• 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.

  • ...

21 - Arrow in the Night

The nurse brought the egg not to a doctor, well, she did gather one of those, but the ultimate destination was a hatchery, where chicken eggs were brooded and hatched.

The doctor was just as confused to be there. "Well... if my patient is an egg..." He reached for a sharp poking device. "Poor thing hasn't broken the shell... If they were a chicken, we'd just write it as a loss and move on."

The nurse scowled at that. "They are not a chicken, and their children won't have shells. Luna's orders were very firmly clear. You get that foal out of there if at all possible."

The doctor held up a hoof at the nurse. "I will do my job, you do yours." He sat with a huff and leaned in, examining the egg. "A pony, in an egg..." With delicate taps of his surgical tool, he looked for the weakest part of the shell. "Now let's find where you should have broken out..."

With diligent taps, his ears danced as he heard which parts sounded different than others. "Right... here." He began to tap, lightly, then harder. "Don't be pressed against this side..." He couldn't be absolutely certain, but he kept on tapping, weakening the shell until it cracked with a loud snap, and a portion fell away, revealing the membrane just beneath. "Almost... You can't breathe through that."

He put the poker aside and grabbed a set of tweezers in his magic. "Let's break this..." He pressed the tweezers against the membrane and pulled, breaking it and pulling the fragments away, allowing the air of the operating room to rush into the cavity and give the foal their first real breath.

At the sudden influx of air, the damp foal within gave an explosive sneeze that sent the doctor recoiling as fluid droplets spattered. But the shocked little snort heralded deeper breaths from the revealed muzzle as the newborn gulped its first lungfuls.

"There now...ease yourself..." the doctor soothed. Gingerly he reached in to help extract the gangly creature - a filly by her developing anatomy - as she squalled protest at the handling.

"I know, I know dear heart...just another moment..." Carefully the doctor nestled the flailing orphan onto a warmed towel, wiping goop from her squished features as she wailed displeasure.

"Can't blame you one bit for that caterwauling," the nurse crooned, hastening over. "Quite the ordeal hatching without mama to help!" Gently she massaged the distressed filly, working to calm her as the doctor inspected baby Arrow closely.

"Good color, respiration stabilizing, reactions all normal..." Eventually he nodded satisfaction. "A bit small from having the runt egg I'd guess, but she'll likely rally swiftly."

The nurse beamed. "That's our girl! Already a little fighter like her name." Arrow's mewling had subsided to sniffly whimpers, instinctively nuzzling toward the nurse's warmth and familiar scent.

Swaddling the shivering foal securely, the nurse clucked soothingly and turned to hurry back - but Arrow set up an immediate bleating protest at the motion. The elderly pony hesitated...then inspiration struck.

"This babe needs her mama...why don't you take her?" she suggested, offering the bundle to the doctor. "I'll ready Skyline so she can feed them both quickly." Before he could argue, she pressed the baby into his hooves.

"There now precious one...we'll get you all settled right soon," she assured the wide-eyed filly trying to focus on this stranger cradling her. To the flustered doctor she flashed a wink. "Just cuddle her close and come meet Skyline - she'll do the rest!"

Then she bustled off to prepare their waiting mother, leaving the doctor staring awkwardly down at the new life mewling against his chest. What an odd beginning for the little scrap...but she seemed a hardy sort. Meeting her anxious dam was surely essential now though.

"Right then young miss, let's go find your family." He gently rewrapped the blanket to keep cold air at bay and made for Skyline's room. Such an unusual first patient! But the charm of new life stirred even his weary old heart. This small herald signaled new and hopeful things unfolding for ponykind.

He emerged into the room with a smile, child floating peacefully, though they roused the moment they entered, as if they knew. "Miss, I have something for you." He brought the floating parcel over into Skyline's shaking hooves.

She drew Arrow close, nuzzling them and offering a bottle instantly. "My little Arrow." She paused. "Sure Arrow. You are Sure Arrow." The child didn't respond, too busy gorging on their first bottle. "Night Wind." She nuzzled her first napping colt. "Sure Arrow." She kissed her filly. "Both.... Both so...." She couldn't find the words, only the measureless warmth exploding inside her. "Welcome." She hugged both close and fell over with them.

The doctor nodded at the wonderful sight of new mother and children snuggled together. "You should get some rest. They'll be tired too. You've all done a lot. Where is that nurse?"

She entered as if prompted. "Bringing the mother what she needs after all that." She put a plate down next to Skyline that smelled of tasty and nutritous snacks, teasing with savory notes and a hint of sweetness.

Skyline perked. She hadn't been thinking of food at all, but suddenly it was all she could think of.

Despite her bone-deep exhaustion, hunger pounced ravenously as that tempting platter's aroma wafted over Skyline. Yet both babes seemed equally riveted upon their first meal, little Sure Arrow nursing with gusto while her brother dozed in blissful contentment.

Skyline's stomach growled embarrassingly, but she resisted the impulse to simply devour her own repast with both children still snuggled so close. Instead she forced herself to nibble daintily, not wishing to disturb either babe.

As she gradually sated the sharpest pangs, warmth suffused her simply beholding Night Wind and Sure Arrow's perfect miniature forms. To think such fragile splendors had emerged from her own miraculous flesh! She traced each downy cheek and velvet ear with awed tenderness.

They seemed minuscule wonders of the world - surely no creature had ever been so tiny yet so flawless. Skyline still struggled processing that these precious beings were hers alone to nurture and safeguard. A sublime gift and daunting charge in one.

Yet, gazing into half-lidded eyes as the pair gradually relinquished their eager feeding, a swell of fierce protectiveness rose in Skyline beyond the mere pull of duty. Transfixed by newborn-soft muzzles milk-drunk with contentment, she knew viscerally there was no trial she would not endure nor distance too far to travel if her foals' wellbeing hung in the balance.

They were hers, echo of her own flesh, and she their bulwark against all hostile forces in the harsh world awaiting them beyond this sanctuary. But for now, both slumbered cradled in her devoted embrace. And for Skyline no greater bliss existed than guarding these small surprises fate had bestowed.

She had not dared dream of a partner to share parenting's joys and trials...yet now love's vessel brimmed beyond capacity for two babes alone. She silently swore that fathomless font would shelter little Arrow and Night Wind through every gale...always a beacon guiding their flight till they shone bright enough to breach the vault of heaven themselves.

No matter the obstacles still shadowed before Skyline swore that right then - she would be enough for the child she had never imagined might fill that yearning hollow space inside.

She awoke to a new presence entering the room, a large one that demanded attention. She sat up, her foals stirring with the motion. "Who?" But her vision came to her. "Ma'am, Luna. How..."

"Your orders are to be a mother." Luna smiled gently down on them. "Two... I hadn't even dared to dream it possible. Twins are rare enough in ponies." She paused, considering. "Hm, how many eggs does a changeling have at once? Do you know?"

Skyline's tufted ears danced with thought. "If we're talking about a normal changeling... One to three eggs is entirely normal." She took an unsure breath. "Look." She held up her foals towards Luna as if offering them unto a god. "Look at them... They're real."

"They're real," echoed Luna, awe in her breath. "Bat ponies have arrived. None can argue their presence. Skyline, you have done Equestria a service it can never repay you for entirely. But your duties have not ended. They will need a mother, at least until their hooves are firmly beneath them."

"I will be their mother forever." Skyline rubbed her face against each little bundle. "Sure Arrow. Night Wind." She nuzzled each as the introduced them to Luna. "And I am their mother, Skyline. That is just the way of things."

Luna's eyes shone with welling emotion as she leaned down to meet the newest subjects of her realm. She extended a hesitant hoof to brush the wispy fuzz of infant Night Wind's mane, then traced filly Sure Arrow's delicate cheek.

"They're exquisite," Luna whispered in a choked voice quite unlike her usual imperious tones. Clearing her throat she straightened to adopt a more formal posture befitting royalty. "Do forgive the, ah, breach in decorum. Yet how often does one bear witness to a new tribe's nascency?"

Luna turned her luminous gaze to encompass mother and babes together. "We welcome you, little ones, as honored citizens of a hopeful new era. May your family flourish generously under the moon's benevolence."

Her official proclamation made, Luna softened once more to bestow an affectionate nuzzle upon each tiny forehead in benediction. Straightening again she addressed Skyline earnestly. "I can scarcely express my gratitude. That my dream now breathes before us in such tender perfection..." She trailed off, uncharacteristically overcome.

"Suffice it to say you shall lack for nothing raising them, my friend." Impulsively Luna pressed her cheek to Skyline's, then drew back with stern composure restored. "Now I must away to make preparations befitting such wondrous arrivals."

Inclining her head respectfully she concluded, "Rest and cherish this fleeting span, Skyline. Soon enough formal debuts and public curiosity will encroach." Her smile turned wry and knowing. "So guard them jealously these precious early days when they yet belong only to you."

With a swirl of her starry mane and tail Luna swept out, leaving stunned contentment in her wake. The dreamer in Skyline thrilled at her words, even as the ardent mother pulled her babes closer. However brief this secret span, she would etch each flawless memory with love's permanence.

A soft knocking made Skyline jump. "Who is it?"

"Me," came a soft masculine voice.

"Piercing? Come in?" Skyline inclined her head at the door as Piercing Thoughts walked in slowly. "What are you doing here?"

"I heard... it happened. I wanted to see, and be sure you're alright." He closed with her with a gentle smile. "You look alright."

"I feel... fantastic..." She rocked with her foals slowly. "If you're curious, which I imagine you are, I'm feeling pretty close to all female right now, 90%? I don't know what 100% is, but every fibre of my being wants to mother these little ones as hard as I can... But I will shift again, later... when they don't need me every second." She nuzzled them in slow motions. "Sure Arrow... Night Wind."

"What nice names." Piercing went in, but paused for silent permission. A little nod let him finish the motion, nuzzling each. "Hi there, little things. Night wind? Sure Arrow? You listen to your mom." He sat back with a grin. "Uncle Piercing's here to help too!" He spread his bat wings wide. "You'll have to learn to fly one day."

That's when Skyline noticed something. "You have your horn! When did that happen?"

Piercing looked up at that horn atop his head. "Oh, right. While you were on maternity, they swapped out our armor." He turned left and right, showing it off. "Bat pony, with a horn. I love it. Like it?"

Skyline smiled at her friend. "It suits you."

A squeak brought her attention to Night Wind. "Hmm? Our Uncle's just showing off. He does that."

Author's Note:

Night Wind, Sure Arrow. They have arrived to grace the world with being adorable. For now.

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