“Okay Dash, it's your turn.”
“Finally!” Rainbow shouted, hovering a few feet in the air she crossed her forelimbs over her chest and gave an angry pout. After making sure everypony knew her displeasure at going last she flew over to the 'What If' machine.
“The only trouble is thinking of the right question to ask.” She rubbed her chin in thought. “I mean, asking about joining the Wonderbolts would be a waste of a question, I already know how that'll play out: At the next open tryouts I'll blow the competition away, once they find out I'm coming most of the other hopefuls won't even bother showing up. They'll give me a contract on the spot, and at our first show, Equestria will see the Wonderbolts like they never have before. I'll make captain before you know it and...”
“I think we're getting a little off track.” Twilight broke the pegasus out of her fantasy.
“Oh, yeah. Well I already have control of my life, and I'm leading it to the only place I want it to go.” Dash said confidently, “So... I'll see what life would be like if one of you guys was different!”
With an evil grin Rainbow Dash rested her gaze on each of the other mares in turn. None of her friends were eager to see what Dash might have in store for them. Finally her eyes turned to Pinkie Pie, and her eyebrow quirked up at what she saw. The pink pony had somehow managed to get a potted plat stuck in her tail (a situation made even more confusing since she hadn't remembered there being any plants in the room), and was now running in circles trying to bite at the unwelcome passenger.
“Okay, I have my question,” She turned to the machine and said, “What if Pinkie Pie were normal?”
The girls giggled at the question, especially Pinkie Pie, “Ooo, that's a good one Dashie! I wish I thought of that one, but it's okay that I didn't because I get to see it now!”
Smiling the ponies once again turned to the screen, eager to see what would happen.
It was a bright, beautiful morning in Ponyville, which was generally the case in the small town, or at least it was on the days Rainbow Dash didn't oversleep. This was one of those days and the sky blue pegasus decided to pick up a snack after her morning shift.
Dash walked into Sugar Cube Corner, and there tending the counter was her friend Pinkie Pie. The earth pony smiled at her and said, “Hi Rainbow Dash, what can I get for you today?”
“Hey Pinks, you got any of those raspberry tarts you had last week?”
“Sure do, baked 'em fresh this morning.” Pinkie walked over to the display case and slid the door back, reaching in she grabbed the desired treat. “That'll be two bits please.”
“Thanks Pinkie, here you go.” Dash placed her money on the counter as Pinkie slid the pastry across to her friend.
“Thanks Dash. Have a nice day.” She said with a friendly smile.
As she walked out the door Rainbow Dash turned and said, “You too Pinkie, see ya later.”
The image on the screen faded, and the clicking of the mechanism beside them stopped. For a few moments the ponies just stared at the screen expecting something more. Then, shooting into the air, Rainbow Dash yelled, “That's it? That sucked!”
Rarity tutted at Dash's crass language, but silently agreed that what they just saw did indeed suck. What had seemed like a funny idea at the time had turned out to be exactly what Rainbow had asked for: Pinkie acting normal. The thing the group had forgotten, the very important thing to remember about normal ponies was, normal ponies are boring.
Once again Dash was fuming. Wondering to herself how many times a pony can fume in one day before if became a health risk, Twilight looked up at her friend and said, “Well, technically that was very informative.”
“Yeah, it informed me that I wasted my turn!” Dash retorted.
With a sigh (and wondering if there were any detrimental effects of excessive sighing) Twilight said, “I suppose since that one was so short you can have another turn.”
With a gleeful expression Dash scooped the unicorn up in an agonizing bear hug saying, “Thanks Twi, you rock.” Before unceremoniously dropping her and rushing to the machine.
“Okay machine, we're gonna do this again, and you'd better show me something awesome if you know what's good for you.” Rainbow Dash glared at the offending pile of metal and magic.
“Again, it's not sentient, it won't respond to threats.” Twilight said.
“I know it's not a centipede. Shut up.” Dash said with an embarrassed frown.
Now was the time to come up with a really good question, something that would totally knock the other pony's socks off (if Rarity actually allowed anyone to wear socks in her presence that is). Racking her brain she knew what to ask, something that was sure to demonstrate her awesomeness.
“What if I never did a Sonic Rainboom?”
It was dark. It was the darkness of a moonless winter night. It was the darkness that haunts foals nightmares and makes the bravest pony's hair stand on end. It was the darkness of a world utterly dead.
Ponyville stood under a sheet of ice. Like a model town under glass. And just like a model town, there was no life here. Little seemed different at first glance, despite being frozen in time. Some of the homes and shops were in disrepair, but it was mostly cosmetic damage, the actual structures seemed as sturdy as ever.
But as one would look deeper, they could see other differences. There were no new buildings. Over the past few years there had been a boom of construction in the real Ponyville, largely thanks to the new train station which was built shortly after Twilight's arrival. None of that was here. No train station, no new buildings, nothing had been added since the time before Twilight had moved to the real Ponyville. Well, almost nothing.
The image panned out. There at the edge of town, where the modest cemetery had once been, was a massive graveyard. The field seemed to stretch on forever, but that was not the worst of it. The oldest graves were familiar to any resident of Ponyville, pristine markers, professionally crafted and lovingly placed. The newer graves were different. At first it seemed that ponies were trying to keep with tradition, rough stone or wood markers, a few words carved or painted on them. Past these were plane stone or other debris laid carelessly, their only function to mark what earth was used up. After these it appeared this Hellish winter began in earnest, pony sized barrows of stone or brick showed the ground was too hard to dig. Then the lower mounds came into view, a few of them were wrapped in a simple sheet, but dead ponies don't need to stay warm. The tragic field spread away from Ponyville, the further it was, the more horrible the grave. That is, until one noticed the pile. It was just outside of town, in clear view and close, a monument to the final surrender to hopelessness.
A view of all Equestria showed the same thing. There was no life here. Trees were gray and leafless, only standing because they were frozen in place. Fields barren and under a deep frost. Rivers and lakes frozen to the bottom. Then one would look up and see it. The Moon dominated the sky, and it was black. It was no longer the lantern of the night, no new moon promising nights of growing brightness, it's light was gone forever.
Canterlot still stood, though damage was clearly visible. The palace bore the worst of it, gaping holes and signs of fire, the magical fallout could still be felt in the air. Evidence of the last war of Equestria, the last war of Earth. But Equestria was conquered, and it's new queen sat on the golden throne. There sat Nightmare Moon, frozen and unmoving, like the rest of her kingdom. Looking closer one could see, or hope that they saw, a single tear of ice, resting on her cheek.
The basement of Ponyville library was quiet. Six mares sat staring at a blank screen, tears streaming from their eyes. Looks of horror and despair remained on their features. The spell was broken by the sound of Pinkie sobbing, Fluttershy seized up and fainted, while Rarity swooned and fainted in a much more ladylike fashion. Applejack and Rainbow Dash sat shuddering, despite the warm summer air coming through the small open windows. Twilight Sparkle felt sick, but thanks to her Hoof-Longer, was able to grab a bucket before she threw up.
“That wasn't funny at all!” Shouted a now furious Pinkie Pie. “The other ones were funny, but that was just sad! I mean, Fluttershy's was kinda creepy, but it was kinda sexy too, so that made it okay. And Rarity's had her go clothes-crazy which was fun. AJ's had that cool fight scene. And I don't remember my turn very well, I think it involved me destroying the universe, but you can bet your booty I did it in a funny way! But that! That was just depressing! Well I don't know about you guys, but I'm taking my plant and going home!”
With a final 'hmph,' Pinkie headed for the stairs and walked out of the basement. The four other non-residents soon followed her, leaving Twilight alone in her lab.
After a moment the purple unicorn looked at her hooves, then shouted after her friends, “Wait! Do any of you want to pre-order a Hoof-Longer?”
“Buck Yeah!” Came five voices in reply.
Is it the end? PROBABLY!
Will there be a sequel? MAYBE!
Does the author have more brilliant ideas in mind? UNLIKELY!
Thanks for reading everyone. I hope you enjoyed it!