• Published 4th Jun 2012
  • 3,927 Views, 489 Comments

Of Laurels & Lace - WritingSpirit



Rarity receives an invitation to a masquerade, but was immediately thrown into conspiracy, treachery and, above all, love.

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Charred Tombstones

The funeral was somber, quiet. A sea of black ponies cascade down the stairs, following the cobblestone path into the graveyard.

Rarity was still in her room, fumbling with her walkie-talkie.

"Why. Can't. This. Thing. Work?" she slammed the machine as it crackled to life.

"Anypony there? Twilight? Fluttershy?"

A grumble erupted from the device.

"Hello?" she tried again.

"Hi, Rarity." A voice called her name in a somewhat, somber tone.

"Pinkie!" Rarity sighed with relief. "How are you? Rainbow told me about the accident!"

"Are you alright?"

She heard Pinkie scoff. "I'm fine, just fine. Without your help of course."

Rarity was slightly taken aback. She never heard Pinkie like this before.

"Now, Pinkie," the unicorn said in her walkie-talkie. "is there something bothering you? You can tell me about it."

There was a slight crackle, before Pinkie's voice came back again.

"No! Nothing's bothering me at all! Nothing!"

"Pinkie!" Rarity tried to keep her cool. "Just tell me what's wrong."

Silence filled the room, as Rarity waited patiently for her response.

"Pinkie?"

"What?" Her pink friend responded gruffly.

"Please. Just tell me."

A long sigh came from the pink pony.

"You have nothing to know about, Rarity."

"What are you talking about?" Rarity exclaimed in surprise. "I'm your friend, Pinkie Pie! There must be something wrong."

"Friend? Friend?!"

The pink pony's voice grew in volume. "What kind of friend sends a message that involves throwing me out the window??!!"

"What??!!" Rarity shouted, shocked at the accusation. "Why in Equestria, Pinkie Pie, would you ever think that I would want to throw you out the window?!"

"Don't lie, Rarity!!"

"Pinkie Pie, you're not making any sense!!" Rarity protested.

"You sent the pony!! The pony said he.. or she.. or whatever!! The pony was your friend!!"

"What message? What pony?"

"That pony!! That wretched, filthy friend of yours!! You like to make new friends now, huh Rarity?"

"I didn't send any messages, Pinkie Pie!!" Rarity screamed, tears dropping from her eyes.

Another long pause. "Y... You... didn't?"

"No! I wouldn't want to see you get hurt!!" she said, sniffling. The pink pony's accusations has stung her deep, as she tried to wipe her tears off.

"B-But... But he said-"

"Who said, Pinkie?" Rarity questioned, feeling like tearing this pony apart. "Who?!"

"This pony, he... he had a mask. He was wearing a cloak. He said he was your friend."

Rarity's face paled, any color visible on her skin fading as she realized Pinkie's attacker.

Mirror Mare...

"Pinkie, you were tricked..." Rarity said, calming down a little. "That pony is the pony I talked about, the pony that always liked to hurt other ponies."

"What....?" Pinkie Pie's voice faltered.

Another long pause began. "Pinkie?" Rarity called her in concern.

Silence.

"Pinkie?" The white unicorn tried again.

Still silence.

"Pinkie? Don't scare me now."

"I-I'm..." the pink pony's voice came though again.

"I'm sorry, Rarity."

Rarity breathed a huge sigh of relief. "It's okay, Pinkie. It's okay."

She heard the pink pony crying at the other end, as Rarity smiled

"Listen Pinkie," Rarity called to her friend. "Get a good rest, hear me?"

"Okay." she replied. Rarity heard a little bit of Pinkie's usual self returning again.

She switched the walkie-talkie off, smiling a little before fitting a black veil on her head.

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"It's really tight in this, you know that?"

Crimson was struggling to breath as Octavia helped him with his tie.

"Well, if you stop moving around," the gray pony said with a grunt, "it will help. A lot."

Octavia gave the tie one last pull, as Crimson choked a little, turning slightly blue.

"Go easy, 'Tavi." he said, flailing his crutches around. "I can't breathe in this."

"Alright, I'm done. Now can you comb my mane?"

Crimson smiled. "A deal is a deal."

He took the comb from her hoof as Octavia settled herself in front of a mirror, pushing her black, lace dress to the front.

Crimson whistled. "You really look beautiful in that dress."

"Shut up, Crimson!" Octavia giggled slightly, blushing as red as her coltfriend.

"No, really! I don't mind you totally wearing this on our wedding day." he said with a wink.

Octavia bit her lip, glancing away uneasily. She felt a hoof on her shoulder.

"Listen," Crimson began. "About yesterday."

"I'm sorry, okay? It's just that I... don't want you to leave me behind, you know? Having you as my marefriend, it's the most wonderful thing I ever had in my life."

Octavia just sat there, looking at the floor.

"If there's anything. Anything, 'Tavi, that I can do for you, just tell me." he said before continuing combing her mane.

"Actually," the gray pony said, turning around towards Crimson coyly.

"There is one thing."

"And what's tha-" Crimson's eyes widened in surprise as he felt Octavia seized him forward, her lips smashing hard onto his.

He closed his eyes as the pair kissed deeply, their lips tingling with delight as both ponies held their hooves together.

As abruptly as it started, the kiss broke. Crimson just stood there, dumbfounded as Octavia giggled slightly with a blush.

"That was...." Crimson began, still not believing what just happened.

"Lemme guess," Octavia fumbled playfully. "Weird? Sudden?"

Crimson smiled as the gray pony buried her head in his chest, giving out a contented sigh with his hooves surround his marefriend in a deep embrace.

"Sensual..."

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The sky was a cloudy gray as Rarity sat on her satin-draped seat. The graveyard was seemingly unsettling, as she looked around.

A slight fog has already formed at her heels, tingling with moisture. Tombstones of different shapes were arranged neatly. Small groups of mushrooms were usually found in the undergrowth, along with a few toads.

The swampy ground was, at some parts, muddy. Rarity avoided about eighteen mud puddles while in the procession. About thirty plus ponies attended Summer's funeral, some of whom were guests to the masquerade ball.

"Rarity!" Octavia called out, helping Crimson as both of them walked over to the white unicorn.

"Sorry we're late." she said, fanning herself with her hat. Crimson sat down silently, his thoughts wandering away from the events at hand.

"No problem. They haven't started yet." Rarity told her, gesturing to the Palgiot family at the side. Autumn was trying to comfort Spring, who looked depressed as ever.

Winter stepped up onto a podium, specially prepared for the occasion. He cleared his throat as he straightened his tie.

"Seriously though," Crimson finally spoke. "I gotta ask him how he does his tie."

Both mares tried not to laugh. It was a funeral, after all.

"Greetings, my fellow ponies." Winter's hollow voice boomed through the microphone.

"Today was a day, another day of death. But the death of a pony dear to us, to our family."

"Summer wasn't the best Palgiot ever lived, but he was one of the finest."

Octavia's whisper distracted Rarity. "I thought Winter hated his brother."

Rarity shrugged a little, a part of her doubting the words of the family Patriarch.

"Summer and I," Winter hesitated a little. "We've been arch enemies since the day he was born, as many of you ponies know. But behind the arguments, behind everything, he was a great pony at heart."

"He was passionate in art, literature and was indispensable in our family matters. To be honest, he was the one pony that wanted me to be Patriarch."

Rarity tried to hide her surprise. Summer wanted him to be Patriarch?

"My father, Tantrum Palgiot, wasn't very fond of me. To him, I was never his number-one son. When my uncle passed, Summer was selected as Patriarch. But on his Inauguration Day, Summer said he wasn't capable of the responsibilities and, as such, gave the title of Patriarch to me."

"Ever since, he regretted his decision, but he never showed it until recently. He never complained, he never said a word about it. I respect him for that."

"And I respect him for his contributions for the family, for helping out in the setting up of the ball, for getting all of you here, for helping me in these dire times, for everything."

Winter slowly take a breath, then exhaled as he finish off his speech.

"With all nostalgic matters aside, we shall begin in prayer."

Everypony closed their eyes and bowed their heads as they begin to pray.

Rarity cupped her hooves. She was still slightly astonished at how Winter became Patriarch.

She closed her eyes.

The wind blew around the black crowd, all silently whispering in prayer. Dried leaves fluttered in the wind, spreading around the graveyard.

Rarity felt something at the back of her head. She tried to get it out of her mind.

The noise around seem to grow silent as her prayers continued. Her ears twitched, wanting to hear the slightest bit of sound.

And then she heard it. Something unnatural. Something that didn't belong.

Tick..... Tick.... Tick....

Rarity opened her eyes. "Winter!"

Before he could respond, Summer's coffin suddenly exploded, a cloud of smoke throwing the Patriarch off the podium in a shockwave.

Rocks flew and whizzed through the crowd, as the stone coffin shattered into a bunch of pieces. Summer's body fell to the swampy floor.

All at once, the black sea parted, as ponies started running around, trying to duck for safety.

Another tombstone exploded, the rock fragments scattering through air. Rarity looked around in shock at the chaos around her.

"Rarity, come on!" Octavia shouted as she grabbed her friend's hoof.

The explosions seemed to cascade through the graveyard, a hail of rock and marble raining onto the ponies.

Rarity and Octavia ran through the graveyard, with Crimson following behind them. Rarity felt a small rock whizzed pass her ear.

Suddenly, all at once, the explosions stopped. The three ponies turned around, making sure it was safe.

The graveyard was in a mess. Many tombstones were broken apart or cracked. Rocks lay scattered around the graveyard floor. Smoke still rose from the ground, smelling slightly of sulphur.

"What happened?" "Were we attacked?" A murmur of voices asked.

Winter lifted himself up from the floor. He gripped tightly on his healing gunshot wound as Stellar helped him up. Spring was cowering in Autumn's arms, crying with fear.

"Everypony alright?!" he called out to the parted crowd. His guards quickly helped every pony up as he scanned the view before him.

"Sir?" one of the guards called to him. Winter quickly worked his way through the graveyard, rushing towards a group of ponies.

Winter's face darkened suddenly.

"Stellar!" he barked. "Get everypony inside. Now!"

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Winter Palgiot and Chief Griffonhooves sat in the morgue as Doctor Brineheart started extracting rock fragments.

"This is the eighth pony this week, Chief." Winter said gruffly to the other pony.

"And our fourth guest of the party."

"The officers are doing everything they can. Mirror Mare isn't an everyday criminal, sir."

"I know that."

"What I don't know," he clarified. "is the targets he's aiming at."

"It doesn't make sense. The last time Mirror Mare appeared, it's targets had a connection, some sort of similarity between each one, which at that time was financial worries."

"Mirror Mare was named for reflecting the secrets a pony hides, and kills each pony for hiding the same particular secret."

"Like the Lorenzo scandal a few decades ago?" Chief Griffonhooves asked.

Winter nodded. "The secrets can be anything, even the slightest small emotion. For example, one of the previous Mirror Mares murdered ponies just because of fear. Fear that Mirror Mare itself would come after them."

"Wait a minute," the police chief stopped the Patriarch. "You said Mirror Mares. There's more than one?"

Again, another nod. "Mirror Mare had different identities. It was usually said that Mirror Mare was a demon's soul that possesses other pony's bodies."

"Since then, many ponies had been identified as Mirror Mare. The soul was always the same, but with different intentions in each body. The Lorenzo scandal was one such case. Not only the swindlers, but the victims were hunted down as well."

"But for this one case, this Mirror Mare had no obvious connection. I have no idea if it was just picking random targets. What I know is that we must stop this pony."

Doctor Brineheart cleared his throat, gesturing Winter and Chief Griffonhooves over.

"Mirror Mare, as I can say, was a smart one."

He turned the dead pony's head around, revealing a small, red hole in the head.

"This pony was shot, not hit by a rock as I suspected at first."

Winter tried to put the pieces together. "Why bother covering up one murder with extreme precision when you're causing chaos anyway?"

"The chandelier, the train explosion, the bounding of Basil and his deceased wife, Summer's shooting, and now this."

"I have no idea." Chief Griffonhooves said as he examined the wound closely. "This pony was shot from afar, about six to six and a half feet, I suppose."

"A triggered explosion, for only one bullet. It doesn't make sense."

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Rarity hummed to herself in the shower. Water sprinkled across her neck as she swished her mane around in the water.

Steam quickly fogged the glass mirror as she cleansed her mane with soap. She sighed in content as she felt the warmth of the shower across her face.

Her mind was quickly focused on the recent attacks. It's always targeting on one pony.

Crimson, then her, she shuddered, then Harlequin, then Summer.

And now, Basil himself.

He was the only pony not present when Stellar ushered them back into Palgiot Palace. Seeing Winter's face before she left confirmed her suspicions.

Basil was the target. But why?

Rarity pondered a little as she listed out everypony she knew that was targeted.

First there was Caesar. Then Tassel Twist was next. Then this old pony she'd seen in her dreams.

Spike and Pinkie as well, but why?

Her mind worked furiously, thinking about the time stop that she can travel into.

"It tried taking my life after the ballroom thing." she said to herself

"Then, it happened again in Fountain Square..."

Somehow, Spike and Pinkie Pie is tangled up in all of the mess. Rarity felt like screaming to know the answer.

Was Mirror Mare sending her a warning? A warning that she would hurt more of her friends?

Rarity gulped. She didn't like that idea. Not one bit.

She thought back again. Tassel Twist, Crimson Lux, herself, Harlequin Velvet and now her husband, Basil Luck.

They were all guests at the masquerade, but that doesn't explain why Spike and Pinkie was involved, or Caesar.

How is it all connected?!

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They broke their kiss.

Crimson felt himself flutter. He worked his crutches as Octavia giggled slightly.

"It's been quite a long time since we did something like this, 'Tavi."

"Too long, perhaps," she whispered playfully.

Crimson smiled as Octavia purred. For the third time that night, they grew closer, their snouts muzzling affectionately.

In one sudden move, their lips met. Octavia breathed in as she tasted Crimson, the love of her life.

Crimson's hoof reached down her mane, slowly pushing her closer to him as their kiss grew deeper.

Octavia moaned a little in their kiss as their lips slowly tingled with delight.

The sweet smelling air at night made them comfortable. The gray pony leaned back against the window as her coltfriend continued their long, passionate kiss as they stumbled outside to the balcony.

"Celestia..." Octavia said as they broke their kiss. "That was wonderful..."

Crimson chuckled a little. "Wanna go another round?"

"No thanks, Crimson." Octavia's face flushed a little as she continued. "That's enough for one night."

Crimson looked around, realizing where they are.

"Hey 'Tavi?"

The gray pony looked up from fiddling her hooves around.

"Will you accept my hand for a dance?"

Octavia stood there, surprised for a moment.

"But there's no music."

"Then I'll sing into your ear," Crimson said with a wink.

Octavia laughed a little at that comment. "I'll try my best to listen."

They both held hooves, their bodies slowly grew closer, as Crimson hummed a tune into Octavia's ear.

Her marefriend tried her best not to laugh, as they both serenaded around the balcony.

"Octavia?"

The gray pony stopped moving, tilting her head slightly as Crimson gazed deeply into her lavender eyes.

"Do you know you're the most beautiful mare I have ever known?"

Octavia blushed a little, their snouts edging closer again.

"Come here, my Crimson de la creme." she said slyly as their lips met once more.

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The pony watched the couple from a distance, the belts glistening slightly with daggers reflecting the blue moonlight.

Folding her cloak, the pony stood silently in the woods, spying at every move the couple made.

When they kissed, the pony felt emptiness in her heart.

She removed her mask, revealing a pale shade of rose pink skin shining in the moonlight.

She ruffled her mane, which was a darker, mulberry color. Her eyes glittered with slightly as she let out a depressing sigh.

Those two sure are lucky, she said, watching them dance around the balcony.

She looked as the colt struggled with his crutches, giggling a little. Her heart, though, pained at the sight of it.

Regret stung into her heart as the colt continued fumbling with the crutches.

Hoovingaar Mountain was cooling this time of the year. The summer was making way for autumn as trees around her already started shedding their leaves.

She trotted down a little, letting wind blow into her mane as she settled herself down once more.

This time, she was looking at the balcony, patiently waiting. Light shimmered from the inside as a pony stepped out into the darkness.

The stallion before her ruffled his blue mane, his white skin flourishing in the moonlight. He straightened his tie a little as he sipped from his martini.

She smiled. He was always like this.

He looked out in the sky, his eyes seemingly filled with sadness and sorrow. He gave out a small sigh.

She held herself back from running out. Out into the open where the stallion can see her.

As the pony stepped back into his chambers, she slowly trotted off into the darkness.

"Why is it so hard.... to just... tell him?"

She bit her lip, letting a single tear fall silently from her eye as she placed a bronze mask back on.

A bronze mask stitched at the lips.

It's time to go back to work.

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