• Published 25th Jun 2021
  • 1,052 Views, 17 Comments

Creeping Darkness - Bronyxy

An unexpected visitor crashes Day Court, alerting Twilight to something being seriously wrong in the Crystal Empire ...

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1 Anything but an Ordinary Day

Princess Twilight looked up as the last scheduled petitioner left Day Court, keeping the same warm smile in place as she had for every one of the visitors who had come to seek her guidance and judgement. These days, petitioners were not just ponies, as had been the case under the reign of the Two Sisters, but now society had become so much more integrated that the Princess had opened up the privilege of audience to any of the races that lived in Equestria, and even those who lived beyond.

There was no longer a Night Court as there was no longer any dedicated Princess of the Night to adjudicate over proceedings, but Twilight kept the title of Day Court as an act of homage to her beloved mentor and close friend, Princess Celestia.

Technically, Twilight ruled the kingdom of Equestria by herself, but that was not strictly true in practice, for a large dragon was never far from her side. Strangers to the Court would invariably be shocked at the sight of a dragon so close to the seat of power, and even more surprised that he so willingly took a subservient role to the pony Princess, but that was how it worked, and it worked well.

“Come on Spike” she said, alighting from her throne and dropping the last remains of the slightly forced smile that had been in place throughout the entire session, replacing it with one of genuine heartfelt love, “Let’s go get you some gems; my treat.”

“Honestly, Twi” he confided, standing by her side in case she needed a claw of help, “All those nobles bickering amongst each other … how do you keep your temper?”

“Easy” she replied with a wink, “Just imagine them sat on a toilet – they don’t seem so pompous then!”

Spike chuckled easily and shook his head, having just learned another tip from the pony he thought of both as best friend and sister, despite them being completely different species.

“Hey, what did you make of that soothsayer?” Spike asked, “He sure seemed to have a bee in his bonnet about that astral conjunction thing.”

“Hmm, yes, I’ll keep that in mind“ agreed Twilight thoughtfully, “But it’s not as if something is just going to up and fall straight through the roof, now is it?”

They were just about to climb down from the raised dais that elevated the throne from the floor, when they were startled by a loud grunt from the Clerk of the Court who had just been exiting the large double doors, and turned to focus on him as he bowled back in again, entangled with something pink. For an instant, Twilight was expecting to see Pinkie Pie climb up and dust herself down wearing some random look on her face, but as soon as that fond thought had flashed into her mind, it was brutally dashed away with the realisation that her dear friend had passed away decades ago.

To their credit, the guards recovered with lightning reactions, weapons drawn, to watch the clerk disentangling himself from a pink pony who had collapsed panting before them, eyes wide as she tried to suck the air into her lungs.

The guards quickly both made assessments of the risk posed by the sudden arrival of the dishevelled pink mare, and concluded that she did not appear to present an immediate threat. More than that, she bore more than a passing resemblance to royalty herself.

The junior guard shot a questioning glance to his fellow, obviously eager to help the distressed pony gasping for breath on the floor, but his sergeant responded with a harsh glare borne from years of discipline, directing him instead to watching the corridor outside. It was possible that she may not have been alone, and as harsh as it might have appeared, their job was to guard; others could attend to the needs of the unexpected visitor, even if she was royalty. He didn’t want to lower his guard and risk his Princess being ambushed just because her niece had arrived, even though it looked like she may badly need medical help.

Twilight recognised the mature pink alicorn with magenta and sapphire mane, and immediately spread her wings wide, flapping the few loping wingbeats needed to fly the short distance down to meet her, followed closely by Spike, gliding down on his large leathery wings.

“Auntie Twilight!” she gasped, fighting for breath, as the Princess furled her wings to kneel alongside and put her muzzle close.

“Take your time Flurry” she soothed, noting with alarm some charred feathers on her niece’s wings. Spike noticed too, and growled softly at the prospect of what he would do to whoever had injured Cadence and Shining’s daughter, even though she was now a fully grown mare.

Gulping down a few more breaths, Flurry Heart tried to get up but flinched as her legs refused to carry her weight and she collapsed.

“Medics!” boomed Spike, while Twilight devoted herself to listening closely to the message her niece was trying to deliver.

The pink mare’s heart was pounding, and her chest continued to rise and fall dangerously quickly.

Twilight caught sight of red stains smearing across the stone floor as the injured alicorn moved, and shot Spike a worried look.

“Medics!” bellowed Spike again, this time so loud that the guards minding the double doors thought they would lose their hearing permanently. Twilight did not react at all, she didn’t even tense at the outburst as she continued to hold her niece softly, surreptitiously looking for the source of the blood to try and understand the severity of her injuries.

At that point, two medics ran in to be suddenly confronted with the most impatient glare from a very large and very unhappy looking dragon, who was starting to seep smoke out of his nostrils as a sign of rising anger. Quickly they ran to the patient and began their examination, only to look up shortly and exchange worried glances. Immediately, one of them opened his bag, while the other rushed to get stretcher bearers.

”What’s that?” asked Twilight as the medic prepared a syringe.

“It’s a sedative, Princess” he replied without elaboration.

“But I have to hear what she’s got to say …” Twilight protested, “She’s obviously been in serious danger and ponies’ lives could be at risk.”

“Your Majesty” replied the medic, looking her straight in the eye, “If you push her any further now, you will end up trying to interrogate a corpse. May I proceed?”

Twilight looked shocked and a little taken aback.

“Proceed” she confirmed, and watched as the needle was plunged into Flurry Heart’s foreleg. She looked up at her Aunt, desperation etched across her face before her eyelids fluttered and closed.

So close” sighed Twilight, frustrated not to hear what her niece had to say.

“Yes, your Majesty” the doctor agreed, struggling to find his patient’s weak pulse, then adding under his breath, “So close to death.”

Flurry Heart untensed in her Aunt’s protective embrace and relaxed under the influence of the sedative, until the stretcher bearers arrived to lift her as carefully as they could and whisk her away to the castle’s infirmary.

Spike looked at the bloodstained floor then up to Twilight.

“I’m going to kill whoever did this" he growled under his breath, and she knew he meant this as no idle threat.