• Published 6th Jun 2013
  • 28,990 Views, 1,969 Comments

The Witching Hour - Chaotic Ink



A new pony comes to Ponyville, but she's not all that she seems. Will the town accept Midnight Storm, or will Ponyville run her out like all the rest?

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Ch.1 - Rolling In

Not every day in Equestria is a beautiful one, despite what some ponies will tell you. It has to rain sometimes, but even so some days it seems like the local pegasi just don’t care and the gathering of clouds seemed to reflect that mood. For the new-comer to Ponyville, this kind of day felt most appropriate to her; reflecting her life up to that point. No, Midnight Storm had not had a very happy life up to then. For the past three years she’d just been wandering from city to city, barely setting down roots before moving on again, and before that… well… she wasn’t a pony who liked to talk about her past.

The cloaked unicorn mare trudged into town looking about as pleasant as the weather and, despite not knowing exactly where to go, was making for the town hall. She’d heard of the quiet little town before leaving Trottingham, and, deciding that she just couldn’t stand big cities anymore, had struck out to the village on hoof, all her remaining belongings in a small cart she could barely afford. Well, small for her anyway; she was actually an ear taller than Big Mac, which was big for any pony, let alone a mare. The black coat and blue, draconic eyes were also distinguished her from the average pony.

It had taken a good week and a half to get there on hoof, and now she was just plain tired. But, she couldn’t rest until she’d seen the mayor. Ponyville wasn’t very busy that day so any ponies that were out seemed to barely notice her; just trying to get whatever errands needed to be done before the perceived rain would come down. That was the main reason she liked these kinds of days: not many ponies out and able to stare at her. What Midnight Storm didn’t realize was that, no matter what the weather, a certain pink earth pony was always out strolling the town for one reason or another. It was just Midnight’s luck that, when her head was turned to admire some rather beautiful blue flowers growing in a garden, she, quite literally, ran into that pink pony.

“Oof!” Midnight backed up slightly, more to give the smaller pony space than from the collision. The pink pony, however, fell back and did a whole back flip before coming to rest on her stomach. “Sorry! Excuse me,” Midnight said, moving to go around the knocked-over mare. To her surprise, the pink pony literally shook herself into a standing position and waved her hoof.

“It’s okay. I’m just surprised my Pinkie Sense didn’t go off, but then it does act up on gloomy days like this.” Midnight stared at the pony in confusion, which she quickly regretted. “Oh! Wait! You’re new here aren’t you!?” she asked excitedly.

The cloaked mare backed up some more. “Y-Yeah, I just arrived in town, and I’m looking for town hall so –“

“I know where that is!” Before Midnight could protest, the pony began hopping away from her. “I’ll show you the way there! Then I can throw you a big ‘Welcome to Ponyville Party!’”

Midnight chuckled nervously. “Yeah, sure… listen; as soon as I see your mayor I’m going to be very busy, so-”

“Hey! You’ve got some strange eyes there! They almost look like Nightmare Moon’s, only a different color and not colored all the way through!” Midnight recoiled. Nightmare Moon? What in the hay was this pony smoking? Most ponies just got freaked out about her eyes and would make any excuse to run away, but this pony was just staring at her! And her voice was starting to grate.

“You got a problem with my eyes!?” Midnight growled back at her, revealing sharp front teeth.

“Nah. I actually think they’re kinda cool, since they match your mane and the blue really goes with the black coat.”

“Thank… you?” Once again, Midnight had been thrown for a loop. This was NOT how previous ponies had reacted to her, and while a bit of a welcome relief, it still really confused her. And her voice was still grating.

“You’re welcome. Oh! I never got your name! Can I guess it!? CanIcanI!? Ooo, ooo, is it Black Water!? Or, how about Blue Tar!? Oh, how about Black Blade, because of your tail and all!?” Looking back behind herself, Midnight pulled her tail back under her cloak. That was part of her anatomy she had really hoped nopony would see right away. “Aw, come on! Let me get a good look at it!” The mare went to look under her cloak, and that was when Midnight’s patience ran out.

Spinning around fast enough to almost break the wheels off her cart, she growled down at the pony. “Look! I just want to get to the town hall right now, not have a game of guess-my-name! So how about you just stop BOTHERING ME!?” With that, Midnight turned back around and walked away, leaving the pink mare behind. At first, it looked like she was about to cry, but then her face became a determined stare.

“I know what I need to do!” and with that, she galloped off.

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“Thank you for seeing me mayor.” Midnight said, bowing slightly out of respect.

“It’s no problem at all Miss Storm. We here in Ponyville always welcome new arrivals.” Mayor Mare said a bit nervously, slightly intimidated by the larger-than-normal pony in her office.

No kidding’ Midnight thought, remembering the pink mare.

“Now, what can I do for you today?”

“Well, you see mayor, I’ve just come from Trottingham and I’m looking to hopefully settle down here in Ponyville.”

A small frown crossed the mayor’s face. “Hmm… well, there is one house left, but it’s on the edge of town near the Everfree forest, and it’s fallen into some disrepair.”

Midnight smiled. “That’s alright. I actually plan on being a wood cutter, so I can provide my own lumber from the forest trees I chop down. I can also probably do most of the repairs on the house myself. I’ve done enough odd jobs over the years to be able to fix almost anything that comes up.”

It was the mayor’s turn to smile.“Then I guess there won’t be a problem in giving you a small loan to help get started, and we could use an in-town wood business. The company that brings us fire wood and such from out of town charges a lot of money. Oh, and we'll be sure to have the utilities on when you get there.” With that, Mayor Mare and Midnight began filling out the necessary paperwork.

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Great. The sky is clearing up.’ Midnight grumbled to herself as she hauled her cart to her new home, the keys to the house jingling slightly in a cloak pocket. A few pegasi were flying above, half-heartedly bucking clouds in order to clear the sky. Her mood picked up some when she finally arrived at the house. From the outside it didn’t look too bad, but still bad enough that mothers would warns their foals to stay out in case of a rotten floorboard or cracked support beam. It was close to the forest, but not in it, and she even began to smile when she saw that the back end of the house almost butted up to a cliff jutting out from the forest. Looking around, she could see that she didn’t really have neighbors per se; the nearest house was a good hundred yards away. On the other hoof, however, she groaned slightly when she saw she was the same distance away from the school. That was too close in her opinion. It was what it was however, and she opened the door and stepped inside.

The house, right off the bat, seemed to be just what she needed. The front door opened into what looked like a small store front; perfect for selling. Through a door behind the counter, she found herself in what looked like a kitchen, only in a worse state of decay than she thought it would be. The fridge was on its side with a door hinge broken off, the sink was almost as black as her coat and had a rather funky smell about it, and the oven had its door open and inside appeared to be a nest of some sort. The table was gone and the cabinets were either gone or rotting away, and the bottom half of the window over the sink was broken, letting just about anything in. A thick wall separated the kitchen from a living room with two small hallways allowing passage on either end. The left hallway had a set of stairs leading up to the second floor, while the right hallway had a side door to the house, from which there was a good view of the forest. The living room was mostly bare, with only an empty fire place and a broken coffee table.

She didn’t want to go upstairs just yet, if only because she wanted to make sure the first floor was secure enough that she didn’t fall through the ceiling when checking it out. There was electricity, to her surprise, but only the stove light worked. There was running water, so she began letting the water run in the sink, if only to let it soak so that hopefully that smell would soon be gone, and then she righted the fridge and plugged it back in. Immediately there was the hum of the cooling device, and then she secured the fridge door shut with her cart. She found a broom in a closet in the side door hallway and began sweeping filth from the kitchen out the side door. When that was done she pulled some soap out of her cart, along with some steel wool, and began to work on the sink. It took an hour, but finally the smell was almost all gone and the sink was now a light gray. She did the same for the inside of the fridge, and eventually it too looked useable. The oven would have to be replaced though; with animals living in it, it was probably not a good idea to use it anymore, so she closed it up and went onto her next job: the cabinets.

They, and eventually the broken coffee table, joined the dust and crud from the kitchen floor out past the side door in the unofficial trash heap until she could get trash bags for them. By mid-afternoon the kitchen and most of the living room and front area were relatively cleaned up. The inside of the fridge had gotten cold enough that it could now hold food, so Midnight decided it was the right time to head out to the market and get some food supplies, and maybe even look into getting a new stove and a repair kit for the fridge door.

What she didn’t notice was the pony watching from the shadow of a nearby tree as she left. “Okay; it’s time.”

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Midnight was doing her best not to throw off her cloak and start a scene. Why she thought anything would be better out here in the country instead of the city was a mystery to her. The entire time she’d been in the market, all the other ponies had just stared at her. Sure, it wasn’t every day a giant black unicorn mare with blue, or any color for that matter, dragon eyes and pointy snout walked through town, but you’d think that they’d have a bit more decorum than to stare at her the whole time she was there. The only thing that had lifted her mood in any sense was that she had found a repair kit for the fridge, a place to buy a new oven (though it might take some time to get enough bits), and even found an extra-strength cleaner for her sink. With the few items at the market she’d been able to purchase, she made it home and opened the door, and immediately knew something was off. Firstly, the light from the stove was off, even though she’d left it on. Normally she’d think the power just went out, and there was still that possibility, but she could hear the low hum of the fridge as she opened the kitchen door. There was definitely something off, because the window blinds were closed, and there definitely hadn’t been blinds on them before. Cautiously making her way into the room, her hairs stood on end as she made her way over to the blinds, which were making the room very dark, and her draconic eyes could only make out weird shadows for some reason. Her hoof slowly reached out towards the blinds. Bracing herself, she quickly pulled them, flooding the room with outside, along with the new overhead, light.

“SURPRISE!!!”

What greeted Midnight was a loud shout and explosion of confetti. In her terror at the sudden assault she reared up on her hind hooves, allowed something under her cloak to flare out, and then let out a thunderous roar of fright. Landing back on her front hooves, she saw that the confetti had cleared enough that she could see her assailants. Directly in front of her stood the pink pony from earlier, a smile still on her face despite Midnight’s roar. The other five ponies with her, though, were now looking at the newcomer with a mix of worry and fear in their eyes. Midnight quickly composed herself as best she could, mentally coaxing down whatever was under her cloak and trying to hide her sharp teeth. She could not, however, keep control of her fear turning into anger. “WHAT IN THE NAME OF CELESTIA’S GREAT GIANT PINK BEARD ARE YOU DOING IN HERE!?

At this the pink pony moved forward a bit. “This is your ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party silly!”

“And that gives you the right to break into my house!?”

“We didn’t break in! You left the door unlocked.”

“No I didn’t! I locked it when I left.”

“Yeah, you locked the front door. The side door was open.”

Midnight looked from the pony to the door and back before angrily face hoofing herself. “That doesn’t mean you can still just waltz in here.”

“I didn’t waltz silly! I bounced!”

“I don’t care how you came in, I care that you came in at all!”

“Well, I guess we could have had the party outside, but then you would have seen it coming, and then it wouldn’t have been a surprise! And then when we got in here we saw how run down the place was, and we thought it would surprise you even more if we helped clean the place up!”

Against her better judgment, Midnight took a quick look around the room. It defiantely looked cleaner than when she had left. The first thing she noticed was that there was now an overhead light hanging from the ceiling, which helped light up the whole room. The window behind her had been repaired and been given blinds. The sink was now a clean white, the fridge door had been repaired, and even the oven had been cleaned out, although she still wasn’t sure if she should use it for cooking. Why had they done all this? Midnight did her best to choose her next words carefully.

“Well... thanks for doing all that, but I already got a few things in town to fix them myself, and now that was a waste of bits I could have used on other things, and you still came into my home without even knowing if I'd have a problem with it, which I do.” She sighed. “Again, thank you for what you did, but I’m going to have to ask you all to leave. Now.

The pink mare’s face fell slightly. “But, I made you a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ cake, see?” She rolled a cart over to show Midnight the cake emblazoned with “Welcome to Ponyville!” written across it. Midnight sighed again.

“Look, um…?”

“Oh, how silly of me! I’m Pinkie Pie, and these are my friends Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity!” Pinkie’s smile returned as she introduced her friends.

“My name’s Midnight, but Pinkie-“

“Ooo, Midnight! That’s a really good name. A lot better than what I came up with.”

“Yeah, well, listen Pinkie, I’m really not at all comfortable with you and your friends being here like this.”

“But if you join in the party, then we’ll all be your friends too, and then you’ll be comfortable.”

“And besides!” The cyan pegasus mare with rainbow hair rushed forward. “Not only is Pinkie Pie throwing this party for you, we all helped clean this place up! You could show us a little gratitude!” The pegasus was pulled back a few hooves by the orange earth pony.

“I am showing you gratitude; I’m not calling the cops or throwing you out with my bare hooves. Now, for the last time: thank you for what you did, but please leave now.”

Finally, the six ponies in front of her accepted defeat.

“Come on girls, we’re not wanted here right now,” the purple unicorn identified as Twilight said, motioning the rest of them to follow her out. Rainbow Dash and Applejack shot glares at Midnight while the white unicorn, Rarity, left with her nose part-way in the air, stirring rather deep, angry emotions in Midnight. Twilight and the other pegasus, Fluttershy, left with their heads down.

The last to leave was Pinkie Pie. “Is it okay if I leave the cake here, for you to maybe eat later?”

Midnight sighed yet again. “Pinkie, why don’t you take this home with you and save it for the next new pony to town? It’ll just get wasted here.” Pinkie nodded, and left pulling the cart behind her. Midnight let her head droop after the door closed. ‘Maybe I was too hard on them. Maybe we could have been friends…’ she shook her head and raised it up. ‘No. As soon as they find out what I am, they’ll just turn on me like the rest. Best to shun them now before they start shunning me.’ With that, she turned back to unpacking her things.

Author's Note:

And so we begin our tale of the mysterious Midnight Storm. How will events unfold for our grumpy heroine?

Critiques (please keep them at least constructive) are welcome.