• Published 24th Aug 2014
  • 3,325 Views, 23 Comments

Flashes of Insight - jaimeastorga2000

A collection of responses to Thirty Minute Ponies prompts.

  • ...

Good Night (#572)

Author's Note:

The Prompt: All good things must come to an end.

"Hello Princess Celestia," said Twilight Sparkle, the barest hint of a smile adorning her muzzle. "Thank you for coming to my funeral."

"Oh, Twilight, you know there isn't any other place in the world I'd rather be," replied Celestia before pausing, and then she added, "and I'm not just saying that because this is the last place on the planet where any trace of pony civilization remains."

Twilight turned her head around, eyes scanning through plots of grass and granite headstones before turning back to her former teacher. "You didn't bring Cadence?"

Celestia winced. "I... didn't think you'd want to see her, Twilight," she admitted. "You haven't accompanied me to visit her in centuries, and we both know she's unable to participate in any event."

Twilight shook her head. "I know, but it just... feels appropriate, you know? She was with me through so much... I think she'd have wanted to come."

"Well..." said Celestia as she raised a hoof rub her chin. "If you really want to see her, I can always teleport her here."

"Please do."

The graveyard came alive with a white flash like a bolt of thunder, and the next second there stood the form of the pink princess of love, Mi Amore Cadenza.

Or rather, there laid the form of the princess of love. Cadence had her back to the ground, her wings and hooves constantly twitching and spasming in every direction, her mouth alternating between fits of giggles and guttural moans of the kind you'd have sworn came from badly acted clop movie. And plastered on her face, a fixture no less permanent than her horn, was the biggest, widest smile her mouth could make and still continue to function.

Twilight took a step back, eyes tethered to the spectacle of her once foalsitter. There was a reason she didn't come to visit Cadence any more. Twilight knew Cadence was enjoying it; that each second she experienced was more pleasurable than all the nights she had spent with her late husbands, from Shining Armor all the way to Barding Gleam, combined. That still did not make it an easy thing to see.

"Thank you for coming, Cadence," Twilight said after regaining her composure, and immediately cast a silence spell on the perpetually happy alicorn. Just because she wanted Cadence to be there did not mean she wanted her to disrupt the procedures.

For her part, Cadence did not seem to mind, or even notice. She simply continued her enjoyment in silence.

Twilight turned around and gazed into the horizon with a a half-lidded stare. Twilight didn't know how long she sat there until she heard the Princess's voice behind her. "Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?"

Twilight turned back, and saw Celestia looking at her with what had to be the most emotion the white mare had displayed since the fall of the seventh iteration of Equestria, which was to say, not much.

Twilight shrugged, as if it were of no great consequence. "I'm open to alternatives."

"We could always try creating some more ponies and raising up another kingdom," said Celestia. "We haven't done that since Luna left us, Twilight, and I think that maybe if it we pulled it in our own direction we could accomplish something truly..."

"No," said Twilight firmly, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, Princess, but I already told you how I feel about that." She stared down at her chest, as if, by concentrating, she could see her insides. "Every time we repeat an experience, it becomes more and more routine; less and less special. Every time we rebuild Equestria, no matter how new and exciting we try to make it, I've felt my capacity to enjoy ponies and activities flatten as I come to perceive ever more patterns, and start classifying new experiences as small variations on some old one."

Twilight swallowed. "I... I no longer form bonds like I used to. I just don't care about any new ponies I meet. And neither did Cadence, by the end. I'm pretty sure that's what finally caused her to channel her magic into an infinite loop that perpetually stimulates her brain's pleasure center."

Twilight continued. "It's like when you first find a song you love, and then you listen to it again and again and again until you're sick of it, and you can never get that initial enjoyment back, only in our case, it's not a song, it's the whole world." Twilight shut her eyes. "I know you feel it too, Princess, even if you try to hide it."

"Neural modification?" ventured Celestia.

"I don't want to edit away my capacity to be bored so that I can be eternally satisfied by the raise and fall of ever new Equestrias, Princess; that just seems like a more round-about method of doing what Cadence did," replied Twilight.

Celestia hesitated, and then asked "...intelligence amplification?"

Twilight looked at Celestia. "...after what happened with Luna?"

"We cannot be sure that such is the inevitable result of all attempts at increased cognition," reasoned Celestia. "Perhaps Luna's... 'ascension' was simply the result of piling on too many new improvements at once, causing the process to become heavily recursive and go superexponetial. It may well be that a more controlled climb up the intelligence tree is possible."

Twilight looked skeptical. "But even with improved intelligence allowing me to have access to experiences I can't even comprehend now, it's only a matter of time until I run out of novelty at that level, too, and then I will want to boost my intelligence even more. I'd still end up at the same destination as Luna, just more slowly.

Celestia raised an eyebrow. "Surely that's better than being dead?"

"I'm not so sure, Princess," Twilight disagreed. "You saw how she looked at us. Or, rather, how she didn't look at us. It was like we were insects to her; entirely beneath her notice. I suppose it's like asking a pony to care about bacteria, but I saw Luna abandon her only sister without a second thought, using magic more advanced than I'd ever dreamt of seeing, to go off into deep space and do who-knows-what makes sense to her new super-smart brain. I don't want to become the kind of being who would do that, no matter how gradual and incremental the process is."

"I suppose your decision is made, then," sighted Celestia in defeat. She took a moment to compose herself, and then a tiny smile peeked at twilight out of her mouth. "You know, Twilight, for all the ruts you seem to be stuck in, it seems some things really do change given enough time."

Twilight looked at the Princess. "What do you mean?"

"A hundred thousand years ago, you would have never dared to argue against me like that."

Twilight felt a smile of her own sneak onto her lips, along with a sense of contentment. It wasn't the hearty round of joy and laughter such a comment would have elicited in ages past, but she'd take it. She walked over to Celestia. "Even I am not humble enough not to consider myself your equal after that many years of shared experiences, Princess. And the only reason I keep onl calling you 'Princess' is because of the nostalgia factor." Twilight's hooves wrapped around Celestia's torso, giving her the strongest hug she had given anypony in a long time. "Thank you for all you've done for me, Princess."

"Your very welcome, Twilight Sparkle. Know that I will always miss and remember you."

"Princess... I don't think I'm ready yet. Do you think you and Cadence could stay a few more hours?"

"Of course, Twilight. You have all the time in the world."

A few days later, the last intelligent being on the planet sat in front of a fresh gravestone, and wondered how she should spend the rest of her life.

Comments ( 12 )

THE FEEEEEELS :fluttercry:

Why was this added to LessWrong?

Did you read the last two stories (especially the last one)?


No, I didn't, which is why I asked. I will read them now.

Damn. Was this a sequel to the last chapter?

That was not my intention. But if it pleases you, feel free to make that your headcanon.

I was listening to the Chant of Immortality while reading and it made it so much more powerful.

Splendid, Jaime, especially the last.
Found these via the LW open thread so thanks for announcing there!

And Luna went full intelligence explosion. You never go full intelligence explosion?

I could have sworn I've read all (or most - not the FiO one) of these before, albeit not directly one after the other.
Are these in another collection?

"We could always try creating some more ponies and raising up another kingdom," said Celestia. "We haven't done that since Luna left us, Twilight, and I think that maybe if it we pulled it in our own direction we could accomplish something truly..."

Ah, but how would they find willing stallions to breed with?

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