Of Night and Stone
Maud’s Unfortunate Incident
“So seriously, though, why didn’t you tell Pinkie that I saved your life?” Brooklyn asked.
Maud and he had been sitting on the edge of the rooftop of Town Hall for a while now. The horizon was slowly but surely getting brighter as the early hours of the morning progressed.
“I did not think to mention it,” Maud replied. “It did not seem important.”
“Not important?” Brooklyn raised an eyebrow. “You were attacked by some strange stallion--he seemed very familiar, by the way--and you didn’t think it was important?”
“Pinkie did not ask, so I did not tell her.”
“Is that your answer and you’re sticking to it?”
Brooklyn shrugged. “Guess you have different priorities than I. Still, though, it meant that I had to deal with your angry sister, who I swear was going to kill me if I’d waited any longer to explain it to her!”
“We Pie sisters look out for each other. But I doubt Pinkie would kill you. I know she can be assertive sometimes when she is sad.”
“That’s an understatement. I felt like I was an extra in a Stephen King novel!”
“I am surprised you were afraid of Pinkie. You gargoyles are not as tough as you seem.” She lightly punched Brooklyn on the arm.
Brooklyn looked down at her with a mock glare. “If you were anybody else, I’d get offended.” Then he smiled and picked her up, grabbing her in his arms as their heads leaned forward and--
“Hey, hey, hey! Look who it is!” Brooklyn turned his head to see Lex coming outside, followed by Broadway and Angela.
“Aw, the cute couple is together at last!” Angela mocked.
Brooklyn groaned. “I suppose you three are here to mock me some more.”
“Oh no!” Broadway insisted. “We just want to congratulate you two; we think you’ll be really great together. Also, should I get you a decorative saddle as a present?”
Brooklyn raised an eyebrow. “A saddle? What for?”
“For kinky times!” Broadway mocked.
If Brooklyn wasn’t already red, he would have a visible blush. When he looked down, he could’ve sworn that Maud had a glimmer of hope in her eyes. He was about to get angry and put them in their places, but he remembered what Angela said about him being more fun to make fun of because he gets more offended, so he instead just shook his head. He noticed the sky was getting brighter, signaling the oncoming day.
“Well, the sun’s about to come up.”
As the other gargoyles walked out and took position, Brooklyn set Maud back down and struck a pose with his arms over his head in a menacing way. Then he looked back at Maud. “Will you be here when I wake up?”
“Yes,” Maud replied.
Brooklyn smiled briefly. “Great. We can continue our conversation then.”
Like the others, he turned back and opened his mouth, baring his fangs, just as a glimmer of sun peeked above the horizon, and all the gargoyles turned to stone. Maud looked around, then reached into her pocket and pulled out Boulder.
“He is mine, Boulder. Mission accomplished.”
Maud now walked through the streets of Ponyville, looking around at all the ponies she passed by. All these happy mares and stallions, fillies and colts, pegasi, unicorns and earth ponies. Going about their regular, everyday lives. Unaware of the gargoyles who protected the town.
“Maud!” she heard a voice call out to her.
The gray earth pony turned her head to see Pinkie standing in the doorway of Twilight’s library. Maud wondered what Pinkie was doing there as she walked toward her.
“Hello, sis--hey!” Maud was interrupted mid-word as Pinkie quickly pulled her inside and shut the door behind her. “Wha-?”
“Congratulations, sister!” Pinkie shouted as she tightly hugged her surprised sister. “Brookie’s your coltfriend! Now you two can get married, and have lots of little half-gargoyle, half-pony foals and--”
“Pinkie, I told you already!” Twilight interrupted. “Gargoyle and pony DNA is incompatible. It would be impossible for them to reproduce.”
“Besides, don’t you think you’re being a little invasive?” Elisa asked. She was sprawled out on the couch, and had removed her jacket. Twilight stood next to her.
“I’m used to it,” Maud replied. “Hello, Twilight and Elisa.”
“Hi Maud,” said Elisa. “I, uh, wanted to ask you something.”
“Go on,” Maud replied.
“Well, we sort of heard--”
“Brooklyn told us you were attacked last night!” Twilight interrupted Elisa.
“Oh.” Maud paused for a few seconds before continuing. “A stallion did attack me, but Brooklyn fought him off.” Though it was hard to tell, it seemed like she didn’t want to talk about it.
“Yes, brave, strong Brookie fought off the baddies!” Pinkie said with admiration.
“I know, I know. Could you tell me what he looks like?” Twilight asked, pulling out a scroll and a pen.
“Why?” Maud asked.
“Maud, if this stallion is dangerous, we should find out who he is,” Elisa explained. “He could still be out there. We need to know what he looks like so we can be on the lookout for him.”
“Okay,” Maud simply replied.
“Well?” Pinkie asked.
Maud cleared her throat. “He’s a unicorn stallion. He’s white.”
“Go on…” Pinkie pulled on a Sherlock Holmes-style hat.
“He wears glasses,” Maud continued.
“Does he look like a bitch?” Pinkie suddenly shouted.
“What?” Maud said, still unperturbed.
Pinkie slammed her hoof down on the floor. “DOES HE LOOK… LIKE… A BITCH?!”
“Pinkie, calm down!” Twilight interrupted. “We’re not interrogating her!”
“Aw, but that was fun!” Pinkie frowned.
“Now, go on,” said Elisa with a slight chuckle, as this outburst reminded her of a movie she’d seen back home.
Having her train of thought thrown off its rails into a violent wreck by Pinkie’s sudden outburst, Maud shook her head and continued. “He has very short blonde mane, and talks with a slight accent.”
“Hm, that sounds like Mr. Goodfellow!” Twilight said.
“Who?” Elisa asked.
“Goodfellow,” Twilight repeated. “He’s a stallion I’ve seen around town recently. I don’t really know much about him, but he does seem very quiet and a little suspicious. Apparently his hoof got into an accident. When I shook it, it felt cold and hard as rock, but he never really elaborated on that.”
Maud thought silently for a second. Elisa decided to interrupt. “Well, if you see this stallion, please let us know. We have to figure out why he did that and stop him before he tries to do something like that again.”
“Okay,” Maud replied. She turned around and started heading for the door.
“Maud!” Elisa called to her. The gray mare stopped and looked back. “Congratulations.”
Maud hummed her approval before continuing out the rest of the way.
As Maud began walking to Sugarcube Corner, she thought about what she would do. How would her relationship with Brooklyn change if they were to keep going out? What would happen when she had to go back to the farm? How would her parents and other sisters react to this? And what would she do when she went into her monthly heat in a few weeks?
All of these questions would have to wait, though, as she spotted a familiar stallion walking through Ponyville. It was Goodfellow, the stallion who had attacked her last night!
He seemed to be trotting away from the town limits, passing by other ponies in the crowd. Maud would’ve run back to the library to let Twilight and Elisa know about it, but she was too far away from the library, and by the time they got back here, Goodfellow would no doubt be gone.
Maud began following him, seeing where he went or what he did as he headed through the town. She made sure to stay far enough behind Goodfellow that he wouldn’t know he was being followed.
As they reached the town boundary, they passed fewer and fewer ponies, so Maud had to be more inventive to keep Goodfellow from seeing her. She remembered how well she had played hide-and-seek with her sisters and was pretty good at finding cover. Her quiet manner also helped.
But she balked once she realized that Goodfellow was heading straight into the Everfree Forest. She wondered to herself how any stallion could just walk in that dark, spooky forest without a second thought about it. As she followed, she made sure to stay away from the bright blue-colored flowers--the poison joke plants--for her sister had written to her about the effects they’d had on her.
Soon, she saw a clearing opening up ahead and hid behind a tree so Goodfellow wouldn’t see her. She watched as he crossed a rickety rope bridge to the other side, where an old castle stood. Maud recognized the abandoned and ruined Castle of the Two Sisters. When Goodfellow entered, Maud knew this would be a good time to turn around…
…only to see Goodfellow suddenly appear next to her. “Hello again,” he said with a clipped accent.
“What?” Before Maud had time to wonder, Goodfellow blew a bluish powder in her face. Maud began to feel wonky, and darkness crawled across her closing eyes. Before she went down with a crash, Maud thought about Brooklyn one last time.
She hit the ground and everything went black.
“How’s it going, Miss Mayor?” Elisa asked as the gray-haired mare was exiting Town Hall.
The Mayor looked up and smiled at Elisa. With Elisa being the town’s new resident detective and only human police officer so far, the Mayor knew to let her in. To affirm this, Elisa was joined by Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie, two of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony.
“Why good evening, Detective Maza!” the Mayor greeted. “And to you too, Twilight and Pinkie!”
Twilight nodded in response as she used her magic to open the door. Elisa and Pinkie started to enter.
“Uh, just a second!” the Mayor interrupted.
Elisa looked back. “Yes?”
“I wanted to ask you about something.” The Mayor leaned in close and asked with some authority in her voice. “You seem to show up here every evening. What exactly do you do in here while I’m gone?”
Elisa was not prepared to answer questions like this one. “Um, well, you see…”
“The police station has assigned her to do some work in here!” Pinkie quickly improvised. “You have no need to worry, Miss Mayor!”
A little confused, the mare raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure? This is where I work. I don’t want Ponyville’s security compromised.”
“And it won’t be, I assure you, Mayor,” Pinkie said, now talking in an ominous voice. “We have top men working on it right now.”
“Who?” the Mayor asked skeptically.
Pinkie stared directly in the mare’s eyes now. “Top… men.”
Elisa nodded. “You have nothing to worry about. Everything is under control.”
“Okay…” The Mayor’s voice still sounded suspicious as she walked away. Elisa let out a sigh of relief, and she, Twilight, and Pinkie entered the building and started walking up the stairs.
“Thanks a ton for helping me out, Pinkie.”
“You’re welcome!” Pinkie gleefully said.
“Sorry I couldn’t help,” Twilight apologized. “Trust me, I know what could happen if the town found out about the gargoyles.”
“It’s okay! I couldn’t come up with a response, either.” Elisa looked at the horizon. The sun was setting. “Let’s head upstairs; our friends should wake up any minute now.”
As if on cue, they heard a series of growls from a few floors up. Elisa smiled. “That never gets old.”
After waking up, the first thing Brooklyn did was look around the deck for Maud.
“Maud?” he called out. “Maud?”
“You looking for your marefriend?” Broadway teased.
“She’s not my… ugh, never mind.” Brooklyn shook his head. “I knew you would mock me about this.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll always be here for you--Brookie!” Lex laughed.
About that time, Elisa, Twilight and Pinkie stepped out onto the deck.
“I hope you enjoyed your rest as usual,” Elisa greeted.
“Elisa, have you seen Maud?” Brooklyn asked concernedly.
“Um, no, why?” Elisa was confused about this. “Well, earlier today Twilight and I talked to her--”
“And me too!” Pinkie added.
“--but not any more recently than that.” Elisa shook her head. “Was I supposed to have seen her?”
“I bet he just misses her,” said Twilight.
“No, it’s not that!” Brooklyn interrupted. “Well, okay, I do sort of miss her, but it’s more than that. Before the sun came up, she said she’d be here when I awakened.”
Elisa chuckled. “Oh, young lovers. Well, Brooklyn, I’m sure she just forgot.”
The red gargoyle shook his head. “Nuh-uh. Maud wouldn’t forget something like this.”
“He’s right!” Pinkie chimed in. “Maud isn’t one to forget!”
“Well, maybe she’s running just a little late!” Twilight suggested. “You shouldn’t worry. She’ll probably be here in a few minutes!”
The human, ponies and gargoyles went inside and left Brooklyn thinking; something still bothered him. This doesn’t seem like her. She’s always on time whenever we meet. Eh, bet I’m overthinking it. Twilight’s probably right. She’ll be here in a few minutes.
“A few minutes…” Brooklyn repeated as he followed them inside.
A few minutes later, Maud still wasn’t there. Brooklyn shook his head.
“This isn’t right.”
“What’s not right, Brookie?” He heard Pinkie’s voice behind him.
“Oh, hi, Pinkie Pie.” Brooklyn was a little surprised by her sudden appearance, but during the past few days he had grown to expect anything from Pinkie.
“Pinkie,” he began, “have you seen Maud today? Apart from when you, Elisa and Twilight met with her earlier.”
“Hm…” Pinkie tried to think back. “Nope! Though I didn’t check in her bed to see if she was still asleep.”
Brooklyn thought back to the previous night, to the stallion who had attacked them. He wondered if something bad had happened to Maud.
“That’s it, I’m going.”
The young gargoyle rushed back to the door to the outside.
“Going where?” Pinkie bounced happily alongside him.
“To look for Maud.” He pushed open the door and stepped onto the deck.
“Ooh, a search party! One of my favorite types of parties!” Pinkie reached into her mane and pulled out a flashlight, causing Brooklyn to do a double-take.
“Did you just pull that out of your hair?” he asked in wonder.
“Pull what out of my hair?” Pinkie replied in an innocent tone. Brooklyn blinked, then shook his head.
“Never mind. Grab on.”
He squatted down and Pinkie grabbed onto him. Then he stood up and took off.
After slowly gliding past Sugarcube Corner and peering into the window of the guest room, Brooklyn and Pinkie confirmed that Maud was not, in fact, in her room. The two then continued on to the logical place, where Maud met Brooklyn and where they still hung out most often: the park.
The gargoyle and pony called out, “Maud!” a few times and searched everywhere for her, but so far it was to no avail. Brooklyn sighed.
“We’ll never find her.”
Pinkie, somehow grasping the flashlight in her mane and aiming it forward, smiled at Brooklyn. “Don’t worry, Brookie! She’ll be okay and you and she will be together again!”
“Sure hope so…”
Brooklyn then heard a twig snap. He quickly turned around and saw something move.
“Hello?” he shouted in the direction of the movement. He stepped forward. “Show yourself!”
The thing hid behind a cluster of bushes, and Brooklyn growled, his eyes glowing. He lunged at the bushes, tackling something. Though his grasp was tight, whatever it was struggled even harder and managed to slip away with the sound of ripping fabric.
Pinkie ran to Brooklyn. “Did you see something suspicious?” she asked.
Brooklyn stood up and brushed himself off. “More than that. I tackled something--someone, I should say--but I don’t know who it was. It certainly didn’t feel like a pony.” He looked back at Pinkie to notice her face bore a shocked expression. “Pinkie, what is it?”
He looked in the direction of her gaze to see something he never thought he’d see in Equestria: an unknown gargoyle. Her wings were wide open, and she was slowly backing away, breathing heavily. Brooklyn could see that she wore a tattered and torn dress--blue in color, though faded and covered with dirt. But the part he noticed the most was that her head didn’t look like a regular gargoyle’s, but rather a pony. One pony in particular, as her lavender mane shone in the reflection of the flashlight and her turquoise eyes stared back in a manner that showed both fear and recognition.
Brooklyn gasped. “M-maud?”
But how did she become a gargoyle? he thought.
Pinkie gasped loudly. “SUSPICIOUS!!!”