• Published 8th Oct 2012
  • 2,929 Views, 55 Comments

The Muse of Madness - ProfCharles



Lovecraftian horror. Rarity joins an art group, but one of the artists isn't all she seems to be, and discovering the truth may cost Rarity more than she can imagine...

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Epilogue

Twilight Sparkle trotted nervously down the gleaming white halls of the Princess Luna Asylum, a doctor keeping pace beside her.

"These cases are all very peculiar, Princess Sparkle," the silver-coated pegasus said. "An entire group, falling into a violent insanity almost overnight? It's practically unheard of."

"Well, doctor, it’s happened. Do you have any idea why?" Twilight asked, worry making her words terse.

"I'm afraid not. The only link between the patients is that they were all members of the Ponyville Royal Art Society, where some rather dark artistry was encouraged to flourish over the two weeks it was open. Indeed, only three members appear to be missing—Concept Art, the founder, who committed suicide on the 'night of madness', as we're calling it, Dark Arts, whom we believe to have instigated the madness, and has also vanished into thin air and Princess Luna, who is yet to show any symptoms of insanity—probably because she left that night's meeting early."

"Well, that’s one piece of good news," Twilight said as she peered through a window into a padded cell. "Doctor, is she supposed to be tied down like that?" she asked, indicating to the patient within.

The doctor looked down at his clipboard. "Ah yes, Amethyst Star. She cannot stop dancing. At all. When we found her, she had pounded her hooves into bloody stumps and was in the process of drawing out some sort of design via her dancing. If she hadn't been in such pain, I would have loved to know what she was trying to draw. Many of the new patients have such "ironic disorders", as we have taken to calling them—Perfect Rhyme chants in an unknown language that grates on the ears, causing one nurse to faint, whilst Lyra ripped open her hooves trying to play her lyre, even though she normally plays it with her horn. Anyway, here we are; Miss Rarity's cell."

Twilight looked through the one-way glass into the room. In the middle of it was Rarity, although not as Twilight remembered her. Her violet mane was frazzled, looking more like a bush than the well-kept coiffure she usually sported. There was a cut on her cheek, just below her bloodshot eyes, which rolled wildly in their sockets, staring at things that Twilight couldn't see. Gone were her glamorous dresses, replaced by a straitjacket which pinned her forelegs to her sides. She sat there with a crazed grin, giggles bursting out from her chapped lips.

"Doctor," said Twilight, visibly distressed at her friend’s predicament, "is the straitjacket necessary?"

"I'm afraid so, your Highness. She was found attempting to skin her sister alive. Apparently she wanted to use the hide for a saddle," the doctor said, looking at Twilight, who was clearly horrified. "Thankfully, she was stopped in time by her cat, which attacked her, and Sweetie Belle escaped unharmed, if traumatised. However, it doesn't change the fact that she is potentially violent."

"Doctor, can I go speak to her?" Twilight asked. The pegasus paused for a moment, before nodding.

"She's been sedated, so she shouldn't be too aggressive. And we'll be watching anyway, so yes, you can. Knock on the door if you wish to leave." He opened the door and Twilight entered the padded cell.

"Rarity? It's me, Twilight."

"It's scratch scratch scratching!" Rarity laughed.

"Rarity? Can you hear me? Are you in there?"

"Scratch scratch." Rarity's eyes focused on Twilight for a moment. "Oh aren't you a lovely shade of purple. Gives me an idea for a dress. Now, where did I put my scissors? Snip snip!"

"Rarity, please, answer me," Twilight begged, but Rarity didn't react. "Rarity, do you remember my first sleepover? You got so upset about the messy bookcase, you forgot about the tree that had fallen into my bedroom, remember? Rarity?"

But Rarity gave no indication she had heard, instead shuffling around the room, trying to find her scissors. Twilight’s friend was gone, lost in a broken mind.

"He-he-he! Scratch scratch! You know, your mane will make a lovely scarf. Now where are my scissors? Snip snip snip! And off it comes!"

Twilight sobbed, distraught at her friend’s madness. No, this wasn't her friend, this was a monster dressed in Rarity's skin. Even when she had been discorded, there was still a trace of her personality, but this, this just couldn’t be her. Twilight couldn't take much more and turned to leave, when a voice stopped her.

"Twilight!" shouted Rarity. Twilight spun round, hope in her heart, only to find Rarity's face pressed up against hers, bloodshot eyes staring unblinkingly into Twilight's. "Beware, for it awakens. A beast that isn't, from a slumber that isn't. It feeds on the madness of artists. The stars are the lock and key! Beware!"

"Rarity? What awakens, what are you on about? Beware of what?" Twilight asked. However, whatever sanity Rarity had left fled once again, her eyes returning to their mad swirl.

"Why you have a lovely coat. Gives me an idea for a cloak you'll just die for! Hee-hee-ha-ha-ha-ha!" Rarity cackled madly, causing Twilight to back away in horror, quickly exiting the room.

"Are you okay?" the doctor asked, concern heavy in his voice. Twilight shook her head, unable to speak. Suddenly, a cacophony of noises down the hall was heard. Looking up Twilight saw a gurney roll past, a patient strapped in, thrashing against her bonds.

It was Princess Luna. Her eyes were wild, with bloody froth spilling from a mouth that snapped wildly at thin air, hooves straining against her bonds. Twilight was given the impression of a rabid dog—no intelligence, just pure primal rage and violence. The doctor stopped the gurney with a snap command.

"What happened?" he demanded.

"We don't know! She was fine one minute, the next she had gone feral! Tried to rip out Celestia's throat!"

"Celestia!" Twilight called out. "Is she okay?"

"Thankfully, the Princess was unharmed thanks to the quick actions of the royal guard. They were able to pin Luna down long enough for us to sedate her."

"You call this sedated?" the doctor exclaimed.

"Compared to the ferocity of her attack, yes. Anyway, we're taking her down to cell 101."

"Carry on then. But I want a full report as soon as possible," the doctor ordered. Twilight Sparkle could only look on in horror as the gurney and its passenger—another friend lost to madness—continued their journey down the hall. A thump from behind startled Twilight, making her turn around. There, staring through the soundproof mirrored glass as if she could see them, was Rarity, mouthing soundless words. Twilight didn't need to be able to read lips to understand her.

It feeds on the madness of artists. The stars are the lock and key. Beware.

Author's Note:

Thanks to Pascoite, Windmill 7 and Ezn for proofreading and editing.
Okay, just a quick note—some of the more astute readers may notice that I talk about a sequel in the comments. Heck, the epilogue is one big sequel hook. I just want to mention here, that yes, I do have a good idea for a sequel, but I also have a lot on my plate at the moment, so don’t expect it anytime soon, I’m afraid. I’ll let you know when it comes, however, so don’t worry.

Edit—just upgraded Twilight to an alicorn. It's barely noticeable and doesn't affect this fic, however, but will come up in the sequel, which I have began planning.