• Published 9th Jul 2020
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Apple Bloom's Mansion 4: The Castle of Death - Lucar

Apple Bloom is finally ready to fight Thanatos in his domain. But is she really?

  • ...

Chapter 1: Game Start!

Author's Note:

Remember to use the plans here to help yourself while reading this story.

Reminder of the party:

Apple Bloom:
Earth pony filly alive
Physically stronger than average
Great fighting skills
Supreme Poltergust (possesses all the tricks of all the Poltergusts, including the ones from the three Luigi's Mansion, can fire elements and anti-ghost beams (Poltergun beams) of energy, can use air to make herself float above the ground and to propel stuff like an air-punch)
Applegoo (clone of goo vulnerable to fire and water and who can pass through bars, grids, and similar stuff)
Spectral Transmograftizer (can turn into a ghost for thirty seconds, has a cooldown of two minutes)
As a ghost, possesses great ghostly powers (lightning, levitation, plant control, portal opening, possession, and so on)
She's globally the fighter with an ultimate mode

Sweetie Belle:
Undead unicorn filly (ghost bound to her own body)
Magic (light levitation)
Supreme Poltergust
Ghostly power of singing (boosting allies, controling weak ghosts, healing)
She's globally the support

Robot pegasus filly (ghost bound to a robotic body)
Can turn into a scooter (very fast and can roll on the walls and the ceiling with somepony on her)
Supreme Poltergust integrated into her body
Fast and agile
When she rolls as a scooter, can leave a trail of fire behind her (ghostly power)
She's globally the fast hitter hard to hit

Robot earth pony mare (ghost bound to a robotic body)
VERY strong physically
Lasso skill
Supreme Poltergust
Can smash her hooves on the ground to create a shockwave. Can also slightly control plants (ghostly power)
She's globally the muscle

Little Ghost
Ghost unicorn filly
Magic (that she never uses because she can do the same with her ghostly powers which are more powerful)
Has all the adventages of a ghost (intangible to anything physical (can still be hit if it's used by another ghost or infused with energy like magic or ghost energy), naturally floats, can turn invisible)
Supreme Poltergust
Possesses a mirror shield (can deflect some projectiles)
Great ghostly powers that she perfectly controls
She's globally the mage

Because of Discord, Thanatos couldn't see what was going on in Evershade Valley, but the second Apple Bloom passed the portal and entered the spiritual world, he knew it, and he knew why she was here. Using his power, he moved his castle not far of her position, then moved several platforms to form a path between her and the entrance. Grand Organ began to play. Oh, how Thanatos loved this guy and his dramatic organ songs.

So, Apple Bloom wanted to try her chance at capturing him? Very well! Thanatos accepted! This may be the most entertaining game so far, even more than the one against Eternal Rest. His castle is huge and full of dangers that will put to shame everything that was sent against Apple Bloom before now. Ooh... He could already see it, Apple Bloom facing his head scientist with all his crazy experiments, trying to survive against the insane Toy Maker, or doing everything she could to not be devoured by the Abomination.

He couldn't wait!

Seated on his throne, he did a wave with his right arm in front of him, spreading a purple smoke. When the smoke cleared, it left behind a table with a model of his castle. Beside him, another table materialized, this one containing a pile of pieces that looked like chess pieces.

He took one that was yellow with the head of Apple Bloom and stared at it, grinning. "So... The little filly ghost hunter..."

He placed the piece on one of the platforms forming the path to his castle, and the piece began to move by itself toward the entrance. The Apple Bloom piece was joined by four others, representing Applejack, Sweetie Belle, Little Ghost, and Scootaloo.

Thanatos then took another piece, this one entirely skeletic, representing him with a crown. "...wants to take down the big bad Spirit of Death." The superior part of the model moved aside, letting him place the piece in a model of the throne room.

He then looked at the piece still beside him, and smirked. "But first..." With a flick of a claw, he made all the pieces float. "You will have to get pass all of them." He made the table grow, the bowl formerly containing the piece disappearing. The pieces then all dropped on it, separating into three groups.

Hundreds and hundreds, maybe over one thousand of bronze pieces in ranks.

Dozens of silver pieces, also in ranks behind the bronze pieces.

Four golden pieces behind the silver ones.

"And now..." He took one of the silver pieces, this one possessing a dragon skull, and placed it in front of the entrance. "Let's see how you will fare against this guy. He's the gate keeper after all, so you will have to defeat him if you want to invade my castle."

The five colored pieces representing Apple Bloom and the others reached the silver piece.

"Poor fools who want to brave the domain of Death... Welcome to your new home," said the dragon skull guarding the entrance of the castle.

So it decided to talk now. Last time, it had just opened its mouth to let Apple Bloom enter the castle. Darn, did it mean that they will have to fight it to enter the castle? There was almost no land to walk on to avoid whatever it will send to attack them. The platforms forming the path were very small.

Thankfully, they had the brand new Supreme Poltergust. Fighting the dragon skull would have almost been impossible before, but now...

Hopefully, the ghost in it was possessing it, not bound to it, or the fight will take a little longer.

The skull began firing purple fireballs from its eyes, and some of the ponies had to step back on previous platforms to have the place to dodge them.

"Ah guess it's already time to go Spectral!" said Apple Bloom before she pressed the button of the Spectral Transmograftizer on her chest. In a flash of light, she found herself turned into a ghost, and she flew away, a fireball almost hitting her.

"What?!" shouted the skull before he was simultaneously hit by lightning energy fired by both Apple Bloom and Little Ghost, making it scream in pain.

"Aah! It's good to use my powers without a stupid amulet blocking them!" shouted the ghost filly.

"Nice to've them!" said Apple Bloom, keeping a careful eye on the countdown displayed by her visor.

"My turn!" shouted Sweetie Belle before she began to sing.

Applejack could already feel herself gaining in strenght. "Nice!" she shouted before she saw Scootaloo, as a scooter, roll beside her. She quickly jumped on her, standing awkwardly on one leg with how small the scooter was. Apple Bloom and Little Ghost then used their power to make the last platform before the skull tilt up, letting Scootaloo use it like a ramp to jump on the skull, avoiding by the same occasion a stream of purple fire fired by it from its mouth. Sweetie Belle quickly had to move to the side to avoid being burned.

Scootaloo landed on the skull, and Applejack jumped from her to smash her hooves on it, making the skull crack. Scootaloo continued to roll on it until reaching the front wall of the castle above the entrance door, then began to roll on it higher and higher. Near the top, she turned around and accelerated, charging back toward the skull, and pierced it thanks to her speed, damaging it even more.

Seeing the countdown reaching zero, Apple Bloom moved to float just above the skull and pressed the button of the Spectral Transmograftizer, turning back to normal. Despite this, she continued to attack the skull by punching it with blasts of air while Sweetie Belle fired ice shards with her Poltergust.

The skull roared and multiplied the number of fireballs fired from its eyes, making them rain a little everywhere on itself in the hope of getting itself rid of the ponies now punching it, but Little Ghost used her power to create a strong wind that sent the fireballs flying away, none of them hitting the ponies. Meanwhile, the cracks in it continued to spread with each punch and each ice shard it received, and it understood that it hadn't much time.

A ghost of a young dragon flew out of the skull inside its mouth to escape just before the skull began to crumble, but he quickly stopped when he saw Scootaloo in front of the entrance door targetting him with her Strobulb of her Poltergust. He didn't know about the Strobulb however, so he directly tried to attack her only to receive a big flash in the eyes, dazzling him. Apple Bloom and Applejack, who both landed beside Scootaloo, then activated their Poltergusts to suck up the ghost, joined by Little Ghost and Scootaloo. The dragon resisted, but then, the Power Surge gauge of the four Poltergusts totally filled, and the four hunters activated it, giving their Poltergusts a huge power surge that totally overpowered the ghost who ended up captured by Applejack.

"Wowee!" shouted the mare. "This fight's a breeze!"

"The moment ya landed on the skull, the fight was over," said Apple Bloom.

"I helped! I helped!" shouted Sweetie Belle who was still on the platform. "My singing worked!"

"It sure worked. Ah could've uprooted an oak," said Applejack.

"Did you see what I did?" shouted Scootaloo excitedly. "Too bad Rainbow didn't! It was awesome!"

"Yeah. Ah saw it!" said Apple Bloom. "Ya're incredible!"

"You were too, Apple Bloom," said Little Ghost. "Too bad you can remain a ghost only for thirty seconds. You and me form a really good team together."

"This castle will be a walk!" shouted Scootaloo. "Thanatos is screwed!"

"Darn right!" said Applejack as she opened the entrance door. "Let's go kick his bony butt, girls."

"Yay!" shouted the fillies as they passed the doors.

"Waiiit! You're forgetting me!" shouted Sweetie Belle from her platform. "i'm stuck here! I can't fly!"

Little Ghost came back looking sheepish. "Sorry. We got a little overexcited." The filly ghost then picked up the undead and dropped her in front of the doors. The two then entered the castle, leaving behind the remains of the dragon skull.

"Oooooh! Maybe they can do it, actually!" said Thanatos, more excited than ever. "I didn't think they would be able to go far, but maybe they have a chance. Mmh... Maybe I should actually up the game a little." At this, he added a few hundreds bronze pieces and two dozens silver pieces on the table. "Mmh... Maybe a little more." He added more pieces again. "That should do it."

Meanwhile, back in Evershade Valley, everyone gathered in front of a huge screen that had been placed outside, not far of Gloomy Manor. Everyone was there, the ghosts of the two versions of Evershade Valley, the ones from Eternal Rest's hotel and its counterpart from the Mushroom Kingdom, the Gem family, and all the others. They all wanted to see this adventure and to support Apple Bloom and the others. For the ghosts of Equestria, it was also in the hope of seeing the end of Thanatos' rule.

Even Mario, Peach, and Luigi were there, to the ponies' surprise. They didn't think they would be present.

"I want to be there for Apple Bloom," said Peach when asked about it.

An old moustached Toad with brown dots sitting beside her known as Toadsworth sighed. "Despite all my tentatives to dissuade her..."

E. Gadd had installed a camera function on the Supreme Poltergusts, and hopefully, thanks to the pixelator, he will be able to connect to them despite the dimensional barrier. He managed to connect it through time to his past self, so he could totally do it!

A few tinkering here and there annnnd.... done!

Images appeared on the screen.

Apple Bloom and the others had entered the entrance hall. The filly recognized it immediately from the first time she had entered the castle, with the big staircase leading to the second floor, but back then she hadn't taken time to look around.

The entrance hall wasn't that big compared to other entrance halls, it was barely bigger than the one from the Gem Manor, but it was certainly scarier, setting the tone of the place (even if the exterior already did a good job with all the spears and the many gargoyles on them and the walls).

There were two gargoyles at both sides of the staircase, the two of them looking as if they were staring at the intruders. More gargoyles, smaller ones, were present at the four corners of the room, and there were a few candlesticks hanging from the walls. A huge chandelier possessing at least had a hundred of candles was also present on the ceiling. All the candles were burning with ghostly purple flames, and some of them were resting on skulls. There was a pony skeleton slumped against the left gargoyle holding a sign with written on it "Welcome". Beside the double door at the top of the stairs that Apple Bloom had passed previously, there were also two other doors back in the first level, at the left and the right.

Apple Bloom was staring at the skeleton with the sign when an image of professor E. Gadd appeared in a corner of her visor. The old man visibly recoiled at the sight of the skeleton.

«Crimini! First images and already almost a heart attack!»

"Prof! Nice to see ya," said Apple Bloom. "So ya're able to make it work?"

«Of course! It wasn't hard!»

"Everyone's here?"

At her words, Twilight and the others gathered around E. Gadd.

«We are,» said the alicorn.

"Rainbow Dash! You missed something incredible!" shouted Scootaloo.

«What? Already? We barely left you guys for a few minutes!» said the rainbow maned mare.

"Turns out the dragon skull Apple bloom talked about wasn't just for deco," said Applejack.

«Aww. We already missed a fight,» said Pinkie Pie.

"Mario, Luigi, and Peach are also here?" asked Apple Bloom in wonder.

«We will try to help you as much as we can from where we are,» said the princess.

«If you want, I can send our green friend to help you,» said E. Gadd, and Luigi immediately looked panicked.

Apple Bloom laughed. "No need. Ah think this castle'd be a little too much for him." She waved at the skeleton to emphasise what she meant. "We're just at the entrance, and already there's a corpse.

«We're used to skeletons, it's-a not this that will scare him,» said Mario.

Suddenly, the entrance door slammed closed, making everyone jump in surprise as well as in fright for some. Once everyone calmed down, Applejack went to test the door and discovered that it was now locked.

"Welp, seems like he won't be able to come even if we wanted," said the mare (Luigi sighed in relief at this) before she turned to face her sister. "Where do we go, Apple Bloom?"

"The left door is open," said Sweetie Belle as she tested the left door.

"The right one too," said Scootaloo as she did the same with the right door.

"Hum... Let's try the double door first. Ah remember Ah went through it before," said Apple Bloom. She then looked up at the chandelier. "Wait a minute." She carefully walked under it, then quickly jumped back as the chandelier slammed on the floor.

"Hey! That's my trick!" shouted Little Ghost.

«I remember, it almost got us,» said Smart Spirit.

«It also almost got Luigi back then. Remember, fella?» asked E. Gadd to Luigi.

«How could I forget?» said Luigi.

"Alright girls. Rule number one: no walking under the chandeliers before testing them," said Apple Bloom.

"Or I could just do this," said Little Ghost before she fired some energy at the chandelier, destroying it.

«That's certainly more effective,» said E. Gadd in amusement.

The ponies giggled as they climbed the stairs, then they passed the double door, entering a hallway that Apple Bloom also recognized. Just in front of them was another double door, and not much else could be seen. The hallway was very dark, with only a few candlesticks lighting it every few meters with their purple flames. Some gargoyles were again present against the walls, as well as armors from various species like ponies, griffons, or minotaurs.

"Ah remember Ah went to the right, then turned to the left to reach the throne room the first time," said Apple Bloom. "But the throne room must be closed now. Ah don't think Thanatos'll let us reach him like that. Ah remember there were four keyholes on the door.

«Oh, I already see it,» began E. Gadd.

«You will have to explore the castle in search of the four keys,» finished Smart Spirit.

"It's obvious it'll be it," said Apple Bloom as she tested the double door by habit. To her surprise, the door wasn't locked, and she opened it.

The group entered a very huge room, and the first thing that they saw was the presence of a giant statue of Thanatos in the center, the statue looking down at them with an evil grin. The room was very decorated, with large purple curtains, huge chandeliers, gargoyles (again), and another dragon skull on the wall just above the door they passed.

"WELCOME TO MY CASTLE!" suddenly shouted who Apple Bloom recognized to be Thanatos from a balconyup on the left.

"Thanatos!" shouted Apple Bloom, growling.

"Missed me?" asked the draconequus with a grin. He then snapped his fingers, and the next instant, dozens of ghosts entered the room. There were servants, a few guards, two butlers, and many random ponies and other creatures of all professions, including some children and even some animals like a bear, some wolves, and even a freaking elephant. There were even some Pranksters and Tricksters among them, as well as more ghosts that looked exactly like them but of various colors. There were obviously more than Tricksters and Pranksters in the spiritual world.

"A little welcoming committee just for you, to show how much I like you," said Thanatos with a laugh.

Chaos invaded the room as the ghosts began attacking. Apple Bloom's first target was a guard that swung a sword at her. She dodged the sword and fired a Poltergun beam at him, stunning him in pain. She then jumped, avoided a knife thrown at her by the same occasion, and went to punch the guard, only to expel a blast of air at him, sending him flying into many other ghosts including the one who threw the knife. A red version of a Prankster then tried to punch her, hoof covered in fire, but she caught him and slammed him on other ghosts surrounding her until he was captured.

Applejack charged at the elephant, then bucked its trunk as it tried to hit her with it, pushing it back. A servant slammed a plate on her head, but it didn't do much as Applejack immediately punched her in return. The robotic mare then ran around the elephant and managed to get behind it before she began to suck it up. The elephant immediately began to charge to get itself rid of her, which had for effect of making it ram many other ghosts, and even to crush a few ones under its feet

Sweetie Belle was almost rammed by the elephant as she captured a butler, and she quickly jumped to the side to avoid it. But a wolf then jumped on her, pinning her on the ground. Before the wolf could do anything, however, Sweetie Belle began to sing, and the wolf found itself under her control, and it released the filly. Sweetie Belle then climbed on it, and the wolf began to claw at the ghosts around it while Sweetie Belle fired lightning bolts and Poltergun beams left and right with her Poltergust, weakening a lot of ghosts for the others.

Applegoo and Sweetiegoo were both released and began to capture ghosts, trying to avoid the ones that used fire. Knowing how fragile they were, they worked together, watching each other's back.

Scootaloo, in her scooter form, rolled on the wall, then on the ceiling, destroying the chandeliers one after another, making them crash on many ghosts including the bear and the elephant. When all the chandeliers were gone, she let herself fall and turned back to normal as she went to capture the bear. She was joined by Apple Bloom who helped her, and together, they slammed the bear around.

Little Ghost, after capturing a griphon soldier, went to fire all she could at the elephant to weaken it. Already weakened after taking a chandelier on the head, it didn't take long for the elephant to finally lose enough strenght to be captured by Applejack. Little Ghost then sent a shockwave all around her, pushing back a lot of ghosts that had surrounded her before she found herself facing a thestral armed with a spear. The thestral turned into shadows that disappeared in the chaos of the battle. A few seconds later, as Little Ghost was sucking up a yak warrior, the thestral came out of the shadows behind her and attacked her. Little Ghost saw this however and slammed the yak on him. The thestral, however, returned into shadows.

He went to target Apple Bloom this time while the filly was busy capturing three ghosts at once (three ponies, including one who seemed to be a construction worker). Apple Bloom, however, let herself being dragged away to avoid being impaled by the spear. Before he could disappear into the shadows again, the thestral was suddenly hit by a Poltergun beam from behind, and he found himself caught by the neck by Sweetie Belle's wolf. But the thestral recovered and turned into shadows again. only to be rolled on by Scootaloo leaving a trail of fire. The fire hurt him despite his shadow form, so he quickly moved away only to be followed by Scootaloo who continued to roll on him again and again until he decided to come out to deal with her. But Scootaloo easily got him after a few slamming.

Thanatos toppled one of the silver pieces with a crescent moon. "Here goes one of my Nightmare Moon fanatics..." He then snapped his fingers a couple of times and pointed at the gargoyles.

The next instant, some of the ghosts took possession of the gargoyles and began to use them to attack the ghost hunters with claws and various weapons depending of what the gargoyles possessed. Applejack went to destroy them, easily dealing with them, and Little Ghost had no problems destroying a few mores with her powers. One of the gargoyles still managed to knock out the wolf under Sweetie's control.

A ghost then took possession of the dragon skull, and it began to float around before it targetted Apple Bloom and fired a laser from its mouth. Apple Bloom turned herself into a ghost and quickly flew out of the way before she flew after the dragon skull and attacked it with energy waves. She avoided another laser, then rammed it, sending it crashing against a wall. At the same time, another ghost took possession of the statue of Thanatos, and the statue began to move toward Apple Bloom.

However, Sweetie Belle boosted Applejack with her singing, and the mare bucked the statue's right leg, damaging it. In return, the statue tried to crush her under its leg, but Applejack moved out of the way before she returning to buck it again until the leg was destroyed, causing the statue to topple. Despite this, the statue continued to attack, this time with its claws. At the same time, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo fired ice shards at the dragon skull as Apple Bloom was forced to return to normal. Applegoo and Sweetiegoo defended them against any ghost trying to attack them while they were busy. And Little Ghost levitated what remained of the chandeliers and sent them both at the statue and the skull while firing at them various projectiles.

Keeping an eye on the dragon skull, Apple Bloom went to help her sister against the statue, continuously firing Poltergun beams at it to destabilize it with the pain. This opened it more to Applejack's bucking, and the mare managed to destroy its right arm. The statue was heavily damaged by now, and the ghost possessing it decided to come out of it, revealing himself to be a grey earth pony stallion with a black mane. The pony immediately began to levitate parts of the statue to throw them at Apple Bloom and Applejack. He was however hit by a Poltergun beam, making him drop on the ground, vulnerable. He didn't last long after that.

Thanatos toppled another silver piece, this one with a boulder.

By now, the dragon skull started to lose pieces with how much it was cracked. It tried to fire a last laser at Apple Bloom, thinking of taking her by surprise, but Little Ghost suddenly rammed it, and with how cracked it was, the skull pretty much exploded. The ghost that was in it, a red unicorn mare with a yellow mane, was stunned by this turn of event, leaving her vulnerable to Little Ghost who began to suck her up. The mare tried to fire small energy beams at the filly ghost to escape, but Little Ghost easily avoided them, and the mare was captured.

Thanatos toppled yet another silver piece, this one with a dragon skull firing a laser. "They fall one after another, like flies." He looked back at the battle, seeing that the ghost hunters were just finishing capturing the last few ghosts in the room. When the last one, a bipedal cat, was captured, he toppled a dozen of the bronze pieces and shouted "Well done! Really well done!" He then threw something toward Apple Bloom. "Here are your reward! Four key!"

Apple bloom spotted the keys as they landed in front of her. "Four?"

"Yes. Four. As you guessed, to enter my throne room, you will have to find four special keys. I gave those four keys to four special, very powerful guardians. Explore my castle, defeat the guardians, get the keys, and come to my throne room. Each of these keys I just gave you lead to the beginning of one of the paths leading to the guardians. It's up to you which one you will use first. You can do them in any order, I don't care."

"How about we move directly to the point where we fight you? You're just here!" shouted Little Ghost before she fired a fireball at Thanatos.

The Spirit of Death easily dodged it. "Come on, it would be boring if the game finished so rapidly. The fight will happen in the throne room, nowhere else. Oh, and don't expect to enter by the door of this balcony, I will lock it, and it will be one of the few doors in this castle that you will never open. You won't even be able to pass the walls. The only way to enter will be by the door with the four keyholes. On this, I wish you good luck." Thanatos then walked through the door of the balcony, only for his head to poke out. "By the way, it would get boring really fast if I let you search the whole castle for the right doors, so I made something to avoid it. The keys will all let out a purple arrow that will guide you through the fastest path to the door it opens," he said before he disappeared behind the door for good.

Apple Bloom growled, then took the four keys. As Thanatos said, each of them had a purple arrow that showed the direction to take. One of the keys actually led to the second door of the left wall of the room while the three others led through the double door by which they came from.

«I must say, this fight was beyond anything Luigi went through. I fear to discover what is awaiting you,» said E. Gadd.

«Especially those guardians. I wouldn't be surprised if they reveal to be about as powerful as Eternal Rest,» said Twilight.

"It's what Ah fear, but with everything we've now, they shouldn't be as problematic," said Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo looked at the keys, then at the directions their arrows point at. "So, which one do we use first?"