• Published 3rd Apr 2023
  • 2,170 Views, 177 Comments

A Change in Darkness - David Silver

Bat ponies were a convenient hiding place. Few knew of their true nature, if they even really existed, so he could pretend to be one and get few hard questions. A pity one princess knew more than most, and would not be casually brushed aside.

  • ...

19 - Mother of All

Skyline gazed in a mirror, examining herself. She was a she, a pretty bat pony, who would become a mother. "Time to be serious."

"About?" Pointed came up alongside Skyline, looking into the same mirror, and examining Skyline in it. "Why the mare disguise? Are they sending you somewhere secret?"

"No." Skyline inclined an ear. "But I am taking up a big role. I will be a mother soon." She put her hooves at her belly, which showed no sign of what was happening. "I decided I should allow that gender to come out. Acting a mother while insisting I'm all male feels... silly, really."

"Wow." Pointed rubbed at his cheek. "So you... just swapped gender, like that. Wow. I don't think a pony could flick that switch so easily." His face was haunted with awe and wonder, just trying to imagine that idea. "I'm a stallion... Um, and I'm happy that way."

"I am also happy as a stallion." She fluffed her face gently, giving both of them a fanged smile in the mirror. "But I can be a mare, and I think I'm even a nice one. Am I pretty?"

Pointed blinked softly. "Um, I did tell you... I prefer stallions."

That prompted Skyline to still herself and feel. Pointed's love had lost its hot spiciness. She was not what he physically wanted. There was only the warmth of a friend, but he remained a friend, a true one. "That's too bad."

"Huh, why?"

Skyline inclined her head. "I still like you."

That got Poined to flush brightly. "O-oh! Um..." He tapped his hooves slowly. "I, uh... Wow."

Skyline shrugged, turning back to her reflection. "You know, most ponies aren't 100%."

"100%... what?" Pointed looked into that same mirror, studying Skyline's mysterious face. "Um, you are pretty, objectively, you know? Definately a pretty and mysterious bat mare."

A little touch of spice, thrown on the smoldering coals. Skyline chuckled gently. "100% inclined. Many ponies are lost somewhere in the middle." She wobbled a hoof. "75% gay, 50% gay, 25% gay. You can be anywhere in there. Only a few are 100% or 0%, but they sure do love to be in denial."

Pointed blinked slowly as understanding dawned. "You mean...I could be sorta attracted to mares and stallions both?" He frowned contemplatively.

"Huh...never really thought about it that way." Glancing sidelong at Skyline's alluring new form in the mirror, he had to admit she cut a striking figure. Still, uncertainty gnawed at him.

"Maybe you're right, but...these feelings have always seemed pretty clear-cut to me," Pointed murmured. "Fellow guard stallions catch my eye...pretty mares, not so much."

He scuffed a hoof against the floor, then met Skyline's gently smiling gaze. "But I guess exploring is healthy now and then. And you're not just any mare."

Impulsively, Pointed leaned in and planted a swift kiss on Skyline's cheek. Drawing back, his own cheeks flushed brightly.

"There! No lightning bolts or nausea," he pronounced with a nervous chuckle. "So guess I can't claim to be completely opposed."

Pointed exhaled slowly, nerves settling. "Still gonna take some getting used to though, I admit. Never been with a mare before...and one who isn't always a mare at that!"

He waved a hoof airily. "But hey, guess that'll keep life exciting eh? And uh, thanks for opening my eyes a little wider." Pointed flashed a lopsided grin. "Who knows, maybe we guards need to be more flexible to nurture your little tribe."

His expression grew thoughtful. "In fact, maybe that flexibility would be a good tradition to pass down. Could help unify all kinds of ponies down the road."

Pointed nudged Skyline playfully. "Look at that - you're already shaping generations and you haven't even laid your egg yet!"

Skyline could feel that fire stoked higher, erupting into a little cheery flame the more she just let Pointed talk on and on. Sometimes, being quiet was the best way to learn, and influence. "Shaping generations already, hmm?" She mused, turning back to the mirror with a contemplative gaze. "An intriguing notion."

She examined her feminine features pensively. "I hadn't considered the broader influences these changes could spur. Not just birthing a tribe, but transforming perspectives."

Pointed nodded along eagerly. "Right? Your little herd could act as living bridges between tribes - and other barriers too." He leaned a shoulder against the glass. "With you as their anchor, who knows what new connections they might forge?"

Skyline smiled softly at the thought. "Harmony from the most unlikely of origins...there is a certain poetry in that." She tossed her head with a silvery laugh. "Perhaps your flexibility advice should be another legacy I bring!"

Her amusement quieted as she studied Pointed seriously. "But in truth, little is certain beyond the next few moons. Except..." Skyline extended a hoof to clasp his. "That I am glad to have you at my side, no matter the road ahead."

Pointed's cheeks reddened again, but his grin shone bright and warm. "Wild dragons couldn't pry me away," he proclaimed. "We're in this together, Skyline."

He brushed a kiss across her hoof gallantly. "And I look forward to discovering just what that means."

Yep, his fires were burning. With it, the love he was radiating was powerful, and she could feel it fueling the egg inside her. Having allowed the female state to have a proper place in her, it felt like foal's play to feel that egg, growing and safe within her. It loved the bath of love Pointed was providing.

So she didn't discourage him. "My gallant knight. Think of me, but you do need to report."

"O-oh! Right!" He fluffed up his mane, threw on his armor, and charged off to get his duties done.

Skyline smirked faintly. "Mares have some advantages..." It was kind of nice, wrapping a poor lost stallion around her hoof. "But this is about you." She rubbed her belly gently. "What sort of bat will emerge first, hm? Is this what broodlings feel like? I... suppose it is."

She had accepted that job, to see the next generation came to be. "Off to work." But it wasn't her only job. She got to hers, even if they refused to send her out on any real tasks that took her from the castle.

Skyline reflected on the strange new sensations sweeping through her as she went about her administrative duties. Though grounded from field missions, paperwork and planning were still her lot.

Yet paperwork felt trivial beside the miracle unfolding within. She stroked her belly, as yet unchanged, but a fierce protectiveness was rising unbidden. Was this a glimmer of the broodling impulse from ages past?

It seemed her body had accepted the maternal role with an alacrity that surprised her. Though she retained the ability to shift forms, this feminine self now felt cloaked in purpose - a vessel to shelter new lives.

Despite her steadfast calculations, a startling tenderness was taking root. She imagined tiny heartbeats quickening beneath her own and fierce love kindled at the thought. Pointed's attentions had only strengthened the cascade.

Skyline shook her head with a wry chuckle. She had known desire's hollow pangs before, but this awakening need burned with selfless fire - to nurture, teach, defend. A mother's passion ignited by fate's spark.

Was this enduring zeal what broodlings through the ages felt, compelled by queen and colony to yield young without thought for self? Yet now removed from hive pressures, such purpose came gentle, a calling she embraced by choice.

Skyline caressed the subtle swell once more, awe rippling through her. "Hello little one...what wonders do you portend?" she whispered. A new age was dawning not only for bat ponies, but all of ponydom. And she would nurture that fragile dawn with a mother's endless devotion.

As she walked on through her quiet tasks, anticipation quickened Skyline's pulse despite herself. What would that wondrous first glimpse be like? Filly or colt or something else entirely? Heart thrilling, she faced the future boldly. Come what may, a mother awaited.

Time passed almost in a blur. She did as she was asked to do, but her thoughts went to her young more and more frequently. "Stop." Skyline did stop, blinking at the mare that had said it. "Yes?"

"You are distracted." Her horn glowed, taking the papers free of Skyline's grasp. "And it's showing as you put those in... I don't think you even know where you are." But she was smiling despite that. "I am putting you on maternal leave, and I'll inform Luna. She can roast my bottom if I'm making the wrong decision."

"But you're not even a commanding officer!" Skyline spread her wings wide. "And you're dismissing me? Is that even allowed?!"

"Not usually." She put two hooves gently on Skyline, one to a shoulder each. "As a fellow mare, I'm sending you off duty. Go, rest, and put your focus down there." She inclined her head towards Skyline's belly. "Good luck."

Skyline sank to her haunches. "Is it... that obvious?"

"It is." The mare took her hooves away. "You're close. Stop working. You're already doing so much in there. That's work enough." She smooched Skyline on the forehead, no passion, only kindness felt. "Go."

Skyline stumbled towards her quarters in a daze, the other mare's surprising compassion swirling through her thoughts. Had her condition truly become so evident? She studied her profile in a passing window, seeing little obvious change.

Yet she could not deny the quickening deep within, heralding tides of transformation still submerged from outside eyes. The paperwork guardian was right - momentous work was underway beneath Skyline's surface stillness.

She entered her room and practically collapsed onto the bed, breath leaving her in a great rush. To finally lay this emanate burden down felt sweet relief. Yet as she nestled against the soft blankets, loneliness crept in as well.

Wasn't a doting partner supposed to await expectantly in these pivotal hours? Sadness pricked Skyline that none had stayed to fill that role. Perhaps she was fooling herself imagining any stallion could embrace both sides of her changeable nature.

A mother lacking a mate...so be it then. She had walked solitary roads before. Still, Pointed's fleeting passion rekindled bittersweet yearning for what might have been. Could he have remained tender beyond flirtation, welcoming child and sire alike with equal devotion?

The question lingered painfully unanswerable as Skyline curled against her pillow. But she would greet her destiny with courage regardless, unsupported or no. This lonely eve remained but prelude to tomorrows unfurled in love's first cries.

Perhaps in time affection would return twofold from the little lives she sheltered now. And for their shining potential, she would gladly pass through any fire. This night yet held reckoning...but dawn, however distant, must come in time.

Until then she must stand fast - bolstered by memory of kinship past and possibility of families yet to bloom. This would be motherhood's sustaining twin pillars, when other comforts slipped away. Bat pony and Guardsman both found strength in standing vigil.

So she kept her patient watch in shadowed stillness, hooves curled round the precious cargo within. One lone light holding back the darkness...waiting, yearning, for the luminous love to come.

Besides, she wasn't alone. She had countless friends among the guards, and even outside the guards. The ponies of the castle had grown to know and accept her, most beyond the faint embers of recognition. That was what let the egg grow, that overwhelming love.

She was single, but she was not alone. She wrinkled her nose. "I am the mother of all..." She turned an ear back. "Well, not all..." Her thoughts went to Celestia, who held that title even more truly. She was, without doubt, the mother that sat over all of Equestria, roosting it gently.

Skyline rubbed her egg, grown so large within her. "Is it almost time?" She could feel a faint movement within her. "Almost... Almost..." She faded into a light sleep, dreaming of her child. In that comforting maelstrom, a name came.

Author's Note:

Not gonna lie, I kinda loved this chapter? It felt... warm and comfortable. A new tomorrow approaches, but Skyline sits(lies comfortable) ready.

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