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Twilight walked carefully through the fog, taking note of the unusual surroundings. There was no longer snow on the ground. Everywhere she could see was conspicuously missing the distinct feel of winter. In fact, the very air itself seemed to have warmed as well; the wind no longer contained the biting winter chill. In its place was a warm wind that pushed the fog slowly across town, though it never cleared the unusual weather.
“Alright, first thing we should do is find Pinkie Pie. If we find her, we’ll be able to find the Princess in no time!” Spike smiled looking over the map, “And if we keep heading down this road, we’ll make it to Sugar Cube Corner before we know it!” Spike with a grin, creating a separate atmosphere from the fog around them.
“Thanks Spike, even in the face of a crisis you’re still my number one assistant.” Twilight smiled, grateful to have him with her at the moment, hearing his voice right now was comforting. She had hesitated about taking him with her, feeling that it would have been safer to leave him in the library where he could lock himself away from any danger. At least until she’d had that vision. Whatever was going on in town, she knew Spike wasn’t safe back at the library. She wondered if there was any place in town at the moment that would guarantee his safety.
Twilight’s eyes scanned the building they were walking past, as she came to a slow stop before one.
“Huh? What’s the matter Twilight?” Spike asked wondering why the pony had stopped suddenly.
“Spike, every single house we’re passing seems to have been boarded up just like the library was.” Twilight explained, taking a short detour from their route and walking up to the front door. The entrance to the building was closed but all around she could see wooden planks had boarded up the windows blocking light from entering the building. She reached her hoof up to push against the door and heard it jam. She fumbled with it for a bit, hearing the constant jarring of the door as if the locks were broken.
“Why do you think that is?” Spike asked, watching Twilight fumbling with the door.
“…I couldn’t say.” She paused shortly to contemplate the strange door, “This phenomenon seems to have affected the whole town. Which means everypony is likely trapped inside of their homes like we were.” Twilight put a hoof up to her chin in contemplation, “Which might mean we won’t be able to get Pinkie’s help in finding Celestia.”
“Well, you never know until you try right?” Spike said thinking it over himself, “Besides, if I know Pinkie Pie I’m sure she’s already figured out the puzzle and getting the store ready for some bad weather parties.”
“Always the optimist Spike.” Twilight chuckled, turning from the house and walking back down the road towards Sugar Cube Corner.
“Hey, someone has to be.” Spike grinned, before suddenly shifting on Twilight’s back and pointing ahead, “Twilight! Look! Someone got out of their house!”
Twilight quickly looked in the direction, seeing a pony shaped figure in the fog.
“You’re right Spike! Hey!” Twilight called out, quickly racing towards it, “Hey, did you escape your house too?” The figure in the fog seemed to turn its attention to Twilight, noticing her approaching. Drawing closer the two of them could discern that the figure was wearing a black cloak around its body, its face hidden beneath the hood of its cloak.
“Zecora? Is that you?” Twilight asked, finally slowing as she approached, grateful to see her friend, “Oh Zecora, thank goodness you’re here. Something’s happened to Ponyville and I don’t know what! You know more about strange stuff like this, do you know what’s happening?”
The cloaked figure just stood there, continuing to stare straight at Twilight. Twilight suddenly felt a little uneasy at the staring, having expected to hear the familiar voice of the rhyming zebra.
“Uhhh… hello?” Twilight tried to communicate once more, “Anypony there?”
“You have a kind look in your eyes that seem surprised.” A deep feminine voice escaped from the cloak, the voice seeming to send chills down Twilight’s spine as she took a step back out of instinct, “I fear soon your life will be compromised.”
“M-My life?” Twilight stammered thrown off balance mentally at the sudden sharpness of the voice before her, “H-Hey! You’re not Zecora! Who are you?” She asked trying to steady herself. She felt vibrations starting to come from her back, Twilight quickly realizing that Spike was shaking.
“Time shall weave and pass through you, and you shall be lost to the whims of the night. Shadows prowl and seek your flesh, which shall tear you apart with loud delight.” The cloaked mare began walking slowly backwards into the fog.
“Hey! Get back here! You haven’t answered any of my questions!” Twilight yelled, trying to run back to the cloaked figure. With a powerful gust of wind the figure was covered by fog before seeming to disappear into the thin air. Twilight stared dumbfounded at where the mare had been, looking around for her. There had been no sound of the pony running away, no flash of magic indicating they’d teleported. It was as if they hadn’t existed in the first place.
“I-Is she gone?” Spike asked, managing to stop shaking long enough to look over the top of Twilight’s head at where the mare had once stood.
“Yeah… she is Spike… but I have no idea where she went.” Twilight was baffled at this. It wasn’t an illusion; both of them had heard the mare talk. Something about her had scared Spike and she herself had felt a sense of unease and dread hearing the mare’s voice. “We… we should keep moving. Sugar Cube Corner isn’t much farther.” Twilight said to Spike, gulping down the anxiety building up in her throat.
“Right… We should just need to continue forward…” Spike said hesitantly, looking into the fog for the bakery. Suddenly, the strange fog seemed a lot more menacing than it had moments ago.
“Right.” Twilight nodded her head before slowly continuing with her walking. Her hoof steps seemed unusually loud now, each step seeming to echo against the cobblestone street. She hadn’t been paying attention before, but the echoing steps truly told her the town was apparently empty.
“T-Twilight… do you hear that?” Spike said, panic starting in his voice. Twilight stopped walking, as she heard a distinct sound of metal scrapping against the cobblestone. She perked her ear to hone in on the sound, hearing it several times in short succession.
Klank, klank, klank, klank.
The rhythm of the scraping metal was in tune to somepony walking. But there was more to it than that. She narrowed her eyes in the direction before her, the direction the sound was coming from. She tried to focus on what was making the sound, beginning to see another faint figure in the fog slowly heading towards them. It was then that another metal sound was heard. It was the sound of metal being dragged along the ground.
“Who’s there?” Twilight called out to the figure. The figure began to grow more definition as it slowly grew closer to her. It didn’t respond.
“T-Twilight… there’s more!” Spike said quickly turning the unicorn’s head to look elsewhere in the fog. Twilight’s eyes widened, catching sight of more figures beginning to appear in the haze of the fog. Each figure brought with it that scrapping metal of their hoof steps, as well as dragging something metal along the ground.
This unnerved Twilight. She could feel the hairs standing up on the back of her neck. There was something very wrong with what was happening around her. She slowly began to walk backwards, away from the creatures as they approached.
“Hey! Stop freaking us out! Just tell us who you are!” Twilight cried out, trying to get answers. But all of her questioning was in vain, the figures just continuing to approach. She swept her gaze back and forth rapidly between the approaching enigmas in the fog, trying to determine why they were cornering her and Spike. She counted at least five now, in a half circle around them. They were trying to stop her from continuing forward, as if they didn’t want her to go to Sugar Cube Corner.
Twilight turned her attention to the first one she’d spotted. For a moment she froze in horror, staring at the creature that had appeared from the fog. Though it looked to be in the shape of a pony, there was no way Twilight could discern it as being one.
The creature was wearing armor, though it was different from the royal guards she’d seen in Canterlot. The armor was thicker and covered much more of its body, reaching under their bellies and down their flanks. The armor was rusted away with age, covered in battle scars from what must’ve been many battles. The shape and design of the armor was unlike anything Twilight had seen before, the armor seemed like a much more ancient design.
But it wasn’t the armor that sent fear into her spine. It was a simple look at the face of the creature. It had no eyes. Its skin was barely holding onto its face, rotted and diseased, if the creature had an identity it was long ago. The rest of the skin that was exposed through the armor shared the same fate. Twilight couldn’t comprehend how the creature was standing, let along walking towards her.
In its mouth it was dragging a hefty double-edged sword along the ground. It seemed to have difficulty holding it, yet was unhindered with its advance.
“Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-ZOMBIE PONY.” Spike yelled, suddenly scared out of his mind.
“SPIKE! Calm down! There’s no such thing as zombie ponies!” Twilight cried back at the terrified dragon, doing everything she could to keep herself calm too. Though she was berating him now, he had snapped her back to reality. She turned her head back to the deformed creature and forced a smile onto her face, despite the sweat beginning to fall down her face, “E-Excuse me, y-you seem to be hurt, please, let me help-”
The air was punctuated with a loud metallic clang that reverberated through the air. Twilight stood like a ghost, staring before her where the blade of the creature’s sword had imbedded into the ground, just mere inches away from her. She had just narrowly escaped no longer having a head.
Twilight stood there, paralyzed by the sudden situation, as the soldier-like creature slowly pulled the blade out from the ground. Adjusting it in his mouth for a better grip, he began to lift it up for another strike at the terrified unicorn.
“TWILIGHT! TWILIGHT RUN!” Spike shouted straight into her ear. The petrified pony felt her heart skip and life return to her veins, her mind finally getting the message to her legs. Her body jumped back, instinctively moving out of the way of danger, as the sword came striking down once more, cleaving through the cobblestone with ease.
Twilight turned on her hooves to run, noticing the approach of the other creatures. Five of these things were walking towards her, some dragging swords, some dragging spears and one of them was dragging an axe. Adrenaline coursed through her and her hooves began to pound the ground with force, careening her body forward with barely any idea of where she was headed. She just ran from these abominations of nature knowing they intended to kill her and her number one assistant.
She’d never forgive herself if harm came to the baby dragon.
The sound of scrapping metal suddenly increased. She dared a glance behind her, seeing the armored creatures chasing after her. They had slowly shambled towards her, but now were in full pursuit behind her. Her mind was in full panic, turning to look in front of her once more.
She was running straight for a house, one she recognized as the house for sale near Sugar Cube Corner. The sides were boarded up just like the rest of the town, Twilight instantly realizing it must be a dead end. She looked to her sides, the creatures were preparing their weapons, to strike her down if she drew close as they chased at her. If she didn’t head straight for the house she wouldn’t be a whole unicorn for very long.
She gulped down panic that had lodged in her throat and put her efforts into one last ditch effort. She had to get through the door, no matter what. Her horn lit up, surrounding the door with magic. She instantly tried the lock, on the off chance it would open, before thinking she’d ram into it to break through and-
The door opened. By some miracle, as if knowing she was in peril, the door gave way to her magic. By Celestia she counted her thanks and slipped straight through the open door, slamming it closed behind her.
Without a moment of rest she whipped her head around, looking for something, anything to barricade the door with. When her eyes fell upon the couch inside the dark, musty room she instantly surrounded it with her magic and slammed the furniture against the door, firmly holding it in place.
Seconds passed, as Twilight braced the couch against the door, slowly backing away from it. She could feel the sweat pouring down her face like bullets, nervous and anxiety building up as she didn’t know what was going to happen. The brief time felt like agonizing minutes, not knowing what was going to happen next.
Wood splintered and broke, the shrapnel flying across the room as Twilight shrieked, a sword slashing through the thick wooden walls. The sword got caught in the fixtures of the wall for a brief moment, before sliding back out. Spike cried out in terror, gripping hard against Twilight’s neck, practically choking her. Twilight couldn’t speak up in protest, only stare in horror as the next weapon broke through the wood and foundations. It was the head of a spear.
A sword slashed through next, followed by an axe right next to it. Her heart beat in her throat as her panicked, shallow breaths echoed in her ears, struggling to get air to her lungs.
The weapons wailed on the wall, creating several holes and lacerations into the door and walls. They were desperately trying to break their way in. Twilight didn’t know if they would be able to break through, but she was terrified that they would.
The axe bore its way through the door once more, pausing as it sat stuck in the door frame. Twilight stared at it, waiting for the continued destruction of the weapons. The axe slowly withdrew from the door, and for the brief moments Twilight could hear the scrapping metal footsteps growing quiet.
The creatures were leaving them alone. For whatever reason, they’d stopped their assault.
“A-Are they gone?” Spike asked, not daring to look at the door the creatures had so anxiously been striking at. It was then that word finally got to her brain that Spike was strangling her.
“S-Spike… can’t… breath.” The words barely escaped her lips.
“Oh! Twilight! I’m so sorry!” Spike apologized and instantly let go of her neck, letting Twilight inhale a much needed breath of air. She gasped and panted for a moment, letting the musty air fill her lungs, before coughing it back out, crashing down into a laying position on her belly.
“I’ve been better Spike.” Twilight finally managed to mutter, starting to feel the rush wear off. With her body calming down her mind could finally start to process what exactly it was that had just happened to them.
“Twilight, what WERE those things?! They looked like zombies! Zombies wielding swords and spears and axes!” Spike grabbed his head, the baby dragon starting to freak out, “They tried to attack us! We almost lost our heads! I thought zombie ponies weren’t supposed to be real!” Spike was now in full panic mode.
“Spike…” Twilight gasped for air, standing up slowly, looking at the rambling, frantic dragon, “Spike, calm down.” She spoke calmly, the baby dragon looking up at her, his mind still racing.
“Calm down? CALM DOWN!? Did you SEE what almost happened to us!?” He cried desperately, waving his hands at the splintered wall and door.
“…I did Spike. But… panicking about our situation isn’t going to help it.” Twilight said taking a deep breath, “We know we’re in a bad situation. But if you panic, you’ll only make a bad situation worse.”
“…Are… you lecturing me?” Spike asked almost shocked, “Now? Of all times?”
Twilight blinked a bit confused, before smiling softly at the baby dragon, amused by his statement. It was true; she was giving him a bit of her usual lecture. But seeing the young dragon she cared for so much being frantic seemed to spark some instinct inside of her that told her she needed to keep him calm. The same instinct that hold told her to bring him with her, was now telling her she needed to make sure he was going to be alright. That his wellbeing was more important than her own. The feeling told her that she couldn’t let what just transpired get to her for Spike’s sake.
“Maybe a little. But listen, if we panic we’re going to make bad decisions, and if we make bad decisions, we’re going to run into those things again.”
“Zombies.” Spike interrupted.
“Spike, do you really believe we were chased down by zombies?” Twilight asked unsure of the answer.
“Well… they LOOKED like zombies, SOUNDED like zombies, and ATTACKED us like zombies… I’m going to go with zombies.” Spike listed the reasons off on his fingers.
“Fine, so zombies are apparently real.” Twilight did not find comfort in that statement, “The better question is, what are they doing in Ponyville and why?” She looked over at the splintered wall once more, “There has to be some reason, some explanation that’ll tell us what’s going on here.”
“This is bad Twilight! What if they’re turning the whole town into a zombie horde as we speak!” Spike shivered at the thought of being attacked by a massive army of the creatures.
“…I don’t think that’s likely Spike.” Twilight put a hoof to her chin as she thought about how the creatures looked, “Though you’re right that their skin and manner of moving was similar to the stories about zombies, they were still different from those stories. For one thing they all were wearing armor; if they were ponies from this town why would they be wearing such regal looking armor?” Twilight began to pace as she thought, “Second of all they attacked us with weapons. The zombies from any story we’ve heard about attack by biting and spread infection that way. If they were trying to amass an army, they would want us infected and in one piece.”
“Well… maybe they’re really CONFUSED zombies! You know they lose control of their thoughts when they turn.” Spike said trying to give favor to his argument.
“Let’s focus Spike.” Twilight shook her head, “The biggest problem here is that those ‘zombies’ are roaming around town! They’re likely attacking innocent ponies! We have to find Celestia and put a stop to this.”
“How’re we going to do that? We can’t go out the front door; those things are probably waiting for us!” Spike motioned once more to the broken front door. Twilight had to admit; even she was unwilling to go out that door now.
“I guess we’re just going to have to find another way out.” Twilight looked around the room, getting a good look at it now that she wasn’t distracted by fear of her life or Spike’s rambling about the zombie ponies. They were in the house’s living room, the couch that had been in the middle of it was now pressed against the splintered door. The center of the room had a broken table, split down the middle and laying in pieces. There were several doorways scattered about the living room, one leading to the kitchen, one to what looked like a closet, one to what seemed to be a basement that was boarded up and one that lead to a bathroom that was also boarded up. Then there were the stairs to the upper room, a balcony could be seen from the first floor that showed doors on the second floor.
“Alright, I have no idea whose house we’re in right now, though it doesn’t look like anyone’s lived here in quite some time.” Twilight turned towards the opening to the kitchen and walked towards it. As she entered she finally began to notice just how dark it was inside of the house. She could barely see anything within the kitchen. Her instinct was to start casting the light spell, when a thought occurred to her.
If she was using the light spell and had to switch to a different spell, the light would cut out and she’d be stuck in the dark. If there was a monster in hiding waiting to attack her, she wouldn’t be able to see where she needed to defend herself.
This was a problem. Twilight took a moment to think about it, knowing full well she still needed a light. As she lifted a hoof up to her chin to think, the material of her pendant brushed against it. Surprised, she looked down to remind herself that she still was wearing the pendant from the Canterlot Archives.
“Oh, of course.” She smiled to herself, being reminded of it. She pressed her hoof against it and the crystal came to life, illuminating the world before her. The part of the pendant that was used to read books was now serving her as a lantern. Now that she was able to see, she quickly gave the kitchen a glance over.
The kitchen hadn’t fared much better than the living room, many of the counters were a broken mess, worn away with age and rotting. Many of the doors to the cupboards were loosely hanging on the hinges that were left over with rust and age. Cracks covered the floor and there brown and red stains littered throughout the kitchen.
However, Twilight’s eyes fell upon what she was looking for, a backdoor that was neatly placed at the end of the kitchen. It must’ve been a patio door, and if they could get to the backyard they could get around those creatures out front.
Twilight’s hoof reached the door and tried the knob, hearing the distinct sound of it being locked.
“Of course it is.” Twilight sighed, looking down at the handle, seeing a keyhole similar to the one that had been inside of her house. She realized it must be similar to the situation from her own home. Somewhere within the house was the key to this door, probably hidden within some dumb box within some dumb box puzzle that she needed to figure out.
Twilight quickly returned to the living room, illuminating Spike with her pendant causing him to be blinded momentarily.
“Augh, hey, watch where you point that thing.” Spike said covering his eyes.
“Oh, sorry Spike.” Twilight chuckled softly before walking up to him keeping the light directly out of his eyes, “There’s a door in the kitchen that looks like a way out, however its locked by a similar lock that was on our front door. I’m going upstairs to see if I can’t find the key.”
“Oh, well alright, then I can search downstairs for anything.” Spike smiled ready to help.
“Actually Spike, I was hoping you’d just stay down here and not go exploring. I don’t know what could be waiting for us in this house, or if those things are going to attack again. If you stay here, I can hear you shout for me and I can come to you quickly.” Twilight explained as best she could to her assistant.
“But… but…!” Spike began to protest.
“No buts Spike. I can take care of myself, but I have to be able to take care of you too. It’s safe here for the moment, so please wait for me to look upstairs. I won’t be longer than a minute or two and if you need me, I’m a single shout away, okay?” Twilight pleaded to the baby dragon, hoping he’d understand. Spike hesitated for a moment, fiddling with his fingers, looking unsure of what he should do.
“A-Alright Twilight… but if YOU need me, call me right away, okay!” Spike said, giving her a look of determination in return.
“Thank you Spike.” Twilight said quickly nuzzling against him.
“Yeah, yeah, just, go find the key and… be safe alright?” Normally Spike would protest against the show of affection, but considering their circumstances, it seemed appropriate.
“I will Spike. I’m not about to leave you alone.” Twilight nodded, giving him one last reassuring smile before turning and proceeding up to the second floor. Each step on the stairwell gave a loud groaning creak to each of her hoof steps. She worried that with the age of the structure that one wrong step she would find herself with a leg stuck in broken, splintered wood.
However, the stairwell seemed to hold up and she was soon on the balcony of the second floor. She looked down to the living room of the second floor, seeing Spike looking back up at her. Anywhere from the balcony she’d have a good view of the first floor, so she could easily jump to Spike’s aid at any time. She turned her head to look at the doors on the second floor. She counted six in total, though two of the doors were boarded up with wooden panels.
Twilight turned to the closest unbarred door; it was the only door just to the left of the stairwell.
Twilight pushed the door open, it creaking on its hinges as it moved. Twilight swept the light slowly across the room, checking to see if anything was amiss.
The room looked to be some old library or perhaps a study room. There were bookshelves that were now deprived of books, gathering dust and cobwebs with time. A few blank papers were scattered the floor near an old rotting desk. On the other side of the room she spotted something unusual. Sitting on top of a chair was a safe that looked much too heavy for the chair to be holding, yet somehow it did. On the front of the safe was a piece of paper that appeared to have some messy writing on it.
Twilight quickly walked over to the safe, examining it carefully. It just seemed to be a normal, cast iron dial safe that was unlocked with a number combination. Her horn lit with magic as she grabbed hold of the paper on the safe and lifted it up to her face to read it.
Part of the key is locked away here. I locked it away so that it won’t hurt us again. If you want the key, you must answer the riddles three, for only the combined answers will unlock the key.
-If you find nothing then you’re not there yet, but if you find more than me then you’ve gone too far.
-At sunrise the foals came out to play. They played all day as the sun began to set and the moon rose above their heads. They continued to play despite the night, never tiring or growing weary. They did not stop till they saw the sunrise once more, and then went tired back to their homes.
-In my collection I have but four ponies. Though sadly two befell to an accident and lost a leg each. It’s unfortunate to say, but the legs will still suffice, just need to make a small change.
Twilight thought the note odd for a moment. After all, it just seemed like a random set of riddles set up just for her to answer.
She looked at the safe, then back at the note and pondered what the words meant in her head.
‘I suppose the answer is the combination to this safe. Which means the answer to all of these riddles must be numbers.’ Twilight looked back at the riddles and read them again carefully, looking for the answer to this puzzle.
She racked her brain for a few minutes, going over possible solutions in her head. However, she finally came to a set of numbers that made sense to her.
“Alright… one… twenty-four… fourteen…” She spoke aloud as she turned the dial back and forth. As the dial landed on the final number it let out a satisfying ‘click’, informing her that she had solved the puzzle. She opened the safe door and peered inside, hoping to find the key to the door downstairs.
There were two things inside of the safe, none of which were a key. She sighed, a little disappointed, though somehow not surprised, before inspecting the items there.
The first thing her eyes came upon was an iron helmet. It seemed strange to her that the item would randomly be in the safe. She picked it up with her magic and inspected it. It looked almost brand new. It shined in the light of her pendant. She pondered about just leaving it there, but something in her gut told her it’d be useful. She wasn’t sure exactly how a random iron helmet would be useful, but at the same time she remembered back to the items she had obtained after solving the puzzles in her own home.
The iron helm soon vanished, being stored safely within her magic.
The other item in the safe was a strange ancient coin with weird markings on it. She levitated it closer, inspecting it. At first she couldn’t tell what it was, but as she looked it over memories of books she’d read back in Canterlot came to mind. The strange designs on the coin were of ancient Equestrian, the circle had a metallic extension on the back for imbedding it on clothing or armor and as her magic surrounded it, she could feel a soft pulse emanating from it.
“This is… an enchanted medallion. They’re used to imbue magical properties to items without them…” Twilight was fascinated at having discovered it in the safe, “Judging by the age, it must be at least a thousand years old. But despite its age it still holds a magical charge… Equestrian magic is truly amazing.” She smiled in wonder at the device.
Twilight dropped the medallion as she nearly jumped out of her skin. Instinct made her jump away from the medallion, as it began to make distorted, garbled sounds. She stared at it in shock, not sure what to make of the noises. She thought she could hear a voice playing through the strange noise.
“ZZZZZZZ-BZZZZZZ-CA-VVVVRRRRRRSSSHHHH-ED HEL-SSHRRRRUUUUUU-LONE HER-SSSSSSSHHHHHHHH-UN AWAY-KSSSSSSSSHHH”
Twilight could do nothing but stare in horror until the medallion finally grew quiet. She had no idea what had just happened with it. She’d never known medallions to store voice or sounds before. Sure, it was the basis for some of the musical equipment that was developed recently, but it was technology beyond what ponies would’ve had a thousand years ago.
She slowly approached the medallion and tapped it with her hoof. It didn’t seem to be doing anything now. She wondered if the sound had been triggered because she had poured magic into the device, as there were many items that required a regular recharge with unicorn magic.
Twilight levitated the medallion once more and gently poured some of her magic into the device, expecting to hear the sound start up once more.
She was baffled at the silence it produced. She twirled the medallion around, inspecting it from every angle she could, but nothing came from it. It was almost as if the whole thing had just been her imagination. Her brow furrowed in frustration at the piece of metal in front of her. She resigned herself to just putting it away into her magic repository and forgetting about it for the moment. She made space in her magic reservoir for it and attempted to place it inside.
However, the coin refused to budge. Though she could lift it, for some reason it refused to go into her holding space.
“Hey, what gives?” Twilight glared at the coin, trying several times to get it to vanish from her sight and find a place inside of her magic, but it simply refused. She let out a huff in frustration at the medallion. “Maybe it’s enchanted not to work with this kind of spell. Which is stupid, why would it be enchanted against being carried inside a magic vessel?” She groaned before thinking about what to do with it.
She examined the metal extension on the back, noticing it was thin and strong, able to clamp down hard to either cloth or metal, depending on what it was going to enchant. She looked down at the string of her pendant.
The medallions metal extension slipped onto the string and snapped closed, now firmly attached to her pendant.
“There, now I’ll be able to keep hold of it.” She wasn’t sure what she was going to need it for, but the note said that these items would lead her to the key to unlocking the back door, so she needed to take them with her.
With nothing else notably interesting in the room, Twilight turned and exited the room. She looked over the railing down to see that Spike seemed to have found a candle and lit with his fire. He was staring at some pictures that were hanging on the walls around the living room.
“You okay Spike?” Twilight called down to him, causing the baby dragon to look up.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I was just looking at some stuff down here.” He replied.
“Alright, just be careful. I don’t want you getting hurt.” She was still worried about what might happen to him if she was gone for too long.
“I know, don’t worry so much, I’ll be fine down here.” Spike nodded his head before looking back at the pictures. Twilight smiled softly at the young dragon. It wasn’t very often that he knew to take a situation seriously, but it seemed he was able to this time. She was grateful for that calm rationality was going to keep them from getting hurt.
Twilight turned her head back towards the doors, examining the next open one. The door closest to where she had just left was boarded up, leaving the next door down the hallway open. The creaking floor punctuated her every footstep as she approached the door.
Twilight’s ear twitched as she approached the door. She could hear something faint from behind the door, something that sounded like another pony.
She quickly pressed her hoof against the door and pushed it open, walking into a large open room. The walls were decorated with ornamental armors and weapons of varying shapes and sizes, all ones Twilight was able to recognize as made only to be displayed, not used. Banners decorated with the symbol of Equestria hung in the corners and the floor was covered with a red velvet carpet. At the opposite end of the room looked to be a statue of a pony standing on its hind legs made of bronze, holding in its hooves a worn down, rusted old sword with words written on the wall above it. In the center of the ceiling appeared to be a fresh blood stain that was slowly dripping blood into a pool.
The most striking thing about the room however, was that Twilight could hear the soft sobs of a mare crying. She looked around the room, but couldn’t see a single pony from where the sound would originate.
“Hello?” Twilight called out walking further into the room. She stopped for a moment when she heard the medallion on her pendant began to hiss quietly with its static sound. She stared at for a moment, wondering if it would go quiet. When it didn’t, she decided to ignore it for the moment and continue trying to contact the pony in distress.
“Hello?” She called again, though there was no response, just the continued sad sobbing. “Hello? Is anypony here?” Twilight tried desperately to call out to the pony that seemed to be in distress. She called out to her several more times, but all she got was silence in return.
“I don’t get it… I can hear them, can’t they hear me?” She wondered aloud to herself. She slowly walked over to the statue of the pony and examined it. It seemed to be a soldier, dressed and ready for battle, though he seemed to be missing his helmet. Twilight glanced up and looked at the wall with the writing.
Twilight pulled out the helm from her magic pool. She wasn’t sure how this was going to get her a key to leave the house, but she knew what the riddle was telling her to do. She levitated the helm down onto the statues head, it fitting with a snug ‘click’.
The statue suddenly moved, causing Twilight to step back in surprise. The forelegs of the statue that were tightly holding onto the rusted old sword in its hooves lifted up slowly, before separating, letting go of its grip on the blade. The blade fell to the ground and landed with a small clatter. Twilight looked at the chipped blade curiously.
The blade had a purple jewel just below the white-bandaged wrapped handle, presumably to give it a better and less-painful grip when held in the mouth. The guard looked like it was made out of a dark bone. She could clearly see the massive amount of chips in the steel blade, as if it had been through many a battle and left unrepaired for years, rusting away in this spot now.
She levitated the blade up carefully, to get a better look at it. As she did, the medallion around her neck began to cry out with a loud distorted buzz.
The room suddenly shook as the gentle sobbing turned into a loud, heart-wrenching scream. Twilight felt her skin jump as she quickly turned around. The room shook once more as a loud thud struck the room. She looked back and forth, trying to find the origin of the loud noise.
Another thud shook the room and she heard a loud crack reverberate through it. She turned her head up to the ceiling, seeing specks of debris falling down as something slammed into it. She bolted her attention to the door and tried to make a run for it, to escape the room.
Another ear-piercing scream shrieked through the room, as one last thud shook the room, the ceiling bursting from the weight of the strike and knocking Twilight back as debris and ruble hit the floor.
Twilight coughed and gagged on the dust that was billowing from the floor, turning her attention to look at what had just crashed through the ceiling.
A gigantic figure was hanging from some abyss above the ceiling. Its legs disappeared into the abyss, showing just a large torso and head below. It’s body was long and its skin was rotted, marred with scars and wrapped in tightly bound chains. It was missing one of its forelegs, the other was bound, broken and misshapen under the chains. The head of the creature brought horror to Twilight, as this creature was also missing its eyes. But more than that, the ears looked like they’d been put through a shredder and were barely hanging on, teeth were missing from its mouth and it was profusely bleeding from the skull, likely where it had repeatedly struck the ceiling to be free.
The creature let out a distinctive mare-like screech that felt like it would pop Twilight’s ears. She folded her ears down and backed away from the creature, her back hitting a wall. Adrenaline instantly began to shoot through her veins as she stared down the creature.
It writhed in agony at its bindings. It began to thrash back and forth in the room, screeching and wailing in horrific pain. Twilight could only stare, feeling her heart thundering against her chest at the sight. She didn’t know what it was, she didn’t know what happened to it and the last time she’d encountered a creature it had tried to kill her.
The creature stopped its thrashing for a moment, breathing heavily. Its head seemed to focus on Twilight, Twilight freezing in fear. It was as if the creature had noticed her thoughts and turned its attention to her.
With another screech its head lunged straight at Twilight, mouth wide open intent on biting down on her.
Twilight barely managed to jump out of the way in time, as the creature crashed into the wall Twilight had been standing next to her. Twilight’s hooves slipped for a moment, but she got to her feet, instinctually levitating the sword in front of her defensively. She’d never wielded a sword before, not even back during her days in Canterlot. The Princess had asked her if she would be interested in any weapon training, but she had always focused on studying magic.
Right now she wished she had done some training.
The shrieking creature pulled its body back and shook with pain and anguish, crying out constantly.
“Please! Stop!” Twilight yelled at the creature, watching it spasm under the chains, “I don’t want to hurt you! If you’ll just calm down I can help you!” She pleaded at the creature, trying to get it to listen to reason.
The creature refused the offer, swinging its body straight for Twilight. She jumped out of the way once more, the creature smashing into the wall.
Twilight tried to keep her balance, but the creature wasn’t wasting its time this time. It pulled back quickly and thrust itself forward once more at Twilight.
Twilight gasped in shock and tried to dodge out of the way again, holding the sword up to try and soften the blow. The creatures face grazed the side of the sword as it wailed in pain, before striking the side of Twilight’s body. She felt her body get knocked to the side as it smashed into the wall once more.
She groaned, feeling the impact on her sides. She knew, however, that she didn’t have time to wait and adjust to her new bruises. She scrambled to her feet as the creature began to pull back once more. That constant, horrific yell was piercing straight into her, the cry of pain and agony that permeated the soul.
“STOP! PLEASE! I DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU!” Twilight cried out desperately to the creature, trying to get it to stop its assault.
The creature roared out, its jaw crashing onto her body. She let out a horrified gasp in surprise as suddenly the room seemed to flip upside down. Should could feel the powerful jaw of the creature beginning to dig into her flesh. She shrieked, crying out in agony as the teeth began to dig deeper, trying to devour her alive.
The sword swung through the air, stabbing straight into the creatures throat.
The creature’s jaw opened wide in agony, Twilight tumbling out as it began to flail across the room, crashing and smashing into walls all over the room.
Twilight gasped and panted for air, a hoof rubbing her neck as she stood up. The creatures wails filled her mind as she was able to spot the sword she’d been wielding imbedded in its throat. Her horn quickly lit up and her magic grabbed the handle of it, ripping the sword quickly out of its throat.
Its head slammed into the floor, shaking the whole room. Twilight’s legs shook with it, trying to keep herself standing and stable, aiming the sword towards the creature once more.
The creature didn’t wait for another opportunity. It bellowed its wrenching cry and rushed straight for Twilight, its mouth wide open to take her down.
Twilight didn’t wait for it to get close. With a swift thrust the blade soared through the air and stabbed the creature in the mouth.
This didn’t seem to falter the creature, as it still aimed to take Twilight down.
Twilight dodged out of the way, its jaws reaching where she had been standing and snapping shut on top of her blade. Her horn lit up, pouring a huge amount of her magic into the hold of the blade and forced the blade out of its mouth, dragging blood and teeth with it as it soared out.
The creatures head rammed into the ground once more, as if trying to silence the pain as its blood began to spill and drench the room with its constant movements. Twilight held the sword up over her, every nerve in her body firing at once to react, to attack, to not let this thing take her out of this world.
The creature cried out, its jaws mashing, wanting to devour Twilight. Twilight levitated the sword up, her eyes flashing white as she grit her teeth, her nostrils flaring as a turbulent wind picked up in the room. Debris began to be picked up, the splinters of the decorative weapons and armor beginning to circle with the cyclone of air. Twilight glared at the creature, the sword being the focus of her magical rage.
The creature lunged for her, mouth open and screaming.
Twilight cried out in return, forcing all the air out of her lungs as she yelled like she had never yelled before.
The sword dove through the air, guided by the magical force. The blade struck the creature, striking the bottom of its jaw and straight through its skull, embedding itself into the floor of the room.
The creature writhed and shook, its body going into uncontrolled spasms. Twilight panted heavily as she watched, the creature’s agony spilling out before her. She waited, as the creature began to shake less and less.
Finally, the creature grew quiet and still. Her medallion became silent as well.
Twilight panted as her magic began to calm. Her eyes stopped blazing white and she could feel the effects of the adrenaline coursing through her veins beginning to fade as the situation was no longer one of life and death.
Her legs began to shake, no longer able to support her weight. She collapsed to her knees as her mind began to reel, her breath not slowing as the horror of what she just did began to crash in at full force.
“TWILIGHT! TWILIGHT ARE YOU OK-“ Spike cried out, finally able to get the door to open and came rushing into the room only to stop.
He could see everything. The dead creature impaled through the head on the floor, the blood that was splattered throughout the room, the horrible mess and destruction that had come from it crashing through the ceiling and destroying the walls and decorations.
But most of all, he could see Twilight, staring at him, shaking in place with wide eyes as she was beginning to deal with what just happened. Her body was splattered with blood, some of it being her own.
“T-Twilight…” Spike gasped, having difficulty taking the sight in for himself. He was rendered speechless.
“S… Spike…” Twilight’s voice quivered, shook as much as her body did. Her eyes began to shutter as much as her breath, “I… I… I killed… a living creature…” The fear was evident in her voice, the pain and grief of what she done was striking her. Spike could see the tears that were quickly beginning to flow down Twilight’s cheeks.
“I… I killed it…” She hiccupped and gasped, as her face contorted. She was trying to hold back her sobs, trying to hold back her pain and anguish. But there was no stopping it and Spike could see it. He rushed over to Twilight and threw his arms around her neck.
Twilight broke out into loud, painful sobs into the small dragon’s shoulder, her hooves holding him as close as she could.