Brian drifted, weightless, in a dark tunnel of what looked like clouds. Far above him, a light twinkled invitingly. He let his eyes close as it drew him gently upwards, until—
He blinked and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sudden light. It poured in through a rift in the side of the tunnel, where a familiar alicorn, flanked by two pegasus guards barded all in gold, stood on a platform of cloud. Her horn glowed brightly, pulling him towards them.
"Princess Celestia!" Brian shouted, as he touched down softly on the cloud. "You're real!" He looked up the tunnel towards the light at the other end. "And you saved my life!"
Celestia stepped forward to meet him, and her laugh made Brian think of a champagne waterfall. "My dear Brian. No, you're as dead as they come. Didn't you see the size of that truck?"
"Oh. No, I was texting."
"Of course you were," she said. She came a step closer. "Brian, because you were such a—devoted fan in life, I've decided to make you a very special offer. How would you like to spend eternity in Ponyville?"
Brian clapped his hands to his ears, bent his knees and head, and yelled, "Squeee!"
Celestia blinked. "Squee? Did you really just say squee? Don't you know that's onomatopoeia?"
"Never mind. Does that mean yes?"
"Yes! Omigosh yes! This is going to be the Best ... Afterlife ..."
Celestia quickly raised one hoof to Brian's mouth, cutting him off. "Wonderful!" she said, with a smile that would melt glaciers. "This is going to make me very happy, Brian."
"Really? So, you're not mad about...." He fell silent.
She bent her head down to him with one raised eyebrow and a coquettish smile. "Oh, come now. You can tell me."
"You know," he said, looking down while shifting back and forth from one foot to the other, "the fan-fiction."
"Fan-fiction? It must have slipped my mind. I'm terribly sorry. What was it called?"
"Um ... you know...." Brian mumbled something and began to blush.
"Sorry, what was that?"
"Molestia does Equestria."
"Oh!" she said, brightening. "I think I remember it now. It was pretty long, wasn't it?"
"There were a lot of characters in the show," he said, scraping one foot on a cloud.
"I seem to recall an especially steamy chapter with Featherweight."
"And Tank the Tortoise."
"Tank doesn't get enough attention."
"And a rock. What was that about?"
"Rocks need love too!"
"No, they don't." She nickered pleasantly. "But it was all in good fun. I've been known to play a prank or two myself." She turned to regard the two guards waiting just out of earshot. "Just out of curiosity, Brian. Why didn't you ever ship me with one of the strapping hunks of stallionhood that I always keep by my side? It's not like I'm being subtle. I've got more eye candy that a Bond villain."
Brian blinked. He glanced at the guards, then whispered, "Well, just between us, those guys weren't exactly chosen for their personalities."
"No, they certainly weren't," Celestia said. She closed her eyes for a moment and smiled absently. "In fact," she said, "that reminds me. I really must get back to—" she glanced over her withers again at the two guards standing ramrod straight, a fine layer of sweat on their flanks glistening in the bright sun—"some Sun-goddess things. So long, Brian. Enjoy eternity!"
"Boy, will I! I can't wait to find out who really ships with who!"
Celestia rolled her eyes. "With whom, Brian," she corrected. "Just once in your life—oh, too late. Anyway, don't be silly. There's no shipping in G3!"
She winked, then she and her guards faded into stardust and sunbeams.
The light dimmed, the clouds dissipated into a fine mist, and Brian found himself standing in a field of grass covered with bright flowers. Butterflies even more colorful than the flowers fluttered here and there, leaving trails of glitter behind them. Soft, tinkling, unrelentingly cheerful music played somewhere in the distance. As the mist evaporated, Brian saw a group of brightly-colored ponies further off. They were puffy-looking, as if made out of marshmallows, and they looked back at him with the whole-hearted smiles of children. Or half-wits.
"Hey, everybody!" a pony said in a squeaky voice. "It's a new friend to play with!"
A differently-colored but otherwise identical pony said in an almost-identical voice, "I love having friends! Don't you love having friends?"
"Oh, yes! I'm just so excited. Aren't you so excited?"
"Yes! I am excited!" The marshmallow ponies thundered softly towards him. The gentle, chiming music started the same saccharine refrain for a third time.
"Da buck?" Brian said. He looked up to the skies. "Princess Celestia! Help!"
But Princess Celestia was busy.