• Published 19th May 2018
  • 2,378 Views, 72 Comments

Corruption - PixelMoon



Twilight Sparkle finds herself being led to question things she's never questioned and try things she'd never tried by Rarity. But slowly Twilight begins to feel like she's being corrupted, and begins to wonder if Rarity is a vampire.

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Chapter 13

Twilight trotted deeper into the forest, through the fog and darkness. It was close to midnight and she was all alone in a darkness so thick she could only see a few feet in front of her face. This was something that a normal pony wouldn't do, but Twilight had become fearless towards the dark, comfortable even. It didn't matter if she was alone.

There was one small thing she was worried about, but it was something she had largely grown used to as well. That dreadstalker still hadn't been caught. That thing was like the most elusive spider in history or something. Being alone in the woods was not a good idea.

That was why they were supposed to meet up just a tiny little bit into the woods before going deeper together. Dreadstalkers didn't attack groups of ponies, they only attacked you when you were all alone. Kind of like how Twilight was now.

For some reason, her friends weren't by the rock they were supposed to be by. All she found next to the rock was mud. It was like somepony had dumped gallons of water on this spot to the point that the ground wasn't entirely solid. Twilight tried only stepping on the largest rocks she could find, but even then she found herself scrapping mud off her hooves with her magic as soon as she got away from the muddy patch.

Twilight thought maybe she had gotten the wrong spot and decided to look around a bit, but not that much. She wasn't that brave when Rarity wasn't around, not enough to spend all night alone in the woods, anyway. Not to mention that she wasn't that stupid, either.

The crickets were so loud tonight, it was strange. That'd didn't mean a monster was nearby, right? No, if that was some kind of sign it would have been in that pamphlet everypony got about dreadstalkers. Twilight was just being paranoid again.

It was probably for the best that they were drowning out the other sounds of the woods, or else Twilight would be thinking every little noise was the dreadstalker.

No, instead she only thought every loud noise was a dreadstalker. She heard the sound of branches cracking nearby like something was running through the woods. Those were definitely hooves and she thought she heard a pony's voice too. Twilight decided to run that way, figuring it was either her friends or somepony who got lost.

A familiar rustling sound came from one of the bushes. Twilight sighed just before Pinkie jumped out from behind the bush.

“Rar!” Pinkie screamed, bearing her teeth as if she had fangs.

“Hey Pinkie,” Twilight said calmly.

“Aw!” Pinkie's ears drooped. “Not even a little?”

“If you do it every single time I'm gonna get used to it,” said Twilight.

“Ah, buck.” Pinkie swung her hoof. Her disappointment was short lived, though. Her expression quickly turned to a smile and she leaned against Twilight affectionately. “I guess I gotta find a new way to prank you. Twitwi has become fearless!”

“Well good luck with that,” Twilight said. “At the rate I'm going I won't even be able to feel fear in another month. It'd have be to pretty good to get me after that.”

“Oh I already have an idea.” Pinkie smiled with her teeth real wide, showing them off to Twilight. “It'll get you, trust me! Just wait for it.”

“Is it just you here, though?” Twilight looked around but saw nothing but Pinkie, trees and darkness. It wasn't very often you saw one of them alone. “Where's Rarity?”

“The others are up ahead,” said Pinkie. “They told me to bounce around the woods and try to snag you when you showed up. You know, like normal. Follow me!”

Twilight started following Pinkie deeper into the woods.

“So how come you weren't at the meeting place?” Twilight gave Pinkie the harshest glare she could muster. “That's kind of an important thing. I could have gotten hurt.”

“Let's just say somepony tried to play a mean prank on us,” said Pinkie. “But nopony is able to out prank Pinkie!”

“Prank? Who tried to prank you?”

“I dunno.” Pinkie narrowed her eyes. “But let's just say it was probably somepony who likes apples and hates fun.”

“Applejack?” Twilight looked at Pinkie with disbelief. “She doesn't seem like the pranking sort.”

“Applejack doesn't seem like a lot of things, but trust me when I say she's all sorts of stuff!” Pinkie held her forehooves far apart like she was showing Twilight how big a fish she caught. “She does this kind of stuff to us all the time! Or used to anyway. But now she's doing it again!”

Twilight gave a long, loud yawn. “I should probably ask about all the drama, but I already heard enough gossip today and now I'm tired. Do you have any coffee, by the way?” Twilight asked. “I wound up staying up all, uh, day I guess.”

“There's three things I always carry!” Pinkie pulled down the hook of her mane and then let it spring back up. A cup of coffee appeared out of it and landed in Pinkie's hooves. “Coffee, Candy and Cuddles!”

“I'll just take the coffee for now, thanks.” Twilight took the cup and took a few deep gulps of it.

Twilight wasn't even concerned about the fact that this had been in Pinkie's hair a moment ago. Apparently that just kept it fresh.

Twilight drank the coffee as she went deeper into the woods. It wasn't long until Twilight saw the glow of a fire through the trees, then the fire itself and then Rarity and Rainbow Dash. Dash was poking the fire with a stick, either for fun or to tend to it, while Rarity sat in the glow of the flames, thinking to herself.

Just seeing Rarity was enough for Twilight to relax, even more than having Pinkie around did. Rarity just had that force of presence, being with her was like being with a lion, one waiting to pounce on anything that tried to harm you. Even if it might not be true, Twilight felt like nothing could touch her when Rarity was around, like Rarity could could just stomp on a dreadstalker if it showed up.

Rarity noticed Twilight the moment Twilight saw her, turning and smiling. “I got one Twilight!” Pinkie bounced passed the other unicorn, landing next to the other three. “Hope that's enough.”

“And,” said Twilight gave a huge grin and took out a pair of sunglasses, “I brought my own sunglasses! That I'm gonna wear. At night. Because I'm that cool.”

Twilight put the sunglasses on struck a pose. It definitely probably looked cool, but she ran into a problem right away. Wearing sunglasses at night left her completely blind.

“How do you see like this?” Twilight was forced to pull them down a little. “Are those special sunglasses or something?”

“Or something, yeah,” said Dash, casually knocking the sunglasses off of Twilight. “Sorry, Twi, but you're not cool enough to wear sunglasses at night yet.”

“And once you arbitrarily declare me 'cool' I'll magically have dark vision?” Twilight asked. “And for your information I am cool!”

“Ha!” Dash grabbed Twilight with a foreleg and hugged her tight. Twilight said nothing. “You know we like you, Twi! I just got high standards for who gets to be called 'cool' is all.”

Dash shoved Twilight out of her own grasp. Twilight smirked and shoved Dash back a little. It was another one of their contageous attitudes.

“Well I read a book about coolness before coming here,” said Twilight. “'Too Cool for Mule'. It was racist, but highly analytical and according to it, I am quantifiably cooler than you on 8 out of 10 metrics!”

Dash and Pinkie laughed. “You are such a bucking dork!” Dash said, but in the way she normally called things 'awesome' or 'sweet' or the like. “But you're our dork, so I guess your a dork in a kinda sweet way.” Dash gave Twilight a noogie and a nuzzle. “Tell you what, you can call yourself cool after you say the B-word.”

“You know I don't curse,” said Twilight.

“Ah come on, Twi!” Dash rolled her eyes. “You never gave a single reason not to.”

Twilight hesitated. She was feeling that temptation again and that feeling that she was resisting. She honestly wasn't sure if she wanted to say it or not. She knew giving in was almost inevitable. She really couldn't even think of any reasons not to at this point, save looking for acceptance from ponies like Thunderlane.

“It's alright if you don't want to,” said Rarity. “I think it's endearing. You can go out into a forest alone with a vicious monster on the loose but are too scared to say a word. Normally, I'd see that as vexing, but from you I like it.”

Twilight felt a little disappointed that Rarity didn't push her into it. She felt that way a lot.

“And you'll give in eventually.” Pinkie smiled a sinister smile. “Hehehe.”

“Yeah? Well-” Twilight yawned. “Maybe eventually you'll give in, to uh-”

Twilight yawned again. She hadn't realized Thunderlane and pals took that much out of her.

“Sorry,” said Twilight. “Didn't get any sleep.”

“How come you didn't sleep?” Pinkie gasped. “Oh no! Was it more bills? Was everything you own infested with dengu mold? Did the dengu mold get in your brain and now they're gonna cut it out?”

“No? I tried hanging out with Thunderlane,” Twilight said. “Him and his friends were literally bragging about how ignorant they were! It was so- so-”

“Lame?” Pinkie cocked a smile.

“Well, yeah. It was really boring.” Twilight got up and let out a grunt of frustration. “I just can't believe how bad they all are. They get so disgusted whenever you bring up something that doesn't fit into their tiny worldview, just like you girls are always saying. No wonder I never liked playing with other ponies! They're all so- so-”

“Say it!” Pinkie jumped in front of Twilight with an ecstatic smile. “Come on! Say it! Say it! Say it!”

“You'll never really be better than them until you're able to go outside your tiny worldview, Twi,” Dash agreed.

Dash did have a point. She'd always had a point when it came to this sort of thing. Twilight was still fuming at Thunderlane a little. Maybe she should just do it.

“Do you want me to make them shut up, Twilight?” Rarity asked.

“No!” Twilight blurted out.

The others looked at her, all of them confused except Rarity, who gave Twilight a knowing smile.

“I mean, okay!” Twilight nodded firmly. “Okay. You know what? I'll do it. I'm going to curse!”

Pinkie started prancing in place in excitement.

“B- b-” Twilight's mouth refused to move. It was like she was about to jump off a cliff or something.

Twilight glanced at the others and got a very enthusiastic nod from Pinkie.

“B- bu-” and then as quietly as possible added, “-s."

“Bus isn't a curse,” Pinkie said.

Great, she somehow heard it.

“Just say it and get it over with!” Dash flared her wings.

Twilight swallowed hard and nodded. This was it! Surely this was the final step.

“B-buck.”

Twilight's heart stopped, her breathing stopped, everything stopped for that moment! She felt like she'd committed some unforgivable crime, some part of her waited for Celestia to show up and light her on fire.

But instead she got applause. Pinkie and Dash stomped their hooves and cheered. Even Rarity slowly clapped her hooves together. Twilight couldn't help but smile. It was such a huge relief that nothing happened. Of course nothing was going to happen, but nothing actually happening was different than knowing nothing would happen.

“Now you just gotta say it over and over,” said Dash, “that way it'll lose its power.”

“Y-yeah! B-buck, dork, uh, lame.” Twilight's breathing was heavy. For some reason she couldn't think of any more curses than that. “Er. Buck. Buck buck bucking bucked buck!”

“Woo-hoo!” Pinkie stamped her hooves in applause even louder.

This was actually kind of fun. Twilight laughed. “Hey squirrel!” She pointed at a random squirrel passing by. “Buck you! You're lame! And a doofus!”

Twilight screamed at the squirrel, causing it to run for its little squirrely life. Twilight found herself yelling the word louder and louder each time. Thunderlane came into her mind and so did all the unfairness of the world, making her blood boil, causing Twilight to scream even louder.

“Buck! Buck! BUCK!” Twilight screamed at nothing. “BUUUUUUCK! AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAHHH!”

She kept screaming at the darkness. All the frustration she'd felt the past month, all the worry about vampires, about money, all the anger at everything she lost, at how unfair society was, all of that came gushing out in a screaming mess of curses as Twilight screamed and stomped her hooves as loudly as possible.

She honestly had no idea how long she screamed for, but afterward felt exhausted and fell down on her haunches.

“Whoa.” Pinkie stopped applauding for a second and trotted over to the now panting Twilight and patted her on the back. “Feel better now?”

Twilight nodded. She kind of did, actually.

“Maybe like ten percent less next time,” Dash suggested. “But otherwise, I think you're right on.”

“Yeah.” Twilight stared up at the stars. “So, uh. We're having like a campfire or something? Oh, I mean, a bucking campfire.”

“Well that depends on whether or not-”

“Cutie Mark Crusader vampire hunters!” shouted someone lousy at sneak attacks.

Two fillies jumped out of the bushes, firing super soakers and screaming as they charged forward. Pinkie and Dash happened to be the closest to them, so they took aim for those two, though neither of them were able to hit.

Dash effortlessly flew high over the stream aimed at her then came down like a bolt of lightning, kicking the squirt gun out of her hooves. Pinkie, meanwhile, had made a game of bouncing around as the other filly tried to shoot at her, twirling about and laughing at every missed shot. She actually looked a little disappointed when Dash knocked the other squirt gun away.

One of the fillies ran for her gun, but Rarity picked both of them up with her magic, unscrewed the water tank and dumped out the water. With that done, she politely handed them back to the fillies.

“So I take it you were-” Rarity began, but just then another scream interrupted her.

This time it was a gray unicorn who came charging forward. “Vampire Hunter!” she screamed.

The unicorn filly threw a dozen or so water balloons at Rarity, who effortlessly caught them with her own magic and tossed them behind her, leaving them to pop against the ground.

“Aw.” The filly lowered her head and scraped the ground with her hoof.

Now that Twilight got a look at her, she recognized the three fillies. The leader was Applebloom, Applejack's younger sister. She was with a unicorn filly named Dinky and a pegasus who Twilight had seen before but didn't know the name of.

“That's bad manners,” said Rarity, tsking them, “trying to squirt ponies, and with a dishonorable sneak attack at that.”

“Hey!” said the orange pegasus. “You three curse and break the rules all the time! You have no right to say we have bad manners.”

“Yeah!” Applebloom stepped forward. “Not to mention that you're a bunch of blood-sucking monsters! Death is too good for you.”

“And uh! Um,” Dinky started, then stopped to think to herself. “Oh! And you're manes are really stupid too! I mean, the rainbow one is kind of cool, but the rest of you are stupid-manes.”

“Dinky, let me do the talking,” Applebloom whispered to Dinky.

“Applebloom,” said Twilight, “there's no such thing as vampires, okay?”

“Did the vampires tell you that?” Applebloom asked with a skeptical look.

“No,” said Twilight, “because there's no such thing as vampires. I think you're taking your sister's stories too seriously.”

“Nu-uh!” said Dinky. “They are too vampires! And those three are vampires and we're gonna slay them and get vampire slayer cutie marks! And I know they're evil vampires because-”

Applebloom and the pegasus jumped on Dinky, covering her mouth and shushing her loudly.

“Vampire hunter cutie marks?” Rarity asked, strutting her way over to those three. “So you want to murder ponies for a living? You want to see these vampires screaming in pain? You want to watch them die by your hooves?”

“Well, I mean when you put it that way,” said the pegasus.

“Vampires aren't ponies,” Applebloom insisted. “They're monsters!”

Twilight picked up one of the crushed super soakers and gave it a stern look. “How were you going to kill us with water, again?” she asked.

“It's holy water,” said Dinky. “You'd burn up the second it touches you. And just so you know, we never even intended to kill you. We were just the distraction!”

“Dinky!” Applebloom stomped her hooves on the ground in frustration. “The whole point of a distraction is to not let them know it's a distraction!”

Twilight saw a flash of blue light and just like that understood why their meeting spot was soaked. It was a water stone! Twilight had never seen one in person, but had read about them extensively. A single water stone could summon gallons and gallons of water in short bursts, enough so that entire desert towns could survive on the water of just two or three of them!

Not that any of that reading was needed to see the effects. Right now, floating a few meters above them, stretching out far in every direction, was water, a whole, whole lot of water. And it began to fall down on towards them. They were going to get soaked, or maybe even crushed or drown! Twilight didn't know how far up the pool of water stretched.

But then Rarity's horn glowed.

A shield of blue light surrounded the area, covering all four mares and all three fillies. A normal unicorn could create a shield, but holding back what may have been literal tons of water was something that took a great deal of strength. But Rarity made it look so easy, boring even.

For a second it looked like they were in a bubble under a lake, but soon the water flooded away in every direction. It took a minute or so for it all to disperse and sink into the ground, but once it did, Rarity dropped the shield. Now the ponies were standing in what may very well have been the one dry patch of land in the entire forest.

Even once the water went down, Rarity didn't stop with the magic. She had somehow spotted where Applejack was and plucked her out of the tree. Applejack was carrying a saddlebag, which Rarity tore open and threw things out of until she got the waterstone, which she passed to Pinkie.

Applejack kicked around, but to no effect as Rarity floated her over to the muddiest patch of mud she could find. It was practically oozing! It looked like you could sink down a mile into that patch.

“Shall I drop you in the mud, Applejack?” Rarity called over to her.

Applejack just continued to grunt and struggle, though much harder than before.

“Well?” Rarity lowered her just a little bit more. “Last chance to say no.”

“Y-you can't!” Applejack spat back at her.

Rarity hesitated for a moment, before instead throwing Applejack onto the island of dryness.

“Stay there,” said Rarity. “Believe me I can if I absolutely have to.”

Rarity turned back to the three fillies. She took one step towards them and they huddled together in fear, so close they were almost touching.

“Firstly, you three. There's something else you need to consider about your career,” said Rarity. She stopped right in front of the three fillies, looking down on them. “Do you know what would have happened to you three tonight if we really were vampires and if vampires really were monsters?”

The three of them stared up at Rarity, breathless. “We'd die?” Dinky whispered.

Rarity nodded slowly.

“Rar!” Pinkie jumped on Rarity's back, leaning forward to scream in their faces. All three of them screamed and ran.

“Was it really a good idea to chase them away?” Twilight asked. “There's still that dreadstalker.”

“We're not that far into the woods and they're together. They'll be fine.” Rarity turned her eyes to Applejack. “But I think we need to have a serious talk here, Applejack."

“Yeah, Applejack. What the buck were you doing?” Twilight had some difficulty saying that in front of Applejack, mad as she was, but it was easy to be brave when you were standing behind Rarity. “You could have really hurt us!”

“What the what was I doing?” Applejack pushed herself off the ground, glaring at Twilight as if she was the one who had just done the attempted murder.

“I-” Twilight falttered, but quickly regained her courage. “I said 'buck'. What the bucking buck were you thinking you bucking r-retard?”

“I warned you this would happen,” Applejack said.

“Well I don't bucking care anymore!” Twilight was feeling unhinged now. That word did get easier to say every time, just like they promised. “And I get you hate Rarity or whatever, but why bring a bunch of fillies into this?”

“Bet I know the reason.” Dash spat off to the side. “Applejack couldn't find anypony stupid enough to go through with this except a bunch of fillies. I'm right, aren't I?"

“Don't you know it's dangerous out here?” Twilight asked. “Ponies her age shouldn't be in the woods at at all.”

“Take your own advice,” said Applejack. “You're the one in real danger.”

“Twilight's with me.” Rarity wrapped her hoof around Twilight's neck.

“That's what I'm afraid of,” said Applejack.

Rarity calmly let go of Twilight and started trotting over to Applejack with that dangerous look she got. Nopony could glare like Rarity could. Every time she walked up to a pony like that and looked them in the eyes it made Twilight was glad she was on Rarity's side.

“Applejack! We had a deal, yes? You don't bother us and we don't bother you,” said Rarity. “It's not a good idea to go crossing lines, Applejack. If you keep all of this up I may have to bother you back and I dare say I can be quite a bit more bothersome than you can, if you know what I mean.”

“You're the one who crossed my line!” Applejack stepped forward, far more resolved than the last time she tried to stand up to Rarity. “You broke our deal the minute you came back here and started killing ponies in my town!”

Twilight was dumbfounded. Thinking she was a vampire was one thing, but out and out calling Rarity a murderer was on a completely different level. The others didn't have high opinions of Applejack's accusation, either. Pinkie was just as stunned as Twilight, Dash was gritting her teeth and Rarity just rolled her eyes.

Applejack faltered slightly at that lukewarm reaction. Twilight wasn't sure what she'd been expecting.

“That's right!” Applejack tried to regain her indignation. “I know there ain't no dreadstalker out there! It's you draining their blood and killing them! Ain't it, Rarity? You killed all those ponies!”

“You're seriously accusing Rarity of murder now?!” Twilight just wanted to bash her head against a nearby rock. “Applejack, if you seriously believe somepony is murdering ponies then you should go to the police, okay? Not spray them with squirt guns!”

“The police can be too easily swayed by her vampire powers even if they believed me,” said Applejack. “But those soakers had holy water in them! That can kill a vampony!”

“And in your dim little mind you were trying to kill the three of us then,” said Rarity. “Sounds like you're the murderer here, or at least want to be.”

“She has a point, Applejack,” said Twilight. “Next are you going to try driving a stake through their heart or something? I honestly think you need help!”

“You really don't get it, do you? You're being manipulated.” Applejack shook her head at Twilight before turning to Rarity. “If you're really her 'friend' then why don't you tell Twilight the truth, huh?!”

“The truth?” Rarity tilted her head, she walked over to Applejack and sat down in front of her. “Maybe you should give me an example. Don't you have something you think Twilight should know? Hm?”

Rarity laughed at the way Applejack bit her lip at that. Twilight's ears perked. That line made it sound like there was something nopony was telling her.

“Well that's awfully hypocritical of you, isn't it? Though maybe given how you've been acting in general it'd be better for me to call you,” Rarity leaned her head forward and almost whispered in Applejack's ear, “a monster."

Applejack snapped at that. She scramble back to her hooves and charged at Rarity, pulling a foreleg back, ready to deliver an all-out punch to Rarity's face. Rarity didn't even bother reacting, she didn't have to. Dash came in from the side in a blur of blue and punched Applejack hard on the muzzle, throwing her off to the side.

Applejack went tumbling to the ground, rolling over rocks and sticks. It must have been as painful as it looked, as Applejack looked like she was struggling to regain her orientation. Twilight noticed her muzzle was bleeding pretty badly.

Rarity took her time standing up, brushing a little dirt off her tail, before casually walking over to Applejack. Just as Applejack was lifting her head, Rarity gently placed her hoof on it and pressed Applejack's muzzle back into the dirt.

“Applejack, this isn't a deal this time, it's a threat. Stop harassing us or else. And when I say us, I'm including my Twilight in this.” Rarity gave Twilight a smile, causing her to blush, mostly at the 'my' part. “I don't want you putting any more lies in her head. What you're doing is cruel. Now run along.”

Rarity let up on Applejack, allowing the earth pony to scramble to her hooves. Applejack didn't run along, but crouched her front half and gritted her teeth at Rarity, staring pure hatred at her.

“Oh? Was there something else you wanted to say, Applejack?” Rarity just kept giving that soft smile. “I'd just love it if you'd say 'or else what'. Please.”

Applejack glared for a moment longer, then gave a glance over in Dash's direction before taking a step or two back, getting up from her crouch.

“This isn't over!” Applejack spat and ran off.

“For your sake I hope it is!” Rarity called after her.

As Applejack vanished from sight, Rarity gave a flick of her mane before trotting back to the others.

“That was intense,” said Twilight.

Rarity put her hoof at the top of Twilight's horn and ran it across her mane, down her neck and back and all the way to the base of her tail. That always calmed Twilight down, like a whole lot. She already felt the tension from that little fight melt away. Did Twilight mention she was glad she was on Rarity's side?

“I'm sorry you had to see that,” said Rarity. "But I don't think you realize what a nuisance Applejack is to us or how far she takes this. We're at the point I'll have to get a restraining order, since it doesn't look like she's gotten the message yet.”

“A restraining order?” Twilight asked. “Is it really that bad?”

“That crapsack's attacked us plenty of times before,” said Dash. “Don't think she didn't have that punch coming.”

“And she's a liar too,” said Pinkie. “You wouldn't believe all the kinds of nasty stuff she told me about Rarity back when – uh, well let's just say I got stuck in a garbage can one day.”

“Right, but by the way, you made it sound like Applejack had some kind of secret.” Twilight turned to Rarity. “I don't suppose I get to hear what that is?”

“Yes! I promise I'll tell you about it tonight,” said Rarity. “But for now be patient. You can do that for me, yes?”

Rarity put her hoof on Twilight's head. Twilight sat down and nodded.

“You understand that I love you, yes? And that you're under my protection?” Rarity brushed her muzzle across Twilight's neck. “And because of that you trust me.”

The answer was 'yes', but Twilight hesitated to say it. Rarity got it anyway and nodded. “I was thinking maybe it was time we showed you something.” Rarity leaned her head against Twilight's, but kept looking forward.

Vampires. That was always what popped into Twilight's head whenever they said something mysterious like that.

“What? That you're vampires?” Twilight remembered her vow. “Er- bucking vampires! If you are vampires you're at least not going to, uh, be retarded and kill me right? Cause I'm too bucking pretty to kill.”

Rarity giggled and Twilight found herself smiling. She liked it when Rarity giggled.

“Killing you is pretty low on my agenda, I'll admit,” said Rarity. “But I meant our house. I want to show you where we live."