• Published 20th Apr 2013
  • 1,103 Views, 36 Comments

The Power of Popularity - theworstwriter

A unicorn's magic is a mysterious thing.

  • ...

Rarity En Fuego

Rarity was on fire. Not the kind of “on fire” one might hoofbump about, but the kind of “on fire” that involved lots of screaming and heat.

Twilight Sparkle, staring at her enflamed friend dashing about, screaming for a bucket of water which she just couldn’t find, couldn’t help wondering how the day had gone so horribly wrong.

It was a perfectly nice fall night in Ponyville. If one didn’t include the town’s imminent doom in the forecast.

“The dam is about to explode!” Twilight screamed as she stared at Ponyville’s ever-perilous dam, beginning to crack under the strain of numerous cracks already present on its surface. For a moment, Twilight paused to consider her inner choice of words about how she had repeated “crack” so often, but dismissed it as having been away from Princess Celestia’s tower for too long.

“Use your magic or something,” Rainbow Dash slurred, hanging listlessly off a cloud. Dash became useless for a short while after cider season when she gave into despair over not getting some of the Apples’ precious nectar and inevitably ordered an inferior knockoff by mail or tried to brew her own; she was always out from bottle flu or actual flu for a few days as a result. Not even this big of a chance to be a hero to all of Ponyville could convince her to move.

Twilight glanced again at the dam, currently held back by the piecemeal efforts of a few brave pegasi.

“Dam it!” somepony said behind her.

Twilight whirled, intent on lecturing whoever was so crass as to resort to such a linguistically challenged choice of words. Even in the middle of a crisis, using such language just showed that somepony needed a thesaurus magically forced in their ears! At least then she could feel like she was doing something after her magic had proved useless. Leave it to the inconsiderate dam to explode the day after she’d nearly burnt her horn out re-shelving all the library’s books four times: a personal best!

Pinkie Pie stood, pink mouth agape in such a way that would have surely attracted flies were it warmer. Already, Twilight could smell the overpowering aroma of masticated sugar wafting from her friend’s mouth.

“Pinkie!” Twilight gasped, aghast at one of her friends being the culprit. “Such language!”

“Huh?” Pinkie’s ears flopped a few times, as though her inner radar was just now adjusting to Twilight’s presence. “Oh, what, you mean me saying ‘dam it?’”

“Pinkie!” Twilight drew her close with what little of her magic remained and lowered her voice. “There are foals present! What sort of example might you be setting?”

“Oh, Twilight, you’re so silly.” Pinkie effortlessly slipped from Twilight’s magical grasp (Twilight still wanted to know how an earth pony, even Pinkie, managed that) and bounded on a small rock nearby. “I was just pointing out that if that dam isn’t damming, then they should dam it! You know, plug the dyke up so it does its job and isn’t all wet!”

Nearby, a small orange pegasus foal tugged on her mother’s tail. “Mommy, what does it mean to plug a dyke and make it wet?” The child did not eat dinner that night.

“Anyway,” Pinkie continued, munching on a half-eaten cookie she pulled from her mane, “Isn’t it weird that nopony ever seems to notice that dam if it isn’t about to be destroyed? Or ever works there? Like it doesn’t actually exist all the time and like we’re all just the itsy-bitsy, little pony playthings of some—“

A pink earth pony with a bright yellow mane galloped up. “Oh, the horror! The horror! The dam is about to burst and we’re all going to be doomed!”

“I dunno, Lily,” Pinkie said, “Maybe we’ll just all suddenly realize we’re seaponies and swim away with our hoof fins!”

Twilight rubbed her aching temples. “Pinkie, I keep telling you, seaponies are a myth.”

“Madame Pinkie says otherwise, and she always sees the truth,” Pinkie said, speaking in a low tone and covering her muzzle with a leg mysteriously for a moment. After a few moments of silence, she dropped her leg back to the grass and resumed her normal cheer. “Or that’s what I hear from the rocks, anyway!”

“You can talk to… nevermind.” Twilight didn’t have time for Pinkie’s antics. Laughter wasn’t about to stop a dangerous dam. What they needed was magic to stop up the holes! However, with Twilight, really the only unicorn with any power worth writing about in Ponyville exhausted, there was nopony in town who could expend the massive effort needed to stop the impending disaster.

Spike came running up to Twilight. “Twilight, Twilight! I can’t find Rarity!”

“Just keep evacuating ponies, Spike! I’m sure she’s okay.”

“What if… what if she’s working on some way to save us? Some kind of super-absorbent fabric or… or…”

Go, Spike!”

Spike literally hopped to it.

“Rarity coming to save us all. That’s a laugh. I’m pretty sure I have more magic in my nose than she has in her entire h—”

“One side, please! Everypony, please, out of the way! I must get through!” a familiar, trying-far-too-hard-to-be-posh voice cried.

“Oh good. Our savior is here,” Twilight muttered, her eye twitching. The day had taken its toll on her, and the last thing Twilight needed was another of her friends being annoying.

“Please! I must get through for the sake of all ponykind!”

Particularly Rarity.

Twilight ignored Pinkie, who was now debating the merits of a pastry-based dress with herself, and dragged herself over to the crowd of onlookers at the hoof of the dam. Rarity, covered with sweat and looking as radiantly self-assured as ever, darted to and fro at the back of the crowd, trying to find some way through that wouldn’t get her dirtier.

Feeling more and more like she wanted to fall asleep until she drowned, Twilight tapped her showboating friend on the neck. “Rarity?”

“Oh,Twilight, thank heavens you’re here! You must help me get to the dam!” Rarity cantered in place, looking for all the world like a little filly who needed to use the restroom. Twilight would have laughed were she feeling even less polite.

“So you can save us all?”

“Why, yes! I rushed straight over here after my fashion show after I heard. I think I should be able to do this!” Her beaming smile spoke volumes on confidence, and at this foolhardiness, Twilight felt herself snap.

Drawing on her scant magical power to mimic Princess Luna’s infamous Royal Canterlot Voice, she boomed, “Okay, everypony! Get out of the way! You need not fear! Rarity is here to save us. Stand back and behold the mighty heroine in all her glory!” Most ponies immediately skittered out of the way, but a few quivered in place. “Well? Go on! Give her room! Saving lives, as Rarity does on a daily basis, takes a lot of space, you know!”

Rarity stared at her friend. Twilight sported more bags under her eyes than she took on an overnight stay to Canterlot, and her frayed mane only accentuated her occasional twitch. “Dear, are you alright?”

Twilight’s gaze would have withered an oak.

“All right, all right, I was only asking.” Feeling the eyes of everypony on her, Rarity sauntered to just before the dam. All the pegasi had retreated to the skies, as a few cracks were starting to leak water onto the coats of any below. Rarity sidestepped all the water steams, preserving her precious mane.

Her horn lit up. “All right, you dastardly dam! Leaking water all over my town! You are a crime against all this is good and fashionable in the world. Your color is so plain, not to mention how you’re about to flood us all!”

Twilight dragged a hoof down her face. “So useful. Celestia, but I could use some coffee right about now.”

To the collective shock of the townspeople, the entire dam lit up with the soft glow of Rarity’s magic. Cliffsides from a nearby hill came zooming towards the dam, only to be gently melded into the dam, stopping all the rushing water. However, this did leave it with the appearance of having suddenly contracting a strange, dam version of the pox, as splotches of brown did nothing to improve its appearance.

“Oh, no, no, no!” Rarity screeched. “That wasn’t what I meant at all!” A giant corona overcame her horn as her magic worked, flying in paint and ribbons from all across town. As loved ones began to embrace, ecstatic over the danger having passed, Rarity began to work furiously to beautify the dam.

Twilight stood, mouth agape, as she watched Rarity work. “B-but that… I don’t… when did Rarity… what just happened?” A sizzling sound made her glance at the dynamo herself, who was lighting the countryside for miles around with the intense light off her horn. Rarity was performing deeds that would have given Cadance a headache on a good day, let alone a unicorn who was more used to moving scissors than mountains!

Smoke was rising from Rarity’s horn and coat. In a growing circle around her, steam rose from the pooled water as it evaporated. Twilight rushed down, only to stagger back from the intense heat. “Rarity! You have to stop!”

“Not now!” the unseen madmare cried, her body totally hidden by the billowing clouds of steam. “I’m almost done!”

“Rarity, please!” Twilight screamed, feeling her throat scald even as she backed away.

A scream of ecstasy came from the center of the steam, and all the moisture in the air was instantly swept away as the crowd beheld their savior, Rarity, in the center of a pillar of fire. “It’s done!”

“Rarity, you’re on fire!” somepony shouted.

The pillar shifted as the pony-shaped inferno galloped toward the crowd, not heeding how it parted before it. “Oh, I am, aren’t I? Doesn’t the dam look positively delightful now?!” Indeed, the dam was dazzling, sporting giant ribbons everywhere and done up like a Hearth’s Warming gift.

“No, Rarity!” Twilight croaked, pushing her vocal cords for all the volume she could muster. “You are literally on fire!”

The pillar paused and seemed to look down at itself, as though just now registering the searing heat. “Oh,” it said in Rarity’s voice.

Then, the screams of agony began.

“I just don’t understand, Princess Celestia,” Twilight sobbed into her mentor’s silky coat. “How could this happen?”

“There, there, Twilight Sparkle,” she cooed, stroking her grieving student’s mane with a gentle hoof. “There was nothing you could have done.”

Twilight sniffled and pulled away. The two were seating on a bench in an antechamber just off the throne room; Twilight had stormed in, demanding an explanation over what had happened to Rarity, only to burst into sobs over the thought of her friend, who now fit into a convenient urn displayed in Ponyville’s town square for her heroism.

“But no, how? Rarity shouldn’t have been able to do all that magic, let alone enough for it to set her on fire!”

“Actually, there is some precedent to this. Certain unicorns find that magic… works a little differently for them.” Her mouth turned up in a thin smile. “For some unicorns, having the adoration of many actually makes their magic more powerful. I’m not surprised Rarity was like that. After all, her talent was all about finding gems, things which only hold value thanks to their beauty to others. And since she had just come from a fashion show, the adoration must have been at its peak.”

Twilight blinked. Then blinked again. “I… huh? How come I never knew this? That doesn’t…”

“Unicorn magic is a complicated and mysterious thing, Twilight. It would take a very long time for any one pony to understand every facet of it, I’m afraid.” She tapped an idle hoof on the ground. “Hmm…” She peered at Twilight, regarding her as though for the first time.

“P-Princess? Do I have something on my face?” Twilight, panicking, rubbed her hooves all over her face, searching for some blemish or, Celestia forbid, a speck of ash. “I mean, I came straight here from Ponyville so I didn’t have time to wash up but I hope I’m not too awful. I mean, just the almost-destruction of Ponyville! That’s an excuse for looking a little unsightly, right? Right? I mean, you know I didn’t mean any—”

Celestia rested a gentle hoof on Twilight’s mouth, bringing a blush to her student’s cheeks and silencing her. “Please, relax, my little pony. For what you’ve been through, you look just fine.”

“Umm…” Twilight hummed until Celestia removed her gilded hoof. “Then why the sudden stare? Was it something I said?”

“More something I said, Twilight.”

Twilight shyly raked a hoof across the bench for a few moments before saying, “Still, why haven’t I heard about this before? It doesn’t make any sense. And if that’s how Rarity’s magic worked, why did she… she…” Twilight’s lip quivered as she thought of her fallen friend.

“Shh.” Celestia drew her in for a hug; she gently brushed Twilight’s mane. “Sometimes, a pony takes in or tries to use more power than they can handle. What Rarity did was very brave, but there’s only so much one horn can do.”

“I understand.” They sat that way, teacher comforting student, for a very long time, long past when Twilight had any tears to shed.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!