• Published 7th Feb 2022
  • 3,591 Views, 121 Comments

The Sparkle of Unlife - Semivivus

Twilight never does anything wrong. Until she accidentally becomes a necromantic lich overnight.

  • ...

"What's the worst that could happen?"

A book arriving at the doorstep of Castle Friendship wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Twilight was insistent on spending a portion of her annual royal stipend on purchasing almost every single book she could get her hooves on, often within days of them being published and added to an ordering catalogue. The parcel lacking a return address was a tad more curious, but still nothing she hadn't seen before. No, the worrying thing about the latest addition to the library, and the reason Spike was currently hiding under a table, was the fact that it seemed to be glowing black.

A scientific pony would tell you that it was impossible for something to glow black, as black would imply the absence of light, but the book was unmistakably emitting an aura of darkness that seemed to suck away all the light around it. Despite the shadowy emissions, its cover was somehow still easily legible, the book emblazoned with blood-red lettering labelling it with the words 'Necroponicon.'

"Uh... Twilight? I'm not sure this is such a good idea." Spike hissed from underneath the table. Twilight just rolled her eyes and laughed.

"Don't be silly, Spike. It's just a book, clearly with some enchantments to make it seem menacing. What's the worst that could happen?" She said, trotting towards the desk that now held only the tome. Spike winced at her words, muttering something about 'death-flags' and holding up a large copy of the Encyclopedia Equestrianna as a shield. Twilight was clearly unworried. Books contained knowledge, and knowledge was good! That clearly implied that all books were inherently good. It was basic logic!

Picking up the book in her magic, she strolled over to her usual reading chair. It was one of the few things that had survived the explosion of the original library, but she'd sooner lose her wings than get rid of the comfortable, albeit soot-covered green armchair that had kept her comfortable through so many nights of reading. "When you stop panicking, I'd appreciate a cup of coffee. Better make it a princess sized one. I'm certain that this one will be an all-nighter." Spike only let out a sigh in response, slinking into the kitchen to get his slavedriver caretaker her usual nightly cup of liquid dark matter.

With her assistant out of the room, she began to leaf through the tome, excited to find what wonderful knowledge was held within its cursed words. The pages felt stiff, unlike any paper she had touched before, and the lettering was harsh and rough like it had been written into the pages with the force of a knife. She didn't recognize the language system, which was odd as the the front cover was written using the standard Romane characters. The ink that composed the strange writing was a deep murky red, near black in tone and saturation until held under the dim luminance of candlelight. The scent of iron wafted from the pages like that of rust from a blade, left to sit after some long forgotten battle. Twilight scrunched her nose, opening a nearby window with a small push of arcana to try and air out the off-putting stench. A small frown on her face, she flipped the pages back to the start. Surprisingly, the first page seemed to be in modern Equish, so she squinted her eyes in the dim light and began to read.

Dedicated to my love, Cinderspark. May you rest softer than those that betrayed us, who shall never know slumber.

And to you who reads this, carry no further until your heart is hardened to commit all blasphemy in the face of the sun. This book shall grant your every wish, your every dream, your every satisfaction, but never your happiness.
- Crescent Heart

Twilight blinked a few times, tilting her head to the side. "What is this, some kind of angsty teenager's diary?" Turning the page, she came face to face with art of a series of concentric circles, filled with symbols and squiggles that brought a smile to her face.

"What's got you in such a good mood, Twilight?" Her assistant asked, returning with a tall travel mug of coffee and a plate of peanut butter crackers.

"Just nostalgia, Spike. I haven't seen a thaumatic matrix since I was Celestia's student. This was how they used to teach spell to other ponies a few hundred years ago. Nopony uses them these days, but she still wanted me to learn how to read them." Squinting her eyes, she scanned over the page, memorizing the links and connections between the circles, and all the symbols interwoven into and around them. "Though... I've never seen one quite this complicated. There's ten separate rings!"

Spike scratched his head. "I'll... assume that's a lot? So that weird spiral thing is a spell? What does it do?"

Twilight frowned. "I'm not sure. That's why we switched to the new method, as it's a lot easier to describe cause and effect using the Starswirl Arcanum Encoding. Though usually they'd still put some sort of title or description near a thaumic matrix." After continuing to scan the arrangement for a few moments, she slowly lit her horn.

"Uh... Twilight? You're not... going to try and cast an unknown spell... r-right?"

"Don't worry Spike, this castle is heavily warded against any sort of destructive magic, there's almost nothing that could go wrong." She closed her eyes and began to focus, lighting up the leylines beneath the hardened keratin of her horn with a blaze of energy. Spike began to back away slowly, hiding behind an armchair once more as waves of pressure began to slowly pulsate around his guardian, papers and quills fluttering off the desk as the light grew brighter and brighter until it was near blinding...

...and then it was over. The spell ending suddenly like Rarity's sewing machine whenever Sweetie Belle trips on the cord. Twilight and Spike blinked at each other a few times, glancing around. "See, Spike? Nothing bad happened!" She then proceeded to fall over, dead before she even hit the ground. Spike screamed.

Author's Note:

Hey, been a while, thought I'd post the idea I've been working on. I know the chapter is short, but I'll try (and fail) to post more chapters for this fic fairly frequently if people seem to enjoy it. Let me know in the comments what you think!