• 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 I - Chapter 5

Listen, listen!

I swear I’m not mad!

There’s a monster in this town,

And your lives he will have!

Why do you not listen?

Why do you not believe?

Has he turned you all against me?

Has he all of you deceived?



“Ah’m heading out now,” Applejack announced as she trotted of the porch.

Granny Smith nodded in response and looked to her warmly from her rocking chair. “Alright dearie. Ah’ll save some pie fer you tonight incase you’re still hungry after Fluttershy’s.”

“Thanks Granny,” Applejack replied with a wave, then proceeded down the path. Celestia knows ah’ll need it. It’s no wonder how Fluttershy always looked so dainty giving what she considers dinner.

But despite the stomach grumbles Applejack knew would come even after finishing their meal, she looked forward to having dinner at Fluttershy’s house. It wasn’t something that they had done regularly; just a nice change of routine now and then that allowed them to spend time with each other.

While Applejack wasn’t as passionate about animals as much as Fluttershy was, her daily contact with them gave her some expertise, and she found it to be one of the few topics of conversation that was easy to hit-off with Fluttershy before branching out into other things; a pregamer as Rainbow Dash once commented.

Speaking of, ah better stop by Floral’s for some of the flowers Rainbow Dash said Fluttershy really enjoys as a topping. Ah can’t let the poor girl pay for all the food each time.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Oh! Hello there, Applejack.”

“Howdy, Daisy,” Applejack greeted as she entered the small store. “How have you been doing?”

“Really good actually,” the pink earth pony replied with a smile. “Can I help you look for anything?”

“Nah, ah got it.”

“Alright, just let me know if you do,” Daisy nearly sang before returning her to work on a bouquet she was creating.

Applejack gave a small smirk at Daisy’s good mood, then turned around and began walking slowly down the shelves of flowers. From seeds to full grown flowers, the shop had it all. Normally she was always near the seed section, keeping an eye on any plants that Granny Smith might like around the farm. But today was for food, and she swung herself to the isles of flowers displayed in various vases.

She was tempted to buy some of the one she had passed initially due to how pleasant they smelled, feeling her stomach already beginning to protest for something to eat, but remained diligent and searched for the flower Rainbow Dash had said would be easy enough to find.

And true enough, It only took a minute of searching the spot the orange rose with blue tints that Rainbow Dash had described to her. “Night’s Sun huh?” Applejack said as she read off the name. “Hope it’s as tasty as it looks.” Applejack began to fish out a couple of the roses, when her ears pricked at the sound of humming coming from Daisy.

It was a sweet melody, and it made Applejack try to suppress a smirk that threatened to overtake her. Ah see. Surprised I didn’t notice right away.

Applejack grabbed the flowers, and proceeded back up to the counter, watching Daisy closely with a knowing smile.

“Will that be everything, Applejack?” Daisy asked as she noticed Applejack approaching.

“Yeah, this will be all fer now,” Applejack said while setting the flowers on the counter, her eyes not having left Daisy for a moment.

“Let me just ring you up…”

Daisy began the checkout, all while humming her melody throughout her actions. If anything, it only made Applejack smile more smugly.

“So, Daisy…”

“Hm-hmm.”

“When did ya ask him?”

The humming stopped at once, and the bag Daisy had been unfolding nearly slipped out of her hooves. As her cheeks began to turn a darker shade of pink, she ran a hoof behind her green mane while failing to hide her cheerfulness. “W-what do you mean?”

“I’m asking when ya asked Meadow Song on a date.”

Daisy eyes flitted left and right, before she tucked her chin and looked up with Applejack sheepishly, a full grin plastered beneath her dark cheeks. “...Last night.”

“Good fer you!” Applejack said while gently thumping Daisy’s shoulder over the counter. “Ah knew you had it in ya.”

“Y-yeah, I finally managed to work up the courage to ask him.”

“About time too. Ah was wondering if you would ever get your nerve.”

“Well, it’s thanks to you and your constant encouragement,” Daisy said, the red from her cheeks beginning to vanish as she began checking out the flowers again. “Honestly, if it wasn’t for you telling me to go after him, I never would have tried asking him.”

“Ah’m just glad it worked out,” Applejack said, a small blush forming on her cheeks as well.

“No really, I do want to thank you.” Daisy reached over the counter and grasped Applejacks front hooves. “You’ve always been supportive Applejack, and I just want to thank you for listening to my small problems. In fact, I would give you these flowers for free, or even a discount, if I knew you would take it.”

“Shucks, ya don’t have to thank me that much,” Applejack said while turning away.

“But its only thanks to you that I realized my own problems of being so terribly shy with him, and finally realizing I need help, like from Trail.”

“Well, ah… pardon?”

“Trail,” Daisy said cheerfully. “The new therapist in town? I thought you had already met him at Pinkie Pie’s party two weeks ago?”

“Ah did,” Applejack said while pulling her hooves away. “But what does he got to do with you and Meadow Song?” she asked skeptically.

“Well, I do have issues around stallions and he is a therapist,” Daisy said with an eye roll, thinking Applejack was having fun with her.

“Ah suppose so…” Applejack said slowly.

“Really though,” Daisy said as she finished bagging up the flowers, “he is such a nice stallion. And skilled too! Did you know he cured Lily’s fear of bunnies?”

“Were not talking about the same Lily that fainted from the stampeding bunnies way back?”

“Yup! She’s trauma free and everything now! I heard she even went over to Fluttershy’s the other day to ask about buying a pet bunny.”

“That’s… great…”

“Isn’t it?” Daisy replied, unaware that Applejack had stopped smiling along with her sometime ago. “That’ll be five bits please.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Applejack’s eyes were focused on the ground ahead of her, deep in thought as she weaved her way through the streets of Ponyville. She was replaying the conversation she had with Daisy over and over in her mind.

Trail…

Just thinking his name caused her to scowl. Gosh darn it, what is it about him that sets me off? He was polite and nice enough at his welcoming party.

Even recalling the first moment she met him caused her leg muscles to tense up. There was just something about him, some unknown sense of warning that fired off Applejack’s internal alarms. It had been when she looked him in the eye and shook his hoof. At that moment she knew she something was off, and it had been the root of her worries ever since then.

But he seems like a good pony, she reasoned. He’s a therapist, something ah still think is phooey in needin, but it looks like he has been helping other ponies.

As if to confirm the fact, Applejack looked about her and at the other ponies in Ponyville. The mood was pleasant and relaxed, like any normal day for it. But she wasn’t sure it was her imagination, or if it was indeed thanks to Trail, that ponies seemed just a little extra chirpier. An extra smile, a relaxing breath, or a content sigh, all of it seemed possibly a little more than usual.

She didn’t know how many customers he had taken since his arrival, and knew it was foalish of her to think everypony had visited him. But she couldn’t stop her mind from jumping from one conclusion to another, looking for anything, something, to justify her feelings towards him.

As if fate gave her an opportunity to search for a reason, she stopped dead in her tracks at the realization she was currently standing at the edge of Trail’s property.

Shoot, ah forgot ah have to pass this place to get to Fluttershy’s.

Applejack looked onto the expansive house with an uneasy feeling in her gut that was only worsened by her growing hunger. The place was charming enough even if it was a little ‘fancy’ as she would describe, and she had often wondered when a pony would move into it whenever she passed. Twilight Sparkle was the last pony to move to Ponyville, and it seemed odd to Applejack that nopony else had moved in since.

Applejack had intended on the next resident that moved in, she would be as neighborly as possible. Which was why she was so frustrated with herself for feeling the way she did towards Trail without any seemingly good reason that came to mind.

Applejack stood near the edge of the property for some minutes reflecting on everything, when the door to his house suddenly opened. Fearing that she had been seen just standing near his house, she began to walk at a brisk pace down the fence and to the other end. Her fears however, were quelled when she saw a different stallion exit the house with Trail behind and standing in the doorway.

Slowing down just a tad, she peered out of the corners of her eyes as the Trail and what she assumed was one of his clients shook hooves, the stallion wearing a bright smiling and looking to be thanking gratefully.

Why does it bother me so much that ev’ry pony likes him? It’s not that ah’m jealous is it? I’ve never been a green apple of envy before.

As the stallion turned and made for the walk up the lawn, Trail’s eyes drifted over Applejack who had been in the moment of passing his front gate, and gave her a smile and a wave.

Applejack gave a nervous laugh that she hoped he could not hear, and waved in return with the best smile she could muster. Only a few feet left. Just keep smiling. Almost there...

As soon as she cleared the fence line and was already disappearing into the last few houses before the woodland trail to Fluttershy’s, Applejack let out a large sigh of relieve.

“Celestia’s sake, ah’m more bothered than beehive facing a bear.” She slowed her pace and continued onwards to the cottage, her eyes back to focusing on the path ahead intently. This is driving me up a wall, just why does he bother me so much?

Searching inwards until the soft sound of the stream that ran past the cottage grabbed her attention, she looked up and found herself having already arrived.

“Maybe Fluttershy has some advice on this…”

~~~~~~~~~~

“Trail?”

“Yeah, what are your thoughts about him?”

Fluttershy thought for a moment as she poured herself a cup of tea. “Well, he seems like a nice pony. A little strange at times, but nice enough.”

“That’s what I keep telling myself,” Applejack said as she looked into her cup. With a heavy sigh, she looked back to Fluttershy. “Look, ah suppose ah should just get to the point of bringing this up. As nice as a pony Trail is, for some reason ah can’t shake this…feeling I have of him. And it ain’t a good one. So ah was wondering how you felt about him, see if ah can figure out myself from hearing your thoughts.”

“Oh, um… okay,” Fluttershy said. “Uh… he’s… nice?”

Applejack gave a deadpan looked to Fluttershy who began to fumble with her hooves.

“I’m sorry, Applejack, but I don’t know if I can help you with. He’s-”

“Please don’t say nice again.”

“Um… he’s… interesting, to say the least. He’s unusual in some ways, but he always seems to mean well and… I’m sorry, I just can’t talk bad about a pony behind there back.”

“Ah’m not asking ya to talk bad about him sugercube,” Applejack said while setting down her cup. “Ah’m just trying to see what you honestly think of him. If ah am the only pony who feels like there’s something wrong with him, then ah’ll just have to chalk it up to it being something wrong with me.”

“I understand, it’s just… well, I really do think he’s nice.” Fluttershy ignored the looked Applejack gave her and continued on. “He’s considerate, his job is about helping other ponies. In fact, he even offered to give me a free session.”

“Yer not thinking of doing it are you?” Applejack said, not concealing her scowl in the slightest.

“Oh no, I don’t think I could.” Fluttershy meekly smiled. “I know I have some issues, but I don’t really feel comfortable seeing a therapist about it. At least, not yet.”

“At least we share the same opinion about his line of work,” Applejack said with a sigh as she leaned back against her chair. “So maybe it is just me then…”

Fluttershy stared into her cup for a few moments, searching her memory for anything that might help. “Um… I don’t know if it counts… but, he has turned down my offer for him to have tea at my house a couple times.”

Applejack looked at her in surprise. “You invited him for tea? All on your own?”

“I’m trying to get better about being more open with other ponies. And I thought if he saw me offering to spend time with him, that he wouldn’t know I was so shy.”

“...Yeah, don’t think he would have picked that up otherwise.”

“But,” Fluttershy continued, “he has turned it down each time.”

“So?”

“Well… it’s just… he’s been to Twilight’s, Rarity’s, and Pinkies house a few times. I thought, maybe he would like to see mine. But he keeps saying no, but politely of course. It’s starting to make me think theres something wrong with me...”

“That’s mighty odd and impolite if ah do say so,” Applejack said. “You have any idea why?”

“I’m not sure… Has he been to your hou-”

“Heck no.”

“Oh… sorry…”

As Fluttershy was thinking of something else to add, Angel appeared from nowhere, hopping up into her lap and immediately began to take bits out of her sandwich. Fluttershy gave him a soft look and patted his head, while Applejack gave a glare at Angel. Sometimes ah wonder if Fluttershy would even be able to spot rude if it came and bit her on the behind.

“Oh, thats right,” Fluttershy spoke.

“Hmm?”

“The other day when we met up for our weekly pet play date, Pinkie and I had stopped at his house.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Oh, sorry… was I supposed to?”

“No, I suppose not,” Applejack sighed. “What happened?”

“Well, Pinkie knocked on the door and asked if he wanted to come play with our pets. Trail cracked the door open only a little and politely said no. When Pinkie pressed on it, he said something about being allergic to alligators.”

“Alligators?”

“I know, odd isn’t it? And even more strange was that Angel was holding onto me as tight as he could while we were talking to him. He doesn’t normally act like that except when Discord is around.”

“Speaking of, where is he?”

“Last I heard was that he was on some errands for the princesses.”

Ain’t that always the excuse for why he’s never around when he could actually be useful for a change. Applejack quickly pulled back the small sandwich on her plate when Angel made a move for it, giving him a scowl before propping herself back into her chair while holding the plate.

“Okay, so he may a weird thing with animals. Anything else?”

“No, not that I know of. I’m sorry I can’t help anymore.”

“It’s alright,” Applejack sighed. “Maybe ah am just chasing my own tail on this…”

“Have any of the other girls said anything that was helpful?”

“No, not really. Ah asked Twalight but you would think that she believes Trail is the next best thing besides apple barrels. Ah asked her once about how odd of a stallion he was with his name and coat color, and she locks me down in a two hour study lecture about how his name is apparently old as dirt and common back in tha day. And how about something about coat colors would skip generations and pop back up. Did you know apparently ponies weren’t as colorful as they are today?”

“That is strange, I guess.”

“Ah can’t even spend time with Twalight without him being brought up in one way or another. And to be honest, as annoying as it is hearing how everypony else likes him, I’m starting to feel bad that ah’m the only one who doesn’t like Trail.”

“Have you spent time with him with just the two of you?”

“...No…”

“Maybe you should start there then, and see where it goes.” Fluttershy offered her most supportive smile, and held it until Applejack gave a small smirk.

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.” Applejack stared thoughtfully into her cup for sometime, until she exhaled heavily. “Tell you what, ah’ll invite him to my house later this week. Spend some time with him and properly introduce him to mah family. And, ah’ll figure out why he hasn’t come to your place,” she finished with a soft smile.

“Oh, you don’t have too. I just want it to go well for you.”

“You know you are one of the sweetest ponies around?

“I just like helping other ponies,” Fluttershy said with a smile. “Like Trail,” she added with a wink.

Applejack did not know which one to be more taken aback from. The fact that even Fluttershy was squeezing him name into conversations as well, or the fact that she tried to make a joke.

~~~~~~~~~~

A few hours later and the sun almost below the horizon, Applejack was waving goodbye to Fluttershy and crossing the stream. “We’ll have to do this again sometime,” Fluttershy called out to her. “It was such a lovely time.”

“Sure thing, Just let me know the next time you’re planning on it!” Applejack replied back.

Glad to have made some progress on her dilemma, she headed back to the farm with silent appreciation of the coming night. The edge of the sky held a soft red hue as the stars slowly made their way out above. Luna’s moon had yet to rise, waiting respectfully at the edge of the sky for Celestia’s sun to fully disappear from the horizon.

Applejack took in a deep breath of the night air and let it out in a happy smile. The air had a crisp sensation to it that almost made it magical. Nights like these, she would just want to spend on a hill on the farm, listening to the crickets play in the tall grass while she stargazed into the night sky. She really hasn’t had the chance to enjoy a night like this in a while. She was always caught up in getting enough sleep to work the next day or to recover from whatever adventure she and her friends wound up on.

Applejack briefly reflected that tonight might be a good night to star watch with Apple Bloom if she wasn’t asleep yet. It was something Applejack grew up on with her father, him keeping her up past her bedtime to sneak outside into the night much to mothers distaste. Together they would find a nice patch on a hill to lie down on and just stare into the endless array of stars above them. He would teach Applejack some of the constellations he had known about.

Of course she knew most of them now, a perk to being a friend to Twilight Sparkle. But the time she spent with her father just staring into the sky was one of her favorite memories. However Apple Bloom never had gotten the chance to spend time like that with them; she was too young when they had passed away to remember much. Something that tore into Applejack’s chest time to time whenever she thought about it.

But a night like this shouldn’t be wasted, and even if her parents were gone, she could at least be there for Apple Bloom and do what her father did for her. Applejack smiled at the thought of getting Apple Bloom out of bed if she was asleep already and walk out into the orchard to find the perfect star watching spot. She may not be a replaced for her father, but she could be the best big sister should could. She could be there for her and be her star watching partner. Applejack gave a small chuckle at the idea and decided she would drag Apple Bloom out with her, maybe even Big Mac too.

Her peaceful mood however was broken at once again seeing the sight of a particular house coming up. Even at night when Trail would probably be getting ready for bed if not already being asleep, just passing the place alone caused Applejack to give it a scowl of uncertainty and suspicion, despite the good will she had spoken at Fluttershy’s cottage. She still could not place a hoof on why she felt this way, but it seemed to become clearer with each day that it was not going to go away; no matter how much she convinced herself otherwise.

Before she could mull further on the matter, the sound of a door closing brought her out of thought. Squinting into the darkness, she could make out movement behind Trail’s house. From where she was on the road, she had yet to walk by the house and had a full side view of its front and back garden. She was only able to make out the shape of a pony leaving the house and heading towards the woods some distance behind it.

Ears twitching, she detected the faint noise of a voice, but she was unable to make out anything it had said or if she had just imagined it. Paying closer attention, she stared hard into the growing darkness as the figure moved closer to the woods. Her eyes widened in surprise as she made out a shadow within the trees stir and move out to meet the form. It looked to be another pony from what she could see, but she was unable to make out any details other than that there were two of them now heading towards each other.

The two finally closed in on one another, and after a short moment, both began to head back into the woods. Now what in tarnation is he doing this late at night? Applejack thought to herself. The whole thing seemed shady with her already preconceived notions on the pony. Meeting mysterious ponies at night and moving into the dark woods certainly did not help paint a good picture of somepony either she reasoned.

Ah wonder what he’s up to? Maybe if I stay quiet and follow close I can find- Applejack stopped herself as she had lifted up a hoof to begin pursuit. “Steady girl, you’re just being paranoid on tha whole thing. Don’t need to be acting like Twalight.” She took in a deep breath and exhaled. “There’s no reason 'ta follow him into the woods. Whatever he does is his business, not yours. Just… be a good pony, and head on back home.”

Shaking off the moment, she stepped forward again on the road and began to walk past Trail’s house. She was determined to keep her focus on moving on, but could not help but let her eyes drift over the house as she passed by. To her, it was such a shame that such a charming house, even it was a little large, suddenly seemed so unwelcoming to her since Trail moved in.

But as to not dwell on the matter further, she huffed and whipped her head forward and resolutely continued to walk by it. She had made past the house and was well towards the end of the street before she would have to turn into town to get to the road that led home. However, she halted before making the turn, her eyes still locked ahead of her. As much as she kept telling herself to just leave it alone and head on home, to get Apple Bloom and spend some time with her, a nagging feeling pulled at her chest that said otherwise. She never had any leads as to what may explain her feelings for the eccentric pony; but that this might be the only chance she could get to find out why she did.

Slowly turning her head around, she stared hard at the spot she had seen on who she assumed was Trail and the mystery pony had entered the woods at. Her teeth began to grind together as her muscles twitched with anticipation for a chase, and it was taking all her strength to not follow her instinct.

After a minute of silent frustration, she whipped her head forward again, and continued around the corner. “Ah am not going to act like a foalish filly and chase a stranger into the woods at night.” With that she pressed on and the sounds of her hoof steps steadily faded into the distance as she moved away.

The street grew silent as all sounds of life drifted away. A lone cat crawled out from under a fence hole and sat in the middle of the street to give itself a bath, satisfied that it was alone now. However, it wasn’t until some minutes later before its ears pricked up in alarm at the sound of a commotion coming towards it. The noise of the pitter patter of hooves started soft and distant, and grew resoundingly loud as they closed in. The cat twitched its tail in agitation and dove back under the fence to flee the oncoming noise.

Shortly after, Applejack burst from around the corner and barreled towards Trail’s house. Leaping clear over the front yard fence, and without pause, dashed towards the rear of the house. Skirting the edges of the house she reached the back yard, and continued forward, charging headlong into the dark woods just some distance across a field; an orange streak before she became engulfed in the shadows the trees.

Buck it. Ah’m getting to the bottom of this tonight!

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