“Long ago in the crypt of a long dead bicorn queen a hefty tome was discovered. The book’s pages were made completely of tongues, all sewn together. Some were from ponies, some from griffins, and some from creatures that haven’t been seen in this world.
“Yet despite being severed from their original hosts, the tongues still speak, each to fulfill the reader’s desires. Though speaking of wicked passions and untamed lust, in the end all they can truly promise is an orgy of suffering. Whether these tongues speak truth or not, none can say for sure.”
Quote from; the Tomb of Aphrolith, by M.R. Amorcolt.
A yawn escaped Roseate's lips as she sat on the floor next to her cauldron, her books set out before her. As Roseate made her brew, she contemplated on what had occurred earlier that day.
She had returned home early in the morning, after finding and rescuing detective Frost Brook. With some difficulty she managed to take the unconscious solar guard to the Muleport hospital so he could be tended to by medical professionals.
After gathering her school supplies, Roseate had left to teach her class. While most of her students were happy and sharing stories of their Nightmare Night adventures, a few of her students remained quiet. These students consisted of June Berry, Maple Sugar and Quillian Inkheart.
June seemed grumpy while Maple was distant and sullen. During lunch she didn't touch a single portion of her food. Roseate was pretty sure why and she was planning to address the matter shortly.
As for Quillian, he appeared rather uneasy as of late, however Roseate wasn't too sure why. Perhaps she could learn of the matter once she had dealt with Maple's trial. In order to do that she would have to deal with the one meddling with Maple's dreams.
"Dumb pain in a donkey's behind!" Roseate growled as she came back to the present.
If Roseate was going to defeat this succubus pony, she would need to deal with her pet. Fortunately, Roseate had a little trick up her sleeve.
Roseate pulled out a bag and began putting ingredients into the cauldron, naming them off as she did.
"The powder of a newt's crushed skull, three pearls, the severed toe of a dead dragon, along with a shard of Insomnium. There is only one more ingredient I require."
One of Arsthotua's tentacles descended from the ceiling. Using her sacred instrument, Roseate cut the tendrils, green ichor dripping from the wound into the cauldron.
"The blood of an eldritch entity."
The concoction began to sizzle and boil.
Hearing the door creak open, Roseate turned to see a small shape enter the room.
"You're back," Roseate said, as Mittenz stepped inside.
"I have completed my task," the familiar answered.
"What did you find?"
"The detective had a few notes as well as a tape recorder inside his hotel room," Mittenz replied, "on the recording he kept talking to somepony named Azure Velvet. I'm not sure who that is, however he would talk to them about the case as well as some trivial matters."
"What did he say about the case?"
"Apparently he had reason to believe that the disappearances were the result of kidnappings caused by a cult or witch."
"Did he have anything about me?"
Mittenz shook his head, "while he speculated that you were the one responsible for stealing the journal, he didn't suspect that you were the one behind the disappearances. At least not according to his last recording."
That made this a little complicated. While Frost had been able to discern the involvement of a witch or cult, he hadn't thought it was her. Perhaps she could have avoided using her glamour. Now he was in the hospital because of her commands.
"That is a shame."
"However, it would seem that he might have also speculated the location of the teacher's body."
Roseate's ears twitched at that statement.
"It would seem he had an idea," Mittenz stated, "however, he needed Fizzle's journal to be sure."
Well, Roseate had read the journal and knew it had some connection to the Swanling House, so maybe Frost Brook's information could help in locating it.
"Did the detective document any of his findings?"
Mittenz looked a little nervous for a moment.
"It would seem that I may have damaged the tape the information was recorded on."
"What!" Roseate turned her gaze on the familiar, more than a little infuriated at his foolishness.
"Well, what do you expect?" Mittenz growled, waving his paws in the air. "It's not like I can hold items with magic or anything!"
That... was a fair point.
Roseate let out a deep sigh, "Well, thank you for your efforts."
As the concoction came to an end, Roseate added a few final ingredients, a cherry, some vanilla and a couple of mint leaves. While the cherry had some significance, the other two ingredients were merely for flavor to help the potion go down smoother.
Taking a flask, Roseate used her magic to levitate the noxious broth into the glass container. After putting a cork inside, Roseate shook the bottle, its contents beginning to bubble and fizz.
"This should work just fine."
Taking the potion, Roseate made her way to the bedroom. As tempting as it was to spend some special time with her husband, Roseate had something important to do.
Stepping into her bedroom, Roseate walked over to the bed and laid down. Even as she lay there, Roseate could sense that Arsthotua was absent. A twinge of loneliness filled Roseate's heart.
Roseate drank the potion, the vanilla and mint doing very little to address the revolting flavor. Carefully, she made sure to catch the cherry pit with her tongue and placed it underneath before swallowing the rest of the vile concoction. Roseate could feel her insides swell as the magical liquid flowed through her system.
As her mind slowly began to drift off to sleep, Roseate pulled the cherry pit forward and swallowed.
Roseate found herself on the molding beach of Maple Sugar's nightmare. The waves of syrup lapping on the beach, sticking to Roseate's lower body.
"Yuck!" Roseate growled as she pulled herself up and out of the sticky tide. After cleaning herself off, Roseate left the beach and moved into the decaying, sugary forest.
Carefully, Roseate walked to the location where the previous nightmare had ended. Soon she found herself nearing the clearing with the pit. Standing guard next to it was the succubus's pet, Equ-bugbear. Its nose twitched from underneath its leather muzzle as it caught Roseate's scent.
The creature was already facing her direction when Roseate entered the clearing. Once its enemy came within range, the Equ-bugbear let out a mighty roar and ran toward her.
Roseate smiled as the Equ-Bugbear charged toward her.
Pulling on the magic of the Insomnium in her concoction, Roseate summoned the potion into her dream and tossed it at the rampaging monster. As the glass shattered against the tough hide, green and purple tendrils erupted from the impact, surrounding and binding the beast.
Restrained, the creature toppled to the ground. Each time the Equ-Bugbear tried to break free of the incantation, the tentacles pulled tighter around its muscular frame.
"How typical of a succubus to require the services of a mindless beast!" Roseate taunted.
Even as the monster continued to struggle against its bonds, Roseate couldn't help but admire its form. How much fun would it be if her husband's pony vessel was an Equ-Bugbear or even an Equ-wolf? Roseate could already imagine a fun little scenario with her running through the forest as Arsthotua in his beast form stalked her, hunted her, ready to ravage her at any moment.
Roseate shook her head. Now wasn't the time for fantasies.
"Now if you will excuse me, I have some business to take care of with your master!"
Turning her attention to the pit, Roseate walked over and let herself fall in. Like the lining of a hydra's digestive tract, the candy cane tentacles guided her deep into the belly of this decaying, sugary dreamscape. Occasionally a gumdrop infested with small glowing mushrooms would illuminate her descent.
Eventually the tunnel opened up to a chamber filled with luminescent, fungal candy. The scent of spoiled sour treats permeated the air. As Roseate's eyes adjusted to the darkness, she noticed a tunnel off to the left. Moving into a cautionary stance, Roseate stealthily maneuvered her way down the tunnel.
"Come on now! Eat up!" Came an annoyed feminine voice from further down the tunnel.
As Roseate advanced forward a soft orange glow became more visible up ahead.
Peering around the corner, Roseate observed another chamber where the orange light was coming from a large gelatin structure, which was suspended from the ceiling by numerous candy cane tentacles. In the center of the room was Maple Sugar and Sultry Fritter. While the young filly was bound to a chair by more of those red and white tendrils, the succubus was busy force feeding her some cake. The cake was covered with pink and white frosting, resting upon a table made of gingerbread.
"Isn't this what you wanted?" Sultry asked forcing a piece of cake in Sugar's mouth. "To eat and eat and eat!"
The foal coughed, frosting and crumbs leaking from her stuffed mouth.
"Rrhy ar ra *cough* dring dis?" Maple Sugar tried to speak through a mouth full of cake.
"Why am I doing this?" Sultry taunted, "Isn't it obvious? I'm fattening the pig for dinner."
Using a dessert fork, Sultry extracted another bite from the cake. As she did her horns began to glow as smoky figures began to dance around the room. Taking on the forms of young fillies and colts, the shadows seemed to be whispering cruel, mean words.
"Since you enjoy eating sweets so much," Sultry continued, "I thought I would fill you up until you’re nice and fat, just like you've always wanted."
As the succubus forced another bite of cake into Sugar's mouth, the shadows surrounding them filled the air with a chorus of their hideous laughter.
"I drn't rnt dis." Maple Sugar coughed once more.
"At this rate, I will fill you up with enough sweets that you'll either explode or you'll never eat another bite ever again," Sultry chuckled, "Well, either way I will be sated. Whether by pleasure or dread, I always get fed and in your case, it's two for the price of one."
Letting out another snicker, Sultry reached for another bite with her fork. No longer willing to stand idly by, Roseate began to make her move.
"Pelw’nefh mettir, dossalvi fu heuuh pricoau't gropesh."
As Roseate whispered the incantation, the fork Sultry was holding began to melt and the sweet morsel it held toppled to the floor. At first Sultry Fritter looked a little perplexed by the sight of her fork bending and dripping into a silver puddle on the ground. However, upon realizing that somepony was meddling with the dream, the succubus pony began to snarl.
Stepping from the darkness, Roseate donned a smug grin. "Miss me?"
A look of disgust marred Sultry's face.
"So it would seem my pet wasn't enough for you!" Sultry growled.
The two mares began to circle the room, like two chimera fighting over a piece of meat.
"You should have just faced me yourself," Roseate taunted, "would have saved me some time."
"Nopony comes between me and my meal!"
Now the shadows were circling them both. One stepped close to Roseate only to be vaporized by a magical blast from her horn. The phantom shrieked as its form was disintegrated.
"Unfortunately you decided to feed on one of my students," Roseate said, "clearly I can't allow that."
"You think you have the right to say what I can and can't do?"
"Oh, I didn't say that," Roseate answered, "I'm merely saying you picked the wrong prey."
Sultry scoffed, "Oh, it doesn't matter! After all, there’s more than one way to skin a witch!"
The shadows giggled with terrible glee as they lunged toward Roseate. However, Roseate wasn't frightened by these apparitions, after all she knew their source.
Summoning her sacred instrument, Roseate propelled herself toward the succubus. As she swung her blade, the cake flung itself in the way of Roseate's attack, splattering frosting everywhere. Sultry laughed.
"Did you really think it would be that easy?"
Crumbs fell from the ceiling as candy cane tentacles erupted forth and lashed at toward Roseate. She managed to cleave five of them, before a few of them wrapped around her, binding her body and legs. The athame toppled to the ground as a tentacle wrapped around her horn.
Sultry laughed. "This dream belongs to me just as much as it does to that pathic foal!"
One of the shadows walked toward Maple Sugar, its body materializing into the form of June Berry made of dripping dark chocolate.
"You're so fat," Chocolate June taunted, "I bet your parents have to keep an eye on you so that you don't eat their whole diner."
Tears trickled down Maple's face as the candy bully giggled. Now it was perfectly clear what had been the root of this nightmare. The true nature of the nefarious vine Sultry had attached herself to had finally come to light.
A smile stretched across Roseate's face at the revelation.
"She's wrong you know," Roseate grunted as the tentacles squeezed tighter.
Maple Sugar looked over to Roseate, a confused expression on her face.
"As much as she has influenced this nightmare, she has no true power here," Roseate explained, "the only power she has is what you give h-!"
A tendrils wrapped around Roseate's neck.
"Shut up you dumb witch!" Sultry growled.
"Maple, listen to me!" Roseate struggled past the pressure around her throat. "Just because somepony tells you are something doesn't necessarily mean you are or will be."
Roseate could feel the tentacle tightening around her windpipe, her vision gradually fading as the pressure on her throat increased. Her lungs burning as she was strangled by the candy cane vine.
Her vision was almost black when suddenly the pressure disappeared and fresh air filled her lungs. Coughing, Roseate looked around the chamber to see that the candy that had been hindering her breathing was now turning into a sticky, red and white puddle on the floor.
"What?!" Sultry looked around in bewilderment as the candy tentacles began to melt.
Looking over at her student, Roseate saw Maple Sugar now free from the chair she had been bound to. A blue glow radiating from her body.
The succubus glared at Roseate, "What did you do?"
Roseate shot Sultry Fritter a clever grin. "Oh, I simply helped my student pull out a weed."
As the glow around Maple grew brighter, the dancing shadows faded away and the sugary representation of June Berry dissolved. Sultry let out an angry growl.
"You may have thwarted my feast," Sultry yelled, "but that won't stop the darkness in the recesses of your dreams! You will fail!"
A portal opened as the succubus's horns glowed. The gateway vanished after Sultry Fritter stepped through. As her presence faded, the world around them slowly began to crumble.
"Miss Roseate?" Maple asked in confusion.
"Yes," Roseate replied, "what is it?"
"I was just wondering, what does this all mean?"
The dream world continued to deteriorate around them.
"Maple, you're growing up," Roseate answered, "and it is perfectly normal to feel insecure about your weight. Just know that while others may try to target that insecurity, that doesn't mean what they tell you is true."
"Were you worried about your weight when you were younger?"
Roseate was quiet for a moment. When she was Maple's age, she had… other things to worry about. Roseate smiled.
"Yes," Roseate lied as the dream around them collapsed.
Roseate sat in the hospital lounge waiting to hear her name being called, a facade of worry upon her form. While she didn't care for the detective, Roseate was, to some extent, responsible for his injuries, due to him being under the influence of her glamour. However, in truth, there were other reasons for her being here.
One being that by expressing concern for the detective, it gave her the appearance of a concerned citizen, who was checking up on the pony she rescued. It would also allow her the opportunity to gain more information about the detective and his findings here in Muleport.
The flowers Roseate had purchased after class served to aid in the facade.
Hearing her name, Roseate made her way to the front counter. Standing behind it was a pegasus mare with an amber coat and a sky blue mane. Her nurse outfit hugging her form closely.
The outfit reminded Roseate of a time when she had roleplayed as a nurse with her husband. For a brief moment, Roseate pondered where she had stored the garment.
"Yes, I am Miss Grimsbane," Roseate said, wearing a worried smile.
"You are here to visit Mister Brook," the nurse said, "I must inform you that he is still unconscious."
Roseate shed a few fake tears, "Is he going to be alright?"
"The doctor says he may improve in time."
"Can I see him?" Roseate asked.
The nurse seemed to ponder the statement. "Well, normally we reserve visitations for the patient's relatives."
A few more tears were shed.
"However, you are the one who brought Mister Frost Brook to the hospital. So I think a short visit would be fine."
"Thank you." Roseate sniffled.
"Please, right this way."
Roseate followed the nurse, inwardly gloating at how easily this mare had been fooled. Truly one of a mare's greatest weapons were her tears. As she followed, Roseate caught that same magical scent coming from her escort.
'Perhaps there is a cult in Muleport after all.
The nurse stopped in front of a room and opened the door.
"Here is his room," the nurse, said motioning inside, "you have fifteen minutes."
"Thank you." Roseate sniffled, continuing her act.
Stepping inside the room, Roseate saw the state that the detective was in. Frost Brook lay on a bed, an oxygen mask over his muzzle, various wires and tubes attached to some nearby machines. A heart monitor beeped off to the side of the bed.
"I will leave you for now."
Once the nurse was gone, Roseate dropped her facade and stepped closer to the stallion. Her stomach churned know what she was about to do.
After swallowing a piece of ginger, Roseate licked her hoof, coating it with her saliva. Roseate's stomach made a few more twists and turns as she placed her moist hoof on Frost's forehead.
"Beopin t'todh bilek gu’olg mel nyurb yel mey f’rho fob’th voctom''t fonel lw’nefhulem."
Closing her eyes, Roseate delved into Frost Brook's unconscious dreams.
A bell jingled as Roseate entered the dream.
Detective Frost Brook's dreamscape was rather amusing. While it resembled the interior of the Maple Family diner, all sights of the world outside were obscured by red cloth.
"Welcome, miss," the waitress said as Roseate entered. Her head consisted entirely of a white, ceramic cup. Even as the waitress greeted her, Roseate could hear some of the fluid inside slosh about.
Looking around the diner, Roseate noticed that all the ponies in the establishment had heads consisting of different cups. All except for two.
At the farthest booth sat the detective with a mysterious mare. As Roseate drew near, she saw that it was a unicorn with a purple coat and an orange mane pulled back into a bun.
Seeing Roseate, the detective waved her over, a gesture that Roseate thought was a little odd. Nevertheless, Roseate moved closer to the solar guard.
"Azure Velvet! It’s great to see you here!" Frost Brook greeted, "Miss Fizzle and I were just discussing her case. Please have a seat."
So the detective thought Roseate was this Azure Velvet whom Mittenz had heard him talk to on the tape recorder. Well, there was no reason for her to break the illusion. Roseate sat down in the chair.
"You should really try out the pie here," Frost Brook insisted, "I swear it's the best slice of pie I've had in all Equestria."
That was a bold claim, granted, since Frost Brook was a member of the Solar Guard it was possible that he may have been to enough locations to warrant such a declaration.
"So, what have you learned so far?" Roseate inquired.
"Well, from my inquiries I have reason to believe that there might be a cult present here in Muleport," Frost Brook's replied, "possibly dedicated to the Smiling Prince, the Mad Lord, or some creature imprisoned in the depths of Tartarus."
"Do you believe they're responsible for the disappearances?"
"Possibly, however I am more inclined to believe that there might be a witch involved. That maybe she has bound herself to some entity within the forest."
Roseate stroked her chin. Could he be talking about Arsthotua? Or perhaps there was another witch who was connected to a separate entity. Maybe this being resided in the Swanling House.
"Were you able to find out where this entity resides?" Roseate asked.
"Not the exact location," Frost answered, "however, I do believe that a magic detector could be used to find it."
"Yeah, it’s some experimental hardware," the detective explained, "much like how some unicorns can detect and feel the magic around them..."
Detective Frost froze and gave Roseate a concerned look.
"Azure, are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Why?"
"Well, you're the one who came up with the original design for the device. So why are you asking so many questions about it?"
Oh dear. Roseate might have overstepped her bounds, however, maybe some quick deception could solve the problem.
Roseate scoffed and waved a hoof, "Oh, I knew about it. I was merely testing you is all."
Frost Brook's was still for a moment and then smiled, "Now that‘s the Azure Velvet I know."
As the detective let out a chuckle, Roseate joined in for a moment. A soft, sad smile marked Frost's face.
"It’s good to see you again, Velvet."
Well, the mood had changed and not in the way Roseate had inspected. Time to redirect the subject.
"So I assume you sent in a request for the magic detector."
"Yes, it should be arriving at the post office in the next few days," Frost answered, "the postmaster has been instructed to only give the package to the pony with the correct password."
How convenient. The package might already be at the post office.
"And what's the password?" Roseate inquired.
The detective smiled cleverly, "What is the likelihood that anypony would guess it?"
That was true, it truly was a rather odd and out of the ordinary password.
Looking over at Ginger Fizzle, Roseate couldn't help but notice how similar they were in appearance. It was uncanny. Of course, that could have been because Frost thought Roseate resembled the missing teacher and combined them into a singular representation.
"So, what have you been talking to Ginger about?" Roseate asked.
"Not much really," Frost replied, "usually about the weather, whether she thinks she was murdered or not. Sometimes she mentions slugs."
It was then that the world went grayscale and became completely still. Looking around everypony in the room was frozen, except for Ginger Fizzle who looked at Roseate with glowing yellow eyes and drool dripping from her mouth.
"Roseate," something spoke through the dream apparition of Ginger, "I have a message for you from the Late Mother."
The way Fizzle talked it was as if she was being controlled by a creature that didn't know how a pony's mouth functioned. Saliva dripping forth onto the table.
"The entity you seek is not one but two," the creature said, "both feeding and living off the other. However, it is more nefarious than that. One has its claws in the recesses of your mind. Claws in the recesses of its birth place."
"What do you know of these entities?" Roseate called out.
Ginger Fizzle coughed as a large gray slug slithered forth from her mouth. Its antenna wiggling in the air as it plopped down onto the plate in front of the teacher.
As the slug died, its body decayed into a sickening black sludge. Slowly the apparition of Ginger Fizzle did the same a black puddle forming on the seat cushion as color returned to the world.
Frost Brook's blinked a few times, "I guess she must have left."
Roseate began to stand, preparing to leave this patch of dreamscape. That was when a hoof reached out and grabbed a hold of her shoulder. Turning around, Roseate saw the detective, a look of desperation upon his face.
"Please stay," Frost pleaded, "at least share a cup of coffee with me."
Even though the detective was touching her, Roseate insides weren't bothering her in response. Maybe it was because subconsciously she knew it was just a dream or perhaps there was some other reason. Either way, the sad expression on Frost Brook's face tugged at her heart strings.
"Very well," Roseate answered, "one cup of coffee."
A waitress with a mug for a head came over and placed two cups of coffee down on the table in front of Roseate and detective Frost. After putting in some sugar, Roseate took a sip.
"Thank you," Frost Brook's said with a small smile.
Upon leaving Frost Brook's dream, Roseate knew what she would have to do. Acquire the magic detector and use it to find the Swanling House. Then...
"What are you doing?"
Looking up, Roseate saw the nurse standing in the doorway, a worried look on her face. Had she seen anything? Did she have an idea what magic Roseate had been using on the detective?
Once more Roseate put on her sorrowful facade, hoping to deceive the nurse again. She brushed the detective's brow, her stomach churning at the gesture. "I... I was just trying to see if he was okay."
The nurse's wing twitched. It didn't look like she wasn't buying it anymore.
"You need to leave!"
Roseate stepped toward the nurse. What should she do? She was still tired from using her glamour on the detective. How was she going to deal with this mess?
Again the nurse's wing twitched as Roseate drew near and that magical scent wafted over to her. It was then that an idea popped into Roseate's head. It was merely a hunch, but it might just work.
Roseate ceased her sad act and stepped uncomfortably close to the nurse. The mare bit her lip nervously.
"I guess since the jig is up," Roseate said menacingly, "Tell your order that I have no intention of bothering them unless they get in my way!"
Roseate proceeded to step past the nurse only to stop next to the mare and whisper in her ear.
"Oh, and tell them that the Bride of Arsthotua sends her regards."
Before the nurse could respond, Roseate was on her way to the next vital destination.
It hadn't been too difficult for Roseate to obtain the magic detector. After donning a disguise and using a voice alteration spell, Roseate went to the post office and gave the password she had learned from the detective's dream.
The magic detector was a metal disk with a crystal panel and a few knobs, which could be adjusted to any magical frequency.
With the device in hoof, Roseate made her way into the forest, the device pulsing a blue light as she walked.
"I see you have some tricks up your sleeve." A familiar voice came from above. Looking up, Roseate saw Mittenz sitting on a tree branch.
"Indeed I do."
The cat dropped down from the tree, landing on all fours.
"Do you mind if I accompany you on your little exploration?" Mittenz inquired.
The two of them walked through the forest, the magic detector beeping as they went.
"What do you plan on doing with that device when you find the Swanling House?". Mittenz asked.
"I will destroy it."
"That's a shame."
"True, but if I don't, there is no guarantee that this magic detector can't be traced back to me when I am done," Roseate replied, "that and there is no guarantee that they can't use it to find Arsthotua either."
The device beeped louder.
"It's a shame, but I understand."
As the magic detector grew more active, a shape appeared among the trees. The closer they came, the more the device protested as the shape more and more resembled a building.
"Do you believe you could find your way back here?" Roseate asked.
"I do and I can."
Stepping past some trees, Roseate and Mittenz found themselves in front of a large mansion. The house was huge with extensions made from wood that seemed contradictory to that of the main structure's design.
"So this is the house." Mittenz said, his fur standing on end.
"Indeed. Please stick close to me."
Mittenz moved closer to Roseate and followed her to the house. At the front of the house was a door, framed by the statues of two faceless mares. The door opened with ease.
Stepping inside the house, Roseate could make out the scent of mold, mildew, rotting wood, and decay. Yet despite the scent and the dust covering every surface, the room seemed organized.
In the wooden entryway there stood an ivory statue of a beautiful unicorn mare with a flowing mane and an elegant kimono. No doubt this sculpted image was Fog Tail's interpretation of Mistmane's beauty. Lining the walls were portraits of the same mare.
The wooden floor creaked and groaned as Roseate moved deeper into the house. Stepping into the main room she saw a few more statues and a mural that spanned the circular room. In the center of the far wall was a fireplace. It was Roseate's observation of this painting as well as the carved images that alerted her to Fog Tail's obsessive insanity.
Along the wall was the mare standing and sitting in various provocative poses. As the mural shifted to the left, Mistmane's form began to shift as well. Her legs became more elongated and increased in number, multiple alluring eyes grew forth from her skull, fangs stretched forth from her muzzle and both her mane and tail became a net of writhing tendrils. The statues also began to express such fearsome changes.
It was then that Roseate was able to feel the presence of the corpse under the house. It was an eldritch being the size of a mountain, its rotting flesh serving as the foundation of the manor. Closer observation revealed that the fireplace was in fact made of the upper jaw bone of a massive beast.
"Why would Miss Fizzle be lured out here?" Roseate pondered as she began to investigate the house, its contents showing the original owner's madness. Closing her eyes, Roseate tried to sense if there was any way the bones of the previous creature could be responsible.
There was something else, some other magical force present, but Roseate couldn't place a hoof on it. All she could tell was that it was further down.
Looking around, Roseate discovered a door. While it was barred and locked, the disturbed dust indicated that the locks had been recently disturbed. Walking over, Roseate closed her eyes and placed a hoof on the lock.
"Aleapin t'tulem bilek tes mel. Gimepiel frabothh t'tulem unknawnesh."
Instantly, the lock clicked and fell away. The magic detector began to click more rapidly as the door opened.
Stepping through the doorway, Roseate found herself in a room with faceless statues and in the chamber’s center was a gaping, bloodstained hole. The magic detector screeched loudly even as the eldritch miasma hit Roseate's mind. Whatever it was that rested below, it didn't belong to this world.
It was both dangerous and powerful and would require some great magic to conquer.
"I think it is time we returned home," Roseate said worriedly.
"Good evening, my watchers!" Roseate said as she unveiled the mirror. The lights beyond the glass flickered.
Upon discovering the Swanling House, Roseate had destroyed the magic detector and had a bite to eat before going upstairs to inspect the mirror.
"Now, before I start answering questions," Roseate interjected, "it would seem that I might need to make a sigil to deal with whatever is underneath the Swanling House and is probably responsible for the disappearances around town."
Pulling out the Isidria, Roseate turned to a bookmarked page with numerous icons.
"However, they can't just be normal sigils, they have to be specifically created for countering beings from beyond the fifth veil," Roseate explained, "so I have gone ahead and selected a few for you to pick from. The options for sigils are; the Clawed Tail, the Chaotic Lord, the Mare in the Moon and the Prince of Shadows."
Some of the lights beyond the mirror blinked in a puzzled manner. Perhaps it would be wise to explain in greater detail.
"The Tailed Claw, an empire of Ahuizotl, who send their infant young to conquer worlds. The Chaotic Lord, a mad prince locked away in stone. The Mare in the Moon, a princess who was and continues to be bound to the moon by unseen chains. Lastly, the Prince of Shadows, an entity of fear who stalks the frozen north as a husk of his former self. The sigil will draw its magic from one of these beings to power the athame, however we must be wary, sometimes the essence of these beings will leak out and affect our world also."
Once the sigil was picked and designed, her athame would be powerful enough to harm the eldritch threat that posed a great danger to the citizens of Muleport.
"Now, onto the questions!"
NicLove asks: "Can you go where your husband was born and live?"
"Sort of," Roseate answered, "while I could travel there, I would only be able to survive for so long. Even if the native wildlife didn't try to make me into a snack, the atmosphere would gradually wear away at my lungs and nervous system until I lost the ability to breath and think properly."
NicLove ask: "Have you went there before?"
"Once for our wedding ceremony," Roseate answered, "however I was only there for roughly ten minutes. Fortunately the ceremony came to an end before matters became too drastic."
NicLove ask: "How was it?"
"It was an... Interesting location. It felt like when you are swimming in a murky lake and after fully submerging yourself you open your eyes and see the shadows of other creatures moving around in the water. However, like I said before, it is very difficult for ponies to survive there for long."
Sentinel053 asks: "Do you ever have to fight eldritch horrors who possibly try to invade Equestria from another dimension?"
"Sometimes, however, it isn't as common as one might think."
Lunar asks: "Hm... something’s going wrong, another one gone? Hm... who do you think is doing this?"
"I have the feeling that whatever I sensed was under that house might be responsible."
Rhawkas asks: "What wild creature native to Equestria are you most afraid of? Why?"
"Timberwolves can be quite fearsome," Roseate answered, "and the fact that they have a habit of taking forever to die doesn't help much either. I'm sure the first one must have been made by a witch, that's really the only thing that makes much sense."
Roseate scratched her chin and pondered.
"However, rabbits can also be rather frightening. Behind that fluffy exterior is a being of cunning and deadly intent."
Viper Pit asks: "A celestial migration and another missing pony. It can't be a coincidence. I wonder if they are connected to Miss Fizzle."
"It is possible," Roseate answered, "chances are that whatever took Ginger Fizzle is also the one who took Star Watcher."
Quillian Inkheart asks: "Which is harder for you: keeping your secrets as a witch, masking Arsthotua's true nature from nosy neighbors, or balancing everything in your secret life, while trying to maintain a normal, casual life?"
"It's really having to juggle all of it that I find difficult. Being a witch isn't too hard so long as nothing goes wrong and teaching isn't so bad if the students do what they're supposed to do. It's when things get out of hoof that there are problems."
Rhawkas asks: "What's your favorite animal? Why?"
"Haven't I already answered this question. Oh well, I like cats but I also think octopi look cute too. The latter kind of reminds me of my husband."
Roseate scratched her chin with a hoof.
"I wonder what would happen if I managed to combine those two creatures?"
Viper Pit asks: "A lot of this is above my pay grade, can't you just get a changeling to replace her?"
"The thing about changelings is that they can be very untrustworthy. If they accept a bargain from you, more likely than not they have more to benefit from it than you do," Roseate answered, "that and Queen Chrysalis and I... aren't really on speaking terms at the moment."
NicLove ask: "If you weren't married, who in this town would you go out on a date with?"
"Honestly, if it weren't for my marriage, I'm not sure I would even be here to answer your questions." Roseate gave a nervous grin.
The lights behind the mirror stirred.
"I think we have time for one more question," Roseate smiled, "let's see who we have next."
Rehtaf asks:"Hello Roseate, it's been a long time...
Suddenly Roseate's blood went cold.
"You were such a foolish little filly thinking you would be free of me...
The surface of the mirror began to shimmer and change as twelve long hoof like appendages reached out from the looking glass, each limb as reflective as crystal.
She couldn't move. Fear had engulfed Roseate at the presence of this thing. Of HIM. How could it be HIM? All she could do was watch as the hooves of glass reached out to her.
They grabbed a hold of her and began to pull her toward the mirror.
"I will make you pay for everything you put me through you dirty, little, b..."
Before the assailant could continue, a large green tentacle came down and smashed through the reflective limbs. There was a high pitch scream as the glassy hooves fell to the floor, shattering against the wood.
The sound of glass tinkling on the floor resonated through Roseate's mind even as she drifted into unconsciousness.
Alefutgonnong yog mimary trensmossoaniph.
(Beginning of Memory Transmission)
Roseate walked down the hallway, trying to find some place to hide. Her mother was tending to Roseate's baby brother, meaning that her stepfather would have free rein to do as he pleased.
While Roseate had considered telling her mother about the foul things her stepfather did to her, the stallion had continually warned her what would happen if any pony found out. Nothing. Why would any pony care what happened to a dead horned unicorn? This was her punishment for being a bastard child, for not being a true unicorn.
Just hearing her stepfather's words brought tears to the young filly's eyes.
Even her stuffed toy bunny, Mister Smelly Bottoms provided her with very little comfort.
Eventually her stepfather would find her and have his way with her, but even then Roseate would enjoy a moment of freedom.
As Roseate sneaked through the hallway, she stumbled upon the door to her stepfather's library, open just a creak. Perhaps this would be a good hiding place, after all why would he suspect that she would be hiding in his library? Roseate cautiously moved through the entryway and closed it quietly behind her.
When her stepfather had moved in, he had been sure to set up a room to contain many of his books. How he came upon them, Roseate could only guess.
Mother had been having difficulties feeding the baby colt, so after talking with a physician she had started taking a potion to help her lactate. While mother had told Roseate that the colt was her brother, something about it just felt off and every time she tried to think about it, a gnawing pain would radiate through Roseate's skull.
As Roseate walked through the library, she felt something pulling on her mind, drawing her deeper and as she explored the books seemed to become more... foreign, with titles written with bizarre sigils. However, none of them seemed to be the one calling to her.
It wasn't until she reached the corner of the room that Roseate discovered the source of what was calling out to her. It was a large tome covered in dark purple scales, perhaps belonging to a dragon or sea serpent. Numerous pieces of bronze metal held the book's edges with a strange green gem in the center of the cover. The volume rested upon a steel book stand.
Roseate reached up and carefully pulled the book down to examine it. Somehow just touching the tome felt... right, like it had been intended for her. As if it were a severed limb that had been restored.
Opening the book, Roseate was surprised to find that the pages were completely blank. Then words began to echo inside of her mind.
'Kathral ses'h nyurbodh?
"Ouch," a hiss of pain escaped Roseate's lips, gripping her temples as a dull ache radiated through her skull.
'Nupliesi ried feb'th ngi 'eo tos melesh.'
As she opened her eyes, Roseate could see ink appearing on the blank pages forming words in an alien language. As the words formed Roseate found herself reading them aloud.
"Kaencoint futong jha ph'bl t'tel viol, gake mel an'sr stringth, gake mel an'sr glukyjha tos briek yj band'tesh."
As she finished, Roseate listened but heard nothing more. Had she imagined the voice, had those words always been on the page? As Roseate rubbed her temples, she felt something touch her shoulder.
"So, this is where you've been hiding," a familiar masculine voice said, "you know I don't like it when you play games like th..."
Roseate turned to face her stepfather. The unicorn stallion had a gray coat with a blue mane, the tips a bright crimson. His red eyes looked down at her with pure hatred.
"What have you done?" He growled motioning to the tome.
Looking back, Roseate saw that the words were still there on the otherwise blank page, the letters glowing with a green energy.
"It would seem you left me no choice."
Roseate didn't have a chance to reply as she suddenly felt her strength being drained from her.
"You couldn't have just played along, could you?" Were the last words Roseate heard as the world around her went black.
'W-wake. Wake. Wake up. Wake up!'
Roseate's eyes shot open as she came back to consciousness, she tried to move but the rattling of chains revealed that she was in fact bound.
As her eyes adjusted, Roseate soon realized that she was in some sort of underground chamber, the only light being from the cloaked ponies surrounding her. At the head of the group, was her stepfather, who looked upon her with a mixture of fear, hatred, and disgust.
Once more Roseate tried to escape, only to discover that she had been chained to a stone altar. She tried to cry but her mouth was sealed shut. Straps of orange fabric were pulled tightly around her body.
"Brothers and sisters," He spoke to the crowd, "forgive me for calling you this late, but it would seem that the silent tome, the Isidria has spoken, all thanks to... this child!"
He motioned with a hoof toward her.
Now he would finally be rid of her. Finally be free of her illegitimate blood residing in his house. Free of her pathetic deformity, her dead horn. Free of the little toy he loved to torment.
"Now that it has spoken we must make an offering," He raised his voice, "an offering to please the god of the tome! To please the Word Eater! So that it may share its knowledge with us and give us the pleasure WE desire!"
All of the cultists nodded in agreement. Their voices rising as they spoke an ancient chant.
'H-help... do... do you wish... for me... to h-help?' There was that voice again. How come nopony else could hear it? Or were they just ignoring it?
As the cult chanted, he brandished a knife. A bronze dagger with alien runes etched into the blade. His grin growing wider as it drew closer to her flesh.
"With this ceremonial blade, I bring forth a new era!"
Despite the gag holding her mouth shut, Roseate tried to scream, 'Somepony help me!'
As the words echoed through her brain, the world around her seemed to slow to a standstill. The world turned gray around her. Out of nowhere, a large green eye appeared in front of Roseate, somehow giving her a questioning expression.
'W-want... h-help? Yes?'
Roseate nodded her head up and down in affirmation. The eye blinked in response.
'Very... well!' The eye closed, completely disappearing as the world slowly regained color. Panic filled Roseate as her stepfather's ritual resumed without hesitation.
Then suddenly a green light began to fill the room and a confused expression covered his face, "What is happening?"
Green circles with black interiors lined the walls of the underground chamber and looking down from the ceiling were three glowing green eyes. Seeing their "god" present before them, the cultist knelt to the ground, while Roseate's stepfather looked on in bewilderment.
"H-how can this be?"
Long, green tendrils emerged from the holes lining the walls, one of which drew close to him. The tentacle swayed, almost as if pondering what to do with the stallion, before its tip split open, revealing a large maw filled with teeth as sharp as needles and a moist tongue. He was barely able to utter a scream before he was completely engulfed.
Then the room was filled with screams as the other tentacles turned their attention to the remaining cultists. Roseate's heart beat out of her chest as she witnessed the three eyes descend from the ceiling toward her. As she looked into them, the massacre around her faded away.
'Help. I help! Yes.'
Fear filled Roseate as a tentacle reached out and rubbed her cheek, drawing her attention away from the chaos around her.
'Yes. I help. I save. I saved you. Yes.'
Then Roseate saw no more.
Befers yog mimary trensmossoaniph.
(End of Memory Transmission)
Roseate awoke with a start, her body drenched in sweat. It was as if her entire body was trying to cry in response to the painful memories.
As her eyes adjusted to the darkness , Roseate saw that she was being gently cradled in her husband's tentacles. Three eyes slowly appeared in front of her, their soft glow illuminating her surroundings.
'Dear, are you... okay?'
Tears ran down Roseate's face.
"No," Roseate answered, "I'm not."