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

The Power of Popularity - theworstwriter



A unicorn's magic is a mysterious thing.

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Sometime Later It Begins Again

Twilight Sparkle stood before a small marble pillar erected in the middle of Ponyville’s town square. It was a modest thing, not too flashy or particularly eye-grabbing in any way. It was kind of just there, standing as a stark reminder of the unfortunate events some months ago only to those who bothered to give it any mind. Most only did so when they bumped into it. Honestly, whoever was charged with finding a place for it chose a poor spot sticking it in the middle of the path.

Atop this pillar sat a golden urn, not much bigger than a mixing bowl and studded with bright, purple gemstones. Twilight saw herself in the urn’s dusty reflection and noted just how crestfallen her features were. She scuffed a hoof into the ground and lowered her head, feeling a wave of guilt wash over her. A small plaque had been placed at the foot of the pillar, coincidentally out of sight to the average passerby, and the words it read panged her heart.

”In memory of Rarity. Fashionista, friend, savior, and the adoration of many.”

Those last few words in particular stung her. Twilight glanced back up to the urn that she knew housed the remains of one of her closest friends. It felt like it was only yesterday when the Ponyville Dam was on the very edge of rupturing and flooding all of—

Twilight stopped herself. “Oh, right,” she mumbled, mulling over the fact that the very same dam nearly burst again just yesterday morning. In fact, it almost broke apart many times before. Twilight tried to recall all the times when its shoddy construction and continual ill repair threatened Ponyville, but there were so many instances she just couldn’t come close to counting them all. She simply couldn’t. She made a mental note to seriously find out if more could be done to fix that thing than supergluing it back together and sealing it with duct tape.

Twilight glanced at the plaque again and returned to her thoughts. Her horn sparked and a number of pebbles floated up off the ground and played in the air beside her. Her eyes narrowed at their innocent orbits and one by one, they shot off in random directions like little bullets. A distant scream confirmed what she had concluded all along: she was, in fact, a very powerful unicorn. But then why, she wondered, just why she was unable to fix the dam herself that one fateful day, the day she lost her friend and learned of an unsettling truth? She thought back to that one conversation with Princess Celestia several months ago, where she collapsed into her arms like a sputtering foal.

“There was nothing you could have done,” Celestia had told her then, and while she fully accepted that idea, Twilight still couldn’t come to grasp the explanation she had been given. The idea that a unicorn’s magical capabilities was directly related to “how admired” they were was utterly absurd! But the more she dwelled on the matter the more she saw how much sense it made, and the more confounded she became as to why she never figured this out herself, let alone been told it. It made sense because Princess Celestia was obviously the most popular pony in Equestria, therefore it’s only right that she’s the only pony powerful enough to raise the sun. And then there’s Princess Luna who had appeared practically out of nowhere to a kingdom that forgot her long ago, not to mention try and overthrow it again—a scenario where it made more sense for her to have stayed forgotten—but to have suddenly regained her status in such a short amount of time was very indicative of her prowess. Twilight wondered if she could raise the sun or the moon, but she didn’t even know where to begin for such a spell, and so she found herself feeling incredibly small. What a pathetic excuse for the Element of Magic she was.

Twilight felt silly having missed out on what was apparently common knowledge, that the more popular a unicorn was in the eyes of their peers, the more powerful they are with their magic. It made so much sense. Except for the apparent fact that Rarity was more popular than she was at the time, so much so she had overloaded and burst into flame and what remained of her ashes having been sealed inside this inconveniently placed urn in recognition of her sacrifice. Twilight felt uneased that she wasn’t just unpopular, but of all ponies Rarity was looked up to more than she. Honestly, Twilight was Celestia’s personal student for crying out loud! She was the key figure in saving Equestria many times over! How could anypony not come to appreciate her?

Perhaps she was being selfish. Obviously, Rarity had been around Ponyville longer than she had, so logically, she had more time to become renown than Twilight did. Still, it irked her that saving Equestria did nothing to help her image. Then she remembered what was coined as “The Smartypants Incident” and her mood fell drastically. Of course she’d done many commendable things, but she arguably had done just as many objectionable things if not more. Her mood only worsened as she recalled all the wrong she’d done around town and, what’s more, connected all these events to the exhaustion and fatigue she was keen on feeling soon thereafter. She gulped, coming to realize that perhaps the only things keeping her from losing her magical powers altogether were her five four closest friends, Spike, perhaps her family and Cadance too, and of course Princess Celestia—that last one in particular alone explained why she was so powerful right now. Should she move to Celestia’s bad side, no doubt her magic would wither up and die like a dried sponge.

“Twilight?” came a worried voice off to the side. Twilight blinked and glanced to her right to see her friend Fluttershy now standing beside her, her bright eyes wide and filled with concern. “Twilight, you’ve been standing here for seven hours straight. Are you feeling alright?”

“Yeah, I’m just...” Twilight began to say but sighed. “I’m just remembering what happened to Rarity.”

Fluttershy’s ears drooped. “Oh,” she said solemnly, but slowly a warm and sincere smile spread across her lips. “What Rarity did was amazing, Twilight, and you know that. She will forever remain in our hearts as not only a hero, but a beloved friend who was admired by all.”

Twilight frowned. “I know, but it’s just... I just can’t stop thinking about her. I feel like when she left us she took a piece of me with her.”

“She took a piece of all of us,” Fluttershy was quick to assure, causing Twilight to flinch. “Rarity is the kind of friend one meets once in a lifetime. But now she’s in a better place, and I think that once you come to accept this, only then will you be able to move on.”

“I have accepted that,” Twilight said. “I think. But I still just can’t get over the fact about how powerful she was that day.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Rarity was one of the most memorable ponies this town will have, so that has a great deal to do with what she did. She touched more lives with such sincerity and generosity than any one pony could ever hope to achieve; I don’t think anyone could ever forget her.”

Twilight lowered her gaze to floor.

“B-but that’s not to say she died in a bad way!” Fluttershy squeaked, eager to quickly get her friend out of her curiously worsening mood. “Even now, I think she’s one of the most popular ponies this town has had!”

Twilight choked back a sob.

Fluttershy patted her friend on the back. “Just... don’t beat yourself up so badly. I thought the Princess told you there was nothing that could be done? Yes, Rarity died, but... in her passing... we did walk away with our lives. Please, Twilight, don’t be so sad. It hurts me to see you like this.”

Twilight wiped a tear from her eye and looked back up to her friend. “You like me, right Fluttershy?”

“W-why of course!” Fluttershy exclaimed, a little taken aback. “You’re one of my best friends, Twilight! Whyever would you think that I don’t?”

Twilight said nothing to that and drew her friend into a warm embrace. Fluttershy squeaked in surprise, but quickly returned the motion with a hug of her own.

“Honestly, I haven’t thought much of Rarity,” Twilight eventually whispered over Fluttershy’s shoulder, trying her best to smile. “I mean, I never forgot her, but only recently have I really started to think about her. About her, her work, her family... I hate to admit I never stayed in contact with them long after her death. Sweetie Belle was probably devastated, and losing her sister before she could even do magic herself? The poor filly...”

Fluttershy blinked. “Who?”

Before the synapses within Twilight’s mind could so much as construe a single word, Rainbow Dash suddenly impacted the ground beside them with a thunderous boom. Both Twilight and Fluttershy jumped in surprise, squealing as their heartfelt hug became a frightened lock onto each other for dear life.

“Rainbow Dash!” Twilight yelled, pushing off of Fluttershy and coming to her hooves. “What in the blazes are you—”

“No time to explain!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, grabbing her completely off guard by the arm. “Twilight! Fountain! Now!”

Fluttershy then stood up only to get knocked down again as Rainbow Dash shot off, dragging a screaming Twilight behind. Her wake rushed around the pathway with a powerful force, tipping the marble pillar precariously onto it’s edge. It stopped for a moment before rocking back into place, making the only evidence of Rainbow Dash’s presence being a very dazed and confused Fluttershy.


Rainbow Dash rocketed across town and into the marketplace. She expertly landed stationary on her hooves after pulling off the sudden deceleration, but Twilight had kept going, and she cartwheeled across the road and into a stall of cabbages. The unfortunate salespony wailed at the loss of his livelihood as Twilight lay sprawled atop the wreckage, her eyes spinning in their sockets. Rainbow Dash walked over and pulled her dizzy friend to her hooves and led her down the path towards the marketplace’s notable, inconspicuous fountain display.

“Look!” Rainbow Dash said and threw Twilight forward, who just barely stopped herself from teetering over into the water.

Twilight paused to let her vision stop swimming before looking at the fountain in front of her. “What is it?” she deadpanned, looking to her friend with a frown of annoyance.

“The water pressure!” Rainbow Dash pointed at the top of the fountain. “It’s gone!”

Twilight glanced up to the top of the fountain and concluded that, yes, in fact, the fountain had apparently stopped working properly. “So?” she asked. “Just call a plumber or somepony. Did you really have to drag me over here for this?”

“Twilight...” Rainbow Dash dragged a hoof over her face. “Don’t you get what this means?!”

“That Ponyville’s water system is worse than I thought?”

“Yes!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “This means the dam is malfunctioning! Again!”

At this realization, Twilight’s heart plummeted into the furthest reaches of her stomach. She glanced around the marketplace, at all the innocent and happy ponies going about their lives, at all their smiling faces and delightful interactions. Then, looming ominously in the distant background, stood Ponyville Dam, where a big band-aid had been placed over the latest leak. It was only a matter of time now before it started to fail completely, and unless Derpy was going to be making another delivery of giant band-aids just as it starts to collapse, then Ponyville would be doomed. Again.

Twilight’s train of thought fizzled as she suddenly wondered why this fountain acted as an early warning system, and for that matter why Rainbow Dash seemed to be the only pony who knew this and never bothered to alert anyone in the past.

“We gotta do something!” Rainbow Dash wailed. “The Wonderbolts are supposed to be coming to town later and it would totally be awful if the town was flooded!”

Twilight shot her a look. “Where was your enthusiasm the day Rarity died?”

Rainbow Dash ignored her question. “Twilight, please, you’re like the smartest unicorn ever! You gotta know by now how to prevent this from happening! Again!”

“I don’t!” Twilight admitted. “Wouldn’t the mayor by now have hired some professional to fix that thing for the long term?”

“My taxes are high enough already! I don’t know anything about politics!” Rainbow Dash said. “I only know awesome stuff! Can’t we, like, zap it with the Elements of Harmony or something?”

Twilight went to speak but quickly found herself blindsided by Rainbow Dash’s idea. It was a brilliant idea, actually. Why had she never thought of this before? Why had nopony ever thought of this before? The Elements of Harmony may be the deus ex machina, but Twilight was not above doing something like cheating if it now meant she could save the day. She’d become not just popular, but outright admired! Her image around town would start to repair and with it her magical prowess. This was an opportunity she was not about to let slip beyond her grasp.

Rainbow Dash lifted a hoof to her chin. “No, wait, we can’t do that. Rarity’s dead. No Element of Generosity.”

Twilight almost tripped over herself. “Figures,” she grumbled, silently cursing the universe and fate itself for whatever cruel grudge it apparently had with her.

“Maybe we could ask Princess Celestia?” Rainbow Dash offered. “I mean, if this fountain is any indication, we should have like a month before the dam starts to break apart again, barring any external forces of course.”

Twilight made a mental note to later scold Rainbow Dash for not having previously told anybody about this crucial information. But now, she had other thoughts on her mind, and she liked what was coming around. She was quickly piecing together exactly how to not only save Ponyville, but rebuild her image in the process and therefore improve her magical abilities, like the real Element of Magic should have.

“No, better idea!” she exclaimed, shutting Rainbow Dash’s mouth with a hoof. “We will use the Elements of Harmony!”

Rainbow Dash gave her a look. “Uh... how? Rarity is dead.”

Twilight pointed a hoof at the distant Ponyville Dam and declared, “By making a new friend and finding a new bearer for the Element of Generosity, of course!”

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Comments ( 5 )

Calling one of the background 6 to be the new Element of Generosity.

I like where this is going.

Ehhh, I'm out, I don't get the humor in this.

uh.

this went even weirder, somewhere.

going on this logic: How is sombra so powerful? NOBODY likes Sombra. (at least not in his respective universe)

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