• Published 4th Sep 2014
  • 548 Views, 17 Comments

Blood Moon Rising - Swift Ebony



Luna does not know that it is, but that doesn't stop her from saving everyone she can. Nothing will stand in her way.

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Chapter 2 - By the Light of the Moon

The traumatized and twisted faces of the crowd listened in stunned silence as the wind carried Mat’s echoing cry through the village and beyond the the eerie ebony of the woods. A chilling breath of air sent a spine tingling shiver down Luna’s back, piercing her skin all the way to her bones. The Princess of the Night tried to steel herself against it as the wind continued to nip at her face, quickly bringing an icy burn to her nose, but she was not going to let the bitter weather get the best of her. Quickly shrugging it off, the princess reached a steady hoof out toward the stallion’s shoulders. “Mat…” she began, staring at the wary stallion. “Are you okay?”

Mat’s body flinched at the sudden touch of the princess. “Y-Yes,” he stuttered abruptly. He swung his head down in confusion, quietly trying to piece together some sort of explanation to the scream. “Of course…Of course I’m okay Princess Luna. It’s just that...That voice...that… that scream was hers! Oh gods...”

Looking hard at the stallion, the princess pursed her lips in a frown. His posture was uncharacteristically stooped over, wrecked with confusion. Then in a moment of realization, he quickly raised his head and ran toward the stage to seek answers from the mare. She was the one with the answers he wanted, but then Mat stopped dead in his tracks when a large stamp came from the stage. His head snapped to a heavy voice that boomed from above.

“Elan! Where is my daughter?” the Chief demanded. He narrowed his face as he stared down the mare whose eyes were still red with tears. But as impassionately angry as he was, Luna detected quavering disbelief as he shouted his words. They were not truly angry and indignant, but rather desperate and distressed as they came sputtering out of his mouth. “What happened to Aloomse? You said you were going to the river and what then? What then!?”

Sniffling uncontrollably and on the verge of hyperventilation, the mare sat there in mild shock with mucus still running out her snout. Her eyes glistened with tears as she gazed up to the immense body that towered over her. She wiped her face and gave a hoarse sputtering of a cough, trying to compose herself.

“W-Well, we were n-nearing the river, Chief Askuwheteau…” Elan paused to catch her breath and rub the lingering tears out of her eyes. “B-But out of nowhere a big creature, ... wait! No, two! Two big creatures appeared out of nowhere and plucked her from the ground! I galloped after them, b-but then I realized… I...”

She clutched her mouth as more tears welled up in her eyes, threatening to break free and spill down her face. “But then I realized I couldn’t catch up with them!” She broke out, throwing the whole of her body down before the Chief. “Before I knew it, Aloomse was just ...gone. I-I sprinted my absolute hardest back to the village, and then the moon rose, and the ceremony already begun! A-And… and…”

Looking up, Elan searched for words in the sullen eyes of a father, but they were listless and empty. All she could do was hang her mouth open. The mare turned to search the crowd, hoping for an explanation, but she only found hundreds of wide eyes staring back at her. Salty tears ran down her face and falling onto the cold floor, creating tiny pools upon their surface. “Oh Chief! I am so so sorry!” She bit her lip as she fell to pieces in front of the crowd of ponies. “I-I didn’t k-know what to do! I just don’t know Chief ...”

A calm hoof touched the mare gently on her cheek as if to reassure her “I do not blame you Elan,” but she turned her face away, drowning out her crying until they became cold whimpers. The spectators merely watched the two lone figures on the stage as if it were a dramatic play. They stared in stark silence, waiting for the action to continue, waiting for the next scene. The Chief walked purposefully around the mare, turning to address the crowd in the largest thundering voice that he could muster. “Aloomse is missing!” he cried loudly. “But I will search for her! I will find her! And may the gods forgive me for I will punish those who have done this! Will no pony join me?”

An uneasy murmur went through the crowd as the villagers whispered in hushed tones, muttering amongst themselves. The raucous sound of a screaming foal erupted from amidst the sea of disturbed faces as its mother desperately tried to hush the foal. “I have no time for this idle whispering!” he thundered angrily, bringing his hoof crashing down on the stage. “The time to act is now!”

“Chief!” a voice cried out hoarsely. Luna glanced over at Mat, rearing up on his hind legs as he called out once more. “Chief, I will join you! My bride is missing. I am not worthy of marrying such a mare if I do not feel it in my heart to rescue her. I will find her... I will be at your side!” He dropped to his knees, bowing before the Chief.

“And you can expect me to join you as well!” Luna interrupted, smiling confidently as she walked onto the stage. “As a princess of Equestria, I will not be idle in your time of need. If help is what you seek Chief Askuwheteau, I offer mine.”

“Your help is very welcome Princess Luna,” he nodded to the princess. “And yours as well Mat. Gather up two of your best stallions and be quick about it! We’re leaving the east gate as soon as possible!”

Whirling back to the crowd of wide eyes staring at him, the Chief called out, “I am postponing the celebration until we find my daughter! Save the food and return to your homes. We will be back before midnight!” More murmuring spread throughout the crowd as they slowly shuffled away. Creeping dishearteningly back into their cozy dwellings, they pondered the safety of the missing mare.

As the villagers dispersed, the search party prepared quickly for their mission. Mat found two of his most trusted “warriors” and they equipped themselves with weapons from the arena, making sure that they were especially sharp. The ponies were not going to take their chances with this unknown foe. As for Luna and her guards however, preparations were not needed.

P-Princess Luna, a-are you sure about this?” Kibitz anxiously asked. “We do not even know who or what abducted that mare! We came here on a diplomatic mission, but now the situation’s degraded into a hostage situation!”

“Calm yourself Kibitz, I shall be alright.” Luna told the elderly pony, trying to appease his protests. “The captain and sergeant will be accompanying me. There is no need to worry.”

“Yeah! You don’t have to worry about us Kibitz!” Luna swung her head around and raised an eyebrow at the guard behind her. She was met with a wink from… Sergeant Silver Aegis, she thought exhaustedly. This pony. By Star Swirl’s beard I swear-.

“Don’t you worry princess!” he saluted proudly, a stupid grin on his face. “By the light of day or by the moon’s night, I vow to protect thee with all my might-OW!” Without warning, he received a hard smack on the back side of his head.

“Sorry Captain...” he apologized. He reached behind his head, tenderly rubbing a small lump with a gentle hoof.

“You can apologize later.” the superior officer growled. Luna just rolled her eyes as she turned back to face Kibitz.

The bespectacled pony let out a long weary sigh and looked up at the princess with tired eyes. “Who am I to stop a princess?” he muttered. Luna merely stared back at his exhausted features, his silent gaze unyielding. “You be sure to bring that pony back Luna. I do not wish to report a tragedy to Princess Celestia.”

“Worry not Kibitz.” She assured him with a nudge. “We’ll be back soon. You have my word…” Luna motioned urgently to her guards. “Now let’s go! Let us not waste more time than we already have!”

Her party hurriedly ran toward the gate that opened up to the deep forest that waited patiently for them, ready to swallow them up in its darkness. The village ponies also ran up and joined them with perfect timing. Chief Askuwheteau quickly took point, confidently leading the ponies down the dark path toward the river.

As the light from the village faded, Luna, Captain Shimmering Might, and one of the warriors lit the way through the murky darkness with their horns. Thin strands of moonlight pierced the thick shroud of pines looming over the group as they ran underneath their towering limbs. That is, until the party skidded to a stop.

“Halt!” the chief hollered as the rest of the group slipped through the mud, nearly colliding with each other in a pony pile up. He paused to sniff the damp forest air veiled by a cool mist and decaying plant life. “I smell something... a scent that I do not know.”

“Huh?” Sergeant Aegis made a loud and nasally sound as he sniffed the air, turning his head about erratically. “I don’t smell nothin’.”

Luna looked questioningly at the Chief as he slowly closed his eyes and tilted his head up to the sky. She mimicked him and did the same, but she could only make out the smell of autumnal woodland and the hooting of owls in the distance.

Suddenly, the Chief’s eyes burst open in a moment of realization. His nose lead him straight to the dirt. “There! But why…? ”

“Excuse me Chief Askuwheteau,” Luna started, lowering her head to the spot the Chief was staring at. “Could you please explain to us what is it that you are doing?”

“He is searching for Aloomse,” Mat chimed. He stared at the burly pony roaming the ground exploring the prints on the ground. “The Chief is the best tracker in the whole village with years of experience in these woods. He may be a little slow, but he is not without great skill.”

The Chief looked up. “Are you calling me old, young Mat?” the Chief asked, poking at the dirt with his hoof. Mat shook his head quickly and Askuwheteau smirked in response. “Princess Luna, there is an odd scent in this area. It is like a bird, but at the same time it is not. It is hard to explain ….And Mat, look! I have found her hoof prints!”

Mat rushed over as the others gathered to inspect what honestly seemed to Luna like a random assortment of pony tracks, running off in aimless directions. “Do you see? It matches her weight and gait, and she was indeed going to fetch water while carrying something. Perhaps a bucket, but then…. her tracks suddenly disappear. It appears that Elan’s story was true.” As the Chief’s voice trailed off, the princess peeked over at the warrior ponies who nodded affirmatively. The burly pony continued the investigation, expertly scanning the area for clues as the group stepped back to watch him. It was not long before he came across a dark feather.

“Wait, a feather?” asked the captain, his eyebrows rising high on his forehead. Leaning forward and with the whitish light emanating from his horn, he examined it closely.

“Chief, may I take a look?” Luna requested. The Chief held out the large silver quill to Luna and it was shorty enveloped in a blue hue. Bringing it closer, it only took her only a moment for her to confidently conclude that this was not of a bird or pegasus. “It’s a griffon feather.” she said plainly.

“A ...guriphon?” asked the Chief, furrowing his brow. “What is this creature?”

Checking the tip of his speak casually, Captain Shimmering Might began his explanation: “The griffons are a hybrid race that can be found in equestria and beyond, half-eagle and half-lion. They are talented flyers and their physical strength is quite great, but the ones in Equestria are not generally troublesome ...We can’t be too careful if they’re somehow involved.”

The group went silent for a moment, processing the information, but Mat was the first to raise his voice. “Well, that must be it then! These griffons must have taken Aloomse! Now come on, let’s go!” With a grunt, he thrusted his spear up in the air and then pointed down the trail, urging the group to continue.

The Seneighcan ponies nodded quickly and continued ahead, but Luna tried to stop them. “Wait Mat! We need to think this through!” she exclaimed, but her voice fell on deaf ears as it echoed down the trail. The group of ponies sprinted further and further into the darkness, until the princess could barely make out the light of their unicorn. She let out a quick sigh and began to run. “Come. Let us follow our compatriots...”

Shortly after catching up with the group and whilst trying to navigate sharp rocks, ancient roots, and the slick mud that littered the trail, Luna’s thoughts lingered upon the feather. Griffons? But why? she thought anxiously, trying to keep up with the stallions. And here of all places? What grudge do they have with these ponies?

After almost running into a tree, she concluded that there was no point in trying to think too hard on the subject. Right now she had to focus on not tripping on nubs of rough dirt or slipping through mud. There would be time for contemplation and thought later.

Soon after crossing the nearby river, Luna found it slightly easier to avoid whatever obstacles that the “trail” could throw at her. Harnessing the adrenaline pumping through her veins gave the alicorn the ability to safely maneuver the broken terrain. But before long, she found herself winded. The princess fought through the twisting pain of a cramp in her side as she panted heavily, billowing hot air like steam from a train. She was also disappointed to find that she was lagging behind the stallions as well.

Okay. Less sweets and more physical exercises Luna, she thought critically, trying to hide the fact that she was now sucking in as much air as she could. Captain Shimmering Might looked over at her questioningly, but she responded with a large grin. I shall have Kibitz prepare me a daily exercise regimen from now on. This is absolutely unacceptable as an Equestrian princess!

However, it was not long until the pace of the group gradually slowed down to a brisk trot as they followed the Chief up one of the large foothills that lay before the Crystal Mountains. Hoof after hoof, they slowly creeped up the precarious slope until they approached a break in the woods where the land leveled off into a small plateau. At the opposite side of the small grass clearing lay a cliff and the silhouette of a tied up mare.

“Aloomse?” Mat yelled out, rushing forward past the tree line. The figure looked up. “My love, I am here!”

“Iquq!” the Chief swore, running after him. “Mat, stop!”

“Matunaagd!” Aloomse yelled. She squirmed against the ropes that bound her tightly against the pole crudely staked into the ground. “Stay away!”

“Aloom-” Mat cut his words short and skidded to a stop a few meters past the tree line. The stallion found himself stared down by four griffons, their weapons drawn and bodies poised for a fight. The mischievous grins strewn across their faces told him that they were not the friendly type either.

Without hesitation, the Chief picked up Mat’s body with one massive foreleg and yanked him back into the woods just as a dart made a near miss at Mat’s neck. His blood ran cold as he heard the sharp object cut the wind, narrowly missing him by a few centimeters.

Before the griffon in the air could take another shot, the search party quickly dove behind the trees. Luna pressed her body against rough bark, peering behind its edges trying to spot the armed kidnappers. The princess was careful not to stick more than length of her nose.

Safely under cover, the Chief pinned Mat against a large oak with his enormous strength and threw his face in front of his. “Are you mad?” the Chief sputtered, spittle flying out his mouth and his eyes bulging with rage. “What do you gain by charging in alone? I do not tolerate stupid behavior, especially if it threatens the lives of others! We all want her alive Matunaagd, but you better buckin’ well focus if you want to save her!” Mat nodded soberly in response, his mouth agape as he stared wide eyed at the furious face. “I-I’m sorry Chief,” he croaked.

“And that goes for you two as well!” Luna turned to call out to her guards. “We are not losing anypony tonight. Is that clear?”

“Yes Princess!” They recited out loud. “No pony dies. I’ll make sure of that,” the captain added. “And like I said Princess, I’ll be there to protect you.” Silver Aegis avowed with a stern face. He was a part-time joker, but being a royal guard was his full-time job.

Peering behind the tree, Luna took note of the four griffons in a defensive “half-circle” protecting Aloomse. One of them hovered in the air carrying a long tube-like weapon ready in its claws while the others wielded weathered shields and rusted blades. The final griffon wore a helm of steel and boasted a halberd, standing next to a dark haired monster which guarded the mare bound in ropes.

“It is so nice for you to have finally arrived, Chief!” a griffon hollered out toward the trees. He wore a decorative style helmet with a red feathered plume coming out from the top. “And it’s even nicer that you brought friends! Especially Princess Luna, just the pony I wanted to talk to.” The griffon’s face made a half smirk. Luna merely furrowed her brows and quickly glanced at the others with a confused face.

“Whoever you are, release the Chief’s daughter immediately!” Luna replied, letting a slight breeze carry her voice. “I only ask of you to let her go. No pony has to get hurt.”

“Ha! You are in no position to be making demands princess!” he smiled crookedly as he spoke. “The name’s Ebonquill, and I was thinking we could do an exchange!”

An exchange? The alicorn princess half-closed her eyes as she quickly tried to think of a proper course of action. Luna growled in frustration when nothing came to mind. “And what kind of exchange would that be, Mr. Ebonquill?”

“A simple one really.” He stretched his arms wide as he began. “We just want gold. Lots and lots of it! About ten million bits to be exact, just enough for all six of us. Equestria is a rich kingdom. It’s a small price to pay just for this village cutie, don’t you think?”

Mat swore under his breath and the Chief gritted his teeth loud enough for the princess to hear. Luna tried to calm them down. “We can pay that amount Chief,” she whispered quietly to the burly pony. “But I didn’t come here to negotiate.”

“Good, because neither did I Princess.” The Chief rubbed his temples and peeked out at the griffons from behind his cover. “We need a plan to rescue my daughter safely. I’m not negotiating with these savages.”

A sly grin grew on Sergeant Silver Aegis’s face. “I think I have something.” This was the kind of action he lived and fed off of. “That griffon with the blow dart… if I take him out, you guys could safely charge out from the trees. He won’t know what hit him. We then just overwhelm their first line and then we can surround Ebonquill and that wolf-like creature. We use our numbers to our advantage.”

“Sounds fine to me,” Shimmering Might grunted, nodding toward the sergeant. “No pony has to get hurt if we rush out at and then stun them when they’re distracted.”

Ebonquill cupped his talons around his mouth “Well, Princess Luna?” he hollered. “What will it be? You better not be planning something. It’d be a pity to have to hurt this pretty little mare...” Looking out, Luna saw him gently rub his face against Aloomse’s cheek as she screamed and squirmed in protest. A poisonous smile of satisfaction creeped up on his face. “We haven’t even gotten to know each other quite yet.”

“Damn that bastard.” Mat cursed through clenched teeth. “The plan’s good enough for me! We gotta do it quick though!”

Turning to Silver Aegis, Luna ordered, “Go quickly Sergeant. Time is not on our side.” With a stern nod and without hesitation, he pushed off his tree and ran into the woods towards the griffon’s flank under the cover of the thick forest.

The wind started to pick up, and a gust chilled Luna to the bone as she posed to jump out from behind her cover. Her comrades readied their weapons and magic, waiting for just the right moment. A moment of silence fell around them.

Then with a spirited war cry, a streak of white blazed through the celestial sphere. The griffon holding the blow dart turned, but he could not turn fast enough. Aegis tackled him right out of the night sky before he could get a shot off. “What are you doing just standing there?” Ebonquill barked, snapping his attention to the sudden attack. “Help him you lazy feather brains!”

“Go go go!” the Chief yelled, leading the charge from out of the bushes. The captain fired off beams of magic toward one of the griffons, but she deflected it easily with her enchanted shield. However, Mat and two others overwhelmed her before she had a chance to strike out with her sword.

Luna darted up above and shot a bolt of purple energy straight into the chest of a very confused griffon. He took the full brunt of the stun spell, and it took only moments before he staggered and dropped unconscious into the dirt. Another griffon, deciding that he had no chance, made a run for it.

“Oh no you don’t!” the Captain grunted, sending an arc of magic his way. The grey feathered griffon immediately dropped his shield and weapon and fell face first on the ground. By now, even the sergeant had secured the first feathered foe after wrestling it into submission until he passed out unconsciousness. Now only he was left.

“It’s over Mr. Ebonquill,” Luna began, approaching him slowly from the air. The other ponies in the group also began closing in at a steady pace. “Let Aloomse go. Surrender peacefully so that we can end this now.”

The griffon looked at the princess, then at the wolf beside him, and finally back to Aloomse. “Gee, let me think about it Princess Luna.” He cocked his head to the side and held it in his hands. “Nah.”

Ebonquill drew a knife and cut the ropes that bound Aloomse to the pole. He grabbed and lugged her over his shoulder and flapped his wings. “Until next time Princess!” he called as he took off, but it was not long before he was stopped shot him down with a bolt from her horn.

Well, that was easy, the princess frowned while hovering mid-air. Now for the wolf.

It growled at her and all the ponies, bending down, ready to move at a moment’s notice. Mat rushed toward Aloomse who lay on the ground. “Matunaagd!” she breathed, struggling against her bindings. He was halted by the wolf who did not hesitate to headbutt him as far as the tree line. All the ponies stopped in their tracks.

“Let’s not overestimate this one…” the princess commented, staring at the beast. Luna launched a purple beam streaking toward the wolf, but it simply jumped to the side to avoid the spell. It glared and growled at Luna as she stared back into its dirty yellow eyes. She felt its cold stare look deep into her, giving her an unpleasant fear in her stomach.

For a moment, she was entranced by the creature’s glare. She was wholly in control of her body, but looking at it was very unsettling. But she shook away such foolish feelings and sent more spells streaking toward the creature, but they all missed to her dismay. Tch...Need to get closer. Luna lowered her altitude, grimacing at the snarling creature. It circled slowly around her, sizing her up. It wants to play, she realized.

As her hooves touched the ground, she was taken aback by the features of the boorish creature. Coarse fur covered its body and it was much more muscular and sinewy that any wolf that she has ever seen. It was unnaturally large in size, tall enough to match her height. But less than that, its long black claws worried her the most.

Without hesitation, bolts of magic shot out of Luna’s horn and the captain joined in as well, but none of them connected, instead they flew right past it and into the distance as the creature bolted and zigzagged past them. “If you’re going to dodge then how about this!” Luna screamed at it as she let out more bolts rapidly, and this time many of them connected with the beast. It howled in agony as the magic collided with its body with large WHUMPS. Gotcha!

But to her surprise, it merely shrugged off her stun spells after a moment and immediately lunged at her. Luna’s horn flared in a purplish aura to cast a magic bubble shield, but it was too late. The creature jumped on her with its teeth bared and claws out. The princess had only enough time to raise her fore legs out to blunt the attack. She fell hard on her back and ended up on the ground as the creature tried to claw at her. The feral stench of its vile breath was nauseating as she tried to keep it it at bay. The wolf’s weight was slowly crushing her and it was too much to handle much longer. Then, Luna let out a cry of utter agony as large claws raked across her soft chest and drew blood.

“Princess!” The ponies called out who momentarily frozen in shock of the creature’s speed. “J-Just hang on Luna!” The sergeant dashed at the creature, but it saw him out the corner of his eye and kicked out at the sergeant, nailing him right in the face at such an angle that made him spin like a dancer before finally hitting the ground.

Gritting her teeth, Luna screamed into the creatures face and in a fit of rage, she struck at the beast’s head, nailing it right in the jaw before it could continue its clawing. It howled and reared up on its hind legs in pain, giving Luna enough time to wheel around and dart for the sky. Gotta...get away, the princess thought anxiously as she clutched the wound on her chest. Blood oozed out from her fresh wounds. It can’t catch me up in the air.

With two flaps she was already a few meters off the ground and leaking crimson onto the grass. She wanted to put as much distance between her and the wolf as she could, but then a sharp pain struck her hind legs when all its claws dug themselves deep into her skin. Luna felt herself get dragged down near the edge of the cliff. A split second later, she landed with a dull thud on her chest, sending a jolt of pain through her body.

For a moment, the creature let go, dodging magic let out by the captain. With a heavy grunt, Luna flipped on her back, ready to defend herself, but the beast quickly pinned her back on the ground. With its massive jaws, it sank its canine teeth into her neck and the princess led out a blood curdling yell as she felt the fangs cut through her soft, sensitive skin.

“Get off her!” the captain screamed. With his hooves planted firmly into the ground, Shimmering Might sent a whole barrage of magic at the creature. “Eat this!” The wolf staggered, almost falling on its side after the shots connected. But like before, it easily shook off the effects and sprang into a maddening charge. In a split second, Shimmering Might felt an intense pain as he was rammed in the chest by the enormous creature, sending him flying several meters in the opposite direction.

The wolf howled in rage, drunk on its own bloodlust and fury. That was when the Chief and one of the warriors jumped on it, trying to strangle and pin the beast. Having partially recovered from his injuries, Mat also ran in to help. For a moment, they were getting the best of it. Together, they were bringing the beast to its knees and even a Seneighcan unicorn tried to help by encapsulating it in his magic. But once her aura formed around the creature’s body, the beast shook violently like a bucking bronco. For a few seconds, the Chief and the others were able to hang on, but their grip weakened as it thrashed its legs and neck around in a furious spasm, viciously throwing the ponies off its back and breaking through the magical spell. The Chief flew through the air and landed on his back while Mat fell instantly to the ground and was trampled on. The other other pony was unfortunate enough to be flung into a nearby tree, colliding with the trunk with a sickening sound of cracked ribs.

Even in the aftershock of being bitten, bruised, and slashed at, Luna could not stand seeing her new friends so helpless. “I’m ending this….” she wheezed, her breath erratic and rough. The blood still dribbled out her chest and neck, but she slowed it down the best she could with her magic. “H-Hey! You! Over here!” she croaked, sending a spell in its direction and striking it in its back.

The beast let out a high pitched yip. It wheeled about and dashed at blinding speed toward Luna who still lay on her back at the end of the cliff. That’s right...come here. She sneered at the beast as she prepared herself.

The beast stretched its claws and pounced, and as it dove at her from above, Luna bucked her hind legs into the beast with all her might, sending it flying over her and spinning off the cliff. But as it fell, the wolf took grabbed onto Luna’s mane and with a sharp scream, she too was dragged head first down the dark abyss. The princess rolled down the steep face of the cliff injuring her back and wings before tumbling through the air in a mindless spin. Her flailing movements struck out at the beast, causing it to let go, but then her head swam with dizzying motion as images flew past her in a mad flurry. Stars. River. Pain. Ground. Impact. Moon. Ground. Close.

In her seemingly last moments, Luna recalled random memories in an instant. There was the time she was still a filly playing with Celly and the time she learned a lesson of friendship from Twilight Sparkle. All of these among others flashed through her mind.

This is it. She thought morbidly with no energy nor magic left to spend. The magic within her flickered and her body grew cold as death approached her.

All of a sudden, she felt something warm catch her. Luna did her best to fight through nausea as the world continued its spinning. Focusing, the princess tried to straighten her eyes and when she did, she gazed up to find two blue eyes staring back at her. “Told you I’d be there for you.” A warm smile appeared across the sergeant’s face. Luna snorted, and a small grin grew on her face as she softly closed her eyes.

As they drew closer to the ground, she ordered the guard to let her stand. “At least let me try,” she ordered, but Aegis was not too sure. After taking a few shaky steps, Luna began shuddering under her own weight, but Silver Aegis quickly moved in to help support her. “Thanks Sergeant.”

After being cut free by Mat, the mare who had been tied up jumped into her fiance’s arms and cried soft tears. The stallion caught Aloomse in a big embrace and rubbed his face gently against hers, swinging her quietly around in his grasp.

“I knew you’d come…” she squeaked past her tears. Chief Askuwheteau also approached and picked both of them up in a large bear hug. “... even you Papa.”

After being freed from her father’s enormous grasp, Aloomse walked over to Luna who was still leaning against the guard. “And thank you Luna…” Taking a deep bow, she sniffled. “Thank you and your comrades for saving me from those creatures.”

A gentle smile appeared on the princess’s face. “Anything for a friend.”

---

The moon still shone brightly in the starry sky when the search party returned to the village. Ponies ran out of their homes to welcome back the ponies from their successful search. The Seneighcans clapped and cheered when they saw the heroes and Aloomse guiding her through the village. Many others also gawked at the strange and battered griffons whom the group was escorting.

The newly dubbed heroes of Seneighca were allowed to rest and clean themselves for the celebration which was allowed to continue. Luna was especially sought after with all her injuries. The sergeant kept her company throughout the night, and with the luxury of a bit of medicine and magic, she started to feel healthy again albeit a little sore. “You’re looking much better now Princess Luna.” Looking into her eyes he said softly, “You were hurt really bad back there; maybe you should rest the remainder of the night, get away from everyone and just have some peace and quiet all to yourself. I can look after you while you sleep.”

Sitting up in a small bed prepared especially for her, she smirked. “No, I have to go out there. It’s my duty sergeant.” But Silver Aegis gave her an exasperated look. “I’m fine. Honest! You don’t believe a princess?”

“Alright alright.” He sighed, shaking his head. “Well, take it easy for now Princess Luna. I’m going to check on Captain Shimmering Might.”

The princess watched Sergeant Aegis as he he left the room. He unexpectedly paused at the doorway and looked back at her for a moment, but then turned his head away. The door shut softly behind him. He walked the distance to the train without so much a pony noticing him and opened the door. Unkindly sounds emerged, and the stench of sweat and anger flooded out from within the car. “What did you do to Aloomse? And for what? Gold!? No, there’s more to it than that!” the stallion shouted, his face beet red with anger.

“Captain?” Silver Aegis interrupted, peeking his head through the doorway. “The wedding is about to start...”

The captain wheeled his head about. “Shut the door,” he ordered. Obediently, the sergeant bolted the door behind him and walked over.

“Who do you work for!?” Shouting in the face of the half conscious bodies tied up in the cell, the Captain sputtered. “That animal….that beast was not a normal creature was it?! Where’d you get it, huh? Out with it already!”

But still, the griffons remained silent and sore to their bones. Their dirty, almost unconscious expressions were blank and unresponsive. The captain swore under his breath. “Let’s go. I’m not getting through to them.”

---

After the joyous wedding of the bride and groom came the celebration of the harvest moon and a certain princess was ready to do her part in the celebration. “Thy princess is ready to indulge in merriment and consumption of your sweets!” Luna exclaimed as she started to mingle and party with locals as much as her sore body would allow. Walking along she caught sight of something glorious. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the…

...Desserts! she thought giddily. “Let the fun begin! Which is thy sweetest pastry Mat?” She looked hungrily at the assortment of confectionaries placed throughout the table. Mat walked up to her while holding Aloomse close to his side. Both of them pointed toward a large, decorated almond colored cake in the middle of the table.

“Oh no you don’t!” Kibitz warned, wagging his hoof at the alicorn. “Princess Luna, you very well know what sugar does to you.”

“Indeed I do Kibitz.” She responded with a sly smile. “It will make me most happy!”

“Hmphh!” Scowling fiercely, he responded, “Fine by me Princess Luna! But you can be the one to explain to your sister all that weight you shall be gaining!”

Luna rolled her eyes and gave her most sarcastically head nod. Like she cares about how much cake she eats either…

Luna dove into the layers of crispy creamy goodness, eating slice after slice of cake. Although it was no longer freshly baked, it was still quite delicious. Bite after bite, she indulged herself in its luscious flavor and texture, delighting herself in its sweetness. Slowly, the memory of the bite mark and her injuries faded to the back of her mind as if it were all a bad dream.

Author's Note:

Firstly, I just want to apologize for all the delays that occurred with this chapter. Obligations and other obstacles prevented me and my compatriots from releasing it, and on behalf of the Blood Moon Rising project I am very sorry.

That said, I'm just glad I can finally release it and that I am satisfied with the way it came out. I still have a lot to improve, but that will come in time. I learned a great deal from the people who have helped me with it and so I thank them very much. Much of what I have learned is reflected in chapter 3 of which I am working on right now and should take a lot less time to release than chapter 2.

In the end, I hope that everyone enjoyed it! Please tell me what you think! :twilightsmile:

Credits:
Author - Swift Ebony
Editors - Endure The Storm and The Patriotic Pony
Pre-Reader - Meteor Blaze

This story can also be found along with my art on my DA here: http://fav.me/d8qe2vk

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