NO BREATHING! and other stories

by Doctor Parker

First published

A collections of short stories based on the work of Michael Rosen

Hard Knox, the teacher of the next grade up, is so strict, that you're not allowed to breathe in her lessons; how will the Cutie Mark Crusaders survive?

Then brace yourself for the fiercest animal in the World: THE SKYFOOGLE!!

And finally, Princess Celestia tells a little bit about herself in the most hip way possible.

Based the work of Michael Rosen.

Rated E, but it has some foals dying; it's partly geared towards those children who have macabre senses of humor, like me as a youngster and other avid readers of Roald Dahl.

NO BREATHING!

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All the foals were so happy and excited! They all graduated Ms. Cheerilee's class, and all their parents and family were there! There was cake being served, and talk of the next grade up...

Wait, what?

That's right, there was another grade up after Cheerilee's class. Would Cheerilee teach? it they all asked, but no, Cheerilee would not teach it.

If not Ceerilee, who?

Why, Hard Knox, you sillies! the adults all told them.

Later, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon began to torment and taunt the Cutie Mark Crusaders:

"You went a whole semester and didn't get your Cutie Marks?"

"You didn't even know about the next grade?"

"You must feel, like, so totally stupid!"

"Oh wait...you are!!"

They then giggled evilly and walked away. Then Twist came by and Apple Bloom asked: "Are ya really gonna let them do that?"

"Well, yeth, becauthe they're really cool, and we're like, betht friendth!"

With that, Twist left, and Apple Bloom muttered under her breath.

"Ah wish the worst things possible can happen to them all. I really, really do."

Be careful what you wish for, Apple Bloom.

Be very, very careful.

*******************

They started the day with a new Pony go into the School House. Except she wasn't really a Pony, she was a brown Minotaur Heifer. There were murmurs throughout the entire classroom about this new teacher, whom they all knew to be Hard Knox.

Hard Knox shouted "NO BREATHING!"

The was a silence among the foals. Then laughing. She must have been joking, surely!

But she wasn't joking. "YOU ALL QUIT LAUGHING AND HOLD YOUR BREATH!!" She yelled so hard they all began to cry. "YOU'LL QUIT YOUR BLUBBERING! I'LL MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU; I'LL TURN ON THE GAS!" With that, what appeared to be coasters in her classroom actually turned out to be canisters of a misty white poison gas. All the foals tried to go for the exit, but alas! It was locked! So they all ducked and covered their mouths and noses.

To their relief, the gas was stopped being produced. Then she said "you can breathe again...for now. Isn't it easy to resist the temptation of breathing when the air around you is toxic?"

There three foals, however, who didn't; one colt in particular spent the class period yelling for help.

Poor Snips. Rest in peace.

Sweetie Belle gasped at the sight of one carcass in particular: "Oh no...that's Button Mash."

Button Mash had been screaming his head off the entire time, not unlike how he screamed his head off at pretty much everything.

"That's a shame," Apple Bloom replied "he was very nice."

Sweetie Belle saw all the dead foals and was crying, with Applebloom patting her on the back. Scootaloo sought to cheer them up: "Look, there's Twist!"

Twist's death was slightly unusual for the casualties that day: She actually did what the teacher said; she just held her breath. She was probably just too weak to survive the ordeal.

That cheered up Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom in a flash, as they looked upon Twist's body, which was quite obviously dead: "heheheheh, hard luck Twist!" Sweetie Belle chuckled.

"Always knew you were a bit weak!" Apple Bloom added.

Okay, so much for "be careful what you wish for."

******************

Still, that was hardly enough consolation for Scootaloo; she decided to go to the favorite hang-out of Rainbow Dash: "Rainbow Dash? Were you allowed to breathe during your lessons during fifth grade?"

Rainbow Dash seemed to think for a short time, and then said "Of course not! I was tough back then!"

Scootaloo asked "Wouldn't that have been very bad for your brain?"

"I dunno" Rainbow Dash replied "and I don't care!" Then she proceeded to dash off, and hit her face on a tree (otherwise known as Fluttershy). "I'm okay!" she shouted, and flew off.

Scootaloo looked up to Rainbow Dash, but she had to admit, Rainbow wasn't a super-genius, and she wondered if not breathing had something to do with it.

*****************

Long ago, in early Pony culture, back before there was love and harmony, and all the crops were frozen, Ponies had many deparate attempts to reduce the populations to save resources and thus extend their races longer. Love and Harmony were discovered, and the need disappeared, but the Chieftains had other plans: When, upon observing that colts were more likely to suffocate than fillies, that the chieftains of Ponies decided to make surviving class even harder to reduce the chances of potential rivals of mates for their sons, who were always allowed to breathe during lessons. Then generations later, some of the chieftains got greedy and wanted more wives, and younger ones too, (and no longer for sons, but now for themselves!) making the rules even harder still! That meant if you were caught breathing in lessons, you would have to be put in a dungeon for weeks, and then start the semester all over again the next year! Over time, the Ponies quite forgotten all of this, and began to just keep doing it assuming the Gods would punish them if they didn't. Of course, more and more cities were daring to allow the foals to breathe during their lessons. But that was a liberal concept that rural Ponyville would NEVER allow to happen to upset their traditions!

****************

Then, that Tuesday, class began again: "NO BREATHING!!"

This time, not breathing was hard, because now there was no poison gas, and now the students could hardly resist the temptation not the breathe.

Diamond Tiara proceeded to whine in class: "Miss...can I go out and do some breathing?"

"NO! YOU GOT ALL PLAY TIME TO DO IT!!"

"Aw, come on, miss, c'mon!"

But it was no use: No amount of begging would get any permission to breathe. In fact, Diamond Tiara's insistence would get a firm hand on her muzzle, and she could not breathe or utter a word throughout the entire class period. Eventually (to the relief of many other students) Diamond Tiara would eventually pass away; Apple Bloom found grim pleasure at the sight of Diamond Tiara's face getting increasingly purple, more so than her coat was. She looked around, and it appeared that Silver Spoon was looking pretty relieved too.

***********************

Apple Bloom went home fearfully, going to tell Applejack about everything that happened, including all the dead foals, but Applejack's reaction was nothing short of disappointing.

"Ah, Pony up, Sugarcube! Ah was not allowed to breathe durin' mah lessons too!"

"But it ain't fair!"

"C'mon, nopony is allowed to breathe during the fifth grade!"

"Well, if that's true, how come you're here to tell the tale?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Dontcha kids know these days? Geeze, guess each generation really is gettin' dumber."

Apple Bloom found that particular remark rather annoying. "Well, just tell me! You wouldn't want your little sister to dah, would ya?"

"Well, if she was weak an' stupid enough..." but seeing Apple Bloom in tears, Applejack said with a sigh, "Fahn, I'll tel ya: Ya breathe under the desk lids when she isn't lookin'"

*********************

That Wednesday, Apple Bloom had agreed with her friends to attempt to try to snatch a quick breath under the lids of their desks when Hard Knox was distracted.

However, Ruby Pinch made a terrible mistake. She slammed the desk lid.

Hard Knox heard that, and slowly approached Ruby with a harsh look on her face. There was a deadly silence, but it did not last long: "OUT! SCHOOL PRISON!"

Then, before you could say "Jack Nicholson", a trapdoor opened from under Ruby Pinch's seat; seat and filly both fell down with a yelp, and landed with a crash.

Then, Hard Knox jumped down the trapdoor, and all the (surviving) class breathed a sigh of relief. However, Hard Knox's head poked out from the trapdoor hole, and she shouted "NO BREATHING!"

*********************

"Miss!" Silver Spoon shouted many days later from a trap door hole, "I've been up here for three weeks, and there's rats! And they're nibbling my hooves!"

Apparently, the dungeon was a place in which after you fell into it, the teacher would proceed to string up on the wall-bars; it was fortunate perhaps, that fewer and fewer students were perishing, a number of whom intentionally went to the the School Prison to avoid not breathing; many would rather have rats nibble their hooves than to suffocate in class. Silver Spoon, however, was not one of them, because she knew once she was released from School Prison, that you would have to start this class all over again, a risk she would rather avoid. No, Silver Spoon was here because when she slammed the desk lid she was breathing behind, she was caught.

Silver had previously threatened lawsuit, but her words fell on deaf ears; her father always scolded her, saying that she should have been a big girl and not breathed during her lessons.

"Not one member in our family was caught breathing during lessons!" he would say grandly and firmly "I won't tolerate a daughter who does!"

Even though the Cutie Mark Crusaders avoided being caught so far, they only avoid it by slamming the desk lids when the teacher was yelling at some other foal. Fluttershy did take the time to teach Sweetie Belle CPR, but she couldn't save all the foals. Many of them passed away irrevocably. Snails seemed to be the only colt who could just smile and survive the whole time through class, probably because he hardly had any brain to supply with Oxygen. As over time, each foal was passing away, eventually there would be almost no foal to yell at. School prison meant going back to Cheerilee's class to start all over, and then taking this one under Hard Knox all over again! It was not a risk any of them wanted to take.

************************

Sweetie Belle went to consult her sister Rarity, and told her all about her class, about how she wasn't allowed to breathe, and how kids would keel over and die, and how protests fell on deaf ears, and even about the desk lids!

"Well of course she got caught!" Rarity scoffed "She didn't gingerly put her hoof on the edge of the desk, like a proper lady should! If you do that, the desk lid closes quietly, no noise at all! Survival can in fact, be conducted in a lady-like manner, though it seems as though many have forgotten this!"

************************

"But we already did that Sweetie Belle!" Apple Bloom objected.

Scootaloo added "Yeah, and you get sent to school prison when you do!"

"But we didn't put our hooves under the desk lids before! That way, there'll be no noise at all!"

So Friday near the end of the semester began like any other day: "NO BREATHING!"

They all had to hold their breaths for a while; there were only six left: Dinky, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Snail, Scootaloo, and Featherweight. The Cutie Mark Crusaders knew it was a one shot. Featherweight then breathed beneath the desk lid, but alas! His hoof slipped! the desk lid slammed, and then "SCHOOL PRISON!" And he disappeared beneath the trap door. The others also snuck in some breaths (except for snails because apparently he didn't need to breathe).

They were the only five survivors: Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Dinky, and Snails.

But strange sensations occurred on the flanks of the Cute Mark Crusaders, and powerful beams of light emitted from them:

They all knew what this meant: "WE GOT OUR CUTIE MARKS!!"

Twilight Sparkle ran up to the scene and examined them: "Very good, girls!"

Apple Bloom exclaimed "Look, my Cutie Mark is a Dahmond-shaped thingie!"

Twilight giggled and said "Yes, I can see that; it's the Buffalo Medicine Bull's Eye; it's a symbol of wisdom. Okay Sweetie Belle, let's see yours!"

Twilight inspected for a while, and then said "A-ha! A feather!"

"What does that mean?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"That is a symobl for healing power; you can save those who suffer!" Twilight explained.

So Scootaloo asked "What about mine?"

"A rattlesnake jaw! Strength!"

"Awsome!"

"Wow. that was a great semester!" Snails said. "Let's do that again!"

"Just our luck" Apple Bloom said sadly. "The only colt who lived was Snails!"

"I guess our only choices for husbands later in life will be the older stallions, city folks, or Spike." sighed Sweetie Belle, who was really hoping for Button Mash.

"Forget Spike, Twilight is now using the Hard Knox method of education on him." Apple Bloom explained (out of Twilight's earshot). "I doubt he'll last long."

"I call dibs on Big Mac!" cheerfully yelped Scootaloo! "I'll so marry him when I'm older!"

"No way, he's mah brother! Marry a city colt or something; word of Celestia is, that you can breathe in Las Pegasus lessons!"

"Plus," Sweetie Belle added, "you're forgetting the colts that got sent to school prison, like Rumble; they'll be released soon, and we can tell them how to breathe without being caught. Maybe they'll survive."

Scootaloo sighed "One can only hope."

*********************

There was Monday, and it there were the only five survivors in class. As usual, the teacher came in. As usual, she sat down.

As usual, she shouted, but it was a different shout: "TAKE YOUR TESTS!!"

However, not once did she shout "NO BREATHING!!"

In fact, as she passed out the test, Scootaloo had the nerve to ask a question: "Is it...is it okay if we breathe during the final?"

Almost frighteningly, Hard Knox beamed warmly.

"Absolutely! I was always told as a calf to not breathe during finals; I really hated that. Of course you can breathe during finals!"

Apple Bloom was relieved to hear this! An easy day for once!

Or was it...?

Apple Bloom then examined the test...she realized she didn't know the answers to any of the questions! She spent so much time and energy trying to survive that she didn't pay any attention in class!

*********************

In fact, the only foal who passed the finals was Snails.

********************

"SPIKE! WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT NO BREATHING?" Twilight shouted, (she, having been raised in a rather liberal school in Canterlot where breathing was enouraged, did not really know the cultural signifcance of not breathing to Ponyville).

Spike however, was far too weak to answer; in fact, he began to see a tunnel with a light at the end of it....

THE SKYFOOGLE!

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To make Apple Bloom feel better about having to take Hard Knox's class all over again, Applejack treated her little sister to seeing a live show, featuring "the fiercest animal in the world."

"So, is it a Femi-Nazi?" Apple Bloom inquired.

"I dunno" Applejack replied "it's somethin' called 'the Skahfoogle'; guess it could be one of them 'polygamy correct' terms for Femi-Nazis, but let's not jump into any conclusions."

Apple Bloom thought about for a minute. "So, Rainbow Dash might be a Skahfoogle?"

"I dunno; we'll see." Applejack replied.

Indeed, a tent was set up, and notices put up all around Ponyville, advertising the appearence of the fiercest animal in the world: The SKYFOOGLE!

They all went to the park at 2:00 PM the next day, and Apple Bloom noticed two stallions that looked awfully familiar advertising their Skyfoogle. "Step right up to see Flim and Flam's monster, the Skyfoogle!" they shouted.

There were many Ponies there, for it is not every day you get to see The Fiercest Animal in the World, and Ponyville was a small town, so it was inevitable that they saw many Ponies whom they knew. For example, Applejack saw Fluttershy with Iron Will, and shouted "Howdy!"

"Oh, hey," Fluttershy replied.

"Watcha doin'?" Applejack asked, rather curious what Fluttershy was doing there with Iron Will.

Fluttershy then muttered something about "Iron Will"

"Wut?"

"Um, I mean, Iron Will is accompanying me to see this fierce animal, so that I don't get too scared."

"THAT RIGHT!" Iron Will shouted. "Iron Will is ready for anything! IRON WILL WILL BE FLUTTERSHY'S KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR AND HOLD HER WHEN THE SKYFOOGLE SHOWS ITS UGLY HEAD!!"

Then Rainbow Dash came by, with Scootaloo and Soarin' at hoof. Apple Bloom noticed that Rainbow's tail was intertwined with Soarin's.

"Rainbow Dash, I gotta ask ya somethin'." Apple Bloom began.

"G'head!" Rainbow replied.

"Does Soarin' know he's dating the Skahfoogle?"

"Wha- I'm not the Skyfoogle!" Rainbow objected. "Even if I was, Soarin' wouldn't be scared, would you Honey?"

"Um, well, I don't know...I have yet to meet the fiercest animal..."

"Ugh, remind me why I loved you again?" Rainbow Dash asked.

Soarin' then retorted "Hey, I didn't say you were a Skyfoogle!"

"I KNOW! But you're afraid! Why would I have the patience for a scaredy-cat like you??!"

Apple Bloom did not hear Soarin's response for then a tall thin stallion was present, "5 bits please!"

There was a tall, thin stallion with a dark red mane standing at the entrance to the tent, forbidding entrance unless one payed the fee. Another stallion, one without a mustache, stood at the stage. This stage in front of which many foldable metal chairs which were placed all under the tent, and before going to the back of the tent, he said: "And now, the lovely assistant shall part the curtains, and reveal to us the true horror of the Skyfoogle!"

Then, the "Lovely assistant" came along, who was a blue Unicorn with a white mane wearing a one-piece suit, short cape, top-hat, and dress-shoes; Apple Bloom also wondered if she saw that mare before. The Mare announced, "And now, you shall see the Great and Powerful Skyfoogle!" And then she used her magic to part the curtains.

"But Mister!" started Apple Bloom, "The Skyfoogle is already here! In front of me!"

"For the last time, I'm not a Skyfoogle-" Rainbow Dash began.

But there was an awful noise: The yell of a stallion, an unearthly cry, and the sounds of chains rattling.

Then, one of the two brothers ran out (the one with a mustache), but now his clothes were torn and there was blood all over him.

"Quick! Get out of here! The Skyfoogle has escaped!" he shouted.

They all ran in a hurrry, to avert the Skyfoogle's wrath.

Apple Bloom started "But where is the Skahfoogle? Ah can't see 'im!"

While the chaos ensued, Fluttershy saw her date, Iron Will, run away all by himself, screaming like a little girl, so she yelled very, very hard:

"YOU COME BACK HERE AND SAVE ME YOU BIG BABY!!!!!!!" she roared.

Applejack gave her answer: "Nope, Fluttershy is the Skyfoogle."

They all agreed that no animal is fiercer than Fluttershy.

*********************

Soarin' then got up on his hind legs and, with fists in the air, swinging randomly, while is was jumping up and down, he shouted "Come at me, Skyfoogle!"

Rainbow Dash, all curled up in a corner, saw the courage that she didn't expect from Soarin'. She now remembered what drew her to him.

But as Soarin' continued to dance on his hooves, waving what would have been fists in the air, Rainbow Dash said "hey, Soarin'...I don't think the Skyfoogle is here."

Soarin' looked around and then said with a small sigh "You know...I don't think there really was a Skyfoogle, was there?"

"I don't think so," Rainbow admitted "but you'll have to do."

And they embraced and kissed intensely.

*********************

After that, they all gathered in a nearby fast-food joint and laughed about it all.

They never saw the Stallion twins or the Unicorn mare ever again...

...They never saw their bits ever again...

...And they never saw...THE SKYFOOGLE!!

Unless Fluttershy counts (which she probably doesn't).

******************

Flim, Flam, and Trixie had established a wonderful system: They would go around telling everyone that they had the fiercest animal in the world, and then they would collect tickets; mind you, they didn't have a single creature on them, but they were very good at faking it, and they would take all the bits and leave.

THE CELESTIA RAP!

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Hard Knox couldn't be happier! All of her students were gathered at school, because they were getting the most important guest of all. There was a burst of light, with brighter sparkles that pierced the eyes. A proud fanfare of trumpets that would put John Williams to shame sounded throughout Ponyville. Then they saw it:

A massive chariot, pulled by many white stallions in cheesy armor, toting her, the great Sun Princess herself.

All the foals gathered 'round, at the entrance of the school with excitement and joy, for they knew that she was coming especially for them, to teach them life's greatest lesson. The carriage landed, and ignoring the small number of foal that were crushed under its weight, the majority were jumping and squealing with delight to meet the celebrity of celebrities, and they bombarded her with questions:

"Is it true you're Chuck Norris?"

"Can you really fly?"

"Conservative or Liberal?"

"Can you banish my brother to the moon?"

"How do you troll?"

"Who is your favorite Doctor?"

"What is more powerful, the magic of Friendship, or Mechagodzilla?"

"Who shot first?"

"Do you like breaking rare Chinese vases?"

"Who is more powerful, SpaceGodzilla or Destoroyah?"

"What's Octopus plural?"

"What is the square root of one?"

"If I drink milk through my nose and laugh, will it come out of my ears?"

"Can I be a Princess too?"

"Can you give me a weenie? I'm a girl and want to remain one, but I want a weenie too. They look fun."

Celestia, trumping slowly to the school house while being bombarded with these questions, gently raised her hoof and said with a laugh: "Now now, I know these are all very important questions, but I came to answer the most important one, after I read you a short story." Hard Knox handed her a book, and Celestia read from it:

"Once upon a time, there was an Ugly Barnacle: He was so ugly that everyone died! The end!"

There was a silence.

It was disturbed by Apple Bloom tearfully exclaiming "That didn't help at all!"

Celestia slammed the book shut: "I don't see why it shouldn't, young lady. It is truly sophisticated, with its minimalism, detailed characterization, and harsh realism. In fact, I own a hard copy on my bookshelf, and have taught entire classes revolving around this work of art. Any more stupid remarks?"

There were none.

"I thought not," she close with a devilish smile before she resumed talking. "Back to the most important question: Why am I awesome? That is a question I can easily answer!"

Then with a flick of her mane, her regalia was magically transmuted into a a ball cap, a huge gold chain necklace, gold teeth, and a huge sweater. Then her guards jumbed in wearing matching attire. A beat played in the background by means of magic, and Celestia began to chant with it.

You may think I'm happy
You may think I'm sad
You may think I'm crazy
You may think I'm mad
But hang on to your seats and listen right here
I'm gonna tell you something that'll burn your ear!

A-Hip, hop, the hip-hop-hap
I'm giving you all the Trollestia Rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap

I was born on the 7th of May
I remember very well that awful day
I was in my mother, curled up tight
Though I have to say it was dark as night
Nothing to do, didn't want to breathe
I was so happy didn't want to leave!

Then I heard some people give a shout:
"One push,Tau Sunflare, and she'll be out!"
I'm tellin' you, that was a puzzle to me!
I shouted out: "How'd you know I'm a she?"
Doctor shouted "Good Lord, she can talk!"
I popped out my head and said, "Now watch me walk."
I juked and jived around that room
Balam-bam-boola, balam-de-ditty-boom...

A-Hip, hop, the hip-hop-hap
I'm giving you all the Celestia Rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap

When I was one, I swam the Trotting Channel
When I was two, I ate a soapy flannel!

When I was three, I started getting thinner,
When I was four, I ate the dog's dinner!

When I was five, I was in a band playing drums
When I was six, I ate a bag of plums!

When I was seven, I robbed a bank with my sister
When I was eight, I became Prime Minister!

When I was nine, I closed the schools with Lun',
When I was ten, I sent her...straight to the moon!

So that's who I am, that's what I'll tell,
Missus T, Missus R, Missus O-L-L!

That's what I am, that's what I'll be!
Missus C, Missus Sun, Missus God, Missus me!

A-Hip, hop, the hip-hop-hap
I'm giving you all the Celestia Rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap...

Then The Sun Princess catwheeled out, and all the guards departed with highly choreographed flips and jumps, and with that, the door slammed shut!!

All were dumbfounded, resulting in a deep silence that lasted until it was broken by a most obstute observation from Snail.

"That was weird."