• Published 12th Nov 2012
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Rising Night - StLeibowitz

A meeting with a dark pegasus in the Archives thrusts Twilight into a world she never knew existed.

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Chapter 3

“Magical artifacts…magical seals…magical runes…” Nothing! There was nothing in this area about fanged ponies with catlike eyes that could see in the dark. It frustrated Twilight to no end. Had she a name to go on, she would have had all pertinent writings to her assailant’s species together in less than an hour. Instead, she had been passing over each and every shelf in the dark with a fine-toothed comb. At least she didn’t have to worry about her horn light revealing her position to anypony; thanks to her new night vision, she could see everything as clearly as if it were in bright sunlight.

Maybe she was looking in the wrong place? The description of her new attributes seemed a bit…paranormal. Mythical, even. Maybe the section on old myths?

As she checked over the shelves of scrolls and tomes on ancient myths and stories, she noticed another suspicious gap between books. Although she was unsure of what was supposed to go there, she realized immediately what it meant: the mysterious pegasus-monster was here tonight. Maybe she would have the answers.

She heard the clopping of hooves in the next aisle over. Without a second thought, she broke into a gallop and shouted for the stranger. “Hey! Wait up!”

She weaved in and out of the bookshelves in pursuit of the pegasus, never losing sight of her quarry as the chase ended up in the same section it had last time, only this time Twilight was between the intruder and the trapdoor. She kept her away from the escape, cornering her by the archway into the chamber. “Got you!”

The pony whirled around, trapped by the unicorn, and locked its brilliant green eyes on hers.

Green? This wasn’t the pegasus. She saw an aura of red magic ignite around the unicorn stallion’s horn.

Her scream of agony echoed around the Archives as a light brighter than the sun itself flared into existence at the tip of his horn, scorching her eyes and blinding her for what felt like an eternity – though that may have just been the unconsciousness setting in as she fainted.

“Nice one!” Midnight laughed, dropping from her perch atop the shelves. The stupid purple unicorn would think twice before chasing her again. “Stupid Day pony didn’t even see it coming.”

“Day pony?” Arcturus growled, his voice low and dangerous. “That is not a Day pony there, Midnight.”

“Of course she…oh, no.” The black pegasus saw the short fangs in the unicorn mare’s mouth and felt her stomach drop out from under her. “Did you fire it full blast?”

“Of course I fired it full blast! You asked me to, didn’t you?” Arcturus trotted over to the prone unicorn and muscled her up onto his back. “Come on. We need to get her back into the Underground before somepony sees us up here.”

“Will her vision recover?” Midnight asked worriedly, falling into step behind her friend.

“For your sake, I hope it does.” Arcturus turned the corner and casually flicked the trapdoor up with magic. “You know the penalties for this kind of thing. An eye for an eye, blood for blood…you get the picture.”

She swallowed nervously. If the lavender unicorn really was blinded, it would be best for her to just buck open the window and fly away now. She couldn’t lose her sight! A blind pegasus was like a unicorn without a horn, an earth pony without legs – inconceivable! An impossibility! Death would be kinder.

“Is there anything you can do to help?” Midnight dropped lightly down the shaft beneath the door. “You’ve got magic; surely you can patch up her eyes!”

“I wish.” Arcturus answered, dropping far less gracefully but somehow with more gentleness to the rough stone floor. “Because you need a quick patch job, too. How in Luna’s name do you mistake a Day pony for a Night pony? Didn’t her eyes give you any hint?”

“I had just been blinded too, you know.” She responded angrily. “And, well…she may not have been a Night pony then.”

Arcturus froze. “You bit her.” It was not a question; it was a statement of fact.


“You bucking idiot! You bit her? Have you no self-control?” the stallion roared.

“Calm down, calm down! Do you want the guards up there to hear us?” Midnight glanced nervously at the tunnel roof. “There’s a reason I move so quietly while up there.”

“That was really, really stupid of you.” Arcturus rumbled, lowering his volume and trotting to keep up. “And that means you knew. You knew she was a Night pony. You just made your case indefensible in a tribunal.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry.”

“Hey, I’m not the one who’s getting her eyes slashed if Purple here never regains her sight.” Arcturus sighed. “You’ve really outdone yourself with this, Midnight. There was no need to pass on your bloodline this soon.”

“Luna doesn’t care, so long as she has eyes.” The black pegasus retorted.

“She may not even get those.”

“Okay, alright, I get it! I bucked up. Happy?” The black pegasus snorted in anger. “You think I wanted this? By the laws, she’s my responsibility now! I have to integrate her into our damned community in this city, and that’s going to cut deeply into my free time. Don’t you jump on my back here, too.”

“You know I’d support you, Midnight.” Arcturus answered, after a few minutes spent walking in silence. “I’d even take the blame for blinding her for you, too. It’s just not in my nature to abandon a friend in a time of need.”

“Of course.”

“You are uniquely suited to this task, though, you’ve got to admit.” The Night unicorn continued. “Being the most recent foreign addition to the Night in the past few years.”

“Joy. We can swap stories about our Day lives while we idle sightlessly in the Cistern, begging for bits.” She set her eyes forward, sparing not even a glance back. “She’s too young; barely more than a filly, by Day standards.”

“As are you.” Arcturus shifted their rescue’s dead weight to a more comfortable position.


They continued on in silence for about a half hour, tracing the tunnel’s route under the city as they approached Lower Canterlot. Arcturus felt the unicorn stir on his back.

“She’s waking up.”

“Should we stop and orient her a bit?” Midnight asked.

“Probably. It’d help her not embarrass herself when we introduce her to the herd.” Arcturus dumped his cargo roughly onto the floor, awakening her fully and eliciting a squeak of pain. “Hello, Purple Unicorn, sister in the Night and now of the bloodline of Midnight the pegasus. Can you see me?”

“She’s new, not stupid.” Midnight chastised her friend for his careful, slow enunciation of the words. “But seriously, can you still see? We apologize profusely for the flare spell; we thought you were a Day pony, and it was intended as a prank.”

“I think I can see still, assuming I’m not hallucinating.” The unicorn answered carefully, a slight edge of anxiety audible in her tone. “Where am I? Who are you?”

“I’m Midnight and this is Arcturus.” The pegasus answered. “We’re in a tunnel running underneath the old city, on the way to integrate you with the rest of the Canterlot herd.”

“Integrate?” She looked confused for a second, before panicking and scooting back down the tunnel quickly. “No! Take me back! I don’t want to live in some sort of weird commune! Help! Somepony, help!

“Quiet.” Arcturus ordered, lifting her telekinetically. “We’re not taking you to – oof!”

The wave of magic the lavender unicorn released was unfocused, blindingly bright (for the Night ponies), and packed a punch. Midnight and Arcturus were sent tumbling back by the blast, blinking the afterimage of the wall of light away as they struggled to reorient themselves. “Arcturus, grab her again. I dare you.” Midnight hissed, galloping down the tunnel after the unicorn.

“Look, how the hay was I supposed to know she’s a mage?” Arcturus answered angrily. “I think she broke something with that blast!” he began limping after his friend.

“You could have guessed, based on where we – “ She was interrupted by the sound of a loud crunch from further ahead. “Idiot. She blinded herself again with that stunt.”

They caught up with the escapee quickly, fining her on the ground clutching her snout at a bend in the tunnel. “That really wasn’t bright.” Arcturus grimaced as he put weight on his left hind leg. “You could’ve given yourself a concussion or something.”

“I’m not going with you!” She shouted in response, her horn glowing magenta as she prepared to cast another spell. She broke off very quickly when Midnight jumped at her and wrapped her forelegs around her head, biting firmly on her sensitive horn.

“I will break this.” She said calmly, speaking loudly to be heard around the horn. “Come quietly. No more spells or you’ll collapse the tunnel.” The purple unicorn nodded meekly.

“I don’t believe we got your name, miss.” Arcturus smiled pleasantly. “Surely, I’d have heard of such an impressive young magical talent as yourself.”

“I’m Princess Celestia’s personal student!” She answered proudly. “My name is Twilight Sparkle – OUCH ouch ouch ouch ouch –“

“Shut up.” The change in Midnight’s demeanor was shocking. Tightening her grip on Twilight’s horn and pushing it forward a bit, enough to force the unicorn’s head down as she tried to ease the pain, she ordered the unicorn to walk.

“Why are you – OUCH! Stop that!” Twilight cried out again.

“I said shut up.” Midnight repeated. “Anypony who works with that monster has already committed an irredeemable crime in my book.”

“What do you mean, ‘monster’?” Twilight grimaced but managed to avoid another exclamation of pain as the pegasus increased the pressure on her sensitive horn. “She’s perfect! She’s never done – “

Twilight shut up as the pegasus slammed her head into the side of the tunnel. Arcturus remained silent.

“Have you told her you’re a Night pony yet?” Midnight demanded. “Have you?”


“Then don’t tell me about how “perfect” ‘her Majesty’ is.”


“No. No, you’re not.”

“Detour time.” Arcturus stood in front of the two mares.

“I said I’m not going back to that place, Arcturus.” Midnight growled, forcing her captive forward a few more steps before she felt herself be lifted off of the unicorn.

“You are now.” He commanded. “You don’t treat other Night unicorns like that without giving a reason, Midnight.” The red unicorn turned to Twilight. “Looks like there might be a delay in our arrival time at the Cistern. No funny business, got that?” The smaller mare nodded.

“Follow me.” The three began to trace their path down the tunnel again, Twilight sandwiched between a trotting Arcturus and an unhappily floating Midnight.

I hope that filly takes this well. He thought. If she truly was the Princess’s personal student, things between them might get a bit rocky after this.