• Published 19th Jan 2012
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Sweetie's Mansion - Moon Shooter

A My Little Pony/Luigi's Mansion Crossover

  • ...

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Chapter 9- The Portrait of Yields [REBOOT]

"I wonder if that dumb cat figured out he isn't getting fed tonight...?"

Sweetie quietly sighed this to herself as she continued to head up the stairs. Sweetie kept her steps as silent as possible, knowing if Applebloom was anywhere near her, she would hear her hoof steps. At least that's what she resolved to do ten minutes ago. Eventually, she assumed since was surrounded by silence, and the fact that the stairwell was relatively warmer compared to other parts of the mansion, she could safely assume she was alone in the staircase. Sweetie's paranoia told her to keep her guard up in either case. After all, Applebloom could be at the top of the steps, just waiting to stick that rusty knife between her eyes.

Sweetie shuddered at the thought.

And these worries had been plaguing Sweetie every step she took up the steps. The worry that all Applebloom had to be doing was lurking in a shadow that Sweetie's flashlight wasn't pointing for her to pounce. And that would be that.


--Shink! Splorch!



Time and time again, Sweetie had been thinking about this, thanks to the absolute nothingness she had to keep her mind occupied. So eventually she resolved to soothe her worries with her own voice, thinking of things that wouldn't be immediately trying to kill her.

"A-and what about everyone else?" She mumbled through her flashlight, clasped firmly in her teeth.

Sweetie, for some reason felt better at the idea of whispering her thoughts to herself to at least break the silence. It contradicted her paranoia's logic to staying silent for the possible miniature assailants nearby. Still, she just couldn't stand it. In a way, the lack of sound was driving her mad. Just the sound of her voice, and the illusion that she wasn't alone was sufficient to keep her hooves under control and doing anything they might regret. Like speeding up the steps as fast as she could, eliminating all other caution she had.

"I... I wonder if anyone noticed that we were all gone. A-and that the moon's gone too." Sweetie said. The moon. The disappearance of the moon was certainly something to worry about. Not only was there probably some celestial imbalance happening as she trudged through the mansion, but there was another implication that Sweetie didn't want to dwell on for too long. "I-I wonder-" Sweetie was interrupted by a roll of thunder from the top of the stairwell. It roared so loud and thunderous, that it made her jump to the point of almost falling back down the stairs. Thankfully, she caught herself at the third step.

"Thunder... an opening?" Sweetie said. Sweetie was relieved that she wasn't in too low of a basement level. Sure, the time it took felt like she was climbing up the stairway to Heck, but at least she was almost to the top. She would hopefully be back on the main floor of the mansion. Sweetie looked up, and turned her flashlight off for a moment. To her surprise, there was a faint light emitting from the peak of the stairwell. "Light too?"

After being in the dark for so long, the idea of somewhere with light almost seemed too good to be true. Sweetie walked faster at the idea of a light at the end of that tunnel. She couldn't be far now.

Though, as she got closer to the top of the stairwell, Sweetie slowed down, remembering her previous paranoia and fear that Applebloom was just waiting for her just at the top. Once the hesitation was back in full swing, Sweetie slowed to a complete stop. She froze for a few fearful moments, straining to listening for even the slightest sound that wasn't something resembling that of rain beating against something. After hearing nothing but this she shook her head.

Get it together Sweetie. You're not going to save anyone standing still. So, with a shake of the head, she pushed herself forward. Sweetie had concluded that even if she was, to Sweetie's misfortune at the top of the stairs, Sweetie couldn't run away from her forever. After all, she still needed to figure out how to save Applebloom to begin with.

--Without killing her?

Without killing her.

--Good luck with that!

Sweetie hadn't stopped brainstorming ways she could save her friend. Even though she didn't know a thing about what she concluded to be some ghost possessing her, if there was one thing Sweetie had learned in the last couple hours, was there was always a way to save her friends. Even if it seemed impossible.

Sweetie thought back to the battle with Fluttershy. Applebloom could have just let her die in that mirrored hallway. There was the hope that it was the real Applebloom. However something told Sweetie that she'd become possessed way before Sweetie arrived. After all, if that were true, the only way Applebloom could have been possessed was by leaving the safe room. Something neither Twilight, Applejack nor Fluttershy would have allowed.

--But then again could she have left with posession?

Sweetie found herself worrying now of the fate of her friends to be around such a violent ghost possessing her friend.

Could that couple of seconds have been the real Applebloom?

No. If Applebloom could resist the ghost inside of her then, she would have seen some of that when she fought her in the animal cage. It didn't make sense, and it made Sweetie's head throb slightly.

Regardless, if there was one thing she was sure of, was that Applebloom wasn't dead. She was alive, and somewhere inside of that body. That's what kept her from breaking again. The hope that there was a way to save Applebloom.


"And... and what about Scootaloo?"

Another thought that seemed bent on preying on her anxiety was the safety of her other friend. She was just as close to Sweetie as Applebloom and the idea of her having the same fate as the little applebucker made her just as queezy. Even more, she felt horrible about how little she'd thought of her compared to Applebloom. Sweetie remembered what the ghost in Applebloom had said.

"...'course not. Yah always were concerned 'bout yerself. No wonder Rarity didn' love ya."

Sweetie had only thought of her friends when they came up. Twilight when she happened to show up, Applejack when she saw her element on the door, Pinkie when she tasted the candy and really considered Applebloom when she was at her throat.

--Ponies remember the funniest things at the funniest times!

She wasn't sure for that moment if she really cared about her friends and whether or not Rarity really didn't-

Sweetie shook her head at the idea. "Dumb brain, stop being dumb" She mumbled. Of course she cared about her friends and of course Rarity loved her. She was sure of that. It was just a ghost trying to mess with her head right? And besides, even so, her main focus had to be survival. If she died, she might have more time to think, but she wouldn't have any to save them.

Still though, Scootaloo was just as much in danger as any other pony in the mansion. Sweetie wondered where she could have been. Was she a ghost now? Or was she possessed like Applebloom?

Based on what Twilight said, it could be anything.

Sweetie sighed. "Something tells me I'm gonna find out sooner or later..."

And finally, there was Spike, another friend Sweetie neglected to think about. She never thought of Spike much on her spare time, and almost certainly not more than a friend, but she did however worry about him. Twilight said that he'd come to the mansion too, right? Twilight wasn't specific so she hated to assume something bad had happened to him. That said, she knew him being defenseless, lost and somewhere safe in the mansion was a little too optimistic. Sweetie couldn't help but wonder what his fate in the mansion came too as well. And worse, would he have powers like Applebloom had?

Sweetie knew Applebloom was strong, but there was no way the normal Applebloom could have jumped that cage like that. Sweetie couldn't bear the thought of fighting a fire breathing dragon with super powers like that, but who knew. Maybe she'd get lucky and he'd just be a cold ghost she had to capture.

--Already hoping your friends are dead? Dark! He he!

Sweetie bit her lip. That was a terrible thing to hope and she knew it. Better than some alternatives, but still. Whatever the case, it looked as though this "ghostification" wasn't limited to ponies, as Sweetie saw with the dogs in the kennel below, and the mouse. So it was still a possibility.

"Though, I dunno which would be worse. A ghost Spike or a posessed one..." Sweetie noted. She couldn't express how much she didn't want either.

A memory came to Sweetie. It was a few months ago, back during the winter term of the school year. Sweetie had been assigned a book called "The Exorpony", which seemed to be about a little filly getting possessed by an evil spirit of an evil sorcerer unicorn. Despite being earth pony, she had telekinesis on themselves and those around them, the ability to take unreal amounts of damage, immeasurable strength, and hypnotize ponies into doing her will. Often making ponies do terrible things to each other. Especially their friends.

The irony.

The book ended on a creepy note as the filly's mother ended up having to use a priest to transport the spirit into the mother's body, and seal it within the confines of the which had more will power. Having the spirit within her mind to slowly drive her insane.

It was one of the books she was unlucky enough to be assigned in Ms. Cherilee's class as they were studying the different genres of literature. How she had been among the ponies to get assigned the genre of "Horror" was beyond her. Despite the often dangerous and frightening scenarios she would storm through with her friends, she hated getting scared.

Sweetie remembered many sleepless nights after reading that book. She recalled being fairly irritable and making pretty ill judgments from sheer exhaustion from being unable to sleep. Still, but it wasn't those nights that stood out to Sweetie. Rather the day she was getting the book.


Sweetie entered the library, her head down. She seemed depressed, as if something had just recently gotten her down. Spike was the first to greet the filly. She also appeared incredibly aloof, seeming to be thinking about something on a far off planet.

"Hey Sweetie!" Spike said happily. "What brings you here?"

"Huh?" She looked up a him. "Oh, hey Spike. I'm uh..." Sweetie stopped for a moment, as if her loss in thought has caused her to forget her original reason for entering the establishment to begin with.

Spike raised a brow. "Here to look for a book?"

"Oh, right. Yeah." Sweetie said. "How did you know?"

Spike gave Sweetie another look. Rather than answering her, he just looked around the room followed by a motion with his arm to highlight the thousands of books behind him. "Call it a lucky guess."

"Heh... right. Library." Sweetie said. "Um... I'm actually looking for a book for class, called 'the Exorpony'. Have you heard of it?"

Spike tilted his head. "Yeah. I know what you’re talking about but..."

"But what?"

"Heh. Never thought you of all ponies would be into horror."

"I'm not. I said, it was for class." Sweetie sighed. "It's not like I'm looking forward to it."

"Huh. I thought Chereliee made you all read less... I dunno, scary stuff."

"Huh? Have you read it?"

Spike shook his head. "Nah, sounds too creepy for me. Probably would give me nightmares for weeks."

Sweetie blinked.

"Eh heh... but if Cheerilee's making you read it, how bad could it be? Anyway, I'll go grab it for you. Wait here." Spike headed off, leaving her there in the doorway for a moment. She looked down at the ground as she waited, sinking back into her train of thought.


Sweetie looked up to see Twilight in front of her.

"Huh? Oh, hi Twilight..." Sweetie said, looking back down at the ground.

"What are you doing just standing there like that?" Twilight asked.

"I'm just err... getting a book for class. Spike is getting it I think. That's all."

Twilight shook her head. "No I mean, like that... Sweetie, is everything okay?" Twilight asked.

"Um... yeah. I guess." Sweetie said. She didn't see Twilight again, until she came over to the filly, gently nudging her head up to face her.

"Sweetie. I can't read minds, but I do know when you're not acting yourself. Come on, tell me what's wrong." Twilight said. "I'm may not be your age, but I'm still your friend. You'll feel better if you talk about it."

"It's just... well, I just had another argument with Rarity is all about..." Sweetie admitted. "All because I just messed up her newest dress and that suit. Ever since she got those jobs with those ponies and met... a-any way, Sapphire Shores, I think was one she's been working for, she's been really mean to me if I interrupted her while she worked."

"Well Sweetie, Rarity does have a big responsibility with that pony and I'm sure-"

"I know, but I still don't think it's fair! I had her first!" Sweetie exclaimed, taking Twilight aback. "S-sorry. I didn't mean to..."

"...Sweetie?" Twilight asked seeing the filly go quiet.

"Twilight... who do you think my sis loves more? Her job? Her own stuff? Him? Or me?" Sweetie asked.

"You of course Sweetie!" Twilight said without hesitation. "You mean the world to her!"

"You talk with Rarity a lot right? How many good things has she said about me?" Sweetie asked. "And how much has she talked about him?"

"I-" Twilight paused.

"I knew it." Sweetie said. "I'm just a bother and a pest to her."

"No Sweetie. Rarity doesn't think that, or say anything bad about you." Twilight said. "Anytime she does talk about you, she always says how you're such a sweet filly... no pun intended... who always means well. Even if she does get herself in trouble frequently but still. And plus, you know how excited she's been recently. She hasn't gotten work like this in forever. And plus with him around..."



"...you really mean that? Your sure she isn't just sick of me?" Sweetie asked.

"Of course. Would I lie to you?" Twilight asked smiling.

"I guess not." Sweetie said. She gave a small smile back to the mare.

Suddenly, Spike came back out from the back of the library. Something told Sweetie that he'd been listening in, but he made no indication of it.

"Here ya go Sweetie. One Exerpony. No charge." Spike said.

Sweetie smiled. "It's a library. Would I be paying for?"

"Uh... those sewing book late fines?" Spike scratched his head.

"Oh yeah, uh-"

"He's joking. Don't worry about those... wait, what did you just check out?" Twilight asked.


Sweetie couldn't remember what was in that book in detail, or at least nothing that she could use. Then again it was doubtful that she could get much useful information from a piece of fiction. After all, this was real as much as she hoped it wasn't. The only thing that she really attached that book to was a host of nightmares she complained about after the project was turned in, and that memory. She couldn't place why it stuck out now. Maybe it was just the fact that the normal mundane interactions of her life already seemed to be so distant and nostalgic. Still, of all the memories, even if it was nice, why did it come to her so suddenly? Was it just the book, and the hope to possibly exercise her friend? Or something else entirely?

Sweetie found herself finally at the top of the stairway, to find the room had opened up considerably. Thankfully, it wasn't Applebloom who was waiting for her at the top of the steps. It had gone from a narrow stairwell, to a massive theater. Unlike the rest of the mansion, it was newer looking and well kept. The auditorium was filled with seats and was decorated with lit candles, magnified in light by lanterns. There was a stage at the very front of the theater with a grand piano sitting at its center. Everything looked as new and fancy in the room as the foyer did when Sweetie first entered the mansion.

Someone should be here...

An instinct in Sweetie's head told Sweetie that something was wrong with the room.

Applebloom is supposed to be here, but she's not...

Sweetie couldn't be there. At least she couldn't stay so out in the open where Applebloom could spot her easily. Sweetie knew by now to put faith in that feeling, as it had kept her alive so far. Sweetie moved to the back of the theater passing by the lit lanterns. They were just like the foyer, only the lanterns had made it much brighter, to accommodate for the larger space. Sweetie wondered again, why these were lit if ghosts preferred darkness?

Them lighting them contradicted their existence. The same thing went for the foyer as Sweetie remembered back at the foyer when she fought the lickers. The lights went back on after she managed to catch all of the ghosts in the area, or at least there were no ghosts to begin with. It was peculiar. It was obvious that the ghosts were the ones to turn them out, so who could have turned them on?

Sweetie assumed that candle light meant that there were no ghosts around. It made sense to stay in the room and investigate it a little longer, but with a possessed Applebloom on the prowl, someone who could probably walk out into the sun and not even be bothered, even this probably meant nothing. That room was one of the safest places at the moment from ghosts, but not from Applebloom.

Sweetie exited into a dark lobby area. As Sweetie turned on her flashlight, she saw it was back to the same abandoned look of the mansion. Sweetie saw a ticket booth, with more sheets covering it. The floor was dusty and dirty, as Sweetie felt it like a thin layer of dry snow with every hoof step. The lobby was definitely a change from the auditorium. It was almost like the mansion couldn't make up its mind on whether it wanted to be new or old.

The silence of the lobby was interrupted by another crash of thunder. This time, it was much louder and vivid than what Sweetie heard in the stairwell. Now, she could hear the sound of rain pounding against the mansion, and wind whirling in the air. She knew that she was getting close to some opening to the outside. Since Sweetie didn't have any idea where to go at this point, she decided to see where that opening was.

Sweetie walked through a door in the lobby area that led to another hallway. On the right side of the hallway was a group of doors with stars on it. They made Sweetie think of dressing rooms, which made sense, considering she was right around a theater. Did that mean that Yield at one point had actual shows played in his mansion? Though that seemed incredibly impractical and impossible to Sweetie as she knew that the mansion had only been around a week, and even more she could have sworn that Specter said this mansion was only short term. Why would he need dresser rooms for plays if he wasn't going to stay long? Then again, the same could be said for other parts of the mansion Sweetie had seen. As well as the apparent shifts in age.

The mansion was already strange to start with, but it seemed as Sweetie progressed, it kept getting stranger and stranger.

On the left side of the hallway, rather than another set of doorways was a viewing window that stretched all the way down the hallway. Outside, Sweetie assumed was some kind of courtyard, though it was too dark out there to make out any real details.

Except one.

"What... what's that?"

Outside, there was a circle of flaming torches, in the center of the area. The odd thing about it, was that through the buckets of rain that was coming down, and the whirling wind that made their flames whip around, it didn't show any signs of going out. It was almost as if the circle of torches was beckoning to the filly, calling her to meet them.

"It might be a trap..." Sweetie admitted out loud. "But it might lead me to one of my friends..."

With that conclusion, Sweetie pressed forward.

Sweetie located a glass door that led out into the courtyard. At first, the door seemed locked, but Sweetie didn't see a key. She also didn't feel that chill of ghostly presence, so it wasn't like that any ghosts were keeping it closed. Sweetie rammed her small frame against the door, trying to open it.



Sweetie fell down in pain as was knocked back by her own force. She must have hit a sensitive muscle as she went against the door. She might have given up after this if the door hasn't shook. It was less as though it were locked, but more as though it were being pushed shut. By the wind perhaps?

"Can't let some stupid wind get the better of me."

Sweetie got up and rammed the door a second time. Then finally a third before-


She somehow managed to swing the door open, but only to be immediately pushed back by a torrent of rain and wind. It was strong enough to throw the unstable hoofed filly back against the other side of the hallway.

She got up, covering her face against the water and wind that was hitting her face and eyes. Sweetie had seen the pegagus make some bad storms in her filly-hood, but never any this deadly and menacing. Not only was the mansion weird, but this storm was wrong as well. It was anything but normal. Were the pegasi really involved in the making of this storm? Who would do that, how, and most importantly, why?

Through the rain, if she squinted Sweetie could still see the torches emitting their light. Sweetie knew it was a bad idea. Maybe even a terrible idea to go out there, but it was something about those torches seemed to call to her more than ever now. She couldn't just leave them be.

Sweetie wouldn't want to remain out there for long though. She had to head back as soon as she found out those torche's purpose. With that, Sweetie firmly got on all fours, gripping the flashlight as tightly as she could with her teeth and mouth. She started to push through into the storm.

It was a battle of forces. An anti-tug of war as Sweetie kept moving against the wind and the storm beat the filly back. It seemed to be growing more and more intense as she made her way forward. She fought the storm with every amount of energy she had, determined to see what was so peculiar about those torches. Though, in retrospect, all that could have been keeping them up was some decent oil. Who knew, maybe someone like Pinkie had set it up in order to lure the filly out here, and trap her in this storm that was near suicidal to be in the midst of. The thought that her newest goal was another trap almost made the filly turn back, but she kept going. She came out knowing it could be a trap so it wasn't as though she was unprepared for that. And besides, even if it was a trap, Sweetie was almost there. Water filled her mane and her vision was blurred by the wind and rain. By now, her perception of the torches was just a yellow blob that she could barely see through her squinted eyes. She couldn't see anything.

So how could she have expected the ground to give way under her?


A hole.

Sweetie had fallen into a hole, which was surrounded by the torches. The hole dropped the filly about 30 to 40 feet. As she fell, she didn't think anything more. Then again, how could she think? What could she think? There was nothing she could do. After all, once she hit the ground, she'd be dead, and she was pretty sure it wasn't a dream this time.

So it was a trap then? Sweetie had fallen in to a hole for a trap? Probably the most primitive one in the book, and this would be the thing to kill her. Of all the things that she was threatened with that night, that she had survived, she was going to be bested by a hole in the ground. Sweetie felt anger for herself well up inside of her in those seconds. Frustration that she could have been so stupid and careless. Sweetie opened her mouth, letting the flashlight fall out of it. She shut her eyes and let out a scream, not out of fear exactly, but partially out of frustration as she came closer to the end of the hole.

But something caught her.

Rather, some pony caught her. Two hooves had caught the filly and were now cradling her in them.

"...a filly?" a voice said. It was the same ghost like misty echo Sweetie had heard before. The same sound that horrified her so much. Sweetie opened her eyes to find herself staring into the eyes of a ghost. Sweetie assumed it was a mare, from her voice, and the vivid eye lashes on her face. Her coat was yellow, but not as pale a yellow as the foal ghost. She was transparent, but she didn't have the dead feeling about her, aside from her transparency and chill. Her eyes had pupils, and almost looked alive. The mare wore an old, yet incredibly beautiful purple dress.

Sweetie didn't have the energy scream at first, but the mare knew saw the fear well up in the filly's eyes.

"Don't be afraid." she said softly. "I'm not here to hurt you..."

Sweetie processed the words through her brain for a moment.

Yeah, not here to hurt me my flank. She thought. For obvious reasons though Sweetie wouldn't say that, with the mare literally having her live in her hooves.

The last time she'd come in contact with a "sincere" looking ghost, she was paralyzed, freezing to death in a mirrored hallway.

"Please... say something. I... know my appearance is menacing but-" the mare said.

"L-..." Sweetie started.

"What was that?"

She knew it was probably futile to try, but since her options were already limited, she had to try. "L... let me go!" Sweetie yelled at the mare. The mare blinked. Sweetie didn't wait for another response before attempting to escape the mare's forelegs to no avail.

The mare frowned. She floated down to the very bottom of the crypt that had opened up from the hole. She gently let the filly down. Sweetie looked at the mare, puzzled. They both stared at each other curiously, as if each had their own slew of questions to ask for the other.

Finally, Sweetie spoke. "W...where's my flashlight?"

The mare waved her hand, and a torch lit the darkness, revealing the her flashlight. It must have hit the ground hard enough to turn it off. Keeping her eyes on the mare, Sweetie cautiously made her way over and picked up her flashlight, putting it back in her mouth. It tasted of dirt and metal now, in her mouth, so she took it out, and attempted to wipe it off with her own dirty coat. And with a good shake, it turned back on.

She shined it on the mare. As she had come to assume with these special, non-generic looking ghosts, handled light differently than regular ghosts as she didn't hear a "ding!".

After a moment of letting the realization sink in, of both her inaffect to light and the fact she wasn't being attacked, the mare spoke. "Filly?"

"W-what? What do you want from me?" Sweetie asked, looking up at the mare.

She shook her head. "No need to be so rude. I understand your fear but... I... I just want to know your name." she said. Sweetie was skeptical on wither or not to trust this mare. Her paranoia said no. Her brain said no. Though, her heart said on the other hand said to give her a chance. Still though, she'd already listened to her heart that night, and it almost got her killed.


"You first." Sweetie said suspiciously. The mare smiled at Sweetie's paranoia, as though she went from seeing it as disappointing, to cute.

"You may call me Madame. Madame Yield." she smiled.

Sweetie stepped back at the sound of that last name, but Madame held her hoof up.

"Wait! I'm not like the others. I'm not here to kill you or steal your spirit." she said.

"Liar!" Sweetie said. "Your... your that evil pony's wife! A-aren't you."

She smiled. As though someone were telling some kind of joke. "Specter isn't evil honey."

"Shut up!" Sweetie yelled. "He turned my friends into ghosts, and turned my other friend against me to kill me!"

"I'm.... I'm quite aware of that. I suppose that would be problematic towards proving my case." Madame said. "I've been watching you. Or rather, hearing about you. The one. I just... never expected you to be a filly."

"What are you talking about?" Sweetie asked.

"I've been observing your progress. You've caused quite a stir within the mansion Miss..." Madame trailed off.

"... B-elle. Sweetie Belle." Sweetie said.

"Sweetie Belle. What a beautiful name." Madame smiled.

"W... what do you mean I've..." Sweetie asked.

"The ghosts have been talking about a hunter moving around the mansion. Someone running around the mansion catching ghosts and taking them to Celestia knows where. Well..." She smiled and shook her head, as though she thought of something, but decided against saying it. "In a way, your kind of the boogieman to some of them."

A hunter huh? Never thought they were scared of little old me... Sweetie thought. "A-and you've been watching me?" Sweetie asked.

"In a way, yes." Madame said. "I've been listening through my... er, sources. My ability to move around the mansion is limited for a few reasons."

"Huh? Like what?"

Again, she shook her head. "That's not important. You caught two of the most powerful ghosts in the mansion in less than two hours. I was impressed after you managed to catch the first one and I supposed it was determined. From then on, I've devoted any power I had to assisting you."

Sweetie remembered the candles. "Was that you? Were you the one who lit the candles in the foyer and the auditorium?"

Madame nodded. "It was the only thing I could manage to help you with from where I was. I apologize that I couldn't do more, but my power is becoming more and more limited. Still however, I thought that being able to be sure wither or not a ghost was in a room was somewhat useful."

"So... you've been helping me then?" Sweetie asked for confirmation.

"Yes." she said back.

"Why?" Sweetie asked. "Why help me? Why not try and kill me like every pony else?"

"Because-" She paused again. It was obvious she was choosing her words carefully. "...I have no quarrel with you... and young filly, as much as it pains me to admit, you’re the only hope anyone this mansion has now."

"Huh?" Sweetie asked. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that we're running out of time. I'm not sure what will happen once everything is finally complete." Madame said. "And... and I'm not sure there's anyone still in this mansion that’s alive or not possessed by a spirit. I remember having an orange filly run through here a while ago... but I'm not quite sure what her fate was."

"Y-you saw Scootaloo?" Sweetie stuttered.

"Yes, I believe that's what she called herself." Madame said. "She came through here, and I only asked her to locate the hunter that managed to catch all of those spirits. I doubted she could find the pieces to return to you, so I didn't mention them. The hunter, you, was who she was to be looking for. Then again, I suppose I heavily implied that it was some mare, rather than somepony such as yourself."

"Where did she go?" Sweetie asked.

"She went to the end of this crypt... and if she managed to get through safely, she should have found herself in the church area of the mansion."

A church? Seriously? What doesn't this mansion have? Sweetie thought.

"H-how long ago was that?" Sweetie asked.

"I'm sorry... but it was around the time you were being mentally manipulated." Madame said.

"Mentally what now?" Sweetie asked.

"You were being manipulated by the Portrait of Magic when you entered the kitchen to confront the Portrait of Laughter." Madame explained. "That magical ghost mare's power increased to the point of you going completely insane for a moment, after her other part was rejoined with her."

Insane? Did that mean that she was only imagining Sugarcube Corner? And what did Madame mean by 'other part'?

"H-her other part?" Sweetie asked. Sweetie remembered Twilight telling the filly that the ghost got most of her spirit, but not the whole. "Y-you mean... that Twilight's been-"

"Transformed into another ghost." Madame said sadly.

Sweetie stepped back. That couldn't be true. If Twilight was a ghost now then how the hay was she going to save her friends without her magic? Without Twilight, she only would have two halves of friends, and the rest would be ghosts.

"No... how am I supposed to save them now?" Sweetie said to herself.


"I...can't bring them back to life without Twilight. How am I supposed to save them without her?"

"Oh... the portraits..." Madame closed her eyes and nodded. "Yes, you still can. You just have to do it."

"M-me?" Sweetie said.

"Yes, you. You’re a unicorn, right?" Madame said. "You can use magic."

"N...no. I can't." Sweetie said. "I can do some simple stuff... but I'm no Twilight. I can barely stay awake using the easiest levitation."

"I figured you were inexperienced. It shows in your methods of capture. Otherwise, I'd expect you to use more complex light spells in your hunt. My abilities would be fairly useless. That's just as well. As long as you can use some. As a unicorn, you simply need to be able to except and output magic through your horn." Madame explained. "Especially in this case. The only issue is that for someone like you, a large amount is needed."

"B... but-" Sweetie started.

"Hold on a moment. I'll be right back." the mare said, floating off into the darkness. After a few minutes of waiting in the torchlight, Sweetie was once again greeted by her ghostlyness. "Here we are." In here hooves, was a small yellow box in the shape of a star. It shone in the torchlight and against Sweetie's flashlight magnificently. Madame gave it to her.

"What's this?" Sweetie asked.

"Inside of that box is an unstable charm. It allows whoever it is cast on to have their magic abilities considerably magnified. Almost to the strength of an alicorn." Madame said.

"A-an alicorn?" Sweetie asked. "Y-you mean like Princess Celestia and Princess Luna?"

"Yes, but only for a short period of time. Less than a minute I'd guess." the ghost mare said. "I'm not sure, it could even be as low as a couple seconds... still, that would be plenty of time for your purposes. All you'd have to do was charge the painting of your choice with enough magic, and you can materialize your friend through the paint. That's what you've been doing right?"

"You mean the spirit printer?" Sweetie asked.

"Whatever you want to call it." Madame said.

"So... all I'd have to do is catch Twilight, and turn her back into a normal mare?" This seemed like an incredibly attractive plan when she started to think about it. If this were true, then maybe she could save her age as well! After all, Applejack looked like her old self, so maybe Twilight would be young again too! Then a realization dawned on her as Sweetie looked down. "But... I don't have my ghost catcher. It was taken-"

"By the Portrait of Laughter, I know." Madame finished. "But she doesn't have it anymore does she?"

"I didn't see it on her the last time I saw her down in the kennel." Sweetie said.

"Just like I heard then... most of your supplies have been split up." Madame said. "Taken apart to different parts of the mansion."

"W-what?" Sweetie asked.

"Don't worry. I don't think it's as far as you'd think. In fact, you could probably pick up each piece on your hunt for the Portrait of Magic...who should be around the library area. In fact, I know where some of your items are already." Madame said. "And even better, you won't have to wander around the mansion to find these places."

Madame revealed Sweetie's saddlebags and Applejack's hat.

"M-my saddlebags! Applejack's hat! You found them!" Sweetie said happily.

"They were tossed down here. I believe some ghosts were trying to dispatch of it quickly, too lazy to see if anyone was even down here. Even if they suspected I was at the moment, I doubt they would have even figured I would be down here to catch them."

Sweetie was handed the saddlebags.

"Not everything is in here... but your map appears to be in here at least." Madame said. "You won't be wandering the mansion halls blindly at least."

"Thank you!" Sweetie said smiling.

"I love to see children smiling. Even in times like these."

There was still hope. Sweetie was happier than she'd been all night. There was real hope left. All she had to do now, was go after it.

"Miss Belle..." Madame said. "Could... could I ask you for a favor?"

"Y-yeah?" Sweetie asked.

"If you manage to retrieve all of the parts to your ghost capture device... could you catch three ponies for me?"

Sweetie gave her a strange look. It seemed like a strange request to ask something that Sweetie would likely have to do anyway. "...who?"

"My two children and our butler. All of them are the same color as I. Perhaps wearing different clothing, but..." She said. "It's extremely important that if you happen to find them all."

Sweetie hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "If I come across them... I'll catch them... are they... are they your family?"

"Yes, my two children are and... yes I suppose he is too..."

Nothing but the sound of rain above filled the crypt for a few more minutes.

"...right. I've marked the places on your map." she said breaking the silence. Sweetie put her saddlebags on, and placed the starred box inside with the map. "Now the first place you need to go is deeper in the crypt. You need to go down that way in order to exit into the church anyway. Inside of that crypt should be the... I believe they called it a cylindrical ghost processor... just look for a cylinder. Second, somewhere in the dressing hall should be the ectotube and nozzle. You know, the hose. And finally... and I'm not sure if it's still there anymore but... in the theater should be the spectral containment pack, the main body of it all."

Sweetie nodded.

"...well... that's everything I can do for you Sweetie." she said. "It's up to you now."

"I know..." Sweetie said.

"The crypt exit is down that way. Careful though. It's a bit of a maze in there. The map doesn't seem to work in there either, so you're going to have to do without it just a little longer... though if you keep your wits about you, and keep your eyes open, you should be able to get through there with the processor. Ok?"

Sweetie nodded and headed in the direction the mare had pointed her in, then stopped. She realized she had so many questions unanswered. Like she'd said Specter wasn't evil... then what was he? And who was that ghost mare really? Why wasn't she under Specter's... or whoever's control like everyone else? And what did she mean by 'we're running out of time?'.

Sweetie turned back around to see that the mare was gone. Sweetie was alone again, with only the faint glow of the torch she'd lit to keep her company. Sweetie activated her flashlight, and turned back around to face the crypt exit. She took a deep breath.

Time to go.


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