• Published 14th Sep 2012
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Roses for the Grave - Mordy

Dark magic is a powerful and banned art believed to be long forgotten. Unbeknownst to the common Equestrian citizen, that art is very much alive and practiced in secret by less harmonious individuals.

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Ch2: Allegations and Obligations

MLP: Roses for the Grave
By Mordy

Ch2: Allegations and Obligations

Detective Details rubbed his chin as he looked upon the town’s magic shop. It had been built into a giant, decaying tree. The wood was completely black almost as if it had been charred from a fire. Not a single leaf anywhere on it, though something that would be normal in the fall, it was a little out of place for a tree in the fresh spring. Then again a lot of things were out of place in this depressing town.

A few small windows were placed here and there, two at the front near entrance where a dark purple door stood and another two near the top where the branches began. The tree had incredible girth allowing plenty of room inside while also having an impressive height that was nearly three stories high. Above the entrance was a little hanging sign with a unicorns head and a bit of a spark emitting from the horn. Below it were the words, “Magic Shop” done in dull yellow against a green background.

A single word could describe this place; eyesore. As gloomy as this town was, this decaying tree, while maybe fitting for the graveyard, didn’t really sit well in this town. If this had been one of the more colorful towns Details bet the ponies would have wanted this tree torn down. If this had been in Canterlot with the stuck up nobles, they’d burn down the tree themselves without even trying to petition for its removal. That or Princess Celestia herself would have removed such a tree to stop the nobles from whining. He didn’t envy the princess’ job one bit.

The front door held a little sign on it with the word open on it, but looking at the tree and the windows, now noticing that all the windows had black shades drawn to prevent any light from entering, one would wonder if it really was open for buisness. The detective second guessed himself for a moment before reaching out to open the door.

Before his hoof touched the door his name was called out, “Detective Details!” He turned his head to see Giant Wall approaching him. His armor still managed to shine even with how gray and dull the day was. Weather pegasi didn’t seem to work much this far up north.

Details finally acknowledged the guard, “Ah, good to see you here. Did you finish everything up on your end?”

“Affirmative, message sent to the princess and all the guards are barring any from leaving the town. We’re telling them it is for their own safety at this time and none doubt otherwise.” He nodded and stood tall.

“Very good, I’m about to check out our first suspect,” he replied as he reached for the door and entered inside. Giant Wall followed behind into the hollowed tree.

It was incredibly dark within the shop, even the light from outside seemed incapable of entering. It took a moment for the detective’s eyes to adjust to the darkness, but he was soon able to spot vanilla coated earth mare with straight black hair that fell only to her shoulders. She had dull gray eyes and was peering down at paper back book. It was hard to tell in the lack of light, but it looks like some kind of romance novel. It was a wonder she’d be able to read anything in this room.

She looked bored, but when they came in her ears flicked and she looked up, a bit of surprise entered her face before returning to a look of boredom as her eyes half closed. She bookmarked the page she was on and set the book down gracefully. It was after she removed the novel from in front of her face that Details and Giant Wall could see that it wasn’t boredom on her face, but a sultry interest.

She batted her long eyelashes a few times before greeting them in a seductive manner, “Well, hello gentlecolts. What could I do for two fine stallions such as you?” She seemed eager to… please.

The detective put on his best poker face remembering he had a job to do and there would be time for pleasantries later. Giant Wall on the other hoof looked towards the ceiling and bit his lip trying not to be pulled into such an invitation.

Detective Details looked around a moment to take in the contents of the shop. Books and ingredients seemed to litter the tables and shelves with a bit of disorganization. His eyes were adjusting more to the dark and could barely make out the titles on some of the books, none that really interested him. He let off a soft sigh as he approached the counter, shivering a bit. It was very cold in here, almost freezing.

He got up to the counter and smiled at the mare. “Good evening miss, I’m wishing to speak with your shop keep!”

The sultry look of the mare quickly disappeared into boredom again and a strong hint of annoyance and possibly anger. She turned around and yelled into the back that lacked the sexy and inviting voice they first heard. It held mostly a disgruntled anger now. “Hey Shop Keep! You got customers, visitors, or whatever!” She turned around, grunted with a scowl at the two and went back to her book.

The detective frowned, realizing he just got on the wrong hoof with her and any hope for a more pleasant conversation with her later was quickly destroyed. It was then he noticed a tired looking unicorn stallion entered the front from the back room. His eyes green and bloodshot and his black mane was a bit of a mess. He had chestnut colored coat and Details couldn’t help, but wonder why all the stallions in this town seem to have brown colored coats. The stallion wore an even darker brown robe, a robe more common to be worn by magic users than a shop keeper. The robe completely covered his body, including his flank, preventing him from seeing his cutie mark. Not completely uncommon for those who have understanding of magic. Still, a somewhat rare sight.

With a yawn the unicorn reached out his hoof over the counter and introduced himself, “Hello, I’m Shop Keep. What can I do you for?” He half smiled, but the sincerity was questionable due to how tired he looked. Might as well have been drunk or sleep walking.

Details took notice for a brief moment Shop Keep eyes looked to his left at Giant Wall. A frown appeared on his face for a slightest moment before his eyes refocused onto Details and his smile returned.

“Hello, I’m Detective Details and this here is Giant Wall.” He nodded to the soldier who gave a nod in return to Shop Keep, “We’re here to investigate a recent… incident and we are just going around for a bit of questioning. If you don’t mind sparing a bit of time that is.”

Shop Keep frowned, but replied with a bit of reluctance and a shrug, “I suppose there’s no harm in it.” The mare next to him looked up for a moment to stare at the lot then went back to her novel.

“Very good, I…” He looked around, he wasn’t sure that the question, "Are you a necromancer?" would be a good opening. Instead he decided to take this in a more casual direction, “Don’t mind me asking, but why is your shop kept so dark and dusty?”

Shop Keep looked at him indigently and scoffed. “This place isn’t dusty!” he said, slamming his hoof onto the counter causing a large pile of dust to kick up. He grimaced as he proved himself wrong. The mare and the guard chuckled at this.

Shop Keep yawned with some annoyance and answered the question, “Well, we have some materials here that are very sensitive to light." His eyes shifted momentarily to the mare as he said this. "So, gotta keep the place dark else we risk losing the ingredients. And we got some very rare ones so shunning the sun is a small price to pay.”

“Really, what kind of rare ingredients?” Detail asked with a bit of intrigue.

Shop Keep seemed hesitant to answer for a moment and pondered about replying. He thought it over and finally said, “Well, we have petals of a Death’s Rose for one.”

Detective Details suddenly had a look of excitement. “You have Death’s Rose?! That stuff is so hard to come by. How much?”

Giant Wall frowned at this, as they were supposed to be interrogating instead of shopping. He sighed though and let this run its course.

Shop Keep answered, “About a hundred bits.”

Giant Wall looked at him like he was crazy. “hundred bits for a bunch of petals?”

“Hundred bits per petal,” Shop Keep corrected.

“Per petal?!” Giant Wall had trouble comprehending this and his jaw dropped. “That’s a–"

He was then cut off by Details. “That’s a steal!” he said excitedly as he reached around for his wallet.

Now Giant Wall was looking at Details as if he was the one who was insane. Details saw this and explained, “Death’s Rose normally goes for hundreds and hundreds of bits in Canterlot sometimes even thousands. It’s an incredibly rare ingredient not just due to how impossible is is to find the flower, but also because it takes a long time to harvest a single petal.” Details placed his money satchel on the table and started counting his bits.

“So, you’re from Canterlot?” Keep asked with a raised eyebrow. Not a surprising fact considering the guards uniform.

Details nodded and Giant Wall steered the conversation back to where it was, “So, why are these petals hard to harvest?”

“You can’t just pluck the petals off. You must wait for them to fall off naturally,” Shop Keep explained and then spoke to Details, “I only have three petals at this time, but if you want them all they'll be three hundred bits.”

Detective Details smiled and started counting out the required bits. As he did, he motioned to the Mare next to Keep. “By the way, who’s this lovely lady?” He turned to her and gave a more than friendly smile, hoping to get on the mares good side again. She seemed to return the smile back for a moment.

Keep answered the detective with a bit of reluctance, “My… wife.”

A bit of sweat poured Details' neck and he noticed the couple had an uncomfortable silence going between them. From the way that Mrs. Keep had been acting when they first came in it sounded like they had hit a rough patch in their marriage. He went back to counting bits and didn’t want to drive a wedge any further between the two or even be in the middle.

After a few minutes he pushed over three hundred bits to Mr. Keep and he asked, “I know those petals are very vulnerable to light so if you don’t mind would be okay if I pick them up after dark?”

Shop Keep shrugged. “I have no problem with that. We’re open pretty late.”

Details then made a simple request, “If it isn’t any trouble I’ll probably have somepony else pick these up for me. Would you be kind enough to write up a note so they can prove they’re here to collect those petals up for me? Don’t want anypony stealing those such a rare commodity!” He grinned looking forward to getting them.

Keep smiled at the bits and answered, “Certainly, that's a pretty good idea if you can't come yourself!” He magically lifted up a quill and a piece of paper with a dark purple glow and wrote a small note and signed his name. He lifted the note to the Detective who then took it with his own magic, looking it over then placing it in his pocket.

“Well pleasure doing business with you Mr. Keep! We’ll be taking our leave now!” He smiled brightly and started towards the door.

“Don’t you want to ask me more questions regarding your investigation?” Keep asked with a raised eyebrow. It was odd that he hadn’t been asked anything remotely related to it.

“Oh, we’ve got all we needed!” Details gave Keep a sly grin and trotted out, followed by Giant Wall who seemed confused by this as well.

As the two got a good distance away from the shop, Giant Wall gave Details an odd look and asked, “What’s with the rush to get out of there? We barely asked them anything and only managed to buy some stupid flowers!”

Detective Details pulled out the note Keep had given him then he pulled out the apology letter written by the culprit who had been stealing bodies. “Well, I didn’t see any reason to make our friend think we suspect him anymore than we already did.” He smiled as he held the two notes up to Giant Wall. The hoofwriting on both were exactly the same.

Shop Keep felt nervous, he was left in the dark as to what those two suspected and the look the detective gave him when he left made him fear the worst. But there had been no signs of suspicion and he even sold the last of his current supply of Death Rose petals. He looked nervously at his “wife” and she looked back at him. She frowned and gave him a very stern look, “Tonight?”

Keep nodded back. “Tonight.”

Mrs. Keep sighed, she was feeling tired herself, but knew what had to be done. “I’ll be in the back then.” She got up and trotted off into the back room.

He took a deep breath and called back to her, “I’m gonna go out for a moment, I’ll close up shop till I get back.” He didn’t get a response, but knew she was alright with it.

Shop Keep looked below the counter and pulled out a bundle of Violets with his magic. There was something he wanted to do before everything went straight to Tartarus. He walked out the front of his shop and flipped his sign. It had a simple enchantment on it to say what he needed it to when it was flipped. So, when it turned over it said, “Back in 15 Minutes.”

He started towards the original main entrance into the cemetery. The bundle of violets floating next to him as he trotted. There were barely any ponies out at this time. He didn’t blame them though, they were all a bit spooked and it was a few hours before nightfall. Occasionally he would see some of the local residents that would give harsh glares or whisper a few racial slurs. He hadn't exactly been the best neighbor and it didn't help that a portion of the earth ponies in this town didn't exactly like unicorns.

As he approached the gate he noticed two more Canterlot Soldiers standing on each side. One was an earth pony and the other was a unicorn. The earth pony walked up to him as soon as he realized he had the intentions of entering the cemetery. “Sorry, no pony is allowed to enter the graveyard.” He then proceeded with an apology as he noticed the flowers, “I’m sorry. You’ll have to pay your respects another time. It’s for your own safety.”

He looked to the ground in disappointment and sighed. His gaze shifted back up to the soldier and nodded, “I… understand.” With that he turned around and began walking back to his shop with a look of defeat. He hovered the flowers in front of him and sighed, “Sorry Blue….”

Dead of night, Luna’s moon rose high above the quiet town. Mr. Keep, as he was known by the town, was asleep in his bed on the second floor of his shop. It was a bed meant for only one, something the ponies of the town would find odd considering he was married. There wasn’t even a second bed in his room. In fact both of them slept in completely separate rooms... usually.

Something soon lightly laid on top of him, barely stirring him from his slumber. He opened his eyes to find darkness, but despite how dark it was he could see two very distinct blood red eyes staring at him. He stared back at them not even bothered at all by the sight. This was something he woke to from time to time. It was sometimes unpleasant, but other times… well… it would be very pleasant.

He quickly felt lips pressed against his. Not a simple peck, but a romantic and loving kiss with a hint of lustful passion. Or perhaps it was the other way around? The red eyes backed off as they finished their kiss and she whispered, “Mr. Keep….”

Keep gave a light groan in response to that name. He then heard her call him by another name, “Julius….”

Julius Grave, which was his true name, growled and whispered, “Don’t call me that while we’re still here! Never know if they’re listening.” His eyes shifted around the dark room in paranoia. When his eyes locked with the beautiful red ones again he spoke, “Is everything ready… Mrs. Keep?”

He could see irritation at that name in her eyes and this time she groaned, “Hate that name, but yes everything is accounted for. Finished a bit early so, I thought we could… you know?” She giggled and leaned down to kiss Julius once again. He sighed and embraced the kiss, letting her tongue run along his lips before it pierced his mouth to play with his own tongue. He rubbed her back with approval as they locked themselves in a tender embrace.

After a moment she left his lips, a bit of saliva trailing from them. She began to kiss around his muzzle and his head while occasionally nuzzling him. He closed his eyes as memories of better years surfaced. He felt her grind against him with want and he was ready to comply, but as she started to kiss along his neck he felt her nibble it lightly. His eyes shot open and he shouted out louder than he meant to, “That’s enough!”

His breathing was heavy and he felt her breath hot against his neck. She nuzzled his neck a moment before whispering into his ear, “I’d never do it without your permission. You know that.” She sighed at having to end the fun then kissed his cheek and got off of him. “I’m ready when you are.”

Julius sighed, feeling a bit of guilt, but knew his paranoia was well placed. He rolled out of bed and gave her a nod. He could barely see her, except for her red eyes that stood out like a sore hoof. She tip toed over to him and began to lead him through the darkness.

Most of the shop had been cleaned out. The detective never came and picked up his petals, nor did anypony come in his stead. Everything in the front of the shop was still there to ward off suspicion, but everything in the back had finished being packed up and Mrs. Keep had been transferring the last of their supplies that day.

As Julius' and his partner made their way to the basement they both took a cautionary look around out of a shared instinct. It was somewhat pointless for Julius since his eyes were still adjusting, but he did so regardless.

They made their way over to a rug and Mrs. Keep lifted the rug off the floor it had been on. There was nothing out of the ordinary, but the wooden floor. However, she soon placed her hoof on a particular section and pressed down hard. The timber sank into the floor and the floor magically opened to reveal a hidden passage with a ladder.

She helped Julius get his hoofing on the ladder and he slowly descended into deeper darkness. Tree roots occasionally brushed his hide as he went a good ways down. Once his hoof hit the dirt floor he made room for Mrs. Keep to drop down.

He heard the sound of the floor closing up as the entrance sealed. He saw nothing, but red eyes suddenly drop down to the floor instead of using the ladder as intended. She landed safely in front of him and once again he was captivated by her eyes. Those crimson irises were truly beautiful, even if they did remind him of bright blood.

Julius saw her close her eyes, leaving him in pitch black darkness. He could light his horn, but as a precaution he dared not cast magic less they risk being detected by magical means. So, being left in the dark was a discomfort he was willing to deal with at this time.

He blushed as he felt lips being brushed against his again. He realized he was more vulnerable than he ever been before with her. Normally he had magic at his disposable, but now he couldn’t risk casting spells. His heart raced as she pushed him against a wall. Despite how curvy, light, and sensual she appeared, she was far stronger than she looked and he didn’t have anywhere near the strength to push her off. Not that he'd would want to mind you.

He tensed up as he felt her kisses trail to his neck again. His breathing picked up its pace and he felt himself panic. Julius tried to calm himself, but panic entered at full force as he heard “it”. The hissing sound he was way too familiar with. The soft sound “they” made, just before they strike. He breathed out her name for a moment, "Femme..."

Femme Fatale's laughter echoed lightly and he felt her kiss his neck before she opened her eyes half way and brought them to his eye level. “Never to you. Not unless you wanted it,” There was a bit of disappointment in her eyes, just because he believed she really was going to pass on her "gift" to him for a brief moment. Of course, he had known her long enough to know better.

He felt her lips grace his and he calmed down. She could see perfectly in the dark. It was one of her… special gifts.

She soon was leading him through the passage, keeping him close. Their bodies rubbed against each other in the small space they had. Something she enjoyed and though Julius wouldn’t admit it, he also enjoyed it.

After a few minutes she placed his hoof on a wooden ladder. “I’ll meet you at the rendezvous. Please Julius,” he turned to her to find her staring deeply into his eyes as she continued, “Stay safe.” Femme kissed him one more time and her eyes drifted away and back into the darkness to go along another path. He kept watch at where she disappeared off to before

He sighed and began the long climb up. Occasionally after climbing about what would be one floor, he’d reach some solid ground, walk a few steps and bump into another ladder to take him up further. It was done so there wouldn’t be a giant drop that deep into the ground.

Eventually he reached the top and moonlight crept in from a few holes that surrounded him. He put his hoof to the roof and peered through each hole. He could see the cemetery around him. After being in the dark so long he could see almost as plain as day. He smiled as he saw a thick fog had rolled in. It was convenient luck. He did know spells to conjure up similar fogs, but avoiding any spell casts and any unnatural occurring fog was a good way to tread at such a sensitive time.

He pushed at the roof above him with his hoof. A few good bumps and it popped open like a lid. He soon climbed out of an old tree stump. It was in the middle of the cemetary, but it was so close to the far back near the forest that it was easily disregarded. He closed it back up and took another look around. Glad that no pony else was out this far tonight.

A sigh of relief and he wandered a short distance from the stump. He soon stopped before a couple of graves. Unlike the normal graves each burial was entirely encased in stone. This meant those buried here were wealthier than most around here. However, Julius knew better.

He looked around making sure he was truly alone and he began to push on the slab that covered one of the nameless graves. As he pushed it off he could begin to see a stone stair case with a bit of light emanating deep within.

Julius dropped down and then reached back up to close the entrance again. The light from within its depths allowed him to still see. He quickly trotted down the staircase; every so often he would turn a corner to another set of stairs lit up by a magical torch. He did this a few times before he was about at about a level below that the secret passage had been at. This lead to a short hallway filled with sarcophaguses placed within the walls.

He cantered along the hallway not bothered in the slightest as to where he was. This was practically his home away from home. This saddened him slightly that he’d no longer be able to visit it. As he exited the hallway he entered the main crypt with a very high ceiling. The room was incredibly large, filled with more magically lit torches and sarcophaguses , except these were on the ground. Around him were varies stone tables along with a one large wooden one on the side. The wooden one was littered with books and notes.

He then took in a few finer details, like the carvings of fine steeds within the stone coffins and the alter that was at the very back. One big detail that would be the first thing most other ponies would see was the traces of dried blood all around the room. Usually on the stone tables, it was splattered here and there as well as the floor near them. However, the alter in the far back instead had blood drawn in complicated runes and symbols. Though most unicorns may not understand what it all meant, any with a fair bit of knowledge of magic would recognize it was a form of magic that was best left alone. However, any highly advanced magic user would be able to tell that it was most likely necromancy.

A slight chill went through Julius as a new presence entered the room. A low haunting moan echoed throughout and he lazily shifted his eyes around to find its source. He looked down and from the ground a green lucid haze flowed up from it. It took the form of a light greenish blue earth pony filly, but where her hind legs would be was instead a wispy tail that weaved and flowed like smoke. Her cutie mark was three green ghostly flames. Her sea green hair fell past her shoulders tossed in an invisible wind and looked almost wet.

She got in his face and he was staring into eyes that were completely white and she spoke in wispy otherworldly voice, “Who dares disturb my slumber!” she moaned out.

Julius just stared at her for a moment just shaking his head. Pupils soon appeared in her eyes and he could see her light blue eyes return to her. She stared at him for moment and then put on a wide cheery smile and spoke to him in a joyous ringing voice, “Oh, hai Julius! Didn’t realize it was you!” Her smile kept getting wider.

He managed to chuckle at his spirit companion. She had always been an amusing and silly ghost. “How are you doing Ecto Burst?” He said with a little more cheer than he had earlier this evening.

She continued smiling brightly and tossed and turned happily in the air while answering, “I’m doing great! So, glad to have you back. I guess this means everything is safe now?”

Julius looked away from Ecto for a moment and then turned back his gaze with a frown. “The light is beginning to consume us.”

Ecto cocked her head with confusion, “Huh, what? What does that mean?” She rubbed her head with her ghostly hoof and then her eyes went wide as she began to grasp the meaning of coded phrase. “Oh!” she exclaimed as she got the message. Her smile began to leave her. “So, we have to… you know… go?”

He nodded to her question. “Gather up my books, notes, and whatever supplies you can carry. I have to erase my work, can’t risk them figuring out what I was trying to do,” he began to walk over to the alter as he said this, passing right through Ecto, causing a slight chill to run through him as she entered his body for a brief moment.

“You got it Julius!” She called out to him as she quickly flew over to his desk gathered up all of his research. She may have originally been born an earth pony, but when she became a ghost and gained the ability to float and fly she had little to complain about. She loved it; she dare say she was happier as a ghost than when she was alive. At least, after Julius found her.

Meanwhile Julius was erasing and cleaning up the blood runes and markings around the main alter. He wouldn’t have time to get to the others around the room, but he didn’t care if those were discovered. It was only the ones around the alter he was worried about. Those dealt with his research and ultimate spell which he wasn’t going to risk anypony figuring out what he had been doing. It was unlikely they would be able to figure it out, but he wasn't leaving that to chance.

It took him a good twenty minutes to wipe the blood away or at least wipe it all to an illegible smear on the floor. He looked around to make sure there was nothing else to give any hint to the ritual. When he saw all was well he turned to see Ecto ready with all his supplies. She had them all perfectly balanced in large stacked tower in her hooves and showed signs of toppling over, yet it remained steady.

He trotted over to her and reached down his robe to pull off his neck a silver necklace with a deep blue gem in the center with two dragons clawing at it. “Take this with you,” he said as he put the necklace around her neck and Ecto willed it to not fall through her. She frowned at this action though.

“But don’t you want to keep it with you?” she pleaded knowing how valuable it was to him.

“It has to stay with her. In case anything happens.” He trailed off not wanting to discuss this any further. “Go to the rendezvous and keep an out for my signal just in case.”

She frowned, but then smiled cheerfully again. “Don’t talk like that! Nothing bad is going to happen! Even if you get caught we’ll save you!” she said triumphantly.

He smiled back and dismissed her, “Better get going.”

She nodded and went through the wall, all the physical items she carried passed with her. Some ways through the wall was the underground pathway he had taken to escape from the village. It wasn’t actually connected to the tomb so he would have to go back to the surface again...

Julius pulled himself outside of the secret tomb and quickly closed it. He noticed the fog had lightened up and cursed to himself quietly. He began to head back to the stump that went back down to the underground passage.

As he drew closer to the dead tree he started to slow down, his head drooping as he got closer. He looked to the ground and then he reached out with his magic and pulled something out of his robes. It was one of the violets he had from earlier. He stared at it for a moment and shook his head while whispering, “No, it’s a dumb idea.” He took a few more steps to the trunk and stopped again. “But it wouldn’t feel right not to.”

He gritted his teeth and grumbled, “This is such a bad idea.” He shook his head and turned around heading away from the stump and more in the direction towards the village.

It was a few minutes of walking and treading lightly, but he knew exactly where he wanted to go and was thankful no pony was patrolling the cemetery as far as he could tell. He trotted between tombstones trying not to bump into them and avoid making to much noise on the grass. He soon stopped before tombstone that was unremarkable like the rest around here, but the name on it was all that mattered; Blue Rhapsody.

He saw that the ground had been freshly reburied, happy to know she was back in her grave. Julius took a seat before it and then followed with a deep breath. He reached out for the violet again and placed it gently on her grave. A few more slow breaths and he started to talk to the grave quietly, “I never meant to hurt you. I’m pretty sure you knew that though.”

He looked away for a moment and then back at the tombstone. “Brought you a violet. I know you liked them. I had a bunch of them ready for you, but things got in the way you could say," he chuckled lamely with that and went on, "Wish I could have given you those Death’s Roses you liked, but they’re hard to come by and I can’t part with the one have right now. You understand right? I hope you don’t mind.”

He sighed at all this. “I enjoyed your company. It was a nice while it lasted. I have to go though, but I just wanted to say goodbye and that I’m sorry.” He let a tear drop from his cheek and onto Blue Rhapsody’s grave and said is final goodbye, “Rest in peace.”

He breathed slowly for a few more moments as he collected himself and then turned away from the grave. He was still staring at the ground as he did. Finally gathering his strength he lifted his head up and felt his heart stop.

“Fine night for a stroll isn’t it, Mr. Keep?” Detective Details said with a smirk while he leaned against a grave as Giant Wall stood next to him, glaring coldly at him. It almost felt like he was staring straight into his soul.

His ears drooped back, but he composed himself. “Detective, what brings you out this night?” He wasn’t going to assume the worst until the Detective played all of his cards. Hopefully he didn’t suspect anything yet, but that was wishful thinking.

“I could ask you the same thing, but if you must know we’ve been patrolling the graves this night to make sure no more restless spirits are wandering about.” He smiled and then asked, “So, what brings you out here?”

Thankfully Julius had an excuse prepared for such an event. “Well, I occasionally come out here to find materials. Some can only be harvested in the night and some only grow around the graves. Certain types of fungus, mostly.”

Details pondered the answer and found it to be believable. “Very well, but that doesn’t look like your looking for mushrooms.” he pointed with one hoof at the flower on Blue Rhapsody’s grave.

“I like to pay my respects to the dead like most of the others in town.” he knew very well other ponies in town would come out and place flowers on random graves from time to time.

“Any reason why you picked that grave?” Details asked trying to poke holes in his story.

“Well this was the desecrated grave. I visited it a few nights ago after the… tragedy that transpired here. I’ve visited it occasionally to see if they finally buried the body. I actually tried to do that earlier in the day, but those guards wouldn’t let me leave.” He cursed inwardly as he realized he just gave the detective another question to ask him as to how he got past the guards. As Details opened his mouth Julius quickly interrupted him, “Detective, you never did pick up your petals.”

The detective closed his mouth and gave a soft smile. “Ah yes, I never did. It completely slipped my mind. I don’t suppose it would be too much trouble if we go pick them up right now, seeing as we’ll have to escort you to your shop anyway.”

Julius put on a slight frown, but inwardly he was smiling. He could just use the secret passage within his shop and be home free. Of course Details wouldn’t know that and he bet he figured he simply found a way to sneak past the guards using the fog, “I see no harm in that detective.” He trotted over to the two of them watching where he stepped as he did.

Soon the three of them were on the stone pathway back to town. Julius was at the front leading them. The detective and the guard were at each of his sides. They were supposed to be guarding him, but it felt more like they were herding him and trying to keep him from running away.

After a little bit he thought he saw a flash from behind him. He turned around to look to his left. He noticed the detective was looking back at something. When Details noticed that he had been doing something he simply turned toward him and gave a friendly smile. Julius regarded it at just being his imagination until he looked forward and noticed two blinking white lights in the foggy distance. He then saw out of the corner of his eye the detective igniting his horn causing a quick blinking light to go off from the tip.

He finally put two and two together. The guards were signaling each other, but about what was the question. Unfortunately, he’d have to just go with it until he could learn more. He was just praying that he'd be escaping through the tunnels before it would come to that.

The fog was finally clearing up and they passed the two guards at the main gate. No trouble or explanation was given, but he felt the guards eyes glued to his back. He was liking this less and less with each passing moment.

“That fog was pretty thick earlier, no wonder you got passed them,” Detective Details finally said, breaking the silence.

“Yes, I didn’t even see them as I went in. I probably walked right passed them. They hold so still you’d think they were statues!” He chuckled a bit and to his relief the detective laughed at the expense of Giant Wall who didn’t find it that amusing.

“Right you are, but I’m surprised you braved the cemetery even though there might have been a ghost or some monster like that out there,” he replied, back to asking questions again.

“Well I’m pretty capable of taking care of myself,” he responded as they finally got to the front door of his shop. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw movement inside of his shop.

“Oh, Mr. Keep. One thing I’ve been meaning to ask you,” Details said very nonchalantly.

“Yes?” He asked as he fiddled with the lock on his door. He was eager to get away from Details now. He then heard the sound of hoof beats rapidly approach them. He turned to notice a few unicorn guards coming from out of the fog towards his shop.

“I was just wondering...” He paused for a moment as Julius finally unlocked the door. “What were you doing inside of that grave you crawled out of,” A sly grin appeared on the detectives face.

Julius froze; his heart sinking and completely stopped pumping for several moments. He gave the detective too little credit. He was now also definitely sure there was movement inside of his shop. More royal guards most likely and he bet it didn’t take the detective long to assume when he somehow got passed the guards that he might have had a secret exit in his home. He now noticed more guards were coming out from the side streets. There had to be at least five more now with another three quickly approaching.

A group of unicorns approached the detective, a little short of breath. The mare leading them spoke to the detective, “We searched the crypt. It wasn’t pretty, but we definitely found traces of what we believe necrotic rituals inside.”

Details turned back to Julius, his prideful smirk growing even wider. “Well, Mr. Keep. We’d like you to come with us for some… questioning.”

Julius closed his eyes, took a deep calm breath. He had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but…

His horn started to glow a dark purple and as soon as he turned his head and found an opening he teleported a good distance away from the guards and immediately started to gallop towards the graveyard.

“Halt in the name of Celestia!” a couple of guards shout at him as they began to give chase. Details smiled and then looked up his, horn flashing a few times.

Celestia can go buck herself! Julius thought as he teleported ahead again to get some more distance from the guards. He would be using his dark magic, but he didn't want to give them any insight to what he what he was capable of. He was a bit surprised they only brought earth ponies and unicorns. He figured they’d at least bring a pegasus or two. He then instinctively looked up, and good thing he did. A pegasi mare was diving right at him donned in the Canterlot armor.

He kept his eye on her and just as he was about to be impacted by the pegasi he teleported ahead again causing the mare to hit the ground and tumble into a roll before getting back up on her hooves.

Julius looked to the sky again and saw no other pegasi thankfully. He then turned his attention ahead of him and found the two guards from before ready to intercept him. The unicorn lashed out at him with magic, a bolt of energy charging at him. Once again he made a really long teleport appearing past the gate and charging into the cemetery. He then waved his horn and cast another spell. The fog around him became thicker and even more started to roll into the cemetary.

Details was galloping and witnessed all of this. “Huh, not bad, but not good enough.” He raised his horn and signaled the sky once more.

Julius took a moment of rest in front of an old crypt. He breathed in a few times as he caught his breath and charged another spell as he launched a small ball of purple light towards the sky. It rose higher and higher into the sky until finally it exploded. A massive amount of purple energy releasing from it that could easily be seen from all over the near country side.

Meanwhile in the forest Femme Fatale and Ecto caught sight of this and the only words to escape her sensual lips was, “Oh no, Luna please don’t let him be–”

Three pegasi caught sight of where the energy had come from and were now quickly spinning around the area, flapping their wings as hard as they spun around in wide arcs, causing a whirlwind to clear away the fog. Julius saw this, but it didn’t cause him to run. He stood his ground and looked out from the fog.

Details and Giant Wall were approaching along with all the other guards who quickly fanned out to surround him. Julius still made no attempt to run.

“We have you surrounded Mr. Keep. I don’t know why you made that light show, but we won’t have to rough you up if you just stand down and surrender peacefully.” Details still wore his smirk believing he had won.

“I really must correct you on something detective,” Julius deadpanned.

“Oh? What’s that?” Details replied still believing he had total victory.

“Well, if I’m not mistaken I have you surrounded,” he stated simply which caused laughter to rumble from all the guards in the area. The detective chuckled lightly at this.

“What makes you think something so preposterous?” he continued to chuckle hard while he wiped a tear from his eyes.

“Detective what am I? What are you arresting me for?” Julius asked.

“You’re believed to be a necromancer and we’re arresting you for the illegal use of necromancy. Simple as that,” Details replied not seeing where he was going with this.

“And what do necromancers do?” Julius asked once again as a grin started to form on his face.

“They wield dark forbidden magic’s and can raise the dead,” he answered again his smile leaving his face as something began to dawn upon him.

“And where would I go to get said dead to raise?” A large smile spreading on his face as his horn began to glow with black and dark purple energy. The whites of his eyes filling with the color blue as a dark mist trailed from the corners.

“A graveyard…” It was now very much clear to the detective and the others.

“And where are we now?” He now had a sinister grin as his horn glowed violently.

“A… graveyard...” He and all the other guards were now incredibly nervous as to what was about to happen.

“You really do have an eye for details don’t you?” He let his wicked smile say the rest as he reigned back on his hind legs to then stomp back down with both of his forelegs as he let his magical energies be released into the ground below like a shock wave.

The earth suddenly rumbled and the graves began to stir. Almost in unison hooves began to pop out of the dirt as varies levels of decayed undead ponies pulled themselves out of their resting places. The great thing about the spell was that it helped bring the undead to the surface and fast.

Julius turned around as another undead broke his way through the stone door of his crypt and more continued to pour in from all over. The sheer number of them was far more than an ordinary necromancer to summon. But he wasn’t an ordinary necromancer now, was he?

All the guards took defensive stances as they quickly got surrounded. Glowing ghostly, blue eyes stared at them, ready to rip right through them at a moments notice.

“So, detective, I think you should stand down and I won’t have to rough you up,” Julius let off an almost villainous laugh. Now he was the one assured victory. Very few things could stop him now. Unfortunately, one of those very few things was about to.

Without warning, a brilliant light exploded around some of the nearby undead. Leaving them lifeless and charred. “What the?” Julius looked over at what happened. Suddenly another flash of light rained down onto some of the soldiers, the undead were lifeless again, but the guards remained unharmed. Then it happened once more then a few more times quickly clearing out the entire area. Julius finally noticed that it was coming from the sky.

He looked up and he swore he had another heart attack. Descending from the heavens was a very large white pony. One with very large wings and a long horn on her. She had gorgeous hair that magically flowed even without wind that beheld multiple colors such as pink, green, and blue. She was adorned with a brilliant golden regalia and her flank was marked with an image of the sun. Her purple eyes seemed to pierce his heart as she stared down at him coldly.

As his heart started to pump again and he could think straight once more he finally realized what was happening. Princess Celestia herself just appeared to take him on. He was overcome with a mix of fear and hot rage, but there was only one thing he could say in response to this, “Oh, buck this.”

He immediately teleported a short ways away, barely inside the thick fog and he galloped faster than he ever had done before. He would need to get into the forest to have any hopes of escape now. Luckily the fog would give him cover as he made his escape.

Except, the fog began to immediately dissipate all around him. Is it the pegasi? No, this is magic. Only one other word came to his mind. Celestia...

He started to push himself harder and gallop faster to the edge of the forest, but then he saw a flash of light, strike in front of him and he instinctively jumped. This was probably a terrible idea.

As the light exploded under him he was sent flying through the air towards the forest, but as the world spun around him he could see it wasn’t soft grass he was landing towards, but graves. He soon impacted one of the tombstones on his back side, breaking the hard rock and sending him rolling along the ground.

He winced at the pain, but as his hoof rubbed the grass he immediately reacted to its touch. Using his necromancy he began to drain the life from the plants around him to heal his wounds and restore his stamina. The grass around him quickly died and he felt his wound patch up enough that he could push through the pain.

Julius got up on his hooves and stepped forward, but felt his head hit something soft. It was surprisingly warm and somehow inviting. Yet he felt himself grow fearful as he noticed that it was white. He backed up and looked up to see Princess Celestia staring down at him with a terrible yet calm rage in her eyes. Something not very befitting of her that she rarely ever had to do. But he had apparently earned her full scorn.

His eyes were wide with fear, but they soon became angry and he started to charge up his magic. Not even Celestia herself was going to stop–

Her horn quickly flashed with a gold blinding light and he immediately became dazed. He stumbled back and forth unable to finish whatever foolish thought he originally had. Once again he stumbled right into Celestia then he fell back again and attempted to try his hoof at another spell. That was quickly stopped by Celestia as she cast another spell and he felt himself get drowsy.

Julius fell to the ground as the world began to go black. Last thing he saw was Celestia staring down at him, a slight smile creeping onto her face.

Author's Note:

UPDATE 7/4/2016:
Removed "(Updated)" from the chapter title.

UPDATE 2/27/2014:
Finished cleaning up the rest of the chapter. More or less the same stuff as yesterday, no new scenes.

UPDATE 2/26/2014:
Cleaned up some grammar and conversations. Actually said Femme's name, but only said her full name in in a paragraph. I still have more to fix, but will do so later. Only just got up to where Julius runs into Ecto. I also have retconned Ecto's appearance slightly. She's now a little filly ghost. Removed old Author's Notes. Plan to finish clean up of this chapter tomorrow. Feel free to wait before rereading.

-Special thanks to MobileDeluxe for helping me come up with the name for Ecto Burst