“Well, somepony is certainly up early.”
Laughing Stock turned around to see his girlfriend, Twilight Sparkle lying on her side, grinning at the fact her boyfriend was up before eight in the morning.
“Your brother said he wanted to get an early start. Last thing I want to do is make him angry, especially after things went so well yesterday.”
“Well, I’m sure he is going to appreciate the effort. He’s just trying to get to know you…either that, or he is going to get rid of you on his way to the store.”
“That reminds me. If he comes back alone, he sold me to a traveling band of musical gypsies who plan on exploiting my comedic genius.”
The stallion kissed his girlfriend goodbye, and went downstairs. Shining Armor waited by the front door, surprised to see the other stallion ready to go.
“I didn’t think I would see you this morning. You really want to come shopping?”
“Sure! It sounds like a great time…if you still want me to go, that is.”
The white unicorn nodded, so the two ponies exited the cabin. Laughing Stock couldn’t wait to get the conversation started.
Forty five minutes later, the comedian was still waiting for conversation to start. Awkward silence was the only sound either pony heard for most of the trip. Laughing Stock decided to get the ball rolling.
“So Shining Armor, how are you and Cadance enjoying the vacation?”
“We love it! I just love being able to spend a few extra minutes with her in the morning, because our schedules usually prevent it.”
“That’s nice.” Laughing Stock’s reply ended the conversation. More minutes of awkward silence passed as the grocery store came into view.
“I’m sorry to hear about your parents.” The larger stallion decided he would break the silence this time.
“Thank you. I try not to use their passing as a crutch, so please don’t make any decisions involving me based on my past or the fact my parents are dead.”
“I would never do that. Actually, the only thing preventing me from giving you my permission is the fact that you are still immature.”
The two stallions had arrived at the store. Laughing Stock stopped just outside, in hopes he could figure out this maturity situation once and for all.
“Can you explain what you mean by immature?”
“Well, from what I’ve seen this week, you don’t plan anything out. You just go with the flow, that isn’t the way an adult should act.”
“With all due respect Shining Armor, that is not immaturity. It’s spontaneity.”
The white stallion just stared at the earthpony, unsure how to respond.
“The reason I do things spur of the moment, is because Twilight plans everything ahead of time. It’s nice to surprise her and just do something every once in a while. When is the last time you kicked in the door of your room and told Cadance you guys were going out for a night on the town?”
The lack of response from unicorn is exactly what Laughing Stock expected.
“You should take Cadance out someplace on a whim. It doesn’t have to be nice or fancy, as long as the two of you are together. I’m sure she’ll love it!”
“Maybe you’re right…but I don’t see how just randomly doing something could be fun.”
“I will show you…I’m going to…”
The comedian started looking around the front of the store for something he could do spur of the moment. After surveying the area, he noticed a mechanical manticore in front of the store.
“…ride that Manticore over there.”
“You do realize that it is made for foals, right?”
“You’re thinking too much Shining Armor. Remember, when you are being spontaneous, you don’t think. You just do.”
The comedian jumped onto the ride. Immediately after inserting a bit into the slot, the machine began to rock back and forth. A minute later, the manticore went back to its lifeless state.
“Do have any idea how ridiculous you look sitting in this thing?” Shining Armor said, shaking his head as he stood next to the earthpony.
“Nope. But I will have some sort of idea once I watch you ride it though.”
“You’re joking! I am a captain in Celestia’s Royal Guard, I can’t be caught doing something so juvenile!”
“Come on! We are hours away from Canterlot, nopony has any idea who you are. Just give it a try.”
The unicorn reluctantly climbed into the ride. Once the movement started, a grin was plastered across his face. He was having such a good time goofing off, he didn’t notice the mother and her child watching him.
“Mommy, what is that stallion doing in the ride?”
At that moment, the ride ran out of juice. As he climbed out, the disgusted mother took her child into the store. Laughing Stock, on the other hoof, was proud of the unicorn.
“How was it?”
“Other than that mare, it was kind of fun.”
“It’s like I always say: If you aren’t upsetting the general public, you’re doing something wrong.”
A young stallion wearing a smock came out of the store and approached Laughing Stock and Shining Armor.
“Uh, excuse me sirs. My manager wants me to tell you that the machine is for foals, not full grown stallions.”
“Where does it say that?” The comedian forcefully placed his hoof on the ground. This pony who barely made minimum wage wasn’t going to tell him what to do.
The worker pointed to a sign at the base of the ride.
This ride is intended for foals and young ponies.
Thank you, Management.
“Ok, so other than the stock colt yelling at us and the creepy mare stare down, you had a good time right?”
The two stallions had entered the store and were started to shop.
“Yeah, I suppose. But it was just seemed rather silly.”
“I wouldn’t say it was silly. Silly would be allowing me to ride in the cart while you pulled me around.”
The unicorn raised an eyebrow as he glanced at the earthpony.
“Ok, you’re right, riding in the cart would be immature. Anyway, what are we buying for supper?”
“Princess Celestia said it was our turn to cook.” The guard looked at the comedian with an optimistic stare. “I don’t know how to cook anything, so I am hoping you do.”
“You’re in luck. I can cook anything…as long as you like it burned.”
Laughing Stock began chuckling at the unicorn’s expression.
“I’m kidding! Lighten up! I will take care of making dinner. I just need your help in the kitchen.”
Shining Armor agreed, so the two ponies made their way through the aisles. Laughing Stock thought a nice spaghetti dinner was in order.
“Let’s see…we have the pasta, sauce, bread…OH! I know. I should probably grab a bottle of wine for you guys.”
“Wine?!” The royal guard suddenly became concerned. “Hopefully you aren’t falling off the wagon.”
“I said ‘for YOU guys’. I wasn’t going to drink any.” Laughing Stock stopped the cart for a moment, so he could look directly into the eyes of the pony next to him. “I appreciate your concern though.”
“Think nothing of it. It’s what friends do for each other.”
“We’re just friends? We haven’t made it to brothers in law yet?”
“I figured as much. Is there anything else we need?”
“Well, I had one idea…why don’t we pick up some s’mores?”
“That’s a great idea!”
Placing the graham crackers in the wagon, the comedian decided to pick up the conversation where they left off.
“How are things with the Royal Guard?”
“Well, they have been better, moral is at an all time low.”
“You don’t say! How come?”
“We have had to make massive budget cuts, and guard entertainment has taken a massive hit. We provide next to nothing for them. I feel bad, but without any money, there isn’t a lot we can do.”
“I see…what if I was able to convince entertainers I know to do some shows free of charge, would that be ok?”
Shining Armor snorted as he selected a bag of marshmallows from the shelf, and playfully threw them at the earthpony.
“All entertainers want is money. Their talk about being patrons of the arts is garbage, they work for the highest bidder.”
“I know one pony that would do it for free…”
“I find that very hard to believe, who is it?”
“Why, he’s the most famous comedian in Equestria!”
“Really? You could get Mane Cook to do a free show for us?”
Laughing Stock stopped dead in his tracks.
“I’m kidding! I think our guards would love to have you come out and do a show for us.”
The comedian was still frozen in the same spot.
“Did you…just make a joke?”
“I guess I did. Your comedic ways are starting to rub off on me, I suppose.” Four days ago, the royal guard viewed this stallion as a slacker who wanted to marry his sister. Now, he saw a stallion who has overcome painful events in his life, who always tries to better himself and the people around him. But he still wanted to marry his sister.
“I could also ask my friend Vinyl Scratch to come out as well. She loves it when we do shows together, but she might come at a bit of a price…”
“Since we are saving money on our comedy act, how much would it cost to bring her out?”
“If I know Scratch the way I think I do…she’ll work for an open bar tab.”
“That sounds fair…I mean, how much alcohol could one mare drink?”
Laughing Stock didn’t answer. He wanted to see the look on the captain’s face when he saw the bill from Vinyl’s night out at his expense. When they arrived at the candy aisle Shining Armor asked a question older than Equestria
“How much chocolate is too much chocolate?”
The comedian’s response was simple.
“There is no such thing” as he began to sweep boxes of candy into the wagon. “Now that we have our dessert, is there anything else we want with dinner?”
“What about a salad?
“Salad sounds great! To the produce aisle!” Laughing Stock tried to climb into the wagon, but was met with a cold stare from the unicorn pulling the wagon.
Once they made it to produce, the two ponies began to pick up the materials they would need for their appetizer.
“Alright, the only thing we are missing is tomatoes. Can you grab some Shining Armor?”
As the stallion raced off to grab the last ingredient, Laughing Stock noticed the tomatoes were stacked in a pyramid. This gave him an idea.
“Shining Armor, make sure you grab the tomatoes from the very bottom. They keep the good ones there.”
The pony did as he was told. Using his magic, he selected the biggest, plumpest tomato he could find. Once he removed it from its spot in the bottom corner, the whole pyramid came rolling down. All Shining Armor could do was stand still, with that gorgeous tomato hovering in front of this face.
A plump pony came marching out of the offices in the back of the market. He stuck one of his hooves in the Royal Guards face. Laughing Stock decided to see if there was anything he could do, since this incident was partially his fault.
“You ruined my tomatoes!” The plump pony screamed as continued to poke Shining Armor in the chest.
“I’m so sorry sir! I don’t know what I was thinking!”
“What’s with all the yelling over here?”
This guy decided he had to have this particular tomato and made a mess in the process” the manager screamed.
“Everypony knows you take from the top of the pyramid, not the bottom!”
“Where does it say we ‘have’ to take tomatoes from the top of the pile?” The comedian had never heard of such a rule.
The manager pointed to a note under the produce display.
Please take produce from top of the pile.
Thank you, Management
“It’s partially my fault for this, I told him to do it” Laughing Stock confessed. “Is there any way I can make up for it?”
The manager turned from Shining Armor to the earthpony in front of him. A look of disbelief slowly spread across his face.
“You’re…You’re Laughing Stock! I am such a HUGE fan!”
“Well thank you.” Laughing Stock extended his hoof to the manager who shook it vigorously. “It’s nice to see somepony appreciates my work.”
“No problem! What are you doin’ in our small town anyway?”
“My friend and I are just passing through.” The comedian looked away from his supporter to the mess on the floor. “I am so sorry about this mess, is there anything I can do?”
“What? Oh, this mess? Nah, that’s what I hire these youngins’ for! I am mighty curious why you would ruin every tomato I have though.…
“Oh…well I was…working on new material.”
“Destroying produce on stage? Hasn’t it already been done?”
“Well, technically Gallopgher smashed watermelons with a mallet. But watermelon are fruit, I want to be the first comedian to smash vegetables!”
“Technically, tomatoes are fruit as well.
After apologizing once again, and posing for a few pictures, the two stallions made their way to the checkout line. Once they emptied the contents of their wagon onto the counter, the mare gave them their total.
“That will be 35 bits please.”
As Shining Armor reached for his money, the mare told the stallions about their store membership.
“Ya’ll save lots’ when ya use this here card at our other locations.”
“No thank you.” The guard had no interest in the card, but he appreciated the fact she was doing her job.”
“The mare wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“I’m sure ya’ll don’t realize the savings yer missin’! If ya’ll have it right now, yer savins’ would be five bits!”
Laughing Stock was tired of this mare already. He wanted to speed things up.
“I’ll pay you five bits to just give us our groceries so we could leave.”
The insulted mare crossed her forehooves and glared at the comedian, who glared back in return. Shining Armor suggested getting the memberships and going on their way.
“No! It’s not about the membership! It’s the principal! If I don’t want her stupid card, I shouldn’t have to get one!”
Looking at this young mare, he knew she would drop her sales pitch eventually.
“I have dealt with some of the biggest sharks, con ponies and shadiest agents in Equestria. I think I can take her.”
“On the bright side Laughing Stock, at least the cards look cool.”
“Don’t patronize me…”
The two ponies left the store with their saddlebags filled with the items they just purchased, along with a membership card that was valid at each of the stores twenty five convenient locations across Equestria.
“Are you hungry?” The comedian hadn’t eaten breakfast, and spending the morning looking at food didn’t help. He was famished.
“When I came into town the other day, there was a nice restaurant over there. We can stop if you like.”
The earthpony thought that was a good idea, so they made their way to the restaurant. Upon entering, Shining Armor was eating his words. ‘Nice’ wasn’t the right word to describe this place, ‘seedy’ would be more appropriate.
Sitting down at a table, they were helped almost immediately. After the waitress took their drink orders, the unicorn excused himself so he could use the restroom. The comedian was left alone to look at the decor of this sordid cesspool. Two mares sitting next to a busted karaoke machine pointed and began whispering when his eyes looked toward them. A short time later, the mares joined him at his table.
“Excuse me, are you that famous comedian?” The first mare asked, fluttering her eyelashes as she spoke to him.
“Me? No, I get that a lot actually.”
“Oh, you’re so modest!” The second mare lifted up the tablecloth so she could see his flank. “I recognize your cutie mark, not many ponies have a rubber chicken down there.”
"Alright, you ladies caught me. What can I do for you?”
“Well, we are BIG fans.” The first mare was staring into his eyes. “We wanted to show you how much we appreciate your talents.”
The second mare, who had moved behind him, began to rub his shoulders very seductive manner.
“We will do ANYTHING to prove we are your biggest fans.”
Laughing Stock swatted the mare’s hooves away.
“Look, I appreciate the fact that you are fans, but I have a girlfriend.”
“That’s not a problem. She isn’t here, she won’t find out.”
“It doesn’t matter, I refuse to go anywhere or do anything with you. I think you should go back to your table.”
The two disappointed mares trotted out of the restaurant. Shining Armor returned with a smile on his face.
“That was very decent of you.”
The comedian was surprised the unicorn knew what had just happened.
“How did you…”
“The bathroom is right there.” Shining Armor pointed directly behind the earth pony. “I could hear everything, and I am surprised you handled it so well. Those mares were very attractive.”
“I find Twilight way more attractive than those two floozies.”
Shining Armor shook his head.
“Those two mares were perfect tens, total knock outs. Twilight is a lovely pony, but she looks NOTHING like that.”
Laughing Stock finally agreed the mares where physically more attractive than Twilight.
“Your sister’s insides are much better though.”
The earthpony couldn’t believe what he just said.
Really!? Her insides!? Her PERSONALITY is much better, you dolt.
“Before you say anything, I swear I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”
Surprisingly, the unicorn started laughing.
“I think you mean her personality is what you like most about her.”
“EXACTLY! I’m glad you’re not reaching across the table, trying to strangle me.”
“I was warned ahead of time. Twilight told me yesterday, you usually embarrass yourself when you are nervous, and to not take anything you say seriously.”
The drinks came and the ponies ordered their lunch. There wasn’t much conversation while they waited for their food. Laughing Stock had one last thing to say to the unicorn sitting across from him, but he had no idea how to say it.
“Do you remember the question you asked me last night?”
“I asked you a lot of questions yesterday, which one are you talking about?”
“The one that was rather…personal.”
“Oh, yes. Once again, I am so sorry for asking that. I am not sure what came over me.”
The waitress arrived with their meals, as she placed the comedian’s daisy salad in front of him, he answered the question.
“Two other mares.”
Shining Armor was preoccupied with his meal, so he didn’t hear anything from across the table.
“I’m sorry, I missed that. Can you repeat it?”
“Besides your sister, I have had two other mares in my life.”
“That’s it? I thought with your lavish lifestyle as a touring comedian, you would have had all sorts of mares.”
“For one thing, I was the opening act. The very attractive ones go with the main event, I would have had the leftovers. I wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole.”
“That’s understandable. What is the other reason?”
“I am not sure to be honest. I guess it has something to do with saving physical activities for mares I am in a relationship with.”
“Well, I take back what I said earlier, that’s a very mature way to think.” Shining Armor stopped eating for a moment. This stallion was surprising him more and more each day.
Maybe he is good enough for Twiley…
“Just out of curiosity Laughing Stock, who were the other two mares?”
“Well, there was Ruby, the mare that cheated on me with my agent, which led me to Ponyville in the first place. The other was…”
The comedian mumbled something, he looked rather embarrassed as he stared at his food.
“Who was the other one?”
After a long sigh, the earthpony spoke up.
“ARE YOU JOKING?” You and Vinyl Scratch…”
Laughing Stock sheepishly grinned while the Royal Guard stared in amazement.
“Wait a minute…all the tabloids I’ve read say she is a fillyfooler.”
“As far as I know, she is. Why do you ask?”
“I’m trying to figure out how you managed to get a fillyfooler into bed.”
“Oh, I see. Well, we have been friends for years. We both started in the entertainment business together, we started dating at one point. Then one day, she told me that she preferred mares over stallions. I understood, and she was very grateful. We are still great friends for today.”
“So what you are telling me you dated Vinyl Scratch before she became a fillyfooler?”
And after you guys were together for a while, she told you she was into mares.”
Laughing Stock had no idea where this conversation was going.
“Yes…what are you trying to say?”
“I think you’re so bad in bed, it turned Vinyl Scratch into a fillyfooler!”
The Royal Guard started laughing as the comedian wished he would choke on his hay fries.
“I don’t think so, because Ruby is still into stallions, and Twilight still loves me.”
“I’m just giving you a hard time” Shining Armor climbed to his hooves and prepared to pay the bill, but the earthpony was a few steps ahead of him. As they exited the filthy eatery, Laughing Stock felt great about his relationship with his girlfriends’ brother.
Just in time too. With Hearths Warming Eve being three days away, I should get what I want after all!
“Laughing Stock, I missed you so much!”
Twilight was waiting by the cabin window for her stallion to return. She greeted him with a kiss, and hugged her brother.
“I’m surprised to see the both of you together in one piece. Nopony was sold to a traveling band of gypsies I see.”
“Nope” Shining Armor replied. “I really enjoyed myself, this trip wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
“I’m so glad to hear my stallions are getting along!”
Twilight told them that Celestia and Luna had been at it all day.
“Apparently somepony showed Luna how to use the record player, and she has been playing records all day.”
The comedian asked what the big deal was, “it’s not like she’s hurting anypony.”
“She has been playing them backwards by mistake. She is insisting that the records are telling her to do strange things…I’m not sure. All I know is Celestia has had it with Luna, and Cadance has been playing referee.”
Entering the cabin, the ponies were greeted with the Royal Pony Sisters engaged in the argument Twilight warned them about.
“WE MUST DO WHAT THE DEVICE TELLS US! FREE OURSELVES FROM THE EVIL TYRANNY THAT IS…Oh hello Laughing Stock. I see you are back from the store.”
“Hello Luna! Yes, we are back with supper, I hope everypony likes spaghetti!”
Everypony in the cabin cheered when they heard what was for dinner. The two stallions entered the kitchen and prepared to make supper.
“Ok, first thing I need you to do is to fill up that pot with water.”
Shining Armor did what he was told. Once the pot was full and on the stove, the comedian told him to watch it.
“When it boils, let me know.”
Minutes later, while Laughing Stock was putting the finishing touches on the salad, the chef was told his water was boiling.
“Alright, now put the pasta in the water.”
After the unicorn said he put the pasta in the hot water, the comedian called the mares in.
“I bought some wine. I know it goes well with pasta, but would anypony like to get a head start now?”
“That was sweet of you Laughing Stock, but I don’t drink that often” Princess Celestia confessed.
“Thou would be a lot more tolerable if thou did!”
“On second thought, give me that bottle!” The white alicorn took the bottle from the stallion and filled a glass. After it was filled to capacity, she drank it as quickly as possible.
“Princess…” the comedian tried to get Celestia’s attention. “You’re supposed to let it breathe first before you-“
The ruler of Equestria shot the pony a look suggesting he should mind his own business.
“I’m going to work on the bread.”
As he entered the kitchen, Laughing Stock asked his helper how the pasta was coming.
“It’s still really firm…”
The pony who was doing the cooking thought nothing of it as he began to make garlic bread. Leaving his post at the stove, the Royal Guard commented on the wonderful smell.
“This is what my dad made for my mom the first time he cooked for her. I only make this on special occasions, like spending the evening with great friends.”
“What about announcing an engagement?” The unicorn suggested as he moved back to the stove to watch the pasta.
Before Laughing Stock could reply, Twilight called him into the living room.
He noticed something rather peculiar as he crossed the threshold into the living room. Celestia was sobbing at Luna’s feet.
“OH LUNA! I’M SO SORRY FOR *hiccup* BANISHING YOU TO THE ROOM!”
“Doesn’t our sister mean moon?”
“I MEANT *hiccup* MOON! I AM SO *hiccup* SORRY!”
Twilight asked him what he planned on doing about the plastered ruler of Equestria crying on the living room floor.
“Get her more wine” he cried. Twilight was not amused.
“I have a book upstairs that may help us out. Keep her occupied while I grab it.”
Watching the princess stumble to her feet, the comedian helped her to the couch. She proceeded to lay down.
“Do you know how much pressure I am under being the *hiccup* most beloved ruler of all time? It’s a miracle I am not like this more often.”
“I must say you are quite a lightweight” Laughing Stock commented taking a seat next to the intoxicated princess.
“The Royal Family has an extremely low tolerance to *hiccup* alcohol, which is why I don’t drink. Can I ask you something, Laughing Stock?”
“Sure, what’s on your mind?”
“If things don’t *hiccup* work out with Twilight, will you promise to look me *hiccup* up?”
She ran one of her hooves up his chest.
“Uh…sure...I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon, though.”
“We’ll see about *hiccup* that…”
“What is that supposed to mean?!”
Twilight came back downstairs before Celestia could reveal her plot to break up the young couple.
“This spell is rather difficult, and it’s been so long since I used it” the unicorn explained. “The last time I used it was on a very intoxicated Fluttershy during my brothers wedding.”
“If I were you Twilight, I would keep practicing that *hiccup* spell. You might need it for the wedding that’s coming up!”
Everypony in the cabin watched in horror as Twilight asked who was getting married, even Shining Armor poked his head out of the kitchen to watch the events unfold.
“Ask Laughing *hiccup* Stock.”
A curious Twilight turned to her boyfriend.
“Who is getting married?”
Her boyfriend was trying to come up with an excuse before Cadance jumped in.
“Shining Armor and I are renewing our vows, isn’t that right honey?”
The royal guard agreed from the kitchen.
While Cadance entertained Twilight with the fake plans for the renewing of the vows ceremony, the comedian slipped back into the kitchen.
“How’s the pasta coming, Shining Armor?”
“Still very firm.”
The earthpony peered over the side of the pot.
“You do realize when I told you to put the pasta in the pot, you were supposed to take it out of the bag…right?”
Dinner continued without further incident. Twilight found a spell that quickened the sobering process on a pony, which she used hastily on the princess. Unfortunately, it did nothing to prevent her hangover.
“What game are we playing tonight?” Cadance asked, making her way upstairs to freshen up after dinner. Her husband followed her upstairs a few minutes later.
“I don’t care, as long as it’s quiet.” Princess Celestia was outstretched on the couch, a cushion covering her head.
“Shining Armor and I bought ‘smores fixings, why don’t we gather round the fireplace and make some?”
Twilight and Luna agreed while Celestia moaned. The young married couple was noplace to be found though, so Twilight went up stairs to investigate.
The comedian entered the kitchen to grab the items they would need for desert. Turning to go back into the living room, Luna approached him.
“OUR SUPPER WAS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!”
“Luna, please shut up” Celestia hollered from the other room.
Laughing Stock told the Princess of the Night he appreciated her compliment. He carried the food into the family room as Twilight descended from the stairs.
“Cadance and Shining Armor won’t be joining us for dessert.”
“Oh no!” The earthpony hope that dinner didn’t make them sick. “Are they ok?!”
“Yes they are fine. From what Cadance told me, Shining Armor kicked their door in, and suggested an impromptu walk in
the woods.” Twilight sat down, looking very confused. “This is very odd, usually my brother isn’t this spontaneous.”
The stallion shrugged as he distributed marshmallows to the ponies who wanted one.
“We should tell ghost stories!”
“Aw Twiley, you know I am horrible at telling ghost stories! I tell jokes for a living, I can’t jump back and forth between funny and scary!”
“Shut up you big foal and do it.”
The lavender unicorn used her magic to extinguish all the lights in the room, with the exception of the fireplace. Laughing Stock cleared his throat as he began to his tell his tale.
“On a night like this, not too long ago, a young entertainer was preparing for his first big show. Once he was ready, he heard the master of ceremonies call his name. Upon walking on the stage, he saw the scariest thing a performer could ever see!
“Which was what?” Twilight wasn’t amused, she knew where this was going.
“He saw…nopony in the audience!”
“How in Equestria is that scary?”
“You could say it was as empty as a ghost town!” The comedian raised his hooves and began to wiggle them back and forth, trying his best to make spooky noises.
“That was horrible.” Twilight wasn’t going to pull any punches on ghost story critiques. She moved in front of the fire, and faced her boyfriend, Princess Luna, and a suffering Princess Celestia.
She used her magic to summon a bag from upstairs. She proceeded to pull out a bag of white powder with her hoof.
“Submitted for the approval for the Equestrian Folklore society, I call this story…”
She blew the powder into the fire, which made the flames roar at once.
“…The Traveling Ghost.”
Swing was a traveling musician. On a cold winter night, very similar to this, the musical pony was walking through a dark forest to his next destination. He looked up to the sky and could see a storm was brewing. Being a seasoned traveler, he decided to prepare himself for the storm just in case the weather became worse. Swing’s travel experience turned out to be useful because a few minutes later, the biggest storm he had ever experienced had arrived. With out a place to stop safely, the traveler kept walking through what he thought was the storm of the century.
After an hour of walking through the horrible weather, he saw a light, not far from him. As he moved closer, he could see that it was a small cabin. A flickering light told Swing there was a roaring fire inside. One of the mares inside the cabin hurried to the door and beckoned Swing inside, but the stallion was nervous. Something in his gut told him this was a bad idea, but the thought of the fire and perhaps a steaming hot bowl of soup was too much to pass up, so he went inside. Upon entering, his nerves became even worse. Despite being in a cabin with a roaring fire, the room still was freezing.
“I really appreciate your generous hospitality.” Swing said to the two mares as moved close to the fire.
They acknowledged him, but they kept to themselves. From the way they were dressed, Swing could tell they were gypsies, but something was strange about them. All the gypsies he knew traveled in caravans, why were these two alone?
Swing tried to engage his hosts in small talk. Their brief, one word answers made conversation very difficult. After a few minutes of forced discussion, he noticed they both had silver eyes. This sent an eerie chill down his spine.
“Well, thank you so much for the opportunity to rest my weary bones, but I think it’s time I left.” Swing climbed to his hooves and headed toward the door, but both mares grabbed him.
“It’s too dangerous to go out at a time like this. A dangerous creature roams though these woods at this time of night, it takes the lives of the unfortunate ponies that cross its path” The first mare pleaded.
“We would prefer for your own safety, you remain here and entertain us. It has been so long since we heard such merry music” the second mare added, tugging at his sleeve.
Swing looked out the window, just as lightning flashed across the sky.
I suppose staying a few more minutes won’t hurt.
He ran outside to grab a few instruments from his wagon. He heard a rustling coming from the forest. For a moment, it looked like the entire forest had moved closer to the cabin.
I must be very tired…there is no way the whole forest moved. Is there?
Grabbing the instruments he needed to satisfy the mares’ wishes, he started to walk towards the cabin when he heard a different noise, almost like a shriek. Taking one step towards the forest, the wind greeted with a harsh whisper.
“Don’t go back into the cabin…they’re lying to you…”
The gypsies stood in the threshold of their cabin, motioning Swing to come back inside. The anxious stallion took his place beside the fire once again.
“Is there anything in particular you would like to hear?”
“We would love to hear the Gypsy Rover.”
Swing was surprised by their request.
“I haven’t played that song in years” Swing mentioned as he raised his violin. “It was my grandfathers’ favorite.”
After the song concluded, he glanced out the window to see if the storm had lessened. Instead of seeing a clear night sky, all he saw was a pair of silvery eyes staring back at him. Swing shrieked as his violin fell to the floor. The mares rushed to his aid, embracing the startled pony, reassuring him that he was in no danger. Despite sitting next to the fire all evening, the musician noticed that the gypsy sisters were absolutely freezing. Being a true gentlecolt, he offered them his blanket.
While the mares huddled under his blanket close to the flame, Swing played another one of his grandfathers favorite songs. When the second song had finished, the cabin window burst open and once again, the musician heard the wind give him a warning.
“LEAVE WHILE YOU CAN!”
As one of the mares rushed over to the window, Swing saw the glowing orbs once again.
I have had enough of this, I am leaving!
The stallion dashed to the door, but was blocked by the other mare.
"Please play us one more song? We will let you go if we can just hear one more song" she whispered. "It is still too dangerous to leave so please, just sing us on more song."
“Are you CRAZY? There is something out there!”
"Please, just one more song?" When paired with her silver eyes, the gypsy’s voice was hypnotically calming. Swing decided to play one last song.
The sisters stopped the musical pony from reaching for his instrument.
“We insist that you play this.”
The younger sister handed him a small silver bell and requested that he play a very slow folk song. The first time he struck the bell, a wave of sleepiness washed over him, and the feeling only grew stronger as the song went on. As he struck the bell one final time, the cabin door exploded at the claws of the creature with the silvery orbs for eyes. He feel into a deep sleep, with the gypsy sisters screams of terror and tearing flesh being the last thing he heard.
The next morning, Swing awoke to find himself atop of two makeshift graves inside a demolished cabin in the woods. In front of him was a locket with a picture of the two sisters on it. The picture had dated back 14 years ago. Looking at his side, he spotted a small silver bell that looked oddly familiar. As he brought the bell closer for a better look, he noticed an inscription etched into its side.
May the sound of light protect you from the sight of darkness.
Leaving the woods, he turned back one last time. Despite being the middle of the day, the woods were still as dark as the night before. He saw the silvery eyes stare at him and emit an evil cackle.”
“Now that was a ghost story!”
Laughing Stock looked terrified, while Luna slept on his shoulder.
“That wasn’t too scary.” The comedian tried his best to keep a brave face, but let out a shriek when the princess snored.
“Laughing Stock, do me a favor and keep the noise down” Princess Celestia complained.
“Alright, Luna are you going to tell a story?” The now quiet stallion asked the princess of the night. “This seemed like something right up your alley.”
“We do know of a few tales that will frighten you!”
Princess Luna switched spots with Twilight, who snuggled up against her ‘brave’ stallion.
“OUR STORY OCCURS DURING A TIME WHEN...”
“Hey, I have a scary story!” Princess Celestia sat up suddenly, looking absolutely furious. “There was an evil princess who captured three of her nosiest subjects. She banished one of them to the moon for an additional thousand years, while the other two remained in the dungeon under the castle for the rest of their miserable, noisy lives. The end.”