Ask Roseate Grimsbane, the Witch

by Robipony

Chapter 4 - Crayons and Crab

“Once there was a bird that couldn’t fly, its wings shriveled. The bird was captured and put in a cage where it was continually prodded by a hideous stallion, who mocked her inability to fly. Slowly her heart began to crumble beneath the weight of his words.

“One day there was a knock at the window next to the bird’s cage. She turned to see a shape in the fog beyond the glass. With a strange appendage, the shape wrote something on the glass.

“‘How much do you want to soar?’”

Quote from; Cage of Sorrow, by M.R. Amorcolt.

The sound of trickling water tickled Roseate's ear. Moaning, Roseate opened her eyes, finding herself in a dark landscape. The world was completely black, save for the small, glowing pool next to her and the specks of green light floating around the expanse.

As she tried to stand, Roseate was able to make out the texture of the ground using her hooves and the dim light surrounding her. The floor was made of long, slender pipes arranged in a haphazard manner like vines, tendrils, or worms, with black grime covering the organic surface. Occasionally there would be sections of the tubes that would shift upwards towards to dark void above, forming numerous eerie pillars.

In the distance a cloud of stardust and shadow descended to the ground and disappeared with a flash, leaving an obscure shape in the distance. It was the Tantabus and it was ready to hunt her.

Swiftly, Roseate ran behind one of the pillars as the entity drew closer. Its body revealed only by the surrounding specks of iridescent light. While a part of its body resembled a pony, its head and tail were something else entirely, stretching from its shoulders was a long slender form like a maggot with tentacles instead of small insectile legs, all wriggling in an obscene manner. In the center of its head was a single eye, which shifted back and forth as it searched for her. The iris gleamed like a candle's flame, making it stand out in the darkness.

The tail of this beast matched the grub-like body in the front only at the edge of the tail was a long bone resembling an ancient ceremonial dagger, covered in profane runes.

A chuckle resonated through the air as the creature leaned down and sniffed the ground where Roseate had once lay.

'Where are you, little filly?' the monster called out into the darkness, saliva dripping from its maw.

Roseate's heart almost stopped as she heard the horrifying beast seeking her out.

'Yes, yes, little Roseate, I know you're here somewhere,' a cruel chortle echoed through the void.

While the voice was different, there was no doubt in Roseate's mind that it belonged to HIM. But how? HE was dead, she had seen HIM die with her own eyes so many years ago. Yet here HE was, hunting her like HE had so long ago.  

Raising its head, the creature looked toward Roseate's hiding spot, 'Is that where you are hiding, you dirty, little foal?'

There was no time to think, Roseate broke into a gallop, fleeing as far away as she could from this monstrous entity. A cruel snicker of glee filled the air as the beast pursued her. Frantically, Roseate moved between the pillars as they grew closer, like trees in a forest. As she passed one, Roseate noticed that some of them had skulls wrapped among the twisting vines, almost resembling those of a pony but with two horns instead of just one.

Roseate dared not look back at her pursuer, knowing that doing so would be a foolish mistake. She needed to stay focused on what was in front of her, to make sure she didn't... trip!

Dodging around one of the pillars, Roseate hadn't noticed that there was a small pit in the floor, and now she was falling straight into it. However, instead of hitting the bottom, Roseate continued to tumble as she fell deeper underground. When she finally came to a halt, Roseate lay as still as she could, both from the pain and fear.

Carefully, Roseate listened for her hunter, waiting to see if HE would follow. She remained completely quiet as HIS giggles resonated from the world above, until they faded into silence. Once she was certain that HE was gone, Roseate picked herself up, her body sore from the tumble.

It took a moment for Roseate's eyes to adjust due to the lack of glowing globules in this space, however, it wasn't long before she noticed a faint white glow coming from deeper down the tunnel.

Moving as quietly as she could, Roseate made her way toward the light. As she drew near the tunnel opened up to a large cavern with a bizarre structure at its center.

In front of her was a house, which almost seemed to be a child's crayon illustration given a three-dimensional form. However, even with this structure, it kind of reminded Roseate of one of her student's drawings. Even the flowers made of scribbled paper seemed very familiar.

Roseate's ears perked up as she thought she heard somepony crying. A chill ran down her spine as she listened to the sorrowful sound. What if somepony else was down here? What if this was a trap?

Still, something about the cries seemed familiar to her and Roseate felt the need to investigate.

Silently, Roseate walked over to the door and pushed it open. The door crinkled under her hoof as it swung open, revealing a paper interior, the doors and walls marked by granular lines and fast squiggles.

The interior of the room felt very cold, much like the inside of a crypt.

Some of the illustrated carpet was smeared as if stained with tears, presenting a trail to the source of the crying. The sound of weeping grew louder as Roseate followed the path.

Roseate entered a paper hallway with crayon drawings of picture frames with stick figures along the walls. Examining one of the illustrations, Roseate noticed in clumsy lettering the creator had signed their artwork, Sour Sapphire. Seeing the name, Roseate could recall that the name belonged to one of her students, a shy young colt who enjoyed secretly annoying his fellow students. As she listened, Roseate thought the crying sounded faintly similar to his natural tone.

Reaching the door, Roseate pushed it open to reveal a large room, the floors and walls consisting of black, swirling circles. In the center of the room sat Sour Sapphire, crying into his hooves.

An atmosphere of fear and dread filled the room.

"Sapphire," Roseate whispered, "are you okay?"

The colt looked up and a squeal of terror left his lips as he tried to scurry backwards in a panic.

"Sapphire it's me. It's..."

A chittering noise echoed from behind Roseate. She attempted to look over her shoulder at the source of the sound, when a large claw slammed into her side, sending Roseate crashing into a paper wall.

Her eyes shot open as Roseate awoke from the nightmare. Sweat dripping down her brow.

For a few moments, Roseate simply laid in bed, catching her breath and getting her thoughts in order. Eventually pulling herself out of bed, Roseate made her way over to the closet and prepared for the day.

After looking through the various garments, Roseate decided upon a pair of red and white striped stockings. While the garments did stand out, she found them to be rather fitting. Pulling her mane back, Roseate tied it into a ponytail using a red bow.

Once she was dressed, Roseate went downstairs to grab some breakfast before leaving for class.

For the most part, today's class had gone rather smoothly. Sure, June was still being obstinate and one of her other students, Wind-Brain, got stuck in a tree during recess, but other than that, everything was fairly close to normal.

However, Roseate still felt uncomfortable in regards to the disappearance of the previous teacher. Which was why she was determined that after class she would try to learn more about her predecessor and hopefully the circumstances of her vanishing.

While she had seen Sour Sapphire in class, Roseate knew there was very little she could do to aid him with his nightmares at the moment. Also, it would seem rather suspicious if the teacher told him she was aware of what he had dreamed. The thought made Roseate giggle.

'Sapphire what did you learn today?'

'I learned that my teacher stalks me in my dreams!'

'Oh, that's lovely dear.'

Said no parent ever. At least, not because of anything she would be doing.

Still, the fact that Sour Sapphire's nightmare had been linked to the same realm that Roseate's dream self had been imprisoned in for the last few years did raise some questions. Could something in this town be responsible and was there a chance that maybe it was somehow connected to the missing teacher?

"Excuse me!"

Roseate was about to leave the classroom when she noticed that one of her students was trying to acquire her attention. Looking the young colt over, Roseate tried to recall the student's name. If her memory served her correctly, he was Quillian Inkheart.

Yeah, that was right. Roseate remembered because he was one of the students that had harassed her about her cutie mark, however, in his case he was more fascinated by the fact that her cutie mark had a book on it and less about where it came from.

That and the fact that the fur around Quillian's hooves looked like the white unicorn colt had run through a pool of black paint was rather amusing to Roseate. A thought that slowly turned into a bitter reminder that none of Roseate's children would ever do such a thing.

"Yes, what can I do for you, Quillian?" Roseate asked, putting on a smile and hoping that his question would be of a completely different subject matter.

"Miss Roseate," Quillian said as he adjusted his glasses, "I was wondering if you could give me more details on what you taught in class today."

"You mean about the Sirens and their banishment?"

"Not exactly," Quillian replied, "I was actually wondering if you could go into more detail about the artifacts the Pillars of Equestria used."

"I'm pretty sure I did talk about them."

"You did, however, you merely talked about what the artifacts were and their functions," Quillian continued, "You didn't talk about how they gained their magical properties in the first place."

Roseate raised an eyebrow at the statement.

"Are you sure you want me to talk about that?" Roseate inquired, "I find that most students your age find stuff like that boring."

Indeed, most preferred to hear the stories about how historical heroes defeated the monsters and saved the day rather than the origins and magical makeup of the artifacts that were used.

A smile stretched across Quillian's face.

"No, I think it would be very interesting."

Roseate pondered the statement. Perhaps her students would find the magical aspects of the artifacts to be rather intriguing.

"Okay, tomorrow I will go into broader details about the artifacts and if you and your fellow students are still interested then we'll keep going."

"Sounds great!" Quillian said before rushing out of the classroom.

Stepping into town, Roseate pondered where she should ask around. It would also be wise if she could somehow make her questioning seem casual, after all, there was a chance that somepony in the town was responsible.

As she looked around, the sign for a library caught Roseate's eye. She did need to find a book that went into detail about Equestrian artifacts, there could also potentially be somepony there with the information she was looking for.

The building was large and made up of white bricks with stone steps leading up to two wooden doors. According to the bronze plaque on the side, the building had been constructed thirty years ago by a mayor with the name Feather Duke.

Pushing open the doors, Roseate's eyes widened at the sight of all the books. For a small town library, the collection of books here was rather enormous. This Feather Duke had apparently done his best to ensure that Muleport would have a functioning library.

Looking around Roseate noticed a librarian behind the front counter.

'She would be a good person to talk to,' Roseate thought to herself, 'however, I should probably try to find a book to check out first... which means I would have to acquire a library card.'

Roseate walked up to the librarian who was apparently doing some reading of her own. The librarian was a unicorn mare with a light purple coat and a green mane. On her nose was a pair of glasses which covered her yellow eyes. Roseate scrunched her nose as she picked up that familiar arcane scent.

"Uh, hello," Roseate said as she tried to introduce herself.

The librarian looked up from her book and smiled, "Oh, hello! How may I assist you?"  

"My name is Roseate Grimsbane," Roseate answered, "I'm new here in town and I was wondering if I could acquire a library card."

"Of course," the librarian said, placing the book down on her desk, "let me just grab you a form to fill out."

Looking under the desk, the librarian found the forms and presented them to Roseate with a pen.

"Thank you," Roseate said as she began to fill out the paperwork.

"My name is Scroll Keeper," the librarian smiled, "it is a pleasure to have someone new here in the Muleport library."

"Do ponies come here often?" Roseate asked.

"No usually," Scroll Keeper replied, "occasionally somepony will come here looking for a specific book or to do some research for a project, but a few ponies do show up from time to time. There is even a book club that meets here on Thursdays."

"I see," Roseate said as she finished filling out the paperwork, "well, I'm the new teacher here in Muleport so you might see me here from time to time."

"That's great!" Scroll Keeper cheered, "I am glad they were able to find another teacher after Miss Fizzle disappeared!"

"Fizzle, huh? That was her name?"

"Yep, Miss Ginger Fizzle," the librarian answered, "apparently she just walked into the woods one day and never came back."

Roseate coughed before speaking again in a strange tongue, her horn glowing faintly, "Psajelu eri undir yj spill, jelu gahluyng heug neflthong yog fob’thesh."

"Uh... what?" Scroll Keeper's eyes quivered.

"Psajelu eri undir yj spill, jelu gahluyng heug neflthong yog fob’thesh!"

Scroll Keeper blinked a few times, her eyes possessing a faint green glow. The spell had worked, Roseate's glamour influencing the librarian's will.

"You will remember none of this conversation," Roseate commanded, "tell me what you can about Miss Ginger Fizzle."

"She mostly stuck to herself," the librarian answered in a monotone voice, "even during special town events she would rarely show up. Despite being so shy, she loved teaching and playing with the children."

"Do you know where she lives?"

"She has a house just south of the town. It is a one story house made out of a tree."

"Was that the direction she went when she disappeared?"

"Not that I recall. If I remember correctly, she had gone west, deeper into the Whitetail Woods."  

"Thank you," Roseate nodded, that was at least a start, "Tejelu eri heo kul yog feb’th spilliph."

Scroll Keeper blinked in confusion as the glow disappeared from her eyes, "What happened?"

"I'm done!" Roseate smiled, pushing her finished forms toward the librarian, "May I have my library card now?"

The librarian looked around in confusion before recalling what she had been doing, "Yes... of course, just one second."  

Taking the information Roseate had provided, Scroll Keeper was able to fashion a new library card.

Mind-altering spells were considered forbidden by the Equestrian Government and Roseate understood why. The magic didn't simply blur the memory away, it completely removed it, leaving a gnawing void in its place.

Furthermore, the use of one's glamour could be very exhausting if used continually over a period of time. Hence Roseate had established a few rules when casting it. Keep the spell brief, use it rarely and never cast it in the presence of others to minimize those influenced by it.

"That will be ten bits!" the librarian smiled, showing no sign of any worries she may have had. Using her magic, Roseate pulled the bits out of her back and placed them down on the desk.

"Thank you."

Taking the card, Roseate began looking around the library for any books that might contain any information on old artifacts that Quillian might find interesting.

Once she had located the History section it wasn’t too hard for Roseate to find a book that fit the topic, Ancient Equestrian Artifacts, by Stranded Leaf. After glancing through the book’s index and a selection of pages, Roseate was pleased to see that the book covered what she was looking for.

As she passed through the new release section, Roseate saw a book that caught her eye. Thirteen Hues of Midnight, a tale of forbidden love between a vampony and her stallion.

As Roseate picked up the book, she noticed somepony watching her out of the corner of her eye. Turning, she saw the pony Bell had referred to as Moonlight Raven, who was carrying at least three other books. Seeing that she had been noticed, Moonlight made her way to the front counter.

Something about the way Moonlight Raven had been watching her was unsettling. It was as if she knew there was something "different" about Roseate. Had she noticed Roseate use her glamour on Scroll Keeper?

With a smile, Roseate took her books and followed Moonlight to the counter.

"Hello," Roseate said, "fancy seeing you here."

As she spoke, Roseate tried to see what types of books the other mare had grabbed. Going off of the cover of the first book, Moonlight might be researching the History of Arcane Magic.

Moonlight raised an eyebrow.

"Really? That shouldn't be too surprising."

"What do you mean?" Roseate asked a bit confused.

"Didn't Bell Flower tell you that I like to hang out here?" Moonlight answered, "You know, when the two of you were watching me in the diner the other day?"

So she had noticed Roseate's intrigue.

"No, she actually didn't," Roseate replied.

"I see," Moonlight's eyes narrowed, "how strange."

Moonlight set the books down on the counter and Scroll Keeper began to apply stamps establishing the return date.

"Bell told me you were an author," Roseate said, "what type of genre do you enjoy using for your stories?"

"I prefer to write about mysteries and the supernatural." Moonlight answered.

As Scroll Keeper stamped the books, Roseate noticed that one of them was titled The History of Cults and Witches in Equestria. A faint shiver crawled up Roseate's spine.

"Sounds interesting," Roseate said, her voice not reflecting her discomfort, "Might you give me your pen name so that I may read one of these books?"

Sometimes authors would unknowingly use their true names as their alias when writing their novels. Moonlight turned to face Roseate as Keeper finished checking out the books.

"No offense ma'am, but I would prefer to keep my privacy."

Well, it was worth a shot.

Roseate watched as Raven took her books and left the library. She couldn’t place a hoof on it, but there was something shifty about her.

"Uh, miss?"

Scroll Keeper's voice brought Roseate back to the present.


"Would you like to check out those books?" Scroll inquired.

"Uh, yes."

Arriving at home, Roseate set her school supplies aside. She would need to clean up for the town meeting and prepare Arsthotua so that there wouldn't be any issues in regards to their "background." Also, it would give Roseate a chance to read her new books.

After grabbing some Citrus Time soda from the fridge, Roseate walked into the living room. Sitting down with a notepad, her two books, and her drink, Roseate lay on the couch and began to read.

Looking through the book, Ancient Equestrian Artifacts, Roseate was able to find the section pertaining to the Pillars of Equestria and proceeded to read. After a half hour, Roseate had managed to read through most of them and all she had left was the section on Starswirl's journal. Apparently, even the ramblings of an old unicorn could be considered a powerful artifact. Still, Roseate did find Somnambula's blindfold to be rather interesting.

"I wonder if she ever hooked up with that prince?"

Peering up from her reading, Roseate noticed the time on the grandfather clock in the corner of the room. It would probably be wise to be at the town meeting on time rather than be late. Especially if Mayor "I'm a Snob" was there.

Setting her book aside, Roseate let out a deep sigh.

'Hey honey, I need you to come here for a moment.' Roseate spoke mentally to her husband.

'I will be right there.'

Roseate could hear the sound of somepony coming up from the basement. Sitting up on the couch, Roseate watched as her husband emerged.

"What is it, my dear?" Arsthotua inquired.

"We need to prepare for the meeting tonight. I just wanted to make sure we had our bases covered for the evening, since I am sure many of the townsfolk will be asking about our past."

"Well, I thinking reusing one of my previous identities, Strange Sight." Arsthotua answered, "Would that do?"

"It should be fine. Is that the one who works as a researcher on krakens and the migration patterns?"


Roseate sat up from the couch and began to make her way upstairs.

"That should work," Roseate said as she ascended the steps, "We should probably dress up this evening. I will try to prepare some clothes for the meeting."

Once she was inside their bedroom, Roseate went to the closet and began to look for some garments to wear as well as some attire for her husband. Admittedly, Arsthotua wouldn't need anything too fancy in his pony form, a tie would probably suffice.

Going through the clothes they had acquired, Roseate picked out a few ties before setting them on the bed.

Then she just needed to find something to wear herself. After looking and picking through her clothes, Roseate decided upon a dark purple dress with a gray jacket.

Stepping out of the walk-in closet, Roseate saw Arsthotua looking over the ties she had laid out for him. He had a baffled expression as he examined them before picking up a black bow tie with green spots that Roseate had bought for him as a gift for their anniversary.

"How about this one?" Arsthotua asked.

"It looks nice," Roseate answered as she sat her clothes on the bed, "I might have a necklace that will match."

Looking through her jewelry box, Roseate found a silver amulet with a green gemstone in the center. After setting the item with the rest of her clothes, Roseate turned to leave the room.

"I'm going to take a shower," Roseate said, giving her husband a devious grin, "would you care to join me?"

The town meeting took place in the Muleport town hall, which was fairly spacious with tables set up to face the meeting organizers. Among them was none other than May Berry herself. The mayor was a unicorn mare with a tan coat, cyan mane, and yellow eyes, which she used to look down at those who were there to attend the meeting. Roseate had to admit that if it wasn't for that demeaning attitude that May Berry was presenting, she might actually look beautiful.

Next to the mayor were a few other Muleport officers, the sheriff, and a stallion in a black suit with an emblem showing that he was a member of the Solar Guard.

As Roseate looked around the room for a place where she and her husband could sit, she caught sight of Bell Flower waving them over to her table. Tapping Arsthotua on the shoulder, Roseate made her way over to Bell Flower, who smiled as they came over.

"Roseate, it is great to see you!" Bell Flower motioned to a couple empty chairs next to her, "I saved a couple seats for you and your husband."

"Well thank you." Roseate said gratefully.

"Indeed," Arsthotua affirmed with a nod.

"And this must be the lucky stallion himself," Bell smiled, "tell me, what is the name of the one who holds Roseate's heart?"

Roseate blushed slightly at Bell's statement.

"My name is Strange Sight," Arsthotua said, attempting to smile the way Roseate taught him. It wasn't... too bad. However, it was clear that he would need to practice some more.

"I see," Bell said, a little unnerved by Arsthotua's attempt at a grin.

As she looked around, Roseate saw Scroll Keeper sitting not too far away, with Grandpa Stripes beside her. Another look around the room revealed that Moonlight Raven was not only there, but that she was watching Roseate from a distance.

"Dear ponies of Muleport," the mayor stood, her expression now more charming, "there are a few announcements that need to be made. First, allow me to introduce a representative from the Solar Guard, Frost Brook!"

Frost Brook was a tall pegasus stallion, his coat a grayish purple and his mane a dark maroon. His green eyes seemed to look over the crowd with a mixture of curiosity and glee. The Solar Guard stood up, a wide grin on his face, as he took the stand.

"It is an honor for me to be here. Don't worry, I'm only here to aid with an investigation and to ensure that Muleport has a safe Nightmare Night this year."

A few ponies cheered in response to Frost's statement and many applauded. In an effort to not raise any suspicion, Roseate smiled and clapped her hooves together. Her past experiences with the Solar Guard were mixed at best.

As Roseate watched, one of her student's parents stood up. A unicorn mare with a green mane and an orange coat.

"Do you have any leads on what has been haunting the forest?" the parent inquired.

"We have a few leads," Frost said looking around the room, "and we are acting accordingly."

A chill ran down the back of Roseate's neck as the detective's eyes swept over her. It was unlikely that he knew she was a witch, but now that there was a member of the Solar Guard in Muleport, Roseate would have to be cautious.

"Is there any truth to the rumors that the disappearances of Miss Fizzle and Mister Oats might be connected?" An elderly mare asked.

"Who's Mister Oats?" Roseate whispered to Bell Flower.

"He was the town drunk," Bell answered quietly, "he just stopped showing up about two months ago."

Frost raised a hoof, "I can assure you all that we have no reason to believe that either of the disappearances are connected."

The meeting went by at a decent pace, with town citizens asking Detective Brook some questions, which he answered the best he could. After that, there had been a discussion as to what locations would be suitable for the fillies and colts to give up their little candy offerings.

Once the meeting was over, some of the ponies began to return to their homes, while a few stayed behind for some conversation. A few parents came up, thanking Roseate for taking up the teaching position. Roseate tried her best to seem civil and polite, while also trying to make sure Arsthotua didn't say or do anything that could blow his cover. Seeming to sense her intentions, Arsthotua stood quietly, answering questions only when asked.

She was even able to meet Gracius, an elderly mare that had adopted Quillian and his sister.

"I am so glad you have taken up the teaching position here," Gracius said, "Quillian seems to really enjoy your class."

"Well, I'm happy he enjoys it." Roseate smiled.

"Yes, when I adopted him and his sister, little Quill wasn't too talkative. He still isn't, but it seems he has taken a liking to you. Well, whatever it is, I hope your classes will continue to encourage him."

Hearing Gracius's statement made Roseate feel very happy inside. While she had always wanted to help the children, these last few days she felt like she hadn't done much of anything aside from dealing with June's antics.

Roseate had to take a deep breath in order to compose herself.

"I appreciate the kind words, Miss Gracius."

Gracius gave Roseate a nod before walking away.

"Hey, are you Miss Roseate?"

Turning around, Roseate saw a mare with a white coat and a pale blue mane looking back at her.

"I am," Roseate answered, "and you are?"

"Hello, my name is Snow Berry," the mare replied, "I'm May Berry's younger sister."

By Celestia, what now?


"I just wanted to apologize for the actions of both my sister and my niece," Snow Berry said rubbing the back of her neck.

"You're not trying to convince me to change June's grade, are you?" Roseate inquired, "Like I already told her and her mother, I'm not going to change her grade based off her mother's status."

"No, I wasn't going to do that," Snow replied, "I was just wanted to apologize on their behalf. As a single mother, May has a hard time balancing time as the Mayor and June's mother. As you might suspect, this results in a lack of discipline that is often needed to raise a child. I try to help where I can, but I can only do so much to help."

Roseate considered what Snow was telling her. That could potentially explain why June had acted so rudely in class.

"Well, thank you for talking to me," Roseate said, putting on a smile, "Just tell your sister that I am more than willing to help tutor June if she wants."

"I am sure that would be appreciated," Snow said, looking overjoyed, "I will try to appeal to June and her mother on this matter. Thank you for your time."

Roseate bowed her head in affirmation as Snow Berry walked away.

'Do you want to leave?' Arsthotua asked telepathically.

'Yes, please.'

As Roseate and her husband made their way to the doors, Bell Flower walked up to them.

"Hey Roseate," Bell Flower said with a smile, "before you go I just wanted to let you know that I and a few of the other ponies in town are throwing together a Nightmare Night party for the occasion and that both you and your husband are welcome to join us."

"That is very thoughtful of you," Roseate answered, "I might be busy that day but we will consider your offer."

"Please do," Bell Flower said before trotting off happily.

It was nice and quiet as Roseate and Arsthotua walked home, the latter's horn lighting the way.

"So, guess what we're doing this year," Roseate snuggled up against her husband.

Arsthotua gave her a confused look, "What?"

"Why, dressing up for Nightmare Night of course," Roseate giggled.

"Are you sure that is a wise idea?"

"Why not?" Roseate asked, "We have a day dedicated to wearing wild outfits and eating too much candy! What could be wrong with that?"

"This is what ponies do?" Arsthotua's vessel scratched his chin. Roseate nodded in response.

"Ponies love it!"

"Very well," Arsthotua smiled, "this year we celebrate Nightmare Night."

Roseate felt overly giddy. She hadn't participated in the Nightmare Night celebration for a very long time.

"Oh, there is SO much we need to do!" Roseate giggled, "We'll need creepy decorations, pumpkins for carving, candy, oh and costumes! We really should have some special costumes for the holiday!"


"Yes, it just isn't truly Nightmare Night without costumes!"

The moon shone brightly as they drew near to the front door.

"I have a feeling you are going to have to fill me in on a few things."

"Don't worry, my dear," Roseate reassured him, "I will share with you everything I know and we will have so much fun!"

Opening the door, Roseate turned the lights on before making her way to the kitchen. Pulling a bronze kettle out of a cupboard, Roseate walked over to the sink.

"I'm going to make some tea," Roseate said as she filled the kettle with water, "would you like me to make you something?"

"No thanks," Arsthotua replied, "I think I'll just head to bed."

"Very well."

Once the kettle was full, Roseate place it on the stove to heat up.

While she waited for the water to boil for the tea, Roseate grabbed her book, Thirteen Hues of Midnight, and began to read. She was able to read about three pages before the kettle began to whistle. Turning off the stove, Roseate took the kettle off the burner, pulled out a cup and tea box, before pouring the water into the glass.

Taking a teabag out of the tea box, Roseate dipped the bag into the cup of hot water a few times, allowing for the contents to seep out into the beverage. Once she was satisfied, Roseate put her book back with her work before picking up the tea with her magic.

As she prepared to head upstairs for her communications with those behind the Scryial, a cold chill ran down her spine.

Looking out the window, Roseate could feel that something was out there, looking in. Was it a beast, an intruder, or a wandering spirit? She couldn't say for sure.

Cautiously, Roseate ascended the steps and made her way to the mirror room, holding her cup of tea close to her chest to ward off the chill of any ghostly apparitions that might be about.

Stepping into the mirror room, Roseate opened a secret panel in the wall where she had stored her cauldron along with the supplies she would need to create the Sacred Instrument.

Pulling out her cauldron, Roseate began putting her ingredients inside. Ten clean bones belonging to a crow, a shard of a ceramic pot that once held the ashes of a Kirin sorceress, a fragmented sliver of obsidian, one piece of amethyst, and three eyes belonging to a basilisk.

The pot boiled and churned as the components dissolved into a glowing violet sludge. Swirling her tongue inside her mouth, Roseate gathered up a large portion of saliva, which she spat into the cauldron.

With everything in place, Roseate closed her eyes, placed her hooves over the broiling concoction and began to chant.

"Vaah griet ethim, taal yog moghteter. Zanag tes mel kav nyurb an’sr glukyjha mey fut moniav."

The sludge boiled and churned in response to Roseate's chant. The pink fluid began to move, spiraling upward congealing into a marrow-like substance before being layered with a dark metal. The mass slowly took on the form of a thin blade.

Calcified marrow turned into a firm handle as a thin tendril of liquid metal reached out from the blade to wrap around the handle. A small slot appeared in the blade to serve for the socket of a strange magenta gem which shifted into the shape of an eyeball.

As the Athame reached completion, Roseate reached out to grab the instrument. Her magic enveloping the knife as its suspension ended. Bring the Sacred Instrument close, Roseate examined the craftsmanship of the item.

"Simple yet effective, I am sure."

Putting the Athame away, Roseate walked over to the Scryial and pulled off the sheet covering it, before sitting down.

"Hello out there!" Roseate spoke to the mirror, "before I answer all your questions, I wanted to mention that we are drawing close to Nightmare Night, a fun spooky little holiday and both Arsthotua and I will be wearing costumes for the event."

Pulling out a sketchbook, Roseate presented the illustrations inside to those behind the mirror.

"I was thinking for the costumes I would either go with: a bunny, a lunar nun, a nurse or perhaps even a witch," Roseate said smiling as she flipped through the pages, "however this year my husband will also be wearing a costume. I'm not sure if he should wear a costume for an octopus, a clown, a big teddy bear or even a hockey mask wearing serial killer."

Roseate set the book with the illustrations down on the floor.

"So, please feel free to talk about the costumes Arsthotua and I will wear. I've also heard that for some of you it will be Hearth's Warming time, so I am curious how many of you might have any holiday-themed questions."

Rhawkas asks: "What do you want most for Hearth’s Warming Day this year? Spending time with friends/family/Arthostua. Is a cop-out."

"Well, I haven't skied in a long time, so that might be kind of fun. Perhaps I'll deliver some... special presents to my students secretly. Nothing harmful, of course, just some gifts specialized to their tastes." A frown crossed Roseate's face. "Though I doubt June Berry deserves anything."

Nic-Love asks: "Hearth’s Warming, what do you do differently than any other pony? What does Arsthotua get for you, and you for him?"

Genesis asks: Hearth's Warming is coming up soon. Does the hubby enjoy the snow and cold or prefer the warmer seasons? What sort of gifts does he enjoy getting, or even better what’s the funniest (or amazing) gift he's given you?

"He doesn't mind the cold too much, though he does prefer warmer environments. He does like the occasional relic from time to time. Of course, he also enjoys items that he can use in his pony form as well."

As she tried to think of the gifts her husband had given her, one story did come to mind.

"Truth be told, Arsthotua and I haven't really been able to celebrate very many holidays until about two years ago and he is still learning. Last year he did try buying me some lingerie from another dimension. It wouldn't have been so bad if it didn't have teeth."

Roseate raised a hoof to her mouth and chuckled.

"But that was okay, we were able to get a refund. As for celebrating Hearth's Warming, it isn't much different from what most of you do for the holidays."

Looking at the next question, Roseate's face grew red with nervousness, until she realized that the one asking the question probably wasn't the student she was teaching in this dimension.

White Cobalt asks: "Hey Roseate, do you do anything special for your Hearth’s Warming? We have dinner together and sit around the Hearth’s Warming Tree to exchange gifts.

If not, look on your porch for a gift! Hopefully, it will help you with your studies. You can thank me later."

"Well, when it comes to family, it's really just me and Arsthotua at the moment, so usually we will exchange gifts and then take a trip to someplace special for the holidays. I heard there is a really nice hot spring in Neighagra Falls, that I would love to take Arsthotua to, this year. As for your gift, if you’re from another dimension it’s likely that the only way I'll get it is if you send it by Interdimensional Mail."

Inkheart Asks: "Who is M.R. Amorcolt?"

"I believe that is the pen name of a famous writer we have in this world," Roseate replied, "their work seems to focus around horror and suspense."

Gniylf Ret'snom Itteh-gaps asks: "Of all the ways to skin a cat, which is the best?"

"Well, I haven't had to skin too many cats myself. Though their fur and claws can serve as components for some rituals."

Roseate places a hoof on her chin as she ponders the question.

"As weird as it might sound, a cut down the spinal column might actually be the most effective as it leaves most of the hide and claws undamaged. However, I can tell you from personal experience that most of the rituals using these components are extremely underwhelming and if you search long enough you can probably find a ritual or spell that will give you a more rewarding result with fewer resources."

Twisted Gears asks: "What is the price of a soul for you?"

"I wouldn't know," Roseate answered, "the retail of souls and other spiritual elements really isn't my forte."

Twisted Gears asks: "Do you think that the pink one (Pinkie) sold hers?"

Roseate tried to recall who Pinkie was and it didn't take long for her to remember that she was the mare who had delivered Mrs. Cake's cupcakes to the house.

"I haven't really known Pinkie enough to say," Roseate answered, "though she doesn't strike me as the kind of pony who would delve into the occult."

Thinking about Pinkie's mannerisms, Roseate scratched her chin in contemplation.

"However, it is possible that she could be hiding something mysterious behind her jovial and friendly attitude. Who can say?"

Viper pit asks: "Okay, you shall get two bottles of each. They will arrive around Hearth’s Warming. I would like a bowl of mac and cheese as payment."

"I am sure I can arrange that."

Of course, a simple bowl of macaroni just wouldn't do as payment for such fine poisons. No, it would have to be something very special.

Book Wyrm asks: "If I offered to sell you magical ingredients from other dimensions, like feathers that, if fetched on an arrow can shatter any magical shield, would you buy them? I’ve got a few."

"It really would depend upon the ingredients as well as how much you are charging. After all, teaching doesn't pay very well."

Azathothfhtagn asks: "I was wondering if Tistemintodh is the same as Daoloth or Azathoth for this iteration of the eldritch realm."

"While I don't know who Daoloth or Azathoth are, I can tell you what the laws of Tistemintodh are. It is a collection of rules that ensure that higher beings like my husband don't accidentally destroy any worlds they visit. Those that break these laws suffer the penalties dished out by the Flishachollirust, who would best be described as both Judges and Executioners. Of course, there are loopholes that are occasionally discovered from time to time, which can have serious consequences."

Nic-Love asks: "Do succubi have anything to do with the Nightmare-Forest (Nightmare Moon) or Princess Luna?"

"Well, in theory, a lot of succubi are ponies with a mutation caused by ancestors interacting with or breeding with Nightmare Demons, most of which began to appear after Nightmare Moon was banished, so it wouldn't surprise me if there is some sort of connection."

Roseate took a sip of her tea.

"However, I couldn't say for sure."

Nic-Love asks: "Are Cup Cake's kids going to become succubi just like their mom?"

"Probably not," Roseate answered, "these mutagenic traits usually seem to skip generations. Of course, that doesn't mean that their children couldn't end up being succubi or incubi. Or maybe the mutation will go unseen for multiple generations. Who knows?"

Inkheart Asks: "What other fey creatures are you able to summon?"

"There aren't very many fey that like to interact with our world anymore. Most generally only come to our world in order to fulfill some sort of bargain or to make a one-sided contract. As a result, very few fey actually can be summoned. Breezies are fairly easy, merely because they are extremely overconfident so long as they feel they have the upper hoof."

Streakthedog asks: "A knife to kill a daemon is weak, and a spear is to easy to lose. The claws would get you killed for getting too close. A sword is best, vorpal preferably. A sword in a sheath of invisibility is what you need. I can get you both for the right price. 5000 bits will do nicely, for a gift to a..."

Roseate had to cut him off there.

"Streakthedog, while your offer is... generous, I have to decline. An Athame is a special instrument that must be crafted by the witch who intends to use it, otherwise it won't work properly."

This wasn't the first time somepony had tried to sell her something over the Scryial and it also wasn't the first time someone had tried to sell something to Roseate that could potentially counteract her efforts.

"I have heard stories where a young witch attempted to take a shortcut and had another witch craft a Sacred Instrument for her. Legends say that she was transformed into a gorgony. Plus, as you can guess, I already made it."

The Athame floated in the air as Roseate held it with her magic to show it off.

Flarion asks: "I... nevermind. Anyways, I went digging around an old Nikora relic site and found some old relics of the ‘Golden Gods’, would you be interested in having some? Also! What was your first Hearth’s Warming like with your husband?"

"While I have never heard of these Nikora, my husband might find one of these artifacts to be interesting. As for my first Hearth’s Warming experience with Arsthotua..."

Roseate was quiet for a moment as she remembered back to that time and considered how to answer.

“It is really, really cold.”

Genesis asks: "Be careful dear, I smell Zealots in the little place you call home. Few things are as obnoxious as cults."

"Indeed, cults can be rather annoying. Especially if their plans conflict with my own. I will be keeping an eye out for sure."

Nic-Love asks: "Why have you not named them? Your kids."

Roseate shrugged, trying to feign a calm demeanor.

"I just haven't. I have thought of names, but I haven't had the nerves to give them."

Nic-Love asks: "If you don't mind me asking, did you go to a hospital when you were... with child?"

"While I would prefer to keep matters pertaining to my children private, I will say that I did not go to the hospital. It wouldn't be safe."

platogkrone asks:
T̐ͮͣ̃ͦ͑͏o̴̰̟̘̖̐͌͌͐ͧ  ̝̗̰̺̬̇i͓̠̲̊ͦͪ͒̂ͨn̢͓̖̻͇̞v̷̿͒́o͙̜̘͕͖k͖̪̰̟̪͖̀ͣ̉ȩ͇̯̲͇̣  ̞ͥ͆ͅt͉̝̳͖̻͍̍h͍͇̞̝̫̑̈͊̐̆ě̵̥̥̦̜͇̳͍ͦ̍̎ ͬͣ̾̋͒h̴͈̟͔ͦͦi̡͇̮̹̳̦̺͑̉͆̾̌̊͌v̴̤̟̘͔͚͑͊̅̿́ͯ̎ḙ̪ͩ͗̏ͅ-̷̘͚̲͎ͮ̄͐̇͌͛m̗̄ͤͥį̲̹͕̙̯̆̽̂ͮ̋n̮̘̖̰̪̣͖͐ͫ̔̕ḑ̦̞͐̌͗̏̿   ̸̦̖r̨̳̗̤̰̲ͥͫ̈́̏è̺͖̙̪̝͖̽ͮͧ̏ͅp̴͖̠̫͖̓̓r̤̥̱̘̬͓̿̓̏͟e̖̖̯̮̟͆̐̊̇ͣs̛̠̩̩̠̤̱̾ͦ̊̅e͇̮̮ͬṉ̥̼̯̯t̒ͫ̚͜i͂͐̎̽̆̂̈͏̭͍̳̜͚̪n̥̰͉̜̲̖̟̎ͯ͒͑͜g͔̦͛̒ͨ̒̎̔̎͢ ̖̆ͭc̹̖͚̱̝͐̓ͩ͑̔͐ͦh̢̠̲̘̽̒ͭ̀̒̾͑å̵̜͖̅͑̌̌ͨͅo̶ͩͩ̿̿ͮş̮͇̙̘͇̩̆͆̃.̦̤̪̹̊̐̀̆͒̑̚
̗̯̲̇͑͑̎ͫW͇̬i̜͈̞̞͉̺ͨ̿̃̓ͮ̓͗ͅt̶͍̝̯͙̱̘͐̎h̬̆́  ͙͍͕̭̰̖͒ͣ̌̚̕o̳̬̹͛̒ͥ͛u̘̟̻͚ͪ̓̊͟t̜͈͕̲̥̞̽̊͜ ̣̗̦ó̏ͧ̐̉ͥr̤̭̪̭͇̠̼͐d̊́̈́̓̈͝e̙̥̖̝r̆͛҉̰̪̪̯̬̘ͅ.̩͉͍̙͇͕ͤ͋̈͗̇͌ͅ
̥̾̈́͑̊̀͟T̜̹̦̫̪ḧ̹́̿͛̚e͈̿͑̍̓ͥ̄͊   ̧̯̩̇̐ͥͤ̄ͫ͋N̺͈̹̗̗̭̋ȇ͖͋̒ͭ͂̃͗z̪̠̻̗ͧ̂̈̒̚p̤̭͖̹̠̰͙̈e̺̖͎̠͊̌͆̔̓͘r̞̯͚̗͎̙͗ͅdͧ̆͒ͣ͏͕͉ị͓̓̔̉̅a̡̰̳̯n̼͆͟   ͙̩̤̩̣̤̝̽ͪh̘͚̎͗̒̍i̝̙͉̘͈̣̬ͯ͐͛ͭ̓v͎͓͉̭̮̿̾͆̀̿ȅ̡͔̮-̱̬͚̻̭̟̯ͥ͒m̬ͥ̊̆̔͐̆͐͘i̬̖̦̽n̷̙̙̖̜̗ͬ͛ͦͬ̋̒͑d̓͂ͭ͑҉̤̟̼  ̥̳̍ͮ͂̓o̩͈͙̻̱̝̼̔̋͘f̦͔͔͑͊́̎̀ ̖̞̑͆͒͒̈c̻̼̋̎͆͞hͧ̽ạ̥͚͕o͎sͫ̈́.͍̭̟̟̮̮ͣͩ̈́͜ ̵͇̜Ẑͯ̍͗͒͌̚ă̶̤̠͍͕̠ͯͫ́r̩̟̍́l̬̂̏ͩͫͣ̀͠g͆ͤ̑̔҉̟̩̭ͅo̯͖̬̫̟.̶͇̣̹͓̮͈̒̓́̓
̫͓͖̮̱͖͆́ͣͤ͐́́H̖̞͈̱̼̩̓̓͐̽͊ḙ͕̗̮ͬͫ̓ͥ͒ͅ  ̰̤̣́ẅ̢́̈́͌h͊̋̕o̮͙̖̤͇̦̟̽̉̎ ̃ͮ͏̦͔̭̩̙̱Wȃ̼̗̹ͫͣͯ͂i̬ͦͫͫ̂̅͗t̯̩̰̙̘͓s͙̦ͬ̚  ͙̤̟̙̬ͤ̿͝ͅB̤̣̖̂̈́͒̕e̩̝͚͔͇͚͓h̶̼͙̮̯̹̤ͦ̀̀͆i̧̖̗̣̭̞̱̭̒̽͂̉ṋ̦̞͙̖̰̬̍d̦ ̠̩̱ͨ͂ͯͭͬȚ̳͎̺̐͒ͅh̉ͣͩ̓ͪ̕e͕̼ͥ̏̋͜ͅ  ̰̬̜̖ͨͫ̾͑̔͐́W̲̜̣͉̗̝ͯ̅ͨ͢a͇̦̋̾ͤ̄̇̀ll̜͕͎ͦ̾ͫ̊̂̔͛͠.ͬ̅ͭ

"I'm sorry, I couldn't quite understand all of that." Roseate answered, "Either there is some static or some sort of demonic distortion on your end. I would recommend having that checked."

The mirror flashed a few times in rapid succession.

"Ummm... If you are trying to send me something, you have to do it through Interdimensional Mail. It won't work if you try to send it through the Scryial."

The Scyrial continued to flash for a few seconds, before stopping entirely.

TotallyNotSantaPony asks: "What would you like for Hearth's Warming this year?"

"Well, there are a few things I would really like to have for Hearth's Warming, but they’re a little... Personal. How about a jar of sweet and spicy pickles."

Roseate licked her lips.

Rhawkas asks: "Have you been a good pony this year?"

"It really depends upon who you ask." Roseate stretched. "I'm sure May Berry and her spawn think I've been naughty. There is also the Solar Guard who, if they knew what I was, would consider me naughty. However, it isn't like I've been cursing other ponies or summoning gateways so that alien life forms attempt to consume Equestria. So I would say I've been a good mare."

Inkheart Asks Arsthotua: "Do you dream? If so, can you have nightmares?"

An eye appeared and gazed into the mirror.

"My experiences are that the lines between dreams and nightmares can be... blurry."

As Arsthotua spoke a tentacle wrapped around Roseate's shoulders.

"However, after meeting my wife, they have grown more pleasant."

Finishing his statement, the eye and the tendril faded.

Fermin Tenava asks: "Let's talk about your dear husband. What does he usually eat? Does he need to hunt every time or is there any food from your realm that he can digest?"

"Like a kraken in the sea, Arsthotua needs to feed on smaller creatures in the Eldar Realm. While he is able to eat Equestrian food when he takes on the guise of Strange Sight, that is merely a fragment of the larger body, and so, as a result, the body will still hunt in his realm."

Fermin Tenava asks: I've never been to the Eldar Regions. What do they look like and what do the entities living there do? Do they share plans for the destruction of the universe?

Another eye emerged from the shadows and examined the Scryial.

"The Eldar Realm is simply one of many worlds beyond the Fifth Veil. If I had to use ponish terms, I would say it is like a coral reef with numerous forests growing out of the corpses of previous civilizations and behemoths. Yet it also shifts and sways. There are various creatures there but few are sapient."

Three tentacles came into view and began to roll the eyeball within their grasp.

"Many of my kind of explored other worlds, sometimes causing unintentional harm to the populace. Because of this, the laws of Tistemintodh were set up by the first Yuglomet, along with a few other species who aided in their creation. As my wife has already mentioned, these laws were to ensure that we wouldn't harm these worlds. However, that isn't to say that there aren't a few who intentionally break these laws for their own gain. When this happens, a Flishachollirust is called to investigate."

Arsthotua's appendages disappeared and Roseate took another sip of her tea.

Nic-Love asks: "What do your parents think of Arsthotua?"

There was a pause as Roseate considered how to respond to the question.

"They’re not really... around to complain. My father left my mother when he learned of her pregnancy and my stepfather..."  

A few tears welled up in Roseate's eyes as she recalled her past. One of Arsthotua's tendrils emerged and wiped away Roseate's tears as she composed herself.

"Let's talk about something else."

Genesis says: "I'm most proud of how you conducted yourself against those who don't respect themselves. It would have been so easy for you to have cursed him, regardless of the possible outcomes. Quite a few beings wouldn't have had the patience nor the will to do what you did and let things be."

"Well, thank you," Roseate replied, "I have made... a few mistakes in my past and I have had to learn to harness my tongue."

Roseate let out a slight chuckle.

"In more ways than one."

Jon Dillinger asks: "You mentioned some days ago about a 'Princess Luna.' Is this a ruler in your realm? What is she like? How is your realm governed?"

"Well, depending upon who you talk to, most would say that the alicorn princesses are the ones who rule Equestria, though that is merely in regards to this nation. Of course, there are governmental figures that serve under them that usually run most of the country. As for Princess Luna, she is an alicorn with the ability to control the moon and has only recently returned to our world from her banishment."

Roseate winked at the mirror.

"Or at least that is what most ponies will tell you. There are a few who speculate that other beings rule our world from behind the scenes."

TheDizzyDan asks: "What is a familiar in your realm? If you have some choice over what it is, how would it run in your family?"

"To put it in family roles, a familiar can function as the combination of a servant and the distant cousin who needed to move in because of financial reasons. In exchange for the witch's protection, the familiar serves as additional eyes and ears, forming a symbiotic relationship between the two."

Nic-Love asks: "Can you change yourself into something else?"

"I may have a few spells that allow me to change my form from time to time," Roseate answered, "however, they can be a hassle to use. Especially if you turn into something and lack the resources to turn back."

Fermin Tenava asks: "How do you feel about your fellow ponies? Did you ever have somepony else (besides your husband and Mittenz) in your company?"

"My experience with other ponies has been... mixed. There are good ponies and there are bad ponies, but generally I prefer to make friends with those who aren't one hundred percent ponies. Most of you have already seen my friend Mrs. Cake and know her secret."

After pondering for a moment, Roseate gave a sly grin.

"Of course, I don't think it would be too big an issue if I talked about one of my other friends. Though I will keep her name a secret for her own personal safety. There's a unicorn mare in Canterlot who works as a fashion model and is married to a high society stallion, however, few know that she is in fact an octomare. She has been able to maintain her normal guise all thanks to a special soap she purchases from a certain witch."

Roseate gives a wink before placed a hoof over her mouth as she let out a big yawn.

"Well, that is all the time we have for this evening." Roseate smiled at the mirror. "Thank you all so much for your questions. I hope to hear from you all again later."

Replacing the sheet over the Scryial, Roseate left the room and went to bed.

Opening her eyes, Roseate found herself back in front of the drawn house. An ominous mist rolling about her hooves.

"Alenag farth yj haly ethemiav!"

Roseate's horn glowed as her sacred instrument was summoned, the knife appearing in her magical embrace. With the Athame now drawn into the dream, Roseate proceeded toward the door.

Stepping inside the drawn house, Roseate perked her eyes, listening for Sour Sapphire's cries. It wasn't long before she heard the sound of her student weeping. Not wanting to be caught off guard like last time, Roseate moved further into the scribbled building with caution. The hairs on the back of Roseate's neck began to stand on end as Sapphire's crying grew louder.

Turning a corner, Roseate found herself in a room with three doors, each of which was a different color. The one on the left was red, with the center door being green and the last door a bright blue. Not sure which door would lead her to the correct path, Roseate put an ear against each door and listened intently, however despite her efforts she couldn't detect which door Sour Sapphire's cries were coming from.

Taking a deep breath, Roseate walked over to the blue door and opened it. As soon as she opened it, Roseate lunged back as jagged papery teeth and a large drawn tongue lashed out at her. The saliva from the appendage smearing the illustrated world around it.

Swinging her Sacred Instrument, Roseate slashed the drawn tongue, before slamming the blue door shut. Its pained screech was cut off as the door was closed.

"Well, that certainly isn't the way."

Looking back at the severed tongue, Roseate watched as the sketched organ melted into a waxy stain on the floor.

Examining the door, Roseate tried to see if there were clues that it had been booby-trapped. On the floor at the base of the door was a water stain similar to the smear left behind by the fake door's original attack.

Seeing a similar stain at the base of the red door, Roseate was sure that the green door was the way to go. Opening the door to another hallway proved that her theory was correct.

Moving through the hallway, Roseate passed by numerous doors showing signs of being trapped. The deeper she went, the more obscure and disturbing the images along the walls became, changing from drawings of picture frames to massive eyes with lids made of flies. At times when Roseate looked away, she thought she had seen a few of the eyes blink out of the corner of her vision.

After walking through a series of doors, Roseate found the room where Sour Sapphire was located. The walls seemed to be covered in drawn mirrors, with numerous ponies peering in with bright yellow eyes.

The young colt was cowered in the corner as tendrils of shadow linked him to something ominous, which lurked in the center of the room.

Standing before Roseate was some sort of hole with numerous crustacean claws and legs peeking through the portal. It seemed that the crab-like beast was using Sour Sapphire's dream like how a hermit crab uses a stray shell for a home. Its long eye stalks peered forth from the dark void.

Angry chirps resonated from the hole as it lay eyes on Roseate. The claws snapping open and closed as the monster prepared to attack. This time Roseate was able to dodge the blow and riposted with her Athame.

"Sapphire!" Roseate yelled as she dodged the creature's next attack.

Tears still streaming from his eyes, Sour Sapphire looked up to see Roseate fighting the nightmare.

"M-miss Roseate?"

"Sapphire listen to me!" Roseate called out as she deflected another attack, "Don't be intimidated by this creature! It is merely a representation of your fear!"

The Athame slashed through one of the monster's claws, warranting a scream from the creature. However, just a soon as the limb was severed another grew in its place. As long as this nightmare was linked to Sour Sapphire it would continue to grow in strength.

"But I'm scared!"

One of the monster's claws slammed into Roseate's side, throwing her into a paper thin wall. The parchment tearing as Roseate was hurled into another room. A drawn fireplace was on the wall to the right of the hole, Roseate's body had made.

"There is nothing wrong w--"

One of the pincers slammed down into Roseate's foreleg, pinning it to the floor. Roseate screamed before swinging her Athame through the creature's limb. As the nightmare recoiled, Roseate pulled the claw free of her injured leg. She barely had time to stand up before dodging another of the monster's blows.

Ducking under the nightmare's claws, Roseate ran back into the previous room and over to Sour Sapphire, who was still cowering in the corner. Using her hoof, Roseate grabbed the colt and threw him on her back.

"Sapphire, you need to stop feeding your fears!" Roseate grunted, pain shooting up her injured leg.

"But it's..."

The was another loud screech as the nightmare pulled itself back into the room, its mandibles chittering with rage. A new claw clicked open and closed as it regrew.

"There is nothing wrong with being afraid, Sapphire." Roseate focused her attention on the monster. "Fear is a natural emotion, but you must not let it prevent you from acting!"

Slashing upward, Roseate's Athame cut one of the monster's eye stalks. The creature screeched even as the ocular appendage grew back. Roseate could feel Sour Sapphire's tears on the back of her neck.

"Sapphire, you are not alone," Roseate reassured her student, "I am here. We can fight this nightmare."

"T-thank you, miss..."

While the colt was still afraid, Roseate could tell that her student was encouraged by her remark as the tendril of shadow connecting him to the nightmare began to fade.

The monster roared as it became clear that it was no longer connected to its prey.

"Now let's finish this!"

The sound of organic metal striking against carapace could be heard throughout the papery house as Roseate deflected a series of blows. Sidestepping, Roseate delivered a quick slash, severing two of the nightmare's appendages. The monster let out a bloodcurdling roar, only for it to be cut short as Roseate flung her Sacred Instrument in between the behemoth's eyes.

Slowly, the nightmare crumbled to the floor.

"I-is it d-dead?"

Roseate didn't answer as she took Sour Sapphire off her shoulders. She didn't have much time left before this dream space ceased to exist.

Pulling Sapphire into a deep hug and covering his ears, Roseate began to chant.

"Tenoghtmeri thral he't pleguit fob’th chold''t driem'tayin. Nujelu mey fut difietit ‘sub jelu dan't yess tos fut diedeter. Gimejaen mel ngi lovi gos yj sirvint gu’olg t'tav yer nyurb yel niit thiiayin."

Gradually the monster's form began to flicker and shift. As the enchantment was completed, the nightmare was compressed into a less threatening form, that of an orange crab plushie.

Using her magic, Roseate picked up the stuffed crab, which crumbled into ash at her touch.

With the nightmare vanquished, the dream around them began to collapse, like a mirror being shattered against the ground. Roseate closed her eyes as the darkness enveloped her.

Roseate awoke in the middle of the night, her throat feeling scratchy and dry. As she pulled herself out of bed to grab a glass of water, her hoof bumped into something.

Groaning, Roseate picked up the item and brought it with her out into the hallway where she could have a better look at it before going downstairs for a glass of water.

Within her magic grasp was the crab plushie that the nightmare had transformed into during her dream.

"Well, isn't that interesting." Roseate yawned.

Walking over to the toy room, Roseate stepped inside and placed the new stuffed animal next to Mister Smelly Bottoms, all while doing her best not to disturb Mittenz's slumber. The cat familiar snoring softly as he slept.

Stepping outside, Roseate quietly shut the door before heading to the kitchen.