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[Nightmare Night] Day 1 - Celestia's House of Mirrors


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The princess of the sun has returned with her traditional contribution to the Nightmare Night festivities, the house of mirrors! Organized in a winding maze, you can never quite tell when you're going to run into an image of yourself, or even another pony! Of course, getting through the maze of mirrors isn't impossible, though you may run into a few ponies—literally—before making it out.

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Valen's shoes clip-clapped sharply on the house of mirrors' interior, echoing across the entire structure in what he could only assume was a vexing way. It didn't help that he was nervous, terribly so. Things had gone well in Ponyville and they threatened to continue to be just as glorious, yet that didn't mean the learned fear he had of dressing in public vanished. A colt dressed as Sapphire Shores was exceedingly rare, even on Nightmare Night. More confusing for most was how well he wore it all, but no matter. What was done was done and Valen was allowing himself to get lost in the game that he now participated in.

Manehattan had all manner of activities, but his parents tended to take him to the sort of events that were far too sugar coated and utterly soft for any sort of real fun. He was sure Manehattan had something similar to Ponyville, but tonight, he was just excited to experience country fun on this most terrifying of nights. he had decided to start off in Celestia's House of Mirrors, which struck him as probably the safest of the bunch to start off. Plus, as the name implied, it had mirrors. Not only could he admire how beautiful he looked, but in case he had made mistakes, it would be early enough to correct them.

Valen took his time in the maze, his shoes clip-clapping sharply, announcing his presence long before he would make a turn...

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Maple felt a pang of regret at her ridiculous costume. She knew that in order for a maze to work, the alleyways had to be narrow, but noo - she just had to dress up in the most rotund thing she could think of - a waffle. She was bumping into every archway in the building, each one threatening to tear the delicate foam disc to pieces. Sure, waffles weren't scary in any shape or form, but this was her first Nightmare night, not to mention her first holiday that wasn't her birthday, and she decided to have some good, lighthearted fun. Every day, she had found another reason to love being in the big cities will all the different ponies, but another reason to love being at home in the woods too. With her inner dialogue dying down, she decided to get lost in reality once again, and walked ahead, towards her army of doppelgängers.

Putting her old woodspony skills to use, she turned to the ceiling and whistled out a high-pitched bird call. Obviously, no birds appeared, but it was a form of echolocation to a trained ear, usually for finding your way around trees, but in this case, mirrors. Hundreds of them, as it would seem, in all sizes. The returning echo didn't carry much information, but Maple turned left on a hunch. Sure enough, this lead to a long corridor with many smaller tunnels branching off, which Maple figured was a good sign. With the only evident sounds being the clopping of curious hooves, Maple pondered why she had chosen Celestia's House of Mirrors as her first stop on her "trick-or-treating" tirade. Maybe it was because Maple was always fascinated by mirrors, usually only being able to catch a murky reflection in a pool of water by the river, or a fading ghost in the window; Maybe it was because a mirror house just seemed the safest of the bunch, without being particularly boring.

Hey, was it just her or was she taking twice as many hoofsteps...?

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Fire Heart had come to Ponyville to participate in the Nightmare Night events. She had heard all about the fun and scary times from her friends at Princess Celestia's School, but she never was able to go until now.

There were so many locations she could go to, and the older filly hoped to visit as many as possible. The first on her mental list was the House of Mirrors. She learned that Princess Celestia had sponsored this maze and that it was a hit for ponies to go to. With her mind prepared for anything, she entered the maze.

She walked in and found it very disorienting. A few times she thought was a hallway and walking forward she bumped into a mirror! After a few twists, Fire came upon a very interesting sight: a carnival mirror. These mirrors had warped glass which altered the pony's reflection slighlty. Some made them look tall, others look short, and others made their faces look stretched sideways. The unicorn stood before one that made her look like she had the form of a Princess rather than a typical unicorn.

[colour=#FF0000]"Oh wow! That's so cool! I look like Princess Celestia or Luna with this one. Princess Fire Heart... that has a nice ring to it." [/colour]

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Penumbra intended to absolutely enjoy her Nightmare Night, and she had meant it absolutely. Her hooves were sore, the makeup she'd put into her rather convincing interpretation of Nightmare Moon was beginning to run. But her spirits were high, and for once she actually had energy in abundance, as this was the time of day- night, technically- that she'd really rather be up and active. So she had taken to the night with gusto, going everywhere possible, even collecting a bit of candy. Not too much, as she was an adult mare and it wasn't her job to take too much from the little foal's possible sweet hauls, but just a bit here and there to boost her, give her the energy for her next stop. She passed a Sapphire Shore's she'd taken a double take at- since 'she' had been a 'he' upon really close examination- a waffle she'd also taken a double take at- because, well, she was a waffle- entered her next destination.

Into a house of mirrors, or rather the house of mirrors that Celestia herself had contributed to the event, which Penumbra tried to go to each year. She had so far gotten into it every year running since she had been just a little foal with an actually normal sleep schedule. Yet each time there were surprises waiting, things she had never noticed before, things she had noticed that somehow still managed to trip her up. The mirrors she was passing now showed her galloping when she was actually just doing an easy trot... Wait, why did she look terrified in the mirror? And man, she really needed to redo her makeup. Nightmare Moon was not so intimidating with mascara dripping down her cheeks. Okay, still terrifying, but in a different way.

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Silver Lining was thoroughly enjoying herself. Sure, it was somewhat odd being forced to stay on the ground, given that her costume was a tad restrictive of the wings, and the mirrors that were everywhere made everything look just a little off, but she had felt particularly clever this Nightmare Night. Her costume, she had decided, was to be her cutie mark. That is too say, she spent all of yesterday gathering just the right clouds, which she then covered herself fully in too make herself look like a pony made of clouds. Sure it was a touch difficult to maintain, but it was just perfect for getting the jump on ponies, not to mention it looked positively stunning in all of the different mirrors.

Speaking of which, she was just as excited to be in Celestia's hall of mirrors in the first place. She rarely went to Ponyville, but she had heard a few pegasi talking about how excited they were for Nightmare Night to roll around so they could come here, and Silver couldn't resist. She was glad she didn't. The other ponies were quite clever with their ideas, and earlier she herself had almost bumped into, well, a waffle of all things which the mirrors had cleverly disguised. Walking past one of the mirrors, she glanced as she saw a storm cloud version of herself in the mirror before walking by. "Wait, what?" She took a few steps back to the same mirror. She saw an exact reflection of herself, and about 3 other different reflections of herself from different angles, but no storm clouds. "I'm loving this place already..."

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The house of mirrors was terribly deceptive, rendering any possible navigational tricks ineffective. Sound echoed lamely, strangely, falsely about. Images reflected every which way and distorted one's perception of space until trying to differentiate between forwards and backwards was as useful as one's sight could get. Voices could be heard, which both settled whatever nerves were common on Nightmare Night and it also made him painfully aware of how lost he was. Valen gave a soft, nervous laugh as he stopped walking to better hear whoever else was here.

[colour=#ff0000]"Oh wow! That's so cool! I look like Princess Celestia or Luna with this one. Princess Fire Heart... that has a nice ring to it." [/colour]

Someone had an ego! And this someone didn't sound all that young, either. Maybe that ego would be put to better use doing something more Princessy, Valen giggled to himself as he started walking-

-And found himself walking directly into a waffle, which he would have heard if he had been paying attention. Valen was lost in his own footing and fell down, getting tangled in his dress as he went. The clickety clack clack clickety clap of his four hooves trying to find their place was louder and sharper than any that followed, and he hit the floor with a dull thid. Almost immediately, the mirrors around him seemed to show nothing but a giant, sentient waffle.

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[colour=red]"Oof!"[/colour] seemed the word of the day as clumsy little Maple crashed into everything that rose above sea level. Even her costume's massive figure paled in comparison to her uncanny ability to cause herself, and everything around her, physical harm. Mirror after mirror, pony after pony, all she could do was grunt the stubbing pain in her hooves as she tumbled from a scary Princess pony the filly had never heard of to a cloud to Princess Maple of the Waffle Kingdom, an alicorn in tan, dimpled regalia whose wings were dripping in what would seem to be maple syrup. Happily enough, all this bumpity-bumping led to quite a laugh when the mirror had a magical effect on it, like making a pony taller or skinny as a straw.

Maple's always had a bit of a fear of being alone; all she had had for other ponies for her life up till now were her parents, and now she only visits for a bimonthly weekend! So, falling into a living, breathing equine was quite a relief, because she could have someone to watch, if not talk to, along the way through the labyrinth. Crashing into a filly - or was it a colt? - in a bejewelled gown befitting only Sapphire Shores, she noticed her costume quickly filling up the surrounding mirrors' real estate. After slowly picking herself up, she knelt down towards the glimmering pony and lent out a hoof. [colour=red]"Sorry about that,"[/colour] she mumbled with a blush on her face. [colour=red]"This was a really stupid costume idea. Yours looks really great though!"[/colour]

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It seemed like this would be an interesting attraction for the Pegasus stallion entering through into the House of Mirrors. Harrington Sleuth walked calmly and with confidence into the maze, certain his tracking skills would outmatch the tricks of the mirrors. He arrived at the house dressed in Itailian garb with a cowboy hat and boots, a literal spaghetti Westerner. His composure turned to confusion as he bumped into a mirror not 30 seconds after he began his way through the maze. His boots thudded against the ground as he stumbled through the mass of reflections.

[colour=#ff0000]"This is more of a doozy than I thought...I wonder how many other ponies are as out of sorts as I am right now...?"[/colour]

He kept marching through the halls, mindful of how close his reflections seemed to himself.

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Valen was pleasantly surprised that the waffle he had wandered into was not, as he head initially surmised, sentient. That would have been awfully terrifying and would have ruined him for breakfast for years to come, he thought. Instead, it was a silly filly in a silly filly costume. He had to give her a lot of credit for having the gusto to go as something so highly unusual and...really committing to it. The same could be said of him, he figured, though as absurd as a colt going out as Sapphire Shores was it was many degrees more usual than a waffle. The fact that he was at least momentarily not the craziest costumed pony in the room sat well with him, putting his normally nervous interactions with fillies in this situation down.

[colour=#0033cc]"Well, your costume is...well, unique! Certainly not something you see often. And thank you for the compliment! I really had to go all out on it, but it's really just Miss Rarity's fabulous work that makes me look-"[/colour] He struggled to find the word, [colour=#0033cc]"agreeable."[/colour]

Just then, Chrysalis showed up and scared Valen senseless, he attempted to skitter away but once more lost his footing, his shoes marking vicious hits on the floor with a high rate of clap-clap-clicks. He fell forward into a mirror, which due to its strength was able to resist the colt's fall. However, he knocked his head hard and reflexively tried to pull back, which meant another click-clap of his hooves before he fell backwards, smacking his head against the ground. It took several moments for him to come back up and now the mirrors' games were doubly vexing, his vision woozy and forcing him to double the already wild assortment of Sapphire Shores' he she saw.

"Wow, certainly a big crowd tonight!" Valen Sapphire Shores said, before belting out a song. He was an awful singer and Celestia knew how loud he was, but to his her ears, it was just like when he she first recorded it. Then just as quickly as it came, it went.

"SUUUUUNRIIII-....[colour=#0033cc]owww, my head hurts,[/colour]" Valen said, rubbing a sizeable bump that claimed the back of his head. He gave an embarassed chuckle; having come back in the middle of a pop ballad by Sapphire Shores wasn't exactly masculine.

[colour=#0033cc]"Sooo...where are you heading to next?"[/colour]

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Maple giggled at the compliment. [colour=red]"Yeah, it is a little goofy, isn't it? Well, it's my first Nightmare Night ever, so I decided to go all out!"[/colour]

Suddenly, another alicorn with holes in her, well, everything popped up, along with a whole platoon of giant dragonflies! Maple wasn't entirely sure if this was a pony everypony liked, musing wether this was a "trick" or a "treat". Her question was answered when everypony tumbled to the floor, whimpering in submission. This brave (or maybe just uninformed) little waffle remained the last one standing, going as far as asking this stranger: [colour=red]"Hi! Are you a trick or a treat?"[/colour]

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Well that explained it. She was galloping in fear from Changelings. Penumbra had been well awake for the invasion of Canterlot, the chaos and near consumption of the emotions that she held near and dear by the ministrations of a cartoony villain's plan to consume emotions that ponies held near and dear. The experience as a whole had been quite traumatic, on top of involving a lot of galloping from the exact things she was galloping away from now. It did not behoove the Queen of the Night to run from the Queen of the Changelings, but Penumbra wasn't in the mood to maintain character when she was reminded of a terrifying experience in her recent past. The mirrors vexed her, constantly showed rather morbid images of what she'd look like when the little beasts were done with her.

Half galloping half flying now, wings beating witch each cadence of her hooves, Penumbra rounded the final corner toward the exit. Ah, knowing this exhibit from previous years had turned out to help her significantly. She had left behind a couple of her sweets in her rush, but that was hardly the concern now. She did a dive and a skid, flying through the air at top speed to escape the mirrored halls. When she was outside, she glanced back. They were gone, probably another of the houses tricks. A bit low, considering how actually horrifying that event had been, but Penumbra smiled all the same. She was dusty, sweaty, her costume was now a smear of what had once been intimidating make-up. This was shaping up to be a great Nightmare Night. Penumbra threw a salute at the entryway of the hall, laughed out, [colour=#808080]"Let's do this again next year, Queen!"[/colour]

[colour=#000000]Penumbra shuddered as she trotted away. [/colour][colour=#808080]"Okay, I take that back..."[/colour]

[colour=#808080]

-1 Candy

[/colour]

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Fire Heart now preoccupied with her Princess like reflection was unaware of the others running away. Suddenly her reflection changed to that of none other that Queen Chrysalis!

[colour=#FF0000]"Aaaah," [/colour]Fire screamed as she burst into flames and ran away. She was desperate to get out of the confusing maze as more changelings showed up in the mirrors. Finally she saw the exiot and made a break for it.

[colour=#FF0000]"Phew! That was a close one," [/colour]Fire said as she extinguished her flames, [colour=#FF0000]"On to the next event!"[/colour]

(-1 candy)

(No ponies or changlings were burned during the spontaneous combustion of Fire Heart!)

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The spaghetti Westerner started orienting himself as he traversed the reflective corridors, finally starting to measure out where the walkways were and where the mirrors would try to trick him. It seemed like getting lost would be the last thing to happen now as he made his way through. Only...now he couldn't remember where he had been through the house of mirrors. It would probably be a while before he found the exit from the maze had it not been for a certain pony-like being who descended upon him from an unexpected direction. He turned around to see who he thought was in costume.

[colour=#ff0000]"Oh, hello. Very nice costume. I must say, you got the legs perfect and there doesn't seem to be a single visible seam anywhere on thi--"[/colour] He stopped when he poked the leg and didn't feel fabric or anything ponies usually made costumes out of. He looked upon the Changeling queen and realized why she looked so much like Chrysalis: it was her!

[colour=#ff0000]"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"[/colour] Harrington shrieked as he sprinted out of the maze at breakneck speeds and fled the attraction grounds. No way was he going to fall under some Changeling's spell, especially not the queen's!

(Candy: -1. Great. I owe the mod a piece of candy.)

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Silver looked around in slight fear. She was already lost, as she had drifted off both physically and mentally, and had lost sense of direction as she wandered around absent-mindedly. She didn't find any mirrors that inspired quite the fear she had expected from Nightmare Night, and as such would have to lie if she said she wasn't disappointed. Then, of course, she heard various screams throughout the house. This unnerved her quite a bit, and Silver began nervously walking around, only to enter a more spacious area of the maze.

Silver glanced around, realizing in a panic that more than half the mirrors showed a much more twisted version of herself, with hideous insectoid features and holes in her legs. Then she bumped into one of the insects, and realized that it was a changeling.[colour=#808080] "EEEP!" [/colour]She let out a yelp as she turned and ran, only to run smack dab into another one. For a few brief moments of terror, no matter which way she turned, there was a changeling in every direction. Silver let out another yell.

[colour=#808080]"They're- they're everywhere... EVERYWHERE!!!"[/colour]

Somehow her scream attracted the peak of horror itself as she whirled around to come face-to-face-in-several-mirrors with the Queen of the Changelings herself. It took all of two seconds for her to start bolting, as she heard laughter behind her. She didn't stop for anything, or anymirror. She just hightailed it out of the house of mirrors. Only when she was outside did she stop. Inbetween deep breaths and pants, she started chuckling. A chuckle grew into laughter as she walked off, and she spoke aloud, thinking nopony would really notice (or care; either/or).

[colour=#696969]"And that's how you kick off a Nightmare Night! Let the games begin!"[/colour]

[colour=#696969](-1 candy)[/colour]

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