• Published 2nd Nov 2020
  • 197 Views, 2 Comments

Night Terror - Fable Caster



After a chance encounter with a stranger at her campsite, Trixie inadvertently sends a vampire to menace the small farming town of New Hayshire.

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Chapter 1 (Part 1): By the Campfire

Several months had passed since the rather exciting events in Equestria's capital, dubbed “The Canterlot Wedding Incident” or, more commonly, “The Changeling Invasion,” had taken place. Warm, sunny summer days had given way to a far chillier autumn, and a Nightmare Night most memorable, one graced by the presence of no less than one of the royal Alicorn sisters, had been experienced by the residents of Ponyville.

The final rays of the setting sun flowing over the horizon painted everything in hues of red, orange and gold. The majestic display of nature did very little, however, to lift the spirits of the brilliant azure blue unicorn mare who sat on a log halfway sunk into the ground by a modest campfire set in a forest clearing, nursing her bruised ego.

Parked beside her was a small yellow carriage with a red roof, the wheels and undercarriage caked in the mud and dirt of countless roads traveled across Equestria. Faint red stains could just barely be made out on the walls of the otherwise rather cozy-looking little carriage; constant reminders of the day's disastrous events in the nearby farming village of New Hayshire and the source of much of the traveling showpony's woe.

“Stupid dirt-digging, small-minded, good for nothing farm oafs... This is all because of that stupid, stupid, purple, self-righteous Ponyvillean bookworm!” Trixie grumbled under her breath, wringing her trademark star-studded hat in her hooves. “Nobody gives the Great and Powerful Trixie the respect and adoration she so rightly deserves!”

She let out a deep sigh as she placed the hat neatly on the ground next to her, then levitating her cape from where she had hung it up to dry.

At least the barrage of cabbages and fruit didn't leave any permanent stains...” She thought to herself as she telekinetically turned the garment around in the air in front of her for inspection. Glad for that minuscule bit of good fortune, she hoisted the cloak around her shoulders and clasped it around her neck, pulling it then tight around herself for warmth against the autumnal chill.

Early that afternoon she had arrived at the village square of New Hayshire with her trusty wagon, to set up for her magnificent magic show in the hopes of earning some bits for food and other supplies to replenish her stocks. Alas, as had started to become a woefully frequent occurrence, someone in the slowly gathering crowd of mostly earth pony farmers had recognized her even before she'd had a chance to set up her stage. Word clearly traveled fast around these parts of Equestria...

“Oi! I know who ye are! Yer that phony 'magician' who plum near wrecked Ponyville by dragging an Ursa into town!” One gruff stallion in the gathering crowd shouted, pointing an accusatory hoof in Trixie's direction.

“Yea! I heard it took a unicorn with some real magical talent to save the day!” A nasally voice chipped in.

“H-Hey now, just hold on a moment! The Great and Powerful Trixie thinks you shouldn't believe just any old bit of hearsay! 'Tis all lies and slander! Slander, I say!” She tried to shout over the clamor of the villagers, but in vain. No matter which way she looked, she was met with increasingly hostile faces and louder, angrier grumbling.

“You won't be bringin' no scary beasties to OUR town, you... you two-bit huckster! Git outta here!”

“Beat it, you charlatan!”

That was when the first piece of projectile fruit hit the side of her face, the overripe tomato bursting with an audible SPLAT against her cheek and showering her with juices. With the first fruit cast, more soon followed and Trixie thought it best to beat a hasty retreat. The villagers chased her out all the way to the edge of the town, hurling expired produce, insults and invective at her the whole way.

Having put at least an hour of distance between herself and the village, she had decided to call the whole day a wash and set up camp on that very clearing. Cleaning up the mess had then taken the rest of the day. At least a nearby stream had provided her with all the water she needed to wash away the assorted fruit and vegetable salad that had decorated the exterior of her worldly possessions. Some stains still remained on her carriage, but she was sick to death of scrubbing things clean and all the telekinesis she'd had to use to reach the higher parts of the wagon had left her with a sore horn.

A loud gurgle from her stomach suddenly reminded her that she hadn't had anything to eat all day. Well, that just wouldn't stand any longer! A Great and Powerful unicorn needed her sustenance, after all. With some effort she pulled herself onto her hooves and stumbled her way into the wagon.

It didn't take long for her to rummage through the cupboard that acted as her pantry, but with every passing second the bottom of her stomach seemed to drop further and further. Nothing. Absolutely nothing left. Just empty boxes and sacks.

Feeling desperate, she decided to comb through the cupboard extra carefully just one last time in the hope that she might've overlooked something. Her persistence was rewarded when, from a burlap bag pushed into the farthest corner of the cupboard, rolled out a singular carrot. Better yet, it looked like it was still edible!

“Looks I won't be going to bed with a completely empty stomach after all... Joy.” she said, unable to keep the bitterness out of her voice as she slowly made her way out of the wagon once more, munching on the carrot. She had to remind herself to take small bites to make the meal last longer, if only to fool her body into thinking she was eating more than she actually was.

It all just felt so unfair! So what if she had exaggerated some things occasionally... Well okay, often. Constantly. Nearly all the time. She was a showpony for Celestia's sake! It was part and parcel for the act! And yet after Ponyville nothing seemed to be going right for her no matter what she tried. She was out of food and soon she'd run out of what remaining bits she still had left and then what? Work on a rock farm? The very notion sent a shudder through her body.

Outside the sun had finally set and with it the shadows had lengthened and deepened, an umbral wall held back only by the flickering light of her campfire. Trixie tossed a couple more pieces of wood into the fire, poking the burning wood with her magic to coax a bigger, brighter flame out.

She sat down on the log by the fireside and pulled her cloak tightly around herself once more, head hanging low as the dark thoughts kept swirling in her mind.

It's just not fair...” She screwed her eyes shut to fight back the burning tears, hugging her forelimbs to her body.

The sound of humming coming from the dark woods gave her quite the startle, her eyes snapping open and she hastily clambered onto her hooves, scanning the treeline to see where and from whom the song was coming from. The melody itself was slow, soft and comforting. Like a lullaby sang by a parent to their foals to carry them safely into the land of sweetest of dreams.

“W-Who goes there? Show yourself! A-And if you're some crook up to no good, let it be known that you'll have to deal with none other than the Grrreat and Powerful Trixie!” She tried her best to put on a brave face and she even reared onto her hind legs to appear more intimidating, but ultimately couldn't quite keep the quivering out of her voice.

Almost like a spectre materializing from the very shadows themselves, a lone pony with pale gray coat and black, slicked-back mane walked languidly into the warm and bright glow cast by the campfire and then stopped at a respectful distance away. His body was shrouded by a utilitarian brown, hooded travel robe -though said hood was currently pulled down- which looked like it had seen it's fair share of adventures, and his back was burdened by a saddlebag that seemed to be filled to bursting.

“Ho there, fellow traveler!” The stallion said in a cheerful, if weary voice, a tired smile curling onto his muzzle as he fixed his red eyes on Trixie's purple ones “I meant not to alarm you ma'am, hence I chose to announce my imminent arrival with a little tune. Might you grant your fellow pony the kindness of sharing in your campfire for a little while? The road has been awfully long and cold.”

As Trixie didn't respond immediately, choosing instead to keep eyeing the newcomer with some suspicion, he continued, lifting a hoof to his chest “My name is Starchaser, but to my friends just Chase will do. Pleased to make your acquaintance miss..?”

“Y-You mean to tell me that you've never heard of the Great and Powerful Trixie?”

Chase shook his head and gave an apologetic smile “I'm sorry, but I... Haven't exactly been around to these parts in a long, long time. But I'd judge from your title and garb that you are some kind of a traveling magician?”

“The very best and grrreatest in all of Equestria, I'll have you know!” Her dramatic posing was suddenly interrupted by the loud grumbling of her stomach, causing her cheeks to go flush with embarrassment. She tried to hide it by lowering her head and hiding underneath the rim of her hat.

“Well then! Seems to me I may have interrupted you before dinner, miss Trixie, so I would be honored to share a meal with you. All I ask is for you to allow me to warm my weary bones by your fire.” For emphasis Chase produced a large, juicy red apple from his saddlebag.

It took Trixie a considerable bit of effort not to stare too long at the delicious, plump fruit and even more so to keep herself from drooling at the sheer idea of getting to sink her teeth into the juicy goodness.

“V-Very well. Trixie will graciously agree to share her campfire with you.” She then gestured to a spot on the opposite side of the fire form where she was planning on sitting. Wouldn't hurt to keep the crackling fire between herself and the stranger, no matter how inviting his apples seemed to be.

Chase sat down on his haunches at the spot indicated and pulled out two more apples from his bag, offering then all three of them towards Trixie with an encouraging smile and a nod.

With her magic Trixie snatched the offered food and hastily levitated them to herself. She couldn't help but devour the first one in three hefty bites before coming back to her senses. Cheeks bulging with apple and juices running down her chin she threw a quick glance at Chase and was relieved to see the pale stallion was busily rummaging through his bag for more apples and paying her no mind.

She swallowed. Hard. A quick swipe at her muzzle with the back of a hoof and she'd made herself presentable again. Or so she at least hoped. This was a complete stranger who apparently had no idea who she was, so she had every intention of keeping up appearances... Even if it meant she'd have to play nice with this obnoxiously friendly earth pony.

And just what the hay was up with the way he was talking? There was something weird about his pattern of speech and accent. It sounded almost comically archaic. She was actually surprised that Chase wasn't spouting out “thees” and “thous” in his sentences! Guess he really wasn't from around these parts of Equestria.

She did her best to eat the other apples with more dignity whilst keeping a close eye on Chase as she did so. In her experience, stallions usually had some ulterior motives when they were going out of their way to be nice to mares. Still, that usually made them easy to lead by the nose to get what she want--

“Nice apples.” Chase's voice broke the silence and Trixie's train of thought.

“Excuse me?”

The pale stallion gestured slightly with the half-eaten apple in his hoof “These are some nice apples, don't you think? Worth every shiny bit I paid for them.”

“Oh... Yes, they are very... Delicious. Where did you get them?” By that point Trixie was down to the last few bites of her final apple whilst Chase was still taking only small, measured bites out of his, as if savoring every little sweet, juicy bit.

“I got them from this rather delightfully rustic orange mare some ways down South. Apple-something, I believe was her name.” He chuckled. “Pardon me, I'm not the greatest at remembering names. Anyway! She lives on an apple farm near this quaint little place called Ponyville. I ran into her on the road as she was returning from a day of selling her produce at the local market.”

Just hearing that name made Trixie's mood sink. Suddenly the apple she was holding up in her telekinetic grip didn't seem quite so appetizing after all. With a sneer she tossed the remainders into the fire.

“Not a fan of the place, I take it?” Chase added with a nod towards the incinerating piece of fruit.

“That's putting it lightly.” She grumbled darkly in response, once more hiding her face underneath the rim of her hat.

“I'm starting to think there's a story here. Would you like to tell me?”

“Why would the Great and Powerful Trixie tell you anything? You, a complete and total stranger, should know to keep your nose out of other ponies' business!” She pointed an accusatory hoof in Chase's direction, feeling her temper flaring.

If anything, Chase's smile grew a bit wider, yet his expression remained overall soft “Ah... But you see, miss Trixie, that is exactly why I'm such a perfect candidate to hear your story.”

“Bu-What..?” Trixie lifted her head to look over the crackling fire at the stallion.

“I am a total stranger, like you said. I am but a passing page in the story of your life, a visitor for one eve and then gone most likely for good 'fore morning breaks. You are, of course, under no obligation or duress to tell me anything, but in my travels I've found out it does help to talk of the many things that weigh so heavily upon our minds.” Chase's eyes remained fixed upon Trixie's, and she was finding it hard to look away from those deep and kind pools of bright red “'Sharing is caring' as the saying goes, so how about it?”

Trixie blinked, suddenly aware of the warmth rising on her cheeks, and it wasn't because of the heat emanating from the campfire.

I guess there's no harm in spinning a tale to him? Who knows, maybe getting to vent at someone might actually improve my mood? And... He might share MY version of the events with others... A fine first step in getting back at that stupid Twilight Sparkle.” She thought idly to herself before clearing her throat and standing up “Very well! The Great and Powerful Trixie shall regale you with the tale of her encounters with the narrow-minded hicks of backwaters such as Ponyville and New Hayshire!”

Her story, needless to say, was greatly exaggerated and colored to paint herself in better light, with the residents of Ponyville and New Hayshire as oafish thugs and bullies lacking in both manners and personal hygiene. The most truthful part in the entire tale was the fact that the appearance of the Ursa Minor wasn't exactly her fault, but rather the doing of two bumbling idiot unicorns called Snips and Snails.

Trixie's telling of the story was also greatly enhanced by her liberal use of fireworks and other stage props. It actually felt good for her to get to perform properly in such a manner for the first time in months. The lack of jeers and airborne salad ingredients was also a refreshing change!

Throughout it all, Chase remained seated where he was, gasping and marveling at the colorful displays of lights and explosions.

“And ever since that day, the Tragic and Misunderstood Trixie has been a pariah wherever she has gone... All because some ponies cannot fathom what it means to be a showmare and what it takes to put on an entertaining show!” Trixie finished, slumped on her knees and clutching her hat to her chest whilst looking forlornly at the skies above.

She lies...

Chase clapped his hooves together in applause “Bravo! Such passion! Such tragedy! What magnificent special effects!”

Trixie smirked and gave a bow before putting her hat back on with a flourish. A good, vigorous performance had been just what she'd needed!

“Thank you, thank you, your adoration is most welcome,” she said as she returned to her seat by the fire.

“You clearly have a lot of passion for your craft, miss Trixie.” Chase once more fixed his gaze on her.

“You can say that again,” she replied with a self-satisfied chuckle, throwing a smile, a genuine one at that, towards the stallion “No, please, do feel free to say that again.”

Starchaser let out a hearty laugh and shook his head “Oh, miss Trixie, you are such a delight. Thank you once more for the show, it was wonderful.”

She practically beamed at that, her heart-- and ego-- swelling with pride for the first time in a long while as she basked in Chase's compliments with her nose up in the air.

“Now that you've heard the truth about those boorish Ponyvilleans, do tell me what brought you to that awful place?”

“Oh... I never went into the town itself, per se, rather I passed by it on my way to visit the Everfree forest.”

Trixie's jaw fell open and she gasped “That's a lie if I ever heard one. You'd have to be completely mental to voluntarily walk into the Everfree! What would anypony want in that beast-infested Tartarus hole?”

“Sightseeing.”

“Now I know you are pulling my leg...”

“I most certainly am not. There's an old ruin there that I wanted to see with my own eyes. A castle, to be more specific, called The Castle of the Two Sisters. A crumbling, neglected relic from an era long, long gone...” Chase gave what sounded to Trixie like a wistful sigh. “You see I'm a bit of... an aficionado for history. A traveling, adventuring archaeologist, if you will.”

“Hmph... Makes Trixie wonder if actual archaeology is half as exciting as the adventures of Daring Do make it look like.”

“I... Can't say that name rings a bell, I'm afraid, but I'll let you be the judge of it...” He left the words hanging in the air as he rummaged through the other side of his saddlebag, pulled something large out of it and tossed it at Trixie's hooves.

She squinted at the object and then shrieked, ending up flailing with her forelimbs in the air before falling backwards off her seat and onto her back. There was no mistaking it. Starchaser had just casually tossed the empty-eyed wooden cranium of a Timberwolf onto the ground; a fairly sizable one at that.

“M-Miss Trixie?” Chase called out as he hurriedly trotted over to her and offered a helping hoof for her to get up “My most sincere apologies! I didn't mean to startle you so.”

“I-I wasn't scared! Just... surprised.” She replied while batting away the proffered hoof in an attempt to salvage at least some of her dignity.

Chase nodded and politely backed away a couple of steps, letting Trixie get back up on her own. With hooves and magic she hurriedly dusted herself down and took to her seat, but this time Chase sat on the other end of the log rather than going back to his usual spot.

The stallion held the Timberwolf cranium in his hooves, turning it about this way and that as if inspecting the way the light and shadow played over it's surface at various angles.

“How did you manage to beat a Timberwolf?” Trixie asked before she had a chance to bite back her curiosity.

Chase looked slowly up from the skull and turned his head towards Trixie, giving a playful wink as he replied “You're not the only one with tricks up your sleeve, miss Trixie~”

She waited for a few more moments to see if Chase would elaborate further, but the stallion just kept smiling that mysterious smile of his. She couldn't help but giggle at that “All right then, keep your secrets! ”

“Heh... Just like a magician never reveals hers.” Chase quipped back as he tossed the Timberwolf skull onto his saddlebag.

Silence fell between the two ponies, permeated only by the occasional crackle of flame, until after what felt like several minutes Chase broke it.

“How do you handle it, Trixie?”

“Hmm? What do you mean?” She tilted her head in idle curiosity.

He fixed her with a surprisingly serious stare, but there yet remained that soft edge, a hint of a smile tucked in one corner of his muzzle. “The traveling life? The long, lonesome road and life of a traveling showpony? It can't possibly be easy, backwards thinking country ponies or no, to just wander from town to town, never forming lasting bonds of friendship, never having roots anywhere... By Starswirl's overlong beard, I know it ain't easy for me. It's in our nature, you know? We ponies are social beings. We crave for the companionship and camaraderie of others... So I ask again: how do you handle it? What's your secret?”

Starchaser's words cut deeper than Trixie was willing to admit, striking a chord she'd rather leave unplucked, especially by such a stranger; charming though he might be. She cleared her throat and made a grand, dismissively sweeping gesture towards the night sky with her hoof. “By her lonesome is exactly the way the Grrreat and Powerful Trixie prefers it. Bonds and roots are nothing more than a distraction on the road to greatness and stardom! The undying adoration of other ponies is all the companionship I will ever need!”

She just can't stop lying, can she? Her head is so far up her own backside she could tickle her tonsils with that horn!

“Is that really how you feel deep down inside, Trixie? Come now, you don't need to put up such an act for silly ol' me.” Chase's hoof landed softly on Trixie's, sending an involuntary shiver down the mare's spine.

By the moon and stars it felt so warm and inviting, an earnest gesture of kindness the like of which she hadn't experienced in a long, long time. “I... I...” Was all she managed to stutter out, feeling the heat returning to her cheeks as she pulled her hoof away and turned her gaze towards the fading fire.

A tender hoof nudged underneath her chin and tilted her head back towards the stallion, gently but firmly forcing her to look into Starchaser's eyes once more. She found that the stallion's face was but a few short inches away from hers, so close that she could practically feel the other pony's warmth. She took a shallow breath and caught a whiff of the stallion's scent: like a coniferous forest after a rain. “Sweet Celestia have mercy on my poor soul... ”

“Trixie...” His voice was barely above a whisper “You can be yourself with me. No need to put up a front, none whatsoever. I know there's more to you than the cold, aloof exterior you show the world. Heck, just in the span of this one evening I've caught glimpses of the mare behind that icy mask and, if you don't mind me saying, I like what I've seen.”

Her heart was beating so fast now she feared it was going to jump right out of her chest, transfixed by the soft words and the tender, unwavering gaze of the handsome stranger who had trotted into her camp and her life out of nowhere. Not to mention his words were making a whole lot of sense to her...

“So I say, to Tartarus with the rest of the world! If for but one night, allow yourself to be, well, you! No lies, no masks. Just two strangers sharing a moment 'neath a starry sky. And if such is your desire, I'll then be gone before dawn and we can both go on with our lives.”

Just a breath more and their lips would meet. Trixie was able to only suck in small, shallow breaths. What she failed to notice, however, was that she'd almost instinctively been slowly leaning backwards and, just as Starchaser was about to kiss her, she lost her balance and tumbled, once again, onto her back, her vision shifting from Chase's roguishly handsome features to the star-studded skies above.

She gasped, sucking in a full breath for the first time in what felt like minutes. Her head felt blurry and her thoughts hazy, but the crisp autumn air and the coolness of the ground were helping in clearing up both. “What am I doing? Am I really that badly in need of what he's offering? Why does it feel so right and yet so wrong at the same time..?” She thought idly to herself before a shadow fell upon her face: a concerned looking Chase was standing above her.

“You seem to be in the habit of taking tumbles tonight, Trixie.” He said with a soft chuckle, leaning then lower again... Only to be met with a stern hoof pressing against his snout that forced him to back up.

“Hold it right there, casaneighva!” She had finally found her voice, her face a stern frown “I do appreciate the notion, but Trixie wants only adoration, not companionship from stallions like you!”

Chase paused like he had just been slapped, his stunned expression scrunching up into a deep, narrow-eyed frown. “How did you break the..? It shouldn't have happened that fast, not unless...”

And then a realization seemed to dawn upon his face. He burst into what sounded like a genuine, if brief, laugh before shaking his head. He smiled down at Trixie, seeing how the starlight glimmered in her fiery, defiant eyes. “My most sincere apologies, miss Trixie. Wow, this is kind of embarrassing, but I truly do apologize for misreading the signs. Had I known you preferred the... Companionship of other mares, I wouldn't have tried to lay my charms on you in such a manner.”

His words hit like a sledgehammer, shattering Trixie's defiant front and replacing it with more blushing and fluster. “I... You... How dare you even insinuate such a thing!” She shouted as she clambered back onto her hooves, swiftly adjusting her cape and hat before narrowing her eyes at the stallion. “I think it's about high time you left, mister Starchaser...”

Chase sighed, his expression going from soft genteelness to a sad smile, before finally hardening like granite, half his features hidden in the shadows cast by the dancing embers that yet remained in the firepit. “I'm afraid that won't be possible. I still haven't gotten what I need from you. More the shame we can't do this the fun way, but I suppose the hard way has a charm all it's own, too.”

“So that's how it's going to be, huh?” Trixie snarled, her horn starting to glow as she gathered her magical might in preparation for a fight. “If you think I'll just roll over and let a base brute like yourself r-ravish me as you please, you'll be in for a rude dose of reality, bucko!”

The stallion started to laugh, but caught himself in the middle of it, confusion evident on his face. “Wait. Hold on... You think I intend to..? No! Sweet, merciful Night, no!” He snorted in a very equine fashion in clear indignation, making a forceful, cutting motion with one front hoof “Your virtue is most certainly not what I'm after! I may be a monster, but I've got some principles!”

He sighed and rubbed his face with a hoof. “Now that I think about it, I do see how my words could be seen to mean something... Ghastly. I do offer my most sincere apology for that. I swear... I'm going to have to come up with some new lines that are less... Weird, like that.”

“So,what, a robbery, then? Good luck! I don't have much anything worth stealing!”

Starchaser grumbled and stomped the ground once. “You fool... It's your blood that I crave!”

Trixie's eyes flew wide open at that. Was this weirdo planning on murdering her? “Wh-What..?”

A broad, almost maniacal grin spread on the stallion's muzzle, the pupils of his eyes contracting into narrow slits and that was when Trixie noticed the long, terrifyingly sharp canines in his mouth. “Oh yes... Your sanguine vitae has been singing such a sweet aria to me in your veins all evening long, taunting me to sink my teeth in and drink my fill! Every beat of your heart has been like a piece of an irresistible percussive symphony!”

“Crazy... You're absolutely crazy!” She shouted, feeling her legs quivering. She couldn't believe what she was hearing, what the stallion was insinuating. Vampires weren't real, right? They were just fictitious creatures used in horror stories to scare foals!

“Hahahahaa! I can tell by the look on your face you're having a hard time believing it. That's how it always goes... Only when it's too late does anypony realize just how well and truly bucked they are. Err... Metaphorically speaking, of course.”

“Then... What was all that about earlier? All those honeyed words and other mushy crud?” Trixie tried to keep the weirdo talking whilst she channeled all the magic she could muster into her horn. A little bit longer and she'd be ready.

The stallion shrugged “Just a bit of fun with a charm spell, trying to make you lower your guard so that I could get close enough to bite your neck. Would've succeeded, too, had you not subconsciously resisted and kept backing away until you took that tumble. You broke our eye contact long enough to shake off the charm.” He smiled a fanged, saccharine smile at her before adding. “I find it endearing how in denial you are about your own feelings, by the way. More the shame that I have to devour you, Trixie. I was really starting to li--”

Chase never got to finish his sentence before a bright beam of energy slammed into his chest and launched him across the forest clearing. He took a hard fall, tumbled, rolled and then slid to a halt, unmoving at the very edge of the ring of light.

Trixie was panting hard. She was glad that the weirdo had blathered on as long as he had, because she'd had a chance to charge up her blast to full power.

Serves him right!” She thought to herself with a huff, before realization struck her as Chase remained completely motionless where he had landed.

“Wait... I didn't accidentally kill him, did I?” She mumbled to herself in dawning horror.

Panic was rising and she found herself trotting in place, eyes darting this way and that as she tried to figure out what to do about her current situation. She couldn't very well leave right now in the middle of almost pitch-black night, but she couldn't just leave the creep's corpse where it lay. What if someone else happened to wander into the camp before she had a chance to take a stage left and exit?

A shovel! I need a shovel! Better to bury him first and hope nopony asks questions ever. Ooooh Trixie you've gone and done it now... You're a murderer! But... But he totally had it coming, right? What with all that talk about vampirism and drinking my blood and... For Luna's sake, he was probably planning on killing me from the beginning!” Her thoughts were frantic, sweat beading her forehead despite the chill of the night.

Her aimless, feverish pacing was suddenly interrupted by a laugh. The cold, hard, mocking laugh of a stallion she'd presumed dead.

Starchaser had risen back onto his hooves, a broad grin plastered onto his face. Even in the dim light of the fireplace Trixie could see the scorched hole she'd blasted in the chest of Starchaser's robe, something dark and metallic glinting underneath.

“That... Was really pathetic, miss Trixie. Makes me wonder if drinking you is going to be even worth it. Not much magic in a unicorn as weak as you, I wager. Oh... Don't tell me that was actually the best you got? That would be just sad.” As he spoke, the vampire was trotting ever so slowly towards Trixie, like a big hunting cat stalking its prey.

Trixie felt like she was going to faint, her whole body trembling in fear as the fiend stalked casually towards her. Was the bastard just toying with her yet again? “N-No... T-That can't be. I hit you w-with e-everything I’ve got...”

“Tsk... Great and powerful? I guess that’s all just hot air and bluster after all, oh Weak and Helpless Trixie. Now be a good little pony and give up quietly... I promise to make this quick and relatively painless. Why, I've been told by one delicious little morsel, under mind control, that after the initial numbing coldness it starts to feel like a warm, fuzzy blanket wrapping around you just as you drift off to sleep.” He giggled, the sound feeling like icy needles on Trixie's skin. “Doesn't sound like such a bad way to go into the gentle Night, hmm?”

Feeling desperate, Trixie fired off a trio of magical blasts in rapid succession at the slowly advancing stallion, but this time he didn't so much as flinch. It was almost like the bolts of arcane power simply dissipated in harmless puffs of light and sparks upon contact with him.

Trixie swallowed hard, trying to force down the lump forming in her throat. Tears of sheer fright were threatening to cloud her vision and she had to blink hard to keep the burning sensation at bay. Starchaser, if that indeed was his name, had paused, crouched slightly, clearly preparing to lunge at her. Meanwhile all around her the shadows seemed to be growing longer and darker, the light of the Moon and stars dimming as walls made of inky black shadow appeared to be closing around her.

Is this how it's going to end for me? As a luncheon for a madpony in the middle of a lonely forest clearing?” She thought, tugging her cloak tighter around herself much like a foal might do with a blanket to ward off the terrors of the night.

That was when she felt them. Her way out, her one shining chance of survival.

“I'll... I'll take a hard pass on all that, you jerk!” She screamed, reaching into her cloak just as the vampire pounced.

With the practiced swiftness and sleight-of-hoof of a seasoned street performer, she pulled every last smoke bomb she kept hidden inside the many secret pockets of her cloak and slammed them into the ground. With a mighty bang they all burst, blanketing the entire forest clearing with a thick cloud of acrid, lavender smoke. For good measure she ignited some of the fireworks she still had laying about with a flick of magical power, the colorful explosions and noise adding to the overall mayhem.

The vampire landed where Trixie had just been standing, only to find... Nothing. The mare had disappeared! He was left coughing and sputtering amidst the cloud of noxious smoke, his eyes stinging and burning.

“Oh...” He hacked and coughed, trying to waft away the acrid cloud. “Well played, miss Trixie!”

The smoke cleared soon enough, dispersed by the crisp autumn wind, leaving the pale stallion standing in the clearing alone. His eyes scanned the treeline, ears perked to listen to the telltale signs of hooves crunching on dried leaves, but he picked up nothing.

“This evening was most delightful and filled with such entertainment!” He laughed, a hint of that previous politeness creeping into his otherwise cruel and callous tone “So I'll tell you what... I'll give you a head start before I start chasing after you! Chop chop, little pony. Better make haste now!”

He didn't bother to wait around, making his way instead into Trixie's wagon without a second thought spared to the fleeing mare.

Trixie, meanwhile, had pressed herself flat against the trunk of a tree a short distance away from the clearing, doing her best to remain as still and motionless as possible, even trying to will her heart to beat slower so that it wouldn't give her position away.

Hearing the sound of her wagon creaking under the weight of Starchaser entering it, she dared to peek out. Soon enough her ears picked up the unmistakable sounds of the stallion rummaging through her belongings. She had half a mind to storm back and kick the bastard's flank. How dare he set hoof inside her beloved wagon?!

Her rational mind, however, reminded her that discretion was definitely the better part of valor. Especially against someone as terrifyingly powerful as Chase. And so she opted to sneak off into the darkness, doing her level best to not disturb the undergrowth until she was sure she was well out of earshot of the clearing. It didn't take long after that for her to find the forest road she'd been following earlier that day and she burst into a frantic, adrenaline-fueled gallop.

Author's Note:

First fanfic I've ever written. Feedback is thus greatly appreciated.