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The House on Flathoof Avenue [ATTN: Aisede]


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Sundown Trail walked down the streets of Manehattan, the evening sun warming his face. He only recently arrived in town. The Royal Guard sent him down from Canterlot to assist with an investigation. Three ponies had gone missing, all on the same day. Manehattan PD suspected that their disappearances were related. And evidence had turned up showing that the missing ponies had the same interests and were active in the same social circles. Investigators had found no trace of the ponies, and local police were stumped as to where they could've gone.

 

Local detectives had already searched the missing ponies' residences and found nothing, but Sundown had wanted to recheck them himself. It's good to be thorough, after all. The first two apartments he investigated didn't turn up anything unusual. But Sundown did find something interesting in the third residence: a cleverly hidden note in a book about the occult. It was a small piece of paper that had hastily drawn scrawls all over it. The penmanship was so bad that most of the writing was illegible, and readable parts were complete gibberish. But, the detective was able to extract two clues from the mysterious text: an address and a date. The date turned out to be the exact day when the three ponies went missing. The address? A rental property on Flathoof Avenue.

 

Right now, Sundown was on his way to search that property. City records had shown that the building was a rental. And after a quick conversation and a badge flash from Sundown, the landlord happily gave him a set of keys to the place. The landlord was an older mare, courteous and kind, but she seemed to shrink back and clam up when Sundown asked about that particular address. She didn't say anything too concrete about it, but the detective got the feeling that she didn't like speaking about that specific building. She may have also muttered something about that place having "bad luck," but she refused to repeat herself when asked.

 

Sundown stopped when he noticed the house number on the building he just passed. 1206. This is the place.

 

He turned back to face the property. It stood out compared to the newer-looking buildings next to it. It was a thin two-story brick residence, built in an old style. Likely a remnant of Manehattan's older days. It looked aged and neglected like it hadn't had proper maintenance in some time. The lawn was overgrown, full of weeds. Vines and vegetation grew through the front steps. Cracks snaked their way through the visible parts of the foundation. The house almost seemed to be in shambles. Given the apparent condition of the building, Sundown was surprised that the city hadn't condemned it. Perhaps the interior was in better shape?

 

These observations bounced through Sundown's head as he approached the front door. He pulled his copy of the key out of his saddlebag. 

 

Sundown stopped in front of the front door. He took a look back at the street. Only a couple of ponies were passing by on the sidewalk, paying no note to what the Areion detective was doing. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing seemed out of place. But, for some reason, Sundown was beginning to get a feeling of dread as he stood before the building. He couldn't put a hoof on it, but something felt wrong. Like if something unspeakable had happened within the house.

 

The detective shook his head and took a deep breath to steady his nerves. He couldn't let his anxiety get in the way of an investigation. He had to find out what happened to those three ponies, and standing here doing nothing wasn't going to help.

 

Well... Here goes nothing. Sundown thought to himself as he placed his hoof on the doorknob. He twisted the knob and pushed the door in...

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... And was immidiately assaulted by a pungent odor. It came at him like a heatwave, saccharine and smelling subtly of smoke and herbs. His mane was rustled as it escaped the confines of the old brick house- and there was something else there. Something hidden under the overwhelming sweetness, but it was difficult to place. 

 

Venturing further would reveal that the structure was in dire shape; eggshell wallpaper peeled off the walls, exposing the bare bones of the structure like an opened wound., Domicile parasites scitterwd out of sight at his approach. Here and there, brass incense burners perched atop derilect tables, cabinets- any open space, really. All of them were cold, and if he cared to peek inside, anything that may have been burning in them had done so long before he ever thought of arriving. So then where was this intense smell coming from?

 

It would seem the 'abode' would not part with its secrets willingly, as any investigation of the structure would come up woefully short of answers. What was stranger still was the lack of any hoofprints. Whoever was here had to have left some indication, especially considering how dusty the whole place was. Yet, no signs remained. The only evidence that anything in the building had been tampered with recently was a conspicuously clean horse-headed bust sitting on a table in the study. It was crafted of unblemished obsidian, and staring into its blank, featureless eyes for too long would return the unsettling sensation of being watched- but not by the statue, oddly enough.

 

 

 

 

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He blanched when he smelt the odor. While not disgusting in its own right, the smell was overwhelming to the point where he could almost taste it. Like if somepony had emptied a bottle of air freshener in an enclosed room. It took him a couple of moments to acclimate to the odor, but even then, he was always aware of it at the back of his mind. After a second, he stepped inside and began his search.

 

The detective was confused and intrigued by what he found inside. Empty or burnt-out incense burners littered almost every room. A layer of dust caked every surface. Decaying furniture laid scattered about. The wallpaper peeled, and some of the drywall was rotting. Dust particles floated around, suspended in the air. It was as if the house had been sealed up for a decade and left to die by itself. As the Areion continued to explore, the feeling of dread from before came back. Something seemed off here.

 

One thing, in particular, made him pause: an obsidian bust sitting in the study. Carved in a style that Sundown could not identify. It seemed pretty valuable. So who would leave something like this here? And how long had it been sitting here? It was clean, like if someone had just polished it a minute ago—and that puzzled Sundown. Everything else in this house had a layering of dust on it, but somehow this bust had escaped that. When he looked at it, Sundown got this strange feeling of being watched. Like if something was scrutinizing him. Except, it didn't feel like it was the bust that was watching him. The detective glanced away for a second, but when his eyes fell back upon the statue, the feeling returned. 

 

This is weird... Sundown thought to himself as he examined the bust.

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It wasn't just clean, it was polished. Whoever tended to this statue clearly cared for it a great deal, if that wasn't evidenced by its condition. Scrutinizing it further, he may notice that there was one, minor imperfection. It would complete glide under the radar of the passive observer, but an Aerion's eyes are more keen than the average pony. On the nose of the statue was just the smallest amount of dirt or dust, seemingly left there as if to mock its otherwise perfection.

 

Looking under the table would reveal nothing special. It really was just a statue sitting on a table. A suspiciously intact and stable table, that can support the weight of that much stone without giving out, even when seemingly neglected.

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Sundown's eyes focused on the imperfection on the bust. He had to wonder how it was there. Any cleaning or polishing the statue had undergone would've surely removed it. So why was it there? It couldn't be the beginnings of a dust buildup. After all, the dirt was only in one spot. And the statue seemed to have been cleaned too recently for any dust to begin settling on it. So what was it?

 

As he stared at it, the imperfection began to annoy him. It was like it was laughing at him. The entire bust was well-maintained, cleaned, and polished except for that one spot. The detective slowly began to get the urge to wipe the dirt off. Sure, he might scuff the polish a little bit. But he would remove that annoying bit of dust. So it'd be a fair trade. Right? Yeah, that'd be good.

 

He reached out his hoof to rub the speck off...

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Click.

 

As his hood made contact, the entire statue tilted back about 30°, then stopped. Like a lever being pulled, a secret passageway made itself known through as ancient wood quietly scraped against the carpet, soon revealing a dank, dungeanous passage into brazier-lit darkness. It was a stairway, of course, with stonework older than the entire building, yet somehow in much better condition. The smell of incense, previously something that was possible to ignore to some degree, asserted itself once again as the pungent odor blasted out of the opening with all the impact of a physical force.

 

Following this mysterious trail would, inevitably, lead him to a wide, appropriately atmospheric chamber. Arcane symbols were scrawled into the wall, some with knife, some with something else. The floor here was plain, solid stone, also occasionally marred with an indecipherable glyph. No furniture decorated the room except for an altar at the very back, at the head of which was the trophy of a lion, or a manticore, with its maw gaping open, seemingly ready to maul the first thing that came within striking distance.

 

The room was not empty.

 

The bodies of three ponies were arranged in a circle outside the perimeter of what could only be described as a demonic sigil spanning a good quarter of the open space on the floor. In the center of the hexagram was a copper seal etched with the sigil of some profane entity, and the entire thing reeked of dark magic- if it being made out of blood wasn't evidence enough.

 

Looking closely at the bodies, Sundown would notice that each and everyone one of them had hooves bloodied and raw, with pale coats soaked in stinking sweat. Their faces were locked in varying expressions of horror and dismay, tears frozen midway down their cheeks. Whatever happened to them, it did not happen instantaneously.

 

 

 

 

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Sundown followed the dark passageway cautiously, not knowing what to expect. His ears swept around as he listened for any signs of life in the darkness. His nose wrinkled as he endured the harsh concentrated smell of incense. His eyes flicked back and forth, carefully scanning for any kind of movement. He was on guard when he finally reached the chamber at the end of the hall.

 

His eyes swept around the room, getting an eyeful of the bare stone walls and floor. He took note of the glyphs and figures that were carved or painted on every surface. The detective was puzzled by them. He had never seen symbols like these before. They looked arcane and mystical, like what he might expect to see in an old magic textbook or thaumatological tome.

 

It all seemed very odd...

 

And then he saw the bodies.

 

The color drained from Sundown's face as his brain processed what he was seeing. These three ponies had died slowly and horrifically. Their fur was matted and grimy with sweat and dirt. Their hooves: bruised and bloodied. Their faces: frozen in fear and terror. Their lifeless eyes staring into oblivion. Their deaths part of some perverse ceremony to the unnatural.

 

Sundown had to consciously prevent himself from vomiting right there. Sure, he had dealt with death at work before. After all, despite how unfortunate it is, not every pony that goes missing is found alive. But the detective had never seen death like this before. It disturbed him deeply. What kind of creature would do this?

 

As he moved around the chamber, he was careful not to disturb or touch the bodies or the seal they surrounded. He didn't want to tamper with a crime scene, nor get stained by some leftover black magic or voodoo or whatever this is. He had heard the agency gossip about the occasional raid on some cult's compound or the capture of a dark mage. But the areion usually wrote them off as exaggerated or fake. But now, sitting before him, was honest-to-Celestia proof of some kind of occult activity.

 

He didn't know how to process that fact.

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His day was about to get a lot worse. As those invisible eyes settled on him once again, an undeniable presense asserted itself over the room, causing the shadows to writhe like an optical illusion. Everything would seem normal when he looked, but just out of the corner of his eyes... He could see it, something moving through the darkness.

 

And then he heard a voice.

 

"Truth in words there are,

A scene of crime visited twice, 

In darkness, allure ~"

 

Suddenly, the obscure figure came into sharp focus. First with one black, wavering leg. And then another. Claws piqued the very tips of its paws, and two beaming red eyes flickered into existence upon its inscrutable face as it emerged from a wall. 

 

"Tell me, why is it that you have visited once more?" 

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Sundown's eyes darted around as he tried to focus on what he saw moving in the shadows in the corner of his eye. And then a female voice, speaking in verse. As he listened, trying to make sense of what she was saying, he saw a figure begin to emerge from the darkness and two red eyes centering on him. He took a step back, and falling back on his Royal Guard training, hevbrought himself down a little and adopted a ready stance. What was this? Some kind of demon? Sundown's mind flicked through the possibilities, but he was cut short by her finishing her speech.

 

"Tell me, why is it that you have visited once more?"

 

He stood silent for a second, puzzling over the figure's question. What did she mean by 'once more'? Her appearance was intimidating, but he couldn't portray weakness, otherwise she might pounce on it and do Celestia-knows-what to him. The detective thought for a moment before deciding to ask a prudent question.

 

"Who the hay are you?" he challenged with a slight edge to his voice, trying to project some authority. Although the effectiveness of his attempt remains to be seen...

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This seemed to be the wrong question, as, in the blink of an eye, the dark creature was right up in his face, taking up his entire point of view. 

 

"I ask the questions here."

 

And then it backed away, another shadow forming near the bodies at the same moment the one near him began to fade. Even when those red eyes weren't steadily glaring at him, he could still feel her gaze on him.

 

"... Fate is truly bleak,

I do not believe you are

The one I so seek."

 

And then it was gone, and the shadows returned to normal. Yet, some remnant of her remained in the room, a foreboding pressure against his mind. 

 

"Tread no further, sir

For demons you seek today,

What you find will be dismay."

 

... Well that was an ominous warning. Maybe it'd be a good idea to heed her advice, or perhaps there was something else to be gained from loitering there and seeing what else decided to pay him a visit?

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Sundown flinched back when the entity appeared right before him, taking up the entirety of his vision. She got so close that he could swear he could smell her breath. Sure, he had the training to operate in stressful scenarios, but he wasn't prepared for this. The entity shifted around the room, disappearing and reappearing at will, as if the laws of reality were a mere suggestion to her. His eyes darted around the room as he watched the entity's movements. And despite her form's smooth dance around the room, the feeling of being watched by her remained right at the back of the detective's mind. Like if it was pressing right against the base of his skull. The detective stood still as she continued to talk in verse, rhyming included. She said something about him not being what she seeks. And then she dissolved into the shadows, leaving him with a warning telling him to avoid involving himself further

 

He was inclined to listen to the warning.

 

He shook his head. No, he had a job to do. Three ponies had died. There was evidence of dark magic activity. He didn't know what could happen if he dropped this. Would more ponies be at risk? Are there any more members of this suspected cult? And if their ritual was a success, what could the consequences of it be? The detective was going to pursue this, despite any attempts by a shadowy figure to scare him off.

 

With his resolve regained. He began to go over the room once again, examining everything closely. However, he was careful to avert his eyes from the three corpses in the middle of the room. He didn't need to see that image again, even though he was sure what he saw would remain in his memory for a while.

 

The detective took special note of the altar at the back of the chamber, checking over it closely. Maybe it had some sort of hint as to what exactly happened here?

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The feeling of being watched gradually faded as time passed, indicating the shadowy figure really did leave, or was simply masking its presense. As for the altar, it was pretty standard fare for a cult: big, scary book filled with archaic scribbles and disturbing imagery was displayed on a weathered lecturn, situated before two copper rods. Stretched between these rods was what was for all appearances to be the hide of a lion, inscribed with a bloody constellation and decorated with fresh carnations. Atop the two poles were burners still releasing the whispers of incense into the room.

 

The lion head was situated above the whole ensemble, taunting the detective for his foolish bravery.

 

"Oh my, what do we have here?"

 

Unlike with the shadowy presense, this one didn't bother making a spectacle of her arrival. One moment he was alone in the room, and the next- a stunning white pegasus was standing in the room with him, admiring the altar right beside him as if she had been there the whole time. 

 

She gave the whole thing look over with somewhat bored, blood red eyes, before turning her gaze on him, causing her silky golden locks to rustle as if caught in a brief wind. When she smiled, he didn't want to run away- he wanted to stay right there and admire it for an eternity if he had to...

 

"And who might you be, little pony? A friend? A visitor? An... Inquirer?" The way she said inquirer, and how her eyes gained a sudden intensity, implied that word probably carried some weight. 

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Sundown stepped back when he noticed the pegasus to his side. He began to readopt his combat stance to prepare himself for another possible confrontation. His eyes traveled all over the pegasus's form suspiciously, observations flew through his head as he tried to see if she was a threat. Her coat was a pure, unblemished white. Her mane and tail were silky gold and styled in an effortlessly elegant style as if they were naturally that way.

 

And then he saw her eyes.

 

He froze. And then he relaxed. The pegasus's eyes were a beautiful blood red. And when the detective looked into them, he lost himself within them. The areion was utterly captivated by radiant pegasus standing before him. Then she gave him a gentle smile, and he felt like he could stand there for hours, admiring her, basking in her presence. She was calming, brilliant, enchanting. It was like if Sundown was in the room with Celestia herself.

 

And then she asked him a question, asking him who he was. She offered a couple of guesses, but the pegasus put particular emphasis on the last. Having learned his lesson from the last encounter, the detective decided to answer her question instead of asking one of his own. Maybe if he was patient, he might actually get a couple of answers.

 

"Uh... I guess you can say I'm an inquirer." He offered, not fully confident in his answer. He guessed that was probably the best answer, after all, an investigator and an inquirer are basically the same thing, right?

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Her smile widened in an almost unnatural way. Too wide. But she was still looking at him, and that was enough. Gracefully, she rose to unblemished hooves, untouched by the dirt and blood surrounding her. She circled him, allowing those silky golden strands to trail just under his muzzle as she disappeared from sight behind him. Then he heard a whisper, right beside his ear.

 

"An inquirer, hmm?" Her voice was angelic, and echoed as if sung by a quiet choir in the background. "and what is it you have come to inquire about, little pony?"

 

There was a giggle, and then she returned, standing before him with wings slightly unfurled, displaying her plumage- not a feather was out of place. "Is it about my friends?" She pointed behind him, but he didn't want to look away from those blazing rubies. "They wanted to be friends, but failed to make the offerings of friendship."

 

Slowly, she reached a hoof out to touch his cheek. It was soft and gentle, and her expression softened. Somewhere under that exterior, something... Strange reached out to him. He could feel it in the subtle heat of her touch. "Will you be my friend?"

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He stood still, enchanted by the angelic pegasus circling him. A couple of strands of her tail passed under his muzzle, and he caught a whiff of her scent. She smelled of rainwater and dew, the smell of a new day. All thoughts seemed to leave his head as he hung onto every word she whispered into his ear.

 

She asked what he was inquiring about. But before he could answer, she giggled and stepped back into his vision. Her wings were unfurled slightly, giving the detective a view of her beautiful snow-white feathers. They were perfectly preened, with not a single feather out of place or missing. She then offered her own answer to her question. She spoke of her friends and indicated something behind him. But he couldn't pull his gaze away from her eyes. They were too captivating. Too beautiful. Even if he wanted to, he felt that he wouldn't be able to look away.

 

Then she spoke with some disappointment, saying her friends had not given her a proper offering. This wrenched at the detective's heart. How could anypony fail her? How could anypony not give her what she is due? That wasn't right.

 

Then she touched his cheek. Her hoof was delicate and tender, and it warmed his cheek. He had to restrain himself from rubbing his cheek into her hoof further. Then he noticed something... Something felt strange. And it was coming from her hoof.

 

Then came the question. The pegasus asked him to be her friend.

 

A bolt of panic passed through his mind. This was wrong. This was weird. This was odd. Where had this pegasus come from? Why was she touching him? Who was she? What happened to her other friends? This wasn't right, he had to get out of here.

 

Then he looked back into her eyes, and his worries melted away. Nothing was wrong. She was with him. And when he gazed into those ruby orbs he wondered why he would ever doubt her. Everything was okay.

 

He knew his answer to her question. And he stated it out loud with the same certainty that he would have if he had been asked the color of the sky or today's date.

 

"Yes, I will be your friend."

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The pegasus giggled again, a positively elated sound. She was overjoyed to hear his response. Reaching out with her other hoof, she gripped his cheeks firmly with surprising strength. Bringing her body closes, they were nearly belly to belly. Those eyes dominated his world now, so close were they to his.

 

"I'm so happy to hear that. Now... All you have to do," she started, and their muzzles became closer and closer. Her eyes became half-lidded, and her voice became distant and indistinct as he felt a tugging from within himself. "Is promise me your-"

 

"Nay!"

 

Suddenly, a pane of purple magic manifested between them, mere moments before their lips touched. This caused the fair maiden to recoil with a hiss, backing away as if she had been burnt. Indeed, her nose looked a little red as she cleared the distance to the other side of the room. At the same time, all the bewitching beauty of the pegasus seemed to melt away, replaced with a rather ordinary, if attractive, red-eye'd pegasus glaring around the room.

 

"Trust in me my ally,

For dangers lurk beneath charm,

Bewitchment indeed."

 

While no shadowy apparition made itself apparent this time, he could still feel those uncanny eyes on his back once again, the shimmering pane of purple never fading even as the pony laid her eyes on it- and him, once again.

 

Smiling, she took a step towards him, the redness on her nose now gone. "Friend, we need to leave this place. It's not safe."

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Sundown jumped back instinctively. Eyes unfocused. Disoriented. Confused. His thoughts were hazy and jumbled as he regained his mental faculties.

 

Once he came to, he saw the scene before him. The white pegasus pony was standing across the room, behind a pane of purple magic. She seemed different - off. The only reason he was able to identify her was those same blood-red eyes. Except something was missing when he looked into her eyes.  It was like he was expecting something more to be behind those eyes, except there wasn't. What had happened? The last thing he remembered clearly was her asking who he was. But everything after that was a blur. And wasn't she more radiant before? She now looked... ordinary.

 

Then another voice. The detective recognized it from before. It was the voice of the shadowy figure who visited him. And with her came the feeling of being watched from earlier. The voice was still speaking in rhyme, but she was warning him of danger hiding beneath charm. Was she talking about the white pegasus?

 

The white pegasus called from behind the purple magic. She was giving him that same gentle smile from before and took a step towards him.

Sundown stepped back. She told the detective that he should leave this place with her.

 

Wait a moment. What was happening? This didn't make sense... right? Or did it? The detective brought a hoof to his forehead. His head hurt. He was confused. Sundown spoke hesitantly, barely processing what had occurred in the past few seconds.

 

"W-... What's going on?"

 

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Seeing this, the pegasus pressed on, an urgency to her voice and a rions. "I came in here to check on you, then a monster attacked. Help me dispell this thing and we can get somewhere safe." She took another step forward, and outstretched her hoof, pleading with him through her eyes that looked so innocent and pure.

 

The pane of magic's color and light intensified.

 

"Taste not the honey,

A lord of flies this one is,

Deadly her surprise."

 

Gradually, the pane widened, but not enough to stop him from taking her hoof. While the rest of the world became muted behind the magic window, her eyes still managed to stand out, their vibrancy undiminished and color remaining firm. 

 

"Don't listen to it, it's only trying to trick you so you'll end up like those mares over there. Please."

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Sundown's head pounded. The headache he had got even worse. The voice and the pegasus were both speaking, contradicting each other. Verse and desperate pleas were flying through the air. The pegasus reached her hoof out. She was asking for his help, asking him to take her hoof.

 

He watched as the pane of magic grew brighter and expanded. The purple glow got so intense that the detective had to squint when looking at it.

The mare begged him not to listen to the voice. To take her hoof. Or else end up like those three ponies on the floor.

 

Wait... Didn't she say something about them before? His memory was still fuzzy, but he was able to focus on some fragments. She said they were her friends. She said they ended up that way because they failed her somehow. Was she lying about that? Is she lying right now? The areion's head hurt, he didn't want to think about it.

 

Sundown's headache grew even worse. The shadows moved, the pane glowed brighter, the mare's pleas became more desperate. All while the intense smell of incense continued to assault his nostrils. These elements mixed to create a cocktail of sensations that ground right into Sundown's head. He hated it.

 

He was going to get out of here. He needed to clear his head. He needed to get away from those corpses. To get away from those insane runes all over the room. To get out of this dank chamber.

 

With his course of action decided, the detective bolted out of the room. Running towards the exit to escape down the hallway.

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The pegasus shouted and made to dash after him with inequine speed. The only reason she didn't impact him like a freight train on steroids was because a new pane of magic materialized in her path. He could feel the impact she made with it more than hear it as he fled. Luckily, the bookshelf previously hiding the hidden room was still out of the way, allowing him to escape the death and incense behind him.

 

As if on cue, the horsehead snapped back into place, and the bookshelf quietly slid back into place as if sweeping the whole fiasco under the rug.

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The detective stopped in the study. And he heard the cranking and creaking of the hidden mechanism moving the bookshelf back over the passageway. He stood still and heaved as he attempted to catch his breath. He was relatively in shape, so usually, a short run wouldn't wind him like that. But he had put all he had into getting out of that chamber as quickly as possible, and he was now suffering the consequences of that. He breathed. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. And after a couple of moments, he relaxed.

 

He took his last few deep breaths as he finally got his breath back and began to take stock of where he was. He was back in the study, the bust had flipped back down, and the entrance to the passageway had disappeared back into his hiding spot. It was like nothing had changed from when he first discovered the room, except for the places where he had disturbed the layer of dust.

 

As the adrenaline finally wore off, his mental faculties started to return to him in earnest. He began to process what occurred in the past few minutes. What the hay just happened? There was a room full of runes, an altar, a shadowy voice, three dead ponies, and a white pegasus. As he calmed down, more and more of his memory became clear, yet there was a noticeable gap. It started right after that mare asked what he was and ended right after that purple magic thing appeared.

 

He dropped to his haunches, semi-confident in the safety of his surroundings, and began to analyze what had occurred — trying to make sense of it. His face contorted with frustration as he couldn't pierce the veil of fuzziness and haziness which covered the gap in his memory.

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The entire house was eerily quiet as he contemplated this. Nothing pursued him past the relatively flimsy barrier, no voices called after him, no shadowy apparitions came to haunt him. Either they had lost an interest in him, or something else was ahoof.

 

 

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The still silence of the house disquieted Sundown. It was too calm. Too tranquil. A harsh contradiction to the chaos that he encountered down in the chamber. He didn't like this. Who knew what else was lurking in this house? The gloves had already come off downstairs, and he doubted that bookcase would hold it back.

 

He was going to go outside. Clear his head. Get out of the craziness. At least it'd let him smell something else than incense. He stood up onto his hooves and began to trudge his way through the dusty and broken down rooms of the house to get to the front door.

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The house took on a new, eerie quality as he made his way back. Here and there, he'd swear he felt eyes on him, following him towards the exit. Nothing popped out at him, nothing slowed him down. He'd reach the front door uneventfully, and easily leave the place behind... For a good while, at least.

 

As soon as he stepped hoof outside the front door, the sensation of being watched never diminishes. It was constant, uneasy feeling that stuck to him like a miasma, and if he peered into the shadows around him for too long, he may notice odd shapes within, facing him from just beyond perception.

 

He was not alone. Not now, and possibly not ever.

 

 

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Sundown's gaze kept darting around. He could've sworn he saw movements in the corners of his eyes, but whenever he'd look over, there would be nothing there.

 

The house was empty and quiet. But the detective could've sworn he saw things in the shadows, just beyond perception. Odd shapes and distortions, movement where there should be none. All while the terrible feeling of being watched continued to poke into his mind. Like if a pair of unseen eyes boring a hole straight through him. It sent a chill up his spine.

 

When he got outside, nothing changed. The feeling remained. It was almost unbearable. Sundown had thought that stepping outside the decrepit house would make it go away, but this was not the case.

 

He decided to get away from this house; maybe if he got further away, the feeling would leave him? The detective decided to head back to his apartment. He needed to rest, to clear his head.

 

After locking the front door of the building, he began to walk away from the house. He was going to head back to his hotel room. As he trotted on the sidewalk, he checked over his shoulder multiple times. He could've sworn he saw something lurking in the shadows or in the alleyways he passed.

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