• Published 27th Jul 2020
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The Equestrian Reaper - Perfectly Insane



W-what," Pinkie swallowed nervously as she tried to speak, finding her throat was suddenly very dry. "Are you?" It seemed to stare at her for a few seconds, its dark eye sockets peering directly into her soul. "Death."

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Chapter Two: Substitute Grim Reaper.

Author's Note:

Hello! I would like to start off by saying yes, the chapter title is a Bleach reference! And I also was really surprised at how popular this got! Thank you for reading, tell me if you see any issues and feel free to tell me your thoughts in the comments, enjoy!

“You...can do that?” Pinkie whispered, finding herself unable to tear her gaze away from its eye sockets. It was now face to face with her, her entire vision obscured by it’s large skull.

“I am capable of it, yes, though the need to do so has never arisen before.”

She heard that same creaking and cracking noise as it lifted it’s head, it’s neck bending as it turned it’s to the left, turning its attention to the crows. She followed his stare, having almost forgotten about them. They remained deathly quiet, not even flapping their wings. They seemed to be watching her, waiting to see what she would do.

“I’m sure you have noticed these crows and realized that they shouldn’t be here, everything in this world should be dead. These are not crows, they are the Grim Reapers, just as curious about you as I am. Out of the many that have come here, you are the first I have offered a deal too, as it is usually the other way around. Mortals are incredibly desperate in the face of Death, they never realize that none of their worthless possessions they had in their lives are of any value to me.”

It turned its head to face her again, she found it difficult to look at anything other than its eye sockets. She thought if she looked deep enough into them, she’d be able to see the back of its skull, even with the minuscule amount of light there was. Instead, like the darkness outside of the land she was in, they were endless.

“Like I, The Grim Reapers have been there since the beginning, but their role is very different. I can not step into the living world, everything around me would decay and die. They can stay in the living world without any risk to themselves or others, so they are the ones who make sure the souls go to the afterlife, or to me if they are a special case like you. In smaller towns where there are very few deaths, such as the home you call Ponyville, there is only one Grim Reaper. In the much larger and more populated places, like Canterlot or Griffonstone, there are half a dozen.

It is more convenient for them to stay in the world of the living than to come back here every time they escort a soul, so when they are not reaping, they live fake lives among you. They place themselves into your memories to make you believe they have always been there, in your many adventures, you have come across them and not even realized it.”

Pinkie’s eyes rapidly blinked in surprise, the revelation that she’d met Grim Reapers, and that one of them was among the people she knew so well in Ponyville, left her a bit flabbergasted. She closed her eyes, both to stop herself from staring into the endless void that was the inside of its skull, and to try to think of who could possibly be one.

No matter how hard she tried to think, there wasn’t anyone that came to mind who she thought spent their free time reaping souls. She knew all of their birthdays, friends, hobbies, and even their favorite foods, none of them seemed like their lives were a lie.

“If...and this is a big if...I do agree to become a Grim Reaper, what would I do?” Pinkie asked hesitantly as she opened her eyes to look up at Death, her mind more focused on how she could get out of this than actually becoming one. Normal ponies wouldn’t be able to get out of something like this, but Pinkie was far from a normal pony.

“You would take up the position of Grim Reaper in Ponyville, you would be a substitute, in a sense. Over the course of your life, as an Element of Harmony, you have saved many. Only ten of these, however, are ones you have saved with your gift, not counting those you have saved while using it to protect yourself. These actions have upset the balance of life and death, sending ripples and changing many things. Some are alive that shouldn’t be, lives have been altered when they were meant to stay stagnant.

To fix the mistakes you have made, you will remain a Reaper until you have escorted ten souls. Afterwards, you will return to your normal life, having no memory of your time as an agent of death. You will retain your gift of premonition, while I am capable of taking it away, I have decided you may keep it. However,”

Something about its voice got...darker, it was hard to explain. Usually, while it’s voice was absurdly deep and masculine, it kept a static tone of neutrality. It suddenly became more threatening, like it was trying to give her a warning.

Pinkie didn’t think she could be more scared than she already was, when it spoke in that tone, she was suddenly very glad she was already on the ground, or her shaking hooves wouldn’t have been able to keep her standing.

“Accepting my offer would mean I have saved your life, usually something I would be unable to do, but with you things are much more...pliable. It would also be well within my jurisdiction to end your life whenever I will it, even after you have finished your service. You may continue to use your ‘Pinkie Sense’ to save your own life, but if you intervene and save the life of one who’s meant to die, I will end you.”

A very strong wind came from it and blew towards her, pushing her hair behind her head flowing behind her. Her eyes widened in fear as her entire body quivered, her every sense was quickly overwhelmed by pure terror, finding herself unable to even speak. She was just barely able to hold her bladder, almost peeing herself like a foal.

“While your memories may be altered after you’ve escorted the tenth soul, the intense consternation I have instilled into you will remain, flaring up if you ever attempt to save another with your ability. Your very existence should be considered an abomination, I will no longer allow you to interfere the way you have been.”

Its voice reverted back to the same authoritative tone as before, the strong gust of wind suddenly stopping as her hair fell back into her face. She lowered her eyes onto the ground, unable to focus her vision anymore as everything became blurry with her tears. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was speaking directly into her mind, she was sure she wouldn’t be able to hear it over her own heartbeat.

It remained still and silent as she tried to calm herself down, this was the second time she had started hyperventilating with the last thirty minutes.

“You...want me...to kill ten ponies?” She barely managed to stutter out, her voice raspy as she was still out of breath.

She heard a very light creaking noise, like a very old door being slowly opened. She glanced up at it to see what that was, noticing it had tilted its head ever so slightly to the left, like it was confused a bit by what it said. She heard another creaking noise as it straightened its head again, not once turning its leer away from her.

“I’m not sure if it is you that is mistaken, or the myths about them your kind has created. Grim Reaper’s do not kill, not even those that are meant to die. They simply watch and wait for nature to take its course, bringing the souls where they need to be. You will do the same, watch, wait, and escort, that is all you will be doing unless told otherwise.”

“You...want me...to watch ponies die when I could save them?” Pinkie asked, disbelief written all over her face as she tried to wipe the tears. She thought back to all the times she had saved ponies lives with her Pinkie Sense, she had thought the number was larger than ten, but it was telling her it wasn’t.

She couldn’t remember when exactly it started, and she never questioned how she got it either. She thought it was a blessing she had been born with, that she was meant to save lives with her ability. But had she really been doing something terrible? Something that was threatening the very balance of life and death itself?

*Is what it said true? Am I...an abomination?*

“Your sense of reality appears to be a bit warped, I should have expected this, you are able to do things no one else has ever had before. Watching others die and being unable to save them is what is considered normal, there are some that are not meant to be saved. You defy this, saving those that should not be saved. If you do not set things right, the world may change its course, the very harmony you have tried so hard to establish will turn into entropy. I may not care about your lives, but my role is to ensure balance among life and death, without balance, I would cease to have a purpose.”

Pinkie listened to his words intently, something about what he was saying was bothering her. Her head suddenly raised to face Death, making a slight gasp as something clicked in her mind.

“Wait, you said before that I was meant to die years ago, and many times after that. Does that mean...you’ve been trying to kill me?”

She watched as it’s jaw lowered slightly, in what she perceived as a...frown? “You do not listen very well. Like I said before, I do not bestow Death directly, merely manage it. The thing that has been trying to kill you has been the very universe itself, attempting to reestablish the scales you have tipped. Every ‘accident’ you have prevented with your clairvoyance has been exactly that, but every attempt seemed to make things worse. It soon became desperate, the longer you stayed alive, the more lives you saved and more problems you caused. Today, the universe won, you were finally stopped. If it eases you, I am impressed you lived as long as you did.”

“And...what,” Pinkie’s voice cracked as she spoke, the revelation that the universe itself had been trying to kill her was...staggering to say the least. “Is stopping that from happening again once I’m done.”

“I am. In every sense of the term, you are already dead, the mistake of you living is fixed. But, if you accept my offer and restore the balance you upset, you will be...forgiven. Your existence will be reset, and you will be able to live your life the way you want. As long as you do not try to save others like you have been, that is.”

Pinkie’s mouth opened and closed as she tried to think of what to say, her mind boggled as she was having a minor existential crisis. If everything he was saying was true, and she didn’t think he had a reason to lie, then that meant not only was her living a danger to the ponies she cared about, but the entire universe.

Had she really been a mistake? Was her..dying really for the better? She didn’t really know, but something was telling her that it wasn’t. The smiling faces of her friends, all the people’s lives she’d changed for the better, all the times she’s saved all of Equestria.

It couldn’t have been a mistake for her to live, she refused to believe that.

Which meant there was only one option left for Pinkie: Buy time. When she died, she should have been with Fluttershy. And if she knew Fluttershy as well as she thought she did, she would have gone immediately to Twilight. Twilight was panicking, but was surely reading through every book she had and even talking to the princess’, there was no way Twilight would just let her friend die in an accident like that.

If there was one person in all of Equestria that could save her, it would be Twilight.

“What if...I just don’t make a decision?” She whispered, a bit worried that just asking that would make him upset. She let her eyes drop again, something inside of her was telling her to stop looking at it.

“You can do that if you like, but, well.” It lowered its head again, hovering just a few inches above Pinkie. While she heard it move, she didn’t dare bring her head up to face it. “Would you like to know the most horrible thing I can do?”

There was something almost...sadistic about the way Death asked her that, if it was trying to make her more afraid of it, it was doing a good job. She shook her head back and forth, not even sure if she could bring herself to talk if she tried.

“I have complete control over this world, every aspect changes according to my whim. Which includes time. The moment you died and came here, everything outside paused, frozen like a picture until I am done with you. While my job is to escort you to the afterlife, there is no time limit on such a thing. If your soul has made it this far, it means you have been successfully escorted, and there is no danger.

I can keep you here as long as I like, we could sit here and talk about anything until the end of time, and not a single second would pass in the living world. Do you think you’d be the first to try to stay here for as long as possible, believing your connections from your life can save you? You have powerful friends, but nothing is more powerful, or more certain, than Death.”

Pinkie was absolutely terrified at that possibility, the mere thought of just staying here and talking with this creature for hours was unimaginable. She would be bored out of her mind, nothing to do and nothing to talk to but Death itself. Not only that, but now she was out of options, not even buying time could save her.

She was stuck between dying, or being forced to become the underling of Death. She was so afraid and filled with dread, that she was barely able to stop herself from throwing up.

“Are you...evil?” Pinkie asked herself more than it, feeling bile threatening to come out of her mouth from the back of her throat.

“I have told you before, but I do not mind repeating myself. I am not good, I am not evil, I just am.”

She tried to stop herself from shaking, desperate to think of any way out of this she could.

“What if instead of becoming a Grim Reaper, I-” She raised her head, realizing just how close she was to it. It’s skull was inches away, just barely not touching her. She was forced to look deeper into its eye sockets than she had before, a sudden smell filling her nostrils, the putrid stench of Death unlike anything else she had smelled before.

That pushed her over the edge, she was unable to hold it in her stomach anymore. She retched out the contents of her stomach, the disgusting taste of puke almost as bad as the smell. She gagged as it landed on the ground under her, noticing that instead of the food she ate earlier that day, it resembled blood.

She wasn’t sure why this time when she was face to face with him, she suddenly smelt what she did. But she had a feeling it was intentional.

“You seem to misunderstand the situation, allow me to clarify for you: Your very existence has upset the balance of life and death, your saving of those who have meant to die only made things worse. You have died, but instead of taking you directly to the afterlife like I’m supposed to, I am offering you a chance at redemption. I’m doing this because you are unique and I find your abilities interesting, that is all. And yet you are abusing my generosity, trying to find another way to get out of this, like you believe you are above consequences.”

She barely heard it raise its head, the rancid smell finally vanishing from her nose. She couldn’t bring herself to look up at it, wiping her mouth with her hoof and trying to get the taste out.

“This is not a negotiation, you have two options. Accepting your fate and dying, or becoming a Grim Reaper and redeeming yourself, and returning to the life you lived. I believe I have indulged you enough, I am usually patient, but your arrogance has run it thin. I want your answer now.”

Pinkie didn’t want to give Death an answer, she didn’t like her options. She didn’t want to die, even if it was telling the truth and her existence was a bad thing, that didn’t mean she wanted to die.

Being a Grim Reaper didn’t sound a lot better.

Her entire purpose in life was to make others happy, she was good at it and loved doing it! But doing this meant she would have to take people to the afterlife, and she couldn’t save them anymore. She’d have to watch as she died, knowing she could have done something to help them.

Instead, she’d have to help them pass on. As miserable as it sounded, it didn’t appear she’d have another choice.

“I’ll...do it, I’ll become a Grim Reaper.” Pinkie said with a sob, she was completely defeated and disheartened, there was nothing else she could do.

“Very well, you will wake up in your body soon. A few hours will have passed after the time of your death, you will awaken alive and well, as if nothing had happened to you. I normally wouldn’t answer questions, but since you will be the first pony turned into a Grim Reaper, I will answer any you have.”

“Well, I do have a few, but…” Pinkie slowly got to her hooves, expecting the same pressure from before to knock her down again. She was a bit surprised when it didn’t. While her legs were still shaky from how afraid she was, she still managed to stand. “Will I be able to tell my friends about this?”

“You will not, while you will be a substitute, you will have to follow the same rules. You can do as you like normally, but you must keep it a secret from your friends. The only one you may talk about it to is The Grim Reaper you will be taking over for. If you try to tell anyone, you will be dead before the words Grim can leave your mouth.”

“Got it. So, are you going to teach me how to be one before I get sent back?”

“I cannot, I do not have the knowledge to do so. When we were made, we had the innate directive on what to do. I know how to guide souls to the afterlife, they know how to reap souls and bring them to me. The one who will be teaching you is the Reaper that inhabits Ponyville, it is someone you know very well. When their identity is revealed to you, I believe you will find it…”

It turned its head to the right, looking at a crow that was sitting by itself on a branch. As it did, it’s jaw unhinged a little, making a noise that she wasn’t sure was coming from it or directly into her mind. It sounded sort of like wheezing, it was short and it quickly closed i’s jaw again, turning to face her.

*Was it just...laughing?*

“Amusing.”

Pinkie brought her hoof up to her chin, closing her eyes thoughtfully as she tried to figure out who he was talking about. “Can I…” She murmured as she opened her eyes, lowering her hoof back down to the ground. “Have a hint? She asked with a sheepish smile.

“I shall give you a hint, and then I will send you back to the world of the living, you have spent long enough here. When you wake up, you are to go to your room in Sugarcube Corner as soon as possible, they will be waiting for you there.”

It lowered its head as her entire body began to tingle, the moonlight beginning to dim as her vision darkened. Soon she could not see anything, losing her senses again and unable to hear her own heartbeat.

“It is not a pony they are pretending to be.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

That was the last thing Pinkie heard before everything went dark again, like when she first went there. For what felt like forever, she lost all of her senses, feeling nothing but darkness again. She could feel, see, or hear nothing but darkness, not even able to form a single thought.

Also like last time, all of her senses came back at once. She couldn’t hear anything but the intense ringing in her ears and her own loud heartbeat, she could smell something like firewood burning and feel her back was against something soft.

Her eyes fluttered open and closed a few times, before fully opening them and her body shooting up. She looked down at her hooves, her hair that was still straight fell down. She checked her cutie mark and saw that the colors were back, though the rest of her coat was still a bit dull. She looked around her environment, trying to see where she woke up at.

She shouldn’t have been surprised she was in Fluttershy’s living room, but it didn’t make sense why Fluttershy would bring her dead body back here instead of Twilight’s castle. She was laying on the couch, the entire room was dark except for the fire coming from the chimney she had. She looked out the window and saw that it was dark outside, it seemed Death was right, it had been a few hours.

She heard something coming down the stairs, looking over there and seeing it was Fluttershy herself. The second Fluttershy saw that Pinkie was awake, she flew over to her and embraced her at speeds Rainbow Dash would be proud of, hugging her with a surprisingly strong grip and sobbing.

“Pinkie! I was so worried about you! When I saw that tree branch land on you I thought you were dead, but you were still alive and only had a few scrapes and bruises! I called my animal friends and had you brought back here and I did everything I could for you, but you’ve been asleep for hours and I was so afraid you wouldn’t wake up! I’m so sorry I asked you to come out here to help me, I should have gotten them myself and-”

“It’s ok Fluttershy, really.” Pinkie said as she hugged Fluttershy back, her voice as soft as she could manage.

She knew that Fluttershy tended to go on rants when she was really worried about her friends, it’s just how she was. Pinkie was a bit confused at first why she hadn’t gone to get Twilight, until she heard what she had said.

Death had told her that the tree branch killed her, and that she was completely dead. But what Fluttershy was telling made it seem like she was just knocked unconscious, and now she was mostly fine. She was almost inclined to believe that was all a dream, but she knew it wasn’t. Death must have just made it seem like she was still alive in case she had accepted becoming a Grim Reaper, if she hadn’t she would have just died on this couch.

That didn’t matter right now, she was alive.

“I’m alive Fluttershy, I’m alive!” Pinkie suddenly exclaimed, like she was saying it just as much to herself as Fluttershy.

She jumped off the couch as her hair poofed up, a wide smile stretching on her face as she held Fluttershy by the hooves, spinning her around like she was dancing.

“Pinkie, I’m happy you’re alive too, but can you put me down?” Fluttershy asked, the feeling of suddenly being flung around was making her stomach feel a bit unsettled.

“Yeppers!” Pinkie said as she suddenly stopped spinning, slowly putting Fluttershy back on the ground.

Her face quickly went from happy to serious, grabbing Fluttershy by the shoulders and pulling her closer, a look of sheer panic on her face.

“Quick, how long have I been asleep?”

“Um...Five or six hours, I think?” Fluttershy responded hesitantly, not understanding the sudden urgency.

Pinkie’s mouth opened dramatically wide, letting out a loud gasp that even Rarity would be impressed by. Without saying a single word, she shot out of Fluttershy’s house like a rocket, leaving a smoke trail behind her as the door was shot open.

Fluttershy was left looking at the open door, her mouth open slightly as she couldn’t have been more confused. She brought her hoof up to her mouth, letting out a slight chuckle.

“Well, at least she’s ok.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It was a bit later than Pinkie had expected, on her way to Sugarcube Corner, there was barely anyone out. She was a bit disappointed by that, she kind of wanted to talk to other ponies and just enjoy being a live, the Grim Reaper could wait a few more minutes.

Since there was no one around, she spent her trip back thinking about what Death told her. While at first it sounded useful, it didn’t help narrow it down very much. There were lots of other species it could be, especially with The School of Friendship allowing so many. Changelings, Hippogriffs, hay, it could even be Spike!

As crazy as all that sounded, she just couldn’t think any of them were a Grim Reaper. It didn’t help that by the way Death was talking, she’d find it funny who it was. Or, he at least would find it funny.

*Cranky maybe? I’d find that a little funny that he would be one, but I’m not sure if Death counts him as a pony or not.*

Even when she got to Sugarcube Corner, she still couldn’t think of who it could be. She saw that The Cakes were already asleep and it had been shut down for the day, she felt a bit guilty that she probably made them worried, but there was little more she could do than apologize to them.

When she got into her room, she had slightly expected that they’d be waiting in her room, ominously sitting on her bed or something. That didn’t seem to be the case, her room didn’t seem to have any new additions to it or anything, if a little dark. She turned the lights on and began to look, searching everywhere from behind her bed to under her pillows. She was tempted to search in her secret party basement, but something was telling her they weren’t down there.

“Hello? Are you in here Mr. Grim Reaper? Or Miss, whatever you identify as.”

Pinkie asked in no specific direction, she wasn’t actually expecting to get a response.

“I identify as Mr, my pronouns are he/him. Though technically I’m an ‘it’, we don’t really have genders.”

The voice was a bit husky and masculine, though she honestly didn’t recognize the voice at all. She looked around her room, trying to see where it came from, there wasn’t anywhere in the room she couldn’t see into, and there wasn’t anyone else in there except for her.

Well, almost anyone but her.

She slowly looked towards her bed, where Gummy sat. He had been in there since she came into the room, but she hadn’t paid him any attention. As soon as she laid eyes on him, his began to change. Instead of one eye looking to the right and one looking to the left, they were both looking straight at her, a somewhat serious expression on his face.

“No…”Pinkie whispered to herself.

She watched in horror as Gummy’s body slowly got bigger, his scales slowly fading from green to white, and the shape of them changing from scales to bone.

“No way.” She said as she turned her entire body to face him, unable to believe what she was seeing or look away.

There was a sickening crunching noise as Gummy’s body got bigger, it was gross to listen to and sounded like it’d be extremely painful. Soon Gummy was the size of a pony, his eyes gone and he no longer resembled the alligator he was moments before.

NO BUCKING WAY!” Pinkie swore as she slammed her hooves against the ground, her jaw hanging open as she watched in disbelief.

Gummy now looked much like what the books said Grim Reaper’s looked like: In the shape and skeleton of a pony, but without eyes, a coat, tail, mane, or a cutie mark. It had a large black coat, she wasn’t sure where it came from. It covered his entire body except for it’s skull, the hood was pulled back and she could see his face, though without any skin or anything it was hard to tell what kind of expression he was making.

Like the black cloak, a large black scythe appeared out of nowhere. It had a handle on the black snath, just big enough for a hoof to fit in, which is exactly how Gummy was holding it up. It was a bit taller than him, the very top of it almost touching the roof. The blade also looked extremely sharp, sharp enough to slice off her head in a single swoop.

GUMMY, YOU’RE THE GRIM REAPER?!” Pinkie yelled as she pointed at him, glad she had soundproofed her room long ago, or she would have woken up The Cakes.

“Gummy the Grim here,” Gummy said as his teeth chattered, the sound of his jaw moving was the exact sound she heard from Death as his bones hit together. “I’ll be your Reaper.”

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