Something is very wrong in Canterlot, and as the sun finally, reluctantly rises, it brings with it a very hollow morning, devoid of warmth or meaning. Today, Celestia is not here. The sun rises without its mother: it is awake and very, very afraid.
Suddenly and without warning, Castle Canterlot has been whisked away, replaced by the wicked Castle Dracula. Now, without the Princesses to guide or protect them, Equestria is left helpless at Dracula’s mercy. Can the Mane Six stop Dracula’s forces from destroying and dominating this once-innocent land?
Rainbow Dash and Shatterstorm sneak into the monster-infested Canterlot to rescue Princess Cadence.
What A Horrible Night to Love and Tolerate These Tropes:
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Adult Fear: Part of what makes this series so scary is that it contrasts the horrors of real life with “ghost story” horror.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: With the Castle taking the place of Celestia's palace, it's child's play for Dracula's forces to occupy all of Canterlot and wipe out the local Royal Guard.
Apocalypse How: According to Word of God, the Castle removing itself from its home timeline caused said timeline to "implode", and that Aeon's mission is to return the Castle to its own timeline in order to prevent the timeline’s collapse.
The Dulcinea Effect: Implied with Shatterstorm's apparently intense dedication to protecting Twilight.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Nevermore the Perverse created a poison that only affects foals, but was sure to also create a cure, just in case anypony got the idea to use his poison on his own kids.
Even Evil Has Standards: While Marble/White Dwarf willingly joined Dracula's minions, she still refused to poison foals. So of course, Actrise possesses her to get it done, leaving White Dwarf as the fall-mare.
Face Death with Dignity: Both Roseluck and Pinkie Pie attempt this when they feel they no longer have an option to escape. Thankfully averted.
Tiger Cross, who holds off Death so Twilight can get to safety, isn't as lucky.
Holy Burns Evil: The Magic Cross is able to ward off all of Dracula's monsters. Notably, even the Behemoth is scared of it, to the point that in a blind panic to get away from it, it runs right into the Aguni-possessed Dirt Nap, burning itself to death.
Mind Rape: Just looking at Death's face causes whoever does so to relive every painful memory they have. The fact that Dirt Nap is unaffected by it is what clues Death and Actrise in to the fact that he might be an asset.
Out-Gambitted: Marble manages to force Twilight into giving her Dracula's rib, then to act as her escort out of the hospital just to humiliate her. Twilight has no choice but to comply.
Twilight gets her back when it turns out she managed to use the rib to channel a spell to the other body parts that mutes their presence, making it nearly impossible for Dracula's minions to find them.
Sadistic Choice: Marble poisons most of the remaining foals in Ponyville and tells Twilight she'll only give her the cure if she hands over Dracula's rib. And then, once she has the rib, she adds the stipulation that Twilight escort her out of the hospital unharmed before she'll hand it over.
Take That: The author has stated that part of Dirt Nap's characterization is designed as one of these towards Castlevania: Lords of Shadow's portrayal of main characters as whiny, self-centered, "woe-is-me" types who become villains for no good reason.
Teleport Spam: Twilight's tactic against Dirt Nap. As she puts it:
Teleport spamming. It's an obnoxious, physically-taxing tactic. On the other hoof, it perplexes and confounds enemies.
Then Let Me Be Evil: Dirt Nap invokes this by saying that since everypony always mistreated him because of his special talent of embalming, he's going to make them pay by joining Dracula.
When Actrise realizes that Twilight's tricked her (see Out-Gambitted above), she starts screaming her name while beating the Chronomage bloody with her staff. She calms down after a few minutes, but is now determined to see Twilight dead.
Avengers Assemble: Aeon has gathered a team of some of the greatest heroes from across the Castlevania timeline. However, the others are currently staying in the dimensionally-displaced Castle Canterlot, training the Royal Guards there, due to Aeon's fear that Dracula will attack it and because his powers have diminished to the point he can't move anyone other than himself between dimensions.
Soarin and Applejack remember each other from the Grand Galloping Gala.
Cassandra Truth: Roseluck fears this will be the case if she or Twilight try to warn anyone about the visions the Castle is tormenting her with.
Demonic Possession: In his first scene, Alucard teaches a group of Royal Guards how to recognize the signs of this, and whether or not it is voluntary.
Eldritch Location: The Heavenly Doorway, the place between worlds that Aeon travels through to move between dimensions. It's alive, and wants to consume the mind of anyone who passes through it.
Erotic Dream: While not "erotic" per say, Rainbow Dash does have a dream of her and Shatterstorm admitting their feelings for each other and passionately kissing... and then "wakes up" to find herself sharing a bed with him.
Eviler than Thou: Applejack describes the feeling from Dracula's rib as worse than Nightmare Moon, King Sombra, and even Dracula's minions themselves.
Values Dissonance: In-Universe. Charlotte is from a much earlier time than Soma, so he shouldn't be too shocked when she uses words like "negro" or "colored people" when comparing zebra culture in Equestria to African culture on Earth.
Wham Line: The last line of Chapter 3, when Actrise's minions reveal they have something important to show Fluttershy:
"There, clenched in Chloe’s fingers, is Princess Cadence’s crown."
What the Hell, Hero?: Pinkie scolds Shatterstorm for selfishly acting as if he's the only one suffering from what's been going on.
Equestrylvania: Cradle of Ruin
Agent Peacock: Rose Blade, the new Captain of the Royal Guard, is boyishly attractive, and keeps a collection of his namesake flowers. He also has no problem beating ponies to death.
Batman Gambit: How Roaring Yawn gets rid of the Guards watching the room that Shatterstorm has been locked in; after telling them that the Wharg has gotten loose, he runs off, and makes noises that sound like it's close by, counting on them panicking and running off.
Berserk Button: Rose Blade does not respond well to his authority being questioned.
Big Damn Heroes: Roaring Yawn and a couple of Royal Guards show up and save Rainbow Dash and Shatterstorm from the Wharg chasing them by hitting it with a tranquilizer just in time.
Blatant Lies: Turns out, Dracula's minions never had Cadence, they just took her crown when she dropped it while escaping with the Royal Guards.
Then it turns out that the traitor Royal Guards handed her over anyway, so Dracula does have her.
Combat Sadomasochist: Whisper White actually seems to enjoy a vengeful Shatterstorm beating him within an inch of his life.
Depraved Bisexual: Whisper White is a psychopath who finds both Shatterstorm and Rainbow Dash beautiful.
Determinator: Shatterstorm is locked in a room sealed with an unbreakable door. He just keeps bashing himself against it until it does break.
Rainbow Dash refuses to back down when cornered by the Wharg eventually beating it into submission.
Eye Scream: After Shatterstorm is done with Whisper White, one of the latter's eyes has been bashed into jelly.
Face Monster Turn: Shining Armor has succumbed to the infection he gained in the first book.
Genre Blind: Shatterstorm feels that Rainbow Dash is this towards the... attention she gets from the other Royal Guards, to the point that he pretends to be her boyfriend to make them back off.
Ghost City: Canterlot is almost completely deserted, the populace having either fled or been killed, save for a small remaining group of Royal Guards.