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Nightmare Night at Fluttershy's Cottage


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Nightmare Night is large event in Ponyville every year. Ponies dress up in costumes, play games, and get scared, all for the fun of it. Almost the entire town participates. Almost...

However, in one little cottage on the edge of the town, there are never any lights or decorations on this night. If anypony were to knock, no pony would answer, or would get the door slammed on their nose. Most foals knew to avoid the cottage; they'd get no candy there. But this year, something was different.

Lights shown from the windows. The door was open, and the smells of something cooking drifted out. In fact, there was even a pumpkin, seemingly carved with an inexperienced hoof, lit from within with a candle. The most unusual thing, however, was that the cottage's owner was actually sitting outside, a bowl of candy near at hoof.

Fluttershy looked a bit uncomfortable in her costume, a cute little white bunny, but the timid pegasus was there, facing her fears. A hoof-lettered sign hung near the carved pumpkin, stating "Nightmare Night Animal Performance Tonight!"

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Some ponies would say that dressing up as a wrapped candy bar on Nightmare Night was one of the most unimaginative things to do. Others would probably declare it as witty social commentary about a social festival based around the collection and future consumption about processed sweets. In the case of Derpy Hooves, the actual pegasus wearing the candy bar outfit… she just plain liked candy, so why not make a chocolate bar costume and wear it?

So far, Derpy had earned a decent haul, but nothing too impressive. Eager for more sweets, the young mare intended to next head over to Fluttershy’s cottage on the outskirts of town to see if her fellow pegasus had any candy. Last year Derpy came by, Fluttershy never answered the front door… maybe because the animal caretaker somehow couldn’t hear anypony knocking on it. But this time around, Derpy had a new plan!

Sneaking from the backyard, the gray goofball pegasus did her best not to knock any bird houses down with her cumbersome costume as she creeped through the backyard. Once Derpy made it to the backdoor, she made her move. *KNOCK* *KNOCK* *KNOCK* “Anypony home?” the mare cried out, not immediately figuring out that the smell of something cooking meant someone was there; “Trick-or-treat.....?”

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"Bye Nanny! I'll see you later!" Gold Standard neighed, waving at his guardian Miss Piccafilly who left him near the entry road to Fluttershy's cottage. Miss Piccafilly knew that Gold was a lover of animals and that Fluttershy's event would be well supervised. The young unicorn colt was dressed like his favorite magical hero, Starswirl the Bearded, in his wizard's role, hat and fake beard. Walking over to the cottage door, he noticed what looked like a giant chocolate bar with legs and wings knocking on the front door. Gold couldn't help but giggle but kept it down to be polite to whoever was in that costume.

"Hello there, er, chocolate bar? I'm Starswirl the Bearded! Greatest wizard of them all! May I open that door for you?"

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The small unicorn was rather excited and nervous to be so far away from home, but the cottage looked safe, and the mare in the adorable bunny costume looked so very friendly! He walked over, seeing her sign "Hello..." Tiny's ears pinned back softly in hesitation "So an..an animal show? I like shows, when does it start? And if I'm not too rude for asking? What is that wonderful smell?" It smelled really good and his stomach gurgled, the train ride here ofcourse didn't have food and he had foolishly forgotten to dine before he came.

He heard voices and frowned "I think..someone's trying to break in through your back door Miss..."

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Ah, Nightmare Night! It had to be one of Lyra Heartstrings' absolute favorite days of the entire year! It encouraged artistry and theatrics and moreover you always ended up with lots of delicious candy when the night was through. It was like pure concentrated fun and Lyra couldn't say she even began to understand critics of the delightful holiday.

Lyra took the day quite seriously and always put effort into her costumes. She thought dressing up was a fun thing to do in general. Fancy dresses, masks, costumes, there were few things quite so rewarding. Normally Lyra's tastes in costumes went toward the esoteric. She favored classic, old fashioned garbs like those of the roaming bards and troubadours from the age of Starswirl. For Nightmare Night, however, she was a firm believer that the holiday should stay rooted in the horror and macabre. It was things dark and uncertain that lead to the day, after all, and when else was dressing up in scary outfits and scaring other ponies actually encouraged?

Considering this, Lyra always dressed up as some kind of monster or ghoul for Nightmare Night. A couple years back she had been quite proud of her mummy costume; this year she had something else in mind. She had crafted from a number of old rugs a quite elaborate giant monster slug costume, inspired by a terrible old science fiction story she remembered reading several years ago. All said and done, she supposed it still kinda looked she was draped a bunch of old carpets, but she thought the rubber head and mask with its many tendrils looked creepy enough, as did the rubber mouth filled with sharp teeth located just below chest level. All the carpet was pretty heavy, so Lyra couldn't move very fast and had to just sort of creep slowly around, and sometimes her hooves were visible under the carpet since it wasn't long enough, but she was still confident she could strike some pretty good terror into the hearts of her fellow ponies.

That being her mission, Lyra decided the best place to start was with the easiest. Fluttershy was the most timid mare in all of Equestria. She was the ideal starting candidate for any aspiring disciple of fright. Eager to set the night off on the right hoof, Lyra departed for Fluttershy's cottage. When she finally arrived on the scene, somewhat exhausted already from her heavy and quite hot costume, she was very much surprised. Out front there was a sign about an animal performance. Fluttershy doing an animal performance was nothing out of the ordinary; the shy mare was the best at that, able to get her animals to do just about anything. The surprise was that the mare was doing anything for Nightmare Night at all. She didn't usually come out at all during the holiday. Huh. Maybe she was finally coming out of her shell a little!

Whatever the case, after considering it a moment, Lyra decided the best course to really get Fluttershy good would be to try and sneak in the back. Lumbering around the cottage, she came to a pause when she happened to spy two ponies hanging off of Fluttershy's back door, perhaps with the same idea to surprise. One was a colt dressed as Starswirl, the other was a mare that Lyra was unfortunately all too familiar with. The one called Derpy had done far too much of late to get on Lyra's bad side. She was a walking disaster who wrecked everything she touched, including Lyra's sweet Bonnie's bonbon cart. Lyra wasn't feeling especially forgiving toward the chocolate bar costumed mare just yet either. That just made it all the more perfect though! If she could scare Derpy silly, it'd be an awesome bit of payback.

Creeping out from the shadows, Lyra made her slow approach toward the cottage and the ponies before it. Right when she was behind them, she gave a loud and unearthly roar as she lumbered toward them while her tendril covered slug head swayed meancingly, "RRRRRAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! KKKKRRRRRRAAAAAAH!"
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Nightmare night, what fright! One just might have to have something to bite, as long as no one is dressed as a kite. Rhyming had always been one of Aselia favorite things in the world. With Nightmare night being one of her favorite nights of the year, she was trying to find words that rhymed with night. She loved the word games she played in her head, it helped to pass the time. As she made her way through Nightmare night she noticed an enticing aroma calling her name and quickly made her way towards the source of it. Aselia was dressed as her favorite super villain from the comic BatStallion. She was Harley Quinn, one of the enemies of BatStallion and was quite thrilled with her costume. It had white lace around her neck, with dark red and black all over it. Parts of her hooves, legs, and her flank were black while her chest, the other parts of her legs, and a trio of diamonds on her back legs were dark red. The costume was fairly accurate to the one in the actual comic.

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Aselia followed the smell to a few ponies in costume. The smell she found was completely forgotten about as she saw a large slug, or a costume of a large slug. Aselia giggled as she heard the pony trying to scared the others that were around the butter yellow pegasus sitting on the porch. "That's quite a good costume you have there." She giggled at the 'slug-monster'.

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As Gold Standard continued to watch the winged giant chocolate bar knock on the back door, the colt's ears picked up voices coming from in front of the cottage.

"Er, excuse me, chocolate bar? I think we're at the wrong entrance. I'm going to walk around the other side and see what I can find."

The golden unicorn colt wearing a Starswirl the Bearded outfit galloped around the front to see other ponies gathering, and Fluttershy wearing a bunny costume.

"Ah! This is much better!" he neighed as he walked up to the group.

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Pathfinder was creatively bankrupt, or so it seemed to ponies that weren't incredibly awesome seasoned Daring Do fanfillies and/or adventurers. She lived her whole life focused on one ideal and one focus that anything outside of it was a mystery. Not even a good mystery, but a boring, non-Daring Do related slog of boredom. So Nightmare Night became a real nightmare for her because, well, she HAD to dress up and yet the most popular costume was one that she had basically been forbidden to wear that night because it was the one night a year she had to wear something DIFFERENT! DIFFERENT WAS BAD. AHHHHHH.

Luckily, she had many cool ideas. She had gone as a carrot-armored pony, but the carrot-armor was annoying to create as it had meant tangling with angry carrot farmers. The same went for her squash armor and bagel armor. In the end, not so cost effective. Then she had went as a big bannana but that felt awkward and she caused a house to collapse somehow. This year, she endeavored to endure the crummy day in clothing that wouldn't reduce her surrounding to rubble nor the same to her self-esteem.

After many seconds of painstaking research while in Stalliongrad during a date with Snowfall, she decided on the perfect costume. The most perfect one day costume of all time. She would go AS Snowfall! It was a brilliant idea that took only an hour of convincing too get to the crux of the matter and by the end of the day she had escaped with her stolen, or more accurately borrowed after pleading for a while, clothes of choice. She had then stopped not far from Ponyville where the biggest and best Nightmare Night party was held and went to work for a full twelve hours. She had to undo the whole body dye and mane dye so she went back to her boring normal color and then dyed her mane to match the beautiful and long flowing locks of Snowfall, which actually matched her normal coat color. Then her coat all white, beautiful. Then she put on her fillyfriend's darling but adventure-proof shoes. She capped it off with Snowy's long and light black dress with the pompous furls up front. She looked ravishing, like a snowflake on Snowfall in a snowstorm.

She then flew 'cross to Ponyville, but along the way of looking fine and flying not so high she noticed that the cottage she passed by and occasionally tossed rocks at on account of thinking it was haunted was lit up like Hearths Warming Eve. Oops. Well, might as well stop bye and apologize. worst case scenario, who'd believe it was a CEO from Stalliongrad who was responsible for throwing rocks at a cottage? Pathfinder flew down to the cottage with a smile.

"Heyo! Wow, looks like a party down here, huh?"

OOC- http://gyazo.com/1c2bac579526aff2a71b198b2463423d

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[Aw I feel left out not having a cool picture for my character :/ so um here: post-4054-0-79555700-1341246652_thumb.pn

Moonlite frost looked over her Nightmare Moon costume, she was tall enough that it suited her well, and her coat was a goot midnight purple shade suiting it well too! Some might find it odd, her choice in costume, but she enjoyed it, truely there was no Nightmare Night without one Nightmare Moon costume, right? She had used a spell to make it seem as if some stars were lightly twinkling in her hair and gave it a more transparent look, it had taken her all month to get that spell down but now her mane and tail look amazing. She had, of course, gotten an amazing, hand crafted false armor set to resemble Nightmare Moon's armor, and now she was set! And as she wandered through town she spotted the cottage far off, she had never noticed it before and had to see what it was all about. With haste, she made her way across the grass field and soon approached the house, making sure the false wings were still at her side she pulled them into a retracted position by her side and slowly approached.

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Derpy Hooves should have known better than to sneak around alone on a dark and scary night alone. Instantly turning around, the pegasus saw the most fearsome sight anypony could eyewitness; a CARPET MONSTER! Through dark magic, a pile of rugs must have been given an equine form and a nasty rubber head. Now, it appeared that an army of inanimate objects had arisen to conquer the world, and Derpy was going to be their very first victim! Oh the equinity!!!

And so the terrified young mare did what anypony would logically do if attacked by a carpet monster. “AIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Derpy screamed at the top of her lungs, scrambling to save herself but only managed to get backed towards the backdoor; “Somepony save me! I don’t wanna’ become an old rug!” Trying to shield her googly-eyed face from a ghastly fate with a foreleg, the gray pegasus didn’t notice anypony else arriving on the scene.....

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The first pony to approach Fluttershy that night was a short unicorn colt. He appeared nervous, but rattled off a series of questions.

"So an..an animal show? I like shows, when does it start? And if I'm not too rude for asking? What is that wonderful smell?"

The pegasus smiled at the colt as she answered. "Oh yes, all of my pets are going to put on a show for everypony! We just need to wait for enough ponies to show up, then we can start!." The mare then took a smell of the air herself. "And that's just some stew cooking for anypony that gets, uh, cold! When they're watching the show I mean," she said.

Before she could offer the colt some of the candy, he said,

"I think..someone's trying to break in through your back door Miss..."

A dark look crossed the face of the yellow pegasus. Then she was off like a shot, wings flared as she tore through the interior of the cottage. She threw open the back door just in time to see a pony that seemed to be covered in rugs roaring at a candy-bar dressed pony. She glared at the rug-pony with the mask for a moment before recoiling with a shriek. "EEEEEKK!" Fluttershy dropped to the floor, covering her face with her hooves. She cowered there for a moment, before uncovering one eye. She glanced around quickly, before looking back at the two ponies with a sigh of relief. She stood, holding a hoof to her chest. "That was, um, scary." she said to the rug pony. "But, um, you're supposed to be around front... The show is not ready yet, and ponies... everypony is supposed to wait in the front." As an afterthought, she added, "Um if that's OK with you."

Fluttershy exited the cottage and shut the door behind her. She rounded the cottage, her eyes darting until they reached the front again. The little unicorn colt had been joined by another dressed in a wizard hat and beard, and a filly in harlequin. There was also a... business mare? The mare flew down, asking about a party, but didn't appear to be wearing a costume... strange.

Fluttershy was briefly taken aback as another pony arrived. This filly was all in black, with a horn and wings. Fluttershy seem to stare at her for a moment before calming. Nothing wrong here. She then looked up at the assembled group of ponies. "Ok, everypony. you can step forward if you want some candy, but please stay here! Our show is about to start, but my pets need more time to gets things ready! Um, if that's OK with you."
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Aselia was excited to say the least. She felt like a little filly on her first nightmare night, well she was acting like a filly, but she was glad to have this bit of nostalgia. Perhaps her friend, Time Spinner was feeling nostalgic too, though knowing him he was probably having the pants scared off of him right now. Wait...animals? On a night like tonight they were bound to be scary, this was going to be a blast for sure. "Sure is okay with us!" Aselia said rather energetic to the butter yellow pegasus.

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. “AIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Somepony save me! I don’t wanna’ become an old rug!”

Perfect score! Under all the carpets, Lyra clapped her hooves on the ground in glee. She had frightened the stuffing out of that big careless silly Derpy and she had done it in style. She started to laugh gleefully, gloating in the glorious moment. Bonnie would be proud of payback this exquisite.

"EEEEEKK! But, um, you're supposed to be around front... The show is not ready yet, and ponies... everypony is supposed to wait in the front. Um if that's OK with you."

Woo! And Fluttershy was there as well with perfect timing. Double scare! Lyra Heartstrings, costume genius, was on a roll tonight. She was eager to get to more scares, but at this point she supposed she was curious. Fluttershy never did anything for Nightmare Night! This was a special moment for the mare; Lyra needed to do her part to support her and encourage her so that in time she'd understand how totally great and fun the day can be. If it was a Fluttershy animal show, it was sure to be awesome anyway. Lyra supposed she could put off her scare game for a while and watch a show.

"Sure is, Fluttershy! Looking forward to it," Lyra spoke, her voice kind of reverberating under the costume.

"That's quite a good costume you have there."

She then noticed a pony she didn't know, dressed as a familiar Batstallion villainess, who had approached to compliment her costume. "Thanks a lot! I put a lot of work into making the lurking horror look just amazing! Costume's really heavy and hot to wear though," she said, ending on a sigh.

Having spoken, she began to creep back toward the front of the cottage to join the rest of the group to see the show. In addition to those she had seen previously, she noticed a Nightmare Moon and a couple of ponies who weren't really wearing costumes. One was a small male unicorn, the other was a beautiful pegasus mare in a lovely black dress. She was probably the most outlandish looking there, even with Derpy dressed as a candy bar. As she made her slow approach to meet the others, a wild hair told her to capitalize on this with another attempt at scares. She prepared another of her best alien slug monster roars:

"RRRRRAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! KKKKRRRRRRAAAAAAH!"

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"Thank you, Miss Fluttershy," Gold Standard said as the Starswirl the Bearded dressed unicorn colt levitated some of the offered candy into his bag. Suddenly, he heard a familiar sound coming from behind the cottage.

"I know that voice, AH! That's Miss Derpy Hooves! She must've been the one dressed like a chocolate bar! She must've got quite a scare!"

Since the show wasn't going to start yet, Gold decided to try to strike up a conversation with the other waiting costumed ponies.

"Hello everypony! I'm Gold Standard, visiting your fair city from Canterlot. As you can see, my hero is Starswirl the Bearded! How are all of you tonight?"

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"EEEEEKK! But, um, you're supposed to be around front... The show is not ready yet, and ponies... everypony is supposed to wait in the front. Um if that's OK with you."

After several moments, Derpy Hooves realized that… nothing happened to her. She still inhabited the body of a pegasus instead of the form of a dilapidated carpet, meaning that Carpet Monster wasn’t real at all! Uncovering her eyes, the goofball mare finally saw the hooves under all those rugs… Lyra Heartstring’s hooves. “Ah ha ha!” Derpy laughed in relief; “Nice one, Lyra. You sure had me scared for a moment.” Bringing out her concealed candy bag, the walking Chocolate Bar dug through it and threw a couple random pieces of candy Lyra’s way; “I think you deserve these; you’ve earned it.” The young mare extremely enjoyed Lyra’s company; they really should hang out together more often than they have recently.

Right now however, Miss Hooves needed to go back to the front of the cottage so that Fluttershy could prepare for her show. Acknowledging Fluttershy with a nod, Derpy proceeded to make her way through the cottage as a shortcut. Only one thing though: every time she tried trotting inside, something kept her from entering, like there was some sort of force field barring her passage. Not seeing that her wrapped chocolate bar costume was simply way too wide for the small door, Derpy fruitlessly tried pushing her way through the entry portal, but always to no avail. “Uhhh,” she called upon giving up; “Any help here.....?”

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Fluttershy began handing out candy to the assembled ponies, smiling all the while. She counted the heads, coming up with smaller numbers than she would have liked, but hopefully it would be enough... Wait... somepony was missing... She looked around, trying to figure out who it was, while hiding the frown forming on her face. She didn't even notice when the pony in the rugs, Lyra, used her fake roar again. Then she heard a voice coming from inside of the cottage!

“Uhhh, Any help here.....?”

Derpy... that's what the colt in the wizard costume had called her. The pegasus in the chocolate costume was still in back of the cottage! Fluttershy gritted her teeth for a moment. Then, remembering the gathered ponies, she stopped, smoothed her expression, and said. "Um, excuse me for a moment, if that's OK with you." Then, there was a streak of pink tail and fake white fur as Fluttershy rounded the cottage once again.

Derpy was trying to force her way through the back door, again, but this time she was being hung up by her over-sized costume. Fluttershy, her patience eroding, grabbed Derpy's blonde tail in her teeth and pulled her back from the door. She then closed the door again, making sure it was locked this time, before rounding on the gray pegasus. "Everypony is supposed to be around front!" she said, her voice almost a growl. Then, remembering herself, she added, in a calmer tone, "Please follow me this time... if that's OK with you."

Fluttershy made sure that Derpy was following her this time as she once again rounded the cottage, on hoof this time. She moved back to the candy bowl, and said to the others "I'm very sorry about that, everypony," putting a small smile back on her muzzle. "My pets really want this to be a surprise, so I need everypony to wait here until they have everything ready!" With all these interruptions, the preparations in back were probably behind. She'd have to keep talking to everypony to keep them here and keep them interested. She could ask about the costumes! At that, her eyes were drawn to the pegasus mare in the dress. Confused, Fluttershy asked her "Um, what is your costume supposed to be, miss?"
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Pathfinder wasn't in awe of the costumes around her or anything, even if she did appreciate a good cosplay. Heck, what other way did she live? First she lived most of her life wearing Daring Do, now she was wearing Snowfall. Snowy should have a convention herself, but it wouldn't be conventional to hold a convention celebrating a single businesspony, but conventions were about the most unconventional thing possible! Point was, she wasn't flipping her lid over the creativity expressed around her, even if some of it was impressive and worthy of a legendary journeypony's note.

The carpet slug monster was her favorite though, especially when she scared the dickens out of a random passerby slash potential criminal just by giving out a good old fashioned fun ROAR. Ponies didn't get into character often enough for Pathfinder's tastes, content to play boring to the world at large when within them all was a the beating heart of an artist. This silly unicorn certainly got into hers, swaying back and forth and roaring about in her costume. Slug monsters were normally sneaky, scary foes whom she had assigned D10+ telepathy in her D20 game about her life that she was going to call Pathfinder- a unique name if she ever heard one- but the dreaded carpet monster was so much worse! It existed everywhere and was super evil. A carpet slug monster was a unique cosplay, even if she'd have to send a cease and desist once she was an ultra billionaire game making phenom. Crushing dreams was part of the job description, right?

HAHA JUST KIDDING. It was cool.

"I like that costume! One time in Maredrid I met a cloud carpet that tried to smother me, and in the Crystal Caves of the Caribou I was almost done in by a slug-caribou! Combining it is preeeeeeeeety cool. Have you ever fought one?" Pathfinder asked the mare, caressing the costume excitedly and flittering about jabbering about nothing.

She'd be fine with cosplay of her totally unique characters and stuff. Who would be lame to think otherwise? Speaking of completely not lame things, candy bars were awesome. And the candy bar pony was the best of them all, even if she seemed to e scared by everything. Pathfinder didn't hesitate to help her out though when she came back out, being led by Fluttershy.

"Psssh, filly, if you wanna break into this place you gotta use the chimney! She- they never clean it. You'd think pegasi would think of that, but they don't! Griffons do. They like to put spears at the bottom at night to deter criminals. I found that out the hard way. But since this is a super cool nightmare night party, probably don't wanna upset the host. Unless she has secret treasures. Do you have secret treasures?" Pathfinder asked Fluttershy, turning her attention without a missing beat to the shy pegasus, who in turn was confused by Pathfinder's costume.

Pssssssssssssssssssssh, who DIDN'T KNOW Snowy? She was only the fifth most powerful CEO in Stalliongrad, duh! Not knowing her name and face and legs and tail and mane and hooves and smile and smarts and flying skill and heart and soul and the feel of her kiss and the feel of her hugs and her favorite color and book and teleplay and position and breath and cuddle ability and dance moves and favorite Daring Do one-true ship and writing style and business dealings should have amounted to a harsher sentence than what Pathfinder was willing to dole out to the clueless Fluttershy. Snowfall forgive her!

"I'm Snowfall! CEO of Northern Storm Industries and the best fillyfriend this side of Tartarus! She's sweet and kind and super beautiful, so instead of going as an orange like I had planned on going as, I'm going as her! I even matched the timber of her voice! See, see, look-" She pitched up, coughing as she hovered a few inches off the ground and assumed an authoritarian stance, "I do not agree to sign this contract, and by Bravado's fetlocks I declare this a hostile takeover!" Pathfinder finished, elbowing Fluttershy.

"Good, huh?!?"

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“Ah ha ha! Nice one, Lyra. You sure had me scared for a moment. I think you deserve these; you’ve earned it.”

Lyra glared at Derpy under her heavy mask, even as she took the candy. Did she seriously think this would even begin to make things even for the havoc she had wrought? Well it wouldn't! Seriously, this pony. Still, the succesful scare had Lyra pretty satisfied. She was content to not push the gray pegasus around much more.

"I'm very sorry about that, everypony, My pets really want this to be a surprise, so I need everypony to wait here until they have everything ready!"

As Fluttershy explained that her pets weren't yet ready, Lyra nodded. When it came to Fluttershy working with animals, both the animals and Fluttershy tended to want perfection. It wasn't so unusual at all that there'd be some delay to it.

"Sounds great, Fluttershy. I'm sure once everything's ready it's gonna be awesome! You really do have a way with animals, after all," she said cheerfully.

"I like that costume! One time in Maredrid I met a cloud carpet that tried to smother me, and in the Crystal Caves of the Caribou I was almost done in by a slug-caribou! Combining it is preeeeeeeeety cool. Have you ever fought one?"

Lyra smiled at this unusual pony dressed so very not unusually as some business mare that nopony there had heard of went on about slug caribou and cloud carpets and stuff. It was pretty interesting. Lyra supposed there was still lots of crazy cool stuff she needed to see!

"Well, actually, my costume is supposed to be the alien from The Lurking Horror, a sci-fi story I read a few years ago about a slug monster from beyond the stars that came to Equestria in a spaceship and ate a bunch of ponies, mostly teenage fillies and colts who were trying to have fun. It was really, really bad," Lyra explained, managing to talk as fast and as excitedly as this other pony. "And while I can't say I've fought a slug-caribou or anything like that, there was one time where I was brainwashed by an evil changeling queen after somehow being named bridesmaid to some princess I'd never met before," she related one of her more unusual adventures with a goofy smile.

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"Everypony is supposed to be around front! .......Please follow me this time... if that's OK with you."

Woah; did Fluttershy just snarl at Derpy? Fluttershy never showed anger to anypony, so it seemed very peculiar for her to get mad for having to lead the gray pegasus the right way. Still, maybe all she needed was a bit of gratitude to cheer back up; "Err, thanks Fluttershy. Maybe next time, I should wear my candy bar costume longways. I wouldn't get caught in doorways that way!"

While Derpy Hooves waited for the show to begin, a pegasus trick-or-treater in a pretty dress gave her advice on how to break into a house. "But wait!" exclaimed the confused googly-eyed mare; "Isn't it wrong to-?" Too late; the other pegasus decided to go explain her Snowfall costume to Fluttershy. Ah well; at least Derpy could grab some of the animal caretaker's candy while waiting for the performance to begin.....

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Gold Standard walked over to collect some candy. Even though he and his Starswirl the Bearded costume were largely being ignored tonight, Gold could hardly blame anypony seeing all of these other more dazzling pony costumes! The unicorn colt was about to comment on them when the familiar form of a huge chocolate bar finally made her way to the front of the house.

"Hello Miss Hooves!" Gold neighed, "I see you made it up here at last! Great outift, I really had no idea it was you until I heard your voice. The show's going to be starting soon, are you doing alright now?"

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Moonlite frost had been sitting near the back of the crowd, it seemed as if most ponies knew eachother, this was one downside to being a Canterlot resident, she knew nopony down here, so she sat and waited.

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Fluttershy watched, confused, as the mare in the business dress went on about the places she had been, and the monsters she had supposedly fought. Were any of those things even real? She'd never even heard of Maredrid, let alone a 'slug-caribou.' Then, the mare went on to explain her costume. Ok, she was dressed as... her filly friend? That was just... strange. This pony seemed to be a bit unstable, but if she had a filly friend, she could still be useful...

"Um, yes... that was... good..." Fluttershy answered to the strange mare's question.

The unicorn in the carpets complemented Fluttershy on her 'way with animals.' Fluttershy smiled slightly, looking as though she had appreciated it. She rambled on almost as rapidly as 'Snowfall,' but at least her story was from something in a book. The unicorn then mentioned something about being brainwashed by a changeling. That was very interesting...

The little wizard pony, Gold Standard, and Derpy were both helping themselves to some of the candy, when a whistle sounded from behind the cottage. It sounded like a bird, but the pitch was slightly off... Fluttershy's smile get wider, but it somehow didn't reach her eyes...

"Oh! That's means everything is ready!" she called out. "Now, every pony follow me, if that's OK with you." She motioned to the little filly dressed as a dark alicorn who was sitting a bit away from the group. "Come on, everypony this way!" she said as she lead them back.

At the back of the cottage was little stage that seemed to be made, poorly, out of scrap wood. The curtain seemed to be more patches than the original fabric. There was a space in front of the little stage for ponies to sit. The area behind the seating area was lined with animal carriers and cages, most of which hung open. Most of the cages were small, but many were large enough for a pony.

Fluttershy stood in front of the stage, watching as the ponies filed in and found seats. Good, everypony was here this time. "Ok everypony," she announced. "The show is about to begin! Um, if that's OK with you." She paused, waiting for hoof stomps to fade away. "Now, I want everypony to count backwards from 5!" she said to the audience. "Ready? 5! 4! 3! 2! 1!" On one, Fluttershy kicked the stage with a hoof.

The curtains on the stage parted, revealing... changelings! Several of the black carapaced creatures flew out, surrounding the ponies on the ground. With a flash of green, the figure that had been Fluttershy was suddenly a changeling as well! Incongruously, she still wore the white bunny costume and ears... The changelings pushed forward, forcing the ponies back toward the cages!.

The changeling in the bunny costume homed in on Derpy. "Thisss one isss bothersssome! Ssshe nearly ruined the entire thing!" the creature hissed. The changeling forced the pegasus backward into one of the cages... where her costume became stuck again... The other changelings were locking ponies into the cages, but the chocolate bar costume was too wide to fit through the doorway. "Take that ssstupid thing off!" the changeling ordered.

The changeling listened as the sounds from nearby Ponyville turned from festival music to screams of terror. She smiled wickedly. All was proceeding according to the Queen's plan...
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Pathfinder.png

Thank Celestia's brilliant blue ribbons of hope that something awesome was about to happen! Pathfinder hadn't been necessarily upset at the idea of a boring old holiday excursion, but she hadn't been thrilled at the thought either! The best option in most cases was the option that got her within sight distance of adventure or treasure, hopefully both. She wasn't picky as long as it was an adventure with danger and peril and other super cool things. She may have been dressed as the world's greatest businessmare who also happened to have the best bod north of Manehattan, but her heart was all adventure.

And what a cool adventure was on hoof now. Changelings were pretty cool enemies to fight, she believed. Wasn't like she had ever run into one, but any species with the tail to tangle with the Princesses in the seat of their power was worthy to adventure against. But if somepony like Fluttershy was taken, what did that mean? She was a member of the Elements of Harmony. Maybe it was just her, but as the sounds of screaming started to stream in from town she realized it wasn't isolated. Which meant that it must have involved others- maybe all of the Elements? If that was the case then this was awesome! They could have an adventure where they have to save all of them before the changeling queen makes changelings out of everypony in Equestria! Finally! Yay!

Pathfinder shot up out of the seat, tossing her mane. She was still dressed as Snowfall, after all.

"Ha! If you think a bunch of BUGS are gotta be putting THIS mare in a cage, then you don't know a thing about Pathfinder!" She started so full of bluster, but she was not dealing with losers. As she spoke, a second group came from the sky, and one of them got the jump on her. Sort of, anyway. At the last moment the difference in air current told her something was coming from behind, and Pathfinder turned to see that the changeling was upon her. In a flash of movement the two tangled going to the ground Pathfinder getting the better as the two switched positions. The changeling landed on the ground, Pathfinder on top and feet on top in a buck that sent the changeling several feet deep into the ground, launching Pathfinder like a missile back above.

"Come on, gimme something harder or I'm gonna have to get our my FLYSWATTER!"

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Goid Standard was smart enough to realize that this 'display of force' by the fake Fluttershy was no mere Nightmare Night prank. This was for real and everyone was now in real danger! The Starswirl the Bearded costumed unicorn colt, a current student of Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, thought back to his training. The number one thing he understood was that THIS was no time to try to be a hero. They were outnumbered, and Gold realized he didn't have enough magical training to even attempt to overpower their foes. So, what will he do?

Teleport out and try to find help? Not a good idea since no doubt the changlings were everywhere by now.

Put up a magical force field? No, Gold didn't know how to do that yet.

Try to keep everyone calm? Why bother. No pony was going to listen anything a young colt had to say.

With no other options open, all Gold Standard could do was wait, wait and hope for a miracle.

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"Changelings again? Oh come on!" Lyra started in disbelief as soon as she realized what was happening.

"Fluttershy" had finally decided to start her show and, when the curtain was pulled, a whole bunch of changelings were there waiting. This briefly caused Lyra to wonder if Fluttershy had somehow befriended and changed some changelings to perform for her. This hypothesis quickly crumbled,however, when she realized that for one thing, it was kinda stupid, and for another that Fluttershy had soon turned into a changeling as well. Nope, this was a trap and these were a buncha conning and evil changelings who wanted to capture, brainwash and eat them all, or whatever it is they ultimately did.

Lyra was surprised and there really wasn't so much time to react. Lurking Horrors, it turned out, can only really lurk. Her heavy, carpety costume was her undoing. She couldn't move quick enough to get away and the big, goofy tendril covered rubber slug head was bound to get in the way of any magic she attempted. Nope, all she could do was gawk as some changelings shoved her into a big ol' cage. She was caught,just as she had been in the changeling queen's Canterlot invasion. Seriously, you'd think being captured by changelings was something that'd only happen to a pony once in her life.

"Y'know, giant alien monster slugs make lousy pets," she said through a sigh. "You guys should really just let me go. I promise I won't eat you, if you do!"

Lyra was good at keeping things light and cracking jokes even when things were bleak. Maybe it was a defense mechanism, maybe she just didn't take as much stock in her own well being as she should. Either way, keeping her wits about her was the only way she could keep her mind from the lingering questions of what was happening elsewhere and the regret that accompanied it. She could only hope that somehow, some way, Bon Bon had been spared from all of this.
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