Lines of light streaked past Twilight Sparkle’s eyes. They swirled around her, engulfing her in a sea of light. The playful bolts danced away and congregated into a blinding orb. It radiated around Twilight, surrounding her in a room of white.
Black drops of ink fell from the sky. They fell around Twilight, making a checkerboard pattern along the white floor and walls.
“Congratulations, Twilight Sparkle!” A familiar voice boomed, “you have earned a private, all-expenses paid existence on the H.D.S Stone Ship!”
A slender figure stood before her, dressed in a finely tailored suit. A naval cap covered his horns and a pair of gloves covered his hands. He smiled warmly and winked flirtatiously at the unicorn.
“Discord.” Twilight said behind gritted teeth, “what do you want?”
“Such fury, Twilight Sparkle!” Discord said, playfully throwing up his arms in defense. “What happened to the ideas of rationality and calm approaches to the unknown?”
Twilight’s glare deepened. “I died.”
“Yes, yes, I know that.” The suit and cap vanished. Smoke engulfed Discord, wrapping him in a grey oxford shirt, grey suspenders, and a grey bowtie. Bifocals sat atop the bridge of his nose as he held a series of papers before his face.
“Cause of death…” Discord said under his breath, “eye color… weight… relations… tax returns… And this is the sixth time we met, I think.”
He threw one arm on the air. A sea of trees sprouted from the white and black room. The white gave way to a world of green and brown. The cold metal floor beneath them was replaced with a layer of dirt, decaying leaves, and barely visible seedlings. Discord stood between two trails that took sharp turns away from one another.
“Choose.” He said in an unusually serious tone.
“What?” Twilight asked.
Discord grimaced as he pinched the bridge of his bifocals. There was more concern in his eyes, rather than irritation.
“According to the Fairness of Lost Souls Act in 103 of the Sun’s Reign, all psychopomps —that’s me— must provide two choices to any individual labeled as a ‘lost soul’ —you. Go left and it’s game over. Get your luggage and get off the cruise.
“Go right, however, and you get another retry at the previous… level, if you will. You go back to your friends, except that you’re put one month before whatever happened to you— you know, happens.” He narrowed his gaze and looked at the ground below. “But if you’ve never taken me seriously, take me seriously now.”
He looked up at Twilight Sparkle. There was no sign of his playful disposition on his face. “Ponies that choose this route, well, to sugarcoat it, let’s just say that you’re put on a rather nice boat for a while, then wind up here again.”
Twilight shot Discord with a confused look. Psychopomp. Another word for “grim reaper.”
“Why are you giving me another chance?” Twilight asked.
“Why do you think our tyrant trapped me in stone, rather than kill me, her natural opposite? To control me, to use me, to make me bend to her will. When there is life, and no death, what happens to those who die?”
Twilight ignored Discord’s question. Her head was drawn to the rightmost path. That would lead her back to her friends, before everything happened, before that period of sadness. She leaned to the right, but something pulled her to the left. If she was dead, she didn’t have a right to exist.
Twilight Sparkle was afraid of the path to the left. If she went left, then she would not know what awaited her. But if she went right, she wouldn’t have to fear the uncertainty. She had her friends on that side.
Her hooves moved on their own. To the right.
Discord sagely nodded, adjusting his bifocals and scribbling notes on a sheet of paper.
“One more question, Twilight Sparkle: what do I look like?”
Twilight snorted. “Same as the last time I met you.”
“So I do.”
Twilight continued into the path to the right.
One more chance.
Her surroundings drifted into view as light flooded her eyes. The walls around her drifted carelessly, as if suspended in water. The wood on the floor was splintered, degraded. The paint on the walls peeled and curled. The light outside emitted a gruesome grey glow. Strange sounds filled the heavy, dusty air.
Her hooves were weak, shaking. Her eyes were slow. Afterimages sprouted at the slightest movement. Her breathing was heavy. Her body was lethargic.
Twilight Sparkle was once again at home.
I can stop this again. I know I can.
I have my friends.
I hope Twilight can fix whatever mistakes killed her. I thought that it was pretty intriguing that Discord fulfilled the role of a grim reaper, but his seriousness in his task really made it eerie. I also liked the small detail of “this is the sixth time we’ve met” which could mean a lot of things, really. So Twilight gets another shot at life and another chance to be with her friends. Good work!