• 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.

  • ...

20 - Start of Something New

Skyline remembered little of that dream, except the important part. "Night Arrow." Visions of a sharpened shaft piercing the night danced through her mind. "My little Night Arrow." She rubbed at her belly, and it, too, had changed. She had swollen come the morning, and that had big meanings.

Mothers in Equestria only visibly plumped up when things were getting serious. "About time for you to come out..." She snorted, imagining she were the night bow, ready to fire that Night Arrow into the world. "Don't be silly," she chastised herself. She doubted it would be quite that easy.

But another thing had become clear. She was likely only creating one child. Only one name had come. Unless a second was hiding so well even its name was concealed, she would create but one.

A pity she had read so many books, she knew it was possible. Roughly one in ten twins a pony had, which were already rare, one twin would do just that, hide gently away. And the mother, and everypony else, would have no clue until they were left holding two foals, dazzled and amazed.

Skyline cradled her swollen belly. "That would be fine too..." She felt ready. "I'm bringing myself to the doctor." She slid to her hooves and made her way down the hallway, towards the royal infirmery and the birth staff that awaited her. "I hope they're ready for a changeling..."

Becoming a pony for them felt right out. A changeling birth was best handled as a changeling. She had an egg in her. It would come out the changeling way. Even if the child that emerged from that egg would, then, never be a changeling... "What a curious child you are," she spoke gently to her stirring infant. "I love you already..."

Could she do that? Changelings took love. They did not give it.

Yet, there she was, giving, joyfully. And it felt... natural. And yet, completely strange. "Excuse me." She went up to the counter. "I feel I'm about ready to deliver this egg."

The nurse that had been idling there suddenly started. "An egg?! Oh, yes." She had been informed. "Miss Skyline, please, this way. She guided Skyline along gently as if she may shatter into pieces at any moment. "One leg at a time..."

"I'm not that fragile," Skyline laughed at, but accepting the guidance down a short hallway into a room with soft colors. "Ooo, I like this..." A fine place to curl and lay and egg. "There?" She pointed at a considerable pillow.

"Exactly." The nurse fluffed up the pillow and waved Skyline closer. "How are you feeling?"

Skyline approached the beckoning pillow with a blend of trepidation and excitement quickening her pulse. "Nervous as a griffon on skates," she admitted. "But ready too."

She carefully lowered herself onto the soft bedding, wings fluttering with anticipation. The nurse fussed kindly over her, plumping another pillow beneath Skyline's head.

"First birthening jitters are perfectly normal dear," the elderly earth pony assured her. "Just trust in your body - she'll know what to do when the time comes."

Skyline managed a tense chuckle. "At least one of us will. I haven't the faintest idea!"

Another contraction rippled through her then and Skyline tensed - was that preliminary labor or simply digestive rumbling? Unable to differentiate, she looked anxiously at the nurse who patted her hoof.

"All in due course - try to relax best you can." She dimmed the lights with a flick of magic from her horn. "I'll be just outside should you need me. But chances are you'll drift a while yet before the main event."

As the nurse ambled out, Skyline focused on steadying her breathing. Strangely, the semi-darkness brought some calm. She found comfort enveloped in night's familiar embrace, as though Luna herself soothed her from afar.

Letting tension seep from her limbs, Skyline reflected on how improbable this moment had once seemed. A former changeling spy turned royal progenitor...what curious tapestry did fate weave? She could scarcely believe the role that now fell to her, brimming with tremulous potential.

The novelty of that thought lent courage enough to meet the next contraction rippling through her without panic. She was venturing beyond all maps into uncharted territory - but somehow love's lantern lit the passage however uncertain.

Easing back as the tightness passed, anticipation and anxiety danced equal measure through Skyline's mind. Yet she would greet this destiny with head held high, come what may. Too deep had bonds taken root to turn back now; through her, dream stood poised to become reality.

"Alright little one, our time draws nigh," she murmured, caressing her taut belly. "Let's discover what wonders lie beyond this waiting night - together."

Whatever daybreak revealed, they would face it as family and tribe entwined - a new people born of unlikely genesis but nurtured in love's constancy.

With a shuddering gasp, it was... all over, so suddenly. The widest part of the egg was free, and with it, the rest came almost easily, spilling out onto the soft pillow beneath her. She heaved for air, panting but smiling. "Ha.... Ha, yeah... Ha..." But things were not calm within her. "What is--"

"Twin," called out the nurse, gently rubbing at Skyline's belly. "Such a blessing."

"A blessing." Skyline turned an ear back. "But I only have one name."

The nurse dabbed at Skyline's forehead with a wet rag. "What's that name? Maybe it's both of them."

Skyline blinked at that. "Night Arrow? Night and Arrow?"

The nurse flashed a gentle smile. "I can think of worse names for... Two bat ponies just like their mother."

"Night and arrow," sighed out Skyline. "Which are you then?" She reached for her first egg. "And are you the bigger one, or the smaller one."

"Bigger." The nurse nodded. "The second is almost always smaller. The bigger one gets out of the way for their smaller sibling. Just the way it works."

"Then you must be Night." Surely the larger of the two words. "Time for Arrow to join us."

Skyline stroked the glossy shell of the first egg with awed tenderness, marveling at its pearlescent sheen. The cherished name rolled off her tongue. "Night, my darling...I can't wait to meet you."

Another contraction gripped Skyline then, heralding little Arrow's impending arrival. She bore down with panting effort as the nurse gently supported the precious egg that held hopeful Night.

With a final push Skyline cried out at the strange sensation. Then slender Arrow tumbled free to rest beside the elder twin, pale surface still dewy from the womb.

Laughing and weeping tangled within Skyline as she beheld the pair nestled together - two lives from one dream realized. She drew the delicate ovals close with trembling care, joy and worry commingling.

"My precious children...welcome." She brushed each shell with devoted lips, wishing she could see the lives flourishing within. Were they curled tight as buds still...or kicking tiny hooves even now, awaiting release into her arms?

As if in response the larger egg - little Night - gave a faint shudder that brought fresh tears spilling down Skyline's cheeks. "Eager already I see! Easy now..."

She looked beseechingly up at the kindly nurse. "How long must they remain confined? When will I meet them truly?" Even as the question left her lips, the slimmer twin quivered delicately as well.

The nurse patted Skyline's hoof. "Patience love - the shells still harden." She lifted Arrow with practiced care, inspecting the glossy curvature where tiny fissures were just appearing. "But dawn will see them free if all goes well."

Skyline fairly trembled with anticipation, imagination racing. Would they resemble her in these bat pony guises, tufted wings and wide ears? How soon would their eyes open, personalities unfold? She ached to discover every perfect detail.

Sensing her eagerness, the nurse smiled knowingly. "Rest if you can...you'll need your strength for the hours ahead!" Yet seeing Skyline's gaze already lost to dreaming she laughed. "Or perhaps spend this night imagining instead. Either way, all will be well."

Clasping her newfound treasures close, Skyline let eager scenarios fill her mind's eye to pass the long night watch. Whatever morning revealed she would welcome with tears and laughter - this eve remained only prelude to the main song still awaiting first refrain...a mother's lullaby for lives that were hers.

Soon she would cradle son and daughter to her heart - but even now, love swelled vast beyond all reckoning. Her strong night arrow had flown at last...and by its flight, miracles followed two by two.

The nurse fled to a book, flipping through it with her magic as she double-checked her words and actions. "Lucky me..." One of the first changeling birthing nurses in positively an age or three. "Two happy eggs and a happy mother to go with them."

The nurse hugged the book. "Sign enough I did an acceptable job..."

But she heard a crack. "Oh." So much for waiting for the morning. "Skyline! Miss Skyline, your children are already hurrying to greet you. Let's see these wonderful little bat ponies, hm?"

Skyline startled from her imaginings at the merry call, gaze drawn to her precious burdens as though magnetized. And there upon the nearer egg - little Night if memory served - a jagged seam was splitting round its curvature!

"They can't wait it seems!" Laughing in joyful disbelief, Skyline helped ease the quivering shell as the initial crack lengthened. A high-pitched cheeping emerged from within, so poignant her breath caught.

Then suddenly the smooth casing ruptured apart in scattering shards - and a damp little snout poked through! Skyline's heart threatened to burst as well as she beheld that darling nose questing at open air for the very first time.

"Hello, my sweet..." she choked, gently drawing the glistening foal from the remnants of his incubator as he mewled protests at the light. Then she had him against her chest, sodden coat as ebon as the night itself - her beautiful colt with velvet ears still creased from containment.

"Oh you marvelous boy..." Nuzzling his downy fur, she traced one folded wing that seemed oily with the remnants of the womb as he squirmed. "Hush Night my darling...mama's here."

As if soothed by her voice and heartbeat, the colt - Night Wind she realized with a thrill - nestled deeper into her embrace. And Skyline wept unabashedly to feel his fledgling psychic presence meshing with her own.

"We made it my little love..." she whispered. "The first glorious bat pony breathes free by our bravery..." She glanced down at the second egg holding unknown Arrow, still untended. But priorities were clear.

She offered the unhatched twin a fierce smile. "Just a moment more my next surprise - mama must welcome your brother first!" Then she turned her full focus back to the mewling life held safe against her breast.

The long night was ending - but watching her gorgeous foal find first sight, sound and scent, a whole new dawn was just unveiling its tender glories. And through tear-veiled eyes, the sleepy world had never seemed so wondrous.

But sleep would have to wait, the second egg trembling. But it wasn't cracking as swiftly as Night Wind had. It rocked and jostled, but... Skyline cringed at the sight. "Do we help them?!"

"Not so quickly," gently urged the nurse. "Breaking free is part of the process. You can root for them. Comeon, little Arrow. Punch through. It's in your name."

"Yes, please." Skyline popped a bottle into Night Wind's grasp, to the colt's happy squeal. "Come, join us. I have some for you too."

The nurse kept glancing at a clock on the wall, counting silently, but visibly with motions of her lips. The egg was slowing. She took a sharp breath. "You stay here, with Night." She grabbed Arrow and fled from the room without another word.

Skyline watched with blood that ran as cold as ice. "N-no..." Was her second already in trouble? She never felt quite so helpless.

Author's Note:

Hello Night Wind. But what of Arrow?

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