• Published 30th Oct 2016
  • 491 Views, 7 Comments

Onryō: A Cursed Haunting In Equestria - Razalon The Lizardman



Four mares will learn that grief and despair remain even after death.

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Chapter 2

The mansion interior was every bit as decrepit as the exterior. Dust coated every horizontal surface while cobwebs claimed every corner in every room. Cracks ran along the length of every wall, and even some parts of the ceiling. Piles of plaster, no doubt accumulated over years from the ceiling giving way, littered the floor. A musty, moldy smell permeated the stale, dry air.

The ponies set their saddlebags together in a pile before casting light spells to see where they were. The room they were in appeared to be the living room. A couple of couches were lined perpendicular with a quaint, brick fireplace. Portraits of various landscapes decorated the walls around the room, showing areas which might’ve come from the surrounding land, each one faded and peeling slightly in places.

Moon Dancer swept her light all across the walls, looking for a light switch. Finding one, she went over and flicked it on. No light came on.

“Figures,’ she muttered. She turned to her friends. “I’m gonna–”

She flinched in response to a trickle of plaster which fell to the floor in front of her. A quick glance up revealed a small spider web crack in the ceiling. The thought that the ceiling might come crashing down crossed her mind, to which she stepped back a couple paces.

Moon Dancer turned back to her friends. “I’m gonna go find the generator and see if I can get it working.” She turned around and exited through the doorway leading to the foyer. “Be back soon!” she called.

“I’m gonna go explore a little!” Minuette announced. “I’ll bet there’s some cool stuff stashed away somewhere, like treasure or something!” She disappeared through the doorway as well. The ascending echo of her hoofsteps indicated she was heading upstairs.

That left Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine alone in the living room. After brushing away some cobwebs, Twinkleshine plopped down on one of the couches. She levitated a book out of her saddlebag and began reading.

Lemon Hearts wanted to stay in the living room so badly. Between wandering the dark, grimy hallways of the mansion and staying with her friend in the relative comfort and safety of the living room, she would gladly put up with Twinkleshine’s brusqueness to avoid potentially getting lost.

But the aching in her bladder had other ideas for her. The thought of relieving herself right there in the living room briefly crossed her mind, but a dark whisper telling her there was nothing to be afraid of took root. If she got lost, she only needed to yell and her friends would be quick to find her. The mansion was clearly abandoned, so the only real fear to be had was coming upon a rotted section of the floor and falling to her doom, or having the ceiling come crashing down on her. Perfectly legitimate fears, but not ones she couldn’t buck up and face for just a few minutes, depending on how long it took her to find a bathroom. Surely there had to be one somewhere close by.

“I’m gonna go find the little filly’s room,” Lemon Hearts announced, making her way to the entrance foyer.

“Sure, sure,” Twinkleshine replied, disinterested.

Lemon Hearts entered the foyer, and took stock of her surroundings. Directly across from her was another entrance to what looked like a study of sorts. Next to the stairway was a dark hallway; a line of doorways adorned both sides. She made her way down and tried the first one on the left. Inside was a coat closet, with said coats all tattered and dusty. The door across led to a staircase leading down; the fresh hoofprints on the dust-ridden steps told her that Moon Dancer went this way in search of the generator.

Lemon continued down the hall, trying door after door but finding no bathroom on the other side of any. As she explored, the sense of unease she’d felt before gradually lifted, to the point where she felt a spark of excitement each time she opened a new door, curious about what was on the other side.

Along the way, Lemon Hearts passed by a portrait hanging on the wall, depicting three ponies against a lush landscape and bright blue sky. One was a middle-aged green-coated unicorn stallion with a two-toned brown and yellow mane and tail, a thin, well-groomed mustache, and brown eyes. Another was a white earth pony mare with a two-toned red and green mane and tail, and beautiful blue eyes. The third one was a young unicorn colt, probably around thirteen years of age, with a bright green mane and tail, a light blue coat, and bright blue eyes.

Lemon Hearts stopped only for a moment to examine the picture of what appeared to be the family who used to own the mansion. Their smiling faces showed them to be very loving, but other than that, she couldn’t glean much else from the picture. As she turned away to resume her search for a bathroom, she briefly wondered what happened to them, and why the mansion had fallen into such a state of disrepair.

She finally found a bathroom after a few more doors. And just like every other room in the mansion, it was coated with gunk and dust, but with the added detriment of having no windows. She did her best to hold her breath while relieving herself, not wanting to take a whiff of the stale, smelly air. Finishing up, she started retracing her steps back to the living room.

One door, slightly ajar, caught her eye along the way. There was a mini library inside, she remembered, but it seemed she forgot to close the door fully before.

Her newfound curiosity told her to explore a little further, to see what kind of ancient volumes and manuscripts and whatever else were stashed inside. Forbidden knowledge that could rewrite the history of ponykind, or even expand their knowledge of the universe and its existing framework. She had to giggle at her increasingly overactive imagination; of course she wouldn’t find anything so utterly profound in a simple mansion’s library.

Still, the thought of what might be inside was strong enough to convince her to go in. A couple of bookshelves lined the wall directly opposite her, as well as the left adjacent wall. To the right was a mahogany desk, upon which sat an open book.

Lemon Hearts’ attention went straight to the open book. It was odd that, in an otherwise completely abandoned mansion, a single book would be left out as if somepony was reading it after the fact. But the layer of dust covering the book was just as thick as everywhere else, so it had to have been left out when the mansion was initially abandoned.

With that realization, Lemon Hearts was excited to see what it contained. She would be just like Daring Do, uncovering lost secrets to satisfy a hungry adventurer’s spirit, or, in her case, a growing need to prove herself capable of braving the unknown. She trotted over and sat down on the chair after wiping away the dust. Casting a light spell, she began reading the contents of the open page.

12/14/912

Oh Celestia, why did it come to this?

I tried to convince him to stop the experiments, to forget about resurrecting Snowy Pine and let him rest in peace, but he wouldn’t listen. The madness made him blind to reason, or even to Snowy’s pain.

Winter Vista always did blame himself for Snowy’s suicide, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt a little responsible too. I should have seen the signs, and put a stop to their quarreling myself. Then this nightmare could’ve been avoided and we would’ve lived here as a happy family.

But now Winter’s gone, and Snowy’s howls of agony echo through this mansion. I’ve tried to end his suffering, but nothing works. The spell is just too powerful. I’ve only added to my son’s agony.

Maybe the spell will wear off eventually. Sweet Celestia, I hope it does.

I’m going to do it. I can’t bear to live without Winter by my side. If the spell wears off, then all three of us can reconcile in the great beyond. We’ll be a loving, happy family once again.

–Swan Song

Lemon Hearts frowned at the contents. She was about to flip a few pages back to read more, when suddenly the room lit up. Turning around, she saw that the lightbulb set in the wall had come on. Moon Dancer had gotten the generator working!

Lemon Hearts picked the book up in her magic and exited the library, deciding to show the rest of the girls her find. On her way back, she briefly stopped in front of the family portrait she passed earlier. The smiling faces it showed now seemed a lot less genuine after what she’d read. She could only imagine what kind of family turmoil they were hiding from the world.

She blinked.

Soulless, black eyes stared back at her.

Lemon Hearts stumbled backward, the book falling from her magical grasp. Her breaths came out ragged as her chest tightened. She stared back up at the portrait, only to find it was normal again.

Was it some kind of trick of the light? Was it just her mind playing tricks on her? Yeah, yeah that had to be it. Reading the journal must’ve made her more edgy than she realized.

Lemon Hearts took a moment to calm down before she picked the book back up and continued on toward the living room. Moon Dancer was already there, lying on a couch, while Twinkleshine was still reading on the other. Both mares turned to watch Lemon Hearts enter the room.

“Back from nature’s call?” Moon Dancer quipped.

Lemon Hearts blushed a little. “Yeah.” She held up the journal. “And I found this in the library.”

“Oh?” Moon Dancer got up off the couch, her bookishness taking over as she closed the distance between them. “And what is it?”

Lemon was about to answer when everypony’s ears flicked. Hoofsteps were descending the stairs, alongside a strange, scraping sound. Everypony turned to the entrance, through which Minuette soon emerged, her horn lit.

“Where have you been?” Moon Dancer asked.

“This mansion is so cool!” Minuette cheered. “There’s all kinds of cool and interesting stuff in the rooms upstairs. The ones that weren’t locked, at least.” From around the corner, she levitated a very large executioner’s axe, bringing it just a scant few inches from Moon Dancer’s face. “There’s a whole wall of ancient axes and swords and spears and stuff, even!”

Moon Dancer cried out as she backed away from the deadly weapon. “Be careful with that thing, Minuette!” she cried.

“Right, sorry.” Minuette gripped the axe so the blade was facing away from everyone.

Twinkleshine briefly looked up from her book, rolling her eyes at Minuette’s childish excitement, before returning to enjoy her book. A flash of metal in her eye’s corner told her to duck, which she did, her head narrowly avoiding being split open by the axe.

“Minuette!” she shouted.

“Sorry! Sorry!” Minuette repeated. Back and forth the axe swayed, Minuette’s magic struggling to keep a firm grip on it. “This thing is really heavy!”

“She’s gonna get herself killed at this rate,” Twinkleshine whispered to herself, and retreated further away from Minuette’s wild axe swinging.

Minuette finally got a good grip on the axe. She then brought it over to a far corner of the room, safely leaning it against the wall before returning to the group.

“So, anyway…” Lemon Hearts presented the journal to her friends. “I found this in the library.”

“Oooh, what is it?” Minuette asked.

“It looks like its the mansion's owner's journal.” Lemon Hearts passed the book to Moon Dancer, who took it in her own magic. “The final entry is… well, pretty grim.”

Moon Dancer opened the journal to the last entry. Twinkleshine and Minuette looked over her withers and read silently along with Moon Dancer. By the time they were done, each mare either looked incredibly sad or, in Twinkleshine’s case, indifferent.

“Well, that’s depressing,” Minuette said, her usual cheerful tone tainted by sorrow.

“I’m just surprised that nopony saw fit to tear this place down for the last hundred years,” Twinkleshine said.

Moon Dancer said nothing, keeping her gaze on the page as her eyes gained a worried glint. She continued scanning the contents of the entry for a while before turning to look at some distant corner of the room, staring beyond it to the rest of the mansion. She swept her gaze all around the ceiling while flicking her ears back and forth, as if listening for something specific.

Lemon Hearts noticed her friend’s unusual behavior. “Is something wrong, Moon Dancer?” she asked.

Moon Dancer seemed not to hear her friend’s question. She turned her attention back to the book and flipped to the previous page, and quickly scanned the contents. Once finished, she flipped to the page before that and read that entry. She repeated this process several times, all while her friends waited anxiously for her to say anything.

Finally, Moon Dancer closed the book with a sigh. “Well, that’s troubling,” she muttered.

“Moon Dancer?” Minuette ventured. “Are you okay?”

Moon Dancer finally acknowledged her friends with a small smile. “Yeah… Everything’s fine.” She trotted over to their saddlebags and laid down, resting her head against her own. Lighting her horn, she flicked the light switch off, once again casting the room in near total darkness. “Let’s just try to get some sleep.”

Everypony else shared a brief worried glance, before shrugging and following suit, joining Moon Dancer by their saddlebags. Despite the less-than-ideal sleeping conditions, the four mares soon fell fast asleep.