Jump to content

The House on Flathoof Avenue [ATTN: Aisede]


Recommended Posts

The sensation persisted, doggedly following him all the way back to his dwelling where, finally, it simply ceased. The moment he'd pull out his keys or approach the door, he was finally afforded some privacy. Some ponies had given him odd looks as he passed by them, but none of them seemed to be the culprit.

 

Still... 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As he approached his apartment door, he noticed the sensation of being observed had petered out. He took one last glance behind him as if he would be able to tell what had caused the feeling to go away. He shrugged after he saw nothing and stepped into his apartment.

 

His apartment was dim and dark—the light of the late evening coming in through the windows. The apartment was laid out in an open style. The walls were painted an eggshell white. The kitchen was modest, and the appliances were old and well-used. The sink was full of dirty dishes, and take-out boxes littered the countertop. The living room was cozy, with a small couch and coffee table dominating it. It was cleaner than the rest of the apartment, but that's probably because the detective did not use that room that much. Really, the only evidence of use in the living room was a standing tack board that Sundown used to keep track of the case. Down a hallway was a bathroom and a petite bedroom. They were in a little better condition than the rest of the apartment, but they were not much to look at.

 

The entire apartment was musty and slightly deteriorated. But Sundown didn't complain. The Royal Guard was paying for his room and board in Manehattan for as long as he was on this case, and the apartment was probably the best one they could find on such short notice. The detective knew he wouldn't be staying there permanently, so he didn't go through the motions of getting completely unpacked yet. This was evidenced by a couple of boxes full of notes or personal effects laid scattered about.

 

After closing the door, the detective walked over to the sofa and sank into it with a huff. He had been on edge ever since he stepped into that cursed house, and now he felt exhausted...

  • Surprised 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All is quiet... Until his keen hearing would pick up a quiet rustling. It could have been his imagination, or even an animal outside, but the gradual darkening of the room hinted at a much more sinister origin.

 

Slowly, deliberately, a stygian haze expanded from the corners of the room, trailing twisting snakes of shadow that grasped for anything within reach to pull into their nebulous embrace. Out of the darkness came a familiar figure, emerging from the space where a television would be in a more modern setting, complete with leering red eyes that settled upon the room as it touched down on top of the coffee table, four whispy paws noiselessly settling upon the old wood.

 

Oddly enough, the feeling of being watched never came to him until it finished observing its surroundings and laid eyes on him, shadowy tendrils sorting through the notes and knick knacks he failed to properly take care of.

 

"The death of incompetence you seem to be,

And a stallion with terrors you wish to be free,

A resilient one, of that there is no doubt,

Nary a nicker nor fearful bout,

And after all that your eyes could see."

 

It- she spoke with a voice as ethereal as her body, yet it carried in it a trace of... Admiration? 

 

Flicking a lengthy lash of a tail, it raised its head up to look down its nose at the stallion, the entity's eyes gaining a sudden intensity.

 

"Marked you are with a devil's ire,

Soon to be burned on her passion's pyre." Looking away from him, some of his belongings floated over to it, allowing her to scan its contents with an inscrutable face. 

"A stallion of knowledge, it would seem

And this, a simple... 'Crime scene.'" it tilted its head at him, discarding the notes and placing them back where they belonged.

"Tell me. What is it you desire?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sundown had just been getting comfortable when a sound caught his attention. It was a low rustling like if the wind were starting to pick up. But that didn't make sense; he was inside his apartment. His ears perked up and swiveled, trying to ascertain the source of the sound.

 

Then he noticed the swirling, writhing haze in the corner of his room. He bolted upright in the sofa. That wasn't normal. The dark miasma expanded, picking up objects from its surroundings and floating them around the room. And then a figure stepped out. He watched as it walked out of a solid wall, as if it were walking through a doorway. The figure was feminine, however it was clouded in shadow and darkness. She glanced around his apartment before focusing her gaze on him. As her red eyes fell on him, the detective noticed the same feeling of being watched return in full force. Those red eyes looked familiar...

 

She spoke, and he recognized her. She was the voice who had warned him earlier to leave the house. The voice who had fought the pegasus in the secret chamber. She spoke in verse, praising him for his bravery. His face flushed a little when she did so, his modesty preventing him from indulging fully in such praise.

 

She raised her head, looking down at the detective. Her gaze was severe and intense. She stated that he was the target of a devil's ire and that he was danger. And after reading over one of his case notes, she asked him something. She wanted to know what he desired.

 

He sat silent for a moment. His heart pounded in his chest. He didn't know what to expect from this figure. His eyes darted around the room, checking the exits. Could he make it if he ran? Questions raced through his mind. What was she? Who was she? Should he answer? Can he trust her? How'd she get in here? How did she know all this? What DID he desire?

 

She wasn't threatening him, even if she was intimidating. If anything, she seemed to be trying to help the detective. After all, she had warned him of the danger in the house's basement. Maybe he should answer her question? It took him a second to settle on his answer to her query, but once he did he stated it out loud.

 

"I want to know what happened in that chamber."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe it was his imagination, but she seemed... Disappointed by his answer, her indistinct body sagging slightly in place.

 

"So you have chosen the path unclear,

Rife with strife, fate endeared." Righting herself once again, she hopped off the table, leaving a stream of black vapors behind her that faded into nothing in her wake. Her paws made no sound as she landed, neither as she moved around the sofa to explore the room in earnest, more dark tendrils extending from the shadows near her to manipulate objects into her line of sight. 

 

"A tragedy, borne of greed and ignorance,

Ones misguided with discarded innocense." She looked back at him, tail flicking. 

"They lived in a world unknown, one of fear."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As she spoke, she was able to examine the various possessions which the areion had in his residence. She found herself looking through old copies of case reports (mainly missing ponies cases), notebooks filled with scrawls of almost illegible notes, various puzzle books, an aging tome about the three main pony races, and even a couple of seemingly random objects sealed in evidence bags. It was all almost hopelessly unorganized, with each box having no rhyme or reason to its contents.

 

One notable thing she was able to find was a framed photograph on the kitchen counter. It showed four areions, a mare, a stallion, a colt, and a filly. They all looked related to one another. If she looked closely, she could see that the colt's cutie mark matched Sundown's exactly. The photo depicted the family of four was standing in front of a modest wooden cabin located somewhere in the woods. They were all smiling, happy. If she were a sentimental type, the photograph would've almost been heartwarming.

 

Sundown listened to her answer intently. His gaze was locked on her as she thoughtlessly explored his apartment and rifled through his belongings. A part of him didn't appreciate her going through his stuff so openly, but he decided against saying something lest he incurs some type of wrath on her part. Nevertheless, he found himself relaxing slightly in her presence. The way that she was speaking and acting implied that she wasn't an immediate threat. In fact, she seemed to just be curious.

 

After she finished speaking, he remained silent for a few moments, mulling over what she had said. When he spoke next, he saw her examining an old take-out box from a Cloudsdalian-cuisine restaurant curiously, as if something interesting was on the bottom of it. When he spoke, she could identify that his tone was laced with slight confusion.

 

"Their deaths were caused by their own greed and ignorance? ... How?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The shadow lingered on the book, flipping it open and scrolling through it with slightly more interest than his other belongings. However, it didn't seem to be anything of interest to her as she placed it back where she found it. Even if she was riffling through his stuff, she at least showed some care. 

 

She barley acknowledged the photo.

 

Instead of answering him right away, she nosed around through the evidence he had collected, seeming to have some idea what she was looking for after a couple moments of probing the area with an army of dark tentacles. Facing him, the tendrils almost reverently withdrew a plastic bag- one of many- but this one contained an item of particular importance.

 

Gesturing towards it with an open paw as it was suspended by its lip, she elaborated.

 

"Misguided, misinformed, yet not erred from their errant path.

Motivated by falsehood and falacy, it is not hard to do the math."

 

The book was brought closer so that he may inspect it, granted she mercifully left the bag zipped, and the book unmolested. 

 

"An entity they summoned, malign beyond their reckoning,

Now freed, their follies paid, your attention she is beckoning.

In time, she will return. We must act, lest you incur her wrath."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He looked over the bag that she held in her tendrils. It was a plain clear plastic bag with a red lip and a basic zipper. Laid across the lip was a brightly colored tamper seal. One side of the bag had a piece of paper detailing various clerical items and the chain of custody. From what he could see, it was a typical evidence bag.

 

But then she brought it closer to his face, and he saw its contents.

 

It was a thick musty old book with a bland cover and a vague title. Sundown immediately recognized it as the book that he found in one of the victim's apartments. The one he found the address of the house in. From what he could tell when he initially skimmed through it, it was a manual on occult rituals and ceremonial magic. But, the detective thought that type of magic didn't really work, wasn't it mainly placebo or fake? But from what the shadowy figure was telling him, it seemed that the three victims had stumbled onto a ritual with some actual substance in that book.

 

The detective thought over what she had said. Those three ponies had attempted to perform a ritual from that book, something they thought would benefit themselves. But they ended up summoning an evil entity instead. An entity that now had Sundown squarely in its sights. But what was this entity? How did it know of him? He would've remembered encountering something like that.  He thought for a moment, and then it hit him.

 

"They summoned that mare who was in the chamber with us?"

 

He paused as the implications fully dawned on him. The pegasus mare had killed those three ponies, made them suffer horrific deaths. And now she was after him. A shiver ran through his spine as he thought about what could happen to him. Or even what would happen to others if she was fully loose. He dreaded to think about that.

 

"How do we stop her?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nodding in satisfaction that her message got through, the book went back where it belonged. Or, well, it went back into the box. It belonged in a bonfire, but that wouldn't be looked upon with much fondness.

 

"A mare in appearance alone,

Inside, a sight worse than a crone.

To put an end to this budding plight, 

You will require all of your might.

A tenacity, and mental endurance you have shown."

 

With a ponderous gait, she moved back into towards the coffee table, but decided not to abuse his furniture this time and instead stand next to it, looking at him.

 

"I have my methods,

What I need is your trust.

That is a great must."

 

Slowly, she offered her paw to him, leg outstretched and palm up. Smaller dark tendrils extended from it, as if reaching out for him. It was probably a rather eerie sight.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The detective looked at her, and then down at her paw. Her words echoing in his head as he mulled over his decision. Did he trust her? He thought for a moment about his interactions with her. Despite how cryptic her actions and words were to him at the time, she did seem to be benign. After all, she did try to warn him away, and she had protected him in the chamber. And right now, she was probably his best shot at avoiding a terrible death at the hooves of an angry demonic mare.

 

There wasn't really any choice when he thought about it.

 

"I trust you." He said cautiously as he took the offered paw with his hoof.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They shake once, and then the lady and her supernatural shadows both vanish into thin air, dissolving like smoke in a strong draft. In his hoof, a sturdy weight now rested. It was a strange, if simple device she had bequeathed him: made of solid gold, three interlocked rings inscribed with archaic runes added the chill of metal to his hoof.

 

"A test you will endure,

Knowledge and intuition will keep you pure.

Feel it now, and know its purpose,

For using such a tool, misguided, would be remiss.

We shall meet again, once the demon's life you have found a cure."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The detective blinked, and she was gone. Vanished like smoke in the breeze. Her words echoed in his head, warning him of a test to come. He felt the cool weight of the device she had left in his hoof and he glanced down at it. Inspecting the interlocking rings and the runes written across the object. He wondered how it worked, and how it was supposed to protect him from the demon. A part of him was worried that it wouldn't work, but he pushed those thoughts out of his head. He said he trusted the shadowy figure, and he wasn't about to make himself a liar.

 

He sank to his haunches and used his other hoof to attempt to actuate the device, to see if any part of it moved or rotated. Although, he was careful to not press too hard, lest he break it. His eyes ran over its the smooth surface and carefully inscribed symbols. Most of them were unfamiliar to the areion, but he wanted to see if he did recognize any of them. Maybe then he could figure out how to work the device.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the symbols were vaguely reminiscent of the scribbles found in the occultist book, granted of a much more refined caliber, with more confident lines and a pragmatic air to the simple markings. Testing it, he'd find that all three rings could rotate, causing different symbols to align, although nothing seemed to happen as he tampered with the object.

 

Asides from its exotic origins and alien writing, it seemed to be completely unremarkable. He may not have been a unicorn, but even earth ponies had some affinity for magic. The batty detective could sense nothing special about it whatsoever. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He stared at the object and the symbols upon it. Some quick and dirty math in his head told him there was at least a few dozen possible combinations of symbols. As tempted as he was to try to brute force the combination, he figured that'd be too time consuming and he'd likely get confused or lost while doing so. He had to use his intuition for this. He had to think of it like a puzzle. He began looking for any patterns in the symbols or their alignments. Maybe he could find some hints from that?

 

The fact that he could feel no magical presence in the device disquieted him a little bit. Sure, he wasn't the most magically sensitive pony. But he was still able to feel the raw magic that came off most amulets or charms, even the most basic ones. He mulled over why this might be. He was sure that the shadowy figure wouldn't give him something defective, at least he hoped he was sure of that. Maybe it became charged with magic when the correct combination was achieved? Or maybe the magic was veiled under a spell that hid it from being sensed?

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever the case may be, it would appear that the good detective wasn't quite clever enough to figure this puzzle out. No matter which way he aligned the symbols or tried to perceive its hidden potential, his efforts were met with failure after failure. What's more, as he went about this task, he'd hear the faint and amused voice of his mysterious benefactor.

 

She didn't say anything, but her presense never wanted, either. She was still there, and she wasn't helping at all! 

 

Something was moving around in the kitchen, but nothing was apparent. It seemed she wasn't quite done exploring his little home yet, even if she were leaving him to his own devices. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sundown grunted as his frustration began to grow. He'd been at this for a good minute or two and nothing had show for it. He hadn't been able to figure out a thing about the device, much less about how it works. As he continued to work the device, he heard the sound of clattering and an amused chuckle coming from his kitchen. Apparently, his shadowy companion had taken to pilfering through his kitchen. He fought the urge to say something to her about it. After all, he was kind of relying on her to prevent him from dying at the hands of a praeternatural mare. Although, he also wasn't thrilled that she wasn't giving him any help with figuring out the device. Maybe her test was that he had to figure it out on his own? He'll give it a couple minutes before he asked for help, he wanted to make sure he couldn't figure it out himself before he gave up.

 

The kitchen was a mess. Dirty silverware and dishes filled the sink. The refrigerator was old and slightly dirty, inside were a couple boxes of half-eaten take out, a large storage container of leftover pasta, and a bottle of milk that was slightly past its prime. The gas range was practically vintage, with the top burners covered in residue carbon. A metal sauce pot laid on one of the corner burners. The oven was empty, but it was surprisingly clean. Although that may be evidence that it was unused. Next to the fridge was a panty cabinet that was filled with non-perishable food and easy-to-make meals, branded with the logo of a local grocery store chain. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but it was obvious that the kitchen needed a serious cleaning. And the detectives diet certainly needed to improve if he expected to keep his current figure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the good detective continued to give himself a headache for the amusement of his new mistress of mysteries, a shadowy few shadowy tendrils floated about the kitchen, reaching into pantries, checking on the oven, and laying out the pasta on the counter. The milk straight up vanished, much like how she could apparently summon objects at-will.

 

A low, melodious hum filled the culinary space as she worked, the tune carrying with it exotic notes from a foreign land that would probably remind him of a desert and camels. A couple moments would go by before a new, fresher carton of milk appeared, pouring into the base of the sauce-pan until it was covered in a thin layer of white. Next, she withdrew some red-sauced lunch out of the fridge, ripping the plastic film off and dumping the contents into the pan.

 

She seemed to know how to navigate the burner as, in a few moments, the milk was sizzling, and a frozen block of pasta was thawing in the mixture. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sundown was just finishing up another futile attempt at deciphering the cryptic object when he heard the humming coming from his kitchen. His ears perked up and twitched a little as he listened to the melody for a few seconds. It was exotic, foreign, a tune he had never heard before. He wondered where it was from, and how the shadowy figure knew it. Another thing to write off as one of the mysteries surrounding his enigmatic benefactor. He had multiple questions he wanted to ask her, but it never seemed like the right time to ask. Perhaps now that things seemed to be calmed down a little, he should ask a couple? He mulled over how to ask them for a moment.

 

He heard one of the burners on his gas range light itself and then shortly after the sound of sizzling coming from his kitchen. Was she cooking something? She certainly was making herself at home in his apartment.

 

That's it. If she was going to be using his stove, he might as well get her name. That'd at least give him something to call her other than 'that shadowy mare who can walk through walls'. How should he ask her, though? It'd probably be best to be polite, introduce himself first and then see if she returns the courtesy. It's worth a try, at least. He waited a moment before he piping up, he spoke while he was still fumbling with the device in his hooves, making his voice just loud enough that she could hear him from the kitchen. Although he suspected that she would hear him even if he didn't do so.

 

"Uh - We haven't been introduced... My name is Sundown Trail, I'm a detective in the Royal Guard."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Milk turned into cream, mixing with the thawed noodles and red sauce as the older noodles were mixed in. A heady aroma began to fill the space as she fetched salt and pepper, and rooted around for any additional ingredients to finish off the dish. It wouldn't be long now- just cook it for awhile, make sure it doesn't stick to the pan, and it'd be ready in no time. Creamy and saucy ~

 

"I am Shai."

 

That was it. No rhyme, no grand titles, no elaboration. A simple statement of fact, from a pragmatic mare.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shai. He bounced the name around in his head a couple times, getting a feel for it as it rolled about in his skull. It was simple, unpretentious, candid. A harsh contradiction to the mysterious character of the mare. Every word she spoke, every rhyme she made had was loaded with hidden meaning and implication. But her name did not share those qualities. Odd.

 

He lifted his head from the device when he smelt the pleasant aroma wafting out from his kitchen. He looked over and saw the pot sitting upon a lit burner, but no sign of his mysterious companion other than a few shadowy tendrils working their way through his meager spice rack.

 

Time for another question. He spoke again, a little more confident this time.

 

"Where are you from, Shai?"

  • Apple 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a long pause, long enough that he may have mistakenly assumed she hadn't heard him- her attention did seem slip, after all- but given a little time, she eventually came up with a proper response.

 

"I come from a land distant, a land unknown,

A land of sand and bone.

Once ruled by tyranny,

My home is now free.

A fate, here, I wish not to be mine own."

 

The pasta seemed to be going along well. She tossed the pan a few times, allowing the ingredients to mix before stirring it up with whatever clean utensil she could find. Some plates were also floating out of the cupboard- or, well, one plate.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Huh, so she was from a faraway place. Interesting. Although, Sundown wasn't too surprised. If there were ponies with abilities like hers in Equestria he would've likely heard about them before. He sat silently for a moment after she finished speaking, not really knowing what to say. He fiddled a little more with the golden device futilely.

 

She didn't seem to mind answering his questions. Maybe he could ask the one question that had been nagging him ever since he met her. He spoke a little trepidiously.

 

"Uhm - What are you?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once again, Shai neglected to give him any straight answers and make him really work for it, a note of amusement to her voice this time around.

 

"Listen well to what I have to say,

Heed my words, and know my way..." 

She petered off, then, as if approaching the conversation from a different angle.

 

"I am something large

four legs, two wings, and strength of body

Our kind has kindled empires, our perspectives expansive

Just as our inner strength truly lies in the mind

Soul is our weapon against what prowls the night, with a resolve most stalwart

And, naturally, we possess great spirit.

 

What am I? With my shades of spirit

And enshrouded in darkness my body

Untrapped in will nor mind

And a projection of my ego that one may consider quite large

think for yourself what I am, explore the possibilities most expansive

And, in your resolve, remain always stalwart."

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was... unhelpful. The detective looked back to the golden device and began fiddling with it again. As he futilely rotated the rings of the device, he mulled over what she had said. Sundown was half sure he was more confused now than he was before she had answered. Four legs, two wings... and paws? He remembered the shadow had paws. Was she a griffon? No, that didn't make sense. No griffon he knew of had such magical ability, they were fighters and fliers, not powerful mages. He thought it over in his head. She said she was large. But he remembered the shadowy figure was pony-sized. So, did she mean she was big metaphorically? How does that work? He didn't understand.

 

He noted that she sounded a little amused when she recited that verse. Was she messing with him? Or was his confusion funny to watch?

 

As he finished another unsuccessful attempt to align the symbols on the device. He despaired. He'd been at it for a couple minutes now and he was no closer to figuring out how it worked than when he started. Maybe he should ask for help? There was no shame in doing so. It'd be better to throw his pride under the carriage and get the device working, rather than end up the plaything of some angry demonic mare.

 

"Hey, uh," he called into the kitchen; "How does this thing work?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The sizzling died down, and he'd hear the burner turn off. Seemed dinner was ready. 

 

"The device you hold,

In the face of evil not,

Can demons withstand."

 

Her simple explanation delivered, the words were accompanied by a floating plate suspended in the hold of no less than three shadowy claws. 

 

"Activated not,

A passive object it is.

In action, proven."

 

The plate is settled down on the coffee table, but not before a modest portion of it is whisked away in the departure of the stygian appendages. A thoughtful him follows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...