• Published 9th Jan 2018
  • 2,201 Views, 30 Comments

Eldritch Fun Times - Impossible Numbers

To make sure she's OK, Rainbow Dash visits Fluttershy on Nightmare Night. However, this peaceful and quiet cottage is about to – ahem – “play host” to some strange and unnatural forces.

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Eldritch Fun Times, Part VIII

A minute later, the cottage hit the ground so fast that Rainbow was smacked up to the ceiling hard enough to stick.

“Ow,” she said.

A few seconds passed before she unstuck and hit the ground again.

“You did that on purpose – Ow!” She got up, noticing angrily that no one else seemed to have taken the force of impact at all.

“Sorry,” said Discord, still fussing over his face reflected on the glass. “I got so used to ignoring you that I forgot not to that time. Nightmare Night! What a… Er… How does the rhyme go, again?”

Fluttershy beamed at him and patted his elbow. “It goes like this…”

Despite the backwash of concussion in her head, both Rainbow and the Smooze smiled. Hearing Fluttershy sing was a treat in and of itself, delicate as sleigh bells but warm as a summer beach.

She sang, as though it were a lullaby, “Nightmare Niiiiiiight. What a friiiiiiight. Give us something sweet to biiiiiiite.”

Discord mouthed the words to himself. “Ah. Got it. Actually, that might work with a little jazz, or maybe set to blues music. I’m sure I could spice it up somehow.”

“Just sing that when you get to any houses, and they’ll give you lots of candy,” said Fluttershy.

With a snap of his talons, he summoned a paper bag to his side. Naturally, it kept flexing and changing shape like a really cheap screensaver effect.

He jumped and clicked his heels, or at least those bits that corresponded to heels on his hoofed leg and clawed foot. “Right ho! All set for the night of darkness and doom! Let the scarring of someone else’s childhood commence!”

Fluttershy’s giggle was enough to deflate his proud chest. He too chuckled with anticipation.

“But in a nice way, of course!” he added.

It was just an act. Oh, not on Discord’s side – Rainbow was prepared to bet anything he was over the moon about this – but the tangs of guilt remained. She sniffed the air.

Only faintly, though; it was as if the guilt were briefly banished. Rolling heavily over the tangs were the scent of lavender, a dash of vanilla, and that nose-cooling, mind-brightening odour that was a pegasus in a good mood. Rainbow Dash felt the corners of her own mouth twitch with joy. Partially fake or not, Fluttershy was smiling, at least.

“Wait a second, Disco,” said Rainbow, stepping forwards and grunting as her costume’s fake Cerberus heads bounced yet again. “Aren’t you taking a costume?”

“Bah!” said Discord, batting his paw against the floating paper bag. “For Nightmare Night, I shall go as myself. I am a hybrid, when all’s said and done. I’m sure some part of me will rise to the occasion. Or crawl up to it. Or fly onto it. Whatever. I was built for this sort of horrifying event.”

“Well, you said it, not me.” Irritably, she batted one of the heads aside. “Hey, while we’re talking costumes, don’t suppose you could, uh, do anything about this one?”

Discord skewed his mouth doubtfully. “Oh no, Rainbow Dash. Costumes are supposed to be the authentic work of the pony. I’m sure you’re not suggesting I ruin your integrity, now are you?”

“No. I’m suggesting you make it cooler. With fire coming out of its mouths, and heads like Dobermans, and snakes growing up from all the fur. You know, make it… more authentic.”

“Ha. Nice try, but I’d hate to deprive you of a valuable lesson in friendship.”

“What lesson in friendship?”

“Oh, I'm sure we could think of one sooner or later.” His wink and grin said something else, but with undercurrents of: I can do this all night, if necessary.

Rainbow sighed. So much for that long shot. “All right. In that case, just stick with me. You’ve got a lot to learn from the mistress of the night.”

“Who, Luna?”

“Very funny, Discord. I meant me.”

“Oh, yes. You should have winked, or something.”

They both went for the door, Rainbow hovering and flapping, Discord drifting over without due regard for gravity.

“OK,” she said on her way over, trying to think like Fluttershy. “You’re gonna love this. First, there’s apple-bobbing. Applejack always sets up a tub, and I bet you’d beat the record for most apples taken in a minute with a mouth like yours. Then, there’s getting the candy. Know any good multiplier spells?”

“Pfft.” Discord reached for the doorknob. “Is Twilight a Princess of Magic?”

“All right. You could’ve just said yes.”

“Ask a silly question, Rainbow.”

He opened the door. Howling winds curled around the cottage. White blurs obscured anything a few yards down the path. Chills bit into Rainbow’s face, and she backed off slightly.

“Whoops.” Discord’s tail flexed and cracked like a whip; winds, blurs, and chills shot down into the ground and seeped out of sight. “Almost forgot.”

“Haha!” said Rainbow Dash as he stepped out. “This is going to be so awesome! Discord and Nightmare Night! I wouldn’t miss that for anything!”

“Are there…” Discord licked his lips. “Are there pranks involved?”

Suddenly, the dark delight was upon Rainbow Dash. In that moment, she wondered if she was part draconequus.

“The bigger,” she said, “the better.”

“Ooh. Is that a challenge, young grasshopper?”

“Back at ya, stick insect.” Rainbow braced her wings. “Ready for the best night of the year?”

Discord braced his own mismatched wings. “Rainbow, darling, it’s not the best night of the year until I get there.”

“Goodbye,” called Fluttershy from the table.

The call was dull, flat, and empty, the verbal equivalent of a paper bag dropped in the gutter. Rainbow turned her head to look back.

Around the table, Harry and Angel sat holding cups but not drinking them. Instead, their gazes were on Fluttershy, who hovered over the sofa and dropped onto the seat. Her back was to the door, but Rainbow could guess what expression she had on her face.

“One moment,” said Discord.

A flash, and Discord disappeared and reappeared before Fluttershy. His limbs stretched across and pulled up the Smooze, which was so slack-jawed with surprise that it didn’t even react when he sat on it.

Rainbow looked ahead. The world beyond the cottage was starlit, haunted by mists, receding into shadows that whispered to childhood fears. Trees were skeletons. The stream at the foot of the hill was so dreary it might have been a metal ribbon frozen in ice.

Rainbow looked back. The world within the cottage was warmed by the crackling hearth. Sofa and settee, plump with comforts. Bric-a-brac on the shelves and table, all quiet and fussy reminders of a life of peace and luxury, though luxury of a modest sort. The timber home was like a part of the forest, which had been tamed and encouraged to settle down.

Grimacing, the Smooze slid out from under Discord, who in accordance with his own whim remained seated in midair and didn’t notice. It slithered over to Rainbow Dash, and then turned to watch.

“He’s gonna stay behind,” whispered Rainbow. She leaned forwards. Butterflies ran up her throat, tickling within her neck. “He’s changed his mind.”

The Smooze shook its head grimly.

Visible from behind, Fluttershy’s ears rose.

Then Discord said, “No hard feelings?”

He extended a paw. Fluttershy’s ears drooped, but she placed a hoof onto it, and then tugged him in for a hug, tight around his shoulders. Even Discord blushed. So did Rainbow, but only because she knew Fluttershy’s hugs like a private code. This was half of one, tight enough to leave no gap but still not her at her most burning and enthusiastic.

Then they parted.

“Phew.” Discord wiped his brow. “For a moment, I feared I might have put you off your tea with those Things breaking in.”

“You didn’t scare me too much,” Fluttershy lied.

Rainbow rolled her eyes. That idiot Discord could be so blind at times.

“Well,” he said, “have a lovely time! I’ll tell you all about it next week!”

A flash later, he was back by Rainbow’s side. “Now, where were we? Ah yes, I believe we were about to paint the town red. Well, I was anyway. I have the requisite paintbrush, after all. Rainbow Dash? Uh, Discord to Rainbow Dash? Do you copy?”

Rainbow did her best to ignore him. She was still staring after Fluttershy, or more specifically at the back of the sofa. Both drooping ears remained still.

Beside her, she felt the Smooze give her a nudge. Clammy clumps squirmed and oozed down her flank, but she barely noticed.

What was the downside, really? She and Discord got a fun night out with friends, and Fluttershy got what she’d wanted last time, a quiet evening with her animal friends. Even the Smooze was a harmless enough guest, provided it didn’t eat anything shiny. So what was missing?

Well, Discord of course, but she’d see him next week. Even without him, this was still Fluttershy’s best Nightmare Night. She was alone – with her animal friends, obviously – peaceful, relaxing, all that stuff Rainbow thought was killing time until something interesting happened, but which was interesting to a mind like Fluttershy’s.

What was the downside? What was missing? What was Fluttershy hiding?

If it had been Rainbow, the answer would’ve been clear. Pony company. But Fluttershy didn’t think like that. She always liked being on her own – with her animal friends, obviously…

…didn’t she?

Well, Rainbow always liked having ponies around, and not just to show off to or to compete with. Some of her best times had been setting off lightning with a big crowd underneath, watching them scream and laughing her head off at their reactions… Or the fun time she and Applejack got into a contest to see who could clear the Apple family maze of monsters first, that had been a good year…

Or the time she’d had a lie-in, all by herself… Or the time she’d sat up one night, on a cloud in the middle of nowhere, staring up at the stars and wondering if a pegasus could fly high enough to touch them…

OK, so she didn’t always like having ponies around…

Maybe Fluttershy didn’t always like being alone.

But it was just one night, surely?

The One Night, in fact. The best Nightmare Night, as far as Fluttershy was concerned, was also a Discord night. And, OK, so he wasn’t technically a pony, but he could talk. He was, loosely, a part of pony society. Sometimes, it was probably nice even for Fluttershy to have someone around who couldn’t be looked up in a field guide.

And tonight, all Fluttershy’s pony friends would be out and about, while she was stuck – no, while she stuck herself in here, where she didn’t have to see her friends’ faces wide with terror.

Rainbow sighed. She didn’t need the Smooze’s second nudge.

“Ahem,” said Discord coldly.

Finally, Rainbow grinned up at him. “Tell you what,” she said. “I’ll, like, catch up with you later? I got one or two things to talk to Fluttershy about.”

Discord raised an eyebrow at her. His goatee shivered as he jutted his jaw. “Is that so?”

“Go to Twilight’s castle and tell the others to start without me. They’ll show you all the cool stuff we do on Nightmare Night. You want a competition, Applejack’s your mare. She beat me at apple-bobbing once, though she says I ‘technically won’ –”

“You make it sound like you’ll be gone a while,” persisted Discord.

Rainbow fiddled with one of the Cerberus heads, not meeting his eye. “Let’s just say don’t hold your breath.”

“I don’t actually need to breathe, but if you insist…?”

A chuckle escaped his lips. Suddenly, his paw was on Rainbow’s head, and she gritted her teeth as he ruffled her mane.

“Good doggy,” he said, chuckling.

“Just get going.” She batted him off.

“Loyal to a fault, aren’t you just?” His wheedling words echoed through her head, long after he burst into flames and vanished. Loyal to a fault, aren’t you just loyal to a fault aren’t you loyal to a just loyal to a fault loyal you just fault…

“Stupid draconequus,” she muttered, and she slammed the door.

As quietly as she could, she slipped over to the table, not even looking up when Fluttershy gasped. Angel Bunny’s ears rose. Harry grunted in acknowledgement and nodded once. Only when she was about to sit down on the settee between them did Rainbow meet Fluttershy’s eye.

Curiosity peeped through that face. Both eyes gaped at her. Fluttershy’s mouth peeked through a tiny hole in the dark.

“I thought you were going out,” she breathed.

“Yeah, well, you know how it is.” Rainbow squirmed a little in her seat. It was amazing what she could get away with if she spoke loudly enough. “Discord out on Nightmare Night? I think a big know-nothing know-it-all like him would cramp my style. He just doesn’t get what a good scare is. Twilight can give him a few lessons first; get him up to speed. Anyway, it ain’t fair to go head-to-head with a newbie.”

Fluttershy closed her tiny mouth.

“But I could do with a hot drink.” Rainbow snatched a cup from the table at random – hot chocolate, judging from the bits floating around the edge on the surface – and glanced over the table. “And some of that carrot cake. Angel’s recipe, yeah?”

Angel’s squeak was drawn-out and suspicious.

“Anyway, I like to take it easy.” Rainbow slurped. Ah yes, that was Fluttershy’s style all right. So much sugar her entire jaw tingled with the stuff, and so much milk that this was almost a thick milkshake slick on her tongue. “You look like you got a load of treats in this den. Why go all over town when I can just grab something here? It’s stupid.”

“Yeah…” Fluttershy relaxed her brow. “Kinda silly, when you put it like that.”

“Also, the Weather Team made it way too cold tonight.” Swapping her cup for a plate with a slice on it, Rainbow leaned back on the settee and heard its satisfying groan against her surrendering spine. “You can’t work up a good scare when your teeth are chattering like crazy. I bet Rarity’d make a good costume for that, but it’s just not the same. This Cerberus one sure as sugar won’t do it. I was freezing all the way here. Nah, I’m better off where it’s warm. Save the chill for winter.”

A little smugness wriggled with glee in Rainbow’s head. She saw Fluttershy’s face fill up with cheer as the words poured on. There was even a wink.

“My goodness,” said Fluttershy, trading her cup for a slice of cake too. “It’s lucky Discord left so much stuff for you, or I’d never be able to manage one more guest.”

“You got it in one, Fluttershy.”

A slurp, a gloop, and a rumbling groan. The Smooze sagged beside them, mouth a wavy curl of misery.

Without stopping to think, Fluttershy tipped her slice of cake into it. The squelching took a while. The Smooze rose up, its sagging slime heaping again, and it turned its frown upside-down. They saw the slice sink into the semi-transparent gunk.

“Of course, you’re more than welcome to join us, Mister Smooze,” said Fluttershy.

Harry groaned. He and Angel raised their plates too. As one, the tea party took their first bites, Fluttershy alone using a fork tied to a wristband to assist her ladylike portions.

In between bites, Rainbow sighed with relief. She could always set up a few pranks tomorrow.

After Angel squeaked, Fluttershy said happily, “Angel tells me that’s a nice costume, Rainbow Dash. He wants to know why you went for Cerberus this year.”

Rainbow shrugged, but then the cake had been nice, so she answered, “I just thought it looked cool. You know, a heck-hound from Tartarus. Can’t get much more radical than that.”

After Harry grunted, Fluttershy added, “That’s right, Harry! We were talking to Twilight about Cerberus once, weren’t we? Twilight said a lot of things about that lovely little doggie. How he guards more than just the evil creatures of Tartarus. What was it…? Oh, yes. He guards ‘the darkness at the heart of ponydom’.”

Through a mouthful – Angel had outdone himself this time – Rainbow said, “Oh yeah? Wad’s dat mean?”

“I don’t know.” Fluttershy beamed at her. “All I know is that Cerberus is very loyal, and very sweet, and he always does his best to make Celestia happy.”

Beside them, the Smooze beamed at one and then at the other, apparently just happy to be there.

Rainbow swallowed. “Yeah? Twilight said that, did she?”

“Uh huh.”

“Cool. Hey, can I have another slice of cake? Uh, please?”

Oh, she knew about the crumbs all over her costume’s front and around her mouth, but it wasn’t as if she didn’t already look kinda ridiculous. Both Cerberus heads were starting to warm her ears. There wasn’t such a buzz now, but a gentle hum, as though the world itself were contentedly remembering a song from long ago.

After all, Fluttershy was laughing. What said “contentment” more than that?

Comments ( 9 )

And there you have it! One Flutterdash Friendshipping Fic finished before Friday! I hope you enjoy it, ladies and gentlemen. :pinkiesmile:


Even poor, patient Fluttershy has her limits.

was nice story

Glad that things worked out in the end!


But of course! I'm not that cruel. :raritywink: Thank you for the nice comments, too.

Lovely stuff from start to finish. No one was entriely in the right, everyone learned something, and everyone's happy at the end. What more could you ask for?


True story: I rewatched that particular scene to get the details exactly right. Since the scene was at least ten minutes long and far more complex than I remembered, I had to trim it, uh, let's say "a bit".


Well said. :twilightsmile: Thank you for the response. I'm very pleased to see you enjoyed the fic so much.


Discord does go in for lateral thinking, doesn't he?


Always one for the big entrance, that Rainbow Dash. :rainbowlaugh: Glad to see you enjoying this one.

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