• Published 11th Sep 2013
  • 15,916 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?

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Epilogue

Two days later…

After affixing her crown atop her head, Twilight looked to her friends. “Is everyone ready?”

A large space had been cleared within the library, allowing them to sit in a small circle. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy signaled they were ready in their own ways, each of them wearing their Elements of Harmony. Twilight then shifted her focus to Rarity who sat in the center of their circle, also wearing her Element.

“Are you ready?” Twilight asked.

Rarity held a passive expression, and replied with a calm, “Yes.”

“Okay then, let’s start,” Twilight announced, and then closed her eyes.

The others followed in suit, focusing their attention on their Elements as they willed them to life. The magic was quick to respond, as it always was, and soon, a warm tingle was felt in their bodies as a gentle breeze began to build within the library.

The sensation of using the Elements of Harmony was as Twilight remembered, but thanks to recent events in her life, there was now more she could experience.

As she and the girls opened their eyes, all of which emitted a white light, Twilight looked around herself with fascination.

Twilight saw how the Elements reacted to each of her friends soul. They gently filled the open spaces among the fibers of their being, caressing the piece of their soul that their respective Element was drawn to. Even when Twilight glanced at her own chest, she could see and feel how the Element of Magic surrounded her very being.

This is amazing, Ruby whispered in awe. Temporarily isolated from Twilight due to their concerns of the Element of Magic finding two souls instead of one, Ruby watched from her bubbled vantage point as Twilight’s soul was filled.

It’s cushioning you, Ruby surmised. This must be how it negates any damage that might occur during the resonance.

The Element of Magic then pulsed, and Twilight and Ruby watched as it stretched its magic away from her and towards her friends. Like a purple colored ribbon, it connected to the others souls, and theirs did the same with their own colors. With the links forged, the rainbow colored bridges that spanned across the air began to pulse, and the magical power quickly rose.

Look at how it’s syncing you all together, and how smooth and stable it is. This puts our attempt to shame!

Ruby.

Right, sorry. Keep focusing.

Twilight nodded, and she looked to Rarity.

Rarity’s Element of Generosity had filled the entirety of her soul, but the grey substance that was the Hunter’s curse still clung to her, stifling her very being. Twilight’s ears fell at seeing it again, but she dismissed her worries as she focused on her goal. They did not know if it would succeed, but they had to try. Rarity had never undergone the ritual that unlocks the Hunter’s curse in full. They believed it was the Elements of Harmony that had activated the Hunter’s curse in Rarity, back when they tried to remove the vampirism in Twilight, and it was with the Elements power that they hoped suppress the curse once more.

The windows of the library buffeted as the energies arced between them, and soon their bodies were lifted into the air. The books rattled on the shelves, and despite cabinets being closed, their doors were thrown open and papers were scattered about. But Twilight ignored her surroundings. She and the rest of the girls were entirely focused on Rarity at the center, all of them wishing for the same thing as they prayed to their Elements.

They called upon their memories of Rarity, cherished recollections of who she was before everything had begun. Her joys, her faults, her dramatic tendencies, and above all, her smile. Her genuine and natural smile.

The gems on their Elements glowed their respective colors, and Twilight and Ruby saw the energy bounce between them faster and faster. This was soul resonance on a level far above Twilight and Ruby’s attempt, and with their latest understanding of the concept, they could only watch in awe at the spectacle that was seen by their eyes alone.

Here it comes! Ruby exclaimed.

Before the magic reached its peak, Twilight tore her gaze from the wondrous sight around her to look at Rarity’s face. Despite the power flowing within the room, Rarity still held her passive expression, patiently waiting as one would for anything mundane. A tear fell down Twilight’s cheek, and she threw her wings open as her body was filled with magic.

Please, let this work. Please… Fix Rarity.

A bright light filled the room as the building magic reached its peak, and a wave of colors shot forth from their necklaces, gathering together in a dazzling rainbow before crashing down onto Rarity. The very color of their souls pierced her being, and even Ruby had to dismiss their soul sight as the crescendo of light blinded them.

When Twilight’s sight returned, she found herself and the girls sitting in a daze on the floor. Twilight shook her head as the disorientation dissipated, and she stumbled onto her hooves.

“R-Rarity?” Twilight asked as she refocused her gaze on the center of the room.

Rarity was lying on the floor, and her eyes fluttered open at the sound of her name. With a soft groan, she slowly lifted herself, cupping the side of her head with a hoof.

The rest of the girls stared with bated breath, as Rarity looked around. She blinked once, then twice as her eyes flitted back and forth. But when she turned and locked eyes with Twilight, her eyes widened, and she spoke with a soft voice, “Twilight?”

Twilight stepped forward with an anxious expression. “Rarity? Are you alright? Did… Did it work?”

For a moment Rarity looked at her with a blank expression, but then her lip began to tremble, and moisture built up in her eyes. Immediately her stone expression fell away into grief, and her ears fell flat. “T-Twilight!” she cried.

Twilight’s heart twinged, and she dashed forward, wrapping her hooves around Rarity. “I’m here, I’m here! Are you okay? Is it gone?”

Rarity buried her face in Twilight’s shoulder, and Twilight wrapped her hooves around Rarity in kind. “I… I… I can.... Twilight! Girls! I…” Rarity cried. Her body shuddered as she tried to form words, and tears fell freely from her eyes.

At once the rest of the girls piled on, and together they held her in a warm embrace as they began to break down as well.

“It’s alright, Rares,” Applejack said, letting out a shaky laugh afterwards. “Take it easy, we’re here for ya.”

“Ah-Appleja-ja-jaaaaack!” Rarity cried out as she detached a hoof from Twilight and latched onto Applejack.

“Woah now,” Applejack said, having nearly been knocked over. “Ah think you gotten a tad bit stronger. Nearly crushed my lungs there.”

Rarity let out a laugh, but otherwise continued her tight embrace.

“See? What’d I tell ya?” Rainbow Dash said, obviously trying to keep herself from breaking down despite the wetness in her eyes. “You’re nothing like them.”

Pinkie Pie was so emotional she was taking deep breaths between words. “That. Was. The. Most. Terrific. And. Bestest. Rainbow. Lazer. Thingy. Ever!”

Rarity shifted to each of them, holding onto them for dear life as they each gave her words of encouragement. With the exception of Fluttershy, who Rarity hugged more gently. But her concern was unneeded, for Fluttershy gripped her tightly as she bawled just as hard as Rarity.

Twilight stared lovingly at the sight before her. Now that Rarity was currently detached from her, Twilight took the opportunity to wipe her eyes, and centered herself back on the task at hoof.

Ruby.

Already on it.

Twilight’s eyes became white, and as they did, the girls quieted. Rarity lowered her chin as she sniffled, anxiously awaiting Twilight’s final word on the results.

Rarity’s soul flickered into view, and Twilight furrowed her brow as she Ruby delved into Rarity. A tense silence filled the room as Twilight and Ruby scanned.

Wow, those Elements are really something else.

It’s gone. It’s really gone.

Not entirely.

Twilight frowned, unknowingly causing the girls to tighten their grip on Rarity.

See? By the looks of things, it’s back where it should be.

Ruby drew Twilight’s attention to a deep portion of Rarity’s soul, and like the Hunter initiates they examined yesterday in preparation, they found the Hunter’s curse was bundled into a small section that was separate from the rest of Rarity’s soul. Like a leftover ember from a dying flame, it sat alone, and Twilight couldn’t stop herself from smiling.

Rarity’s soul was back as it was, and while the multitude of emotions that rushed over her brought immense joy to Twilight, she was most relieved at the sight of all the fear that had been contained. Rarity was scared, and she was going to be alright.

Ruby dismissed the soul sight, and Twilight wiped her eyes again as she gave a happy laugh. “It worked,” Twilight said. “It worked!”

Rarity’s face became a mess as she let out a held breath, and as she began to bawl anew, she threw her arms around Twilight again.

“You’re going to be okay,” Twilight said, stroking Rarity’s mane. “You’re gonna be okay, you're back to yourself.”

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

“You should have seen me!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed as she recounted her tale. She and the rest of the girls were sharing tea with each other in a pile of blankets, forgoing the comfort of furniture for the reassuring proximity of each other.

“The first one tried to pin my wings down, and the second and third were like, ‘Rawr!’ and ‘Grrr!’”. Rainbow Dash threw her hooves into the air as she battled an invisible opponent. “But they didn’t know they were messing with me! They took a punch or two, but ‘Boom!’ and ‘Pow!’ and they were out of my way in no time.”

“I seem to recall you having aide from the guards,” Rarity said, smirking as she set her tea down with her magic.

“Well, yeah, they were there, too. But I was the one to break free and search the castle for Twilight. They might’ve been vamponies, but they weren’t a match for my speed. You wouldn’t believe how many times I left them in the dust as I zipped through the castle.” Rainbow Dash then turned to Twilight. “I don’t know what spell you used, but when you did, the entire place lit up like… like…”

“Like I used the Elements of Harmony?” Twilight replied.

“Yeah, like that.”

“Well,” Twilight began, shuffling in her blanket as she repositioned the hooves beneath herself. “I kinda recreated what the Elements of Harmony do. Ruby and I somehow managed to perform a soul resonance.”

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “So she just went and grew her own soul?”

Twilight shook her head. “No, it’s… It’s hard to describe. Ruby is something that I’ve never seen before, and from how Night Walker…”

Twilight’s voice dropped, and her eyes drifted downward. The rest of the girls shared a worried look with each other. Rarity placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder, and when Twilight looked back, Rarity held a pensive but anxious expression.

“You haven’t said a word about it. Twilight, what happened between you two?” Rarity asked.

Twilight opened her mouth, but then dropped her ears as she sighed heavily. “That’s the thing… I don’t know what happened.”

Rarity gently rubbed Twilight’s shoulder, waiting patiently for her to continue.

Twilight’s eyes focused on the ground, furrowing her brow as she tried to make sense of her memories. “He… The plan Ruby and I devised didn’t work. The moment we saw him we just snapped. We gave him everything we had. And at some point, we started resonating between each other.” Twilight frowned as she tilted her head. “It built so quickly, and we felt like that this was it, we were going to do it. He was nothing but a shadow under us when we released the magic on him, but it didn’t go right, and…”

Twilight brought a hoof to her chest, and she took a deep breath. “We really hurt ourselves. Ruby is able to heal the damage, but we almost killed ourselves.”

Twilight’s eyes fluttered as she became aware of her thirst, and she paused to sip from her tea. Twilight grimaced slightly at the taste of blood mixed with daffodil tea, finding that her idea of mixing the two wasn’t as good as she initially thought. Despite her becoming more comfortable with her new diet, she still sought out new combinations. She drained the tea in moments, but she could still feel a slight heat in her throat, and so she would later need to drink from the stock of blood she had been given by the guard.

With a sigh, Twilight continued. “The damage is repairable, but it will take some time. But after the spell ended, Night Walker threatened Ponyville, and again, we just kind of snapped.” Twilight raised her hoof, and looked at it was if it was foreign to her. “Ruby and I were in perfect sync with each other, and we fought like I’ve never fought before. Despite our injuries, we just kept pressing him on, and every time I felt like we’d gained the advantage, he’d just smile more and more. He always managed to keep up with us.”

“Eventually, we grabbed a hold of some wood, and we threw it at him. The goal was to make him move to where we wanted him to, but…” Twilight’s eyes squeezed shut, and she brought her hoof back down and pressed it into the blankets, causing the wood beneath to groan from the force. “He didn’t dodge it. He just let himself get impaled. He could have dodged it, he should have!”

“He was supposed to dodge it?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“Yes, I mean, no… I… I don’t know,” Twilight said. Her breathing quickened as a tear began to form, but she wiped it away as quickly as it appeared. “I… I don’t understand why he did what he did. Why he did anything. He just… accepted my and Ruby’s anger. Even when he was dying, he just smiled, until…”

Twilight frowned again, and her voice became quiet.

“Until I saw his soul… as he died.”

The girls became still as Twilight collected herself, searching for the right words.

“I saw him fade away. I saw everything he made himself into… fade away.” Twilight looked to the girls as if they might have an answer for a question she sought. “There were so many fake personalities, so many forged traits, that there was hardly anything about him that was real to begin with. At the end... I saw what was left of him when all of that was gone.”

“What was it?” Rarity asked.

Twilight flexed her brow, and she shrugged her shoulders. “It’s strange to say, but… I’m just wondering how much I actually saw of the real Night Walker all this time. I… I can’t imagine the childhood he had, or why he had made himself into who he was.”

Twilight let out a shuddered breath, and she wiped her nose. “In the end, I guess the only thing I can be certain about was that he was scared. He was scared like a colt, a colt that knew he had lost everything because of all the things he did.”

“By the sounds of things,” Rarity said. “It’s almost like he planned this to happen.”

“Ah couldn’t imagine why anypony would plan their own death,” Applejack said. “Just doesn’t make too much sense to me.”

“No kidding,” Rainbow Dash said. “I mean, I’m glad he’s… gone, but… I don’t know. Night Walker was weird. He was bad, and weird. At least now we can put all of this behind us.”

The girls, along with Twilight, nodded in reply. But as Twilight thought over Night Walker’s dying moments once more, the darkness that swallowed the last bit of his light came back to mind, and she cocked her head.

“Still, I can’t believe you all weren’t able to find me and Twilight,” Rainbow Dash said, drawing Twilight’s back to the moment. “I’m strong and all, but it wasn’t exactly easy to carry her. Seriously, if I could get past those vamponies you should have been able to mop the floor with that Shadow Burn stallion or whatever his name was.”

“Shade Flare,” Rarity corrected. “And you’d think so, considering how I was at the time.” Rarity sighed. “No, I thought I could get past him, but he’s unlike any other pony I’ve dealt with. His mastery over the shadows, his skill in combat… Neither of us could ever gain an edge over the other.”

“I forgot to ask,” Twilight said, shuffling herself closer to Rarity. “What happened between you and Shade Flare?”

“We fought,” Rarity stated with a tired voice. “He and I were even throughout the entire match. That is until Rainbow Dash brought your unconscious body back, after which he simply gave up.” Rarity stared into her teacup with a ponderous look. “I could have killed him when he lowered his guard, but something stayed my hoof. I can’t quite describe it, but then, I’m not certain which would have been better. Having him locked up in Canterlot’s dungeons, or being buried. I’m not sure if I should have let him live.”

“One killer is enough,” Twilight said, placing a hoof on Rarity’s.

Rarity let out a cynical chuckle. “I suppose now that I’m no longer a Hunter, I can’t say that I share that kind of humor as well as I used to. But I suppose I should be thankful that I don’t have blood on my hooves. As much as I wanted to then, I suppose this is for the best.”

Rarity patted Twilight’s hoof, and then perked her ears upward. “I’m terribly sorry, I got rather depressing there. Let’s change topics. Twilight, what are you going to do with the bat ponies.”

“Ugh, I don’t even know where to begin,” Twilight replied. “Celestia and Luna are handling things at the castle ruins. We can’t return the bat ponies to Dusktown in one trip due to all the elderly and children. Mist Hoof is coordinating with them, trying to help figure out a plan on what to do.” Twilight shrugged. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how things turns out. After another day of rest here, I’m going to head back out there and see what I can do to help.”

Twilight turned her head and looked up at the colored sheet still hanging from a library window, blocking the sun’s light. “There’s so much to do. But now… At least the worst of it is over.”

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

After her friends left some hours later, Twilight plopped herself onto the couch and let out a tired yawn.

I’m beat.

No kidding. I’ve been on round the clock healing since we woke up.

Twilight gave a sympathetic smile. How’s it going?

Slow. Steady, but slow. How are you doing?

You should know.

Internally, Twilight let herself fall against Ruby, relaxing in what was now a comfortable sensation for her.

It’s been a lot. For both of us, Ruby said, pulling her attention away from the section she was working on to bask in the peace with Twilight. Still, it’s hard to believe it’s over, isn’t it?

Yeah, it is.

They became silent as they simply enjoyed each others’ company and the comfiness of the couch. Until, that is, there was a knock at the door.

Twilight snorted. I swear, the universe just wants to ruin everything.

Since when did Twilight Sparkle believe in such things? Ruby teased. I thought you were a pony of science and magic?

I am, Twilight replied as she hefted herself from the couch. I’ve just become a bit less patient with things.

Ruby laughed as Twilight made for the door. Do you think Spike’s back already?

Grabbing a new set of parchments normally takes a bit longer, but there’s no reason for him to knock.

That last thought brought a wave of suspicion over Twilight and Ruby, and their muscles tensed as they approached the door. Twilight cocked her head as she perked her ears. One heartbeat, normal pace.

Want me to soul sight?

No, it’s probably nothing.

Opening the door carefully, Twilight’s guarded look became one of relief when she saw a pair of crossed eyes looking at her.

“Heya, Twilight.”

“Oh, hello, Derpy,” Twilight happily greeted as she fully opened the door. “What brings you here?”

“Got a package for ya.” Derpy reached into her saddlebag, and fished out a thin rectangular package. “Loofs like anoffer book!”

Twilight giggled as she magically grabbed the parcel and floated it inside. “With all the craziness that’s been happening I haven’t been able to receive any books for the library. Thank you, Derpy.”

“No problem,” Derpy replied. She gave a left hoof salute, and then merrily flew into the sky.

Closing the door, Twilight eyed the parcel with glee as she made her way to the table with it.

I wonder which one it is. Who knows how many of my orders were held at the post office while everything happened. Maybe Spike and I should go down there with a wagon and see if we can just load all of it ourselves.

Who knows. Just open it.

Twilight smiled. You seem awfully excited.

A love for books is one of the better qualities I got from you, so of course I am. It feels like forever since I’ve had a good read.

Well then, it looks like our evening just got booked.

... Really?

Twilight stuck her tongue out, and then proceeded to unwrap the package. Neatly undoing the wrapping paper, she hummed as she worked.

But soon, she stopped her humming, and the unwrapped book fell onto the table with a thud. A sense of dread filled both her and Ruby as they stared at the cover of the book. It’s worn cover, the tiny notches, all of it was immediately familiar to them. To Twilight, it was the Corpus Nocte Morsu, and to Ruby it was a personal journal from a false past. Now though, its title simply read “Gift”.

A minute passed, and still neither Twilight nor the book moved.

Check it for magic, Ruby spoke in a apprehensive voice.

Twilight swallowed as she nodded in reply, and she lit her horn as she carefully examined the book. She couldn’t detect any charms or hidden spells in it, and when she inspected more closely, she only found the residual magic the book naturally possessed.

This is the same book, right?

Yes, it is. We’ve both used it.

Night Walker used it on us.

So why is it here now?

There’s only one way to find out, I guess…

Carefully, Twilight opened the book with her magic and read the first page.

"Dear Twilight,

If you are reading this, then congratulations. You’ve passed. You defeated me, rescued the bat ponies, and freed yourself from the bindings I held over you. This marks the beginning of your era.

I’m sure you must be confused as to why you are reading this and why you’ve won. I’m not certain how it will end, but I’m sure you will prove yourself to me at some point, and I will willingly pass the torch down to you. Oh, I’m sure it will be painful, but hopefully you’ll give me that look I’ve been waiting for. Of you baring your fangs as you strike with the ferocity that marks the powerful nature of a vampony. Despite what I’ve said to you before, you haven’t disappointed me, Twilight. In fact, you’ve been nothing but a constant source of enjoyment and surprise.

I’m leaving the bat ponies to you, Twilight. When you’ve reordered yourself and defeated me, their existence will depend on you. They trust you, and look up to you. In the end, you will be their princess, and I doubt you will turn down such a role. You’ve grown attached to them, and it is with a happy heart that I leave them in your care.

To be honest, that wasn't the original plan. Far from it.

When I first emerged from my tomb, I was set on picking up things from where I left off. Imagine my surprise when I learned that a thousand years had passed and that the descendants of the ponies I knew so well were prisoners in an old Hunter town. And to make matters worse, none of them knew their history. To say I was angry was an understatement. But, it seemed things would not happen as I expected them to. No matter how many times I tried, I was never able to undo the damage the Sisters had caused in their efforts to aid the bat ponies. I don’t suppose you will trust him, but you should be thankful for Shade Flare’s involvement in all this. He gave his life numerous times, and there were moments I feared he would not return. But he is a competent stallion, and one I’ve entrusted the future of the bat ponies with as well. In time, I would very much like you two to come to some sort of agreement. Everything he did was for the sake of his kin, and loyalty to kin is a trait that one must never ignore.

But after running out of ideas on how to heal my kin, I turned to you, Princess Twilight. A newly born alicorn that was, surprisingly, not under the protection of a kingdom’s guard. You were my only chance to help the bat ponies, and by the night, did you help. You see, Twilight, it is rare that a plan goes without a hitch, so one must be fluid in their planning, and I had to be very fluid where you were concerned. At first, I thought your blood alone would suffice, but it soon became clear that it wasn’t enough. So I then set about turning you into a vampony. It’d be difficult keeping you under a false guise, but worth the effort if it succeeded.

You can imagine my surprise when Shade Flare finally became a vampony by your hoof. An entirely new species of vampony, one that combined the traits that the Sisters and I both sought. You, Twilight, became the key to their salvation, and it was then that I knew what I must do. As much as I would love to stay and relish in peaceful times with my newly healed ponies, it would not last.

I’m not from this age, Twilight, and despite how much I wished to wage war with Equestria and establish an everlasting kingdom, or even come to a peaceful compromise with the Sisters, neither were for the best for the ponies I hold so dear to my heart. For the sake of their future, I would have to remain in the past. Family is a hard thing to come by, I know this frighteningly well, and one must be willing to do anything for the sake of their family.

I do not belong in this world, Twilight. But you do, and I know that you will rule them well. Watch over them, and move on. Hate me, curse my name, and do whatever else you feel is necessary, but please, take care of them, and never let them go."

A tear fell onto the book’s page, and with the twinkle of magic, the page turned.

"This book is divided into two sections. The first is a comprehensive set of instructions and guidance on vampony and shadow magic. You will learn all that I know, and you will put it to good use. Of that I have no doubt. The second section is my autobiography. While I am willing to die, everypony wishes to have their story told, and so I give you the chance to learn it. At the bottom of this page you will find the spell that will allow you to erase everything in this book, as well as the spell to rewrite it if you so desire. I urge you to copy the first section so that it will not be forgotten, but I will not hold ill will towards you if you do not wish to read the second section. It is entirely your choice, but perhaps you will learn how things came to be. Perhaps, you will learn from my mistakes, and bring a brighter future to the ponies you are now charged with.

Take care, Twilight. I very much enjoyed the brief time spent with you."

More stains appeared on the book, and Twilight brought a hoof to her eye so that no more would fall onto the book.

Twilight and Ruby were filled with many emotions, some of which demanded that they throw the book into the fireplace at once and let it burn, and others that urged them to caress it as something dear. Twilight closed the book, and simply slumped onto the floor.

The mirrorscape appeared before them, and Twilight and Ruby met before the mirror. Together, they pressed their horns against the glass, and sought each other's presence as tears fell.

The world seemed so far away to them, and the future even more so. So much had been asked of them, and still more things appeared. They were tired, overwhelmed, and afraid.

But they would not give up, not when they had each other. Even though Night Walker’s message had only addressed Twilight, most likely due to the his assumption at the time that Twilight would have removed Ruby, they knew the burden lay on them both. Twilight and Ruby lifted their heads to look into each other's eyes, and they nodded in unison.

No matter what happens.

No matter what comes our way.

We’ll face it together.

Always together.

Twilight sniffed, and she gave a weak laugh. You know, I would have balked at the idea of having another pony in my head. To never really be alone again.

Ruby laughed in kind. I know what you mean.

But now… I couldn’t imagine my life without you.

Me neither.

Twilight Sparkle and Ruby Sparkle placed their hooves onto the mirror, and as they gently pressed into it’s surface, they found that it moved beneath their touch. And so, the glass door between them opened.

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

Elsewhere…

“Princess, the supply shipment has arrived.”

Celestia turned to face the saluting guard, and nodded. “See to it that they are hoofed out immediately. I’ll be down shortly to assist.”

The guard lowered his salute and bowed before exiting, leaving Celestia standing alone in the middle of the throne room of the old castle. She looked over the ruined room with longing eyes, remembering distant times as if they had happened only yesterday. A court filled with ponies, diplomats and ambassadors presenting themselves or returning with reports. News of war, discovery, and loss. Her fight with her sister.

So much had happened in this throne room, this castle, and now, it served as a temporary lodging for the displaced bat ponies. Celestia closed her eyes, recalling the first time the vamponies came to her and her Luna.

She was so lost in her thoughts that Celestia did not hear the approaching hoofsteps.

“Sister?”

Celestia opened her eyes and flinched in surprise. “Luna. I’m sorry, I did not hear you entering.”

“It is alright,” Luna replied. “Is something troubling you?”

“No, no, I’m just… remembering.”

“I see.”

Luna came to Celestia’s side and leaned against her, and Celestia leaned back. They shared a minute of silence, simply relishing each other’s company. But soon their minds returned to their duties, and Celestia lifted her head.

“How are they doing?” Celestia asked.

“As well as can be expected,” Luna replied. “They are comfortable right now. Each stallion, mare, and child has bedding. They are looking forward to the varied food now that the supplies have arrived.”

“This is quite the situation we’re in.”

“Indeed.”

Another moment of silence passed.

“How is Twilight?” Luna asked.

Celestia sighed. “For all she’s been through, as well as I could have hoped. She will heal in time.”

Luna raised an eyebrow at the note in Celestia’s voice. “What troubles you?”

Celestia lowered her head, and she leaned further into Luna. “I let her out of my hooves again. She nearly died for the second time, and I wasn’t able to do a thing to protect her.”

“You mustn’t blame yourself. She is a princess, and as such, she will do as she feels is necessary. Just as I, Cadance, or you would do.” Luna gently lifted Celestia’s chin with her hoof. “Leave your regret, and focus on what’s happening now. Do not let the past hold you.”

Celestia sighed and nodded. “If you say so.” After some moments, though, Celestia gave a small smirk. “Since when did my sister become so wise?”

Luna smiled. “She managed to steal some from her sister after she returned.” Luna playfully nudged Celestia, and together they shared a laugh.

But their laughter was brief, and they both furrowed their brows as they pulled apart. “Many things have been returning,” Luna said.

Celestia nodded in agreement. “This is far too coincidental. I feel that there is a power at work, something that’s bringing our old foes back into the light.”

“First Sombra, and now Night Walker,” Luna said. “What of the bridge?”

Celestia shook her head. “No activity has been seen. The north remains frozen in ice, and the south remains buried in the blistering sands.”

“They are not places meant for us, but have you tried to gleen why they became locked away?”

“I have,” Celestia replied. “I’ve tried many times. No matter how much ice is melted, the windigos refreeze it before any subsational expedition can be mounted. And the sand at the southern point is always returned by an unexpected dust storm. No matter how many pegasi I deployed in the past, they’ve never been able to keep it at bay.”

Luna took this information with contemplation, furrowing her brow at the implications. “If the Dead remains locked away, then we should prepare for the Beast.”

“I’m afraid so,” Celestia replied. “Two of the four Shepherds have returned. We can no longer afford to be complacent. We must prepare Equestria.”

“I shall send word then,” Luna said, and she opened her wings.

“No, stay here,” Celestia said as she raised a hoof. “The bat ponies trust you more than I, and despite the fact that she should be resting, I’m sure Twilight will be here soon to help. Together, I’m confident that the two of you will figure out an appropriate future for the bat ponies.”

Luna folded her wings. “Very well. As for the guard?”

Celestia sighed. “We will have to expand our recruitment, and provide extensive training. We were fortunate with Sombra and Night Walker, but I do not wish to test that fortune any further. The other kingdoms will be contacted as well. We must give them time to prepare.”

“And the flights?” Luna asked.

“They are currently south of the Griffin Kingdoms. If luck is with us, our messengers will find them, and in a good mood. They will not be happy to hear news of the Beast’s return.” Celestia turned her head upward, and peered into the sky with a guarded expression. “A dragon’s wrath is a terrifying thing, and his even more so. I can only imagine what that pegasus might do to this world without the other Shepherds to stop him.”

To be continued in 'Dragonfeather'

Author's Note:

I can't believe I've finally done it, but Second Princess of the Night is complete. This story became far longer than I ever imagined, and it only continued due to the wonderful support and comments I received. I am so happy that you all enjoyed something I made, and I can only hope you continue to enjoy the next book in the series. I just had to go and make this something bigger than a single book, didn't I? Ah well, the effort is totally worth it since I've really come to enjoy writing, and it's worth it even more since you all seem to like it enough to want more.

There will be a small time gap between this story and the next, and someday I'd like to show the events that happened during that time with side stories, though I can't promise on any dates when they might come out. Heck, you may even get a story about Twilight reading Night Walker's autobiography and learn how he came to be. There are a lot characters I'd like to touch on and explore, but right now, I figure it'll be best to focus on the main story. Twilight and Ruby had an interesting adventure, and while they will still be prominent in the series, it's time to shift gears and get ready for a different main character. So get ready for the next book, and I hope you all enjoy it.

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