• Published 30th Jan 2016
  • 2,053 Views, 76 Comments

Of The Night - TheBrianJ



One year ago, Night Glider was exiled from Modus. Now, it’s time to go home.

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Chapter 9

NIght Glider’s mother stepped to one side. “Come in.”

Night Glider took her first step back into her old home. Much like the rest of Modus, not a single thing had changed on the inside. She could feel her knees shaking as she walked to the center of the room and looked around, taking in the house she hadn’t seen in over a year. She looked up at the skylight in the ceiling, staring at the moon for a moment. One of the guards poked his head in and looked at her parents.

“Lucent Star, Dusk Gaze,” he said, “we will let you know when your daughter’s time is up here.”

Lucent nodded. “Thank you,” she said. “Could we get some privacy?”

The guard nodded and shut the door. Lucent and Dusk glanced at each other, then both looked over at their daughter.

Night Glider had sat down on the couch, across from two chairs. Her legs were still shaking and she took deep breaths and let them out slowly, trying to calm herself down. She looked up at her parents as they trotted over and sat down across from her.

There was silence. Night Glider waited for her parents to say something, anything, to her, but the silence stretched on and on. She reached up and took her locket in her hoof, holding it tightly,

“We, um…” Dusk Gaze finally said. “It’s nice to see you again, Night Glider.”

“Oh!” Night Glider gasped, not expecting her dad to talk “Uh, it’s nice to see you guys, too.”

“You’re looking much better than when you left,” Lucent added. “You seem more… confident.”

Night Glider shifted her gaze to the side. “I’ve kinda been through a lot in the past year.”

“You have?”

“It’s a long story,” Night Glider said.

Again there was silence. Night Glider felt her knees start to shake again as she raced through ideas of what to say next. She opened her mouth, but her dad interrupted her.

“Night Glider,” he said, pausing for a moment before continuing. “I don’t understand why you’re come back.”

Night Glider turned to him. “Y-you don’t?”

“Dusk!” Lucent gasped. “She’s our daughter!”

“I didn’t mean it like that!” Dusk said. “We both missed you, and I truly hoped we could see you again. But I never expected that you would actually come back to Modus. You were exiled. You were not meant to return.”

“Not meant to return?” Night Glider quickly replied, her voice raising. Her legs stopped shaking as she looked between her parents. “Everything happened too quickly last year for me. I still don’t even think I’ve processed it all. So I think I have every right to come back and talk to you guys about it.”

“Okay,” her father said. “So, what about it do you want to talk about?”

“You guys know just as well as I do that I wasn’t just exiled because of what happened on the hunt,” Night Glider said. “It was because of who I am. It was because ponies here still think I’m different than them.”

She waited for a response, but there was none at first. Her mother sighed, then slowly shook her head.

“Night Glider… you are different,” she said. Night Glider turned away, but her mom continued.. “I know you don’t like hearing that, but you aren’t.”

“Yeah…” Night Glider muttered. “But I tried! And just because I look different doesn’t mean—”

“There are some things that you can’t overcome simply by trying,” Lucent said as she unfolded her black, leathery wings. Night Glider admired them for a moment, then extended one of her own wings and looked at the soft, feathered outline.

“It’s not just about looking different, Night Glider,” her dad added. “Your echolocation abilities, your flying, your strength… your body simply isn’t built like other Sarosians. Despite everything, you are just a pegasus.”

“I get that I’m some kind of one-in-a-million anomaly, but that doesn’t give Modus the excuse to treat me like some kind of second-class citizen!” Night Glider felt her legs start to shake again. “That doesn’t give them an excuse to hold some kangaroo court and exile me, all while you guys never lifted a hoof to stop it!”

Dusk gasped. “Don’t talk to us like that! We tried to talk the mayor out of it, but he wouldn't budge. Nothing we said had any effect on him, he had his mind made up. There was nothing we could do.”

“Nothing you could do?” Night Glider practically yelled. She reached up and took her locket in her hoof. “You guys gave me this to tell me that I always had a home here! I thought you’d do more to stop this from happening!”

“We did all we could!” her mom said right back. “And you always will have a home with us, because you’re our daughter! What more could we have done?!”

“I… I don’t know…” Night Glider said, slowly slinking back. Her heart continued to pound in her chest and her thoughts were racing. She desperately tried to pick out her next sentence, but was struggling to say anything else. Her dad sighed and looked her directly in the eyes.

“Night Glider,” he said, “why are you here?”

The words rang in Night Glider’s head. She had heard versions of that sentence so many times—from Double Diamond, from Dusty, from Princess Luna—that something about hearing it yet again, at her destination, made her grit her teeth.

“Why am I here?” she said as she leapt to her hooves. “Well, let’s see… a year ago, I got kicked out of my hometown because of a mistake, with nowhere to go. I lived in a cave in a forest for a few days until somepony found me and promised that she could solve all of my problems and take me somewhere I could fit in, but it ended up being a weird cult and I spent a year brainwashed. I went from living my whole life in Modus to having absolutely nothing and being gone for a year with no contact. I’m here because there’s a whole section of my life that I still haven’t had a chance to process. I’m here because I want to make sense of where my life stands right now, and this is the only place I can go to get back to some sense of normalcy!”

Night Glider was hyperventilating. She stumbled back and sat down on the couch again, trying to regain her composure as her thoughts continued to race faster and faster.

“Night Glider… I’m sorry that things went the way they did, but like I said, there was simply nothing else we could do,” Lucent said. “And as far as just coming back, that’s not a decision that we can just make.”

“I-I know, but…” The words evaded Night Glider again. She felt beads of sweat running down her face. Everything she had wanted to say had become a garbled mess in her mind. “But I can’t just move on from Modus! I can’t let things end the way they did. I-If I don’t have Modus, I don’t have a home anymore!”

“Do you think it would be helpful if we got the mayor here?” her dad asked. “He should be here if you want to talk about this.”

“Um…” Night Glider muttered. A vision of the mayor flashed through her head momentarily. “I…”

“Do you think the mayor will even let her stay?” Lucent said as she looked over at her husband.

“I know he was very against her coming back,” Dusk replied, “but at the very least, he should be a part of this. I’ll go get him.”

Dusk stood up and trotted towards the door. As Night Glider watched him, images flashed in her mind. She closed her eyes, trying to ignore them, but for a few moments, they were all she could focus on.

“Night Glider, you have been a danger to this village for far too long.”

“I have no trust in Night Glider. And I doubt any pony in Modus does, either.”

“If it was up to me, we’d have gotten rid of you long ago.”

“S...stop…” Night Glider whispered to herself.

“You had better not screw this up.”

“Because what you did proved that above all else, you are a coward!”

“I don’t know how much clearer I can make it that we do not want you here.”

“No! Stop!” Night Glider screamed, her eyes shut tightly. “I don’t want to come back to Modus!”

Her father stopped in his tracks and looked back at her. Her mother also turned back to her as Night Glider slowly opened her eyes and stared at the skylight.

“What did you say?” Dusk Gaze said, walking away from the door.

“I don’t know,” Night Glider replied, quietly. “I’ve never said it before.”

As she watched the night sky, Night Glider’s gaze was turned towards the moon. For a split second, she could swear it shimmered a little brighter.

“Night Glider, I don’t know what you want,” her dad said, returning to the couch.

Night Glider took a long breath.

“I guess I don’t really know either,” she quietly said. “ But… but I do know that I don’t want to come back to Modus.”

“You… you don’t?” her mother said.

“No,” Night Glider said, looking back at her parents. Her heartbeat was starting to come down, and her breathing was becoming less frantic. She looked around the room for a moment.

“I hate it here,” she finally said. “Modus was always hostile to me. I really thought coming back here would change that, but nothing’s changed over the past year. This place still hates me.”

“Night Glider…” Lucent said.

“It’s true!” Night Glider quickly replied. “Modus doesn’t like outsiders. It doesn’t matter that I was born here, that you guys are my parents, or anything. I’m still just a pegasus, so Modus will always treat me like I’m second-class. It doesn’t matter how hard I tried, it was always gonna be wrong for me to be here.”

“Sarosians had to deal with being viewed differently for quite a long time,” her dad said. “Though many are now integrated into society, Modus is far isolated from the rest of Equestria. Most ponies here still on to hold that grudge.”

“Yeah, Modus is pretty set in it’s ways,” Night Glider said. “But that doesn’t make it right, and you guys have to know that! You have to…” She stopped herself as she could feel her heart beating faster again. “Look, it’s not important.”

“It isn’t?” her mom said.

“I said I hate it here, and Modus hates it when I’m here,” Night Glider continued. “Nothing is ever going to make that different, and I can’t keep telling myself that things are just going to be okay here. They aren’t. I get it. I admit it… I don’t belong here.”

As the words left her mouth, another sense of ease came over her. For the first time since entering Modus, her mind went elsewhere. To the three griffons. To Palmacolta. To Dusty. To the gorge and the Quarray Eels. To the three pegasi above the clouds in the forest.

And finally, she thought back to the little town on the edge of desert, in the middle of nowhere. Sugar Belle handing her a bag packed to the brim with scones she had baked specifically for her trip. Party Favor hugging her tightly and telling her how much he and the rest of the town would miss her.

And Double Diamond, sitting with her and talking to her, comforting her the first night she had remembered Modus. Saying goodbye to her as she flew away.

“This was a mistake,” Night Glider muttered.

“What was?” Dusk asked.

“This whole thing,” Night Glider said. “This trip across Equestria. Having to fight just to get a half-hour of time to talk to you guys. This whole time, I thought was trying to find acceptance. But you know what? I already have a life. One that I’m just starting!”

She looked up at the skylight again at the moon hanging high above, then back to her parents. For the first time since she entered her parent’s home, she smiled. A word that had been bouncing around in the back of her mind finally found its way out.

“I’m not here for acceptance. I’m here for closure. I’m here to finally put Modus behind me once and for all, so I can get on with my life.”

There was a pause. Lucent and Dusk turned to each other for a moment, but neither said anything. Night Glider waited, unsure of what was going to come next. Finally, her mother turned back.

“So then… you have something to go back to?” she asked.

Night Glider nodded. “Yeah. All those ponies who were brainwashed with me, we’re sticking together so we can turn where were we were into a real town. There’s a lot of work we have to do, but we’re all working together on it.” She looked to the side, out the window. “They’ve… all been really supportive of me, actually. They knew about the whole exile thing, but they were cool with it. In fact, they really took me in as their friend.” She shook her head. “And I just abandoned them to come here.”

“Night Glider,” she said, “I’m truly happy to hear that.”

“You are?” Night Glider turned back to her parents. Tears were welling up in Lucent’s eyes, while her dad had a smile on his face.

“It’s exactly as you said: you don’t belong here,” Lucent said. “But after we hadn’t heard from you at all after you were exiled, and nothing from Dusty, we had thought the worst.” She wiped her eyes. “We were so worried about you, Night Glider. We thought you were lost somewhere, or that you were…” She sniffled again. “To think that all this time, you were finally able to build a life for yourself...”

Night Glider smiled back. “Well, it wasn’t exactly building a life for most of the year. But after everything sort of went back to normal, we’ve gotten to know each other. We’re really hoping to set up a community, get the town linked with the rest of Equestria.”

“So you finally found somewhere that makes you happy,” Dusk said. “But you still came back?”

Night Glider sighed. “I kept thinking of Modus, like I had something to prove and just had to come back, that I had to fit in. I guess I haven’t really been looking at the big picture.” She looked up at the moon again. “That’s what Luna was talking about.”

“Luna?” Dusk said. “You spoke to the Princess?”

“Yeah,” Night Glider said. “I fell asleep waiting to get into Modus, and she visited me.”

“What did she tell you to do?”

“She didn’t tell me to do anything. She just talked to me about the different paths I could take going forward. But I think this is the direction she was pushing me to. I just don’t think she wanted to make the decision for me, she wanted me to realize things for myself.”

“Luna hasn’t been to Modus in quite some time,” Dusk Gaze said. “But she took the time to speak with you?”

“I was having a nightmare,” Night Glider replied. “She put a stop to it.”

“Hmm,” her dad muttered.

“Dad?”

“As I said, much of Modus still holds a grudge against the rest of Equestria, and ponies interact with those outside of Modus very rarely,” he said. “If she is now aware of how Modus treated you... I would imagine she will be returning here. Hopefully to talk to some of the ponies about everything that happened.”

“You guys never had a problem going to Palmacolta,” Night Glider said. Her parents looked at each other, both smiling.

“Because we had you,” her mother said.

Night Glider smiled back. She reached up and grasped her locket in her hoof. The sense of unease and trepidation that had followed her from the moment she left town, and had only grown when she had entered Modus, had faded. She took in a long breath.

“If Modus is never going to change it’s ways,” she said, “I don’t think there’s any reason for me to even be here anymore. I think I should get going.”

“Are you sure?” Lucent said. “You’ve barely been here for fifteen minutes.”

Night Glider nodded. “Yeah, I’m sure. I get where I belong now,” she said.

Night Glider stood up and looked at the door. Her mother stood up and trotted next to her.

“Are we going to see you again?” she asked.

“Well, I doubt I’m going to be back in Modus any time soon,” Night Glider replied. “Or ever, really. But you know what? You guys should come visit me.”

Her parents again glanced at each other. “Would that be alright?” Dusk asked.

“Of course!” Night Glider said. “It’s a bit out of the way, but I made the trip in a few days. Once things are up and running, I’ll find a way to let you know.”

Night Glider paused at the door. She took one look back around at the room, then down at her parents. Her mother and father were standing right behind her; her mother had tears in her eyes, while her dad was wiping one from his.

“Night Glider…” she said quietly.

Without another word, Lucent Star leaned in and wrapped her daughter into a tight hug, with Dusk joining in a second later. Night Glider returned the embrace.

“We missed you so much, Night Glider,” her mom said through sniffles. “I’m so glad that you’re okay…”

“I missed you guys, too,” Night Glider said. “I’ll stay in touch, somehow. I promise.”

They finally let go, and with one last smile, Night Glider opened the door and stepped out. The two guards turned to her.

“I’m ready to go,” she said to them. The guards nodded at each other and trotted forward, motioning for her to follow. She looked around Modus, seeing ponies shoot her awkward glances or outright ignore her. With a smirk, she just turned back to the guards escorting her back.

The mayor stood at the gates, patiently waiting. When he saw Night Glider and the guards approaching, he raised a single eyebrow, then flew over to them.

“Are you finished already?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Fine,” the mayor said, then looked at the guards. “You are dismissed, I will take it from here.”

The guards flew away, and the mayor nodded at Night Glider, then beckoned for her to follow him the rest of the way to the gate. They had only made it a few steps before the mayor spoke again.

“You understand that there is no second opportunity,” he said. “This was it. Do not expect to be let into Modus again.”

“And I have no intention of returning,” Night Glider said.

“Good. You were lucky that I even let you back into Modus.”

Night Glider gritted her teeth for a moment, then stopped in her tracks. The mayor looked back at her.

“What?” he grumbled.

“I want to write to my parents,” she said, staring directly at the mayor.

“Excuse me?”

“You don’t want me in contact with the rest of Modus. I’m okay with that,” Night Glider said. “But I think I have a right to talk to my parents. I’ll stay out of Modus, I won’t even talk to other ponies from Modus if I ever see them. But I want to stay in touch with my parents, so they don’t have to worry about me anymore.”

The mayor stared at Night Glider for a few tense seconds. Night Glider stared right back, not moving, until the mayor snorted and turned back to the gate.

“As long as you don’t return to Modus, or get involved with any business related to the town, I don’t care what you do,” he said.

Night Glider nodded, and they walked out through the gates. She took a few steps forward and looked back at the mayor.

“Your time in Modus is over,” he said. “I can assure you, being let in was a one-time event. Your exile remains.”

“I understand,” Night Glider said.

“I hope that you got whatever it was you were looking for in Modus.”

The mayor turned to leave. As he started to step away, Night Glider glanced down at her locket. She smiled.

“To be honest, I didn’t.”

The mayor stopped in his tracks. He glanced behind his shoulder at her.

“Excuse me?”

“I think I got most of what I needed on the way here,” she continued.

She smiled. The mayor snorted again, then turned and trotted away. As he did, the gates began to swing shut. Night Glider turned and took her locket in her hoof, holding it tightly as she unfolded her wings and took off. She closed her eyes, feeling the wind blow against her mane, as she let go of her locket and let it jingle in the air. Behind her, the great gates of Modus slammed shut, the sound causing a shockwave that revealed the path in front of her as she flew.