• Published 1st Oct 2016
  • 1,197 Views, 321 Comments

A Cavalcade of Cards - QueenMoriarty

Thirty-one random Magic: The Gathering cards. Thirty-one random-er pony stories.

  • ...

The Best Last Day Ever

Derpy Hooves sat at a table just outside the Shamrock Cafe, admiring the morning sunlight as it shone through the clouds and hit the picturesque little town of Ponyville. She watched foals and fillies frolicking, watched mares and stallions get started on their days, and listened to the birds singing in the trees. It was, all in all, shaping up to be a very good day to be alive.

Ponies often told Derpy that, if she didn't have a special talent for the collapse of event horizons, she would have one for irony.

A familiar face approached her table, and glanced at the empty seat across from her. She smiled, and waved the old friend over.

"Nice to see ya again, Passing Notion. Whatcha up to these days? Don't tell me, you're 'just passing through', right?"

The blue unicorn laughed weakly at the old joke, but his poor attempt at a smile evaporated pretty quickly. "I need to talk to you, Dawn's Eastern Rays of Perfect Yellow."

That gave Derpy pause. Those who knew her true name only ever used it when it was beyond serious. "What is it, Notion?"

After about three false starts, he finally managed to choke it out. "The world is going to end."

Well, Derpy thought to herself, this day just keeps getting better. "I'm assumin' you aren't pulling out my name because you just attended a seminar on entropy."

Notion shook his head. "No, I mean the world is ending. Currently. Tonight. Sometime after sunset, this entire reality is going to collapse."

"Is there anything we can do?" Derpy couldn't help but ask, despite the answer being clear.

"If there was, they'd have done it by now. We've known about this for three days. The princesses decided it was better to avoid a panic."

"Whatever happened to 'we will not go quietly'?" Derpy snarked, even as she felt the tears welling up behind her eyes.

Passing Notion gave her a smile, and reached over to give her a comforting pat. "That's all well and good when death brings an army, or something magically preventable. But this isn't that. It's just... the end. The curtain call. The natural ceasing of reality itself."

The tears started, and Derpy didn't try to make them stop. Notion got out of his seat, then circled around the table so that he could rear up and give her a hug. They stayed like that for almost ten minutes, as the grief of knowing that the world was about to end took its toll.

"So, why did you come to me?" Derpy blubbered weakly.

Notion sighed, and pulled out of the hug. "I... know a spell. It's a spell that can protect against an apocalypse, even one that tears apart all of reality. But... it can only target two ponies. And one of them has to be me, or the spell won't work."

Derpy wiped away her tears, and stared at her friend as though he had gone crazy. "Again, why me? There are hundreds of ponies more important than me, more powerful than me, more..." her voice caught in her throat, "more beautiful than me..." Notion's hoof settled on her lips, and she stopped talking.

"Stop that. You are the most beautiful, most clever, most funny person I have ever met in the whole of Equestria. Sure, you may not have the most styled mane, or the most lustrous coat, or the biggest bank account, but you have a beautiful heart. You have a beautiful name. And Dawn, please believe me when I say it, you do have beautiful eyes."

She smiled, and pushed his hoof away. "Thank you, Notion. That's very kind of you to say. But you can't honestly have singled me out to survive the apocalypse just because I'm hot."

"You might be just that hot." Notion waggled his eyebrows until she giggled, then got serious again in the blink of an eye. "No, you see, this spell doesn't just let me dodge the apocalypse. It also leaves me and my passenger floating in the void forever. No need to eat, drink or sleep, and nobody to talk to but each other. We'd be immortal, but with no time or space for it to matter in. Almost everypony I know would eventually go crazy, and start blaming me, trying to make it look like I blew up the world. Except for you, Dawn. You're the only pony I could spend all of eternity with without getting bored."

It was an insanely heartwarming gesture, but Derpy felt she had had enough crying for now, so she tried to deflect it with a joke. "Really? You pick me because you don't want to get bored? Why not bring along somepony really powerful, who could eventually build a universe?"

"Any unicorn can build a universe, given enough time." The confidence with which he said that was the most confident Derpy had ever heard him. It put her in the mood to hear more. "So, are you going to give an answer? Or do I need to keep giving you reasons why I'd only ever want to take you to the very ends of the earth? Because I'll probably run out of time before I run out of reasons."

That got a chuckle, and a half-sigh. "As if I could ever let a pony like you live through eternity alone. I am so in."

Notion smiled as widely as he physically could, and grabbed Derpy in another hug. The two hugged each other close, fueled by a strange mixture of joy and crippling apprehension. They stayed like that for half an hour, paying no attention to the other customers who began to congregate outside of the cafe. Finally, at the polite urging of the waiter, the two pulled apart and left the cafe behind.

"So," Passing Notion began, and there was more than the usual amount of nervousness to his speech, "did you have anything else planned for today?"

Derpy burst out laughing. "You come along and tell me that the entire world's going to end and we're going to be the only survivors, and then ask what my schedule was before that bombshell? Sweet Celestia, Notion."

Notion just grinned. "Dawn, we've got the better part of a day left before it all folds. There must be something you want to do."

Derpy gave it a moment's thought, then nodded and took off at a canter, leaving Notion to follow.

Miss Carriage's Home for Misplaced Children was Derpy's second home. Well, technically it was her first home, but since these days she went to sleep in her own house and only spent most of her day at the orphanage, she was given to understand that it now counted as her second home. Ponies often asked whether it was her mailmare job or her work at the orphanage that was volunteer work, to which she would always respond, "It isn't work for me".

As with every day, she only needed to walk through the door to pass the security checks, as the receptionist nodded at her and promised to fill out all the forms on her behalf later. Normally, Derpy would insist on filling them out anyway, but today she was willing to take advantage of the mare, just once.

"This is Passing Notion," she said, pointing to the stallion who was more than a little out of breath from trying to keep up with her. "He works for the Crown. He's with me," she added for clarification.

"Of course, honey. Don't worry, we'll take care of the whole thing." She pointed to the door that led through to the orphanage proper. "Go right on in. They've all finished their breakfast, so they should be more than happy to see you."

"Thank you, Cushy Deskjob." Derpy advanced towards the door, smiling over her shoulder at Notion. "Ever been swarmed by changelings?"

Notion nodded absent-mindedly, before his eyes went wide. "Wait, this is a changeling orphanage?"

"No, it's just that children have a lot in common with changelings." Before Notion could ask for more details, Derpy pushed through the door, and he was following so close behind that he didn't get a chance to hesitate.

True to Derpy's word, they were quickly inundated by children, and they only barely managed to escape being crushed to death by pretending they already had been. Once the children relented, Derpy sprang right back up and smiled at all of them, sweeping as many of them into a single hug as she could.

"Auntie's here, everypony!" she exclaimed. "Hello, Dinky! How's the sore hoof, Carter? Oh, Peachy Pie, how are you?" This went on for quite a while, with Derpy speaking to each child in turn and embracing them warmly. Notion admired the discipline with which she kept the tears from her eyes, even as his attention kept getting pulled away by inquisitive foals.

"Alright, everypony, settle down. Auntie has an announcement to make." There was that tone of sadness that he had been expecting.

"Are you leaving for a really, really long time?" That came from the little unicorn filly that Notion was pretty sure was called Dinky. He expected her to look sad, or utterly crushed guessing by how excited they all were to see Derpy, but she looked... normal. Relaxed.

Derpy seemed to be struggling with her words, but she eventually choked it out. "Yes, muffin. Yes. I am leaving for a really, really long time. I... don't know how long I'll be gone for. And I'm pretty sure I won't be able to write, so..." The tears were starting to come, and Notion quickly moved in to give her a hug. He blushed a little when all the children went 'Awww' at his gesture, but he kept it up until Derpy stopped crying.

One of the foals stepped forward, poked Notion with a hoof, and then raised the other hoof as high in the air as it could go. Notion smiled, and pointed to him. "Did you have a question?"

"Yeah. Are you two getting married or something?"

Derpy stiffened under Notion's hooves, and he was pretty sure that his blue coat was now permanently red, but he smiled nervously and jumped on the opportunity. "Yes. Yes, that's it. We've kind of both had a crush on each other since... well, since we were your age, and we just now found out that we both felt the same way, and I proposed, and she said yes, but now that we've come here to say goodbye she's getting a little... emotional." He pulled her closer, and began to hum a few bars of an old lullaby. The children watched, and he found their expressions impossible to read.

Then Dinky stepped up, and nudged Derpy quite hard with both hooves. "Auntie, you shouldn't be crying," she said softly. Then she repeated, "You shouldn't be crying!" And Derpy stopped sniffling for a few seconds, long enough for Dinky to launch into a speech. "You're getting married, Auntie! That's a great thing! You've found someone you can stay with, forever and ever! Don't get sad just because you won't get to see us so much. Then you won't be able to be sad when you really have to!"

As far as Notion could tell, this was all making Derpy cry more. "B-but... I won't be able to spend time with any of you... you'll get s-so lonely..."

"Um, Auntie?" That one was Peachy Pie, he was pretty sure. "You're not our only helper. We already spend loads of fun times with happy ponies, and we have our school friends too. You're not the only friendly pony in Ponyville."

"But Carter... I promised Carter I'd ride with him at the applewood derby..."

The colt who had spoken to Notion ran up and butted his head against Derpy. "Auntie, listen to me." He reached up, a little dizzy from the impact, and grabbed Derpy's face between both tiny hooves. "It's okay. You'll come back someday, and we can race then. As for this year, I can just ask Amethyst. She'll ride with me. She was actually kind of sad that you promised first, because she was really looking forward to it."

At that point, as though a telepathic consensus had been reached, all of the foals and fillies surged forward to wrap Derpy up in a great big hug.

"We'll miss you. But this isn't something to cry over. Just think of it as... a vacation. A really long, really happy vacation. And when you come back, we'll have the most fun we've ever had, to make up for lost time."

Derpy started crying again. But this time, it was mixed with laughter.

The sun was setting. Dawn's Eastern Rays of Perfect Yellow and Passing Notion watched it dip beneath the horizon with a bittersweet feeling.

Derpy would have liked to say that it was the most beautiful sunset she had ever seen. She would have loved to say that it was the perfect end to a perfect day, and a near-perfect life. But it wasn't. It was a very ordinary sunset, the sort that happened every single day. Not at all the sort of sunset you expected on the last day of the world.

But it was still special. Because she was staying out to watch the sunset, and she wasn't staying out alone.

Notion's hoof curled around her own. "I know there won't be... ceremonies, over there. But all the same, everypony knows the words. And if we say it, and we mean it, isn't that just the same thing?"

Derpy thought about it for a few seconds, not looking at Notion for fear of missing the sunset. "We'll start simple. We'll date first. See how many romantic plays we can recite from memory. Find out how much we both suck at writing poetry. And then... and then we'll see."

Her skin tingled with Notion's aura. The sun set, and everything was dark, except for the two of them. She turned to Notion, who was grinning and casting his spell around the both of them.

"Any moment now," he whispered, sounding very sad about this indeed. "I can feel it. Here it comes."

And then Derpy felt it too. An event horizon, fast approaching. The point of no return had come. Part of her considered reaching out and breaking it, just in case that saved the whole world.

But then Notion kissed her, and her concentration slipped. The event horizon washed over them, and the spell crackled.

The world burned away, and all that was left was them.

Author's Note:

I cannot take credit for Derpy's very creative true name.

Now, lads and lasses, if you wouldn't mind showing some spoiler tag discipline in the comments, that would be appreciated.