Eldritch Fun Times

by Impossible Numbers

Eldritch Fun Times, Part I

The initial buzz was wearing off, and Rainbow checked either side of her. Two stuffed dog heads bounced on her shoulders as she flapped her wings. They looked a lot less impressive than she’d hoped.

Feeling she should shake it up a bit, this year she’d dropped the usual sports-related costume and gone for something a bit more horrific. And she’d thought about Tartarus and dark dogs, and eventually hit upon the idea of dressing as Cerberus. What said “Tartarus” louder than a three-headed heck-hound?

Trouble was that she’d wanted it leaner, meaner, with fire-breathing red bits coming out of its mouths and snakes coming out of its fur. Twilight had patiently explained that no, the real Cerberus was not a Doberman and not a hybrid monster, and anyway he wouldn’t breathe fire unless he ate Grim Reaper chili peppers.

His snouts were supposed to be stubby and rounded, not long and pointed. That meant she basically had two black balls bouncing on her shoulders now. It was just embarrassing.

Still, as she followed the path below and heard the squeals and chuckles of foals far behind, as she closed her eyes against the cool night air ruffling her exposed face, and as she thought of her motley crew of monsterized friends back at Twilight’s castle, she rubbed her hooves with glee. Wolves howled. The moon haunted the starry sky. All was darkness beyond Ponyville’s lit windows and crackling bonfires. She knew this Nightmare Night was going to be a blast.

The mist closed in around her.

At first, she shrugged it off. This far out of town, mist was hardly unusual, especially when the Everfree forest was a few minutes away. Yet as she continued, the mist grew thicker and caught more moonlight. Soon, she was flying through a pale haze, barely able to pick out dark tree trunks until they loomed right at her.

Fear flickered in her chest. She flapped her wings harder, and the pegasine magic caught against the strands clouding around her. Obediently, the mist drew back.

Rainbow licked her lips. Sweet! They’d really outdone themselves tonight. Unless…

Hey! Perhaps even Fluttershy was getting into the spirit of the thing? Rainbow sighed. Much as her friend preferred to sit in a cottage and hide than go door-to-door in cosplay – and that was her right to do so, of course, Rainbow wouldn’t think any different – it would be nice if she suddenly decided to be different and join them. Not that anyone was gonna force her. No siree.

A snowflake floated past.

Rainbow frowned. Nah. Probably just a speck of dust…

Another one floated past. Two floated past. A scattering of snowflakes drifted by. Then the air quietly swarmed with the things.

Rainbow’s frown deepened. Snow? At this time of year? Had someone mucked up the schedule?

Whistling winds hit her face. A blizzard of white blurs snatched at the fabric clinging to her body, which began shivering.

No… this was wrong.

Panic seized her chest.

“Fluttershy!” She shot forwards, beating her wings hard against the ever-present push of the whistling winds, narrowing her eyes against the blinding flakes already roosting on her cheeks and pricking her eyes.

A quick angle of her wings, and the pinions caught against the headwind and she spiralled. The technique was to whip up an eddy and then funnel the worst of the flakes into it. Already, the world around her was a blur, and the forces gripped and squeezed at her joints and stretched along her skin and began burning the muscles along her back under the effort.

Thick gusts knocked her aside. Briefly tumbling, she yelped and tried to flap, to right herself. Clouds bounced off her chest and flanks and saddle. She felt the heads bouncing against her ears.

Which way was up? Which way was down? She growled and forced herself to pick a direction and shoot off. She braced herself for impact –

And all was gone. She emerged in starry sky and under the moon. Surprised, she flipped over to check behind.

A ring of white flashed and streaked around a central point on the ground far below. Outer edges of the ring tumbled gently round and round, but near the centre, they were howling white and she heard the crack of trees under the strain. Only a small cottage marked the eye of the storm.

“What the –?” Rainbow dived down. She knew for a fact Fluttershy wasn’t this accomplished at weather management. She certainly wasn’t the sort to recruit weather teams for a private blizzard of her liking. For one thing, she lacked bribe money.

The Everfree Forest, on the other hoof, had plenty of weather-shapers.

She thought she heard, over the winds, Fluttershy’s shrill scream.

“Hold on! I’m comin’, Fluttershy!”

Panicking, she shot across the inner slopes of the storm – so densely packed that they looked like solid ice walls flickering – rammed into the door, tumbled, yelped, skidded, tried to use her wings as a parachute, and smacked straight into the opposite wall and hit the ground hard.

Overhead, ghostly birdhouses swam in her vision. It was a while before she realized she was seeing double. They resolved into solid, dangling structures, with interested chickadees and robins cocking their heads at her.

“Ow…” she groaned. Her legs had trouble responding at first, but several months of Wonderbolt training rallied to attention.

Urgently, she flipped over and spun round. “Fluttershy! Don’t worry! I’m gonna get you… out of… uh…”

Fluttershy was on the sofa. So was Angel Bunny. So was Harry the Bear. So were several assorted squirrels, racoons, snakes, songbirds, and spiders.

Most of them were holding, or sitting next to, or perching on the brims of, little tea cups.

All of them were staring at her.

Fluttershy took a sip and then lowered hers. “Hello, Rainbow Dash,” she said with unexpected calm. “Is everything all right?”

“Um,” said Rainbow, who’d expected a bit more terror than that. Her legs wobbled trying to fight the aftershock and the confused fear.

Meanwhile, her mind looked for something to latch on to.

“You’re having tea?” she said.

Fluttershy looked down at her steaming cup. “Uh…”

“A tea party? Now!?”

“Oh yes,” said Fluttershy happily. “I always do on Nightmare Night. Oh dear. I’m so sorry. Did you want to join in?”


“Well, I thought you’d be out getting something sweet to bite with Twilight and Spike and Applejack and Rarity and Pinkie Pie. That’s why I didn’t send an invitation. Uh…”

Going for broke, Rainbow pointed at the window – on average, at least, since her hoof wobbled a bit – and said, “You do know there’s a blizzard outside, right?”

For the first time, Fluttershy smiled broadly and took a sip of warming tea. Briefly, Rainbow envied her friend’s sheer unflappability. She could do with some right now.

“Oh. Is there?” said Fluttershy, and she nodded. “That’s good. For a moment, I was worried he’d forgotten all about it.”

At which point, Rainbow’s legs gave up and she fell over. There was no understanding some ponies.