her own similar troubles that had found their way into her life, while Pinkie Pie wiped her eyes with her mane, not entirely sure what to do next in the situation. Luckily for the three of them, the front door allowed a brief reprieve from their troubles, and they stared curiously as it remained half open.

Twilight perked her ears at the sound of the urgent and whispered voices that came behind it, and she became even more curious when Applejack peeked her head in from outside.

“Uh, Twalight?” Applejack hesitantly said. “There’s somepony here to see ya.”

“Who is it?” Twilight asked in genuine interest.

“Well… It’s a bit hard to say… “ Applejack replied as she pulled the door close to her body, blocking off the space between the door and the frame. “Ah’m not to sure if this is something you need to be dealing with right now, but ah don’t think doing what the guards are saying here is right either.”

“What do you mean? What’s going on?” Twilight asked as she stepped down from her chair.

“Well, you see…,” Applejack began before her body abruptly shifted forward.

“Let me in!” a young voice cried, causing Twilight to pause.

“Calm down now,” Applejack said with annoyance as she looked over her shoulder. “Ah told you ah would figure something out, but you need to-”

“I said… let me in!” the voice shouted once more.

The rustling of the guards posted outside joined the clamour, but the yelp of Applejack followed by her jumping away cleared the doorway, and it was instantly thrown wide open by a small pony that dashed inside.

Twilight’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of the filly running straight towards her, her leathery wings flapping with excitement as she fled the pursuing guards.

“Ruby!” she cried in both excitement and relief.

“L-Lunar Pearl!?” Twilight said in disbelief.

Lunar Pearl!?

Lunar Pearl’s face noticeably brightened at hearing her name called, and she leapt the short distance remaining between her and Twilight. “Ruby!” she shouted again as her arms clasped around Twilight’s neck, and she clung to her with all her might. “I found you!”

Twilight fell onto her rump from the force of the tackle, and she sat motionless, jaw agape, as Lunar Pearl nuzzled herself against her. The two guards paused a short distance away as they glared in frustration, Applejack held an uncertain look as she rubbed her hind leg’s new bitemark, and Fluttershy quietly made her way in with a worried but curious look. Rarity stood by with a surprised expression, not entirely sure on what to make of what happened, and Pinkie Pie simply grinned.

“I knew I could find you!” Lunar Pearl excitedly shouted. Giving Twilight one last squeeze, she pulled her head back far enough so she could look Twilight in the eyes. “I knew Night Walker was wrong! There’s no way you would have left us!”

Still stunned, Twilight half mumbled, “Wha…?”

“Now you can come back with me and help us!” Lunar Pearl exclaimed.

Twilight stared with wide eyes at Lunar Pearl, still trying to comprehend that she was actually here. A multitude of emotions flared deep within her, and because of them, Twilight unconsciously began lifting her hoof to place against Lunar Pearl’s cheek.

Don’t touch her!

Twilight’s hoof stopped inches away, and it began to shake in protest.

“Ruby?” Lunar Pearl asked as she began to look more closely at Twilight.

Lunar Pearl, run! Don’t trust them!

Panic began to sweep through Twilight, both hers and Ruby’s, and she soon found parts of her body beginning to spasm. Lunar Pearl quickly detached herself, and briefly glanced at the ponies around them before looking to Twilight with a hopeful but confused look. “Ruby? What’s wrong? Why aren’t we leaving? Weren’t you a prisoner here?”

“I… You…” Twilight said as she shakily stood herself up. “Why are you… how?” Reaching her hoof towards Lunar Pearl again, she found her muscles fighting against her.

Don’t you dare touch her! Ruby screamed, channeling all her will and might into the foreleg.

“Ruby?” Lunar Pearl asked while lowering her ears. Her excited eyes soon became fearful, and she unconsciously wrapped her wings around herself. “What’s wrong? Why aren’t we running?”

Another spasm passed over Twilight from Ruby’s attempts, and she felt as if she was being torn apart at the seams. Gritting her teeth, Twilight gave one last long glance at Lunar Pearl, then spun and around and made her way to the stairs.

“Ruby!” Lunar Pearl cried as she stood up to follow.

“Leave me alone!” Twilight shouted without looking back. “Just… leave me alone!” Without another word, Twilight ran upstairs for the safety of her room, slamming the door shut behind her.

With her breathing coming close to hyperventilation, Twilight began to pace anxiously back and forth, her body unable to stand still due to the flurry of emotions from both her and Ruby.

What is she doing here?!

I don’t know!

Did you do this? Did you send somepony after her?!

Of course not! You would know!

Then why is she here?

“I don’t know!” Twilight shouted as she brought her hooves to her head. She can’t be here! She shouldn’t be here!

Of course she shouldn’t!

What do I do? What do I do?

How should I know?

I’m not asking you! Stay out of my head!

I can’t when Lunar Pearl is sitting your living room!

Just shut up for a moment! I can’t think with you like this! Your emotions are everywhere!

Twilight felt a surge of resentment rise from Ruby, but it soon died down as Ruby pulled her consciousness back, far enough that the two of them could think on their own without the other hearing without concentrated effort.

Twilight gave a small sigh at the welcomed silence, but her chest remained knotted at the inner conflict, and anxiety still shook her limbs. As she wracked her mind for options, Ruby came closer to speak, though at enough distance that kept them well enough separate.

She needs to leave, she said in a serious tone.

That wasn’t already obvious?

I mean without anypony else. Nopony should follow her.

Twilight scoffed. You expect her to go off on her own?

She made it here on her own, she can make it back.

She’s just a filly!

She can manage! She’s a batpony and a va...

What? A vampony? Twilight bitterly replied. Ruby didn’t respond. You still want her to be a vampony? You want her to be like Night Walker?

Don’t you dare bring him up! Ruby shouted. From the surge of feelings that came from her, if they had been speaking through the mirrorscape Twilight would have seen the tears streaming down Ruby’s face. She’ll never be like him!

If he turned her, she already may be, Twilight replied, her tone low and firm. The weight of that thought hung heavily on Twilight, and the change in mood drew Ruby’s attention closer. If she’s a vampony, then we need to do something about it. Steadying herself, Twilight turned for the door.

What are you doing?

Checking if she’s a vampony.

Why? What are you going to do to her!?

I’m not a monster, Ruby. Unlike you I don’t take lives, Twilight replied. I’ll contact Celestia and have her taken away. Back to Dusktown or wherever they’ll put her.

Wait! Twilight’s hoof paused as she grasped the door handle, though not of her own accord.

Flaring her horn to open the door, Twilight curled her lip. It’s for her own good! She’ll be safe!

Please, Twilight! Don’t do this!

Why shouldn’t I? You think she’ll be safer with Night Walker?

Of course not! But I-

But nothing! Twilight stopped her magic and pulled her hoof away from the door. I can’t believe even after everything that’s happened, after all his lying, you still think we’re the enemy! You still think I’m an enemy! Whipping around, Twilight marched towards the full body mirror on the other side of the room, and stared directly into her crimson eyes.

You still believe that Night Walker is right! That turning them into vamponies is right!

That isn’t what I’m-

You don’t care what’s right at all! Twilight berated as she stomped her hoof on the floor. All you want to do is help them! And while that isn’t a bad thing on its own, you’ll do anything for it! You’ll kill for it! I can’t let that happen!

Please, Twilight! You saw what happened to Mist Hoof and Shade Flare, you know that they can be cured! You even told Celestia that yourself!

The memory of Mist Hoof dying on the table came flashing back through her mind, the worried looks of everypony else gathered beside him as they looked to her for help.

Twilight shut her eyes as she shook her head side to side, unable to stop a tear from falling at the resurgence of the feelings. We don’t know if it fixed them or not! We can’t trust it!

Why wont you help them!?

I’m not against helping them! Twilight stumbled away from the mirror, the inner turmoil beginning to take its physical toll. If they want to be helped then they should have stayed where they belong!

You think they belong being cooped up? You honestly think they are dangerous?

They were willing to join Night Walker!

They were willing to try to save themselves! They were dying!

So it’s okay that other dies instead? Before Ruby could reply, Twilight opened her wings for balance support and once again made her way to the door, though as unsteadily as before. I’m done arguing with you. I’m contacting Celestia so we can keep her safe.

No!

As Twilight reached for the door, something deep inside her tore, and Twilight’s body jerked to the right. Gasping in surprise, Twilight instinctively brought a hoof to her chest. Feeling as if her world was beginning to spin, Twilight blinked in confusion until the familiar and unnatural pain caused her to realise what had happened. Ruby! What are you-

I won’t let you! she cried. I won’t let you take her!

Gritting her teeth, Twilight reached for the door again, only to have another sudden tear cause her wings to collapse and her back legs to buckle. Ruby! Stop it! It hurts!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to kill us like you almost did in the field, she said through a strained voice, sharing in the pain as well. You aren’t getting anywhere close to her! I won’t let you!

With her vision becoming blurry due to the multitude of effects taking their toll on her, Twilight fell onto her side, weakly reaching her limbs out for something to grab on to. As she did, a whimper escaped her, and the tears began anew. Why... she faintly spoke.The sadness in her voice made Ruby pause her destruction for a moment. Why… With a sob, Twilight buried her face into the wood, unable to even find the strength or will to curl into a ball. Why won’t you ever trust me!

Because I can’t trust anyone! Ruby screamed, but not without her own sobs to accompany it. I can’t trust the princesses, I can’t trust Night Walker, and I can’t trust you! With her own crying echoing in Twilight’s mind, Ruby fell deeper into their being, barely keeping contact with Twilight. I can only trust them! Only them… So please, don’t hurt her! Please….

As Twilight laid on the floor crying, so to did Ruby within, the pain of the soul tearing being the smallest reason for their distress.

Please, don’t hurt her… They’re all I have… All I’ve ever had...

I was there… Twilight so quietly replied. Ruby’s consciousness ever so slightly shifted closer, uncertain if she had even heard Twilight speak at all. I was always there… I was there in the beginning, and you never let me in. You never listened to me…

...

You’re a part of me, Ruby. We were the same pony... but... all you did… all you ever did was try to get rid of me! Do you know what that’s like? Do you know what it’s like being trapped inside your own body after having almost been destroyed? To scrape and hold onto Celestia knows what as your world falls apart around you!

Twilight, I-

Do you know what it feels like now!? Twilight yelled. Can you remember when I lost everything!? When everypony around faded away into nothingness!? Faded memories of the necklace flashed between them of Ponyville, the approaching black wall that swallowed place and friend whole, and the faceless ponies that called Twilight’s name, a name that she at the time couldn’t even remember was hers. Did you know that’s what it felt like every time you pushed me away!?

Twilight pressed her face harder into the floor, holding onto that physical sensation as if she would never feel anything again. I was always there! And you almost killed me! If I hadn’t fought like I did, I wouldn’t be here at all! I would have been forgotten about, lost forever! I would be gone!

Moments passed, and neither of them spoke a word. It had all become too much to bear for Twilight to continue on, and she simply laid where she was and sobbed. At any moment she knew Ruby would snap something back at her and descend back into the depth of her being. At any moment she expected Ruby to say something awful that would justify everything she had done, to yell and deepen her grief like she always did. But instead, she did something Twilight did not expect.

...I’m sorry...

Twilight’s ears pricked ever so slightly at the internal thought, and her sobbing paused so that she could hear more clearly.

I’m so sorry...

Opening her eyes, Twilight absentmindedly stared at the sideways wall while she focused on Ruby’s voice, her watery vision blurring the details of the room.

I’m sorry… I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have done that to you! I should have listened to you! If I had, maybe then… Maybe then things wouldn’t be like this! I shouldn’t have tried to kill you! I just… I didn’t know what to do! I just wanted them to be okay! I wanted to do what was best for them! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!

Ruby’s voice trailed off as she broke down, letting loose all that she had inside and that she had tried to keep away from Twilight. Remorse, grief, pain, everything. It washed over Twilight, matching all too well with her own feelings. And for the first time, Twilight didn’t push them back.

The two of them cried even more fervently as their beings mixed and intertwined in a way they hadn’t done for so long, sharing each others anguish to the point that their most closely matched feelings were nearly the one and the same. The cried together long and hard while laying on the floor, crumbling the makeshift walls they had imposed that had kept each other so distant. And by will or chance, as they shared their distress, a bridge of glowing fiber slowly formed between them. Though it was not the same as it once was, it nevertheless bridged a piece of them that had been separated since their role reversal, and with it, a shard within the mirrorscape found its way back into its previous place.

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

Twilight stood at the top of the dark stairs, hesitant on whether to walk down them or not. The sun had already set, and the soft glow of candlelight reflected the shadows of the ponies in her living room. Without having to even try, she could hear their conversation, and the uneasy but otherwise calm voice of Lunar Pearl. Fluttershy was talking to her about the animals she took care of. She could hear Lunar Pearl munching on a fruit of some kind as she asked another question after each time Fluttershy spoke.

Twilight took a deep breath, and exhaled as she steadied herself.

Ready?

Yes...

Nodding, Twilight carefully made her way down the steps, watching with wide eyes as the living room came into view. The first thing she noted was the single guard stoically standing inside the library by the door, his eyes focused on the group across the room. Following his gaze, Twilight spotted Lunar Pearl, Spike, and the rest of her friends sitting in a circle atop several pillows on the floor, with their attention centered on Lunar Pearl. The sight of them caused Twilight’s mouth to open slightly, her mind drifting as parts of hers and Ruby’s worlds were merged in one scene. It made both of them pause once Twilight reached the stairs, and they simply stared at the group for a moment.

By lack of quietness or by chance, Lunar Pearl’s ears twitched, and she slowly turned her head towards Twilight. Her golden eyes widened at the sight of her, and she dropped the pear she had half eaten. “Ruby!”

A smile appeared on Lunar Pearl’s face as she stood up and ran to her. But she stopped halfway, and a look of uncertainty crossed her face. She stared long and hard at Twilight, so much that a tinge of red appeared on Twilight’s face in embarrassment.

“You’re not Ruby, are you?” Lunar Pearl said at long last.

Twilight opened her mouth to speak, but it was difficult to find the right words. Instead, all she could come up with was, “No… I’m not.”

Lunar Pearl’s face became sullen at that, but her eyes hardened as she spoke with more determination. “Is it true what they said?” she asked, referring to everyone else with a small head shift. “Is Ruby inside you?”

“Yes, that’s true,” Twilight said sadly.

“Can she come out?”

“I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that…”

A frown appeared on Lunar Pearl, and she stared thoughtfully into the floor. Twilight gave a brief glance to her friends, noting their worried looks on the matter. Even Rarity held some concern for the young filly though it was not as apparent as the rest.

“But… she can hear you,” Twilight said as she stepped towards her. Lunar Pearl lifted her head and looked to her hopefully. Twilight smiled upon seeing the curious and eager face once again, now able to enjoy the fact that she could look upon Lunar Pearl instead of watching from the inside. “And she still cares about you. In fact, we both do.” Walking up to her, Twilight knelt down until she was head level with Lunar Pearl. “Because of that, we’re also worried about you. Can you tell us how you got here?”

Lunar Pearl looked as if she would answer, but instead brought her lips inward and turned away.

“She won’t tell us either, Twilight,” Rarity said. Twilight looked up to her and saw nods of confirmation from everyone else.

Twilight looked back to Lunar Pearl, and gave her a warm smile. “Pearl, can you please tell us?”

Lunar Pearl slowly looked back at her, searching Twilight’s eyes for something. After some moments, she spoke, “Prove that Ruby’s in there.”

“I’m not sure that I-”

“Prove it,” Lunar Pearl said more firmly. The look on her face indicated she wouldn’t accept anything less.

I don’t think I remember her being this stubborn.

She’s a tough filly, Ruby replied with an affectionate tone. Here, say this.

Ruby thought the instructions through, causing Twilight to physically frown and lift her head.

“I can’t say that!”

Everyone else looked to Twilight in confusion as she stared at something none of them could see.

“How in Equestria would that help? … Of course I want to… Well, yes but… Still, we shouldn’t be encouraging it!”

Lunar Pearl looked to Fluttershy and the rest for help, only to receive the same confused expressions and shrugs in reply.

At last Twilight gave a sigh, and she muttered something under her breath. “Ruby wants me to tell you, and I don’t entirely agree with it by the way, that ‘It must have taken on heck of a vampony to run away all on her own and make it this far, and I’m proud to call you one trouble maker of a batpony’.”

Lunar Pearl’s jaw was agape at the compliment, and her eyes quickly teared up as a smile appeared on her face. “Ruby!” Lunar Pearl leapt from her spot and latched herself once again around Twilight, though not as fiercely as she had done earlier. “I knew you weren’t gone! I knew it!”

Twilight was taken aback by the embrace, but the familiar tuft ears tickling her cheek, and the sound of swishing leathery wings brought a strange sense of nostalgia. Checking with Ruby before she acted, and feeling confident that despite some hesitation from the batpony that there was no malice, Twilight slowly wrapped a hoof around Lunar Pearl, and returned the embrace.

The two of them held each other for a minute until Lunar Pearl suddenly pulled away, hiding her face as she quickly wiped it with her hoof. “S-Sorry,” she said as she rubbed harder, making sure nopony else could see.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Twilight said as she leaned her head closer with a smile. “Even vamponies cry.” A sniffle escaped Lunar Pearl, but she quickly clamped her jaw tight. “Even Ruby balled her eyes out sometimes.”

Lunar Pearl stopped her rubbing, and looked up to Twilight with red eyes, “R-Really?”

You better not... Ruby warned.

Twilight, however, simply smiled at the comment, having the ability to easily know when Ruby actually meant her threats. “You better believe it. She may not show it, but she’s got a soft side to her too. Well, actually that was more of me than her, but you get the idea.”

Lunar Pearl giggled at the statement, and wiped her eyes again but much less forcefully this time.

“Now,” Twilight said as she stood herself up. “Can you tell me what happened, Lunar Pearl?”

Lunar Pearl blew her nose, gave each of them a brief glance, then took a few breaths. “Yeah…”

Twilight walked to her side and, with a slight hesitation, wrapped her wing around Lunar Pearl and guided her back to the group. Everyone shuffled a bit for the extra seat, allowing Twilight to be right next to Lunar Pearl. They were all quiet as they waited for her to speak, while several looked to Twilight with questioning glances that silently promised they would hear from her later on about what happened with Ruby.

“After… After we got away from the tower,” Lunar Pearl began, choosing to keep her eyes focused in the middle of the circle. “Lily Wing took me with the rest of the bat ponies to a spot outside the city. They said it was the place we would meet up if something happened.”

With Ruby sharing the memory openly, Twilight knew exactly where she was talking about, a small glen in the nearby countryside.

“We waited there until Night Walker came to get us. He said something happened to you and that you weren’t going to be with us anymore. He said that you no longer mattered to us…”

Twilight tried her best not to grit her teeth at hearing the recount, with Ruby putting in more effort than her not to lash out.

“Mist Hoof and him got into an argument, but I didn’t hear much because Lily Wing moved us away. Only that you fought some pegasi and that you teleported away. The next night, we flew away from the spot, but Mist Hoof and some others stayed behind.”

“Do you know who?” Twilight asked, urged on by Ruby’s desire to know.

“No, I didn’t see them…” Lunar Pearl asked. “But I wanted to stay with them. Mist Hoof said they were going to wait for you to come back. He said that you wouldn’t leave us and that you’d come for them. I wanted to stay with them, but Lily Wing wouldn’t let me.” Lunar Pearl gave a frown. “She said we needed to stick with Night Walker, and that she was sorry you couldn’t be with us. But I didn’t believe what Night Walker said. I knew you would come back.”

Lunar Pearl gave another sniff, then looked up to Twilight with a determined face. “I ran away from Lily Wing so I could find you. After we landed for the night, I snuck away during the day and ran into the nearby woods.”

“Where were you? How in Equestria did you find me?” Twilight asked, holding herself back from scolding Lunar Pearl for doing such a thing.

Lunar Pearl’s determined face faded away instantly to wariness. “Night Walker told me…”

“He what!?” Twilight shouted.

Lunar Pearl flinched, but kept on. “He caught me as I was running away. I thought he was going to take me back when he asked what I was doing. I told him he was wrong to think you would leave us and that if he wasn’t going to get you back, then I would.” Lunar Pearl furrowed her brow as she recalled the memory, still confused herself at the turn of events. “But all he did was laugh. He said he liked the fire in my eyes and that I would make a good vampony someday.”

Twilight’s feathers bristled ever so slightly at the statement, a fact everyone else but Lunar Pearl caught.

“He wished me luck on my adventure and said he wouldn’t stop me. Then he pointed his wing in a direction and said, ‘Why don’t you try Ponyville’. After that, he left, and I’ve been on my own since...”

“And you just wandered into town?” Twilight asked in disbelief.

Lunar Pearl’s eyes lit up instantly, and she spoke to Ruby with excitement. “No! When I came here, I found a tree fort to hide in during the day. I thought it would be safe until I could figure out where you were, you know, scouting and all that. But then I meet three fillies!”

“And that’s how ah found her,” Applejack interjected with a deadpanned voice. “She was hanging out with mah little sister and her friends. Apparently, that’s why she’s been staying up so late these past few nights.”

“You’ve been in Ponyville for days?” Twilight asked Lunar Pearl with concern.

“Only two, I think,” Lunar Pearl replied. “It kinda of blurred together being awake during the day.” Lunar Pearl turned to Applejack, and gave a her a small smile. “For not being bat ponies, Applebloom is pretty batty.”

“Thanks, ah think…” Applejack replied.

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie both began to giggle uncontrollably, refusing to be silenced even as Applejack glared at them.

“Lunar Pearl,” Twilight said, waiting until she had the filly’s full attention back from her friends’ antics. “Is there anything you can tell me? Anything else at all? Maybe where Night Walker is and what he’s doing?”

“I don’t know where he is, but I know what he’s going to do…” Lunar Pearl said, though her low voice and flattened ears spoke of the severity of the matter.

“Please, tell me,” Twilight asked, lowering her head to Lunar Pearl’s level.

Lunar Pearl fidgeted somewhat as she spoke, “Night Walker said something about making everyone vamponies now that he found a way to do it. And once he did, they were going back for everyone else in Dusktown…”

A pit formed in Twilight’s stomach, and she mumbled the words, “Oh no…”

The gravity of the statement brought a look of deep concern for everyone else as well, and though a mixture of emotions played across their features, Rainbow Dash’s ferocious glare made even Fluttershy inch away. “When I get my hooves on him... “ Rainbow Dash growled.

“This is serious, Twilight,” Rarity said. “We need to notify the princesses right away.”

“Agreed,” Twilight said as she stood up. “Spike, get me a pen and quill.”

“Right!”

“Excuse my interruption, Princess Twilight,” the guard suddenly spoke.

Twilight turned to him in surprise, having almost forgotten he was even there. “What is it?”

“Princess Celestia is already aware of the matter.”

“She knows?” Twilight said in disbelief. “How did she find out?”

The guard visibly fidgeted in place, and with focus, Twilight heard his heart rate increase. “Please understand that Princess Celestia ordered us not to speak a word for fear of complicating your recovery. She only wishes the best for you and did not want to heighten your stress until you were more recovered.”

“What did she order?” Twilight said more forcibly, furrowing her brow.

Feeling the regret of volunteering to watch the young batpony, the guard straightened himself the best he could while clearing his throat. “We received word of the threat along with Princess Celestia’s orders to not speak of it until it was deemed you were fit to return to Royal Duties, or until you asked of it from us.” Pausing for a moment to prepare himself for the response he feared, he spoke clearly, “Dusktown was attacked two days ago.”

“WHAT!?”

The force of the yell accompanied by a buffet of magic rattled the windows of the library, and the two guards standing outside of the door slowly lifted their ears from their flattened positions. They both glanced at the door, imagining the emotional state of the princess having no doubt heard the news. One of them sighed, then turned his attention back to the street. “Rookie…”

Author's Note:

First and foremost, the side story "Tales of Skyline Tower" is up and can be found here. It's an unfished series of short stories with only two chapters currently about the bat ponies stay during the segment of when they were in Manehattan. While there are only currently two chapters out, expect more to be added, and also know that anyone may contribute towards it if they so choose. I know Hunter, Slayer, Corpse hasn't had an update in awhile, but I promise I will add more to it soon.

As for this chapter, Ruby and Twilight haven't squared away everything, but they are at least making some progress. You'd be suprised how much a relationship can be broken when both sides ignore the others pain for their own. Though Twilight had yet to verbally apologize as well, it's at least a start. Sorry for the long wait for this chapter, as I am finally in a place to begin regularly updating the story again. As for Lunar Pearl, I have longed since planned her arrival, but wasn't entirely sure how to go about it. I had thought that maybe she got lost in a fight and fell into a trainyard where she hithed a ride to Ponyville, but figured it would be best to do what Lunar Pearl does. Strike off on her own. I'm still planning on giving her own story someday. All in all, hoped you all enjoyed the chapter and are looking forward to the next one. Up next, a visit to Dusktown.

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