• Published 19th May 2018
  • 2,744 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 7

It was dark now, the kind of dark that made you think of all the horrible things that could be standing behind you. Right now there was a legitimate chance said thing was a dreadstalker. Yes, Twilight remembered that! Oh, how she remembered that. It'd be nice if she'd remembered it before going outside, alone at night, or even if she didn't remember it at all, but now?

So Twilight was moving at a brisk canter. She'd be relatively safe in town, at least, but she wanted to get to the others as soon as she could. A dreadstalker would almost never attack a group of ponies.

It wasn't too long until the graveyard was in sight and Twilight was moving around, looking for the entrance. The whole thing was surrounded by a high gate. It was an old graveyard too, possibly older than Ponyville itself. Twilight could tell just by glancing at it.

Specifically, she could tell this from a prevalence of an old style of gravestones and tombs, ones that short, spiked polls on the top and vines purposely running up them and over the grave. It was a motif that had become unpopular a few hundred years ago, making it easy to date them between three and hour hundred years ago.

There were, of course, more modern looking tombs sunk into the ground, but they were interspersed with the more ancient, vine-covered so that looking left to right the graveyard smoothly transitioned from being drowned in vines to having none at all.

The large gate before Twilight was vineless and new. As soon as she came up to it, Dash landed on the top of the gate and looked down at Twilight. Dash looked briefly shocked to see Twilight before laughing.

Twilight would take anyone right now! Her mood lightened a little just from seeing another pony, and so she waved up at Dash. “Hey!”

“You actually came?” Dash pumped her hoof down at Twilight, one of those long-distance bro-hoof deals. “Nice! I knew you'd be tough enough to show up, but Rares thought you'd crash so bad after last night you'd never want to hang with us again. I'll admit she's usually right about this stuff, but not this time! Come on in, Twi!”

While remaining on top of one of the gate doors, Dash pushed the other side open for Twilight with a swift kick. Twilight looked at the now open path into the dark graveyard. Rarity had actually predicted Twilight's reaction perfectly. Either Twilight was the most predictable pony in the world or Rarity was just insanely good with ponies.

That was probably a better explanation than the vampire theory, she just knew how to handle ponies. Or maybe manipulate them. That thought brought another important issue back to Twilight's mind.

“Hey, Rainbow Dash?” Twilight looked up at her. “Pinkie is here, right? I wanted to ask her about her family.”

Dash jumped off the gate and landed in front of Twilight, her wings spread defensively. She was fast! To be honest, Twilight had never really known any pegasi so she didn't know how normal that was.

“Whoa, whoa! Why do you want to bring that up?” Dash gave Twilight a stern look, but quickly lightened her expression and stance and shook her head a little. “Guess I can't blame you for not knowing, but that's kind of a bad topic for Pinks. Think you could maybe not kill the mood by bringing that up?”

Twilight couldn't help but be suspicious over Dash not wanting her to ask about it. Was Applejack right?

“It's just that Applejack said you convinced Pinkie to run away from her family,” said Twilight. “If that's true, then it's not right. That's like something a cult would do.”

Dash groaned, rubbing her hoof against her face. “First of all,” said Dash, “Pinkie ran away from home before she met us. She'd been living on the streets for months when we first met. Me and the boss found her in a dumpster looking for food. Nopony else bothered to help her. Her parents never even went looking for her. Know why?”

Dash took off her sunglasses and moved forward, forcing Twilight to take a step back, glaring into her eyes. “It's cause they were horrible ponies. They...” Dash started but hesitated, loosing Twilight's gaze for a moment. “They did things. If Pinks had stayed on the streets she would have been better off there. Let's just leave it at that. If giving her a place to stay was a crap thing to do then yeah, the boss is a total bucking jerk. Otherwise, Appledork doesn't know what she's talking about.”

Twilight's ears fell flat against her head. That did change the tone of the story completely.

“Sorry,” said Twilight. “I'm sorry. I just-”

“Eh! It's alright.” Dash put her sunglasses on and smiled at her. “Like I said, you didn't know. We're cool. Just don't bring this up when Pinks is around.”

Twilight nodded.

“And we're not a cult or anything like that,” said Dash. “The boss just has a bit of a soft spot for strays is all. You know, kind of like you.”

Dash tried to give Twilight a light jab on her chest, but Twilight staggered back at the threat of being touched. What was with these ponies and physical contact? Who did that? And yet Dash rolled her eyes like Twilight was the one acting weird.

“R-right.” Twilight cleared her throat. “Maybe I should have been more skeptical of Applejack. She was saying some pretty crazy stuff, like that you three were all vampires.”

Twilight chuckled and so did Dash. “She told you we're vampires?” the pegasus asked with a toothy grin. “Well I guess even Applejack has to be right about something, right?”

Twilight blinked. “W-wait! Are you saying you're really-” Twilight began. Dash snickered. “Oh, right. Joking.”

Dash stepped aside for Twilight and opened one of her wings, inviting the mare into the graveyard. She then took a deep breath and stepped inside.

They walked deep into the graveyard, towards where the older graves stood, until they were surrounded by stones covered in large vines. Finally, they reached a section where a number of small, square tombs rose above the ground.

Here, Twilight found Pinkie and Rarity waiting. Rarity was sitting with her back to one of the tombs, reading some kind of orange pamphlet. Whatever it was, Rarity had a small stack of them next to her. Meanwhile, Pinkie was lying on her back, keeping a small ball in the air by kicking it with each of her four legs in turn.

As soon as Twilight approached, Pinkie kicked the ball forward instead of up, sending it flying towards Rarity's face.

“Twitwi's here!” Pinkie exclaimed and shot up to her hooves.

Meanwhile, the ball hit Rarity hard in the face. She was completely unfazed by this though, simply blinking and casually looking up with her eyes. When she saw Twilight, she gave a sly smile, put the pamphlet down and strode over to her.

“Twilight, darling,” said Rarity, coming uncomfortably close to Twilight, “I'm absolutely thrilled you showed up. To be honest, though, I wasn't expecting it.”

Rarity and her gorgeous blue eyes were inches in front of Twilight's face now. Rarity's charm sank its fangs straight into Twilight's heart, making it beat rapidly. A moment ago she was hoping they wouldn't be weird and get close to her this time, but now that Rarity was right next to her, Twilight found herself desperately trying to think of a way to get Rarity to pat her on the head again.

“I knew you'd come!” Pinkie ran after the ball and picked it back up. “And that means you lost your bet, Rara! Ha!”

Pinkie threw the ball at Rarity again, who effortlessly caught it in one hoof and threw it back at Pinkie. Twilight wondered how hard the ball was, as it was able to bowl Pinkie over when Rarity threw it. Then again, Pinkie started laughing right after so maybe she only pretended to be knocked down.

“I do have to say, I'm so rarely wrong about ponies that I get a bit worried when I make a mistake. Why did you come back to us, Twilight?” Rarity was staring deep into Twilight's eyes. “I realize I'm too beautiful for my own good sometimes, Twilight. Did you just fall for my charms, Twilight? Maybe you spent all day unable to think about anything but me, Twilight? Did you see my perfect body every time you blinked, Twilight? Were you dying for me to pay attention to you again, Twilight? Is that why you came here, Twilight?”

Twilight was unable to even blink while Rarity talked, she just kept staring into those deep, deep eyes, hanging on Rarity's every word. She thought to herself that Rarity was saying her name far too often, but felt her ears twitch every time she heard Rarity say it. It's weirdness took back seat to something else, a need to answer.

“N-no,” Twilight felt the words slip out of her mouth without the hesitation she normally had when talking to Rarity. “I didn't have you stuck in my head all day."

“Interesting!” Rarity pulled away from Twilight, trotting a few steps away from her. Her smile was different now, a bit wider. “Very interesting.”

Pinkie nodded excitedly at Rarity.

“Hm! Then why did you decide to come to us a second time?” Rarity asked. “Why come to the 'bad' ponies instead of the ones who are 'normal' and act exactly like you? I set you up to be friends with Thunderlane, Bonbon and all them. Or do you want something more? I did say I'd give you anything you wanted. So what is it?”

Twilight felt a little chill when Rarity offered her 'more'. It made her remember that book. She also was suddenly back to her normal self, unable to answer right away.

“Er. I was just having a bad night,” Twilight admitted. “I didn't want to be alone and I figured, you know, you three were the only ponies I know who stay up this late.”

“Bad night?” Pinkie threw the ball aside and got on her hooves. “What happened, Twitwi?”

Twilight blinked. Pinkie was looking at her with a pretty serious look of concern. She was a little taken aback by the sudden interest.

“I don't really want to think about it right now.” Twilight shook her head. “But I can stay with you three tonight, right? I mean, hang out and all that. You did invite me!”

Twilight turned back to Rarity, who gave a little frown, thinking over Twilight's answer.

“Well you're certainly welcome to come to us whenever you want.” Rarity's mouth flipped back to its typical grin. “It's just important to me that ponies only come to me because it's what they truly want. It's a bit hard to explain to anyone who isn't me, though.”

“She's just trying to keep from losing our bet,” said Dash. “You hear that, Rares? You better pay up later!”

Rarity gave something that sounded like a scoff and strode over to Dash. Faster than Twilight could see Rarity snatched Dash up with one of her forelegs and gave Dash what looked like a crushing hug. Dash struggled against Rarity's grip but wasn't able to pry her loose.

Then Rarity whispered something in Dash's ear that made Dash blush heavily and stop struggling. A second later she was nuzzling Dash and then Dash was nuzzling back and-

-and did they really have to do this in public? This was getting awkward.

Twilight took a few small steps until she was next to Pinkie, who was looking at the two of them with a warm smile, like it wasn't totally gross.

“H-hey, Pinkie! How come no one else is here, by the way?” Twilight looked around to make sure she didn't miss anypony. “I guess I just assumed you'd have more ponies around.”

“Usually it's just the three of us,” said Pinkie. “It's super fun to have lots of other ponies around but daywalkers are- well they're okay in small doses! Dashie says we gotta be careful around them so we don’t catch 'terminal lameness'. Like polio, I guess.”

“And why are we in a graveyard?” Twilight asked. “You know this is a weird place to be, right?”

“Well we're weird ponies! And you know what?” Pinkie leaned in like she was going to whisper, but just shouted instead. “Being weird is awesome! I wish I started sooner."

“I did warn you.” Rarity came trotting back, Rainbow Dash in tow. Thankfully they seemed to be done. “But there are wonderful things you can find in places like this, if you care to look.”

She moved over to the doors of a crypt and grabbed the vines with her magic, pulling them to the side. Rarity fumbled about with her magic a little more and just like that, the door was opened. Twilight didn't see anything but black on the other side.

“A tomb?” Twilight asked. “You wanted to show me a tomb? That's not exactly what I call awesome”

“It's through the crypt, not in it,” said Dash.

“And it is super, amazingly awesome!” Pinkie assured her.

“But we can't just go in there,” said Twilight. “I recognize from the architecture that this is an Elementalist tomb. In their religion its forbidden for the living to enter the resting place of the dead. Only dead ponies and elementals are supposed to see the inside of these tombs, so going in there is a really big taboo.”

“Well I am impressed with your knowledge, Twilight.” Rarity turned away from the crypt and came within reach of Twilight. For a second Twilight's heart stopped beating as she hoped for another head pat. Sadly, it didn't come. “But tell me, are you an Elementalist? Do you believe in the elementals? That the dead can see? That Therazane will drag us into the earth if we behold that which is meant for the dead alone? That's the real reason entering these tombs are forbidden, you know, for fear of Therazane. Elementalists don't fear these tombs out of some misguided respect, but because they truly believe the elementals will get them. Do you?”

“Well, no,” said Twilight. “I don't believe in any of those things, I'm a Celestian and all that. But, I mean, well it's still disrespectful to the dead, right? Whoever's buried there believed that stuff, and I'm sure their families would want us to respect that, so um...”

Twilight couldn't quite finish that argument. It was frustrating that she was so good at argumentation when written down, but couldn't articulate it so well in actual conversation.

“The dead won't care what we do,” said Rarity, “and as for any relatives they may have, I can personally guarantee you they don't mind us visiting. Besides, I hardly see how we're the disrespectful ones. What's more disrespectful, leaving the dead to their dust, to be forgotten completely, or to visit their memories?”

“Well, I mean,” Twilight said, scratching her head, trying hard to think of a logical counter to that.

“Well what?” Rarity her smile got more vibrant as she watched Twilight try to mull it over.

“I guess it just feels wrong,” said Twilight, “even if I can't say exactly why. Shouldn't I, you know, go with that?”

“Should you?” Rarity gave her a smile and a wink before heading inside the tomb.

That was another thing about Rarity Twilight just noticed – when she went somewhere you wanted to follow. She took a subconscious step towards her, her hesitation suddenly replaced with a magnetic pull towards Rarity and the crypt. Twilight approached the doors and looked at the blackness inside. There was a steep staircase right after the door, leading deep underground. A feeling of dread came over Twilight for obvious reasons, breaking that magnetic feeling as fast as it had come.

“Come on Twitwi! There's so many great things you'll never see if you stay up here!” Pinkie moved up behind Twilight and started pushing her forward with the top of her head. “Come on come on come on!”

“Are there going to be dead bodies all over the place?” Twilight dug her hooves in, slowing her movement to a halt. “I mean, there are dead bodies down there. Won't it be a festering pit of rotting corpses?”

“Nope!” Pinkie said without the slightest care before giving up on pushing Twilight and bouncing past her and down the stairs. “Join us, Twilight! Being one of us is great!”

Well, that much was good.

“It's your choice.” Dash walked past Twilight. “But if you came here you might as well go all the way. You won't ever regret following us."

And that's how Twilight ended up alone in a graveyard, staring into an open tomb. Should she go? The other option was staying up here alone. Somehow, that would be even worse.

Twilight took a deep breath and went down the stairs.