• Published 24th Aug 2013
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Fallen From Grace - The Grimm Reaper



Twilight has failed as a princess and her Alicorn status has been stripped away from her.

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1. Just Take A Fall

Disaster still flooded the headlines of 'Equestria News'. An incident that could have been prevented occurred the previous day; a team of Gryphons had struck the peaceful city of Manehattan. Twilight Sparkle had been left in charge of Royal duties in the absence of both Princesses Celestia and Luna, who went off to delegate between other Pony nations. Having had a bad day already, a request to visit Canterlot from the Gryphon King himself had reached Twilight's ears. She was less than hospitable.

"Twilight, how could you think to deny the Gryphon King?!" Celestia fumed at her apprentice, struggling not to use the Royal Canterlot voice on her. "You know how Gryphons act when they don't get their own way!"

"I'm sorry, Celestia. I didn't think they'd react that way. It was a simple request to visit, nothing majorly political about it, certainly nothing to attack a city over." Twilight tried to coax her way out of the situation, but it didn't work.

"You never decline the Gryphon King unless his decisions or requests endanger Equestria or us if acted upon." Luna explained, sounding less annoyed than her older sibling.

"Once again, I'm sorry. I'll do better next time." Twilight said. There was a stagnant pause in the air that unnerved Twilight.

"I'm sorry, Twilight, but Equestria knows you're responsible for this mess. Your decision to ignore the Gryphon King has cost lives. Ponies are beginning to believe that we are no longer capable of protecting them. They're even talking about a democracy. I hate to do this, but it's for the good of Equestria." Celestia leaned towards Twilight and took her crown in her mouth. Twilight gasped as she realised what was happening.

"Celestia... Luna?!" Luna seemed more saddened than Celestia about her sister's action.

"Democracy cannot help Equestria, it will only serve to bring it to ruin as the greed of the common pony can corrupt organisations such as those. To continue protecting everypony, we must save face. Unfortunately, this means disowning you as our fellow sister." Luna said. Her throat began to choke up after she spoke. While she was certain Celestia was more so devastated by this outcome, Luna owed her life to Twilight, and this was heart-breaking for her.

"I'm... disowned?" Twilight asked, her own throat locking up.

"You're still a part of the family through Shining Armour's bloodline, but you are no longer a Princess, Twilight." Celestia said with as much neutrality as she would have had she been speaking to Blueblood instead.

"You're kicking me out? After one mistake?" Twilight tried to argue. She'd spent months trying to come to terms with being a Princess, she wasn't about to let it end just like that.

"Lives, Twilight. Lives were the price of your mistake. Ponies died for no real reason. This could have been prevented had you just accepted the Gryphon King's request. Declining him simply because you're having a bad day is no excuse. The media knows this. Emotions cannot be allowed to control our decisions." Celestia said. Her voice was still neutral, but the sadness at having to do this began to seep through on her usually flawless poker face. That argument forced Twilight to abandon hope of redeeming herself. She would not get a second chance. She lowered her head, her mane falling over her eyes.

"I guess blood is thicker than wine." she muttered so low both Princesses only heard ramblings.

"Sorry?" Celestia asked.

"I GUESS BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WINE!" Twilight screamed, startling both Princesses.

"I don't under-." Celestia began with a calm expression.

"NIGHTMARE MOON!" Twilight explained. Celestia and Luna froze in place. She wouldn't go there, would she?

"LUNA GETS A SECOND CHANCE AND I DON'T?! AFTER EVERYTHING I'VE DONE; REUNITING YOU BOTH, CLEANING UP AFTER YOUR ANCIENT MESSES! EQUESTRIA OWES ME THREE TIMES OVER! YOU OWE ME THREE TIMES OVER!!! ONE LITTLE MISTAKE AND EVERYTHING REMOTELY FAIR GOES OUT THE WINDOW?! I WISH THOSE PONIES IN MANEHATTAN HADN'T DIED BECAUSE NOW I CAN'T COLLECT ON THE OTHER TWO FAVOURS THEY OWE ME!!!" she fumed.

The princesses both went slack-jawed. Twilight's crown dropped out of Celestia's mouth with a loud clang on the polished granite floor, tumbling around before coming to a rest just beside Celestia's hooves. There was an arid pause between the three of them. Deep in Luna's heart, she knew Twilight was right. This wasn't fair, but to say such a thing about the deceased just wasn't her. Celestia had to be careful, otherwise they'd be dealing with another Nightmare Moon.

"Get out." Celestia whispered, loud enough for them both to hear. Immediately, Luna knew that was not the right thing to say.

"Uh, Sister, I-." Luna went to say, but was cut off.

"GET OUT!!! AND DON'T YOU EVER COME BACK!!!" the white alicorn boomed, rattling the windows of the throne room. Definitely the wrong thing to say.

Twilight stared at Celestia from behind her mane, hatred and betrayal covering her eyes in the form of tears. "Have it your way." the banished alicorn hissed at her mentor. Twilight compressed her magic into the tip of her horn. With a loud crack, Celestia and Luna were both thrown across the room into their respective thrones. Twilight was nowhere to be seen. A shimmering ripple of magical residue was all that remained of the once respectable young Alicorn.

Celestia stood up from her throne and brushed herself off. The anger in her face kept Luna quiet as the white Alicorn brushed herself off and stormed out of the room. Luna became sluggish in her throne, her muscles uncurling all at once. A hoof swung haphazardly along the side of the throne.

"Celestia, you foolish mare. Not only have you destroyed the relationship with your best friend through that last comment, but you've left the Elements of Harmony virtually useless until a new generation arrives. Or worse off, should Twilight sway her friends, they could be used against us." Luna said to an empty room.

...Six months later...

Twilight lay curled up into a ball in her bed. Since her wings had deteriorated like a statue in a hurricane after leaving the castle, she found it easier to get comfortable when sleeping. The only problem now was the sleeping. She couldn't sleep, she barely ate, even less so left the room.

Spike had become the unfortunate victim of Twilight's night terrors. They'd change every time, but they all involved Celestia and a Gryphon (sometimes with a crown). Nine times out of ten, the young dragon would manage to get a peaceful night's rest. Six times out of ten, it would be half a night's rest. The Library suffered as a result of this. Spike's lack of sleep reflected on his work. Books were misplaced, some alphabetically, others by genre and numerical placement. Daring Do had become Sci-Fi and the Gods the Gryphons worshipped had become fiction (though Twilight may have done that intentionally).

Most recently, books weren't even being placed into shelves any more. It was beginning to look like something out of 'Black Books'. Creatures even started living in the woodworks.


"What am I gonna do, Applejack? You understand Twilight better than anypony. You've got that special... bond thing your family seems to do with those close to them. What can I do to cheer her up?" Spike asked, his baggy eyes showing the strain as well as the depth of the situation to Applejack. The orange Earth Pony turned to their friend who sat in the middle of the apple orchard like a zombie with no brains to eat.

"Maybe if we all act like nothin' happened. She'll come around quicker than the dogs looking for Winona in matin' season." she replied, fixing her Stetson as she thought.

"I guess it's worth a shot." Spike said, motioning for Applejack to demonstrate. The Earth Pony obliged and turned to call over to the still Twilight.

"Hey Twi, if yer feelin' a little glum, why not write a letter to the Princess?" she suggested.

"Bad idea." Spike commented, swallowing as the Unicorn stirred slightly. There was a moment's silence before hysterical laughter erupted from the Lavender mare, frightening both Pony and dragon alike. She turned to the pair with a crazed look in her eye.

"Mention her again, and I will RIP UP THIS ORCHARD!!!" she screamed, turning back around and returning to her zombie-like state.

"Very bad idea." Spike added, feeling Applejack squeezing the life out of him in fright.

"Ah forgot how scary she can be when she's... nuts to that, she's never been like this." AJ said, shaking slightly. An idea came to Spike.

"Something you said earlier just registered with me." he began, drawing AJ's attention. "When you mentioned the dogs coming to Winona during mating season. Maybe we should try and find Twilight a special somepony. 'Hearts and Hooves' is nearing the corner, you know." he said. Applejack liked the idea. It wasn't until she began thinking about finding a special somepony of her own that she realised who she was holding. The pony and dragon quickly separated and took a moment to clear the awkwardness.

"Ah like the idea, Spike. But who in Equestria could handle... that?" AJ asked, motioning to Twilight who had stopped staying still and had begun rolling around in the grass, kicking at the air. It reminded Applejack of Winona during a lovely Spring afternoon.

"I don't suppose Big Mac's on the table?" Spike suggested.

"Sugarcube, a minute ago, Ah might have thought about it, but after hearin' that orchard comment from her. Ah want her as far from here as possible until she resolves things. Datin' Big Mac ain't gonna do nothin' but give him another choker." she replied. "What about that Flash Sentry fellah? Weren't she and him gettin' friendly?" Applejack asked.

"Are you kidding? The guy works for Cele-." Spike cut himself off as he saw Twilight give him the same look Owlicious gave him whenever he was being dramatic.

"Ah... You-know-who," Twilight turned away slowly, giving him a cautious glance before she returned to rolling around. The pair shuddered. "She hasn't spoken to him since that day she returned to Ponyville." Spike concluded.

"Well Ponyville ain't exactly teemin' with colts. And the colts that are here are either taken, married or... too young... where'd she go?" AJ asked. Spike turned to see nothing but a matted patch of grass where Twilight was just a moment ago.

"Son of a mule!" Spike said, standing up.


Twilight found herself wandering the edge of the Everfree Forest. She'd been within hearing distance of Spike and Applejack and had grown tired of their plans to make her feel better. Neither finding a special somepony, nor acting like nothing was wrong would fix the void in her heart.

For six months, she'd been struggling to return her state of mind to the way things used to be. She'd strived for happy, but instead she could only go from outraged to sad. The battle for the two emotions had been going on ever since. Right now, she was sad. She knew it would have been better if she'd left on better terms with Celestia. That way, she might have had another chance after the fuss over Manehattan had died down. But then again, she'd made the point of mentioning how this land owed her. Celestia had been cruel and unfair. Most of all, she was selfish; abdicating Twilight to save face with the public. What a bitch! And there was the outraged side again.

Her thoughts blinded her to the path she'd taken. She didn't see the cloaked figure standing in front of her. She bumped into him, the solidity of his form, like a stone wall. She fell onto her haunches, shaking her head free of... everything. Looking up, she saw a tall pony, like Big Macintosh, wearing a dark brown cloak over his body, a hood covering his head. Through the shadow within his hood, a pair of Lime Green eyes stared down at her.

"I-I'm sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going." the unicorn said, unable to move under the gaze of this pony.

"You're Twilight Sparkle, are you not?" the pony asked. It was definitely a Stallion... a big one. His voice didn't seem to fit his seemingly gruff posture and size. He actually sounded rather... wheezy. At the same time, he sounded kind.

"Um... Yes, that's me. Do I know you?" she asked.

"No," he extended his hoof which she took graciously and helped her to her hooves. "But I am aware of your... tragic predicament. You are a former Alicorn." he said. Immediately, Twilight felt discomfort return to her. For a moment, she thought she might be able to forget everything for at least a few minutes.

"Yes. The attack on Manehattan was my fault. Did you have family or friends there?" she asked with a touch of venom in her voice. She'd received hate-mail and death threats shortly after having been banished from Canterlot Castle.

"I did not have family there, and I do not have friends in general, much to my comrades' displeasure." he replied. Twilight found this pony to be rather interesting.

"You have comrades, but no friends? How does that work?" she asked.

"They're more like co-workers." he said.

"What do you do?" she asked.

"It's a secret, meant for the ears of select ponies." he replied. Twilight seemed disheartened by this information. "Fortunately, you are one of those select ponies." the stranger added, bringing a smile to her face. It felt strange to her. Nothing had made her smile since that day, yet this complete stranger had managed to do it by satisfying her curiosity.

"Are you going to tell me?" she asked, looking eager. The pony seemed hesitant for a moment.

"Why don't I show you instead?" he offered. Twilight had read stories about this as a filly. Creepy strangers offering mysterious gifts to unsuspecting foals and taking them away to a place they can't escape, where they would do unspeakable things. But as she thought about it. Perhaps this was what she wanted. It would be a form of stress relief if nothing else.

"Alright, lead the way." she said, a serious look on her face.

...Canterlot Castle...

Luna was unable to sleep. That had happened a lot lately, and she knew why. Dusk was approaching and the Sun was beginning to set. The dark Alicorn made her trek from her room to her sister's, knocking gently on the door. When no response came, she opened it slightly. She knew what was happening even before she caught sight of it. She heard Celestia crying silently, then saw her by the window, her head lowered. Every few seconds, those silent sobs would be heard and her body would heave in time to them.

"Sister, please stop crying. You know what you must do in order to rectify the mistake made." Luna said. In truth, she held no sympathy towards her sister. It was a mistake the Sun princess herself had made and instead of taking the chance to fix it, she chose to spend her days in her chambers, sobbing like a helpless filly.

"This can't be fixed with a few words, Luna! I yelled at her. I've never yelled at her before, never! She's angry with me. I know it. I haven't received a single letter from her since then." Celestia said.

"She no doubt believes it to be a waste of paper. You believe she is still mad at you, and she in turn believes the same of you." Luna stated.

"So what is there to do about it, go to her and find out which of us is angry at who?" Celestia argued like a foal.

"Send for her, go to her, either one. At least try to mend this broken fence. You owe her that much." Luna replied calmly.

"When, Luna? After six months of this, when do you think would be a good time to just show up and do that?" Celestia demanded.

"That is for you to figure out. But I recommend it be sooner rather than later. I fear your window of opportunity is closing fast." Luna replied. Celestia turned to look at Luna, a cautious curiosity in her eyes.

"What do you mean by that?" she asked.

"Look to the Horizon, sister. A shadow lies within the sunset." she replied. Celestia did as commanded and looked towards the setting sun. Sure enough, like a mirage in the distance, a stream of amorphous black swivelled and wobbled around just above the surface of the horizon. Very few understood that this was a sign of dark things to come.

...Everfree Forest...

Twilight followed the stranger into the Everfree Forest. She knew of Zecora's hut as well as the old castle of the sisters. What else lay hidden within the thickness of the forest?

"So, where exactly are we going?" Twilight asked.

"A secret place only those like us know about." he replied, pressing on.

"What do you mean by 'those like us'?" she asked.

"You'll find out soon enough." that was all he said. A further ten minutes of traversing the forest led them to a beautiful sight within the seemingly dark and ugly forest. A waterfall existed at the foot of a cliff, where the spray created a cloud-like atmosphere near where the water hit the river that flowed across the area. Fireflies lit up the open air and seemed to dance like fairies. Certain fungi and fauna glowed in the darkness of the trees, adding more beauty to the scenery. Twilight followed the stranger to the base of the waterfall, where a cave behind it was revealed. It was a small thing, perhaps big enough to fit Fluttershy's cottage.

"So, where's the rest of the gang?" Twilight asked, grabbing her attention.

"Behind the back of the cave. There's a hidden doorway." he replied.

"Can I at least get the name of my guide?" she asked. The stranger hesitated for a moment before replying.

"It's Zero." he said, placing a hoof against the back of the cave. Two lines of light emerged from the ground and came together in a rectangle. The stone within it disappeared like a mirage, revealing a passageway.

"Follow me." Zero said, stepping in. Twilight obeyed and stepped in. The doorway closed behind her. With no choice but to press forward, she followed Zero to a large cavern spanning at least a mile in every direction. There were other ponies residing within this cavern, Twilight counted twelve in all, including Zero.

Author's Note:

For the record. Black Books is a UK T.V series starring Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey, though in this story, it's going to be depicted as a book series for the sake of technological accuracy.

Also, first paragraph is a link to a reading of the first two chapters of the story. Thanks to Jason_LeCrown for doing the reading.