• 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?

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Chapter 2: Room Cleaning

Apple Bloom decided to use the key opening the second door in the left wall of the room, and they entered a room that was smaller which it seemed to be some kind of very morbid game room. There was a wheel with a skeleton tied to it, and there were a few knives planted in the wheel, including one in the left front leg and one in the skull of the skeleton. Another corpse, this one not quite fully decomposed and possessing many broken bones, was hanging from the ceiling by the legs, and not far from it were a bat and a blindfold, seemingly meaning that it was a sick version of a pinata with a real pony instead of a straw figure full of candies. A few other games filled the room, all of them having something to do with killing or making suffer.

«I think that I will be sick...» said E. Gadd.

«And it's only the third room...» said Twilight.

«That's horrible. Those poor ponies...» said Fluttershy.

«Why are there ponies in this place? This is the spiritual world, right?»

"Because Thanatos and his cronies obviously don't mind foalnapping from our world," said Applejack with a deep growl full of hate. "Seems like we'll resolve many disappearance cases in this castle."

"And each corpse we see'll be a ghost we'll fight later," said Apple Bloom with a sigh.

Speaking of ghosts, as they walked further in the room, one of those red Prankster that could cover their hooves in fire appeared. Apple Bloom decided to call them Pyros for now. A Trickster also appeared and took the bat while a pony levitated the knives from the wheel. A pink Prankster-like ghost then came, this one having the particularity of possessing two ghost tails.

The first one to attack was obviously the knife thrower, the guy trying to stab Apple Bloom with them, but Applejack simply put herself between him and her sister, using her metallic body as a shield to deflect the knives. Then, the pink ghost took everypony off guard by making his two ghost tails stretch toward Apple Bloom, and the filly barely avoided them before they ended up impaling a wall.

So the pink ghosts could stretch their ghost tails and use them like spears? Let's call them Tail Spears.

And this made them very dangerous. Gonna keep an eye on them.

Still, a Pyro, a Tail Spear, a Trickster with a bat, and a ghost pony with knives, while dangerous, were hardly a challenge to capture, especially with five experienced ghost hunters plus the two clones of goo who were still out. However, when the Pyro and the pony knife thrower were captured, a Buffy came out of a wall and charged at Applejack, ramming her. But the robot mare resisted the charge, leaving the red ghost open for Apple Bloom and Scootaloo to capture him while Sweetie Belle and Little Ghost captured the two remaining ghosts. Applegoo and Sweetiegoo managed to stop a new ghost that appeared, another pony, from throwing a bowling ball at Scootaloo.

Then, the room became cold, and Apple Bloom understood what it was.

"A wraith! Watch your shadow!" she yelled.

Everypony beside Apple Bloom became a little panicked as they immediately turned to watch their shadow. Apple Bloom told them about wraiths, how they can hurt you by attacking your shadow (which hurt a lot!) and how they turn you into a wraith if they manage to kill you (even if you're a ghost). If there was one enemy that they had to be careful of, it was the wraith, because not even their robotic or undead body will protect them. The wraith targets directly your soul.

And there weren't any shadows big enough in this room for them to hide behind and force the wraith out. However, they could simply blow the purple flames of the candlesticks to plunge the room into total darkness.

Before coming to this, Apple Bloom wanted to test something.

"The wraith is there!" shouted Sweetie Belle.

Yes, they could see it, a shadow that didn't belong to anypony slowly creeping in the wall, a sword raised to pierce Sweetie's shadow. The undead filly immediately moved to get her shadow away from it. Apple Bloom then targeted the wraith and fired a Poltergun beam.

It worked. The wraith was hit despite being in shadow form, and the pain caused forced it out. Apple Bloom immediately went after it while the others were paralysed by the fear the wraith's appearance caused them, being the first time they saw one. The filly trapped it, then immediately began slamming it around. When the Power Surge gauge was filled, she used it to give her Poltergust a big power surge that was enough to capture the wraith.

The room immediately became warmer, and a key appeared in the center.

"We barely start, and already a wraith. Shouldn't have expected less from Thanatos," said Apple Bloom to herself as she took the key. She then turned to the others who were calming down. "Are ya alright?"

"Yeah. Yeah, don't worry, Bloom," answered Applejack. "We're just a little..."

"Terrified? Don't worry, Ah understand. Ah went through the same the first time Ah saw a wraith face to face. Thankfully, it gets better. What about you guys?" she asked as she looked at E. Gadd's image in her visor.

«It was certainly scary. Poor Luigi almost fainted,» answered E. Gadd. «But you just gained a lot of respects from the ghosts here. You captured a wraith like it was nothing. For them, you became a superhero.»

"Please, it's just one normal wraith, not a big exploit compared to all the ones Ah'd to fight on the roof of the manor."

«Which was preceded by a big battle against a lot of ghosts, including some huge ones like the sea serpent and the cerberus,» commented Smart Spirit. «And let's not forget the windigo that came after. It really was a miracle that you came out of this alive.»

«And just like that, you gained even more respects from all the ghosts,» said Diamond Cup with a laugh as he came into view briefly.

«Woo! I didn't know you rocked that much, girl! No wonder you managed to defeat Eternal Rest!» shouted a voice that Apple Bloom recognized to be DeathJay.

"Ah's helped for the windigo," said Apple Bloom.

"It doesn't make it less incredible," said Little Ghost with a giggle.

They exited the room, and looked at where the new key led. Like the others, it led through the double door from which they came, so they passed it, returning in the hallway between the big room and the entrance hall.

«You know, I'm doing the plan of the place as you explore it. Don't hesitate to check if you're lost,» said E. Gadd.

As he said, when Apple Bloom willed it, a map appeared in the visor, though for now, it only showed the entrance hall, a part of the hallway they were currently in, the huge room they just exited (which E. Gadd apparently identified as the Great Hall of the castle), and the game room, without forgetting the balcony in the Great Hall from which Thanatos talked to them. So far, three floors were displayed, and they were currently in the second one. The first floor only had the entrance hall, and the third floor only had the top of the Great Hall with the balcony at the left.

Let's just use the cardinal points. it will be easier with the map, even if there aren't any cardinal points in the spiritual world. So the entrance hall is South, the Great Hall is North of it, the hallway was going West and East, and the game room was West of the Great Hall.

And one of the keys, the one they got from the game room, led to first room West of the entrance hall in this floor while the three other keys led back to the entrance hall.

"You know, I'm curious to see where the other keys lead," said Sweetie Belle.

"Mmh... You know what? I'm curious too," said Apple Bloom. "It'll be a good occasion to explore more of the castle. Everypony agrees?"

"Eeyup."

"No objections."

So they returned in the entrance hall and climbed down the stairs, seeing that one of the keys was leading to the East door while the two others were leading to the West door. They decided to go for the East door first, entering a new hallway with windows in the right wall, and like in the hallway of the second floor, there with gargoyles and pieces of armor. However, there were also some weapons hanging from the walls this time. Just at their right was another door that was locked. Two other locked doors were at the left before the hallway split, one continuing East while another went North. The purple arrow of the key continued East.

Three doors later, all in the left wall, they reached another intersection. The hallway split into two hallways, both going North, but the left one led to a staircase while the right one led to a door. There was a third hallway, this one going Southeast. This one didn't possess any decoration beside the candlesticks, and the key was guiding them to this one. After a small walk, they passed two staircases (one at the left and one at the right), and the key led them to the first door at the right, just after the staircase. There were other doors following this one, both at the left and the right, but they couldn't see far with the darkness.

"Alright, so that there key leads here," said Apple Bloom.

"Mmh... You know? I think we are in a different wing, the one we could see at the right from outside," said Sweetie Belle.

"Yeah, Ah remember, there're two wings apart, at the left and the right," agreed Apple Bloom.

«So this key leads to this East wing. I noted it in your visor. A key will appear above the corresponding door in the map,» said E. Gadd.

"Okay, thanks," said Apple Bloom as she looked at the map to confirm that there was a key above the first right door. "Now, let's go see the two other keys."

The two keys led West of the entrance hall, leading to a third hallway that was like the East one, without the weapons on the wall. Windows in the left wall, locked door just at their left and a few other at the right, and the hallway eventually split West and North. The keys split there too, one leading West and the other North.

The West key led to another intersection a little like the East one, one hallway leading North while the other led Southwest into what was certainly the West wing, which was exactly like the East wing, staircases and all. The key led them to the first door at the left.

Finally, for the last key, they returned to the first intersection and went North. They passed another intersection with an hallway leading West, passed beside a wall through which they could hear an orchestra, walked around a staircase, went a little East, then continued North again. They passed two other intersections leading first West, then East, and continued North, always North, reaching a pat of the hallway with windows at the right.

Through the windows, they could see a graveyard.

"Greeat... Ah didn't miss it," said Apple Bloom.

Eventually, they reached a part of the hallway that was like the beginning of the East and West wings, with a staircase at both sides, and the key led to the first door at the right just after the stairs. A North wing, so. However, the atmosphere felt very wrong in this wing, more than in the rest of the castle that they explored until now. It felt... like... As if they were in a den full of bloodthirsty predators, and all the predators were looking at them, waiting for them to approach.

"Ah... propose we do this place last..." said Apple Bloom who was sweating despite the hallway being cold.

They all agreed, and returned in the main part of the castle.

"So, West wing, East wing, or second floor?" asked Little ghost.

"Let's go with the West wing. It's the closest right now," said Apple Bloom.

They returned in the West wing and opened the first door to the left after the staircases.

It was a very basic room. Two beds, two nightstands, and a closet beside a window. A few objects were scattered, like a feather duster and a broom. The room was also very dusty, all grey, with just a couple of candles on the nightstands.

And there were two pony maids, a Pyro, a Prankster, and a Thrower in the room, the Thrower hidding in the closet. They were easily captured, making a key appear.

The key led to the door just in front, and the ghost hunters entered a room similar to the previous one. However, this one had three beds and three nightstands, but still only one closet. There was also a shear against a wall, which was grabbed by a zebra ghost. Two pony servants, a Tail Spear, and... three balls of white fire were present. The balls charged at Apple Bloom, but were easily captured, and the other ghosts quickly followed.

"What were those weird fireballs?" asked Scootaloo.

«I think they were Wisps. Very weak spirits,» answered Smart Spirit.

"Oh yeah, like in ghost stories," said Scootaloo.

The next room, just beside the first one, was like the previous ones, and the one that followed too. Each room was a chamber with two to six beds, with bunk beds being present when there were four or more, and they were all as colorless and badly furnitured than the first two. And all of them had some ghosts, mainly servants of various professions and species, but also ghosts encountered previously in Evershade Valley and in Eternal Rest's hotel, and a few others like the Wisps, Pyros, and Tail Spears. A Big Brain was even encountered in the sixth and ninth rooms.

In the fourth room, a maid more powerful than the others was encountered, the mare manipulating the dust like Leyla Rahfa manipulated the sand. There wasn't as much dust as there had been sand however, so it was easy to get rid of the dust to get an opening to capture her. In the ninth room, after the defeat of the Big Brain, the ghost hunters found themselves facing an unicorn stallion who could levitate the beds and throw them. The beds were easily destroyed by Applejack, leaving the stallion vulnerable. In the tenth room, some ghosts possessed the closet and one of the beds to attack, but they didn't last long. In this same room, they encountered a new ghost, a purple minotaur-like with two ghost tails who could blow air with enough strenght to puch the ponies back, which was very annoying.

They named this new ghost Puffer.

The first ten rooms were followed by the mares and stallions restrooms, which were followed by the mares and stallion common shower rooms. A Goost was encountered in the stallion restroom, and the small place didn't help much against him. A hyppogriff ghost manipulating water was also present in the mares shower room, managing to use the water like a whip to cut Apple Bloom's flank before she was captured.

After the shower rooms were more bedrooms, eight, making a total of eighteen bedroom in this floor. More possessed furnitures were present in those rooms, Sneakers and Creepers also appeared, and they had to fight a Bulky, a Buffy, and a Puffer at the same time in the last room. There was even a Hugger that took Apple Bloom by surprise in the hallway in front of the ninth room, and Wisps began to appear here and there.

After the last room, the hallway ended with a staircase at both sides and a last door, but surprisingly, the key obtained in the last chamber didn't open this door, the purple arrow leading them to up the stairs to the second floor where more bedrooms awaited them, much to the ponies' annoyance.

This time, there were twenty bedrooms plus the restrooms plus the shower rooms like before. The two new rooms just after the second set of staircases which, by the way, continued up to a third floor. The bedrooms in the second floor were a little different however. They were now individual chambers, only possessing one bed, and they were a little better furnished, now possessing tables, chairs, and some shelves with various objects on them. Some also possessed a chest.

Which meant more furnitures to be possessed or controlled by the ghosts, and the ghost hunters had to fight their first flying books that they had to destroy, to Twilight's horror. A wraith was fought in one of the rooms, and a ghost of a butler who could throw cutleries with deadly force and precision was encountered in another. Again, Wisps were there to be annoying, as well as ghost mice and ghost bats, and a Slappy was ambushed in front of the door of the nineteenth room. There was even a wolf in the fifteenth room!

Then came the third floor. Thankfully, there were less rooms, only eight chambers plus two janitor rooms. The chambers were better decorated and all had a bathroom that served also as the restroom. The ponies didn't have to visit the bathrooms however, excepted once at the eighth chamber where the key was actually kept in the bathroom by a ghost who was firing energy arrows randomly while hidding in the water in the bathtub. It was easy to deal with him. The ponies electrified the water, forcing the ghost out, and he was captured before he knew it. There were however more ghosts guarding the rooms, and they well used whatever were in the rooms at their advantage. One of the rooms, for exemple, had some dumbbells that were great weapons, and another room was full of carnivorous plants that craved pony flesh. There was even a creepy room with a coffin for some reason.

A coffin trying to eat you is very scary.

The two janitor rooms hadn't much. A table for the janitors to relax, shelves full of cleaning product, and all kind of cleaning stuff like buckets, brooms, and mops present against the walls. As anybody would guess, the main foes encountered in those rooms were janitors along with some other ghosts, mainly Throwers and Hiders. Still, one of the janitors had the good idea of just throwing the whole content of the room at the ponies when they entered, and they were only saved by Little Ghost who threw all the stuff back at the janitor with her powers.

The key obtained in the second janitor room led back to the first floor, to the last door locked at the end of the hallway, and they entered what was clearly a laundry room.

Where they had to fight two golems made of clothes. Yeah.

Apple Bloom stared at one of the clothe golems. "Ghosts really come up with anything..."

She could hear a lot of laughter from E. Gadd's side.

Thankfully, the golems weren't a problem. The ghost hunters just had to suck up the clothes forming them. A more effective way was to simply burn the clothes. The golems didn't last long despite the help they received from some maids, a janitor, and a white Thrower-like ghost who could throw ice shards that the ponies named Icy. Once the last ghost was captured, three wraiths entered the room, but the ponies knew the trick now and used Poltergun beams to force them out and capture them. One of the wraiths still almost managed to hit Sweetie Belle with a claw of dark crystal, only to get a suction cup on the face from Apple Bloom.

It was hilarious!

"Prof, Ah don't know how ya first came up with the idea of using suction cups, but it's the best idea ever!" said Apple Bloom.

«Why, thank you,» laughed E. Gadd.

"So, we're done with this wing?" asked Scootaloo.

"Seems like it," answered Applejack. "There aren't any other room. Say, if the East wing is the same, Ah propose we clean it and get done with this part."

"Alright. Ah agree," replied Apple Bloom.

The journey back to the East wing wasn't without some fighting. Where before the hallways were empty, now, there were some ghosts wandering them, including many Wisps, and some of the ghosts took possession of some of the gargoyles and armors. They even encountered a thestral that had the same shadow power than the one fought back in the Great Hall, but he was easily captured thanks to some Poltergun beams forcing him out of his shadow form.

On the way, they discovered that the key they obtained in the laundry room opened two doors side by side just West of the entrance hall.

As they thought, the East wing was exactly like the West one.

"Okay, let's go," sighed Apple Bloom. Toc toc toc! She knocked on the first door at the right before she opened it with the corresponding key. "Room service, hello! Spring cleaning duty!"

"Except that it's Winter," commented Little Ghost with a laugh, prompting Apple Bloom to roll her eyes.

She then zapped the ghost boar who was about to ram her. Seriously, it was a castle or a fortified zoo?