• Published 20th Sep 2012
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Seeing the Pattern 2: Death Take You - Aegis Shield



Pinkamina battles Death incarnate using the mysterious power of the Pinkie Sense.

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Death's End

Seeing the Pattern 2: Death Take You
Part 12: Death's End

Pinkamina stood upon a burning barn, cloaked in a smoking, burning hell. Death himself was on his knees before her, clutching a mortal wound. She held an solar-magic-enchanted weapon in one hoof, and was feverishly pushing her mane back with the other. Embers floated by in the background as smoke billowed and twisted in the cruel winter night. She scoffed a little, trying not to grin. It was like the climax of some goofy fantasy novel Twilight would read.

She looked down upon her vanquished foe, raising her ice cream scoop high. She swatted his shoulder and the joint came undone, crusting away like a burnt cigarette. His roar of pain sent him leaning the other way, favoring the other side of his body. “That was for endangering the lives of… my friends.” She said it finally. They were her friends. She dragged it lazily across his exposed ear and it simply burst into ashes. He whimpered aloud, falling onto his side and trying to crawl away. The sadistic pink mare would spare him no mercy. There would be none if they were reversed. This was the end for him, and she was going to Faust-damned enjoy it. While he crawled shakily she struck him across the back, across the spine, and upon the flank. He cried out over and over, agony igniting every fiber of his being. “For me! And for the unfair deaths you tried to inflict! And for Lickity Split, too!” she named each blow as she gave it.

Death rolled onto his back, scythe grasped in his hooves as he swung it wildly. She hadn’t been watching where he was crawling. She’d been too intent on giving him pain, sadist that she was. Her throat came open. The scythe went flying off the roof because of his weak grip. Blood splurted out and icy, non-incarnate death began to dig its icy hooves into her body. No! No no no! She couldn’t die now, she was so close. Gargling blood down her own front, she raised Steelie high to finish him off while she still had the strength. He didn’t have the will to move anymore, only to roll over and look up at the sky. “Pink-uh-meen-uh?” Death said, collapsing weakly onto his back while she loomed over him. She paused only because of his tone. “Dun tell Big Mac. Please, please dun tell Big Mac.” He begged her softly in his low, gravelly voice.

“I wuh—*gargle*… I won’t.” she managed, clutching at her dribbling throat. She swung with the last of her strength, using the enchanted weapon to take his head off. It exploded into red ash like somepony had placed a bottle rocket inside a watermelon. The body rolled, hit a weak spot in the roof and crashed into the burning barn below. When it struck the ground it imploded into more red ashes, consumed by the flames. Pinkamina fell to her knees, dropping Steelie and whimpering. She was dying. The barn was burning. She could feel the heat rising and the ceiling beams starting to give. It hurt. It hurt so much. She pawed helplessly at her gushing neck. She felt herself falling through a burning, swirling mass of fire and scorched tools. “Lickity…”

=-=-=-=

“Fifteen years is a long time to be Death, we art surprised he lasted so long.” Pinkamina awoke on an endless, grassy plain. There were swirling storm clouds that lightly threatened her with thunder, but there was a light in the far distance, warm and inviting. “Not so fast, pink one, we must speak.” She felt a tug on her tail and she turned. Princess Luna, the goddess of death, night, and fertility.

“I guess I can listen. I’m dead, aren’t I? Time doesn’t mean much anymore.” Pinkamina said, frowning and rolling her eyes. She turned about, then bowed as was expected before royalty.

“In every sense of the word very, very dead.” The Princess snarked back at her. “Thou were beaten, burned, throat-cut, and scorched into nothing in that barn.” She spread her wings in a rather jubilant expression of excitement, lifting a hoof to show her grand approval. “We have not seen such a glorious death in centuries.”

“What do you want from me, then? I’m out of your way, aren’t I?” Pinkamina snapped back. “The afterlife is right there and you still want to bother me? What could you possible do to me that’s worse than all that’s happened so far?”

“Thou killed Death.” The princess switched to a rather serious tone very suddenly. “We art displeased. He was our lover. Er! On his off-nights, that is…” She actually trailed off and Pinkamina thought she saw a dash of pink in the goddess’ face. What a mortal expression to have.

“Yes, I did. And with any luck his cloak and scythe burned with us both.” Pinkamina growled. “I would hate for anypony to take those things and do something bad with them.”

“Death’s cloak and scythe art in our possession, do not worry about them.” Luna said dismissively, shaking her hoof like it was no big deal. “However, I am without an Aspect of Death.” She frowned down at the ghostly pink mare with a peculiar expression of caution.

“Oh. Well, sorry I slayed your avatar.” Pinkamina didn’t look sorry at all. “I tend to go a little crazy when somepony runs around trying to kill ponies in increasingly painful and complicated ways.”

“Aspect, not avatar.” Luna snorted. “There is no stallion alive that could be the avatar of a female god, pink one. Even thou should know that!” The very idea made her chuckle a little. Perhaps the most feminine coltcuddler in the world—hahaha! Nah.

“Whatever you want to call it. He was corrupt and he became a monster. I had to kill him to stop him.” She paused for a moment. “And I don’t think you can execute me for murder since he technically killed me at the end, himself.” The pink mare made a mild gesture to her throat. Her ghost, of course, bore no such mark from the cutting blade, but it was obvious what she meant.

“It is true.” Luna said after a long time, tilting her head back and looking at the cloud-covered sky. “After you began interrupting his work, he became angrier and angrier… more unstable.” She admitted. Pinkamina looked at her carefully. “He was brooding and dark, yes, but it is hard not to be when one is the Aspect of Death.” She said. “He did his work, he was friends with the other Aspects—”

“And he started actively going after my friends and I after I started noticing him.” Pinkamina snapped, not about to let her defend him. “He deserved what he got, and you know it.”

“The POINT being.” Princess Luna boomed a little dangerously, trying to get back on topic. “We art without an Aspect of Death, and we seem to only have one candidate. Thou.” She said, pointing a hoof to Pinkamina’s chest.

The pink mare blinked at her, pushing her ghostly mane behind her ear. “Er, what?” she said. “I just killed Death. I can’t BE Death.” She shook her head.

“Thou dost not grasp the severity of thy situation.” Luna said with a rather dark glare. “Thou KILLED Death, the shepherd of the dead and the deliverer of lost souls. Without him, those that are meant to die will not, and the idle souls of the world will wander– lost– and never find their paradise in the great beyond.” She gestured to the inviting light on the horizon. Thunder rolled a little more loudly overhead. Pinkamina stared at her, growing more and more afraid. She shivered in all four of her knees, then fell forward a little as she realized what she had done. “So thou sees, Pinkamina.” The goddess addressed her by name for the first time, in a more gentle tone. She sidled up beside the pink mare. “There must always be an Aspect of Death. And, as far back as we can remember, each Death has always killed the one that came before him… or her.”

“But wait, you’ve been imprisoned in the moon for the past thousand years. How could you have possibly seen the succession of so many Deaths?” Pinkamina was confused.

“Imprisoned physically, yes. But this is not a physical place, as real as it may feel.” Princess Luna gestured to the grasses before their hooves. “What dost thou think we did while we were on the moon for a thousand years? Sit and count rocks? Stare at the sky? Neigh. We were here, quietly shepherding the dead and overseeing the Aspect of Death.” She gestured mildly. “Watching the mantle go from one pony to the next, through the ages.”

Pinkamina fell to her knees, staring up at the sky as all the pieces came together. Death could only function as long as he was uncorrupt. Then he would be noticed by his successor, slain, and his place taken by the next death. “Is… that what awaits me?” she turned, asking the goddess softly. Her eyes were soft. “My successor will kill me to take my place?”

“Yes.” Said Luna gently. “But only after a very, very long time. Considering that ponies can live to fifty or so in this era, and thou art already twenty-something, thy life would end in the same frame of time anyway.”

“Isn’t my life already over, though?” she’d already accepted the position and was moving forward with questions.

“Ah ah ah, the job comes with perks, pink one.” Said the goddess of the night, smirking. “Thou canst be Death all the time. You will receive a new body. And since no one SAW you die, you may walk among the living like nothing happened. Papa Apple’s death was witnessed by his son, so he could not return or face exposure.”

“So I can’t tell anypony I’m Death…?” Pinkamina mumbled. This was all so, so much to take in all at once, it was making her flush and hyperventilate a little bit (despite her being dead).

“There is much to learn. Death.” Luna gestured to thin air and a black cloak appeared. Death’s cloak. Leaning, she plucked it out of the air and draped it over Pinkamina’s ghost. “But for now, thou shalt rest. Go home. Be with thy stallion. Come to us when thou art ready, and we shalt train you.” Leaning down a little, she kissed Pinkamina on the forehead. “Thou shalt emerge from a bath of fire, now— GO!” she swatted Pinkamina’s forehead with her hoof. The space between spaces vanished.

=-=-=-=

Pinkamina awoke to find her hooves thundering across the fiery floor of the barn, carrying her out into the night. A black cloak flew on her back like a banner, a spectacular coat of arms to her new vocation. Leaping with a whinny of triumph she flushed as the winter air struck her. Her skin recoiled from the chilling air. Her breath was a cloud. She was alive! She felt herself all over, even her mane. She was alive. Something puffy and mint green floated idly past her, looking like it was in no really hurry to go anywhere. That was no cloud… “Lickity!” she ran and made a snatch for his soul, and her hoof went right through it. She stopped, frustrated, pawing at it several times. For some reason, she just couldn’t grasp it. She tried all different angles, but she couldn’t grab it. Huffing angrily, she tried to glare it into submission like she did with her stallion sometimes. No good. His soul was made of sterner stuff. She looked down at the golden clasp on the cloak. She’d seen Death handle souls with his bare hooves. Wasn’t that clasp how Death activated his… Death powers? She frowned. That sounded so corny. What had Luna called him? The Aspect of Death? Aspect Powers. That sounded more official. Taking a deep breath, she backed up a bit, pulling the cloak about herself. Pulling the hood up, she shuddered. His scent was there. Apples and sweat. He really was a farmer. Shaking her head quickly, she grasped the golden clasp and closed it.

Nothing happened for a long time. Why wasn’t anything happening? She looked down at her hooves suddenly. Her hooves were smoking. She turned them up one at a time to look at them. She gave a sudden, full-throated scream when both of her eyeballs suddenly exploded. Blinded by agony she clutched at her face and staggered about. Her tail caught on fire. She bucked wildly until suddenly her joints were ablaze with pain and she had to stop. She moaned, flailing and bucking and screaming as bits of her began to be consumed by flame. She cried out into the night, and orange flames exploded from every orifice as her body began to violently burn. Her beautiful face and lips melted away into nothing. The pearly white bone beneath was exposed bit by bit. Her hooves EXPLODED into flame and her back arched. She staggered forward, clutching at her head and writhing about, leaving hoof prints that burned by themselves. “No! No you tricked me! It hurts! No-awwwhh—!” Every bit of flesh imploded from her frame, leaving only bone and cloak behind. Grass and dirt rushed away from her in a great ring and she fell forward in exhaustion. On the edge of another dimension, in the space between spaces, Luna winced. The first transformation was always the hardest.

Death picked itself up slowly. She looked around. She wasn’t in pain anymore. She wasn’t dead like she thought she would be. She just felt… different. Lighter. Stronger. Much stronger. She eyed the mint green soul floating slowly on the breeze. Padding through the snow, she reached up and grasped it as though it were a solid object. Lickity Split… she tried to say his name, but could not. She had no tongue. She panicked briefly, but then remembered what she was supposed to be doing in the first place. Lovingly, she stored the soul in the warm folds of her cloak. He would be safe there. Smiling inwardly, she started a strong gallop home. She didn’t need to breath, she had no lungs, she didn’t pant. She felt like she could run forever.

The night masked her journey home, and when the coast was clear, she slipped into the ice cream parlor and pulled all of the shades. She didn’t know how to be invisible to everypony yet, better to be safe. Making sure all the doors were locked and all the lights were off, she approached Lickity Split’s body. Taking out the soul, she leaned over him. Was she supposed to stuff it in his mouth, or what? Fumbling for a bit, she simply placed it on his chest. The soul rolled like a raindrop until it was over his… kidney? Odd place to keep one’s soul, but she would make a note of it. It sank into him like lotion after a few rubs, and suddenly the stallion was stirring with a deep breath of waking. Panicking briefly, Death unclasped the golden bit on the cloak. A RUSH of magic brought her flesh and blood back (much more quickly than it had melt away, thank goodness, and with a lot less fire). “P… Pinkie?” Lickity said quietly, turning weakly on his side to face her.

“Shhh…” she said gently, pushing back the hood and leaning to nuzzle him quietly. “Just don’t talk. It’s over now. Just don’t talk.” Pinkamina stroked his belly and chest over and over, which made him murr pleasurably. She clambered onto the couch with him after shedding the cloak. She just wanted to be pressed up against him. Just wanted to… just wanted to rest…



End of Part 12