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And at the End, You Shall Remain Alone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
My Immortal
“Twilight, can we talk?”

The Friendship Castle had been renovated since Celestia’s last visit. Out were the gaudy amethyst crystals and tacky purple moulding. There was nary a pennanted spire or whatever those dangling ornaments were on the original balcony to be seen. In Celestia’s mind, this was an improvement.

That was not to say the new design was perfect. There was a lot of red, for instance. And black. The walls were carved with a filigree of roses amidst twisted vines. Gargoyles leered down from the upper levels onto the throne room. Twilight had somehow contrived to embed an ever-flowing stream of lava beneath the clear crystal floor, such that the entire room was lit from below by an evil orange glow. A constant moaning wind blew in from the doors, through the halls, pushing supplicants ceaselessly forward toward the throne and the castle’s master.

And what a throne it was. Marble, skeletally thin, borne by a pedestal of living earth ponies. They bore its weight stoically. Were it not for the drops of sweat streaming down their coats, Celestia might have imagined they were caryatids themselves.

“Of course, princess!” Twilight clapped her hooves, and a gagged and blindfolded servant scuttled in, dragging a tea trolley behind her. “Would you like some tea? Or some opium?”

“Tea would be nice.” Celestia sat at the foot of the throne. “I heard you’ve been making some changes around Ponyville.”

“Oh, haha, yes.” Twilight ducked her head. She rubbed the back of her neck with a hoof. “I’m still getting used to it myself. It’s only been a few days, but I think ponies are starting to get used to it. It’s probably like moving into a new home, right? It feels weird at first, but by the time you know it you can barely remember the old place. I was nervous at first, but everypony has been very helpful.”

“Mhm.” She accepted the tea-bearer’s offering and took a sip. It was sickly sweet with sugar and honey. “Was that a red-light district I passed on the way here?”

Twilight’s ears perked up, and a smile lit her face. “Oh, you noticed! We were so excited when it opened last week! Do you know how hard it is to find that many red lanterns? There haven’t been any customers yet but we’re hopeful they’ll come once word gets out.”

“Of course. Are your friends around, by any chance?”

There was a flash, and a small folded notebook appeared beside Twilight. She flipped through it “Applejack and Rainbow are negotiating an arms shipment to Yakyakistan. Fluttershy is researching puppy mills. Pinkie Pie is developing new drinks with high-fructose corn syrup. And Rarity is… hm… Oh! She slaving away in the sex mines today.”

“The sex mines?”

“Yes, we all take turns.”

“Fascinating. Anyway, I’m here to talk about that letter I sent you last week.”

“The one about becoming an alicorn?”

“Yes. May I see it?”

“Um.” Twilight blinked. “Well, uh, sure.” She leaned over and whispered to the tea bearer, who hobbled off deeper into the castle.

They waited a bit. Celestia took another sip of her tea and found it just made her even thirstier. The earth pony throne-bearers watched her curiously.

"I like these collars," Celestia said.

"Thank you. Rarity made them."

Finally, the servant returned with a folded scroll in her mouth. She offered it to Twilight, who passed it to Celestia, who opened it.

She scanned it quickly, then nodded. “As I thought. I apologize, Twilight, my penmanship can be a little ornate sometimes. This word? It should be immortality. With another ‘T’.”

“Huh.” Twilight took the letter back and started to read. “‘In time you will have to confront your greatest challenge, the curse all alicorns must bear, of immortality.’ Oh. Ooohh.” She put the letter down. “That… that makes a lot more sense, actually.”

“I’m sorry, I should’ve been more clear.”

“No, no, this is my fault.” Twilight hopped down and clapped her hooves. “Attention everypony! We’re going back to the way things were! Start taking down the—yes, everypony! What? I don’t know, just put them on the floor for now. We’ll figure it out later.”

“I’ll get out of your mane,” Celestia stood to leave. “I can see you’re busy.”

“It’s fine. We’ll get this all sorted. Oh, um, can you stop by the sex mines on the way out of town, to let Rarity out? And, uh, bring a towel. In fact, bring two.”
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#1 · 3
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I was drawn in by the title, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is motherbucking hilarious! Kudos Author. I might just have to vote an actual slate here to put this at the top.

I mean, this is ultimately mostly just a pile of atmosphere and jokes held together with deft comic timing. But what a pile! Give me a pile like this any day.

See you in the sex mines! XD
#2 ·
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And, uh, bring a towel. In fact, bring two.

Let's hope she knows where her towel is.

Also, while I feel the immortality/immorality typo is a horse that's been ridden to death at least twice, the story is still pretty enjoyable.
#3 ·
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I've always been a fan of feghoots, and while this isn't quite a feghoot, it definitely is closely related.

The sort of nonchalant way that Celestia handles the whole thing, combined with Twilight's own seeming innocence, creates a fun contrast to the ridiculousness of the whole thing, and the way that Twilight is so eager to please while Celestia is brimming with endless maternal patience (and simply excuses herself at the end) is great.

Plus the brick joke with the sex mines made me chuckle.

Anyway, all in all, this made me laugh, so mission accomplished.
#4 ·
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Clickbaited by the title. Stayed for the chuckles.

I think I've read a few joke fics this round that have gone over my head, and reading through this, I'm starting to understand why this one worked for me where others did not. It pushed the absurd concept just far enough, contrasting it with Twilight's eager-to-please attitude in front of Celestia, then landed on an explanation that was not convoluted or tiring to understand, albeit still ridiculous.

I love Twilight's dialogue the most. Nothing crass or disrespectful about it, which comes across exactly like somebody who's just read the book but hasn't put everything into practice. Finally got her hooves on Slumber 102, I assume.

Anyway, as somebody who can't write punch-lines for crap, I think I'll be able to look back at this fic as a reference if I try my hand at comedy in the future. Great work!
#5 ·
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I have to say:

How happy I am that so many folks this time around decided to take the prompt in a non-gloomy direction. The only thing I could suggest for this one would be to have Twilight dressed in some outlandish get-up when Celestia walks in, but that's just detail stuff. Much abundant fun here.

Mike
#6 ·
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Well, since I misjudged the Jinglemas timeline and I'm done with that entry, might as well jump in here with some reviews.

This one has a really odd beginning. The first line is a bit cliched, but still a decent enough hook, getting me curious as to the subject matter and wanting to see what's going on. But then the second paragraph comes in like a huge damper. We jump from a nice active, opening begging to have context established to a pretty mundane setting that's not only short on descriptive imagery but also seemingly tangential to what the first paragraph was doing. At least by the second sentence of it, we start to get the picture Celestia has an issue with the decor, but then we find out she actually likes it now, so it drives me back to wondering what was up with the opening quote and why we're on this tangent. It leaves the first sentence of this paragraph feeling like a non sequitur.

It's also a paragraph full of opinions, and it's not until the end of the paragraph we learn whose opinions they are. I'd encourage you to establish that perspective earlier. So, a rocky beginning.

Finally, the third paragraph brings it together, and that's not too far to get in for a minific, but it still leaves me with a tonal whiplash that doesn't seem to be accomplishing something. It's close to working, but there's a fine line between a nice bait-and-switch and something that doesn't quite make sense. For me, it's that Celestia is kind of simultaneously complaining about both parts: she prefers the new version of the castle to the old, but she preferred what the old meant about Twilight's disposition, and I lack the context to call that more than a contradiction.

Now I'm only 3 paragraphs in, and I'm already spending way too much damn time on a single entry.

Another fine line thing here, but I don't know offhand what a caryatid is, it's just beyond indicated by the context, and I don't know why something simpler wouldn't have worked.

I see a couple of minor editing things, but I tend not to point those out in write-offs, since editing time is limited.

In the end, it's funny. The character-destroying kind, as I don't think canon Twilight would blindly follow something that should strike her wrong without asking for clarification (though how she plays it after that point—totally in earnest but not really attached to the idea—does work well for her). So... it's kind of hard to divorce myself from this. Random humor is fine, but random OOC humor is more of a stretch. It's the first story I've read, so I don't know how I'll deal with that in voting, but if I'm trying to be objective, the complaint I had about the beginning sending inconsistent messages about Celestia is the only one I'll maintain. And it is nice to see a not-obvious take on the prompt. Perhaps a weak link to it, but I don't care about that.
#7 · 1
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The story is fun. The only thing I'd consider changing is the Sex Mines part. Not because it's offensive or anything but I'd change it to Sex Farm because they're ponies ... and also for a Spinal Tap reference.