The rise of vamponies and lycans issued the Night Guard's return by Luna's command. Time came and went for Rarity, but everything's about to change. Old friends turn to new enemies and family into adversaries. Hell's knocking, banging on the door.
"And so we start again, tormenting ourselves with the pain of a year ago. Living through the pain of having lost my sister. Some might know, others won't have a concept about it. Do I care? No. Because I know my sister, I know what she would and wouldn't do. Somepony murdered her that night, and I'll find out who, or my name won't be Sweetie Belle any longer."
A year came to pass since the fires raged through the Carousel Boutique. A year went by during which everypony thought Rarity was gone. But in reality, she's never left the woods of Everfree. Living her life in the ancient castle, Rarity's time seems endless. Yet thoughts of the past continued to haunt her, together with her more beastly side.
In the meantime, the infamous Night Guard has been reestablished by princess Luna. Vamponies and wereponies are on the rise, causing trouble on the roads. The abominations of the night need to be stopped before they spread too much havoc. A job the thestrals can't do the job on their own, and Luna knows that. Meaning that volunteers can enlist.
Torn by grief, maddened by sadness, Sweetie Belle doesn't know what is right and wrong anymore. That cursed night consumed by fire continued to haunt her. Not even all the distractions she had given herself could empty her mind of it. Unsure of what to do next, it won't take too long before a rash decision comes forth. A decision that won't just drag Sweetie in the abyss, but the other Crusaders as well.
All three of them, having different ideals and ways of living, are about to face the unbelievable. Revelations to come, disasters to be avoided, changes to be made and words that must never be spoken. Yet a slight ripple in the pond, can change everything. Some, have been much closer to the truth than they might have thought originally. Nopony is safe as not only the night is at stake, but so are their lives...
==================================================== Coverart created by BaroqueDavid
In the dead of night was it dragged across the forest floor. The constant, near inaudible growling of a beast was heard echoing through the leaves. Everything was revealed in the pale moonlight though. That goldish yellow coated pegasus wolf had made another prey. The mouth was opened for just a moment, with a thud did it fell to the ground. The lifeless body of a unicorn that had been viciously slain. A clawed hoof was set against the belly and a dark howl echoed through the woods. In the dead of night had it claimed its prey and feast for the rest of it. Everything was right where it had to be, with the exception of one thing: a roof over its head.
The wolf glanced back and forth, then dug its claws even further into the fresh flesh. Only to just drag it along the forest floor without much effort. With the mouth then finally free, the mumbles were made. Mumbles that couldn’t be believed if ears heard it. “Easy, now,” it spoke in a tone that was conflicted by shyness and primal instinct. A deep sigh was then released through the nostrils. The eyes glanced up to the moon before a wolfish grin was then given. The cloudless night had done the wolf good, it had done her good. Everything just went the way that it was supposed to be. Everything had gone the way the wolf had predicted to have gone.
In the ears were the last sounds caught from the living unicorn. One who had strode off the given path and right into the claws of the beast. “N-No, please! S-Spare me!” it would have plead for its miserable life. Only moments before the claws and teeth would have set itself in the flesh, killing the pony in a gruesome manner. The thoughts caused a shiver to go over the back. A pleasant one, but also one shunned at the same time. Terror and horror went hoof in hoof, they were also despised at the same time.
“You, Fluttershy, survival, feed, on flesh,” the wolf mumbled to itself while it kept on wandering through the forest. A forest that had become the home away from home. But that wolf, was nopony else than Fluttershy the werepony. The dreaded accident that happened only mere months ago between her and Rarity had changed her life. Sanctuary had been given to her, whenever the moon was as full as it was. Security granted by the castle in the woods, the one place where she could have been truly safe. The one place where she wanted to be during her transformed times. Fluttershy had learned to live with her curse, but still longed to times where she wasn’t.
Time changed everypony, that much was certain. Nearly a year had gone by since Rarity’s death to the world. Nearly a year ago had the flames consumed the once-so-mighty Carousel Boutique. Nearly a year had her friends mourned the death of the fashionista. But what they didn’t knew, was the secret life that she held behind for each of them. Rarity was everything but dead. Fluttershy knew, and a very select ponies knew it too. Hiding had become the main source of security and Rarity wanted to keep it that way.
Fluttershy didn’t knew how safe it was to drag a bleeding body down the forest floor to the castle. But if hunters had come, they would have easily been taken care of. Everything inside the castle was created to either scare, harm or kill mortals and immortals alike. Defense was the best offense in many occasions.
The castle came closer the more Fluttershy wandered in its general direction. Finally was she in the place that she had called her second home. With the claws still stuck in the bleeding body, the werepony entered the castle. She went passed the iron gates, feeling the warmth of the torches touch her ruffed fur. A purr of glee came from her heart, she was home once more.
She continued to drag the body through the castle and opened the massive wooden doors with her bum. Behind the doors was the throne room revealed which had received a massive make-over. Many of the paintings had been removed and the tapestry had all changed to designs that Rarity had either made herself, or bought incognito across the land. Fluttershy hurled the body inside and it thudded against the floor, yet it didn’t wake anypony.
Moments later she set herself ready to begin her feast. Fluttershy was lusting for the flesh and launched herself into the air. She pounced the deceased body before her fangs were set again into the flesh, this time ripping it to pieces and swallowing pieces whole.
Though her little adventure didn’t go truly unnoticed. Trixie, the faithful servant of Rarity came walking in through a side entrance. She laid just one eye on the scene and the feelings of vomiting came up in her. She turned away for a moment and placed a hoof against a temple. It was just sickening to see the wolf eat like that. Only when the courage had been gathered she dared to look back to it. “Trixie can’t believe that you can eat, that, the way you do,” the mare said before she shook her head again.
That wasn’t even the biggest problem. No, the biggest problem was the fact that blood spread itself across the floor. Blood that Rarity could have used, but the floor had just been mopped as well! It enraged Trixie but she couldn’t harm the wolf. Rarity had ordered that so many times. Speaking of Rarity, Trixie’s went over to the throne, but couldn’t find anything. Which meant that Rarity hadn’t shown herself to the world for the sixth day in a row. Whatever had come up in that mare, Trixie doesn’t know. Orders weren’t given by her either so she just did what she felt necessary.
Fluttershy never gave two bits about Trixie’s words and didn’t even notice it when she left. Trixie would have gone passed her, back to the hall with the doors leading to the staircases. Rarity must have held herself locked away somewhere in the castle. And Trixie would find out where.
Staircase up and staircase down, that was the way how Trixie maneuvered herself through the massive castle. She had never expected that the place was looking like that. But when she was descending from one of the many steps, a bright light caught her attention. Something that terrified her down to her soul had happened. A flash of lighting that signaled the storm that would erupt. A roar of thunder happened soon afterwards.
Rain had begun to tick against the windows and Trixie knew that the once so calm night had turned into one of illness. Trouble would have arrived, she just didn’t knew in what form it would have come. A flock of mane was removed from her eyes before a deep sigh was released. Where could Rarity have been? Trixie was once more in the hallway and heard the sounds that Fluttershy made while she was eating her dinner. The weather didn’t seem to be doing anything to her even though the thunder roared only a few dozen hooves away, out there in the wilderness. Trixie shook her head and didn’t even made a single remark on the matter. Instead, she went over to the next door and entered it.
Another flight of stairs, how unsurprising. Trixie made her way up with s slight grumble. All the way up to the top of them and there she found only one door. A door that she hadn’t seen before when she recalled it. Which meant that behind it laid a room which she had never seen before. What else could have been hidden behind that very door. Who could have been hiding behind it? She placed an ear against the door in the hope to hear at least some sounds.
But the only sound she heard was the ticking of the rain against the window. Nothing else came from there. But it did mean that there was a window located on the other side. A thing much more preferred than hearing the claps of thunder without any indication. With a nervous hoof had Trixie gotten hold of the doorknob. She turned it open and much to her surprise, the door actually opened. With a creaking sound went it further, until a thud against the stone wall made it stop.
The eyes of Trixie went wide with surprise when she took a gander through the room. It was a wonderful looking bedroom with attaching bathroom next to it. A poster bed that seemed like it was fit for a queen occupied most of the room. But it was atop of the blankets that her surprise turned to horror. Out of everything that she possibly could have seen in that very room, did she not expect to see that one pony just sitting there. But it was there nonetheless.
Trixie blinked with her eyes while she remained standing in the opening. Shrouded in the darkness, only lit up when a flash of lightning came, was it revealed. That ivory white back, purple curling hair and that purple skin between the white bones. Trixie gulped loud while she froze. She had found her, she had found her mistress. She had found, Rarity herself.
It was indeed Rarity who sat atop of the bed, her pose regal and ladylike as she always had been herself. But trouble seemed to have struck her servant and she felt it. For the first time since six days would her eyes have been opened again. A deep, animated exhale was released through her mouth before the wings lowered themselves. The bones cracked at certain places, sending a horrifying sound through the room.
“And here I thought, that even my most loyal servant didn’t have the courage to find me. For six days I have been up here, wondering what life would have been if I hadn’t been turned into the abomination that I am. And yet, the answer is always the same. Trixie, could you be a dear and tell me what I’m thinking about?” Rarity asked of her servant. She spoke in a normal tone, no hint of anger or despair. Not even disappointment or anything else filled it. Regal and emotionless, the voice of a ghost that dwelled in the world of mortals.
Trixie was baffled by the question, but she still took the initiative to reply to the words. The other question would have been what she would have answered with. She shared a mental link with Rarity, a mental link that allowed her to pick up some of her mistress her thoughts. So she did the only thing that seemed to make a bit of sense to her. She closed her eyes and tried to find the mental link with Rarity.
Who in return allowed the thought to slither to her servant. The images that Trixie got before her eyes were all events that happened prior to her ‘death’ in Equestria. All kinds of trouble that she went through. But there was one event that seemed to have been sticking out, one event that involved Rarity’s little sister. Trixie relived the moment for the moment before she was shocked back into reality. “You, you heard them, but you decided not to make a move? Why?”
Rarity kept on staring to the world outside, then her lips formed a gentle smile. “Because I know how those fillies are, were, used to be, if I had done anything against them in that moment, I wouldn’t be standing here any longer. I heard them, yes, the entire time while they were scurrying around, but I had to keep my new nature hidden from them. The less they knew, the better it was.” A gentle sniff came from the vampiric mare, fighting back the bloody tears that wanted to form beneath her eyes. She had to change the subject. “So tell me, why are you here?”
Trixie was a bit flabbergasted that Rarity asked the question, though she could only answer truthfully. “I, well, Trixie’s h-here because, the wolf, dragged another body, i-into the castle.”
“I see,” grumbled Rarity in response, “leave me be and I will join you soon. I suppose she’s in the throne room, feasting on her next meal?” No answer came from Trixie and Rarity knew more than enough. Time had come to reveal herself again in the throne room.
Trixie was dismissed and the door was left open. Rarity would have coiled her wings back around her body which then formed the seductive nightgown around her body. A single nod was given to herself before the mouth opened. Her two canines became longer until they had formed the fangs that they were. Rarity was back, the vampony which she had become had returned once more.
Step by step did she went down the staircase. Step by step did she went down to the main hall. Rarity wandered the steps that she knew so well, dressed with only her wings and her mane and tail in the usual curling, she didn’t look like she had aged a bit. The vampony kicked her legs into a higher gear before she let out another sigh. It had been six days since she had last fed on the blood of a pony. Even though she had only been turned some time ago, Rarity still tried to find a cure for her condition. Even if it meant that she only had to feed once a week. She had to become the master of her condition, she had to keep on playing the mind-games she was holding up.
While the vampony was descending, more events from the past seemed to be haunting her. Even though the staircase has no windows or light, to her it seems like she wanders through it in broad daylight. “A year since you came here, since you dethroned her. Just over a year has passed and you are still the monster that you already think to be. Still the being that is out for blood, the immortal that plagues the land. And then,” said Rarity with regret filling her voice, “there’s Fluttershy. I knew I should have done something a bit more to aid her in her condition. She’s hopeless, merciless. Almost, almost as if all the malice, anger and hatred that she normally can’t bring out, has been manifested in one being.” A sneer was then made before the lips curled into a grimace. “Almost like the plot of a book. Madness, I tell you, it’s all just plain old madness.”
Her thoughts went back to the time where she was denied to die her true death. That cursed dawn where Luna just had to intervene with her plans. She wanted to die, she wanted to leave life behind her and go someplace else. But no, the princess of the night had other plans for her. The princess of the night who once too was a horrible monster. “The princess of the night, who wanted to crown me the queen of beasts. Where oh where has life gone wrong for me?!” Rarity muttered to herself. She had come to a standstill for just a moment. All of the thoughts in her head had to be given a spot, whether she liked it or not. All of the events that she had gone through, she still regretted one thing the most. One thing that was shattered the moment Luna’s wing spread to block the sunlight. “Mother.”
Her mother was about the only being in Equestria that truly knew what had happened to her. The diary that had been placed atop of the desk had been haunting Rarity for the past six days straight. It was her punishment, to let her starve. The mistake that would eventually have cost her more than she wanted to pay. Rarity felt stupid after she realized what she had done and every so many months, the realization came back to her. Just when she thought to have forgotten about it.
Her legs once more carried her over the steps before she had yet another monologue with herself. In all her honesty, Rarity was in fact Rarity’s best friend. Rarity could always speak with Rarity about the condition as it was. Trixie nor Fluttershy had nothing to share with her and she didn’t wanted to bother either of them with the madness she was going through. “If you hadn’t placed that diary there, mom would have just believed that you died in the fire, but no, you just had to place the diary there, didn’t you?” Rarity nagged, blaming herself again for the mistake over a year ago.
“Oh would you just be quiet and let me think reasonable for a change?!” Rarity snarled back to her. “If mother has indeed spilled out your secrets, this place would be crawling with guards right now, looking for you. Unless Luna has some kind of bigger play into it all, which I highly doubt. No, there’s no need to keep blaming yourself for such a simple and stupid little thing.”
“Fine then, as you like to have it. But don’t blame me when things turn south again.”
“Shut up!” Rarity yelled before everything in her mind went quiet again. Isolation had never done her anything good and that moment was living proof of it. Rarity didn’t knew what to do and felt like crying. But the tears couldn’t come. She couldn’t cry while she was almost ready to face Fluttershy. Even though a year had passed, she was still afraid of seeing the big, bad wolf that her friend had become. When they first met, it was easy because Fluttershy had no idea what she was capable of. Only when time grew longer, the realization kicked in by the wolf and became a force of nature. A force that all should have feared.
The end of the flight of stairs came finally in her eyes. Finally was Rarity back on ground level and she could talk some sense into the wolf. But first should the door be opened and with a single charge of her magic was that done. Though when the door opened, Rarity began to smell something different. Something she lusted after had entered her nose. A scent so strong that it made her mouth almost water. A delight came through to her body. One that filled her with excitement, arousal even.
It had never smelled as sweet as before. Six days had she gone without it, six days had she been lusting to it and now it laid there, ready for the taking. There was no way in all of the worlds that Rarity would have let the opportunity pass. Her more primal instinct took her over and the tongue licked passed the fangs. Finally had the time been there again. Finally could she do what she had wanted to do. Finally could she consume, what she wanted to consume. “Blood.”
With powerful steps in her hooves and the horn still primed with magic, Rarity made her way through the opening and into the hallway. The doors to the throne room were still open and she straightened her back a bit. One hoof was set in front of the other before she assumed a much more regal, seductive pace. Her wings unfolded before they went against the sides of her body, forming the tail of a dress that was never there. She would have joined the feast, no matter what.
“Fluttershy!” Rarity bellowed through the hallway. “Leave some for me, would you?”
The wolf turned its attention to the incoming vampony without dropping the flesh that it held in her mouth. One motion was made before the piece of meat had been swallowed whole and she then bore her bloodied fangs to the vampony. Who in return bared hers. Fluttershy wasn’t going to give up her prize, not for Rarity, not even after everything they had gone through. Territorial and dominant like the real thing, thought Rarity before she spread her wings outward.
“I see you still haven’t learned your manners around me. You get the flesh, I get the blood, remember?!” Rarity snarled to the wolf before she made a jump in the air. With her wings she then glided over to the other side of the half eaten carcass. Her hooves touched the floor again and she didn’t even bend through her legs. Instead she assumed a pose of certain regal once more.
Fluttershy on the other end heard how the doors were shut behind Rarity, leaving no other option than to fight the vampony over whatever scraps were left. But Fluttershy wasn’t too stupid either. It was her prize. She had slaughtered the pony for trespassing their woods. She was the one that had all of the right to the claim that she had. A clawed hoof was then set in the puddle of blood that had made its escape from the body. Her blood covered snout pointed to Rarity while a wolfish growl came from her throat.
“Oh don’t tell me...” That was all that Rarity could say before Fluttershy launched herself into her direction. Though with an elegant motion had Rarity avoided the incoming wolf, who fell down to the ground due to the slippery hooves. A snarl came from the beast before she managed to hoist herself back on all four. Rarity gave a flap with her wings to make sure everything still worked and her eyes pried the werepony thorough. Surprise was not a treat that the wolf had, but Rarity had more of it than she gave on to.
“It’s, mine!” Fluttershy growled before she launched again to Rarity. Who again avoided the beast with ease. Even though her blood reserves were low, Rarity still had excellent stamina. Though when she took a look to see where the wolf had landed, she noticed that Fluttershy only stood half a leg away from her. “It’s, mine!”
“Oh shush it, you big oversized pup,” muttered Rarity. The vampony was almost at the point of giving the wolf a tick on the nose, but doing so would have only angered it even more. “You may have slaughtered it, but you dragged it into my home. I am lord and master inside of these walls, if you don’t want to share your meal with me, you can eat it outside if you like, in the thundering, pouring storm.”
The gears inside of Fluttershy’s head did began to turn while the ears went from left to right. She was thinking, which was good for Rarity. Perhaps there was a level of reason left inside the beast. Though she doubted the fact more than she liked to admit. Fluttershy was a strange being, a being that could have been sweet and kind one moment, before becoming a total monster the next. Rarity had met the other end of the spectrum, right in front of her. Though the blood covered claws tapped against the stone floor, almost slipping every motion made. Time to decide what would have happened came in the next few, precious seconds.
“Fine,” growled Fluttershy in the end. Rarity could have her fair share of the feast, Fluttershy wasn’t even hungry anymore to boot. She turned away from the scene to let Rarity have her own dinner. The wolf would have made her way to the throne and laid down at the steps. She felt filthy and wanted to clean herself from the blood and dirt.
The vampony on the other end was happy that Fluttershy noticed at least some form of reason. She glanced back to the body and dropped herself next to it. The scent of the blood pouring out of the body made her feel dirty, moments later she set her fangs right into the flesh. Blood oozed in her mouth and she felt the strength of a dozen stallions flowing through her.
Swallow after swallow was made by Rarity, until there was no blood left in the body. When Rarity dared to remove her mouth, she was panting. It tasted so good, even though it was already cold. She hadn’t eaten in six days, anything was welcoming to her. But she felt good that she had consumed some more blood. Deep, forced and animated breaths were taken by her to show that she still was alive to some degree. Not for Fluttershy or Trixie, but for herself. Rarity had to prove to herself that she was still the regal lady that she always pictured herself as.
Though with the blood surrounding her lips, that fact was difficult to believe. One last lick over the wound and lips was made by her, before she then had a look over to the wolf, who just laid there with her eyes glancing back to Rarity. A glance of hatred, disgust even, could be found in the wolf. There had to be a reason for that, right? Rarity thought that she had seen it all with Fluttershy so far, but in reality, she wasn’t even close as to getting to the truth.
Quarrel would have risen between the two. Their entire friendship might have been at stake there. The vampony coiled her wings back around her body before she left the body for what it was. The fresh blood in her system made her feel powerful, it made her feel even rich. It made her feel as if she could take on the world. The blood coursing through her system, who would have known that it tasted to sweet, yet so bitter at the same time.
Rarity’s glance turned mistrustful while she kept an eye out on Fluttershy. Who of the two would have broken the silence first? That was the question that they both had in their minds. But somepony had to talk, before they would have erupted out in yet another fight. Rarity was a master of remaining silent of course, but Fluttershy could have only broken it. The shy and timid pegasus that she used to be, was nowhere to be found. The heavy breathing of the wolf filled the entire throne room.
Caution was required and Rarity moved in a bit closer, only to receive a growl from the wolf. She then made a step back and gave a simple nod. Rarity would have made a gesture with her hoof to let Fluttershy take the word. Which she gladly did. “It, was, mine, Rarity,” the werepony spoke. Even a year after their initial encounter, speaking was still a difficulty for the beast-form. Still, it all fell back to the fact that the body was hers. She had claimed it of course.
Rarity on the other end just rolled with her eyes before she took a step closer, not caring about the growling of the wolf. “Yes, and as I told you, numerous times before, everything that you drag into this place, automatically becomes mine. I’ve told this to you and the other you, which I love to meet at this point, by-the-by, since I can’t even talk properly with you!” Rarity answered to the wolf in a stern tone. She had to establish her dominance once more over the beast before things would have spiraled out of control.
Unaware to the both of them, Trixie had come back in the throne room through a backdoor. She was witnessing the entire thing from the sideline but didn’t know who to root for. She couldn’t root for either of them, really. Rooting for either of them would be seen as betrayal to the other. So the decision came forth to remain just silent. Not to meddle herself into the fight between the immortals. Whether Trixie liked to admit it or not, she was still mortal. A fact that came back to her when she rubbed her neck and felt the bite-marks that Rarity’s fangs had left behind on numerous occasions.
Fluttershy remained where she was, in that lying position over the steps leading to the throne. The most favored position of the wolf, actually. Her tail swished over the steps while she listened to the words of Rarity. Words that she could counter just as easily. “And she’s, not coming out, until dawn. When full moon stands high, I come out and play. Choose next words, very, very carefully,” growled the wolf to the vampony.
To Rarity it almost appeared like Fluttershy was taunting her. To see how far the buttons could be pushed until she would have lost her cool. But Rarity wouldn’t be falling for it anytime soon. She had been through the cycle with the wolf time and time again. She knew exactly what would have come next. She knew exactly what issue she would have to resolve. “And what if I don’t choose them carefully, hm? Are you going to gut me like you did with him? You know that you just can’t tear open any soul that comes across your path, right? For almost a year have you been mercilessly murdering ponies like that.” To emphasize her words, she stomped a hoof against the floor, sending a clack through the room.
The wolf just chuckled a little bit, as if the whole thing was funny for it. “You, foolish, vampony. I can tear you, open just like, that. But, I won’t.” Another chuckle was given off by the beast, leaving Rarity just standing there, not knowing what to say next.
Though after a few seconds she knew exactly what to say in return. “Don’t you forget that it was me who took you in. I was the one who dared to help you with your condition. I was the one who gave you a shelter for the full moon. Only because of me, you ensured your own survival. So tell me, why exactly, I should choose my words with care.”
The chuckle died while a low toned howl took over. Danger was rising, that much was clear. “Because you didn’t show me anything to adjust to my changes!” Fluttershy bellowed in her normal voice. The shy pegasus had returned and managed to stagger Rarity, to make her shut up.
Words couldn’t be vocalized by the vampony. Just the sheer power with which the werepony had exclaimed her view on the situation, made Rarity cautious, terrified even. The vampony was afraid to even go near her one and only friend. It was a great reality check for her which showed that the world was still spinning. Realization had broken through though, she couldn’t anything other than to give Fluttershy her right. In more ways than one, she happened to be just that.
A wolfish grin went across the muzzle of the beast with strange delight. It had managed to corner Rarity where she wanted and Trixie didn’t knew what came next. Anything could have happened if those two immortal titans had gone at each other’s throat. Trixie knew that if a battle would come between them, the winner would have taken it all. Not to mention the horrible memory that would have lasted until the day the other came to pass.
So the unicorn made the decision not to meddle herself among the trouble of the wolf and the vampony. Trixie left them for what they were, to preserve her own. She left the entire throne room as a whole without a sound. Her mind had become clouded and required peace. The massive lock that Rarity had placed around her free-thinking mind was still as strong as ever, but the hundreds of thoughts of pure anger that Rarity had allowed to escape, became too much.
Thoughts of murder, devastation, terror, all of those horrible things. Yet it was so easy at the same time. One glance was given back to the pair immortals by the unicorn. Trixie gave only one glance back and realized just how easy it was to murder one of them. How easy it was to murder the pony she had called ‘mistress’ for over a year. A dark thought clouded her mind while her horn charged just a bit. Among the darkness did the light finally shine, but never enough to get their attention. Ominous and haunting through the dark hall, leading away from the scene.
One spell and it would all have been over. One spell that could have ended it all. One more step was made by Trixie in the hallway. One step that was more of a stomp against the stone. She would put her hoof down before she met those eyes again. Those haunting, sapphire blue eyes met her straight gaze. The sheer silent dominance that they screamed was more than enough for her to stand down. To release whatever arcane power she held around her and be a good mare. In the end, that was all Trixie wanted to be.
A growl came from Rarity as the first response to Fluttershy. With Trixie out of the chamber, the cost of collateral damage didn’t matter anymore. The room could be redecorated if needed, she wanted to do that even. But the wolf, the sheer audacity of that dreaded wolf to call her out the way she did, it required a lot of nerve to do that. “After everything I’ve given to you, after every soul I allowed you to devour, you still have the guts to tell against moi that I didn’t help you?!” Rarity growled to the wolf. The battle of immortal titans was about to erupt.
“Not in the way you told me too,” returned Fluttershy cold.
Rarity noticed how the pattern of speech returned to a much more normal and understanding one. Changes were about to happen, that much was true. But how far would the changes have gone for the both of them? How far would the changes of Fluttershy have gone in the matter? The vampony had to remain cautious, for those claws at the end of each hoof could deliver a nasty cut. It would have been a shame if Fluttershy’s neck found itself at the end of her fangs. “Then do tell me, loud and clear, in which aspect I appeared to have failed you, darling, because whether you like it or not, you have awoken my curiosity and I yearn to know.” High words from a long dead mare, Rarity truly seemed to live in her own little world. Though she didn’t care that much for it.
Fluttershy let out a low tuned growl and stood up from the steps instead. She then wandered through the room, looking for a place cast in shadows. Only there could she have revealed the truth to Rarity. Only there could she remind herself who she truly was. Shrouded in the shadows, Rarity knew what would happen next to Fluttershy and she straightened her wings against her body, forming again the tail of a dress.
Amidst the darkness, Fluttershy let out a cry of pain while the claws retracted in her hooves. Her entire wolfish appearance was reverted back to the shy and timid pegasus she was born as. Bones snapped, teeth cracked and tormented whimpers echoed through the room. It was a true pain to watch and a torture to live through. But it was the price that Fluttershy had to pay whenever she changed. At least her victims had some time before she would have opened the hunt on them.
“So, what now?” Rarity asked of her with raised eyebrows. She spoke only when Fluttershy had sunk through her legs. The pain she lived through couldn’t be endured by her body.
Everything went white behind the eyelids of Fluttershy. Everything that she had endured followed up by the question, it all had become just a bit too much for her. But even through her pain, even though tears were already building up beneath her eyes, she found the strength to speak. She found the strength to speak and would place Rarity on her place once more. “Now, Rarity? Now I am going to tell you how I feel about the whole situation,” the pegasus returned in her shy voice. The pegasus that Rarity had known since she was a filly, had returned.
“I feel insecure about all of this, the way things are handled, you, Trixie, but this animal inside of me... It wants to keep slaughtering, it wants to be kept fed. If not, I, I don’t know what will happen to me, to us, to Equestria...” Fluttershy was worried, that much was obvious, but she never came out of the shadow shrouded spot. She liked it in there, nothing seemed to be able to get her, certainly not her other self.
Rarity just rolled her eyes in response. She had heard the conversation time and time again, just slight variations with each eruption the pegasus had. It was nothing new for her nor for Fluttershy. A low toned hiss was released through her mouth before the answer came. “I have aided you, numerous times with your condition, remember? It’s not my fault that you don’t have the guts to go to Twilight, and ask her for books about lycanthropy! You know that I can’t go outside, I can’t just go knocking on Twilight’s door as I please! Imagine it, she would look like she’s seen a ghost. She actually has, on numerous occasions, but that’s a different point. You have the condition, you should find something to aid you. I do the best I can to do that, but ultimately, it comes down to you.”
Whether Rarity realized it or not, she was wheezing because of her words. The sheer amount of insanity that she spoke, terrified Fluttershy to her core. In return, did the vampony have a point or two. But again did her haunting eyes set themselves on the pegasus, locking her friend in a battle that couldn’t be won, no matter how much she tried. Doubts went through Rarity, doubts about whether or not she could have kept on pressing the matter. To throw one last hoof of salt in the already torn open wounds. In the end she decided not to, it was best to leave her.
Fluttershy would have risen back on her hooves. She placed each of them firm on the stone floor after which her wings would have stretched a bit. She had returned for the worse, everything made sense and none at the same time. The pegasus was terrified for everything that had happened so far. She had heard the words of Rarity clear as day, but still she doubted them. She couldn’t believe that her friend spoke like that against her. The tears would then have been wiped away, she wouldn’t show to the vampony that she was afraid, or scared. But her nature couldn’t be hidden from anyone. Fluttershy would have always been Fluttershy.
A glance to the world outside was given by her eyes. She noticed why she was allowed to revert back to her pegasus form –to her original form– because the full moon had disappeared from the skies above. It had already set itself behind the trees and hills. Dawn would be soon upon them. The cursed and terrible dawn that Rarity dreaded so much. Fluttershy loved it though, it was in that moment of the day that she would have been one with nature. It pleased her to know that she had lived to see yet another sunrise. But Rarity, Rarity remained a mystery for her.
Even after a year living together as immortals, she still doesn’t know how things came to be. But that, didn’t matter at all to her anymore. She would have departed soon, sooner than Rarity could have predicted. “It is time I take my leave, the full moon as lowered and, I don’t think I’m that great company to you,” said Fluttershy with her timid voice before she headed to the doorway.
Rarity remained silent while the pegasus left. There was nothing else that could have been said though. Everything that she wanted to say had already been spoken. Time would have revealed whether or not Fluttershy came to see reason. Whether or not they both did that, not Rarity, but Trixie. Still, while she watched the pegasus take her leave, Rarity felt the urge to say something crawling up. “Fluttershy,” she started.
The pegasus kept on walking with flat ears. She had heard the very tone in which Rarity spoke and it was enough for her heart to skip a beat. She thought that the unicorn had finally come around, turned back to the mare she was. But to avoid any humiliation, she continued to walk straight ahead, eagerly anticipating whatever set of words would have come next.
“Your mane looks like a mess from my position,” spoke Rarity before her wings spread.
The eyes of the pegasus were shut firm while another set of tears was ready to roll out. Had Rarity just said that to her? Instead of all the other words that could have been spoken, she made the decision to say those? It almost broke the heart of Fluttershy. It was a wise decision that she kept on walking. Nothing good could have ever come if she halted anyway.
Without a further word would Fluttershy have left the castle, leaving Rarity with the half eaten carcass of a unicorn.
With the rising dawn was Fluttershy still strolling through the woods. Her eyes wandered off the given path for just a moment and glanced over to the rising sun. The way the gold colored light made its way through the trees had a mesmerizing effect to her. It just felt good to wander there, even if the wind was chilly. Winter had just passed them, spring was about to show its face to all of them.
But even the wonderful looking dawn couldn’t change the mind of the pegasus. The words that Rarity had said to her, didn’t add up. Had the vampony truly helped her in ways she didn’t knew? Or had she just been lying everything together? It wouldn’t have been the first time that such a thing happened of course.
Either way, Fluttershy was at a loss of thought. Nothing made sense to her any longer and she just sat down on the moist forest floor. With her eyes closed and her wings slowly spreading, the pegasus just sat there like a beacon of serenity. How long she would have been sitting there? It didn’t matter to her. Her cottage would be waiting eventually and she would have gotten home one way or the other. While she sat there, Fluttershy felt the hidden scars across her stomach ache once more.
Rarity’s eyes continued to stare to the unicorn carcass for a few more minutes before the first light of dawn managed to reach her room. A hiss of fright was then released through her throat and the mare made her way over to the throne. With gentle steps did she made her way up before seating herself on the throne. An animated exhale was released while she watched over the room she called her home, the one room that stood equal to the bedroom of the boutique. The one room where she could have done anything, and gotten away with it.
With Trixie roaming the castle somewhere she couldn’t be bothered with, Rarity began to think back. Back to times where things were a lot simpler. Back to times where she was just a normal pony, without much care about the world. Everything had changed of course the moment Twilight Sparkle came knocking at her door. “Oh how much I despised that moment ever since,” muttered the mare to herself before the eyes were closed.
The wings wrapped back around her body to shape the nightgown and Rarity allowed herself to travel back on memory lane. She allowed herself to relive the past two years in great detail. From the moment on which she had been turned, to the point where her boutique burned to nothing more but a crisp. Her entire life, consumed by the very flame that raged in her heart. Ever since that event, Rarity had gone colder, caring less about the world and the ponies that dwelled on it. “A life is destroyed just so easily, just take away one little thing dear to that being and you are suddenly the one pulling the strings,” she said to herself moments before the eyes opened.
In her ears she heard the pleas for help given by her victims. How they cried for mercy moments before the fangs sank into the flesh, moments before she could taste their blood again. But among the many crying voices, there was also the voice of a being she despised. A being which she rather saw leaving than coming. The words spoken by the old vampony queen Shiva, the being that brought her there on that dreadful day long ago. The blood moon hadn’t been forgotten by Rarity.
“How could I have been so foolish to even assume you were a separate entity. It’s all just a big game between you two, isn’t it?” Rarity had become angry at the world. Everything that lived, was and would be seemed to anger her. Her emotions hadn’t been held in check by anypony and she let out a deep, annoyed hiss that went through the entire hall. She wanted to not just kill somepony, but gut that pony, torture it before slaughtering it again. The order didn’t matter to her, she wanted to see blood being spilled for nothing other than her own anger.
Out of nowhere was a hoof slapped against her face. A hoof that slapped her hard enough to realize what she was thinking about, to which lows she had descended to. A few blinks were made before she stared at her own, ivory furred hoof. Rarity had slapped herself in order to return to the path of right. “W-What?” Rarity questioned to herself. Confusion had struck her eyes greatly while she watched everything, all while she recalled her mind. Silence would have taken her over in the moment. Just the silence of the day while the dawn continued to crawl through the windows. The dawn of a new day had come, and she would remain awake for it all.
That very same hoof that had slapped her mere moments ago was then brought to her chin in order to stroke it. Ideas came forth from the depths of her mind, memories were unlocked that took place after she claimed the castle as her home. The time she spent there was luxurious, with a servant that would have done her every whim, blood was always there and she had a friend coming over every full moon.
The first couple of months did it seem like heaven to her, but when the months grew shorter, so did her tolerance level. Rarity was never a mare that changed much in her personality at all, yet she noticed now, a full year later that she had changed and not for the better. A deep sigh was then released through her nostrils, one animated by just the muscles before the eyes went shut again. The thoughts were cleared from her head before she took a gander to the outside world.
From her shadow covered throne did she saw how the world was awoken once again. That calm dawn that would have felt so pleasant years ago, now only made her scared. A flash came by and in an instant she found herself looking again to the hoof. With her eyes she saw how it had molten from the bone. All the flesh, veins and muscles had just vanished.
It was a terrifying fright that she didn’t wanted to relive at all. The burning pain that went through her body was just as bad as when she first felt it. Terror would have struck her again before she shook the hoof. Only then did it change back to the way it was, the one she had gotten used to. “Okay, I, I’ll admit, I’m a little bit scared now,” the vampony confessed to herself. She didn’t wanted to do it, but she told the truth to herself. The truth that came hitting the hardest of all for her. A shake with her head was given before she fixed her position atop the throne. Perhaps she would have taken the thing down to begin with? Another shake with the head was given.
While the sun crawled past over the skies, Rarity felt the warmth clashing against her cold body. It wanted to warm her up, it wanted to make her feel good, to make her feel alive again, but the dreaded cold never allowed such a thing to happen. It just continued to fight the warmth like a stubborn mule. Rarity was neither dead or living, caught between two fires while she wanted nothing but peace. Though peace was not a thing she would have gotten if the decision was given to her body.
Yet from all the memories that she was reliving, there was one particular train of thought that she couldn’t believe. One that she didn’t even dare to believe. But it just continued to hammer against her skull. Even if she wouldn’t think about it, it continued to roar like a dragon in the back of her head. It just drove her almost to the brink of insanity. Even though times had changed a lot, she still felt sorry for one thing. The fact that she never apologized to her friends.
Apologies should have been made with each of them before she would have died, especially to Twilight and Fluttershy. All kinds of moments returned to her from her friends, or at least, she still called them friends. Never would she have forgotten how Rainbow threw the cup right in her face, never did she forgot how Twilight wanted to cut her open like a frog. As much as she had to make an apology to them, she should have received them too. There was one apology that she really should have given before she went into her hermit’s life. The apology that was for Spike.
The dragon that had once come into her room and broken one of the most precious stones that she had in her entire collection. She had gone off against the little fellow, perhaps she had reacted way harder than she could have. But in the moment wasn’t Rarity herself, never had been since the change happened. Regret came up while she wished that time could have been reverted back, back to the time where she hadn’t been turned into a monster of both blood and lust.
A single, bloody tear rolled down her cheek while she continued to think about the matter. Yet reasoning should have been given a place too. Spike was madly in love with her, and she had to admit that he was rather cute for a dragon. But he was still a baby, perhaps if he had grown their relation could have been something. But with her current condition, Rarity did what she had to do in the moment to preserve herself. She never meant her words the way they came though. But her survival stood atop of everything. If he knew her situation, he would have understood.
It almost broke her heart that she couldn’t tell him, or anyone for that matter, just how sorry she was for all the wrong she had done. On the other end, the boiling anger returned as she thought about all the times that her friends had done something horrible. The hoof that had slapped her before began to tremble, almost as if it was ready to just slap her again. Her thoughts had to be kept in check, no matter the cost. Her sanity was the last thing that she wanted to lose.
Having wandered off somewhere deep in the bowels of the castle, Trixie has come down to the catacombs, a place where neither she nor Rarity have been in the past year. The darkness that surrounds her is chilly, eerie even. The cold wind terrifies her of the place. With no light to speak of, who knew what could have rested within. But Trixie was a unicorn, she could have used her magic to illuminate the place. A fact that dawned to her not much later.
That was the exact thing that she did. A deep exhale was taken. Whatever would have dwelled down there, she would have faced against it and emerge victorious. One deep inhale was taken before she allowed the arcane power to coat around her horn. In the pale magenta aura did it then reveal itself to her. The massive crypt filled with coffins raised above the ground on stands. Nameless graves of ponies that could have been anyone and anything.
The sight took an even more gruesome turn when Trixie gazed on the walls. On each of them she saw chains hanging with locks enough for four hooves and a neck. Fear took her over but the mare took a step further into the place. More was enlightened by the aura and more horrible sights came to be. The nausea that came up in her made her swallow a couple of times the hard way. Whatever had the room been used for in the path, she was glad that it was put out of commission. Though what would Rarity have done with, when she found out about the place?
Even more horrid thoughts then went through the mare before she shook her head heavily. “No, she wouldn’t be able to do such a thing. She isn’t capable of it. But, she kills without mercy if needed, so, she is capable. Trixie has to make sure, Rarity never finds this place,” the unicorn mumbled to herself. With her aura shining the way bright, she returned the same way she came. Trixie wanted to leave the room behind and forget that it existed in the vast castle. And there was only one way in which she could ensure that fact.
The second that she had gone through the arch that led her back to the staircase, the unicorn increased the amount of power around her horn. An illusion spell would be cast in the opening itself. Trixie closed her eyes while she thought about the spell. Concentration was key for her and the longer she stood there, the more successful the cast became. For in the opening was a wall formed. A wall that seemed to connect seamless to the rest of the structure. What Trixie in essence had done, was creating a new wall and giving the staircase a dead end. It was all an illusion though.
With the mare being happy about the way the structure looked, she gave a proud nod to herself before she ascended again on the stairs. With each step she took, her magic lost a bit of its energy. When she reached the stop of the staircase, it was all gone. But she was back in that same hallway where she thought about ending Rarity. Her eyes had a look through it and into the throne room, seeing the carcass still laying there.
As any good servant would have done, Trixie came back into the room and asked the ancient question of servants. “Is there something that I can do for you, mistress? A cup of blood, or tea, perhaps?” Trixie asked.
A shock went through Rarity and her ears flattened moments after Trixie’s word were heard. She woke up from her sorry feelings and had a quick gander through the entirety of the place. At last she spotted Trixie near the bottom of the throne and a gentle grimace forged itself across her lips. Yes, there was something that Trixie could have done for her. Something she lusted after. “If you would be a dear and fetch me a cup of blood from one of our special guests down below, that would be much appreciated,” the vampony asked of her servant before she gave a nod.
But Trixie was having a set of different ideas when it came about the cup of blood. With a couple of steps had she come to the throne itself, ready to present her neck to Rarity. “But Trixie knows what when you drink from her, you feel much more alive,” replied Trixie before she closed her eyes. All the anticipation had already come. She was waiting for the fangs to be set in her veins.
Instead she felt the cold hoof of Rarity going over her neck. A shiver trekked down her spine before the hoof gave a couple strokes over her cheek, almost like Rarity was petting her lost house cat. “My dear, sweet Trixie, your blood is potent, powerful, tingling with magic. Consuming your blood too often would make the taste go to waste. No, I prefer to drink your blood at times when it is right. But right now, this is neither the time nor the place for it. So do as you are told and fetch me a cup from our special guests.”
It would have been impossible for Trixie to change the mind of Rarity. So with that in mind, Trixie left the throne once more. She would have trotted straight out of the doorway and into the hall. If she would be going downstairs again, she would have made sure that the iron gate was at least closed. And with a deafening clang of iron hitting stone was the job done.
Rarity lied to herself if she said she didn’t startle from the massive clang. But when she saw what had happened, it all made sense to her mind again. The wings had sprung open and she was ready to jump out of her throne, to glide to safety. “What is with that mare these days?” the vampony mumbled to herself. It was a question rightfully asked, as Trixie had shown on numerous occasions that their mental connection wasn’t as tight as that it used to be.
“Times changed and so did we all, the story that we all thought to be over, begins anew, that much is certain.” While the sapphire blue aura collected around her horn, Rarity closed one of the curtains to block out the sunlight. She wanted to see the world outside –without being burned to a crisp. So with all the window curtains closed with the exception of one, she finally dared to come off of her throne.
A throne which was degraded to nothing but a chair, because Rarity was no more the queen of the vamponies. She had only been that for five minutes, then a dreaded realization had kicked in. A realization that came from a random encounter of which she was still thankful to that day. Step by step did she descend down to the ground again, her wings were kept spread before she went to the one open window. Her body remained in the shadows, staying out of direct sunlight.
Her eyes closed moments before she reached the spot. While her body was still clad in the shadows, Rarity had come to the spot she wanted to be. The light of the sun could already be felt on her retina’s behind the shut eyelids. It had been almost a week since she last saw the sun from afar. It would have been the first time in over a month that she would view direct sunlight. With nothing to lose had Rarity opened her eyes and burned them in the bright light.
The nocturnal eyes weren’t used any more to the bright shine that the celestial orb carried to it. Rarity had to look away for a moment or two in order to let her eyes adjust. Black spots were witnessed all over the place in her field of vision. She was blinded by the sun but still dared to challenge it. With a forceful motion did she turn back to the window and continued to stare to the outside world. The green trees were caught, the blue skies and the white clouds.
It was yet another perfect day in Equestria, yet she was there. She was there, locked away in the darkness of the castle that she claimed as her home. Her eyes burning from the sunlight they were subjected to and bloody tears formed beneath them. It was torture for herself, but Rarity had to remind herself that there was world outside of the one that she had created. Outside of the one she was forced to live.
Trixie wandered through the dark corridors of the castle. She had heeded the words of her mistress. Rarity wants to get a cup of blood, she would have a cup of blood. Even though Rarity had said that she wouldn’t consume from Trixie herself, the thoughts of just setting the knife to her throat or wrist and cut herself open to feed the vampony continued to linger. The thoughts never came to reality as the mental link with Rarity prevented it from happening. Her mistress knew what she had planned all along. It angered Trixie perhaps more than it should have.
A sliver of darkness shrouded her vision from that moment. All of her reasonable thinking would have disappeared while her magic began to coat her horn. The aura created the light among the darkness while she began to descend from the stairs. Trixie would have gone down to the one place where she knew the prisoners resided. A place that hadn’t been sealed by either Shiva or Rarity. Matter of fact, Rarity was the one who had found the prison and filled it with prisoners that could serve as one of her meals.
Trixie growled a little bit prior her hoof touching the freezing stone. The deeper she came in the castle, the colder it always became. There was no source of light along the way, just her with her magic to shine through. And when alone in the dark, ponies were rather subjective to things that weren’t there. So among the dark, wandering in her own through the dark, Trixie thought to have heard something. She could have sworn that another set of hooves made its way behind her. With one quick turn did she face the other way.
The hum of her powers became only greater while the area of effect turned larger too. Her light shone further up the spiraling staircase and her ears twitched only a little bit. Trixie couldn’t decide what had happened. What had come to either get her, or to toy with her own sanity. Perhaps there was nothing else that dwelled in the castle’s staircases. Perhaps she should have been worried for her life. Though another growl would have left her throat. “Trixie doesn’t know who or what you are, nor does she care. But Trixie does warn you, if you ever even set one hoof on her, you will come to regret it,” she spoke to the darkness and whatever dwelled within.
A response didn’t come, not even after a full minute of waiting for it. The staircase remained as dead as ever. With that knowledge in mind, the area covered in light decreased again before Trixie continued on her way down. She had gone past the coldest part of the place and could feel the warmth of torches climbing up her body. It felt pleasant for her face, but her hooves were still frozen. A slight chuckle came from her before she shut all of her magic. Time and place had both arrived to scare the living daylight out of the prisoners. Her malice, her hatred and disappointment for not becoming Rarity’s meal, would be received by one of the poor souls in there.
A couple minutes later did her hooves touch the straight floor again. No longer would Trixie have been descending down the stairs and bounded with her head. Finally could she look straight ahead again and not have an issue with any or everything. In front of her stood an archway that was half covered in dark. Beyond it laid the prison and she heard some chains rattle. Trixie grinned like the devil before she entered the place. She would have done where she came for.
She stepped through and the familiar sight had returned for her. Amidst the light of the torches that kept them warm, each of them could be found. Prisoners that dared to either defy the previous vampony queen, or unlucky enough to have discovered the castle after the veil lifted. Vampony and pony alike were locked away, doomed to starve, rot and die in that place. None of it, in that particular order. Trixie’s eyes glanced to the walls and she saw how they were chained by their front legs and necks. Immobile to do anything else other than awaiting their fate.
There must have been dozens of them, because just a bit further came the cells. Cells that were made out of silver in order to keep the more dangerous beings locked away. Moans would have come from them all every now and then. Their coats ravaged by the filth of the place, combined with the red streams of their own, dried up blood. All of these ponies would have served to feed whomever lived within the castle’s walls, some would have only lived longer than others. Those that would have died, would be cleared at a later date.
Trixie made her way past the restrained ponies and over to one of the many cells of silver bars. She glanced through each of them, looking for the most suitable pony that could deliver what she wanted to serve her mistress. Potent, strong blood was required. The blood of a vampony would have only suffice, according to Trixie’s own logic. She came to the end of the cells and turned back around. She had seen every pony that was locked away. But there was only one door that she wanted to open. The door that was leading to a stallion that was potential enough.
Moments later would Trixie have done the job she was set out for. As she appeared before the silver bars, she tapped on them with her hoof, hoping to wake up whatever was asleep in there. With the key levitating in her magic and unlocking the door, the poor stallion woke up. His eyes glanced hazily over the situation moments prior to feeling a magical punch forcing him back down to the ground. Trixie had entered to come again and take his very blood. She was welcome to try, he wouldn’t scream.
He had never screamed when they took the blood from him, only hisses and glances of disgust would have come. Not to mention the fact that he never spoke to anypony else. Perhaps that was the reason as to why she had come again to him? The stallion wasn’t sure. Anything could have been the reason why she was there. From her ‘mistress’ commanding it to just the will of the hanghorse, there were too many possibilities to count.
Yet he could see her standing there, facing him with her tail between the silver bars. He was just a normal pegasus stallion, but his size and muscle had declared him to a danger for all other prisoners. He managed to work his way in a sitting position, just glancing at her in silence. But with every motion made, the scars of previous encounters return to him. Each scar that he had made him ache. She had stabbed him at numerous places already and it would have only been worse.
How long had it been since he last had felt the water of rain been showered down on him? He couldn’t remember. He didn’t even remember how long he had been in that place to begin with. Over time, he had almost forgotten the way his coat looked. The darkness of the place, combined with the red strains of blood over it, made it difficult to see. Perhaps it was better to have forgotten it altogether.
With the help of her arcane powers had Trixie summoned a knife. A knife that was made out of pure magical energy and could cut through hide and muscle like a hot knife through butter. She had also brought the cup in which Rarity’s drink would be served. But she, as a martyr, would first get some fun with the stallion before everything would have gone to hell.
Raised on her hindlegs, Trixie allowed the knife to be held by her left forehoof and then made a step in the direction of the stallion. But with the step, her face became shrouded among the dark. Only the light of her magical aura could have revealed the sheer cruelty that was visible upon it. Any other pony would have succumbed to fright in that moment, but him for some reason. He remained as calm as he ever would have been. But he thought about breaking the one rule that he had. One rule that might have even surprised Trixie.
The eyes of the stallion glanced over to the mare with an expression of uncertainty. He hadn’t any idea as to what would have come next, or so he made her think. Because soon afterwards, the impossible happened. “So this, is how it is going to be played? For centuries to come, you will keep me your prisoner, only to have me fed to whatever beast you believe in?” Despite his tough build, the way he spoke the words revealed he used to be a scholar of some sort. Two things that never would have gone together well enough in the first place.
The words it did the trick he wanted. Because right after the words had been spoken, Trixie staggered back in disbelief. The step she made, had been taken back. In the light of the flames did the face of malice turn to a face of misunderstanding, of conflict even. Trixie was conflicted about whatever was going on. She had never heard him speak, but a secret desire was there to hear him speak. “I, I, Trixie doesn’t know what you mean,” she returned. A frown came forth. It was too late though, whatever act she would have made from there on out, he wouldn’t have believed it at all. The facade was already dropped, but how long until Trixie would have realized that?
“What more can you do to me?” he asked of her, plain and simple.
That was the moment in which Trixie had to get back in control. She felt that every single pony was watching the pair of them. Even though in reality it would have been only a couple. All the others were still too far gone or didn’t even dare to make a glance. “Trixie can make you suffer fates that are far worse than death. Yet you spoke, normally you are the most silent of them all. Which means that something has changed? Cold air around the back of the neck, perhaps? Perhaps, the discovery of fate not being kind to you, and you have embraced death?”
The stallion only scoffed at those words. Her attempt to get back in control was almost pathetic. “I’ve accepted death the day I was brought here, I had accepted a fate worse than death the moment that knife first sank into me. Yet I was allowed to live, to keep on living until I die of blood loss. Oh missy, there are so many things you could have done and I endured them all in silence. You hold no power of me. So I ask again, what more can you do, to a stallion who has already accepted a fate worse than death?”
That was the moment where everything snapped in Trixie’s mind. She was having enough of the entire situation and deemed the stallion to be too dangerous to be kept alive longer. Seconds would have ticked by before she let out a deep exhale. A step towards him was made and her face was once more shrouded in the dark. She would have given him answer on his question, in a way he had anticipated. “This,” was all that Trixie said before the hum of her powers increased.
With a fist of the arcane was the stallion raised from the ground and forced against the wall, forced to watch her approaching him. “And Trixie is going to enjoy, every slice she makes in you.” The wicked grin across her face hinted to unreasonable. Every step that she came closer, the arcane knife was raised higher. The stallion could have only prepared himself for the pain to come.
A pain which came not much later. He felt the slicing stab going through his right wrist and had to muffle the screams of pain, resulting in only a grunt of discomfort. Trixie would have sliced the knife further to his hoof, opening the wound that would have filled with the cup. No magic was required to let the blood drip in it. Gravity, despite cursed and frowned, was helpful sometimes. Just, sometimes.
The cup would have been filled only moments later, but Trixie didn’t cease the bleeding. In any normal case would she have patched it up to let it heal again for the next round. But that time she didn’t. She didn’t do anything in fact. Her body remained standing there, only moving the cup to the back of the cell, letting it be warmed by the flames. Her eyes kept on gazing in those of the stallion. They both knew what would have happened next. They both had accepted what came soon.
Trixie took just one step back while the knife was taken from the wrist. The blood that squirted out would have fallen and dripped down to the floor. Cough of exhaustion were made by the stallion who felt the tip of the blade being set atop a lung. He gave Trixie one last glance of pure hatred, then the blade pierced through.
Not even a single scream filled the prison, not even a yell of victory or hatred. Just sheer silence business was conducted between the two of them. Trixie would have let time decide how long it would have taken before he saw death coming. The stallion was only glad that he finally could have left the prison.
One last sharp pain went through him though. A pain caused when the blade was retracted and Trixie dropped back to her hooves. In front of his eyes did the knife vanish and she took the cup again in her hold. Trixie turned away from the stallion altogether but held still firm against the wall. Only when she had left the cell would he have dropped down to the ground, aching in agony because of the wound. The puddle of blood underneath him would have gotten bigger as seconds passed. With the last bits of strength in his voice, he spoke, “G-Go ahead, r-run back to your, your mistress. Flame, will consume...you all!”
Those words caused Trixie to cease her walk. She turned back around and even returned to the cell with a raised eyebrow. This deep down in the depths of the castle, the grip that Rarity had over her had become lesser. Trixie could think more free while she was down there, Trixie could act more like herself, like the monster she had become. With a raised eyebrow she eyed the dying stallion. “What, did you say? Something about, flames?” Trixie was curious as to what he could have meant with it. But flame could never consume stone, and the entire castle was made of that stuff.
No, he must have meant something else with his words. Something that they still hadn’t seen up to that point. But what was it that he meant with them? Trixie could have only guessed. But the stallion tried his best to raise himself back up. With all of his might had he tried to get back on all four of his hooves. And even in the darkness of the cell, the puddle of blood underneath it was clearly visible. Trixie almost would have become scared by it, almost.
Though faster than that she had anticipated it, he managed to get a hold of her. He had gotten Trixie by the chest and brought her closer to the bars. Face to face, they could glance each other deep in the eyes. With his last bits of strength would the stallion have spoken his last words, his last warning for everypony present in the castle. “The fire, consumes all, sunlight, will be the death, of all of you!” Those were the last few and precious words that he managed to cram out before Trixie pushed herself away from him, causing him to stagger backwards and in the end losing his balance.
With just a single thud does the stallion fall down to the ground, knocking himself out while his blood continued to run out of the body. Trixie had just a single glance back to him, mumbling words under her breath. Then did she left the situation and made her way back to the surface. Trixie held no desire to stay any longer in the dungeon than that she would have and only wants to go back, back to her mistress.
While she made her escape from the prison, she heard the hoarse laughter that the dying stallion gave them. He is still conscious, but for how long would he have remained? It was a question Trixie didn’t have the answer on before she went through the archway. Leaving the moaning of the other victims behind her, leaving the bodies left to rot, leaving them for that wretched wolf to consume once the time was there. All that she wanted to do, was to get out of there and stay away for a long, long time to come.
In the comforts of her blankets had Fluttershy awoken after a rainy night. The dawn had come again and the clouds of rain seemed to have disappeared. She was happy with that little fact, because it meant that she could be doing her own things during the rest of the day again.
A morning came to pass during which not much seemed to have happened. But it was in the afternoon that Twilight wandered the roads outside her cottage. The unicorn was just whistling some songs to herself before Fluttershy even noticed her. She then waved to her friend who actually came over. In an instant had the pegasus come to regret her decision. If there was one pony to which she didn’t wanted to speak in the moment, it would have been Twilight.
“Hey Fluttershy, how is it going?” Twilight asked, holding a stack of books and scrolls in her magic. Without a doubt would she be reading those later that afternoon.
Though the pegasus didn’t even knew how to react to that. Words shot short to her as Twilight possibly would have continued to ask about her scars and everything. “W-Well, I, I’m feeling fine,” she answered quickly, “but what about you? W-Where are you going, with...that?”
Twilight giggled a bit to herself. She was secretly pleased to hear the answer and the question. A question which she was even more eager to answer. “Well, you know that Zecora and I have been meeting with one another for the past year now, trying to figure out what exactly roams in the Everfree. I, told Rarity my discoveries before she, you know, but we never have been able to confirm it.”
Fluttershy rose both her eyebrows to the words. The words spoke of a conversation that she had never even heard before, not from Rarity, not from Twilight, not from anypony. Though with her own condition of course, she had to be certain that they wouldn’t be hunting her. “And, w-what do you believe, roams the Everfree?”
Twilight shook her head and shrugged. There were many creatures that called those woods their home, but the one in which she was interested, was one that took the icing on the cake. “The one creature in which I am interested in, is what we believe to be a werepony, a pony that can shift during full moon and consumes any and all, given the chance. Nasty creatures and a regular sighting these days in rural areas like Ponyville. I do not know where they come from though.”
This was the moment where Fluttershy had been waiting on. This was the moment on which she had been eagerly waiting. The chance was given to her and she would have taken it. The chance to ask Twilight about facts about wereponies without looking too suspicious in doing so. Fluttershy just had to take it with both hooves. “Say, uhm, Twilight, if, if it isn’t too much trouble for you, could, I borrow some books about these, wereponies? Y-You know, just in case one decides to, pay me a visit?” Fluttershy dared to ask of Twilight. Then she could have only waited for the right answer.
Twilight had to think about for just a couple of seconds. For a couple of agonizing seconds would she have been kept in wait for whatever came next. Fluttershy’s heart began beating faster and faster while it crawled up to her throat. Who knew how long it would have actually taken and how long before Fluttershy would have been discovered?
Yet Twilight then gave a simple nod. A simple nod that she agreed with the pegasus. “It is something to take into consideration, yes. If you come by later tonight, I will have a couple of books ready about them. Wouldn’t want it to happen that you end up as one of them,” answered Twilight before her mind would have scuttled off to regions unknown. Sunken perhaps too deep in the past, that was what it seemed like for Fluttershy.
The pegasus have to clop with her hooves in order to get Twilight back to the present time. “W-What? Yes, sorry, of course. I, I kinda got carried away. I, don’t want to lose any more friends than I already have.”
Fluttershy understood where Twilight came from though, but telling her the truth would have been a lot more painful than she originally had thought. The pegasus had to bite her tongue in order not to say anything about Rarity, about the castle or about her own condition. “Maybe you should be going, Zecora is waiting and I’ll come by later tonight,” returned Fluttershy in a calm, reassuring tone to the unicorn. Who only nodded before they gave each other a hug. Only to then go their separate ways again. Fluttershy would return to her chores while Twilight went to Zecora.
Trixie had come back up to the ground-level of the castle and felt the warmth of the flames again going across her entire body. It just felt good to her to be out of the grasp of the prison again. Fluttershy would eventually have been sent down in order to clean up the dead. Gave her something to feast on as well. It was a reasoning that couldn’t have worked more perfectly though, even though trouble would have come from it. Either way, Trixie was back with the cup of blood and she turned over to the throne room.
For it was inside that very room that she would be waiting for her meal. Rarity had sent Trixie away some time ago and then gazed to the light of the sun, to view the world she was forced to see only by night, once more cast in the light. But it had caused some severe burning to her eyes. Her usual sharp eyesight had been taken. She was almost blinded and only saw hazy blobs left and right. Only directly in front of her did she still notice things sharp. Though while she sat on her throne, there was nothing that gave away the limitation that she had.
Rarity’s eyes still appeared to be normal while Trixie walked through the door. A set of doors which was left open in order to see who would have found the place next. Trixie levitated the cup to her mistress with a bow, who took the blob of brown to herself. Only when it almost touched her nose did Rarity see it was the cup she had asked. It wasn’t a moment too soon either. She wanted to drink it, consume everything and heal up from her stupid little adventure with the sun. That cursed light was her enemy, her greatest enemy of all.
“The blood, as you requested. Though, Trixie does have unfortunate news as well,” she said to Rarity. Her body rose back up. Her hooves brought her closer to the throne before she came to a standstill. Trixie was looking right at Rarity, who had taken already a big sip of blood. The slave anticipated the signal to continue talking.
A signal which was given to her not that much later. With a smear of blood stuck to her upper lip, Rarity felt the fresh blood coursing through her throat before it pulsed through her veins. She animated a deep breath while the eyes were focused on a bluish blob at the bottom of the steps. “Continue, what is this unfortunate news that you have, darling?” Rarity asked of her, eager to hear.
Trixie shuffled a bit with her leg and took her eyes off of Rarity. Almost as if she was ashamed to whatever the stallion had spoken about, as if she was terrified to even tell Rarity what had happened down there. But she had to tell her mistress eventually. Though perhaps she could leave certain bits out? So many things went through her head at the same time, what was the right thing?
Letting Rarity wait usually was not a good idea, so Trixie took a deep breath before she told her what she knew. Not a stone was unturned about the matter. About how she drained him and how she slaughtered them. But she never spoke the words about the flames consuming all. That was the one little part that she left out.
The vampony had listened to the words with great care and only nodded before shrugging the loss off. It was a shame, as the blood was delicious. But a dead pony was a dead pony. Nothing could change that fact. She couldn’t reanimate the dead to work for her. First of all would it unclear, second, it would be unethical and third, she wasn’t a fan of zombiponies. No, perhaps it was better that the stallion had lost his life.
The cup was again set to her lips while the eyes went shut. Rarity would have continued to take sips from it until it was empty. And even then would she have licked out all the bits that she could. Next to the fact that it could restore her sight, Rarity had also hoped on the fact that it would refresh her mind of times long gone by. But who was she kidding with that desire to begin with? Prior her turning had her life only been hard work and very little free time, after she had been turned had it become a hell to keep everything ‘natural’. No, only after she was dead to the world did she began to live truly. Only then would Rarity have been Rarity. A different Rarity, but Rarity still.
Every single sip that she took from the blood caused a new flash to come before her eyes. A flesh that always pictured a pony that had seen the end of life because of her. Whether it were her teeth or her magic, it didn’t matter. Every single pony that had been slaughtered by her in the past two years made a return. A return that always was accompanied with that questioning gaze. The gaze that not just asked, but screamed why? Why were they the ones that she had murdered? Why were they the ones that had encountered the true Rarity while the others lived in ignorance?
Once the cup was empty and licked out, the final pony did its turn before her eyes. Behind the closed lids did Rarity see a heartless Fleur staring at her. The dead eyes had haunted her to that very day. A curse that she has been living with for over a year. The glance which Fleur had given to her was just utterly dreadful. If Rarity had to be honest, she admitted that she became terrified of it.
In a moment of pure rage had she done something unexpected. While the cup was held in a hoof, all of the sudden was it hurled away from her. Almost as if she wanted to hit something across the room. While the cup flew, Rarity shouted her words in pure anger and cold hatred. “Leave me alone for once, you had it coming! And you know it as well as I do!”
Trixie ducked to the ground before she saw where the cup smashed against the floor and shattered into pieces. The other unicorn could have only gasped in fright before her eyes shifted back to Rarity. Something had happened and her mistress just stood there, wheezing to herself while her eyes were opened again. Not a single word came from either of them. What would have come next? That was the question that Trixie dared to ask herself in mind. Never would she have asked how Rarity was doing, as Rarity was not doing that great to begin with. The vampony bared her fangs as if she would do before the hunt.
A gulp came from Trixie when she saw how the wings uncurled themselves. Flap after flap would be given to them before Rarity had become airborne. Even after a year of intense training had the connection between wing and body remained brittle. But she could fly at least for a good minute. The pain she would have received was suppressed until she could no longer take it. Which was exactly what she would have done that very moment.
Growling came from her. Animalistic growling had left Rarity’s throat before she licked her lips clean from the blood. She wasn’t in the mood to do anything else. She had to find shelter somewhere, somewhere that only she knew would have been save. A shriek of rage followed everything before she shot up to the ceiling of the throne room.
Somewhere across the stone beams that supported the roof had Rarity made her little nest. A nest where she would have come whenever she felt like. High up in the darkness of the roof would she be waiting for anypony unwelcome to have come through the doors. She landed atop one of the beams and her eyes saw the nest made out of blankets and pillows. It appeared to be build similar as to how birds would have done it.
Hidden away from everything, Rarity would have done her things and nestled herself in the little nest, awaiting whoever came through the door. All while Trixie left in silence for her own room.
High up in the loft of the throne room was Rarity just glancing through its entirety. Hidden away in her nest of blankets and pillows did her crimson pupils glance like a hawk for any movement. The beast inside of her had been awoken by something that could only be described as her own consciousness. The very thoughts of being what she was, still hadn’t fully dawned upon her and it made Rarity vulnerable. It made her vulnerable for anything that could have come to hurt her. Not to mention the thoughts of years prior wanted her to remain the pony everypony should have known, but at the other side of the equation stood the beast she tried to deflect for the longest of times.
A beast that would have won the battle eventually. It was just biding its time until it was ready to strike out. Which was exactly what it had done. It had tried to get the power over the unicorn and make the ruthless monster that history wanted her to be. Yet in order to suppress that very darkened nature of herself, Rarity had built that nest in the loft. To remain there and rampage all that she wanted until her much more civilized self would have dawned again.
Though there was nothing that could ease the aching heart she had. Nothing could have stopped it from reminding her to how her life used to be, how it all had changed and how those past two years living as monster weren’t worth it. Her heart wanted to end her cursed life more than anything.
That very same heart always got a kick in the back thanks to the brain. The devious state in which Rarity thought. The way in which the vampony conducted business would have always brought everything to a screeching hold. It was thanks to her brain that she was kept alive. It was thanks to her own ingenuity that she remained alive in the way that she did. The price that she had to pay for it was neither deemed worthy or unworthy.
Her eyes went left to right, searching and scanning the entire throne room for anything that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Her eyes glanced over the stained glass window depicting scenes from the past, to portraits that she had hung there since the others held no meaning to her. Portraits gained in manners she didn’t have a recollection of. Portraits that depicted the mare herself spread around, together with one that she could tear to pieces in the moment.
The eyes became obsessed by one portrait. One portrait that fueled her with both rage and despair at the same time. Tears wanted to flow while anger boiled. Because the depiction on the portrait was none other than her family. Her family drawn in paint a long, long time ago when even Rarity was just a young mare of her own. It was a lovely piece, but it was placed far away from her. Only when she was in the nest would she have been even able to look at it. It was horrible to say the least, but that was the way how Rarity tortured herself.
Though how much of it would have been needed in order to make her snap whole? The question was never given an answer on and nopony wanted to know either. Rarity remained a mare of mystery and a lot of deception. A true mistress of the dark in which she was thrust to live. Rarity would have always been, a rarity.
Galloping through the woods of Everfree and staying on the paths lit with sunlight, Twilight made her way over to Zecora’s hut with great haste. She wanted to reach the place before tea-time would have come. Her head turned up to the sun, reading the time. She was still on time for now.
Closer and closer had the unicorn come to the hut of the zebra but also felt the eyes watching her every move. How Zecora could have ever lived in such a place remained a mystery to her. Then again, a lot was different in faraway land she used to live. Twilight kicked her legs into a higher gear before she noticed the treehut in which the zebra lived.
Arriving at the hut, Twilight was unable to express her glee that she had arrived. It all seemed to be just in time, because Zecora was already preparing a potion for something. Perhaps she had discovered something else about the mysterious wereponies all together? It was a long shot and a distant wish, but the chance existed.
Twilight closed the door behind her and she engulfed herself in the entire atmosphere of the hut. It was just as she remembered it to have been and Zecora came out of a side room. With a gentle smile across her face did the two greet each other with a tight hug. “It is good to see you again, Twilight. Though I say it in spite, that our future might not be too bright,” the zebra began.
Of course didn’t the unicorn understood a single word from what she said. Once the hug was broken, her head tilted over to one side and an eyebrow rose. “I don’t get it, what do you mean?” She had to know what Zecora meant with her word. Twilight had to know, what kind of doom had been called on Equestria now.
Zecora only let out a light chuckle at first. The answer had been obvious. The answer had been the thing which they had been talking about for little over a year. “With the rise of the strangeness, we might have been exposed to a certain blindness. When the time of wolves came, we might have forgotten one other claim. Those who come in pairs, ponies have no intent to meddle in their affairs.”
The mind of Twilight raced over those series of words time and time again. She knew that the answer had been staring them both right in the face, but neither of them ever dared to answer the one question they had. The wereponies were on the rise, that much was obvious, but what other supernatural being could have been created in order to counter those beasts? A hoof was brought to her head in order to tap it. She had to figure it out, she had to say it!
And then, like a cloister bell, did it hit her. A gasp for air was made before she took a step back. All of the scrolls she held in her magic fell down to the ground and she shook her head. It couldn’t be possible, it just couldn’t be. “No,” was all that Twilight could bring out.
“Afraid so,” answered Zecora while she began to pick up the papers.
“But, those beings can’t be real, right?! There’s no way that, no! I gave up studying those things about ten months ago, there was no evidence that supported their existence! You, you can’t be serious on the matter and yet, why does it feel, as if, as you are?” Twilight asked of the zebra with dying curiosity. She had denied the facts for the longest of time, but now they couldn’t be denied any longer. There was another race of supernatural creatures that roamed over their world.
Zecora laid all of the scrolls atop of a small table before her focus returned to Twilight. In the light of the green fire over the kettle did she finally spoke the truth. The truth that could have unleashed a war. “A mere fortnight ago, it came to me as a strange know. A being drained from its blood in this very wood, left behind by a creature with the blackest hood. Risen from the grave it came, while it only had one true aim...”
“To consume the blood of those it sees, only to leave with the first breeze between the trees,” finished Twilight. It was an old rhyme that Zecora had told her some months ago, but then she didn’t believe it either. Now Zecora claimed to have some kind of proof that they existed. “You claim to say, that they are actually walking over this earth?”
“Say their name, Twilight, and we will engulf ourselves in their game,” answered Zecora.
“V-Vamponies,” managed Twilight to stammer out.
Zecora only gave a nod to that.
Even though Trixie had removed herself from the throne room, she still wasn’t entirely comfortable with the whole situation. Not even with her mental state attached to Rarity could the unicorn thrall understand what was wrong with her mistress. What kind of cruel fate had fallen on them in order to make such a thing happen? Of course had Trixie seen Rarity angry before, numerous times even. Not just at her, but also at ponies who had dared to enter the castle.
Rarity’s malice and forgiveness were two things that had been discarded whenever she was frustrated. The sheer anger that were shown moments before she went to her nest, made Trixie frightened. Her heart was still beating in her throat while she thought back about the glance in the eyes. Those eyes emitted just a devastating glare. All the anger, all the hatred, all the devastation. Rarity wanted to see the world burn and everypony on it.
But would Rarity have been able to do such a thing? That was the question that Trixie had in the moment. Was Rarity strong and capable enough to bring the world to her hooves? She certainly hoped not, but something told her that in a far and distant future, that outcome could have been possible. A gulp was then given by Trixie. She didn’t wanted to live in that kind of world. Not anymore at least. Trixie wanted to just serve her mistress to the best of her abilities, even if it meant that she could have come to die.
Rarity wouldn’t have let that happen though. Trixie was too precious for her to make that happen, she thought to herself. She never dared to ask what happened to Fleur Dis Lee though. A fate that she rather kept unknown to her mind. “And so it begins anew, the state of anger in which she delves, before her more reasonable side comes back,” mumbled Trixie to herself. Perhaps it was just for the better to leave Rarity alone and start doing something else until she had cooled of.
Yet what could she have done in that place? Everything was done already and she wouldn’t be cleaning up the entire castle just because Rarity was having a tantrum. No, she would keep herself occupied with something for the time being. Something that could have helped her, in fact.
When Trixie came to the front gate of the castle, the twilight had already been setting in. The very day would have come to an end soon enough but she could have sworn to have seen something. Trixie thought to have seen something that was scurrying around their premise. No, it wasn’t scurrying, it was coming right from the entrance way. Trixie blinked with her eye a couple of times before she wanted to speak up.
The words were formed in her mind, hoping to stop whatever being came that way. “This property is private and violators of that rule with the persecuted with gruesome consequences,” yelled Trixie to the mysterious figure. The figure didn’t heed the words though. If anything, Trixie could have sworn that she had heard some kind of sick laughter coming from it.
Her magic had started to coat her horn, she would be ready to lay an attack on whatever came closer. Hidden among the darkness did it crawl closer. It just walked as if it was the most normal thing in the world. It just came closer to Trixie without any intent of stopping. Even though Trixie wanted to fire at the being, she had to wait and see what it was. Perhaps a flare over it could have shown it? No, doing so would have been too risky, not to mention brief. Time was up.
Time had come for the other being to reveal itself before her. While it still stood outside of the gates, Trixie felt that it was her who had the power to do everything. Trixie grinned just a little bit moments before she saw the face. A face whose features couldn’t be determined by a hood that covered all of it. “What is your purpose here?” Trixie asked with a stern tone. She wouldn’t have let the thing enter, not with her mistress acting the way she did.
The being underneath the hood just gave her a chuckle. A hoof was brought up to the hood, which was slowly removed. Underneath it was a black coated face revealed to her. A stallion’s face with a black coat combined with a pair of haunting, blood red irises. “If the ma’am would be so kind to let me in, and allow me to speak with her mistress, then the matter will become clear soon enough,” he spoke to Trixie with a well-meant smile. A smile that revealed his fangs to her.
Trixie was both frozen and mesmerized by the words that she heard echoing through her ears. Deep in his tone did he command Trixie to let him enter. A command that was countered by the will of Rarity. Would Trixie let this mysterious pony enter the castle, or would she have stuck with the will of Rarity? The choice was difficult, perhaps too difficult to do anything. Without her even knowing it though, the muscles did make a gesture of entrance. “You’re welcome here,” she said.
The moment when Trixie realized just what she had said to him was the moment in which Trixie placed a hoof before her mouth. The last thing she wanted was to speak even more to him than she already had. Yet the stallion only nodded before he entered the place. Coming in the light of the candles, his broader build gave away that he had seen action before. There was no horn to speak of and the brown cloak just seemed to clash against his coat. A fashion disaster, Rarity would have called it.
When the stallion went passed Trixie, he turned his head to her and with his fangs still out, he asked her an important question. A question to which she had the perfect answer on. “And just where, might your mistress be, thrall?” he asked of her in that charming, comforting tone.
The hoof was slowly removed from Trixie’s mouth in order to answer. There was just a sheer force of dominance that the stallion seemed to have over her. It overruled Rarity’s very own words and that was what made him just so dangerous. The words came out of Trixie as if they were always meant to have been. “She’s up there, in the throne room, but Trixie doesn’t think that she wants to see visitors now.”
“Oh is that so, Trixie? Perhaps when another of her own kind wanders in, her mood might change. Don’t do anything stupid, that is all I am going to say for now,” the stallion replied. He turned away from her. His eyes faced the open door that led to the throne room and he strolled further. The time had come for him to meet Rarity and for Rarity to meet him. Step by step he came closer to the doorway, but he never seemed to have gone through it. Instead he waited just before it. With Rarity not on her throne, she could have been anywhere and the stallion knew that danger all too well. “Miss, Rarity, word has it that you are tough company to keep, yet here I stand, amidst your realm, awaiting an audience with nopony else than you,” he spoke to the room before his eyes glanced to every corner.
High up in her nest had Rarity heard the words spoken clear as day. The vampiric unicorn made the decision not to reply to them. She would be watching the entire thing first while the stallion couldn’t be seen from her position. Just peeking over her little nest, didn’t gave her the advantage of seeing what was standing in the doorway. He just had to come closer, closer to the belly of the beast.
The stallion gave a nod to himself before he entered further. Step by step he made until he stood in the very middle of the throne room. He stood almost directly beneath her and Rarity had the perfect opportunity to strike.
Almost like a cat had Rarity left her nest and walked with the tips of her hooves across the stone beam. Her tongue went passed her lips to make them wet while not a single sound came from her. She was in the perfect spot to attack him. She could just drop down and attack him. But she sensed that something was different about him though. Something ancient, he carried. Something that shouldn’t have been. Something that she was too. A certain kind of danger he carried inside of him. It was exciting for Rarity. Finally would she have gotten a pray that was worthy of her time, worthy of her might even.
Even though she tried to be as quiet as she could, the stallion knew that she was above him. Dust and accumulated gravel on each of the high positioned beams gave her position away. It fell down, just tiny little bits, but enough for him to realize that she –or at least something– dwelled above him. Time would have been the judge as to what would have come next. But he wasn’t going to just remain silent though.
“Your rage gives your position away, my dear. Something fierce burns in your heart. A long lost desire to see the world burn. I know it, I have felt it too. But now is not the time to do that. No, now is not the time indeed. Yet that very rage, that anger you carry inside of you can be of aid,” he spoke to the whole throne room. In one swift motion had he turned to a portrait.
His eyes fell to the one portrait that Rarity never wanted to see yet still kept around. The portrait of her and her family was the one to which the stallion’s eyes had fallen. One with which he would do his own advantage. Just a simple nod was given by him before the words continued, “Imagine if you could use your anger, use your hatred to achieve even greater things. Let go of your mortal self and dwell in the creature you have become. Your rage, your powers, could topple the princess of the night. It has the power to crown you, the true Queen of the Night. You, will become everypony’s nightmare!”
Near the doorway, the head of Trixie had appeared and she only had eye for the stallion. She had heard all of his words and didn’t like them whatsoever. There was something about those very words that just wasn’t right. She dared to pin the part where he told Rarity to let go, as the one where everything could have gone wrong. Trixie tried to reach out in her mind, but Rarity’s mind had been blocked off. She was too fixated on the stallion to hear anything else. But in return, it also meant that Trixie had not a clue as what Rarity had planned for him.
The night had come setting in fast and Fluttershy dared to come out of her cottage. She didn’t wanted to, but the pegasus had to go and visit Twilight to get some books about lycanthropy. The lie was used that it she needed them in order to identify them in case they would have come to Ponyville. In reality would she have used to get to know more about her own abilities. Fluttershy had managed to stay hidden in Ponyville, with her condition even, for over a year. But how long until the cover was truly blown? How long before everything would have gone down for her? How long, before she would be hunted?
Fluttershy kept both her ears open while she wandered through the streets. She listened for any sound that shouldn’t be there. Any sound that she deemed as unknown caused her to jump to a side. And in Ponyville, especially during the late evening, that just happened a lot. A lot of ponies that were just minding their own business managed to startle her all the way over to the tree-library.
Finally could Fluttershy take a bit of a breath. The tree-library of Twilight was a place where she could be safe. A place that she knew through and through. A place where she just could fetch what she needed and be on her merry way again.
If things were only that simple.
When she knocked at the door, Spike the dragon opened it and he was just surprised to see Fluttershy out, that late, in Ponyville. It wasn’t something unheard of, it was just a little bit odd for him. “Fluttershy, what, can I do for you?” Spike asked to the pegasus while he rubbed some scales on the back of his head.
“Is, Twilight home? She said that she would have some books for me. M-May I come in? It’s colder than I had expected,” the pegasus returned.
Spike just gave a simple nod to her and the door was opened further. She entered and closed it behind her. Moment later was the mare engulfed in the warmth of the place. It certainly was a lot more pleasant than coming cold that took dominance outside. The little dragon had already gone ahead and told Twilight that Fluttershy was there. When he came back, he guided her over to the main library portion of the entire tree.
Even though Fluttershy had seen it a couple hundred times, she was still amazed by the vast amount of books that Twilight had managed to store in the place. She let out a gentle whistle as everything seemed to have been ordered nice and tidy. But Twilight herself was levitating just above some of the highest shelves. Dozens of ancient looking books had been collected atop of the table.
The dragon stood next to the pegasus and he gave only a glance of desperation to her at first. “She’s been like this ever since she came back from Zecora, she claims to know something, but can’t tell anypony about it. Something about this entire werepony thing that’s happening,” he whispered to her. He clapped his hands together and shifted his gaze back over to Twilight. “Right, anypony wants some tea?”
Fluttershy was surprised at the offer, but she couldn’t leave it standing. No, she would have taken it straight away. “Yes please,” was all she said before her eyes went back to Twilight. A Twilight who had returned to the surface again and nodded to Spike. She too would have a cup of tea, even if it was to stay awake just a bit longer.
Twilight then approached Fluttershy and gave her a firm hug, one that was returned in a lighter form before it was the unicorn that took the word. “You asked for books about lycanthropy, well, I do have them right here, over on the table...stuffed between, all the others. Oops.” The eyes of Twilight had finally been laid on the table where she had placed the books for Fluttershy, only to be consumed by the books about vamponies, for as far Fluttershy could read them.
What had awoken Twilight’s sudden fascination with vamponies? “Uhm, Twilight, not to pry, but, why do you have so many books on, on vamponies?” Fluttershy dared to ask. A question that didn’t go unheard. Twilight gestured Fluttershy over to a chair before Spike came in with the tea. Twilight levitated it off the tray and gave a cup to Fluttershy.
Then would the time of explaining have come for her. Twilight took a deep sigh before she told what she came to know. “Okay, so when I was at Zecora’s hut earlier today, she made the revelation to me that another supernatural being has surfaced from the depths. The vamponies seemed to have come too. Which means that a war between wereponies and vamponies might become a dangerously real threat. Neither princesses knew even a thing about it. And that, is what makes it all the more dangerous.”
Fluttershy had listened with the greatest of attention to the words, finishing her cup of tea with a nod of understanding. “It’s, something, I do give you that,” said to the pegasus.
Twilight only nodded while she charged her magic a bit more. Most of the books about vamponies were levitated and set to the side. The books about lycanthropy would have been placed in a saddlebag to carry. There was no need to keep Fluttershy longer around than was necessary. Mainly because Twilight wanted to continue with her study. She wanted to keep on going, and yet it all felt as if she had been through it already. Time was a strange thing, that much was sure.
In the end would Fluttershy have thanked both Twilight and Spike for the books and tea, before she would have been on her way again. With the saddlebags strapped to her body and the books loaded, her time to learn had finally arrived. Time would have told what came next though.
Still walking above the stallion beneath her, Rarity had been listening to the words that he had told her. Something about those very words caused her to almost snap. It caused her to snap almost in half but she knew what he had been saying to her. She knew what the words meant and had heard them clear as day. And yet, there was a meal right beneath her, why wouldn’t she be taking it? Rarity licked her lips again, she was hungry, wanted to set the chase and just consume every drop of blood that was in him. Whatever strength her own angers managed to bring forth, it doesn’t matter if she could drink from him. Insanity would have hit her again, and she would have let it go just like that.
She didn’t care whether or not he knew where she was. All that she wanted, was him. So with a single jump from the stone beam, the unicorn spread her wings in order to glide down and tackle the stallion to the ground. No moment would be wasted before she just dove down.
The ears of the stallion twitched slight when the air rippled above him. There was a disturbance in it. If he knew anything about vamponies attacking, it would always have come from the blind corner. Turning around wasn’t necessary in this case. Instead he just waited, counting down the seconds even before he would have taken a lightning quick step to the side.
Fangs were revealed, Rarity came in and she wanted to tear the neck of the stallion open. She was just so close to getting it that she didn’t notice the fact that he had taken a step to the side. Before she could change direction, Rarity had crashed face-first into the stone floor. Her body gave cracked sounds at numerous places and her wings would have gone limp. Yet her body remained straight standing straight up. Only a muffled cry of annoyance and suppressed pain came from her.
The stallion wasn’t done with her just yet, far from it even. He turned his hindlegs to her and before Rarity could have protested, she was sent again through the air once more. Only to end up against the wall of closest to her.
Rarity felt the crash against her back and got the feeling that all of her bones were broken by just that one kick. The hellish pain that was sent through her was a shock and it caused her almost to lose consciousness. Though with her back stuck to it and her wings gone limp, there was little else that she could have done. A hoof was brought to her forehead while she began to rub it, the pain that went through her was indescribable. If he wanted to torture her, he was doing a good job at it already. But she was immortal, living off the blood of those that did live, he could have made her torture go on for eternities if he wanted.
With a distorted vision did Rarity see the brown blob coming to her instead of leaving her. Closer it came while the words rang in her ears. Words that normally would have angered her, words that could have made her furious. But she couldn’t do anything. All the muscles in her body were sore, she was in pain. In true physical pain once more. A pain she hadn’t felt in who knew who many months. To a certain degree did it felt even good to her.
Standing in the doorway though, was Trixie, she was ready to blast the stallion with magic if he even touched her mistress with one hoof. “Get, away, from, her, or Trixie swears, she will put an end to you,” the mare growled to the stallion, who did came to a stop.
He turned his attention over to the other unicorn before sneering. “And would you just stop with speaking in the third person?” the mysterious stallion asked of her. “Do you have even the slightest of ideas as to how annoying that is? Probably not, otherwise you would have stopped already, or she made you shut it, either one of them. But as to your, demand: no.”
Just a plain and simply no was the reply that Trixie got. He wouldn’t get away from Rarity. The hum of her charge become only louder before the stallion shook his head. “Oh please, you’re but a thrall, what can you do to a five hundred year old vampony? Now be a good slave and sit down!” he shouted to Trixie, who indeed obeyed his every word. Her magic faded away before she sat on her hunches. A gentle smile was formed by his lips afterwards. “Good, now stay there.”
He shifted his attention back to Rarity, who still couldn’t see much outside of the blob. Even the ringing in her ears still was pretty much the same. She tried to take an animated breath, as if she was still alive. Air filled her lungs, but it didn’t mean much to them. The stallion’s smile faded when he saw the action and a glance of disappointment took over “You are not fit to be our queen. You are not even properly trained in self-defense. You, have no reign over me. You have no reign over anypony, except that thrall of yours.”
Rarity had heard all of his words clear. She had heard every last little word that he spoke, even though her vision had still been restrained. And while she was stuck in the wall, her reply would have been given. A faint laughter would have come first while a strand of mane fell before her eyes. Her right eye was blocked by the mane, but her left eye still had itself firm to the brown blob. “I never desired to be, queen of you lot. I never wanted to do it, but she made me do it. In case, you hadn’t noticed, you’ve been living without, without a queen for about a y-year,” Rarity managed to say in a voice both weak and broken.
The answers that the ivory mare gave him were everything but those that he desired. The stallion let out a deep growl in response and then turned away from her. His hooves brought him all over the throne room without actual aim. He was just wandering about, trying to see if the situation could be saved in any form whatsoever. Though the bleak and grim case in which he had worked himself was everything but good. Hundreds of different thoughts still soared through him.
Rarity had managed to crawl her way out of the wall. She fell down to the ground at first where her wings uncurled and splayed out on the floor. She groaned a bit but then her hooves hoisted her back up. The pain that soared through her body would have gone over quick, but there was something else about that stallion. Something had caught her attention about him and she had to know more. Something about his entire being gave it away to her.
While Rarity just stood there, she caught Trixie in the corner of her eye, who also just stood there. Her thrall, her slave, just stood there near the entrance, letting such a being enter without even stopping it. Punishment would have been dealt to her at a later time. First things had to be done first of course. Rarity would have rid herself from the other vampony. His company was about the last thing that she had desired in the moment.
Everything would have gone to hell if they continued on like that, but his trotting over the floor went without a sound. No weight was pressed down on the tiles but Rarity had enough of him. Her wings curled back around her body while the horn began to shine with its blue aura. She could have cast so many spells already to him, but there was a silent thought that made her stop doing everything she desired. Time would have decided whether or not she gave him a kick out of her home.
With her fangs laid bare, Rarity growled to the stallion, whose attention shifted over to her. The only sounds that he made were just a couple of quiet groans and hums. She was nothing compared to him. She was just a foal thrust into vampirism with no true clarity as to what monsters they could have been. And yet, there was also something strange about her. Something that managed to draw him to her.
He had to admit that he had a hard time to keep his eyes off of such a wonderful looking mare. That was the curse of the mares who turned vampony, they would have become irresistible for any that would see them. But he ceased his wandering through the throne room and had another gander at her appearance. In the light of the arcane aura, she was a true beauty, but her posture screamed murderess. No doubt that she had killed before, no doubt that she would have done it again in a heartbeat.
But the silence that managed to maintain the two of them was just dreadful, two titans in their own right were battling it out in complete and utter silence. Neither of them fell back to their primal state in order to establish some sort of dominance. Trixie was terrified of what would happen next of course. Anything could have gone wrong for them, anything could have happened between the two of them. Trixie had in silence already been preparing for the worst yet still held a shimmer of hope for the best. How long, before the spells should have been cast?
Rarity’s sapphire blue eyes had returned for the world to see. The kick against the wall had caused the red rims to disappear. The lady she once was had returned to her mind. She just stood there, ready to cast any spell she wanted. She wanted the he spoke his words first though. An answer for an answer, that would have been the way their game would be played.
The stallion only released a single chuckle before he nodded. He knew what she wanted, and he would have delivered it. After all, it was him who had broken in and entered the home of such a lovely appealing mare. What harm could have been done by going first? She was just a pretty face that denied queenhood for some reason. What threat could she have ever formed to him? A grimace came to his face before nodding to her silent demands.
With a couple steps had he come closer to her, arrived in the light of the aura and revealed himself as a stallion with a black coat. Instead of having red eyes, he bore striking, soft green eyes. His face emitted kindness and care, a complete turn from what Rarity had seen before. The revelation of the stallion even caused her to stagger back a bit.
Then the cloak would have lifted up by a pair of wings. He was a pegasus! A pegasus with a striking black coat but silver colored hooves. The marks of burn were clearly visible just above them. Perhaps it was punishment from ages ago? Perhaps he had made a mistake? So many factors were there, but Rarity hadn’t even the foggiest which one was the right one. “So you claim, that vamponies have been living without a queen or king, for over a year? Feels like a heartbeat for me,” he said to her with a deep voice. His voice was weary, old even. He wasn’t a creation that had come in the past five years at least, that much was already certain. “And here I thought that you had followed Shiva in her hoofsteps. A pretty face like yourself, could have gotten everything she desired.”
Rarity growled to him because of the comment and made a step closer. “Call me that again, and you will just how dangerous this pretty face can get, understood?”
The pegasus just let out a dried chuckle and he nodded. The warning had been received well by him, that was all she cared about. “Shiva was a good queen, ruthless in some aspects, yes. I won’t deny those words at all. But she also had something different about her. Do tell me, when you were still alive, how many times did the ‘princesses’ of the land interfered with your daily life? How many times did they gave you silent directions. How free, were you?”
There had the stallion managed to corner Rarity. When the unicorn began to think about all of the things that he said to her, she only discovered that he was right. In one strange sense of the word, every single decision ever made in Equestria was thanks to the princesses themselves. It was weird to admit to him, but he was right.
A gentle smirk from his lips confirmed that very idea. He was right and he knew it. Yet Rarity had never even considered those very facts to begin with. Something about him was dangerous. Something about him was elusive even. Something about him, felt strangely good and comforting.
“No need to answer that, I can see it in your eyes that you understand my words. But Shiva never really did such things. She allowed the vamponies to live their own lives during her reign, which is why so few even noticed that she was gone. Now just imagine, what would happen to all of them when they would be united under a single banner? An unstoppable force that could rav-”
“Shut it, right, there,” commented Rarity with a snarl. She saw where he was going with his words, but she wouldn’t have any of that, not while she was alive at least. No, his words spoke of her becoming queen again. If she would have ascended again to the throne with powers beyond her capabilities, Equestria would have become hers and then, what? What would she have done? A dangerous future would be carved out for the entire land. No, she wouldn’t have any of that. Not now, not ever. “I stepped down from the crown because reasons that are of no concern to you. I won’t make decisions that will destroy this entire nation. Vamponies live under their own jurisdiction. They make a mess, they clean it up themselves or simply, die.”
It was just that simple in her mind. That was the very same way in which she had been dealing with the whole situation from the start even. That, was the best way for her to do what she had to do. Rarity’s eyes gave a sharper look to him, confirming her thoughts.
The stallion took a step or two back, nodding to her in return. Rarity wouldn’t have been interested in whatever he could have offered her. All except one thing, perhaps.
Rarity glanced passed his body and noticed how Trixie had left the doorway. Wherever her thrall had gone off too was impossible to say, but the unicorn was glad that Trixie wouldn’t get to see what came next. The danger was still far from over and she would have done everything to get rid of him. But a strange power continued to pull her back to him. She could have cursed that stallion all the way to Tartarus and perhaps even back.
But one little thing still remained unknown for her though. One little thing that was of particular interest to her. One simple thing, that she wanted to know perhaps more than anything else in the moment. So with a glance of determination did her wings uncurl and spread outward. Her imposing posture wouldn’t have done anything for him though. “So, do tell me, what is your name?” Rarity asked of him, both calm and collected. Though while she asked it, she also realized that she hadn’t even given her own.
The cloak was removed from the stallion’s body altogether and thrown aside, revealing the entirety of his broad body posture. Which meant that next to his facial appearances, he could also have held himself in a fight. Rarity’s plan of attack just turned out for the worst. If he decided to charge at her, all her magic had to be at her side in the hope she would survive.
Then he did something that she never had expected a stallion like him to do, he made a gentle bow before her. A gentle bow that showed his respect to her moment before the words would come. “The name, is Gust, and I am at your service, ma’am,” was all that he said to her.
Rarity had never liked it when somepony would be at her service. She had always preferred it the other way around by nature. She couldn’t have done anything against it and she just had to live with the facts as they were. Something about the entire situation had shifted in essence. A threat had become an opportunity, one of which the unicorn would take a great advantage of.
Would she have trusted him though? Absolutely not. He had just barged in like he did and spoke a couple of pretty words to her. What and why would a stallion of his age have done that in the first place? Rarity huffed in silence before she would start digging. Information was valuable to her and he was an anomaly in her world. She would have come to know what his secrets are, hoping to get something worthwhile out of it all of course.
“So do tell me then, Gust, what is the reason that you came all the way from your little hidey hole somewhere in this land and came to here? What are your intentions, while you’re under my service?” Rarity asked with a blunt voice. There was no other way for her to have tackled the entire situation. She huffed again when the arcane power around her horn would have increased.
The stallion gave her a toothless smirk before he nodded calm. Gust would have spilled his secrets to her, secrets that perhaps weren’t as secret as she thought. “The reason is because I felt a shift in a balance. Something has been knocked out of scale and that very something, is what I wanted to discover. But now I’ve been here, seen what happened and now I know, that the previous queen has perished, we’re on our own. That was all I came here for.”
The story was certainly believable, Rarity had to admit that to herself. But Gust’s words also had a certain ring to them. A ring of which she couldn’t make anything out of. Did he mean his words, or did he just toy with her mind again? Who was to say that he didn’t try to get her in his might as well? Who could have countered him, if Rarity stood at his command? It were all doom-scenarios of course, but they were all a possibility for the unicorn.
Still, if he indeed offered his service to her, perhaps the chance should be taken and hoped to pack out well. Who would have come to argue with her? He as an older vampony, he could have taught her so much about everything, more than Trixie would have at least. But at the other end, what prevented her from throwing him in the dungeon by the others? What prevented her from slaughtering Gust where he stood?
The fact that he hadn’t challenged her or pushed her buttons yet. Gust was both calm and collected around Rarity, awaiting her moves before he made his own. Rarity could appreciate that, it made the discussion just so much more interesting for the both of them. Perhaps, she would have continued to listen to him for a little while longer. What harm could have been found in that?
Neither of them knew how much time had come to pass, but the moon still stood high in the skies. Both Rarity and Gust had been talking to one another about all sorts of things during all of it. Mostly it was just explaining how vampirism worked in the first place. Rarity sat on her throne while Gust had taken a seat at the bottom of the stairs. Perhaps it was better that Fluttershy wasn’t present at the moment. A danger for another time, thought Rarity to herself.
Though during their entire conversation had the mare kept a stoic face. No emotions could be read from it. She wouldn’t have given him anything that could later be used against her. The thought occurred of course that her stoic-ness could be used against her at some point as well. A thought that she waved off with an invisible hoof.
In the corner of her eye had she noticed that a blue shade entering the throne hall. Soon enough was the sounds of a magical aura being caught in her ears. Her head moved up just a little bit, silencing Gust with just a hoof. Because in the doorway she stood, ready to walk in and deliver what she had wanted to give them both.
Trixie had returned to the throne room and held two cups of fresh blood in her magical hold. Rarity only nodded once and she came to them, levitating the cups to the both of them. “Trixie thought that you both would be thirsty, enjoy.” No other sound came from her when she departed again. She returned to the doorway, only to go through it and end up somewhere else in the castle. Not even Trixie would have known where she would end up.
Even before she vanished, Rarity took over the cup with her own magic and rose it in a toasting manner. “Thank you, Trixie,” said the unicorn, while the pegasus only nodded in a thankful manner. They then both began to take gentle sips from it while their conversation continued.
Rarity would have taken the word after the first sip, wiping her lips clean with her tongue. “It has come to my attention that you have silver hooves, marks of burn around each of them. Would you care to share that part of your story with me? I’m rather curious about it, especially since you managed to hit me with it.”
The sneering words could be taken as an insult to Gust, but he just shrugged it off before he took a big swig. The story was painful to tell, but he would have done it either way. “It’s a long, long story in fact. But the basics of it are rather simple. Long ago, when even I was still mortal, I was outfitted with silver hooves. Lycans had been sighted near my village and fright was placed in every one of us. I was placed as a guard by the town’s entrance. Was the broadest and strongest, may have helped with that.”
He leaned back in the seat, allowing his mind to travel back to times long gone by. How many years had been since that incident? How long had he been wandering the lands as an immortal? He had forgotten the track of time as a whole in fact. “So there I was, being a normal sentry for the village, when all of the sudden I heard a noise in the bushes. I followed it, further and further into the woods we were surrounded by. Should have gone back ages ago though, but I did not. It was then, that I met my maker and, well, I got turned.”
The story was believable enough in the mind of Rarity, that part was for certain. He spoke with such truth to his voice. His life story was shared with her, or at least the part where he got turned into the monster he was to that day. “That’s quite the story you have there, but it never occurred to you that you might have removed them?” Rarity dared to ask to him. Perhaps a stupid question all together, but one she felt that she had to ask either way.
Gust let out a deep chuckle in response to that. He then shook his head and stomped one of the silver hooves to the ground. “I wish that I could have removed them, but no, they were fused together with my natural hooves. Now, I live in constant pain whenever I walk. Good thing I’m a pegasus though, every step I take, my hooves literally burn,” he replied before taking another, bigger sip of his cup. “You can see the little, limitations, I had to live with.”
Rarity nodded in an understanding manner to him, she thought to understand how he felt, especially when the memory of her own came back. That one and cursed time she made the mistake to walk into sunlight. But his hooves burned, burned with every step made. Sympathy was almost given to him by her, almost. “That certainly does explain a whole lot about it, yes,” the mare returned, who then took another sip from her blood.
Comfort wasn’t something that she found around the stallion. There still was this ominous something about him and that worried her. She wanted to see how far things could have gone of course, but at the other end of the spectrum did she have her own reputation to keep high. Perhaps she would let him stay for the moment. Perhaps she would let him just continue to live in the castle. If anything would have gone down south, she would have retaliated hard and he would get the same punishment as all of the others.
Glancing to the throne room from a door that stood in the hallway, Trixie had kept a firm eye on the two of them. Something about that entire being of the stallion didn’t sat right in the mind of the thrall. Something about his entire being, just clashed too hard against one another. She was worried about her mistress and for good reason. She found him a bit too suspicious and would have taken the matter to Rarity, if she wasn’t so taken by the words of him.
It horrified Trixie to see the two of them together like that, she was almost furious, disappointed and above all, she wanted to vomit. Rarity was hers and hers alone, that was all she wanted to admit about the entire thing. She had to get away though. Trixie had to leave the scene for what it was an just get away from the two of them. Who knew what danger could have come if she stayed there.
The door was closed behind her and she then wandered up the countless flights of stairs. She would have returned to the one place in the castle that was hers. The one place where not even the might of Rarity could have taken her, the one place where she could have been herself again. Trixie would have returned to her room, her own room hidden away in one of the castle’s many spires.
Stair after stair was being climbed before Trixie finally had managed to reach the door of her room. A hoof was placed on the doorknob before she turned it with a sigh. She could finally shed off everything for just a moment. The door opened with a gentle creak and she went inside. After which the door closed again. She had sealed herself within the room.
Trixie let out a deep exhale when she was in her own little safe haven. She had a gander around and the room revealed to be just a simple one. A bed, a closet, two chairs and a table filled with books from the library were all present there. Not to mention the door leading to the bathroom. It was obvious that all the guestrooms in the castle had the same loadout to them, which was either for better or for worse.
The unicorn took place in the chair and with her magic she picked out one of the books. Her eyes wandered off though, they wandered off to the window. The darkness of the night she saw on the world outside gave her a feeling of uncertainty. Everything could have happened to her, to her mistress and with that stallion.
“Master Gust,” huffed Trixie in annoyance, “Trixie hopes that you find your demise soon, because something about you isn’t right.” That was her free mind speaking to herself. Rarity’s hold over Trixie was almost absolute in some moments. It wasn’t as tight as it was over Fleur, thankfully. Trixie still had some bits of herself, but she could never leave the castle, not under any circumstances outside she was told so. That castle was her home and her prison at the same time.
Trixie wasn’t as tranquil as she appeared to be either. But Rarity had taken care of that in the year she had been there. Even though she wasn’t absolute obedient, Rarity had made certain that Trixie wouldn’t have gotten out of her command. Not to mention that fact that Trixie didn’t have any memories about what happened prior her arrival at the castle anymore. For all that she knew, Trixie could have been both born and raised in that castle. Who was to say that she wasn’t the foal of somepony that had died in the dungeon? A troubling thought that haunted the deepest parts of her.
Her whole world had been rocked and not in the good kind. She was a true salve to the vampony but still had some shreds of her old self left inside. A yawn came from the mare before she shook her head.
The thoughts vanished from her mind while her eyes shifted over to the pages of the book. Trixie leaned back a little bit before a hoof went over her neck. She felt the scars of Rarity’s fangs clearly, almost making her lust again after her mistress. She wanted to feel those fangs in her veins again. She wanted to feel, how she sucked the blood out of her.
Once more was the head shaken to get the thoughts out. It was perhaps one of the very few times that she could have taken it easy and just be who she was, it wasn’t a chance that she would have let slipped away with ease.
Her body would be dropped down on the bed and with a book in her hooves, Trixie was ready. While she was reading through, the magical aura began to cover her horn. The haunting feeling that every single second, something could have happened soared through her. Something terrible felt like it was at the verge of erupting. The book was laid down on the pillow and she left the bed. Trixie took a couple of sniffs in the air before she realized just what had gone wrong. “Oh no,” was all that she could say before her eyes went to the window.
Staring out of the window, Trixie saw what was going on. The night had been over and the day would have arrived in full force. The cursed dawn had arrived again and was knocking at their very doors. Terror would have filled every single fiber of her body before a gulp was given. How much longer until Rarity had made the mental connection again and called for her aid? But also, how much she desired to see the stallion burn in the morning sun. Who knew, perhaps Trixie would have left the place once and for all?
That thought was crushed an instant later, she would have never come to leave the place. She was bound to Rarity and only Rarity would have been able to let her go. A thing that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Not by the ivory unicorn’s own doing at least. Time would have been the decisive key player in the matter and Trixie knew that fact. “Dawn has come, time has come to shed the skin of night and shine bright. Trixie shall see soon, what her mistress wants to her.”
With those words would the book on the pillow be closed whole. She levitated it back to the table and Trixie dove again on the bed. She wanted to get at least some sleep before Rarity’s orders would have gotten through her mind once more. Sleep was a precious something and she hoped that her mistress would have enough of it as well, with or without that stallion still roaming their halls.
While the night continued to crawl on, both Rarity and Gust hadn’t been quiet either. They had been speaking about a couple of things that were of importance to Rarity. The unicorn vampony never took her eyes away from him, nor did she shift her emotions from any other than stoic. She wasn’t a pleasant interlocutor for Gust, that much was true. Yet he still had to deal with her nonetheless. At one point or the other, their conversation had turned back and he was placed in the spotlight.
“You’re a hard lady to crack, Rarity, that much I do have to admit,” the stallion spoke to her while he wandered through the throne room. His eyes had a deep gander at all of the paintings and portraits that hung there. All of them showed to him that she loved herself, but there was one that caught his attention.
There was one portrait at the end of the long stream, near the doorway that caught his attention. He had just one glance over it and he knew more than enough. He knew more than enough about her. For he had taken a gander on the portrait that belonged to her family. Rarity’s family could be used against her, only if he didn’t like where everything was going.
“You’re not the first one that is telling me that, and you certainly won’t be the last. A lady has to keep her secrets close. Besides, it would be a shame if you got to know your adversary right from the beginning, wouldn’t it?” Rarity countered while the stoic face shifted. For the first time since they had begun talking, Rarity’s face showed a toothy grin. One that revealed just one of her fangs.
It was obvious now to him, she was toying with him all day long. Not that he minded it that much of course, it was what vamponies did after all. All of them would have been toying, testing and watching the others. But Gust sensed that there might have been more to the grin. Perhaps he could chart the family matters to her? He hoped so at least. “Say, that last portrait, depicted your family, right? They seem like good folk to me. Question for you, are they still alive?”
In that very moment did her face droop again. He really had to ask that question to her? Rarity almost let out a deep sigh in response, almost. But she kept herself strong against him. She wouldn’t have answered him in a truthful manner though. No, she would lie about them, for their safety. The eyes were shut for just a moment while the mare took her sweet time.
Gust would have come closer to the throne again, hoping to hear any words that she might have whispered just to herself. Even with his advanced hearing, not all spoken words were caught by him. But he heard nothing, she truly was as silent as the grave. Gust began to realize that he might have tugged on a heartstring too much already.
Just when he wanted to take another step, Rarity’s head went up. Her eyes shifted to him with a gentle expression in them. All of her hardness, all of her coldness, all of her malice had just vanished. On the vampiric throne sat a pony who had lost everything dear to her. And the words that she spoke next, were true in some sense. “They came to pass a long, long time ago. Good ponies you said? Yes, yes they were. Loved them with my whole heart and now, cast in shadows like me. But they found rest, refuge even. I, won’t speak about the time as to how it came to be. My history, is not something that you desire to hear, nor want to share.”
Gust only nodded to her words. He understood them perfectly. It was always a hard thing for a vampony to be reminded of family. Even he had that issue still, and h had already lived for so many years. He had been to their graves many times, while the grandfoals even grew older. “I understand,” he said in a low toned voice before another question left, “have you considered, my services?”
He wanted to change the subject and she was glad for it. Even though she hadn’t fully thought about what service and use he could have been to her, but she would have company of another vampony in her midst. Perhaps the chance would never be given again. “One chance,” said Rarity to him. “One chance to prove yourself is all I am going to give yourself. Disappoint me, and you will never see the light of the moon again. Please me, and you stay welcome here. It is as simple as that. Welcome, master Gust, to my court.”
The cursed and dreaded dawn had come again and the sun crept over the skies as it would have done every other day. All seemed well in Ponyville, all seemed how it used and should have been. Ponies just went about doing their own things, while others just went along with the currents of time itself. Nopony would have fallen out of alignment for the day.
The clear blue skies already gave it away to them, it would be a marvelous day. But for one certain unicorn would the day be spend doing something that was loved, cherished even. A year had come to pass and Twilight Sparkle released a deep sigh through her nostrils. Time had brought her back to more distant and rather forgotten memories. Time brought her back to the night it all happened. It resulted in a single, gentle tear that ran down her cheek.
Her eyes opened again and she saw the field that stretched before her. A field where another unicorn was busy with magic. The vision of Twilight became sharper again before her lips curled up in a smile. In her sight had she seen Sweetie Belle. The young mare had gone through a couple of grow spurts, so did her friends. Sweetie was no long just the cute filly, she was developing herself into a gorgeous young mare.
Even though Rarity had come to pass away, Twilight had taken it on herself that she would take the sisterly duties on her, just to make the other unicorn proud. Sweetie was of course happy with that, since Twilight was a true master of the arcane, a fact proven time and time again. Though to Twilight it only seemed like yesterday that Sweetie came in her library, devastated by the news, looking for comfort. A comfort that not even her friends could give to her.
Twilight let out another sigh moments before Sweetie lowered the object in her magic. The green aura disappeared around her horn and a smile grew over her lips. She was glad to have done the exercise. One that she had been doing time and time again already, but every time she discovered that she was just that bit more powerful.
In the near year that they had been training, Twilight came to notice that Sweetie –much like her sister– had a specialty in the arts of levitation. But next to that was Sweetie also gifted in some shield-spells and...did Twilight even dare to think about it? Sweetie Belle could even concentrate her grief into a physical beam. It had happened once, just after the funeral for Rarity. Twilight straightened her back and she felt the scar that was given to it. A gentle groan came from her before she rose out of her sitting position.
“Very well done indeed, Sweetie,” said Twilight in a genuine impressed tone. The weight that Sweetie had been levitating was one of the more heavier objects that Twilight could have given her. For the time being, she only focused on doing just that. There was still no good opportunity to show Sweetie the more advanced spells in the library. Twilight sometimes even wondered if she would have been ready for it. Magic and a grieving pony weren’t always the best mix together.
She came closer to the young mare and gave her a tight hug, a hug that was returned just as tight to her. “Thanks Twilight,” returned Sweetie in a sultry, calm voice. Sweetie’s voice had left the cracks behind in order to form one that could melt a stallion’s heart. Singing had become a favorite past time, she had the near perfect voice that to boot.
A year had gone by, but Sweetie had become so much more mature during it.
“How about we return to the library for a nice cup of tea? We can stay on the balcony, if you want,” Twilight said to her moments before the hug would have been broken.
Sweetie just nodded to the words and together they would have left, only to wander through the quiet streets of Ponyville, avoiding one place in particular. Sweetie had no desire to see what had come from the place and she just wanted to be out of the streets, quick as they could. But time hadn’t been that kind for Twilight. She had in fact become a bit slower. She took her time to do pretty much everything and she smiled warm to some other ponies in the street.
It truly was a picture perfect day.
Though while they continued to walk to the library, a question came up in the mind of Sweetie. A question that perhaps shouldn’t have been asked. One that, if she didn’t spoke it before thinking, she would have slapped herself for. “Do you think that Spike has an eye on me?” Sweetie asked to Twilight. Her eyes shifted over to the other unicorn, who could read the wonder within.
Though the other mare just yet out a single chuckle in response. It was cute to see her think about stallions, or the opposing sex in general. But Spike having an eye for her? Even though he had grown and they were about the same age, Twilight doubted it. “Not that I am aware of. He’s a dragon with many secrets though. Many secrets that would be hidden from me as well. I honestly cannot tell. But maybe I can get him crazy enough to arrange a date with you? Just imagine, a dinner by candlelight, a kiss on the lips, a star-filled night, nopony to disturb you.”
“Uhm, Twilight, you sure that you haven’t been reading too many romantic novels again?” Sweetie asked before a cute giggle left her. Just to see Twilight’s face drop the way it did in response, it was priceless for the young mare.
“Well, uhm, perhaps,” was all that Twilight could bring out as a response with a blush.
The two unicorns continued to wander through the town of Ponyville, to the treelibrary that was so well-known by everypony. But every time when they entered a street, Sweetie had to blink and see the ponies inside of it again. A horrible thought and curse was laid upon her. A horrible something that could someday just devastate her mind.
Twilight was aware of what was going on in Sweetie’s mind. Even though she never gave it away, she did keep a firm and close eye on the young mare. Something about her whole being had changed in the past year. Certainly in the first few months, Sweetie grew more closer to herself, she didn’t trust others as much as she had done before. The events that happened to Rarity, had made a great impact on her personality.
Because every time when they entered a street, Sweetie could have sworn that she saw Rarity walking through it. Months ago would she have trusted her feelings and just galloped and barraged through it, but only recently had she learned that little trick. A trick that was taught by her own mother, in fact. But the numerous times that it happened, worried Twilight. “You still see her, around every corner that you go, don’t you?” the mare asked with a careful tone.
Sweetie gave a single nod in response. She didn’t want to talk about it and Twilight could understand it. There was nothing to talk about in the situation even. Sweetie had experienced something horrible, lost her beloved sister in the process and all that she wanted, was to get Rarity back. But that, was a thing that never would have come to reality.
So in silence they then continued their journey to the treelibrary. As much as Twilight had wanted to help her with her psychological issues, but it wasn’t her place to do. No, that duty would have always remained by her parents and they had done an amazing job so far. Though from time to time would the question have risen about everything.
Questions that spoke about the past two years in general, how everything had come to the point as they were. A lot of strange things happened for certain, for everypony involved. But while they were wandering down the street, Twilight had to admit that it was strange. And there was one matter that still went unresolved.
The crisping and raging fires could be caught in her ears again, the powerful hum of her magic while she searched for Rarity in the burning boutique. Nothing made sense that very night. Nothing seemed to have been what it was. And worst of all, the night that she and Magnum spend in the hospital, she was hoping that she was right. Twilight prayed every waking hour that she was right and that Rarity indeed hadn’t risen from the dead. Something unfathomable had happened that night. Twilight was even scared of it, because nopony held the answer to that.
A deep sigh came from her nostrils before she hugged Sweetie around the neck with a hoof. A warm smile set over her lips before she nodded once. “It’s okay for you to see her, it means that you haven’t forgotten her. Remember that, for as long as you live, Sweetie.”
Fluttershy had just closed the last book about lycanthropy. Another night of no sleep had come to pass and the bags underneath her eyes had grown even larger. Sleeping was turned in a major issue for the pegasus over the past few days. Horrible nightmares and flashbacks had kept her awake for who knew how long. And the times that she had fallen asleep, all would have come back to her.
Sleep wasn’t granted anymore to her for reasons that she couldn’t even think about. Fluttershy let out a deep and loud yawn before the mouth made some smacks. She was at least in the comfort of her home though, that was one thing where was grateful for. Though after the yawn she left her sofa and just roamed through her cottage, no true aim had been given to her hooves. She just went around and about. Maybe she was checking if everything was there, maybe she just needed to move around? Her mind worked slower than usual, cursing her muscles.
All of the animals in her cottage of course knew what she was, but none of them even dared to speak it against other beings. As much as it was Fluttershy’s home, so was it theirs. Not to mention that the pegasus had never morphed due to them or even laid a single talon on any of them. Control was something that she had, but only because her personality had allowed it.
The mare ended up staring out of a window that she opened only moments prior. Her thoughts began to trail off again to places that she never even held possible. Thought went all the way to times where she hadn’t been turned into a monster. “What would have come from me, if I hadn’t gone into the woods that night?” Fluttershy mumbled to herself, hoping to get some answer from the sun above.
She could still walk through the light of the sun, whereas Rarity was locked away during the night. To that day, she still didn’t know for certain who had gotten the shorter end of the stick. At some moments Fluttershy thought it was herself, at others she knew that it was Rarity. Either way, the thoughts continued to make a rampage through her mind.
Another sigh would have left her before she let the window alone again. But the calm breezes that went through the cottage were a welcoming thing. A gentle smile managed to come to her face before she returned to the books. A gander was given to each of them and then a nod followed. She would have stored them all away, hoping to remember the information in them. Hoping that perhaps one day, they would have saved her hide.
Lycans were a special kind of beings, that much was sure. Wereponies in the common tongue, and Fluttershy was one of the worst. There was a saying that spoke that the most horrible things would have come from the quiet ones, in her case did that happen to be the truth.
While she made her way up the stairs, the scars announced their presence again and a curse went through the cottage. One the cursed Angel the bunny, for he was the cause that everything had gone to Tartarus for her. If he hadn’t left the place that night, everything would have been normal, everything would have been the way it supposed to be. Everything would have been ignorant, and that would have been a bliss to her.
Angel the bunny heard the curing words and perked his ears, only to lay low in his basket. Not even he dared to ask her anything. He had become terrified for the monster in which Fluttershy could turn. He too, realized that a mistake had been made. A grave mistake for which she had to pay.
Atop the balcony of the treelibrary were both Twilight and Sweetie. They enjoyed each other’s company and just sat there, sipping their tea while magical theories were exchanged, books were read or just bathing in the sun. No matter what, calm and serenity were kept on the deck. A thing that was loved by either unicorns.
Spike the dragon wanted to partake in the events, but Twilight had said to him it was better for Sweetie to be left alone in the moment. She had another one of her moments and Spike knew more than enough about the matter. He would have left them alone for as long as they wanted. Perhaps it was a bit sad for Sweetie, as she had grown rather fond of Spike’s company too. The chance was there that they both felt attracted, because Rarity meant so much to them both.
Twilight went to another page of her book before a sip of tea was taken. She had arrived by the chapter of arcane shields and gave it a thorough read. All sorts of things had to be worked out before she would even begin to teach Sweetie the true basics of arcane-shielding. Sweetie knew how to cast one, but that one was barely enough to hold a pebble fired at it. No, the librarian said to herself that she knew when Sweetie would have been ready to receive the next step in their training. For the time being, it would have been just the levitational spells.
That very same Sweetie Belle was bathing in the afternoon sun at that moment. With the sunglasses on and her belly facing up, she laid in the lawn chair. The beams of the sun tickled her a little bit before a shade blocked it just for a moment.
A shade that came quick as it could and left even faster. The eyes of the young mare opened up and she rose up from the lawn chair. A couple blinks were made before the glasses were removed and she turned her attention to the castle of Canterlot. There she saw it flying with great haste. Something that resembled a bat-pony of the Lunar Guard shot by, heading home to inform the princess of the night about something. Something that perhaps meant trouble?
Either way, Sweetie’s attention turned back to Twilight with a rather burning question on her mind. Something else had happened in the past six months and she wanted to know what it was. Something that had shook Equestria on its foundations even, but most ponies just lived passed it. “Say Twilight, why is the Night Guard established again?” she asked to the other unicorn.
With her attention shifted over to Twilight, the other unicorn had no choice but to answer. “What?” was all she said though. The question has shot right passed her and the book was lowered.
“I asked, why the Night Guard had been established, Twilight,” the young mare repeated.
That time did Twilight caught it and she let out just a single chuckle in response. But the answer to give on it was everything but simple. The Night Guard wasn’t something that worked in the light of day, nor were their methods something that was considerable ‘good’, they were a questionable lot, that was for certain. But they tried, they tried their best to help the ponies.
“The Night Guard has been established in every single city and town so far, Sweetie. The reason behind it is that a lot of predators have been lurking in the darkness of night. Princess Luna took it almost to herself to protect the ponies. Even though she controls the night, she doesn’t control what dwells within. And evil, mostly comes from dark places. It’s a long, long story actually, and not even I know all of the details that are involved in the matter.”
“Please Twilight, could you tell me? I have the right to know, right?” Sweetie asked in a tone a young foal could be proud on. One thing had not changed in all that time though, when Sweetie wanted something, she would have gotten it. Which meant that there was no other option for Twilight than to give in the demands of the young mare.
With a nod would Twilight have started the story as she knew it. A gentle exhale was given first and the book was closed. Sweetie assumed a more normal sitting position on the chair and perked her ears. The afternoon would still last long and her parents wouldn’t mind it if she came home after dinner. She would have been with Twilight, just about the safest place in Equestria.
It had all happened a couple days after Rarity had been sent to the hospital. A couple days that would have begun to reshape the entire future for Equestria and everypony living in it. Princess Luna wandered through the halls of Canterlot Castle with a worry on her mind that she never expected to have. A deep sigh was released through her nostrils while she kept herself away from the moonlight. “Something has to happen, that much is certain. Control is slipping away and you know that,” she mumbled to herself.
Even though she wandered through a deserted part of the castle, she was still paranoid that other ponies could be listening to her words. Words that were spoken to herself but said in a manner as if somepony else wandered right next to her. “What could be done, in order to secure yourself, but at the same time make sure they believe you too? Vamponies on the rise, wereponies pouring in by the dozen. Trouble is about to come and you know that,” the princess muttered to herself.
Her attention shifted away from the hall and to one of the many windows present. The moonlight was cast straight to the ground and the alicorn spread just one of her wings. When it came in contact with the moonlight, her horn coated itself in the magical aura. A spell was spoken to reveal the true wing she carried, or at least a morphed version of it.
Because in the light of the moon did it turn from blue feathers, to blue skin. On wing remained that of an alicorn, the other turned into that of a bat-pony. Luna sighed again before she nodded. A plan had been made and the batwing was tucked against her body, morphing back to its usual state. Conflicted was the word that best fitted the princess in the moment.
The night was no longer as safe as everypony thought that it was, because about two weeks later, all hell would be breaking loose…
Luna sat once more atop her throne while the moonlight flooded the place whole. Her guards stood where they should moments before the doors opened with unseen and brute force. In the doorway stood a commander of the Lunar Army itself, dragging something behind him.
The princess was naturally surprised by what had happened and she could hardly believe it. The commander continued to drag it across the floor, only to end up throwing it in front of the princess. What was revealed was a blood covered body of a deceased earth pony stallion. The commander panted deep and streams of sweat and blood went over his entire body. Luna didn’t spoke a word, he would have come quick enough with his.
“For nearly two hours, for nearly two damned hours have I been battling that, monster,” he snapped at the princess. “This thing, this abomination of life and creation, is something that becomes a more increasing sight in the land, your highness. The terror that they can spread, you won’t believe. Something has to happen, if we want to ensure safety for all!”
Luna’s lips curled up in a grimace while she stood up from the throne. “Oh trust me, commander, I know exactly what is going on. I take it that you saw the fangs it carried?” the princess asked of him. The commander only gave a nod. Though to confirm it, Luna went down the steps and with her glass slipper, she moved the lips up, indeed revealing the elongated fangs.
There was no more doubt in her mind, whatever had attacked the commander, was a vampony. A creation gone wrong and one she still tried to find the one to blame for in fact. “Commander,” her attention shifted back to him, “what you found here, is called a vampony, half bat-pony and half immortal. Dreaded creatures forged in the fires of Tartarus. They have been forged for one purpose only: to imbed fear in the hearts of everypony.”
“I understand that, your highness, but it took me nearly two hours to kill it. And even then I had to check whether or not it was actually dead,” the commander returned. His posture became a bit more relaxed, though the words of the princess were everything but comforting to hear.
“I trust that you kept this to yourself? Only those present in this room know what you have done? And perhaps most important of all, where did you battle it out?” A series of questions that required answering by him.
The stallion saluted her as his racing heart had finally calmed down. But Luna began to roam around through the room. She began to just walk without aim, her glass slippers clopping soft against the stone. “Only the ponies in this room know what it is, numerous have seen me dragging it in though, I’m afraid. But I fought it in an unlikely place, just outside of Canterlot, in the mountain range itself. What could it have done there?”
A question was returned to her, one of which Luna wasn’t too fond on. But the princess gave just another nod with her head. “It has come from the pits of Tartarus, created by most likely an ancient being we have no concept of, a being like this is dreadful, but I fear their counterparts even more. Lycans, or wereponies are probably also going to rise. We, need to act fast in order to stop this menace,” countered Luna moments before their gaze met one another.
There wouldn’t have been any doubt in the matter. Something had to be done in order to stop the rising terror. The commander saluted her again before he left the room. Calm then washed over the princess who gave a deep exhale. “You foolish mare, you could have had everything you desired, but no... You choose to let them sail their own course. You are indirectly responsible for the actions that I have to take now.”
Luna’s attention slowly shifted back to the murdered pony and she had another look over him. All the signs were there, that much she could tell. Something had gone terribly wrong and it was up to her to clean up the mess. There where her sister would have used Twilight or somepony else to do so, Luna didn’t have that luxury. No, there had to be another way for her to clean the mess to come. “Starting from tomorrow night, the Night Guard shall be put back into control. Gone for just over a nine hundred years, finally re-established with the current threats glooming over the horizon before us. I’m sorry to say this, but it has to be done.”
Nopony would have argued with the princess, all of them knew that she was right. It would have been from that night onward, that the secret order would be brought back to life, protecting the innocent beings of Equestria while cleaning out the immortals. All because somepony had been stupid enough to do something that shouldn’t have been.
Luna’s eyes went back to the windows and she took the view outside to herself. “The world’s about to change, and Celestia won’t be standing at the helm for a change. No, this time it is going to be me that will be the face of the changes to come.”
The more she rambled on with her words, the more Luna couldn’t take herself serious any longer. All of her words were just stupid, out of place and definitely not worthy to be spoken by her. Everything that happened so far, could all have been blamed partially on her. “Oh Rarity, you foolish little mare, you make a mess of the world and I get to clean it up...” The truth, was a simple as that.
While the weeks continued on, the Lunar Army couldn’t spare too many ponies in order to help with the re-establishing Night Guard, trouble would have been on the next corner and nopony could have realized it. Everything that could have happened, should have been prepared for. Which meant that a lot of recruitments should have been made. The threats of wereponies and vamponies was usually enough for each town to set up a center where officers and commanders could spend some time, recruiting all those wanted and able enough. Equestria would have been mobilized as if it had gone to war with another nation, problem was that that nation had already infiltrated their very home.
Though the entire thing was still in its early stages. Nightly raids didn’t seem to happen yet as both immortals kept themselves just to themselves. No true public occurrences happened, for which Luna was happy. If attacks happened, it would have been travelers that became the victims. They would have been foolish enough to travel in a convoy that wasn’t protected by a bat-pony.
Unfortunate as their death were, they also served as a reminder for the hell Equestrian night has been thrust in. The unfortunate victims of the night, would only have served as food for the dreaded creatures that roam around. But what could be done against the menace of them at that point? Trouble would have come either way, their numbers were few so finding them was an even more difficult thing. No, time would have decided as to how everything would have continued.
For nopony knew how it happened, but fiction had become reality. Not even princess Luna could have placed her hoof on a suspect that was the cause of it all. Because even her accusations, were just speculations. Everything that was known, could have changed in an instant.
“And that is why the Night Guard is seeing the light of night again, Sweetie, to protect the innocent from the monsters that start to dwell through it. Worse than dragons and hydra’s, more deceptive than changelings, there are some true monsters out there,” finished Twilight. She had told the whole story as it was known to her, which wasn’t much to begin with.
Sweetie nodded in understanding to Twilight before she laid back down in the lawn chair again. It was a short story, she had to admit that, but also one that shed some light on a couple of thoughts. Perhaps, just a silly strain in her mind, she would have joined them once her magical abilities had grown stronger. Would Apple Bloom and Scootaloo have joined her too?
While Sweetie continued to bathe in the then late afternoon sun, Twilight got the faint idea that it was perhaps time to step up their game. Even though Sweetie’s shields were weak, she could still call on them. With the right amount of training over perhaps a week or three, she would be able to cast better shields than Twilight ever could have.
It was worth a shot, but one that also could have gone in the wrong direction very quickly. “Sweetie, I’ve been thinking, you’re growing fast, there’s no lying in that. And you can levitate items with exceptional precision, so I think that it is time for you to grow. To get a better understanding in the arcane arts,” said Twilight with a sure and determined voice. Time had come for Sweetie.
At first was there a mumble that didn’t make much sense to Twilight at all. But then Sweetie rose up again from the chair and she blinked a few times. She took away the glasses and had a much better look over Twilight. Had she truly said those words? “And, what do you want to train me in then?” Sweetie asked of the other unicorn.
Twilight’s lips curled up to a smile. Not a definitive answer yet, but she would be getting there. All in good time. “I want to train you in something that you’re going to need very hard with everything going on. I know that you’re an adventurous type of pony, so are your friends. Which has brought me to the conclusion to teach you how to save them, and save yourself. Silly question perhaps, but how are wars won, Sweetie?”
The question was indeed one that came out of nowhere for the young mare. A question on which she had to think hard about the very answer. Of course she wanted to say that the best way to win a war was to give a great offense, but it was Twilight she spoke against. One thing that Twilight never did, was attack without reason. Even when attacked herself, she wouldn’t have done it.
Which resulted in her face all the sudden starting to gleam. “No, you’re joking here, right?” Sweetie asked with disbelief. She couldn’t believe the direction in which Twilight was heading. The young unicorn had not even the faintest idea how hard the training would have been, but she would be ready for it. If she could have saved her friends, she would have done.
“I still haven’t heard the answer to my question, Sweetie.”
An exhale was given by the young mare before she nodded. “You’re right, the best way to win a war, is to have a good defense.”
“There’s your answer as in what I will train you next. We’ll start, the day after tomorrow.”
A week would have come to pass since Twilight first spoke about Sweetie’s defensive lessons. During all that time would Sweetie have been practicing to make shields, maintain them and keep them up. Hard work that luckily paid off. Twilight had made the right estimations and Sweetie had managed to conjure up some amazing shield. The will to protect those near her had grown, excellent for the casting of defensive spells. It pleased Twilight perhaps in more ways than one that the young mare had grown so much.
The longer Twilight would have examined every part of Sweetie’s shield, the more she would have come to realize that shield –next to levitation– came to her as easily as breathing. And all it took was a simple question to bring her to that realization. Twilight smiles moments after Sweetie had faded another shield, one that was big enough to protect just the young mare.
“Does it always feel weird, whenever you let a shield fade away?” Sweetie asked with an exhausted voice. She rubbed her forehead slight under the sounds of a quiet groan.
But Twilight shook her head in response. “No, you shouldn’t feel that drained afterwards, but we have been asking a lot of your magic already and I am afraid if we ask even more, nothing good will come from it,” she said to the younger unicorn, “your defensive capabilities are amazing, but I do worry about your offensive ones.”
Twilight hadn’t wanted to speak those words aloud, but she did it anyway and regretted the decision straight away. Because the glance in the eyes of Sweetie changed. It changed from its happy self to one that was questioning, wondering about a lot of issues. The entire mood of Sweetie would have sunk to her hooves.
With almost watering eyes did the young mare look to Twilight, silently screaming while her defeated tone filled the air. “It’s because I’m not ready for it, right? Because, I still haven’t given her death a place? I can’t control my emotions, Twilight,” she said before her eyelids closed.
The other unicorn walked closer to her and gave her a hug. “You can control your emotions, Sweetie. The reason as to why I worry about your offense is,” a break came while she tried to find the right words, “because I don’t think it suits your personality. Your emotions, are out of this.”
“But, but it’s true,” countered Sweetie with a low tuned voice. “Almost every night, I, I cry myself to sleep. My emotions, get the better of me. And they, they want me to hurt somepony.”
All of the information was new for Twilight. She had never heard those kinds of words before out of her mouth. They began to worry her and rightfully so. If Sweetie indeed would have lost her control during the cast, who knew what kind problems arose? No, in the moment would Twilight have only held her closer. “Then cry now, let out everything.”
Moments later, she felt the tears rolling over her back. In silence, Sweetie was crying every tear that she had.
Fluttershy was rushing like mad through her cottage. A week had gone by and she expected somepony to visit. Somepony who she hadn’t seen in a long, long time in fact. Nopony else than her friend Tree Hugger would come to visit her in Ponyville and the pegasus’ delight couldn’t be matched. Everything just had to be perfect before the earth pony arrived.
It wouldn’t have been all that much later that the pegasus was wandering through the streets. Fluttershy was on her way to the train station in order to pick up her friend. She would show her all of Ponyville before they would spend the rest of the quiet afternoon either in the cottage or in the fields surrounding. She hadn’t decided it yet, but she knew it would have been a good thing to finally meet Tree again.
With one last turn had Fluttershy arrived at the station moments before the train rolled in. Its powerful engine roared and thudded over the rails before the breaks brought it to a screeching hold. The pegasus kept her eyes open to see the green coated earth pony. She didn’t appear in one of the carriages and Fluttershy began to lose hope already. It would be something for Tree to have missed the train. On the other end, it wouldn’t have been the first time either.
A sigh left through her nostrils. Fractions later was there somepony who tapped her on the back. The wings sprung open and Fluttershy almost became airborne. She turned around and saw those red, tired appearing eyes. An instant later was there a smile. “Oh Tree, it’s good to finally see you again!” Fluttershy said before she hugged Tree Hugger.
“Hey Flutters, been a long time,” replied Tree who returned the hug.
The two of them would have left the station for what it was and continued on through the streets of Ponyville. But while they were wandering, a question arose in Tree Hugger. Something that had been gnawing at her for a long, long time in fact. “Hey, how are you holding up, with those scars and all?” Her voice was one of genuine concern to Fluttershy, she hadn’t been there when it happened of course, nor did she had the time to come earlier.
It was a painful memory for the pegasus but she kept herself strong. Instead of buckling under the words, she would have metaphorically pumped her chest. “They are better now, healed in the good way, the doctors said when I had my last check-up, which was about six months ago.”
“Still, sorry to hear what happened to you.”
“Occupational hazard,” chuckled Fluttershy, trying to wave it off of her.
There was no way in the world that she would have ever said to Tree Hugger what the truth was. Though with the unique way the earth pony was, who would have said that she had it already figured out? Fluttershy could have only hoped that her friend had remained ignorant, that was the best way for things to have stayed. That was the way how it should have stayed and always been.
Together they would continue on, but the nights worried Fluttershy deeply. She just prayed that Tree Hugger was a deep sleeper, unlike her.
Both Sweetie and Twilight had broken their hug and the young mare wiped away her tearstains. It had felt good to let everything go for the moment. It felt for her to have cried the way she did. Not even her parents knew that she cried herself to sleep most nights. But every second of her crying, she had been silent.
Twilight took it as a sign that it was true sadness, genuine sadness that couldn’t be faked whatsoever. Sweetie Belle wasn’t the kind of pony that would have faked such a thing, not to gain anything at least. “Hey, you feeling better?” she asked with a minor smile.
Sweetie just nodded in return. She couldn’t speak any words for the moments and Twilight summoned an arcane hoofkerchief. With it would she have dried the stains from the cheeks and eyes. Sweetie would have been presentable again and that was all that she wanted to see. “T-Thanks.”
“No need to thank me, as long as you remember that we’re all there for you, in the time of need,” answered Twilight before another hug was given.
Time had crawled to the late afternoon though. Their time together would have been over and they would separate their ways again. That was the planning at least. So when they broke the hug again, no words were spoken. Just the wind that echoed quietly through their ears. They both knew that it was time to go and so they went. Each of them went their separate way again. Twilight would have returned to the tree library while Sweetie, Sweetie would have returned home.
The route home that she would have taken was taken with a massive detour though. She wasn’t ready yet to face her parents, not with the sadness still filling her heart. It tore the filly almost in two. But she knew that strength came from her friends and family. In perhaps more than one way, she had been an emotional wreck.
Sweetie had left the fields, would wander through the streets of Ponyville and eventually went down the road passed a little stream. A stream that she knew so well because it brought her straight home. With her mind everywhere expect there did she wander next to it, not even minding the fact that Everfree was only a couple hooves away. She didn’t even care in the moment.
Thoughts had returned to her, thoughts that she shouldn’t have thought about in the first place. But the scenes that went through her mind were those of the funeral. That magnificent funeral that was truly worthy for Rarity. Everypony was present and when the coffin lowered, everypony knew that it was over. She cried, by Celestia she cried. Hours upon hours would Sweetie have let her tears go. And to that day, she still would have visited her sister’s grave, placing a flower every time she was there.
The pain in her heart, the gap that it left, couldn’t be filled by anypony or anything. She had lost one of the most dearest ponies to her. How could that ever be replaced? Sweetie didn’t even wanted to think about it. She wanted to leave it alone, she wanted to be left alone.
Her memories were having different ideas about it though. They would torture her, torment her with facts of the past that she wouldn’t like at all. And one of them was an encounter with both Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, just after her sister passed away.
“You both should have been killed by that fire,” mumbled Sweetie in a bad imitation of Diamond’s voice. Then her voice shifted back to its normal form, “And if I had the chance to do it to you, I wouldn’t have doubted a second.” A growl came from her throat before she kicked a rock in the stream. Anger had taken her over before she realized another set of teasing words.
“No,” was all that she said to herself. It couldn’t have been that way, right? “But that, doesn’t make any sense and you know it. Rarity couldn’t have been...” The longer she thought about it, the more she began to realize something. Perhaps were neither Diamond Tiara or Silver Spoon as brutal as she thought they were. “They are bullies, Sweetie, they do everything to get under your hooves!”
She shook her head in denial, denying every single fact there was. She wouldn’t and couldn’t believe what they had said to her. “My sister, is not murdered, by a vampony!” Sweetie growled to the air in front of her. There was nothing that upheld the claim made by those two rats.
But with the revival of the Night Guard, things would be exposed in different set of light. A deep exhale was taken by her before her eyes glanced to the skies above. The dark, gloomy clouds of rain had come in. Perhaps she would stay out a bit more, feel the rain on her coat, knowing that she was in fact still alive? But what if, just what if, those words were true? An idea of which she hoped not, but the chance was there. Equestria was after all a very strange place to be.
Were- and vamponies seemed to have been on the rise during the nights. If Rarity had indeed been murdered by one, the same one who then went after Fleur Dis Lee, it all made sense to her. “But, but that can’t be, right?” Sweetie denied herself. Her thoughts had made her crazy, right? There was no way in the world that Rarity would have been murdered by such a horrid creature.
“Think about it, Sweetie, it does explain the fire. You know how Rarity had always been hesitant with it, it could destroy her life. Never would she have ignited it herself, nor would she have done something that stupid. ...Which means, she’s been, oh dear,” said Sweetie Belle to a tree as if it was an actual pony.
Her head became light and she felt like fainting for the moment. But the first drops of rain landed on her back, tickling her to stay awake. It took only seconds for the storm to have been unleashed over the land. Sweetie turned around and rose her head. Clarity was the thing that she desired. But would never get it. All of the thoughts made just too much sense to her.
Her brows forged a glance of determination. She had justified the means to an end that would have been believed by few. Sweetie let out another growl to the world before an idiotic idea managed to dawn in her. A plan so stupid that it might just have worked right in her favor. She had nothing to lose and could gain the truth. Why wouldn’t she have taken the path?
Sweetie slammed the door of her room shut after dinner. The storm had erupted in full force and thunder rolled through the skies. Her eyes only have one glance to the outside world before she just nodded to herself. It would have been enough. Enough with the lies, enough with the training, enough with everything. From that moment would she have steered in a new course for her life.
A course of which not even her parents nor Twilight knew anything about. But Sweetie had to save herself. She had to save herself from falling further into the madness that was their world. She had to keep rowing and stay afloat for as long as she could. Life without Rarity had little to no meaning for her. An idea of madness had dawned in her little mind and with a charged horn, she picked up a pencil.
Just letting it hover in the air caused the magic words to be written and then send away to two very special ponies. Two ponies who might have been just crazy enough to join her. A message was written for them both, asking them to meet at a special place before it was send. The pencil was then dropped again and she had another look outside. It wasn’t that terrible of weather, she had gone through worse once. A sly grin was forged on her lips while a single nod was given. The young mare dashed over to her closet and began to search for her raingear. Even though she was in haste, making sure her coat and mane wouldn’t get too wet was a priority.
Cloaked in her raingear, Sweetie has a look in the mirror before she leaves the room for what it is. She rushes down the hall and stairs, not even speaking a word to her parents before dashing out through the door.
Her mother rose an eyebrow in surprise after the door went shut. “Did, Sweetie told you that she would be leaving for the evening?” Pearl asked to the stallion.
Magnum chuckled only once before he shook his head. “She hadn’t told me anything, but you know how she is these days. How she perhaps always will be. She’s probably just going to her friends or Twilight. Pearl, there’s nothing to worry about. She’s a smart filly, remember?”
Pearl nodded with a sigh before she cuddled up against her stallion. Perhaps he was right on the matter. Perhaps she did worry a bit too much about it all. But even in all that time, she bore a secret. One which she couldn’t and wouldn’t share with anypony else in the land. Even if she held the key for everything, she wouldn’t have let go of it. No, Rarity would be remembered as she was, not how Pearl came to know her.
Nopony had the right to even know that. Nopony, not even she.
“Sorry about the rain and that, well, are kinda stuck here,” Fluttershy said to Tree Hugger, who sat on the sofa across her. Though the earth pony didn’t seem to mind it that their evening had been gone to water. The pegasus didn’t mind it either, the moon would be young and everypony would have been safe in there. At least that was what she hoped.
Tree took a sip from her tea before she let out a giggle. “Don’t worry too much, Shy, you do worry too much, you know,” she said, “maybe I should give you a massage tomorrow, should do you just fine.”
The offer was tempting, she hadn’t been to the spa in such a long time. She was afraid that either Aloe or Lotus would have rubbed a spot that initiated her morph. If that happened, who knew how it could be solved? No, a massage from Tree seemed to have been the better alternative. Besides, her ways of doing things were always just a little bit more strange. Not that Fluttershy minded strange, she wasn’t particularly normal herself after all.
“I think, I think that that would be wonderful, yes,” replied the pegasus with a gentle tone. Those were the only words that Tree wanted to hear out of her.
The earth pony returned the smile to her and rose her cup of tea to toast to something. Fluttershy couldn’t have done anything else and just went with it. “To a very, very good friendship,” Tree said almost in a normal tone.
Fluttershy was caught by surprise for a moment before she smiled again and nodded. Their friendship had already lasted for so long, there was little that could have broken it in time. The chance was there that the pegasus was closer with Tree Hugger than that she was with any other of her friends. “Hey, you know a game that we can play? You know, something that could speed up the night?” It was a question to bring her mind away from the terror’s she went through.
Tree Hugger had to think about that for a moment, before she thought to have the right one. One that would be right up Fluttershy’s alley. “I think I do have one yes. Been a long time since we played our little role-playing game, right? Where were we again? Depths of Tartarus, fighting that hydra?” The earth pony recalled their game as if it was yesterday for the most part.
“Close, I believe. I’ll get it and then we’ll continue playing it,” answered Fluttershy before she left her chair. “It’s strange though, my other friends only want to play it when Twilight is around.”
Galloping through both street and lane, Sweetie had kicked her hooves in the highest gear while she made way for one place. One place that she knew they would have showed up either way. The roads were clear and everything seemed to have been working with her. A little twinkle of madness continued to sparkle in her eyes while she closed the distance. The forges of imagination had been fired, that much was certain.
But there it then stood, Sweetie had come to a hold and she smiled to herself. The hood of her raincoat was shifted a little bit and she saw lights coming from the wooden building, not to forget two shadows that moved in it. At least they had gotten the message and she was late, two things that never seemed to have changed in time.
Her eyes stared to a treehouse that served as a clubhouse for them. Because they were the Cutie Mark Crusaders, trying to get their cutie marks by doing whatever they could have think of. And that, was the foundation of the new idea that was forged. The fires burned and raged, grief and sadness took her over countless times, suppressed deep in her thoughts. Sweetie was nothing more than a husk. A husk of her former, happy, cheerful self. The act of being happy, was one she upheld high. One she would never drop, not until she was truly alone.
“Never more,” she whispered to herself.
A deep inhale was taken by Sweetie before she would go up the ramp to meet the.. How the two shadows hadn’t noticed her yet was a question answered at another time. For the moment, all that the young unicorn wanted, was to get inside again. So with her hooves on the ramps, she would have reached the door and opened it, right as there was a flash of lightning that came down.
In the created opening she stood, clad in raingear and ready to speak while the roll of thunder took everything over. Sweetie made no time go to waste and just entered the clubhouse, closing the door behind her.
Her eyes caught the other two ponies, an earth pony and a pegasus, when her magic levitated the gear off to the side. “Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, I’m glad that you two are here,” said Sweetie before she gave each of them a hug.
The other two returned the hug tight, feeling the hold that was going through Sweetie’s body, but they didn’t knew just as to why they had been called out there. It was fortunate that Scootaloo slept over by Apple Bloom for the night, otherwise she wouldn’t have made it out there. Wonder filled their eyes, questions spoke in their minds, but a verbal response never came.
Sweetie dropped down in a beanbag before she grinned a bit. Just seeing the other two Crusaders like that, filled her with a genuine glee that couldn’t be taken away. Soon would she have to speak though. Soon would she have to come and say what was on her mind, why their meeting had been arranged in the middle of a thunderstorm, no less.
Apple Bloom was the first one to take the word. “Say Sweets, why did ya call us here?” she asked. A rightful question indeed, why had Sweetie called them both out there?
Sweetie stood up from the bag and began to wander without aim through the clubhouse. She would have told them her story. “I called you two here tonight, because some strange things are happening all over Ponyville. Not just Ponyville though, all of Equestria is suffering from it. Beings of unknown origin have begun to roam around, these, lycans and vamponies, are all but good news. Here, they don’t seem to come, but what if they do? What will we do?”
“We’ll beat them of course!” Scootaloo answered straight away. Her ignorance of the world had always been her biggest friend. If things were only that simple though.
Sweetie shook her head and she let out a deep exhale. “I wish we could, but we’re just three young mares, bright futures ahead of us. If we come to face even one, I don’t think it will end well for us.” A grim reality perhaps, but it wasn’t that far away from the truth altogether.
“So why did ya call us here than? All yar doing now is makin’ us scared!”
“And I was coming to that, thank you very much,” returned Sweetie straight away to Apple Bloom. If there was one thing that young Apple could, it was interrupting at the worst possible times. “Ideas have been flowing through my mind lately, some better than others but, I think we’ve all been looking in the wrong direction about this all.”
Apple Bloom got an idea as to where it all would have gone to and gestured to Scootaloo. “Sweets, stay here for a moment, Scoot and Ah need to speak ‘bout something.” Scootaloo had not even an idea of what Apple Bloom wanted, but together they went to the furthest corner away from Sweetie. The young earth pony began to whisper there, “Do ya think this might have som’thing to do with what happened two years ‘go? She seems changed, Scoot, and it ain’t for the better. Ya know she never been able to give Rare’s death a place, right? Whatever she says, it’s a stupid plan.”
In the past had been Apple Bloom that often turned to the voice of reason between them three. Out of them all, she would be the one that kept the peace between them. Normally Sweetie took that role on her, but with her mind brittle as it was, somepony else had to do it. Babs wouldn’t have visited them for a long time to come, meaning that it all fell down on her. A role she regretted but was glad for at the same time.
Scootaloo nodded to the words, but still had a couple of her own to speak. “Oh it is about all those years ago, trust me. I’ve seen that look in her eyes, that look she had just when her sister died. She’s lost it. Absolutely, lost it, I’m telling you. Whatever she’s going to say, I can assure you, she’s going to drag herself only further down, and us with it,” the pegasus returned with a quiet whisper.
The last thing that either of them wanted was that Sweetie would have heard their words. But in the end did they gave one another a nod. A nod that proved they were on the same wave. They went back to Sweetie who was still waiting there.
“So, I hope your little gossip went well. Because our future might be at stake and I doubt that Twilight and her friends are able to stop it,” Sweetie said to them with determination. Even though Ponyville was still relatively safe from all the madness, it had been the main hub of it just as many times. All thanks to Twilight and her friends, most of the time.
Which meant that they had to prepare for whatever trouble would be lying ahead and if Sweetie had to be believed, there was a lot of trouble lying ahead. But she also had to break the news to them, before she would have told her plan, Sweetie would have spoken her latest train of thought. Her body was dropped again on the beanbag while an exhale became audible.
“I, have been thinking, about everything, really. Everything that happened in the past two years. Times have changed and by Celestia, so did we. We changed for either better or worse, I can’t tell. But what I can tell, is that I don’t believe Rarity set fire to her own boutique, or that it was a problem with the gas. And none of you find it strange that Fleur was murdered, got her heart torn out of her body, no less, less than a week after it? I was blind, girls, I was blind to everything.”
“But what are ya trying to say here, Sweets?” Apple Bloom asked with a raised eyebrow. She didn’t have a clue as to what Sweetie wanted to achieve with her words. She didn’t have a clue, in which direction they could have gone.
“Compelling arguments, only a year too late,” mumbled Scootaloo just loud enough for them to hear it.
“Perhaps not,” countered Sweetie Belle, “it does mean that there’s still a murderer out there. One that slaughtered Fleur and burned my sister.”
“What do you want to do about it? Start your own investigation about it? That’s not going to happen, Sweets, they closed it months ago. No traces found of anything and the only witness dead,” added Apple Bloom, hoping to speak some sense into Sweetie. But that idea wouldn’t take flight anytime soon. The young unicorn had become too determined to deviate from her chosen path.
“What I want to do, is not to start my own investigation, Apple Bloom, what I want to do, is hunt down the bastard who did it and make sure the same pain is brought over,” said Sweetie then in an ice cold tone.
Both the earth pony and the pegasus were frozen from those words. They never expected that Sweetie Belle would have gone out there for blood. What on earth had changed her so much, that she wanted to set in a hunt? It must have happened recently though, the idea wasn’t there a week ago, the thought wasn’t even there a week ago.
“And how do you want to do that? You seriously want to make it your life’s mission to discover who murdered your sister and kill him? Answer me: what difference does it make whether or not he lives or dies?” asked Scootaloo, hoping to be the voice of the unicorn’s reason.
“Does it need a reason?!” Sweetie barked in return. “All I want is to know why she died, there’s nothing more to it. There’s nothing else to it. I lost somepony dear to me, I lost... my sister!”
“And Ah lost mah parents, but ya don’t hear me goin’ over to some vigilante mumbo-jumbo like Mare-Do-Well!” snapped Apple Bloom.
Tensions had been running high between the three of them and Sweetie still wasn’t done with her words, not by a long shot. “Apple Bloom, you never knew your parents, you can’t miss what you never had. I knew Rarity, you all knew her!”
An arrow had been shot straight through the earth pony’s heart with those words. Sweetie spoke them with such lethal precious, she knew where it would hurt the most. In that respect, she was exactly like her sister, a true weaver of words. “Take it back,” she growled under her breath.
Sweetie would have never taken them back though, as she justified them as the truth. “That is why, I called you two here, today. That is why, I want you to join me in this. This is why, I want to join the Night Guard, to be that watchful eye at night, to make sure everypony is safe.”
“Oh just cut the crap, would ya!” Apple Bloom snarled in return. She didn’t buy the last part at all, not after the first words spoken to her. “Ya really think they will let ya join the Guard?”
“It’s better than to sit here and do nothing, while horror roams the streets,” returned Sweetie Belle.
Scootaloo was just baffled by the arguments. She had agreed with the earth pony that whatever came out of the unicorn was pretty much manure, but at the other end did Sweetie have a solid point. A solid point which she used against the both of them. Not to mention, if neither had joined, she would have done it either way. Sweetie would have joined the Night Guard, with or without them.
“Girls, can’t we just remain calm and sort this out for a moment?” the pegasus asked with urgency. Something about the matter wasn’t right and they all had to calm down. “Just, sit down!”
The scream went through the entire clubhouse together with another rumble of thunder. Fear took over the other two young mares who did what was not asked, but commanded of them. They both sat down, held their mouths shut and waited for whatever words Scootaloo wanted to say to them. Madness had taken over, that much was certain. Order had to be restored, somehow.
Everything had gone silent in the clubhouse. Nothing even dared to make a single sound out of terror. Sweetie Belle laid on the beanbag, Apple Bloom sat in a chair, Scootaloo stood in the middle of the room. Her wings were spread and had an imposing posture. The daring pegasus had taken the leadership to herself. Neither of the other two seemed able to even speak in the moment. Whatever would have come next, whatever verbal fight that came, it wouldn’t have been pretty. But everypony just had to shut up for the moment and think about everything.
Scootaloo turned to each of them. The eyes twinkling with calm, but behind them laid chaos. A chaos that they all could smell from her. Though she wasn’t one that could take a side. She had to remain the neutral party for the other two. She just had to be the one that kept an open mind. Although, as little as she wanted to admit it, Scootaloo was joining Apple Bloom’s side. She declared that Sweetie Belle had gone insane, torn apart by grief and unable to make the right decisions. Something should have stopped her and if it would have been her friends, so it would have been.
Apple Bloom than left the chair and began to roam through the place. Her head wasn’t clear, it was stuffed with all the words that the unicorn spoke. All of the words that made little to no sense to her. All those words on the other end, also made sense to her. Something wasn’t right, and she didn’t like it. One glare was given to Scootaloo. One questioning glare that screamed the question.
The question of whether or not the pegasus stood at her side.
Scootaloo just gave a nod to her. Silence was about to be broken and all hell with it.
With a saddened look in her eyes had it to be done. The young earth pony gathered all of her courage before she would unleash her fury. Moments went by, moments of dreaded silence. Only the rain that ticked against the window and the rolls of thunder were heard.
But Sweetie just laid there, in the beanbag. The glance of determination in her eyes was one that was hard, if not impossible, to break for them. But they had to try, they both just had to try before everything was destroyed. None of them wanted to destroy their friendship of course.
With a roll of thunder roaring through the clubhouse, Apple Bloom would have spoken. She would have spoken what should have been said long ago. “Just to ask again, are ya absolutely, insane?!” Apple Bloom shouted to Sweetie. The words that had come from the young unicorn were downright crazy. They made little to no sense for any of them, it was just bonkers to hear. All the stories that she told, all the thing she wanted to do. No, just, no.
With Apple Bloom having already fired her cannons, Scootaloo couldn’t stay behind of course. She was silently on Apple Bloom’s side and would have shown her true colors to the unicorn in a moment’s notice. It broke her heart though, to have to say those words against her friend. But she, Scootaloo, the voice of everything but reason, had become the voice of reason. She could only have hoped that Sweetie would listen. Although she didn’t have too much faith in that.
“Sweets, I know how things are for you, but you can’t do this. There’s no way in Equestria that we will let you do this, nor that we will join!” Scootaloo commented on the matter. It just felt wrong to do such a thing. They were three fillies, befriended by one common goal, to find their cutie mark. They wouldn’t have found their mark by going hunting, they would only lose what they held most dear in the world: each other.
In the moment, they were pretty close as to losing Sweetie Belle altogether. The young unicorn was about to drop a bomb on them that neither had ever expected from her. “You two just don’t see it, do you?” she asked of them both. But what was there to see? Sweetie had gone bonkers, insane, her story didn’t have any legs to stand on. For all they knew, it was just a way for the unicorn to fill her craving for bloodlust. A thing which neither of them wanted.
“Then tell us, what we don’t see,” Scootaloo returned while her wings would be tucked against her body again. “What are the points, we are missing?” She wanted to know, had to know.
Sweetie left the beanbag too and began to circle around the two of them. She would have told them both exactly what they had been missing. But whether they would like it or not, was another problem. A problem that would be dealt with later of course, as Sweetie dealt with all of her problems. Always later, never in the moment.
“Apple Bloom, you have a set of sharp eyes, you can spot a rotten apple among thousands high in the trees, not to mention your speed. You, could be great at marksmareship. And you, Scootaloo, you can fix pretty much everything thrown at you. Don’t you see it?!”
“By Celestia,” both others said in response. She had already planned everything out, hadn’t she? Sweetie had already planned everything out. Not just for her own, but also for Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. Now there was the definition of insanity in their friend. It was just impossible for them to agree on such ridiculous terms. Why would the other two have ever left their calm and normal lives?
“Sweetie, sit down,” Apple Bloom said to her. But she didn’t sit. “Sit!” she bellowed then. The sheer anger in her voice was enough to make the young unicorn buckle under it. Sweetie sat in a chair, looking to Apple Bloom with a curious set of eyes. Where they finally going to give her right? Or would there have been another excuse?
“Yar insane, maddened by grief, Sweets, we don’t even know how it happened. For all we know, Rares indeed began the fire, for all we know, Fleur began it and she already paid for it. There’s no right or wrong in this, never has been. But what you propose, for all of us, is not something Ah’ll allow to happen. We ain’t, becoming hunters of the immortals,” Apple Bloom said to her with a calm and collected tone. The time for anger wasn’t there anymore, they were well passed that. No, they both had to comfort their friend.
Yet the sheer determination in her eyes never seemed to leave. It always just stood there, hungering in her eyes, gnawing at her deepest and darkest secrets. Both of them saw it, both of them feared it. It was a true and living hell, but what else could they do? They knew that Sweetie was gifted with magic and even if, even if they decided to join the Night Guard, they would make a formidable team. The question only rested whether or not it was worth it?
To which both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo gave a clear and direct no on.
“Supernatural bounty hunters...” mumbled Scootaloo while shaking her head. “Is there anything else in the world that is more messed up than that? It’s just, no, Sweetie, we aren’t going to do this. This is, this is, this is...”
“Say it,” commanded Sweetie from her friend. She wanted to hear what Scootaloo had to say on the matter. She wanted to hear, what kind of words would have left the pegasus next. She wanted to hear what kind of curse would be spoken over her. “Well, I’m waiting.”
So eerily calm and collected she remained. So sinister with that glance of determination. The other two would have lied if they said they weren’t afraid of it. A gulp was then given by Scootaloo before she nodded. “Okay, but you asked for it yourself, but I find it bollocks. You have no reason to proof yourself on, no ground to stand on with your words. Something about it all, just doesn’t make sense. You are not making any sense, Sweetie!”
Apple Bloom prayed that it was the final nail in the coffin for Sweetie’s arguments, she had almost become desperate for it. But what other words could she have said to the unicorn that would make it all better again? What could she have done, to make her friend calm down without erupting out in a massive fight? Unicorns and earth ponies going at each other was always brutal, but with them being friends and at the verge of it, it was unthinkable. Apple Bloom was glad that Scootaloo had taken it to herself to be the voice of reason, for how much it would have helped them.
“So that’s how you two think about it, don’t you?” Sweetie asked in a voice dried from all emotions. She had turned into a husk, a thing that they had seen wandering around town for so long. “So this, is how you want to help me? Shout at me, make me regret my decisions once and for all? Lie in my face about my own sister.”
Scootaloo went over to the unicorn and laid a wing over her back. “We never lied about Rarity,” she spoke in a compassionate voice, “we just don’t know what happened, we’re all making assumptions as to how, but we moved on. Something that you should do as well. We have all lost somepony, Sweets. I’ve never known my parents, Apple Bloom lost hers when she was younger. Imagine, if that happened at your age. That devastation you feel, we would then feel.”
Apple Bloom was baffled the more the pegasus spoke. Did Scootaloo really speak those words just yet? Never in her life had she dared to imagine that somepony the like of Scootaloo, would turn out such words of wisdom. She couldn’t say anything against it, or add to it. The only thing that she did, was just giving a nod to the other two. Scootaloo was right, she was absolutely right with her words.
The pegasus then tightened her wing a bit more around Sweetie, bringing the unicorn closer to her with a smile. “Life’s a strange path, Sweetie, we wish it went straight, but it never does. It’s like Everfree, it makes its own choices and you have to live with it, sad as it is. There’s... No, there’s no time anymore. You’ve had a year to grieve, Sweets, it’s time for you to place it to rest. Rarity’s gone, left this world. We both know it feels to have a void, we patched that part of our heart.”
Sweetie’s eyes looked back to Scootaloo, still twinkling with determination while tears had built underneath them. She was at the verge of crying again. No more though, no more.
“Your heart is bleeding, but if you let us, we might just be the right two ponies to patch your heart up. Not for our sake, but so that you can continue to live your life, as you want it,” finished the pegasus before she gave a nuzzle over Sweetie’s cheek. Not even Scootaloo knew where she got those words from, but speaking them to Sweetie seemed like the right thing after all. Perhaps it would have helped, perhaps not. It was up to her than if she wanted to take their help.
Sweetie left the comfort of the wing and strolled over to the door with a defeated face. Apple Bloom almost felt sorry for her friend looking like that, but she had brought it to herself, that much was true. Whatever came next, the other two prepared themselves for it. Whatever horror or delight that came, they would have been ready.
The young unicorn had received the message, yes, but there was nothing that could have patched up her heart. There was nothing in the world that could have come to her aid. No, there was nothing that she could have done, other than to continue on with her plan. Continue on with her plan of madness. With one hoof already at the doorknob, she turned around.
Her green rimmed eyes took a deep glance to the both of them, before the words left her mouth. ‘You two, should reconsider what I said too... I knew my sister better than either of you, I knew what she went through the past year prior her death. Rarity would have never done such a thing herself. And I, will find the one responsible for it. Will it make me better? I don’t know. But I have just one question I can’t get an answer on, why?”
It struck the other two like a bell. The question of why, the one question to which Sweetie never got an answer. Was that the whole reason why she wanted to do this? Was that the reason as to why she wanted to join the Night Guard. Neither Scootaloo nor Apple Bloom glanced to each other. All they had eyes for, was Sweetie herself. It couldn’t have been like that, right? There must have been something else in play there. There must have been, but what?
“Think about what I had said, the both of you,” said Sweetie before she opened the door, “and when the next attack happens,” her horn began to glow while her raincoat wrapped around her body, “it just might be you that’s on the menu.” Then she just left. She left the other two young mares alone like that. Leaving them over to their fate.
When the door was shut again, only then did they dare to glance at the other again. In their eyes was the expression shared. That twinkling shine of a thousand emotions rushing through their eyes. “Did she just..?”
Apple Bloom just nodded.
Twilight wandered around the tree library while the storm had erupted in full force. With her horn glowing, she held a cup of tea in the magical field. She was on her way to her bed to have some well-deserved relaxation. Everything was locked, everything was set for the thunderstorm. So in essence there shouldn’t have been any worries for her.
Why did it feel then as if there was something to worry about? Twilight couldn’t place the feelings and she set the cup to her lips. The darkened halls of the library gave her the chills, even with the hot tea in her throat. Something was wrong, something was terribly wrong. Her guts clenched and she made a gentle step back.
In the light of a lightning flash did she notice a shadow on the wall. A shadow that came from the room just ahead to her and off to the right. But the shadow, in the fraction of a second she saw it, looked a whole lot like rarity. The mane, the head, but the body was everything but her. Rarity wasn’t a batpony, right? Rarity didn’t have those bat-like wings. Fear managed to capture her heart while she took a step forward. In silence, she crawled further.
The roar of thunder continued on, while the glow of her horn only became brighter. The brightest light in all of the treelibrary was given off by Twilight when she turned around the corner. But as she did, another flash of lightning made its way before the window. But in that light, she thought to see it again. She noticed how the unicorn, her friend, her deceased friend, just stood there. It was impossible.
“Rarity?” Twilight whispered out. Time seemed to have crawled to a stop. The lightning stayed and Twilight gave another good glance to the figure in the room. “How?”
But no sounds came from the other shape. It only glanced to her with a unequaled thirst. Twilight’s neck began to ache and a hoof was set against it. To her it felt like two fangs had been set against her skin. “N-No!” the unicorn yelped before she turned away from the room.
Among the safety of the darkness did she saw how the shade vanished again. It vanished from the room as the lightning faded. Twilight took a deep breath while she continued to rub her neck. She dropped down on her hunches and tears began to stream down her cheeks. She wouldn’t have believed it. There was nothing in the world that could have made her believe it. She didn’t wanted to believe it.
“No, no, no, no, no,” was all she repeated while the tears continued to stream. Twilight had become terrified, terrified of everything at once. But if it was the past that came to haunt her, who knew what other mysteries would have been revealed. Amidst the glow of her magic, the darkness still tried to capture a hold of her.
Twilight was scared, terrified even to move. She didn’t know what to do. She was assaulted by a ghost of yesterday, but that throbbing pain in her neck, she had felt it before. Every nightmare she had in the past year and a half, she woke up with it. “Oh Celestia, what have you done when I called you back to this time?”
It could have been true, that the timelines were scattered again all over the place. Time was fragile, she had learned. Time could be rewritten at any second and Twilight didn’t have a clue how her last encounter with her future-self had changed history and the future. She shuddered at the thoughts before another breath was taken.
Was Equestria doomed? Was everything that they had worked for to secure a safe future for nothing? Nothing made sense to her any longer. But Twilight remained sitting there, with her back firm against the wall and her head hung low. The pool of tears between her legs only became bigger. Just like Sweetie had cried a week ago, she too was crying like a foal, but for different reasons altogether. Twilight didn’t knew what to do, she didn’t knew how to pick herself up.
For minutes sat Twilight just there, crying her eyes out until the tears just stopped. Her tears had come to an end and she wanted to see what was in that room. A sudden urge to figure out what had managed to hide itself in the room came to her. She wouldn’t cry any longer, she couldn’t cry any longer even. But in order to give her some more courage, she drank the ice cold tea. The cup could be used as a distraction for anything and everything.
With a deep exhale stood Twilight back up on her hooves. There was no more the time and the place to be a coward, she had to do it, whether she liked it or not. If there was still something hidden in that room, she would have found it. It was her house after all and unwelcome visitors weren’t allowed. With shaky legs she turned around the corner, her horn still glowing bright.
What she caught in her eyes was nothing. Just the empty room that she had left behind. There was nothing that indicated there had been somepony physical there. Twilight blinked for a moment before she appeared whole in the doorway. “H-Hello, anypony there?”
Of course was there no answer, despite her voice being quite loud. Twilight gulped before she took another step into the room. It was just another section of the library she knew all too well, but she had a particular interest in the window. Using her brain to work out the variables, it must have been directly in front of the window that she saw the shade, but there was nothing that indicated that there was anypony. Had that shade than been on the outside? It was a possibility, but not one that Twilight was a real fan of. No, something else had to have been the matter with that room. But what?
The unicorn wandered further into the room and began to ignite all of the candles. One by one they revealed the room as it was. Nothing was changed, nothing was thrown around. It was just the way she had left it earlier that day. Twilight was both baffled and amazed at the scenes. Was she wrong? Had she seen it wrong? Or had some of Sweetie’s grief managed to intertwine with her own personal nightmares?
It was a horrid thought for certain, but one that was possible for her either way. A deep sigh came from her before her magic closed the curtain and she settled down in the chair. The whole thing was just crazy, stupid even. Had Twilight really let herself being led by her frights? If anything, it did felt good to have cried her tears. That was perhaps the one bright light on that entire evening.
A sigh came forth from her mouth while the eyes had a gander over all of the book. She knew each and every one of them, had read them time and time again, organized them even more. No, Twilight have stayed there for the night, awake, alert. Who knew what else roamed through the town at those hours. Who knew, where the Night Guard could have been.
But then there was a chuckle that came from her. It was just a stupid little idea that she had before she left the chair again. Twilight shook her head before a smile was formed. “I’m stupid, just utterly, utterly, utterly stupid indeed,” she mumbled to herself. Of course was there nothing that roamed the room, or the library as a whole for that matter. It was just her imagination that had gone wild again.
The unicorn left the room for what it was, before the candles all dimmed again. The mare then would have strolled over to her bedroom. She wanted sleep. She wanted nothing else more in the world than to just sleep.
In her bedroom had Spike already been sleeping in his basket when she finally crawled in her bed. It just felt so good to have the mattress beneath her and the blankets over her. The warm comforts of her bed, had always been enough to vanquish even the worst nightmares. And in that moment, that was that she wanted from it. A smile crawled to her face while the rain continued ticking against the window. The nightly storm would come to pass soon enough, but first: sleep.
Neither Apple Bloom nor Scootaloo had even an idea as to what they had to do. Sweetie Belle had left the clubhouse only a mere set of minutes prior and they were still baffled by her words. Neither of them could believe that Sweetie Belle, their Sweetie Belle, pretty much gave them a death-wish. It just didn’t felt like it was their Sweetie talking to them.
“What can ya make out of it?” Apple Bloom asked with worry. She sat down in the chair and held her head between her hooves. It just didn’t make sense. “Also, where did ya learn those things? Never heard ‘em outta yar mouth.”
Scootaloo dropped down in the beanbag with a grin. She would have told Apple Bloom everything about the matter, everything that she knew of the situation. “I learn a lot, Apple Bloom, I learn more than anypony dares to dream. But you have to keep in mind that the most damaged ponies are the wisest, because they don’t want to see others suffering like they do. I had hoped that Sweetie would understand, and she did, I believe, but her grief for Rarity, by Luna, that’s never going to be given a place. What if she continues to do this, Bloom? What if she actually joins them?”
There was no answer that Apple Bloom could have given in return. The question asked to her was one that didn’t have any meaning or concept for her. It just, didn’t make sense to her. Would Sweetie truly have joined the Night Guard without them? She seemed determined enough. The young earth pony just shook her head again. All the mental strain around and about, it just wasn’t helping her in any way or form.
“Ah don’t know, Scoot, Ah honestly, haven’t a clue,” she returned before leaning back in the chair. She was sure that the pegasus hadn’t a clue either, which only mean more luck for them both. Doubts began to rise within her, that much was certain.
But Scootaloo was having already another scenario, where that young mare managed to get the energy from, Apple Bloom didn’t know. Nor did she really wanted to know either. “What if, just what if, we join up with the Night Guard and we do, miraculously, find out who killed Rarity. Do you think Sweetie is able to hold herself from slaughtering more? I do doubt it. When we find him or her, she’ll go on a rampage. She’s a unicorn for Celestia’s sake! If there’s one thing history taught us, is to never let a unicorn go on a rampage! Their magic can devastate everything, now imagine that power fall on Sweetie, image the damage she can do, Apple Bloom. Imagine, just for a second.”
Apple Bloom closed her eyes in response and indeed started to imagine what it would have been if Sweetie had been exposed to such things. The events that played out in her mind had been everything but good, that was for sure. Trouble dawned and a charcoaled Ponyville entered her mind. The sheer horror while the screams of innocents filled her ears, all having fallen by the dark powers of Sweetie.
Then the earth pony looked back up again, glancing deep in the eyes of Scootaloo. “Yar ‘fraid she’s gonna use dark magic, ain’t ya?” was all that she asked. The pegasus just nodded. That was enough for Apple Bloom to understand. She knew more than enough about any and everything. She knew more than enough, about the entire situation. “It was fun, yah know, hanging around with Sweets, crusading for our marks, but these times, these past two years, changed her. And it ain’t for the better. Something’s out there, Scoot, but Ah can’t place what it is.”
Scootaloo just huffed in an agreeable manner. Apple Bloom was right. Tons of things were out there that shouldn’t have been there. A deep exhale came forth from her nostrils before she stood back up again. But she also had to give Sweetie some credit. “It isn’t easy, after everything she has been through, you know. I know, we too went through some horrible stuff, but you weren’t old enough to remember your parents, no offence, but you were just born. I have never known mine. Our scars, aren’t as deep as hers.”
Apple Bloom wanted to scream, rage and rant against Scootaloo for that comment and had already gotten out of the chair, but then she realized the words as they were. They were the truth. She had only been a just-born foal when her parents left to Celestia knew where. The urges to slap Scootaloo right in the face just managed to reduce themselves to near nothing. A gentle tear rolled away from her eyes before she nodded. “Perhaps, if we let ‘er speak with AJ, she might see reason?”
That idea wasn’t half crazy, and something they both should have come up with ages ago. It still didn’t justify the reasons as to why Sweetie wanted revenge on something. It just didn’t fit her personality at all. “It is worth a try, we could ask Applejack tomorrow morning, I’m sure she’ll make some time to talk to Sweetie about this. After all, they could always find it well enough with one another. And it is going to save her another preach from Twilight, which is always a good thing.”
They both let out a chuckle before nodding. So that would the plan have been then: to let Sweetie and Applejack have a couple words with one another. Perhaps it would have been better, perhaps worse, either way, it was worth the try. The two of them hugged each other before nuzzling the cheeks a little bit. It felt good to at least still have one friend left in the treehouse.
They both trotted over to the bedrolls and rolled them out. They would have spent the rest of the night in the clubhouse. It wasn’t worth it for them to rush back through the rain, back to the farmhouse and from there dry themselves just to get back in bed. They both had just been dry from the time they went to the clubhouse.
Moments later could both of the young mares be found in one bedroll each. With their faces staring to the ceiling, it didn’t make a lick of sense. Everything that Sweetie had said to them, it just didn’t make any sense. “You know,” Scootaloo began before she turned her head, “it more and more seems to look like some kind of cheap book that Twilight might have in her library. I mean, Sweetie who all of the sudden blames it on these immortals, her wanting to join the Night Guard, what does she try to accomplish? To find Rarity’s killer, but there’s never been any evidence that she was murdered.”
“Twas an accident, that’s all we can say ‘bout it, remember? Ah don’t believe that what we’ve seen than, was the truth. Ah refuse to believe it. Rarity’s dead, burned the night the boutique burned down, Ah don’t want to believe it any other way,” Apple Bloom responded. The flashes of the events over a year ago returned to her mind. Those horrible flashes that she had deemed to be not true. She shook her head for the moment and shifted her attention over to the pegasus.
“I want to keep it on that as well, but you never know it anymore in these parts. Mystery just, finds a way. I have no idea, but I wish it is true,” commented Scootaloo in return.
“Let’s just hope it’s one of Sweet’s things, that it’s all over in the morning. It would do us all more good like that, don’t yah ‘gree?”
Scootaloo nodded to those words before their eyes went shut. They too, were in the desperate need to get some much needed sleep. Everything that had happened, and they hoped that it was just something that blew over like the storm.
Wandering over the rain soaked streets, Sweetie Belle rushed her way back home. The rain was still pouring and the thunder roared through the skies every so often. It was terrible to go through, worse to be stuck in. She wasn’t that big of a fan of it. Haste was given to her legs while the house of her parents came in her view. It felt to her like she had come to a safe haven. Not much longer, and she would have been home, would be able to feel the warmth of the building engulfing her.
Sweetie laid a hoof on the doorknob and charged her magic just a little bit. In an instant was the door unlocked and she opened it in silence. Everypony inside that house had already gone to sleep, no lights were left on for her return. Which meant that Sweetie had to be quiet, or suffer the wrath of her parents. Which was about the last thing that she wanted to do.
The door was closed behind her, before being locked and Sweetie took off her rain gear. Even though she wore a pretty strong coat and boots, she was still soaked. “By Celestia, that’s one massive storm,” she mouthed to herself. Everything was dropped to the ground while her horn was still shining faint. She wouldn’t make a light in the house, but she could carry one with her.
A shiver of cold travelled over her spine before she dared to leave the hallway. First she had to go to the bathroom in order to clean herself a little bit. So with hesitation she made her way over to the stairs, hoping to remain silent as she began to make her way up.
The stairs were notorious for creaking under their weight, especially during the night. Sweetie could have only hoped that she would have been in luck on that very night. Whatever would happen next, she would either make it, or fail in a spectacular fashion.
Step by step she dared to crawl up the stairs, placing each of her hooves in such ways that the wood wasn’t bend that much. Precision was given in the dead of night, a thing Sweetie never thought she was capable of. “Just a few more steps,” she mouthed to herself.
Silence had come, complete and utter silence. Only the storm raging outside was caught in her ears, while she stood at the next floor. Sweetie had done it. She had made her way up the stair, without making a single sound in the process. An accomplishment that she never held possible for herself. One she was in fact proud on.
With a silent haste would she have gone over to the bathroom, doing the things she had to do. Once in there, the towels would be moved with a bit more magic to dry off her entire coat. Sweetie stretched every time she was about to dry herself. It felt marvelous every time the towel began to rub and scratch her. It almost felt like she had taken a shower before and now she was cleaning after herself.
A delighted moan came from her moments prior to finishing the job. When she was dry enough for herself, Sweetie left the bathroom and threw the towels on the stone floor. She closed the door only to leave for the sanctuary of her very own room. The one place where she knew she was safe, the only place where no harm could have come. Yet it was also the place where most of the monsters would have hidden among the darkness.
Once more would a door have been shut behind her, but it was never locked. Sweetie was back in her own room and a smile forged itself across her lips. She was safe again, safe again to do whatever she wanted. But instead of going to bed, she just sat on the bed and opened the curtains. Her green eyes would see the entire world outside, just looking at it while the questions in her mind began to rage and scream and thrash.
All that she had said to both Sooctaloo and Apple Bloom was placed into question, so many more events were brought to questioning. Nothing made sense for her and it gave her a massive headache. Something was wrong, but the detail could never be placed. Sweetie then began to cry. She cried in silence and just let the tears flow down her cheeks. Everything didn’t make any sense to her. Words from the past haunted her, events she remembered differently played out. “No!”
The sun would have risen back up behind the horizon to call the morning. Everypony managed to wake up at their own pace, among them both Magnum and Pearl. The two ponies woke up in their regular fashion and did everything they would do on a normal day. But Pearl was downstairs a bit earlier than usual and noticed the raingear just lying there. It gave her a gentle smile before she just nodded to herself. “Sweetie’s back,” she said in a faint whisper to herself, reassuring her thoughts at the same time. She went to the kitchen in order to start breakfast.
A few minutes later had Magnum also come in the kitchen and gave his wife a loving kiss on the lips. “You look great, honey,” he said to her.
Pearl let out a little blush and giggle before she nuzzled his cheek. “Says the one with the better looks.”
They both giggled and chuckled before breakfast would be served. While they were eating, they spoke about the events for the coming day and it was just the normal routine that they all were used to. Yet one thing still bothered them, the whole fact that Sweetie wasn’t there, with them, during breakfast. She never missed breakfast, only when something horrible had happened.
Pearl let out a sigh in the moment before she nodded. “I’ll bring her some, she must be starving, don’t you think?”
“She has to, but while you do that, I’ve got to dash,” he returned moments before giving her another kiss. They both lost themselves in that very same kiss and allowed their eyes to be shut.
For a few seconds did it felt like heaven had landed on earth for them both. It was Pearl who broke the kiss in the end and she grinned to her husband. “You handsome, sly devil,” she said to him. Magnum grinned in return before making a dash for the front door, he knew he was late and he just had to run to be on time.
The door was closed again and it meant that only Pearl was left in the house. A content sigh was released through her nostrils. Her eyes took a gentle glance up, to the room of Sweetie. Almost as if she wanted to see how her daughter was doing through the stone ceiling. Not that it mattered too much. Pearl began to gather some of the leftovers and laid them all on a plate.
Moments later stood she before the door of Sweetie’s bedroom and gave a couple knocks on it. She would have figured out what happened to her daughter, one way or the other. “Sweetie, you in there? And more important, are you hungry? I’ve got your breakfast,” she spoke in a sweet, motherly voice. Only a true mother could have spoken like that.
Inside the room had Sweetie shocked up from the sudden knock, she hadn’t expected her mother to come to her door. She blinked a few times before swiveling her head to the door. “I, I’m here, but, but I’m not hungry, thanks mom,” she stammered out.
For Pearl was that the first sign that trouble had come. She gave a nod before setting the plate on the floor, just out of the door’s reach. “I’ll place it on the hallway, if you’re hungry later.” No more words came from her, nothing else was said. Instead had Pearl just left Sweetie like that. She wasn’t angry or disappointed, instead she granted Sweetie the right to be alone. Her daughter was growing up, who knew what she could have just wandered in to?
It was better for Pearl to respect Sweetie’s privacy, the last thing she needs if a rampaging, teen-aged daughter. A giggle came when she thought about her own puberty, it was without a doubt a strange time to be her parents. She descended down the stairs and would have gone back to either the kitchen to clean or sit for a while in the living room. Pearl hadn’t made up her mind for that yet.
In her room had Sweetie crawled off the bed and dried the tears from her coat. She had one glance in the window, staring at her own reflection. She looked like an absolute mess. There was no denying that. Her entire looks had been destroyed with it and she wanted to cry even more.
But she couldn’t. Her tears had been emptied out, she had cried every last one of them during the night. Next to her tear stains, she also noticed the massive bags under her eyes. The lack of sleep would have claimed her later that day, she was almost certain of it. Not that it matter too much in the moment though.
No, Sweetie went over to the door and opened it without a sound, only to drag the plate inside. She was hungry, really, really hungry. Her mother was such a sweet mare, that fact always remained for her. A little sigh came from her nostrils before she shut her eyes a moment. She was grateful to have a mother like that.
The plate was set on the bed before her body followed. She laid down on the blankets and began to eat of her breakfast. But her appetite was little. Hunger wouldn’t have claimed as her stomach was filled with all sorts of feelings that shouldn’t have been there. Thoughts were hurled through her mind that made every single word spoken last night tremble before her.
Would Sweetie really and truly have joined the Night Guard? Would she truly have gone down that path of darkness and allowed herself to be consumed by the hatred for the immortal beings that roamed around? The question haunted her, it haunted her perhaps way more than it should have been.
She was so clear about her decision a night ago, but now, now she was just wondering what was right and what was wrong. Neither Apple Bloom nor Scootaloo had been wrong with their words. It was an idea out of madness, but she knew Rarity. She knew how her sister did things! Sweetie was torn apart by the decision that she had to make.
The young mare wanted to cry more and more tears, but she couldn’t. The tears that she wanted to cry couldn’t and wouldn’t come to her. A deep sigh was released by her before she levitated the pillow to her. It was dropped in front of her and then she burrowed her face in it. Screams ceased, thrashing didn’t happen. She just breathed. She breathed the air through the pillow in the faint hope to calm down from the madness.
Joining the Night Guard would have meant that she was something special, something amazing perhaps. But it also meant that she had to fight every single second for survival. Joining the Night Guard might have been the most stupid idea she ever came up with, but in Sweetie’s mind was it all justified. She wanted to join, so she could find out more about her sister’s death.
Nothing had been helpful to her when it came about that. Nothing had been able to aid her as far as she knew. Sweetie was touching in the dark about everything. The fires of the Carousel Boutique were ferocious, as the place was reduced to ashes. Not even with the rain could the firefighters stop it. At least, that was what she heard from her father, and the ashes confirmed it.
Sweetie turned around on the blankets and just shot her eyes straight to the ceiling. She didn’t even wanted to know what would happen next. But she knew that the next few days would have been crucial for her. Because in the coming days, she would have made the decision of a lifetime. A decision that would make or break her.
For hours more had Sweetie been pondering her mind about the situation. She had been drawing the lines in her mind as to how everything should have proceeded. The evening would have almost rung in again when she finally dared to speak the question. The one question that was bothering her mind ever since she left the clubhouse of the Crusaders.
“Is it worth it, to fight alongside them and uncover the truth?” The question, that simple sounding question had just so much meaning for her. Not only did she wanted to know what happened to her sister of course, what had really happened to her. But the better question was: was she ready for what she could find?
That was what bothered the young mare perhaps more. No longer was it a question of joining or not, but the question about whether or not she was ready for the truth. Was she ready to face the facts as they were? Was she able to stay strong enough after knowing the truth? What would she have done with her life after the truth had been realized? All those questions haunted her mind. All of those things, she never even dared thinking about. It was a devastation for her mind.
“Do I fight alongside them, to make a difference for Equestria, or do I pull back and stay on the side, meaning that I’m not sure what to do with my life altogether,” she questioned to herself. Sweetie let out a deep sigh of confusion while her eyes shut. She couldn’t make the decision yet. She felt too weak in the moment to do anything, really. Something about it all just didn’t make any sense to her. Something about it all, was wrong.
“Am I looking, in the wrong direction then?” That was another question that bobbled through her mind. Perhaps she was indeed wrong with her entire reasoning and all the things she had said against both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo had been for nothing. If so, she should ask or beg them both for forgiveness. But Sweetie wasn’t wrong, right? She couldn’t have been.
A hoof brought itself up to a temple and began to rub it gentle. She groaned with almost every single exhale. It was a deep and great step to undertake. To either join with the notorious Night Guard and fight the immortals, or stay the young mare she was and let life take the shape that she wanted it to be. Another sigh came, but the eyes wouldn’t open. Not even when her mother called for dinner. Her stomach rumbled, but Sweetie wouldn’t listen to it. She wanted an answer to the hungry question in her mind, she didn’t wanted to listen to her roaring stomach.
Both options were terrible, she realized that much. Joining them meant that she would have to end the life of many other beings, but not joining stood equal to them coming for her, her family and her hometown. It meant for Sweetie that big trouble could be heading to Ponyville.
The choices that she had according to herself were just terrible. In her mind it was one or the other. One would have brought her to the truth according to what she knew, the other would have made her ignorant for everything, forever. Both of her hooves managed to get a hold of her head and she wanted to scream louder than ever before.
Though not a single sound ever came from her. She was screaming in her mind. All her thoughts had been silenced and the one true voice of herself would have screamed as loud as it could. The decision that she had to make wasn’t one she wanted to make. No, Sweetie Belle had to make a choice, a choice that would change the entire course of her life. A choice like that was everything but easy to make. It all resulted in a growl before she rolled off the bed.
Her eyes went from left to right while she tried to stand the right way up on her hooves. Hours she had spent atop the bed, hours that had made her weaker than she ever could have thought to become. A deep exhale was eventually given though. A deep exhale that made certain she wasn’t just doing something stupid. The storm inside her head, had to be calmed, somehow.
Sweetie began to wander around the room with her head everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She had to calm down, only then would the decision have been made. But Sweetie’s head was never calm. A certain storm always managed to rage through there like that. Sweetie’s mind was never silent as all sorts of ideas managed to pound themselves through the skull. She was the voice of reason when she wanted to be, but in that moment was she the voice of insanity. While her own mind was balancing on the edge of the cliff, with nothing but a sheer drop on the other side.
“What do I do? What do I do?!” she growled to herself. The answer just wasn’t clear, the decision couldn’t be made anytime soon. “Join the Night Guard or just leave them be? Figure out what happened to Rarity one way or the other, or just roam around the lands, pretending nothing happened?”
It was a decision that nopony could have made for her. Sweetie Belle hadn’t even the foggiest idea as to what was playing it safe and what was just starting the terror. Every decision had an advantage and disadvantage to it. She turned over to the window and placed both forehooves at the sill, raising her a bit while she watched the world outside. “Do I become a Hunter and let the one who did it, pay for everything?”
The wondering twinkle in her eyes faded more when the sun lowered even further behind the hills. She had given herself the time until the sun had truly set, before the moon would rise, to make the decision that would change her life. A decision that had to fall in mere seconds.
More and more had the sun lowered itself behind the hills. Only a few more precious seconds and all the light in Equestria would have faded. The orange, burning skies above would have been claimed by the darkness of night. Sweetie watched with a set of big eyes how the transition happened. Because the sun had set.
The decision had fallen.
In the darkness of the evening, Sweetie knew what she had to do. She knew what stupid and rash decision had to be made. The darkness of night began to take away all the light in her room, consuming it and replacing it with its own. Where Sweetie stood in the orange light seconds ago, now her face was covered in dark. But her irises were lit, they burned with a fire unknown to her. They burned with a fire that spoke a thousand truths.
“I’ll join them, I’ll join them and find the one responsible for my sister’s death. Whomever, whatever, did it, I will make sure you’ll suffer like she did, because she didn’t deserve it,” growled Sweetie before she turned away from the window, “but you do.”
The decision had finally been made by the young mare. She finally had come to a point in time where everything would change for her. She would have done the near impossible and become a Hunter in the Night Guard, those that are actively looking for the immortal beings. The most dangerous job there was. Sweetie primed her horn slight and felt the sheer power surging through her body. It felt good, just so good to feel it going through her. She was delighted for a moment, not even thinking about the possibility that she could be denied. Her magic was strong and had many uses for defense. There was no way in her mind that they would deny her.
A smile came to her face, she had finally decided as to what would happen. She had come to decide what course of her life would take next. She knew, what trouble would come next though. But first, the night should be slept away. A deep yawn managed to escape her and she crawled back on bed. Sweetie snuggled up underneath the blankets and placed the pillow where it should have been.
A night of sleep, was all that she wanted at that point. A night of sleep, was all she needed.
Drudging in her bed, Sweetie Belle couldn’t get the sleep that she needed. She turned and twisted with her eyes forcefully shut tight. She wanted to sleep, but just couldn’t. Thoughts had returned to her, dark thoughts that could have thrown everything right out the window.
Sweetie Belle wasn’t safe by any account and it showed. The trouble that she went through in that moment of time, was some of the worst she had ever seen. Thoughts about machines that would destroy Equestria, controlled by those immortal beings rushed through her. She wouldn’t have any of that. No, her thoughts were even worse. Everything that went down her mind, just didn’t make sense.
Sweetie Belle was scared, she admitted it. She was terrified as the blanket was raised to far over her head. She couldn’t see the outside world yet, she wasn’t ready for it. She wanted to remain there, in the safe haven that was her bed. She wanted to remain hidden underneath the blanket, to remain where could hide with all the safety in the world.
The young mare shivered and drudged underneath the blanket, but the eyes never dared to open themselves. She couldn’t scream for help, because there was nothing going on. Yet to boot everything that had gone wrong, horrible images and sounds returned to her. Sweetie began to imagine what it must have been for Rarity, to die in that fire.
It was a thought that had come to her numerous times in the past year. A thought that always managed to devastate her entire being for about a week. She couldn’t even compare her feelings to what the actual fires must have felt. And then, underneath the blanket, while she was trying her best not to cry, she felt it. She felt that one tear rolling down her cheek. She felt that one tear, being the start of many more.
What followed, was another tear and a sniffle. Sweetie was terrified and crying, two things that a unicorn wasn’t well known for. But she was just a foal, one that only just took a glance of the world. She wished that her heart had stopped beating in that moment, never realizing how close she had come to death once before. Sweetie didn’t knew what to do, even her decision to join the Night Guard was standing unstable. What would she have done?
Yet to make things even more worse, words came from all sides. Words that her friends spoke, that her parents spoke, that her sister once spoke. Words that were meant to help her, confuse her, enrage her. Nopony was speaking in a clear language and Sweetie hated it. She didn’t wanted any of them to talk, but one pony’s words, managed to drill themselves deep in her skull. One pony’s words managed to destroy everything, and give her the determination that she needed.
“Shut up, shut up, shutidity shutshutshut upupup!” Sweetie growled from underneath the blankets. “Shut up, Diamond Tiara!” The horrible words spoken by the stock up young mare –or at the time filly– rampaged again through her mind. The words that had first set her on the course she was going down. The dreaded words that her sister was murdered by a vampony, all came from that little bastard. Sweetie had based everything she spoke on the words of her greatest nemesis. But it was true in a sense, that she had to keep her friends close, but her enemies even closer.
Sweetie groaned while the blanket was thrown off of her body. Nothing made sense anymore and she needed some fresh air. A deep swig of air was taken before she got out of bed again. It wasn’t even midnight and she was still awake. For nearly thirty hours had she gone without any sleep. It was taking its toll on her, that much was certain.
“No! Rarity can’t have been killed by a vampony, it, it doesn’t make sense!” Sweetie said to herself in a moment of pure rage and sadness. The turn in statement was strange, even for her own doing, but it was how she came to the facts and figures. The young mare growled deep to herself before she shifted her attention to the window. “How could, a vampony have done such a thing? Not every piece of the puzzle is clear to you, Sweetie, you know that.”
Every single word she spoke was the truth about the matter. Every single word that she spoke, caused her to become even more insane. “What do I do, what do I do, what do I do?!” she mouthed while pacing up and down the length of her room. Confusion had hit her, she was in doubt once more. The young mare didn’t have a clue what she had to do. To join or to not to join, that was the question she had. Another growl came from her before she turned back to the window.
Her eyes glanced to the moon, watching over it with a deep respiration. “What do I do?!” Sweetie asked again. A rightful question given the moment, but Sweetie had no answer to it. Her eyes went shut again, moments before she let out another sigh and the tears that rolled down. She was shivering, shuddering at all the thoughts that were going through her mind.
A snap was thought to be heard all of the sudden. A snap in her mind that caused her to lose all sense of morality for a moment. A snap that shut down every last one of her emotions. Sudden clarity had come to her and Sweetie could think straight for the first time in a long, long time indeed. “Join the Night Guard, it is all that you have left to live for. Perhaps no answers come, but at least you will be able to do something about it. No more changes, no more decisions, no more chances. Tomorrow, you’re going to enlist, with, or without them.”
With those words, Sweetie crawled back in her bed and brought the blankets back over her. She would try to get some much needed sleep. The decision had fallen, she would have done it and there’s nothing in the universe that could stop her. She would join the Night Guard.
Tree Hugger had woken up from something that she couldn’t explain with clarity. A groan came from her in the middle of the night. The storm was still going on, but she slept in the attic, a warm and cozy bed had been prepared for her. But something downstairs was something that had caused her to be awoken. The game she and Fluttershy had played was exhausting, exciting too. But she swore that something was wrong down there.
The mare left the bed for what it was and began to wander over to the stairs. What could she have found beneath? What could she have discovered, when she came down to the ground floor? It seemed like something massive was scurrying around, trying to be careful.
A hoof was set on the first step, letting the wood just creak a little bit. But Tree didn’t mind that creak, what she wondered about was the creaking of the floorboards beneath her. A yawn came from her before some words would follow. “In bed above or deep asleep. While greater loves lies further deep. This dream must end, this world must know... We all depend on the beast below.”
With those words she continued her way down the stairs before she reached the hallway on the ground floor. In her drunkenness, Tree hadn’t even checked in Fluttershy’s bedroom to see if she was there, not that she would have barged in to begin with though. All her hooves were set on the ground floor and no light could be seen. Only bits of the moon and the occasional lightning flash.
The storm still hadn’t laid down but reduced in force. Tree didn’t knew what to expect as she went in the living room and rubbed her eyes. A pair of eyes that hadn’t been used to the darkness yet. “Hey man, could you be a bit more quiet? There are ponies in here trying to sleep, thanks.”
All she got in return was a whimper. “What?” Tree questioned aloud before taking a step forward. A whimper that sounded a lot like that of a wolf echoed in her ears. “Didn’t knew Fluttershy even kept wolves in here.” Perhaps it was a stupid thing, what she would do next, but Tree had to try it. She had to try and see what laid there.
With calm steps, hearing the other creature stagger back, the earth pony mare made her way over to a candle. A bit more light was required in order to reveal whatever was hiding on the ground floor. But Tree didn’t even knew in how much danger she was. She didn’t even knew, what truly roamed through the ground floor of the cottage.
“Hey, there we go!” Tree hugger said while lighting a match. Seconds later was the candle lit and she took it in her hoof. The light it cast was enough to shine through, even if it was barely. A smile came to her face while she aimed the candle in the direction of the creature.
A creature that uncurled itself from itself. It had a faint gold-yellowish coat and rose up to its true height. It stood on its back legs with two forelegs ready to slash with talons thick. “Oh bugger,” was all Tree managed to say. A howl came from the thing, a thing that looked like a wolf. But not a charging howl, a warning howl. Whatever Tree hugger would have done, she had to get away from there, fast.
The candle was dropped but Tree noticed something on the body of the creature. She noticed scars. Scars that were present. She gulped before blowing out the candle, terrified as she was. “It’s okay man, d-don’t do a-anything stupid. I, I’ll leave ya be, you beauty!” And with that, she rushed back to the attic.
The creature shrouded itself back in the darkness, growling in a low tuned voice before a thud on the floor ceased all of the creaking. Silence returned to the cottage, but Tree was scared to death. She couldn’t place the creature, she had to talk to Fluttershy at one point about it.
It dawned in front of the three of them, rising ominously from the forest that was surrounded by it. Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, all three gawked at its massive size. The gigantic spires that rose to the heavens were terrifying, the walls clad in black had a menacing design to them. The three hunters stood there still a fair distance away from the structure. From them was it Sweetie let out a deep exhale. She was ready to face whatever had housed itself within those walls. She was ready to put an end to the sheer terror that had been spread all through Equestria.
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo both had a gander to each other and wondered what went through the mind of the young unicorn. Well, they knew a bit of course. But this, after having done so many hunts together, after hearing what had happened the night Fleur Dis Lee died in her own estate. They had heard an unbelievable story from the ghost that was the mare, the answers couldn’t have been more clear for each of them. “So, what’s going to happen now?” Scootaloo asked while she rose from the bushes they were hiding behind.
They had to get closer and just storm through the front gate in order to face the demons that lived inside. But Sweetie rose as well and laid a hoof on the back of the pegasus. The determined glance in her eyes spoke a thousand words. A glance that Apple Bloom regretted seeing. “We don’t know what lives inside of it, we didn’t even knew that the castle existed for the longest time. Now it’s time to figure out what lives there, who lives there, and put an end to the madness of all this.”
“Wow, you’re really wanting to go through with this, aren’t you?” Scootaloo returned. The pegasus had a deep gander in the eyes of the unicorn. She wanted to see the determination for herself. At one end, Sweetie was right about everything. All of the hunts that they had done proved to them that there was something wrong in the very woods of Everfree. Something was terribly wrong just so close to home. The words of the last slaughtered vampony spilled to them that the Nameless Queen took residence there. They had the chance to kill a vampony queen and would take it without hesitation.
Sweetie sighed and let go of Scootaloo. The young unicorn took the first steps in the direction of the haunting, glooming castle. No light came from its halls and the iron gate would probably be shut. Getting entrance wasn’t going to be easy. “I didn’t went through the Night Guard’s sorceress training to be stopped at this, Scootaloo, nor did you went through their engineering classes and neither did Apple Bloom for her archery. We’ve achieved so much, I think we all deserve answers on the madness that has been engulfed in Equestria,” she answered to her friend.
Sweetie did happen to have a point with those words. Even if both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo didn’t really agree with them. The three of them all left the vegetation that was the woods and would bask in the moonlight. Finally were they revealed and the changes were significant. Scars riddled the face of Sweetie of magic gone wrong. Bruises covered the bodies of Apple Bloom and Scootaloo all over. The three young mares were clad in their thick, leather armor around the legs and vital parts. The bow that hung off to Apple Bloom's side and the trusty combat hammer of Scootaloo were ready to see blood once more. Other than those weapons, all three of them carried their mandatory swords and daggers for close combat.
They had lost their innocence in crusading for their cutie marks a long time ago.
The three had become battle-hardened veterans under the guidance of Blueblood himself. Though there wasn’t anything in the world that could have prepared them for the fight that was about to erupt. Their world was about to be rocked once more.
Closer and closer they came to the castle while Sweetie ignited her horn. The emerald colored, arcane aura would engulf them. It send a warm shimmer down their spines on that freezing night. The moon stood high and gave enough light, but the gates stood in the shadow side of the moon. In the light of the aura did the iron gate became visible and the most devastating feeling as well arose. It was shut tight with nopony even moving on the other side.
“What can you sense on the other side, Sweets?” Scootaloo asked.
“What do ya think? ‘Course there be bad ponies inside. It looks like som’thing that came straight of a horror story...” Apple Bloom commented. She was ready to draw her bow and fire an arrow through the darkened hall to see where it would end. She nudged Sweetie and then prodded her head to it.
The unicorn fortunately enough understood what the idea was. “Alright Apple Bloom, do what you have to do,” she said. Her attention shifted back to the pegasus with a somber expression. “I sense the dark beings in there, that’s all that I can say for certain. I do not know what else dwells inside, but something familiar as well...”
Those last words had the other two looking at each other with raised eyebrows. What was Sweetie going on about? They didn’t knew, nor did they truly cared in the moment. They were ready for whatever came their way. “We’ve been fighting vamponies and lycans for so long now, I think you start to feel their aura’s as second nature.”
A huff came from Sweetie, giving Scootaloo without a word her right. It had been far too long since the unicorn had even managed to crack a smile. None of them knew if she could even smile, or would smile again. Sweetie had truly become a husk of her former self. A husk that now only lived to take down the beings of the undead.
Apple Bloom had risen on her legs and held the bow in one while the arrow was drawn with the other. She aimed it through the bars of the gate and then let go. The arrow flew through the air and fractions later got stuck in the wood of something. As soon as it was stuck in something, Sweetie knew that it was her time to ignite the arrow. With a flick of her head would the butt of the arrow be ignited. The feathers disintegrated and revealed some details around it.
Light filled the hallway slow and steady. They got their first look around the hall of the castle and noticed how the arrow was stuck in a door. Apple Bloom grinned and stored her bow again. “Looks like that’s the way through to the throne room!” she said, looking at the others. “Only, how are we gonna get this gate to move? It’s full iron...” A hoof was tapped against it and they all recognized the clang of metal.
Sweetie’s horn discharged for the moment and she paced up and down her spot. Her magic was weak against iron. Meaning that they had no way that to just lift the thing up and be done with it. No, something else had to happen. Something that could open the gate for them.
While Sweetie and Apple Bloom thought, Scootaloo noticed something happen above the gate, in the very stone that laid above it. She nudged the other two young mares and pointed a hoof upward. Because right above them, words began to appear. “How does that..?”
Yet the unicorn knew in an instant what it was. Sweetie could almost slap herself in the face. Her own sheer stupidity was just unfathomable and the answer was looking them right in the eyes. “Magelight, of course! How could I’ve been so blind!” Sweetie mumbled to herself. Her horn remained discharged. If she were to charge it again, the words above the gate would vanish again.
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo looked at her like they had seen a ghost of sort. “Say, whatta now?” the earth pony asked with a confused set of eyes. During all their endeavors together as hunters, they hadn’t come across a magic that powerful. If it was anything to go by, they would encounter much stronger magic inside the walls of the cursed and dreaded castle.
“It’s magelight, Apple Bloom. The words only become visible when the light of arcane has been shown on them. But what do they say?” Sweetie shifted her focus back to the words above and began to mumble to herself just what they could mean. “Drawn by the blood, given by the blood? Granted, by the blood?” Already did the ideas come to her mind and she took a step or two back. Without warning to the others would her horn be ignited and cast its light to the bottom.
Both Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had to cover their eyes for the moment and grunted. But Sweetie saw what they had been looking for. She saw a contraption of which she wasn’t too happy about. Because in the foundation of the castle, were two little channels that came together in a stone bowl dug in the ground. It was a receiver for something, while the channels went to either side of the gate. They had to give a sacrifice if they wanted to enter.
“You’ve got to be kidding me here,” mumbled Sweetie while she drew one of her daggers and rose a hoof. “It’s drawn by the blood, only with a sacrifice of blood are we granted access to the castle’s interior. I’m afraid, that we’ll have to cut ourselves and then we can proceed.”
It were words that neither Apple Bloom nor Scootaloo were happy to hear, but if that was the only way in which it could be done, it would have been. The other two also took out a dagger and held their hoof high. On the mark of Sweetie would they have cut themselves, left the blood stream down and dropped it in the stone bowl.
From there, their blood would mix together and become one sort of strange entity. The dark crimson mess would run through the two canals carved to either side of the gate. They kept on bleeding, feeding the gate with their blood while the creaks in the gears were heard. It was working! Their sacrifice would be enough to raise the gate and get in, hopefully.
“Yar gonna have to close these cuts, Sweets, ‘cause they ask a lot of blood for us to enter!” Apple Bloom grunted, slicing her hoof open just a bit more. She gritted her teeth to force the pain away.
The gate rose higher and higher until it couldn’t go any further. That was the moment where the three stored their daggers again and made their way inside the ominous castle. With the gate open for who knew how long, it was best to hurry up. Which was exactly what they did. With their bleeding hooves would the three hunters make their way inside.
Now they stood within the walls of the castle and Sweetie charged her horn even more. She held her hoof to her the height of her face and signaled the others to do the same. They did it without a single word to counter and the unicorn would cast the spell to seal the flesh again. It was a light cut, meaning not too much magic was required to close it.
Once the light dimmed again, the three of them had a look at their hoof and only saw the scar that they kept because of it. It was maybe better that way, but at least they were inside. And not a moment too soon. The gates would be dropped and pick up speed, only to crash against the stone with their sharp tips. The three looked at it and were just glad to not be caught underneath it.
Though it also gave a problem with itself, the sheer fact that everybody in the entire castle now was aware that something or somepony had managed to work their way inside. The guards of the queen could be summoned at any given moment. The fight for their life was about to begin and the three readied themselves. All of the creatures of the undead could swarm to them, wanting to tear them to pieces and end their lives. They had to be ready for any- and everything.
Sweetie charged up her magic even more, igniting the torches that stood on either side of the hallway, engulfing the place with light. Apple Bloom took out her bow and readied an arrow while Scootaloo drew her blade.
“For the Night Guard,” Sweetie commented while she took a step to the door.
“For the Night Guard,” the other two returned to her.
There was no going back. The three had reached their point-of-no-return and they were ready to face whomever and whatever lived in the castle. The vampony queen would fall before them and maybe, just maybe, they could make an end to the turmoil that the undead creatures caused for Equestria.
Though their arrival to the castle wouldn’t have gone unnoticed, at all. The crashing iron gate would have made sure of that. All of the castle’s residents were aware of the situation and each of them knew that trouble had arrived. They too, would prepare for the fights of their lives.
Rarity was one of the first that would notice that something was wrong within the walls of the castle. From her chamber atop one of the towers she felt the gate crushing against the stone beneath it. Her wings uncurled and the fangs were revealed in full. Her crimson red eyes had a gander around while a loud, deep hiss was given. Something was wrong. She felt a presence that she hadn’t sensed in a long, long time indeed. “This is not happening. There’s no way in the worlds that it can be happening. Tonight’s the night that will prove everything we stood for,” she growled. Even though she wouldn’t wear anything but her wits and arcane power, Rarity was ready to fight if it came down to it.
The unicorn flapped her wings once or twice and allowed her horn to be coated in the sapphire blue aura. The door gained the same aura and would open for her. The unicorn would leave the room without a sound. She would be heading to the throne room and see what all of the commotion would have been. Near inaudible hisses left her while she went down the staircase. Her wings coiled back around her body. Once again wouldn’t Rarity wear anything else other than her nightgown.
Step by step she went down, feeling the presence becoming only stronger. It worried her to some degree that it would actually be the pony whom she not hoped it to be. Everything would have been fine, as long as it just wasn’t going to be that one cursed pony. Everypony else she could slaughter without a second thought, but that one pony... “Don’t think too much about it, don’t you dare to even think about it. Everybody who enters this castle is going to suffer the same fate, there’s no escaping what they have managed to get themselves in. One way or the other, they will die, tonight.”
Trixie awoke from the sounds and jumped about three hooves in the air. Her landing was away from her bed and she fell face down on the ground. With a grumble and a grunt Trixie managed to rise back up again. The unicorn shook her head and muttered old curses to herself. She wasn’t happy with the rude awakening but the rage that went through Rarity was shared to her. Something was wrong of course. Trixie would join her mistress side soon enough. She first had to wake up properly.
The mare would stand up again and headed to the bathroom. There she would wash her face in the sink. “Good heavens!” Trixie said before her head was shaken. The water went in every direction and a towel was levitated to her face. Trixie would dry her face and groan again. The darkness which had surrounded her became apparent enough to realize what time it is. It was the dead of night, the time they should have been most active, but something had been caught in between lately.
“Trixie wonders why she’s gotten so angry all of the sudden. What happened to her? Or, is she having another temper tantrum?” On all of the thoughts would their answers have come with time. But first she had to inspect the other two beings that were still living in the castle. She left the bathroom for what it was and took a gander out of the window. The darkened skies revealed the massive moon standing maybe too close to the land for anypony’s liking. “The super moon has arrived, the time during which Fluttershy is at her most unpredictable... Surely she has noticed that something isn’t the way it is supposed to be, right?”
If there was one place where Trixie didn’t wanted to go, it would be the chamber of Fluttershy during a full moon. The beast would be awoken then and wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter her like the snack she was. No, Trixie would only pay a visit to the room of Soulful Gust. The stallion slept a few floors beneath hers. The unicorn let out a deep sigh and turned away from the window. Something was brewing, anger and regret began to consume her mind. The hold that Rarity had on her mind only seemed to tighten, allowing them to stand in direct communication. One that was mostly was just one way.
The door of her bedroom was closed and her ears perked for any sound that shouldn’t have been there. Only when Trixie knew that it was safe to descend from the stairs would she have done so. Every step she remained quiet while her ears listened for voices in the dark. But those tormenting voices never came. A thing that she could see as a relief.
“Trixie doesn’t like this one bit, but you’re up now, looking for whatever is inside of the castle. The least I can do is drum up the troops,” she mumbled to herself and then arrived at the floor where Gust had taken his residence. Fortunately had all of them a room in the towers, meaning that throughout the main castle, nopony could be surprised if these ponies turned out to be hunters. Trixie gave a knock on the door, only to start waiting for something to come from the other side.
A couple seconds later had the voice of Gust done its turn. “Who are you, to disturb the slumber of a night dweller. Speak, slave, and I might not report this behavior to your mistress.” The voice of Gust was low, rough and annoyed at the same time. He wasn’t glad for the fact that he was awoken so rudely by something. If anything, he tried to get back to sleep since the crashing sound echoed through the castle.
With the door still shut firm and no way of entering the place, Trixie could have only spoken from the hallway. “Trixie is very sorry for the interruption, master Gust, but Rarity knows that I’m doing this and she wants me to gather the residents. Something has entered the castle and we’re not sure what it is. Might be hunters, explorers, anything.”
“Say, no, more...” Those were the only words that Gust said on the matter.
Trixie nodded to herself and she then left the room. Her descend would continue to the pen where the lycan was kept. Whether she liked it or not, the wolf had to be brought to the throne room as well. The unicorn muttered words to herself about all sorts of things that she wanted to do with Soulful Gust. Though all of the thoughts were crushed almost in an instant by the mind of Rarity pressing down on hers. An action that made her reach to a temple.
In the meantime had the stallion taken the time to prepare himself. With his black coat worn over his body and the silver shoes fused to his hooves, he was ready to face whatever came his way. But while his eyes had a glance to the moon, he could have sworn to see the mysterious Mare in the Moon on its surface. “My, queen?” Gust asked and shook his head. For the moment, everything was clear to him. Everything was revealed to him. He would continue on with his plan.
The stallion had a look to his silver hooves and the marks of constant burn that were around them. A grunted and stomped the floor, releasing a roar of pain. “There can only be one!”
Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo had a look around the hall and noticed that the interior was just the same as the exterior. The ominous vibe still hung around them and the three of them had to admit that their hearts were beating in their throats. They could see the many doors leading to many different parts of the castle.
If anything, they felt the same fear that Rarity had felt when she first set a hoof in there, all that time ago. Everything looks like it could have gone wrong in just a fraction of a second. The doors could open and the armies of Tartarus could be emerging to get them.
Apple Bloom aimed her arrow to the doors with a constant rate. She was awaiting the arrival of something, anything. “How big ya reckon the chances are that something is gonna pop out? Or that we’ll find demons on the other side?” she asked to the other two. She was on edge, truly on edge. Because now they were on the turf of a vampony queen. The fight to come wouldn’t be easy at all, no. Something terrible was about to happen if they weren’t careful.
Scootaloo chuckled once, nervous in tone. She didn’t knew how to answer the question and rather didn’t hear it either. But Sweetie Belle was the strongest of the three in sensing the presences present. If anything, the unicorn would give them the answer they dreaded to hear. Yet she took her sweet time to actually give the answer. “Sweets, be quick about it. I hate not knowing which direction to look at!”
“Be quiet will you!” Sweetie grunted, muttering to herself while the horn discharged. She had sensed the beings that dwelled through the castle, knowing that they were making their way to the room behind the doors. If anything, it was their best chance to strike at that time. A deep exhale would leave the unicorn and she had a look to her friends. “There’s nothing in these halls. It’s all behind that door. I can’t tell what’s behind it, it feels like everything is gathering. Demon, lycan, vampony, I can’t tell specifics.”
“Our sorceress everypony...” Apple Bloom muttered while she stored her bow away. There was a relative safety that they could enough. Though before she even realized what happened, a hoof of Sweetie was pressed against her throat. It forced the earth pony to take steps back. All the way up to the point where she had to rise against a wall. “Did Ah say som’thing wrong?”
“Yes you did,” growled Sweetie. She didn’t saw the joke in the words of Apple Bloom. If anything, she didn’t saw the joke in anything anymore. It had been far too long since Sweetie had laughed or experienced joy of some kind. She was torn to pieces by grief and sadness. “Not my fault that I am not sensing everything the way it should have been. All I can say about this place, is that’s the culprit of a lot. There’s interference I haven’t felt before, so can you be kind enough to just cut me a break!” And with that would she let go of Apple Bloom.
The earth pony fell to the floor. She wanted to cram an arrow through Sweetie’s throat. But a shred of self-restraint managed to prevent that from becoming a reality. “Well excuse me, princess. But we only joined this cause of yours, because you wouldn’t survive without us!” Apple Bloom grunted, reaching for her throat and rubbing it. There was a surprising amount of strength in the hooves of the unicorn. Why she hadn’t become a brawler, was a question none of them could answer.
“You’re stuck with me until the end of this, Apple Bloom, there’s no way back so the only way we can go, is forward. If you have a better idea, I gladly hear it from you,” returned Sweetie with a snarl. Her eyes continued to inspect the structure for anything that could help her. There wasn’t a way known to her that could bring the whole place down. It was built around the same time as the Castle of the Two Sisters and could withstand a siege. Both from the outside and within.
“When was the last time ya enjoyed something, Sweets? ‘Cause this ain’t the way Ah remember ya!” Apple Bloom returned. She was about to run back to Sweetie Belle and tackle her to the ground. The madness in which the unicorn had engulfed them wasn’t a thing that was enjoyed by anypony.
Scootaloo had joined the earth pony’s side and placed a leg around her back. She would hold the young mare in her place. She would once more portray herself as the voice of reason between the two of them. The two of them of course had valid points that the pegasus supported. Though in this case did she have to side with Apple Bloom. The pegasus shook her head, signaling that this wasn’t the way in which it was supposed to be done. “We’ll see how this is going to play out, Apple Bloom, if there’s indeed a vampony queen on the other side and we do manage to end its life, we’re going to call it quits. There’s no reason to continue after we killed a queen. Not after everything we’ve done.”
Apple Bloom listened with great care and attention to the words of Scootaloo. She did saw a form of reason in them. She was glad that at least one other pony understood the reason why she had been angry. Although it hadn’t been the first time that the earth pony and the unicorn had been going at each other. Ever since the death of Rarity had the two been butting heads against one another. A fact that wouldn’t change anytime soon.
A grunt came from the earth pony, who was just about having her limits with everything. She nodded to herself and let out a deep sigh in response. Scootaloo’s voice of reason was more than enough to calm her down, for the moment. “Yar right, after this, we’re calling it quits. Dunno ‘bout her, but we’ll see. Ah hope she’s seeing the same as we do.” Whatever would have come their way, the three of them would be ready for it in their minds. They were ready to face the queen that had taken her residence in the woods of Everfree.
Sweetie on the other end had already wandered up to the door and tapped it light with a hoof. She was feeling just how thick and how easy it would be for her to open the thing, but to no avail. It was barred on the other side. Not even with her magic would she be able to get it open. Which meant that the only pony of their ground who was powerful enough to make an opening, Apple Bloom.
The unicorn gritted her teeth for wanting to ask Apple Bloom. Out of everypony, she had to ask Apple Bloom. Sweetie wasn’t in the mood to ask her just yet. Not with the insult to injury fresh in her mind. On the other end, with all the other times that their head-butting had been causing turmoil in their group, it was a wonder they were still together.
Of course had they thought about separating their group over the course of time. It only led to the conclusion that they were at their strongest when they were together with the three of them. “Apple Bloom, I hate to ask it of you at this point, but we’re going to need your legs.”
“What? Ya need what now?” Apple Bloom returned with a confused tone. She couldn’t believe that Sweetie had managed to work up the guts to ask something of her. Though in her defense, the way in which sweetie spoke hadn’t allowed her to hear a word.
A sigh left the unicorn who then shook her head with a grunt. She wasn’t in the mood to explain the whole situation again but would have done so either way.
Apple Bloom finally understood just what was asked of her and moved to the door. No words were spoken nor glances exchanged. The earth pony prepared herself by the door and grunted to herself. She turned around and set one of her hindlegs against the door. She prepared herself for a massive kick. A kick even her sister and brother would be proud on.
The body shifted, both legs left the ground and wood, only to be thrust forward. With a massive crash would the door be flung open, the wooden bar behind it shattering into a million pieces. It wave the three of them the access that they needed to enter the room in which Sweetie sensed the beings.
Though as the door opened, the dust flung up, blocking their views. The three of them remained silent and drew their weapons, ready to rush in. Their battle tactics were known in their minds and they wouldn’t give any mercy to anypony present.
Little did they knew just whom and what was actually present within the room.
With her heart beating in her throat had Trixie arrived at the chamber where the lycan was kept. In her eyes had a pen-like structure come and she saw the beast right there. It paced up and down the given ground while the magic kept it safe from not going on a rampage. The hunger that it emitted from the eyes was just terrifying to see. It was hard to believe that the monster that roamed there was in fact the embodiment of kindness.
Trixie didn’t have the guts to open the pen without a word. The creature had to get accustomed to her first. “So, we meet again, Fluttershy.”
The lycan growled only once while it changed its direction. It stepped in the direction of Trixie and only the magical barrier kept her safe. Though that very same barrier would be lowered soon to let the monster out. A sharp inhale came from the wolf. “So, you what do you, want?” it asked of the unicorn, growling soft with every exhale that came.
The unicorn knew what she wanted of course. Amidst everything was there something else that troubled her mind. The growls of the wolf were the cause of it and Trixie much rather would have just left the being alone. “Well, we’re going to need you. Something has managed to get in the castle and, you are our only line of defense. We need you in the throne room, everypony else has been gathered there as well.”
The wolf growled loudly, the veins in the eyes only became wider. With a howl was the paw moved and slashed against the magical barrier. “Lower this cage, and guide me...before the carnage, begins.” She was eager to get out, that was a bonus.
It was all the approval that Trixie required from the wolf. Her horn was coated in the arcane aura who then began to lower the shield. The wolf would join Trixie’s side and thus join Rarity against the beings that had entered her castle. Who knew whom had entered.
The two would hurry to the throne room. With Rarity and Soulful Gust already present, the wolf laid down on the stairs leading up to the throne. Trixie managed to keep herself a bit in the background, which was a good thing. It wouldn’t have been much later that it happened.
The bar was shattered and the doors flung open to either side. Everypony remained quiet while the dust was flung up. Neither side would knew what was going to happen. Neither side would knew what they were up again. Only once the dust would settle would all be revealed.
Tensions rose, terror coursed through the veins. Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, Rarity, Trixie, Fluttershy and Soulful Gust, were all on the verge of discovering the unbelievable.
Through the dust that flared up had the three hunters moved. They hadn’t the faintest idea what to expect from the other side. All they knew was that they would soon discover it. One thing was a certainty though, somepody had to clean that place. Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo all made their way through the doorway. The three would be in the other room mere moments later.
The dust began to lower and their vision returned to them. What they caught in their eyes was everything but the sight that they had hoped for. A gulp came from the three of them. The had entered a throne room of sorts. The most striking factor was that it was filled with paintings of all sorts of ponies, presumably vamponies that had lived through the ages. What they didn’t saw though, was the one painting that hung closest to them. The one where Sweetie Belle was depicted on. Perhaps it was for the better that they didn’t saw it.
And how could they have missed it? There were four sets of eyes that glanced at them. At first they noticed a stallion clad in black with bright silver hooves and burn marks all around them. It wasn’t the strangest sight to see and Apple Bloom strung her bow. The silver arrowhead was ready to be pieced through the throat.
“Wait!” Scootaloo shouted all of the sudden.
Apple Bloom hadn’t the faintest reason why she should decide to not pierce his neck. The earth pony shot a glare to the pegasus, who pointed to the other beings present. Slow but sure would Apple Bloom lower her bow, terrified of the sight she was beholding. “Oh no...” Those were the only words that she could have said.
The three of them had gone out of the frying pan and straight in the fires. Tartarus had opened up and their worst demons had been made clear for them. Their toughest battle yet, laid ahead of them.
In one corner stood a mare that they all knew and remembered. Maybe they remembered her a bit too well for their liking. A blue coated unicorn mare, who tried her best to remain to the shadows. “Ya can’t be..! Trixie, Lulamoon?!” Apple Bloom managed to speak. The confusion had hit her hard. Nopony knew what had happened to the mare, but if this was the place where she had ended up, life hadn’t been that kind to her. “Ah, Ah can’t believe it!”
“If you thought that was bad...” Scootaloo mumbled and nudged the earth pony’s side. Apple Bloom reacted and followed the hoof that pointed to the stairs of the throne. There was yet another shock that came to them. One that would hit just that bit closer to home.
On the stairs it laid like a lion waiting for its meal, the lycan with the yellow coat and the pink mane. It reminded all three of them to somepony else that they knew far too well. Somepony whom they had suspected to be of curious nature for a long time. But would they have believed the fact that it was in fact the pony they thought to be, that laid there? None of them dared to believe it, but the scent that the wolf carried was undoubtedly hers.
The earth pony wasn’t in the mood for jokes and strung her bow again. This time it was aimed at the wolf who didn’t even move a muscle. “Ah ain’t in for jokes tonight! Ya better not be who Ah think yar are!” Apple Bloom commented to the wolf. One who just remained lying there, without a care in the world.
The hungry set of eyes had a good look to the three of them. Their flesh was tender and young, perfect for a good snack. Something in the mind of the wolf prevented her from just lashing out to them. After all, those hunters were once ponies she had considered friends of her, foals of her own to some degree. Confliction rushed through the mind and the claws scratched over the stone stairs, leaving their marks while they retracted. Doubt had filled the beast, a first for the three hunters.
“This isn’t a joke, Apple Bloom. This is far from a joke,” commented Sweetie who had her eyes firm on the throne. A throne that was clad in shadows and darkness. Only two crimson red rims could be seen, the vampony queen was home and those ponies, were her court. “We’ve arrived right in the lion’s den. And they are hungry.”
The queen atop the throne had kept her mouth shut firm and wouldn’t reveal too much about herself if it wasn’t going to be necessary. Although the reveal had to come at one point or another. Though maybe, just maybe, the chance existed there that they could at least talk a bit with one another. Even though Sweetie had slaughtered vamponies and lycans alike in cold blood before, but now she was facing somepony higher up the hierarchy. She had to take an advantage out of that. She stepped closer to the throne. It left Apple Bloom and Scootaloo gawking at her actions.
Whatever would come next, Scootaloo had laid a hoof on the hilt of her sword. The arrow still remained firm in the bow of Apple Bloom, ready to be fired at the first being acting out of line. They were ready to emerge in the fight if it would come that way. What struck them the most was the fact that none of the creatures had already decided to attack them. It showed to them that the queen was ready to at least negotiate with them. Or listen to the words of plea that they had to spill before the floor would be stained with their blood.
A macabre thought indeed, but it was the possible truth on the matter. Everything could be turned upside down in just one second. All of them kept their eyes on Sweetie Belle, who rose her head to the shadow covered queen. The hateful glance in her eyes spoke more than enough words, but the queen was unmoved by them.
“So, you’re the vampony queen that lived in the woods of Everfree for so long. I hope that you have been able to enjoy your reign, because it has come to an end, tonight. From this night onward, Equestria will be safe from your subjects. And how we’re going to achieve it, is up to you. Either we slaughter everypony present here, or we negotiate our way out of this. The choice is yours. That’s the choice that I’m giving you here, don’t waste it.”
The unicorn turned away from the queen and walked back to the other two hunters. That was the biggest mistake that she could have made in that moment. Because it was in that moment that the queen would speak her words, revealing the truth. “Careful with your words, Sweetie Belle.”
Sweetie stood dead in her tracks and an eye twitched just a little bit. “What, did you call me?” She turned immediately back to face the queen. The eyes had a confused gaze in her eyes next to the hatred for the beings present. “I dare you, repeat it.”
“It’s your name, isn’t it?” the queen returned. “Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, the three Cutie Mark Crusaders. Since when did you three decide to hunt the armies of the undead? Since when, did you heed the call that only the bat ponies should have heeded?”
The games were over. None of the hunters were in the mood to duke it out with the vampony queen and they demanded answers. The glances in their eyes spoke more than enough words. The queen would heed the looks alone. She stood up from her throne and would leave the shadows. Every step taken, revealing more of the terrible truth that had been lying underneath it.
First did the ivory coat come and then the rest came. The purple, curly mane and the refined facial features of the mare gave it already away. It was somepony whom they had thought to have lost a long time ago. Neither of the hunters could believe whom stood there.
“Rarity?!” was the only name that the three of them could speak.
Sweetie Belle didn’t knew what she saw happening in front of her eyes. She wanted to say that it was a fake, that it was somepony else that stood there. She wanted to scream that it was a illusion or a changeling taken her looks. Yet the feelings were at their strongest now that the queen had revealed herself. The sheer fact that Rarity stood there was more than enough to let Sweetie buckle through her legs. She began to shake, tears formed beneath her eyes. She didn’t wanted to believe it.
The stern look that Rarity had in her eyes was enough to invoke fear in the other hunters. Just the way she stood there, with that purple night gown around her middle. Just one glare and they had all been shut down. That was the power that Rarity had within her. But at the same time did it rose a couple thousand questions at the same time. A lot of them, and most would be asked by Sweetie.
Nausea filled the throat of the young mare. She wanted to vomit and prayed to everything that she believed in that it was just one sick lie. But fate was never that easily to be toyed with. This situation wasn’t one that had much difference either. Rarity stood there, like a statue, staring down to them. “Why?!” was the one question that Sweetie managed to get out. “Why did you abandon me, us?!”
Rarity may not have showed it, but she too was surprised. Surprised on the fact that Sweetie and her friends stood there, before her, to murder her like some sort of beast. How the roles had changed from their younger days, it was almost worth smiling about. Yet the non-beating heart of the vampony was almost shattered in three different places when she saw her own sister coming in. She could kill anypony in an instant and not sleep any worse. But Sweetie Belle? She was a special case to the matter. Everything had changed that night, everything would change for that day as well. The gears were grinding in her head, but answers had to be given.
“You ask me, why?” Rarity returned with a stoic voice. Her facial features never changed while her body went sideways on the stairs. “There are many reasons as to why I would have just abandoned you and the family. But first things should be done first.” Her glance shifted over to the wolf and they both gained a smirk on their faces. “Would you be a dear and block off the one exit that they have. I want them to listen carefully to what comes next, and I don’t want them to run away.”
Apple Bloom aimed her arrow to the wolf while Scootaloo drew her sword to it. The wolf on the other end just rose up calm, like any other moment. She would have trudged her way to the doorway with a wide arch around the hunters. The hungry eyes were never taken off of them though. Fluttershy was still hungry for flesh and those three would have been perfect for her next meal. Even though they had been friends, the beast that was in control couldn’t care less.
“So you’re going to lock us in? With no way of escape, heh, you never changed, dealing in absolutes,” commented Sweetie Belle. She found a new strength and rose back on her legs. The feelings coursing through her were set aside. Her hunter-mode was on and she wanted to know the truth behind her own sister. There was no reason for Rarity to have acted in the way that she did. The younger unicorn was outnumbered of course, but it was still Rarity whom she spoke to.
The wolf had blocked off the one exit that they had and the other two hunters kept a keen eye on her. But at the same time, they also had to keep an eye out for Soulful Gust. The black stallion had moved to the right side of the group, blocking off any exit that they could have from there. Though he remained close to Rarity’s side for some reason. The dead look in his eyes never revealed anything about his own plans.
“In all honesty, Sweetie? I’m not even sure what I’m going to do with you lot. It does seem like something I can use to my benefit. On the other end, letting you go risks me the chance of being found by another group. And, I’m sure you don’t want that to happen to your dear old sister, do you?” Rarity was just taunting the hunter at this point. She wanted to see just how far she could press Sweetie’s buttons before she would have gone all out and all crazy. A thing that was probably a lot easier said than done.
The young unicorn released a huff in response. She wasn’t the mood to play along the games that her sister would play with her. She had grown older and way past those pesky inconveniences. “My sister died, when the Carousel Boutique burned to a crisp. You’re nothing more but an echo of the mare she once was! So why do you torment me with your appearance here?! Why shouldn’t I just slaughter you?!”
Now were they getting somewhere. Rarity had Sweetie almost exactly in the spot where she wanted to have her. The time would be there to finally make the revelations and, probably have it all end up in a sisterly brawl once more. Only the states would then be literal life and death.
“I would call this meeting a twisted fate of misfortune, Sweetie,” returned Rarity while she took a step further down. Her eyes were still firmly locked on those of Sweetie while the other two hunters kept an eye on the other three beings present. The wolf, the vampony and the thrall, all three posing threats in their own rights.
“A twisted fate of misfortune?! We thought that you were dead! We held a closed casket funeral for you! And yet, here you are. You’re drinking the blood of the innocents to keep yourself alive. Not even once was there something that indicated that you were still alive!” Sweetie returned to her with a raised voice. The cracks had disappeared altogether. The young mare stomped her hoof on the floor and charged her horn. She was having enough of the games that were played.
The rage that went through Sweetie was noticed by the other two. Apple Bloom began to whisper in the unicorn's ears. “Are ya sure now’s the right time? To throw a temper tantrum to yar own sister, who ya just figured out is still alive?”
“Apple Bloom, shut up or I will make you do it myself, okay? This is none of your business and the last thing that I need, is somepony telling me that I need to do,” the young unicorn hissed through her teeth. For just a moment would the stare between the sisters be broken. Sweetie wouldn’t have anything from Apple Bloom’s words.
The earth pony could understand the direction that the unicorn came from, but the way in which she brought it was one that she didn’t have to do. A huff came from her while she shrugged, tensing the bow again.
Everypony felt the tension that was rising and none of them were comfortable with it. Trixie and Gust both moved more to Rarity’s side, to join the queen if she required aid of any kind. The two had so their own reasons as to why they came closer to the queen though. Reasons that may have been obvious for some, impossible to figure out for others.
Rarity grinned like the devil that she was and uncurled the wings that were her night gown. All three of the hunters were baffled at the sight. The moan that left the vampony when they were fully spread was lustful, teasing and inviting. On the other end, it gave so much clarity to events that had happened so long ago.
“Yar kidding me...” Apple Bloom spoke, remembering the events that had happened at the boutique.
“You, you were right, all...all along,” the pegasus managed to say after a gulp. How could it have been that they were so blind? How it could have been that they didn’t dared to believe how Sweetie had noticed what they didn’t? Was it the fact that they wanted to believe that everything was right and fine? It was the most logical answer that they could give for it.
Sweetie Belle let the matter come to rest though. She wouldn’t be telling her friends that she was right and they were wrong. No, now was the time to be a team, more than ever before. In a way, they were facing their greatest foe as of yet. Fate truly was a harsh mistress to keep happy. “That cursed ghost was right after all, you did kill her!”
“Killed whom? I need names, Sweetie. Details, plot, beginning, middle, end. Otherwise the story isn’t going to make much sense,” countered Rarity while she gave a flap with her wings.
The young unicorn glanced with a dead-stare to Rarity. How much she despised her sister in the moment just so much, that she could just cast a massive, destructive magical beam to her. “You slaughtered Fleur Dis Lee in cold blood, remember that?”
Oh how the memories returned back to Rarity. The final screams of the unicorn before she would finally die. How she pulled her heart out of her chest and watched her still beating heart with her own eyes. “I remember her far too well. She got what she deserved though. I’ll spare you the details.” Rarity’s wings went flat against her body and she regained her posh posture and tapped her hoof against the stone stairs. “Usually I would just slaughter ponies like you. It’s you lot that I love to enjoy slaughtering the most and drink from. But, the fact that you three managed to even get in here raises all sorts of questions. Which makes me beg the question: why are you here? Why are you three truly here?”
The questions that she asked weren’t as easily answered as they would have liked. It was easy to lie to Rarity, but she would see through it straight away. The sheer fact that she asked those questions made all doubts disappear. It was in fact the real and true, albeit a lot darker, Rarity that stood there. The one Rarity whom they came to know and love over the courses of their lives.
How the mighty had fallen...and they would fall even further.
Even though all the evidence was there, it couldn’t be believed. Sweetie still had a hard and difficult time that it was in fact Rarity who was behind everything. How could Rarity have ever risen through the ranks of the vamponies and become their queen? Was she the only queen that ruled over the lands, or were their several that would heed to yet another one, who pulled all of the strings. The situation was tender, stupid and above all, terrifying to witness. The other two didn’t knew what to do, to either shoot all the other ponies present or wait for the call for murder being given.
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were both uneasy about the matter. There was no doubt that Rarity wasn’t a vampony. The fangs that she revealed whenever she spoke and the wings that had grown out of her back gave more than enough confirmation. Rarity was a monster, an abomination to the world of the living. And she was in charge of possibly an entire cover of blood-sucking monsters that were ready to do everything she desired. But they also had a look to both Trixie and Fluttershy.
They felt regret for the both of them and wondered how on earth Rarity had managed to talk the both of them crazy enough to join her. Although Trixie’s case was easy to understand with all of the bite-marks in her neck and the rest of her body. But Fluttershy? Why would Fluttershy have joined the likes of her? It didn’t made sense in the least bit. She could and should have gone to Twilight in the hope to cure the condition, or learn to live with it.
Maybe it was because of the reestablishment of the Night Guard that she became terrified and sought shelter with Rarity? If that was the case, than they were to blame that she now guarded the one exit that they had. The matter was a lot more complicated than any of them had wanted to admit it to be. In one way, they were all responsible for it. A heavy burden to carry upon them all.
The whole situation was fragile and everypony felt it becoming more brittle with every passing minute. Sweetie was unable to even speak a normal word against her sister. She just stared at her with a glance of death. The fact that Rarity would kill intruders without a second thought, but was having second thoughts because it were them, caused all sorts of questions. Questions that were never spoken but the air was full of them.
The monster of Everfree was Rarity, who had died in the fires of the Carousel Boutique, giving both Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon even their right. That was the trigger for Sweetie to over overboard. She didn’t show it, but the young mare wasn’t herself any longer. She had shut herself down for the moment. Which meant that Scootaloo would have become the voice to speak. The wisdom of the pegasus outpaced the unicorn by a long mile. The sorceress had been guided by hatred and anger for too long.
Maybe Scootaloo could just say something that would soothe the pain for both sisters? “And yet here we are, standing alive and breathing. Which makes me beg the questions, which I want to ask you, Rarity. Why haven’t you killed us yet? What’s your reason for not doing so?”
The ivory vampony had to admit that it was a nice change of pace, to see somepony like Scootaloo talk to her. A voice that wasn’t filled with anger and hatred. Rarity would happily oblige to the words of the pegasus. She would speak the dreadful truth to them three. “It’s simple, I’m curious about the three of you. You’re wearing armor and carrying weapons that are curtesy of the Night Guard. I’ve seen your sort before on my trips through Canterlot. Which makes me beg the question, which I do ask you in return: why are you here? What did you came here to do and what do you expect to find here?”
Those questions really managed to hit home for the three of them. All three had their own answers on the matter and they wanted to answer at it. But Apple Bloom decided to keep her mouth shut firm. Any word that would be spoken by her mouth was only going to make the situation a lot more terrible. Sweetie on the other end, wanted to answer each question in great detail. Though with the rage going through her, Scootaloo placed a hoof on her back. She shook her head to the young unicorn. It wasn’t her place to say what was on her mind. Even though she wanted, she wouldn’t.
“Sweetie, if you start to talk now, with all that anger and rage in you, the whole situation is going to be broken. I don’t know about you, but I much rather keep on living for a few more hours, long enough to hang this armor away, thank you very much,” she brought forth in a whisper.
The words of Scootaloo made Sweetie raise an eyebrow and shake her head. She didn’t truly understood what was meant with them. Although she did have a faint idea. The answers to so many questions were too easy to not give. Sweetie Belle discharged her horn and waved a hoof to her sister. She turned her gaze away from the ivory mare and shifted her attention to the wolf. A wolf who growled and snarled like the true monster that it was. Sweetie cracked her neck, preparing herself for the fight. “She’s all yours, Scootaloo,” the young unicorn mumbled.
That was the sign where she had placed her hopes in. “Right,” the pegasus said and her glance shifted back to Rarity, “as you know by now, we came here because that was our mission, to see what lived in the castle of Everfree and probably murder everypony present. Only problem was, we didn’t knew that you, all of you, were present here. It, changed the situation a lot, of course. And, doubts has filled our minds.” Scootaloo tried to explain the situation to the best of her abilities. The calm and collected tone in which she spoke was both load and clear for everypony.
Rarity had to admit that she was taken by the words of the pegasus. She found a strange feeling of pride and acceptance in them. She wouldn’t just mindlessly charge at them, but pry as much information from them as she could. Only in that way, she could tell her part of the story. Whether she liked to admit it or not, Rarity was still having sisterly feelings towards Sweetie Belle. She was the only pony whom she couldn’t hurt, ever. A fact proven once before, when she lost control of her bloodlust all that time ago.
A deep, sharp, animated inhale was given by the vampiric unicorn. “And now that you know I am here, you are hesitant to slaughter me like you have slaughtered so many others. I must admit, I do have respect for that. Let us see how long we can keep the mutual respect going. But answer me this as well, why would you have ever decided to join the Night Guard? What drove you to doing so?” Curiosity had taken over her mind. Rarity wanted to know exactly what had managed to drive her beloved little sister over the edge by so much.
Scootaloo shifted her attention back to Sweetie. It was her time and turn to answer the question. She was the reason why the other two were there. Sweetie was the spark that managed to set the entire place ablaze. The pegasus gave a nod to her, telling her it was okay to tell her story. Then her eyes would shift to Soulful Gust, looking over him gave her a funny feeling. Everypony else accepted the words of the unicorn about mutual respect, but he seemed to have his own agenda. She would have kept a close eye on him.
All while Sweetie Belle faced her sister again and would drop the biggest revelation to that point. “You want to know why I joined the Night Guard? Why we joined? It’s simple, honestly.” Sweetie’s eyes met those of her sister again and the stoic looks between the two of them were exchanged again. Neither showed even a little bit of emotion. They appeared to be two statues. Statues that were forever doomed to look at one another.
“Pray tell me,” were the only words that got out of Rarity.
Sweetie huffed just once. It was her classical sister response. The stock up little mare that it always had been. “The reason I joined, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo just followed, is because I wanted to find who killed you. And yet, here you are, alive and well before me. But I know who killed you, I know far too well who killed you, Rarity.”
“Oh no...” Scootaloo mumbled to herself. She knew where the road would end and it wasn’t pretty.
Apple Bloom was tempted to do something, but the bow and arrow required all of her strength. Even if she wanted, she couldn’t do anything. Sweetie as on her own and she was going to make a bad situation even worse. “Don’t do it, Sweetie!”
She didn’t care what the other two hunters said to her. It was her sister that she spoke against. She should have taken it like the mare that she was. “You killed yourself!”
The high word was out and the vampiric unicorn actually managed to take a step or two back. She was shocked to hear those words coming out of the mouth of her sister. Never had she even dared to think that Sweetie was capable of spilling such words. Rarity would congratulate her sister, weren’t it for the fact they infuriated her at the same time. Now it was her time to shine. Her time to talk about the hardships of her own life, the past few years.
Her expression changed to a much more hateful one. The eyes were never taken off of Sweetie, but she knew where Trixie stood. Only Gust was the wild card of the bunch. He had moved out of her field of view and Rarity wouldn’t look to his new location. All she had an eye for, were those three pesky hunters, who thought they had it on the right end.
“You little snitch!” Rarity growled in return, stomping her hoof on the stair, letting it crack. “After everything I’ve done for you, this is how you treat me! You don’t know where I have been through these past few years, little sister. I had to pretend I was normal for a whole year. I had to keep on living my life as I had done always. You were right to suspect me, but nopony dared to believe you, because who would suspect me? It was my saving grace!”
“Then how did you end up like this?!”
“Fleur, Dis, Lee. She was the one who changed everything. She was the one who ignited the fires in the boutique that night, she was the one that almost caused me my life!”
“And you killed her in cold blood!” Sweetie countered. It would her sister remind the fact that she was the monster in this case. If it would be worth it, was the question remained unanswered.
Rarity huffed in return. She thought that Fleur had gotten what she deserved. An eye for an eye, as the saying went. Problem was that Rarity was immortal while Fleur wasn’t. “Her death was the sweetest of them all!” Yet through all of her words, there was one fact that arose within her. The diary that she had given to her mother such a long time ago. Hadn’t she shared the secrets that stood within it?
“Answer me this, Sweetie, has mother never told you what happened to me? Had she never placed a diary on your room, which was mine?”
The confusion was visible in the eyes of Sweetie. She truly didn’t have a clue about what Rarity was speaking. The whole situation had taken a turn and everypony was now looking at Rarity. An animated sigh came from the ivory vampony, who closed her eyes for a moment. “I suppose that she never let any of you read it. That morning, when you woke up with a burned, stuffed animal next to you. Who do you think placed that there?”
It was in that moment was a heart broken. Sweetie’s eyes would be filled with tears. She couldn’t believe it. She didn’t wanted to believe it whatsoever. “No...” She shook her head and tore her eyes away from Rarity. Everything was then falling on their place for her. So many pieces of the puzzle were filled in. But it would never excuse the crimes that Rarity had committed.
The young unicorn would shift her gaze back to Rarity, only to see a sight that she never had hoped to see. “No!” Sweetie shouted atop her lungs. It was already too late. The actions couldn’t be cancelled. The chain of events would be set in motion and would follow through to the end.
Soulful Gust had managed to work his way behind Rarity and with the wings flush against the body, he had the perfect place to strike. In just a split second had he risen on his hooves, towering over Rarity. The ivory unicorn turned around when Sweetie shouted, only to see a hoof coming down.
It was inevitable that Rarity would be hit by one of the silver hooves of the stallion. It sliced through her skin and wing, tearing open the side of the mare. A mare who lost her footing on the stairs and fell down to the bottom.
Soulful just stood there, bloods on his hooves and panting. “There can only be one queen, and it was never going to be you!” He had played his last, closed card, and revealed which side he was on. The peace was broken between the hunters and the creatures. Yet the way it would turn out, wasn’t in his favor. Soulful knew that his death would be imminent, but wouldn’t go down without a fight. “Shiva’s, the one and only!”
Rarity laid at the bottom of the stairs, bleeding heavily from her side. The stallion remained standing there and all the wires snapped in Sweetie’s mind. She wasn’t going to let the crime go unpaid. Apple Bloom aimed her arrow at the head of the stallion and let go.
Fractions later would the silver tip made contact with the skin and Sweetie lunged herself forward. She rushed up the stairs with the most hateful glance in her eyes. Scootaloo kept an eye on the wolf, but even the wolf’s expression had changed. This was serious, way too serious.
Soulful Gust had prepared himself on the rampaging mare of course, but not even he could avoid what came next. His wings opened as soon when the arrow managed to hit him. To make the situation even worse, he wasn’t allowed to just fall to the ground. No, Sweetie stood there. Her horn aimed at him and Gust fell right atop of it.
Like a sharp blade it pierced through the skin and flesh. Skewered by both his throat and his chest, death seemed like the only option that the vampony stallion had left for himself. Not a cry of pain came from him, but the horn of Sweetie turned warmer. She was going to cast a spell that would obliterate him. To a crazed kind of degree, he was glad for it. Because then would the eternal torment through which he lived, his constant burning of the silver hooves, would all go away. The sweet release of death couldn’t be arriving any sooner for him and he wanted her to slaughter her. Soulful Gust wanted that sweetie Belle would end his life, a thought that occurred by more vamponies before dying.
The blood of the vampony already began to stream down the horn and the top of Sweetie’s head. The young unicorn was maddened by grief of course. She was angry at the stallion and wanted to see him dead. He was the only one with whom they didn’t have any connection. Sweetie would have done the only thing that she could have done. “This is where you end,” she growled to him, shifting her eyes up to his chest.
“And I gladly accept the death you give me!” Soulful Gust returned to her. His voice was already weakened by the blood loss. He was ready to embrace death after such a long, long time. He was ready to leave the cold life behind him and see what laid on the other side of it. Whatever would have come, he had done the will of his queen. The will of his one and only, true queen.
Sweetie’s horn charged up even more rapid before the spell would be cast. It was a simple spell, but one that was enough to kill him. “Feel the wrath of the light,” she grunted. She had cast an illumination spell that shone and bright and powerful as the sun itself. Soulful wouldn’t stand a chance against her powers.
“W-What devilish...trickery, is this?!” Gust grunted as his final words. His body was reduced to ash and dust within a matter of seconds. The stallion had perished by the hunters. Sweetie had laid the killing blow and only when she heard the arrow fall to the ground, did she knew that it was enough.
Trixie and Fluttershy didn’t knew what to do in response. They wanted to attack Sweetie, but they were glad that they had taken down Soulful. It was Rarity whom they had been worrying about the most. She was maimed badly by the hoof and quite possibly, wouldn’t be able to recover. The blue unicorn was the first that ran to her mistress side and dropped down next to her, looking for anything to do.
Scootaloo had kept a firm eye on the wolf, who’s very expression had shifted. It was now more Fluttershy than animal that looked to the pegasus. “Are you going to behave?” she dared to ask of the beast.
“As long, you don’t, do, anything...stupid,” the wolf managed to growl up. Without waiting for an answer had she set her paws in the direction to get closer to Rarity. All five of them would see just how bad it was going to be. Just how badly Rarity was hurt and just how terrible everything else was going to be.
Sweetie Belle had a look down the stairs and saw her sister lying there. The puddle of blood only grew underneath her. It broke the hunter’s heart to see her sister lying there. Even though it was what she had deserved, Rarity’s way of departure was never supposed to be that way. Silence came from the young unicorn. No words came to her mind, other than a roar of pure emotional pain.
A roar that caused everypony to look at her and taking steps back from Rarity. If there was one pony who should have been there in those final moments, it would have been her. Sweetie and Rarity, through thick and thin, would have stayed together.
“It’s a lost cause, she’s gonna die, Scootaloo,” whispered Apple Bloom while she stored her bow again. They weren’t in the mood to get themselves in yet another fight. Scootaloo understood the direction from which the earth pony came and the jab that went across the side of the vampiric unicorn wasn’t for the faint of heart.
Her body tried to fix the damage done, yet the silver continued to burn it away. She would die, be reduced to dust and finally get the peace that she had wanted for such a long time by that point. “S-Sweets...” Rarity managed to speak, hoisting herself back on her legs. There was no strength in them though, and she fell straight back down. “C-Come here, p-please.”
Sweetie just stood there, mortified at the sight she had managed to work herself in. Everything could be blamed upon just her. At the same time, it was also Rarity’s fault. But now was her dying sister asking for her. She wanted to kill them not a mere ten minutes ago and Sweetie felt the same. But now, in the final moments of her life, Rarity just wanted to see Sweetie, feel her, be with her.
“I, I’m coming,” the young, white unicorn returned. She didn’t knew what to do, how to react to it all, but all that she could do was heed her sister’s wish and see what came from it. She would hurry down the stairs and drop down next to her sister. Sweetie didn’t even caring about the blood. They would just have a moment, for themselves.
Rarity’s eyes had shifted back to their sapphire blue color. Their expression was empty though, even emptier than before. Rarity was dying, really dying. The functions of her undead body would be shut one by one, but she would tell her words to Sweetie. She would tell her sister what she had wanted to tell. A hoarse chuckle left her, followed by a cough that brought forth blood. “Heh, well, you, you succeeded,” she said with a trembling voice, “you killed, the one who killed me... M-Maybe not, the way you had, expected, it to go...”
“No, I, I never...” Sweetie managed to say. She felt the hoof of Rarity come over her back, that cold leg, but with that sisterly warmth tingling through her. Time was running out and had gotten way too short for the both of them. She shouldn’t be speaking. Rarity, her sister, had to tell a lot more before she would leave the plane behind them.
“Shh, shh,” she managed to get out before another cough cut her off. Her tired eyes had a deep look to her younger sister. Her lips curled up to a smile and one of the fangs fell out of her mouth. Death was close now, too close for comfort for either of them. “I, I’m proud on you, Sweetie, n-never forget, that... I just, hadn’t expected us, to be in this...position while, it would happen...”
“N-Neither did I,” managed to Sweetie to stammer out. The last thing that the filly had wanted, to to be near the deathbed of her sister when it happened. But now, now there was no escape the reality of the situation. She scurried a bit closer to her sister and nuzzled the neck. She nuzzled like she would have done when they both were young and innocent. “D-Don’t leave me, Rarity...”
Rarity had to shut her eyes to those words, her body aching with every motion she made. She felt that her time had come and she was ready to accept the embrace of death. This time, there wouldn’t be anypony standing her way to leave life behind her and see where she would end up. One last adventure laid before her. But her story was over. Her part in the story of Sweetie’s life had come to an end.
The smile remained standing on her face while she too began to nuzzle her little sister, whispering the words that she wanted to say. “Every story, has to come to an end, Sweetie. Every story that we tell, the story...of who we are, eventually end with or without a book. Mine, just happened to be inside one. This, will be our last, chapter together, our last, page...I’m sorry, to end it on, this note...”
Baffled. Complete and utter baffled, that was the one emotion that went through Sweetie. From the vampony whom had wanted to terminate them was nothing left. All that was left, was the wisdom that Rarity always had. The unicorn was at the end of her life. With a final exhale would she leave her life and her head dropped to the ground.
Sweetie just laid there, watching over her sister with tears streaming out of her eyes. “N-No...” No other word could be muttered by her. The young mare didn’t knew what to do next, other than to wait for the dust to take her sister. She didn’t had to wait long.
It took only seconds before the wound would spread out. The flesh would turn to dust and the bones crumble. A howl of wind would move through the castle, carrying the dust that once was Rarity through the throne room. Her reign had come and in the end, Rarity had embraced death like it was an old friend of hers. The way her story had come to an end wasn’t the way anypony would have seen her go, but it was the way that it was.
A sigh came from Sweetie, who slowly managed to rise back up again. Her armor was covered in the blood of her sister and she shut her eyes. Her body trembled while she tried to keep the rest of the tears to herself. Sweetie wanted to speak some words about the loss of her sister, but there wasn’t any word that she wanted to say. There was no other word that she could speak. Nothing left her, she just stood there, flabbergasted at everything that had happened. Nothing seemed to be making sense to her in the moment and she wanted to just gallop away from the place, yet she was bound to it.
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo joined her side, both placing a hoof on her back. This was the exact reason as to why they remained together. The three of them were at their strongest together, but at the same time understood it when the other was in deep, sincere pain. Sweetie was heartbroken and they were in a place where none of them wanted to be.
Perhaps it was a good thing that both Trixie and Fluttershy were present there, since they didn’t have murderous tendencies to the hunters. They knew what had happened, they knew what troubles they went through. Though they would lie if they said that they didn’t wanted to murder them either. Neither the thrall nor the wolf knew what they had and could do in order to calm the hunters down, if there even was something that could stop it.
“T-Thank you, both,” Sweetie managed to bring forth before she shook her head. It was terrible to see her like it, but she knew that her friends meant all too well with their gestures. She didn’t wanted to be uplifted in her spirit, but it did feel good to have at least somebody looking after her. The young mare let out a deep exhale, saddened and defeated. Yet time had to move on. Even though Rarity’s story had come to an end, they were still alive and ready to tell what had happened in that castle.
In the end had Sweetie torn herself away from her friends. With heavy steps she would have climbed the stairs to the throne again. Her horn coated itself within the magical aura. Once on the top, the mare had a glance at both Fluttershy and Trixie, as well as Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. It was time to give Rarity the honors that she had deserved. It was time to tell what her sister truly thought of her. It would have been tough, but it was the only way in which Sweetie saw an equal respect as what Rarity gave to her in her final moments.
Her voice was heavy, hoarse and defeated beyond belief. Sweetie appeared like she could crumble any given moment. “A lot of vamponies, whom we encountered on our journey, should have taken an example from you, sis. You managed to remain the lady that you always wanted to be, even with the change that had happened to you. It, pains me to say, but, you were a good vampony... One that’s the rarest of them all to encounter. You were cursed so long ago, but you...managed to persevere through time. I, I don’t know what happened after the all-consuming fires, and I don’t want to know, but, I’m glad I was there when your moment to leave, finally came.”
Her head was aimed up, facing the closed and covered up window in the ceiling which held the massive moon behind it. Rarity would be on her way through the stars, finding her spot among them and hopefully shine brightly with them. Sweetie didn’t have any other words for the matter. She didn’t knew what to say, or what to do. It was up to the other four to make the decisions and see what else would have come.
But there was one thing with which they all could have agreed: Rarity could finally have some peace in the afterlife. Finally she wasn’t restrained anymore by the shackles of her undead body that kept her in Equestria. The mare who should have died a long time ago, finally had died and thus departed. Her dust had been scattered all through the throne room and both the thrall nor the wolf had the faintest idea what to do next. One thing was certain though, they wouldn’t dare touching the three hunters.
So many questions that the those same three hunters had for a couple of years, had been answered. So many unexplainable things, suddenly had gotten an answer. It was the answer of which they had never hoped to actually figuring out though. Scootaloo nor Apple Bloom knew what to say to the matter, other than that Sweetie had been right all along. They were sorry for the way Rarity had departed from her life. But in a way would it always have been her, or them. Who knew what future would have come to be when Rarity had just slaughtered them?
They both knew that there was one pony who might have had the answer to that. That impossible stallion that they had encountered once or twice on their adventures. The mysterious, brown coated stallion with the bow-tie. If they could find him, maybe they could get more answers to questions unknown. Not that it mattered much in the moment though. Violence wasn’t going to be the answer in that moment and the wolf shook her head.
“You okay?” Scootaloo asked to her.
A growl came forth from her and Trixie joined the side of the wolf. She would be acting as the translator for the creature. Because Fluttershy had been going mad with grief. Same could have been said for Trixie as well, but the blue coated unicorn managed to hide it very well. The clutches that the unicorn had over her were still present. The mind of Rarity was still present and held a strong hold on Trixie’s. But eventually, that hold would have come to vanish like that.
“She’s sad that her master has left this realm. Fluttershy’s been under mistress Rarity’s guard for a long time now. She fed her, kept her safe when the moon was full. She even taught her how to live with her changes, like she had done for herself,” Trixie explained in a nasty, sneering tone to them. “Not that I feel any better with Rarity’s departure though. She’s gone and we’re all here. But...” That was the moment where the hooks were gently released from her mind. “Trixie is also happy, that you saw understanding. To not, slaughter any of us until the moment was done. The stallion, Soulful Gust, always struck Trixie as a special type. Turned out she was right on him.”
So many answers had been going through the mind of Sweetie Belle. The young mare nodded with her head before she would leave the platform with the throne again. There was no need for her to stay there. There was no need for any of them to be there. Fluttershy would probably be trialed by the Night Guard and Trixie? Trixie would probably fall in the obscurity of history and be forgotten by time, if she was lucky.
Even though they all wanted to leave, none of them could. The presence of Rarity was still far too strong in that very moment. No, the end was nigh and everypony knew that. Soon would the doors be closed and the book be shut. The final act had happened in their story of madness, revenge and now grief. The battle-hardened hunters had now nothing. The only other thing they could do, was to hang up their coats and live their lives as they saw fit. A life away from the Night Guard.
The mind of Trixie would be released the longer Rarity was gone. One moment she stood next to the wolf, acting as some sort of translator for the hunters, while the next she had begun to wander off. Shimmers of her life before she was enthralled by Rarity had come back. The unicorn didn’t knew what they were, but they looked nice. She wanted to know more about them. She wanted to know if they were actually her own thoughts.
The hooks that had been latched in the mind of Trixie for so long, finally seemed to be going away. The hooks that held her connected to the will of Rarity would vanish, since Rarity had vanished. The unicorn didn’t knew what would happen next. Only that a massive headache had come crushing through her skull. She reached for her head, standing on the hindlegs with a deep groan leaving her. “What’s, going, on?!” she exclaimed in terror. Her mind would suffer from a freeze, one that was many times worse than eating ice cream of any kind. Trixie’s mind would burn and perish itself from the thoughts of being Rarity’s slave.
The three hunters and the wolf had a look to her. They had gone out of the frying pan and into the fire. One way or the other, the misfortune of bad things happening in strings and series was still there. If they didn’t know any better, they would have to fight against Trixie soon enough. The three prepared themselves for the trouble that would be coming next. Though it was a trouble that maybe wouldn’t have come after all.
Trixie fell down to the floor at one point and laid down with her hooves still reaching for her head. All of the memories were wiped from her mind, the ultimate self-defense from Rarity’s side. The agonizing pain through which Trixie was put was audible by the grunting that she did. The mare didn’t knew what would happen to her, whether or not she was dying as well.
Her horn began to charge and levitate her from the stone floor. Within the sphere that she had created from her own magic hovered Trixie. She still reached for her temples to ease the throbbing pain. The sheer pain that went through her mind, was just terrible. Even looking at the sight had the wolf whimper in pain, like she felt it herself.
The blue unicorn didn’t knew what to do next or how to proceed. Though she would release all of her energy in a massive blast that knocked everypony off their hooves. Only to then fall back to the floor without a sound. The three hunters worked their way back on their hooves and rushed over to her. If she had broken something, they could help her. If there was something else, they could probably have done it as well. But there wasn’t anything in the world that could have prepared them for the things to come.
When they stood next to Trixie, the blue unicorn would open her eyes. A confused gaze would soon be taken within them and she crawled up to a sitting position. The wolf was never noticed by her. Instead she noticed how three, leather armor wearing, young mares had taken positions all around her. “W-What... Who? Why..?” she questioned to the three of them, seemingly not remembering them. Amnesia was a powerful thing to suffer.
“You don’t remember anything, do you?” Sweetie asked, wiping away the strains of her tears. She didn’t wanted to give Trixie much to work with or realize what had happened if she indeed had amnesia. Reminding anypony of what had happened there would have been a terrible mistake.
“Trixie, doesn’t remember anything. How, why? What happened? Trixie demands on explanation!” It was in that moment that she would reach for her head again. A jabbing pain went through her brain that caused her to shut up. Even trying to remember what had happened would cause her pain. The past couple of years would all be gone and Trixie wouldn’t know why. A growl came from her before she focused back on the there and then. She focused back on the three of them.
“Looks like yar gonna need a good rest, Trixie,” commented Apple Bloom with a well meant smile.
Scootaloo just stood there, nodding to the words and tabbing Sweetie on the back. It was time for her to do what she had to do. “Go right ahead, she doesn’t have to know more than she knows now,” the young pegasus spoke in a whisper. A whisper only loud enough to be heard by the unicorn.
Sweetie Belle nodded and took a step forward. Her horn had begun to charge yet Trixie didn’t trust the blood covered face. The young unicorn looked like she had been waging a war with somebody and actually killed. “We’re not going to hurt you, but this is going to give you some sleep.” With just one single flick of her head was the spell cast.
The other unicorn would have felt drowsy soon afterward. She wanted to say something to the three of them but before that happened, she fell back. Her body crashed against the floor and the mare was knocked out, brought to a deep, deep sleep in which not much could have disturbed her. Trixie would sleep until one of the three hunters would have awoken her. Until then, her mind would puzzle together what had happened the past years, what was most fitting for her to have done in all that time.
Sweetie nodded to herself and let out a deep sigh. She was ready to leave the place altogether but there still was the matter with the wolf to deal with. Her horn discharged and the aura fainted. Only then would she shift her attention back around to Fluttershy.
“Uhm, Sweets, ya might have given ‘er a bit too much...” Apple Bloom said in response, nervous about what happened. She had seen before how a thrall was brought to sleep after their master had been killed. The dose that Sweetie had given to Trixie appeared too much for the unicorn to handle.
Scootaloo checked the pulse that went through the unconscious unicorn and found out that it was indeed slower than usual. “She’s right, you did gave her way too much. What’s your excuse for it?” Her serious side had come out once more, demanding answers from Sweetie Belle herself. Of course could the fact that she just missed Rarity come to play in it. That she had lost the feel for her magic because of her troubled emotions, but they both suspected that there was more going on.
Sweetie huffed and gazed back to Trixie, than to the other two ponies. Her eyes had again that dead stare in them. She felt like she didn’t owed them an explanation of sorts, yet the glance in their eyes spoke more than enough. “I did it so that she could forget about Rarity completely. If there’s one pony who deserves to not know the truth of what had happened here, it’s her. She’s just a thrall that served her master, didn’t do anything wrong. She’s best the way she was, the showpony we all came to know her as.” That was the excuse that the sorceress had for it, the best one she could think of.
“But her mind will now piece together her own time-line! You know that, right? She will go to places where she thought to have been, but never went because she was here. And you know how Trixie’s mind work, small doesn’t appear in her dictionary,” commented Scootaloo to the matter. She did happen to have point, which brought the words of Sweetie to a grinding hold. “You, didn’t thought of that, did you?”
Apple Bloom chuckled to herself, shaking her head in the process. It was too precious to see Scootaloo and Sweetie butt heads against each other. The voice of reason and the loose cannon, she would have paid to even see it happening time and time again.
“No Scoots, I didn’t thought of that. I just knocked her out cold because I felt like it, happy now?” Sweetie growled in return. She wanted to shake some sense in Scootaloo, but knew that the pegasus had a point of her own. If anything, they both had so their reasons of being right and wrong. But it wasn’t the time to figure out whom was more right. “Let’s not go into this, not while there’s still one matter to solve. After we’ve returned to Ponyville, we can discuss this further.”
Fluttershy knew that they were speaking of her. She knew that the hunters would have come for her in the end. She was the last being to have dealt with before they could call it quits. But before they would do so, she would pay her own respects to Rarity. She couldn’t revert back to her old, pegasus self, not while the moon was still shining bright of course. A soft whimper for Rarity was first released, before it would turn in a howl of pure sadness.
The wolf was genuinely sad that Rarity was gone. And why couldn’t she be? She had lost a friend of hers that was dear to her heart. She had lost somebody with whom she could talk about her condition and always ask shelter to. Rarity was to her more than just a friend, she had become her guardian of some sorts. Yes, she had done horrible things, the both of them, but they both had been able to live their lives in relative ease and calm. If things were only that easy to explain.
The howl that went through the entire throne room showed to the hunters that it was a howl of mourning. No words would be spoken during it, it would have been disrespectful to do so. They had come up with the respect that they required to give the chance to Fluttershy to pay her respects and say her goodbye to Rarity in her own manner.
When silence returned to the room a couple seconds later, Fluttershy’s expression had changed. It was the true mare who had returned in control and the beast that she could be was locked away behind her toughest door. This wouldn’t have been either the time and place for it to cause havoc. No, Fluttershy had to stand up and take whatever came next as herself.
The three hunters would have walked up to Fluttershy, unsure what to do with her. She would basically be the only survivor of the ordeal that had happened in the castle. She was the only one who could testify against the crimes committed by everypony, showed the world how Rarity had worked and that she still was a good mare despite her vampiric nature. Of course, that was where Sweetie was hoping for. The chance very well existed that her sister had gone full berserk on more than one occasion. The situation was difficult to explain and even get an understanding of.
Sweetie Belle was the one that approached the wolf, placing a hoof in the neck, gently comforting Fluttershy and asking her in silence to remain calm for whatever came next. “You know we’ve got to leave this place, right? And, if you come with us, you will be put on trial by the Night Guard. What you sentence is going to be, I do not know, I don’t know how well they are going to respond to all of this. But, we three know what happened here,” she said to the wolf.
It showed to Fluttershy that they were ready to join her side, instead of their own if it came to a court. It was a major relief for the wolf who gave them a toothy grin of appreciation. Fluttershy was truly glad that they were wanting and willing to help her. “Let’s...go, she deserves...rest,” the wolf managed to say, wanting to give Rarity her final rest.
Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom all three nodded to those words. They wanted to leave the castle as well. The iron gate wouldn’t have been a problem from the inside, but the throne room would have been. Two of them wandered already out of the room, followed by the wolf. Only Sweetie remained for just a bit longer.
Her eyes went to the spot where Rarity had died and saw the last specs of dust laying there. She took a deep inhale and then smiled. For the first time in a long, long time she could smile again. She was glad that her sister had found peace somewhere. She would leave the throne room, but not before noticing the one painting.
Her eyes lit up at the sight of it and she couldn’t even believe that it was actually true. Tears shot in her eyes and she shook her head. A single chuckle left her, one that echoed through the hall. Only to be overwhelmed by the sound of her horn charging up.
Rarity’s finally resting place would be sealed off from the world. The room in which she had her final confrontation would become her final resting place. With a new sense of pride and feeling for retirement, Sweetie closed the wooden doors with help of her magic. That very same magic would cast a lock on the wood, making sure it would never open unless she allowed it.
The spell was cast and would suffice itself from magic for an indefinite amount of time. The final resting place of Rarity would forevermore be undisturbed.
Without a word would Sweetie have joined the other two hunters and the wolf. They could only return home and live their lives in the way they saw fit. They had done it, they had given a closure to the one of the darkest chapters in Sweetie’s life.
When they finally stood back in the forest, the young unicorn had one last look over to the castle and sighed deeply. The place that Rarity had called home for so long, was finally her resting place. “Even though a story might not be over, sometimes it’s best not to know how it ends. Sometimes it’s better to remain ignorant of the possible future that it would take.”
A deep sigh was given by the young mare, who shook her head and forced the tears to stay where they were. “Because, if you start reading through what comes next, you might not be prepared for what you will discover. And in the end, every story does end...”
A couple days had come to pass by after the events in the castle that stood in Everfree. In the Canterlot gardens had Fluttershy in her pony-form, the three hunters and princess Luna gathered themselves. The three had gathered themselves in a more private and secluded part of the garden and were all looking at the fountain that stood there. It was relaxing to see how the waters streamed down from there, but everypony knew the gravity of the situation. This wasn’t just any old trip to the gardens to meet the princess. No, this was the trial of Fluttershy herself.
Princess Luna had revealed herself as the vampony that she was and thus appeared more bat-like in appearance than normal. It was a secret that she had kept high and far away from the public eye. Only the Night Guard and those questioned by the organization would come to know what she truly was. Not even Celestia would have known what Luna truly was, at least she hoped that.
The princess had listened to the entire story as it was told by the hunters, Fluttershy constantly agreeing with their words. It was sad to hear that Rarity had departed from the world of course. On the other end, it was also a relief to hear. Because now, Luna could re-establish herself as the queen of all vamponies. But a thought gnawed at her mind. The vamponies had been living in relative harmony in the years without a queen. Maybe it was better for them to be left queenless, to make sure that they would survive in a fashion that they saw fit.
“I do believe your stories to the letter, and I’m both mortified and saddened by the fact that Rarity is gone. But you, Fluttershy, I’m more surprised about your being. You, of all, becoming a lycan and managing to live your life as you did. It was a marvel of nature indeed.” She had paid her respects to Rarity some time ago already, as she felt the death of the mare. Which helped her in a way to solemnly collect her mind on the case of Fluttershy.
That same Fluttershy sighed deep and tore herself away from the fountain. She wasn’t relaxed by it, she was terrified by it. She was terrified for whatever fate would come next. “It’s no marvel, princess, it’s the greatest curse that has ever fallen upon me. I’m glad, that you were able to mask the moon tonight, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to talk. Thank you, for that. But, what will become of me?”
The three hunters had remained silent, and would do so until the princess needed them again. But that same princess cracked a toothy smile. “You’ll be living your life as you see fit. Establishing the Night Guard again was perhaps the greatest mistake that I’ve made in recent years. All the pain and terror that they reigned, that you three brought forth to the world alone. It will be disbanded first thing in the morning. You four will be free to do what you desire, although I’m afraid I will never be able to feel that anymore in my life.”
“Luna?” a voice echoed close by. A voice that everypony knew well enough to recognize in just one instant. It was too close for the comforts of the vampiric alicorn, but she still reverted back to her more ‘normal self’. And around the corner she then appeared, as majestic and prideful as ever. Princess Celestia stood there, looking over the five of them with a curious glance in her eye. “So this is where you brought them. And Luna, there’s no need to hide what you are. I am fully aware of it.”
“W-What? What are you talking about?” the princess of the night stammered out. Luna pretended to not have a clue what her sister spoke about. But the stern glance in Celestia’s eye gave everything away. Her elder sister knew exactly what she was speaking about. So with a deep sigh would Luna have let the facade fall down. There was no need to keep it hidden from her, from anypony for that matter. “How long?” That was the only question she asked, with a spiteful glance in her own eyes.
Celestia smiled a bit and stepped further to the fountain, passing Fluttershy who turned back around to face the mighty princess herself. A thoughtful groan left the mare moments prior to her eye shutting. “When was the first time that I sensed it? Much longer ago than I would like to admit to you. The moment that she took control of you, that was when I began to notice the changes in you as well. I had hoped that, after your return, you would have been the same as before, but she gave you a deadly gift. I knew it, because our sisterly connection, Luna. No magic, no nothing. It gives much more away than you would like to admit, as I’m sure that you know a couple things about me that you rather don’t spill to anypony else.”
There did the princess of the sun had the princess of the moon. “And you let me do this?” Luna questioned to her sister. A twinkle of her own curiosity filled her eyes. It was amazing to see how her sister would have talked her way out of this, but the answer was one that might have been difficult to get. If there was even one that could be spoken.
Celestia had opened her eye again and taken a look to Fluttershy. A smile came to her face, completely ignoring the words of her sister. It would be one of the many secrets that she would take with her until the very end of time itself. Her eyes had fallen upon the yellow pegasus and at the same time, also gained a saddened expression. “I wish that I had something to counter your condition, Fluttershy. Your lycanthropy is not something that can be reversed, I’m afraid.”
“I, understand it, your highness,” the pegasus returned with a saddened tone. She had hopes that her condition could be cured by something. “But, isn’t there something to, keep the beast...in check?” A question that was fairly asked by her, and one on which Celestia did have an answer.
A gentle smile came to her lips. The princess of the sun made her way closer to the pegasus and laid a wing over Fluttershy’s body, engulfing her in the harmonic of the princess. “I’ve managed to make contact with Zecora, with whom you have a couple of previous encounters, and she said that she could try and make something that will, when you change, to be more in control. I do hope that this is going to help.”
While all those answers were nice and such, the main question that still remained. It was one that tormented Sweetie’s mind more than any other question she had up to that point. The one question that she wanted to have answered. She shifted her attention to the princess of the sun, determined eyes and all. “Why?” was all that she asked.
Celestia knew that the young unicorn spoke to her and let out a deep exhale, inaudible for everypony though. She didn’t knew what Sweetie wanted to know, but there were thoughts pointing her in a particular direction. “Why, what, my faithful subject? What’s troubling your mind so much?”
Sweetie huffed and took a step closer to the princess. Her emotional grief was readable in every feature of her body. “Why, did she had to die? Why couldn’t she be cured, helped? No, she had to die, for what reason? Who are you to say that who lives and who dies?”
It was in that moment that Sweetie had managed to lock Celestia in an impossible situation. The princess of the sun didn’t have an answer on the matter. The wing was lifted off of Fluttershy and she turned her whole to face Sweetie. It took guts to ask those kinds of questions to an alicorn of her status. But the look in her eye gave it all away. The look in her eyes spoke the one answer that Sweetie had never hoped to hear.
“You don’t know,” was all that she said. Her heart felt like shattering, stop beating altogether and just be done with it. Unfortunately, she didn’t have control over the matter at all.
Maybe Luna could have provided some insight on the matter. Something that has been troubling her own mind for quite some time at that point. The princess of the night stood by her sister and Fluttershy left the two for what they were. The two alicorns next to each other, the clashing harmonics wreaked havoc in her mind.
Luna sighed deep, shutting her eyes in the process. Her words had to be formulated with care or Sweetie could explode in front of them all. “It’s a twisted curse of fate. The fabrics of reality are woven in such a manner, that we do not understand them, not even my sister and I. We’ve wondered for years why some pass young but have good in them, while other grow old with evil nestled inside them. We can’t make the decision of the greater powers. Rarity’s, unfortunate death, had been postponed twice already. Perhaps the greater powers thought that the third time was the charm, and they were right.”
That was the explanation with which Sweetie had to do it, as unbelievable as it was. She didn’t receive any answers at all and just was expected to roll with the matter as it was. Unbelievable, that was what she thought that it was, and in a way, she was right about it.
“You’re dismissed, hunters, disbanded and no longer serving the Night Guard, what you do now is up to you, but you have fulfilled what you set out to do, and I’m proud on that,” added Luna. Her eyes had a gander at each of the three. She also gave them the option to leave.
An option which they gladly took. The three hunters had seen and done the unbelievable and just wanted to go, go back home and sleep in their own beds once more. Even if it meant for Sweetie that she had to face her nightmares once more.
Celestia’s eye fell on Fluttershy, who calmly nodded. They had some further business to discuss with one another and would leave shortly after the hunters went. That left only Luna who stood in the garden. In just a moment for herself, she would come to reflect all that happened in the past couple of months.
The alicorn approached the fountain and had a look at the water that laid dormant in it. The reflection in it told her more than enough. “History is doomed to repeat itself, the proof lays in the road of the past...” Everything that had happened over the past years were to blame for it. The moment that Rarity was turned had been marked the beginning of her downfall.
Even though the Night Guard had been disbanded, lycans and vamponies were still at large. Not even she knew what would happen, but it couldn’t worse than with the Night Guard doing its job. It was a tough call indeed. And in that moment, Luna reverted back to the vampony that she was. A soft hiss was given by her before she shook her head.
“Many stories have ended this night, too many...” Luna mumbled to herself, tugging her wings back against her body and looking up to the skies. And just in that moment, she would have paid her respects to Rarity. Her head bowed, her eyes went shut, silence took over the fountain whole. “Rest now, my queen, your hardship is over.”
Rarity’s death didn’t went unnoticed of course. In the parental house of the mare sat her mother at the fireplace. The darkness that had engulfed the building was something to be quiet about. Her husband had already gone to bed but Pearl remained seated there. She sat in a chair with next to her, the diary that she once found atop her desk. The diary that belonged to Rarity and explained what had happened to her, to her eldest daughter.
The fires cracked in the fire place and the mare only saw one thing that she could do. There was nothing else that she wanted to do. Even though she didn’t wanted to throw Rarity out of her life whole, Pearl had to get rid of the diary. The dreaded and burned book spoke too much of the horrors that she had become.
A hoof reached for the burned book with tears streaming down her face. A deep sigh followed with a tremble. Not even a last time looking through the pages was given by Pearl. No, instead she laid it in the fires and began to watch it burn. Just watch it being consumed by the flames.
Half her daughter’s life, gone up in flames for the second time. Words couldn’t be spoken by her, the grief and sadness that she felt were too much. All she could, was to cry. Cry for as long as the book would burn in the flames.
The saying goes that those who are ignorant, are blessed. And in this case, it truly was that. Those who didn’t knew, would never come to know. Pearl’s tears only began to stream more intense when a morbid thought clouded her every judgement. A thought that would make her sob in silence.
The story of Rarity was over, there was nothing more to add, but all the more to forget...
So, here we finally are. At the end of everything and the final part. There are a couple of things that I want to say before I finally put the matter to rest and be done with the Blood Curse-series as a whole.
First of all and by definite foremost, I want to thank every single person who has read through both stories and enjoyed them. It was a long road, with many re-writes and edits for me to bring the tales to the point that they are. A lot of time was spend at polishing the both of them, more than I’m comfortable to admit. Neither story could have been made without your support and reading through all the comments on them, managed to warm my heart. Again, a massive thanks to each and every one of you. It honestly wouldn't have been possible without your support.
Second, I think I do owe you all a little explanation as to what happened, which is quite the story in and of itself. As you know, the final chapter of BCB was released on March 16th 2015. That was a long, long road already. Mainly because I started BCB somewhere in October of 2012. When it was ‘done’ in my eyes, it was only half the story that it is now, I added to it, took parts away and overall just made the story great.
When the ending was closing by, I still felt that there was something missing, something that gave a conclusion to the story but kept the possibility open for a possible sequel. Hence why I wrote both chapter 52 and 53 somewhere in the period of August 2014. Nearly two whole years later, I was still writing the tale.
Now, when BCB was over and finished, I thought both long and hard on whether or not I wanted to write a sequel to it. In the end, I buckled down to the fact that I would. But life kinda managed to kick me in the guts and it would take me up to January 2016 to even start writing the sequel. I had to re-write the story-flow at least once before I was to my liking. BCH got off with a bumpy start to say the least...
But while I was writing it, both energy and effort were a long ways away. I didn’t wanted to continue writing the story and eventually just hung up the coat. I edited the chapters and published them as they are now. Originally, there were only 18 chapters, which you all have read and enjoyed as well. It was only somewhere the end of May 2016 that I thought long and hard. I didn’t wanted to write the entire story, as I was just done with, but on the other end I wanted to write a conclusion to it.
I went through the story-flow and picked the moment where the final act would begin and decided to write from there. Which happened to be chapter 115. Are they rushed and not up to par with the rest of the story? Yes, that they are and I’m not the one who’s going to deny it. I just wanted to have an ending to the story and just be done with it, which I am now.
The Blood Curse-series is done now for me, with a stellar first entry and a, not-so-up-to-par sequel as everybody would have hoped. I can’t make it better than it is, and with how it went down (with me actually writing an entire original story just to not write BCH), the answers were clear to me. It’s a shame that it came to end on such a low note though. But it's the final nail in the series coffin.
Nonetheless, I want to thank each and every last one of you again for having taken the time and read through either one or both of the stories. There are no other words that I know I want to speak, other than it has been a blast to write the tales, even if I lost the will 1/10th in the sequel... The story is now definitely over, it’s done, it’s wrapped up and given an ending of which I am happy.
What the future might hold? Hell if I know, but I’ll be looking at things to get inspiration for stories of grandeur and madness. Because after all, it’s how I always managed to write my tales.
The last and truly final chapter will hold the chapters that are missing and, this is where I’m going to leave it be. Have a good one on ya!
When the dawn reaches them again, no news travels through Ponyville. Which either means it’s a good night, or the messenger got murdered in the night. Sweetie wakes up and joins her family at breakfast, there she drops the news of joining the Guard.
Both her father and mother are mortified when they hear it. They had never expected that their Sweetie would join such an organization. When they ask for the reason behind the thoughts can Sweetie only say that she will be doing it for Rarity. A fact her parents won’t understand.
They try to talk the filly out of it, they soon come to realize that it is hopeless. Sweetie is stuck in that very mindset and there’s nothing that can stop her. Which results in the only thing that her parents can do, is to support her in her choices. If that is the course Sweetie wants to sail then so it would have been.
With the approval of her parents, Sweetie goes to town hall in order to enlist herself. Once she arrives, she figures out that the situation might be a bit more delicate. She sees the bat ponies again and she’s terrified by their natural appearance. Another thing that she notices, is how empty town hall is.
As nervous as she is, she approaches a bat pony stallion and he inspects her in silence, asking what the hell she’s coming to do. Sweetie tells him that she wants to enlist and he takes an even better look at her. Although he finds her skinny and whimpy, there might be some juice inside of her. Something encouraged when Scootaloo and Apple Bloom come barging in.
The story cuts back to both Rarity and Soulful Gust, the two of them had been talking to one another about the future of the vampiric race for a moment. How they got to that point, not even they seem to know. Nor do they really care. When the realization came in, the topic is discarded with haste.
With Soulful Gust at her service, Rarity now has three servants that can do her bidding, but she still isn’t too happy about it all. She hungers for the thrill of the hunt, the twinkling eyes with hope before she shatters just that. Something, must settle her hunger. Gust knows what it might be, and even proposes it to Rarity.
Who in return turns to him with a risen eyebrow. Something was wrong, right? He couldn’t have proposed that very thing. He couldn’t have proposed that she would go to either Canterlot or Ponyville, in order to satisfy the one thing that she couldn’t bring to herself within the castle. She calls it a stupid idea of course, but somewhere in her mind she knows that he is right.
There’s little that can be done at that moment. While Trixie returns, she can see that the mind of Gust has influenced her mistress. Rarity walks up to her and tells her that she will be leaving within a few hours for Canterlot itself. Trixie’s heart, sinks.
Trixie tries her best to talk Rarity out of the matter, but it just doesn’t work. There’s nothing that can talk Rarity out of the plan. She’s going to head to Canterlot and gives Trixie the order to watch over Gust. Something she’s rather eager to do. Trixie leaves Rarity alone, who continues her way upwards.
With Trixie going back down, Rarity keeps on going up before she reaches her chambers again. She goes to gather all of her stuff for the trip and dresses herself in something incognito. Something maroon and black while a spell is used to change the color of her mane. She’s all ready to go for Canterlot, to see the wonders of the city she hadn’t been too in a year.
With Rarity having left, Trixie goes to spy upon Gust, pretending to be under even deeper sedation. For some reason, Trixie has more mental freedom than Fleur had, but Trixie had been a guinea pig for Rarity’s mesmerizing abilities. Rarity’s hold is tight around her mind, tighter than Fleur’s, but she just doesn’t realize it yet.
Trixie keeps on spying on Gust, who eventually catches up with her and wants to know everything that she knows. Going even so far as to threaten the mare. Only moments before the growling sounds of a wolf are caught within his ears. Slow, he turns back around to see a drooling Flutterwolf standing there.
He let’s go of Trixie and focusses his attention to the wolf with a curious expression. Never in his life had he expected a lycan to get in there. When Trixie explains it’s Rarity’s ‘pet’, his interests are peeked. There might have been more behind this Rarity than he originally had expected. Something was about to happen, that much was certain without a doubt.
Flutterwolf keeps on growling to him before he introduces himself as the being he is. Not that it really matters to Fluttershy. She only wants the best for Rarity, he doesn’t fit within the very picture. They talk for a bit before the single warning is given to Gust. Rarity has to be left, alone. A message he understands clear as crystal.
Meanwhile in Ponyville are the CMC standing in town hall, Sweetie wants to enlist herself for the Lunar Guard and just wonders what both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are doing there. She just asks the both of them with a blunt question and she has to prepare herself for an even blunder answer.
Whether she likes it or not, whether she wanted it or not, Sweetie Belle isn’t going to be alone in the madness. The both of them will enlist as well, together they will form one tight group among the ranks and together, they will keep Ponyville safe at night. A thing the bat ponies can hardly imagine.
Still, they are allowed to enlist themselves and each tell their special abilities. The more the bat pony listens to the three of them, the more he begins to realize that there might be something special to those three. Just the three of them should be able to do a lot of work indeed.
However, since they are the only three enlisted within the borders of Ponyville, they are assigned to a more veteran among the ranks. Somepony who had been living, breathing and battling side by side with the bat ponies for the past ten months. The three hear stories they can’t believe.
All that they know, is that it is just a normal, unicorn stallion who is both skilled with the blade as well as the bow and arrow. Two things critical when dealing with a vampony or with a lycan. The three of them are brought over to the upper floor of town hall in order to meet their mentor. Somepony who they never thought they would see ever again: prince Blueblood.
Having arrived in Canterlot, Rarity first goes out to see if a hotel still has a room free for her. Though her demands are high and specific, the hotel that she tries still has a room free and is given to her for nothing, thanks to her glammering ability. She goes to the room and has a look whether or not everything is still in order, which it oddly is.
There she waits for the night to fall and for the night life to become dwelling. She knows that the Lunar Guards are watching her. She knows that there’s somepony else in Canterlot that she began to despise. One look out of the window gives her the view of the haunting castle, bathing within the light of the moon. Terrifying her.
She leaves the room in a hurry and leaves the hotel just as quick. With her disguise on, she starts to hum some songs in the nightly air, she tries not to get too much attention to herself while her more primal instincts all start to return to her. Everything, start to come back to her. Rarity the hunter, has returned to Equestria once more. She wants somepony to take care of her desires.
And what better way to do such a thing, than to play the role of damsel in distress. All that she needs to do, is just get her act together and get somepony either stupid enough or brave enough to help her. She has just the plan for that to happen. All that she need first, is to find a stallion or mare willing to help her.
With the act going on, Rarity appears as a pony down to her luck, lost within the massive city of Canterlot and simply in the need of directions. She spots a lone stallion and approaches him, asking him where a certain alleyway is. At first he doesn’t get what she’s truly aiming for, but then he decides to bring her, out of free will.
While the two wander through town, Rarity continuously lurks at his neck, the tension is already higher than it should be and her thirst is literally killing her. She needs to feed, quickly. Yet caution is advised in Canterlot.
They roam through the city a little bit, talking about everyday life and how things are going, small talk, all to keep the nerves down a bit. They pass a couple of bat ponies and Rarity feels her terror rising, something could happen, at any given moment. She wants to flee, but makes the decision to stay. If anything bad happened, she would be to blame.
The bat ponies pass them, almost looking like they would be asking something from her, but then carry one. Rarity is relieved with that and continues on with her conversation to the stallion. When they do arrive at the alley, the two disappear within it, for whatever reason.
Seduction had gotten the stallion far and crazy enough to follow Rarity into the darkness. While alone, they are given all the time and space that they need. The two talk a bit more, before Rarity reveals her deadly self. The stallion is silenced while she reaches for the neck, draining him.
She kills the stallion just like that and his lifeless body falls to the ground. Unware to her was that she had gotten a visitor or two friends of the stallion who had followed them just in case. In the corner of her eyes she notices them, telling them to beat it if they want to live.
Even the two other stallions are making a run for it, she still can’t help herself. The thrill of the hunt has become too much for her to handle. And they would without a single doubt go and turn her in by the Lunar Guard. There’s only one option that Rarity can think off in order to silence them.
She sets in the hunt to them and chases the pair almost through half of Canterlot. She uses stealth and speed, using her vampiric agility to make sure she stays ahead of the two of them. Only when they arrive at yet another alleyway in which they think it is save, she reveals herself to the pair.
The two are terrified down to the bone that they see her standing there. Something about her just isn’t right at all. Yet they also seem to recognize her. They seem to recognize just who it was that had killed their friend. They spew some empty threads towards Rarity, who discards them straight away and just like that.
The two stallions have to prepare for a fight of their lives because the vampony isn’t going to let them go. If they manage to kill Rarity, they will become heroes, but if not, it will be them that will turn down to the grave. In the end, the fight erupts between the three of them.
Rarity isn’t going to escape unharmed though. She has to take the punches that will be delivered to her. But given how there’s two of them and one of her, there’s rather little that she can do. In the end, she comes up with a lethal plan to end them both. In a mindset of primal instincts, after one good hit to her body, she pretends to go down. The two look over her, wondering.
Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom nor Scootaloo could have ever believed that it was prince Blueblood that would have come to teach them in the arts of ending the lives of the supernatural. What had made him so specialized outside of his practice? The three just straight up ask it of him, but he has never shown his face to the three of them.
He just sits there, with one part of his face looking to them, while the other is placed at the fireplace. Fear of the unknown takes them all over, all while he starts to tell the haunting reality of the matter. He tells them that he was once ignorant, stupid and above all, a fool. He remembers Sweetie Belle, Rarity’s little sister and apologizes for his behavior during their first Gala, years ago.
Then he starts to tell them he sees the same fire in Sweetie’s eyes as he carried. The will to make things right again. But when he finally turns to the three, a massive scar across his eye and cheek is revealed. A scar Blueblood had gotten because of a vampony and a lycan who were going at each other in the woods of Everfree.
The story makes a huge impact on the three young mares, but the most important thing is why they want to join the Lunar Guard. Nopony in Ponyville would have been stupid enough to do that, that was at least the reasoning Blueblood had.
Yet Sweetie, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom all tell him their reasons as to why they want to join. Two just want to join in order to make sure that their friend is save. But Sweetie is the real reason, she wants to hunt down the murderer of her sister. News that even pains Blueblood to hear. All the more motivation for him to keep on doing what he had been doing, no matter what.
In the light of events as they had happened, Blueblood agrees to teach the three of them, as there’s nothing else that can be done. Their knowledge of the supernatural beings is still a minimum, but he can train them in that. He wastes no time with that at all, straight away he gets out of his chair and asks them which kind of weapon they prefer to use.
Sweetie answers of course with her magic, since she’s a unicorn, Apple Bloom wants to do something with her strength while Scootaloo doesn’t know it. Of course she wants to do something with flight, but she can’t fly. Blueblood agrees to their wishes, telling them that it is possible for the three races to be combined. Quick ideas are being made by him. A mage, a tank and a support, but if that’s the way for them to go, remains to be seen.
The CMC don’t really like it when they are stuck in the particular role and ask something Blueblood had never expected, they ask him if they can improvise. Meaning, that they can take on any role at any given time. After a careful explanation, even Blueblood sees the meaning of it. He grants them their wish, in a way.
Whether Blueblood likes it or not, there’s still one being higher than that he is, the real leader of the Lunar Guard is one that they never had expected to be, but also one shrouded within the shadows. Not even Blueblood has an answer about who it really is. Not that they CMC care in the moment. They will be ready for anything, real soon.
Their training still has to begin though, and Blueblood promises them to do so, right there in Ponyville. With permission of Applejack, they can use a part of Sweet Apple Acres as their training ground before all hell’s about to break loose upon them. Whether they like it or not, trouble is going to hit Ponyville, one way or the other.
All the way back in Canterlot, in the castle of the royals, the night is there and Luna sits upon her throne, pondering her mind about the matters as they had happened. Matters that never should have had happened to begin with, matters that maybe should have worded differently. Whether she likes it or not, but the hunt of the vamponies is all her doing. She signed the approval of the Lunar Guard.
While she leaves her throne, the princess makes way to the lunar garden to spend some of the night. There she comes across figures from the past, figures that once were her close friends before the reign of Nightmare Moon happened. Each of them gave their lives, in order to aid the princess in one way or the other.
She mumbles words about how fortunate she should feel, while in reality she should have been laying in her gave three times over already. An ancient rage begins to course through her veins, a part of a curse that never left her body, the final gift that Nightmare Moon had bestowed upon her, the final piece of Luna’s demise, the elongated canines and a craving for blood.
Yet Luna manages to cease the transformation, telling herself that the facade need to be kept alive for those that roam the lands. The princess of the night wants nothing else but peace in her mind, but that is the one thing she’s never allowed to have. Combined with the murders that happened during the night, investigations have been slow. Though one question never had gotten an answer.
The question of where the lycans came from, the wolf-ponies just seemed to have gotten up out of nowhere. Not even Luna knows who or where they come from. She’s usually aware of those kind of things and Celestia isn’t hiding anything. For all she knows, there’s a massive beast that infects her own subjects in such manners. The fear of the unknown manages to strike its way into the heart of Luna, who returns to her chambers.
While Rarity pretended to be dead, the other two had come closer to her. They stood over her ‘dead’ body and checked whether or not she was still alive. But no sign like that is ever given. That is before one of the two slaps the other, telling that the mare has been undead. He takes out a silver cross and is ready to strike her, ready to end her, whether or not she’s already dead.
Rarity won’t have any of that and in a flash she gets up again. Her horn crams itself within the throat of the stallion with the cross, he only manages to slash across her side and wing, before dropping it and being killed by Rarity. The other stallion wants to run away, but is quickly ended too by her.
Even though she drains him from all of his blood, Rarity’s wound just don’t want to heal. Curious as to what the reason behind it is, she goes to inspect that very cross and discovers that it is a combination of the two things that she had come to hate more than anything else, silver and sunlight.
Somehow had the stallion become in the possession of a cross like that, one that belongs to those that dwell in the light. She growls towards it before taking her leave from the scene. With the triple murder that she had committed that night as well as the scar going over her wing and side, the best place for her to end up is within her hotel room, or even better: return to Everfree.
The decision is a hard thing to do without a doubt, but the unicorn releases a sigh and makes the call. Rarity would return to Everfree within the next nightfall. The rest of the day she would spend locked up inside of her hotel room, hoping to avoid any calls that could be made. Because slowly, the realization of what she had done comes setting in to her. And she isn’t happy at all.
When Rarity is back in her hotel room, she closes all the curtains and makes sure that she won’t be interrupted during the day. Any kind of service she doesn’t want to know about. All that she needs, is to be alone with her thoughts for the time being. All that she needs, is to reflect upon what she has done.
And for her, the best way to do so is within the bathroom. She prepares herself a steaming bath in the early morning, just when the sun peaks over the horizon. She drops herself within the bath and starts to think back in time, back to the times when she was first turned. Just two years ago it happened. Yet she had done so much injustice with her new nature, it even scares herself. It terrifies Rarity what she has become.
And yet, she has to learn to live with it. When she tried to end her own life, it was Luna who saved her. It was Luna who had knocked her out according to her own belief and brought her back in the castle of Shiva. A lot of things had happened silence then, things she wasn’t happy about to begin with. Things that terrified her even more.
Though she had become stronger as well, less emotional in her eyes. She can murder without feeling remorse. Two years of living as a vampony have detreated a lot of her manners. How long would it have been before she was nothing else but a mindless beast?
In order to avoid the answer upon that question does Rarity just close her eyes and submerges herself within the waters of the tub. There’s no other place for her to go, other than to lay still within the motionless water, the only kind of water in which she can survive. Yet while the mouth remains silent, it is the brain that continues to haunt her with pieces of the past. Whether Rarity likes it or not, she’s going to get yet another blast from the past. A blast that takes her back way further in time than she would have liked.
The day passes back into the night while everypony else is doing their things. The day just keeps on going within Canterlot, all while Rarity lays submerged within the bathtub, pondering her mind upon a lot of things left and right. Only when the full moon is raised, will the mare come back out of the tub.
When she finally gets out again, she has no idea as what to do, other than to pack her things and return back to her home within Everfree. However, even though she wants to return back to the castle, it doesn’t feel like it’s her true home. Instead she starts to hunger to another place, the one place where she always had felt home, the Carousel Boutique.
After everything had been packed, Rarity departs from her room, leaving no trace of her stay. With her mane straight and wearing a different dress to hide the scar still present, Rarity goes to the lobby in order to check out. With a bit of small talk done, the job is finished and she then makes way for the station of Canterlot.
After a long and boring traintrip does she stand in Ponyville again. The night won’t last that long anymore, but she just has to go to the place where her boutique used to stand. A little dream within a nightmarish reality. So she goes, in disguise, to the place she used to live.
Only to encounter the same nightmare as before. There’s nothing left of her one so prideful boutique. Nothing left for her to dwell within and nothing for her to work on. Everything has been taken away just like that. Everything is also being remembered by her, that horrible fire against her skin moments before Twilight saved her.
Though somewhere on the other side of town, Pearl wakes up and goes to her little desk in the room. The nightmares that she had been suffering were tiring her out to say the least. She’s the only one that knows the secrets of Rarity and that is a thing that’s devastating her.
She opens one of the locked drawers and takes out a burned diary before she starts to go through it again. Each page that she reads within the little light she can make, is mentally draining her. How it went from happy memories to such dark themes. Pearl just couldn’t understand it at all. Especially with Sweetie ‘s talk about joining the Night Guard.
She begins to fear the worst for both of her daughters. In silence she makes her way out of the room and to that of Rarity. The one place that she doesn’t dare to clean out. Within that room do the memories return to her, times happier, when Rarity was just a filly of Sweetie’s age.
But times had to change, as she knew and the filly she had brought forth finally spread her wings. When Rarity left the house, the place was a bit more dull. While Pearl stands in the doorway, a tear or two start to stream down her cheeks. Tears that make her feel sorry about Rarity as a whole, all while the night keeps on going.
The next morning, Pearl still stands in the opening and Magnum comes to meet her. He just stands there, in silence for a few moments before he notices what’s going on. Another night of sleep had been taken away from her. The stallion has no idea what he can do on the matter, other than to try and keep her comfort. Times, are strange to say the least.
That same moment, Sweetie leaves her room as well. She had come home for the rest of the night, after having spoken with Blueblood about a ton of things. Though she notices that it isn’t the right time nor moment to speak with her mother about the Night Guard. So that, is a thing that has to wait.
After she had done her daily routine, her mother is peacefully asleep in the bed and her father is doing the housely chores. Because it’s weekend, nopony is really making much of an issue out of it. But Sweetie still has to bring the news to her father. So she just tells him flat out while he’s doing the dishes.
A crash of a plate causes a silence between the two of them. Her father becomes both filled with fear and surprise at the same time. Yes, she had spoken about it, but he had never expected that Sweetie would have done it. And that’s the thing that surprises him the most.
He turns to face his daughter and lets out a deep sigh, there are no words on the matter that has unfolded between them. He wants to say she has to do her best yet on the other end, her decision has been just that stupid as well. Whatever would come next, it would rock the family as a whole. If not devastate.
He has already lost one daughter by something unknown, he doesn’t want to lose another by some kind of freakish accident within the woods of Everfree. Sweetie promises him to be safe, before Magnum tells her it’s not safe again. He really doesn’t want her to go, but she has to either way. In the end, the only thing that he can do, is to just let her go and be. Even if it hurts him just so much.
Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo meet up in the library of Twilight, there they see her standing together with a rather old friend of the librarian, Moon Dancer. The two speak a bit about the situation as it is before Twilight notices the three of them. She introduces them to Moon Dancer, who introduces herself.
Turned out that the two had become friends again after a return trip to Canterlot. A long and painful story neither is bothered to tell. However, Moon Dancer has turned her attention towards the literature that’s available when it comes to the supernatural beings. And it just so happen, that it is Moon Dancer that they need.
The five of them gather themselves in the living room before Moon Dancer starts to tell just what she has discovered about the vamponies and the lycans. To which Scootaloo comments the fact that they hadn’t had a lycan attack in Ponyville. Before she can even finish her words, two hooves are shoved in to shush her. Apple Blood says that that is asking for trouble and she knows it.
Moon Dancer assures them though, she’s sensed the magic that is around the village and tells them that Twilight knows what she’s doing. But it also comes to a little fact that raises her curiosity. Since their interest in the supernatural is so great, could it be they joined the Night Guard?
They answer truthfully and Twilight is shocked to hear those very words. Never in her life has she expected that the Crusaders would have taken up arms against those. Twilight tries to talk them out of it, but Sweetie’s mind is determined on it. She will continue, with or without her friends. Moon Dancer is amazed by the sheer amount of determination Sweetie shows.
The five of them have a conversation about all sorts of things before the door of the library opens up again. In the opening stands Blueblood. He lets out a deep sigh when he encounters both Twilight and Moon Dancer, who happens to be an advisor among the Night Guard, much to Twilight’s surprise. Moon Dancer excuses herself on the matter before she tells the story of how she was enlisted within.
Nearly half a year ago, Moon Dancer was still coming by from all of the stuff that had happened to her, Twilight and her new friends. One night, deep in the night, she was walking back home from a little party given by Minuette and she got attacked by something out of the dark. She had no idea what it was, but it seemed like a rogue bat-pony, because others were chasing it.
Even though not much happened, it was the most frightening experience in her life. Just the mad hunger that it carried within the eyes was enough to set the reality straight in her mind. Nopony was safe, and she would do whatever she could in order to protect her friends. That’s also in fact the reason why she came there to Twilight.
Suddenly it all begins to make sense to Twilight, who can both slap and hug Moon Dancer at the same time, but does neither of those things. Instead she just chuckles a little bit. Commenting on the fact that both business and pleasure have been combined. To which Moon Dancer agrees, as she hadn’t been yet to Ponyville, let alone Twilight’s new house in the Golden Oak Library.
But Blueblood asks if he could take the three young mares with him for training. They could have gathered the information they need and always return to Twilight if they require more info. For the moment, he needs them to train in order to start shaping them for the possible fights to come.
While the night has fallen again upon the village of Ponyville, Rarity crawls out of hiding as she had spent too much time in front of the place where her boutique used to stand. All of the memories that had been going through her, were perhaps a bit too much of the good stuff. She had taken residence within the cottage of Fluttershy, who didn’t happen to be home at the time. Though entrance was easy for her.
As she wants to leave, there are strange things going on around the cottage. Strange shadows move around while the snapping of bones can be heard. All of those things make little to no sense to Rarity when she thinks about it. If anything, she feels becoming scared, her, of all beings.
When she finally dares to come outside, she looks around the porch of the cottage and growls like a true animal, only to receive a growl back. One that is of something much bigger and much more terrifying. A bear stands next to the cottage, but it’s the being that stands next to it that surprises her the most. For next to the bear, stands Fluttershy in her normal form.
Rarity is relieved to see that at least Fluttershy is there in a form that she knows. The two of them start to talk a bit to one another, eventually revealing the fact that Trixie hadn’t felt herself comfortable around Gust. There was just something about him that gave her the creeps. Rarity understands the concern, though she needs to analyze him a bit more herself.
Then she asks how the state of the castle is doing, but even that brings some bad news. More and more ponies seem to discover it and scaring them away isn’t going to be helping anymore. Which means that the iron gate has to be lowered in order to keep them out, a thing Rarity can understand. A thing she would even initiate the next time she’s at the castle.
While Rarity leaves, Fluttershy is left alone with the bear and she goes to her cottage in order to get some sleep for the night. The mare is too tired to do anything and still has to appear both normal and casual for her own doing. Whether she likes it or not, the next day would reveal a thing or two about everypony in town.
While the sun rises again, Fluttershy goes about her daily routine before she leaves the cottage. The market is in town and she goes out to get some groceries. A lot of things are needed by her and that’s the place to get them. Though while she walks, she senses that something isn’t feeling right. Like a shield had been put up around the village. A field to detect lycans.
Meanwhile, in the library are both Moon Dancer and Twilight having breakfast before Twilight gets the signal to her horn. The two unicorns know what it means, but they can’t do anything. A lycan in daylight looks like every other pony, so there’s no way of telling who is who. They can sense them, but not capture them. At least they know there’s one, and they want to watch.
While Fluttershy is wandering about the market place, she gets most of the things that she needs. Things to either feed herself or to feed all of the creatures and critters that were staying at her home. She makes a couple of small talks with ponies that she knows before making her way further up again, all the way up to the last stand.
There she gets the last couple of things before she noticed both Twilight and Moon Dancer looking over the market. They don’t seem to be doing anything and Fluttershy wants to give them their privacy, even though she has no idea who Moon Dancer is. It’s for the better, because the pain her heart is tearing her up. She has to return to her cottage, outside of the force field.
Twilight and Moon Dancer have been watching over the market place, eyeing those who seem to have been rather suspicious but neither can pinpoint any potential candidate of being a lycan. Yet the magic of Twilight does tell her that there is one. Moon Dancer nudges Twilight at one point and then points to Fluttershy.
Twilight states that it is Fluttershy, the one pony who doesn’t want to harm anypony else in their company. Though those words make Moon Dancer think for a moment, before asking where she lives. Twilight answers truthfully, revealing it’s outside of the shield. Moon Dancer is brought to thinking for the moment before she just nods. She’s starting to have her own ideas on the matter.
All while Fluttershy is walking away from the scene. The last thing that Fluttershy wants, is to come in contact with anypony else. Fortunatly her shy and timid personality have been a big help through the years of time. That alone makes sure that not too many ponies want to talk to her. An accident by something fortunate, perhaps.
Fluttershy had returned to her cottage and unpacked everything that she had bought. Slowly do the critters return to her house. They know she’s a cursed being, but that doesn’t stop them when she’s in her normal appearance. To them, it is still just Fluttershy that is standing there.
Fluttershy prepares then dinner for herself and for all of the critters that were around her. From the birds to the bear, all of them get their fair share of food. Only when the time is right, goes Fluttershy back to bed in order to sleep through the night, a night that doesn’t carry any kind of moon for some unknown reason. Something that’s not happening too often, but when it does, it should have been feared.
All the way back in Canterlot, back in the castle of the two sisters, a distorted voice speaks through the room of Luna. A distorted voice echo’s through the space while a pair of batwings sharpen themselves. For the first time ever is the curse of Luna revealed to the world. For the first time ever is her true name revealed. She is Shiva, and Shiva is Luna. Within the room stands a vampiric version of herself that growls like a seamonster.
The vampiric Luna walks out of her room, looking at the bat-ponies with a haunting glare, mumbling whether or not their creation was worth it. Stating that they all spawned from her. But then Nightmare Moon happened and everything changed. History is foggy within her mind, and the memories don’t serve her well, mostly because she had blocked them out herself. All the memories of around that time are locked tight within her mind. She doesn’t even want to know.
Luna makes her way up to the highest tower there is before she spreads her wings again. A hiss of true ominousness has been released upon the lands, every vampony that lives there heard it, with the exception of Rarity, who for only a moment stood equal in power to Luna. Queens don’t hear one another, but their subjects can. She even states to herself how foolish Rarity was.
The lust and craving for fresh blood becomes only worse in her throat, yet she can’t drink any because of the triple murder that had been found. Who was so stupid to hunt within the capital of darkness? Or the better question would be: who wasn’t? Many things fill the mind of Luna at the moment while she grants a view towards Everfree.
Then she returns back to her chambers, hoping to avoid Celestia. There was one thing that Celestia didn’t knew about her sister, and that was that little fact. Yes, Luna created the Night Guard, but only because Celestia insisted. In order to keep her own facade going, Luna agreed. Now, she’s forced to hunt down her own kind for whatever reason Celestia feels like. But how did it all came to be again? That, is a thing Luna need to figure out. Or perhaps, doesn’t want to.
It had been years since Luna first had begun to dream about the nightmares. The nightmares had reveled themselves within her mind, talking to her, molding her into becoming the devil she would become known as. But Luna was resistant, and Moon required something heavier.
Time came and went while Luna kept on locking herself in her bedroom, only appearing when it was her time to shine. One night, she wanders through the castle’s gardens and talks to herself, while in fact it being Nightmare Moon she speaks to. She states that nopony seem to appreciate the night, on which Moon might have the solution.
The two of them depart for a part of the garden that had been off limits for the longest of times, not even Luna remembered why she didn’t come there again, but when its revealed to her, she remembers again, she remembers why. Because there, all her nightmares are stored. Horrid dreams of the past and those still to come.
In the cave, Moon talks to Luna about some kind of gift. Upon the unanswerable question, does Luna say that she will accept it. Because there’s no appreciation for the night, that’s going to be changed forever. A new kind of species will arise when the time comes. But at a price, Moon is not prepared to share whatsoever, for obvious reasons.
Luna agrees to the matter and allow Moon to take over her body for the moment. Moon then goes to create the bat-ponies about of pieces of Luna, setting in the curse that she will be living for the rest of her existence. Moon keeps on doing her thing, but while the magic is pumped into creating the bat-ponies, Luna begins to change more and more as well.
While the bat-ponies have been formed, Luna is reverted down to her more primal stage, down to a stage in her life where she thinks she has the control over everything, but in fact is just as much a puppet as anything. The bat-ponies have come to life, but they need to be hidden from Celestia, same as with Luna’s condition.
The thirst for blood lingers within her throat, the lust of flesh craves within her stomach, the eyes are only out for something to hunt. Luna has become more beast than pony, and every part of her body shows that. She makes sure that the bat-ponies owe their alliance to her, claiming that she is their queen of darkness. But when they ask for the name of their queen, no answer comes, yet.
Luna has become one of the very first vamponies in history and she has also given birth to them. As strange as it is seems, it could work out in her favor. Luna releases one last hiss, while Moon chuckles to herself within Luna’s very mind, talking to herself that it is almost time for her to arise to the thone.
Fast forward to the moment where Nightmare Moon had defeated Celestia in the first trail, the darkness claims the lands. Celestia is powerless to do anything else to stop the darkness. Even with the aid of Starswirl can’t she match up with the power of the vamponies. But Starswirl, as cunning and powerful as he is, creates another kind of species. Another kind of species that will hopefully counter the vamponies, the lycans. Wolves infected with hatred towards the species.
Even though Celestia doesn’t want to use them, she sees no other option other than to unleash them. There is nothing else that they can do in order to prevent Moon. With the lycans released, the last battle ravages through the lands, resulting in the history as it is known to the lands.
With Moon locked in the moon, Celestia calls the wolves back to her and orders Starswirl to revert them back to their normal form. There’s no other use for the lycans anymore, the vamponies are lost to the world, unable to breed and don’t pose enough of a threat to be hunted down. Starswirl obeys the orders and collects all the lycans again. When he reverts them all back to normal, one of them seemed to have been missing, resulting in him searching all over the place.
When the time arrives, he can’t find the missing lycan, resulting in the fact that he had failed his mission. One lycan still roams the lands and he has no idea where. Embarrassed, he doesn’t even tell Celestia, hoping it would lay dormant. But just like the vamponies, it will multiple until it can be considered a threat.
Celestia on the other end is saddened with grief and can’t take any more news concering pretty much anything, resulting in the fact that she can’t keep track of the brooding war between the lycans and the vamponies. Not that she cared about that to begin with.
Time went on and the new elements of harmony had been found. Nightmare Moon would have returned upon the earth and defeated once more, leaving Luna alone and cold. Even with accepting the friendship of her sister, a part of Moon still resides within Luna. The vampony side of her, is never going to leave again. She’s cursed and bound by those infernal shackles.
Having taken on the name of Shiva during her reign upon the earth, Luna wanted to see how her species was doing, before realizing that the tide had turned against each of them. It resulted in the events leading up to Rarity’s crowning. A thing she can still hit herself in the head for.
Luna awakes again within the real world and begins to wander around through the castle. Suddenly, the desires to see the place where it all began crawls up inside of her. Luna can only obey the call, for there’s nothing else left to do. She returns to the cavern where the bat-ponies had been created. Lusting for blood, she morphs back to her true self, while a bloody tear travels down her cheek.
Luna had never intended it to be that way, she had never expected that her life would have come to that. But when she looks into the pool of creation, a different future is shown to her. One which exists in a different time-line, one where Rarity had remained queen. Luna is forced to watch.
After Rarity had become queen of the vamponies, she had gone mad with her powers. The cunning and tactical pony had unleashed the full forces of the undead against the castle of Canterlot. In a matter of hours had everything been overrun and Rarity crowned herself queen of all. But those who bode resistance, were swiftly murdered.
Enter Twilight Sparkle, the very version of which Twilight came across in the previous story. After having returned from her time-traveling adventure, she’s ready to take on the guards of Rarity, ending the lives of every last one of them. Something, has kept her going, but at the same time she’s stuck in that very thing.
All of it fades though. The time-line is shattered before Luna’s eyes because of a decision made in their very past. The fact that Rarity had declined herself queenhood caused that time line to shatter and fade out of existence. Luna turns her gaze away from the pool, telling herself higher powers are at play there with time. She also states that interesting times are coming ahead of them.
Back in the Golden Oak Library, both Moon Dancer and Twilight are conversing a little bit about the events as they had happened. Moon Dancer in particular is interested in what could have caused the shield to go off to begin with. Though Twilight states that whatever it is, it is most likely not going back.
Even though it’s already at night, Moon Dancer wants to take a fresh nose of air, but has no idea whether or not it’s safe. Twilight assures her friend that it is safe in order to do so, nothing seems to have been happening either way. It pleases Moon Dancer, who then goes out for a walk. When she goes, Spike comes in, asking if that had been a good idea. To which Twilight has no idea.
Walking through the empty streets of the town, Moon Dancer keeps an eye out in everything that’s going on. A lot of things had happened since the start of it all, but she notices the woods of Everfree of course, the place where it all seemed to have started. The one place that she needs to keep on investigating.
With Blueblood training the CMC, there’s nopony to help Moon Dancer if she gets caught. Nonetheless, she still goes to the forest in the hope to find a series of answers. While she walks over the paths leading to the woods, she passes Fluttershy’s cottage. At first she doesn’t think much about it, until she notices that there are no lights on. It’s still early in the evening, and she doubts that Fluttershy had already gone to bed. Something else was going on in her eyes.
Moon Dancer then keeps on walking over the path, she doesn’t mind the nightly atmosphere that much in the peaceful village. Though all of it is about to change, because something is lurking for the unicorn in the forest. All that Moon Dancer has to do, is to enter the thing. And that, may have been easier than expected, for the mare just follows the path inside.
With Moon Dancer having disappeared within the forest, she ignites her horn in order to see what is going on around her. She’s mesmerized by the way that it looks, especially during the night that she came. She’s unaware of the massive dangers that it carries with it, a fact proven when she hears growling from behind.
With a slow motion in her turn is the truth revealed to Moon Dancer, a were-pony that looks an awful lot like Fluttershy stands there. Moon Dancer has no idea what she can do in order to stop the beast, outside of a couple of spells. It is in that moment, that she had wished that her training had been more action.
The were-pony makes no time go to have its dinner. It jumps atop of Moon Dancer, who is forced to the ground. Yet in the heat of the moment are magical spells released, spells that make sure that the wolf is kept at bay and away from her. Moon Dancer had lost her glasses and thus can’t see as well as she should have.
That works to the advantage of the wolf, who unleashes yet another attack upon the unicorn. A unicorn who manages to repel it just as easily as the first time. The two keep doing it over and over, while Moon Dancer tries to communicate with the beast, but hearing nothing. Which results in her only action, trying to kill the wolf.
But the wolf doesn’t go down that easily. The instinct of survival is something that always had kept it at bay, the one thing that it always tried to do, no matter what. Among the leaves, the rustles can be heard and it isn’t friendly to the wolf, meaning that it would be a two against one ratio. Returning to the cottage isn’t working either, meaning Fluttershy has to retreat to the castle. Who does that, in the meantime, Moon Dancer finds her glasses and a strange looking zebra.
Fluttershy rushes back to the castle where she almost crashes against Rarity, who isn’t happy with the fact at all. The pegasus tells her story to Rarity, who understands the matter in the moment. She also knows who this Moon Dancer pony happens to be. The stakes have been placed higher for each of them, that much was certain.
In the meantime was Gust minding his own business. He was wandering about the place before disappearing within his room. Trixie had followed him at a distance and eavesdrops in on what he mumbles. One thing she had figured out of him, was that he spoke against himself in mumbles. Almost as if two personalities housed within the head.
Trixie keeps on listening at the door, hearing words of the ancient times, how only Shiva could have been accepted as their queen and nopony else. A thing that strikes Trixie with a great horror. Something she had never expected. But in terms of plans, schemes, nothing. All that he has proven, was that he’s a Shiva-fanatic. They had seen a couple of those before.
Trixie returns back to the throne room and her master commands her neck. Trixie offers that willingly and Rarity starts to drink from her blood, feeding herself. But all the while, Rarity’s mind on the words of Fluttershy, not to mention the thoughts shared between her and Trixie. Things are about to be shaken, deeply, that much is certain.
When she’s done feeding, Rarity lets Trixie go and the numb mare falls down the steps. Rarity shows no respect for her and swallows the last bit of blood under a moan. She also states to Fluttershy to stay low for a while. If a pony like Moon Dancer had seen her in wolf-form, all must be done in order to make sure Twilight doesn’t get a scent of it. Fluttershy agrees.
The pegasus returns back to her cottage, but Moon Dancer has met up with Zecora, the two of them are going to their hut. Zecora tells her that it was foolish to come to the woods at the time she did. Moon Dancer doesn’t have an excuse for her deeds, but is glad the zebra helps her.
When they arrive, tea is being offered and the unicorn accepts. Zecora on the other end, starts to tell what her motivation was of coming to the woods. In which she also tells that Twilight had been attracted to them once, because of a flock of hair. Nopony seems who they are, that much is sure. Adding in the creepy effect that the hut has on others.
Moon Dancer doesn’t really understand the meaning of the words because of the rhyme, yet she can understand them will enough that they mean ill. She also understands that everything is wobbling on their feet. But what was that flock of hair that the zebra spoke about? She had not a clue on it.
While the night ventures on, when the morning breaks again, Moon Dancer leaves the hut and Zecora waves her out. Their ways had parted but the zebra has feelings in her guts that not all seems to be what it is. Something else is coming to Everfree, a storm fiercer than normal.
Moon Dancer returns to the library in order to speak with Twilight on what she had found. Even though it does sound like Fluttershy, Twilight can’t believe that Fluttershy might be lycan. Even though all the evidence is there, she won’t accept it. It drives Moon Dancer almost crazy but she also has to return to Canterlot for other reasons and business. Finally, the friends are separated again.
A few weeks had gone by in which nothing too special had happened. Rarity had laid low and so did Fluttershy. Other vamponies weren’t that fortunate and were-ponies alike. Peace seemed to have returned one day before the CMC come into play. Their training has been over and BlueBlood had instructed them as best as he could. They are ready for anything and everything.
First, he takes them on a little journey to Manehatten, it seemed that there has been a vampony who doesn’t allow himself to be killed that easily. Sweetie Belle understand the weight of the situation, but also wonders who the stallion might be. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo have no idea that is going to happen. They admit that they are a bit scared.
But Blueblood assures them, there’s nothing to be afraid of as long as they are together. They have proven themselves time and time again that they can kill a vampny. Sweetie has her magic, Apple Bloom has her strength and armor, while Scootaloo has her wits and intelligence. All three have been shaped in ways previously unthought about, but it is all for the better.
Their old lives have been kissed farewell, from that moment on would they be in the Lunar Guard, until either disbanded or killed. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo just hope that they hadn’t made a massive mistake, which it does feel like. Blueblood tells them that their target is a high class stallion, owner of a bar in Manehatten, using it to drain the innocent and fill the undead.
The train finally reaches Manehatten and they are given the address of where they need to be going. There’s no turning back at that point and they just have to do what has been asked of them. With their weapons and armor ready, they do blend in pretty nice among the city folk. It doesn’t take long before they find the place that they are looking for.
The three of them enter the place and they discover it is indeed a high class club, feeling a bit underdressed, they still continue on and thus walk to the bar itself. There they ask the waiter that’s on the list. The three of them order something before they ask who the manager is. The waiter answer with the fact they have to look up and behind them, there, behind his own table can he be found, publically accessible.
The three thank him and together they move over to the place. But when on location, Sweetie tells the other two to stay put, to keep up with the act. Sweetie goes to see the stallion, who is enjoying a glass of sticky, red wine. Of course she knows what’s inside of it. Even with her attire, she sits down in the chair opposing of him, looking at him with a cutting glare. Then he reacts to her.
The stallion wants to know what the deal is, why she has come to his place in the first place. Sweetie hisses through her teeth that she knows he’s a vampony. But he reacts with a simple, fang revealing smile. It’s his place, and she has three seconds to tell him why he shouldn’t kill her. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo become frightened, ready to strike when needed.
But Sweetie keeps her cool, she also wants information. Information about her sister. When the name of Rarity is being dropped, everything changes. Sweetie states that she had been killed, to which the stallion replies she had been misinformed. It gets even better when Sweetie reveals Rarity was her sister. Things, just turned for the better for the stallion.
Who in return wants to make a deal out of it all. He will grant her the information, as long as she can remain her cool. It is then revealed to Sweetie that Rarity was never murdered by a vampony, but that she was one herself. It explains a lot of things at once for the young mare. But when the stallion continues, not even he seems to know what has become of her.
Whether the stallion is lying or not, can’t be told by Scootaloo and Apple Bloom. The two of them have no idea whether or not they can believe him, but the words have to be left over to Sweetie Belle. Something about the whole matter is getting on their nerves though. Something about his charm, chills their very bones like that.
The stallion than asks of Sweetie whether or not she knew what had happened to the mare. Rarity was always a delight to talk to, in life and death, so to speak. Sweetie just chuckles once before she nods to him, answering the questions asked of her. But not even she knows what happened. But when Sweetie asks how Rarity died, the stallion can’t answer. He knows much, but the darkness does not give away the death of a lady.
Even though all the information is a good thing for Sweetie Belle, she still can’t let him go like he has before. They had set out to murder him, to put him finally to rest and that is exactly the thing that she intends to do. Even if it is in bright daylight. Sweetie wishes him a good night for the time being and returns to her friends, discussing what they could best be doing.
While the plans of lunacy do their turn, the stallion had send his own guards to collect them. While they were leaving the club, they had been led into an alleyway where three other vamponies had been waiting on them. Things do not end well for the vamponies.
With the three of them dead, the CMC are more determined than ever to lay in wait for the other stallion. At one point or the other, he had to come out and see where his goons had been off to. Until then, they would have come to wait. They would wait for him to arrive, discussing their plans of attack in detail, while speaking in whispers.
When the stallion does finally make his appearance, it is sweetie Belle that forces him against the wall, drawing her magic to levitate the sign of the sun and she hovers it right above his chest. If there are any final words, he best would be speaking them then. But Apple Bloom isn’t having any of that. Even though it’s in Sweetie’s magical hold, she drives the thing through his chest, killing him.
Sweetie drops her magic and turns to Apple Bloom with a glance of what it meant. The other only states that it had to be done before more lies would be spewed. That alone, is enough reason for Scootaloo. While the body falls to dust, Sweetie wonders what else he could have told her when it came to her sister. Whether it was something good or bad, she wouldn’t have minded it. They all return to the train station to catch the train to Ponyville again.
When they are in the train, the three of them start to reflect whether it is really the best decision of their lives. For Sweetie it is without a doubt, it is for Apple Bloom and Scootaloo that have their doubts. Scootaloo is sharpening a dagger of hers while they convers. Apple Bloom just can’t believe that they had agreed to do such a thing, whether it was stupid or not. Either way, blood is on their hooves, even if it is the undead.
The train rolls back in Ponyville and Blueblood is waiting for them, he too has heard the news that the stallion finally came to pass and they are officially members of the Lunar Guard, a honor not given away for too many. Sweetie accepts it, while the other two still have their doubts. But they are in it all together, and they ask what is coming next.
Blueblood has another assignment for them, but Sweetie wants to go someplace else. She wants to know more about her sister died. And there might be a place in Equestria where she could be finding those very answers she needs. The stallion listens to the words, before the revelation is made to him. Sweetie wants to go to Canterlot, to the house of the late Fleur and Fancy Pants. All declare her crazy.
Yet there they are again, sitting in the train that’s heading to Canterlot. The revelations of the monsters would some have come back to light. While wearing their attire, the crusaders do not speak too much to one another. All of them are sunken perhaps a bit too deep in thought. Too deep to notice the train thundering down the lines.
Once arrived in Canterlot, they know where they need to be heading. To that one cursed address in the more fancier parts of the place. But before they go to that place, there’s another address where they need to be going. They knock on a door and the mare they need opens up. Ruby the servant, the mare who they need to ask some questions to.
Ruby allows them into the house of her new masters, asking them if she could be excuses from service for just a moment. She is allowed and the four of them separate themselves for a moment. Sweetie wants to know everything and Ruby tells all that she knows, how hard it may have been to do so. She tells them all about the murder on Fleur, hoping to get some answers.
Which is exactly the thing that Sweetie wants to have as well, but the answers that she gets from Ruby are helpful, they don’t give the push that she needs in order to see whether or not it was really a vampony that had killed Fleur. Of course, she has seen the documents as well. Which only means that there is one thing they can do, enter the house.
They all thank Ruby for her time and they travel down the path again, towards the haunted mansion where the spirits of Fleur and Fancy still seem to linger. Scootaloo is terrified of the thought and not even Apple Bloom seems to be liking it all too much. But there’s no way out, they are stuck to Sweetie Belle, who under no circumstance, wouldn’t have gone inside of it. Before them it appears, the haunted mansion and they walk up to the front door. Scootaloo asks whether or not they should ring the bell, only receiving a glare from the others.
Apple Bloom kicks in the door and the other two are just walking in, hoping to find the spirits of house in one of the rooms. The most logical place for them to be of course is within the bedroom or the room where Fleur was murdered. So that is the first place that they are going, no chitchat, no nothing.
Once they arrive at the place, the stench of the body still lingers about and the bloodspatters are still all over the place. The scene must have been horrible when it had only just happened. Sweetie Belle remains calm while the other two are creeped out by it. But to make matters worse, Sweetie calls upon the spirit of Fleur.
It takes a couple of seconds, but then the spirit of Fleur comes in, walking in casually from behind and through them. She wants to know who disrupts her peace and why they had come to begin with. Sweetie explains it all, as the other two are too terrified to speak. Though Sweetie feels herself uncomfortable within the presence of the spirit too.
Fleur than starts to speak the truth as she knew it. How she had waited for the murderer to come, who turned out to be Rarity, how she was forced into slavery and how the boutique had been burned down to nothing but a crisp. All done with a strange delight to her voice. As if she was happy that it had happened. Yet it is her, that didn’t have any peace.
Sweetie wants to hit her, but hits the wall behind the ghost, uncontrollable rage fuels the young mare, where the spirit makes usage of. The words are rubbed in even harder, which makes Sweetie just tear up. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo set their fears aside and protect Sweetie, telling the ghost to bugger off. With the truth being told and no way to reach the other world, Fleur turns into a demonic version for a moment, cursing them to leave.
Back in Ponyville is Fluttershy walking around with not much on her mind, but then she comes across Twilight. The two greet one another like old friends and get to talk a little bit. Fluttershy states that she has to make a bit of haste as supper is almost ready to be served. But Twilight is having other plans. She senses that something had entered the field.
With Moon Dancer’s description still in her mind, Twilight can only hope that it isn’t Fluttershy that is the source of the disturbance. But the longer the two are talking to one another, the more clear the situation seems to become. Fluttershy, is a lycan. And Twilight can hit herself for not having believed a dear friend of her.
Fluttershy returns to her cottage with Twilight, the two spend the night there, as Fluttershy is still a push-over and Twilight wants to see the truth on the matter. That night is a full moon and she wants to lure the beast out of there, just like she had done with Rarity. When the time is right, the curtains are opened and the moonlight let in. Terrifying Fluttershy.
She rages on about how Twilight could have done it, that she thought that they were friends, but in the end it had all just been a massive lie. Twilight only states that she has to know the facts as they are, for science. The light keeps on crawling to Fluttershy, eventually hitting her, starting the change of the mare.
After a rather disturbing scene of transformation, the wolf version of Fluttershy stands there, but she’s caught between two evils. At one end stood Twilight, at the other stood Rarity, who’s wraith would have been kinder to her? She could just charge Twilight, but makes the decision to shy away. Only charging, when she comes too close. Which eventually happens.
With Twilight being attacked by Fluttershy, the unicorn tries to do everything within her might in order to make sure that she won’t be eaten by the beast. A thing that’s most likely more easier said than done. Pinned to the floor and not wanting to hurt her, Twilight sees little choice.
Even within the serene calm of the cottage does she has to teleport away. In a poof is Twilight gone and appears on the other side of the room. Fluttershy, who has lost most sense of reasoning, tries to charge a couple more times, but always capturing empty air for some reason. At one point, the wolf gets enough of it and keeps on standing in the middle of the room.
With Fluttershy ‘calmed’, Twilight tries to talk some sense and reason within the creature. But the words of Fluttershy don’t make any sense to her. She speaks about Rarity orders her around, but Rarity died, so long ago. Then, in wolf form, Fluttershy figures out what she had done. The realization that went through her, makes her escape the cottage.
Just in a huff of wind is she gone. Gone like that, with not a single trace left of her. Only the howling within the night, to guide her. Twilight has not a clue what she can do in the moment. One friend has become a werepony while another lays dead, or so she thought. Her world is literally being rocked and shaken, before an easy explanation is given off. It must have been changelings, right?
Only Changelings have that kind of cunning and those very means of transforming. Desperate for answers, Twilight goes back to the library in the hope to find something. But her magic didn’t lie, right? Fluttershy was the lycan in the clutches of Ponyville, yet she hadn’t murdered anypony. The matter had only turned even stranger for her. Perhaps Moon Dancer may know a thing or two more.
When Twilight returns to the library, she notices that Spike is still awake. Then again, he’s always awake those days. The dragon has grown too big for his basket and reaches puberty. His kind always spend up to 23 hours awake, before granting themselves only an hour worth of sleep. He’s truly, the perfect assistant. When she returns, the two converse a bit with one another.
But when the story of Fluttershy comes to light, Spike is interested, at first. As soon as he hears the name of Rarity, things start to take a turn. He doesn’t want to be reminded of her, even though he had been wrong too on the unfaithful day. But Rarity being alive and Fluttershy being a lycan, even he can’t buy into that. Rarity died, that’s it. Nothing else.
If it were only that simple, thinks Twilight before she wishes him a good night. But instead of sleeping, Twilight goes on and on through books about both vampirism and lycanopsy, something keeps the two joined together and it isn’t hatred. Fluttershy had no reason to mention Rarity, unless the words would have been true.
But where could she have run off to? Not the hut of Zecora, that much is true. Nor would she have gone to the castle of the two sisters. No, there must have been another place for her to hide, but where in Everfree could that have been. Twilight has no idea anymore and eventually just gives up while the sun rises over the horizon. A new day had come, and she was spend through the night.
Time had flown by and Twilight needs to get some fresh air in her system, something just doesn’t feel right to her. But she can not pinpoint what it is. She doesn’t even want to know it anymore at that point. The pin in her head becomes too great before she finally leaves the comforts of her home again, constantly thinking back to the fangs that slammed shut before her, only a few hours prior.
Fluttershy had made her entire way back to the castle of Rarity, and tells her story there in a panting manner. Rarity can’t believe what she hears and Trixie drops the tray she’s holding. All while Gust just keeps on sitting there, mumbling an old rhyme to himself. Time is almost up, he can feel it.
Rarity orders Fluttershy to stay in the castle. Ponyville is no longer safe for her to go to, not with what had happened. Fluttershy agrees and reverts back to her pony-self in the light of day, only to wander off to her room to think. Rarity is too pondering her mind on the matter but has not a clue on what comes next. Perhaps, a visit to them might draw some attention from her, for a change.
All while that is happening, Gust has disappeared from the scene, he has gone to Fluttershy in order to speak with her. To speak about the venom in his mouth. He claims to her that it was a mere accident that had happened, that Twilight should have died. But Fluttershy counters the fact that she tries to main herself as much as possible.
To which the vampony only sneers, commenting that they are all undead, creatures that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, created by an ancient evil, and she’s created to fight another great evil. Fluttershy can’t take any other word from him anymore and ushers him out of the room, locking herself in. He shakes his head before wandering again through the castle, hoping to find something of interest, whatever that may have been.
In the meantime had Rarity come up with a little plan of her own, a plan to let Ponyville come on a false goose chase. A plan that she never had dared to put in motion, but her hooves had been forced to do so. From within the darkest part of Everfree they then dwell up, hungry for the flesh of ponies, slithering like the snakes of old. Ponyville was to discover just how much of their legends, had actually been true.
With an angry Fleur commanding them to leave, she takes on a form of demonic proportions, erupting in coldfire even. The spirit wants them gone by any means possible. All three of them can’t do anything else than to obey the words spoken to them. Whatever answer comes next out of her mouth is not worth being burned to nothing but a crisp.
Fleur doesn’t even care about it at all. She doesn’t even care whether or not she can finally find eternal peace. She knows what she has done and haunts them out of the house. But only when they have left the place, does she return to her normal state. Fleur keeps on walking about and hopes that someday, forgiveness will be given to her.
Though the spirit starts to doubt it. She has been trapped in that infernal cage for far too long and perhaps the only chance of getting out had just been chased out of the door. She knows what Rarity is, she knows that she is still alive and at large. Only when Rarity truly dies, will she have peace at heart. A wail of pain then resonates through the mansion, a saddening one that even the crusaders hear on the outside. They become terrified and leave the scene be.
In the meantime, they come across a rather curious looking stallion (10th Doctor) who asks them a couple of questions. Questions that don’t seem to be that relevant to them, but make sense to him. Because he knows the courses of time have altered and Rarity had actually listened to him, much to his relief. For him, instead of a year, mere seconds had gone by.
He makes a couple more remarks before telling them goodbye. The young mares are going to their train and discuss the conversation that they just had, ending with them saying to each other that it was just plain weird. To which the stallion tells himself, that they haven’t even seen half of it.
With Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom on the train, the latter two start to think whether or not it had been a good idea and all. Yes they have done the impossible and killed a vampony, but in the process they also got something that they never had expected. The facts as they knew them as, didn’t seem to be going in one straight like as they would have hoped.
Of course it is food for thought for Sweetie, who comments that there’s just much to think about. But the other two are having their little ideas on the matter. Something else had been playing all along during that time. Some might that was bigger than any of them. And that is why, they felt so terrified of joining the Lunar Guard to begin with.
Though Sweetie is having none of that. She stands up and moves a couple of carriages up front, to the restoration one. While she’s eating her supper, she encounters that strange stallion again. He winks her over, inviting her to sit with him, otherwise he would feel so alone. They start to speak to one another and through an odd series of questions and answers, a revelation comes.
Sweetie can’t swallow another bit of food through her throat while the stallion just smiles. Whatever it is he had said to her, it had changed her entire perspective. All of it seemed to be too good to be true in the moment. Which is exactly how Sweetie feels in the moment, therefor the dream just comes crashing down back unto her skull again. The stallion realizes the mistake he had made and tries to fix things.
But Sweetie, torn apart by grieve in the moment, refuses him to say another word. She leaves him be and returns to the others, wanting to give up the life she had chosen to follow. It was stupid to join the Guards either way, not that it mattered anymore. The stallion sighs to himself and finishes his dinner, commenting on the fact that she’s just a drama queen like her sister. But also wondering why things are never easy, before picking up a bottle of wine, saying that’s why and then disappears from the table.
Later that night is Twilight still venting her mind. Moon Dancer had been right all along and she just couldn’t accept it. But then the proof had been given to her just like that, almost on a silver plate. But while the sun sets, she seem to hear screams coming from the woods of Everfree. Screams that don’t belong to any pony that she knows, or any being for that matter.
The crusaders had returned from their little trip to Canterlot, but none the wiser, if anything, Sweetie had only become more sad about a lot of things. That makes Twilight think for a moment, she had encountered them after they left the train, but she shakes it off. Though as fate wanted to have it, the crusaders find Twilight and join her in a moment to tranquility.
Only for the screams to be heard again. Those horrible screams that originate out of Everfree itself. Something is heading their way and it is not a hydra, that much is obvious. The crusaders gather that can before they assume a battle-ready pose. Twilight on the other end, conducts a couple of tests to see just what on earth is going to happen.
Though the tests that she does all have zero effect. Whatever is heading towards them, all they can do is sit there and figure it out when it comes, when it comes. Tensions are being build up high while sweat drips off of their faces. Eventually it is revealed to them all, that the gorgonies of the depths of Everfree have been released.
That gives it for Twilight, something else dwells within those woods, for Fluttershy nor Zecora could have ever set them free. No, something else did it and now it is coming to claim them. A little horde of perhaps ten gorgonies had made it into Ponyville’s night. Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie had all heard the screaming and join themselves by Twilight, before Blueblood even arrives on the scene.
The eight of them are forced to see how the gorgonies are planning to ravage through Ponyville, but they won’t stand for the madness that’s about to commence. Everypony knows the plan and Twilight specifies that nopony should look into the eyes of those beings, they are unlike any other being that they have ever fought up to that point.
The battle enrages and the gorgonies are driven back to the woods of Everfree. All of them hit hard and fast, but also vice versa, the gorgonies have no plans on leaving the village alone. Eventually, with the aid of all eight of them, do they manage to drive the creatures back into the darkness of the woods, but not without consequences though.
Applejack had been glancing in the eye of one of them and therefore has to be burdened with a stone leg. Up to her kneejoint is everything stone and thus unable to move it in the slightest. Apple Bloom becomes worried that it spreads, resulting in her having a stone sister. But Twilight ensures that with the right magical and medical care, Applejack should be fine. Or so they hope.
But with everypony present, there are much more pressing matters to be discussed. Something hadn’t been right and Twilight knows that. All the words of everypony else that came to be, she can’t take it any longer. A counsel needs to be taken. A counsel of her friends and she needs the extra knowledge that she can get.
Everypony had gathered themselves within the walls of the library and sit in a circle. Spike had ignited a small controlled fire in the middle of the group for whatever reason, but it brings a certain charm. Twilight tells them everything that she knows, awaiting the arguments that are coming.
Everypony does then erupt out in arguments of their own. The words that they had heard coming out of the mouth of their friend are ludicrous to say the least. They couldn’t have been true, right? It is just that it all doesn’t make any sense to them whatsoever. But when Sweetie tries to mumble something, Blueblood shushes them all.
Sweetie is allowed to tell her story, her discoveries within the mansion where Fleur’s spirit resided. Meaning that, most likely, Rarity is still alive and kicking somewhere in the world. That makes all of their hearts sink like stone, before the question of why is being asked. A question to which no answer comes.
Sweetie has said her words and feels her heart becoming heavier. All that time she had set out to find Rarity’s killer, to repay the deed, but now it became true that Rarity might have been alive, perhaps even a powerful vampony to begin with. The young mare stands at a crossroad that can only lead her to evil. But which path to take?
Of course, they can’t just turn their gaze away from the facts as they are. But the other four, don’t want anything to do with it. In their eyes had Rarity died a long, long time ago already. All of this information and all of the madness that they are going through at the moment just don’t make any sense to them, which is the most dangerous part of it all.
Twilight speaks with Applejack about a cure for the stoned hoof, expressing that no pressure must be placed upon it, in case that it might crack and thus shatter, therefore losing a hoof to Applejack. The cowgirl understands the message and then they all take their leave, after that, Twilight tells them that their part in this story is over, but they still have a job to finish.
The others that are still present have to agree on the matter, the end is coming and a change is coming in the tide, for better or for worse, they can not say. But Twilight summons a map of the Everfree forest, it dates back to times before the arrival of Nightmare Moon. Twilight explains to them that there was once another, third castle, but that one vanished.
When she shows the castle to the lot, it is revealed to be the castle where Rarity had been residing for the longest of time. But that very same castle had disappeared in the years gone by. When Moon was send to the moon, the very castle vanished. Twilight believes that whatever happened, that castle may have belonged to the empress.
The crusaders do know more than enough and want to make way for the castle like that. However, Twilight keeps them at bay for the moment. It’s the middle of the night and leaving like that is not a good idea. What if, they come across Fluttershy. Killing her isn’t an option whatsoever. No, they have to make wait for the dawn to arrive.
The crusaders, having nothing better to do, go to bed but Scootaloo is the one who can’t get any shut eye. Everything that had happened continues to just grind itself through her skull, everything that she had seen, just prevents her from sleeping. All the way up to the point where she leaves the room, wanting to walk downstairs.
But as she does that, words echo within her ears. Words spoken by both Blueblood and Twilight. Something about the matter is just, not right. While atop of the staircase, Scootaloo freezes and listens, hearing the words spoken by the two of them, words that can’t be believed by her.
Blueblood claims that the three of them are ready to take on whatever is laying in Everfree, while Twilight states the opposing. They are far from that. They have ended the life one vampony, who didn’t fought back that easily. No, in her eyes, they are still in the learning curve. And with everything that she had seen already, it would be like sending them to their deaths.
Blueblood only grumbles a bit before he gives just one nod to Twilight. Perhaps she’s right, they are still young in the Lunar Guard. Maybe he should send out more experienced fighters. But then again, who can be trusted in moments like those. The stallion draws his own blade, pointing it to Twilight. Asking whether or not she should be killed.
Twilight, despite being frightened, puts her hooves down to the ground and looks to the stallion in silence. Then, only then, she starts to speak again. Because she had done much stuff, because she had seen so much trouble, there’s no reason in Equestria why she can’t be trusted. For Blueblood, it isn’t enough though. He has to be sure.
Twilight claims that the only reason why she’s alive after the were-pony incident was because there was just a bit of reasoning left within Fluttershy. The wolf knew who she was and that was the safety she had, combined with her magic working like a charm. If she hadn’t done that, her guts would have been sprayed across the floor of the cottage.
Only on that point does Blueblood believe her and he sheaths his blade again. Perhaps she is right, but the matter still troubles him greatly. Everything that had happened, he had never expect to have hit that close to home. Little did he knew, that things were about to become even worse. For atop of the staircase, something has gotten a hold of Scootaloo. They only hear a bit, and focus their attention on, before returning to one another.
Scootaloo is dragged along the dark of the building. Something had gotten a hold of her and forced her eyes shut. The young mare has not a clue what it may have been, until she’s brought into a lit room. There it’s revealed that Spike had taken her. Terrified, she wonders what would happen next, but then Spike claims that no harm shall be done.
The other two crusaders appear, ready to leave. Scootaloo then understands what the plan is going to be. They have to make way, for the adventure to come. They would be leaving for the woods of Everfree. They would be the ones traveling to the lost castle. An idea made out of madness perhaps, but also one that could work. All answers, would be given in time.
Within minutes is even Scootaloo ready to hit the road, but Spike gives them something extra. Something that he shouldn’t have ever given to the three of them. He gives them the map that is leading them straight to the long lost castle. They take the map and thank him for everything. To which he can only say, that they have to prove the world wrong.
With those words in their ears, do the crusaders leave the library via an exit they had never taken before. They escape through the window and are then off to see the woods of Everfree, in the early hours of the next day. Spike closes the window again and wonders whether or not he had done good. All of the possible outcomes now rage through his head. All of the pain that could come.
But eventually, he can only settle himself by the fact that Rarity had died a long time ago, and they never left on good terms of one another. The trouble was his of course, but she could have acted a bit better as well. When a tear is shed, Twilight comes in, wondering where the crusaders had been off to. He can only say that they are gone, and Twilight’s face turns sour. She knows it all.
Twilight could just hit Spike in the head for his decision to let them go, but something else tells her that for a change, the fate of the word isn’t placed in her hooves. No, the fate of the world, the future of their nation, has fallen in the hooves of three young mares. All that they can do from that moment onwards, is to just hope and see, what outcome will be made. A gut feeling tells her that a possible reality is starting to take shape again.
Twilight returns to the library itself while Spike kills the fire in the middle and ignites the candles. Blueblood is still sitting there, but he has fallen asleep and seems to be in happier places. They let him be for the moment and then go to bed themselves. There’s nothing else that they can do in the moment, other than to wait for the events to take shape. Just like everypony else.
In the meantime, the crusaders have taken the road to the woods and find themselves already within the dark border. Scootaloo holds the map while Apple Bloom navigates them through it all. If there’s one thing they don’t want to be, it’s lost within those cursed and dreaded woods. But the layout is still different from what they are used to be.
Yet on the horizon, they do see it. They do see the light of the day finally coming in. They had saved it through the night and now a new days is waiting for them. In the light of the sun, the horrors of Everfree are vanquished of course, but new troubles arise for the three of them, finding the third castle. The castle, that belongs to Rarity.
Though luck and skill do they manage to find the thing in the late afternoon. The sun is already setting but there’s nothing else going on. They finally see the castle for what it is and gulp all at once. The way it looks and the immense size of it, now they know that the final battle is about to begin. Apple Bloom comments that it is something out of a book she had read once.