• Published 3rd Jul 2017
  • 6,504 Views, 111 Comments

Let It R.I.P. - Aragon

One day, just like that, Twilight decides she's going to die.

  • ...

Twilight's in a Casket

They had doubted Pinkie Pie. Oooooh, they had doubted her so much.

It made sense to be wary. There were a lot [1] of angry ponies outside the Castle, yelling and crying and yelling some more—a Princess dying was a big deal, even if she had only died for one day.

[1] Wait, scratch that, Pinkie thought. Not a lot. There were a loooooooooooot.

And also, because Applejack was a murderer now. Which was pretty fun! But also pretty bad. But in a fun way!

So they were all going to jail. Never mind that Twilight had been the one killing Twilight – the Royal Guards never cared about who had actually committed the crime – it was all about who looked better in the dungeons!

And Pinkie was not going to survive in prison. Hahah, wow. No. No, just, oh Celestia. Nary a balloon in there. Perish the thought. Yikes.

So there she was, now, climbing up to the roof of Twilight’s Castle. It was five minutes to the explosion—although Pinkie herself didn’t know that yet—and three minutes into the funeral, and Pinkie was running fast, to get up there as soon as possible.

It was at this point that Pinkie allowed herself to have a flashback, instead of just remembering. It took a lil’ bit longer, but it was more visually interesting, and Pinkie liked to spice things up now and then.

”All right,” Applejack had said, Serious Face on. Pinkie could tell that was a Serious Face because it looked exactly like Applejack’s normal face, only now it was more Serious. “So, the Guards. We gotta take care of ‘em. And the nobles!”

Rarity eyed her. “You sound awfully happy for the situation we’re facing.”

“Ah’m not. Look at my face.”

“Handsome as always, dear.”

“Thanks! Ah think so, too. Anyway!” Applejack tipped her hat and looked out the window. Dash was just a dot in the distance now, so only Rarity, Pinkie, Fluttershy, and AJ herself remained. “How angry’s the crowd outside?”

“Very!” Pinkie chirped.

“Great. Well, we gotta take care of business anyway.” Applejack just shook her head and looked at Rarity, still Serious. “Say, you’re the leader while Twi’s dead. Outta the four of us, who’s the most suited to go out there and deal with a bunch of uppity nobles and angry Royal Guards?”

A small pause, as Rarity looked at them all thoughtfully.

“Literally anypony but Pinkie Pie,” she said.

“Gotcha. And outta the four of us, who can actually go out there and deal with a bunch of uppity nobles and angry Royal Guards?”

“Literally nopony but Pinkie Pie.”

And Applejack just shrugged at looked at Pinkie. “Well,” she said. “That’s that.”

...And that was that! Because Rarity had to hide from Mayor Mare, and Applejack had to hide from the Royal Guards, and Fluttershy was Fluttershy. So now, Pinkie Pie had to take care of business!

Oh, but could Pinkie Pie take care of business? That was the real question.

(The answer was yes.)

(She totally could.)

Ponyville was quite a sight to behold at that moment. Pinkie had seen big cities before—Manehattan, Canterlot, you name it—and she was no stranger to large crowds, but this one here?

This one was a doozy.

The Royal Guards were yelling:


And the nobles were muttering:

“I have to say, this is not nearly as classy as I thought it would be. If we were commoners, I’m quite certain we would be rioting already.”

“Quite so.”

“Wonderfully put, my dear.”

It was chaos. Pure, unadulterated chaos. And then Pinkie stepped out and stood on the Castle’s rooftop.

And the world stopped in its tracks.

The Pink Messiah herself stood tall, a stark silhouette against the sun. Glorious, brilliant, breathtaking. She took it all in, and stuck out her chest, eyes roaming over the horizon, and taking in the crowd.

Yeah, one could see why Rarity had been so wary. But one could also see that Rarity had wildly underestimated Pinkie’s abilities.

She walked up to the very edge of the roof of the tallest tower, and her hoofsteps echoed like cannonfire. You don’t become the premier party pony of Ponyville without learning a trick or two. You don’t befriend every single pony in town without an understanding of crowd mentality.

There was magic in the air, but it wasn’t arcane in nature, oh no. It was much stronger than that.

It was pure raw charisma.

“THE BUFFET,” Pinkie yelled, “IS OPEN!” She pointed vaguely towards Sugarcube Corner. “FREE FOOD OVER THERE!”

Pause, so the crowd could think. A moment, so they could look at each other, and try to understand what the correct course of action was. After all, a noblepony’s day mostly consists of standing around, looking snotty, and eating cheese, so this was a tempting offer.

Pinkie saw the doubt in them. Well then. Let’s give them a nudge.


The crowd rushed towards Sugarcube Corner—most of them, if not all. They moved as one, in an unstoppable stampede of pure cheese hunger. Anything can become a party when snacks are involved; that was Pinkie’s philosophy, and so far she’d never been proven wrong.

There were still some Royal Guards at the doors of the Castle, true, but it was a start. A really good start. Pinkie just kept on smiling, never wavering. “I am,” she said, “so good at this.”

And then the Castle exploded.

It was three minutes into the funeral and five minutes before the explosion, and Rarity and Fluttershy were still inside the building. More specifically, they were still inside the Map Room—which was growing increasingly claustrophobic by the minute, at least to Rarity. She blamed Spike’s Corner, which was pulsating eerily in the background.

“Do you think she will manage?” Rarity was whispering as she peeked out of the windows. The curtains were supposed to be drawn—no reason risking Mayor Mare seeing her in there, or any of the Royal Guards, for all that mattered—but Rarity had opened them anyway, for the just cause of judging Pinkie Pie’s performance. “Ooooh, I don’t know if she’ll manage.”

From behind Rarity came Fluttershy’s voice. “Ggggggh,” it said.

“Oh, dear. I don’t think this crowd is going to move.” A pause. “My. Is that Fancy Pants I’m seeing over there in the crowd? With a pony who is not Fleur de Lis?”


“Why, it is him! He’s with a Wonderbolt instead! Goodness me, Rainbow Dash needs to hear about this.” Rarity made a beckoning gesture without looking away. “Fluttershy, look! This is the biggest social event Equestria has seen in, why, what must be ages! And Fancy Pants didn’t bring his fiancé! Ooooh, do you think they had a fight?”


“Oh, I know, I know. We don’t know if she’s his fiancé. But really, what else could they be?” Rarity frowned. “They aren’t siblings, that’s for sure. I’ve seen Fancy Pants when he’s had a couple of extra drinks, and you do not rub yourself like that against your sister.”


“I’ll let you know that Sweetie Belle is an exception, and we recently hired a professional trainer who might finally get her to stop that, thank you very much.”


Patience really only gets you so far. Rarity rolled her eyes, let out a sigh, and stepped away from the window. “Fluttershy, dear, might I get a reply out of you that isn’t a wheeze, for a change?”

Fluttershy tried to reply, but no words came from her mouth. Instead…


She wheezed.

And Rarity rolled her eyes again. “Oh, please, there’s no need to be so dramatic. You can just ask for help with the casket.”

With the funeral officially starting, it was time to bring the casket to Ponyville Square, where the wake would take place. This meant that Rarity and Fluttershy had to carry Twilight’s dead body all the way through town, and Fluttershy in particular was finding herself overwhelmed by the emotional weight of the situation.

And the literal weight, too. Twilight’s casket was seven times the size it needed to be, and also made of solid gold.

Two minutes to the explosion.

“Why—huff.” As soon as Rarity helped her put the coffin down, Shy sat on the ground, red-faced. She swallowed, tried to get some air. Failed. Choked. Coughed. “Wheeze.”

“Take your time, darling.”

“Oh gosh. Oh dear.” Fluttershy swallowed again. “I am not fit for this. Wheeze.

“Can’t quite tell if you’re wheezing or just saying that, sweetie, but by all means, take a minute if you need to.” Rarity looked at the golden coffin—it was, and thank Celestia for that, big enough to stand between her and Spike’s Corner, and take that abomination out of sight—and then back at Fluttershy. “Are you alright?”

“It’s—it’s a very.” Fluttershy paused, and took another deep breath. This time, she didn’t choke on it, and when she spoke again her voice wasn’t trembling anymore. “This is a heavy coffin.

“Hmm.” Rarity tapped the golden box. It went ‘bonk.’ “Solid gold,” she said. “Our little Twilight deserves the best, doesn’t she? And certainly there’s nothing more fit for a princess.”

This is a really heavy coffin.

“Yes, yes, I heard you the first time.” Rarity shook her head, then looked back to the window—with the curtains drawn, she couldn’t peek from this far away. She pouted. “But there’s nothing we can do to fix that now, is there? You’ll just have to endure.”

Why did we order such a heavy coffin.

“Because Applejack was supposed to carry it to the wake, mostly.” Rarity’s pout turned into a frown, in an amazing feat of facial flexibility. “But I assumed a wanted criminal shouldn’t go around carrying the dead body of her victim in a giant golden box, so we’ll have to make do with just the two of us, I’m afraid.” And here Rarity just petted Fluttershy again. “I’m sure we’ll manage.”

“…Do we have to? I mean, can’t we just go outside and ask—?”

“I can’t go outside yet, Fluttershy, dear.” Rarity sighed. “Not until Pinkie Pie clears the crowd, at least. Mayor Mare is out for blood.”

“Right.” Fluttershy shook her head. “Then why can’t I just go out and ask Princess Celestia to solve all this? She can talk with the Royal Guards, and Mayor Mare, too. Maybe even the eagles will listen to her.”

And here Rarity just arched an eyebrow. “Well,” she said. “I suppose, if you’re willing to fly all the way to Canterlot—but you’d miss the funeral, and it has to happen today.”

“What? Why?”

“Because tomorrow is Winter Wrap Up, and Twilight wanted—”

“No, not that.” Fluttershy took another deep breath, and then she got up from the floor, standing right in front of Rarity. She used this new, more dignified position to cock her head to the side and look like a lost kitten. “Why would I need to fly all the way to Canterlot? You said that all the nobles are out there, right? Isn’t Celestia in the crowd?”

It took Rarity a moment.

“Wait,” she said. “You mean—you thought Celestia is in Ponyville now?

“…You mean she isn’t?”

Rarity could have been really condescending here—but she loved Fluttershy as a dear friend, so she chose not to [2]. Instead, she just shook her head and offered Shy the politest of smiles. “She isn’t,” she said. “This is not for her.”

[2] She was totally going to condescend to Rainbow Dash later, though. It’s not healthy to bottle up this kind of thing.


“Princess Celestia is immortal, after all,” Rarity said. “And a Princess. She knows, better than anypony else, what Twilight is going through, now that she’s… Well.” She looked at the coffin. “Now that she’s Princess Twilight. She doesn’t need to say goodbye, seeing as how she always knew this was going to happen. And besides, I don’t think Princess Celestia likes funerals; she’s been through enough of them already.”

Fluttershy blinked. “Spike said something similar.”


“He, um. Well, he said he understood why Twilight wanted to do this,” Fluttershy said. “Because dragons live really long, and he’s probably going to outlive us all. So…”

Rarity nodded. “Yes, of course. It’s the same principle. Princess Celestia, Spike… They understand death. Life does that to you, if you have enough of it.” She patted Fluttershy’s head one last time. “I’ll admit, however, that Princess Celestia could indeed solve all our problems right now, if she were here. But it’s not as if we can go to Canterlot at the moment, in any case.”

“I guess Spike can send her a letter.” Fluttershy looked to Spike’s Corner, then cringed, and hid behind Twilight’s coffin. “Um. As soon as Applejack gets him out of there.”

“Yes. Whenever that happens. However, we can’t risk missing out on the funeral just because Spike is trapped in there—let Applejack be, she’ll manage.” A pause. “I hope. Say, don’t you think you could ask Discord for help? Spike’s Corner looks tailor-made for him, actually.”

“Oh. Um.” Fluttershy hid behind her mane. “Well… I suppose. But unless I ask Spike to send him a letter, the mail always takes a little bit to arrive at his place, and…”

“…And we can’t afford the waiting, of course.” Rarity rolled her eyes. “It’s amazing how we have two of the most powerful living beings that ever existed at our disposal, and yet they’re never here whenever we need their help.” She smiled a confident smile. “But we don’t need them! The moment Pinkie clears the crowd, we’ll be free to take Twilight to her wake.”


“All we need, Fluttershy, is to be careful and take no risks. As long as we do that, I am perfectly sure nothing will go wrong.”

The Castle immediately exploded.

Applejack’s mission had been simple: walk into Spike’s Corner, grab Spike, walk out of Spike’s Corner. Easy as apple pie.


The walls shifted; the world turned upside down. Light became dark, black became white. Applejack felt her hooves were not touching the ground anymore – she was floating, now, in an all-consuming void.

She sighed, and massaged the space between her eyes.

“Oooh, boy,” she said. “One of those Ancient Demon thingies, aren’t ya.”


This was going to be one of those days that neeeever seems to end, Applejack thought.

“Aw, shucks,” she said, crossing her legs and frowning in the general direction of the booming voice. “How in tarnation did an Ancient Demon even appear in here? We didn’t do anythin’!”



Applejack blinked. “The what, now?”


“You’re the…?” And here Applejack’s eyes widened. “Oh, Celestia,” she whispered. “Oh, sweet Celestia above. You’re an Ancient Demon of paperwork.


For the first time in ages, and amidst all the exhaustion, AJ felt truly, genuinely scared.

Now, Applejack was a brave mare. She was best friends with Twilight Sparkle, she ran an orchard by the Everfree [3], she had faced demons, chaos incarnate, and even—on one terrifying occasion—Roseluck. And, in spite of it all, she had never once faltered. She was, by all accounts, one of the greatest heroes Equestria had ever seen.

[3] This, in particular, sounded far more dangerous once you realized an orchard is a forest, tamed and humiliated. Farmers love nature, they really do, but theirs is a special kind of love. The kind that involves lots of leather.

But no farmer worth their salt will ever look at a bureaucrat and feel anything but pure, unadulterated fear. Applejack didn’t mind the ‘Ancient Demon’ thing so much, and she wasn’t exactly terrified of the whole ‘floating in an endless void’ business either. But fighting the hellish manifestation of paperwork?

She was out of her league. Completely lost. So she did the one thing she always did whenever she was pressed against the ropes. The last ace under her sleeve, her most desperate tactic, the one thing she would never admit out loud to her friends, not even in a million years.

She asked herself, what would Rarity do?

“Right, flail around and be useless. OOOH SPIIIKE!” She took off her hat, pressed it against her chest, and did the ‘Oh-Celestia-I’m-fainting-somepony-hold-me’ pose. “SAAAAVE ME. SAAAAAVE ME!


“Whoa, there!” Applejack caught the Stetson in time, but only just. “Whoo-wee! Ah ain’t goin’ hatless around this void, no siree. ‘Cause, uh. Uh. ‘Cause Ah care about my mane.” Yeah, that sounded Rarity-ish enough. She was so good at this. “Ahem. SPI-I-I-IIIKE! SAAAAVE ME!”

HAH!” Mephistopheles’s laugh sounded like a papercut felt, multiplied by a thousand. “THIS ‘SPIKE’ YOU SPEAK OF IS THE ONE WHO SUMMONED ME IN THE FIRST PLACE, MORTAL! HE WILL NOT SAVE YOU NOW!

“SAAAAVE MEE—wait.” Pause. Applejack stopped channeling her inner Rarity and looked in Maniphestopheles’s general direction once again. “Spike?” she asked. “Spike did this?”


“How in tarnat—all he had to do was to write some invitations! Maybe a couple letters to Celestia! And he summoned an Ancient Demon by accident?


“Boy. Ah knew he was useless, but this is a new low.”



Applejack squinted. “Say what now?”

YOU TRIED TO USE THE LAW TO KILL AN IMMORTAL!” And here, Maniphestopheles’s voice was so loud that the Stetson wasn’t the only thing that suffered—the entirety of Applejack went flying backwards, like a leaf in a hurricane. “YOU USED LEGALESE TO BRING AN END TO THE ENDLESS! THERE IS POWER IN WORDS, BUT THERE IS ALSO DEATH! AND FROM DEATH, I RISE!

“Oh. Wait.” Applejack frowned, and raised a hoof. “Wait, wait, wait a moment here. You talkin’ about Twilight? You’re here ‘cause of Twilight’s funeral?”


“Yeah, okay, so you’re talkin’ bout Twilight.” AJ waved a hoof. “But then, why are you sayin’ we tried to kill her? She’s wet already!”

A pause.

Ancient Demons don’t usually hesitate, and Mephistopheles in particular was just a disembodied voice in an endless void of inverted colors, but in that pause, Applejack could somehow see him blinking in confusion at least once.


“Wet! And Ah’m the one who got her like that, apparently. Otherwise it ain’t allowed. That’s why Ah’m here!”

Another pause. Slightly longer.


“What?” Applejack frowned. “No! Ah mean she’s dead already!”

And here, Maniphestopheles’ voice changed. It became deeper. Quieter.



“Yeah, Ah mean, she can’t really have a funeral without dyin’. It’s the whole point, really. See, she turned into an alicorn recently, and Ah reckon she figured she might as well—”

WHAT?!” Louder, this time.

And Applejack blinked. “Oh. Wait, you’re not askin’ me, are you? You’re just sorta exclaimin’ that in, like, surprise or somethin’—”


“Yeah, okay, you’re exclaimin’ for sure now.”

HOW DARE YOU?!” And the tremor from his screaming was enough to distort the void itself, bringing forth visions of the very depths of Hell itself. Children screaming. Villages burning. A single law taking over five years to pass. A letter explaining you did not fulfill all the forms correctly and so your scholarship has been denied. “I HOLD CONTROL OVER LIFE! I AM THE ONE WHO CHOOSES WHO COMES AND WHO GOES! I FORBID THE ACT OF DYING ITSELF, AND YOU TELL ME THAT YOU FOOLED ME?! THAT SHE ESCAPED MY GRASP?!


Applejack blinked. “Yeah. Ah guess?”

Maniphestopheles didn’t answer properly; he was too angry to form any coherent sound. Instead, what escaped his throat—if he even had one—was a wordless scream, composed entirely of anger and raw power, of fury and legal forms.

He screamed, and screamed, both in hate and frustration. Applejack was sent flying by the sheer strength of the noise, but that was just the beginning. The scream seemed to last for an eternity. It seemed to elongate time and space themselves.

And it was still not enough to express even a millionth of what Maniphestopheles, the Memogorgon, the King in Red Tape, was feeling. So, in a show of absolute strength, he let it all out in one burst.

Spike’s Corner alone, non-Euclidean or not, was not enough to contain it.

And that’s why the Castle exploded.

It’s not easy to be part of the Weather Patrol.

There was danger in there, sure. You can’t really, say, face an entire thunderstorm by yourself with nothing but your hooves and some attitude, and not end up questioning your life choices at least a little bit. But it was so much more than that.

It was the pressure, knowing that Ponyville’s well-being, at its most fundamental level, depended on you doing your job. It was knowing that if you mess up, you’ll make every pegasus look bad, not just you. It was knowing that if you don’t time the rains correctly, you might actually run out of food.

And above it all, it was the fact that every single time you talked about those hardships, some idiot would make a “We’ll just have to weather the weather!” joke. Every. Single. Time.

So when Rainbow Dash got to the storm front, twenty minutes before the funeral (and twenty eight before the explosion) she wasn’t smiling. She was wearing her Weather Patrol face, and her Weather Patrol safety goggles [4].

[4] On her forehead. Looked sweet.

The storm hadn’t made it to the Castle yet, but everything south and east of that was Eagle Territory. That meant the pegasi couldn’t get in, and that meant clouds roaming freely, straight out of the Everfree Forest.

Rain wasn’t enough to describe it. Hailstones the size of Dash’s head came crashing down. The wind was loud, and strong, and pushing against them, like a drunken sports fan in a kiddie game of hoofball. The thunder was loud enough to shake one’s heart in their chest. Kinda chilly, too.

The Weather Patrol was there, waiting for Dash right at the edge of the storm. Flitter, Raindrops, Thunderlane, Sunny Skies… The whole gang.

“So what’s the situation?” Dash yelled. “Has somepony been able to communicate with the eagles yet?”

“Depends on your definition of ‘communication’!” Raindrops responded, saluting at Dash.

“Literally anything that is not trying to eat your eyeballs!”

“Oh!” Raindrops frowned, and rubbed her chin for a second or two. “Then no, we’ve been completely useless so far!”

“Awesome! At least you’re being honest!”

“Is Fluttershy coming?” Flitter asked. She was flying slightly to the left of Raindrops, and the wind had not been kind to her hairdo. She looked like a chicken fresh from some crazy party at the coop. “She’s the only one who can speak to those things!”

“No, she’s not!” Dash said, and she shook her head to make sure they got the message. “She can’t fly in this weather! Her wingpower isn’t strong enough, she’d get hurt!”

“Oh, come on!” Flitter made a huff. “The one time we need her, and she’s too useless to even fly? She’s a pegasus, for Celestia’s sake!”

“Hey!” Dash pointed a hoof at Flitter, who flinched. “She might have a pathetic wingpower, and she might be entirely useless, but she’s still a valuable member of the Elements of Harmony! And one of my best friends! So don’t you forget that!”

“Uh.” Thunderlane raised a hoof. “How is she a valuable member of your team, if you just admitted she’s useless?”

“Well. I mean.” Dash waved a hoof. “Like, she’s relatively useless. She’s not really there when we’re, I don’t know, fighting monsters—but she’s the, uh.” She cleared her throat. “You know! The kindhearted teammate who knows a lot about animals and always tries her best? Every team needs one of those!”

“Right. But I thought Applejack was the kindhearted teammate who knows a lot about animals and always tries her best?”

“Yeah, but Applejack just committed a murder, so there goes that idea. Anyway!” Dash took a deep breath, and flew closer to the storm front. The others followed. “Where are the eagles?”

“Right in front of you!” Raindrops yelled.

“You mean they’re inside the storm?”

“Yeah! They’re tiny enough to fit between the clouds!”

“Right. Well, Fluttershy couldn’t come, but she tried to teach me how to speak to the eagles instead!” Dash pushed back against the wind. It hurt a little. “We didn’t have time to go through the whole thing, but at least I got the essentials down! Body language and so on!”

This made the rest of the gang open their eyes in surprise, and—maybe—hope. Flitter was the first one to speak. “Do you think you can convince them to stop attacking us?”

Dash thought about this. “Do you want the short answer, or the long answer, Flitter?”



“Oh. Well. Long?”

“No, not at all!”

Raindrops hissed through her teeth. “I better start saving up for some eye patches, then.”

“Hey! Nopony will lose any eyes today!” Dash said, patting Raindrops’ shoulder. “I mean. Probably! Not as long as you’re careful! I mean, Pinkie Pie didn’t go blind, did she?”

“Yeah, but she’s Pinkie Pie! Does she even count as a pony at this point?”

“Legally no, but she doesn’t like to talk about it!”

“Well then.” Flitter made a pout, and pushed a lock of hair out of her face. “I guess we’ll just have to do whatever we can with whatever we got. Seriously, the one time we need Fluttershy…”

“Oh, come on! Don’t be like that!” Thunderlane smiled at Flitter—it didn’t reach his eyes—and then shrugged. “Sure, it won’t be pretty, but we just have to square up and weather the wea—

“Thunderlane, I get you have, like, a really low self-esteem, but there’s no reason to do this to yourself.” Then Flitter turned to Dash. “Captain?”

“Flitter.” Dash made a point of not looking in Thunderlane’s direction, though she could still hear the heavy sobbing.

“You’re going to try to speak to the eagles anyway, right? Even if you don’t think you can convince them to stop attacking us?”

Dash didn’t even bother to reply. She just put on her best cocky smile, and everypony understood. Then they pushed on.

“Well, eagles don’t use words,” Fluttershy said. “They’re all about, um, well, they use body language to communicate, really.”

Dash frowned. “Wait, so they don’t talk?”

“Not really.”

“Why on Equestria wouldn’t they talk?”

“Uh.” Fluttershy scratched the back of her head. “They don’t really have lips.”


“Or a functional throat, really. They just scream.” Fluttershy squinted. “Or go ‘bacaw’ if they’re in the mood, but—you don’t want them in the mood. That’s when they peck at your eyeballs.”

Dash winked at her. “Gotcha. So I just gotta pantomime something, and then they’ll listen to me and go away?”

“They’ll… let’s say they’ll at least understand what you’re saying. That’s a safe bet.” A pause. “Somewhat. They’re not good at recognizing faces, though, so you’ll need something shiny, or they won’t tell you apart from the rest. Do you still have those goggles?”


Dash blinked. “What?”

“The eagles!” Thunderlane yelled from the vanguard. “They’re here! They—OH CELESTIA MY EYES.

Thunderlane hadn’t been lying. Less than a second later, thunder roared, and the skies were suddenly full of birds of prey.

Early pegasi blades are said to have been based on an eagle’s talon. Entire schools of flying were based around the idea of imitating the way they move to achieve great speeds—even Dash’s own flying style was named “the Falcon”. Some pegasi, like Fluttershy, had pet eagles—but it was well-known that they only obeyed orders while perched. Once they took off, they listened to no-one.

Dash put on her goggles.

Thunderlane kept screaming.

And Dash raced to greet the biggest eagle she could find.

The clouds were big and scary, the wind was simply too strong in some places, and the hail hurt Dash whenever it hit her, which was way too often. The rest of the Weather Patrol hung back, not because they wanted to, but because they couldn’t follow—they were the best fliers Ponyville could offer, but they weren’t good enough.

And yet, the eagles were not bothered by the weather at all. They looked as majestic as always.

But that was the thing, wasn’t it? Dash mused, as she finally found the eagle she’d been looking for—a beast of a bird, with a white patch on its chest. That was the thing: eagles were majestic, eagles had majesty.

Because pegasi controlled the sky, but it was eagles that ruled them.

“Hey there!” Rainbow twirled like a drill and managed to squeeze between two stormclouds and meet the Alpha Eagle. [5] It tried to peck at her eyes, but the goggles protected her. “I want to talk!” she yelled, ignoring the attack. And then, remembering Fluttershy’s advice, she pointed at the eagle, then at herself, then crossed her hooves.

[5] Which Rainbow Dash, who had spent way too much time hanging out with Applejack lately, immediately dubbed “Alpheagle” in her head.

The Alpheagle seemed to understand, and it stopped.

Then they locked gazes, still racing through the skies, and this marked the start of their dance. With body language alone, Dash had to articulate rather complex ideas. Authority and power, but not enough to make the Alpheagle feel intimidated. A peace treaty, but not peaceful enough to show weakness.

A petition for the eagles to go away, stern enough not to be ignored, but gentle enough not to be read as an attack.

Truly, this would take time and finesse. Some ponies—mostly Rarity—would have assumed Rainbow Dash was not the right mare for the job, but Twilight’s funeral would be ruined if she failed. She was going to give it her all. If diplomacy was the only way to do this, then she would talk to the Alpheagle and—

Behind her, Twilight’s castle exploded.


The Alpheagle looked at Dash, unfazed. To the eagle, this was just another test. A chance for Dash to show how willing she was to palaver with the birds of prey.

Dash looked at the Alpheage, also unfazed. To her, this was a chance to prove herself. A chance to show that she’d matured as a mare, to show that she was fit to talk to the—

“Oh, can it,” she said. Then she punched the bird.



Right in its stupid bird face.

Then she flew away at top speed, back to the Castle—leaving a screaming Weather Patrol hovering in the air behind her, and a knocked-out Alpheagle plummeting to the ground below.

And, like, hundreds of eagles on the hunt, screaming bloody murder.

It was Fluttershy’s weakness that saved their lives.

Well. That, Rarity’s extravagance when it came to coffins, and also the strange nature of the explosion that shook the Castle.

The thing about eldritch detonations is that it’s not really the shockwave that kills you. Everything else is much, much worse. Corrupted magic? Touch it and you melt. Cosmic radiation? Consider yourself lucky if it just makes you explode. Burning heat? Poisonous. Don’t ask.

So Fluttershy and Rarity, who were right next to Spike’s Corner when it happened, should by all means have died the very moment the place went up in flames. But they didn’t!

Because Twilight’s coffin was also there. That gigantic monstrosity of gold and overblown aesthetics (with a dead alicorn inside) proved itself to be the most valuable tool they could have asked for in this situation.

So the explosion happened, and it wasn’t pleasant—a loud noise, a sudden burst of piercing light [6] and then Fluttershy felt like somepony was tackling her. What followed was the smell of roses, the sound of breaking glass, Rarity hugging her really, really hard, and—

[6] Which due to its otherworldly nature was, at the same time, both extremely bright and dark as pitch, just in case this wasn’t disorienting enough.


The ground, approaching her at top speed.

Now, the situation was actually rather confusing—simply put, Fluttershy had no idea what was going on—but the way she saw it, meeting the ground face-first at that velocity was probably not a good thing. It felt rude, somehow, and also chances are it was going to kill her.

So she opened her wings and flapped them as hard as she could.

Later—much later—she would learn what happened. In layman’s terms: while Maniphestopheles’s explosion had been terrible enough to send pretty much the entire Castle flying, Twilight’s coffin had stood between Rarity, Fluttershy, and Spike’s Corner.

That alone had shielded them from the worst things the explosion could throw at them, which had left only the shockwave to take care of. Again, the coffin here did a lot, but not enough, so they were all sent flying through one of the windows and straight out of the building. Like popcorn out of a frying pan.

But of course, at that exact moment, Fluttershy didn’t know any of this. All she knew was that Rarity was hanging from her, the coffin was flying next to them, and Celestia so help me we have to stop oh dear Fluttershy flap your wings flap your wings flap your wings oh my goodness if you don’t make it we’re done for OH MY GOODNESS WE’RE GONNA HIT THE—

“Aaaaand we didn’t make it,” Rarity managed to mutter.


Well, at least they didn’t die. That’s all that mattered.

The ground hit Fluttershy right in the face. Then she tumbled two or three meters like a doll thrown down a hill. Still on her face. Kinda hurt.

Inertia could only carry you so far, though. Eventually, she stopped, dust settling around her. She raised her head and looked around, just to—


“Oh.” Fluttershy blinked, and shook her head. The grogginess went away, and she rubbed her eyes. “Rarity, there you are.”


“Are you okay?”


“Yes, but are you okay?”

Rarity took a deep breath—probably to add something insightful to the conversation, Fluttershy mused—but then Twilight’s coffin landed slightly ahead of them.


And the dust that it threw up was enough to make everything blurry again, and both Fluttershy and Rarity devolved into coughing messes.

By the time everything became visible once again, Rarity was already stood up. Shy approached her. “What… What just happened?” she asked.

“Ugggh.” Rarity was rubbing her muzzle. It looked reddened, and slightly swollen. “Ouch. Do you think this is going to leave a mark?”

“Um.” Fluttershy looked. Yes, it was. It definitely was. “I don’t think so. Are you okay?”

“I’ve been better, dear.” Rarity rubbed her muzzle once more, and then coughed. “You?”

“Good. My face hurts a little. What happened?”

“I haven’t got the slightest idea.” Rarity coughed, the dust still settling around them. “I think Spike’s Corner exploded?”

Fluttershy nodded.

“Was it bad?”


They looked at Twilight’s Castle.

It was bad.

The Castle was barely recognizable—where a proud house made of crystal and magic had once stood, there were now mostly ruins and smoking pieces of blackened glass. It looked like an explosion frozen in time, like a modern art exhibition designed by Rainbow Dash.

And in the middle of it, perfectly intact, stood the Map [7]. And right next to it...

[7] Technically right now it was just a table, but Fluttershy always referred to it as “the Map,” because, unlike Applejack, she didn’t want to fight a losing battle.

“Oh, dear,” Rarity said, biting her lip. “Of all the things that could have survived this, Spike’s Corner had to make it.”

“I had no idea funerals could explode.”

“Neither did I, if you want me to be honest, darling.” Rarity frowned. Her horn glowed, and she began fiddled with her mane, fixing the damage her sudden trauma had caused. “If I had suspected it might happen, I wouldn’t have helped Twilight to die.”

“Hmm.” Fluttershy closed her eyes when Rarity started working on her mane next. “This is gonna raise a lot of questions.”

“Oh, of course it will, but nopony can ever hold us accountable for this.” Rarity clicked her tongue as she gave the Castle another look. “You know, I have no idea what happened here? But personally, I blame Applejack. This has her name written all over it, don’t you think?”

“Het-hem,” came a third voice from the left.

And Rarity’s pupils contracted into two little dots.

Explosions, be they eldritch or not, are no laughing matter. Neither is greeting the ground with your face at near-terminal velocity, for that matter. Maybe it’s the pain, maybe it’s the loud noises, maybe it’s the fact that you almost died twice in just a handful of seconds—whatever it is, ponies don’t think straight after those kinds of things happen to them

So one could hardly blame Rarity and Fluttershy for not noticing their surroundings until this very moment.

The explosion at Twilight’s Castle had been severe. It had sent them flying through the window and almost all the way to Sugarcube Corner, where an entire crowd of Royal Guards and nobleponies had barely had time to get out of the way before Fluttershy, Rarity, and Twilight’s coffin had crash-landed like beautiful meteorites.

But now nothing else seemed to be falling from the sky. So the crowd had returned, like vultures come to the dog that stops barking at them in the middle of the desert to take a nap.

And the one het-hemming was…

“Het-hem,” said Mayor Mare, voice as cold as breaking up with your boyfriend on Hearts and Hooves day. “Rarity. I see you’re back in town.”

Rarity didn’t reply. She just stared at Mayor Mare, eyes as wide as dinner plates.

“You’re back in town, I might add, just in time to not get me a dress for tomorrow’s celebrations.”

“Uh.” Rarity swallowed. “Um.”

Fluttershy said nothing. She just quietly hid behind the coffin again, and hoped for some kind of miracle.

“But it’s funny.” There was no stopping Mayor Mare. She looked as deadly as a politician could get—she’d taken off her glasses, and was now squinting at Rarity. “Because from here it almost looked like you came from Twilight’s Castle. Almost as if you’d been in town all this time.”

Rarity licked her lips and nodded. “Right. Right, of course. And I see you’re, uh, surrounded by the Royal Guards, and look like you’re not pleased with my services.”

Mayor Mare nodded back. “Hmm-hmm.”

“Did you just say,” one of the Royal Guards voiced, not so much speaking as yelling every single word, “that you helped Princess Twilight die?!”

Rarity blinked. “Excuse me?”

“Are you admitting the fact that you’re an accomplice to her murder?!”

Another pause. Rarity coughed, and looked to the right. “Right. Well, then. Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy popped her head from behind the coffin. “Yes?”

“It seems like I’ll be busy for the next couple of minutes. I have to run from the authorities, you see. From…” she gave everypony a nervous glance. “Why, from all of them at the same time, apparently! Ah, hah, hah… Do you mind taking care of Twilight’s funeral in my place?”

“Uh.” Fluttershy glanced around, too. The Royal Guards looked livid. So did Mayor Mare. “Um. Okay.”

“Oh, thank you so much, darling.” Rarity smiled at her. “Remind me to pay you back one of these days. How does a cup of tea by Sugarcube Corner sound? My treat.”

“That would be wonderful.”

“Perfect. I can’t wait. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to run away screaming, okay?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Okay.”

“Well then. Ahem. AAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

“GET HER!” the loud Royal Guards screamed.



“Hey, AJ!” Rainbow Dash said, flying so fast she was more blur than pony. “How’s it going?!”


“You okay?! Did that explosion hurt you?!”


“I’m taking that as a no!”

She probably shouldn’t have taken that as a no.

Given the logic-defying nature of Maniphestopheles, the explosion had happened in the castle before Spike’s Corner had went up in eldritch flames. Which had been sort-of good news for Applejack, actually.

Good news, because it meant that she really only had to care about the shockwave—the deadly bits would be gone by the time she had been pushed back to the real world. Sort-of, because she had been sent flying anyway.

So at the moment, AJ was soaring through the skies, at a perfect 45º angle that would have made Twilight proud. Inertia was still carrying her, which was pretty neat, but judging by the fact that she was way above the clouds and still climbing, she guessed that the moment gravity caught up with her she would be in a bit of a pickle.

Hence, the screaming.


“Stop screaming!” Rainbow Dash—flying parallel to AJ—grabbed her with one hoof and gave her a reassuring squeeze. “See?! I got you! You’re not going to die now!”

AAAAAH! ARGH!” AJ immediately hugged Dash as hard as she could with both her hooves, and made a point of not looking down. “OH MY GOSH!”

“Yeah, yeah! Calm down!”


“I can tell!” Dash smirked at her. “You’re kind of freaking out! Take a deep breath?”


“And maybe don’t scream in my ear, too! That would be nice!”

“YES! SORRY! Sorry!” Applejack cleared her throat with a cough. “Whew! Sugarcube, thanks for comin’ back. You saved my life! Did you see that thing?!”

“What, the explosion?” Dash smiled at AJ and kept on flying, as fast as ever, with no clear destination. “Yeah! I figured you were going to sorta plummet to your death otherwise.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“So what happened?”

“Well,” AJ said, frowning. She hugged Dash a little tighter, just in case. The explosion had sent her hat flying far away from her, and she was missing it already. “Ah’m not really sure! There’s an Ancient Demon in Spike’s Corner, and Ah think it got mad at me ‘cause Ah murdered Twilight!”

“Wha—what? An Ancient Demon?” Dash arched an eyebrow. “Why is there an Ancient Demon in the Castle? Who brought it?”

“Spike, apparently!”

“And why on Equestria would Spike bring a demon here today of all days?!”

“Ah have no idea,” AJ said, shrugging. “But if you ask me, this is all Rarity’s fault. It’s got her name written all over it! So you just came back to save me?”

“Yeah!” Dash changed direction all of a sudden—flying midwest. They were pretty far away from Ponyville now, flying over the other side of the Everfree. “I saw the Castle exploding, and I saw how you were sent flying, so I came as fast as I could. Rarity and Fluttershy were also there, but I saw Shy take care of it. Kinda.”


“I think Rarity broke her face.”

Applejack wrinkled her muzzle. “Ouch, dang. Really? That’s a real tragedy right there.” Pause. “Don’t tell her Ah said that.”

“Nah, nah, she’s pretty, I’m with you.”

“What ‘bout Pinkie Pie?”

“Well.” Dash made a face. “I didn’t see her amidst the explosion, to be honest, so she probably jumped off in time to avoid it.”

“Oh. Well, Ah’m glad to hear that.”

Minutes passed. Dash kept flying, slightly faster now. Applejack just kept hugging her, trying her best not to enjoy the view.

Eventually, though, she broke the silence. “So. Dash?”


“Why are we still flyin’?”

“That one’s easy.” Dash nodded to the side. “Look over my shoulder there for a second.”

Applejack did. “Oh, hey. Lotta eagles chasin’ us right there,” she muttered.


“Why are there a lotta eagles chasin’ us right there?”

“I saw the explosion, panicked, and punched their leader.” Dash showed her a grin. “Didn’t work. So I think they’re looking forward to eating me alive now?”

“Ah see. Funny, that.”


AJ gave her a maternal squeeze. “And Ah don’t suppose you can keep this speed up for much longer.”

“Hmmm.” Dash flapped her wings slightly faster. It hurt, so she slowed down. “Not really. I’d say we have around five minutes or so, and then they’ll probably catch us.”

“And then it’s certain death?”

“Yeah, certain death sounds about right. I mean, I could throw these goggles away so they can’t tell it’s me?” Dash pointed at the goggles hanging from her neck. “But then they’d just get confused and attack whoever’s in sight, and we’re right next to Ponyville. So, yeah.”


They kept flying in silence for the next thirty seconds or so.

“Say, Dash?”


“You didn’t really think this whole rescuin’ thing through, did you.”

I really did not.

Pinkie Pie was having the time of her life.

“Ahah! Ahahahahahah! Yippeeeeee!”

She was also totally going to die.


The eldritch detonation that had destroyed Twilight's Castle had sent AJ flying on a perfect 45º angle—but that’s because Applejack had been inside Spike’s Corner. Pinkie Pie had been on the roof, and as it is, she had just happened to be standing right on top of the explosion’s very center.

So Pinkie Pie wasn’t sent on an angle. Pinkie Pie was sent flying in a perfectly vertical line, not even a degree off the center, and the only reason why she didn’t immediately die was because all that Castle between her and the explosion had acted as a makeshift shield of sorts.

Which was super neat! It meant that the view was incredible, and no matter how much time she spent in midair, she remained within Ponyville’s borders. No way was she getting lost once she landed!

But it also meant that she was sent way, waaaaay higher than she’d ever been before. And she was still climbing! The shockwave had apparently been less of an explosion and more of an eruption, because boy, this was a doozy!

So, yeah. She was totally going to die once she came back down.

On the other hoof, though, seeing how fast she was going, it was going to take her a while to fall down. And in the meantime, hey, this was pretty fun!

“Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Hahah! The clouds look so small from up here! I wonder if my funeral will be this fun, too. Yahooooo!”

“Hey, Fluttershy!” Dash whispered as she took a seat right next to Shy. “I finally found you. Did you make it out the explosion okay?”

“Yeah,” Fluttershy whispered back, smiling at her. “Did you manage to speak with the eagles?”

“Eh, kinda.”

It was ten minutes after the explosion, and the wake was finally taking place.

Seeing how the entirety of Ponyville’s southeastern side was going through the storm of the century, having the ceremony there was only an option if you were comfortable with the idea of hailstones clobbering you to death. Knowing this—and not feeling particularly suicidal that day—Mayor Mare had instead opted for having the whole thing right by the ruins of Twilight’s Castle.

It was a perfect solution, really. For starters, the place held a lot of significance, and it was symbolic in a way that completely missed the point; the mark, in Mayor Mare’s opinion, of a true official event. Plus, the coffin was already there. Talk about efficiency.

So Mayor Mare had gotten a bunch of foldable chairs and set them up in neat rows. The street was bursting with nobleponies—the créme de la créme of Canterlot, every single pony with a name worth its salt [8]—and soon enough everypony had a seat. A clear path was left in the very center, at the end of which lay the coffin.

[8] It rounded up to around three hundred ponies and seven brain cells.

Next thing everyone knew, Mayor Mare had built an impromptu podium out of boxes, and asking everypony to be quiet, please, we’re starting, and then bam! On with the speech she’d prepared.

And what a speech it was!

“She was a joyful child, oh yes, Twilight Sparkle,” Mayor Mare was saying with a perfectly monotone voice that could have made a lively child fall into depression. “I noticed this the very moment I laid my eyes on her. Ponyville—at least under my rule as a Mayor, don’t forget to vote for me in the upcoming elections this spring—has always celebrated the ideals of generosity, friendship, and loyalty to your politicians of choice...”

“Um, yeah,” Fluttershy said, once Rainbow Dash settled down in her seat. “Mayor Mare has been speaking for a while now. It’s actually pretty nice. I think she’s enjoying it.”

Dash’s eye twitched. She looked around—everypony was completely silent, seemingly paying total attention to the speech. She squinted. “For a while, huh?”


“How long is that, exactly?”

Fluttershy gave this a little bit of thought. “Well,” she said. “Almost as soon as Rarity left, actually. So around… forty-five minutes?”

“And she’s still on the first day.”

Fluttershy’s ears perked up, and she paid attention to Mayor Mare’s droning once more.

“…And yes, I knew, from the very moment I laid my eyes on her, that Twilight Sparkle would be an exceptional pony. Later on she would fight Nightmare Moon and save us all—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Thirty-five seconds after her first steps in town…”

“Yeah,” Fluttershy said. “This is not going to be over soon.”

“Oh, Celestia. I should have stayed with the eagles. Wait, is that Fancy Pants? With a Wonderbolt? Oh my gosh, Rarity needs to hear about this.”

Dash and Fluttershy were sitting almost at the very last row—which meant they could listen to Mayor Mare, if they really wanted to, but seeing the coffin was pretty much impossible with so many heads on the way. Which meant a lot of privacy, but also nothing to look at to pass the time.

So Rainbow Dash just slouched in her seat, and idly wondered if it was possible to take a nap right there without snoring too much. Then a thought came to her. “Hey,” she whispered to Fluttershy, who was still looking at Mayor Mare with a pensive face. “Shy?”


“You said Rarity left?”

“Hmmm.” Fluttershy made a so-so gesture. “Kind of. The explosion messed up our plans a little bit, and she said she was busy.”

Dash blinked. “Busy?”


“Busy doing what?”




“Busy,” Fluttershy repeated.

Dash’s eyes widened, and her ears twitched. “Ooooh. Yeah, okay, gotcha. So, sorta like Applejack, then?”

Now it was Fluttershy’s turn to blink in surprise. She gave Dash a look. “Applejack?”

“Yeah. Remember how the eagle thing didn’t work out?”

Fluttershy gave a weary nod.

“Well, I couldn’t outrun them while carrying AJ, and I wanted to check on you and Rarity.” Dash waved a hoof. “‘Cause the castle exploded and all that, right. So we reached a compromise.”

“A compromise?” Fluttershy cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean?”

“I gave her the goggles.”




“Yeah, she’s going to be busy for a while.” Dash leaned back even harder, and rested her back hooves on the chair in front of her. There was a noblepony sitting there, but Dash didn’t mind it—she was generous enough to share. “But hey, she’s a farmer. She can probably take care of a few birds, right?”

“Dash, she’s an apple farmer. I don’t think she can tell an eagle from a parakeet.”

“Well, sucks to be her, then.”

Fluttershy was going to reply to this—she had already taken a deep breath to compose her comment, even—but then she thought better of it. Dash was looking half-asleep already, and Mayor Mare’s monotone speech was strangely relaxing, as long as you didn’t pay any actual attention.

To be honest, the idea of sitting there in silence for the remainder of the funeral was quite alluring. Fluttershy liked some peace and quiet, and you had to hand it to boring formal events—it made life so, so much easier when you had social anxiety. Dash was going to doze off in a moment, and then it would just be a matter of waiting it out and going home after the wake.

But just because an idea sounded good didn’t mean that it was the right thing to do.

So Fluttershy squared her shoulders and gave Dash a poke. “Rainbow?” she asked, her voice still soft, but firmer now. “Can I ask you a question?”


Shy took that as a ‘yes’. “Do you mind explaining why Twilight needed to die?”

Rarity had a really strict policy when it came to running—she avoided it at all costs, and in exchange, the world slowed down to match her pace. Running was for barbarians and ponies without class. At their best, ladies walked with a swing of their hip, and at their worst, they trotted. [9]

[9] But only after the wedding.

But of course, you couldn’t really be as heartbreakingly beautiful as Rarity was without being a bit of a hypocrite. So, class and all, she’d been running for the last forty-five minutes without a pause.


And the Royal Guards were still not giving up.

Now, there are two main sides to running. You might run towards somewhere, and you might also run from something. Rarity had started this horrible race with a vague direction in mind, because she was not that stupid… But then again, that had been forty-five minutes ago. Forty-five minutes she’d spent running without pause.

Rarity didn’t have the foggiest idea where she was.

Ponyville? Probably? Gosh, she hoped so, this didn’t look like Manehattan at all. Ponies and houses dashed past her in a blur, Royal Guard hot on her tail and oh sweet Celestia have mercy it’s been forty five minutes AND THEY’RE STILL—



It wasn’t as hard as it could have been. Rarity had just survived an entire eldritch explosion—crashing into a pony wasn’t exactly going to feel painful after that. Nevertheless, she tripped, and was almost sent sprawling to the ground.

Almost. The mare she’d crashed into was quick on her hooves, and grabbed Rarity before she could make a fool of herself. Rarity would have thanked her—what’s a lady without her manners?—but she was too busy catching her breath.

Big mistake.

“AH-HAH! WE GOT HER!” yelled a voice behind them, and Rarity turned with a gasp—still held in the arms of her savior—to see the entirety of the Royal Guard looking back at her with murderous eyes.

A lot of murderous eyes.

And, hey, were those spears? They really did look like sp—

“Oh, dear,” Rarity wheezed, as her ears went flat against her head. She turned back to look at her savior, praying for some kind of miracle. “Oh, you have to save me!” she said, putting on her best damsel-in-distress expression, the kind that goes on the cover of an R-rated book. “I’ve been wrongly accused of a crime I didn’t commit! Saaave me! Saaa-aaa-aaaave meee—”

“Why. ‘Ello, Rarity. Fancy meetin’ cha again, ain’t it.”

The words died in Rarity’s mouth, and suddenly she forgot everything about the Royal Guard. Her throat became really, really dry.

It was something about the eyes, really. There was a glint of something in there, something that scared the beating heart out of anypony who dared to look into them. Or maybe it was her accent…?

Rarity swallowed.

“Well,” she said. “Hello, Roseluck.”

Maniphestopheles wasn’t surprised, per se, but one could very well say he was slightly baffled when he felt another pony entering Spike’s Corner so soon after his explosion.

There were two reasons why this was the case. The first one was the pony’s aura—it was unmistakably that of an equine, for sure, but it didn’t feel quite right. It was greater, somehow. It was almost scary.

The second one was more geometrical than anything: the pony hadn’t walked into Spike’s. It had fallen into it. At quite the speed, too. If they had crashed into the ground, they would have surely died—but Spike’s Corner was an endless void where gravity did not apply, so, weirdly enough, the pony’s life had been saved because they had fallenl into the Ancient Demon’s realm.

Which was, well, not how things usually went. So Maniphestopheles, feeling a bit insecure, spoke slightly louder than necessary. “WHO DARES ENTER MY REALM?!” he said.

And a small, soft, sweet voice replied. It said four words, four simple words, but they managed to give Maniphestopheles, the Memogorgon, the King in Red Tape, the shivers.

“Hi!” the voice said. “I’m Pinkie Pie!”




Applejack punched one of the eagles out of the air.

There were still, like, seven hundred more of ‘em.



“Why did Twilight need to die?”

Rainbow Dash straightened her back, and shot Shy a cocky smirk. “I thought you’d never ask!” she said, patting her shoulder. “What took you so long?”

“Uh, I was trying to learn a lesson by myself. I think.”

“Bof. Bad idea, never works.” Dash shook her head. “Anyway, yeah, it’s because she’s an alicorn now. Princess Celestia ascended her, but I think Twilight isn’t exactly sure if she wanted that yet. Or if anypony knows what being an alicorn even means, really.”

And that’s it. That’s all it took.

Sometimes you hear something that makes you feel like your stomach is dropping out from under you and melting. Something so obvious, so final, so unavoidable, that there’s no way around it. And then you get it, and life is never the same afterwards.

And usually Fluttershy only felt like this whenever her brother talked about his love life. But this time, Zephyr Breeze was not around, and so the feeling felt more real than ever.

So she nodded, and stared at the ground. “I see,” she said.

“I mean,” Dash continued, not looking at Fluttershy. “We don’t really know if she’s immortal, but she might be, right? So it’s not like she’s going to get an actual funeral if that happens. Applejack told me chances are she wanted to give us a chance to say goodbye, and…” The words trailed off.

Fluttershy didn’t notice—she was still looking down—but she did feel it when Dash grabbed her shoulder. “Hm?”

Rainbow had looked at her, and had now a worried expression on her face. “Shy? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I… It’s just…”

“Because you’re making that face you make when Zephyr starts talking about his love life.”

Fluttershy nodded, her face clouding over as the thought of her brother returned—but she shook it again until the sunshine came back. “I’m okay,” she said, forcing a smile. “It’s just… I think I understood it.”

“Well, sure. I just explained it.”

“No. Um, I think there’s more to it.” Fluttershy was fidgeting in her chair, now. She risked another look at Twilight’s coffin, aware now of what it meant, and not quite pleased with it. “I think Applejack was right, but… I talked with Spike earlier, before his Corner grew and swallowed him, and—”

“And so!”

The sudden change in Mayor Mare’s voice made both Fluttershy and Dash flinch. Mayor Mare had gone from absolute monotone to something that sounded like an excited squeal, more fit for a child than an adult politician.

“We bid adieu,” Mayor Mare continued, smiling brightly at the crowd, “to Princess Twilight Sparkle!”

“That’s wrong,” Fluttershy whispered.

“Yeah, kinda creepy that she’s this happy.”

“I don’t mean that.”

“Pride of Ponyville!” Mayor Mare said. “Hero of Equestria! But, more important than anything else, Beloved Friend!” Then she lowered her head, and pressed a hoof against her chest. “May she rest in peace.”

And the crowd muttered in response: “May she rest in peace.”

“May she rest in peace,” said Dash, slightly out of sync, and then she arched an eyebrow. “Not like I’m complaining—but wasn’t this a little too fast? It takes her ten minutes to explain three seconds of Twilight’s life, and it’s over already?”

Fluttershy bit her lip, looked at Mayor Mare, and then at Dash. “Well,” she said. “Maybe—”

“Then again, I guess Twilight and Mayor Mare never really hung out together. So it makes sense that she made the speech. If I had to explain every moment we were together, it would take me a lifetime.”

“I don’t think that’s how speeches—”

“Oh, hey.” Dash poked Fluttershy in the side to shut her up [10]. “Shy, get up. We’re supposed to go and check on Twilight now.”

[10] Entirely unnecessary. You could shut Fluttershy up by aggressively blinking in her direction. Dash just liked poking Fluttershy, because she was soft, squishy, and squeaked like a chew toy.

Fluttershy snapped out of it just in time to get up from the chair at the same time as Dash. “What?” she asked.

Rainbow hadn’t lied. Everypony was getting up and shuffling in the golden coffin’s direction—they were at the end of the wake, after all.

“Ugh,” Dash said, making a face. They were at the end of the line. “This is going to take forever. You were saying?”

“Oh. Uh.” Fluttershy shuffled next to Dash and got in line behind two nobleponies. “I was saying that I don’t think that’s how speeches work. Also—”

“And now!”

Again with the sudden happy squeal, and Dash and Fluttershy flinched once more. The nobleponies in front of them also reacted to Mayor Mare’s vocal outburst, though their gasp sounded far more sophisticated.

“In honor of Princess Twilight Sparkle,” Mayor Mare continued, “the Treble Makers will sing a song for her, so we remember her the way she would have wanted us to. Thank you very much.”

Then she stepped down from the stage, and the crowd muttered something unintelligible to wave her off.

Dash raised her eyebrows at Fluttershy. Four stallions, each one slightly shorter than the next, were at the stage. “Hey, isn’t that the band you got because of the eagles? I mean, I guess they look the part, but I don’t know if a capella is… A good…” Pause. Blink. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Is that a bagpipe they’re carrying?”

Fluttershy opened her mouth, ready to answer...

…but then the Treble Makers started singing.


This is the happy sunshine polka,

we’re just so happy we’re not dead!

There ain’t no fire if there’s no smoke-a

If life brings you trouble, look ahead!

Da-di-da-di, da-di-da-di-da-da,

da-di-da-di, da-di-da-da-da!


The song had a melody chipper enough to be annoying, and a rhythm catchy enough to be obnoxious. It was the musical equivalent of brain freeze—but not the kind you get from eating too much ice cream. It was the kind you get from getting your teeth knocked out against a pile of dirty snow.

And the Treble Makers were giving it their all. They were seemingly working under the impression that passion was what really mattered in the world of music, and so, they had never distracted themselves with minor things such as rhythm, tone, tune, or harmonics.

In a world like Equestria, where cosmology and faith were confusing at best and nonexistent at worst [11], this was truly a religious experience.

[11] You try living under an immortal ruler who switches between being all-powerful and completely useless seemingly at random, and see what kind of theology you can come up with.

And the song went on, and on, and on, and on, with no end in sight.

This is the happy sunshine polka,

we’re just so happy we’re not dead!

This is the happy sunshine polka,

Fate might have scissors, but life is not a thread!



“The eagles were definitely the lesser of two evils in this situation.”

“I agree.”

The coffin was golden, complex, and wonderful. Now that Fluttershy wasn’t carrying it, or using it as a shield, she let herself admire it for what felt like the first time.

She didn’t like it, not one bit.

It was beautiful, sure, but it was maybe too beautiful. Something more sober, more ordinary, would have fit the situation better. As it was, the golden coffin was suited for a princess… and that missed the point entirely. Twilight Sparkle would’ve been buried in a box of dark wood, surrounded by just her closest family and friends. This was wrong.

The words burned in her throat, so she said them. “This is wr—”

Oooooooh—this is the happy sunshine polka! BAGPIPE SOLO!


“…Okay, as a member of an a capella group myself, this is just insulting.”

“I’m going to punch that guy at some point,” Dash muttered, glaring daggers towards the stage. “I’m going to walk up there, grab the bagpipe, and hit him with it.”

“That wouldn’t be nice.”


“…But you know what? I’m not going to stop you if you do.”

“And this is just stupid,” Dash continued, kicking the coffin. “I can’t say goodbye to Twilight if I can’t see her. Why didn’t they open this?”

“Um. I think it’s a sign of respect.” Fluttershy took a step back from Dash after seeing the kick, her face the picture of mild disapproval. “And also, it’s really heavy.”

“Dumb.” Dash stood on her hind legs and pressed her front hooves against the side of the box. “Help me open it!”

“No, you don’t get it. It’s really heavy.”

“Whatever! I can’t say bye to Twilight like this. We’re her friends!” Then he pushed, and her face got all red. “HNNNNNG. Oh, wow, you weren’t kidding. HNNNNNNG.

“Um.” Fluttershy took another step away from Dash, her heart beating like crazy. “Uh, I don’t think—that is not how—”

HNNNNNNNNG we’re the last ones in line nopony’s waiting we can take our time come on it’ll be better than this HNNNNNNNNG.

“No, uh, that’s not—”



“Oh, dear.”

The lid moved, just enough to show Twilight’s face.

Fluttershy looked at her.

It struck her like lightning.

There is something indescribable about seeing the face of a dead friend. It’s not easy, for mortal ponies, to understand what happens when somepony is truly gone, when you can’t see them, ever again. Sometimes all you need, however, is to face them one last time.

That’s what happened to Fluttershy now. It was like a hammer to the face, a punch in the gut—Twilight was dead. It was the realization of the fact that she was simply never going to hang out with Twilight Sparkle again. Those days were only a memory now, something she could look back at and reminisce about… but that was it. Nothing new was ever going to come out of that. It had ended.

“Wow,” Dash said by her side, and her voice sounded a little bit like she was choking. Fluttershy looked at her—Rainbow didn’t look good. “This is…”


“I mean, maybe I’m getting a little too into this whole charade thing? I know she’s okay, it’s just that…”

“No, no. I’m the same right now.” Fluttershy smiled at Dash, stepped closer to her, hugged her by the shoulders a little. “This is not easy.”

“No.” Rainbow Dash swallowed. “Okay. Goodbye, Twilight. You were really cool.”

Fluttershy’s cheeks burned, so maybe she was crying. A little. “Goodbye,” she said.


“Celestia on a—I’m going to set that guy on fire.”

Fluttershy giggled, and wiped away the tears. “Close the coffin first,” she said.

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Dash shook her head, glared at the bagpipe pony one last time, and then grabbed the lid. “Let me just—HNNNNNNNNNG. HNNNNNNN—”



“Um.” Fluttershy frowned. “Dash? Did the coffin make that noise?”

“...So it seems!” Dash threw her a sheepish smile. “I’m just going to—”


Another pause.

“Okay! Okay. Okay, I can do this.”


“Nothing is wrong here.”


“Look.” Dash squinted at the coffin. “So the lid is a little stuck. Nothing I can’t take care of. I just gotta push a little harder, like HNNNNNNNNNNG this, and then I’ll HNNNNNNNNNG.”


“Dash.” Fluttershy looked at the coffin. It was very much still open. “Dash, you’re not closing the lid. I don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re not closing it.”


“Um. Maybe there’s something inside that doesn’t fit? And it’s blocking the lid?” Fluttershy got behind Rainbow, crouched down, and took a peek inside the coffin again. “I think that—oh my gosh!






The coffin closed.

The heaviest of silences followed. Fluttershy stared. Dash blinked, and looked at the coffin. Then, slowly, veeery slowly, she got back on all fours and stepped out of it.

Then she coughed. “So. Crazy weather, huh?!”


“Really fit for the day, if I say so!”

“Dash I don’t think we can smalltalk our way out of this.”

“Yep, real crazy day! Lot of stuff happening, none of it my fault!”

“We clearly heard something crack in there and it wasn’t the coffin.

“I mean, hey!” Dash was pretty much looking everywhere but Fluttershy. “First Twilight fakes her death, then her Castle explodes—really, I guess it’s just a string of bad luck, better not to blame anypony for anything that might have—!”

“Ex-cuse me?!” came a third voice from behind them.


And suddenly, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash noticed something they’d quite forgotten about:

They were not alone at the wake.

Nobleponies as far as the eye can see, but now they weren’t idly chatting amongst themselvesone another in groups of four—they were all huddled together, one single mass of fancy ponies, all staring at the same time. Mayor Mare was among them.

Nopony looked particularly happy. In fact, they looked mighty angry, in a way that made Fluttershy just a little bit uncomfortable.

“Did you just say,” the one noblepony at the front—a pink mare, with eyes that could set fire to an orphanage—said, “that Princess Twilight Sparkle faked her death?”

Fluttershy’s heart dropped.

Dash’s eyes went wide.


“Whoops,” Dash eventually said. “Um. I mean, it’s not—”

“Because I’ll let you know, young filly,” the noblemare continued, poison in her words, “that I am a very busy pony! I do not have the time to waste my entire evening rotting away in this little town of yours, if Princess Twilight hasn’t vanished from this world!”

“Yeah, look, this is not—”

“What kind of mockery is this?” The noblemare scoffed. “We were promised the funeral of a princess! A social event the likes of which Equestria has never seen! I threw away my entire schedule to attend this, and now you’re telling me it was all for nothing?!”

More voices joined from the crowd.

“I had other places to mingle!”

“The trip from Canterlot was mildly inconvenient!”

“Are you telling me we can’t be smug about attending anymore? I already alienated my closest acquaintances!”


“I did not sit through this farce just to entertain some kind of overblown gothic fantasy!” the noblemare at the front yelled. “I demand to speak with the Princess in person! I deserve an explanation!”


“Let us see the Princess!”

“Let’s open the coffin!”


“Whoa, whoa, wait, what?” Dash sprung into action—she got between the noblemare and the coffin with a single jump, and held her hooves up. “No, no, stop right there, that’s a really bad idea!”

“Out of my way!” The noblemare shoved Dash to the side and went straight towards the coffin, the crowd moving behind her as on cue. It was less of a race, and more of a stampede. “Princess! Open up!

“Open up!” came the voices from the crowd.

“Yeah open up!”

“We demand your time!”

“And your attention!”


“Argh!” Dash tried to fly towards the coffin, but the nobleponies had swarmed it—they were climbing on top of it, slamming their hooves against it, yelling. “No, stop! Don’t do that! Shy!”

“This is not how this is supposed to go,” Fluttershy whispered, trembling in horror. “This is terrible.”

“Open up, Princess!”

“Get out!”

“Get out and admit you’re alive!”

“Stop wasting our time!”


“Stop,” Fluttershy said. “Stop!”

“Get out!”

“You’re not dead!”

“You were never dead!”


Mayhem. Pure mayhem. The funeral was in shambles, Mayor Mare was screaming somewhere in the background, the nobleponies were smashing the coffin.

The coffin was trembling, as if somepony inside had given up and was trying to open it.

And that’s what did it.


Everypony stopped.

There are screams, and then there are screams. Folksy wisdom talks about the fury of a good mare, and how it’s to be feared—but that pales in comparison to the screams of a quiet pony.

Fluttershy was both of those things.

It was a surprise to nopony when the nobleponies backed off, ever so slightly.


“She… Princess Twilight is not dead,” Fluttershy said, flying high enough for everypony to see her. She was looking at the coffin. “That’s true. But that doesn’t mean this funeral is fake, because… Because it’s not for Princess Twilight. It’s just for Twilight Sparkle.”

Seeing how the crowd was still silent and listening, Fluttershy risked a landing—right in front of Twilight’s golden casket.

“Shy?” Dash asked from behind her.

“Hmm.” Fluttershy looked at her, and smiled. Then she faced the crowd once more. “It’s okay,” she said. “I understand why you’re angry. I didn’t understand it at first, either. But I talked to Rarity, and to Spike, and…” She took a deep breath. “Death doesn’t matter to those who die. It’s only important to the ones who are left behind.

“And Princess Twilight is still alive, but Twilight Sparkle died the day Princess Celestia turned her into an alicorn. Because… Because she’s not the same pony.” Fluttershy swallowed. “She has a new body, and, and new powers, and new responsibilities, and… A new life. Her old life went away. She died.”

Some whispers from the other end of the crowd, but so far, still relative silence.


So Fluttershy took it as a good sign, and kept talking.

“Um, I don’t think Princess Celestia did a bad thing. And I’m happy for Twilight! But the old days, when Twilight was just Twilight, a simple librarian, and we could hang out and live normally… Those days are gone. They’re only memories.” She looked at the coffin, something heavy in her throat. “And they are never coming back.”

“Hmm.” The noblemare talked, and everypony around her flinched. Her voice sounded so much rougher, now, in contrast with Fluttershy’s. “And why, exactly, does that matter at all?”

“Well, um. Because.” Fluttershy took another deep breath, and she met the noblemare’s eyes. Her own gaze was twice as hard. “Because this is not for us. Or you. Or anypony here.”


“Yeah.” Fluttershy pointed at the coffin. “It’s for her. Funerals are for the ones who need to live on. They’re a way to say goodbye. And I think the one who needs to say goodbye to Twilight Sparkle the most… I think that’s Princess Twilight. So, please, don’t force her to get out yet. She’s mourning. And I think she needs it.”

And after saying this, Fluttershy closed her mouth and looked down, not quite sure what to do next. But she knew this hadn’t been a mistake, not at all.

Because even though she couldn’t see it, she could feel it. Behind her, inside the coffin, Twilight was smiling at her.

And that’s all that mattered.

“Well. That was, without any doubt, the single most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard,” the noblemare said.

…Or not.

No, definitely not. The crowd looked quite angry again. Fluttershy blinked. “Uh. I mean—”

“I mean, great speech, really emotional, but we stillll wasted our time to attend the funeral of somepony who’s clearly still alive!”



“This has been stupid and we all hate you!”

“And I don’t know what you’re on about, but that is not how funerals work, young lady,” the noblemare said, sneering. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, I think we were about to riot, so—”

“Y’know what?” came a voice from the side, an entirely new voice. “Y’all might be right! Fluttershy there knows nothin’ bout death, if Ah say so!”

They all turned around.


Applejack was standing there, ragged hat on her head, broken goggles hanging from her neck. Her mane was disheveled and full of leaves. Her fur was dirty, and there were cuts all over her.

And she was smiling the happiest of smiles.

“But y’know what else?” she continued, looking at the noblemare—and every single noblepony still crawling over Twilight’s coffin. “Ah sure do know everythin’ when it comes to funerals. Ah’m an expert on the subject. And what’s the very first thing you gotta learn ‘bout death?”

Then Applejack pointed up, the nobleponies looked…

And their eyes went wide with horror.

It comes from above,” AJ said.


Everything went really quiet, really fast.

Hundreds of eagles, flying in circles, all of them looking at the noblemare with eyes as sharp as needles. Their beaks looked strong as steel. Their talons glinted like razor wire.

And the moment Applejack gave a high-pitched whistle, they all came down, landing on the buildings and trees nearby, eyes open and unblinking.

“So,” AJ said, as she made her way to Fluttershy and Dash. The crowd parted to give her a way without protest. “Maybe you shouldn’t yell at my friend like that, ma’am.”

The noblemare backed up, very slowly.

“You tamed the eagles?” Fluttershy asked, looking at Applejack with newfound respect. “How did you do that?”

“Ah dunno. Ah just punched ‘em till they listened to me.”

“Uh.” Dash frowned. “I tried that. The moment I punched one, the rest came after me, remember?”



“So Ah punched every single one of ‘em.” AJ squinted. “It wasn’t easy.”

Dash frowned. “There are over seven hundred eagles up there.”

It wasn’t easy.

“Hmmm. So you’re not the only one with an army, now?” Rarity asked, fluttering her eyelashes at Applejack. “I say, that is quite impressive, dear! We make a perfect team, don’t we?”


Everypony looked at Rarity, who was standing right next to Fluttershy at the moment.




And Dash shook her hoof to cool it off and flew back to Flutterhsy’s hide. “Told ya I wasn’t kidding.”

“Thanks. It was giving me a headache.”

“Now, Rarity?” Dash looked at her friend, gave her a bit of the stinky eye. “Where exactly did you come from, again?”

“Oh, I was always here, dear.” Rarity smiled, and nodded towards the crowd. “I blend in seamlessly among the nobles, don’t you think? Oh, I was born to be a Canterlot mare, if I say so.”

“So you were here the whole time.”


Dash nodded. “And the idea of helping us never really crossed your mind, or…?”

“Oh, no, no, no, dear. Of course it did!” Rarity giggled, then hugged Dash by the shoulders. “But I was, ah, waiting for the perfect moment, you see? For dramatic effect.”

“You know they were walking over me, right?”

“You do things to unnerve me, I do things to unnerve you. Let’s call it even.”

“Ah’m sorry.” Applejack frowned. “Ah get not helpin’ Dash, but—did you say you had an army, too?”

“Right, of course. Where are my manners?” And, with the smuggest grin a lady could give, Rarity raised her hooves and clapped twice. “Soldiers, please?”


The eagles had been bad, but Rarity’s reinforcements didn’t just make the nobleponies stop and stare—it made them run away in terror.

The entirety of the Royal Army poured in towards the coffin, coming from every possible direction.

And every single one of them was carrying a huge bouquet of roses.

“Attention, darlings!” Rarity yelled, somehow making it sound ladylike. “This is a formal event, after all!”


“Well.” Fluttershy blinked. “Um. That’s new.”

“That’s awesome!” said Dash. “Oh my gosh! You have an army now?”

“A lady has to be resourceful to survive in this world, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said, winking at her. Then she fixed her mane, and looked at the soldiers, standing guard by the sidelines. “I encountered my worst fears while running away, you see? I faced them.” There was a glint in her eye. “And I won.”


“You bought all those roses so Roseluck would tame ‘em for ya, didn’t you,” Applejack said.

“She got them wrapped around her hoof with, like, one word. I think it’s her accent? I don’t know. But I have an army now!” Rarity said, making a broad gesture. “And they’re all fabulous, aren’t they?”


“Well.” Fluttershy smiled shyly. “So now we just need to find Pinkie Pie, and—”

“I’m here!” Pinkie yelled from a distance. “And Spike is with me!”

And for the—hopefully—last time, they all turned around to look at Pinkie, who was carrying an unconscious Spike on her back.

Pinkie Pie, who was walking out of the ruins of Twilight’s Castle.

“Hi, girls!” she said. Her left eye was completely black, no iris or pupil in sight, but she looked as cheery as always. “Did I miss something?”

“AJ and Rarity are cool now,” Dash said. “And I punched a dude.”


“He was playing the bagpipes.”

“Haha. Cool! I think?”

“You rescued Spike!” Rarity said, smiling at Pinkie. “Oh, thank you very much, Pinkie, dear. Is he okay?”

“Yep! He’s just a little sleepy.” Pinkie wiggled her butt, and Spike groaned. “See? I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“So wait, you were in Spike’s Corner?” AJ asked. “What did you do with that demon thing? Did you sneak past him?”

“Nu-uh! I just talked to him!” Pinkie said with a giggle. “Now he’s my friend! And my liege. I COMMAND THE LEGIONS OF HELL.”


Fluttershy squinted. “…What was that?”

“I’ve no idea! But I can’t wait to find out,” Pinkie chirped. “It’s probably really dangerous!”

“Right,” Applejack said, tipping her hat at Pinkie. “Well, then.” She turned towards the noblemare. “Ma’am, we’ve got an army of eagles, an army of soldiers, and… What was it again, Pinkie?”


“Right. Whatever that is. So.” AJ arched an eyebrow. Behind her, every single one of her friends stared at the noblemare. Around them, the eagles and the soldiers stood to attention. “Y’all were sayin’ you had issues with the funeral?”

The ceremony went on without any further incident.

They buried Twilight at Sweet Apple Acres.

The hole Dash had dug was big enough, and simple enough. It didn’t fit a princess, but that was kind of the point, so they were all fine with it.

(Except for Rarity.)

(But the rest just ignored her.)

The Royal Guards, carrying roses, worked as a fine funeral procession, following them with ominous coordination. The eagles roamed the skies, and their cries were oddly appropriate for the ceremony.

“Beats the bagpipes,” Dash remarked.

And then they got to the grave, and they settled Twilight down, and Applejack took up the shovel one more time. Spike woke up just in time to say his goodbyes.

The rest followed.

It wasn’t easy to accept Twilight was gone.

What happened then would remain a mystery forever. Nopony asked Pinkie Pie if she had done it herself—pacts with Ancient Demons were strange, after all—or if it was just the wind. After all, Twilight’s Castle had exploded while being completely full of roses, and eldritch detonations don’t burn.

Maybe it was both. They didn’t want to know the why, truly.

But when they buried Twilight Sparkle, and looked at her for the very last time, roses fell from the sky all around them.

Not as good as rain to hide your tears, but at least Rarity stopped complaining about the roughness of the grave.

“Look, all I’m saying is,” Dash was saying along the way, “you have an army, right? And that’s awesome.

Rarity nodded. “Yes.”

“And AJ and Pinkie have their thing. And Spike summoned an Ancient Demon of Paperwork. And Fluttershy understood the meaning of death and faced an entire crowd of angry nobleponies by herself.”


“But I’m the one who punched that dude with the bagpipes, right?” Dash said, pointing at her chest. “So I feel that I’m the real MVP today.”

Rarity frowned. “I have to say, as a member of an a capella group myself, Rainbow Dash? I absolutely agree.”

The crowd had long since dispersed. Some nobleponies had gone back to Canterlot, some were dilly-dallying around town, and all of them were trying to keep away from the eagles. The soldiers were walking with them at a distance [12], still in perfect formation, still carrying roses.

[12] Rarity was aware that at some point she’d be forced to return them to Canterlot—but in the meantime, this looked like a perfect opportunity to ruin the day of anypony who dared make a “fashion police” joke around her.

And the girls were going back to town, to settle down and maybe get a drink for the night.

“Oh! And speaking of MVPs!” Rarity said all of a sudden, her ears perking up. “Rainbow Dash! Did you see Fancy Pants at the funeral? He was with—”

“With one of the Wonderbolts! Oh my gosh, yes, I saw!” Dash jumped in glee so hard that she started flying in circles around Rarity. “They were together, right? Fancy Pants and one of the Wonderbolts! Oooh, I can’t believe it!”

“We must talk about this in-depth, dear. We simply must. Your house, or mine?”

“Yours. I’ll bring the wine!” Then Dash giggled. “This is going to be great!”

“So what went on with Spike’s Corner, then, sugarcube?” AJ was asking Pinkie, some distance behind them. “Is that still there, or…?”

“Did you really name that thing after me?” Spike asked, poking his head from behind Pinkie’s head. He was still riding on her back. “That thing almost killed me!”

“Hey, your fault for being so bad at paperwork.”

“Oh, it’s going away,” Pinkie Pie said, bouncing. Her left eye was still completely black. She didn’t seem to mind. “Maniphestopheles says he’s bringing it to my room! It’ll be like a sleepover, only for all eternity!”

“Right. Can’t wait to see how that affects our lives, really.”

“Well, I think he might be useful,” Fluttershy said, giving Pinkie a happy nudge. “Maybe he’ll help out whenever there’s trouble in Ponyville.”

“Eh.” Applejack made a face. “Ah don’t know. He’ll probably be like Discord and vanish whenever we actually need ‘im.”

“Hmm. Well, at least he is nice.”

“So, Fluttershy!” Pinkie PIe returned the happy nudge. “Did you find out the meaning of death in the end?”

“Uh. Yeah. I gave a whole speech about it.”

“Oh, sweet! I was battling the legions of Hell when that happened, sorry. Then it all ended well! A happy ending!”

Fluttershy nodded. “Twilight died.”

“Aside from that!”

“Hey, that can still be a good endin’, if you give it time,” AJ said, with a maternal tone. “Trust me. As long as you can move on, it’ll all be okay. Life goes on.”

“Yeah!” Pinkie said. “In a way, this isn’t the end of an old adventure! It’s the start of a new one!”

“Right.” Spike raised a finger. “About that.”


“I kinda didn’t want to ask this back there because I thought it would be awkward, and we were all so into it? But, like, uh.” Spike scratched the back of his neck. “Did we just bury Twilight alive?”

They all stopped dead in their tracks.

Even Rainbow Dash and Rarity, who weren’t even walking with them, went silent.

“Um.” Fluttershy blinked. “Uh. Did we?”

“…Well,” Rarity said, frowning. “I mean, she has her magic, doesn’t she? She can just teleport herself out.”

“I sorta broke her horn, actually,” Dash said. “I think? Geez, I hope. But maybe she can still cast some kind of—”

“Ah’m gonna get the shovel. Again.

“Yeah, you do that.”

“Haha!” Pinkie turned around mid-bounce, and Spike almost fell from her back. “We’re going to rob a grave! This is so cool already!”

“Pinkie,” Fluttershy said, as they all followed Applejack. “We’re rescuing Twilight.”

“We’re robbing a grave and rescuing Twilight! Even better!”

“She’s not going to be happy when we take her out,” Dash mused. “You know, her horn and all that. Just a heads-up.”

“Also, her house went up in flames,” Rarity added. “For the second time in a row.”

“Yeah, also that.”

“And Winter Wrap Up happens tomorrow,” Rarity said. “Princess Celestia is coming to visit, and Twilight won’t have any magic. Or a house.”

Dash thought about it. “Well, that sounds stressful.”

“We’re not going to sleep for two weeks after this.”


“Oh.” Fluttershy, who was fluttering right next to Pinkie, looked at her friend. “Looks like you were right,” she said.

“Yeah?” Pinkie said.

“Yeah. This is just the start of a new adventure.” Fluttershy scratched the back of her neck. “Do you think Winter Wrap Up will go well tomorrow?”

“Fluttershy, Fluttershy, Fluttershy.” Pinkie shook her head and gave Shy a smile. Her black eye reflected the sun like a mirror. “This is Ponyville! Everything that can go wrong will go wrong! And I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

And Fluttershy laughed at this, and they just kept walking, all the way back to Sweet Apple Acres, to fetch the shovel and get Princess Twilight out of her grave.

She wouldn’t have it any other way, Pinkie had said.

And now that Twilight Sparkle was gone, and the old days had become memories, and she had been forced to go through this mayhem of a funeral… Well, Fluttershy thought as they all rode into the sunset. She couldn’t help but agree.

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Comments ( 90 )

This story is a commission, for a user who chose to keep his anonymity. The reason is because I refused to wear any pants while writing this story, no matter how much they pleaded, and as a result the fic ended up being too powerful.

Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

By the way, do you want your pants back?

You have quite the fascination with death, don't you?


Hey, you know what they say. If life ain't treating you right, go shag its twin sister, yo. That's the motto.

In all seriousness -- this is a commission, as the first comment says, and it's been in the works for a long time. The weird timing with the other comedy that touches upon the subject I recently posted is just a happy coincidence. Or a grim one. Really depends on how you feel about it, I guess.


Hey, you know what they say. If life ain't treating you right, go shag its twin sister, yo.

Goddamnit, write a book of parables already. The world's never gonna be ready for it, but that's the point.

Incredible. Majestic. Beyond words. You've outdone yourself yet again, hombre.

Really not sure how I feel 'bout it

Is this a Bayblade crossover?

Money well spent. Neat.

You managed to turn tragedy into comedy and back again while having a good balance of both and do a very good description of death and basically, overall. What the flying flipper just happened it was beautiful and weird and what.

I loved it.

You have given me the single greatest description of farming that will ever exist.

I was planning on putting this story on the back burner for awhile since i thought it was gonna be really dumb but I decided to give it a shot and I'm super glad i did. Extremely funny story and i loved all of it.

I'm lost of words and my side hurts

The only way words could do this justice would be if I copy/pasted the entire thing. And I'm not sure how well fimfiction's comments box would handle that.

I'm going to guess "poorly."

^ Exactly this.

It was bat-shit crazy and weird (of course it's you so that's par for the course) but you also made it actually meaningful and sad as well.

Well done Aragon.

This is a 24k story that feels like a 2,4k story. Absolutely hilarious from start to finish, a perfect pony pastiche. Easily one of the best things I've read on FIMFiction.

I am only getting happier and happier that I followed you with every story you put out :rainbowlaugh:

This is so unspeakably weird that it wraps around to making sense again.

Also, good on Dash. That bagpipe guy and his FWEEEEE was getting on my nerves too!

[8] It rounded up to around three hundred ponies and seven brain cells.

OMG, this is hilarious!
But at the same time impossible, you see, everyone or pony has thousand of brain cells,(or more) in order for the brain to work. The brain (and heart) keep us alive.
And every part of our body as millions of cells.

BUT what I think you meant for the quote, was they were not very bright. Still hilarious!

Aragon, I—:trixieshiftleft:



You saw how I responded to the last one when it was going through the Writeoff. You saw.

You realize you're actually getting (a bunch of) it right, right? And then embedding it in a farce that manages to (sort of) respect it in its own way? You probably do. The questions are mostly rhetorical. Especially the ones in the next paragraph, where you probably don't.

You realize my non-pony self is about to go through almost exactly the central idea of this (hopefully without triggering similar levels of absurdity). And you realize there was something that was more or less the premise of your last one which my other self has first-hoof experience with. And yes, they're related.

I'm not even kidding.

Goddammit, Aragon. :facehoof:

.... you've been crushing plastic pony figurines to powder and sniffing the result haven't you? This is brilliant stuff, worthy of the very best lunatics.



“You’re the…?” And here Applejack’s eyes widened. “Oh, Celestia,” she whispered. “Oh, sweet Celestia above. You’re an Ancient Demon of paperwork.


Oh look, my sides exploded.

I dunno. Probably

My reaction to this fic: :rainbowderp::rainbowhuh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

This is quite possibly the most bizarre and beautiful thing I have ever seen.


This will be both magnificent and grossly under-rated, a comedy of errors, a crown of crackfic.

Well done.

The late, great Sir Terry Pratchett - may he rest in peace - would be proud. Bravo.

This is one of the few fics that isn't just humor, but satire.

Humor with an actual point. And that's terrifying.

Twilight Sparkle woke up from her extended nap, feeling refreshed despite the sharp pain in her horn. She had been even more stressed out than usual about this year's Winter Wrap Up because Princess Celestia herself would be attending... and would be watching over her every move ... and would see when she made a mistake... and would get so disappointing in her... and would take away her princesshood... and... and... and...

She had been so stressed out, that a couple of days ago, she shouted out in exasperation, "I'M GOING TO DIE!" The cry had been so loud she was sure Spike and all her friends had heard it. Hay, the entirety of Ponyville had probably heard it.

Her long rest was just the thing for Twilight to realize just how silly all that was. Even if Celestia was going to be there, the Winter Wrap Up would be just like any other. She knew that she had the organizational skills to succeed, and even if she did make a mistake, Celestia would understand. Twilight gave a sigh of relief, knowing that she had absolutely no problems, existential or otherwise.

“Why am I in a coffin?”

(Excellent story, just thought I'd add my own take :twilightsmile:)

...My head hurts.

...this is one of the best things ever. :applecry: I love you so much...

I don't know what the fuck I just read but I loved it.

So who was Big Mac digging the grave for? Or was it one of those "just in case" things, like keeping extra batteries around the house?


Oh, shit, good catch. Yeah, who dug the grave changed between drafts (went from Big Mac do Dash) and I forgot to edit that little line there out. Fixed now!

Keep it as is, it's funnier that way that somewhere out there, a red pony is still digging away without a clue as to why!

I am still trying to wrap my head around what i just read, how it still manages to exist, how many eldritch abominations has it summoned and why has it been the best thing I've read in a long time.


I completely agree, kind sir.
Also, that profile pic xD


That phrase somehow sounds really profound. Anyway I loved this!

I don't know what the hell I just read, but it was bloody fantastic.

Y'know, I had the strangest feeling that this was half your doing.

Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

What do you mean? This story was all Aragon.

I just stole his pants.

...I guess I might still be a little crazy after reading this or something. Thought you were the one who had commissioned it or somesuch.

Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

Are you kidding? I don’t have enough cash for 1k, let alone 27k. Do I look like I’m made of money?

What if I said yes?

Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

Then I'd politely ask you not to tear off pieces of my body.

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