• Published 30th Aug 2015
  • 1,109 Views, 59 Comments

Do Not Go Gentle - ShinigamiDad

Death's Harbinger needs Luna and Twilight's help to solve a centuries-old mystery

  • ...

"Then Let Us Do the Hard Things Now!"

Celestia stood just inside the entrance to the chamber, nervously counting the seconds, listening to bits of rock fall from the ceiling, breathing in the scent of heated stone through flared nostrils, staring intently at Reaper’s still, shadowy form.

Suddenly, Luna’s body heaved violently, and a strangled cry escaped its throat. Celestia began to dash across the floor, then stopped in horror as Twilight’s carcass shuddered and emitted a sort of wet, squelching noise. A fresh spurt of blood sprayed across Celestia’s hooves.

She cried out and jumped back, just as Reaper reformed between the two bodies, and stood up, drawing his sword.

“Get back, Celestia!” he shouted, “and make damn sure no ponies set hoof in here! I don’t think they would live to regret it, and I’m going to be busy enough as it is!”

He leaned forward and touched each body with a hoof, then rose to his full height, stood on his hind legs and levitated his sword above his head.

Reaper’s eyes glowed with a crimson fire as he slowly rose from the floor, wreathed in a swirling white mist. His sword burned with a flickering gold flame as he spread his forelegs wide, threw his head back, arched his back to the breaking point, and cried out in agony.

Celestia suddenly felt her own power being rapidly drained from her, against her will, and she staggered back through the entryway, peering around the corner with just one eye, trembling with fear and anticipation.

“Yes!” she heard Reaper shout, “I understand! So be it!”

The chamber was bathed in a brilliant, deep violet light for an instant as beams of crimson and gold and silver shot out from Reaper’s body, rending his cloak, piercing Luna and Twilight’s bodies.

Celestia looked on in horrified fascination as all the pieces of Twilight’s shredded corpse came flying back together as though drawn by invisible threads, and Luna’s crushed hips and legs straightened and expanded back to their normal shape, as her head and neck realigned.

Reaper rose several more feet in the air as the chamber became bitter cold and the fire died out of his eyes. His head slumped forward, and he was thrown suddenly to the floor like a discarded puppet, as a shock wave rippled through the chamber. He bounced and rolled awkwardly to the side, and lay there, motionless.

Celestia stood in the entryway, cold fog flowing past her hooves, chewing her lip, unsure as to what she should do. Suddenly she heard a gasp and a cry, and two ponies coughing and sobbing weakly.

She rushed into the chamber and knelt next to Luna: “Sister! Are you alive? Can you hear me?”

Luna tried to open her eyes, but was overcome with a wave of nausea, causing her to close them even tighter.

“Ohhh!” she moaned, “Sister, I-I feel awful! Help me! Help me...sit up!”

Celestia reached down to help lift her sister up, when Luna was wracked by a violent spasm. She sobbed as her bladder emptied involuntarily, spraying the floor behind her hindquarters.

“I-I am so sorry, sister!” Luna wept, “I cannot control anything!”

Celestia gently laid Luna back down: “It’s fine--I don’t care about any of that right now! I’m just glad you’re alive!”

“How-how is Twilight?” Luna gasped, trying again to open her eyes.

Celestia looked to her left, over Luna’s partially outstretched wing: “She’s breathing, but her eyes are closed. Let me check on her!”

Celestia stood and stepped gingerly over Luna and her spreading puddle, also taking care not to tread in the blood smeared and pooled around Twilight.

She bent down and touched Twilight on the shoulder: “Twilight! Are you awake? Can you move!”

“Oh, Celestia,” she moaned, “don’t make me move! If I move I’ll...I’ll…”

Twilight’s abdomen suddenly heaved, and she vomited violently and repeatedly, until there was nothing left but bile.

She began weeping and coughing: “Oh, please! Wa-wa-water!”

Celestia stood and turned back the the entryway, where the ponies who had accompanied her stood, trembling.

“Quickly!” she shouted, “One of you bring some water for the Princesses!”

The unicorn guard turned and dashed away.

Celestia knelt between the two stricken alicorns, looking between them with concern. Luna tried to speak, but retched instead, and gave up the attempt. Twilight’s hiccoughs and sobs lessened as exhaustion overtook her.

Celestia suddenly realized that somepony was missing, and she stood, scanning the room for Reaper. She saw his body, shrouded in mist, lying a few yards away, wisps of vapor rising from his frost-covered hide. She walked toward him, diverting slightly to bend down for his discarded sword.

“Don’t touch that!”

Celestia stopped and pricked her ears up: “What?”

“I said, don’t touch my sword,” Reaper croaked weakly. “Don’t even use your magic on it.”

Celestia furrowed her brow: “Why not?”

Reaper propped himself up on his right foreleg: “I have no idea what might happen if a being with your power touched Death’s Token right now, and I’d rather not find out the hard way. Nopony here should touch it.”

Celestia nodded, and stood next to Reaper, looking down on his singed mane, and the tatters of fabric clinging to his back.

The unicorn guard returned, bearing a pail of water, and tentatively stepped into the chamber: “Princess Celestia? I brought water like you asked!”

She turned back toward the entryway, and beckoned the guard to come in further: “Please! Take the water to Princesses!”

She looked back over her shoulder at Reaper: “Do you need help? Can you stand?”

He sighed heavily and slumped forward: “Yes. I can stand. I’d rather not, mind you…”

He struggled wearily to his hooves, and Celestia returned to her sister and Twilight, who were now sitting together, leaning against each other as they took turns slaking their thirst.

Reaper sheathed his sword and staggered over to the three alicorns: “This place is freezing and smells like Luna’s piss! Let’s get them into the study, and we can sit down there…”

Celestia supported Luna, as Reaper helped Twilight up, and all four shuffled through the entryway, back into the adjoining room.

The room was bare save for a slightly-melted workbench, still glowing a dull red from trapped heat. The floors and walls were covered in scorch marks, the air smelled of burnt paper, and the surface of barrier wall was pocked with deep, melted holes and fissures, as though it had been made of ice. Even the room’s ceiling had started to drip like hot wax.

“So much for sitting down,” Reaper observed dryly. “You really did a number on this room, didn’t you Celestia?”

“I applied every bit of my power to that accursed wall!” she replied curtly. “I didn’t give a damn what happened to this den of evil and dark wizardry!”

Twilight looked around, crestfallen: “Oh, Princess! There was so much here! So much to find and learn! So many treasures that had been lost for centuries!” She sat down and began to weep softly.

Reaper sat down next to her and tried to console her: “And so much of it was twisted and poisoned. Between the bits we found above, and the reading you did here, I think we know more than enough!”

Twilight hiccoughed and sniffled, trying to regain her composure. She lifted her head up suddenly: “Reading I did here! Can somepony come with me for a minute? I’m too weak to carry anything right now!”

She stood up and tottered unsteadily back toward the chamber. Celestia followed: “What is it, Twilight?”

“My saddle bag may still be behind the mirror in that side alcove,” she explained as the entered the dark, cavernous space.

They walked over to the alcove and found the mirror intact, with Twilight’s bag wedged beneath its frame. Celestia leaned down and slipped her horn through the bag’s strap, lifting it up, and letting it slide around her neck.

“Thank you so much, Princess!,” Twilight said. “At least everything isn’t a total loss! This has most of my notes from the last several days, and a few salvaged pages and whatnot!”

Twilight looked over her shoulder as she entered the doorway, and noted the rock covering the depression holding the other books was still undisturbed. She said nothing.

They reentered the now empty and blasted study room, and saw Reaper helping Luna out the exit, into the crude connecting room beyond.

Celestia illuminated her horn, and guided Twilight after them, and all four worked their way back out the long tunnel to the area beneath the secret opening to the castle wall above.

Reaper looked up, and saw the hole was now big enough for three ponies to pass though, and that scaffolding designed for earth ponies to negotiate had been lowered through and setup below.

“Looks like you’ve been doing some work!” Reaper noted.

Celestia nodded as they approached the base of the scaffold: “Luna’s note warned me of the wards and anti-magic fields. That’s why I brought a pair of my best earth pony construction and repair crew along--they’re unaffected by that kind of thing. They had this hole opened and scaffolded in record time!”

The two ponies in question stood on either side of the scaffold, blushing as Celestia bowed to each of them in turn.

Luna sagged against Reaper, who wobbled a bit. She turned to Celestia: “Sister, I feel it unlikely that I can either fly or levitate or teleport at this point…”

Celestia smiled and pointed her horn at Luna. She was wrapped in a pale, white glow, and floated up through the hole above, where the pair of unicorn guards reached out and helped her to the ground.

“Your turn, Twilight!” Celestia said, repeating the process for her protégé. She turned to Reaper.

“I assume you can just blink out and reappear above, now that the wards are gone, yes?”

Reaper took a deep, shuddering breath, and smiled wanly: “Um, that last maneuver back there took a lot out of me. I’d appreciate a lift, too, if you don’t mind!”

Celestia raised an eyebrow, but wrapped him in a bubble of magic as well: “Alright, just don’t get used to this kind of thing!”

Celestia, Luna, Twilight and Reaper made their way slowly back to the castle’s main entrance, flanked by elements of both the Royal and Night Guards. The sun was just dipping below the horizon as they crossed the final courtyard in front of Celestia’s great hall and private chambers.

“I’ve sent guards ahead to prepare rooms in my quarters for you both,” Celestia said, nodding toward Luna and Twilight. “The Royal Surgeon and I would feel better if I could have you nearby tonight. I’m sure you’ll both sleep...um…”

“Like the dead?” Reaper offered, helpfully.

Celestia glared, but Twilight chuckled weakly, and Luna rolled her eyes.

The four entered the Celestia’s chambers, and Twilight and Luna collapsed at once onto cushions, while Reaper wearily sank onto a low couch, setting his sword beneath it.

Servants scurried in immediately, bearing basins of warm, scented water and towels, which they used to clean Twilight and Luna.

“The doctor didn’t want you immersing yourselves in the bath until she has a chance to examine you,” Celestia said, apologetically, “so I’m afraid this’ll have to do until tomorrow.”

Both Princesses lay back, unabashedly, and let the bath attendants scrub them down. Reaper watched with interest, lounging on his sofa, surreptitiously drinking cider from a large chalice.

He shifted his legs slightly, as though uncomfortable, and cleared his throat: “I assume you put guards on that hole, Celestia? Who knows what else is down there. It’s going to need a thorough exploration!”

Celestia nodded, taking a slice of cheese from a platter on a nearby table: “There’s a mixed company of Royal and Night’s Guard on watch, and I’ve already alerted the Royal Archivist. She’s going to coordinate with the Captain of the Guard tomorrow.”

Twilight looked out from beneath a steaming-hot towel: “I’d like to be involved in that!”

Celestia smiled: “I’m not surprised, and you’ve probably earned that right, but we’ll have to let the Archivist have her say!”

Luna lay on her back as two bath attendants bathed and rubbed-down her flanks and loins. She tipped her head forward slightly, spread her legs to get her left leg out of her line-of-sight, and looked at Reaper.

“What is your intent, Harbinger?” she asked, taking a bite of apple, “I assume you are still weary and may also require a bit of recharging, yes?”

Reaper chewed his lip absentmindedly as he looked back at Luna, taking in her wet, sprawling form and spread legs.

He shook his head: “What? Oh--recharging. Yes. I wouldn’t mind just resting here for a bit, if it’s not too much trouble.”

Celestia glanced over and waved a hoof dismissively: “Not at all! You are welcome to stay for as long as you need to…”

She furrowed her brow and tipped her head sideways: “...recharge.”

Reaper sat up and cleared his throat again: “Excuse me for a moment.”

He walked briskly across the chamber floor, as Celestia watched him closely. He passed unnoticed through a group of servant ponies and entered a side door.

A few moments later, Luna, Celestia and Twilight all froze and cocked an ear toward the far side of the room, as they heard the distinctive sound of a heavy urine stream hitting the bottom of a toilet.

Reaper exited the water closet and passed back through the servants and guards, back to the three alicorns, who were all staring silently at him.

Twilight spoke first: “I thought drinking liquid had no effect on you. I thought it just sort of disappeared or something.”

Reaper swallowed and nodded.

Luna raised an eyebrow: “That did not sound like liquid merely “disappearing!””

Reaper turned to sit back down on the couch, when Twilight sat bolt upright and pointed at his flank: “What is that?!”

All four ponies looked down at Reaper’s right flank, which now bore a 馬 symbol.

“So, yeah...about that,” Reaper began gamely, “I don’t know what it is, all I know is it isn’t the symbol for ‘death’ I’ve borne for millennia.”

Luna furrowed her brow: “But what does that mean? Why did it change?”

Reaper closed his eyes and took a deep breath: “What it means is, at the moment I began to summon your bodies’ various components back to life, Fate or Entropy or something reached out and asked if I was truly willing to pay any price.”

He stood, picked up a chilled tray, and held it in front of his muzzle; it fogged with condensation.

“I said yes.”

He sat back down and looked at their stunned faces.

“As a result, to paraphrase Celestia, we have an ‘us’ problem,” he said, draining the chalice.

“There is no more death in Equestria.”

Comments ( 20 )

I found your story again, and this time, to make sure that it doesn't get buried within my "close watch" bookshelf, I made a new book shelf for the stories I REALLY need to get caught up on. Like this one. I'm SO sorry for not being completely caught up on this yet, I will most certainly remedy this.
-Sincerest apologies, SirShadestrider

6556450 No worries! :) I look forward to your impressions!

Any thoughts/suggestions/insults? :)

Now, now! Just read on! :)

True, though "psychopomp" is a bit of tough sledding for most readers! :) (Kudos for creative word use, though!)

If this story has rape in it, then you should say so in the synopsis.

What happened to all those "erased" spirits after Grey Thorn's death?

Did they finally get to move on?

When does the first sex scene start?

Nice story

Thanks! I hope you enjoy the sequel as well! :pinkiehappy:

Getting started now :)

Now available in final, proofread, polished, ready-to-print form at: https://tinyurl.com/y4vd93e7

Okay... so not all of my predictions were correct, but I seem to have gotten the general idea well enough (or, the Author managed to convey it in such a way as to make me get it well enough).

The story is a bit bare-bones - only the necessary action, no character development beyond what is strictly required by the plot, etc. - but it works well enough, I suppose. I mean, I've read better - but I've also read many, many worse. The writing is more than decent, and the story follows a coherent path to a logical conclusion - nothing to write home about, but also nothing to fault. The scenes could really use fleshing out, because they feel very short (again, bare-bones comes to mind). But for the most part, it's fine.

The only thing that felt (suprisingly!) jarring was... the sudden and quite descriptive gore. It happens very rarely (I can count the instances on the fingers of one hand, I think), but you never expect it - you're suddenly forced to contend with a lot more than you thought you signed up for. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind it for the most part - some stories demand it, in fact, and I doubt you could really escape it in a teen-rated adventure story featuring Death - but while most of the narrative sticks to a mellow intensity of about 3/10 on the F*** Me! scale, you get these spikes of 9.5 for a scene or two, and it just feels... out of place.

It does serve to remind you that the stakes are actually very high (something that is difficult to convey for a threat like this, at least without having it go on a rampage across Equestria just to drive the point home), and does a good job of showing just how deep in shit the characters are (and them realising it), so I wouldn't argue for removing it, but... there's something off about them. Like I said, jarring. These would be the parts the French censors would cut out, if this was an anime series in the 90s. ;-]

Nevertheless - it's decent, and works well enough as a hook for the sequels.

Thanks for the feedback! ("French censors"--LOL)

All four ponies looked down at Reaper’s right flank, which now bore a 馬 symbol.

*squints at kanji* it looks like it got 4 legs and tail... *borrows a dictionary from Canterlot High's library, finds it and strats laughing uncontrollably* A horse!

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