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May God Bless Your Soul

by Seer

Note: Content Warning placed at the end of the fic to avoid spoilers. Use at own discretion.

"But, how did they write?" Rarity asked, and Twilight couldn't help herself. She burst into laughter which only intensified when Rarity's expression turned to a flushed look of outrage. Eventually, though, even Rarity joined in.

"No I'm serious! I'm genuinely interested in what they wrote on!"

"You know Hippogriffs can walk on land, don't you Rarity?" Twilight teased, and received a light swat on her shoulder with a rolled up magazine.

"Yes thank you, now answer the question."

"Jokes aside, it's actually fascinating. Hippogriff texts don't require any medium but the sea itself. Their magic could actually create permanent ripples in the water that they could then read. They literally decorated their whole world with stories and plays."

"Hmm," Rarity murmured through a mouthful of tea, "Sounds like it would be a nightmare to translate."

"Oh you have no idea. With how rare Hippogriffian works are, and all the legends surrounding this one in particular... Well, let's just say getting ahold of it wasn't easy, but this thesis I'm working on is worth it. Let me ask, do you think that a writer is an artist?"

"Doesn't everyone?" Rarity asked,

"See, this is the thing. Most ponies would probably say that, but how often to the great writers of history get listed among the greatest artists? I don't think they do nearly enough. Writing is art, I wanna show ponies that."

"I think that sounds wonderful, Twilight," Rarity said with a small smile. The one she always got when Twilight got passionate about her work, "You said there were legends about this piece?"

Twilight looked at the manuscript for a moment and considered how to put her thoughts into words without sounding alarmist. Or, even worse, alarmist.

"It's one of the best known hippogriffian texts, but for the wrong reasons...It's said that anyone who reads the story goes mad."

Rarity didn't respond for a moment, but rather took to studying the book on her table. Her eyes had turned from curious to unsettled, the room's atmosphere was cooler than before.

"...Obviously, it's not true," Twilight insisted with a roll of her eyes.

"If you say so."

"Rarity there are plenty of scholars who have analysed parts of the text and they've all been fine. I think if there was some plague of madness that followed all of them I would have heard about it by now. I certainly don't think that the princess would have a copy in her archives."

"Okay," Rarity replied.

"Come on Rarity, I'm sure those scholars read the whole thing, not just the parts they've written about-"

"Twilight!" Rarity interjected, holding her hooves up, "It's up to you. I'm not the one reading it, I'm sure you know what you're doing."

"It's just... such a silly legend," Twilight huffed, looking at the book again, "And ponies reacting this way is just... there's no need for it."

"Reacting in what way?"

"Like something's gonna happen!"

"Twilight, we've seen a night queen from legend come to life. We imprisoned a serpent of chaos in stone just a few months ago." Rarity replied, chewing her bottom lip, "I meant what I said, I'm sure you know what you're doing. But is it... totally ridiculous to believe something like that could be real?"

"This is different, Rarity. Someone wrote this, hundreds of years ago. I can't even find a name on record. What artist could be less appreciated in history than them? I owe it to them. And I'm not gonna go mad."

"As I said, Twilight," Rarity said quietly, "It's up to you."

XXX


Queen Vynia stared out into the crowd, waving elegantly as they screamed with applause.

"The Queen is dead," Alyx muttered from beside her.

"Long live the Queen," Vynia replied.


Twilight pinched the bridge of her muzzle and yawned. She had been reading the story for hours now, ever since she got in. From downstairs, she could hear the sounds of Spike working in the kitchen. The piece was a political intrigue, following the young princess Vynia. Twilight had just reached the part where she had killed her tyrannical mother with the help of her close advisor, Alyx, and assumed the throne herself. The subtext was clear, and beautifully written.

A Queen who killed for her throne couldn't expect to hold onto it idly.

"Twilight!" Spike yelled from the doorway, making Twilight yelp in shock.

"Spike! What have I told you about doing that?!" she yelled through gasps of breath.

"Well, what have I told you about not listening when I shout you for dinner. I worked hard on this!"

"Okay okay," she acquiesced, "Point taken."

She stood up and stretched, noting all of her joints popping with satisfaction. She made her way down the stairs, and with every step the smell of Spike's cooking got stronger.

"Oh wow Spike," she said, mouth agape as she reached the table, "You're really spoiling me."

"I enjoy it," he laughed, "There's something about making something from all the constituent parts. Like, all these veggies are pretty boring raw, right? But like this, seasoned and arranged? It's like-"

"Art?" Twilight interjected.

"Uh, you really think so?" he asked, looking taken aback.

"Well, why not? A painter starts off with just separate colours, right? The writer starts with all these random words. But put them together right and it can make us... it can make us feel things we never thought before."

He smiled at the praise, and turned to look at his meal. She giggled, he was never very good at accepting praise. The two of them ate in a satisfied silence, thick with contemplation and appreciation.

It was delicious.

XXX


Twilight turned over and groaned. Her stomach made another ominous noise halfway between a grumble and moan for the tenth time in as many minutes. The meal had indeed been amazing, but so indescribably rich. She might have eaten a touch too much, and now was paying the price.

After a few more minutes silence spent in discomfort and pain, Twilight surrendered to the fact that she wasn't going to get any work done. She pulled off her duvet and tiptoed over to her desk. Careful not to wake up Spike, she lit the candles and opened her book. She could at least spend the time being somewhat useful.

She'd read a bit more after her meal, and had left it with Vynia being taken ill after her coronation banquet.

Vynia finally lifted her head from the chamber pot when her stomach was at last, emptied. Her handmaidens ran in immediately to damp her sweaty brow and clear away the foul smelling vomit.

"Bring me my chef," Vynia said, her breathing shallow, "I wish to speak with them immediately."

"You majesty, I don't wish to speak out of turn but... it wasn't your chef who made the meal, remember?" said Astachi, the most experienced of her servants.

"What? Who was it then?"

"Alyx,"


Twilight doubled over as a particularly painful groan shot through her stomach. Her eye twitched, something felt weird.

She set the book down and turned, slowly, until her eyes came to rest on Spike. He was fast asleep, a contented smile on his face. No doubt deep in sweet, honeyed dreams. How funny was it, that he was clearly feeling fine while Twilight felt like this. She continued to stare for a moment, until she finally laughed at the absurdity of it all.

Just too much to eat. That was it.

XXX


"Spike!" Twilight yelled from the doorway, "Can you please try to be more quiet, I'm trying to concentrate!"

She grumbled and trudged back to her desk. She'd been reading all day, and it hadn't occurred to her until now just how loud Spike was. All the time, before meals he'd make noise cooking, after them he'd make noise cleaning. Then, he'd come to bed and make noise as he was sleeping. All the time, noise and noise and noise and noise.

Like he was trying to drive her mad.

"A thousand pardons again, my Queen," Alyx said, bowing her head low, "I have always loved cookery, and wanted to try to make your coronation night special. But that was no excuse, I should have left the more experienced chefs to do their work. My flights of fancy should never endanger the queen of all hippogriffs."

"Do no worry yourself, my closest adviser," Vynia replied, hoping the way her fins tensed went unnoticed, "Now, I was hoping we could change up our schedule today."

"In what way, me Queen?" Alyx asked carefully.

"Is it not important that I find a suitable match soon? Should be not be devoting time to this?" Vynia said, affecting a calm, dispassionate air.

"My Queen, your mother left the empire in a precarious condition. We simply must focus on more pressing things first."

"But-"

"As I said my Queen, all things will come in time. But we have matters that must be seen to first."

Vynia nodded. Of course, had she wanted to overrule Alyx, she could have. But she'd already learned what she needed to know. Her stomach twinged again and she stifled a slight moan of pain. How curious, that the adviser that was currently her successor didn't want Vynia to be matched... and to produce a true heir.


"Twilight?" Spike asked softly, and Twilight shrieked.

"Sorry! Sorry I just knew you've been working and thought I'd bring your food up here."

Twilight's heart thundered as she collected herself. The whole time, she stared at Spike.

She'd just eaten too much.

"That's okay," she replied, mouth dry, "I'm not hungry."

"I feel so bad, I don't know what happened yesterday. Maybe I went a bit overboard with the spices. Dragon stomachs can take the hit, and I wanted to experiment but... my experiments should never put you in danger."

Twilight's eye twitched.

Spike took the meal from her and started towards the door. The whole time, Twilight watched him. Some baseless feeling of panic scratched at the back of her mind.

"Hey Spike," Twilight called out, "How would you feel about culinary school? In Canterlot? I mean, if you really love this cooking stuff... it could be good for you?"

"I dunno Twi', I mean... with what happened today. Who's gonna run the library when stuff happens to you?"

"Happens to me?"

"Yeah, like if you get ill again?"

"Again?" she whispered, never breaking eye contact. Spike shuffled around for a second, clearly uncomfortable and confused.

"I'll just... let you get back to it. I hope you're feeling better tomorrow though. I ordered some Nightshader apples!"

"What are those?" Twilight asked, her pulse quickening.

"Oh, you've not heard of them. They're these insanely rare apples. Only grow in the polar north, you know where there's no sunlight. They're jet black, and supposed to be amazing. I though we could have them for breakfast! They're gonna knock you dead!" he laughed, before heading out of the room

Twilight stared after him for a moment, the feeling of panic returning and intensifying. It was so stupid, so ridiculous...

And yet.

She turned back to the book, feeling drawn by something she couldn't describe.

Vynia watched Alyx leave the room. She gave it a moment before calling in Astachi.

"Please fetch the captain of the guard. I believe there might be a plot on my life."

The handmaiden looked stricken, but she kept her decorum. Wordlessly she bowed and began to leave.

"Oh, Astachi," Vynia called after her, "Please make sure this information doesn't reach Alyx."


XXX


Twilight was underwater, but she wasn't drowning.

It wasn't that she couldn't breathe, it was more that she didn't have to.

The palace of the hippogriffs was a marvellous thing. All spirals of coral, encrusted with jewels. She was high, up near the ceiling. And beneath her, as the rest of the palace slept, a single cloaked figure rushed through the halls.

Twilight glided after them, watching as they snuck around corners and ducked through doorways. The whole time, Twilight kept her pursuit. Neither walls nor speed nor sight was an obstacle, wherever the assailant went, Twilight followed.

Finally, they seemed to reach their final destination.

It was Twilight's cellar, an exact replica of it. This didn't make any sense.

On the table, near Twilight's glassware and reagent stores, were two apples. Black as midnight.

Twilight's eye twitched.

And when the figure took a syringe and filled one of the apples with poison, the one on Twilight's favourite plate, finally could Twilight feel the effects of all that water around her. Finally did it feel like she was drowning. And before she slipped away, when the hood was lowered, it was no hippogriff. No, beneath the cloak was a small dragon. Purple, green, and laughing.


Twilight gasped for breath as she awoke from the dream.

She thew the bedclothes off and clambered out of bed, heart hammering. She left the room and hurried downstairs.

Sure enough, on the table, already set up were two jet black apples. Tears clouded her vision, sadness competed with fear, and both fell victim to rage, eclipsing everything.

The last thing she'd read in the story was how Vynia had made moves to capture Alyx. Wasn't it funny? How art was so indebted to real life? If the author was here she would have laughed and cried and praised their work and asked them about it and strangled them to death and screamed.

Twilight shook her head.

Vynia had made moves to capture Alyx.

Twilight took the apples and made her way to the cellar.

XXX


"Vynia! Think about what you are doing! We are sisters! I would never hurt you! Have you gone mad?!"

Twilight listened to the clanging downstairs and she took in the writing on the page. The plot culminated, the book revealed it's horrific climax as the executioner took Alyx's head. Her despicable, duplicitous, murderous, traitor head.

"Twilight? I brought your apple?" Spike said uncertainly from behind her, "It's on the purple plate. I know that's your favourite."

He placed it on the desk and the two of them were silent for a moment.

"Should I bring mine up and we can have it together?"

She turned to him and her eye twitched.

"No. I have work to do."

"Oh," he said, giving her a moment to change her mind before finally turning to leave the room, "Well just give me a shout if you need anything?"

For a moment, as she watched him go, a tiny part of her felt like she should call out to him. But the majority of her felt nothing at all. She took her apple and bit into it as she carried on reading. And, as she digested the words. Something began to twitch in her stomach.

"My Lady," Astachi piped up, disturbing Vynia as she tried to read, "Your soldiers, they found poison in the chef's quarters. He admitted to trying to poison you..."

"Are you saying? You mean... Alyx?" Vynia said, feeling sick to her stomach.

Astachi didn't respond, and the room felt enormous all of a sudden


Twilight's stomach dropped, she placed the apple on her plate and closed the book.

"Spike?!" she called out.

But the library was silent.












CW: Themes of Murder