• 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 57 - Curiouser and Curiouser

"Miss Hearts," the grey, gotee'd earth pony shuffled nervously, "Th-there's been an incident in the Emerald ward."

"What did you just say, Ozwell?" The cream mare hissed dangerously. "This had best not involve my stepson, or I promise you, heads WILL roll."

Ozwell swallowed hard. "It's not Nimblehooves Headmistress... it's... Alice is loose in the school."

"What?!?!" The angry unicorn mare glared viciously. "How?"

"The floors, Headmistress, they had been freshly polished..." Ozwell stammered. "There was a reflective surface."

"I thought the orderlies had been briefed on the situation with that student and mirrors." Scarlet Heart's growled with a feral snarl.

"Th-they were! I can assure you!" Ozwell quickly tried to reassure his employer. "She's never been able to move through anything but proper mirrors before, though. We had no way of knowing..."

"Of course," the headmistress scowled, continuing thoughtfully, "She's a clever little filly. She's been holding back. She could have escaped any time she wanted to. Why bother though? She's a stranger in a strange land. She has no family, no parents, no bits. She knows next to nothing about surviving in Equestria."

"That said, she can't get far." Ozwell smiled with relief. "I will make sure to put out word with the guards in local villages. We'll have her back by evening meal-time I'm sure."

"You assume she's left the school, then?" Scarlet raised a critical eye-brow.

"Why else would she escape?" The stallion asked, confused at his employer's reasoning.

"I can see your line of thought, clearly, Ozwell. You're a very clever pony, yourself, a wizard in your own right... it's too bad you couldn't have been born a unicorn." The mare smiled coyly. "She's well treated, well fed, and the only thing we deny her is freedom and the outside world. So what else could she want?"

"Indeed, Headmistress." Ozwell answered cautiously.

“She knows entirely too much of my collection, and my plans." Scarlet answered flatly. "Her little mirror tricks have allowed her to become quite troublesome. I've allowed her as much liberty as I have simply because her stories would seem beyond belief to most ponies. After all who would she tell? Who would believe her? Until recently, nopony, at least nopony who had any contact with the outside world. Our 'extra special' students up to this point have all been orphans. But our dear little Alice has been making friends. And friendship is the most dangerous magic there is."

"Diane Pastel!" Ozwell gasped with realization.

"Technically Princess Diane Pastel." Scarlet smiled coldly. "I knew that changeling would be trouble."

"Diane Pastel is a dangerous criminal." Ozwell spoke evenly. "Assuming she did believe Alice's wild stories, she has no say at all in the royal court."

"That is far from certain, Ozwell." Scarlet stroked her chin thoughtfully with one hoof. "She has Princess Luna's sympathies, and there are many ponies both in the lunar court and among the commoners of Lower Canterlot who consider her a hero. And that's assuming it's Alice's plan to simply expose us. We have taken everything she had to remind her of her home and spent the last five years convincing everypony that she is insane. If she wanted to expose us, she could have escaped at any time. We now know our petty attempts to contain her were useless from the start. She could have walked out this school through any darkened pane of glass and stepped out of Princess Celestia's vanity mirror any time she wanted. No, she want's something Princess Pastel is an expert at extracting, she wants revenge."

Ozwell swallowed hard. He regretted or perhaps the thousandth time becoming associated with Miss Hearts. He had only wanted to help troubled foals, but no hospital in canterlot would accept an earth pony therapist. When he had received his letter of acceptance from a school endorsed by Celestia herself. There were red flags from the beginning. It was a reform school for starters, so it was little wonder they had accepted him. Despite bearing the name of the Princess, it was hardly a prestigious position. Still it was a chance to help troubled foals who others considered beyond redemption. And the Headmistress herself was quite... charming.

It was obvious in retrospect that she had used him, playing with his heart to draw him further and further into her games until he was in deep enough that there was no escape. He had no choice but to play along. Safely hidden behind Scarlet Heart's masquerade he was a good and noble pony. The truth was his own dark secret. He really did his best to help the colts and fillies in his care, even those who he used. The headmistress had a special interest in foals who had visited other worlds, or who had come from them. Ozwell's job was to insure that these special colts and fillies "disorders" were properly diagnosed. They were confused after all. Everypony knew there was no such thing as humans, and that the very notion of ponies simply falling into and out of the world was pure nonsense. These poor foals were victims of their own overactive imaginations. They imagined evidence of their wild stories that Scarlet Hearts had "stolen", but in reality they were just ponies, just like every pony else. And at the end of it all, they really would be happier if they could just accept this simple "truth".

-=-=-=-=-

Thirteen stared curiously at the little candy her sister's friend had passed her through the window. She smiled at the thought of how funny the exchange had been. There she had been, reared up on her back six legs, admiring her dim reflection. She was a sexy little caterpillar, and she didn't need Rock Steady to tell her that (though she reminded herself with a giggle to make sure the young minotaur in question did in fact tell her that on his next visit). Suddenly there, in place of her pretty reflection, was that funny blond filly Diane liked to hang out with. She made a shushing motion and pushed the little candy right out of the window.

"Eat Me." Thirteen smiled as she carefully read the words printed on the sweet in fancy little letters. She held her head up and smiled, proud of herself for the simple accomplishment of reading the simple message. To her this was far more amazing than Diane's weird friend giving her the candy from a reflection in the day room window. Alice was a weird pony, after all. Why wouldn't she do something weird like that? But actually reading words was something special. She had given so little thought to eating the candy that she hadn't even realized it was gone. Her first hint, in fact was not the absence of the candy itself, but rather the somewhat surprising fact that the day room had gotten so incredibly BIG all of a sudden.

She felt a moment of panic as she realized that the room was not really so very big, but she herself was suddenly so very, very small. For a moment she was tempted to scream for help, or at last scream to warn other ponies not to step on her. Then she noticed her collar and her restraints, lying uselessly about her in huge mountainous piles. With a grin she spread her wings buzzed back up to the darkened window to make sure she hadn't suddenly become less sexy. After all, the rest of her had shrunk, and she would be extremely annoyed with Alice if her cuteness had become diminished as well. She was pleased to see that she was as pretty as ever, at least until Alice's giant, weird face filled her vision.

"The candy won't last long, Thirteen! You have to find a place to hide!" The weird, suddenly not-so-little filly warned her sternly.

Thirteen giggled merrily in response. "A place to hide? I see why Diane likes you so much, you're silly!"

"Thirteen we have to..." Before the filly could finish the thought, the little caterpillar changeling had vanished, only her bright happy little smile darting about through the air. Alice cocked her head to one side. "Curiouser and curiouser!"

-=-=-=-=-

"Where's Thirteen?" Diane hissed angrily through her muzzle. "First Alice disappears and now my sister! What are trying to pull here?"

"Please, Miss Pastel," Ozwell said soothingly, "That's what we're trying to determine here. Your sister has managed to somehow get free of her restraints. We need your help before she hurts somepony..."

"Or before our security staff is forced to hurt her." Scarlet Hearts interrupted, drawing an exasperated eye roll from the therapist.

"Is that a threat?" Diane's voice dropped to a whisper. "You'd do well not to threaten my sister... I've heard some things about what goes on here. If word were to get out to Luna..."

"And how will that happen, when you are quite incapable of any kind of cognitive dreaming?" The Headmistress smiled cruelly.

"All a part of your treatment, Miss Pastel." Ozwell rushed to clarify the statement.

"Stuff it up you're flank!" Diane sneered. "Miss Heartless has already overplayed that hand. It's too late to pretend that this is about helping 'poor misguided foals'. Alice was right. I already knew she was a former human, now I know that you did to. And you don't want that little fact to get out."

"Clever little filly." Scarlet snarled. "How clever will you feel in solitary confinement? Ozwell, make a note on Miss Pastel's record. 'Student has been determined to be threat to other ponies. Solitary confinement has been recommended. The student's visiting privileges have been revoked until such time as her treatment is complete and she has been determined not to be a threat to either other ponies or herself'. You may be a princess by technicality, but in this school, I am the Queen."

"You're making a mistake, bitch." Diane rose to her hooves. "My sister is somewhere in this school. She's watching you, and you're never going to see her, and you're never going to find her. And the only thing that's going to save you from her is I'm saving you for myself. You think you can lock me in a hole? They found the last pony who thought they could do that in pieces... very small pieces."

"Guards!" Scarlet stepped back nervously. "This student has threatened myself and Dr. Ozwell."

"No just you." For the first time in what felt like an eternity, Diane’s face split into an impossibly wide grin. “Only you.”

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