|The Veins Run Deeper|
|Date published||June 1st, 2016|
|Type/genre||Adventure, drama, AU|
One late-summer afternoon, Night Shadow, a bat pony-pegasus hybrid and the only of his kind, despite being in a family of full-blooded bat ponies, returns from jogging through Canterlot with a new squadron of Lunar guards. He dismisses them, returning to his quarters where he discovers a letter from his sister, Dawn Blossom, from his home colony. She writes to him asking if he plans to visit and celebrate their father's upcoming birthday. Happily, Night begins planning a short trip to visit his family. He meets with the captain of the Lunar Guard where he informs him of his time off, but the captain mentions a thought Night prefers not to think about, running out, then bumping into his friend, Sharpblade, a Royal guard in the palace.
The next day, Night departs for his home colony, now recently added as a place for normal Equestrians to visit. Despite the city being build on clouds, a train station and a small village on the ground are constructed to welcome non-pegasi visitors. Night meets up with his sister at the station, and she explains how much has changed while he was gone for the last couple of years. They fly up to the town, finding much of it to be completely remodeled, including Night's former home. There, Night reconciles with his mother, Midnight Dusk, after learning his father made the rank of Major within Fang Legion, the military of the bat pony colonies across Equestria. Before he comes home, Night makes a quick run to purchase a gift for his father, and when he does walk in, Night presents Skywatcher with a personal sword, one not only to celebrate his birthday, but his newly-appointed rank. Eagerly, Skywatcher asks Night to spar him the next day to show each other their skills. He agrees, and the family head out for birthday dinner.
Overnight, Night Shadow is visited by Princess Luna in his sleep--who gives a rather eerie warning which Night cannot make out. Soon after, he is woken by his dad, and the two head out to a field to spar. Eventually, they grow tired and go home.
The days pass, and Night says goodbye to his family as he prepares to return to Canterlot. After returning to the train station and waiting for the train to arrive, he is confronted by three bat ponies, all excited when they realize who it was and calling Night a hero for his work. They follow him to Canterlot, and once arriving, Night races to get away, just hardly managing to do so.
The following morning, Night calls a meeting with the Zodiacs, reconciling with Lodestar--his sergeant, Zipline--corporal, Skye Racer and Shieldhunter--both lance corporals. Lodestar informs Night of the bat ponies he'd met the day before having requested Night sees them before they begin their training. Frustratedly, he does so, also coming across two others from Hollow Shades, named Duskbloom and Halfmoon. He orders Lodestar to bring them to their barrack, and Night heads out into the city to get lunch.
In a cafe, Night sits down to eat, and Sharpblade, his Royal guard friend, comes in as well and the two sit down and chat while eating. There, Sharp tells Night that he should go easy on the bat pony-fanatics, who wish to all be a part of the Zodiacs. Night, however, has other plans.
A day later, Night sits in his office, preparing for the interview appointments to fully determine who he will train. First came Midnight Blade, whom Night scolds for bringing along a valuable piece of jewelry. After her came Eventide, followed by Stellar Star, who informs Night of a slight mental issue he suffers from. Following him are Halfmoon and Duskbloom, being interviewed by Night together.
When the interviews finished, Night returned to his quarters, catching one of his fellow guards and the only thestral currently in his Zodiac squadron, Scarlet Iris, as she sneaks up on him. The two speak for a moment, her catching Night off guard before leaving. He enters his quarters, showering, then sitting down to relax, immediately finding himself in boredom. He goes out to his balcony, taking off and heading for a section of flat land on the mountain that overlooks the city. There, Princess Luna startles him, and the two sit down to talk, with her discussing how Night's friend, Sharpblade, is likely close to learning new powerful unicorn spells, such as teleportation. She trails off with a word of worry.
The first week of training passed, with Halfmoon and Duskbloom topping the class. The second week begins with Night taking over for Sergeant Lodestar, although keeping him by his side. They go out to the track, where the recruits begin running as rain starts to pour. When conditions become too dangerous, they pull them off of the track, waiting for the storm to pass. After the rain quits, Night leads them back out, only to find the track too muddy to continue. Instead, he forces them to perform push-ups and wing-ups.
Weeks later, Night drops the recruits off at the Pegasi Guard Acrobatics facility, with Skye Racer now his assistant for the training over the following days. However, Night is informed that Lieutenant Silent Knight, a member of the Luna's House Guard, is requesting him for a one-on-one meeting. There, he offers help with the recruits whenever needed, which Night gratefully accepts.
One morning, Night is sleepily eating in the Palace at breakfast, when Zipline forces him to accidentally spill his oatmeal, then informs Night that Princess Luna has requested his day off, which Night hesitantly accepts and returns to his quarters, only to be startled by Luna herself, bent on taking Night on an outing in Canterlot to shop. While in a crafts store, Luna comes across a painted figurine she would like to purchase, only to find it is not on sale. She creates a scene by commanding the store manager to begin selling it.
The two venture into a clothing store, where Night buys a hoodie, as well as a hat to cover up a messy mane created when trying on clothes. However, on their return to the Palace, they discover the city is on lockdown due to a dungeon breakout. Night is introduced to a large pegasus, Redflare, one of Celestia's paladins, who was sent to search for Night and help bring the escaped convict back to prison, whom he learns that is a rogue mage bent on causing chaos to Equestria. They begin searching the crystal caves, where Night comes across the mage, Topaz Myth, preparing a destructive wave that would wipe out Canterlot.
Night attempts to confront Topaz, but is soon overcome by his magic, and puts him in an altered mental state which brings him down. He is rescued by Redflare, who manages to defeat Topaz before any damage can be done, and Night is freed from magical chains. The two return an unconscious Topaz to the dungeons, and as they prepare to leave, Topaz threatens escape again, despite extra measures to keep him in place.
Both Night and Red are thanked for their efforts, commemorated by the citizens of Canterlot by Princess Celestia. However, during the ceremony, Night inadvertently annoys Luna. Later that day, Night is confronted by Zipline, who informs him that the recruits are interested in speaking to him about bringing archery back into the Royal Guard, which Night reluctantly agrees to. In turn, he speaks to Captain Fallen Star, and the two agree on re-initiating the archery program. Night receives a letter from the Council, who state that funding will be allotted to provide necessary training for Night's recruits. He takes Lodestar to a weapons shop in the old Canterlot district of Dragon Alley to place the orders for new bows.
At the end of the final week of the recruits' training, the Fall Gala comes about. Night checks the ballroom as preparations are completed, praising the work of the Elements of Harmony (whom were behind the decor) before the festivities begin. That night, after spending time with his Zodiacs, Night goes to find Luna, who is missing from the party. He finds her sulking at her observatory tower over a multitude of events to occur in the past year, namely Tirek's rampage on Equestria, a conflict in the East Griffon Empire, and an Equestrian naval ship being attacked underway by pirates. After long, Night convinces Luna to get ready for the Gala, and she does so in time for the graduating ceremony of the new Zodiacs, implemented as part of this year's Fall Gala.
- Night Shadow: A pegasus-bat pony hybrid and the only of his kind, despite having all-bat pony parents and a sister. He is second-in-command of Princess Luna's personal guard, the Zodiacs.
- Skywatcher: He is Night's father, a rough, but caring stallion as well as a major in Fang Legion, the military that protects the bat pony race across Equestria.
- Midnight Dusk: She is Night's mother, a gentle, loving bat pony mare and formerly a stay-at-home parent.
- Dawn Blossom: Night's younger sister, a spunky, energetic bat pony mare who tends to laugh a lot. While she had a slight crush on Night's friend, Thunderblast, the two never came to date.
- Sharpblade: Night's royal guard unicorn friend, a sergeant in the Canterlot Guard.
- Thunderblast: Night's trainer in the first story and his good friend, returning to the Royal Guard as a first lieutenant.
- Midnight Blade: The first of the three bat ponies from Batsburg and enlisted in the Lunar Guard. She is a purple mare, slightly different from the rest of the bat ponies with draconic wings rather than thestral ones.
- Eventide: A dark blue bat pony mare and the second of three bat ponies from Batsburg.
- Halfmoon: A bat pony mare from Hollow Shades hoping to be a part of the Zodiacs.
- Duskbloom: A bat pony stallion from Hollow Shades, and Halfmoon's foalhood crush, who wishes to be a part of the Zodiacs.
- Stellar Star: The third of the bat ponies from Batsburg. He is a dark grey stallion with a slight mental disorder.
- Stormfire: Previously a Lunar guard, being brought into the Zodiacs as an archery instructor and promoted to the rank of first sergeant, topping the previous high-ranking guard, Lodestar.
- Lodestar: He is a stallion with the earth pony-ingenuity of building a modern Equestria, but also a strong sense of justice, which is why he joined the Lunar Guard and became a sergeant in the Zodiacs.
- Zipline: Despite being a prankster around friends and co-workers, he takes his job very seriously. Zipline also has a slight fear of heights, despite being a pegasus. He is a corporal in the Zodiacs.
- Shieldhunter: He is a lance corporal in the Zodiacs, assigned to Princess Luna's personal observatory. As of chapter 21, he is killed in action.
- Skye Racer: He is another lance corporal in the Zodiacs, assigned to Princess Luna's observatory.
- Scarlet Iris: Scarlet is a corporal in the Zodiacs, and the only of the squadron to be a thestral, up until the new recruits' arrival. She is a bubbly mare whom constantly tricks Night and occasionally flirts with him, despite him lacking interest.
- Red Knight: Royal guard sergeant and an earth pony from the small town of Ponyville.
- Rescue Sunstreak: A former firefighter for the Ponyville Fire Department, having being transferred to the Lunar Guard as a Medic Specialist.
- Valiant Charge: A corporal in the Royal Guard.
- Harmonic Percussion: Lieutenant Major in the Lunar Guard, brought back into duty after Night delivered a letter to his home in Baltimare and is of Europonean origin.
- Princess Luna: Younger sister of Celestia, raises the moon at night. Everybody knows her.
- Silent Knight: Silent Knight is a lieutenant in the Lunar Guard, and the pony in charge of Luna's House Guard. He is the main character of Memoirs, Secrets, and Trials of a Royal Guard, written by Anzel.
- The Governor: The leader of the Batsburg colony, originally bent on attacking Equestria for his race being neglected nearly a century prior. As of chapter 14, his whereabouts are unclear, though he is most likely deceased.
- Redflare: A large, tall, muscular red pegasus and a Paladin of Celestia's Light, an elite group of ponies knighted by Princess Celestia herself. He is first assigned to work with Night Shadow to capture an escaped criminal.
- Norealis: The Lieutenant Colonel of the Hollow Shades Guard, having met with Night Shadow before training exercises were held in the area.
- Twister: One of Skywatcher's close friends from the Legion, having survived the eruption in the former colony caves. His older brother scared Night--at the time named Bloodvein--away from the base after becoming separated during a field trip with his class.
- Kozak: Long-term Commander of Fang Legion, having grizzled since his and Night's last meeting.
As anticipated before the initial release, The Veins Run Deeper has received exceptionally positive criticism and views with 36 likes and 1 dislike to date. The story currently has 2,600 views, as well as over 17,200 total chapter views.
In reality, the story only has 1,076 views according to the prologue. However, a glitch in chapter 23's view count (which somehow shot up in views) has caused the site's coding to determine that as the story's views rather than the first chapter.
The story, receiving little neutral or negative criticism overall, is declared by some as an "astonishing improvement" over its predecessor. It is praised for pacing, story, continuity, suspense, action sequences, emotion, as well as a wide range of recurring and new characters, especially Thunderblast's depiction of characters submitted for the story with slightly-altered canons to fit with the universe setting.
While Deeper has far less ratings overall than Deep, it is the most positively-received story of the series.
Thunderblast announced in October 2016 within a Discord chatroom that a second side story will be written following Deeper's completion, some time in 2017. He confirmed that he has been planning out this story for quite some time, meaning more details may come soon. In January 2017, however, he became skeptical on the original plot of the side story, saying "I feel it may be too silly, or it might take the series a direction I do not want it to go, as well as a way very few of my readers would likely enjoy."
He has also shown some interest in writing a third and final major story. His intentions for a third story would focus around "Night trying to discover who he really is, recognizing that he is the last of a once-large civilization of hybrid ponies and embarking on his greatest adventure yet without intention of stopping until the truth is revealed".
Thunderblast stated in late 2016, "If I do end up green-lighting a third book, it will definitely be the last in the series. As much as I love to write about and expand upon Night Shadow's universe and his adventures, it can't last forever, or else it will grow stale, or I will get stuck and have to prematurely tie loose ends. More so, even I haven't fully developed Night's true origin, and I don't want his parents to be this far developed and up and tell everybody that Night isn't their foal, so a third story (which would center around that) probably won't happen, or it will be at least a year or two before I can decide on where I want to end the series."
On January 25th, Thunderblast confirmed that a short story starring Night Shadow, taking place in the Nightmare Moon timeline from the Season 5 finale, will come in 2018. It will be non-canon to the series, or the whole Pegiverse.
On February 9th, Thunderblast confirmed a second side story that will take place "some time" after the events of Deeper, undergoing an entire plot change later on to "fit the central idea of what a third full story would be about". The story's title was soon revealed to be Deceitful Royalty, a thirteen-chapter conclusion to the series. It was published on October 1st, 2017.
- The Veins Run Deeper is a direct sequel to The Veins Run Deep in order.
- Deeper takes place twenty-six months (two years and two months) after An Old Friend's Return, and two years preceding the concluding events of Deceitful Royalty. Show-wise, the story takes place after the events of Twilight's Kingdom, which is where the Pegiverse (Thunderblast's writing universe) diverges from the main series.
- This story is six chapters longer than the first (36 total rather than 30), is twice as long in words than its predecessor, and became Thunderblast's second-longest story upon completion (just under Millennia: Beginning). As of September 2017, it fell third behind Millennia: Eye of the Storm.
- According to Thunderblast, Deeper was originally planned to have a completely different plot, centering around Night's adventures after marriage and having a foal. He said that this was "planned as a possible topic for Deeper long before Deeper was even confirmed".
- The cover art is identical to The Veins Run Deep's, but instead displays Night Shadow himself rather than an unknown bat pony.
- Deeper's timeline spans between August and December of 2014, according to the real life set-year within the Pegiverse.
- When chapter 26 was released, the story broke exactly 100,000 words.
- Night Shadow has a brief cameo in Millennia: Beginning, which that story covers the same time period as Deeper, and his cameo occurs between chapter events.
- He once more has a cameo in the sequel in the "Trials" chapter of Eye of the Storm, as well as Lodestar and some other Zodiacs attached to Princess Luna.
- The Veins Run Deeper was published on the 2-year anniversary of The Veins Run Deep's release.
- Thunderblast put out a blog post on his FIMFiction profile announcing he was accepting OCs to have roles in the story, although said characters will be slightly altered for this story (depending on their previous backstories) to fit with the timeline. This closed at 11:59PM EDT on May 31st.
- These characters, now canon to the Pegiverse under their respective roles, are expected to return in Deceitful Royalty, and an untitled crossover story in the future.