“It is our duty to be a beacon to those outside. To draw them to our world where they may reside. We must illuminate the way for them so that they may fulfill our every desire. Our pleasure an incense to their presence and we must let none stand in our way, even those who share our blood.”
An intercepted message from, the Cult of the Candle.
Roseate scurried from building to building, her ears perked for any sound that might indicate the presence of her pursuer; the tentacle-shaped buildings reaching upwards all around her.
Hearing the sound of something scraping against metal from a structure across the way, Roseate cautiously moved into an alleyway between two of the tendriled structures.
Roseate stopped when she noticed a familiar light coming from a puddle in one of the alleys. As she approached it, Roseate realized it was a medium-sized hole filled with water, the glow coming from below.
'Where are you, my dear,' HE called out, 'We need to finish what we started last night.'
Taking a deep breath, Roseate dove into the hole, water splashing about as she swam forth. Looking forward, she could see a faint white sphere at the end of a long tunnel, the circle growing brighter as Roseate drew near.
Pulling herself out of the puddle, Roseate found herself on the side of a concrete road. On both sides were trees, their bark as white as bone and their leaves reaching up toward the night sky like blackened veins. Looking up at the moon, Roseate saw the shape of the princess of the night. There was a small yellow light where her eye should be, watching from above.
Glancing back at the hole she had emerged from, Roseate spotted the skeleton of a canine. The bones were small and fragile.
"A puppy," Roseate said, "maybe a few weeks old."
Aside from the concrete path she was standing on, Roseate had no clue how to proceed with the dream, so she started to walk.
As she moved along the road, Roseate could feel something watching her from the trees. Furthermore, it seemed that while she was walking forward, the scenery around her was moving away, as if the path itself was moving backwards. Every step forward was two steps back. Just another bizarre aspect of the dream.
Walking forward, Roseate saw a shape in the mist, the shape of a young filly sitting on the path.
"Hello!" Roseate called out.
Immediately, the filly picked herself up and ran further down the road, deeper into the fog.
A breeze swept up from behind Roseate and with it came a foul smell. Shortly after came the sound of something wet, slapping against the ground.
Turning around, Roseate saw a massive shape shambling through the mist. It was a giant dog, its flesh rotting, white milky eyes peering through the darkness. The monstrosity carried itself forward on its two front legs, its lower half completely gone, except for the lengths of intestine that it pulled behind like heavy chains.
Opening its maw, a feminine voice emerged from the undead hound, "Stop crying! You need to grow up!"
Roseate moaned as she awoke from her slumber. Her body felt tired and sore, just like it had so long ago.
Glancing around, Roseate saw that she was in her bedroom, the ceiling of which was squirming with Arsthotua's tentacles. Three of her husband's eyes looked down at her.
'How are you feeling?'
"Sore and tired," Roseate replied, "do you know what happened?"
'It would appear that you were hexed.'
So it would seem that detective's speculations that there was a witch in Muleport was true all along.
'I did place a ward on the mirror. So it shouldn't happen again.'
With the hex gone, the scryial should be safe... for now.
"Thank you, darling."
Roseate felt warm inside the protective aura of her husband. Even in the darkest hour, he was always striving to keep her safe. That comfort made Roseate's insides tingle with excitement.
"Honey, would you like to stir my cauldron before I head off to work?"
A slight chuckle reverberated through Roseate's mind. 'Unfortunately, I don't believe we have time for that. You slept in later than usual and if you don't hurry you will be late for class.'
Roseate jumped out of bed, "What? Why didn't you wake me up earlier?"
'After the events of last night, I didn't want to disturb you.'
While Roseate appreciate her husband's thoughtfulness, she couldn't help but feel a little frustrated as she swiftly prepared for the day.
Roseate's breathing was heavy as she entered the school building. With luck she had barely managed to make it to the campus. Before Roseate had a chance to head to her classroom, a message came over the intercom.
"Roseate Grimsbane, please come to the Principal's office!"
A sinking feeling wormed through Roseate's stomach.
Heeding the message, Roseate redirected herself to the principal's office. Stepping into the room, Roseate saw the principal sitting in his chair, a nervous expression on his face.
"Uh... Hello, miss Roseate," the principal said, "please have a seat."
In front of the desk was a chair. Naturally Roseate sat down. The tension was thick in the air.
"Is something wrong, sir?" Roseate asked.
"I am afraid so," the principal answered, "there have been some concerns given to us about your teaching."
"With all due respect, sir," Roseate replied, "I teach my students to the best of my abilities."
The principal raised his hooves.
"I know. However my hooves are tied. In regards to the information I have been given I am forced to suspend you from teaching for the time being."
Roseate was taken aback by this. For what reason was she being suspended?
"For what reason?" Roseate asked.
"I am not at liberty to say."
So the reason for the suspension didn't matter. Whoever was pulling the strings just wanted Roseate out of the way and the principal was the middle stallion.
"How long will I be suspended?" Roseate asked.
The principal shrugged, "I can't say."
Silence filled the room as Roseate pondered what the principal had said. Who would be willing to compromise her teaching position? Did the cult or even the witch have some involvement in this?
"Well, thank you for your time sir." Roseate said as she stood up from her chair.
"I will make sure that the students are alerted of your absence."
Without another word, Roseate left the room. As she walked toward the exit, Roseate saw May Berry making her way to the principal's office.
Now Roseate had a pretty good idea who was responsible.
On her way home, Roseate mumbled about what had occurred at the school. Anger bowled within her veins like a boiling star.
"Stupid, dumb principal! May cysts break out over your body and your food taste of worms!"
While it was tempting to act on such a curse, Roseate knew it would do no good. At least not at the moment.
It was the sound of a twig snapping in the forest that alerted, Roseate that she wasn't alone. Peering through the leaves, Roseate saw the source of the noise.
Among the trees was a mare matching Ginger Fizzle's description. Yellow sludge like the slime she had seen secreted from the sickly tree, leaked from the Mare's eyes and mouth. Her mane reached up into the trees like great branches. Hanging from those otherworldly stalks were round pieces of fruit, each with a unique appearance. Upon closer inspection, Roseate realized that the fruit possessed the faces of her students.
As she stepped toward the apparition, it let out an otherworldly cry before disappearing into a puff of ash, before blowing away in the wind.
Whatever was responsible for the horrors going on in the forest it was growing stronger. Roseate needed to finish the sigil as soon as possible.
Picking up the pace, Roseate returned home and made her way to the mirror room. Pulling a panel aside, she revealed a compartment with some hidden boxes. Removing one of the boxes, Roseate began to examine its contents. As she removed them, she read the necessary components from the Isidria.
"A ruby root, three summer moth wings, black sulfur, a shard of moonstone, balor... Where's my balorite?"
Peering through the box, Roseate came to the conclusion that she must have run out of balorite.
And she knew that there was only one way to obtain balorite in a timely manner.
"The Hellion Society."
If she was going to meet with the Hellion Society, there was one item she would need.
Looking through the box, Roseate cringed when she finally found the mask.
The original color the mask had possessed was faded and much of the ceramic surface was cracked. Taking a deep breath, Roseate turned the mask over and examined the inside.
"Oh please still be alive."
Roseate clicked her tongue and watched as a small pink tendril stretched out from one of the small holes on the inside of the mask.
"Well at least the Ksemmon is still alive."
If the creature within the mask had died, then it would be impossible for her to enter the Hellion Society. However, since the Ksemmon was fine, all Roseate needed to do was repair the mask and make it look presentable. As Roseate considered what design to give her mask, the sound of the doorbell ringing drew her attention.
"I wonder who that might be?"
Putting her mask away, Roseate left the room and made her way to the front door.
Stepping past the doorway to the toy room, Roseate noticed that there was a new addition she had neglected to see earlier. Unfortunately, she would have to check on it later; however Roseate felt that it might have been connected to Maple Sugar's dream. Reaching the front door, Roseate glanced through the peephole but saw no one on the other side.
Roseate growled, ready to assume that it was some filthy prank when the doorbell rang again. Cautious and annoyed, Roseate took hold of the doorknob with her magic.
Opening the door, Roseate saw Sour Sapphire and Maple Sugar standing on the front step. No wonder she hadn't seen them through the peephole, they were too short to be seen.
"Hello children," Roseate greeted, "do both of you wish to speak to me?"
"Ummm, yes, actually," Sour Sapphire answered.
"You know Quillian right?" Maple Sugar asked.
Well, that should be obvious considering that she was their teacher after all. Before Roseate could let out the mean retort she restrained her tongue. After all, it wasn't their fault that she was having a bad day. Pulling the corners of her mouth back, Roseate gave them the best smile she could.
"Yes, I know him," Roseate answered.
"Well, he didn't come to class today," Maple Sugar exploded, "so we went to his house to see him, but when we got there his caretaker said he wasn't feeling well."
"If he is sick, then why do you need me?"
"Thing is," Sour Sapphire spoke up, "when we passed by the window it was dark, yet I know I saw something in there, looking back at us."
This statement grabbed Roseate's attention. Had the sealing ritual failed somehow? Was Quillian's nightmare growing within his room that very moment?
"I see," Roseate replied, "thank you for bringing this to my attention."
Yes, it would seem that it was time for Roseate to pay her student a visit.
"Thank you for coming," Gracius said, "I've been worried about him."
Glancing around the house, Roseate could see that the elderly mare had worked hard trying to take care of her adopted children and maintaining home. It was probably a very difficult task at her age but her love was apparent all the same.
"The pleasure is all mine," Roseate replied, "how long has he been like this?"
"Since yesterday evening," Gracius answered, "he won't leave his room and he insists I leave his food at the door. I tried to go in his room but that made him very upset."
Gracius directed Roseate toward the staircase.
"His room is upstairs," Gracius explained, "would you like for me to accompany you?"
As noble an act as that was, Roseate knew that the elderly mare would only get in the way. Roseate gave Gracius a calm smile.
"There is no need. I am sure I can find my way."
Ascending the steps, Roseate walked to the upstairs hallway. Reaching the top, Roseate spotted the silhouette of another pony in a doorway out of the corner of her eye. Turning her attention to the shape, Roseate saw a young pegasus filly with a coat like the color of dried papyrus and a yellow mane. Roseate recognized her as Quillian's sister, Wordy Whisper, another one of Roseate's students. Wordy was sort of the school gossiper, spreading any secrets she could learn from others on the playground.
At first, Roseate had been surprised that they were in fact siblings considering how one was a pegasus and the other a unicorn. Then again it wasn't too odd considering how Roseate was herself, the bastard child of an affair between a unicorn and an earth pony.
Wordy’s expression changed upon noticing Roseate, becoming a mixture of concern and hope.
"Is he going to be okay?" Wordy Whisper asked. Her yellow eyes expressing her concern for her brother's well-being.
"Don't worry," Roseate answered, "I'm sure he'll be fine."
It wasn't a complete lie, Roseate intended to help Whisper's brother, just like she had before. However, without knowing Quillian's condition, there was no guarantee that Roseate could fulfill such a promise.
Roseate's statement made Wordy Whisper smile. "Good."
"Would you mind pointing me toward your brother's room?" Roseate asked.
Wordy pointed to a green door on the other side of the hall. "It's that door right there."
"Thank you, dear."
"Would you like for me to show you inside?" Wordy asked.
Roseate was sure that if there was something supernatural going on with Quillian, it would be very unwise to have Wordy follow along. The last thing either Roseate or Quillian needed was for rumors going around Muleport about it.
"I think I will be fine on my own," Roseate replied, "but thank you so much for your generosity."
A wide, happy smile stretched across Whisper's face in response to the compliment.
"You're welcome Miss Roseate," Wordy said before stepping back into her room.
Stepping up to Quillian's door, Roseate noticed a couple empty plates sitting nearby, a suspicious black ink stain on the edges. Opening the door, Roseate stepped inside her student's room.
There was a prominent scent similar to that of greasy chemicals or mildew in the air as Roseate entered the room. The room was dark, save for a single lamp in the corner of the room.
"Quillian are you in here?" Roseate called out as she stepped inside.
"Miss Roseate? Is that you?"
Something moved in the corner of the room, behind a small table that had been pushed over onto its side. The sound of some liquid sloshing accompanied the movement. Hearing Quillian's voice, Roseate couldn't help but notice that it sounded off, as if it was being spoken from underwater.
"Yes, it is me dear child," Roseate answered, "your friends told me to come see you."
There was some more sloshing.
"I really wish they hadn't," Inkheart replied.
"They were very concerned about you. You have some really good friends."
Stepping further into the room, Roseate tried to sense for any magical or supernatural energy.
"They can't help me." Inkheart sniffled.
"You're right, they can't," Roseate replied, "not unless you let them. Now I'm sure that it would be difficult for them at such a young age to help you with what you are going through. Fortunately, I am available at the moment, so if you would so kindly show yourself I would greatly appreciate it."
Roseate went silent, waiting for her student's response.
Out from behind the table crept a small creature, like a deformed slug. As it came into the light, Roseate realized that the creature was in fact Quillian, or at least what Quillian would look like if he had melted into a puddle of slime. Admittedly, Roseate was impressed that her student had learned to move while in such a form. It took most ponies who were transformed into slime, months to learn to navigate their surroundings without the usual muscles.
Quillian looked up at her, his face dripping like a goth mare's makeup in a rainstorm.
"I look disgusting, don't I?"
To some, such a transformation might appear distasteful, however, for Roseate the current appearance of her student was not too far out of the ordinary.
Most likely this was a side effect of the ritual Roseate had performed in Quillian's dream in order to seal away the nightmare. As a result his body had adapted to a form to better contain the entity within.
Roseate shook her head.
"No," Roseate answered, "not to me."
Two slimy pseudopods emerged from Quillian's slime pony body before splattering against the floor.
"What do I do now?" Quillian asked, "I can't leave my home like this."
"Well, to put it simply," Roseate answered, "you'll need to learn to control it."
After about an hour Roseate was able to help Quillian gain some semblance of control over his inky body. Given a day or two the young colt would be able to retain his physical form once more.
Tired from both the ordeal as well as the other nonsense she had to deal with that day, Roseate stopped by the Maple Family Diner. The bell jingles as she stepped inside.
"Welcome," Maple Syrup greeted, "please have a seat."
Most of the other customers were already seated.
Slowly Roseate made her way to the front counter and sat on a stool, tired and feeling a little discouraged. Once she was done with the other customers, Maple Syrup came over to Roseate.
"What can I get for you dear?" She asked.
"A strawberry milkshake, please." Roseate answered.
"Coming right up."
While the waitress prepared the milkshake, Roseate contemplated what she was going to do. Without her job, it would be difficult for her to blend into society. As a new family in a new home, money was something essential. Even though they weren't so desperate for money as others, without work the town folk might question how she was able to support herself and her husband. Some gossiping housewives or promiscuous stallions might have the wrong idea.
However it wasn't just a matter of blending in that bothered her. The fact was, Roseate had developed a slight attachment to her students. A sense of loneliness swept over Roseate, knowing she wouldn't be able to teach them.
"Is something wrong?" Maple Syrup asked as she placed a tall glass of strawberry milkshake down in front of Roseate.
Roseate let out a sigh, "I suppose you could say that. It would seem that the school I work at no longer desires my services."
Maple Syrup gasped, "That's terrible! My daughter Sugar has told me how much she loves your class!"
"Well, I am glad somepony enjoyed them."
"So what are you going to do now?" Maple asked.
"Well, now I have to find someplace to work," Roseate answered, taking a sip of her milkshake.
Maple Syrup stroked her chin as if contemplating something, before walking back into the kitchen. As Roseate sipped more of her beverage, she overheard two of the other customers talking.
"Hey, did you hear about the creature in the woods?" One asked.
"Yeah," the other replied, "apparently it attacked a Solar Guard the other night."
Both of them stood up from their table.
"Do you think it's responsible for Old Bark's disappearance?"
The bell jiggled as the two customers left the diner. It was about that time that Maple Syrup returned.
"So, Miss Grimsbane, how would you like to work here in the diner?" Maple asked. This inquiry caught Roseate by surprise.
"What? Work here?"
Maple Syrup nodded. "I just got off the phone with my husband and he was fine with it. And having another waitress around here would be kind of nice. So, if you want to, you could work here. What do you say?"
Roseate considered Maple Syrup's offer. Working here could serve her need to blend in while providing her with a few bits.
Also, there was a chance that maybe her students would pay her a visit while she was working. And all she had to do was take the customer's orders and deliver food to them. It really wasn’t that bad of a gig.
A smile crept across Roseate's lips. "Why not? Let's give it a try."
As she approached her abode, Roseate was shocked to see detective Frost Brook standing out front. He was wearing his suit despite much of his left foreleg being missing, the fabric tied back to cover up the damaged limb. A warm smile stretched across his face when he noticed Roseate.
"Good morning." Frost greeted, his cheerful mood a strong contrast to Roseate's.
"What do you want?" Roseate asked, suspicious of the detective's intentions.
Frost Brook's face took on a puzzled expression.
"I just wanted to thank you for saving me the other night," the detective answered, "the hospital staff told me how you brought me to safety after I was attacked by some wild beast in the forest. So naturally since I was in the area, I thought I would express my gratitude in person."
Looking over the detective and examining both his attitude and movements, Roseate felt that Frost Brook's statement might actually be genuine. However, that didn't mean that Roseate had to be.
"Well, you're welcome." Roseate said, putting on her best fake smile.
"Yes," the detective continued, "I remember very little of that night. I was hoping that since you had saved me, that you might be able to shed some light on what happened."
That would be difficult to do. After all, it was to some extent Roseate's fault that Frost had been injured. However, perhaps if guided properly, she could give the detective what he wanted to hear.
"What would you like to know?"
"Well, for starters, I don't really know how I came by that bridge," Frost Brook said, "I remember walking to my hotel and then the very next moment I am in a hospital bed. Do you have any idea what had occurred during that time?"
No doubt that was probably when Roseate's glamour kicked in and forced Frost Brook to go to the bridge so he could destroy Ginger Fizzle's diary. The blank space was probably caused as a result. Such mind altering effects weren't foreign to Roseate, she could recall how her step-father would use HIS magic on the servants and her mother to cover up the sickening acts HE would perform on Roseate. Often they too would be confused by the empty holes in their memory. Always manipulating, always changing, just like the cruel puppeteer HE was.
As close as her glamour was to his magic, Roseate might feel repulsed by its nature if it hadn't been a necessity for her survival as well as a boon from her husband.
Roseate shook her head. "Unfortunately the only time I saw you after you left my house was at the bridge."
"Well, that is a shame," Frost said, "I guess I'll have to snoop around town to see if anypony else knows."
"I suppose so."
The detective started to walk away, heading back into town. His movement slow and jagged due to the missing limb. Once Frost Brook had passed by, Roseate began to step toward her house.
"One more thing..."
Roseate stopped moving, the fur on the back of her neck slowly rising.
"What were you doing out there that night?" Frost Brook continued his inquiry.
Turning around, Roseate faced the detective, "I was out for an evening stroll."
While the detective nodded it was clear that he wasn't buying it.
Roseate felt almost apprehensive pulling the blanket off of the mirror. The memories of what had happened the night before were still very clear in her mind. Even with the knowledge that the hex was gone, Roseate felt uneasy.
Sweat dripped from her brow as she pulled the blanket away from the Scryial. Mustering up her strength, Roseate put on a brave smile.
"Hello, my watchers," Roseate said, "we've had some technical difficulties but everything seems to be back to normal... Sort of. Anyway, before we start, I have an inquiry for all of you."
Reaching down, Roseate lifted the mask up to the Scryial to present it to those beyond the glass.
"This is a special mask, belonging to a special group of individuals. Now while I could go with just a plain mask, that simply won't do. So I thought I might ask you all for some ideas for what design I should give it."
The lights on the other side of the mirror moved forward, intrigued by Roseate's proposition.
"Now let us proceed with the questions." Roseate said, setting the mask down next to her.
Ri2 asks: "So that's how you met your husband? I suspected something like this and am sad to see it confirmed. No wonder you can't stand the touch of stallions."
"It is definitely a challenge, but I do make do. Thank you for your concern."
Roseate gave a small smile.
NicLove ask: "Why are you afraid of bunnies if you had a toy bunny when you were little?"
"Oh, but Smelly Bottoms isn't a real bunny," Roseate answered, "he's just a doll."
Quillian Inkheart asks: "Does Arsthotua know the name of the beast whose corpse resided under your ancestral home?"
"You mean the body under the Sapling House?" Roseate inquired, "While it isn't my house, I certainly could ask Arsthotua if he knows anything about this matter. Dear, do you know what the beast is underneath that house is?"
Three glowing eyes appeared.
"It would seem to be the corpse of an Ancient One." Arsthotua replied, "An eldritch being that wanders between worlds. In pony terms it resembles a combination of one of your whales and the creature you call a flea. They are generally harmless, however their bones can provide nutrients for more foul things."
Arsthotua's eyes faded from reality.
"Well, I guess that answers that inquiry," Roseate said, "Let's move onto the next."
Lunar Flarion asks: "The corpse of a being, decaying under a manor of which it supports... interesting... what might you do?"
"I'm not so worried about a rickety old manor as I am the entity that is feeding off the corpse that serves as its foundation. Not only that, but the fact that it has developed a symbiotic relationship with my Tantabus is also very unsettling."
Avendrial asks: "That those damn cultists had better not have been simply consumed. Those who would kill a child do not deserve such a quick death. Is there anything I can do to help you cheer up? If not, I'll send you a selection of the best brownies I have ever tasted."
"Yes, it was... difficult to recover from that, however... I should be fine. Of course, I will gladly take you up on your offer for those brownies. Just make sure you go through the proper channels through the Inter-dimensional Mailing Service, before you send them."
Golden_Map asks: "Have you ever heard of the Idol of Boreas?"
"I did hear something about it," Roseate answered, "Supposedly, it is the remains of a stillborn infant belonging to an Ancient One, encased in gold and precious stones. Last I heard there was an Ahuizotl trying to lay claim to it."
Avendrial asks: "Umu... if you could change into any
catanimal whenever you wanted, which animal would it be?"
"Well, cats are nice, they're agile and sleek. Aside from their size there isn't much of a disadvantage and even their small size can be advantageous in the right situation. An owl might be nice as well. The night vision could be very handy and who would complain about being able to fly? Then again I'm not sure I would enjoy eating field mice all that often. Maybe it's an acquired taste. Oh well, next question!"
Avendrial asks: "Why doesn't Princess Celestia like witches and pony-like monsters?"
"Well, it is a combination of the potential destructive power a witch can possess as well as the entities the witches make contracts with," Roseate answered, "I suppose our reputation doesn't help much either. There are more than a few stories of witches and warlocks trying to enslave entire towns or that have summoned eldritch beings into this world without considering the consequences. So it is understandable that Celestia would want to crack down on witchcraft."
Roseate adjusted her glasses.
"As for monster ponies, it is more or less a combination of misunderstandings on both sides. A monster pony does something stupid to a pony, the ponies overreact. A pony does something stupid to a monster pony, the monster ponies overreact. It just happens that regular ponies make up the majority and therefore the history books say they're correct... Next question."
Viper asks: "Why not use the paralysis venom you bought to get information? If prepared right it can keep the target still for a long time?"
"I suppose I could have used that on the Equ-Bugbear," Roseate replied, "I guess I just didn't think of it. However, I am sure I can find a good use for it."
Bad Dragon asks: "You will die and your immortal husband will live on. How are you dealing with this?"
"Mortality is an interesting subject," Roseate chuckled, "it all depends on how you look at it. Though a word of advice: never make assumptions when it comes to the lifespan of others."
A sly grin stretched across Roseate's face as her laughter came to an end, before her expression went sore.
"I am fine with it."
Avendrial asks: "Have you ever been to Bedlam?"
Roseate couldn't recall being in any location named Bedlam before.
"No, I don't believe I have."
Behind the glass the lights went quiet.
"I guess that is all the questions we have for this evening. Thank you all for coming."
As the reflective surface went dark, Roseate couldn't help but feel worried at how few voices there had been. Was it an ill omen that perhaps something terrible was on the horizon?
Covering the mirror, Roseate left the room. Upon entering the hallway, she remembered the new addition to the toy room she had spotted earlier.
Stepping inside the toy room, Roseate examined the new stuffed animal that had appeared. It was a bugbear plushie.
Roseate adjusted her glasses to examine the doll. It looked not too different from the creature that had been in Maple's dream.
All of these stuffed animals were unique, a hint of their dreamer's magic in each thread.
"I wonder what will become of all of you?"
There was an ache in Roseate's chest as tears began to stream down her cheeks. While none of them possessed either her or her husband's blood, in a special way these students were her children. Roseate sobbed as she clenched the doll to her chest, the realization making her heart tremble.
If she didn't stop whatever lurked beneath the Swanling House, what would happen to her children?
Once more Roseate pulled herself from the puddle into the nightmare. The water dripping from her coat as she crawled on the ground. Standing up, Roseate observed her surroundings.
She found herself on that same street next to that same dog skeleton. Glancing into the forest, Roseate thought she saw that same undead hound she had seen the last time she was here. Sniffing the air for prey.
Cautiously, Roseate began to make her way along the road, searching for the one who possessed this dream. As she walked it began to rain. Marching through the downpour, Roseate looked and listened for anything out of the ordinary.
As she walked along the road, Roseate's ears picked up a faint noise, just barely audible over the pattering of rain on the concrete. Stopping in her tracks, Roseate focused her attention on the sound. Listening intently, Roseate thought it sounded like somepony was whimpering.
It could be a trap, or it could be the dreamer. Either way, Roseate needed to proceed with caution.
Stealthily, Roseate made her way toward the crying, crouched low, moving from tree to tree. Seeking protective cover whenever she could to avoid the attention of that dreaded beast.
As she crept through the forest, Roseate was certain that the trees would shift and move when she wasn't looking. Even as she moved sneakily through the underbrush, Roseate could feel the undead dog nearby.
Looking through the trees, Roseate caught a glimpse of a large black hole. Drawing near, Roseate realized that it wasn't a hole, but the opening of a cave. From within she could hear the whimpering she had noticed.
"So this is where you're hiding."
Lighting her horn, Roseate stepped inside the cave and it was then that the weeping stopped. The interior of the cave was shallow with only a few rocks to hide behind.
"Hello?" Roseate called into the cave.
In response to her call some moved behind a nearby rock. Carefully, Roseate stepped toward the stone and peeked at the pony behind it. Seeing who it was, Roseate let out a surprised gasp.