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It had come to this and while it may have been a shock she could easily say she hadn't seen it coming. Restrained like so many times before Rarity found herself this time restrained in an honest-to-Celestia dungeon. Celestia's dungeon in particular to put that extra bit of insult on it. While she hadn't seen this coming she understood why she was here; she'd done things. Terrible things. She had never intended to harm anyone (aside from herself just a bit). But her actions had put her in the sights of the law and now she would have to answer for her crimes.
Perhaps she could have blamed Sweetie Bell for having somehow divulged the information over to the equestrian guards but she couldn't hold her beloved sister accountable. Rarity had made her a victim in this too in a sense. Her obsession beginning after an incident with her beloved cat Opal had left Rarity with several scratch marks along her face. In the instant Opal had lashed out Rarity had over-reacted and... threw and killed Opal against a wall. The event had left Rarity with confused emotions, most unsurprising sadness and the loss of her precious pet. But also with a strange satisfaction, a reward in the pain she'd felt when Opal had attacked her. It had been amazing and pleasurable and painful all at once.
Rarity shortly there after began to document her affairs in exploring these emotions with her camera. Her sleepless nights combining with her sharing of her current state with the camera and sewing to calm herself. But instead of her dresses and normal work load Rarity began to craft a doll. She named it Pinkamina after her lost friend who was apparently dealing with her own confused mind and emotions some where Rarity and her circle of friends were unable to find her. She knew Pinky Pie had found a fascination in causing harm to others, and Rarity was finding a fascination in causing harm to herself. The two things seemed to fit perfectly, like pieces of a puzzle. So she crafted herself a doll, a little one to love her "Mommy." She gave the Pinkamina doll Opal's heart, and used parts of Opal's hide to craft the doll when she ran out of her original material. Her Pinkamina came out exactly as she had envisioned and with it's heart could share her love with her Mommy.
It was from there things began to escalate quickly. Rarity began to experiment with her new found masochistic side and her exploration turned her once confusing emotions into an obsession. She began to love pain and the pleasure that followed. Hiding away inside of her home she only left when she required supplies that Sweetie Bell couldn't collect for her. All the while during her games of bondage and self-punishment she recorded and shared her exploits with her camera. Her fellow seamstress friend Velvet even acquired for Rarity a few personal outfits and toys of an adult nature. She wasn't just growing fond of hurting herself for the sexual thrill, she was becoming an expert in it.
Perhaps it was her nature that eventually lead to this downfall. Rarity always loved to share her fortunes with others. Who better to share this pleasure with than her beloved little sister? Or perhaps that was her line of thinking, it was honestly hard to tell. She recorded the event as she restrained Sweetie Bell, blindfolding the filly... and took a knife to her flawless skin. She screamed of course, but that wasn't what stopped Rarity. It was the intrusion by her friend Twilight. Whatever Rarity was thinking at that time snapped her back to reality as she knew she couldn't allow Twilight to see. She'd never understand. So... Rarity assaulted Twilight by using her magic to knock her out with her sewing machine. That night resulting with two important ponies in her life on the floor of her home in their own blood. Thank Celestia they survived.
Unsurprisingly Rarity was able to convince Twilight that somepony had broken into the store to rob it and attacked them in the process. With this excuse accepted Rarity was able to hide her actions for a while longer, at least towards Sweetie Bell. However her sister was the most surprising of all as she eventually took to enjoying masochism as much as Rarity. The sisters now with so much in common were able to share this pleasure, with Sweetie's experiments being a bit more restrained than Rarity's own. But even with the two of them still so close with their new found joy in pain the back of Rarity's mind always begged the question; "Why did you force this upon your sister?" She never had a real answer.
After much more enjoyable physical abuse, excuses for her behavior to every single one of her friends, taking a knife to one of her own orifices, and giving herself to Blueblood of all stallions for the sexual thrill Rarity was finally reaping the seeds she'd sown. The military had drug her out of her bed, out of her home and strapped her to the wall of the dungeon like a common criminal. The general hated her, she could see it in his eyes. And when he visited her that same night and beat her with the crop to work out what ever was wrong with his own fucked up emotional state Rarity took it. She deserved it... the punishment for her crimes. It didn't stop her from revealing in the orgasm from the pain though.
All of this may have been a fate Rarity could have accepted aside from a few problems. The first being her camera as it had never stopped recording her. When Rarity had apparently suffered severe wounds from what she could only figure was excessive abuse from her hobby the camera was there. When she was in the hospital the camera was there. Now in Celestia's dungeon it sat there as well, recording as it always had. She hadn't set it up... had she ever set it up? If she did she couldn't remember having done it, just that she accepted she did and would begin to document her fun. But now the demon camera wouldn't leave her in peace. So with her body beaten, freshly bloodied and her hind legs stained with the climax of her punishment she tried to escape the only way left to her. She closed her eyes, and she slept.
Hours must have passed because Rarity had fallen into a deep slumber and she was no longer aware of exactly what was happening around her. She thought she heard a noise and stirred a bit from her sleep, opening her eyes. She expected General Too Good To Give Her A Fucking Brush For Her Mane again, but that wasn't the case.
"Wait... where... where am I?" Rarity lifted her head and was surprised to find she was lifting it from a pillow. Her legs no longer chained and holding her up against a wall. A dreary dungeon no longer surrounding her. Instead she was under the sheets of her own bed, in her own bedroom. Rarity looked about in amazement. "How did I get back home?" She slowly slid out of bed and stretched her body, looking it over. She ran a hoof over herself feeling the cuts on her face that never seemed to heal properly. The burned in branded marks along the front of her chest in the shape of a heart. Her old wounds that she'd never fully healed that were all self inflicted, but nothing new. "Was it all a dream?"
Rarity looked around the room before noticing one thing that wasn't uncommon but still disturbing. "Oh, you're still here. Enjoying Mommy's suffering?" She spoke to the camera that had a talent for setting itself up. On a tripod in her bedroom it had been facing her while she was sleeping. Some ponies were watching her while she slept and even though her exploits on film so far had left little for her to hide she still felt violated knowing they saw her every move. "Well you can just stay up here then in my room, all you naughty ponies. Mommy has work to do." Rarity turned her back on the camera and started towards the stairs. There wasn't any light coming from behind the window shades but Rarity figured it must have still been night time. She didn't mind working late in the evening or early morning if it could help her take her mind off the intrusive camera and the nightmare of being taken away from her home and family.
As she proceeded down stairs something began to register with her that not everything was as it should be. She walked past the wash room for her clothing and into the kitchen noticing a very dim, consistent light in the building. Small candles were lit just about everywhere but none of the lamps in her house were. Providing a mood lighting that Rarity would have normally enjoyed if she was spending an evening with somepony privately or even to enjoy herself. But she didn't recall ever setting this up or even owning this many candles. "Did somepony bring me home and do all this?" She asked aloud but it was just as much for herself as it was to test and see if somepony was in the building with her. Proceeding cautiously Rarity walked through her kitchen and into the show room of her boutique.
It was all the same so far. Her house was neat and tidy as she'd kept it and those same candles were everywhere. Rarity felt a bit paranoid knowing so much open flame was in her store. One unreliable candle could burn the whole place down. "Maybe I should put them out?" She could always light her normal and much more safe lamps. But who'd gone to all of this trouble? Heading into the middle of the show room Rarity finally made eye contact with somepony, but it didn't help any of her questions. "Pinkamina?"
The doll was laying in the front door way of her boutique, the door half way open as if it had been shut on the doll previously. Rarity started to rush over to her prized possession with urgency, to get her back with her mommy but Pinkamina was suddenly drug outside by an unseen force. The door slamming shut loudly once she was clear. Rarity stopped in her tracks, staring at the door. She didn't understand what was happening but somepony was going to a lot of trouble to make her distressed. She wanted to collapse on her couch and just cry a bit but frankly she was too afraid for her dramatics. Slowly turning Rarity saw the second thing that was filling her with dread.
The camera was downstairs. It had followed her.
"This... this must be very entertaining for all of you. Isn't it?" She spoke to the camera trying to hide her lingering fear. "Well I'll have you know Mommy isn't here for your entertainment! Now you leave her alone while she goes to retrieve poor Pinkamina from whoever has stolen her away." She turned her back on the camera and took a moment to look back once more just to be sure it was really there. It continued to film uncaring, as real as it could be. Rarity took in a deep breath and put her hoof on the door handle. "Steady now Rarity, you're stronger than this." She turned the handle and opened the door, facing her fear of not only the unknown intruder that broke into her home but also of the world's judgement once more.
"Oh, you're finally up. Well I suppose if you needed your beauty sleep that's understandable." The haughty male voice that greeted Rarity was the biggest mind bender of them all at this point. She stared in disbelief at the blue eyes of the white unicorn at her door.
"Blue... Blueblood! What are you doing here!" She began to look around to see if anyone else was outside with him but no one appeared. Nor was Pinkamina present.
"Well I'm not enjoying myself but as for why I'm here I was waiting for you to finally pull yourself out from the nest you built inside of this hovel of yours. Not badly decorated for such a quaint little shack I suppose." Generally Rarity would be ready to meet the insufferable yet infuriatingly sexy stallion with insults of her own to his person. But the trauma of everything around her was just too much to be on her game today for banter.
"Blueblood there was a... a doll that was laying in the doorway before I came outside. Somepony dragged it out, did you..."
"Well we should get started." Blueblood interrupted her and started walking down the street away from Rarity, leaving the mare standing in disbelief at his rudeness. He was never that well mannered but he at least had a code of conduct for social behavior. Rarity grit her teeth at his audacity and followed along but it was to give him an earful over actually accompanying him.
"I was asking you a question! It was an important one and you ignored it! Are you even listening to me you brute?" Blueblood gave her the raised eyebrow of feigned interest and never stopped walking.
"Oh I can hear you, who couldn't with the way you prattle on. But I have no intent of staying in this ghastly village a second longer than I have to so if we can get a move on?" Rarity was fuming and prepared to go into a storm of complaints against his behavior and observations of his poor character but was losing her steam as she observed the street around them. It must have been very late because the lanterns were lit in the village and not a single pony was anywhere outside. That wasn't what bothered Rarity though, it was where the light in the street was coming from.
"Where is the moon?" Rarity asked Blueblood as she looked at the sky, the lack of celestial beings giving her panic. Luna always rose the moon at night. Rarity stopped walking and so did Blueblood as he turned to watch her. "Where are the stars?" Black. The entire sky was pitch black like someone had thrown a tarp over the earth. She'd never seen something so unnaturally dreadful before. It was against the very way of the world's natural order. The only light in all of the village and from as far as Rarity could see was the lamps in the street that illuminated Blueblood and herself.
"We shouldn't waste time." His voice was more serious than Rarity would normally hear from him and it scared her a bit.
"Blueblood... did you take my doll? Were you the one that took Pinkamina out of my house?" Rarity felt her legs trembling and she fought as hard as she could not to look weak in front of him.
"Aren't you a little old to be playing with dolls?" He was making fun of her again but it was oddly comforting to hear him behave normally in this insane, silent and black world.
"That's not your concern. I need her back and she was taken out the front door. The door you were standing by." Blueblood tossed his mane disinterested in her questions.
"I don't have your Pinata Mia or whatever you called it. Lets get going."
"Blueblood... is there a camera behind me?" Rarity couldn't help her voice from breaking when she asked that question, too afraid to look back at what might be there. Blueblood just stared at her and then turned, walking down the street. After a short while Rarity complied and followed him. It was better than being alone in this world.
She didn't understand what was going on but really he was the only individual she'd seen at all and one that knew her so there was little room to disagree. Rarity looked around as they walked, recognizing a few of the buildings but not sure where they would have to be in such a hurry. Maybe something had happened that made the sky black and they were taking shelter at Twilight's library. She should suggest they go by her parents house and make sure they're safe. As well as check on Sweetie Bell.
Her eye caught what she thought was movement and she strayed from the road. Blueblood stopped to look back at her as Rarity tried to adjust her eyes well enough to see. "I think that's the school house... wait." There was something by the door. It was moving ever so slowly, a body? No... a doll. "Pinkamina!" Whoever had taken her away was walking into the school house, dragging Pinkamina behind them. Rarity raced forward determined to catch the kidnapper. Blueblood didn't argue and that was fine as she wouldn't have listened anyway. Rarity got to the door of the building as it shut and she used her magic to swing it open, charging inside. "I have you... now?"
The school house was completely empty of anypony. Pinkamina wasn't present, her kidnapper wasn't present, nopony was. However the lamps inside the building were all lit and the lighting was much brighter than had been inside her home or outside. She wondered if maybe the thief was hiding and began to search around the room. She walked carefully amongst the desks seeking out some clue as to where they could have possibly ran to. Her search didn't help her find her target but she did discover something interesting. "Is this Sweetie Bell's desk?"
It had a picture sitting on top that warmed Rarity's heart. In crayon it depicted herself, her parents and Sweetie Bell all drawn together. They were in a field or on some hill top with a smiling sun and a tree. Things like these allowed her to still feel sane despite everything that had gone on in her life. Rarity picked the picture up in her hoof but noticed something odd about it when she did. As the paper folded it revealed cuts in the picture. There were slices in different directions all through the paper concentrated in one place; over Sweetie Bell. Rarity stared for a while in confusion. "Why... why would she do that?" Compelled by the strange finding she opened Sweetie's desk up to discover a knife inside, looking at it horrified. "Oh no... please say you didn't little sister..." Almost against her will her mind began flashing back.
"You make me feel good, Sis." Sweetie Bell confessed snuggling up to her older sister. Rarity used her magic to set the crop aside, making time to cuddle up to her darling little sis. She enjoyed this dearly, feeling so close to someone she loved. The fact Sweetie Bell had accepted Rarity's changes in personality so openly filled her with joy. "I just hope no one at school asks about it." Her behind was red from the repeated beatings Rarity had given her, not enough to leave any permanent marks or scarring but enough to satisfy them both. Since the... first time they played together Rarity had been increasingly more controlled with her fun with Sweetie.
"You can just tell them I had a bit of a temper tantrum and took it out on you, if you like." Sweetie Bell cuddled Rarity further and she used her magic to pull the covers over them both. "It's not too far from the truth after all." Rarity laughed a little and Sweetie Bell smiled, but it dropped soon after.
"Rarity, how come you don't use the same toys on me that you do for yourself?" Rarity gulped a little thinking on that question. Why didn't she? The first time she'd taken a knife to Sweetie Bell's chest similar to how she'd done on herself. Sweetie enjoyed it in the end but Rarity had been fearful of leaving a scar. Especially after Twilight almost walked in on the two of them together. She didn't even understand why she'd gone to such lengths and extremes for Sweetie's first time. She just felt an overwhelming desire to do so. To include her sister.
"Oh when you're older Sweetie you can use the same things that Big Sis uses. But until then these are the toys a filly your age should play with." The words felt fake even in her own mouth but they came out sweet as honey. The toys a filly her age should use? Should fillies even be thinking of such things at this age? Rarity couldn't answer it. She just knew that during their games and all the parts after she felt so good. Sweetie had even taken to carrying Pinkamina around the house with her and was a sweet sight indeed.
"Okay. Um... I don't know if my friends are going to want to play over here anymore though." Yet something else Rarity had done without really considering the consequences. After introducing Sweetie to more adult games she in turn had encouraged her friends to play along as well. It had seem innocent enough... mostly. The girls weren't taking things too far other than kissing (although she was sure Scootaloo had done a bit of touching) but to be safe she'd asked them to promise not to tell anyone. "I don't think Applebloom likes keeping things from her sister."
"Yes, I suppose she wouldn't. She's almost as close with Applejack as we are."
"Not even! No one can be better sisters than us!" Sweetie stated it proudly and Rarity hugged her tighter.
"We are apple pie."
"Almost, we just have to be cut into slices first." Sweetie bell grinned and Rarity felt a small tingle between her legs at the thought. She squashed it though, they both needed their rest.
Rarity blinked as what felt like a vision of her past had gone by. She remembered that night, like so many since this had become her life. Funny enough Sweetie Bell had possibly become the best part of her change in personality. Their bond as sisters made stronger through... their fellow passion for masochism. Something that Rarity had forced onto her. She looked at the knife in her hoof, and looked up at the front of the classroom.
The camera was there, watching as it always did.
"... this ...this is the knife I used on my sister. To cut her for the first time. The day I assaulted my friend Twilight with my sewing machine." She didn't know why she was explaining this to the horrible demon camera but felt the urge to do so with it upon her again. "I can recognize it by the handle color, a deep blue. That night I threw the knife away, it was out of fear of Twilight discovering it and somehow realizing what had happened. I guess Sweetie Bell must have stolen it. I just hope she didn't use it on her friends... or herself." Rarity stared at the knife for a while then back at the camera.
"I did this, didn't I? Caused this all to happen. For my sister to get wrapped up in my insane desires, in turn pushing this upon her friends and forcing them to keep it quiet. I don't even know if she really enjoyed it. What if... what if it wasn't like me at all? What if she just hurt herself to be closer to her sister? To be... just like her big sister that loved her and she looked up to?" She felt a tear fall from her face. She couldn't even remember what she was thinking that day she first took this knife to Sweetie Bell's flesh. It had something to do with Pinkamina...
"I guess that doesn't matter right now." She couldn't be seen walking around with a knife and had no place to store one. Putting it back for now Rarity folded up the picture and put it in her mane for safe keeping. She felt better with it close by. Exiting the building she discovered Blueblood waiting outside for her and unsurprisingly he seemed to care little for having to do so.
"Well was there a point to running off like that?" He asked accusingly and Rarity wasn't able to meet his eyes. Her thoughts were on other matters at the moment. "Regardless, lets move forward shall we?" He turned to proceeding back down the street, Rarity close behind. Her mind was a torrent of uncertainty with the discovery at the school house. She was questioning a lot of things.
They didn't travel far before Rarity was confronted by another strange sight. Between two of the homes on the street, just visible by the light of the lanterns was Pinkamina, her doll. She was laying upon the ground and looking right out into the street where her and Blueblood were walking. She stopped suddenly and the doll was once again dragged away by an unseen individual. Rarity spoke up but tried to keep her voice a whisper. "Blueblood! Stop a moment."
"What? You're not planning to run off again are you?" Rarity took careful steps towards the area Pinkamina had been drug into.
"Did you see it? My doll was pulled through there." Blueblood looked at her quite annoyed she was bothering him with this and sighed, searching the area with his eyes.
"I don't see anything. This doll obsession is quite unbecoming of a lady. Even one of your standing. Don't you think you're better off leaving it behind?" Rarity ignored him as he was proving no help and carefully sneaked into the alley between the homes. She followed along and came out the other side, seeing a door shut slowly to a building in the distance. Not wanting to repeat her same mistake Rarity carefully approached this time, no longer concerned if Blueblood was following her. She couldn't help feeling she knew this building though.
Turning the handle carefully she walked in and searched the room, surprised at what she found. "Wait a minute, I do know this building. This is The Crop!" Rarity looked around in disbelief. She'd walked into the middle of the adult clothing and accessory store that was run by her friend and fellow seamstress Velvet. It just blew her away that she didn't recognize it sooner. Walking inside the door swung close behind her and Rarity started searching anew for Pinkamina. But now there was the possibility of help. "Velvet, are you here! Are you okay?" With the sky going unnaturally dark outside she didn't know what the condition of the other ponies in town was. "Answer me please!"
Silence. Letting out a sigh Rarity peeked into the dressing rooms, behind the register and under the clothing racks in search of the thief. Just like the school house though there was no trace of the one that had run off with her most precious doll. "When I get my hooves on the slippery snake that stole my Pinkamina..." She shook her head and grumbled, heading for the door. No sense wasting time on a pointless search. She was about to walk out the door when she noticed something on the counter. It was a receipt, dated some time back for a large purchase of some toys and clothing. As she scanned the items realization hit her. "This... this is mine."
"Thank you again Velvet! I don't know what we would have done without your help." Rarity heaped praise upon the plum colored unicorn with the pink mane. "Your special touch with these sorts of merchandise is exactly why I insist on coming to you." The unicorn behind the counter blushed a bit but smiled at getting such attention from her idol.
"Not a problem at all Miss Rarity. In fact if you need to stop by again feel free to do so. I'm happy to help you." Rarity gave her thanks once more in an out pour of positive remarks before finally leaving the building with the blue pegasus in tow.
"Well what did I tell you Rainbow? That mare is a talent to be recognized. She even had the necessary braces for pegasus wings when we decide to get a bit playful with you." Rainbow Dash smiled and blushed at the suggestion. Her and Rarity had sort of stumbled into this relationship between each other and it had been quite enjoyable for the both of them.
"Well of course I knew you'd pick the best place, nothing but the best for you, right?" Rarity gave herself a mane toss in pride at Rainbow's words. Naturally only the best would suit her. After she'd tossed her mane though she caught Rainbow looking at her scars. "But uh when we do use all of this stuff I'd like to keep from having any sort of... lasting marks on me if it's okay?"
"But of course deary. I wouldn't dream of having your sliced to pieces simply for my pleasure. Mmmm... that would be some pleasure though." Rarity smiled to herself thinking of how Rainbow Dash would look restrained, gagged, blinded and with a knife to her lovely blue skin. It was intoxicating.
"I mean I don't mind making you happy and well, you know that this isn't really the kind of thing I could do with anyone else." Rarity understood to be sure. Their relationship of friends with benefits was kept private between them. Well... private between Rarity, Rainbow Dash and her camera. She was surprised Rainbow never complained to being filmed but that suited Rarity just fine. "It's just I like to give a lot more than receive and I just don't think I'd want to receive that." Even if sex was something the two enjoyed sharing a great deal, and Rarity enjoyed the enthusiasm Rainbow Dash had when punishing her, she respected Rainbow wasn't as happy on the receiving end of such pain. Still Rarity hoped to change her opinion soon once she got her tied down.
"Not another word needs to be spoken Rainbow Dash, I'm just as gracious receiving as I am giving. Naturally I'd want you to enjoy yourself too." Rainbow nodded and smiled at Rarity, staring at her scars again.
"Have you ever though about asking Twilight to um... fix that?" Rarity blinked wondering what she could be referring to and Rainbow motioned to her face. "Those scars I mean."
"Why? Don't you think they give me character?" Rarity posed showing off her face with a sultry smile.
"Well I mean you're still pretty but I'm just surprised. I thought you'd be freaking out over something ever damaging your face." Rarity waved her hoof in dismissal of the conversation.
"Now now there's no need to worry. Just consider it to be an accessory to my already increasing new sense of fashion. Shall we get home and try these toys out?"
"I don't... remember that." Rarity blinked after another one of her visions of the past faded from her mind. That conversation seemed so out of place in her memory. She remembered when her and Rainbow had first experimented with each other and found they liked it very much. Then she remembered the two of them discussing ways to take their time together to more exciting realms. But that conversation about her face... she couldn't place it. But it felt too real to not have happened. Now that she thought about it other than the sex the rest of her memory with Rainbow Dash was fuzzy, like she couldn't concentrate on any details about it. "What's going on with me?"
Rarity looked up to the counter and just as disturbing as ever her camera was there. Set up impossibly close on its tripod, right before her on the opposite side of the check out counter. She glared at it for a time and then looked at the receipt. "I guess... I guess I was really trying to avoid addressing the subject that day with Rainbow Dash. About my scars that is. She wanted to know why I didn't get them looked at similar to how Sweetie Bell had asked. I had... apparently avoided the question. I didn't want to answer."
She looked back to the camera and put the receipt in her mane to take with her. "I truly hope you haven't been spying on poor Velvet as well. She's a sweet mare and I wont have any of my personal demons invading her life." Even though she was threatening the impossible equipment and whoever was watching on the other side she felt empty and powerless against it. "Always watching aren't you, you dirty little ponies? Even when I and Rainbow Dash were having our fun. Getting your thrills from seeing such lovely mares together were you?" She asked the camera accusingly but the questions were sparking ideas in her head. "But... why was Rainbow Dash so okay with you? I know why I enjoyed the camera on us, it felt good having it there but why didn't she complain?" Rarity thought seriously. "She... she saw it right? She commented on it before. I know she did... I was sure she did." She wasn't sure of anything anymore. Had Rainbow Dash ever said anything about the camera?
Silently she walked out of the store, and true to form Blueblood was waiting outside just as annoyed as ever. He didn't even have a remark for her this time as she exited, simply turning towards the street and exuding his "Better than thou" attitude. Rarity did her best to continue hating him and not looking at his flank.
As they walked Rarity summoned up the courage to finally speak. She was feeling afraid but her mind was oddly clear despite the insanity around her. It was like someone had lifted a fog from her eyes she'd had surrounding them these past few months. "Blueblood. I think I might be losing my mind." The white unicorn didn't stop with his progress down the street but didn't interrupt. "I've been doing things without thinking about them, impulses and desires appearing out of no where and driving me forward. I've... I've done some things I regret. Also as odd as it sounds, I think somepony's been watching me the entire time I've done it." Blueblood remained silent and Rarity looked at the ground as they walked, knowing she'd probably get harsh words in return for confessing her sins and fears. Surprisingly Blueblood only had a question.
"Are they watching you now?" Rarity looked up but he didn't turn to her. So she began to search the street, unable to find the demon camera that had someone always found its way around her before. Her search hadn't been in vain however as she came to find the shape of another pony besides herself or Blueblood. In the window of the building directly across from Rarity was Pinkamina. The doll was standing, looking out the window directly at Rarity and Blueblood. It didn't move, it didn't speak, it just kept standing like somepony had propped it against the window. Rarity stared back unmoving before Blueblood broke the silence. "If you're going to hold us up, you might as well hurry and go in there like you have already." Rarity looked to Blueblood then back at the window, which was now vacant. She let out a sigh and proceeded inside, the door of course unlocked and allowing her in easily.
Rarity looked about the well lit room and saw that it was a place she was very familiar with. "I really wish I was here under different circumstances." The spa was like a second home to Rarity and she generally loved every minute inside. But being trapped in this strange, silent Ponyville had taken her favorite location for relaxation and turned it into a place of dread. Rarity walked over to the window where Pinkamina had been, glancing about for clues. She was surprised to find there actually was something to go off of this time; hoof prints in the carpet. She looked down to try and make out the size but it was difficult. She could however see the indentation against the carpet and was able to follow the trail. Proceeding slowly while looking down Rarity tracked her prey as far as the tubs where she often soaked herself for comfort alongside her kind-hearted friend Fluttershy. What she wouldn't give to have a day like that back right now.
There were two robes strewn about on the steps leading up into the tub. Glancing around the room Rarity eventually approached the robes when she was sure no pony else was around to see her. Once her hoof touched the soft fabric she felt herself being pulled away into another memory. She stopped fighting it and just let it come to her.
"That was something else." Fluttershy commented as the duo left the spa, a common sight although much rarer now that Rarity was holding up in her home with her new hobbies. Fluttershy had naturally taken some alarm to Rarity's outward appearance but Rarity had managed to calm her caring friend by assuring her she was just fine. The scars were simply physical and didn't harm her in any way that would cause her problems.
"An understatement I think. I regret we never accepted sooner, they took as much care with us at the end as they did with every other step." Fluttershy was blushing furiously and it was very cute on her innocent face. After accepting the "Happy Ending Special" for the first time both mares were glowing from their tension relief. Rarity wasn't surprised though that so much time had been placed into making them feel good. They were good customers and naturally beautiful mares to top it off. "Perhaps we should make it a regular part of our routine?"
"Oh no! I don't think... I mean it was nice... but I just don't believe..." Fluttershy was stammering in embarrassment and Rarity slid up next to her with a friendly nuzzle.
"There's no shame in a little bit of fun now and then Fluttershy dear. After all we deserve it I'd say. With how much money we've given them over the years."
"Well um... it's your money mostly Rarity." Fluttershy admitted with a twinge of guilt.
"Pish posh, going to the spa wouldn't feel right without my best friend to keep me company. And with how ravishing you look I'd be a terrible friend not to take care of you." Fluttershy smiled at the compliment and looked away. She was always so bashful when receiving praise for her appearance.
"Oh I'm not that special, really."
"Don't be so modest now, you've got larger flanks than any other pony in town with such a nice figure." Fluttershy blinked and looked at herself, then at Rarity. The unicorn grinning mischievously at her pegasus friend as she looked as well. "No shame in being proud of your beauty."
"Well speaking of physical appearance I couldn't help but notice your new... addition." Fluttershy looked down at the branded heart marks upon Rarity's chest. Each new scar, cut or welt that appeared on Rarity's form was new cause for alarm for poor Fluttershy. She supposed it was natural as the mare was a gifted care-giver and had some medical background with her father being a doctor as far as Rarity understood. Still she seemed to generally use those talents on her animals as opposed to other ponies. "Rarity, can't I please look you over? I know you don't want me to but I'm worried."
"I keep telling you darling it's just fine. I've never felt better and any little mark that should come upon me is easily fixed with a bit of magic." Her horn glowed as if to illustrate but that didn't deter Fluttershy.
"But healing with magic isn't good for you! Forcing your body to recover through magic as opposed to normal healing can lead to long term damage. If you keep it up I'm scared what will happen." Fluttershy's eyes were wide and pleading and it was the kind of look that could break a heart. For being so sweet she knew how to manipulate with her gaze effectively.
"I know darling and it's fine, after all you'd have seen results if such a thing were a problem right?"
"Maybe if I got a look at you..." Fluttershy complained meekly but Rarity stuck by her excuse. She didn't want Fluttershy to be bothered further and if she ever got a look at Rarity's room right now or her body she may have figured out just how often Rarity was pleasing herself through her hobby as she called it. "Or if I got to see you more often. I miss you Rarity... I miss Opal too." Those words shot right through Rarity's heart and it was impossible for her to ignore them. Her precious Opal, her pet cat. Fluttershy loved her as much as she loved any of her own animals and the news of her death hadn't been any easier for her to take as it had for Rarity. Although she didn't react in such extreme ways to it. "I know it may be too soon but... if you'd ever like to give another kitten a home..."
"No." Rarity responded a bit too quickly but she regained her composure. "No I'm... I'm not ready yet." Fluttershy nodded and the two friends nuzzled each other. "Thank you though, Fluttershy."
"Always for you, Rarity."
"I remember that day." Rarity said quietly as she dabbed some tears from her eyes with the bath robe. "I went home afterwards and spent a lot of time with Pinkamina. I tried to erase the feelings of loss with the pleasure she provided to her mommy. It worked... at the time." She sighed looked at the cloth in her hooves and tried to go on. "But every so often a memory like that would creep back, and I'd use a knife to cut it away, until there were no memories and I was just in ecstasy. Then I'd heal myself with my magic. Fluttershy would have been furious with me." She hugged onto the robe as she recited the past events to her audience. It didn't surprise her when she looked up to see the camera looking at her.
"I don't... I don't regret the pleasure. I wont regret it, it's mine to enjoy. If this is what lets me feel good and feel whole then I'll allow myself to have it. There's no harm in enjoying yourself." She sounded like she was trying to convince herself everything was okay, but she stood by her statements. "I don't regret what I've done to myself. I just hope Fluttershy and everyone else will understand that. This is who I am now." Rarity dropped the robe and walked outside, having figured out how this works by now. The last two buildings had worked the same way so why wouldn't this one?
Blueblood hadn't left his spot in the street from when she walked into the building. Rarity took a moment to look back at the window that Pinkamina had been in but of course nothing was there. She should have felt disappointed but she was starting to get angry. It was like somepony was playing games with her and these were not the kind of games she enjoyed. "Lets get going." She said to Blueblood and let him lead the way. All desire for conversation gone.
Rarity had gone from fear and contemplation in this place of uncertainty to high alert. She didn't know where everypony was, she didn't know why Blueblood was here or what had happened to the sky. But she did know something was happening around her that was linked to her directly. Somepony was playing games with her heart but who could do such a thing at such an intense level? Twilight was talented enough in magic but this much subterfuge wasn't her general style. Princess Luna or Princess Celestia certainly had the power but they seemed much too benevolent and important to waste time playing games with a single distraught unicorn. Even if one was the Element of Generosity. The only other thing she knew with that level of power was...
"Blueblood, did Discord escape?" She walked beside him with panic in her mind. "Is that what happened to the town? I've been seeing things since you woke me. Magic might explain it, and the only one strong enough..."
"We're here." Blueblood announced and Rarity looked forward to where he was facing. As expected before her was the Library where Twilight made her home. Unlike the previous buildings Blueblood moved ahead of her and walked inside first. Rarity followed along with her anger starting to funnel in on the rude stallion.
"That's the second time you've interrupted me!"
"Really? I've lost count how many times you've bored me with your prater." Rarity practically growled with hate but it started to fade as she realized her and Blueblood were the only ones in the building. She had expected to see a number of ponies taking refuge inside together from whatever was happening with the sky but there wasn't a soul here. Aside from Blueblood, herself, and a rag doll like figure of a pony being drug away from the edge of the balcony as Rarity looked up. She'd had enough.
"Fine. Maybe you don't want to help me but that doesn't mean you can simply ignore everything I say and do as you like. If you haven't noticed we're not in Canterlot, you're not surrounded by servants and admirers and above all there appears to be no living pony in this entire town besides ourselves. So I believe it would benefit us both greatly if you removed your head from your posterior and explained to me what is going on!" Rarity took a moment to catch her breath after her outlet. Blueblood was ready and prepared for her verbal assault as usual.
"This is what I have to deal with? A windbag of a pony who only stops cutting into herself like a chopped salad to bore me with her unrelenting problems? Such an attitude for a lady, if you can even call yourself that anymore." He snorted at the idea of entertaining this any further. "Did you think I wanted to be here? I was just the first person you decided you'd find comfort in." Rarity stared wide eyed totally confused.
"Find... comfort... what! You! Oh no, I have no idea what you mean but if you want to stroke your ego by using me then you have another thing coming."
"Why else would I be here? Although perhaps you really are a masochist to have picked me as your guide through your little trip down memory lane."
"You know what's going on?" Rarity's anger was gone now that it seemed Blueblood was in on what ever nightmare this all was.
"I know enough, and the fact I'm here tells me even more. Really Rarity did you think I could respect you? A mare like you with the things you've done?"
"Oh don't you dare! I wont have you talk down to me like I'm worthless. You enjoyed our night together as much as myself. If I was really so awful you could have made me leave. But instead we went inside and... we'll I'm not even going to continue. You already know."
"I'm not talking about your sick little games with yourself, or even the marks you've left on your body. There's more to a mare than how she looks." Rarity's jaw dropped hearing those words come out of Blueblood's mouth of all ponies. "If you'd left your new 'hobby' to yourself it wouldn't have mattered. But you didn't, instead others have had to suffer. Instead of facing what you've done you continue to dive further into this new obsession of yours. Frankly my dear for a pony that claims to enjoy pain so much you have a very poor understanding of what it really is."
Rarity was left speechless as Blueblood deconstructed her for where he found his faults with her character. It was a bit too general to actually spotlight Rarity's actual problems but it hit close enough that she was left unable to reply. "But I don't intend to stand by all of this any longer. I don't think you'll need my help further so head back to your shack when you're done, and look me up if you manage to sort this all out. Few ponies could continue to look as fabulous as yourself with that many scars." Blueblood turned and walked right out of the Library, leaving Rarity in the room alone with more questions than answers and no understanding of why he'd lead her here in the first place. Rarity looked at the stairs to climb to the balcony and considered this her chance to corner whoever had stolen Pinkamina. Is that why she'd come here? Was he helping her track her doll from the beginning?
No, that didn't seem right or appropriate to his behavior. Rarity looked around the rest of the library and found what she expected. On the table to the far side of the room laid some bloodied bandages. She had an idea who they belonged to and what their purpose here was already. Approaching the table Rarity took a deep breath and extended her hoof, picking them up. The memories soon followed.
"Are you sure the doctors said you'll be alright Twilight? I'm worried of any lasting harm to that clever mind of yours." Rarity fussed over Twilight as she stood inside Rarity's showroom, bandages around her head where the sewing machine had collided with her. Rarity thanked every lucky star that it hadn't damaged her horn for fear of how losing something that precious to a unicorn would have crippled twilight. The purple mare rubbed her head a little but smiled weakly.
"No need to be worried, I think I still have all my marbles." She giggled a little and it brought a smile to Rarity's face. "I'm more concerned about the fact your home was broken into. You said you didn't get a good look at them?" Rarity shifted her eyes so she wouldn't have to meet Twilight's gaze. She'd accepted Rarity's excuse without a bit of hesitation and it tore her up inside. At the time she'd just been worried of being revealed as to what she was really doing. But things had fit together almost too well with Sweetie Bell refraining from sharing the truth.
"No... no I didn't. All they took were some of the bits and gems I had in the store front and that was it." She'd had to frantically make it look like someone had broken in as well on that day. It was actually a very poor cover up and she was surprised Twilight didn't see right through her lie. It must have been because she trusted her so... poor Twilight.
"That's so weird. You wouldn't think they would rob your store over any other ponies that gets a lot more customers coming in and out. Maybe they thought you weren't home since you come out kind of rarely these days."
"Maybe..." She sighed wanting to talk about anything else other than the lie where she'd injured her friend. "I never did fully clean up after that mess either. I really should take care of the whole place." And relieve some stress in her bedroom when Twilight was gone. She needed a distraction and her restraints were calling to her. "Oh yes if Spike wanted to lend me a hand I had some left over gems in my stock that I could gladly give to him as payment." It was Twilight's turn now to look away at Rarity's suggestion.
"Actually Rarity I think that Spike wont be able to make it today."
"Oh, is the poor dear sick? Goodness I didn't even think dragons could fall ill. What with how sturdy even a little one like Spike is. Would any more hearty gems help him?" Twilight was still avoiding looking at Rarity and it was beginning to worry her. "Twilight... is everything alright?"
"Actually Rarity, Spike is just fine but I... I told him not to come over today with me. Or by himself." Rarity stood still as if she were trying to comprehend what was going on. "I'm sorry, I really am but you see Spike is my assistant but I'm his guardian! I take care of him just as much as he takes care of me. And with how much he looks up to you I just don't want him to see... well..."
"It's okay Twilight." Rarity forced a smile onto her face. "I fully understand. Spike is young and impressionable. He may not fully appreciate some of my more subtle changes." She was maintaining a perfect false smile but it didn't fool Twilight.
"Rarity please, it's not like that."
"No I completely understand. You have to consider his well being." Rarity used her magic to wrap some of her loose gems into a small white bag and levitated it over to Twilight. "If it's okay can you still give him these? I'd meant them as payment but I'd still like him to have them." Twilight looked as if she might cry seeing Rarity put on the strong front at this rejection. "Well I do have to clean this place so I'll let you get going. Please do take care of yourself, we'd miss you terribly if anything worse happened to you."
"I will Rarity. Thank you for the gift, Spike will love it. I'll see you later." Twilight left the boutique and Rarity gently closed the door behind her, clenching her eyes shut as she fought back the urge to cry. She wasn't attached to Spike in any sort of romantic way but... he was her Spikey-Wikey. Even if he was a bit over bearing it was always nice to have someone around that cared for you so. To think that Twilight couldn't bear the thought of him seeing her for what she was...
Rarity went upstairs to her room and closed the door behind her. She didn't clean a thing that day.
"She was ashamed of me." Rarity rubbed the bandages between her hooves as she stared down at the table. "Twilight was ashamed of what I'd become. She still loved me as her friend but... she didn't want Spike to see me." Rarity let the bandages slip from her and onto the table again. "If she'd known the truth, would she still have been my friend? I don't know. I've hurt people I care about, I've done things I can't explain. I don't even know if this is the real me anymore." Rarity looked up across the table to see the camera taking her confession.
"You must be terribly disappointed in mommy, aren't all you naughty ponies? She isn't giving you at all what you came here for. No sex, no blood. Just her tears. well you'll have to endure mommy like this for a while longer because she... she isn't sure what's going to happen next." Rarity looked up at the balcony again and considered investigating but decided against it. Blueblood had said when she was finished to go back home and as he'd put it he was her 'chosen guide', whatever that meant though she had no idea. So turning away from the empty library Rarity walked outside and back home under the cover of the street lamps and the starless sky. It fit her emotions well. She felt drained of every beautiful spec inside her. She thought mommy was still pretty, she knew she was. But she was afraid she was losing her beauty from inside faster than her self inflicted wounds could ever take it.
Nothing strange happened on the walk over, no sightings of dolls or ponies or any sort of monster or beast. Just her and her thoughts. Rarity wasn't sure what awaited her when she arrived home but she fully expected Blueblood waiting to verbally assault her for her past crimes. It would be fitting. As she approached the boutique Rarity opened her door and found it as she'd left it. Dimly lit by many, many candles and not a soul in sight. She was going to retire back to her bed when something caught her eye. "Oh no... no please."
Opalescence's collar sat in her plush cat bed near the door way. Rarity quivered at the sight recognizing it as yet another item she was being drawn to. Slowly she approached the cat bed and swallowed the lump in her throat. She knew what it would do, and she feared it more than anything. But... but for her lost little baby she had to. Rarity used her magic to pick up the collar, and let it land on her hoof. She was sucked away in memory instantly.
"This isn't coming out right at all!" A notably scar free and pristine Rarity stood before the dress dummy she'd been working on. The dress draped over the figure was just awful and tacky. She couldn't understand where she'd went wrong. "Maybe the tassels didn't fit this style of dress? Or was it using ruby's over emeralds that was wrong? I think I bunched it up in the back, I'll have to start all over. It's just... It's just all wrong!" Rarity kicked the dress dummy over in a fit and stormed away, Opalescence watching from the safety of a table near by where she'd settled on some fabric.
"Fine, if I can't work on the dress I'll just work on this hat! Oh but I still need to finish the bow, but I don't know what kind of bow I need until that dress is finished! Maybe I can get started on those custom socks. Those awful, ugly custom socks that silly school filly wanted! But she paid up front, I have to complete them!" Rarity was walking from work station to work station as she tried to get a handle on what to do next. Distressed wasn't a strong enough word to describe her current state as she frantically moved about. Speaking louder and growing increasingly frustrated.
"It just wont end! There's so much to do, so much to finish. I can't think, I can't concentrate!" Rarity collapsed onto her couch and breathed heavily. Something was taxing her mind. She knew there was something wrong that put her in this state but she couldn't figure out what. It was driving her to exhaustion and even her work couldn't distract her. She rolled around on her couch to try and get comfortable and rested but it didn't help.
"Tea. Tea always helps. Tea calms Fluttershy so it should calm me. Tea should be all I need." Rarity rolled onto her hooves and started for the kitchen before walking by those dreadful socks again. "Even if they're ugly I should finish them. It's what the client wants after all." Rarity felt a bit better focused having a direction and walked over to get some fabric to finish her project. She reached out with her hoof instead of her magic and let out a little shout when she felt the sharp sting hit her front leg. "Opalescence! Mommy's leg!" She looked at the scratches on her flawless white coat and winced a bit. "Oh you got me good too. I hope it doesn't leave a scar." She put her mouth over the cuts and tried to sooth the pain. Still oddly it... didn't feel so bad.
Rarity sucked at her cut but found something oddly relieving about it. The pain, it helped her focus. As she nursed her wound she felt oddly clear of mind and even a little happy. Something about it was taking away her anxiety but not enough. She wanted more relief. Reaching out with her hoof again Opal hissed at her but didn't attack, instead moving aside off the fabric Rarity was after. Still Rarity wasn't deterred. She approached Opal again and this time nudged her with her hoof. Opal responded by turning around to give her a quick claw and a bit before jumping off the table entirely. Rarity winced at the feeling but... she felt good! So good. She wanted more.
"Opalescence. Come over here now. Mommy needs your help." Rarity tried to follow after her but Opal wasn't having any of it. She just kept walking away and ignoring her owner. Determined Rarity used her magic to pick Opal up and levitate her back to her owner. "Oh, are you upset with mommy? Well then she should get a scratching, shouldn't she?" Rarity held up her front leg but Opal just looked uninterested, waiting to get let down. Rarity was persistent though. "Come on now, give mommy a little scratch. I know you're in a bad mood and just want to let it all out on her." Opal continued to just stare annoyed at Rarity frustrating her further. It took some debating but she decided on a course of action. Her horn lit up with more magic as a little shock of pain was sent into the cat, causing her to claw out instinctively. Rarity relished the feeling.
"Oooh! Good Opal. Mommy is feeling much better. Don't stop now." Another small shot of pain into her cat, another scratch against Rarity's skin. It was feeling wonderful and Rarity was growing intoxicated with the pain. She got closer as she shocked her cat more and more, scratches being delivered not only to her front legs but her face as well. "Mommy is feeling wonderful Opal! You're such a good girl! Again!" When there was no more scratches or hissing delivered Rarity shot another spark of magic into the cat. "Opal, don't be afraid! You're helping mommy. Now scratch again!" Another shock of magic against her cat, no response. Rarity had kept her eyes closed when Opal began scratching her face but now she dared to open them when there was no response. "Opal?"
Her cat hanged still and unmoving. Her head dropped downward with no sign of life or resistance. The motivation Rarity had given her pet had been too much for the small animal to endure and Rarity's pleasure had cost Opal her life. Rarity stared at her pet for some time as if she couldn't accept or understand what had happened. Almost without her own knowledge her magic flung the animal against the wall. It hit with a dull thud and landed in a heap against the ground. Rarity stared off into space for who knew how long before the sting of her cuts began to seep in and brought her back to reality. "Oh... oh dear Opal. Look what you did. How could you attack Mommy like that?" Rarity walked over to the heap that was once her cat and knelt down next to it. "Now look at what I did. I hurt you by accident. My poor baby."
Rarity's legs had given out and she was collapsed on the floor, the tears streaming from her face. "I killed her." She said sadly, staring off into nothing. "I killed her... I killed Opal... I killed her deliberately and I forgot." Rarity was struggling with the knowledge. "I thought it was an accident. I thought... thought that it had happened in an instant. I tortured my baby!" She covered her eyes with her hooves and curled up into a ball as best she could. The pain was unbearable. She was a monster that had murdered for simple pleasure. How many others had she hurt? "Was this the point? To show me what I'd done to hurt everyone around me? Why! Why is everything like this! What happened to me!" Rarity cried out to the empty room but there was no response. Leaning upward she looked forward and as she predicted the camera was there. But it wasn't focused on her. Instead it was turned away to the right and she saw it was instead focused on a piece of furniture that she'd never remembered owning.
"What is... that?" A crib, the kind that would be used to hold a foal. It sat there in the room silent and unmoving with the camera lens trained on it specifically. Rarity had no idea where it had come from but somehow she knew it held answers. And that terrified her.
"I can't do this anymore. I can't do it! Please whoever this is stop it!" She wailed at the ceiling and was shocked when she received a response.
"You'd almost made it, Rarity." Just past the crib was one of her changing screens, the kind her customers could be behind when they wanted some privacy while dressing. From behind it walked a filly she was more than familiar with.
"Sweetie Bell?" Rarity looked on in shock, further impacted by the sight of what she was dragging behind her. "Pinkamina! Sweetie Bell, it was you from the beginning?" Rarity took to her feet now seeing her sister, but made it a point not to look at the crib.
"It had to be somepony you'd listen to more than your guide. I was the only one." She dropped the Pinkamina doll in the center of the room and approached her sister. Rarity clasped her front legs around her little sister once she was in range.
"Sweetie Bell! Oh I missed you! I missed you so much!"
"I missed you too Sis. But this isn't over. The end is over there." She motioned to the crib that the camera continued to focus on and Rarity shook her head.
"I can't... I can't I can't I can't! Don't make me!" Rarity pleaded somewhat foolish in behavior but she didn't care. "I know it's something terrible. I can't do it! Please Sweetie... Please save your sister." Rarity looked into Sweetie Bell's eyes which had a strength she'd never seen in the young filly before. Sweetie looked between the crib and her sister a few times before hugging her back.
"Alright Sis. You win, we wont look at it just now. But you can't ignore the truth forever." Rarity nodded and embraced Sweetie desperately, tears falling anew with the relief that the torture would cease for now. "We can't stay here though. Come upstairs okay?" Her sister's voice was like sweet music and she complied, following Sweetie up to her bedroom by stairs that were suddenly in her showroom. She didn't question it though, finally she could rest. This insanity could end.
"Mommy?" Rarity stopped cold in her step, her body tensing at the voice that called to her. "Mommy, don't leave me." The voice called out to her and Rarity felt an odd mix of fear and longing. She slowly turned her head... and Pinkamina turned hers from the middle of the room to look at Rarity. "Mommy!"
"Pinkamina?" Rarity started to turn but Sweetie Bell grabbed her hoof.
"Don't! Don't go down there!"
"But Sweetie... she's calling for me." The doll sat up on its own and looked to Rarity with its lifeless eyes.
"Mommy, why are you going away?" The doll held its front legs out for Rarity and Sweetie Bell pulled at Rarity to come upstairs.
"You have to leave her. Do you understand Sis? You can't keep her anymore." Rarity watched down the stairs as she took another step up with Sweetie Bell. As she did a hole seemed to open up in the center of the room, Pinkamina was falling down it.
"Mommy! Help me!" The doll cried out and Rarity pulled at Sweetie's grip to save her.
"She needs me!" Rarity protested and broke free of Sweetie Bell's grip. Her sister watched helplessly.
"Rarity listen to me! If you go down there she'll take you with her. There's nothing you can do for her. Please save yourself, for all of us that love you!" Rarity stopped torn between her love for her sister and her maternal desire to save Pinkamina... to save what was left of her Opal. She had Opal's heart after all.
"Mommy!" The doll sunk further into the hole and everything else in the room began to pull in with it. All the furniture and candles were being drawn towards the hole in her floor like a giant drain. "Mommy I can't hold on!" Somehow Pinkamina was managing to keep herself from going down as fast as everything else. Rarity stood in a panic as to what to decide. She looked back at her sister and whispered.
"I'm sorry." Then took to running down the stairs.
"Rarity no!" It was too late though, she was already on the show room floor and to Pinkamina's side. She gripped at Pinkamina's front legs with her own and started to tug upward. The force pulling her down was tremendous.
"Pinkamina, just hold onto Mommy! You have to come with her and Sweetie Bell!" The doll snaked its limbs around Rarity's front legs in an unnatural way and it felt as if she was trying to pull her in as well but Rarity didn't stop fighting. Using her magic now she pulled back even harder to save her precious baby. "Don't let go!"
"I wont mommy." She responded in that unearthly child like voice and the furniture was beginning to sink into the hole. It was a miracle Rarity hadn't been pulled in already but she refused to stop fighting. She pulled and pulled with all her might.
"I wont leave you, or Sweetie Bell, or any of my friends! So you can just keep sucking me down as hard as you like because you'll never win!" Rarity shouted out and the hole groaned out at her in a haunting way. With a final triumphant pull Rarity pulled Pinkamina from the hole's maw and fell onto her back hugging her precious doll. "Hurry now, we have to run or...!"
Nothing. When Rarity stood up the room was returned back to exactly as it had been. The furniture was unmoved, the mysterious hole in the middle of the room was gone and Pinkamina was unresponsive. She'd returned to being just a doll. Despite the confusing turn of events Rarity did not forget her goal and turned to run up the stairs. "Sweetie Bell, I saved her! We can all go together now!" She was half way up when she realized Sweetie was gone, and the door was closed. Rarity approached it quickly and knocked on the door. "Sweetie Bell, it's okay. That hole or whatever it was is gone. We can all be together now, no one has to be left behind." She knocked repeatedly and tried the handle but the door wouldn't budge. She hit her shoulder against it but it didn't bend to her force at all. "Sweetie, please... please don't be mad. I'm sorry I didn't obey you but I had to save her. Sweetie Bell? Sister..."
Rarity slumped against the door, knocking gently but receiving no response. Reaching into her mane she removed the picture from the school house that had been drawn by her sister of her family and stared at it. "Please... don't leave me alone here."
"So close." The magic from her horn faded and the white Alicorn looked upon the restrained Element of Generosity. "We were so close to bringing her out of it."
"You... you did your best Princess. Thank you." The purple unicorn next to her couldn't hide her disappointment as her own magic faded as well. The teacher and student left the prison holding cell and thanked the guards for keeping an eye on her. Though Twilight was watching them with an air of caution. She had reason not to trust them. They looked concerned by her gaze which was wise that they should be. Twilight rarely exercised any power with her position as the Princess' student but if she thought foul playing was happening concerning her friend she would exert it with a vengeance. But that would be addressed later.
The duo walked through the castle until they were able to retire to Princess Celestia's private quarters. Here they knew they could speak openly without anyone listening to what may be said. Celestia rested upon her pillow looking sad that her efforts had not proven as successful as she'd hoped. "I apologize Twilight. I was so certain we'd manage to expose the root of Rarity's issues. Instead we ended exactly where we began." It was true. Rarity's last act nearly erasing all the progress they had made.
"It's okay Princess. I didn't know either if the Mind Delve spell would have uncovered Rarity's trauma to help figure out what started this. But I'm glad you were the one that performed it instead of myself." Celestia lifted one of her wings and Twilight took to sitting beneath its comfort when it was offered. "I just can't believe she ignored the truth."
"The mind is a very delicate thing Twilight. Exposing it to so much trauma it's worked to hide from itself is no easy task. We must tread lightly if we're to help her."
"But we don't have time! We were only able to delay her trial for a day and still don't have any proof of anything that can excuse her from this!" Celestia had exerted some of her power to hold up Rarity's trial while her and Twilight were allowed to examine her. Celestia didn't enjoy using her rank to impose upon pony law any more than she had to but this was a special case. "Can't you just put the trial off? You're the Princess of Equestria! You and Luna should be able to do whatever you please. She's already done so much for the whole country."
"Twilight... it's not that simple. I'd love to simply march in there and save Rarity from this public scandal but imposing on the law will just have a back lash. I'll do what I can to save her but I can't just stop them from punishing her for her crimes."
"And what then, prison! Twilight stood up and marched about the room, Celestia watching with a pained expression for her student's suffering. "Send her there with the thieves and the rapists? Let her get locked up with the ponies that are too dangerous to be allowed free? Ponies that have hurt and murdered before? I've studied that prison Princess and I'm afraid of what will happen to Rarity. There's a unicorn there that enslaved a whole town to her whims some time back using magic. A pegasus who was terrorizing earth ponies with his weather storms so they'd be forced to give him whatever he wanted. That foal killer The Colt is still in those walls and we don't even know how many fillies and colts he murdered and mutilated!" Twilight was breathing hard as she rattled off her protests. Celestia could only speak calmly as she tried to clear her student's mind.
"If the situation is this grave then we must focus on what we can do. Did you make an analysis from what we saw when we were watching Rarity's mind with the spell?"
"Yes your majesty." Twilight tried to calm herself and treat her teacher with the respect she was owed. Celestia was trying to help, Twilight had to be as focused as well. "There are three possible explanations as to what has caused Rarity's massive shift in personality. First would be psychological trauma. Since we were unable to see what was the root causing event of Rarity's issues we can't identify what may have happened to cause her to react this way but the... event with Opal her cat suggests something previous. Her masochism may even be just a by-product of her trauma and unrelated to the actual issue." Twilight was writing with her quill and magic on a scroll as she dictated. It was easier when Spike was around to help her with these things but she would never have him face this situation with Rarity in such peril. "If this is all self caused then it is still explainable through the use of her unicorn magic. Sweetie Bell mentioned she'd find the Pinkamina doll in odd areas and Rarity seemed unsurprised that it moved on its own."
"So you think that she's unknowingly using her magic to cause seemingly random events to occur?" Celestia questioned and Twilight made sure to cover her bases.
"Possibly. There's documented cases of unicorns suffering mysterious wounds or items rearranging in their houses. In these situations it was their own magic that was causing it without them knowing. Generally a problem rooted in their subconscious was acting out without them realizing it through their own horns."
"That would account for her scars never fading, and the sudden injuries you said she suffered one day when her sister came to you for help."
"Yeah, she ended up in the hospital without any memory or knowledge of what caused such severe wounds. Combined with Fluttershy's fear of her using repeated magic healing on herself she may have been putting too much strain on her magic and body to recall what she's been doing." Celestia nodded taking all of this into account as Twilight spoke.
"Very well, your second theory?"
"Similar to the first but caused by an outside force. Enchanting a pony isn't especially difficult if you know where they live and when they are most vulnerable. Rarity may have been attacked and had her mind altered or suggestions planted into her by a jealous suitor, an angry customer or just someone who was vicious and wanted to manipulate somepony."
"I understand." Celestia confirmed thinking on this possibility. "Unfortunately it's especially difficult to prove without catching the enchanter in the act or encountering the spell as it's happening. If she has been manipulated we need to see the event that started it all to catch them."
"True, and it takes an especially skilled unicorn to work a spell so efficiently. Or a being with equal magic power. Such as Discord." Twilight was looking to fall back on this theory should things get to the trial. Discord had enchanted all of them at one point to act out of character. It wasn't impossible for some of his spells or influence to linger after his defeat.
"Perhaps, but it is unlikely. In all the time I knew Discord he was very proud and vocal of his acts. Delighting in bringing attention to his deeds. It isn't impossible for him to have caused a spell to act after his defeat but in just one element? With such an unusual result for him."
"He is the God of Chaos, unpredictable is his trade mark." Celestia pondered this quietly, Twilight able to tell suggesting Discord's hand of involvement disturbing to her. His power was nearly undeniable and if he was still causing disturbances after he fell it would cause paranoia amongst the public. Which could be argued as his goal.
"We'll consider this seriously. What is the third possibility?"
"Something else." Twilight said flatly and Celestia waited for elaboration.
"Do you have anything more to add?"
"Not really I'm afraid. I've been looking into other magical and spiritual beings and I've uncovered some... well disturbing findings. There was text on possessions, manipulations and things that even the royal library didn't have definition on. With Ponyville so close to the Everfree forest the idea of something we haven't seen before or so old that we can't recognize it isn't out of the question."
"I see." Celestia was hesitant, theory number three being one that proved innocence on Rarity's part but the idea of it was disturbing. Another force they were not yet aware of or could see was chilling. Celestia hoped she was merely seeing ghosts where there were none but she'd look into every suggestion carefully. "Very well then. Twilight Sparkle, you may rest in your reserved quarters here at the castle while Rarity's trial is being held. I feel we'll need your presence for every step of the way."
"Thank you Princess." Twilight bowed to her teacher and then gathered up the courage to bring something further to her attention. "Princess Celestia, may I ask who had access to Rarity's cell besides ourselves?" Celestia looked surprised by the question but answered swiftly.
"Other than myself would have been Luna, General Stormbreak and his platoon of guards that patrol that section of the castle. May I ask why you need to know?" Twilight looked at the door which was closed and then back to her teacher.
"I noticed that on Rarity's body there were... marks. Fresh marks as if she'd been struck repeatedly with something. I read the report your soldiers submitted and it said they arrested her while she was sleeping in bed. She wouldn't have had time or opportunity to hurt herself like that when they arrested her. Especially if she's been healing herself with magic." Celestia thought quietly on what Twilight was suggesting and it didn't sit well with her at all.
"I see. Twilight, in the cases of unicorns harming themselves are there any involving the marks you saw?"
"I'm... afraid not. Every documented case ever of unicorns inflicting harm upon themselves with magic always involved thin cuts along the skin as it was the only way for the horn to act without the victim noticing. Anything like she had would have taken a very concentrated effort." Celestia listened patiently but was already feeling a fire burn in her belly. The idea of it, one of her guards taking their authority into their own hands to punish a prisoner. She took a breath and responded.
"I shall look into this Twilight, tonight. Please head to your room to rest. Tomorrow is a very important day."
"Yes your highness... thank you." Twilight ran up and hugged Celestia tightly which was returned with loving care. Twilight left Celestia's room and the Princess took to her scrolls as soon as her student had gone. She went over the list of her royal guard carefully, reading off names until she'd written all the ones she searched for onto a new scroll. Walking to her door she called her servants in who responded promptly.
"Your highness!" They stood at attention with wings flared, but Celestia was the picture of calm composure.
"Lieutenant Rampart, I have a request of you." She floated the scroll over to him and let him take it. "Please head to the barracks with that list and have those ponies report to me immediately in my throne room. I would like to have a chat with every one of them. Assign replacements for their shifts as needed." The soldier unrolled the scroll and read the names, exchanging a glance with his partner but did as requested.
"At once your majesty!" Both stallions departed to perform their requested task. When they were gone Celestia looked to the fire place in her chambers and watched the flames dance. Wondering when exactly things had gotten so far beyond her grasp to keep all of her precious citizens safe from harm. She'd worked so hard for peace, her student and her friends had worked so hard for peace. They deserved better.
"Let there be mercy for them, what fates there are deciding their futures."