• Published 6th Jun 2013
  • 28,994 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.5 - Crazy Craving

“Are you two sure you’re okay?” Midnight asked as she followed them into town. It had been a few days since the whole “Sleepy Applejack Incident” during which Rainbow Dash had been sent sailing clear across Ponyville not under her own power, baked goods had become ‘baked bads’, and a stampede of rabbits had infested the town. While none of these things had affected her personally, her new friends had fallen afoul of the baked bads. Poor Derpy had suffered the most. While all the other ponies had taken a few bites and then gotten sick, Derpy had inhaled four whole muffins before realizing how nasty they were. Nurse Redheart had only just released her this morning, and all were thankful that none of the foals had gotten their hooves on them. The only one not affected by the bad muffins had been Midnight. Although, based on Spike’s reaction to them, it was probably a dragon thing.

“Yeah, we’re all good now,” Berry told her.

“Nurse Redheart told me to take it easy and not eat anything too big or too spicy, or that would upset my stomach again,” Derpy told them. They both nodded. By hanging out with these two she’d learned that, while Ponyville was accepting of ponys’ differences, rumors and reputations still got around. Derpy was made out to be clumsier than she really was and Berry Punch was considered a drunk.

“Just because I own a liquor store and drink a lot doesn’t mean I’m a drunk!” she had wailed when the subject was brought up. Midnight had to agree. She was a heavy drinker too but that didn’t mean they were alcoholics. A drink could be anything from simple water to the hardest liquor and everything in between, so when she and Midnight said they drank a lot it simply meant they drank a lot of liquids. “Besides, how can I be a good mother to Pinchy if I’m constantly drunk?”

“Or to Dinky if I’m always breaking things?” The rumors weren’t exactly the best but for the most part they weren’t said with malicious intent, just as run-of-the-mill gossip.

“So, where are we going again?”

“Well, remember how we were supposed to introduce you to Lyra at Sugarcube Corner except they happened?” Derpy held a hoof over her mouth. “Well, Lyra also ate one, so she’s been home sick as well. But since we’re all better now, we figured we could try and introduce you two again.” As the group made its way through town they spotted something out of the ordinary. “Hey, is that a griffon?”

“Yeah, I think it is. Weird, they don’t usually leave the Griffon Kingdom.” Midnight said, trying to remember what she’d read about them. The trio stared at the rare hybrid as it checked out a stall.

“This stuff ain’t fresh dude.” She told the mare managing the cart before walking away. The griffon turned a corner, and the trio began walking again.

“Well that was interesting.” Berry and Derpy nodded. They rounded a corner of their own and the earth pony and pegasus waved at a table set up next to a stall. Sitting there was sea-foam-colored unicorn mare that had a matching mane with a streak of white in it. She waved back at them and they all walked over to join her. When they sat down they saw that she had already gotten a veggiplatter with dipping sauce for them to share.

“Lyra, this is our new friend and poker buddy Midnight Storm. Midnight, this is Lyra Heartstrings.” They both shook hooves. “Lyra’s working on her musical career and Midnight’s the new town wood cutter.”

“Cool.” Lyra said, eating a baby carrot. “How’s that going so far?”

“Could be better I guess. I know not many ponies use firewood during the summer but I’m making as much inventory as I can now so that come fall and winter I’m spending more time indoors at the counter than out in the cold.” They all nodded in agreement. “And how about your music career? How’s that going?”

“Still nothing.” Lyra said disheartened. “But, as Celestia is my witness, I WILL make the lyre the next hit instrument!” Berry and Derpy rolled their eyes which was a funny thing to watch Derpy do. Midnight had yet to ask why her eyes were that way, but unless somepony else brought it up, she wasn’t going to ask; out of courtesy of course. Suddenly they heard a roar from a few blocks away and a few seconds later saw Fluttershy flying away in tears.

“I think I know why griffons don’t visit more often.” The three other mares nodded. Turning her attention back to the platter, Midnight grabbed a broccoli crown with her claw and dipped it in the sauce. When she looked back up, Lyra was staring at her claw. “What?”

“Your claw…” Lyra breathed. “…it’s just like a HAND!” Berry and Derpy face-hoofed.

“Oh, come ON Lyra! Not this again!” Berry moaned.

“But it grips like a HAND, minus four digits mind you, but still!”

“Would somepony like to fill me in?” Midnight asked, a bit lost.

“Lyra has a thing for some mythical creature called, uh, what was it again?” Berry looked to Lyra, already cringing.

HUMANS!” Lyra yelled. “They’re mostly hairless, walk ONLY on their hind legs, and their front legs end in HANDS that can grip anything!” As Lyra continued to rant, Berry leaned over.

“She’s not crazy, just… eccentric.”

“She does know about Spike right?" Midnight asked. "I mean, he stands on his back legs and has, well, claws, but they do what she says human hands do.” If Lyra heard any of that, she gave no indication.

“When I still lived in Canterlot, there was a rumor that Princess Celestia had a student before Twilight Sparkle. That student found an enchanted mirror that lead to the human world! Rumor has it that the student didn’t leave the academy but was sucked into the mirror!” The three mares looked at her.

“Lyra, even you have to admit that one is off the deep end.” Berry deadpanned.

“It’s true though! I found the mirror! I think; hard to tell with a bunch of royal guards tackling you to the floor.” Silence.

“Lyra, please tell me you didn’t.”

“It’s a conspiracy I tell you! Celestia knows!” It was at that point that Midnight decided that bowing out would be for the best.

“Well, I’m always interested in mythical creatures and such, but I really think I should get back to cutting wood. I look forward to our poker game!” With that, Midnight trotted off. Berry glared at Lyra.

“If she stops being friends with us because of your crazy conspiracy theories, I am going to BREAK that lyre over your head until all the crazy’s gone!” Derpy had simply gone back to eating her muffin. Where it came from only Faust knew.

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Despite Lyra and her humans, Midnight had had a fun time playing poker with her new friends. It was the day after and she’d just felled her first tree of the day when she began to feel hungry. At first she was puzzled since she’d already had breakfast and it wasn’t near lunch time but then she felt a very familiar craving. This particular craving occurred once or twice a month and was impossible to ignore. Sure, she’d tried to ignore it before, especially the first few months after she’d begun moving from city to city, but in the end each time she’d given in. Her current record had been three months, and it had NOT ended well.

After hauling the tree back and getting a drink of water, she returned outside sporting a very worn-out looking set of saddle bags that had turned black on the bottoms. She extended her wings and gave them a few test flaps, limbering them up for what was probably going to be a long flight high up. When they felt ready, she gave one giant flap of her wings and took off, making for a group of clouds just above the edge of the Everfree. When she reached them she sailed around them, feeling for updrafts and thermals to help keep her aloft with minimal effort. Just as she was about to bank deeper into the Everfree forest she heard a voice call out to her.

“Hey, Midnight!” Pulling back into her holding pattern, she looked towards the caller and saw it was Rainbow Dash. “Just saw you take off; still can’t believe how cool those wings are.” As Rainbow caught up with her, Midnight landed on a cloud where she quickly followed suit.

“Thank you Rainbow.” Midnight quickly covered the saddle bags with her wings as the cyan pegasus fidgeted a bit before talking again.

“You’ve been in a lot of different places, right?”

“I’ve been around.”

“Well, I was wondering if… you’ve ever met a griffon before.” Midnight tapped her mouth with her hoof as she tried to remember. Other than that one that was in town the other day, she couldn’t really say she’d seen another griffon, let alone met one.

“Can’t say I have. Does this have something to do with the one from yesterday? Me and a few others saw her walking around town.” Dash nodded.

“Yeah, it does. Speaking of which, why didn’t you come to Pinkie’s party yesterday?”

“Well, after a certain two someponies planted a few rubber trees, I’ve been trying to catch up on my work.” Rainbow snickered.

“You’ve got to admit that was funny.”

“Once: funny. Twice: hilarious. Sixth time: aggravating.” Rainbow waved a hoof.

“Alright, we’ve may have gone a bit over board on that one.” Midnight raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. “Anyway, the reason I asked was because I was wondering what other griffons were like, if you happened to know any.”

“Well, if I had to guess, I don’t think they’d all make Fluttershy cry.” Rainbow cringed.

“Yeah, I should go apologize again. Before I do that though, how about we go flying together for a bit? I could really use a flying buddy right now.” Midnight shook her head, her hunger beginning to return.

“Sorry Rainbow, but I’m actually up here for a bit of solitude at the moment, but I’m pretty sure I can get some flight time in with you tomorrow.” Rainbow nodded.

“That sounds good, although I could have really used a buddy today. Oh, and you can’t tell anyone else about this talk!” Rainbow suddenly looked serious. “I mean it!”

“Okay, okay! I swear by the Faust I won’t breath a word of it!” Midnight promised, hoping it would get Rainbow out of her face. The cyan pegasus gave a satisfied nod.

“Good. Well, I’ll see you later then!” With that she dove off the cloud and headed back into Ponyville. When she was out of sight Midnight dove off the cloud as well, but in the direction of the Everfree forest.

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Mr. Squirrel had had a bad day so far. He’d fallen out of bed and hit his head on a rouge acorn, Mrs. Squirrel had nagged him all morning about needing even more nuts for the coming winter, even though it was still summer, and his kids just wouldn’t SHUT UP. Finally, before he beat all their brains in with a rare cashew he’d gotten while foraging near the pony homes, he got out of the tree and took a minute to rest his ears and hopefully sedate the forming headache with a nut he’d gotten yesterday. Of course, since he lived in the Everfree Forest, he made sure there were no predators about before relaxing on his branch. After a few minutes he caught a flash of movement up in the sky. Jumping to his feet, he hid behind the tree trunk. After he got his heart rate back to normal, he chanced a peek around the tree to see the predator.

When he saw what it was, he sighed in relief. It was just one of those flying ponies, and they weren’t dangerous at all. As he chuckled to himself, he lost his grip on the nut he was holding and it bounced off the branch and fell to the forest floor. Turning to where it fell he scowled to himself. Damn pony made him lose his snack.

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Midnight circled above the forest in a lazy clockwise arc. A few minutes after leaving Rainbow Dash she’d set herself up looking around for targets. She’d quickly seen a squirrel, but it ducked behind a tree. She cursed at herself, but within a few circles the rodent had come back out, apparently deciding she wasn’t a threat. When it dropped its acorn, it gave Midnight a perfect shot. Just as her turn faced her away from it, she folded her left wing in, causing her to drop and turn. As soon as she was aiming for her target, she folded her other wing in, but neither were in all the way as to keep some lift and control for the pull out.

The squirrel didn’t see what hit him. Midnight was on him so fast he didn’t even have time to react to her shadow on him. Surprisingly, the impact that killed the rodent barely made the branch it was on quiver. Midnight flew up and out of the canopy, her meal held firmly in her mouth by her, now extended, fangs. When she returned to cruising altitude she opened the saddle bags and dropped her first catch of the day in. It was going to take more than one measly squirrel to satisfy her; maybe if she caught a few rabbits...

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Two hours after she took to the air Midnight returned home, diving out of the sky and quickly running into the shed she’d made. She spent another hour inside the shed with unfamiliar noises escaping from time to time. When she was done she emerged, not with her saddle bags, but with a few opaque freezer bags gripped in her claws. When she reached the house she put the bags into the back of the freezer. Two squirrels and three rabbits; she’d eat well tonight, and there’d even be some left over.

Author's Note:

Alright, chapter five is up and now we've really got a sold footing on when in the series this takes place.
This also, for me, represented a real eye opener, because how this chapter was originally supposed to go down was:
1. Midnight meets Lyra.
2. Midnight meets Screwball.
3. Midnight gets a Fluffy Pony for a pet.

I think it's clear that steps 2+3 never made it. For one, the Fluffy Pony would never have really made it back into the story, except maybe for a couple of jokes, so it being introduced would have been a waste.
When it came to Screwball, I really wanted her in it because she was sort of a way for Midnight to except Discord more when he eventually gets freed, but then I wondered how to explain a Fluffy Pony as a present from Screwball with out Tia flipping out, or just the mention of Screwball's existence. So, both were simply cut unfortunately.

I really hope that Midnight's taste for meat doesn't surprise you guys, since she IS part dragon. This was actually going to be a later chapter and the Mane 6 were actually supposed to catch her in the act, but since I moved it up like this, I've got a different idea how it's going to be revealed.

Now, the next three chapters are going to have Midnight actually involved in the episodes, which will be the following: Dragonshy
Bridle Gossip
Swarm of the Century
Out of the three Bridle Gossip might be the least important, but I just see some good comedy potential in it (something the story thus far is SORELY lacking).
After that I start playing with the episode order a bit, but I'll save that for after the parasprites.

Oh, and don't forget: COMMENT!!!