• Published 22nd Nov 2014
  • 1,956 Views, 82 Comments

The Fall of Night - derpyland



After Twilight's death, it's up to Trixie to save the world from the Necromancer and his spectral army. But since Trixie is the reason Twilight died, most ponies would rather see the world burn than help her.

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Chapter 3: The Funeral

After Celestia decided she was done berating Trixie (for the moment, at least), a group of guards ushered the broken Elements of Harmony to a different part of Canterlot Castle. As the ponies made their way through the maze of hallways and corridors, Trixie lingered at the rear of the group, several feet behind everypony else. She didn’t dare just run off, but she knew she wasn’t actually wanted.

That is, until a certain orange pony happened to notice her absence. Applejack immediately came over to Trixie. “Um, hello there,” she said. “I’m–”

“Applejack,” Trixie said. “The Element of Honesty. Apple farmer. You live at Sweet Apple Acres with your sister Apple Bloom, your brother Big Macintosh, and your grandmother Granny Smith. You have saved Equestria countless times and are a decorated national hero.”

Applejack blushed. “Well, I can see you surely do remember me. I remember you too, from the time you enslaved – I mean, the times I saw you in Ponyville.” She then paused, struggling to find something positive and uplifting to say about Trixie. She came up with nothing.

The guards suddenly stopped in front of an unobtrusive door in the hallway. The lead guard gestured toward the door. “Here you are, ladies. This is where you will be staying. If you need anything at all, please let us know.”

One guard then stationed himself by the door. The rest walked away.

Rarity opened the door and went inside. Her friends followed close behind her.

“What is this place?” Trixie asked, amazed. The large room was lined with bookshelves that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. Most of the books were gone, but there were still a few volumes scattered around the room. A massive floor-to-ceiling window at the far end of the room offered a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. In front of the window was a telescope, which was pointed up at the sky. Scattered around the room were a few scientific instruments.

“This is Twilight’s old room,” Applejack explained. “This is where she stayed when she lived here in Canterlot and studied under Celestia.”

Fluttershy the gray flew over to Trixie and landed beside her. “Did you ever study under Celestia?”

“Trixie did not,” she admitted.

“Why not?” Fluttershy asked. “Were you too stupid or something?”

Trixie glared at her. “Trixie is a magician, not some sort of mage-in-training. She uses her magic to impress and entertain people. Going to Celestia’s school would have been a waste of time. The princess does not teach Trixie’s kind of magic.”

“Oh, so you entertain people,” Fluttershy remarked. “You know, I don’t find you entertaining at all.”

Rarity spoke up. “Really, Trixie, no one does. Your act in Ponyville was a complete flop. In fact, as I recall, you were forced to abandon your line of work entirely and find employment at a rock farm! You don’t really do magic tricks anymore, do you?”

“Oh, but she does!” Fluttershy replied. “That’s what you were doing three days ago, wasn’t it? You were trying to restart your poor, pathetic career. When the audience didn’t appreciate your tricks, you decided to–”

“That’s quite enough,” Applejack said firmly. “Fluttershy, what’s gotten into you? You are the kindest, most gracious pony I’ve ever met, and here you are acting like a complete jerk. Have you lost your ever-lovin’ mind?”

“Aw, leave her alone,” Rainbow Dash commented. “She’s just being honest. I would think you would support that – you know, since honesty is your thing and all.”

“But she’s not bein’ honest. She’s just bein’ cruel. Just like that time Discord messed with us. Only this time it ain’t Discord that’s the problem.”

“You’re quite right,” Fluttershy agreed. “This time Trixie is the problem – but I have a solution. If we just get rid of her, life will be so much better. Don’t you agree?”

No!” Applejack shouted, stamping her hoof on the ground. “I have had it up to here with all of you – well, except for Pinkie. She hasn’t said a single word.”

“It’s Pinkamena now,” the gray earth pony replied.

“Whatever. But what y’all are doin’ is not right. Look. I know you’re all upset right now, and I get that. I’m hurtin’ too. But the fact is, Equestria depends on us to protect her, and the only way we can do that is through the power of friendship. That means we have all got to be friends. And that includes Trixie.”

Rarity spoke up. “You can’t possibly be serious! You want us to be friends – with her?”

“Yes I do,” Applejack stubbornly replied. “You heard Celestia – it’s what Twilight wanted. If Twilight were here right now she’d have a thing or two to say about the whole lot of you. Have you forgotten everything you’ve learned about friendship?”

“But–” Rarity said, struggling. “But she’s Trixie.”

“I can’t argue with that,” Applejack said. “But you listen here. One day somethin’ bad is gonna happen, and Equestria will need our help. In the past we’ve always managed to save the day because we worked together as friends. If we lay aside our anger and come together, we can build the friendships that we’ll need to save everypony’s life. But if we don’t do that – if we abandon friendship and keep on actin’ like jerks – then when trouble comes we won’t be able to fix it. When that happens, a lot of ponies are gonna die. Is your hatred and anger really worth all that?”

Rainbow Dash snorted. “Trixie killed Twilight, Applejack. I can’t forgive that! Personally, I’d rather see all of Equestria burn to the ground than help her.”

“You can’t possibly mean that!” Applejack exclaimed.

“Hey – just being honest! They say honesty is the best policy, right? What – do you want me to lie?”

Applejack looked over at Trixie. The blue pony had walked over to the window and was looking down at the pavement, which was hundreds of feet below. It only took Applejack a second to realize what Trixie was thinking about doing. Oh no you don’t! Not on my watch.

The earth pony trotted over to Trixie and put a hoof around her neck. “Ignore those fools, Trixie. They’re just upset. Trust me – they’ll all come ‘round eventually. You just wait and see.”

Trixie took her eyes off the pavement far below and looked at Applejack. “And what if they don’t?”

“Then you’ve got a friend in me. And in Luna, too – remember how she spoke up for you? And I heard that Shining Armor also cares about you. You’re not alone, Trixie. I know you may feel that way, but there are ponies in this world that care about you. We’ll get through this – and we’ll do it together.”

Fluttershy spoke up. “Well, you can do it without me. I want no part of this.” Before anyone could say anything, the gray, winged pony opened the window and flew away.

“Fluttershy – you get back in here this instant!” Applejack called out. But Fluttershy did not change her course.

* * * * *

Luna was pacing back and forth in the throne room. “Celestia, you have to stop this. It isn’t right!”

Celestia looked at her in amazement. “You cannot be serious! Do you know how many ponies are here in the capitol just for Twilight’s funeral? Some ponies have even traveled here from overseas! I can’t tell them the funeral is off and they should all go home!”

“I know, sister, and I understand that. But don’t you see what’s happening? Ponies aren’t coming here to mourn the passing of Twilight, or to remember the amazing life that she led. They’re not here to pay their respects. Well, perhaps some of them are, but most of them are here for one purpose alone: to hate Trixie.”

“And why shouldn’t they?” Celestia asked. “That seems perfectly reasonable to me.”

“But it’s wrong! It makes no sense. Have you seen what all that anger is doing to Equestria? Have you noticed that the sky is turning dark and that ponies are losing their color? Why, just look at you! What has happened to you? You’re gray. Gray!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Celestia sniffed. “I feel fine.”

“There is something very, very wrong here. Equestria is falling apart. The harmony that holds our land together is fraying. If we don’t cancel the funeral, it will become the focal point of all that hatred and bitterness. The funeral may create more disharmony than the world can stand. It could open the door for something truly terrible.”

“Did you say ‘cancel the funeral’?” Celestia echoed. “It’s out of the question. I refuse.”

“Very well, then,” Luna said. “Have the funeral. But sister, change its tone. This service needs to be about forgiveness and love. It needs to be about remembering who Twilight was – a pony who spread the magic of friendship. Use this opportunity to make things better. We have got to stop this darkness before it starts.”

“And pass out on a chance to humiliate Trixie even further?” Celestia asked. “Now why would I do that?”

Luna shook her head. “I don’t know you anymore. I don’t know what has gotten into you. But I fear for you, Celestia. I fear for us all. We are all going to regret what we’ve done here today.”

* * * * *

That afternoon, another guard came to escort the Elements of Harmony to the funeral. “This way,” he announced.

Trixie spoke up. “But Fluttershy isn’t back yet. Isn’t she supposed to be there too?”

The guard shrugged. “That’s not my problem. This way, please.”

The group left Twilight’s old quarters and stepped out into the hallway. The guard then guided the group through the castle. Trixie lingered in the back, as far away from everypony else as possible. She desperately did not want to get anywhere near that funeral. She knew what was coming.

On the ground floor of the castle, the guard stopped at the entrance to yet another long hallway. “The princesses are waiting for you down there,” he said, gesturing with his spear. After the ponies had entered the hallway, the guard assumed a post in front of it.

Applejack spoke up. “I guess he’s supposed to keep the riff-raff from following us. C’mon, Trixie. You can sit by me.”

As the rest of the group walked down the hallway, Trixie froze. At the end of the hallway was a door, and Trixie knew that on the other side of that door was a large, angry mob. I can’t do it, she thought to herself. I just can’t! I’ve had all I can possibly take.

As Trixie stood there, unable to move, she heard a voice behind her. “Hey you – no admittance! This is for VIPs only.”

Trixie turned around and saw that a gray pegasus was trying to get past the guard. “But–” Fluttershy protested.

“No buts! Now get out of here, before I throw you out.”

Trixie spoke up. “It’s ok, sir. That’s just Fluttershy. She’s supposed to be here.”

The guard turned his attention to Trixie. “How stupid do you think I am? The real Fluttershy is yellow, you moron. Do you think I’m colorblind or something?”

“She’s having a bad day,” Trixie said. “A lot of ponies are turning gray. Haven’t you seen Celestia?”

The guard frowned. “Look, you two, I don’t know what you’re trying to pull, but I’m not going to fall for it. Pegasus, go bother somepony else.”

Fluttershy looked crestfallen. “Ok,” she said sadly.

Something inside Trixie snapped. She had had all she was going to take, and she wasn’t going to take any more grief! It was time that somepony felt the brunt of her wrath.

“No, Fluttershy, wait,” Trixie called out. She turned back to the guard. “Are you blind or something? Can’t you see her cutie mark? How many pegasus ponies have butterflies for a cutie mark? And look at her mane style! Don’t you recognize her as one of the Elements of Harmony you yourself escorted out of the throne room this morning? How could you possibly not have noticed that she was gray? Trixie demands you let her in here at once!”

The guard’s eyes narrowed. “You’re in no position to make demands. I’m the one in charge here.”

Trixie laughed. “You? In charge? I don’t think so! You are going to do exactly what Trixie told you to do. You will lower your spear, step aside, and let Fluttershy pass. Or else.”

“Or else what?” the guard asked. “I can get you in an awful lot of trouble, you know.”

“No you can’t! Why, you have no power over Trixie at all. You can’t possibly get me in more trouble than I’m already in! The entire world hates me. I’ve lost everything I ever cared about, and everypony wants me dead. Since I have nothing left, that means I can do whatever I want.”

Trixie took a step closer to the guard. Her horn began to glow. “Now you listen to me. You are going to step aside right now. This is your very last warning. But you know what? Just ignore me. Just keep on standing there, like some kind of moron. Go ahead – make my day. I would love to show you just how great and powerful Trixie really is.”

The guard looked at her and frowned. I really don’t get paid enough to deal with these crazy nutjobs, he thought to himself.

“Fine,” he said. “Have it your way.” The guard stepped aside and allowed Fluttershy to pass.

“Thanks!” Fluttershy squeaked.

After they were out of earshot of the guard, Fluttershy grabbed Trixie. “Why did you do that?”

“What do you mean? Trixie didn’t do anything! She left the guard completely intact.”

“That’s not what I mean. Why did you help me? Why were you so kind?”

“It was the right thing to do,” Trixie replied. “You needed help, so Trixie helped you. What kind of monster do you think she is?”

“But I was so mean to you earlier! I was horrible.”

“But you still needed help,” Trixie explained. “It’s just something that Twilight taught me.”

“Well, thank you,” Fluttershy said. “I really appreciate it. I’m really not very assertive, you know.”

Trixie smiled. “I know. You really need to work on that.” She then gasped. “Fluttershy – your color is back!”

Fluttershy glanced down at herself. “Oh my goodness – you’re right! Thanks. I feel a lot better now. I just don’t know what came over me.”

Well, that’s two down and three more to go, Trixie thought to herself. Maybe I do stand a chance after all.

“Trixie?” Fluttershy said.

“Yeah?”

“What were you about to do to that guard?”

“I wasn’t going to hurt him,” Trixie said quickly. “Really, I wasn’t. I was just bluffing. I wanted him to think that I was dangerous so he would decide that dealing with me wasn’t worth the trouble. Sometimes, Fluttershy, you don’t actually have to be great and powerful. It’s enough to make ponies think that you are.”

“That’s something else Twilight taught you, isn’t it?” Fluttershy asked. “That’s how she got you to take off the alicorn amulet that one time you took over Ponyville.”

Trixie blushed. “I guess you’re right.” She sighed. “I miss her.”

Fluttershy hugged Trixie. “I miss her too. But I guess we’d better be going. They’re probably waiting on us.”

Trixie looked back at the ominous door at the end of the hallway. She sighed.

* * * * *

Trixie had never seen so many ponies at a funeral in her entire life. The procession was enormous. At the front of the column were the princesses – Celestia, Luna, and Cadence. Shining Armor was beside his wife, and Spike was beside him. They were all dressed in their finest royal attire – which only made it even more obvious that Celestia had lost all of her color.

Behind them was the casket. It was being carried by Twilight’s closest friends: Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack, and Trixie. Trixie felt very much out of place, but Celestia had insisted. Since she was now an Element (even though, for now, she was only one on paper), she had to do it.

It’s not that Trixie didn’t want to do it, but it wasn’t the same for her as it was for the others. The rest of the group was carrying their closest friend on her last journey. Trixie, though, was carrying someone who would still be alive if it wasn’t for her foolishness. Every step drove home the point that none of this would be happening if it hadn’t been for her.

Behind the casket was Twilight’s parents and, to Trixie’s surprise, Discord. Behind them were the nobles of Equestria. Then there was a long line of Twilight’s friends from Ponyville, and a lot of other ponies Trixie had never seen before.

Flying overhead were the Wonderbolts. Trixie noticed that for once in Rainbow’s life she had absolutely no interest in them. Instead she resolutely stared straight ahead.

Since the graveyard of Canterlot Castle was far too small to accommodate the enormous crowd that had turned out, Celestia had arranged for the funeral service to be conducted in a field outside the castle grounds. A stage had been hastily constructed and placed in the center of the field.

When the procession finally reached the field, the pallbearers carried the casket onto the stage and set it at the front of the raised platform. The princesses and the Elements sat at the back of the stage. Twilight’s family sat in front of the stage, and the rest of the procession sat where they could.

However, there was only so much room, and there were thousands upon thousands of ponies. The area in front of the stage was quickly packed with ponies, who began sitting wherever they could. The ponies who could fly hovered in the air. It was the largest single grouping of flying ponies Trixie had ever seen.

But there was something about it all that bothered her. Why is the sky gray? I don’t see any clouds. Is there something wrong with Equestria? Twilight was the Element of Magic; perhaps her death has broken Equestria in some way and damaged the world. But that’s silly! No pony is that important. But if that’s not it, then what is wrong with the sky?

And for that matter, what’s wrong with everypony else? Twilight’s friends are gray, and Celestia is gray as well. So many ponies in the audience are gray. What’s going on?

Trixie did not know it, but Luna had noticed the same thing. The Princess of the Night was deeply disturbed. Is my sister’s guilt poisoning the very world? Is her connection to the light so strong that her mood has the power to poison Equestria itself? Or are there darker forces at work?

Celestia got up and walked over to the casket to begin the ceremony, but as she did so Discord stood up from the audience. “Princess – if I may?” he asked.

Celestia paused. “I don’t see why not. Go ahead, Discord.”

Discord nodded. He solemnly walked onto the stage and stood in front of Twilight’s casket. Trixie had never seen Discord up close before; the sight frightened her a little. She noticed he was very serious. Unlike Celestia, he had not lost his color.

Discord traced a claw over the casket. Even though it was closed, he seemed to be peering inside it. “My dear, dear Twilight,” he said sadly. “I told you I would never speak to you again if you carried out your asinine plan. And here we are. It gives me no pleasure at all to say ‘I told you so’.”

Discord turned to face the audience. “Since all of you already know who I am, there is no need for an introduction. But I’ll introduce myself anyway. I am Discord, the Lord of Chaos. In the time before Luna’s banishment I ruled over Equestria and terrorized the lives of everyone. I literally turned the world upside-down, and made a mockery of reality itself. It was great fun for me, but it wasn’t very much fun for anyone else. So your princesses discovered the Elements of Harmony and used them to turn me into stone. In fairness, I probably deserved it – although I still say a little chocolate rain every now and then never hurt anyone.

“A thousand years later, I broke free from my stone prison and resumed my reign of terror. That was when I first met Twilight Sparkle. I knew that if I wanted to keep from being imprisoned again I would have to break her. Do you know how I did that? By attacking her friends and turning them against her. I knew how much she loved her friends and how much she depended upon them. When they were lost to her she, too, turned gray. That was really the only time Twilight was ever defeated. That is how much her friends meant to her.

“Yet, even when I turned her friends against her, Twilight never stopped caring about them. She did find a way to bring them back. Even though her friends had left her, she never left them. She saved them all, then reunited with them and turned me back into stone. I suppose that was my first real lesson in the power of friendship.

“Then, for some bizarre reason, Celestia decided to have me released and reformed. I was convinced she had lost her mind – and, truthfully, I think she had. But dear, dear Fluttershy showed me what friendship really was. I was reformed – a little. But it didn’t last.

“As you all know, I recently betrayed all of Equestria and helped Tirek steal magic from every last one of you. Tirek tricked me into thinking that there was something more valuable than friendship – but he was wrong. There is nothing more valuable than friendship. Do you know who taught me that lesson? It was Twilight Sparkle.”

Discord wiped a tear from his eye. “I will never forget that moment. I had betrayed Twilight in the most serious way anyone possibly could. Her friends – who she cared the world about – I had turned over to her worst enemy, imperiling all of their lives. When Tirek then betrayed me and imprisoned me along with them, I was convinced my life was over. After all, I had betrayed everyone. No one was going to come along and save me.

“But I was wrong. Twilight did the unthinkable: when she rescued her friends, she rescued me as well. She didn’t hate me; she forgave me. She extended friendship to me, the one being in all of Equestria who was the least deserving of it. In that moment she showed what the power of friendship really was – and why it is so worth having.

“Yes, Twilight has done many great things in her life. She released Luna from the evil that had taken over her life. She fought dragons and rescued empires. But in my humble opinion, all of that pales to the greatest and most noble act she ever did: giving her enemy another chance.

“We miss you, Twilight Sparkle. We miss you more than you could ever know. May you rest in peace, wherever you are.

“Thank you.”

As Discord quietly walked off the stage, Luna noticed that the mood of the crowd had changed. Before it had been seething with anger and resentment. Now, though, she sensed that the anger was giving way to sorrow. This is good, she thought to herself. This is very good.

Celestia then got up and walked over to the casket. “And I would also like to say a few words – about my dear faithful student, and about the worthless blue pony who ended her life.”

“Celestia!” Luna exclaimed.

But Celestia ignored her sister. “Have we already forgotten why we are here? Yes, Twilight did many amazing things – but you don’t need me to remind you of them. You know what she meant to all of you! Why, if it wasn’t for Twilight, none of us would even be here. Twilight saved the world from the eternal reign of Nightmare Moon. She played a vital role in saving us from a changeling invasion, and in rescuing the Crystal Empire. If Twilight had never been born, all of us would be dead right now.

“The truth is that alicorns are not immortal. I fully expected to one day turn my throne over to Twilight, who would usher in her own millennia of peace and prosperity. Twilight’s potential was truly enormous – and now it’s gone. She is dead – the first alicorn to die in more than a thousand years.

“Who did this, you ask? Who destroyed the life of Equestria’s greatest hero? Who is standing on this very stage, still alive, while Twilight is dead? I think we all know the answer to that, don’t we?

“Trixie managed to do what Nightmare Moon, Chrysalis, Discord, and even Tirek all failed to do. She proved to be a greater force of evil than all of them combined. Thanks to her, Equestria now has no elemental defense against evil. When darkness once again rises and lives are threatened, just remember: Trixie is the one who killed your protector. May that wicked blue pony die a brutal death, alone and unloved.”

As the crowd cheered, Luna looked up at the sky. It was now darker than ever – but it wasn’t darkened by Luna’s night. This darkness was something evil.

There was something about the coldness in the air that stirred a long-forgotten memory. Luna had seen this before – long, long ago. But her memory wasn’t what it used to be. What was it that she had forgotten? What would happen when Equestria’s harmony was shattered, and when Equestria’s sun turned into shadow?

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