My Little Pony's end in October 2019 caused the Decline of Civilization.

Lyra and Bon Bon wallow amid the dying days of the PonyPox pandemic. Enjoy(?) suffering with them as they confront conflicts compounded by years of isolation and emerge from simple nursery rhymes of good times into the cold realities of a future without "Friendship is Magic."

Featured on Equestria Daily's 2023 Lyra/Bon Day in the Drama category! Thank you!

Content Note: Bon Bon lights a cigarette! :fluttershbad: ; addictions touched on lightly; the era of PonyPox. :pinkiesick:

Review and Honorable Mention in a Contest:

[W]ithin the story's Equestria, My Little Pony is a children's TV show run by profit-minded executives, and Lyra and Bon Bon are at the same time former actors on that show, fans of it, resentful of how it ended, and watching the sequel on their TV as they wither away to death in PonyPox quarantine. and through it all, their conversation meanders through dense references and cultural worldbuilding as the grim details of their situation seeps in around them. out of anything i have ever read on this website, reading this fic comes the closest to the feeling of watching an experimental play, which left me feeling very Art. β€”Bicyclette

Index to my works by show season.

Image: Rights to the base image (only) are at this link. I further modified the image with colored text and the breaking news.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 3 )

"This is not a happy story," Bon Bon wheezed.

always very art to start with a line that is also a commentary on the story itself! not to mention the theme-setting preface

"Then don't read it," Lyra responded. "Donate it to the library or make more paper birds or use it for wiping. We've almost exhausted our hygienic paper stockpile!"

is it called "hygienic paper" to stay agnostic about how pony bathrooms work?

Her face darkened. "Maybe you planted an incorrect seed of a memory? Like a yeerk." (Note: 1 in Author's Notes.)

this reference would be jarring coming from any other character than Lyra, but Lyra totally is the kind of character to make references in a conversation with no care for being understood

"That was a long time ago," Bon Bon, former secret agent protector of Equestria--a gig she held before trying her luck in acting and in representing actors, and before she opened her famous, though now lamentably defunct side-hustle sweets shop which ended up earning her more than her acting and actors' agent gigs--growled as she reached into a chocolate bar-stuffed tureen.

love the efficiency in exposition here. there is a delight in its deliberate overstuffedness

"I miss carousels."

what are carousels in a world of talking horses anyway?

Lyra sniffed. "I remember... I remember... But seriously... you always slip into Celestia's secret agent argot when you're being bossy-mean." (Note: 2 in Author's Notes.)

aww, they were made for each other!

Lyra limply beat her hooves against the wall for emphasis--barely a clop. "No. Praise the sun indeed. We will get through this isolation!"

looks like Lyra's picked up some of that argot

Bon Bon shifted in the creaking loveseat, her rump hanging a bit over its side, unable to squeeze the bursting cushioning farther back to properly support her lengthwise position.

the sad result of pony culture's insistence on furniture designs meant for bipedal creatures for some reason

and the veterinarian's ivermectin labeled with a portrait of a dog.

i guess this is the pony equivalent of stockpiling fish antibiotics? haha

"...I know," Lyra, the musician, frowned, addressing only part of Bon Bon's question. "It's just we've been running really low. Especially since you broke the bidet. I've been using the sink...."

huh, i thought horses didn't need bidets! i guess pastel ponies are different?

"The outdoor backyard spigot would be far better...", Bon Bon brainstormed. "No pony is likely to see since the Flower sisters' house has been abandoned..."

"It's so cold outside...." Lyra wiped her tears and, pressing against a wall for support, stumbled over to the loveseat. "Bon Bon." She paused. "Why did the magic end?"

oof! the hints of whatever awful thing the world is going through coming together

Derpy Hooves flew near a wall
Smacked into one too tall
All the kingdom's ponies and all o'its mares
Couldn't survive the lawsuit fares.

hehe this is fun

But children grew up.

And toy sales were down.

And the actors demanded more compensation.

well that's intriguing!


agreed entirely with this footnote

"Although her husband, Sandbar, the one most ponies think is an Equestrian, is actually a foreigner. His father, who did the mare's share of raising him, is a Yakutian.

do love the phrase "mare's share". also sad to see Bon Bon being the pony version of Americans who think only people who don't look like them are immigrants!

Lyra squeezed herself next to Bon Bon's head, nearly dumping her on the floor, but she shoved herself in, seated in that weird unique way, straight up and down on her rump and tail, with all the below bones squeezed tight, like a treat-seeking eager dog... which Bon Bon figured was... probably not a side-effect of the dog-dose ivermectin--Lyra'd been sitting like that ever since Bon Bon'd known her.

ooh, love that a pony would read Lyra's famously odd sitting position as being like a dog's! that makes too much sense

"And I'm a Unicorn with my magical horn." Lyra sparked it. "And, according to 'popular' earth pony studies," she made air quotes with her hooves, "this means I am inherently doomed to have 'eccentricities'..."

if Lyra was trying to argue against stereotypes this was the worst possible thing she could have mentioned haha

But even that's weird because donkeys have earth pony-adjacent magic! Nopony's studied it well and the donkeys don't see fit to share much secrets but I've been watching Matilda and Cranky Doodle and--have you seen how much they can carry and keep going no matter what?

very good point! it makes more sense that non-pony species have at least something similar to earthpony magic than somehow not being magical at all and yet living in the same civilization

And Bon Bon did wait, frowning as her essentially-skeletal wife retreated. She'd tried to make her eat. But Lyra had dissented--rather, she assented to eat anything but nutrition. Lyra had chewed on rubber and sawdust--and been sick. Bon Bon force-fed her actual food--leftover shop candies. But she vomited the tincture up. Bon Bon blinked, watching Lyra struggle to depart. And Bon Bon tapped an armrest. And Lyra was gone.

and oof, that is very disquieting! starting to understand the nursery rhyme at the beginning...

(Note: hippogriff)


infloatable or something.(Note: an intentional neologism.)

huh, that is a gap in the English language, isn't it?

(that's how she got her eponymous cameos, though her surname was shifted from the Prench dialect meaning 'Bean Field' to the Ponish equivalent "Seed" for show purposes)

yeah "Seed" is a lot more marketable

It created quite a headache for Equestrian head-of-state Celestia, which she was glad to pass off to movie-star slash politician Twilight Sparkle who was replacing her after vacillating ponies decided that what they really needed to guide them wasn't a politician with hundreds of years of experience but somepony who played her replacement on television.

this brings to mind so many questions!


yeah, dental work makes the most sense

sugary alfalfa (Note: The expression is equivalent to "red meat") for her electorate to

love it

Then the PonyPox came.

oh, so that's what happened!

Ring Around Roselucksies.

brilliant use of Roseluck here

"And I had to surrender my concession," Bon Bon frowned. "Most of our money came from selling sweets to the Pinkie Pies, the Twilight Sparkles, Fluttershy, Applejack, the Pinkie Pies."

"She had a lot of stunt doubles," Lyra reminisced, stumbling over to Bon Bon's side.

ah classic repetition gag. great contrast with the dark moment right afterward

The door to their abode, once red, now painted black after an avant-garde PonyPox quarantine project decorating decision, loomed menacingly at the end of the room.

symbolic imagery!

Row, Row, Row your Boat
Gently Down the Stream
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,
Life is But A Dream...

love the shift here in the ending: a nursery rhyme unchanged from its source, which even compared to other original nursery rhymes is so anodyne that it wraps around to feeling sinister.

i feel like i just got done watching an experimental play, and appropriately enough, i think i will need more than this one reading to fully "get" it.

the matter-of-fact bleakness was well-done, with the way the characters' dialogue meandered contributing nicely to it. i found the state of the world here difficult to parse, though. it feels like none of the many elements are meant to be taken literally, because they don't really intersect with each other where they should, and the whole thing just feels dreamlike. and it feels like it is all of it is meant to come together to be a thesis about the end of the show, but doesn't really state a definitive one, like it's pulling its punches somehow.

i would definitely love to know more about what you were going for here and the many things i feel like i missed! i did really like a lot of the elements individually, and of course there was more of the great cultural and linguistic worldbuilding and wordplay that i always enjoy. thank you for it!

looks like Lyra's picked up some of that argot

Indeed she did! Who knows if Bon Bon should get in trouble for letting leak that state secret. It's hard to keep secrets when you're muttering things around a clever pony like Lyra. :pinkiehappy:

...and the whole thing just feels dreamlike. and it feels like it is all of it is meant to come together to be a thesis about the end of the show, but doesn't really state a definitive one...

Thank you for thinking about it. Some thoughts I had (there may be others):
1. This is about the rocky evolution of a relationship (Lyra and Bon Bon)
2. This is about the "PonyPox" in real Earth world and in Equestria
3. This is about the show's end.

Preface. The nursery rhymes recall simplicity and fairy tales and an easy unexamined, relatively unthreatened life and relationship--the calmness and love of a good cartoon TV show. The initial quotation by Twilight Sparkle was added near the end of writing to bundle up concepts and to make them more obvious--it ties in with the end paragraph and sets-up the beginning.

- Lyra and Bon Bon had a good close relationship. But time passed... and the isolation of the PonyPox created stresses. In this story, the sweetness of My Little Pony and its community was tainted. In the real world, the show ended and the dire virus emerged one month later...after the magic of the show was gone.

1A. Specifically about their relationship: The first nursery rhyme is from "Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat; His Wife Could Eat No Lean" inspiration. The two of them complete each other and they are parts of a whole. This connection has a darker literal side though, with the eating choices that menaced them due to the PonyPox as they both had breakdowns due to isolation and the terrible things that happened. One could even argue their relationship is... going down the toilet... :facehoof:

2. PonyPox travails they suffer directly parallel real-life ones--the toilet paper hoarding, shady supply acquisition, questionable medical stockpiling, the Flower Ponies' sickness, Lyra and Bon Bon's isolation to protect themselves, political stress/weirdness, bizarre amateurish home improvement projects (black painted door also as a metaphor!), etc. Ring Around the Rosie was originally about the Black Death, and so it felt right to adapt it here.

1B. Relationships are harder when they are tested, and throughout this story, Bon Bon and Lyra's relationship is tested in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways. Bon Bon's getting crankier and more paranoid and has been increasingly less willing to put up with Lyra's eccentricities while Lyra continues to be weird but also more fearful and nervous. The show itself is a metaphor for their relationship. It brought them together. But greed burned the show down. (Literally). Greed from the exterior (executives) and the interior (the actors themselves) and fate (the show just got too big) [Note: I'm not sure if any of these reasons brought down the real show, although I have heard some of them as internet arguments. That said, they certainly brought down the show in this story]. The two of them were brought together by the show, but paranoia and fear brought them down, just like paranoia and fear caused stresses and strains for some in the real world during the lockdowns.

3. The show ended. See 1B above for part of the explanation of what it means as a metaphor for Lyra and Bon Bon. But although the show ended, something new could come out...Generation 5, and so Bon Bon and Lyra decided they needed to go out and face the world--their fears--and now that the danger is less than it was, they needed to try to make connections to others again because they were tearing each other apart and breaking down. Similarly, the pony community seems to be moving past mourning generation 4, staying at home and not in-person interacting with each other (since conventions and meetups are less risky than they had been!), and it has the opportunity to get out and be kind again to all the world (of course, that may not happen; however, either way the community won't be what it was before, just like Lyra and Bon Bon can't go back to what they had before--something needs to change for them).

Epilogue. The last nursery rhyme indicates that life is but a dream... dreamlike... but also it will end in death, just as the story ended. It's more of a 'normal' rhyme than the other adapted ones because we're returning to normalcy. Hopefully we can get through the river of life merrily. It's intended to be a hopeful, but worrying beat. Life is hard for Bon Bon and Lyra, but now they have decided to try to move forward and live.

I... don't think I understand.

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