• Published 23rd Aug 2016
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The Pony Dreadfuls - No one is home

A series of stories about ponies. Dreadful in both subject and quality. Enjoy :)

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Chapter 10 - House of Secrets

Chapter 9 - House of Secrets

Picture Perfect strode towards the Belfry with a clear purpose that would not be denied. Over the past three days the questions concerning her coltfriend had first grown, and then metamorphosed. It was no longer a mystery as to “who” he really was, so much as “what” he was. She suspected the answer… in hindsight she realized that she should have suspected all along, at least since the night of the crime scene. He had identified those two changeling guards. He had known not only their hive allegiance, but exactly which queen within the hive they served, based on a near imperceptible difference in the iridescent sheen of their chitin. At first it seemed a simple trick of his previously hidden talent for deduction, but after last night…

“Orange Pip isn’t here, miss,” a massive pale horse of an earth pony watching the door responded in firm but polite tones as the mare approached.

“I wanted to talk to his cousins, if they’re not performing… if that’s alright.” Picture smiled at the gigantic stallion. “We’ve been dating for months now, and I’ve never really met his family before the other night.”

“And nopony ever met yours at all.” The stallion smiled grimly, but he stepped aside all the same. “Tonight’s the freak show burlesque. If his kin want to speak with you, they’ll speak I imagine.”

Pic’s eyes adjusted quickly to the darkened interior. Still she was no lunar and the corners guarded their secrets well. Out of nowhere an earth pony mare melted out of the darkness. Though her best years were clearly behind her, Pic could easily see even in the low light that she had once been a great beauty. She carried herself with a practiced grace. Her fur was the color of smooth caramel and she wore the streaks of grey in her matching tail and mane like badges of honor.

“You must be Photo, I’m so pleased to meet you,” the mares smile was warm, but guarded, “My nephew speaks very highly of you. I’m Caramel Apple.”

“I-it’s Picture, ma’am,” Picture replied, clearly rattled, “Picture Perfect.”

“Oh, of course, it’s easy to mix up names at my age dear. I have so much on my plate, you understand.” The mare’s warm smile never even faltered, even as she gave the unicorn a knowing wink. “You’ll find Candy Apple downstairs, Michelle is serving drinks for the Freak Show, so she should be on break. And don’t you worry, The Belfry is a house of secrets, we can keep yours as well as you keep ours.”

Picture moved shakily toward the stairs. There was no way that exchange could have been an accident. They knew. Of course they knew. How could they not? As she advanced into the downstairs theatre, a three headed filly of truly giant proportions sang a somber round, each head following the next verse for verse.

“Got a secret can you keep it, swear this one you’ll save
Better lock it in your pocket, taking this one to the grave.”

Picture could nearly swear the white unicorn head flashed a predatory smile directly at her with the last line.

“Billy was right as usual.” a familiar burgundy lunar mare sidled up beside her. “Michelle! Can we have two sweet ciders?”

A pretty orange earth pony mare with a slightly enlarged jaw smiled shyly and moved towards the bar.

“You, know, this is usually when mares quietly stop coming around.” The young mare’s voice took on a stern edge. “Don’t think we don’t know why you're here.”

“If I show you then I know you won’t tell what I said.
Cause two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

There was no doubt in her mind this time, the yellow earth pony head made eye-contact as she sang the last line, her eyes flashing a clear warning.

“Please, I love Pip. I didn’t run off when he dragged me to a murder scene in the middle of the night.” Picture pleaded earnestly. “I didn’t question when he suddenly showed me this new, terrifying secret life. I’ve followed him into places that scare me worse than Tartarus. I just… I love him, I don’t even mind that I don’t really know who I love. I just want to know what I love. Is that so wrong?”

“Why do you smile like you’ve been told a secret?
Now you're telling lies, cause you’ve been sworn to keep it.”
But no one keeps a secret, no, no one keeps a secret!”

“Do you think you can take his secrets, while you keep your own?” The mare’s normally friendly voice became caustic.

The bar maid returned, and Picture only flinched a little as she served the ciders with agile tendrils that emerged from her split mouth.

“Why when we do our darkest deeds do we tell?
It burns in our brain, becomes a living hell,
Cause everybody tells, everybody tells!”

The orange head grinned viciously as she met Picture’s eye.

“I’m not afraid of you!” Picture glared at the burgundy mare. “I’m scared FOR Pip! He calls you his family, but he serves you like a slave! Rogue changelings treat him like exiled royalty. I’m not running away, I just want to know the truth! How can I stand beside him if I don’t even know who or what we stand beside or against? I deserve that much!”

“The goat will see you now, miss,” a scaled pony-like creature said calmly, shocking Pic out of her rant, “Just follow the backstage hall down the stairs on the left. Knock three times. He’s expecting you.”

Author's Note:

A whole chapter devoted to Candy Apple? What manner of Typo is this? But then why not? She IS the cutest lunar pony in the Silververse (sorry Night Watch, but you know it's true). :yay:

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