• Published 14th Sep 2012
  • 4,084 Views, 224 Comments

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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Ch6: Building Normalcy

MLP: Roses for the Grave
By Mordy

Ch6: Building Normalcy

The first rays of sunlight poured through the window of a mighty tree that played host to a town library. The upstairs of it was a bedroom and the warm light began to coat a sleeping mare. Her ears twitched as she let an eye flutter open to the blinding sun. A lavender colored hoof reached up to shield her pupils from the harsh beacon of dawn as her eyes started to adjust to the change in lighting. When her eyes finally became accustomed, Twilight finally returned a bright smile to the sun as if she was smiling at her own mentor, Princess Celestia.

She let off a yawn, turning her head to the ceiling and stretched out her body in an attempt to wake up her still sleeping limbs. She had managed to get a good night sleep, something that was a little rare for her, and she was ready to take on anything the day threw at her. With what strength she could muster, Twilight pushed herself up into a sitting position and held herself up with her hooves.

Craning her neck, she looked down to a basket by her bed that was the sleeping arrangement for her dragon assistant. To her surprise the makeshift bed was empty and she gazed around her room before finally calling out, “Spike?”

Almost immediately the door out to the library cracked open and her purple scaled friend peaked in. “Hey Twilight! You up?” He had an excited grin on his face.

The mare leaned toward the door, “Yes Spike, what are you doing up so early?”

“Don’t you remember? It comes in today!” He pushed the rest of the door open and was practically bouncing with excitement.

“What comes in… oh!” She suddenly remembered what he had been looking forward to. She gave him chuckle as she rolled out of her bed and stretched once more. “Let me get cleaned up and we’ll go get it.”

Spike simply smiled and bounded down the stairs to wait at the front door. Twilight smiled at his enthusiasm as she started towards the bathroom to give her teeth and hair a good brushing.

About ten minutes later Twilight and Spike were walking out of the town library and through the streets of Ponyville. Even as early as it was it was already bustling with life as the town residents began to go about their business. It was a Saturday so fewer ponies were working, but more were out to make the most of their weekend.

The two companions would wave or greet the individuals that would acknowledge them. Spike would wave from atop Twilight's back and she would nod or greet them with a friendly hello.

They turned a corner and found themselves at the back of fairly long line. A line that lead right up to their destination; a little shop that sold toys and comic books. The latter was the reason they were there. Spike was eager to get the latest issue of Batmane, which came out today.

Spike frowned slightly at the line, but that didn’t deter him from looking forward to the new issue. “Aw man, I can’t wait! They’re introducing a new villain in this one!”

Twilight humored his interest, though she didn’t completely approve of him reading all those comics, it at least it got him to read, “Oh? And who’s this new dastardly fiend?”

Spike was more than eager to answer like any child who had an interest, “All I know is this new bad guy goes by the name ‘The Fear’.”

“I’m guessing he scares everypony?” Twilight replied as she pointed out the obvious.

“Yeah! How’d you know?” Spike answered as they moved forward in line.

“Oh, call it mare’s intuition,” she chuckled and rolled her eyes. It was then she saw a blue blur shoot out from the store, kicking up dust and leaving behind a rainbow colored trail as it rocketed to the clouds. “Was that Rainbow?”

“I think so, I guess she’s a fan of the series too,” Spike said shrugging and they continued to move forward.

Deciding to kill a little more time, Twilight continued to ask questions, “So, isn’t this villain like some other nemesis of Batmane. What was her name?” She thought for a moment before she remembered and answered, “Scarecrow wasn’t it?”

“No, no, it’s Scarecow. Bovine terror enthusiast who studies the phobias of everypony,” Spike replied and Twilight was very sure he learned more vocabulary from comic books than he ever did from regular books. He then went on, “Seriously, who’d ever be afraid of some bird. That’s just silly, Twilight!”

“So, then what makes this Fear fellow different from Scarecow?” She raised an eyebrow as they almost got to the front of the line.

“From what I heard, this guy can become ponies’ greatest fears. With Scarecow it’s all in your head, but with this guy your actually facing your fear.” Twilight nodded to Spike's answer and could see how that would make a big difference. If a fear was mentally before somepony and they knew it was all in their head they could just try to shut it out, but if it was physically there they were forced to deal with it.

The two finally reached the front of the line and few minutes later Twilight was trotting out with Spike reading the comic on his back. She turned her head to look at him, only to be greeted by the cover of Batmane facing off a giant and fierce looking bat. “You up for getting breakfast at Sugarcube Corner Spike?”

The dragon put down his comic just for a moment to answer, “Yeah, sounds great!” He quickly pulled it back up to continue his reading. Twilight smiled and trotted along to their destination.

It was as they were a couple of blocks away from Sugarcube that Twilight noticed something. Out towards the entrance/exit to Ponyville that lead to the dreaded Everfree Forest, she saw a bunch of ponies digging in an empty plot of field. Curiosity got the better of her and she started to trot down to them. “Spike, we're going to take a little detour,” she explained to which she got just an incoherent mumble as the dragon was lost in his comic book.

Getting closer to the group she noticed a familiar cream colored pony with a graying mane and a scroll for cutie mark. It was Mayor Mare, the mayor of Ponyville. She seemed a bit distressed as she kept fiddling with her half rim glasses as she watched the ponies work on the site. Twilight walked up to her and put on a comforting smile while greeting her, “Good morning mayor! What’s going on?”

Mayor Mare jumped for a moment and then turned while putting on the best smile she could muster, but the worry was still etched on her face. “Oh, good day Ms. Sparkle!” She quickly turned her head to look at the construction crew. “Please excuse me I’m just dealing with the sudden abruptness of this new construction project.”

Twilight quirked her head. “Abruptness?”

The mayor turned back and nodded. “Uh, yes. These gentlecolts came in this morning purchased this piece of land and are already building! It was most unexpected and I’m just afraid some paperwork might have been missed. Never had project like this start so quickly…”

There was a very audible snort from a dirt colored unicorn with a red mane who continued to look at his blue prints without turning around. “Mayor, I have told you a hundred times. We’ve filled out all the necessary paper work! If we miss anything we’ll gladly fill it out, but we’re on tight schedule so stop bothering us unless you find something we missed!” There was a very noticeable frustration in his voice, seemed the mayor had been on his nerves the entire time.

The mayor finally relented, “Very well, but the moment I find something amiss I’m coming right back down here.” She galloped off towards Town Hall in a mad rush to make sure all the procedures were complete.

The Stallion muttered out, “I’m sure you will…” and then proceeded to direct his workers. Twilight took this time to get closer to the stallion and as she did she noticed that all the workers were covered up from head to toe. She assumed it was for protection, but she imagined it must have been very hot for a warm day like this.

Twilight finally spoke up to the stallion, “So, what are you building?”

The Stallion very noticeably cringed at the new questioner. He turned to glare at her as he answered, “None of your business!” He kept his eye on her without turning back to his plans.

“You can’t even tell me?” She asked quizzically.

The stallion noticed Spike on her back and mild interest seeped in before he refocused on her, “You’ll find out in a week,” he then turned back to the paper he was holding aloft with his magic.

“A week?” She replied and slightly regretted it.

The unicorn let out a very audible groan, causing Spike to stop reading to look at him as he looked back at her once more. “Miss, I have one week to get this project done. So, I’m under a lot of pressure and I’d appreciate it if you would please vacate the area!” He shouted the last bit out as vein throbbed on his forehead.

Twilight was about to say something, but closed her mouth as she saw him glower angrily at her. She quickly backed off and started trotting off to Sugarcube Corner. She clearly heard the unicorn sigh with a bit of relief as he went back to work.

Spike then voiced what was on his mind, “Man, what’s got his tail tied in a bunch?”

Twilight wasn’t too happy about the stallion’s attitude, but understood why he was acting like that. “Well you heard him, he has a week to finish… whatever they’re building. I’d be pretty stressed too if I was in his position. I bet I would act almost as irritable as he was. He also got bothered by Mayor Mare earlier so she must have got him to his wits end. Best just to let him have his space so he can work in peace.”

Spike rubbed the back of his head with his claws. “Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Doesn't mean he has to be rude though,” he replied, grumbling that last part out.

The smell of confectionery buffeted Twilight as she entered into the overly colorful shop known as Sugarcube Corner. It was enticing, inviting, and nauseating all at the same time. She closed her eyes as she let the scents of the sugary sweets consume her sense before opening them again to find a pink puffy mane pony with sky blue eyes bounding over to her.

The overly friendly, extremely hyper, and utterly impossible pink pony of peril practically punctured the purple pony's perfect perception of pastries with pink puffiness known as Pinkie Pie. “Wow, try saying that intro five times fast!” The pink pony giggled.

Twilight and Spike just looked at her for the seemingly random outburst before the pink pony noticed their confusion, “Oh hey Twilight, hey Spike! Can I get you some of that perfect perception of pastries I punctured? Which is funny cause I don’t remember punching any sweets. Not that I would unless it made them tasted better and I don’t think smooshed sweets would taste that great, but they’re still sweet so they’ll taste good, but not as good as they would un-smooshed. Cause really, who’d ever try to beat up your food unless it’s eggs where you have to beat them to make a cake, but I think that’s supposed to be a figure a speech! Which is also funny because I never knew speech could have a figure. Do you think it's curvy?” she said and asked a little too fast that Twilight barely kept up with the strange rant.

All Twilight could manage to say was, “What?”

Pinkie blinked a few times before an impossibly wide grin spread across her face, “What can I get for you?” Her perfectly sparkly teeth shined for a moment which made the lavender mare wonder how she kept them so clean when considering how many sweets Pinkie managed to consume.

Shaking her head she returned her smile. “Well a sweet breakfast would be nice.”

Spike leaned over from the side of Twilight's neck and asked, “Hey can I have some rubies too?” His eyes shined and as a bit of saliva watered from his mouth.

“Okie doki loki!” Pinkie replied as she bounced over to the counter to whip them up a sweet breakfast. Meanwhile Twilight found a seat and Spike hopped off and continued to read his comic from right next to her.

She took a look around and found the place to be a bit empty at the moment with only a few ponies eating in. It wouldn’t get really busy until lunch as most didn’t tend to have a sweet breakfast. After a few minutes she noticed the door to the shop open and a very familiar orange mare came in with a burlap sack filled with what she could only assume to be apples.

A Stetson rested at the rim of the blonde mane ponies’ head with a little bit of sweat pouring down her face as her emerald eyes focused ahead of her at the counter. The earth ponies’ flank was adorned with three red apples for a cutie mark. She proceeded into the shop and set the bag onto the counter before taking her hat in her hoof and then wiping the sweat from her brow. “Whoo, that there was a long haul, but here’s yer order Pinks!” The mare called out to her fellow earth pony friend, Pinkie Pie, with a thick southern drawl in her accent.

Pinkie hopped over and took the sack with all the apples and set them behind the counter. “Thanks a bunch Applejack! These will make some great caramel apples!”

“I reckon they will. Boy I can’t way to try me some of them,” Applejack replied with a lick of her lips.

“Then don’t!” Pinkie replied as she pulled up a caramel apple from nowhere leaving Applejack a bit dumbfounded as the sweet treat was hoofed over to her. She looked at if or a moment before she began to ask, “Wait, when did you… uh...” She stared at the pony with the impossibly wide grin before knowing better than to question these things. “Uh, thank you kindly Pinkie,” She then took a bite before letting off a sound of great satisfaction.

It was then Twilight waved out and called out for Applejack, “Hey AJ!”

A great big smile came onto her face as AJ turned to her and trotted over with the caramel apple in her mouth, taking it out when she finally reached her. “Hey sugarcube, how y’all doin’?”

“I’m doing great; just getting a sweet breakfast for a change is all. Was out getting Spike's latest comic and thought we’d come here since we were so close.” She looked towards Spike who looked up for a moment when she said his name. He smiled for a moment before returning to his story.

Applejack chuckled out, “Oh hey, it’s that there Batmane feller. Great hero I say! Applebloom likes him too!”

This got Spikes attention and he beamed up from his comic. “Yeah, he’s so cool!” He immediately retreated back into his tale, eager to find out what happens next.

AJ then turned back to Twilight. “Hey Twi, ya know what’s goin on with all that work nearby? Them ponies building sumthin?”

Before Twilight could reply Pinkie popped up from under the table. “Who’s building something?” She had a tray of sweets on her head and causing Twilight to jump at the sudden appearance of the seemingly random pony. Pinkie set Twilight and spikes tray of food down before grinning between Applejack and Twilight.

After getting over the slight shock of Pinkie's appearance, Twilight decided to answer, “Well, there are some ponies that bought a piece of land and immediately started building a… well I don’t know what they’re building and that foreman wasn’t too keen on sharing.” Before Twilight could continue she was interrupted.

A loud gasp escaped Pinkie’s lips, “Do you know what this means?!” She jumped on two legs while squeezing her face with a broad smile.

AJ piped up, “Let me guess. A pa–”

“A party!” Pinkie shouted causing the other customers to cringe turn their heads to them in annoyance.

“We’ll have a party for the working ponies. Ooo, and then a party to celebrate the building of whatever it is they’re building!” She let out another gasp. “Then we can have a party for its completion and another party for the pony that will move in there!” She was jumping with joy. She didn’t get a cutie mark of three balloons, two blue and one yellow, for nothing.

Twilight quickly shot down Pinkie's enthusiasm. “I’m sorry Pinkie, but you’re going to have to hold out on some of those parties. Those ponies are very busy and have a deadline to meet.”

The hair of the pink pony sagged a little bit as she stopped bouncing, but quickly perked up again. “Well we’ll just have to have those parties after they’re done!” She found the spring in her step again and started her joyful jumping once more.

AJ, curious about the project poked for more information, “So, when do they have to a git’r done?”

“A week,” Twilight answered plainly.

The two other mares just stared and Applejack had to strain herself from shouting, “A week?! That there is crazy. That’s like me when I tried to buck the all apple trees at our farm all by myself.”

“I agree, but maybe we’re making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe this project isn’t as big as we think. They could just be building something really small like storage unit,” Twilight replied trying to be reasonable and logical to the situation.

The two mares agreed with her and they continued to have idle conversation till just a bit before noon as Twilight and Spike ate their meal. It wasn’t too long before Applejack had to leave back to the farm and Pinkie had to start tending to the customers coming in for lunch. Twilight said her goodbyes to her friends and trotted out with Spike on her back. He had finished his comic and was paying more attention to his surroundings now.

A short trot later and they came up to the intersection that branched off to the construction that was going on. She could see some other ponies were gathering around it with same curiosity as she had shown earlier. It was then she noticed a very upset purple mane alabaster unicorn with three diamonds on her flank and long eye lashes, followed by a very timid looking yellow pegasi with very long pink hair and butterflies for her cutie mark.

Twilight trotted up to her friends who were walking away from the site and she started to catch the end of their conversation, “…so rude!” Rarity, the alabaster pony, said in a very high society like manner to the timid pegasus known as Fluttershy.

Fluttershy was the first to noticed Twilight and in a barely audible voice called out, “Oh, hey Twilight!” She smiled, hiding behind part of her mane.

Rarity looked toward Twilight, now that she had been pointed. “Oh heavens Twilight, don’t go down to see those uncouth workers. Such horrid manners they have. All I did was ask them about what they were doing and that foreman practically bit my head off!” Rarity was a bit of a drama queen. but she was a bit spot on for once.

“I got the same treatment, though I think it’s just the stress they’re under and...” Twilight stopped talking to look down the road to see all the ponies that gathered around and she continued, “...And the fact he keeps getting bothered by everypony.”

Fluttershy spoke, but was barely heard, “Oh yes, I feel so sorry for those ponies. They look like they’re being worked to the bone and that unicorn leading them is really scary.” She huddled down somewhat afraid that said unicorn was nearby.

“Well, I suppose a week is a bit of a stressful deadline,” Rarity lamented. “Doesn’t excuse their boss’s behavior,” She harrumphed as she thought of that red head unicorn.

“I’m sure he’ll be a much more rational pony once this is all done and over with.” She smiled and then noticed the time. “Oh, I need to get back to the library! We’re still supposed to be open today.”

Rarity nodded, “Oh by all means dear, don’t let us hold you up!”

“Bye Twilight!” Fluttershy waved meekly.

“Come along Spike. Spike?” She turned around to look at him and saw him in a love struck daze as he kept his eyes on Rarity. She shook her head and laughed. “Say goodbye Spike.”

Spike simply nodded, “Bye Rarity…” He said with a tentative wave.

Rarity just giggled and waved back before proceeding with Fluttershy to the spa.

It was only a little while later when Twilight and Spike reached their home and town library. As Twilight opened the door Spike hopped off of her and proceeded in. However, as they entered Twilight found a package that had been slipped through the mail box. She picked it up with her magic, a faint pinkish aura surrounding it as she lifted it up and carried it over to the library desk. “Let’s see, what do we have here,” she said to no pony in particular as she began to neatly unfold the package. Spike walked over, intrigued to learn what was inside their delivery.

As Twilight unwrapped the brown paper her eyes lit up. “Oh, the latest Daring Do novel!” She beamed at the book.

Spike then asked, “What’s it called?”

“Daring Do and–” Twilight was interrupted as the front door slammed open and a blue blur mixed with rainbows came rushing in and stopping before Twilight.

The cyan coated pegasi with an unusual rainbow colored mane and cutie mark of a cloud releasing rainbow lightning hovered above her with a huge grin. “Hey Twi, did the latest Daring Do novel come in?”

Twilight chuckled at her friend, Rainbow Dash, “Yeah, it just got here.” She lifted the book in front of her with her magic and Rainbow Dash grabbed it in a flash.

Dash then read out the title, “Daring Do and the Legendary Forgotten Ruby Temple of the Undead Cursed Abysmal Vampires.” Dash’s eyes sparkled at the title.

Spike on the other hoof commented, “Gee, I don’t think that title is long enough.”

Rainbow Dash blew raspberries at Spike. “It’s an awesome title!” She then looked at how thick the book was, “Wow, I don’t think any of the others were this big.”

Meanwhile in Manehatten a black unicorn in a bar suddenly shouted out, "That's what she said!" This caused it's patrons to be very confused and even the unicorn Deimos was unsure why he had such an outburst.

Back in Ponyville library Spike chuckled out, “Big book for a big title!”

“Anyway thanks Twilight! Can’t wait to dig into this.” Rainbow was out the door before Twilight could even protest. She let off a sigh as she had really wanted to read that book as well.

Spike gave her a pat. “Don’t worry, she’ll get done with it eventually.” He placed his comic on the counter and then asked, “I’m gonna take care of my chores Twilight. Need anything from me before I get started?”

Twilight waved her hoof dismissively. “Oh, I’m fine. Once you get done you’re free for the rest of the day.” This got Spike to grin at her as he rushed off upstairs to take care of his duties.

Once he was gone Twilight looked down at the comic and then looked around. She lifted the comic up with her magic and opened up to the first page. She wasn’t too open about it, but she enjoyed some of Spikes comics as well. She just wished he read more of the libraries books and wanted to set a good example to expand his reading beyond comic books. Twilight smiled lazily as she began to read through the latest Batmane story.

Night fell and the streets of Ponyville began to empty. A cart filled with a large box was making its way to the construction site that had just started that morning. The carts drivers were taking the long way around avoiding going through Ponyville as they made their way to the site and it’s tired foreman.

The unicorn foreman yawned as he was eager for his shift to end. He had to deal with so many annoyances today. The mayor kept bugging him about permits that had already been taken care of. Then there were the curious locals he had to keep shooing away. The worst of them being the pink menace that wanted to throw him and his crew a party. Utterly ridiculous was what he thought of the notion. What sane pony would even do that?

He looked before the work that had been done that day; they had cleared the land and had managed to dig out part of the basement. At least they managed to dig out the part that was most important for the night job. He noticed the cart being dragged by a unicorn and a stallion as it pulled up to the site. He smiled at the dark blue pony that would be taking up the night shift so he could rest. More unicorns would eventually show up so he would have more breaks in the days to come, unless they ran behind schedule.

He proceeded to help the dark blue unicorn carefully lift the box down from the cart and with the help of the earth pony they pushed it close to the dug out basement. The other workers were still digging without rest, but after a glow from the horn of the red mane unicorn and the crew cleared out of the section.

The three checked around to make sure none of the locals were lingering. The dark blue knocked on the box and opened a small slider before he spoke into the darkness, “You ready?”

A hiss came back, “Yesss, we is ready!”

A nod to the other two and the dark blue one sidestepped the box before they slid it open. Three large shapes rushed out into the ditch. They had overly large arms and stood on their feet, somewhat like gorillas, and wore jackets, but their faces were of the canine variety. Most ponies knew these creatures as diamond dogs.

One sniffed the one of the nearby pony workers, who hadn’t even acknowledged them as they continued to work. He then asked, or rather stated, “Theys smells funny.”

The red mane unicorn trotted over and as he handed over a secret blueprint and couple of gems as part of their payment, he whispered, “Undead tend to smell. Now get to work. We have much to do!”

The diamond dogs nodded and began to dig at a spot that had recently been marked. Meanwhile the red mane unicorn walked over to the dark blue one and hoofed over the plans. “Good luck,” he yawned out as his shift ended.

He trotted off to where he would be staying the night and muttered to himself, “It’s going to be a long week...”

Author's Note:

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

UPDATE 3/8/2014:
- Cleaned up the chapter and fixed grammatical issues.
- Added one small new scene involving Deimos. Very minor and only for comedic purposes.
- Remembered how much fun I had writing Pinkie Pie's intro. XD

- A fairly quiet chapter. Just introducing the mane six while bringing in a few, somewhat miniscule things and the darkness that is creeping into their lives.