Kyubey is watching, always. Here is the compilation post for July 2, 2012, with 16 stories for your reading pleasure.
As always, stories are presented in the order in which they were received.
And congratulations to Shingo, who joined the Overachievers Club by submitting two stories for this prompt. Shingo, enjoy your shiny new Furiously Fictioning Award. (Award not included. Award not valid where prohibited by law.)
Beneath a blood-red sky, Canterlot burned. Pillars of smoke streamed from the city’s once-gleaming towers as if from a great funeral pyre, and the surrounding fields were consumed in a sea of flame. Low on the western horizon sat the sun, moments from disappearing behind a distant mountain range. It’s muted form, formerly a symbol of Celestia’s infinite grace, hung in the air, presiding over the nation’s downfall like a silent mourner.
The capitol’s winding streets were now choked with the bodies of the fallen. Throngs of corrupted ponies and horrific demons—chittering monstrosities of various shapes and sizes, with forms that seemed to defy all of equine logic—swept through every nook and cranny, every alleyway and backstreet, destroying and terrorizing as they went. Their numbers were continually bolstered by a seemingly-endless stream of their kin pouring in through the city’s shattered front gate. The thick scent of death and decay rose from the cobblestone paths, mixing with the smoke and the screams of the dying to form a hellish vignette—a vision of Tartarus itself made manifest in the mortal world.
Amidst the chaos strode Obsidian, a lone unicorn armored from tail to head in plate mail of the purest black. A cape of matching color flowed from his shoulders, and eyes like burning embers shone out from behind an iron mask that adorned his face.
My name’s Frog. It’s a strange name, I admit. It had a lot to do with my choice of profession, but I’ll get to that, or maybe I won’t. This story here is about how I became a blues man, and how I stopped being a blues man.
Years back, when I was just a young thing, wet behind the ears and still unbruised by life, I took a liking to a pretty little filly by the name of Thistledown. I couldn’t get enough of looking at her, though I hadn’t ever had the gumption to get up and talk to her. Foolishness is the prerogative of the young, after all, and I was taking full advantage.
Now, Thistledown was a singer. Not just any singer, either, but a jazz singer. She’d go down to smoky bars and unleash her smoky voice and bring every mare and stallion in the place to their feet or their knees, depending on how kind she was feeling that night. And I was a . . . fan, you might say. I was a fan of hers like a sunflower is a fan of the sun, if we’re being truthful, and there’s no reason not to be.
The Raven was waiting at Sugarcube Corner.
That had been true for all of five minutes, and now—equally true—it was bored. Fiddling with the reality of Pinkie Pie’s room had occupied it for all of four minutes and fifty-nine seconds, but Pinkie Pie was not expected to arrive for at least another forty seconds.
What was a trickster god to do with that time?
Pinkie Pie grinned confidently as she stood before the statue she knew so well. The statue gazed back at her with stony eyes that almost seemed to blink at her if she stared at them too long.
“I know you can hear me,” sang out Pinkie, “so why don’t you come out and play, huh?”
“Really?” asked a fire-maned bat winged pegasus. “That’s what you want? Anything you could desire in exchange for your soul, and you ask for that?”
“That’s right,” said a pink pony with a cheerful tone. “Why wouldn’t I want that? If I have that, I can make everypony happy.” The demon looked at the pony with confusion in his empty eyes. After a few seconds of silence, he shrugged.
“All right then,” he said. He tapped his hooves twice, and in a burst of flame a piece of parchment appeared. “Sign here and the deal is done.” The pink pony eagerly scratched her name on the parchment. After she was done, the paper rolled itself up then burst into flame. The demon smiled.
No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.
This can’t be happening.
I refuse to believe it.
Maybe if I close my eyes and tell myself I didn’t do anything, everything will be back to normal.
Nothing possibly could have happened.
Nothing went wrong and everypony is okay.
Ponyville is still very much a crater.
Twilight leaned against Pinkie on the very precipice of Devil’s Drop, just like any friend would. She wished it could be something more, something that they could share at sunset…. A small kiss maybe. But Pinkie probably didn’t feel the same way about her, and there wasn’t a close chance that she would ever tell her favorite friend something that could possibly ruin their relationship. Ah, relationship. At least they had one.
“Pinkie, this is really great,” she said as the sun started its descent. She gazed on from purple eyes as they were bathed in a golden shower of light, embroidered with hundreds of colors no pony could even name. Pinkie smiled at her.
“Yeah Twilight, this is great! I think that we should do this again,” Pinkie replied halfheartedly. Twilight didn’t mind, for she knew her comrade was as mesmerized as herself with the beauty of the setting sun.
“Why are you crying, little one?”
Pinkie Pie’s head jerked upwards and she cast nervous glances in all directions to see who was addressing her. She saw nothing but the encroaching darkness of the woods around her with crisscrossed branches overhead blocking out all rays of the sun, roots and damp moss covered the ground in thick patches, and out of the corner of her eye she could barely make out the blue glint of a patch of Poison Joke. There were one or two overturned logs that a pony could hide behind, and a boulder or two as well; the voice hadn’t been familiar, so her heart rose up in her throat and made it difficult to breathe as her mind frantically went over a dozen possibilities of who could be sneaking up on her. She wasn’t an easy pony to sneak up on, but it seemed as though whoever it was stalking her was immune to her Pinkie Sense.
The thought was not a comforting one.
Pinkie wiped the tears out of her eyes to clear the blurriness of her surroundings. “Who’s there?”
“Please calm down little one,” Fluttershy pleaded. A young injured ferret was squirming in her hooves. The ferret’s paw was broken and would not let Fluttershy heal him. It eventually freed itself from her grasp landing on the ground. It yelped in pain and fell to the floor.
“Oh my goodness,” Fluttershy squeaked. “Are you all right?” Tears began forming in the ferret’s eyes. Fluttershy was on the brink of panicking. She needed to calm her friend down. She took in a deep breath, and began to sing. A gentle song drifted from her mouth and into the ferret’s ears, calming it down. It closed its eyes and drifted into slumber. Fluttershy kept singing, and the wind carried her song.
Applejack was in one of the many apple orchards of Sweet Apple Acres. Baskets were around numerous trees, some filled to the brim with apples while others were empty. She bucked one of the trees causing the baskets to fill with her family’s namesake. A breeze passed by the farm pony, and with it came a song. Applejack closed her eyes to listen. She recognized the voice instantly, it was Fluttershy’s. She smiled at the tune. This smile wasn’t ordinary though. It was a sad smile, a smile one would find on someone who lost their love. She sighed and looked towards the source. Emotions were bubbling in the pony’s heart. Regret, pain, sadness, and most potently love resided there. There was no proper way to express how she felt. Applejack opened her mouth and a song came from it.
“How she sings, sweet as day,” she sang. “I could take her away. A fairy voice carries, I’d marry Canary.” A mist began forming around Applejack. Quiet laughter could be heard if one listened close enough. Applejack however, was too lost in her song.
“If only she could love me, if only she…”
Temples, she had decided a very long time ago as she lay in a hospital bed covered from head to hoof in bandages, were all the same. Sure, they didn’t all look the same – the layout and the meaning and the stupid statues were usually pretty different, but where it mattered? They were all the same. Like, there were always traps. Always. If somepony had asked her if Celestia’s own sun temple was trapped, she’d have bet all her bits that it was and walked away richer. Sure, the traps were different – sometimes it was snakes and spears, other times it was explosives and magic and that one time in that old tomb there’d been a confetti cannon.
But that wasn’t the point. The point was there were always traps. And there was always treasure too, because if you’re gonna have traps well heck, why not dump your powerful magical artifacts in there too – surely the traps’ll catch anyone who tries to get ‘em. No need for any, y’know, ponies guarding the ancient relics. Nope. Those traps were just too devious. Recipe for converting rock into gold? Put it in the temple. And make it only usable by unicorns. Jerks. Elixir of Life? Give it a stupid, misleading name – healing potion, how hard was that? – and chuck it in this other, identical temple!
I slipped into my bedroom and slammed the door behind me, all the curtains drawn and the candles unlit, clutching my leather book tightly.
I first became interested in magic when I read the incredible works of H. P. Hoofcraft. One of the most talented magicians in the world, he was capable of incredible feats of magic, and his books had thorough, in-depth studies and examinations of magical spells and techniques. He was my role model. I wanted to grow up to be like him.
Heh, and I actually thought I could do it, too. When I learned my first show-spells, ponies actually told me I was talented. I started showing them off—I learned spells specifically to dazzle audiences over practical function. That was when I had the idea to put together a magic show—I thought I could let my talents shine that way. That was until I encountered that purple unicorn in that hick town. I won’t go into that episode, but let’s just say I thought my magic was pretty good until I saw hers. Now my magic feels weak, and I feel next to worthless.
Luna smiled as she looked out at the blue sky. The sun hung in front of her window as white clouds swirled around it. It was nearly blinding to her eyes accustomed to the night’s subtlety, and she sometimes traded barbs with her sister over the day’s gaudiness. But she still appreciated it, at least as a contrast.
She was not normally up during the day, and especially not so late into the afternoon as this. But she knew she couldn’t wait until that night. She needed to see everypony today. That aurora had taken nearly a century to perfect, and she couldn’t wait another minute to see what everypony thought. This time they’d see it. Everypony would see it. There was no way they could ignore it this time.
But when she turned towards the door of her chambers she saw she already was not alone. A white pegasus pony with golden hair and red eyes stood at her doorway. Her cutie mark was a black glyph that Luna was not familiar with, shaped somewhat like a horseshoe.
Celestia woke, her room submerged in dark. She made her way to her sister, who remained in the library, and informed her that she may rest before putting all her energy into raising the sun. A spark of light emerged from her horn, then more until the entire room was filled with the light aura of an alicorn’s magic, then the light exploded and casted the world in blinding light for a split second before the dark returned, only to have that familiar orange sphere rise above the horizon yet again, brilliant colors painted across the sky. It was, in a strange way, rejuvenating. She felt as if she could stay awake for eons, as if she hadn’t lived a day in her life. Many ponies had often told her how spectacular her sunrises were and envied her for the effort she put into raising the sun each day. It was absolutely beautiful.
She hated it.