• Published 23rd Mar 2016
  • 5,590 Views, 139 Comments

Dead and Loving It - Trick Question

Three dark comedy minifics: Trixie is late to her own funeral, Luna covers for Celestia's absence, and Applejack goes coffin shopping.

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Celestia's Vacation

"I cannot believe you are actually going through with this, sister!" said Princess Luna, a look of frustration decorating her muzzle.

"I'll only be gone for a month, Luna. I'm sure you can manage." With the patience of a true artist, Princess Celestia airbrushed the finishing touches of her cutie mark onto the life-sized figurine.

Luna huffed. "It matters not how perfect a replica it is, Celie. The ceremony shall be a waste of millions of bits, not to mention the emotional turmoil you are causing to your citizens!"

Celestia turned to her sister and gently cupped a hoof beneath her chin. "You'll be fine. My little ponies should learn to deal with loss, and it's worth a few million bits if I get to have a vacation for the first time in a millennium."

"But what of your friends, Celie? How are they expected to handle this tragedy?" asked Luna.

"It's been taken care of," said Celestia, with a soft smile. "Twilight and her friends already know, as does Cadance. My senior staff have been briefed, and they are prepared for every contingency. If dignitaries from foreign lands decide to visit, they will enjoy the ceremonies and our kingdom will grow stronger."

Luna reached out and experimentally moved one of the figurine's seamless articulated joints. "And when the public learns of this ruse, after the most expensive funeral in the history of our great nation?" said Luna. "What then, oh dear sister?"

"Luna, we've already gone over this," said Celestia, frowning. "We'll just say I came back to life. Most of them think I'm some sort of goddess. They'll buy practically anything we tell them. When I return, we'll all have a grand celebration. You'll see."

"If they believe anything we say, surely you have the authority to demand a vacation," said Luna.

"Don't you think I've tried?" asked Celestia, as she leaned with her front hooves against her sturdy doppelgänger. "Unlike you, I can't set hoof outside the castle without an escort. Most of the royal guard were hired before your return. They have been specifically and rigorously trained to prevent me from shirking my responsibilities, which was a necessary check in the time before Cadance became an alicorn."

"Will the guard not listen to reason?" asked Luna, furrowing her brow.

Princess Celestia took a deep, cleansing breath. "The guard are changing, but it takes time. It will be at least thirty years before my bonds loosen and I am tired of waiting. I am doing this now, and that is final," said Celestia, and then the gentle smile returned to her face. "For the coming month, you will get to see firsthoof just how annoying it is."

Luna sighed dejectedly. "I fear neither annoyance nor toil, but I do not look forward to eulogizing my sister, whom I love so dearly. Worse yet, I do not believe my attempts will be believable. I know you yet to be among the living, and I am not so gifted an actress as you are. This burden you are placing upon my withers pains me, Celie."

"Okay, fine. Maybe your performance won't be realistic," said Celestia, with a shrug. "No matter. You're a powerful alicorn under great stress. For royalty, any behavior short of actual crime can be justified, no matter how queer."

"Any behavior?" said Luna, the muscles at one corner of her muzzle twitching. "Perhaps. We shall see what our citizens can swallow."

"That's the spirit!" said Celestia, smiling broadly. "Have fun with it."

Thousands of ponies gathered below the stage, politely gasping and whining as everypony struggled admirably to avoid committing open treason. The sea of faces squirmed, bodies tensing and jaws gnashing as though each pony in attendance desperately needed to pee.

At the front of the crowd, the table of dignitaries showed remarkable restraint. Most of them planted one hoof or set of talons directly in their mouth and covered their eyes with the other. Only the emissary from Yakyakistan seemed completely unaffected.

In the first row of the audience, Pinkie Pie clearly fared worst. Her cheeks bulged out from holding her breath as her face turned a multifarious array of colors, while she simultaneously and repeatedly punched herself in the side of the head. Rainbow Dash sat right beside her, eyes clenched tightly and whining through her nose as though in great pain. Twilight's other friends hid their faces in their hooves and desperately gasped for breath every minute or so.

On Luna's right flank stood Princess Twilight Sparkle, blushing furiously. On her left stood Princess Cadance, hiding her face in her hoof. In front of the alicorns lay the coffin on a shining golden pedestal, from which Princess Celestia's unmistakable, royal Sun-emblazoned hindquarters emerged like a hillock of smooth ivory. Far overhead, the Equestrian flag flapped gently in the breeze. Yet nopony dared look toward it, for the shiny metal pole stretched toward the Heavens at an unseemly angle.

"...and neigh, though we may never know the full reason why my sister saw fit to shove a flagpole so far up her own royal posterior as to take her dearly beloved spirit from this world, I am certain we can all rest assured she died doing that which she loved most. And for that, we are grateful."

Pinkie collapsed onto the ground, pounding her hooves mightily against the stone flooring as a high-pitched whine gurgled in her throat.

"Lulu, why did you do this," mumbled Cadance, wincing as she bit her tongue.

Twilight Sparkle sighed. "She's going to kill you," she whispered. "Certainly, you realize this."

Luna smirked and whispered back. "Acceptable. I am prepared to fake it."