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Sugarcube Coroner: Pinkie's House of Cupcakes!


Rosewind
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Nightmare Night! It was finally here! Pinkie Pie huffed and puffed, putting the finishing touches on Sugarcube "Coroner". She wore a costume this year of...her pet! She was an alligator. To add to the cuteness, she decided to dress Gummy as herself. The toothless alligator wasn't terribly pleased about being dressed as a pink pony. Nevertheless, he clung to the green-scaled tail of her costume. Pinkie had gone all-out, turning her home into a complete, 100% totally, really super-duper scary haunted bakery! The normally warm, striped candles that dotted the bakery roof were replaced with black candles, with flickering green flames. The windows were frosted over with red glaze. The door sat ajar, with misty smoke pluming onto the sidewalk. In the window, a cauldron bubbled and boiled. Haunted treats lined the pastry case and shelves, as fake bats and pony skeletons shaped from old bread dough hung from the ceiling. One of the ovens had a gooey half-baked mass of cake batter spilling out, shaped into a spooky, drooling mouth with candy corn teeth.

However, one thing in particular was extra-extra-extra spooky: the door to the Sugarcube Coroner basement was hinged open, inviting anypony daring enough to go downstairs into the bakery cellar. She hammered a wooden sign in front of the bakery, slathered thickly with sanguine-red paint:

Sugarcube Coroner: Haunted Bakery! Enter if you DAAAAAARE!

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Nightmare Night was the one day of the year where free candy was given to all of those brave enough to face the evening, and Gerrard had always wanted to venture alone into the dark! He was not one for candy, unless jerky was a type of candy, not that ponies really ate meat anyway. The normally black griffon found himself in Ponyville, the home of Equestria's festivities, his form garbed in the disguise of a gravelly gray gargoyle as he perched atop the city's fountain. His claws were further accented and his form further grizzled with tufts of fur and feathers completely disheveled. The hybrid knew that the event wasn't just for youngsters in search of free candy, it was for those who loved pranks and striking fear into the hearts of others! He stood motionless, waiting for inquisitive ponies to investigate before springing his trap on the youngsters, a light screech and wing flap to scatter the crowds!

Like any novice prankster though, he quickly grew tired of the same act and let his golden eyes drift off to the distance. Gerrard spotted numerous ponies entering and leaving the bakery of a certain family and their pink employee. He could hear the occasional scream and the staggered exit of good spirited ponies who seemed pleased with their bounty of candy. The 'gargoyle' dismounted the fountain and glided across the courtyard of the town before landing in front of Sugarcube Corner. His eyes narrowed in distrust, the sign of a good hunter, or so he told himself, while he carefully walked into the home, expecting all manner of dastardly tricks! Gerrard trudged through the spooky smoke and soon found himself inside the lair of a menacing monster! All of the stories pathfinder had told him seemed vaguely plausible, even if he subconsciously knew this was all a ruse to scare him. Black candles, eerie skeletons, candy teeth, perhaps there were members of the occult in ponyville, and they were using this holiday as an avenue to trick enterprising young griffons like himself?

"No, that couldn't be, and even if it were true, it would take a lot more than some scary ponies to capture him," he thought in brave manner, puffing his chest out while he explored the rest of the haunted bakery. The gray painted, horned griffon spotted the morbid entrance to the bakery cellar, and while he knew that it was the folly of all victims, he was required by honor to investigate this den of evil! He maintained his composure and ventured down into the darkness, hoping someone was nearby to record his foolhardy exploits for posterity.

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201px-Crystal_librarian_rejuvenated_S3E1.pngTilly Tome

Tilly Tome traveled all the way from the Crystal Empire to participate in the Nightmare Night festivities. The librarian crystal mare had read up on the legend of Nightmare Night and was eager to see it with her own eyes. She had done extensive research to find just the right costume she wanted to make for herself. After discovering the story of Hearth's Warming Eve, Tilly Tome decided to dress up like one of the characters from the famous play that told it's story. She chose the Smart Cookie outfit because it seemed to be the easiest to make and wear, since Smart Cookie was an Earth pony. Decked out like Smart Cookie, Tilly Tome took to the streets and was amazed at all of the activities going on around her. Then when she saw Sugar Cube Corner, the Crystal Pony thought that was the right place for her.

"My stars! That place looks inviting! Well, since I'm dressed up like Smart Cookie, what better place for me to be than at a bakery?"

As she walked towards the bakery, she looked up to see what looked like a gray gargoyle standing in the doorway in front of her.

"Say there sir," the costumed Crystal Pony spoke, "I must say that is an impressive costume! You really went all out to capture the realistic look of a gargoyle! We have several gargoyle statues around the Crystal Empire Library and I must say, your outfit is very well constructed! My my, you should be entered in a costume contest, you'd be certain to win! Oh my, where are my manners? I'm Tilly Tome, whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?"

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Of all the stupid celebrations ponies made a point of holding throughout the year, Nightmare Night was probably the least incredibly lame. It was a day that celebrated sugary sweets and scary pranks not some sickeningly saccharine sentimental story about harmony. Gilda had found fun time to be had on the day in the past at the very least. Dressing up like some kind of ghoul and spooking the stuffing out of unsuspecting pony dweebs was the kind of thing that could never really get old.

In previous years, Gilda had just applied some dye and fake blood to herself to affect an unworldly undead look. A lot of ponies were a little on edge around griffons anyway, and one with blood dripping from her beak, dead blood shot eyes and eerily glowing feathers was usually enough to inspire fright. This year, despite her underachieving nature, she had opted to put in a little more effort and put together an actual costume. Her lion half was painted black, while her feathers were dyed fire red. Rubber gloves went over her talons which had the appearance of large monstrous claws shaped like an adult dragon's, while similarly black rubber wing covers slipped snugly over her own wings looking something like giant bat wings. The detailed mask was the best (and most expensive) part, however. It was a skeletal pony head but with large black horns. The eye sockets appeared empty but as if they were dripping blood, just as the mouth full of sharpened teeth was. It was seriously freaky and sure to frighten lots of susceptible lame ponies.

With this more elaborate costume, Gilda was pretty quick to decide where to go for her scares too. Ponyville's ponies deserved to be terrorized more than any as far as she was concerned. This was the dumb pony town that had turned Rainbow Dash lame after all. Just for that, all the ponies there deserved whatever Gilda could give. And what pony better to start with than the lamest of the lame? That insufferable Pinkie Pie was the perfect target, and thanks to some handy info, Gilda knew where to find her: the bakery where she worked, Sugarcube Corner.

Gilda had no trouble finding the place, though what she found there wasn't what she had expected. There was a sign advertising a "Haunted Bakery". She supposed it made sense. Lame though she was, Pinkie was a prankster by nature. She was surely the sort to get into the Nightmare Night spirit and set something up special. As she approached, she had to admit the decorations were pretty good too; black candles, red windows, smoke coming out of the door. Still, the griffoness was undeterred.

She breathed in deep, leapt into the bakery and let out her biggest lion's roar, "RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

It was only after her roar was through that she realized the pink pony wasn't in sight. There was just some other griffon, done up as a gargoyle, and one of those weird shiny ponies from that empire place Gilda had heard about. Lame. She gave a shrug and looked around, noting the inside of the Haunted Bakery was as effectively done up as the outside. To the pink one's credit she had some clue how to create a spooky atmosphere.

"Tch. Lame. Where is that pink dweeb? I wanted to make her scream," Gilda started, shaking her head, looking briefly at the others. Her eyes then noticed the hinged open basement door. "Huh. I wonder..." she started as she began to walk toward it.
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Because she lived in the middle of nowhere, on the Nimbusgait lakeshore, nopony ever came to her house for treats. Which was a shame, because Snickerdoodle always had piles of freshly baked cookies around the house. No matter, she would go to where the party was, rather than waiting for it to come to her.

Snickerdoodle was a baker, not a seamstress, so her costume was a simple one. A black cape with a deep hood, drawn low over her face. Unfortunately, she had neglected to cut holes for her wings, so she had carried it in her bag on the flight to Ponyville. Landing on the edge of town, she pulled the cloak from her bag and put it on, then walked the rest of the way in.

She wandered towards the fountain, looking around at all the ponies in costume, and admiring the decorations. She noticed that Sugarcube Corner was really done up well, spooky lighting and smoke drifting into the street. Snickerdoodle hoped that it was from a smoke machine, and not from a cake left too long in the oven.

"Haunted bakery, eh? Sounds like fun. I think I'll go check it out. Maybe the Cakes have some special Nightmarish treats on sale, too!"

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SCARE TIME!!! The Lair of Deadly Creatures finished for the night without many problems, and now Moondancer had liberty to celebrate Nightmare Night as she pleased. When her show ended, the young mare snuck off to a hidden location to take off her Clover working costume and hastily prepare the disguise she really wanted to show the world. For the rest of the festivities, Moony would portray one of the most terrifying characters of all time: Despair, the Great Demon Queen of the Underworld featured in countless tales of horror.

 

The Demon Queen’s literary origins date back a long way, the exact history of which would take too long to adequately explain. The general consensus developed by the literary canon however is that she is the ruler of Tartarus, sealed in that dark world by the Royal Princess Sisters during their many Labours. Ever did Despair try to escape her magical imprisonment; her most favorite method being that of demonic possession of innocent ponies. While many authors made their mark on the legends through subversions and adding on twists, Moony decided to stick to the tried-and-true basics for Her Malevolence.

 

According to Moondancer, the key was to be as otherworldly as possible. The unicorn coated nearly her entire body with a pale, slightly luminescent blue paint (leaving hard-to-see gaps as necessary to prevent suffocation). She also got special contacts for her eyes which hid irises and reflected light, which made ponies think her eye sockets shot out a ghastly white light at all times. Replicating the stench of death frequently associated with the Demon Queen Despair, the mare also applied on her body a custom-purchased fragrance smelling of sewage. Moony’s most clever trick however was adding reverb to her voice; having conducted research on the Royal Canterlot Voice, the mare retooled it for her own purposes and figured out how to give her words an ominous echo. Anypony could look authentic, but that meant nothing without everything else feeling authentic too.

 

With the power of friendship, Moondancer only needed twenty minutes to get her get-up prepared. Shortly thereafter, the eerie Queen of the Doomed hit the streets of Ponyville, looking for places to haunt. A nearby lion’s roar gave the young mare a first target; a venue advertising itself as a “Haunted Bakery”. Moony prepped up a climate control spell, intended for use for archival preservation of perishable documents, but could also be implemented to deliberately induce goosebumps with magically-chilled air. When Moondancer walked inside the dim Bakery, she spied what looked like a griffon-like figure heading towards the basement door. Sensing opportunities for frights, the unicorn’s spooky echoed voice hissed; “GOING SOMEWHERE, MORTAL.....?”

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Gerrard was about to explore the depths of the basement when he was pleasantly pleased to be interrupted by the greeting of an older crystal pony mare who was dressed up as an important historical figure. He didn't remember the name of the historical figure, something pastry related, but Equestrian History wasn't the most intriguing class for an exchange student griffon, aside from the the ominous monsters that spelled doom. The 'gargoyle' was more intrigued by the blatant error of the crystal pony. He hadn't met many crystal ponies, aside from the few who visited the Equestrian Games building he was working on in Canterlot. He did have to wonder a bit about crystal ponies, his university not giving him any courses on the long lost empire for many reasons. His griffon pride knew about the crystal griffon statues at the entrance to the building and here mistake was an odd one, unless common folk didn't really know about griffons so long ago?

Regardless, it was his duty to write this wrong with his own capable talons! Gerrard coyly cocked his head to the side as he decided to toy with the ignorant crystal pony to help her learn about his species. "Oh, yes my dear. It took a lot of effort to come up with a sturdy beak and sharp talons. He grinned and tugged on his beak, the appendage obviously secured to his griffon face. "And these talons, just look at how they attach to my hooves," he explained with a chuckle, showing them to her before quickly grabbing her leg with one to show that it wasn't fake at all. "The statues at your library are of griffons silly, griffons like me, just not sparkly," he added with a bit of a spooky laugh before letting her go.

When he heard the roar of Gilda though, Gerrard's fur went on end, not out of blind fear of the unknown, but out of fear for what he did know. That was the roar of a griffoness, and griffonesses had sharp talons that always seemed to have an infatuation with clawing at his face. The gray gargoyle slid to the side of his new pony acquaintance but kept a claw near her just in case he needed to toss something at the grumpy growler. "Now ma'am, I did not hit on you, or any of your relatives, at least not today! And if I did, I'm sorry, don't claw my eyes out! I promise to stick to mares if it will avoid your wrath," he quickly explained, the gargoyle not sounding as confident as when he was the one doing all of the scaring. As the griffoness stepped closer, he saw what was the frightening visage of what could only be described as a monstrous skeletal bat pony that clearly wanted to eat ponies in particular. He let out a sigh of relief when he realized that this was just another griffon, albeit a hideously grotesque and frightening one, and she just wanted to scare some ponies and not claw his eyes out, probably. He had to quickly regain his composure and mend his damaged imagine. "Hello fellow monster, I have merely been standing guard over your prey. You're frightening appearance mad her blurt out some nonsense about griffon claws, please take mercy on her lost soul," he explained quickly, gathering himself while he quickly fed his new friend to the wolves before he was devoured himself.

Before he could reposition himself in the bakery though, a familiar smell collapsed upon him. The irrigation architect by trade, smelled what could best be described as sewer, a location he knew all too well when working on the maintenance of Equestria's water lines. While most might have gagged from the spell, the sewer crawler had grown numb to that particular smell, his keen senses able to ignore the smell of pony filth. He spotted what could only be described as the most formidable of demons entering the bakery from behind the skeletal griffon pony. He was starting to feel a bit unprepared compared to these obvious experts, but in the unlikely event that one or both were monsters, he hoped that their inevitable battle to the death would allow him an opportunity to escape in one or two pieces!

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MEANWHILE....Not that far away stood the heroic avenger of the DAY! IT WAS CAPTAIN HERO!

Or was it Doctor Hero? Or Captain Doctor Hero? Pocket Change wasn't sure what his name was, but he was very sure he just heard at least two pairs of screaming! The young stallion wore a full body suit that covered everything except for his head and face. The suit which was bright blue also included a short red cape, matching shorts and heroically cuffed horseshoes. There was an emblem on his chest which read CH in big bold letters. "Gadzooks!", he yelped. He was in fact 'Captain Hero' . After striking a very dramatic pose, the current 'heroic avenger of the day' plus several hours decided to investigate the screams which were coming conveniently from the nearby candy store which was festooned with holiday decoration.

Curious to see if the screaming was coming from an Nightmare Night record or even an interesting party, the heroic hero galloped heroically towards the building, while humming his very own theme song. "Dooot doot daah dooot dooot doooot toooot.", he bellowed before stopping inside the bakery. And in this rather cozy candy store of the DARNED was his old foe, a somewhat familiar looking mare covered in blue body-paint. "He won't be going to the same place you're going VILLAIN! Which is JAIL!", he tried to sound as heroically as possible while striking an extremely heroic pose. A simple floating light spell created a near halo around his heroic head. "You and your undead minion might as well..er..", he stopped and sniffed the air, "That is wonderful perfume you have on by the way. I once got a gal a bottle that smelt just like that not that long ago from Prance. I believe they called it, 'Vraiment Puant'. Say nice streamers.", while the decorations were currently moderate, Pocket always liked the crepe paper art that ponies would hang up for Nightmare Nights. You would normally expect to see a green witches' face, always a sideways view, a white skeleton, a black Vampony, orange pumpkin and even on rare occasions, a menacing green goblin.

He also noted that some-pony was already practicing for Hearths Warming Eve by making an gingerbread HAUNTED house. "Oooh! Spooky!"

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Tilly Tome listened to the gargoyle's words and watched with stunned amazement the 'physical demonstration' the costumed griffon showed her. Could this be one of the legendary griffons she'd read about in her books back at the Crystal Empire Library? The elderly crystal filly, like nearly all crystal ponies, had never seen a live griffon before.

"My word! Are you a... a... griffon?" she asked in fascination. Before she could receive an answer, Gilda roared loudly, so loud that the frightened Crystal pony screamed as she leaped upward towards the ceiling. She started to fall downward in the direction of Gerrard.

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Gerrard nodded for the crystal pony as she asked if he was a griffon. He thought that there was something interesting about being thought of us a mythical creature, the hybrid grinning a bit as he revealed his species to be a bit less mythical than she had imagined. When she leaped at the sound of the other griffon's roar though, Gerrard couldn't help but chuckle a little bit, finding the leaping ability of the older pony to be exceptional. As she fell back down towards him, the costumed griffon took it as chance to improve her perceptions about griffons, the griffon sitting back on his haunches as he caught her with his strong talons. "I should have worn a hero costume like the crazed pony behind the monsters," he explained while waiting for something to happen between all of the competing monsters and heroes.

After a second of gathering his thoughts, the 'gargoyle' remembered that he wasn't the only griffon here and that it was very likely that his counterpart would more than likely damage the reputation of his species with ferocious antics, something he liked to do himself, perhaps on a much smaller scale though. With the pony in his grasp, Gerrard glanced over to Tilly and smirked slightly as he had to deliver the crystal pony some bad news. "That skeleton creature monster is also a griffon, I could tell by her screech. Don't mind her too much, probably a rambunctious youngster out to scare ponies," he explained with a bit of pride in his words. She probably didn't know much about griffons, especially the fact that he was probably near the age of the other prankster. That didn't stop him from acting gallant though, maybe he would have to rescue the older mare in the chaos as good clashed with evil.

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“GOING SOMEWHERE, MORTAL.....?”

"Wah?!" A seriously spooky voice called out in Gilda's direction just as she was about to reach the door to the basement. Her feather's stood on end and she jumped noticeably, but thankfully was didn't scream like a little chick on account of her lungs not being prepared for it after her full roar. She turned quickly around to see some pony in a totally awesome costume standing there. It was like some creepy evil demon monster thing and it looked great. it didn't smell so good, however. it took a while for it to reach Gilda's beak through her thick rubber mask, but this pony totally reeked.

"Whoa, you really freaked me out there, pal!" she said, shaking herself and giving a sigh. "Sweet costume ya got there. Love the voice change and everything. Probably even better than mine," she admitted with a laugh. "Not sure how great the smell idea is as a concept though. Big difference between frightening unsuspecting ponies and just making them wanna hurl."

Gilda took the moment to look around the bakery again. She noticed that the two who were there before had been totally intimidated by her roar. The elderly sparkle pony leapt several feet into the air, while the other griffon seemed scared, but perhaps not for the reasons intended if his remarks were anything to go by. Seriously embarrassing. Sounded like he was getting habitually put in his place by griffonesses. Probably the sort to end up whipped in every relationship he ever had. He collected himself quickly however and spoke to her though, even as her went to catch the leaping old pony.

"Heh. Definitely sounds like it's not the first time someone's heard that kinda roar. You must got it bad to break down like that," he started with a hard laugh. "As a hint, you're gonna have a hard time finding a self respecting griffoness with much patience for a weak-kneed square who talks like an old-timer."she added, shaking her head. Seriously, "rambunctious youngster"? Who actually said that kinda stuff?

About then, some total weirdo in a bright blue suit and red cape came bursting in. He confronted the pony in the awesome demonic get up, but stopped himself to admire her "perfume". Seriously? What kind of sick weirdo was this? Aside from the pony in the kicking costume, she couldn't say much about the sort the pink pony's establishment was attracting.

"Seriously, pal? Don't know what kind of head trauma you suffered to get you into that ridiculous get up, but I'd imagine it's a lot, cause my buddy here absolutely reeks," Gilda said with a snort. "Also, I'm no one's minion here!"

"But anyway," Gilda started, looking back toward the hatch into the basement. "That pink dweeb is a no show out here, so I think it's only right we check below. Probably was left open for a reason."

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It was Watermelon Gush's first time being able to go to Nightmare Night in Ponyville, and the green filly could hardly contain herself! She was dressed in her dress from the Grand Galloping Gala along with a silvery tiara. To complete the look her mother lovingly sewed a unicorn horn which was held on by a string and a pair of wings like two stuffed pillows that hung on the filly's side like saddlebags. There was no doubt that she looked and felt like a Princess! She wanted to do as much as she could during the event, leaving no activity untried and hopefully being able to meet new friends in the process.

"This is so exciting! Look at all the ponies, games, and food! But where do I start?"

Watermelon then spotted a building that looked like an oversized gingerbread house. As the curious filly approached she read the sign.

"Haunted bakery? I hope it's not too scary. I'd really like a cupcake or maybe even a muffin."

Her desire for sweet treats made her ignore any frights inside as the self proclaimed Princess of Watermelons stepped into the bakery.

"H-hello? Is there anypony here?"

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Screaming as she fell, the costumed Tilly Tome was relieved to have been caught by the gargoyle costumed griffon.

"My stars! That was certainly a fright. Thank you, kind sir, for catching me," the gratiful crystal pony said as she was placed back on the floor. "Forgive me, few of us Crystal Ponies have ever seen a griffon before. It is certainly delightful for me to make your acquaintance."

It was then that Tilly Tome noticed Gilda, though the words she spoke didn't make much sense to her. She had never seen words like 'dweeb' and 'square' in any of her dictionaries back at the library at home. Not knowing how to respond, the Crystal pony in the 'Smart Cookie' costume decided to wait and see what happened next.

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"Whoa, you really freaked me out there, pal! Sweet costume ya got there. Love the voice change and everything. Probably even better than mine. Not sure how great the smell idea is as a concept though. Big difference between frightening unsuspecting ponies and just making them wanna hurl."

 

HA! That griffon was so totally scared by the Demon Queen routine! Now that Moondancer trotted closer to the griffon, she saw the skeletal monster costume worn by the griffoness, which Moony thought looked pretty neato. In fact, Moony might even describe as the better of two, since clearly either much effort or money got put into making the other costume look frightening.

 

Of course, the griffoness also had a good point to make about the experimental fragrance Moondancer applied. “Well,” explained the unicorn nonchalantly in her normal voice; “I was trying to go for a smell of decay vibe which went along with this character; you know, really unsettle other ponies. But you know… I think it doesn’t work without the proper buildup. Maybe you gotta’ be like, all scared to death for a while before you get freaked out by the smell. Otherwise... it’s just a really bad smell.” Good thing Moony acclimated herself to the special perfume smell first, or else she’d be hurling left and right. Oh well, lesson learned; better luck next year!

 

"He won't be going to the same place you're going VILLAIN! Which is JAIL! You and your undead minion might as well..er.. That is wonderful perfume you have on by the way. I once got a gal a bottle that smelt just like that not that long ago from Prance. I believe they called it, 'Vraiment Puant'. Say nice streamers."

 

"Seriously, pal? Don't know what kind of head trauma you suffered to get you into that ridiculous get up, but I'd imagine it's a lot, cause my buddy here absolutely reeks," Gilda said with a snort. "Also, I'm no one's minion here!"

 

Well well well, what did Demon Queen Despair have here? A seemingly-familiar caped hero out of his genre, no doubt. Regrettably, Captain Hero needed a lesson in maintaining ‘proper heroics’ at all times. Once the griffon chewed him out on his poor taste for perfumes (Captain Hero must have indeed traveled to the worst places in the world to actually like that horrid smell), the Queen of Fiends devilishly grinned and telekinetically seized the stallion’s red cape, twisted it so it pointed towards her, and pulled the cape to bring the wretched attractive-looking hero closer to her.

 

Once Captain Hero’s cape was in the soles of her hooves, the Great Demon Queen yanked on it until her blank eyes were face-to-face with those of the stallion's. Summoning another climate control spell to chill the air around the two ponies, the terrifying and awfully-smelling Despair confronted her puny nemesis. “LISTEN HERE,” her Voice of Doom(™) reverbed forth; “IF THE VERY GATES OF TARTARUS COULD NOT WITHSTAND MY MIGHT, YOUR PITIFUL BARS OF IRON HAVE NO HOPE OF KEEPING ME AT BAY.” Then in an act of sheer creepiness, Despair quitely chuckled and tenderly stroked the Captain’s cheek with a free hoof, her voice becoming more intimate; “BUT... I WON’T DESTROY YOU JUST YET. I HAVE... SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOU, MY SLAVE.....”

 

"But anyway, that pink dweeb is a no show out here, so I think it's only right we check below. Probably was left open for a reason."

 

Letting go of the stallion dressed as Captain Hero, Moondancer nodded in acknowledgement of the griffon’s suggestion to inspect the basement. The young mare knew just what she needed to do. “SLAVE!” she commanded the caped stallion using her Despair voice, pointing towards the basement stairs; “YOU GO IN FIRST. WE FOLLOW.” Playing an evil queen of darkness was SO MUCH FUN.....!

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Hearing roars and shrieks eminating from the bakery, Snickerdoodle pulled the hood of her cape down low, and wandered inside. It was quite crowded already. Two griffons, or at least one griffon and one demon beast that might have been a griffon under the mask. An elderly crystal pony, a cute little filly dressed as a princess, and a pair of unicorns dressed as a dark queen and a superhero, respectively. She opted to hang back in the corner, skulking in the shadows by the display counter. After all, half the fun of Nightmare Night was observing the other ponies in their costumes. The other half was eating treats, but that would apparently have to wait, since neither of the Cakes nor Pinkie Pie seemed to be around. How strange.

She observed the two unicorns interacting with each other. The mare in the demon queen outfit was really playing up her role. Her voice sent chills running up and down her spine. The superhero seemed to be a bit distracted. Snickerdoodle couldn't quite see his face from where she stood, but he seemed familiar somehow.

When the griffon in the demon pony mask suggested going downstairs, Snickerdoodle decided to follow the party, but quietly, so as not to be noticed. She remained in her corner, and waited for the others to make their way into the basement of the bakery.

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The grumpy be-costumed griffon couldn't spoil the mood Pocket Change was in. "Of course it's ridiculous, this is Nightmare Night! You're supposed to eat lots of foods you normally would only partake in smaller amounts, you're also supposed to drink more than politely permitted and you're also supposed to wear silly costumes!", it was obvious that the stallion had hit the ol' punchbowl during the night's festivities more than once. "And in the past, I'd find it a perfect time to hit on the cutest gal nearby, but I currently am bewitched by a dark demon who smells like perfume from Prance.", he sniffed the air and turned a slight shade of green, "it's still oodles better to sniff than most of those costumes. Polymascotfoamalate! Guh!", he stuck out his tongue before his ears perked up to the mare's commands. "Geez Moon, if I know you were going for the whole-body-paint thing, I would have been more than happy to help.", he muttered as the mare gave him a stroke across the cheek before quickly going down the stairs, "Oh yes, my evil lady of terror! I shall do as you asked! Even a hero as mighty as I cannot resist your powers.". He tried his best 'zom-pony' voice as his booted hoofs hit the stairs.

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Pinkie Pie's eyes flashed green. She laughed and laughed, but it was a laugh that didn't belong to the normally sweet-as-sugar party mare. It was a fiendish, throaty cackle. Her pink fur changed into black scales, as holed wings sprouted from her back. Her blue-tinged eyes turned a deep acidic lime-green, as her pupils shaped into thin slits. She slammed the door shut, trapping the occupants within.

"Heeheehee! I'm soooOoooOOo glad you could all make it for the party! Please, stay a while!" The Pinkie Changeling grabbed a tube of extra-thick "frosting" and squirted it along every exit -- the door, the windows, everything. It quickly hardened, barring any escape. She beat her wings quickly, causing a gale within the bakery, quashing all candle light. Her eyes glowed green in the consuming gloom, as swarms of lesser Changelings began to pour into the main lobby from the attic. Upstairs, the cries of the Twins could be heard.

"AAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

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Suddenly, fear swept over Tilly Tome as the fake Pinkie Pie revealed herself and sealed the group inside the store. How could something like this happen now? Even King Sombra never tried to 'trick' any of his subjects with deception.

"My stars! What are we going to do?" the older Crystal Pony asked outloud.

But it got scarier and scarier for the crystal mare. Now changlings began to file in. Not even in all of her history books had Tilly Tome ever read about evil looking beings like these! It was all too much for her.

Tilly Tome fainted to the floor.

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Despair’s muzzle contorted in a rather weird fashion as Captain Hero Zombie declared his loyalty to the Demon Queen. Those who knew the mare behind the bodypaint would guess correctly that Moondancer used all her emotional strength to keep herself from laughing at Pocket’s silly performance. Sadly for him, the unicorn’s Nightmare Night plans called for her fellow volunteers from the Deadly Creatures venue to prepare her appearance, since they were, well, already there with Moony.

 

"Heeheehee! I'm soooOoooOOo glad you could all make it for the party! Please, stay a while!"

 

Going down into the basement ended up not being a wise decision. For a few brief seconds, Moondancer believed that the pink mare running the Bakery attraction was putting on a mere show. It was only when the changeling blocked all the available exits did the unicorn mare finally realize that this wasn’t a game. As the lights blew out, Moony followed her defensive instincts and summoned a magical bubble around her which radiated for a couple feet around her in all directions.

 

“EVERYPONY GET IN HERE!” she cried out, hoping everyone else would get in before the changeling horde swarmed in. Looks like that shield spell she learned back at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns wouldn't be going to waste after all. Yet because she had already used a good portion of her magical strength helping out Immie, she knew her bubble couldn’t hold out for long under her own strength.....

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Gerrard covered his face with a talon when the hero and monsters all seemed to be getting along well, completely nullifying much of the awesomeness that their costumes may have had, the hero even liking the smell of sewage for one reason or another. When he heard the cackles of what could only be thought of as a monster, he felt the fur on his back stand on end. "This was just another prank, right? Like all of the others who were pulling his leg," he thought to himself, the griffon feeling like all the tricks were starting to get the best of him. When the earth pony changed into a changeling though, his eyes widened, the hybrid remembering back to the day where his city of Canterlot was invaded by a similar horde of monsters.

You couldn't just defend against them with a magic bubble. No offense to this pony, but the best shield makers had their walls broken by the mindless attacks of these monsters. "You need to fight them before they cocoon you and take you back to their hive for dinner," he explained with a growl, the Canterlot native wanting more than anything to simply run away from his attackers. Her quick movements had blocked all the exits though, cornering the 'gargoyle' like a trapped animal. Unbeknownst to the changelings though, trapped animals, griffons in particular clawed out at their captors when desperate! He gently slid the fainted crystal pony across the floor with his rear paw towards the unicorn claiming to make a shield and locked his eyes on the glowing gaze of the imposter pony. He couldn't see well, in the dark, but the leader changeling was a good enough of a starting point.

"Put your claws to work stranger, I have some bugs to squash," he growled to the female griffon, glad that nobody could see him shaking in the dark. As one last effort to psyche himself up and boost the morale of the other victims, Gerrard let out a fierce roar that was comparable to Gilda's previous roar, his own forced out of necessity though. As soon as his roar subsided, the male griffon dug his talons into the ground before leaping at the changeling leader with his talons out, ready to tear at any changeling unfortunate enough to get in his way! There was going to be a brawl in the dark, he just hoped someone else would join him!

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“Well, I was trying to go for a smell of decay vibe which went along with this character; you know, really unsettle other ponies. But you know… I think it doesn’t work without the proper buildup. Maybe you gotta’ be like, all scared to death for a while before you get freaked out by the smell. Otherwise... it’s just a really bad smell.”

Gilda chuckled at the pony's comments about how even she wasn't sure the smell had been such a good idea. She then watched as she went into some theatrical performance in her cool distorted voice aimed at the pony in the silly hero costume. This pony seemed fun for a pony. Maybe be was kind of a dork; probably some variety of egghead, but with the cool costume and fun act, Gilda couldn't say she was all too lame.

"Of course it's ridiculous, this is Nightmare Night! You're supposed to eat lots of foods you normally would only partake in smaller amounts, you're also supposed to drink more than politely permitted and you're also supposed to wear silly costumes! And in the past, I'd find it a perfect time to hit on the cutest gal nearby, but I currently am bewitched by a dark demon who smells like perfume from Prance. it's still oodles better to sniff than most of those costumes. Polymascotfoamalate! Guh! Geez Moon, if I know you were going for the whole-body-paint thing, I would have been more than happy to help. Oh yes, my evil lady of terror! I shall do as you asked! Even a hero as mighty as I cannot resist your powers."

Then the stallion spoke again and she understood what this was. She was watching some ridiculous lovey-dovey pony romance.

"Ugh... now I think I'm about to hurl and it's for a reason other than that smell..." she commented, rolling her eyes. Seriously, she didn't need to see. Also, just on a snap judgement, this guy didn't seem hardly cool enough for the mare.

She was so occupied in the scene that she didn't even notice that the one she had come to see, that irritating pink pony, had made her appearance. Or so it seemed. It looked like her, but when the light's went out, the door slammed and the pony's eyes glowed green she was pretty sure something freaky was afoot. This was confirmed for her when she spoke.

"Heeheehee! I'm soooOoooOOo glad you could all make it for the party! Please, stay a while! AAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

The pony cackled in a completely uncharacteristic way as she shot some goop at the door to trap them in. She was not a pony at all. Her form had transformed, revealing a bizarre insect winged creature Gilda had never seen before. This was one of those changelings she had heard about, she could conclude. There wasn't just one either. Several similar creatures descended to surround them, the buzz of their wings almost drowning out the cries of infants coming from above.

“EVERYPONY GET IN HERE!”

"Put your claws to work stranger, I have some bugs to squash,"

The group gathered soon reacted. The elderly mare fainted, while the mare in the cool costume set up a protective barrier and shouted for the others to join her in it. Hiding in some barrier wasn't gonna do anyone much good in the long run though. She had to say she rather like the idea her fellow griffon seemed to have. If they were gonna get through this, they were gonna need to kick some changeling flank.

"So it's a brawl, huh? I can deal with that," she started, stepping ahead. She pulled the rubber gloves off of her talons and discarded them, knowing they'd just get in the way. "Never fought a changeling before, but it can't be too much different from pushing around ponies."

While her new griffon buddy gave a pretty strong roar and charged the lead changeling, Gilda opted to barrel after some of the lesser changelings, hoping to keep them at bay. As dark as it was and as many of them as there were, part of Gilda wondered what shot they really stood. She didn't care though. She wasn't about to let anyone capture her without a fight. She moved toward the changelings, scratching and pecking away at them, injuring a couple even as she was inevitably surrounded.

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Snickerdoodle was surprised when Pinkie Pie showed up, and transformed in front of everypony into another fantastical creature. She wondered how the trick was done. When the door were 'frosted' shut, she felt both amused and a little uneasy. Sure, the whole point of having a Haunted House, or bakery in this case, was to scare your patrons. And she knew from past experience that she was capable of breaking down a door if she needed to escape. But then the lights went out. and the room was swarmed with more bodies in the dark. Okay, this was getting to be a bit too much.

Most of the others had gone down the stairs into the basement. Snickerdoodle had hung back, and was still by the bakery counter. She stood as still as a stone statue, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dark. When she heard the griffons roar again, she knew that it would be best to be out of their way. Those talons were sharp! She was pretty sure she had heard the Cake twins crying upstairs. Maybe that meant that Mr and Mrs Cake were up there, too. Deciding that she was far more interested in talking shop with the bakers than being scared out of her wits, Snickerdoodle decided to go upstairs. Slowly, she crept along the counter towards the staircase, moving as quietly as possible. Upon reaching the bottom stair, she swept her cape aside and flapped her wings, lifting her up to the second floor without setting hoof on one creaky step.

Landing gently, and dropping her cape back into place, she called out softly, "Hello? Mr and Mrs Cake? It's me, Snickerdoodle. Are you up here?"

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Watermelon Gush had just entered the Haunted Bakery when the hostess suddenly changed into some creepy bug creature! The filly heard tales of things like these attacking Canterlot, but she never saw one up close. And this creature frightened the pony as she stood paralyzed.

“EVERYPONY GET IN HERE!”

The sound of a nearby mare shouting quickly broke the filly's fear as she dashed into the basement.

"Thanks for saving me," the green earth pony said, "I'm Watermelon Gush by the way. How are we going to get out of here with that creepy bug pony upstairs?"

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"Ugh... now I think I'm about to hurl and it's for a reason other than that smell..." she commented, rolling her eyes. Seriously, she didn't need to see. Also, just on a snap judgement, this guy didn't seem hardly cool enough for the mare.

The 'super-stallion let out a chuckle, "Ho-Boy! Are you some sort of kid in that costume? Or maybe two kids in one adult costume?", he glanced at the costume party-goer as he tried to figure out what she was under the disguise, "I'm almost sure you said 'dweeb' and are turned off by some public signs of affection. You've got to be from primary school!", while he was curious to see who this costumed girl was, he promptly lost interest as a familiar pink pony bounced into view. There she was, the famous partying pony of Ponyville! But something was wrong. "Your voice is deeper than I remember. Did you get a ...", he stopped talking as the fake pony revealed her true self. "Oh heck."

He let out a gasp as more of the creatures stormed into the basement, "Moon! Get out of here! You need to get help! Alert the guard! Get Princess Celestia! Find Princess Luna and their champions!", his ears flatten down towards his skull as he heard what sounded like infants crying. "Go now! We'll keep them off your back!", his horn briefly surrounded itself with a greenish glow. In mere seconds his hoofs, chest and head were covered what appeared to be green armor. The unicorn mare would know that this was something called 'Mage Armor'. Apparently Pocket Change had upped his skills in 'Alteration' magic. Thankfully the costumed girl was not just all bark, but had a good deal of bite to bring to the party. As she removed her rubber gloves, the unicorn noted, "A griffon! Very useful!", deciding even a griffon could be overwhelmed, the stallion charged into battle, "Raaaaarh!", he growled as he slammed into the nearest pair of Changelings. "Any-pony who wishes to fight! Come on already! If not, go with Moondancer!", he yelled as he struck at the scaly monsters. Apparently both the mage-armor and his visits to the punch-bowl turned the normally geeky unicorn into some sort of pre-Equestrian barbarian warrior!

(BATTLE SONG!)

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"You need to fight them before they cocoon you and take you back to their hive for dinner."

 

"Moon! Get out of here! You need to get help! Alert the guard! Get Princess Celestia! Find Princess Luna and their champions! Go now! We'll keep them off your back!"

 

Blast it; Pocket and the Gargoyle griffon were right! Moondancer wouldn't be able to outlast the opposition with a silly magic bubble. Those changelings would just bash on the shield until the girl ran out of juice, and she'd become a tasty love meal for those things. But maybe that shield could prove useful yes; Moony had the magic skills needed to teleport herself and a couple others out of the building. In her weakened state however, she'd need a couple minutes minimum to charge up to a sufficient level to carry out her spell. Aww, this was bad bad BAD!

 

But as long as the others could ward off the changelings, Moondancer would be safely able to recharge and accomplish her magical feat. "Hold them off then, you three!" she panickdly shouted to her combative allies, sitting down in a zen pose and not providing any more energy to the shield to conserve her power; "Gimme' two minutes, and I can warp the others outta' here! Don't let them attack my shield!!!" Ohhh this was awful to behold; Moony didn't want to become a changeling snack now... and she silently begged that harm wouldn't come to her coltfriend.....

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