Anypony for Doomsday?

by PhycoKrusk

First published

The world is about to end, and assuming there are no technical issues, it's all Princess Twilight's fault.

All unicorns build doomsday devices!” Those five words were words that Twilight Sparkle never expected to hear next to each other and in that specific order in a sentence.

King Sombra has returned, and upon discovering that Twilight Sparkle has not even considered building a doomsday device, has given her an ultimatum: Either she builds a device that has the sole purpose of destroying the world, or he starts defacing her books.

The clock is ticking: Will Twilight be able to get in touch with her inner mad science and save her imperiled reading material? More importantly, is she really destined to bring about the end of the world? Are unicorns really nothing more than a cosmic reset button, poised to bring a halt to all existence at a moment's notice even in the face of past evidence suggesting that they're not very good at it? Will Twilight succeed where all others have presumably failed? Does she even want to?

Join in as we follow the journey to answer the question on minds the world over: “Anypony for Doomsday?”

Phase 1

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It was a beautiful, sunny day in Ponyville that Spike the Dragon had the excellent misfortune of spending entirely indoors dusting. But even being stuck indoors dusting all day — even if he was dusting the parlor of the Friendship Rainbow Kingdom Castle, which desperately needed a shorter and less cumbersome name — couldn’t dampen his spirits. “Today is going to be the best day ever!” he said to himself. “I can just feel it!”

~Friend-ship~ chimed the doorbell, even if it did seem somewhat out of place in a castle.

“And there’s the proof!” Spike added, tossing the feather duster in his claws aside. “The impressive if incredibly stupid-sounding doorbell brings the promise of friends visiting!”

~Friend-ship~ chimed the doorbell again as Spike hurried into the foyer.

“Almost there!” he said. Finally, he reached the door, and pulled it opened to say hello to whom he was certain would be his favorite pony that day.

“Greetings, nemesis!” said a happily smiling King Sombra.

Aieeeeeeeeeeee!” replied Spike.

The door slammed, leaving a confused Sombra standing alone outside. “Well, that was just rude!” he said with a scowl.

On the other side of the door, Spike was busy engaging all the locks and contemplating how to add more when Twilight Sparkle came charging in. “Spike, I heard a scream! What happened? Are you ok?” she asked before she realized what he was doing. “Spike, who’s at the door?”

“S-S-Sombra!” squeaked the dragon, eying the door as if he might somehow cause more locks to materialize.

“Sombra?!” Twilight immediately forgot what she was going to ask Spike to do, eying the door warily. “Are-are you sure?”

“Open the freaking door! I know you’re in there! I saw you!”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure,” Spike replied, backing up towards Twilight.

“Ok, this isn’t problem,” Twilight said. “We can work this out. Spike, write a letter to Celestia explaining the situation, and then, we just have to stall him until she gets here. Brilliant!”

A mass of shadows suddenly flowed underneath the door jamb, rapidly recomposing itself into the (probable) Pony of Shadows himself, (former) King Sombra. “I can’t believe I forgot I could do that,” he remarked. His attention turned to Twilight. “Ah, Twilight Sparkle. We meet again.”

“What do you want, Sombra?” Twilight demanded, bracing herself for some serious spellcasting. Spike, having made himself scarce and hidden in an undisclosed location as soon as the shadows appeared, said nothing.

“A little bird told me that you have, in your possession, a first edition of Clover the Clever’s Complete Conjuration Compendium. Is that true?” Sombra replied.

“No!” Twilight said with a smug grin. “I have a first edition of Clover the Clever’s Complete Conjuration Compendium, Abridged!”

Sombra gasped. “There’s an Abridged edition?”

“Yes!” Twilight said. She even gave a happy hop into the air as she did. “You wouldn’t believe what I had to do to get it, either, but as soon as I heard there was an Abridged edition, I knew it’d be totally worth it to, to…” Several moments of uncomfortable silence passed before Twilight was once again on guard. “What am I even doing? Why are you here, Sombra?”

The smile that had developed on Sombra’s face just as Twilight was about to recount the tale of how she’d acquired such a rare book melted into a frown. “Jeez, what’s with all the hostility?” he asked innocently. “Do you greet all your visitors like this?”

“The last time we met, you locked me and poor Spike in a nightmare, and probably tried to kill us!” Twilight replied.

“Well, perhaps I did, but that was last time,” Sombra said to clarify. It didn’t help.

“Just tell me what you want!” Twilight demanded with a forceful stomp of her hoof. A moment later, that same hoof was back in the air, having the ‘owes’ shaken out of it.

“Well, fine, if you’re going to take all the mystery out of it. I’m just here to see how your doomsday device is coming along. And maybe to ask if I could see it, for purely academic reasons, of course.”

Twilight stared at Sombra for several seconds before asking, “Come again?”

“Well, it’s not like I’m planning to steal it or anything.”

“No, not that! The first part! The part where you think I’m building a doomsday device!” Twilight said frantically. “Why would you even think something like that?”

“Well, you’re at about that age….”

“No I’m not at about that age! There is no age!” Twilight shouted. Her mane was beginning to lose cohesion, more than a few strands of hair breaking free from their styling. “I am a sane, rational pony, and sane, rational ponies don’t build doomsday devices!”

“What? No! Of course they do!” Sombra replied, although he stopped to clarify again. “Not all of them, true, but you would! You were a unicorn when we first met, correct?”

Twilight hesitated, fixing Sombra with a scrutinizing glare. “Yeah?” she ventured.

“Well, then of course you would build a doomsday device! All unicorns build doomsday devices! Ponies who aren’t unicorns but become alicorns build doomsday devices!” Sombra exclaimed, gesticulating wildly as he did. “I built a doomsday device! Celestia built a doomsday device! She teamed up with Luna to do it!”

“That is a lie! Celestia and Luna would never build a doomsday device!” Twilight fired back.

“Of course they did! Where do you think the Tree of Harmony came from?”

Twilight was stunned. “That isn’t a doomsday device,” she objected.

“Well, it would’ve been if they hadn’t screwed up while they were making it, but that isn’t the point!”

Sombra stopped there and took a moment to straighten out his mane and recompose himself. “The point is that all ponies with a unicorn horn, or something like a unicorn horn, build doomsday devices, and you’ve been slacking off! You hear me, Twilight Sparkle? You are a slacker!”

An instant later, Twilight’s horn was glowing. “You take that back,” she said dangerously.

Sombra’s eyes narrowed. “Make me.”

On the streets of Ponyville, outside of Twilight’s castle, the citizens were treated to a loud “boom!” that all of them, after a moment of contemplation, proceeded to ignore.

Inside the castle, Sombra slid down the wall he’d been flung against and shook the stars out of his vision. “Lucky shot.”

“I’d give you another one, if I thought it’d do any good,” Twilight remarked. “And also if it was in my nature. Sure, I slip now and then, but if there was one thing that Cadence taught me, it’s the violence is never the correct answer to any problem. And I can’t think of anything more violent than a doomsday device!”

Once more, Sombra’s eyes narrowed. “You’re right,” he said. Pushing himself back to his hooves, he turned and started for the door.

“And just where are you going now?” Twilight asked.

“The Crystal Empire, to see your fellow Princess. You’re supposed to be the responsible one Twilight, so if you haven’t built a doomsday device —” Sombra looked back over his shoulder as he opened the door — “Then there’s no telling what that hippie’s been up to! And when I get back, the world had better be ending, young lady, or I’ll take that first edition of Clover the Clever’s Complete Conjuration Compendium, Abridged, and I’ll dog-ear the pages!”

With a slam of the door, Sombra was gone, and Twilight was furious.

“That fiend! ‘Dog-ear the pages,’ is there no containing his evil?” Twilight said to no one in particular. “And did you hear him, Spike? Calling me a slacker? Me! Meeeeee!”

“Are you ok, Twilight?” the suspiciously Spike-shaped lamp at the far-end of the foyer asked trepidatiously as it removed its shade. “You’re starting to get that ‘look’ again.”

“Oh, I’ll show him. I’ll show all of them! I’ll build that doomsday device, and it’ll destroy the world even bigger than they thought possible!” Twilight’s descent into maniacal laughter was cut short by a coughing fit, brought on by the fact that she didn’t have any practice with laughing maniacally. “But there’s no time to practice laughing maniacally! Come, Spike! To the laboratory!”

As Twilight rushed out of the foyer, Spike carefully considered all the data points he had just collected. “Ok,” he said, beginning his conclusion by way of talking himself through a very confusing event. “Being a dragon has officially become too complicated.” With that, he set out not for the laboratory, but for the mirror room, where the mirror leading to Canterlot High was kept.

“Time to be a dog.”

Phase 2

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It was a beautiful, sunny day in the Crystal Empire that a pair of shimmering Crystal Guards had the excellent misfortune of spending entirely standing on either side on a gate that led onto one of the many thoroughfares that went straight to the Crystal Castle (and were also generally of an unreasonably large width). Unlike certain baby dragons and dusting, however, they were bored witless with hardly any visitors to even talk to. They were practically falling asleep!

“Good afternoon, gentlestallions.”

“Sir,” said one as they both straighten up. “How can we-eee-eeeee….”

They stood frozen, wide-eyes fixed squarely on the manifestation of their worst nightmares standing right before them. With a fanged, toothy grin, Sombra took a step closer and leaned in close.


Without wasting another moment, both Guards deserted their posts and ran into the great crystalline city, screaming their heads off. Sombra laughed. “I love doing that!” he said to himself.

He little joke done, Sombra trotted down the street and into the Crystal Empire proper, ignoring the panicked shrieks that began rising into the air not long after. “I can’t remember the last time I walked these streets,” he mused to himself. “I was still a strapping young lad, then. And now, all these new shops are opened. It’s like seeing it for the first time again! I wonder if this is how Sparkle felt.” He stopped in his tracks. “I wonder what Sparkle’s even up to….”


Twilight’s eyes danced over the sheafs of paper covering the desk in her study. “Out of the frying pan, or in the deep freeze,” she said as she read back the ideas she’d come up with. “Turned inside out, or popped like a balloon.” She looked over a few more without repeating what she’d written aloud, and then leaned back in her chair as she reached a conclusion:

“This is a lot harder than I was expecting.”

Sombra looked down at the ground for a moment before shaking his head. “I’m sure she’s fine,” he concluded, resuming his walk for exactly one step before he realized there was a shimmering wall of raspberry magic. A quick glance around revealed that he was, in fact, surrounded by a dome of the stuff, and that Prince-Consort Shining Armor and a pair of Crystal Guards were just outside of it, the former’s horn glowing with a magic aura and all of them looking smug.

“I don’t know what you thought you’d get away with, Sombra, but now you’re trapped,” Shining said. “You’re under arrest.”

Inside of the magic dome, Sombra lifted a hoof up to his ear.

“I said that you’re under arrest for crimes against the Crystal Empire,” Shining said much more loudly.

Inside the magic dome, Sombra returned his hoof to the ground and shrugged his shoulders.

Shining groaned, and the dome blinked out of existence. “I said you’re under arrest.”

“What?! That’s absurd!” Sombra replied. “On what charges?”

“On what — overthrowing the rightful ruler of the Crystal Empire, enslaving the populace, assaulting the reigning Princesses of Equestria, baby dragon abuse, unsanctioned use of Third Circle Dark Magic —”

Fourth Circle!” interrupted Sombra.

“Wanton destruction of public and private property, reckless endangerment, snubbing your mare for no good reason, taking candy from a baby, and lollygagging!” Shining sucked in several deep breaths in an effort to calm down. “And because of all that, we are arresting you!”

“That’s what you think, for the Sword of Justice is on my side! If you recall, when I was turned to crystal and shattered, a great cry of ‘justice is served’ rose from the masses. I claim immunity to those charges on the grounds of double jeopardy!” Sombra replied with a grin full of snark.

Shining opened his mouth to reply, but then bit his lip nervously before looking to each of the Guards accompanying him in turn to find they looked to be at as much of a loss as he was. Sombra had them on that.

“Well, what about the panic you incited just a couple minutes ago?” Shining tried, much less confident than he’d been mere moments earlier.

“That sounds like a personal problem to me. Panickers gonna panic, you know.”

Shining Armor ground his teeth together and growled. “Why are you here?!” he demanded, stomping his hoof for emphasis.

“Business, although now that you’re here, I’m suddenly interested in learning more about your doomsday device,” Sombra said.

“Fool! Do your delusions have no end?” snapped one of the Crystal Guards. His name was ‘Rightie’, Sombra decided. “His Highness is kind, humble, and attentive. Everything that you never were. One so radiant as he would never possess such a thing!”

“What are you talking about?” Shining asked of his guard. “I totally built a doomsday device!”

Rightie blanched. “W-what?!” he asked.

“Two of them, actually,” Shining admitted proudly.

“T-two?!” Righty exclaimed.

“Did they work?!” asked the other Guard — Clyde, Sombra decided — in something of a panic.

“Well, the first one was supposed to destroy the whole world, so no to that one,” Shining answered.

“And the second?” Sombra asked, leaning in close.

“Oh, that one was supposed to be the doom of my high school rival, Buck Withers, and what worse kind of doom could there be in high school than sweeping his darling Mi Amore Cadenza off her hooves?”

Without warning, both Shining and Sombra reared back, throwing their front hooves in the air: “Oooooowned!”

“But we’re totally cool now,” Shining added as they dropped back to all fours. A thought occurred to him at that moment. “Wait, why’re you asking about my doomsday device?”

“Well, I hate being the bearer of bad news, but are you aware that your sister hasn’t even started on her first doomsday device?” Sombra asked.

Shining Armor became indignant. “So? So what? Not everypony starts as early as we do, and Twily’s always been something of a late bloomer,” he replied, ending his statement with a snort of irritation.

“Her exact words to me were, ‘I am a sane, rational pony, and sane, rational ponies don’t build doomsday devices’.”

Shining Armor became concerned. “Oh…” he replied, biting his lip as he tried to think of some way to talk Twilight out of the mess she was apparently in.

“Never mind, I’m sure she’s taking care of it right now. I mean, there’s no way she’d take what I said lying down,” Sombra said. “I called her a slacker, Armor! A slacker!”

“What?! And you’re ok?”

“Well, nothing’s broken or ruptured, so there’s no emergency.” Sombra suddenly moved right up into Shining’s face. “Which means we can focus on the more immediately pressing issue of your wife’s doomsday device and when she plans to make one!”

In the true fashion of a military commander unshaken by any situation, Shining Armor made his firm stance on the issue by asking plainly, “I’m sorry, what?”

“Oh, come on, Armor! You’re not a complete idiot,” Sombra replied. “Your sister, the Most Responsible Pony in Equestria, so they say, hasn’t built a doomsday device, so what does that say about your wife, the Least Responsible Pony That I’ve Ever Met in Equestria? Now get out of my way! I’m not leaving until the world is ending!”

Shining stared for a moment, and then smiled coolly and just as smugly as he had been earlier. “Oh, I don’t know anything about her plans for that,” he said in a manner suggesting that he knew exactly what her plans were for that. “In fact, why don’t you just follow me, and I’ll take you right to her so you can give her a talking to.”

“That… would be very neighborly of you and very much appreciated,” Sombra concluded, somewhat taken aback.

“Of course,” Shining replied before turning around to his Guards. “Let’s go… boys?” When he looked left and then right, he of course did not find anything other than empty streets.

“Oh, they rolled their eyes and then slipped off while I was yelling at you,” Sombra said. He came up alongside Shining and draped an arm across his withers. “Seriously, Armor, you have a real discipline problem in your Guard.”

“Let’s just go,” Shining replied grumpily, pulling away from Sombra.

“That’s the spirit! You can tell me all about the changes you’ve been making until we get to where we’re going,” said Sombra.

“We’re here,” replied Shining.

What?” Sombra spun around, eyes wide. Sure enough, they were no longer out on the crystal streets, but were inside the Crystal Castle. Pretty deep inside the Crystal Castle, at that. Just outside the door to the private dining room reserved for the current rulers of the Empire, which was located almost in the heart and quite a distance from the ground. Getting there would not have been a short trip. “When? How?”

“It was probably an editing mistake,” Shining suggested.

“An editing mistake? Geez, Armor, you’ve really let things go to pot around here. When I was King, my reign didn’t see so much as a single editing mistake!”

[Archival record not found]

“Oh, yeah,” Shining said with a smug smirk. "Anypony could see from that extremely long and informative flashback sequence that you never had any editing mistakes while you were King."

Sombra was less impressed. “Blow it out your back end, Armor,” he said as he pushed past the unicorn, and then opened the door to the dining room. “Cadenza!”

Aigh!” had not been the response that either stallion was expecting, and they overcame their surprise just in time to see Cadence’s cornflower magic shining furiously as it rapidly swept charts, pens, and miniatures figurines off the dining table and into a large, burlap sack sitting nearby. Sombra was still too surprised to bother taking in the features of the room outside of it having blue crystal walls and floors, and a round crystal table in the center.

“Cadence? What is that?” Shining Armor asked accusingly.

“Nothing!” Cadence replied. Her horn flashed, and the sack disappeared in a burst of light. “Nothing is wrong! Everything is happy!”

Shining was not convinced. “You were shipping again, weren’t you?” he asked with narrowed eyes.

Cadence replied, frantically, “No! —” Thoughtfully — “Yes? —” Confidently — “No! —” Dejectedly — “Probably….”

“Oh, honey.” With practiced precision, Shining trotted around the table and laid his head across Cadence’s neck, mindful of her drooping wings. “This is the longest you’ve ever gone without it. You’ll have it beat in no time!” Before Cadence had a chance to return his embrace, Shining separated from her. “What you really need is a distraction, and I’ve got the perfect one. Look!” He gestured across the table with a hoof. “Sombra’s here, and he wants to see your doomsday device!”

“What?” Cadence asked, looking from Shining to a surprised Sombra. “He does?”

“Wait, you actually built one?” Sombra asked, rushing around the other side of the table.

“Oh, don’t you know? You’ve already seen it in action,” Cadence replied with a widening grin. “In fact, it was on the day that we beat the stuffing out of you and took back the Empire.”

Sombra’s expression became perplexed, and then somehow even more surprised than it had been before. “You turned the Crystal Heart into a doomsday device?”

Cadence’s grin become somewhat sinister. “No, I took an ancient artifact that spreads joy and love and used it to cause destruction without corrupting it!”

Sombra stared at Cadence for a moment, and then adopted a grin of his own. “That’s incredible!” he said. “You’re incredible!”

With a quick flap of her wings, Cadence leapt from her chair and quickly put distance between them before landing. “I am?” she asked.

“Yes!” Sombra replied. “You’re like some kind of… doom… genie…. Anyway, the point is that you have an incredible talent, and I can only imagine how proud your father must be.”

Cadence scowled. “Well, you won’t have to, because he’s not! He even said so!”


“Oh, yes.” Cadence rolled her eyes disdainfully. “You see, it wasn’t Celestia that I turned to crystal and shattered, and I’m not ruling over all of Equestria right now, so according to him, the whole thing was a complete waste of time and I should feel bad for even attempting it, much less succeeding.”

Sombra sputtered for a few moments, trying to make sense of the reasoning of a clearly insane stallion, and finally settled on an angry glower. “Well, nuts to that guy, then! From now on, I’ll be your father!” he proclaimed.

Cadence was nonplussed and made no secret of this. “You want to be my… father?” she asked. “Why would you want something like that? I turned you into crystal with a doomsday device and shattered you!”

“Yes, but as you can see, I’ve made almost a full recovery. It’s water under the bridge! Besides, I’ve always wanted a daughter, and don’t all parents want their children to be greater than they were? Beating out your dad for the right to rule is about as great as you can get. Not to mention you’ll get to totally snub that other guy who is obviously a huge jerk and also not your father. So, how about it?” Sombra even smiled as he said this and kept the smile up after to really sell it.

“Hmph!” Cadence turned away, snout turned up in the air indignantly. “It’ll take more than words to convince me,” she said.

Sombra, however, had one last play to make. Still wearing that warm smile, he walked up to Cadence, laid a hoof on her withers and said, “I’m proud of you and I love you.”

That was all it took to send Cadence into bawling tears. She turned and jumped into Sombra, burying her face in his chest. “I love you too, daddy!”

Shining Armor simply stared at both of them, his brain unable to decide if it should be shocked, stunned, or confused. Finally, it settled on a combination of all three, and prompted his body to speak the universal word: “Huh?”

“Oh, there, there, it’s ok,” Sombra said, pulling Cadence into a full hug. “We’ve got plenty of time to catch up. We’re family now! And speaking of family —” He took one hoof from around Cadence’s shoulders and swung it towards Shining Armor — “C’mere, son.”

To his credit, Shining recovered quickly, narrowed his eyes and said, “No.”

“Oh, come on, you’re not still hung up on the whole dark crystals on the horn thing, are you?” Sombra asked. “It’s not a family hug without the family.”

“I’m not hugging you.”

The smile dropped from Sombra’s face. “Armor, you’re making this weird,” he said, eyes narrowing.

“Look, I don’t know what spells you worked on my wife to give her this change of heart, but I’m smart enough to know that I’m out of my depth, so here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to Ponyville, ok?” Shining replied, turning and walking towards the door. “I’m going to go see my sister, and together, we’re going to build the most terrible doomsday device Equestria’s ever seen!” With more force than was necessary, Shining’s magic swung the door opened. “And then we’ll come back here, and break your spell, and then rub our victory right in your dumb face!” With a slam, he closed the door after himself, leaving Cadence and Sombra alone. For two seconds, before he opened the door and stuck his head back in.

“And then, we’ll destroy the world even bigger than you thought possible!” The door slammed again, and this time, Shining Armor did not come back.

“Mmm,” purred Cadence. “I love it when he takes charge.”

“So it would seem. Did you really choose him because of his doomsday device?” Sombra asked.

“Well, that’s how he likes to remember it, sure. And also probably what he thinks actually happened.” Cadence turned to exit through the heretofore unmentioned other door leading out to the private dining room, Sombra following after. “But, since we’re catching up, let me tell you what really happened. You see, the real story started right after they finished their little display….”

Phase 3

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It was a beautiful, sunny day in Ponyville that Spike the Dragon blah blah blah.

“I hate everything,” Spike groused as he… he didn’t even know what he was doing anymore. Probably making lunch for Twilight, who had very obviously finally had a total psychotic break and sealed off the mirror portal. Before enchanting the doors and windows so that Spike couldn’t open them unless somepony wanted to be let in or out. Joy.

~Friend-ship~ chimed the doorbell, still seeming out of place in the Friendship Rainbow Kingdom Castle, which is seriously just an awful name.

“Oh boy,” Spike deadpanned. “I wonder who that could be.”


“I heard you the first time!” Spike shouted as he stomped into the foyer. Finally, he reached the door, and pulled it opened to tell whom he was certain would be his least favorite pony that day to hit the road.

“Greetings, maybe-sibling!” said a happily smiling Shining Armor.

“Oh, Shining Armor. What a pleasant surprise. Won’t you come in?” Spike replied, his voice never changing from that of a drake that had no fight left in him.

“Uh, sure. Thanks,” Shining said uncertainly as he stepped inside. “So, decided to stay inside and help Twilight with her doomsday device, huh? You really are number one!”

“Yeah. Decided,” said Spike. “That’s what I did.” He started to close the door, but stopped halfway through, eyes widening. “Say, Shining? How long ago did you get to Ponyville?”

“Just a few minutes. Why?” Shining replied.

“Oh, just wondering if you had time to get something to eat or drink since you got here. Can I get you anything?” Spike’s smile showed just a few too many teeth.

“Oh, I guess a sandwich and some water would be fine. Could you bring it to the library when it’s ready?” said Shining.

“Sure thing!”

“Thanks, Spike!”

His order placed, Shining Armor made his way through the castle to the library, not getting lost even once along the way, which was a marked improvement over the last time he’d visited and been lost for more than an hour, somehow ending up back in the same bedroom six times in a row (probably; he swore the door was always on a different wall, even if the rest of the room looked exactly the same). Standing before the library doors, he took a moment to straighten his mane and put on his best Big Brother to the Rescue smile before opening the doors and stepping inside.

“Twily! How’s work on your oh my.” He stopped smiling.

Piles and stacks and towers of books, papers and parchment were everywhere.

“Oh dear. Oh my.”


“Twilight?” Shining called out, but not too loudly for fear of triggering an avalanche. “Are you in here?”

He was certain that the room chilled a few degrees in an instant. A radiant, purple glow covered everything he could see and neatly shoved it all aside, nothing toppling or falling out of place. And there stood Twilight, eyes wide and looking like she’d lost a few screws too many. She approached him without seeming to move, and it was with widening eyes that Shining was certain he saw the distance between them simply contracting until her nose was pressed right against his.

“What are you doing here?” Twilight demanded a bit more unstably than normal. “How did you get in here? Where’s Spike?” Her horn flashed briefly. “He’s goooooone! I have no idea what I’m doing and I need my assistant and you let him —” She was interrupted by a sudden cognitive recalibration, caused by Shining recalibrating his hoof upside her head. “Ow!”

“Twilight!” Rougher than was strictly necessary, Shining grabbed Twilight’s head with his hooves and forced her to look him in the eyes. “Get! A grip!” With her focus now corrected, he released her and took a step back. “This is Spike we’re talking about. He’s going to be at Rarity’s.”

Elsewhere in Ponyville, Spike madly dashed across the train platform, leaping aboard the Crystal Express as it pulled away.

“Well, I guess you have a point,” Twilight conceded as she calmed down. That was, of course, all that she conceded before promptly flying back into a panic. “But we still haven’t solved the issue of I have no idea what I’m doing! I don’t know how to build a doomsday device! I don’t even know where to start! I don’t even know how to destroy the world!”

“And that’s fine, Twily!” Before things could escalate, Shining swung an arm around Twilight and squeezed her just tightly enough to cause discomfort. It snapped her out of her burgeoning panic, if nothing else. “You just need some inspiration, and the fact is you probably won’t find it in here.” He took a moment to spare a glance at the library again. The haphazardly scattered books in various states of being read, the jumbled sheafs of parchment and paper, the broken quills, the ink stains… the carbon scoring? “Make that ‘definitely.’ You definitely won’t find it in here.”

“Well, where am I supposed to find it then? If books can’t inspire me, then what can?” Twilight whined.

“The common pony, of course!” Shining exclaimed, pumping his hoof in the air.

Twilight was unconvinced. “I don’t follow,” she said.

“It’s simple, Twily. You see, you need inspiration, and the easiest way to get inspiration for a doomsday device is to find something that really irritates you, and few things are as irritating as a large gathering of the common pony,” Shining explained. He withdrew his arm from ‘round Twilight’s withers and set his hooves back on the floor. “What I’m saying is we’re going to Manehattan, which has the largest population of the common pony in Equestria. Also, they have a pretty happening street food scene, and I’m pretty sure I’m not getting that sandwich I was promised.”

“Oh. Well, ok. I guess that makes sense,” Twilight said with a frown. A moment later, the frown was gone. “I’ve been meaning to go back to Manehattan anyway, so why not now?” She smiled. “Yes, this is perfect! I get to go back to Manehattan, and get inspiration for my doomsday device, and get to spend time with my BBBFF! Yes, this is perfect! Let me just pack really quick and we’ll catch the train.”

“We’re here,” replied Shining.

What?” Twilight spun around, eyes wide. Sure enough, they were no longer in the library of the Friendship Never-Being-Named-Again-In-This-Story Castle, but were inside of Grand Central Station. Which was in Manehattan. The same Manehattan that was almost on the other end of Equestria. Getting there would have taken hours, assuming they’d taken an express train. “When? How?”

“It was probably an editing mistake,” Shining suggested. The multitude of ponies around them would have probably agreed if they weren’t making a concentrated effort to avoid involvement with what was obviously some kind of domestic dispute. ‘Let somepony else handle it’ was the Manehattan way, a fact which explained more than a few things about the city.

Twilight looked Shining squarely in the eyes for a moment, and then scrunched up her face with disapproval. “An editing mistake, Shiny?” she asked. “I’m not a little filly, you know. Even if ‘editing mistakes’ were an actual thing and not something you made up to explain why my pudding cups kept ending up empty in your waste basket, I really don’t think that would explain why it feels like something is just… missing….” As Twilight trailed off, a terrible thought occurred to her.

“Shiny, did…” Twilight began, unwilling to finish her thought for a moment. “Did you build a doomsday device?”

“Ever, or recently?” Shining asked.

“Why would you even need to ask that?!” Twilight shouted, stomping her hoof.

“Twily, I’m a unicorn. It’s what we do,” Shining replied. “Look, I admit I built a doomsday device on the way to Ponyville, but it was just a small one! Just enough to eject Sombra from the time stream so we wouldn’t have to deal with his nonsense anymore.” He did not notice Twilight staring at him, mouth agape with shock that her BBBFF would even consider something so violent sounding. “Or it was supposed to, but I messed something up, so instead it brought us from Ponyville to Manehattan the same way it got me from the Empire to Ponyville. By skipping all the stuff in the middle nopony really wants to hear about. And then I think it ejected itself from the time stream. Oh well. Easy come, easy go, am I right?”

Twilight gaped for a few moments more. “You casually built a doomsday device with the sole intention of erasing another pony from existence, and when it backfires and vanishes, all you have to say is ‘easy come, easy go?’”

Shining quirked his brow. “Is this a trick question?”

Twilight stared at him. “You know what? I don’t even care anymore,” she finally said, turning and heading towards the terminal’s exit. “Let’s just go meet the common pony.”

You go meet the common pony. I’m getting lunch,” replied Shining.

Twilight was not pleased about this. “You said you’d help me!” she protested.

“And I will. After lunch.”

“But —”

“Can’t hear you! Too hungry! Bye bye!”

Twilight watched in shocked as he happily trotted away. “Well, fine! Be that way, Big Brother Jerk Face Forever. I’ll see the common pony by myself,” she said with a huff. She left the station, making a point of using a different exit than Shining did. The street outside was filled with what she was sure was the common pony. It was almost exactly like her last visit; everypony was in a hurry to get somewhere, and none of them had any idea how to cross a street. That probably wasn’t much of a qualifier for being the common pony, though; nopony in Canterlot knew how to cross a street either, and she wasn’t sure anypony in Ponyville did either, skating by only because there were no carriages moving around regularly. A racial deficit? Investigate later.

Brushing the thought aside, she worked her way out into the crowd. Several seconds later, she all but tumbled out of it at the end of the street, dizzy. How these ponies ever got anywhere was a mystery, but a mystery to be answered another time. Luckily, she had all but tumbled out right next to what she knew — based on very limited hearsay — was a congregating place for the common pony: A newsstand. And how lucky for her, there was the common pony standing right there, deciding on a magazine to buy. He was an earth pony stallion too unremarkable to bother trying to describe, and he was perfect. “Excuse me, sir?” she began, getting his attention. “My name is Twilight Sparkle —”

“Find another bag, lady!” the stallion snapped before storming off, leaving Twilight standing there completely confused.

“What?” she asked nopony. She took in a deep breath, centered herself, and then added, “What?”

“He means he don’t like strange mares hanging around his business,” said the proprietor of the newsstand, another earth pony stallion likewise too unremarkable to bother trying to describe beyond his abrasive personality, which was quite abrasive. “Neither do I, actually. Scram.”

Twilight stared at him uncomprehendingly for a few moments. “I’m not a ‘strange mare,’ I’m Twilight Sparkle!” she replied curtly.

The stallion glared at her flatly.

Twilight stared at him perplexedly for a few moments. “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” she clarified.

The stallion glared at her flatly.

Twilight stared at him disbelievingly for a few moments. “I-I was coronated not that long ago! There were reporters everywhere! There were articles! In newspapers! That Princess Twilight Sparkle!”

The stallion glared at her flat —

Read something!” Twilight could feel herself sliding down the rain-slick precipice of madness. “Here look!” The topmost edition was heft up in her magic and unfolded so the stallion could see. “I am right here on the front page of this paper,” she explained, pointing out the helpful headline ‘TWILIGHT PRINCESS TO DESTROY WORLD.’ There was even a photo of her right below the headline. “I am literally front page news. I haven’t done anything yet, but I’m still front page news, somehow!”

“Gimme a break, lady! The mare in that picture’s an alicorn. You’re just a dumb pegacorn that’s driving my business away!” the vendor explained.

“There is no such thing as pegacorns!”

The newspaper exploded like a confetti bomb.

“That’s it!” Twilight screamed. Her mane was in disarray, hairs pointing this way and that as it often did during one of her manic episodes. The snarling grimace on her face, however, was anything but manic. “Everypony dies!” Without another word, she vanished in a burst of light.

Only a short distance away, Shining Armor was just about to receive the second portion of his lunch when he was suddenly hefted into the air by his sister’s magic and dragged away from the cart while she stormed away from it. “Twilight, wait! Stop!” he exclaimed, uselessly flailing his hooves towards the Saddle Arabian vendor who was at a complete loss to explain what had just happened. “My falafel!” An instant later, he fell to the ground with a thud.

“You want your stupid falafel? Fine!” Twilight shouted as she halted suddenly. She whirled around to glare at Shining, absolutely incensed. “Go and get your stupid falafel! I’m leaving!”

“W-what?” Shining stammered as Twilight turned around and resumed storming away. He scrambled up to his hooves to chase after all. “What do you mean ‘leaving?’ What about the common pony?”

Twilight was only incensed further. “Forget the common pony!” She shouted. “The common pony can't be helped! The common pony is an idiot! You saw, Shiny! —” In fact, he hadn’t, being focused on lunch — “You saw how casually they stampeded over friendship, and this isn't the first time, either! They don’t even know who their own princess is! I engaged Tirek in massive, landscape altering combat and saved Equestria again, but they don’t know enough to identify me! Me! Meeeeee! I’m through with the common pony! The common pony dies! Everypony dies!”

As Twilight raved, a knowing smile spread across Shining's face. “But Twily, how are we going to do that? Aren't there a lot of ponies in the world?” he asked with feigned naivety.

“Not for long!” Twilight shouted as more of her mane snapped in time with the snapping of her apparently tenuous grip on sanity. “I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, with all those negative thoughts floating around me. If changelings get power from love, why can't other emotions give power? Why not drown everything in irony by tapping the energy of all that negativity? Oh, yes.” She rubbed her hooves together, grinning like a mare possessed. “Doomsday is coming, and I know just how to get it started!”

Her magical laughter devolved instantly into a coughing fit.

“That’s fine, Twily,” said Shining as he rubbed her back. “Maybe you can practice on the train or something. I’m sure the other passengers totally won’t mind.”

They totally did.

Phase 4

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Inside the royal kitchens of the Crystal Castle, a storm of dark magic raged, somehow filling the space with beams of black light, even though such a thing should have been impossible.

“I don’t believe this!” Cadence shouted. “I can’t believe I let you do this!”

“It’s too late now, Cady!” Sombra replied with manic glee. “The spell is cast! There’s no stopping it now!”

“No! You have to stop it! You’ll destroy everything!”


“All done!”

The miasma of dark magic cleared away and the kitchen returned to its normal, cheery light level. Sitting on the counter was a stack of small sandwiches. Cautiously, Cadence lifted one up with her magic, brought it to her mouth, and bite down with a ‘crunch!’ “Mmm!” She chewed quickly and swallowed. “You were right! Dark magic does make a better panini!”

“And to think you doubted me,” Sombra remarked, shining a hoof against his chest.

“But, I’m really worried about you, daddy. All this negativity can’t be good for you.”

Sombra paused, and then gave Cadence a very serious look. “What’re you on about? What negativity?” he asked.

“Well, from your magic! I mean, dark magic draws its power from anger, hate and fear,” Cadence offered as an explanation. “It warps you from the inside out!”

“No it doesn’t!” Sombra retorted. “I didn’t call it ‘dark magic’ because it’s somehow evil or sinister. I called it dark magic because it utilizes an energy source that can’t be detected by normal arcanophysical mechanisms. It’s ‘dark’ because we can’t observe where it comes from, not because it’s goth, or whatever you kids are calling it these days.”

“Are you sure?” Cadence asked with a skeptical quirk of her brow and another bite of her sandwich. “I mean, it’s just, that conflicts with basically everything that Star Swirl the Bearded said on the subject.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, and in any case, who’re you going to believe, Cady? Some absent-minded, bell-wearing hack, or me, the world’s foremost expert? Look at this!” Somber swung his back end partway around, giving Cadence a clear view of his cutie mark: A sort of cloud-like shape that stood out pitch black against his grey fur, lacking any sort of visible details.

“An ink splotch cutie mark makes you the foremost expert on dark magic?” Cadence asked, brow twisting in confusion. She tilted her head this way and that, as if the meaning might somehow become clear to her.

Sombra was not amused. “Spike, take a letter,” he said. “Also, when did you get here?” he added, looking down at the dragon.

“Just now, actually,” Spike replied, parchment and quill in claw.

“But how? Neither one of us saw you even come in,” Cadence said.

“Uh, I’m not exactly sure,” Spike said, angling his gaze upward in thought for a moment before suggesting, “Editing mistake?”

“Sure are a lot of those around here,” Sombra mused, bringing a hoof to his chin. He stamped it back down a moment later. “Anyways! Letter! A-hem!

“Dear Princess Celestia, kindly block three minutes from your schedule in the near future so that I may yell at you. Block an additional one hour and fifty seven minutes from your schedule immediately following the aforementioned three minutes of yelling so that we may have a serious discussion regarding the curricula of modern Equestrian schools. Your inexplicable antagonist, Sombra Crepúsculo.”

“Your inexplicable antagonist, Sombra Creampuff Chulo,” Spike repeated — sort of — as he finished scratching out the missive. Without wasting a moment, he rolled up the parchment and incinerated it with his dragonfire, sending it on its merry way before he looked back to Sombra with an expectant smile.

Sombra looked back at Spike, nonplussed. “What’re they teaching you kids in school these days, anyway?” he asked after a moment.

“Uh, I don’t know?” Spike replied. “I mean, I don’t go to school, so I haven’t exactly seen the lesson plans or anything. Why?”

Sombra looked at Spike.

Spike looked at Sombra.

Sombra looked at Spike.

Spike looked at Sombra.

Sombra looked at Spike.

Spike looked at Sombra.

“I’ll blister that filly’s fanny,” said Sombra.

“Wait a minute!” Cadence said suddenly, prompting both Sombra and Spike to look at her. Sombra then looked from her, to the stack of sandwiches that was suddenly and mysteriously missing, and then back to Cadence with a scowl. Cadence quickly wiped crumbs from around her mouth. “They were good!” she protested. “And anyway, didn’t you just admit through implication that you discovered dark magic?”

“You bet I did!” Sombra exclaimed with a grin. “Oh, I’ll never forget that day! It was… well, never mind, it’s a long story. In any case, we should figure out what we’re going to do until Spike’s mother comes for him.”

“His mother?” Cadence asked. “But, he’s been with Twilight ever since she hatched his egg.”

“That sounds like a mother to me,” Sombra replied.

“Twilight’s not my mom! She’s like a really nerdy big sister,” Spike protested. He wasn’t able to protest much more than that because Sombra’s magic tossed him into the air — just a little bit — and up onto the stallion’s back, much more energetically than Twilight ever would.

“Spike, please try to follow the logic here,” Sombra said. “Sparkle hatched your egg, and therefore is your mother. Her brother married Cadenza, and therefore she is your aunt. I’m Cadenza’s new father, and therefore I am your grandfather. And what does the grandfather do when the mother isn’t around?”

Spike looked at Sombra, eyes wide with wonder and hope. “Junk food?” he asked.

Sombra grinned. “How about a deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, champ?”

Far away from the Crystal Empire, Twilight’s attention was pulled away from her welding, and she felt suddenly certain that someone she knew was doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. Then, she sneezed and went right back to work once the feeling passed.

Phase 5

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They had tried everything.

Spike had tried his claws.

Sombra had tried his magic.

Cadence had tried pooling her magic with Sombra’s.

Nothing had worked. The three of them stood in the kitchen, glaring at their stubborn and seemingly unassailable adversary.

“You think you’ve won, don’t you? Well, you’re dead wrong!” Sombra exclaimed.

“Erm, daddy?” Cadence replied. “You’re talking to a jar of pickles.”

“He knows what he did!” Sombra fired back, briefly turning his attention to Cadence before turning it back to the offending container on the counter in front of them. “And I will not stand for it! No jar of anything will stop my granddragon from getting his snack on! This calls for… The Big Guns™.”

A chill wind suddenly swept through the kitchen, Cadence and Spike both shivering as Sombra began working fell magic far, far older and more powerful than any cast since the end of the last age, waving his hooves over the jar. “By the torturous imaginarium of Gary Gygax, I command you!”

The stallion reared up and threw his hooves over his head —


Cadence’s wings sprung opened.

“— EEEE —”

Every cabinet in the kitchen opened.

“— EEEE —”

All the windows in the Crystal Empire opened.

“— EEEE —”

The ovens in far-away Sugar Cube Corner opened.

“— EEEE —”

Millions of miles distant, the plan of the Bydo Empire to exterminate all life on and colonize the planet dubbed Equus was halted when the entire crew of the megabattleship Megabattleship was suddenly vented into space.

“— EEEEN!”

Sombra dropped back to all four hooves, glaring at the jar of pickles as the kitchen returned to as normal as a kitchen that was recently filled with eldritch power can be. After a moment, Spike picked up the jar and tried to unscrew the lid again.

“Did it work?” Cadence asked, wings still spread widely.

This did not escape Spike’s notice. “Uh, well, it opened something,” he said with a nervous smile. Sombra looked at Cadence the moment she looked behind herself, and then both gave inarticulate shouts of surprise and alarm that rapidly gave way to articulate demands.

“Don’t look! Don’t look!”

“Put those away, young lady!”

It was at about the time that Cadence got her wings under control again and Spike finished snickering that they felt it; an inaudible, low rumbling that felt like the world would shake apart at any moment.

“Uh oh,” said Sombra.

“‘Uh oh?’ Twilight’s destroying the world and that’s all you have to say?!” Spike demanded.

Sombra just glared at him. “The world isn’t ending, Spike. That’s not what it feels like when the world ends.”

“How do you even know that?!”

“No, what we’re feeling is the side effect of a nearby and massive subspatial teleportation, coming from — ” His horn flashed red for a moment — “The throne room! Quickly!” Without wasting another moment, he tore out of the kitchen, Cadence following after a moment after Spike leapt onto her back.

They galloped down the corridor.

Past the dining room.

Past the ballroom.

Down the stairs.

Down another corridor.

Past the second ballroom.

“Sure could use an editing mistake right about now!” Sombra shouted. Then, they came to a door. “Thank you!” Without wasting another moment, he bucked the door open, and the three of them hurried inside of the washroom they’d found. They stopped and stared to make sure they hadn’t imagined it.

“Wait,” said Cadence. “The only way to get into this throne room is from….”

They turned around; sure enough, on the other side of the door was the actual throne room, not the corridor they were in just moments before.

“Well, there’s that editing mistake you wanted,” Spike remarked, but Sombra shook his head, horn aglow again. The rumbling of the castle intensified, or at least it seemed to.

“This is no editing mistake. Subspace is extremely unstable right now. There!” Sombra suddenly looked at the balcony that overlooked the Crystal Square. “Right there! It’ll appear any moment now!”

The rumbling intensified even further, until it felt as though the whole universe would shake to pieces! And then, it stopped abruptly with a little ‘pop!’ and everything was calm, as if nothing had happened at all. Except that the balcony was now occupied by a manic Twilight Sparkle, a queasy Shining Armor, and a large something-or-other about the size of a carriage, covered by a giant, white sheet.

Before anyone could say anything, Shining went galloping across the throne room and into the washroom, slammed the door, and proceed to make a very loud and unpleasant-sounding deposit in the Porcelain Bank (Crystal Empire branch, so really, more of a Crystal Bank). When he’d finished, Twilight opened her mouth to speak, only to be stopped cold by Shining making a second deposit. A moment later, the toilet flushed, and Shining came stumbling out, still not looking too hot.

Sombra opted to focus on Twilight instead. “So, you’re here,” he said calmly.

“Yes, I am! And now, we’ll see who the real slacker is, Sombra! Behold! My greatest and most sinister invention yet!” Twilight said before whipping the sheet off with flair, revealing the large machine underneath. Box-like with the top half sharply sloping inward with hard, angular surfaces to meet what looked like a chimney with a large, glass disc suspended above it, all the non-glass surfaces painted stark white and the side facing into the throne room covered with switches, dials, and red and green lights.

“The Karmageddon Lens!”

“Is she going to monologue?” Sombra asked no one in particular.

“For too long, ponies have refused to listen seriously when I tell them about the magic of friendship, but no more!” Twilight exclaimed.

“Oh my god, she’s monologuing! This is beautiful!”

“I’ll bring them around to the idea of friendship, by showing them what happens when they neglect it and all other emotionally positive things with the Karmageddon Lens! And SCIENCE!” Twilight paused to laugh maniacally, having final obtained enough practice to avoid a coughing fit. “By focusing bad vibes into a Juju Matrix, the Karmageddon Lens will create a singularity of pure negative energy that will draw the entire world into oblivion! Ponies will rue the day they ignored friendship, and rue it hard, and they’ll repent and beg forgiveness! Except they won’t, ‘cuz they’ll have been drawn into oblivion!”

As Twilight laughed a second time, Shining Armor was reconsidering his earlier stance. “Guys, I’m getting concerned,” he said. “Twilight’s been battier than usual, and maniacal or not, that was not a natural laugh. I think she might actually destroy the world!”

“Oh, don’t be a wet blanket, Armor, this is going to be adorable!” Sombra remarked, walking towards the balcony to better see the event unfold. “I remember when I built my first doomsday device and it fizzled. I’m told the pout I put on afterwards was cavity-inducing!”

“Well, keep your voice down or you’ll discourage her,” Cadence said lowly, walking alongside Sombra, Shining and Spike not far behind her. “It’s hard enough getting her just to go outside. I’ve only seen her this passionate something once before, and it’s endearing to see it again.”

“Yeah, because if there’s one thing she should be excited about, it’s destroying the world,” Spike remarked. As per usual, no one paid him any attention, and in short order, Twilight had finished laughing and turned to her device, switching the switches, dialing the dials and working happily, if a bit jitterly as the lights switched between red and green and back again.

After thirty seconds of this — plus the occasional maniacal giggle from Twilight — the ponies (and dragon) who weren’t Twilight Sparkle began to fidget uncomfortably. After another fifteen seconds, Spike could stand it no longer.

“So, when the Empire disappeared, was that you, or….”

All me,” Sombra replied. “Well, me and the Chro-Noes-Chro-My-God, but I built that, so still basically all me.”

“And that was, what? Doomsday device that fizzled out?” Spike asked.

Sombra opened his mouth to answer, but hesitated a moment. “Actually, I’m not entirely sure,” he decided. “I mean, I built it with the intention of erasing all time from space, but I was under a lot of stress at the time and mainly I just wanted ponies to leave me alone until I could sort things out. For all I know, separating the Empire from normal space-time for a thousand years was exactly what I intended it to do. It’s kind of fuzzy, actually.”

“Huh. Well, that —”


All attention jumped back to Twilight at her sudden exclamation. Sure enough, all the lights on the side of the Karmageddon Lens were green and they could all plainly hear a low but gradually rising electric whine. Above the device’s focusing array — otherwise known as a ‘lens’ — a ball of energy darker than night began to form. Five pairs of eyes watched it power up, but did not watch it equally, for while four of those pairs were eyes trained in the arts of magic and ending all life as it was known, the fifth was trained in the art of seeing when things were about to go horrifically wrong so that the minimum safe distance could be reached in time, and those eyes were not thrilled.

“It’s not going to fizzle,” Spike said suddenly, horror dawning on his face.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Sombra threw an arm around Spike’s shoulders. “Look hard at that, Spike. Does that honestly look like it’s going to maintain a stable, whatever it’s supposed to produce?” he asked.

“Yes!” Spike replied immediately.

“Wait, what?!”

At that instant, the Karmageddon Lens fired, hurling a pitch black orb up and up and up into the sky where it exploded — or maybe imploded; it was really hard to tell — and left a sphere of pure negative energy hanging over the Crystal Empire. Winds began to build on the ground below and motes of dust that were gradually growing larger were being pulled up and away.

“Success!” shouted Twilight.

The other three ponies, with their jaws hanging opened and using the most eloquent of words, expressed their feelings of the situation thus:


Final Phase

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A sphere of pure negative energy hung in the sky over the Crystal Empire, ready to begin annihilating everything around it, below it, in the same neighborhood to in, and very likely in the next county over as well.

In the Crystal Castle below, three ponies and one dragon stared up at it with slack jaws, while a fourth pony launghed maniacally without coughing for a change.

“Am I still a slacker, Sombra?!” Twilight cried out even as the winds began to whip around her. “Bigger than you thought possible!”

“It’s not supposed to actually destroy the world!”

Twilight stumbled and spun around to face the frantic former king. And frantic brother, sister-in-law, and No. 1 assistant as well. “What?”

“On small things, sure!” Sombra replied.

“Like, just the reputation of my rival in high school!” Shining added.

“Or just daddy!” Cadence concluded. “But not big stuff!”

“We’re all gonna die!” Spike wailed. “If I’d known this was gonna happen, I’d have eaten more glazed donuts!”

Sombra suddenly ran up to Twilight, seizing her shoulders and shaking her. “How?! How did you even do this?!”

“Oh no!” said Shining. “Oh no!”

“What?!” asked Cadence in a panic.

“Twily is the Princess of Friendship!”

A beat.

“So?” asked Sombra, having given up on shaking a now dizzy Twilight.

“So, friendship is magic!” Shining Armor explained. “Twily is the Princess of Friendship, and therefore, the Princess of Magic!”

Cadence and Spike threw their arms up over their heads.

“Oh noes!” exclaimed Cadence.

“Oh my god!” exclaimed Spike. “Twilight, turn it off!”

“‘Turn it off?’ I can’t turn it off!” Twilight answered with a scowl.

“Yeah!” followed-up an equally scowling Sombra. “Nopony puts an ‘off’ switch on a doomsday device!”

“Get with it, Spike, this is stuff any unicorn should know!” Shining added.

“I’m a dragon!”


All eyes jumped to Twilight, mane being flung about by the wind.

“I’m about to be brilliant again!” she exclaimed. “And there I go! Brilliant!” She jabbed her hoof at the sky. “The singularity’s made from pure bad vibes! If we can reverse the polarity of its Juju Matrix, then it should collapse on itself!”

“It’ll never work!” Sombra said. “Something that big would need another doomsday device! Even if we had time to build one, the effect would be too big! It’ll just fizzle and probably explode!”

“Not if we daisy chain a bunch of smaller devices together, it won’t!”

Suddenly, it was Cadence that had seized Twilight’s shoulders, suddenly giving her a big, wet kiss. “Twilight, you beautiful, mad mare, that’s just the right amount of crazy to work!”

“I know!” Twilight shimmied out of Cadence’s grasp. “First, we need a focusing element. We can disconnect the power core from the Karmageddon Lens and use that. Next, we need a source of positive emotions.”

“Crystal Heart! On it!” Cadence cried, taking to wing and momentarily flailing about in the gale before righting herself and zipping away.

“Good!” said Twilight, turning to the stallions (and confused baby dragon). “Next, we need something that can produce a singularity, but not one so big that it fizzles.”

“Armor, did anypony ever clean out the broom closet at the top of the spire?” Sombra asked.

“The broom closet where?”

“Perfect!” Sombra shouted. “The Chro-Noes-Chro-My-God should still be there. Definitely up to the task!” With a flash of dark magic, he turned into a cloud of shadows and whisked himself away.

“And finally, we need something that can provide its own power, but also amplify the energy from the Crystal Heart. Shiny —” She turned to him — “Do you, know….”

Spike stood by himself. “As soon as you said ‘amplify’, he said, something-something-‘eleven’, and jumped off the balcony. Why am I the only sane one here?”

Below in the Crystal Square, ponies fleeing from the black hole in the sky stopped long enough to cheer wildly when Cadence swooped down, lifted up the Crystal Heart, gave it a kiss and flew back to the castle. They then started to immediately flee again.

Above in the spire, Sombra burst out of the doors coughing up a dust storm. Carrying an enormous clock face with a hour glass at 12 o’clock and a sun dial at 6 o’clock in his magic, he sprinted down the twenty flights of stairs that would take him back to the throne room.

Over in the Crystal Stadium, a substantial crowd attending a concert headlined by one Vinyl Scratch, AKA DJ-PON3, stared at the sky. At least, they stared at the sky until Prince-Consort Shining Armor joined Scratch on her platform and grabbed a microphone. “Everypony, to the Crystal Square!” he instructed. “We’re gonna move this shindig over to the Castle and party like it’s the end of the world!” And the crowd went wild.

Back in the throne room, Twilight smiled when Cadence returned, and they both smiled when a panting Sombra came stumbling in. All three of them looked at the doors with worry when the walls started shaking and the earth started quaking. Then, the doors burst opened as a wheeled platform carrying Shining Armor, Vinyl Scratch, and an entire sound rig fit to fill a stadium rolled in, screeching to a halt just in front of the other ponies (courtesy of the brakes that Scratch installed after a particularly busy day in Ponyville).

Spike, perhaps the sanest one of all, stayed well out of the way.

With nods to each other, five ponies sprang into action.

Shining and Scratch — who had no idea what was happening but was sure it was going to be amazing — connected the Chro-Noes-Chro-My-God to the amplifiers with a dozen DIN connectors.

Cadence connected the Karmageddon Lens to the Crystal Heart with EKG electrodes.

Sombra connected the Crystal Heart to the Chro-Noes-Chro-My-God with jumper cables.

Twilight disconnected the power core from the Karmageddon Lens and applied a final adjustment. “Ready!”

Cadence gave the Crystal Heart a tap. “Ready!”

Sombra adjusted the sundial on the Chro-Noes-you-know-the-rest. “Ready!”

Shining jabbed his hoof at Scratch. “Crank it to eleven and gimme some beats, DJ!”

With a nod, Scratch turned up the levels and flicked on her rig.

Nothing happened.

She tried the switch a couple more times before Spike gave a frustrated sigh. “Can you ponies do nothing for yourselves?” he asked as he wandered over. Raising a fist up, he thumped it against the amp. Predictably, it immediately sprang to life with a single “thum!” of bass. The hands on the clock face of the Chro-Noes-needs-a-shorter-darn-name spun in opposite directions from 12 o’clock back around to 12 o’clock. The Crystal Heart pulsed. The Karmageddon Lens emitted an electric whine, energy gathering above its focusing array, and then expelled a white orb up into the sky. The orb disappeared into the dark singularity overhead.

The singularity shrank down to nothing in one-tenth of one second, and everything became calm.

Three seconds after that, the entire sky exploded in a Sextuple Rainboom.

Oooh!” said every creature in the Crystal Empire with one voice.

“Bet they felt that in Cloudsdale!” Sombra remarked.

Somewhere in the boughs of an apple tree, Rainbow Dash suddenly awoke from her nap with the inexplicable need to train in ten times Equestria’s normal gravity.

During that time, the skies over the Crystal Empire remained clear.

“Take that, Doomsday!” Twilight shouted to the clouds above.

“That was incredible!” Sombra exclaimed with a smile. “Nopony’s ever nearly destroyed the world that big before. The devices always fizzle!” Suddenly, his smile melted away into a remorseful frown. “Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight turned to face the former king, perplexed. “Yes?”

“I owe you an apology,” Sombra replied. “You’re not a slacker at all, especially not when it comes to doomsday devices. You take exactly as long as you need to be a complete genius. I’m proud to be Cadence’s new dad, and I’m just as proud to have you for a daughter-in-law.”

“Aw.” Twilight sniffled, then stepped up to Sombra and gave him a big hug. “Thanks, Pops.”

“Alright!” Spike said, hurrying over. “Does this mean you and grandpa are done fighting?”

Twilight separated from Sombra. “Grandpa? I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet, Spike, and besides, you’re more like another brother than anything” she said, rubbing her chin for a moment. “Nope, sorry, but I think it’s best if you’re just my brosistant from now on.”

“But, but I had a grandpa,” Spike said, pleading.

“Alas, it would seem I’m not yet destined to be a grandparent,” Sombra said, looking up into the sky wistfully. “But I will always remember fondly the granddragon that I almost had.” His gaze then returned to Spike. “And you know what? I think I’m just as happy to have a son-in-law as incredible as you are.”

“Aw,” Spike replied with a teary smile. He turned to Twilight. “I guess this makes me your LBBFF now, huh?”

“Oh Spike,” Twilight said, laying a hoof on the dragon’s shoulder. “I think I speak for Shiny and myself when I say that you’re our BFAMBFF.”

“Alright again!” Spike exclaimed, happily hopping into the air. “Did you hear that, Shiny?”

“You bet I did!” Shining Armor replied. He and Spike shared a brotherly and most radical high-hoof.

Brother from Another Mother Best Friends Forever!”

With that final matter settled, the newly formed if very odd and almost certainly insane family shared joyous laughter.

“And even though in the end, nopony was for doomsday, they all probably lived happily ever after,” Pinkie Pie said to the group of befuddled foals seated before her as she closed her storybook. “The End.”

Almost immediately, a hoof shot into the air. “Yes, Scootaloo?” Pinkie asked.

“What the hay did you just read to us?!” Scootaloo demanded. “What even was the moral?!”

“The moral of this story is, don’t go to the Crystal Empire!” Pinkie replied with manic worry. “Their schtick be wack, yo!”

Without prompting, Silver Spoon sprang up on two legs and crossed her hooves in front of her barrel.

“Fo’ shizzle, Pinkie Pizzle!”

Scootaloo stares at Silver Spoon for a moment, and then gives an exasperated sigh. “Goodbye, folks,” she says to you.


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Gathered around the crystal table in the private dining room in the Crystal Castle were two alicorns, a unicorn, a unicorn with a (probably) cosmetic alternation to his horn, and a baby dragon. Spread out before them was a generic board game the name of which isn’t really important, and then dragon held the dice. But just as the dragon was preparing to throw and take his turn, he suddenly froze in mid claw shake.

“Wait a second,” Spike said. “I sent Princess Celestia a letter.”

“Oh, that’s right! When I was complaining about the state of the Equestrian education system!” Sombra exclaimed. His expression became considering for a moment. “Kind of sent it out of nowhere, too. I wonder if that caused any confusion.”

“Pops, this is Princess Celestia we’re talking about!” Twilight chimed in. “She’s got more experience navigating confusing situations than all of us put together. I assume, at least. I’m sure she’s got everything figured out.”

Back in Ponyville, inside of Rainbow Castle — that’s its name from now on — Princess Celestia stood in the Council Room, staring at the seven empty thrones along with a contingent of ten fully armored Royal Guards. They had started there, and then moved methodically between the kitchen, parlors, bedrooms, other miscellaneous rooms and ending back in the Council Room. With all available evidence gathered, Celestia was at last able to give voice to the question at the forefront of her mind:

“Where the frell is everyone?!”