Rarity and Applejack put the romance in necromancy.

A gift for Novelle Tale.

CW: Unhealthy relationships, descriptions of murder/death (bloodless), necromancy (duh), implied suicidal intentions at one point (never made explicit).

Does NOT contain necrophilia or sex of any sort. (Didn't think I'd have to spell that out, but here we are...)

Chapters (5)
Comments ( 14 )

This is a sweet story :twilightsmile: can’t wait to read more

The steady thrum of the lobby music took over, unconsciously bidding my customers and I alike to step in time to its upbeat rhythm, giving all but the truly musically un inclined a natural sense of carefully-paced urgency.

This remains one of my favorite details in this chapter.

I'm a bit of an introspector myself (shocking, I know) and one of the things I actually do in stores these days is think about the psychology of their layout & features. Do I watch too many video essays? Probably. But do I also deeply consider why the Starbucks is so cold, and why the milk & paper towels are at the back of the store, and why a certain endcap is where it is? Yes, that too.

The music being as much a part of the boutique as the products it sells is really such an impactful detail. Rarity is exactly the type of person/pony (in this story) for whom every single part of the whole must serve a person.

[...] leaving my coat washed out in urban gold [...]

God this entire description sequence is great, but you bet your buttons I'm adding 'urban gold' to my repertoire.

You win the internet for that description.

The grammar was pretty good, although the flowery writing, for me, was difficult to keep track of. I found myself rereading sections two or three times to ensure I fully understood them.

The plot, however, I'm still confused about, even after reading the whole story twice. Perhaps that's just my fault for failing to understand, or perhaps you should have explained things better so they were a little clearer. Either way, I'm left confused and wondering what it was all about. Was that your intention with this story? Did you intentionally write it to be obscure so the readers would ask questions and be left with a satisfying sensation of mystery and intrigue?

I'm going to upvote your story because I respect the effort you put into it. However, with that being said, I'm going to posit a theory explaining why your story was downvoted so much: perhaps, when those other people finished reading your story, they were also left confused and unsure what to think or how to feel, and they didn't like that sensation.

Thank you for reading it! I would be delighted to explain if there's something you're confused about regarding the plot!

Really great story, Silent. I love the subtle bits of wrongness before the truth gets revealed, along with the bittersweet tragedy of that truth. While there seems to be love in what Applejack is doing, it's also obvious that it shouldn't be done. It's a dark, twisted act, and it seems, at least to me, that it's not even doing what Applejack would want. It's more like making a doll than bringing Rarity back. And yet, from Rarity's perspective, it's still her in some way. There's a looming since of inevitability to it as well, like there will come a time when it doesn't work or Rarity comes back wholly wrong.

It's definitely left a mark on me. I'm gonna be thinking about it for a bit.

It's funny, I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately, and chatting about it with my partner and watching some video essays on the topic. I have been considering finally using the blog feature on this site to muse about it more.

(And I want to be clear that my goal is not to rile up or anger you. I think this is a really interesting topic to consider in storytelling and audience, and your comment was thoughtful and I appreciate that.)

There seems to be this harsh divide in readers/media consumers between those that thrive on implication, and those that want every plot line and story hook explained explicitly and thoroughly, so that there are no lose ends, no questions to be had. I have found that a lot of readers here fall into that latter category.

I certainly fall into the former category, but by and large it seems--through the decisions made not just in fiction, but in mainstream TV & movies as well--that the trend is that audiences want to be explicitly told what is happening, or how to feel, or even how to think about a given character.

Is there anything wrong with it? In general, no. People like what they like, and media companies output what people like according to the majority of their audience. Do I like or agree with the super explicit, no-strings-left-untied approach that has been taking over? No. I think it's bad for storytelling as a whole.

In fact, there are entire genres of media, horror chief among them, that thrive off the gap between what's on the page & what's in the reader's own mind. Horror movies (or games or stories) are scary in large part because of the reader's/viewer's expectations, and their fear of the unknown. This story is horror. It's a delicate horror about mental health, burnout, codependent relationships, and expectation. But it's also about the mysteries of death, and the relationship between earth ponies, the soil, magic, and death itself. In fact, one of the things that struck me the most on my initial read through was how well we, the audience, were set up--from the scene descriptions, to how Rarity treats AJ, to their dynamic of Rarity earning the money and AJ being the stay-at-home wife--to expect Rarity to be the necromancer. Not Applejack. It was such a poignant twist.

Rarity is an unreliable narrator, and that shows here. She's self-focused and self-centered, but we don't see that until we see Applejack's willingness to 'do anything' for her, to use her mystical connection to the earth to bring Rarity back, to remake her right. This story wouldn't be nearly as good if the audience was explicitly told every detail about their relationship and Applejack's powers. It sticks because we are lead to believe it is 'good' or 'healthy', and then we are emphatically shown it is not. There are a lot of hints that something is amiss. Folks who have been in bad or toxic relationships can likely spot them easier, but those who don't have that experience may not. But what is fiction if not an opportunity to learn how something can appear one way but exist as entirely another?

Basically, there's a difference between readers being confused because the story is unclear (because the story is poorly written), and readers being confused because the story is unclear (because every thought and step is not explicitly explained).

The former is on the author, but that's not what happened here. The language isn't really flowery--I'd expected more "the violet unicorn" syndrome and various $5 words if it were; rather, it's... poetic. It's prose. It's thoughtful and purposeful andmirrors Rarity herself. The scene descriptions serve a greater purpose than just describing the surroundings: they tell us things about the story, about Rarity and Applejack, through the tone and implication and expectations of the characters themselves, but also the audience.

This story, as stated above, thrives on expectation and implication and subtext. It's like a lot of good horror in that way. But more than that, it's complex and nuanced the way I expect actual-facts published prose to be. As a reader, I love getting the chance to exercise my critical reading muscles. It find it sad when others don't feel the same way about storytelling.

Comments can't go into Favorites on the Bookshelf, but this one should.

And kudos to the story for being intricate and intriguing enough to warrant it.

Time slowed to a crawl as a crack reverberated through my skull. I tried to gasp but there was nothing there, it was as though there’s nothing to gasp with .


oh my gosh

Rarity is a zombie pony with many good ideas.

Good story :)

When I tell you I absolutely adored this story I mean I LOVE THIS SO MUCH AHHH GENUINELY THIS IS AMAZING AND I WOULD 100% READ AGAIN :raritywink:

Everyone needs to step aside, because this story straight up stomped through my expectations and completely surpassed them. I loved the script flip of the earth pony being able to perform this kind of magic, of the fact the spell dictates just what version of pony returns from the Earth. This was excellently written, and I love me some rarijack to boot. What an excellent story!

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