• Published 11th Sep 2013
  • 15,889 Views, 1,377 Comments

Second Princess of the Night - Senyu



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

  • ...
51
 1,377
 15,889

PreviousChapters Next
Act III - Chapter 48

Deep beneath Canterlot Castle and guided by flickering torchlight, Rarity walked downward along a winding stone passage. As she descended, she idly reflected upon her feelings towards the narrow space. If she had ever had a sense of claustrophobia before, she couldn’t remember what it felt like now. That disconnect was one among many strange things that she found herself thinking about less often as the days passed, believing that it was needless to recall previous fears that now seemed nothing more than a distant dream. But, as pointless as she now considered it, she still searched within herself for something that might remind her how she used to feel, an inkling of her previous self to occupy her mind as she walked. Even when she did reach the end of the stairwell and came upon an old iron door, she desperately searched, hoping for something to arise within her.

But nothing came, and so she opened the door.

The two royal guards waiting on the other side regarded her for a moment before returning their attention to the jail cells that lined the room. They had already been notified of Rarity’s arrival. Rarity paid them little mind as she strode forward, noting only their relative size and armaments, and nothing else, for she deemed nothing else about them important.

She passed the iron-barred cells, briefly glancing at the inmates that stared back at her with a mixture of fear and shame. Some widened their eyes as though a flicker of hope came to them at her appearance, but that hope would fade when Rarity simply moved on. In addition to the fact that they shared the same coat and mane hues as her, she knew two things of the pony she sought. He was a pegasus, and though she had only met him briefly before, she knew his face would be the same as hers: expressionless.

When she reached the last cell, she paused, and then turned to face the pony inside. Unlike the others that only needed iron bars, or in the case of the unicorns, magical restraints on their horns, the lone pegasus was shackled with iron on each of his limbs, and he wore a strapped leather vest that contained his wings. He regarded her stoically, just as she imagined he would, behaving as though the two of them were simple acquaintances meeting by chance on the street. But as they locked eyes for some moments more, Rarity finally recognized who the pony was, and she found herself taken aback.

She understood how how he among all of the hunters had been able to hold his ground against Twilight, back when he and four others had cornered Twilight in the airship yard, and Rarity berated herself for not having recognized him sooner. Then again, having experienced the Hunter’s effects first hoof, she found it easy to believe that nopony would’ve recognize him at first. The pony locked in the cell was starkly different than his once easygoing and cheerful self. Despite having the same face, his entire persona was that of another.

“What’d you want to know?” he asked. There was no excitement in his voice, no worry, no fear. No hint of his former self remained. Rarity had only actually met him a few times before all of these dreadful events transpired, and she wondered if she would eventually become as different as he had become.

“I’m surprised you’re willing to talk to me,” Rarity said.

“No, you’re not.”

Rarity was quiet for a moment, and then asked, “Why are we like this?”

“Because our family thought this was the best way to handle the dead,” he replied. “Back when we used to know who we were.”

“Family is too loose of a word, I think,” Rarity replied. “I’m already aware of the basics about us. I want to know what I haven’t learned yet.”

He narrowed his eyes, the first sign of any real expression from him, and he thought for a moment. “I get it… You’re leaving to go after him.”

Rarity restrained her reaction remarkably well by all accounts, but the slight widening of her eyes was enough of an answer. It was enough for one of them.

“Princess Celestia doesn’t know,” he mused, gauging Rarity with each word. “And you don’t have time to find one of the headmasters, so you came to me. So, what’d you want to know?”

Rarity didn’t feel panicked at how easily he had read her, but her uneasiness was something the Hunter’s magic kept very active. “We have to be ‘awakened’ to become like this, correct?”

“That’s right,” he replied, and then he regarded Rarity with renewed interest. “Huh, that’s something. I thought it was strange seeing you like that back then, especially since you were never at any of the gatherings. I’d just figured you were one of the other members somewhere else and you just lost your mind or something. There’s only a few of us who can perform the ritual, and somehow you’ve ‘awakened’ all on your own. How’d you manage that?”

“If I knew I wouldn’t share it,” Rarity replied. “It wasn’t something I was entirely aware of myself.”

“Well, your fight in the yard says otherwise. You were like one of us when I first saw you, except… you weren’t.” His passive face then cracked, and he glared at her. “How in Equestria can you side with her?”

“She’s my friend,” Rarity replied, feeling her muscles tense and the hair on her neck rise at his sudden hostility.

“And she killed our own,” he said bitterly.

“You were trying to kill her first.”

He then leapt forward, throwing his body as far as he could before the shackles stopped him in place. All of the whispering within the jail room trailed off with the sharp echo of clattering chains. He shouted, “Don’t you get how serious this is?”

Without breaking eye contact with him, Rarity raised her hoof to assure the two guards everything was alright, and they tentatively lowered their spears back to their sides. The other inmates were staring at Rarity with wide eyes, unsure if they should be angry or worried.

“That demon turned our Princess into a monster like him,” he growled. “The world’s better without them, and we’re the only ones who can do that. The other Princesses won’t hurt Princess Twilight, and they’ve refused to send the entire army after Night Walker. Everypony in Equestria is at risk because nopony is going to do anything about it, and you’d rather sneak off on your own instead of protecting them!”

“I am not sneaking off,” Rarity said with a hushed but venomous tone, and she spoke so only the two of them could hear her. “I’m going to end it.”

“With just you and our doomed Princess?”

“Yes.”

He scoffed, and then sat back down within the center of his cell. “And what then?”

“I don’t know.”

“You haven’t even undergone the full ritual,” he chided, but his anger was quickly cooling, and his voice became calm and even once again. “You’re just a liability like that. Even I can tell you aren’t fully turned yet.”

“And if I have my way, I never will,” Rarity replied. “Regardless, I did not come here to have an argument with you. I came for answers.”

“Yeah? Well, I‘ve decided I’m not giving you any,” he replied.

Rarity raised an eyebrow. “I’ve always guessed you were a bit thick-headed, but that seems rather counterproductive given that I have a shot at ending this while you’re locked down here. In fact, I’ve been told that the majority of your so called ‘family’ have already been detained. If you want this to be over then you should inform me as much as you can.”

“Just because it’s logical doesn’t mean I’ll follow along,” he replied. “There’s more to us than that. And you still didn’t answer me. Even if you stop him, what then? Are you going to handle the next threat all on your own too?”

Rarity frowned. “What are you talking about.”

“Nightmare Moon, Discord, Sombra, Night Walker… please tell me you aren’t that clueless.”

“Explain,” Rarity said firmly.

“Don’t you think it’s strange that all of these threats are returning? Nightmare Moon could at least be predicted even if most of us forgot, and Discord’s always been… Discord. But what about Sombra and Night Walker, huh? Two of the Four Shepherds? Doesn’t that seem a little strange to you?”

“You know, I keep hearing hints about them,” Rarity remarked. “And I find myself becoming rather annoyed that’s all I’ve managed to hear thus far.”

“Welcome to the club,” he replied. “I was only told about two of them because of my natural advantage against them.”

“Night Walker,” Rarity said. “But who is the second one?”

“I don’t know her name, but I’ve been told what she’s capable of, and if she ever does come back you’ll know where to find me and the others.”

Rarity stepped a hoof forward and said with a hushed voice, “If you have any desire to protect Equestria, then you will tell me. Now.”

He regarded her for a moment, and then shut his eyes. “If or when Equestria does become threatened by her, you can bet I and all the other Hunters will be set free because it'll be the only chance we’ll have at stopping her. She isn’t a princess, so there’s nothing to stop Princess Celestia and Princess Luna from sending us after her.” He opened his eyes again. “But even then it might not be enough. A thousand years of peace and crumbling traditions has weakened us. It wasn’t until the ritual was performed on me that I realized that sad fact…”

He looked up to the ceiling. “There’s a lot of things I didn’t realize before then… Time’s been cruel to us. We’ve become weak. Sitting around like nothing will happen while the dead slept, the same dead that destroyed our old kingdom and rotted our ancestors bodies... Even now I-”

He paused when Rarity suddenly turned away and began walking towards the stairwell. “You’re leaving?” he asked, leaning forward as far as he could to watch her through his bars.

“I can’t afford to listen to you all night,” Rarity replied without looking back. “Nor do I have the patience to hear your cryptic history lesson. You’ve become rather irritating since you changed. I can’t imagine how Rainbow Dash feels about you now, if she even knows, that is. Since you refused to answer me, I’ll just take my leave.”

With that, Rarity departed the room and ascended the stairs. After the echoes of her hoofsteps had faded, the two guards shared an amused chuckle with each other before one of them said, “Looks like things went well between you two.”

The other inmates looked forlornly at the ground; some even began to tear up and cry again, but the chained pegasus spoke, “Don’t worry. All of you will be released sooner or later. You aren’t Hunters yet, so you’ll be the first to be free when this is all over.”

“B-But what about you?” one of them asked.

“Yeah, what about you?” one of the guards repeated smugly. “Ex-Wonderbolt Soarin.”

Soarin eyed the two guards, and then turned to the jailed ponies looking towards him with hope. Despite the Hunter’s magic preventing him from feeling like he once had, he could still sense the bond he felt whenever he saw a pony with matching colors, and he gave them a forced smile. “I’ll still be here until I’m needed. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be alright.” He then settled back into a comfortable position and stared at the stone floor. “They’ll need me again, eventually… They’ll need all of us…”

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

The gold-trim door opened, and Pinkie Pie greeted the pony outside with a bubbly voice, “Hey, Rarity!”

“Hello, dear,” Rarity replied, smiling as she entered the room. With one brief glance, she saw that she was the last to arrive. “I apologize for being late, girls.”

“No sweat,” Rainbow Dash replied. She was busy in front of a mirror admiring the black marks she had painted on her cheeks. “We’re just about ready here.”

“Ah feel like Ah should be bringing something more with me,” Applejack said as she jostled the saddlebags on her back. “Aside from some rope and food, Ah couldn’t think of too much else to bring. Wish we started this back in Ponyville, and maybe then Ah’d be able to bring some stuff from the farm.”

“It’s alright,” Twilight replied. “In fact, the only reason everypony is carrying a bag is for extra provisions in case something happens.”

“Speaking of,” Pinkie Pie said with a smirk. She bounced herself towards a wrapped basket at the edge of the room and then bounced back to Twilight. “I made you these!”

Twilight took a tentative sniff, and smiled at the aroma coming from it. “Pinkie, are those muffins?”

“Yuperooni! I was able to finish them just before you all came by!”

“Twilight’s portion is separated, I trust?” Rarity asked.

Pinkie Pie simply grinned while sticking her tongue out. “Hmhmm!”

Twilight frowned in confusion for a moment, but then widened her eyes in realization as she screamed, “Pinkie!”

“Relax, Twilight,” Pinkie Pie said. “I was extra careful this time. See? I made the cut nice and small.”

Twilight grimaced and she began to carefully inspect Pinkie Pie’s hoof. “Well, yes, it does seem better than last time, but… That’s not the point! I already told you not to do this!”

“But it’s been a while, right?” Pinkie Pie asked while tilting her head. “Don’t you need to eat?”

“Yeah, but still!”

“No buts, Sugarcube,” Applejack said as she slung an extra coil of rope around her shoulders. “And when you do finish them muffins, you’re gonna accept our blood when ya need it, and without fussing neither.”

Twilight huffed and opened her mouth to speak, but Fluttershy’s squeak interrupted her. “Rarity! A-Are those…”

Everypony turned to Rarity who had set down her saddlebags amongst the group’s, and they saw three gleaming rapiers slowly being twirled about in her magic.

“Just some decorative items from my room,” Rarity answered. “Not quite as sharp as the ones in the armory I imagine, but I suppose they’ll have to do for such late notice. The maids tended to them well enough.”

“Flying feather brains, Rarity,” Rainbow Dash said as she stepped closer for a better look, but still kept herself a healthy distance away from their points. “I get one sword, but three?”

“I was actually hoping I could bring more with me,” Rarity said as she spun them about. They wove intricate patterns between each other, twirling about in what appeared to be random movements. But the girls, who had seen her perform her threadwork numerous times, could spot the underlying motions that resembled the pins and needles she normally wove through the air. Rarity then thrust at a pretend target in rapid succession, pinning it like an unruly cloth from numerous angles.

“Yes, these will do nicely,” Rarity commented as she brought them together and stowed them away.


That pony scares me sometimes.

You and me both.

Twilight watched Rarity speak more to Rainbow Dash about the weapons, painfully noting the lack of expression on Rarity’s face.

I know it’s hard, but she’ll be alright. We’ll figure something out.

I know I told her that I didn’t know if the Elements would help her or not, but…

You’re willing to risk it on the possible chance they can?

Twilight nodded.

Don’t worry, we’ll be careful when we do it. Now that we understand how they work a bit more, maybe we’ll have more control over them. I mean, I’ve never used them, but the few memories you shared made them seem easy enough. Talk about friendship, and then point and shoot, right?

Twilight smirked. When you explain it like that, it makes the whole thing feel incredibly simple.

Isn’t it, though?

Trust me, when you feel their magic coursing through it, nothing seems simple.

Twilight then shared her memories of using the Elements vividly, and she felt Ruby shiver in response. Wow, that’s some magic. You’d think there’d be a downside to using them for all that power. Where the heck did they come from anyways?

I don’t know. But as for downsides , well... it didn’t remove the vampirism… Twilight sighed at the thought, but then gasped moments later. Ruby, I’m so-

It’s fine, I get what you meant. What’s done is done. But I feel just as confused as you do. For all-powerful friendship-slash-soul magic, you’d think they wouldn’t leave something like vampirism in a pony.

I guess there’s still a lot we don’t know about them, especially if they really did cause Rarity’s latent Hunter magic to activate.

That thought brought a wave of sadness from Twilight, but Ruby gently but firmly pushed back against it. That is the best explanation we have so far, but there’s still a lot to think about. We’re going to be spending a lot of time analyzing their effects with our Soul Sight once we get back to Ponyville. What if...

Ruby and Twilight began an in depth conversation, spurred from the contemplative mood that beset them. However, Ruby’s focus was soon replaced by amusement, and Twilight frowned at her internal giggling.

What is it?

Oh, nothing. Just enjoying the fact that I can still see through your eyes even when you aren’t paying attention to them.

Twilight blinked as her outer awareness returned, and she went beet-red when she saw all five of her friends staring at her with smug smiles. Twilight gulped as she meekly said, “I did it again, huh?”

“It’s fine, dear,” Rarity said. “I’m sure you two were having a lovely conversation.”

“Wish we could hear you two talk,” Applejack said. “Sure make things easier when you’re figuring out something.”

“Sorry,” Twilight said as she lowered her chin, and she became even more red at their chuckling.

She’s got a point, Twilight. I’m sure they’d love to hear about how you drooled all over the mirror

So help me I will cut all your connections. Twilight glared at the carpet as she relayed the thought, pretending she could see Ruby cowering beneath her gaze. However, a sudden twinge inside caused her to flinch to the side, and she let out a surprised yelp.

Careful, you wouldn’t want to upset the pony that literally lives inside your soul.

“Everything okay, Twalight?” Applejack asked in concern.

“Just fine!” Twilight exclaimed. “Let’s get back to preparing!”

“I think we’re all ready here, Twi,” Rainbow Dash said. “AJ’s got her rope and some food, I got the blankets, you got the muffins and Rarity’s got her pokers.”

“Rapiers,” Rarity corrected.

“Whatever. The fact is we’re all good to go.” Rainbow Dash’s confident grin fell when she looked to Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. While Pinkie Pie was giving them a wide grin in show of support, Fluttershy’s smile was small, and tears were already falling down her cheeks.

“Aww, geeze,” Rainbow Dash said forlornly as she hovered to Fluttershy. “We know you’re brave, ‘Shy. Really, we do.”

“That’s right,” Applejack said as she came to Fluttershy’s side as well. “Nopony’s blaming ya on how things turned out. Aint none of us thinking less of ya.”

“B-But I-” Fluttershy began.

“Now, dear,” Rarity interjected. She moved in front of Fluttershy and gently parted Fluttershy’s mane so that she could see her face clearly. Rarity smiled at her. “We’re all fighting hard on this. And while we’ll be doing the physical portion of that fighting, there’s no pony who's fought as well or fervently as you have.” Rarity wrapped her hooves around Fluttershy and pulled her into a hug. “Celestia knows how much you’ve been helping me through this, dear. And you’ll be here to help us when we get back. That’s where your strength shines.”

Fluttershy sucked in a lungful of air as she hugged Rarity back, and she held their tight embrace until she stopped shivering.

“There you are,” Rarity cooed. “It’ll be alright.”

The other girls gave gentle touches of support, and when Fluttershy finally pulled away to wipe the drying tears, she shared a quick hug with each of them as well.

A silence came over the room when none of them were sure what to say next, and that silence served as a reminder they couldn’t delay their departure much longer. Together, they all looked out the room’s balcony and towards the dark night.

“He’s out there, somewhere,” Applejack said.

Rainbow Dash snorted. “Probably thinks he’s gotten away with all of this too.”

They each focused on their own thoughts, imagining what may come next or how it had all lead to this moment. Night Walker had done terrible things, and it was their unified goal to defeat him. Yet, as much as they each sought his demise, Twilight’s resolve on the matter was undoubtedly the greatest among all of them, so the girls looked to Twilight’s deathly silent visage.

Watching her at this moment, on the precipice of their dangerous journey, they saw how much Twilight had changed, and grown from it all. They could see the old Twilight within her, the neurotic book loving princess whom they had all come to know deeply these last few years, but they could also see the wealth of difference these last few months had brought. But the result of those differences wasn’t just the red coloration of her cutie mark, the hidden fangs, or even the crimson coloring of her eyes. Rather, it was the intensity now held in those eyes, a sharpness that hadn’t existed before. It was a cooled fury that revealed the deep changes within her, and they found that they could no longer tell whether it was more Twilight or Ruby behind those fierce eyes. So much had happened to Twilight, and they knew more was to come even after they defeated Night Walker. This was just a beginning, and they could only wonder what it would mean for all of them.

Twilight took a breath, and then turned away from the balcony to look at them. “I have enough magic to safely teleport us four times.” The girls straightened their postures as they listened. “The first one will get us to the cliffside above Canterlot where I’ll have a better view. The second will bring us in the open air towards the north, and it’ll be our distraction. Celestia will probably figure out what’s happening quickly when the first teleport triggers the wards, so we need to leave a false magical trail. The third will bring us back to the ground and towards the east so we’re pointed towards Fillydelphia. I’ll only do a fourth one if Celestia manages to trace our direction after the third jump.”

The girls nodded in understanding, and they readied themselves. Apprehension filled them, but it was oddly soothing. They were about to face their most dangerous foe, but at least they were together now, even if two of them would be in spirit. For a moment, it felt like they were simply saddling up for just another adventure like they had done so many times before.

“Ready?” Twilight asked. Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash nodded in reply, and when they grouped closely around her, Twilight flared her horn. “Here we go.”

Building the magic so it enveloped the four of them, Twilight looked to one of Canterlot Mountain’s cliff edges high above the city, and she easily spotted a clear spot for them. With an audible crackle that came from the pooling magic, Twilight let loose her power, and they flashed with a resounding pop. In one jarring moment they appeared on the ledge where the warmth of the castle room had been traded for a chilling wind. While Applejack and Rainbow Dash blinked in disorientation from the sudden darkness, Rarity was keenly scanning their surroundings. Twilight briefly looked back to see a series of lit rune marks appear around the castle, and she shivered at the lingering magic the wards left on her, a trailing magical mark that would allow others to trace her for some time.

“Grab on,” Twilight said as she flared her horn again, and the girls latched onto her. With a second pop, they found themselves on the other side of the mountain, where Canterlot’s lights did not reach, and also high above the ground in the open air. Applejack instinctively screamed as she pawed at the air beneath her hooves. Rainbow Dash flared her wings to slow their descent as much as she could, but Twilight was already flaring her horn again while looking to the east. With a third pop, they were on the ground once again and near a forest’s edge.

Rarity immediately detached herself and looked back towards the mountain. Its distant figure contrasted against the stars behind it, and although its looming silhouette seemed far away, they were still much too close for comfort.

Leaving Applejack as she made peace with the ground despite Rainbow Dash’s snickering, Twilight joined Rarity’s side, and they both concentrated on the mountain intensely. The ward’s lingering magic was but all gone now, and Twilight felt certain that Celestia wouldn’t be able to pinpoint their mid-air transition in time. But when a white light suddenly shined at the mountains peak, Twilight’s breath caught in her throat. A moment passed as the light hovered in place, and then it began to flicker from the casting of spells.

Please go back, please go back…

After a few tense seconds, the light suddenly descended the mountain’s side at a frightening pace, causing it to look like a comet with a trailing white flame. Twilight’s jaw dropped as she watched the blazing speck zoom down and then pull away from the mountain to tear across the sky, its direction fixed towards the north.

She isn’t going back… Why isn’t she going back?

You know why, Twilight...

She’s leaving Canterlot vulnerable, Twilight replied as she followed the distant blaze. Go back! Please, go back!

Twilight gasped as the light flared once again, and then impossibly exploded forward with a terrifying speed. The echoing boom reached her ears moments after, along with a rush of wind that had almost sounded like a distraught voice calling out. The light quickly vanished over the landscape, leaving Twilight stunned within the dark.

“Looks like she fell for it,” Rarity commented. “We better get moving in case she comes back.” Rarity turned, but paused when she saw Twilight still staring up into the sky. “Twilight."

“Huh?” Twilight said as she turned to look at her. She flinched when she saw how close Rarity's hoof was to her face.

“You’re crying,” Rarity said quietly as she wiped away the tears that Twilight hadn’t realized were there. “We’ll talk about it on the way, but right now we need to move.”

Twilight numbly nodded, and let Rarity to guide her forward.

“Not all of us can see in the dark you know,” Rainbow Dash complained as she waved a hoof towards them. “Is it safe enough to get some light?”

Rarity faintly lit her horn, and she motioned for Applejack and Rainbow Dash to stick close to her.

“Twi, you alr-” Applejack began to say, but she was cut off by Rarity’s shaking head.

“Let’s focus on moving for now, shall we?” Rarity stated.

“R-Right, lead the way.”

With Twilight in the middle to recollect her thoughts, Rainbow Dash and Applejack flanked her sides, and Rarity took the lead as they walked east.

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

At another place, a cloaked stallion held an amused smile while watching the sky. The white light that rocketed from Canterlot and then vanished on the other side of the mountain was unmistakable, and he chuckled at its implications. He raised his hoof and shadows began to coalesce, swirling about before depositing a thin, wrapped parcel in his hoof when they vanished. Standing before a mailbox, he pushed the slot open and slid the package through, smiling to himself as he listened to the resounding thud it made within the bin. He then turned around and began walking into the dark night, softly humming an old tune.

Author's Note:

It began with a bat,
And the First Act was started,
Twilight fruitlessly searched for cures,
But her memories would be parted.

Then bat ponies came,
And the Second Act was here,
She learned to bite and drink,
And she learned of fear.

And when the amulet was broken,
The Third Act had arrived,
Yet, As Twilight and Ruby faced the Night,
They did not know they would be deprived.

The story's curtains begin to draw close...

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters Next
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!