A Canterlot Ghost Tale
Chapter One: A Place to Call Our Own
“Bonnie?” The soft voice of the mare called up the stairs. When she received no response, she called out again. “Bonnie? You still asleep?” No response, again. Lyra Heartstrings returned to the kitchen and sighed. Her stomach rumbled as she looked across the tiny room. She was decidedly hungry, but due to past incidents she wasn't allowed to use the stove. Bon Bon would have her hide if she knew she was even in the mare's inner sanctum.
Lyra grumbled to herself, pulling a box of cereal out of the cabinet. It was nearly empty, but it would suffice. The sea green mare sighed once more as she opened the refrigerator and took the milk out. She poured it and put it back. She closed the door and turned towards the living room.
“Aahh!” The unicorn shouted, dropping the bowl of cereal out of her magic to the floor with a *splash*. Lyra grinned sheepishly as Bon Bon frowned at her. The cream colored earth pony stood in the entrance to the kitchen, bags under her eyes. There was milk and bits of cereal all over her bathrobe.
“Lyra, how many times have I told you about the kitchen?” She said flatly. Lyra's ears drooped back.
“Not to touch anything unless you were present,” the unicorn mare said in a monotone voice. “But it wasn't my fault. I was being careful. You scared me!” Bon Bon sighed, grabbing a towel and wiping off her front. When she finished, she nuzzled her wife against her neck softly.
“It's alright, Lyra. Just be more aware next time. It's not like I didn't announce myself coming down the stairs. I'm a bit of a wide load, after all,” the earth mare said. Lyra rolled her eyes.
“You're pregnant, Bonnie. You're supposed to be a wide load,” she said, running her hoof along her wife's slightly swollen belly. Bon Bon snorted, pointing at the living room.
“Just go on, I'll make us some breakfast,” she said.
“Are you sure? I can make do with the cereal,” Lyra replied. Bon Bon shook her head firmly.
“I'll be alright, Lyra. I'm pregnant, not dying. The day I stop using my kitchen will be a sad day indeed,” she said. “Now get. I don't need any more dishes to clean up than I plan to dirty. Why don't you go check the mail or something?” Lyra nodded mutely, planting a kiss on her wife's cheek.
“Thanks Bonnie, you're the best,” she said, happily trotting out of the kitchen and into the living room. Bon Bon glanced down, seeing the half full bowl of cereal laying overturned on the floor. She grumbled and grabbed a mop with her teeth to start cleaning. Once that was taken care of, the earth mare carefully pulled out a skillet and a few plates out of the cabinet. Breaking a few eggs over the skillet, she fired up the stove and started to cook.
The eggs on the skillet began to sizzle as Bon Bon shoved a few pieces of bread into the toaster oven. Returning her attention to the stove, the earth mare took the padded handle in her teeth and carefully flipped the fried eggs. Lowering the skillet back onto the stove, Bon Bon turned back to the toaster oven. A soft *ding* echoed from the device, the golden brown toast popping out. With what one might call precision and grace, but usually a lot of luck, Bon Bon tapped the button on the front of the toaster, ejecting its contents into the air as she brought the plates over. The pieces of toast landed easily on the two plates as Bon Bon grinned.
She looked up at the clock. It was almost nine in the morning. She sighed, grabbing the skillet again and pouring the eggs onto their plates.
“Lyra.... breakfast is ready,” she called out into the living room. No response. Bon Bon frowned. That's odd, usually Lyra is right here when it comes to food, she thought. The cream colored mare cleared her throat. “Lyra? Where are you?” Still no answer. Grumbling to herself, Bon Bon left the kitchen and made her way into the living room. Lyra was sitting on the couch, staring blankly at something that she held in her hooves. It appeared to be a letter.
“Lyra? Are you alright? What are you doing out here?” Bon Bon said. Lyra tore her gaze away from the letter for a brief moment and flashed a bright smile.
“You are not going to believe this, Bonnie,” she said, folded the letter over and hoofing it to her wife. Bon Bon carefully unfolded it and began to read.
Dear Miss Heartstrings,
I am pleased to announce that you have been formally selected as second chair lyre for the Canterlot Symphony Orchestra. Allow me to wish you a fond congratulations on being chosen, the Canterlot Symphony Orchestra is the crowning gem of achievement for musicians of your caliber. You were selected out of many, many potential applicants, but we feel that your raw talent more than makes up for your limited experience, and as such we look forward to working with you.
As per all members who are employed by the Orchestra, it is required that you (and any significant others you may have) live in the residency of Old Canterlot, where it will be easier to reach you for practices and performances. This is merely a formality, should you choose to accept the position.
Now, we understand that relocation to a new town is a difficult prospect. In order to make this transition easier for you and your family, we have included a stipend for the purposes of purchasing a new home and living expenses until your first official paycheck. If you choose to accept the position, a member of our administration office will put you in touch with a reputable realtor to select a new home.
Again, congratulations on this momentous achievement.
Director, Canterlot Symphony Orchestra
Bon Bon's eyes widened as she looked up at Lyra's widening grin. She reached out and grabbed her ecstatic wife in a hug.
“You did it, Lyra! You really did it!” She said. Lyra returned the hug and pulled back, grabbing the envelope in her magic.
“Yeah, I knew I could do it,” she bragged. “I'm awesome that way." Bon Bon snorted.
“Way to be modest there, Rainbow Dash,” she said. Lyra grinned sheepishly.
“Okay, so I was a little worried about it, but that's all in the past now, Bonnie. I'm in!” Lyra exclaimed. “And wait til you get a load of the check they sent.” The unicorn's horn glowed softly, lifting out a piece of paper from the envelope. Bon Bon's eyes scanned the check, her eyes widening.
“Lyra? That's... that's a lot of zeros,” she said. “What are we going to do with that much money?”
“We're going to Canterlot, that's what!”
One Week Later...
“Ladies, a pleasure to meet you,” the dark brown unicorn stallion said from behind his desk. The name listed on the placard sitting upon the oak desk was Proper Place, Canterlot Realty Division 3. Across from him sat Lyra and Bon Bon, the former's excited grin complemented by the latter's annoyed look. Proper Place smiled softly, turning to Lyra. “I am to assume you are Miss Heartstrings?”
“That's me,” Lyra said, grinning goofily. “And this is my wife, Bon Bon.”
“A pleasure,” Bon Bon said, offering her hoof. Proper Place took it and smiled.
“You are quite a lovely young couple. This your first time ever looking into living in Canterlot?” He asked.
“I used to live here before I moved to Ponyville,” Lyra said. “Bonnie's lived in Ponyville all her life.”
“I own a candy shop there,” Bon Bon said stoically. “Bon Bon's Bon Bons.”
“Clever title,” Proper Place replied. “Well then, let's get started. As I understand it, you have payment all squared away thanks to our friends in the Orchestra. I spoke with them yesterday concerning your new employment, and I must offer my congratulations. It's not every day the second chair opens up.”
“Thank you,” Lyra said.
“I have several homes lined up in Old Canterlot for us to visit. However, that being said, there is... one home I think in particular a musician of your caliber will appreciate,” Proper Place said. “It belonged to the former second chair lyre player.”
“Oooh... that's so awesome!” Lyra squealed. Bon Bon raised a hoof, getting a raised eyebrow from Place. The mare cleared her throat.
“And just... just where did this other musician go to?” She said.
“I believe she moved out of Canterlot, retired from what I heard,” Proper Place said. “It is a lovely house though. She was a unicorn too, from what I know of her. I only just took over the account after she moved out.”
“Mister Place, give us a moment if you would,” Lyra said. The stallion nodded.
“Take all the time you need. I'll be right back. Have to fill out some paperwork,” he replied. He stood and exited the room, leaving the two mares alone.
“Bonnie, what do you think?” Lyra asked the cream colored mare. Bon Bon sighed and leaned over and looked at her love.
“I guess we can look at it. Are you sure we have to move to Canterlot, though? I mean, we have the shop and everything...” She replied pensively, her ears pinned back. Lyra smiled softly.
“Bonnie... we've been over this already. I have to live in Canterlot in order to accept the position. This is a very big deal to me,” she said. “I'll be making enough money for the both of us, and you were going to take some time off work anyways to deal with the foal.”
“I know, I know... and Twist is old enough to deal with the shop... I just hope she's ready for it,” Bon Bon said. “I guess I'm just nervous about this.” Lyra smiled, reaching over and giving Bon Bon a sweet kiss on the cheek.
“Don't worry about Twist. She's a grown mare. She can take care of herself. It's not like she'll be on her own. Her friends will help her out,” Lyra said. “We can do this, Bonnie. Trust me.”
“I do, love. I truly do,” Bon Bon replied. The door behind them opened suddenly. Proper Place trotted in, several stacks of paper floating along behind him.
“Well, ladies. Have you made a decision yet?” He said, sliding into his seat across from the two mares.
“We have,” Bon Bon said. “Show us the house.”
“Excellent,” Proper Place said. His horn glowed softly, levitating out a piece of paper and a pen. The pen began to flow across the paper, scrawling out an address on it before sliding over across the desk. “Here's the address. Meet me there tomorrow evening and we'll take a tour of the place. If all works out we should be able to have this deal closed out by the end of the week.”
The next evening...
The pristine columns of Canterlot loomed over the two mares as they trotted along towards their destination. Lyra's eyes were bright and sunny, while Bon Bon hung back from her wife. Celestia's sun was beginning to wane for the evening, preparing for the time when Luna's moon would reign over the night sky. The two were already several minutes late for their appointment with Proper Place. It didn't help that Lyra wanted to stop by the Orchestra Office and drop off some paperwork that she had forgot to mail in.
The clean white streets gave way to old worn cobblestone as the couple entered the Old Canterlot district of the city. Bon Bon scanned the old brick buildings for the address they were looking for, glancing down at the piece of paper before grimacing. There was no doubt about it... they were lost.
“Lyra, do you see this place anywhere?” The cream colored mare said. Lyra shook her head.
“No... I could have sworn it was down this street,” the unicorn replied. “I haven't been out of Canterlot that long...”
“Sweetie, it's been at least seven years,” Bon Bon said, rolling her eyes. She stopped in the middle of the road, groaning loudly. “I give up, Lyra. We're lost. Let's ask for directions.”
“But Bonnie... I told you, I can find this place!” Lyra whined. Bon Bon glared daggers at her wife.
“Lyra...” She said. The sea green unicorn sighed, throwing her hooves up in the air.
“Okay, okay, fine. We'll ask for directions,” she said, stopping and pushing open the gate to the nearest brick house. The two mares trotted up to the lit porch, knocking on the sturdy iron door. The door creaked as it opened. An elderly unicorn stallion peeked his head out from behind the archway.
“May I help you?” He said softly.
“Yes... we're a little lost,” Bon Bon said. She lifted the piece of paper with the address on it. “We're looking for this house. We're sort of new in town.” The older unicorn's horn glowed softly, taking the piece of paper in his magic. His eyes widened when he saw the address. Clearing his throat, he passed the paper back to Bon Bon.
“You... you moving into that house, ladies?” He asked.
“Just looking right now,” Lyra said. “I just got a job with the Canterlot Symphony Orchestra. Second chair lyre.” She turned, revealing the lyre on her flank.
“I... I see,” the elderly unicorn replied. He glanced around, motioning for the mares to step closer. “If you take any advice in this matter, please take this. Do not, I repeat, do not move into that house.” Bon Bon narrowed her gaze at the older stallion.
“Why do you say that?” She said.
“That house... it's haunted,” he said. Lyra grinned widely.
“Seriously? Haunted? Give me a break,” she said. “There's no such thing as ghosts, everypony knows that.”
“Young miss, I am warning you. That place is bad news. Stay away from there,” the older unicorn replied. Bon Bon sighed.
“Do you know where the place is or not?” She said. The stallion put a hoof up, pointing down the street.
“You'll find it down the street. It's the last house on the left,” he said. “Please... heed my warning. You don't want to move into that house... You won't live to see a week in there.”
“Are you threatening us?” Bon Bon said forcefully. The elder unicorn shook his head under the gaze of the cream colored mare. Bon Bon glared at the older unicorn before turning away. “Come on Lyra. We're late as it is. Let's get this over with. Thank you for the directions.” Lyra grinned sheepishly.
“Sorry, she gets kind of moody sometimes,” the younger unicorn said. “Thanks again!” She trotted off to follow her wife, leaving the elder unicorn standing alone on the stoop. Cursing under his breath, he walked back inside his house and closed the door. Lyra and Bon Bon continued down the street as the sun finally dipped beyond the horizon, allowing Luna's moon to take its place in the night sky.
The two mares trotted along, finally finding themselves at the tail end of the long road. Lyra stopped in her tracks cold as she looked up at the house. It was a modest two-story affair, made out of red brick and trimmed with a black roof. The windows were dark, lined with soft velvet curtains. A beautiful fence surrounded the structure. The house loomed ominously over the couple as they walked up and opened the gate.
“Wow...” Lyra said. “This place is...”
“I know, right? Talk about your creep factor,” Bon Bon replied. “And of course, Proper Place is nowhere to be seen. I swear...”
“This place is awesome!!” Lyra exclaimed. “Oh can we buy it Bonnie, can we can we can we?!”
“Ladies!” A voice cut through the darkness. Bon Bon looked up to see Proper Place standing in the doorway of the old house. She narrowed her gaze at the unicorn. He trotted down the walkway, meeting the couple halfway. “So... what do you think?” Lyra jumped forward before Bon Bon could get a word out.
“We'll take it!!”