• Published 25th Dec 2019
  • 785 Views, 12 Comments

Lyra & Bon Bon: Big Mares on Krampus - The Hat Man

Newlyweds Lyra and Bon Bon want to spend a quiet Hearth's Warming together. A holiday-themed monster and Bon Bon's old monster-hunting agency have other plans for the pair...

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Part II

Bon Bon found Lyra pulling boxes out of their shared closet.

“Let’s see, grappling hook, sunglasses, fake mustache, extra fake mustaches, a guide on Manehattan accents…”

Lyra giggled.

“It’s pretty funny going through all this stuff again,” she said. “I think I’d talked to you at least three times when I moved to Ponyville and you had a different voice every time!”

Bon Bon blushed. “I was figuring out my character!” she protested.

“Oh, here we go!” Lyra said, bringing out box tied with a red ribbon. “These are just what we need to face down a monster!” She opened the box, revealing what appeared to be an assortment of different candies and treats. “Your trick candy weapons!”

Bon Bon raised an eyebrow as she looked at them. She’d studied alchemy in her early years and used it to help develop candy-based weapons that had served her well in the field: exploding Pop Rocks, taffy that served as a sticky snare, a red hot that could literally heat itself to become red hot, a kinetic jawbreaker that amplified momentum when thrown to where it could literally break a pony’s jaw, and so on.

“I think we might be over-preparing here, Lyra,” Bon Bon said. “I mean, think about it: even if this creature is real, the last time it was seen was centuries ago, and we’d have to be unlucky enough to have it appear in Ponyville as opposed to anywhere else in Equestria.”

“Well, it never hurts to be prepared!” Lyra said. “That’s what I learned in the Filly Guide scouts! You know, I think I even have my old uniform… I wonder if it still fits me.”

Bon Bon paused for a moment to think about how Lyra would look in said uniform…

Hey Bon Bon… I heard you like cookies. But I’ve got an even better snack for you...

“Bon Bon, why is your face turning red?”

Bon Bon shook her head, clearing the mental image away.

“Never mind,” she said. “Look, we’re going to a Hearth’s Warming party. We don’t need to bring all this stuff with us or it’ll look out of place. Or worse, some pony will try to eat it and get clobbered. Let’s just keep an eye out for the monster and if it appears, we can just report it to SMILE and let them take care of it.”

Lyra frowned. “Oh. Well, I guess that makes sense, sure,” she said. “I mean, it would be better if we didn’t have to put ourselves in danger.”

Bon Bon let out a sigh, breathing more easily for the first time since Furlong showed up. “Good. I’m glad to hear you agree.”

Lyra looked down at the trick candy once more. “Although… well, we could stuff some of it in our scarves or coats or something just to be safe.”

Bon Bon rolled her eyes. “Fine, I guess that would be okay if it comes to that,” she said. “Just the same, I hope we don’t run into it.”

As she turned to go, Lyra suddenly placed her hoof on her shoulder.

“Hm?” Bon Bon said, turning to face her.

Lyra was looking at her with obvious concern. “I didn’t pick up on it because I was in the moment before,” she said, “but… you’re really scared, aren’t you?”

“M-me?” Bon Bon laughed, not meeting her eyes. “No! No, of course not! I… it’s just some stupid legend that probably isn’t real anyway! Why would I—”

Lyra placed her hoof on Bon Bon’s chin, gently guiding her to meet her gaze.

“Bon Bon,” she said calmly, “it’s okay. You can tell me. You can trust me completely. We’re going to spend the rest of our lives together now, so there’s no reason to keep it a secret.”

Bon Bon felt a lump in her throat as she smiled at her. “Ha… yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry, Lyra. Listen, it’s not like it’s a huge deal, but… when I was very young and misbehaved, my grandmare would try to scare me straight by telling me stories about the Krampus. She used to say ‘Dearie, if you are good, then Santa Hooves will bring you wonderful gifts on Hearth’s Warming… but if you are bad, then the Krampus will come in the middle of the darkest time of night, drag you from your warm bed, and whip you with his sticks for being naughty. Or he might even put you in his bag with all the other naughty foals and take you away. You wouldn’t want that, would you?’”

She shuddered at the memory. “I thought her stories were just an old mare trying to scare a willful filly into behaving herself. This time of year I always think about her stories, though, and now that I know it’s real… or might be real, I guess it’s got me a little spooked. Maybe some part of me is just scared that my luck has finally run out and the Krampus is finally coming for me.”

Lyra drew her in close in a tight embrace. “Shh,” she said gently, patting her on the back. “That monster isn’t interested in you. It’s only after naughty foals, not - heh - semi-naughty mares. And even if he were, he’d have to get through me to get to you. And if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll think twice before messing with my girl.”

Bon Bon had to chuckle as she returned the hug, feeling Lyra’s warmth and the brush of her short mane against her cheek. With a reluctant sigh she let her go, stepping back.

“Yeah, you’re right… okay, we’ll take just a few things and keep an eye out, and I’ll stop freaking out about this monster. Fillyhood legends or not, the Krampus is just like any other monster, and I’m not about to let any monster get the best of me yet!”

“That’s the spirit!” Lyra cheered. “So… we’ve got a few hours before the party… you think we should…”

Bon Bon grinned slyly. “Ohhhh yeah…”

Lyra returned the sly grin. “Heh heh… alllll riiight…” She leaned in closer, and in a sultry voice whispered: “Gingerbread ponies.”

Bon Bon blinked. “What.”

“Gingerbread ponies!” she exclaimed. “You know, for the party! You make the best ones in Ponyville!”

Bon Bon forced a smile. “Yes. Baking cookies. Ssssure, that’s… that’s just what I felt like doing now. I’ll go get the ingredients ready…”

As she left, Lyra eyed the trick candies. If she knew Bon Bon (and she certainly did), in this state of mind she’d take only the bare minimum, if any at all, just to reinforce her assertion that they wouldn’t need them. Lyra, however, wasn’t quite so certain that the evening would be a quiet one. Just to be safe, she took a few of the candies and shoved them into her mane.

She was no Pinkie Pie, but she was no amateur at smuggling such things in her mane when the need arose, after all.

The party at Twilight’s old castle (nopony was quite used to calling it “Starlight’s castle” yet) was in full swing with music, food and drink, and dancing. Lyra and Bon Bon’s cookies were an instant hit and quickly vanished from the hors d'oeuvres table.

Still, Bon Bon couldn’t help but notice that the turnout for the party was considerably lower than she’d expected. The last big party that Twilight had thrown at the castle - back when she’d first taken on Starlight as her student - had been a huge event with what seemed like the whole town in attendance. In contrast, this party seemed considerably more sparse. Judging by Starlight’s expression as she mingled, she’d noticed it as well.

Bon Bon went to get more punch and passed by Roseluck and Derpy when she caught a bit of their conversation:

“Oh where is he? I’m sure he said he’d be here!” Roseluck said, pouting.

“You know Doc, Rose!” Derpy said with a shrug as she hovered unsteadily in the air. “He’s probably distracted with some experiment and lost track of time!”

Bon Bon paused for a moment. Derpy was right: that did sound like something Doctor Hooves would do… but, then again, even if he could be a bit distractible, he was rarely this late to an event.

And now that she thought about it, she’d heard quite a few other party guests make similar remarks about ponies they’d expected to be here, yet somehow had not arrived.

“Bon Bon!” Lyra cried, trotting over to her. “Hey, come out to the balcony with me! There’s a great view!”

Bon Bon frowned. “Not now, Lyra, I think there’s something strange going on here,” she said.

But then Lyra leaned in close. “So do I,” she whispered, her happy demeanor momentarily dropping. “Seriously, come with me and take a look at this.”

Bon Bon nodded, but then put on a happy face similar to Lyra’s as they made their way upstairs together and to the balcony.

The view was indeed lovely, even if that had been Lyra’s excuse for dragging her out there. The stars were shining brightly in the night sky, and the whole town stretched out below, the snow-covered rooftops gently reflecting the moon’s glow.

She had to admit, were it not for her misgivings about what was going on, the view would ordinarily be quite romantic.

“Do you see it?” Lyra asked.

Bon Bon squinted. “Um… sorry, what am I looking at?”

Lyra rolled her eyes. “Okay, it’s Hearth’s Warming Eve, right?” she asked. “So what do ponies do to warm their hearths?”

“Uh, put a log in the fireplace, of course,” Bon Bon replied.

Then she noticed what Lyra meant. Anypony who wasn’t at this party would almost certainly be at home in front of the fireplace. And if they were burning a fire, then smoke would be rising from their chimney.

And yet, for some strange reason, very few chimneys at all were smoking.

“No chimney smoke… equals cold hearths… on Hearth’s Warming of all nights?” Bon Bon wondered aloud as she peered into the darkness.

“You do see it!” Lyra exclaimed. “I was sure it wasn’t just my imagination, but if that’s the case…”

As Lyra continued speculating to herself, Bon Bon scanned the horizon when she saw something that made her heart skip a beat and her breath catch in her throat.

Eyes. Red eyes.

For just a split second, she caught a glint of red and something large on top of one of the rooftops in the distance. Then it swiftly leapt from one rooftop to the next until she lost sight of it.

Large. Fast. Red eyes.

She pulled Lyra in close.

“Huh? Bon Bon, uh, now’s probably not the time—”

“Shh!” Bon Bon hissed, her mouth feeling very dry all of a sudden. “I think I saw something on the rooftops!”

She related her description of what she’d just seen to Lyra, who suddenly seemed considerably less brave than she had been back at the house. Perhaps the reality of the situation was dawning on her.

“Do you think it’s… the Krampus?” Lyra whispered.

“I… I don’t know,” Bon Bon whispered back. “But let’s go check it out. We need to confirm what we saw before we report to SMILE.”

The pair quickly snuck out of the party and into the cold, darkened streets of Ponyville. It wasn’t until they got further away from the castle that they realized how quiet the streets actually were. Nothing could be heard save for their hooves hitting the ground and the sound of their own breathing.

“Keep looking up,” Bon Bon whispered. “It might still be on the rooftops.”

“Right,” Lyra said, casting her eyes upward.

They strained their ears, listening for the slightest sound that might clue them in to the monster’s location.

Okay, Bon Bon, she told herself, just stay calm. Try to think… if it really is the Krampus, then why does it seem like adult ponies are going missing? According to the legends and all the stories I’ve been told, the Krampus only goes after naughty foals, not full-grown ponies!

Just then, they heard a sound behind them. They whirled around and saw that snow had fallen from the rooftop into the alleyway behind them. Bon Bon looked up and saw a large, shadowy figure quickly bounding away, back and forth between rooftops. For its size, it was remarkably nimble and practically invisible in the darkness.

“After it!” Bon Bon shouted.

The two broke into a gallop, barely able to keep track of the creature, but then they realized where it was going: the castle.

“It’s heading for the party!” she exclaimed.

Lyra smirked. “And it wasn’t even invited!” she quipped.

“Lyra, this is no time for cheesy one-liners, our friends could be in danger!”

“Hey, just trying to lighten the mood,” Lyra grumbled.

By the time they got to the castle, it was already apparent that things had gone south. The front doors had been pulled clean off their hinges and screams could be heard from inside.

“Should we radio for backup?” Lyra asked as they approached the entrance.

“No time!” Bon Bon shouted. “If it’s bold enough to attack all these ponies, then we’ve got to take the chance to stop it now!”

As they entered, the scene was pure chaos. lights and decorations had been torn from walls, half-finished plates of hors d'oeuvres were strewn on the floor, and the music had gone silent, the speakers toppled over and broken.

“Well, so much for Starlight’s first Hearth’s Warming party,” Lyra sighed. “It’s too bad… it was going pretty well up until it was attacked by the Krampus.”

“We need to confirm that it is the Krampus first,” Bon Bon said.

“Perhaps I can be helping with this, yes?”

The two mares froze. They looked up in the direction of the voice and saw the speaker leaning over the railing of the upper level.

The creature was large, stocky, and covered in brown fur. He wore a dull brown jacket over a red sweater and had large, pointed ears as well as a pair of upwardly curving horns. His eyes were completely blood red and his grin revealed two little fangs. An enormous sack was slung across his back and it appeared to be moving as numerous muffled voices inside cried out. The creature casually held a bundle of sticks in one hoof-like hand while he munched on a candy cane with the other.

“Greetings,” he said. “I am Krampus. You are Miss Lyra Heartstrings and - heh - Miss Bon Bon, yes? I am glad you have come… it saves me trouble of coming to collect you two later.”

“Take this, you fiend!” a voice shouted.

They looked and saw Trixie run at the Krampus as she lobbed a smoke bomb at him. The Krampus momentarily disappeared in a large cloud of smoke before he simply inhaled it all, his cheeks puffing outwards. As Trixie skidded to a halt in front of him, he belched out the smoke at her, causing her to first scream, then choke as the smoke enveloped her. The Krampus chomped on the last bits of his candy cane before reaching into the smoke and plucking out a still-coughing Trixie.

“Silly unicorn,” he chided. “I have plunged down lit chimneys before. Your smoke is minor annoyance at best.”

Trixie stared back with terrified eyes. “Please don’t eat me,” she whimpered.

The Krampus sniffed. “No promises,” he said. “Into sack with you!”

Trixie screamed as the Krampus swiftly opened the sack on his back and deposited her inside, drawing it shut just as quickly.

“Now, where were we?” the Krampus said, looking back down at Lyra and Bon Bon, his grin widening.

Just then, a powerful beam of magic blasted him in the face.

“Give her back!”

They again looked up into the center of the room and saw Starlight Glimmer levitating with her own magic, her aura enveloping her entire body. Her eyes were aflame and her teeth were clenched tightly as she stared down at the monster.

“Give all my friends back, you monster!” she screamed, firing another beam at the Krampus.

This time the Krampus simply held up a hand, blocking the bolt with ease. Then he rubbed his jaw, a look of annoyance on his hairy face.

“Bah. Naughty unicorns come out in droves today,” he said. “Your magic is like buzzing of flies to me, Starlight Glimmer. But I am glad you have stopped hiding. Now you will answer for all your sins…”

Starlight gasped as the Krampus leaped over the railing with lightning-quick speed and swatted her out of the air with his bundle of sticks. She landed roughly on the castle floor and tried to get to her hooves in a daze as the Krampus landed behind her.

The Krampus yanked her up by her tail, and swatted her across the backside with the bundle of sticks, causing her to shriek in pain and surprise.

“You have been very-” WHACK “-naughty-” WHACK “-pony!” WHACK

“Ow ow ow!” Starlight screamed, her face red with a mixture of rage and embarrassment. “What in Celestia’s name is wrong with you?! I’m not some misbehaving foal!”

“No,” the Krampus said gravely, his eyes narrowing. “You much worse. But we chit-chat later.”

With a final yell of angry protest, Starlight was likewise stuffed into the Krampus’s giant bag.

“Okay,” Bon Bon said, her voice wavering, “we just saw one of the most powerful unicorns in Equestria blast him right in the face and he shrugged it off like a stiff breeze… we are so dead.”

“Well, maybe he’s impervious to magic,” Lyra said, pawing the ground with her hoof as she prepared to charge at the monster, “but we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves too. Or, better yet,” she said, reaching into the pink scarf she wore around her neck, “in our scarves!”

Before Bon Bon could react, she ran at the Krampus and used her magic to remove a taffy piece from her scarf and throw it at him. The taffy burst into several large, sticky strands that wrapped around the beast, binding his arms and legs.

“Oh?” he asked, surprised but still obviously unconcerned. “What is this? You fight Krampus with snack foods? Heh. Quite amusing.”

“How’s this for amusing?!” Lyra shouted, taking the kinetic jawbreaker from her scarf and flinging it at the Krampus’s head.

The Krampus reacted quickly, catching the projectile in his teeth. The little piece of candy continued spinning, creating sparks as it strained against the grip of his jaws. Once it finally lost its momentum, however, the Krampus simply moved it to his back teeth and crushed it in one bite.

“Ooh, this one had layers. I should know not to try to eat in one bite, but I can never help myself. Now,” he said, casually snapping the taffy strands as he stepped towards them both, “will you two come like nice little fillies? Or perhaps you are wanting to keep doing things the hard way?”

Lyra gulped. “B-Bon Bon, I could use some backup!”

But Bon Bon found that she was frozen to the spot. Despite the creature’s almost cuddly appearance and easy-going demeanor, it was still the legendary creature from her grandmare’s stories, the creature of her nightmares, and it was seemingly unstoppable.

“Bon Bon!”

Lyra’s voice finally snapped her out of it and she reached into her own scarf for a weapon.

The Krampus sighed. “Hard way it is,” he muttered.

He sprang forward and grabbed Lyra by the neck with one hand and ripped her scarf off her neck with the other, spilling the candy-themed weapons all over the floor.

“No! Put her down!” Bon Bon screamed, and threw a hoof-ful of exploding Pop Rocks at the beast.

He was showered in a series of tiny explosions, each of which left a bit of soot on his clothes and face and stung more than he would have liked to admit.

“Bah! Tricks are no longer amusing!” he growled, opening his sack.

“Bon Bon, hel—” Lyra shouted as she was stuffed inside.

“You monster, you let them go!” Bon Bon shouted, throwing weaponized candy piece after piece as the Krampus stomped over to her. Hot, angry tears spilled onto her cheeks as he shrugged off each attack until he stood directly in front of her.

As she stared up at him, his eyes seemed to glow, and she felt as though his gaze was peering into the very depths of her being.

“Ah. Your grandmare… she told you about me, yes?” he asked. “Few ponies these days remember Krampus. I make sure they never forget. All ponies soon fear me like you do, little earth pony.”

“I’m…” Bon Bon swallowed, shaking with anger as she stared up at him. “I’m not afraid of you.”

The Krampus sniffed. Then he took a deep breath and roared at her, his fur-covered face momentarily distorting into a horrific, batlike visage as his piercing shriek shook her to her very bones and flecks of his spittle sprayed her on the face.

She felt her legs give out and she stared up at the Krampus in wide-eyed terror.

“Hmph. Naughty little liar,” the Krampus grunted, picking her up by the scruff of her neck as he pulled open the sack. “You join your lovey dove now.”

Bon Bon felt herself being carried over the creature’s head, narrowly missing his horns as she stared into the depths of the massive burlap sack. Dozens of ponies stared up at her, their eyes constricting in the sudden light. Among them, near the top, she saw Lyra reaching out for her.

She felt Lyra’s forelegs embrace her as she was shoved inside, and then the bag was cinched shut, sealing them all in darkness.

“Ugh, could you move your leg?”

“Sorry, it’s cramped in here!”

“Where is this monster taking us?!”

Amid the chattering of the ponies inside the sack, Lyra gently stroked Bon Bon’s mane as she tried to calm her down.

“Hey, just relax, Bon Bon,” she said softly. “After all, now we can track this monster to his lair!”

Bon Bon glared at her. In the very dim light, she saw Lyra’s sheepish smile.

“W-well, sure it’s not quite how we planned, but at least we’re on the right track!”

“Hey, I just thought of something!” Rose exclaimed from somewhere below them. “Maybe Starlight can use her magic to cut a hole in the sack or teleport us out!”

“Sorry,” Starlight said, “but I - ow - I tried that already. This sack may look like a normal burlap sack, but it’s obviously enchanted. Somehow it’s dampening everypony’s magic; I can’t cast even a single spell!”

“Well, what is this ugly thing and where is it taking us?!” Trixie demanded.

“It’s called the Krampus,” Sunburst said. “I’ve read old legends about it before. It’s supposed to appear around Hearth’s Warming - or at least it used to - and what it does with ponies it takes away varies from legend to legend. Some say that it drowns them in a river—”

Several ponies gasped.

“—or takes them to Tartarus—”

More ponies gasped, this time more loudly than before.

“—or just eats them!”

Another round of gasping.

“Okay, okay, yes, thank you, Sunburst,” Starlight said hurriedly. “Look, if we all remain calm, I’m sure we’ll either figure a way out of this or somepony else will come to save us.”

“Yes, well, perhaps it would accept payment or perhaps a ransom,” said a snooty, muffled voice from the very bottom of the sack.

“Hey, is that Spoiled Rich?” Lyra asked.

“Yes, and for some reason this revolting beast picked me up first, which is why I’m on the bottom of this horrible pile. When my husband hears of this indignity, heads will roll!” she declared, her voice somehow finding its way up through the tangled living mass of ponies piled on top of her. “And speaking of indignity, will whoever’s on top of me kindly move his posterior off my head!”

“SORRY!!” Bulk Biceps shouted.

Lyra looked down and saw a red and green glow on Bon Bon’s watch.

“HQ, HQ, come in!” she whispered. “This is Agent Sweetie Drops! Agent Heartstrings and I have been discovered! We need back up!”

The watch was silent. Not even static could be heard, which meant that the signal was completely dead, the magical link between it and SMILE HQ was cut off, just like Starlight’s magic.

“HQ, come in! Can anypony read me? Come in!”

“Bon Bon, that’s not going to work,” Lyra whispered back. “And keep your voice down. What about, you know, your secret identity.”

“The hay with all that!” Bon Bon hissed. “We’re being dragged off to who-knows-where by my fillyhood nightmare! How could I possibly stay calm in this situation?!”

“Well, at least the Krampus put us here together,” Lyra offered.

“That just means that one of us can’t rescue the other! Ugh, see, this is why I just wanted to stay home tonight! No party, no adventure, and definitely no monster hunting!”

“Bon Bon, come on, try to stay optimistic,” Lyra said. “Being negative won’t get us anywhere.”

Bon Bon just grumbled.

After a moment, Lyra snickered. “Hey, Bon Bon… Bon Bon… hey, Bon Bon…”

Bon Bon ignored her, continuing to fume.

“Bon Bon… hey, Bon Bon… Bon Bon, guess what?”

“What?” Bon Bon asked through clenched teeth.

Lyra leaned in close. “We’re - heh heh - we’re ‘in the sack’ together.”

Bon Bon would have facehooved if she’d had room to do so. But soon Lyra’s snickering proved too much for her and she started laughing as well.

“Well, I’m glad somepony’s having fun,” Starlight said, hearing them chuckling, “but maybe instead of complaining or joking around, we should come up with a plan together!”

The mass of ponies was silent. Somepony coughed.

“Uh, sorry, Starlight, but I’ve got nothing,” Trixie said. “Though, to be fair, it’s kind of hard to think when we’re all crammed in here like this.”

“Oh come on!” Starlight exclaimed. “Sure it’s dark and cramped and - ow! - and hot and uncomfortable, but all of us in Ponyville have faced way worse than this! This is nothing!”

Then somepony farted.

As the bag erupted into chaos with groans, gags, and lots of accusatory yelling, Lyra wore a smile on her face. Despite their dire situation, she did have one more idea...