Even Secrets Have Secrets
IC date: Autumn 26
OOC date: October 15
PCs: Jellybean, Sadaka, Windrose, Ruby-Blossom, Kludge, Magpie
NPCs: Foal Horde, Ghost Foals
GM: Gamble

Bedtime for foals means free-time for the adults (and troublesome foals!), and as always Ruby is preparing to wander off all alone again. Her head exposed as the thermal suit is worn with the hood down - an addorable little gold hair clip worn in her hair - similar if not identical to the one given to Magpie. She's opted out of carrying her full-size saddle bag in favor of a pair of smaller pouches; the mare sits near the entrance to the hive as she checks out her equipment.

There's a little sound behind Ruby, somepony out of their bed. "Where're you going?" Maggie asks, her voice low but dismayed.

Windrose spent most of the day either using her map supplies to give some of the kids drawing lessons, or teaching that poor neglected griffon cub more flying tricks. As is, she was pretty well worn, but it was in a good way, knowing she finally got to do something to help. Considering finding one of the trees in lieu of a cloud and taking a nap, she just happens to wander close enough to spot a familiar mare heading towards the exit and bolts after. Maggy beats her to the question though.

Kludge wanders by, making a simple patrol to check the structure of the hive (and to catch any of the local foals who are trying to get into mischief). Fortunately, it's a fairly slow night. As he approaches the entrance, he hears the beginnings of the conversation. While he doesn't walk up close enough to add himself to the discussion, he does listen in from a respectful (and visible) distance.

Ruby-Blossom chuckles softly as she turns to fasten her pounches snuggly around her midsection. "I wanted to delve into the hive a little deeper, a little curious. Not like I was running away." turning around to look at Maggie - the foal can easily catch sight of the hair clip - easily mistaken for the one /given/ to her by Ruby. "It's not like I was sneaking around or anything." she grins warmly "Was I?

Windrose flits just overhead. "Gee, sometimes its hard to tell with you."

Magpie blinks at Ruby, distracted by the pin. She goes through about six emotions in rapid succession, then settles in on melancholy. "Can I go with you?" she asks.

Ruby-Blossom sticks her tongue out at Windrose "No need to be grouchy just cause I'm not in bed yet. It's as if you can't go to sleep without me." A very playful and teasing tone to be had. The mare smiles warmly at Maggie "Of course you can go with me. I don't know what lies ahead, so I expet you to do as I say, understood?" slipping to all fours before reaching out to tossle Maggie's hair with a hoof. "Anypony else up for crawling through tight passages into the depths ofa scary hive?"

"Might as well," volunteers Kludge as he steps forward. After all, there might be more architecture to learn from, and it would give him something active to do around here. Besides, it sounds like a good idea, anyway.

Windrose rolls her eyes at Ruby. "Oh stop acting like it's all about you being in bed with me. Sheesh. People might start to get -ideas-." But then sets down on the ground and folds her wings back. "I -better- go with, I'm the one with the expert sense of direction, remember."

Ruby-Blossom suddenly throws her arms around Windy in a very friendly hug - laughing warmly. "It's fun when other ponies get the wrong idea - helps keep their attention off the /right/ ideas." hugging her friend before letting go. "I don't think any pony would bother taking half the stuff I say seriously at this point."

Magpie hesitates, then hugs Ruby while she's hugging Windy. "Should I got get anything to take with me?" she asks, shuffling her hooves. In her life, honestly, having anything TO take is kind of a novelty.

Ruby-Blossom beams "You could always wear that cute little hair clip I gave you." she reaches down to unfasten one of her two pouches and offers it Magpie. "You want to hold onto this one? Not much in it, some chalk and rope." snugging the foal warmly.

Magpie gives a little hesitant nod and straps the bag around her middle. "You can count on me," she says with a little smile.

Windrose huffs into her bangs at Ruby. "Ruby, at this point, I don't think anyone takes anything you say at face value anyways." She's not complaining about the hug though.

Jellybean peeks around a corner at Ruby and Magpie. "Where are you two going? Is it on an adventure? Adventures are scary."

"Anything else we need to haul along, or do we have enough as is?" inquires Kludge. He waves to Jellybean. "Small adventure, it sounds like - namely, exploring more of the hive."

Sadaka blinks, looking over at the group and stretching, stirring herself from a half-nap. "We're going somewhere? Are we leaving already?" She rubs her eyes, sitting up and yawning.

Out of nowhere there's suddenly, like, ten more foals popping up around the group threatening to explore deeper into the Hive they all call home. "Hey!" "What'cha doing?" "Where you going?" "You wanna see my room?" "You don't have a room." "I do too have a room!" "It's my room too!" "Well I painted it!" "Nuh-uh, /I/ painted it!" "Pinkie painted it, you two just sat there and giggled the whole time!"

This naturally ends in a fit of wrestling between three colts, while a pair of fillies look on and go 'tsk tsk tsk'. "Boys." one says, the other nodding her head. "Hey! Can we come with you? We haven't seen all of it yet." "Yeah, it's awful spooky when you start going in deep." "And big… Very big…"

Ruby-Blossom should have known a 'late night' adventure would be side-lined by a storm of foals. She laughs warmly and glances to Maggie with a look that clearly says it 'sorry kiddo'. She grins at the sudden onslaught foals "I don't know if we can take /everypony/." she admits honestly - a lone trek turning into an expedition. "That's an aweful lot of foals for me to keep track of, and what's Pinkie-Pie's take on exploring this thing anyways?"

Windrose slaps a hoof to her face as foals appear out of thin air. "Should of seen that coming…"

Jellybean beams and waves to the other foals. The idea of adventuring in the big scary hive is still leaving him less-than-thrilled, however. "Are you sure it's such a good idea? What do you want to find in there?"

Magpie looks up at Ruby. " 's not MY fault," she insists. "I'm /quiet/."
Sadaka blinks and tilts her head. Well, this group's getting kind of big. And that seems to be unwanted. She blushes faintly and moves to lay back down. Maybe she should just nap more! Adventuring much in this world sounds dangerous, anyways. Besides, the hive /is/ kinda creepy.

Oh no, the foals aren't going to allow any snoozing when there's /adventure/ to be had. They're like an army of hyperactive midgets, without a Pinkie Pie around to keep lids on them! "Yay!" "Adventure!" "Spooooooky~" "I've been all over before, it isn't /that/ scary." "Did you do it at night?" "It's /always/ night.." "Oh right."

A couple of them even give Sadaka a nudge! "You're coming too right?" "C'moooon, it's really cool in there!"

Two of them look up at Ruby with her asking silly questions. "What? The hive is the /safest/ place to be! She doesn't care if we run around all over inside." "Yeah, it's /outside/ that she doesn't want us running around all willy nilly!"

Jellybean makes a little 'erf' noise. "Well, if you think it's safe I'll come with too."

Ruby-Blossom grins at Magpie and mouths 'I know' before turning to the group with a hearty laugh. "Well it appears we've a regular full-scale adventure on our hooves. I expect every pony to buddy up and stay in sight of the group." a regular field-trip leader at the moment. "Alright ponies. Let's roll out."

Exploring with minimized danger? That's certainly a change of pace from what Kludge has come to expect from adventuring, and it's a change he can certainly appreciate. "This certainly sound more and more interesting."

Sadaka blushes, hesitating a moment before clambering slowly to her hooves. "Well… alright. I guess so."

Magpie stands proud and tall beside Ruby. "If anything gets scary, don't go running off alone, okay? Stay with Kludge, he's huge."

"And nopony wander off on their own either!", Windrose chimes in. Then follows it with some snickering when Magpie calls Kludge huge.

Jellybean nodnods, nudging Sadaka in a friendly sort of way and going to follow Magpie. On his little thermal suit he's wearing the brooch he found when they found Captain Bad Joke's treasure as a sort of good luck charm. "I'm ready when everypony else is?"

"Yay!" several of the foals shout, one hopping up atop Kludge's back because…well isn't that what adult pony backs are for? A couple of the older colts scoff at Windrose's warning. "We know this place better than /you/ do, you're the ones that shouldn't run off alone!" "Yeah, or you'll fall into the /pit!/"

The foal atop Kludge's back pffs. "There's no pit. You made that up!"

"Oh yeah? Then where'd Night Light go? We haven't seen him all week!" "Yeah! Cuz' he fell down the pit…"

"Dude. I'm right here." a little unicorn says, trotting out to stick his tongue at the two bigger colts. "If you're gonna make up stories, at /least/ make sure the pony you're making them up about isn't around to hear it."

Ruby-Blossom can't help but grin in amusement as she begins to usher the group into the hive - chirping "So which way goes deepest little ones? I'm curious about this strange place." (Hopefully I'll find something worth taking too.) The mare admits to herself in thought while trotting along with a huge field of foals.

Windrose is reminded of how she felt when she first got to Horseshoe Harbor. Except this time, it's foals that's suppose to be foals. "Great. Back to herding." None the less she hovers along over the gathering, both to keep an eye out of the passages, and an eye on the sea of foals below.

They may be a rowdy bunch, but they're fairly well behaved. If anything, they probably think it's their job to guide the bigger ponies than to be watched over themselves. At least for the first couple passageways. "This way goes deepest!" one foal says, standing next to one passageway. "Nuh-uh! This one goes deeper!" "We measured it!" two foals chirp.

The unicorn named Night Light sighs dramatically. "They're /all/ wrong. I've been all over this hive, and the deepest place is to keep going this way. It goes all the way to the bottom… None of the other foals have /dared/ to follow me there." He stage-whispers, "That's why they call it the Pit."

Magpie laughs a little and grins at Nightlight. "Anything special down there?" she asks casually. "Or is it just big and empty and dark?"
Sadaka blinks and looks over at him, blushing. "What's down there? …Is anything down there? Can you even see? Wouldn't it be all dark?"

Kludge chuckles at the banter among the foals. Some things just seem to be multiversal constants: boisterous foals, urban legends involving odd occurences that turn out to be not very odd…

Ruby-Blossom trots along behind the impromteu tour-guide 'Night-Light' while doing her best to keep track of the flock of foals - then again buddy system in place, the herder Windrose in the sky, and Kludge bringing up the rear - what could possibly go wrong. "Oh, the deep dark secrets? Sounds like my kind of time. We'll just have to see how many foals - 'chicken out'." snickering softly as she trots along.

Like a foal with a secret that he's been /dying/ to tell somebody, Night Light beams up at Magpie, "There's something special alright!" He trots up a few paces, then spins around and plants his hooves. "/Sugar!/"

Several of the foals gasp in surprise! "Hey! How come you never told /us/!" "Yeah! You were holdin' out on us!" "Sugar!" "…Uh, what's sugar?"

Night Light beams again, and dips his head, his horn slowly obtaining a soft glow to it. That must be how he got his name. "I see just fine in the dark, see!" he claims, then turns around to keep in front. Playing the perfect little pony tour guide.

Jellybean follows curiously. The mention of sugar certainly gets his attention. "Really? There's sugar down here? What's it there for? Is it sugar in something, like bags, or is it just lying around like a beach?"
Magpie blinks. She looks around at the hive. "W-what, like… honey?" she asks, eyes widening.

Windrose pfffs, wings fluttering to keep her aloft as she folds her forelegs over her chest. "Huh. Didn't know changlings had been into 'that' way of things too."

Even though trouble isn't expected, Kludge does occasionally check backwards in case someone - or something - is coming. "Sugar, honey, or what have you, this is certainly intriguing."

Ruby-Blossom is equally intrigued - she's honestly no the adventuring type isn't as well-versed as some other ponies (Gamble anypony?) at least not until she arrived at the Harbor; so she honestly has no idea what to expect. She grins down at Maggie. "I wonder if we'll find any 'sugar'" grinning at the filly, and hoping Maggie will pick up on the fact she's talking about sparkly gold and the like.

Most of the foals are now engaged in either glaring at the unicorn colt up front, or whispering about what sugar actually is. Or rather what sweet things are… The one standing on Kludge's back nods. "It is!"

Night Light turns a corner. Then another corner. "It's not like, /sugar/ sugar." the kid explains, hopping along, "It's like… In the walls. They turn yellow just up ahead and it's all like, sweet when you lick it." Because, y 'know, a kid just /has/ to lick a wall now and then just to see what it tastes like. It's in the Foal's Rulebook!

Even Sadaka perks up at this. Sugar! Boy, her sweet tooth has been missing some treats. …She admittedly hasn't much been craving ice cream, though. Odd, that.

Magpie grins at Ruby. "Me too!" she chirps, but no sign of recognition. Her eyes sparkle at the thought of honey, though!

Jellybean says "Oh! That's called honey. It's really good, isn't it?"

Ruby-Blossom ponders "Yellow?" pondering this - sap? If it's SAP that might mean amber - amber is pretty, not as pretty as diamonds but still; fondly recalling the royal jewels she has hidden back in the Harbor and sighing softly like a girl longing for her true love. She snaps out of her daze and chirps back at Kludge. "We'll need to see what this stuff is - it might be useful, and if it's sweet maybe Windy and I can whip up a real treat for a change."

"Gotcha - so, find a small piece to detach for investigating?" inquires Kludge. No need to break down an entire crystal before knowing for sure what it is, after all.

Nobody can resist the lure of candy! Even if this isn't exactly candy, and more just petrified sweet. Nontheless when Night Light stops, it's at the mouth of a giant cavern! A cavern, lined from one wall to the other, in hexigonal spots, just covered in frozen nectar. Petrified honey. Sweet. Nothing but /sweet/. Night Light stands proudly, hopping on his hooves. "See? I told'ja! Huge room! Lots of sweet walls! This is the Pit!"

Ruby-Blossom 's neck snaps around to look straight at Kludge - dead in the eyes with a look of concern - it wouldn't be possible for changlings to live in a forzen state for hundreds of years - would it? She hopes Kludge is quick enough to pick up on her brief look of concern - cause she can't hold it for long for sake of the foals!

Jellybean looks around eagerly at the walls. "Ohmygosh, so much honey! I wish we had some peanut butter. And some bread. That would be amazing right now."

Kludge gives Ruby an "I'm on it" nod, and starts examining the room more meticulously, subtly knocking on surfaces every so often.

Sadaka gapes around. "Woah… it's all… gold-y. …So you just like… lick it? …Lick the walls?" That sounds… odd.

Windrose leans a bit closer to inspect the wall. Then pokes at it. Then remembers how long it's been since they've had food other than the odd winter grown planets. ".. I'm with jellybelly on that one. Wish I had something to use it on!"

"Well…yeah." Night Light says with a firn head nod. "That's all I do. Sneak down here. Lick a wall. Sneak back up…"

Some of the other foals are already looking around, peering into the murky yellowish solid stuff. Most of them can't even remotely help themselves, already licking at the walls like they were lollipops or something. "Mmmm!" "Oh wow I've never tasted anything like /this/ before!" "Ahhh I'm in heaven~"

There doesn't seem to be anything else /in/ the walls. Not that anyone can see anyway. It could easily have been a great storage room for foodstuffs.

Ruby-Blossom curiously wanders around the large room to examine the numerous hexagons - gently tapping at one before glancing over her shoulder. A little twist of her hoof against the ground triggers the hidden blade in her front hoof - allowing her a chance to chip at the honey - attempting to dislodge a hearty chunk.

After making a circuit of the room, Kludge wanders over to Ruby. "Looks like there's nothing here but honey and nectar," he reports.

Magpie wraps her hooves around one of the protruding crystals and heaves with all her tiny might. Even her horn limns to add whatever small force it can. She finally has to drop off, and scowls up at it. "Hey! Hey, Kludge, c'mere!"

Night Light is as happy as any foal giving away a huge secret can be. Sure, he won't have the secret anymore, but now the foals know about the candy store room! Who knows how many years it's been hidden away? If it weren't for the ultra-cold temperatures, it'd probably all have gone bad by now. Either way, Night Light is perfectly content helping out by shining his horn this way and that so ponies can chip a bit at the walls.

Then, from behind Sadaka, a soft giggle whispers past her ears. Only all of the foals are in front of her, aren't they?

Windrose just lets out a low whistle at it all. "Kinda what I expected, but still pretty dang neat to see in person." She's still hovering nearby, watching the group with amusement

A sizable chunk of 'sugar'falls to the floor with a soft 'thud' and Ruby proceeds to stuff the 'prize' into her small pouch before turning around to look at Kludge - putting the rest of the group in her sight. "I'm glad to hear that, maybe I worry too much sometimes.

Sadaka turns towards one of the walls, frowning. Well… if everypony else is doing it! She sticks her tongue out, leaning forward… and then freezes, one ear twitching towards the giggle. What? She turns to look back behind her, tongue still out for a moment. Did somepony else follow them? "Uh… hello?"
Jellybean is flying around the chamber curiously, being polite enough not to just start licking it. And of course he isn't tempted. Not at all.

Kludge goes over to help Magpie, but is still keeping an eye out for trouble. He goes *tap tap STOMP* a few times to help dislodge the piece Magpie was working on, then wanders over towards Sadaka to check up on the zebra filly.

Magpie grins and sticks the chunk of honey in her mouth, then trots after to give Kludge a big hug!

Another giggle! This time from above Jellybean. A little louder than the last. And then a third, from somewhere behind Magpie. Several of the other foals are stopping in their feast of sugary goodness to perk ears at the echo.

"What's so funny?" one foal asks.

"Your face…" another foal quips, promptly getting kicked in the flank by a third.

"Was that you?"

"Was /what/ me? You're hearing things."

Giggle! This time the sound seems to come from everywhere. A joyful, if…somewhat ghostly sound. Similar to a trick a certain kid used to scare a dragon with just a couple days ago.

Jellybean spins around, trying to see who's laughing. "Uhm, hello?" he asks. "Did you want some honey too? There's plenty for everypony."

Ruby-Blossom 's ruby red eyes flicker at the giggling - one direction then another; it's doubtful she'd be able to pin point the giggling and opts to call out "Hello? Come say hello?" sounding friendly enough at the moment - that doesn't keep her from trying to figure out where sound comes from - although likely impossible.

Windrose was just about to say to heck with it and join the kids in with the right idea of 'examining' the wall, but stops with her mouth open wide for a moment before closing it again and looking around. "Why does there always have to be a weird moment like this thihs…"

Magpie 's eyes widen. "H-hey. That's MY trick. YOu can't have it," she says to nopony in particular, her voice slightly thick around the honey-crystal in her mouth.

For Ruby's benefit, the sound is…coming from everywhere! Like someone put surround sound speakers all over the room and played a giggle-track.

And then? One last giggle. From /right behind/ the thieving mare.

If that weren't enough, the giggling voice is joined by a couple others. A trio of giggles, that send half the foals scurrying for cover next to the bigger ponies, and the other half bucking at shadows! "Stop it!" "You stop it!" "You played this prank on me before and it wasn't funny then either!" "It's not /me/!"

Night Light is part of the former crowd, turning his head this way and that to see if he can shine light on whatever's making the new sounds.

Then the voices speak.

"I think we scared them…" "We didn't mean to scare them." "We just want to play." "So lonely…"

Sadaka looks around, eyes wide and ears back. "Wh-who's there? Wh-what's going on? G-guys? Do… do w-we know these ponies?" She gulped thickly, edging slowly away from the wall.

The turuquoise mare whips around swiftly to try and grab whatever is behind her with thief like reflexes - in retrospect trying to grab something when you've no idea what it is…that could be a very, very dangerous thing! Then again Ruby has been known to make alot of poor choices the past few weeks.

Kludge is looking around. "Um, it might help if we could see you," he points out to the trio of voices. Either there are some really sneaky ponies (or others), or…

Oh no. By the alicorns, no. But it would be par for the course for the adventure he's found himself in. "By any chance, would you happen to be, um…" How to phrase this so it /doesn't/ panic the foals?

Magpie says "I-if you want to play… why don't you… come out where we can … see you?""

Jellybean lands, wings trembling. "Wh-who are you?"

"Show ourselves..?" "Does that mean they can't see us?" "That's sad." "So sad…" "We should fix that!" "Yes!"

And they do! Like little will-o-wisps, the room lights up with several small, ghostly figures of pony foals, each one shedding a quiet light. The one behind Ruby giggles again when the mare goes to take a 'bite' out of it.

This, of course, makes all the collective foals squeal and run in every direction possible, a couple of them even trying to run straight up the walls! Which doesn't work out very well despite their best efforts. There's lots of screaming.

And giggling. Because all the little ghosts seem to be horribly amused by the chaos. "Ooooh we're scaring them!" "But they told us to show ourselves…" "They should make up their mind!"

Ruby-Blossom lands flat on her face as there's nothing behind her to grab - she mutters "Figures.." clearly embarrassed but moving quickly to hop to all fours and look at the scene of ghostly foals. Her head cocked to one side - certainly shocked, perhaps even a minute bit afraid - but somepony has to /act/ brave right. "W..who are you?" staring up at the foals before loudly proclaiming "I'm Ruby!" Doing her best to act the part of the adult - then again they aren't as scary as what she saw the other night.

Kludge sighs. "And this is why I didn't want to say 'ghosts' in my question," he remarks to no-one in particular. Well, what's done is done. He trots over to the ghostfoals, a friendly expression on his face. "Name's Kludge," he introduces with a nod of the head. "Who might you three be?"

Sadaka squeaks and freezes, eyes wide as saucers. She… doesn't look particularly /frightened/, though. More just… I'M A FILLY AND WAT IS THIS. "…Why… why're you all… g-glowy?" she finally asks, voice a bit faint. Everypony /else/ is acting scared. Maybe they're supposed to be scary! To her they just look glowy and oddly see-through.

Magpie squeaks. That's what she was afraid of. She knew it. She just knew it. "A-are you gonna eat our souls?" she yelps, hiding under Ruby.
Jellybean lets out a scream briefly but it seems to disappate just as fast, leaving him looking around at the ghost-foals in curiosity. "Are you gh-ghosts?"

Truth be told they really /aren't/ very scary. Just floaty. And glowy! And giggly. The trio of phantasms float together to touch down, looking at the collective ponies. If one can call what they're doing looking.

"We're ponies!" one chirps. "At least we /used/ to be…" the second one notes. "But now we're here!" the third one chimes. "We were drawn here…"

All three of them giggle again. "Were you drawn here too? Something's coming… It's going to be big!"

Magpie 's ears lay back. "You mean… Nightmare Night?" she asks, then uhs. "Or whatever they call it here…"

Sadaka blinks and tilts her head. "…Something big? Isn't that what Ms. Pinkie Pie said y-yesterday?" She frowned, taking a few steps closer to the floaty glowy ponies. "Do you know what it is?"

Ruby-Blossom places one hoof gently atop of Maggie as the foal hides under her. "I get the feeling many things are coming. Our hope is to protect the remaining foals, and I would be happy to help protect you as well." That likely doesn't mean much considering they are already ghosts - but hey, Ruby is trying.

Kludge headtilts at the ghost-foals. "If you don't mind me asking, who are you? Or were you, if that's more accurate?" These three strike him as foals who happen to be ghosts, not freaky-scary ghosts merely in the form of foals. That does make quite a difference.

Jellybean says "Well, we're here because all the foals are here."

"Who we were..?" one foal asks, head tilted. "I don't remember…" the second foal says, the third shaking a ghostly head. The three shrug, almost in unison, huddled in the middle of the room. "But something big is coming." "We don't know what…" "Just that it is." "It might not be safe." "More will come." "Not like us…" "Meaner." "Bigger!" "Um… Not…like us?"

Ruby-Blossom gives Maggie a firm little hug from above as she takes a moment to emphasize. "It may not mean much, but I intend to protect everypony I can. Ghost pony or not, and you're welcome to be our friends - if you like." a brief ponderifaction. "Perhaps…you could even help protect the foals from the mean ghosts?" Unsure if this idea is good or bad - but being a ghost without purpose has to suck, right?

Magpie ums. She pokes her head out from under Ruby. "We could… be friends, if you promise not to do anything mean…"
Someone has awarded you karma! Keep being awesome!

The three little ghost foals seem…genuinely frightened of whatever's coming. Visible in the way they shudder when Ruby suggests that they help protect.

"…They'll eat /us/ too…" one ghost whispers, fading out in a puff of ghostly blue fire.

"But we'll be your friends." the second one says, before puffing out too!

"You should go before they get here… Soon…" the third ghost whispers, puffing out like the other two. Leaving the room as dark as it was before,with naught but Night Light's horn to shine.

Jellybean is still shaking a little. "I don't like the sound of this at all."
Sadaka gulps and shakes her head. "…Me either. If something bad's coming here…"

Magpie says "You don't think they just mean Nightmare Night?"

The foals are shocked beyond casual conversation. Ghosts! Candy! The sugar rush is fading to a sugar crash, and several of them are already fleeing the scene to go to safer places within the hive. Night Light hangs behind for a bit though, scuffing a hoof. "I… Well take some of the honeystuff at least, and we'll tell Pinkie about this."

"Will do, kiddo," nods Kludge. "In the meantime, we probably should be heading back to the main part of the hive." Which, of course, means that he'll be taking rear-guard again.

Magpie stays close to Kludge. "What do you think the bad thing is?" she asks him.

Sadaka rubs the back of her head with one hoof. "I d-dunno… Nightmare Night's scary, but… but he s-said it was, um, ghosts we had to be scared of." She frowned, laying her ears back. She still didn't quite like that. "So if even the /ghosts/ are scared…"
Magpie holds up her hooves two feet apart. "Maybe it's BIGGER ghosts."

Kludge gives Magpie and Sadaka a hug. "We can probably ask the locals if they have any ideas. Probably shouldn't worry about it until we have more information, so we don't over-scare ourselves." Privately, he's refraining from guessing because that would tempt the world to take his ideas and make them into even worse situations.

Sadaka nods. "…I guess so. But… but we should tell somepony."

Magpie sighs and makes her way up to the, y'know, part of the hive where it's mostly foals rather than ghosts and honey. She picks a cell and tries to curl up. Sleep… may be difficult tonight.

Kludge nods as he escorts Sadaka back to the tunnels. "And we'll ask the next non-foal local friend that we see about it," he agrees. "Until then, we'll just have to remember to ask them. Pausing at the mouth of the honey cave, he looks back. "Take care, you three," he calls out to the (undoubtedly still present) ghosts.