• Published 25th Dec 2016
  • 7,928 Views, 451 Comments

101 Ways to Potentially Kill an Alicorn - Lightning Farron

When Starlight Glimmer wonders whether killing an alicorn is possible, Twilight recruits her student, her assistant and the Lord of Chaos to find the answer.

  • ...

Death Attempts: 1 - 10

“Burned alive,” Twilight decided, scanning the list. Starlight did a double take. Surely Twilight realized the secondary ramifications of setting herself on fire in her own castle, right? It seemed that Twilight noticed the unicorn’s incredulous expression and hastily explained. “Don’t worry. We’re keeping the fire contained so that you three don’t get burned and that it doesn’t destroy any of the books.”

“And just how are you going to set yourself on fire?” Starlight asked dubiously. “We don’t exactly have any matches and last I checked you didn’t know any fire spells.”

Twilight’s answer came by way of pointing one of her forelegs at the small dragon sitting some distance away engrossed in a game with Discord. Starlight’s gaze traveled in the direction her teacher’s hoof pointed.

...And then promptly proceeded to pop out of her head.

“You’re going to have Spike set you on fire?!!?” Starlight screeched. Twilight had to cover her ears while simultaneously making a mental note to research that later. “Did you not consider the potential trauma and years of upsetting therapy he’ll have to go through if you force him to go through with this?”

“I don’t mind, Starlight,” Spike interrupted, having looked up from his game with Discord to watch Starlight scream at Twilight. Before Starlight could get a word in edgewise, Spike continued. “It’s like I told you earlier, I’d be much less willing to do this if our failsafe revival plan didn’t work. Besides, it also helps that Twilight promised me the biggest bowl of gems ever for doing this for her.”

Starlight had forgotten about that. She was also vaguely disturbed by how easily Spike could be bribed to do something. If only she had thought to use that during her scheming days, she might have actually won.

“There’s one last thing I wanted to ask you, Starlight,” Twilight began. Starlight blinked as she watched Twilight use that breathing technique Cadance taught her. The unicorn leaned forward, ready to listen or obey whatever Twilight said. What she didn’t expect was a notebook to appear and float down in front of her. Starlight stared at it in wonder. Was this some manner of journal that held all of Twilight’s notes about her friendship lessons? Was Twilight asking her to carry on her legacy of friendship for future generations in the event that she did not survive this endeavor?

“I need you to document everything that happens during the burning,” Twilight stated simply as the notebook fell unceremoniously to the ground. Starlight barely suppressed a disappointed groan but nodded all the same as she picked up the notebook and snatched up a quill that lay nearby, poised to document every morbid detail - albeit reluctantly.

Once everyone was ready, Twilight fitted herself with a magic inhibitor and a wing binder while Discord covered her hooves in a sticky sap substance that would prevent her from reflexively trying to escape. Once they’d covered all their bases, Spike took a cautious step forward looking between Twilight and the others in askance. Twilight silently nodded, an encouraging smile on her lips as Spike’s lips trembled at what he was about to do.

“Do it, Spike,” she whispered, leaning down toward him as Spike looked up at her with watery eyes. He knew that he said that he wasn’t worried when Starlight mentioned it five minutes previously but if Spike was going to be honest with himself, no amount of failsafe practice runs would ever make Spike entirely comfortable with this whole exercise.

“For me.” He saw that resolute look in her eyes and knew that nothing he said would dissuade her no matter how hard he tried.

Solidifying his resolve, Spike took a deep breath a let loose a burst of fire that landed right at Twilight’s hooves as they immediately caught fire.

Starlight wanted to dispel the flame or at the very least, look away but her body refused to obey as she watched Twilight burn with morbid fascination. All the while, the quill scratched against the pages as she took note of everything: alicorns, as it turned out, happened to be far more flammable than any of the other pony species. Yet despite this Twilight, from what she could see, didn’t seem all that bothered about it. If anything, she looked like she was enjoying it!

“I’m surprised she’s enjoying it,” Discord set his swirly glasses aside. “That fire is burning in an excess of 500 degrees Cantergrade. Or, if you prefer, 932 degrees Marenheit.” The calculator in his claws vanished.

“No way,” Starlight murmured as she watched her teacher burn. “That’s enough to burn down this castle and everything in it; much less a single pony.” It was a good thing Twilight had the foresight to fireproof everything beforehand.

“You don’t think Twilight cast a fireproof spell on herself before stepping onto the stage, do you?” Starlight wondered.

“Nah,” Discord shook his head. “When the three of us built that thing, I designed it such that all spells that were cast prior to walking aboard were dispelled. Plus, once you’re on the stage you can’t use magic. The inhibitor was just added insurance since we don’t know anything about alicorn magic.”

* * *

“Uh… do you think we should put out that fire?” Spike asked fifteen minutes later, staring at Twilight who’d long since reoriented herself into an awkward napping position. “I mean, if Twilight wasn’t going to die from the burns or the smoke inhalation by now, I think it’s pretty safe to say that alicorns are fireproof.”

“That’s probably for the best,” Starlight agreed as she wrote down the last of her notes. “I’ll get the fire extinguisher.” Glad to be done with that strange encounter, Starlight galloped away in search of a fire extinguisher.

“So that was a bust,” Twilight mused as she shook the water out of her mane, wings, and coat. “But still, at least we learned that alicorns are apparently fireproof even though our coats, wings, and manes are incredibly flammable.”

“But it hasn’t left you unscathed either,” Spike pointed out. It was true: while Twilight did ultimately survive her burning, it had badly singed her mane, tail, and coat, and that was to say nothing of the destruction of almost all of her feathers or the burns left on the bare skin.

“That’s alright,” Twilight shrugged. “It’ll grow back with enough time and there’s ointment over on that table that we can use to treat the burns.”

“Wait a moment,” Discord interrupted, dispelling the sap on Twilight’s hooves to let Starlight check the damage while Spike left to grab the ointment in question. “Wasn’t Celestia trapped on the sun when Nightmare Moon returned? So doesn’t that make this whole thing kind of pointless since clearly Celestia was able to survive that encounter?” Not that Discord would admit it aloud but he’d enjoyed watching Twilight burn. The spitting and hissing fire was music to Discord’s ears.

Twilight nodded in agreement but she clarified that she had assumed that Celestia’s immunity to the sun’s heat was because raising the sun and all things related to it happened to be her special talent. Still, it was nice to know that it also applied to her and possibly to the other princesses.

She turned to Starlight to ask what was the next form of death to try on the list.

* * *

“You sure this is a good idea, Twilight?” Starlight asked, staring down at the ground below from her place in one of the larger clouds. She, Spike, and Discord had scouted the area out and the latter two had been kind enough to place pony repelling wards around the area. They didn’t need any news getting out about some misconstrued suicide attempt questioning Twilight’s already questionable sanity.

No, this was all conducted in the name of science.

“Positive, Starlight!” Twilight replied cheerfully as she donned a replica wonderbolts suit Rainbow gifted to her during the previous Hearth’s Warming. “If anything, the fact that my wings are featherless would make flying next to impossible anyway so I don’t really need the wing binder!”

“There is that,” Starlight mumbled under her breath as she looked back at Discord who’d put the finishing touches on the last of their wards to disable Twilight’s magic.

“Twilight, you do realize that we’re going to need you to do multiple jumps, right?” Discord pointed out as Twilight looked up at him. “I can’t guarantee anything from this distance but if you survive, we’d have to keep going higher until you do die.”

“Doesn’t that seem kind of pointless though,” Twilight frowned. “I mean, I can see your reasoning but usually in a pony’s case anyway, they tend to max out their freefall speed in a set amount of time so me falling any higher than that wouldn’t necessarily assure me anything.”

“I know, that’s why I’m putting this nifty little thing on you to clock your speed when you hit the ground,” Discord nodded. “That way Starlight can do the calculations and figure out the fall height needed to get you going at max speed.” He paused while pointedly ignoring Starlight’s glare. “And when you fall, try to make your surface area as small as possible, it’ll get you going much faster.”

Twilight gave him a deadpanned look. What did he take her for? An amateur skydiver? Pfft. Twilight was already well acquainted with basic physics. She didn’t need some chimera to tell her that. Still, at least she could acknowledge that he did have a good point. It was here that she realized a problem with their design setup.

Just how was she going to get back up? She couldn’t just fly back up since her feathers still needed time to grow back. If there was one thing Twilight was almost certain about in this exercise, it was that she wasn’t going to walk away from this unscathed.

Discord, ever the mind reader, had a solution ready. A snap of his chicken talons and out of nowhere was an elevator complete with garish paint and bright neon lights that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Las Pegasus casino.

“Cool,” Spike remarked from his place on Starlight’s back, a pair of binoculars around his neck, presumably to track her as she fell so that they could find her.

“On my mark,” said Discord, a whistle on his lips as Twilight took her place on the edge of cloud platform they’d haphazardly assembled. “3… 2… 1… Go!”

That was all the signal Twilight needed as she jumped off the cloud and plummeted to the ground below. The three watched as Twilight straightened out like a needle.

“How fast is she going Starlight?” Spike asked, peering over her shoulder at the speedometer on Starlight’s neck.

“85 miles per hour and rising,” she read. She looked up at Discord. “Do you think she’d survive such a fall?”

“Probably,” he admitted. “Rainbow Dash can perform a Sonic Rainboom which requires her to fly more than three times the speed with which Twilight is falling. We’d probably need to be going at least five times that level in order to get lethal injuries so I doubt a simple fall would do her in like this.”

“Hmm…” Starlight tapped a hoof to her chin as Twilight arrived on the cloud via Discord’s elevator. A brief once over concluded that Twilight had, much to her surprise, walked away from the fall without an injury. In hindsight, none of them should have been all that surprised. For one, there were several reports of ponies pulling stunts similar to what Twilight had done and survived. For another, Starlight recalled a past lesson of Twilight’s wherein she and her friends pursued Applejack when she failed to return following a rodeo and in particular when Pinkie jumped off a cart, knocking both herself and Rarity out and landing on the ground with only a couple scratches. This led Starlight to believe that a fall no matter how high it was, was simply not going to kill a pony, much less an alicorn.

Twilight suggested they go up a little higher just to cover their bases. “With a thinner atmosphere, I could get more speed.” She explained.

Of course, using Discord’s elevator, ‘a little higher’ happened to be as close to outer space as Discord could manage without leaving the atmosphere.

He didn’t want Twilight to asphyxiate. That one was for later and it was one thing he didn’t like, it was confounding variables.

In any case, Twilight didn’t bother waiting for Discord’s countdown. She opted to simply jump from their elevator as she plummeted to the ground. Discord decided that instead of watching via binoculars as Spike had been doing, they watch her fall from the relative safety of the elevator.

It made note taking much easier for Starlight in any case. She’d learned that Twilight liked to alternate between an expression that could only be described as stone cold resolved or shameless freakouts.

Much like the first dive, Twilight’s landing looked genuinely painful. This one even moreso if the bruises were anything to go by. Nonetheless, Twilight didn’t look much worse than she did by way of being burned alive.

“I think we should scratch astronomic jump from the list now,” Spike concluded as he passed her a healing elixir. He was grateful when neither Discord nor Starlight refuted his claim as he carried their battered and bruised princess back to her castle.

“Electrocution,” Spike read as Twilight nodded. He idly noticed that her feathers and coat had grown back to their former glory. “I dunno Twilight. We’ve all been subject to Rainbow’s thundercloud prank and got shocked that way. Doesn’t that kind of negate the purpose of this method?”

“Ah but that’s just it,” Twilight refuted. “As it turns out, the cloud factory makes different types of thunderclouds depending on the type of storm that’s needed. For light drizzles mild rain storms, Rainbow’s clouds work just fine but for a heavier storm, we tend to rely on stronger clouds for greater output.”

“And they produce a more powerful burst of lightning,” Starlight added helpfully as she and Discord finished up testing the last of their commandeered thunderclouds. “So we can just try each and see which, if any, produce potentially lethal results.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” said Twilight brightly as she turned to stare at the clouds curiously while Starlight fitted her with a gauge to read how much electricity was circulating through her body when she was struck by lightning. At first glance, no one would have been able to tell the difference between the five different cloud types they’d managed to snag from the factory. However, if one looked closely at the clouds, they would notice a faintly colored switch barely concealed on the topside. This switch was used to trigger the lightning and thunder that was often associated with thunderstorms.

Plus pegasi liked to sleep on clouds and switch provided insurance that it wouldn’t rain on anybody below them.

“Well,” said Twilight, looking from one collaborator to the next as she stood under their weakest storm cloud. “I’m ready when you are.”

Discord didn’t need to be told twice. Starlight and Spike watched as Discord flicked the switch on and let the sparks fly.

Twilight stared up at the sparks that did little more than give a brief sting.

“Is that all?” she asked. Discord frowned as he pounded on the cloud and was rewarded with a great deal of sputtering and a couple more sparks.

“Looks like it,” he shrugged. With a snap of his fingers, the cloud exploded into a white mist. “Yeah, I think it’s better to just move on to the next one. We’re not going to get anything better than boring sparks out of that thing.”

Twilight looked up at the new cloud above her. She nodded. It looked like a more suitable raincloud with its darker gray colors. Twilight couldn’t quite suppress the shiver that ran down her spine as she spotted faint flashes of light from within the clouds.

Much like before, Discord flipped the switch to shoot down bolts of lightning. Unlike their previous attempt, instead of getting a few measly sparks, they failed to suppress their excitement at seeing live bolts of lightning. Of course, this excitement last for all of three seconds before they remembered why they were doing this and watched and documented everything that they witnessed.

By the time the last bolt had been thrown, Twilight’s body was a charred mess. She’d also reported the pain and the possible nerve damage from the repeated shocks. It was here that a halo of light shone down on Twilight causing her body to glow in its pure white light. This light served to repair her nerves and restoring her movement. Starlight turned to Discord in confusion.

“You did think I’d let our resident Princess of Friendship be permanently wounded by this exercise would you?” Discord asked, wounded by Starlight’s silent accusation. “I never said the failsafe was only for death. Besides, we can’t guarantee the validity of all our other methods if our dear sweet Twilight here is anything less than in perfect health.”

“I suppose that much is true,” Starlight conceded. “I wish you told me about this before we started though.”

“Sorry,” Discord replied unapologetically. “It must have slipped my mind.”

“In any case,” Twilight interrupted, “I think we should move on to the next cloud. How many are left, Starlight?”



The next two clouds they tried had Twilight reporting an increasingly more painful and nerve damaging experience. They were almost certain that her previous electrocution had given her brain damage. Were it not for Discord’s revival system, there was little doubt in anybody’s mind that Twilight would have been wheelchair confined for the rest of her life.

Twilight found herself enjoying this far less than being set on fire or jumping off a cloud. She smiled appreciatively at Starlight and Spike as they administered the ointment on her now burned coat.

And it had just finished growing back, too, Twilight lamented sadly as she reluctantly took her place beneath the final cloud. Discord had previously informed them this one was actually intended specifically for the rare high intensity lightning storms. Needless to say, Twilight wasn’t looking forward to it as a large arc of electricity shot down at her, making direct contact with her horn.

The next thing Twilight felt was pain. It hurt so badly that simply the word pain wouldn’t do the pain that she felt justice. She wouldn’t wish this sort of pain on anybody. Except for Tirek, maybe. He did destroy her old home after all.

In any case, Twilight felt her world go blurry as she felt her heart thump frantically in her chest in what would ultimately be a vain effort to keep her alive. The last thing she could hear was Starlight rushing toward her side to check on her.

“It looks like we have a winner!” Discord announced, a stethoscope pressed to Twilight’s chest where he couldn’t hear a beating heart. “I’m impressed that she managed to survive this long.”

Before either Spike or Starlight could get a word in edgewise, the same halo of light shone down on their beloved princess. Unlike with her nerve injuries, this time they spotted the silhouette of a creature that could really only be described as an angel came down and kissed Twilight’s cheeks. From here, a more powerful burst of light shone down, blinding them all. When the light settled, they saw the previous deceased pony back on her hooves, coat glimmering, mane shining and eyes glowing brightly as she grinned at them while she passed her gauge to Starlight to read.

It was the best they’d seen the mare since they’d started this whole exercise.

“I think we’ve found our first lead.” Starlight blinked before shaking her head while staring at her teacher fondly. Only Twilight could be excited about research data after coming back from the dead.

“I never would have guessed that sufficient electrocution would be enough to kill an alicorn,” Starlight observed as she and Discord watched Spike fuss over the purple princess.

“It makes sense,” Discord couldn’t help but shudder at the thought of things making sense. “I mean, alicorns have hearts so it stands to reason that making their hearts stop would almost certainly kill them as is the case with any other creature.”

Starlight turned to stare up at him skeptically. “Even you?”

Discord paused to consider this before shrugging. “Maybe, but my heart tends to work a little differently than a pony’s.”

“So what’s next on the list of methods to try?” Twilight asked once everyone had enough time to get over the fact that Twilight had actually come back from the dead. Spike, Discord, and Twilight were less surprised by their failsafe as they’d already tested it but that still didn’t shake the worry that it wouldn’t work when it mattered. For now it seems those fears had been put to rest.

Starlight, on the other hand, had been blindsided by the revelation. It had been nothing short of a miracle that Twilight survived jumping from near outer space levels and being set on fire. She’d been told about their failsafe in case Twilight actually died more than a few times but she’d never taken them seriously.

Now that she’d seen it for herself, Starlight found herself breathing easier. She liked and admired her teacher a lot and would have been deeply hurt that it was her fault that she’d never see the mare again.

“Um…” Starlight picked up the discarded list Spike had dropped when Twilight had been brought back to life. “Looks like drowning’s the next one.” In truth, they’d been picking methods entirely at random rather than the alphabetical order Twilight insisted on when they’d compile their list. Still, Twilight didn’t need to know that and she didn’t seem to notice or didn’t call them out on it.

It was probably the near death experiences.

“In the interests of not flooding the castle,” Twilight started, staring around at her precious books. “I know a better place for us to try drowning.” Before any of them could so much as voice a question, Twilight’s magic had already pulled them into a mass teleport.

The first thing they noticed was the sun’s blinding light and the sand beneath their legs. Starlight couldn’t help but take a double take. They were at a beach. Last time Starlight checked, there weren’t any beaches anywhere near Ponyville. That must mean that Twilight was able to teleport all the way across Equestria.

And to think that when I fought her, she was holding back... Starlight shook her head.

Still, Starlight would have loved nothing more than to spend the rest of the day here alternating between the warm white sand and the crystal blue water nearby. It also helped that there were only a few other beach goers around today. They could have had the beach to themselves. All Twilight would have had to do was use her princess powers to get the others to leave but if there was one thing she knew about her teacher, it was that she didn’t like exercising her power as a princess.

Seeming to read Starlight’s mind, her teacher turned to grin at her, a promise to return here at a future date.

As Twilight turned to gaze at the sea, Starlight shook her head from its perch in the clouds. They had important work to do after all.

As it turned out, the trip out into the deeper waters didn’t take long at all. All they had needed to do was make sure Twilight was all set up to take the plunge. On the upside, at least she wasn’t taking the plunge alone this time. In this instance, Starlight would be taking the plunge alongside her teacher. Like her teacher, Starlight would also be bogged down with equipment. Unlike her teacher, Starlight’s equipment included scuba gear and her notepad for her documentation while Twilight would be weighed down with dead weights, rocks, and a depth gauge to determine the depth at which Twilight would have surely been crushed by the pressure.

If there was one thing she knew about Twilight, the princess valued proper note taking skills and she could help the swell of happiness she felt at Twilight’s approval and relieved smile.

Besides, someone had to go down to recover Twilight’s body in case she died down there and to pull her back up in the event that she survived; Spike was too small and would like be crushed by the water pressure sooner than Twilight would plus he’d been put in charge of managing Starlight’s scuba gear to make sure she didn’t die from the pressure. Discord would be too busy making sure the wards they’d spent the past half hour setting didn’t fail and besides, he didn’t know how to swim.

“I’m ready when you are,” Starlight told her teacher. Twilight only smiled and nodded at her own faithful student before taking the plunge. Spike quickly gave her a nod before she took off after her teacher.

* * *

This place is really pretty, Starlight thought idly as she swam lazily around her teacher, making sure that nothing else got to her before she drowned. I can see why Fluttershy wishes she could breathe underwater.

It was here that Starlight spotted her teacher struggling for air. She could feel the two sides of her brain warring with each other: ignore the instructions and rescue Twilight or obey and let Twilight perish. Starlight didn’t even need to think.

Ignoring instructions, she rushed to Twilight’s side as Twilight stared up her with that warm look that Starlight had come to strive for in both her magic and friendship lessons. It was that look that made getting up every day worth it. Her eyes watered with tears through her goggles as she watched her teacher’s hooves clasp her own as her eyes slowly shut.

The pupil frantically searched for a pulse. Finding none, Starlight frantically rushed to the surface, holding Twilight’s deceased body protectively to herself as Spike and Discord helped the downed princess. They didn’t have to wait long before Twilight was revived. Unfortunately for Twilight at least, she’d had the displeasure of having a large amount of salt water in her mouth and nose.

A sympathetic Spike passed the mare a canteen which she greedily guzzled down while Discord and Starlight watched amused and concerned respectively.

“I think,” she panted after setting the canteen aside, “I can say that I don’t ever want to do that ever again.” She recounted the unpleasant sensation of not breathing as water seemed to rush down her nose and mouth and how she’d put up a fight to even breath much less flail wildly like she had done.

“So drowning is confirmed then?” Spike asked cautiously.

“Yes, Spike. Drowning is definitely a viable way to kill an alicorn,” Twilight replied. She turned to look at her companions. “If it’s all the same to the rest of you, I think I’d like to take a short break before we get on with the next one. I think I’m going to need some manner of therapy after that one.”

Discord had offered to erase the memory from her mind, Twilight had vehemently refused. She wanted to be able to analyze her experience from her own perspective.

After a short break, the four reconvened on the beach.

“What would you like to try next, Twilight?” Spike asked, holding out the list of methods they’d yet to try.

“Well, given that being set on fire was actually an enjoyable experience,” Twilight started. “Let’s give jumping into a volcano a try.” Spike let out a whoop of delight. A volcano was basically a dragon’s luxurious swimming pool.

* * *

“You realize this is a stupid idea, right?” Dragon Lord Ember deadpanned as she watched Princess Twilight stare into the molten lava pit below. “You’re going to get yourselves killed or heavily mutilated at least by doing that.”

“That’s kind of the goal,” Twilight admitted. Ember could only stare at the pony. That resolute look in her eye told her that she was dead serious. Ember could only shake her head. It seemed that her initial assessment about ponies was off. They weren’t just strange.

They were downright crazy!

Ember let out a huff. “If you want to jump, I won’t stop you but do try to be discreet,” she inclined her head to the dragons already relaxing in the pool of lava. “It’s that time of year and we really don’t want to be disturbed.”

With that as her final word, Ember spread her impressive sapphire blue wings took off, leaving the four of them behind in her wake.

* * *

After making sure that they’d given themselves a wide berth from the other dragons, Twilight and Spike carefully stepped into the boiling lava pool.

“I never thought I’d say this,” Twilight began as she flared her wings open and leaned back against the rock with Spike at her side. “But this feels really good. Even better than the hot tubs at the spa.”

Discord frowned as he stared at the lava. Was it really that good? Curious and crazy enough to try, Discord ignored Starlight’s quiet protests before dipping a paw in the boiling hot lava. Similar to Twilight’s current situation, Discord’s paw also caught fire. However, unlike Twilight, Discord’s paw had the misfortune of feeling the pain of watching his paw unceremoniously disintegrate. In any case, it was a simple matter for the draconequus to restore his now disintegrated paw back to normal.

Meanwhile, Starlight watched as Twilight who was now something of a fireball in the pool was racing Spike to see who could do more laps. Outside of Twilight being on fire again, she seemed just fine. If anything, Twilight was far better off jumping into a pool of boiling hot lava than she was being set on fire. It was tough to see through the flames but Starlight could barely make out the purple coat of her teacher.

Could it be that she’s developed a resistance to fire? Starlight wondered as she stared at her teacher as she slowly gained on the young baby dragon. How can that be? Lava isn’t infectious, is it?

Snatching Discord’s discarded glasses and propping them on her own nose, the temperature that Starlight read only served to confuse her more.

Well, I suppose being set on fire already hinted that jumping into a pool of lava would probably be safe for her. Even if it happened to be twice as hot. Starlight was more surprised that her coat and wings were still intact. She stared around at the the resting dragons. Perhaps some passive dragon magic at work here?

This would require further investigation but for now… Starlight blanched as she spotted the pair closing in on pair of nesting dragons. She tried signaling to the pair to turn around. She breathed a sigh of relief when Spike managed to get the message but was dismayed when there was little he could do about it. Twilight was an alicorn literally on fire. There was very little that could stop her now. However, mustering strength that none of them knew Spike possessed, he was able to drag a protesting pony princess back to the rest of the team to discuss what they’d seen.

“It was definitely hotter than when I was set on fire,” Twilight told them as Starlight dutifully scribbled down every word. “But it was weird, while it was definitely hotter, it was less painful or at least less damaging to my coat and wings.” The same could not be said of her mane and tail which was now a charred mess. There was little doubt in their minds that Rarity would have an aneurysm at the sight of it.

“Maybe the fact that the lava was a liquid and cools quickly to a rock might have helped,” Spike proposed. “Plus the fact that it wasn’t so much a sustained burn since the fire was much smaller on you this time, Twi.”

“That’s certainly possible,” Twilight agreed thoughtfully.

“If that’s the case then how come Discord’s paw disintegrated on contact?” Starlight asked, nodding to the newly created paw Discord created in its place.

Twilight shrugged. She couldn’t even begin to fathom how Discord’s powers worked. Her eyes lit up at the new research idea but doubted that Discord would be a compliant test subject. Shaking her head, Twilight led the way out of the volcano as the four made tracks back to Twilight’s castle.

It was agreed by all relevant parties that they would resume work the following day if the sleepy Spike on Starlight’s back was any indication. He at least seemed to be somewhat at peace, if his dream-induced mumblings were anything to go off of.

“What was that you said earlier about ‘soft pony hides’?”

The following day found the quartet in the Frozen North. They’d stopped by the Crystal Empire to check in with Cadance, Shining Armor, and Flurry Heart. Much like themselves, Shining Armor had spent most of the previous day reluctantly hurling spears at his wife. Twilight had been sympathetic as they not only had a foal but they also lacked a failsafe system to rely on in case things went south.

Discord found the whole thing hilarious but taught them the spell needed to revive Cadance in case they happened upon something that did end up killing her.

They’d also learned that Celestia had asked Cadence to perform the exercise with Flurry Heart. This was where the parents, Twilight, and Luna drew the line. Celestia didn’t push the issue. She knew when to stand down: she didn’t like her odds fighting off her niece, her sister, her pupil, and her nephew in law in a fight.

After a quick reunion and explanation of where they were going, Cadance and Shining Armor wished them the best of luck. Cadance, ever the mother hen, warned them to be careful of the unbrum. Even after the siege and Sombra’s reformation, Cadence wasn’t a hundred percent certain that things had been settled with unbrum species.

Twilight had nodded and promised that they would be careful. While all of this was going on, Spike had the pleasure of enjoying the hero worship that came with essentially being the savior of the Crystal Empire. He’d appreciated their generosity particularly when it came to cold weather gear. At least he and the others wouldn’t have to freeze to death alongside Twilight.

“How long do we have to stay here?” Starlight couldn’t help but complain as they sat still in the raging blizzard the Frozen North was infamous for. Ultimately, this question was lost to the screeching winds as they continued their trek through the blizzard. It boggled her mind that they hadn’t reached the coldest part of the region yet. What’s more was how Discord was able to handle the weather without even batting an eye.

Still, at least she didn’t have to roll in the snow like Spike did now that he was covered from head to toe in warm clothing. While she initially found it amusing to watch him roll and occasionally crash into the rare pillar of ice, the act had quickly escalated and it had been decided that she’d carry him via her magic. Him rolling down a hill as a snowball had been the final straw.

“This is about as cold as it’s going to get, Twilight,” Discord warned Twilight as they approached an nondescript part of the frozen north to settle. They could barely see anything past their forelegs and felt the hypothermia setting in already.

Twilight looked down at herself. Her hooves had already started to turn a faint shade of blue and every step she tooked ached. She stared enviously at Spike’s ensemble. What she wouldn’t give to be covered from head to foot in such a garb. At the very least, she was thankful that Discord wasn’t flaunting his powers to her face. It would have made dealing with this all the more difficult with the knowledge that it was all right in front of her.

All in the name of science and all that, Twilight thought dryly. Still, she shouldn’t be getting this tired so early on though.

Still, the cold was awful and she quickly decided that once this was all said and done, there was little anyone could do to persuade her to ever come back here. Nothing short of a large scale disaster could convince her to come back here.

* * *

Actually, maybe this place isn’t too bad. Twilight decided. It had been half an hour later and oddly enough, now that she’d had enough time to get used to the cold, she felt less tired and annoyed about it. It was something she was grateful for since she didn’t want to tarnish her childhood snowball fights with her brother and Cadence when she was a filly.

A cursory glance at her hooves told her that the faint blue color she’d noticed before was all but gone. She’d certainly felt less sleepy than she had before and felt energy comparable to that of Pinkie Pie planning a party. The same could not be said of her assistant and her student who’d taken to huddling together for warmth.

“Should we head back?” Twilight offered. “I’m feeling much better than before so I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not going to freeze out here even without my magic or wings.”

“S-Sounds good to me,” Starlight replied through chattering teeth. Spike nodded vigorously in agreement. Discord shrugged. All he’d felt was a breeze.

“Aren’t Princess Cadance and Shining Armor already doing the stabbing?” Starlight asked.

“Nah, my brother’s spearing Cadance,” Twilight replied. “It’s different.”

“How exactly?”

As Twilight and Starlight discussed the intricacies of stabbing versus spearing things, Spike took stock of the array of weapons they’d found lying around Twilight’s castle. As it turned out, they’d not only found various spears but swords, knives, a couples axes, several sets of claws, daggers, and a few scythes.

It seemed the Tree of Harmony was well aware of the mishaps Twilight and her friends got caught up in and wanted to arm them with some manner of weaponry. Unfortunately, the point was moot as Twilight had yet to acquire some manner of guards to protect the castle and its various secrets.

“So who’s gonna stab Twilight?” Spike asked, interrupting the ponies’ conversation. It felt wrong for him to ask such a thing as he caught sight of the two mares staring at him. “I already set her on fire and as happy as I am that you survived that one, Twilight, I have no desire to do it again.”

Twilight nodded sympathetically. She’d seen the emotional turmoil behind Spike’s eyes as he let loose the burst of flame that set her body aflame. She would not put him through that ever again.

“Starlight, could you?” The mare shook her head. She’d already had plenty of dreams where she’d won her clash with Twilight and various futures that came to haunt her as a result. She had no desire to stab the pony who’d had such an impact on her life. However, it seemed Twilight wouldn’t back down. She would have asked Discord but she knew that Fluttershy would find out at their next tea time and things would get unnecessarily complicated.

“Please Starlight, I’m begging you,” Twilight pleaded. “I can’t do it to myself because I don’t think I have the courage to be able to do it myself.”

“But you let others do it to you?” Starlight asked, eyes watering with tears. “It’s like I said before Twilight, you’re a very important pony to me.” She took a steady breath before continuing, “If you really want me to stab you, I’ll do it.”

Twilight smiled. She felt a swell of pride at her student. Not necessarily for agreeing to stab her but the persistence it took to convince her to do it. She didn’t even need to pull her teacher card anymore!

With that, Starlight strapped her teacher down to the stage.

“So where am I supposed to stab you?” Starlight asked, her voice wavering. Twilight silently gestured to the place where she knew her heart to be and nodding to encourage her student.

Starlight took a deep breath and lined up her target before she plunged the knife deep into Twilight’s body. Both expected Twilight to scream and writhe in pain and the weapon Starlight used to be covered in blood.

However, none of that happened.

What happened instead was that the knife passed right through Twilight. Both stared at where the knife was embedded in Twilight’s flesh. Twilight felt no pain. There was no blood to speak of nor was Twilight dead.

“Maybe you should try again?” Twilight offered uncertainly. Starlight nodded reluctantly as she forced the knife into Twilight’s flesh yet again. Much like last time, there was no pain or blood or anything that would have led to Twilight death. Both noticed that the metal blade seemed to phase through Twilight’s body and then dig into cool metal beneath Twilight’s back.

* * *

“You’re not doing any magic to make this happen are you?” Starlight asked suspiciously half an hour later. Twilight quickly shook her head. Her horn still had the inhibitor on and she had put on her wing binders after the multiple falls they’d done the previous day. Plus Discord’s spell was still in effect and any passive alicorn magic was being negated. It seemed that no matter where Starlight struck, the knife simply refused to damage the organs.

“Maybe we should try a different weapon,” Twilight suggested helpfully. Her student nodded and galloped away to grab a different weapon.

* * *

“This is weird,” Starlight concluded another half hour later. She and Twilight had tried several different weapons while noting their effects. The knives just phased through her. The swords and daggers simply refused to pierce Twilight’s body. The claws could only cause a few scratches at best. The most memorable had been the axes. The heads on those things actually came apart as soon as they made contact. Twilight and Starlight actually had to stare at the result for a full minute before it fully sunk it what they’d just done.

“I think it’s safe to say that stabbing is out,” Twilight said once she’d managed to get her laughter under control. Starlight could only nod in agreement. “I think the only reason the orichalcum knife works is because the material has some unknown properties that these things don’t have.”

“It’s probably for the best that we don’t tell other ponies that,” Starlight proposed. Twilight nodded in agreement. She didn’t want to be assassinated.

“Okay Twilight,” Spike said as he rolled in the lunch trolley. “I’ve added the various poisons like you asked me to.” Discord was only half a pace behind him, his arms laden with all manner of poisons if the plan to mix them into her food didn’t pan out.

“That’s great, Spike!” Twilight chirped. Starlight wouldn’t be joining them on the account of her need to see a therapist after the stabbing incident. Or at the very least having a little time to recuperate after what happened. “You did remember to label which food has which poison, right?”

“Yup,” Spike nodded as he gestured to the daisy sandwich levitating in her magic. “That one has hemlock while the hay salad has aconite and I coated your utensils with dried snake venom. Your drink also has a powderized cyanide pill.” Twilight stared at Spike. It was clear that he’d been quite thorough and mentally resolved not to get on her bad side.

“Well,” Twilight began carefully as she raised one sandwich half to her mouth. “To a successful endeavor.” Spike nodded as he watched Twilight bite into the sandwich. She was briefly surprised by the lack of unusual taste before shrugging it off. She was sure the poison would act in a timely manner. It didn’t take long for her to eat the other half before moving on to the salad. Mindful to use the proper utensils, Twilight’s face screwed up in distaste. Why couldn’t they make a tasteless form of aconite? Maybe it was the venom.

In any case, Twilight had only made halfway through the salad before she pushed it away. Her grimace told Spike everything he needed to know. He watched as hemlock went into full effect as Twilight’s forelegs which had been clutching utensils tightly slackened and the utensils fell to the ground with a loud clang. It was not long before she slumped onto her side and fell to the ground.

“Twilight!” Spike was at her side in an instant as he checked her heartbeat. His eyes widened in surprise as he listened to her heart slow down and slowly come to a stop. Spike was certain that he would have started sobbing if the familiar light hadn’t descended down onto them. He felt himself being gently pulled from Twilight’s side as he spotted the familiar angel smile gently at him before kissing Twilight once on each cheek before vanishing.

At that moment, Spike spotted Twilight’s body glowing brightly before the mare slowly opened her eyes and stood up slowly. Before Spike could so much as ask a question, Twilight had found herself vomiting up the remains of what had been her lunch of an hour ago.

“So I guess poison worked then?” Spike asked. Twilight could only offer a slight nod as she pulled the full glass of water toward her. Spike’s eyes widened in horror as he realized just what was in the water.

“Wait, no! That’s traced with cyanide!” But it was too late as he watched Twilight greedily chug down the glass of water. Much like last time, she dropped the glass, breaking it before slumping to the side and passing out.

Discord, still in the room, rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers again. The angel came down again before shooting both parties a condescending glare and kissing Twilight.

The dragon and the draconequus shivered. The angel’s glare bore on them with the force of a thousand devils and they mentally resolved to not annoy her again.

“Blunt force trauma,” Spike deadpanned. “You want to try blunt force trauma, Twilight? You want to try blunt force trauma after that incident with Pinkie’s Pinkie Sense?” Discord and Starlight perked up at the mention of the party pony’s legendary ability.

Seeing the interested looks on Discord and Starlight’s faces, Twilight proceeded to explain. She’d been skeptical of Pinkie’s ability to predict future events via the various twitches and involuntary motions of her body. Twilight had been studying this phenomenon in detail by stalking the pink earth pony and taking note of every instance where the ability was activated.

One such instance was the twitchy tail and the several pieces of furniture that fell on her afterward. It certainly wasn’t one of Twilight’s proudest moments but she learned a lot from it all the same.

Starlight had been fascinated by the phenomenon while Discord made a mental note to investigate this further. Having Pinkie as an accomplice for his mischief would no doubt be a big help.

“She’s already survived an flowerpot, an anvil, a piano, and a fully loaded wagon, I don’t know what more we can add to make it more lethal than it already is,” Spike stated.

Discord looked offended. “It’s like you don’t even know me!” He lamented. “I can already think of several things that could make that setup lethal.” The two ponies and the dragon leaned forward in interest to see what sort of scheme Discord cooked up this time.

“No one said blunt force trauma was limited to things falling on you,” Discord lectured. “Truth be told, that’s one of the most common causes barring sparring injuries and one of the more entertaining ones. That said, there are plenty of other ways to do it. For example,” he conjured a small ball and a dummy. The three watched in morbid fascination as ball flew at the dummy, leaving a sizeable dent in its chest before flying back into Discord’s awaiting paw.

“You could also whack them with a golf club if you felt so inclined,” Discord offered.

“We might as well try all three,” Twilight decided. “If nothing else, I just want to make sure our bases are covered.” Twilight had then gone on to assign each a specific form: Spike would drop things on Twilight’s head, Discord would hurl things at her via his magic, and final Starlight would attempt to whack her repeatedly with a golf club.

“Whenever you’re ready Spike!” Twilight called to the dragon perched several feet above him.

Spike nodded as he started with something small: an ugly plate that Spoiled Rich gave Twilight last Hearth’s Warming. He didn’t expect it to do much but he would take any excuse he could get to break things he didn’t like.

* * *

“Is that everything you have?” Twilight asked once Spike had dropped the large stack of bricks that had been sitting in one of the castle’s rooms.

“Yup!” Spike replied thickly through the plate he’d been eating. Spoiled Rich’s plates may have been ugly but Spike wasn’t about to deny their taste.

“Well, I’ll go see Starlight and Discord and see what they’ve got for me!” Twilight shook her head as Spike belched before loudly wishing her good luck. Twilight shook her head. It didn’t matter if she happened to die, Discord’s spell would bring her back.

Discord suggested that instead of Starlight beating her to death with a golf club, they have a proper duel to the death. The only difference being that Twilight would be armed with a shield while Starlight would have a golf club.

The resulting duel that followed turned out to be a relatively one sided one. Twilight was dreadful with a shield and Starlight had been quick to figure out the many ways to beat someone to death with a golf club. That said, it seemed that blunt force trauma was not a viable method to kill an alicorn. “Though it is very therapeutic.” Starlight remarked, earning a glare from Twilight and the sight of Discord howling.

After both parties recovered, Twilight stood in front of Discord’s cannons. She wasn’t sure what to expect. Discord was something of a wild card when it came to ammunition. Nonetheless, she wasn’t surprised when she saw Royal Guard grade cannonballs flying at her. Needless to say, she didn’t survive that encounter.

Discord didn’t waste a second as he summoned the angel who stared at him before giving a resigned sigh before spotting Twilight and kissing her cheeks. By the time the angel vanished, Twilight was unsteadily back on her hooves.

“I don’t think I want to try any of that other stuff, Discord,” Twilight admitted wearily, gesturing to the various paraphernalia that Discord surely intended to load into his cannon. “It looks more dangerous than the cannonballs and I don’t think that the angel that’s been reviving me appreciates having to do it so frequently.”

“I never I’d see the day where Princess Twilight Sparkle didn’t want to be through in her research,” Discord goaded. Twilight could feel her ire rising. Did Discord just challenge her academic integrity? Her eyes narrowed. She couldn’t allow such a challenge to stand, least of all from Discord.

“Fine,” she grumbled. “But what about the angel who’s been reviving me?”

“You don’t need to worry about that,” Discord waved a paw dismissively. “She likes you so it’ll be fine. She’s just cranky because she was busy with something else when I called for her.”

Twilight could only nod as she stood in front of the firing squad once more. To her surprise, all the other artillery Discord had used either phased right through her or simply bounced off her and embedded themselves into the walls around them.

“Well, I think that settles that, don’t you think?” Twilight asked sweetly. Discord could only nod in shock as Twilight trotted away.

“Twilight,” Spike said slowly as she pointed to the next method she intended to try. “Just how are you going to asphyxiate yourself? I’m not going to do it since I’ve already set you on fire, poisoned you, and dropped stuff on you. Discord got bored after the firing stuff at you and went to spend time with Fluttershy. I’m pretty sure Starlight’s going to need therapy, even though the clubbing didn’t really hurt you.”

Twilight contemplated it for several minutes and came up with two options: hanging herself or going to the moon. The hanging would no doubt be long and painful but it would be easy to pull off on her own. Going to the moon was something she’d dreamed of doing since she was a filly and now that Princess Luna was back, there was little doubt that the Princess of the Night would be willing to help her. Unfortunately, Twilight quickly realized that Luna was already busy with her own list and would be unable to help Twilight with her endeavor.

The only option left for her was to ask Discord to send her to the moon.

So that’s what she did after she tracked him down to Fluttershy’s house. She’d been grateful that Fluttershy was occupied with her animals, leaving the draconequus to his own devices.

“I need you to send me to the moon,” Twilight said urgently. “I promise this’ll be the last one for the week.”

Discord raised an eyebrow, “And why should I send you to the moon? I don’t think little Luna would appreciate anybody trespassing there on her precious moon.”

“I know. That’s why I wrote a letter to her explaining what I was doing. Hopefully she’ll understand where I’m coming from. If she doesn’t… well I’ll figure it out afterward.”

Discord shook his head in amusement before agreement. Before he teleported her, he gave her a self dictating notebook and quill that would document her thoughts. He also told her that the angel had agreed to teleport her back to the castle in the event that she died. The last thing he did before casting the spell was enchant a flower which would teleport her back to her castle in an hour if she happened to survive.

Twilight didn’t get a chance to say anything as she felt the familiar sensation of being teleported before shielding her eyes from the flash of light associated with teleporting.

When she opened them again, Twilight blinked. She was on the moon. Unfortunately, it was this realization that made her realize that there was no air on the moon. She could already feel herself gasping for the glorious blessing that was air. Unfortunately, she would be hard pressed to find such a blessing on the desolate surface that was the moon.

All the same, Twilight knew she had to move quickly if she wanted to gather samples of moon rock to study before the lack of air knocked her out. She snatched up as many rocks as her saddlebags would allow her to carry before she felt the darkness she’d come to associate with death overtake her.

When Twilight woke up, she found herself in the company of Spike and Starlight who were looking at her worriedly.

“I think we’re done with testing methods for this week,” Spike and Starlight had been glad to hear that. It gave them a little time to wrap their heads around just how odd an experience it had been. “Also, add asphyxiation to confirmed list of methods to kill an alicorn.”

Spike only nodded as he and Starlight carried the unconscious alicorn back to her room and dumped her unceremoniously on her bed before wrapping the sheets around her.

“Hopefully the rest of these will be simpler than these,” Starlight lamented to a sympathetic Spike who could only nod along with her.

Author's Note:

Thanks reading! If you have suggestions for methods, please leave them in comments. Feedback and constructive criticism is welcome.