be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website:

be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website: http://www.joanhilty.net/ (usually she updates her blog every Sunday evening but she can and will surprise you) **Special Note: all of Joan's archives are now up--almost ten years of 'bitter girl.' As Joan says, go wild!**

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Return to Equestria: Rarity's Wedding

Rainbow Dash flies at top speed to the castle in Griffonland; she brings an important message for Queen Fluttershy and her consort, Miss Rarity.

“So how’s Apple Jack?” Shy politely asks while Dash is trying to decide how best to spill the beans to both of them.

“She’s fine,” R.D. allows at length, her trepidation increasing with every passing breath. “Zap apples just came in and her family’s busy with those. Everything’s square at the factory. For the time being.” She lowers her eyes and doesn’t dare mention the word ‘layoffs’ which is recently on every pony’s mind. “Princess Celestia got some good news, though. That woman Lauren Faust came back and the network is interested in putting the show back on the air.” She waits a beat before she supplies the kicker to this whole deal. “They want the first episode to be your wedding, Rarity.”

"My wedding?” Rarity gasps as the light slowly dawns in her eyes. “Well, whom would I marry?”

“That’s just it,” Dash explains, finally meeting the other’s expectant gaze. “It has to be a guy. Of some nature–colt or a dragon. Just can’t be some pony of the same sex.”

“Well–what if–” Rarity begins but she is immediately cut off.

“If you want to discuss the ins and outs of this, you need to talk to the Princess, and I’ll be happy to fly you there,” Dash curtly states her terms as the preceding two weeks’ series of meetings and letters at the Canterlot castle condenses into an irresolute and opaque mass beyond her understanding or even wish to.

“Well, what do you think?” Rarity is asking Shy.

Shy looks into Rarity’s trance and sees what this means to her; she also thinks back to all that Rarity’s done to keep her afloat. “Let me know what you decide,” Fluttershy allows in a barely audible voice.

Rarity kisses her paramour goodbye with frightening alacrity. “I will,” she promises the other. “Thanks sweetie!”

“You’re welcome,” Shy levelly responds. “Have a safe flight.”

“Are you all right?” Carrot Top inquires of the Queen once R.D. and Rarity are gone.

“Yes,” Shy bravely lies, doing her best to hold back tears. “Is there anything pressing that I need to attend to now?”

“No,” C.T. honestly responds, shaking her head. “Discord’s on top of everything at the moment.” Because of the recent tax increases, because of the growing unrest among the Griffons, the military has had to take a greater role in the day-to-day affairs of state.

“Very well,” Shy replies as she turns to leave.

“Your Majesty,” C.T. dares speak up. “Have you ever wanted things to go back to the way it used to be? Before all this?”

“Yes,” Shy softly admits, not facing the other. “But I know that’s not possible, so–”

“Well, what if I told you there was a way to work it?”

“How?” Shy asks without turning around.

“You could abdicate the throne, as Princess Celestia did with Luna that time.”

“Yes,” Fluttershy sighs in resignation while opening the door to her private chamber. “The coward’s way out. Thank you for your suggestion.”

“You’re welcome, Your Majesty,” Carrot Top softly replies, mostly to herself, in the wake of the Queen’s departure.

Meanwhile, back in Canterlot, Rarity’s initial reaction to what Celestia spells out is, “So what you’re telling me is that for this entire deal to go forward, I have to marry Spike.”

The Princess dismisses the white unicorn’s oversimplification with a wave of her royal hoof. “Not necessarily; that’s merely what the network wants. I imagine you’d have your pick of Ponyville, if not all of Equestria. You know, this is precisely why I sent that Lauren Faust woman home, because I knew you’d take this too personally. You don’t have to do anything, Rarity; you needn’t marry any pony or thing. It’s just, if you did, that would put us back in the network’s good graces.”

“And solve a lot of problems at the same time, at home and abroad,” Rarity finishes for the other when the former senses there’s more on the Princess’s mind than the evenhandedness of her remarks would otherwise indicate.

Celestia gives up some more ground while hoping to prevail in the end. “Yes, toy sales are down, probably because we are so long out of the public’s sight,” she admits without breaking eye contact. “And yes, the occupation of Griffonland is proving more costly on balance than we initially projected. No pony likes layoffs, any more than the Griffons love either higher taxes or ponies plundering their natural resources. I concede, this has come along at a most opportune juncture, but you needn’t star here; the network simply sees you as commanding the highest demographic for this sort of spectacle.”

Rarity feels herself sliding down the chute toward seduction, so she throws out, to end this for at least the time being, “Rainbow Dash also allowed that anything with regard to Fluttershy is off the table; is that true?”

Here the Princess does glance away. “I’m afraid so; she was quite specific on that point.”

“And how soon must I render my decision?”

“A few days, at most. We need to know sooner rather than later, because if you say no, then we have other options to explore.”

“Such as some other pony getting married?”

Celestia nods. “Precisely.”

“Very well, Your Highness,” Rarity sums up as she rises to leave. “Thank you for your time.”

“You’re welcome. Let me know.”

First Rarity drops in on Spike, then Pinkie Pie at the magic shop:

“Hi Rarity,” Pinkie squeals in delight when her old friend enters the store. “What a treat to see you again.”

“Hello Pinkie,” Rarity returns the salutation while she waits for the other to finish ringing a couple of foals up.

“Heard about your wedding,” Pinkie continues to enthuse once her customers have left. “Are you excited?”

Rarity dramatically sighs. “Well, part of me is but then part of me–this entire affair has come along at an inconceivably bad time, I must confess. Things aren’t so great back in Griffonland presently.”

Pinkie Pie hurries by this with an impatient wave of her hoof. “Never mind all that,” she crossly dismisses. “Who are you going to marry?”

“I just spoke with Spike at the boutique,” Rarity reflects as she recalls the scene. “And he understands the situation, with Shy and me. So he’d go along, if I decided on him. And this could really put Equestria back on the map; the thing is, I don’t know how well Her Majesty would react to all this. Plus I’d simply be using Spike, regardless of whether we consummated the marriage or not; I just don’t know what to do.”

Pinkie shrugs. “Whatever makes you happy,” she blurts out without pause, as if the solution were obvious.

Rarity sadly shakes her head. “I wish it were that easy.”

Meanwhile, at the one factory still running, Luna closes the translucent glass door to Twilight’s office as Twi's name and cutie mark show through the filtered light in reverse refraction. “So Rarity’s back from Griffonland?” Twi inquires of her paramour.

“Yes,” the Dark Princess allows while slipping back into her royal Canterlot voice if not timbre. “I think Sis is really worried; she keeps up a brave front but you know as well as I do–”

“Things can’t continue as they are,” Twilight finishes for the other. “If there are any more layoffs, I don’t know how we're going to manage things; warehouses are getting backed up as it is.”

Luna lowers her gaze. “I sneaked a look at the books last night,” she continues in a quiet tone even as the numbers jar her once again while she recalls the initial blood-freezing sensation. “The royal treasury is nearly depleted.”

“Can’t we float a bond issue?” T.S. throws out for discussion.

The Princess demurs. “Pony Bank would have to underwrite it,” she explains. “And after we’ve defaulted on the two other mortgages for the additional factories that are now sitting idle, I can’t see them as overjoyed to have us even walking in the door. Plus Tia would be too embarrassed to ask.”

Twilight nods. “Which leaves us with Rarity and her nuptials.”

“It would seem so,” Luna grimly agrees.

At the next pony staff meeting, Celestia asks Twilight to remain after every other pony has left. “Rarity’s gone back to Griffonland,” the Princess begins once she closes the door to the royal chamber. “I guess she had some kind of awful, terrible nightmare about Fluttershy marrying Discord and me getting jealous and both castles being blown up and I don’t know what all else. Let’s face it–Rarity will never love any pony more than Rarity. That’s merely one of many unpleasant facts of life I’m afraid the time has come for us to confront.

“Twilight, what you have been taught about the origins of Equestria is not the truth; not entirely, anyway. This is something even Luna isn’t privy to; I was told by my mother shortly before she passed away. Millions of years ago, humans ruled the Earth, just as we now dominate Equestria. But the same technology that allowed them to genetically modify what they considered ‘animals’ or ‘dumb beasts’ so that they had the power of speech and the intellectual capability of language also allowed them to explore other dimensions and other forms of existence, so much so that they largely abandoned the Earth for other worlds and colonies. They haven’t died out; there simply aren’t as many around any more in conventional space and time.

“This is where you come in: I’m sorry, but I’m at my wit’s end. Try as I might, I can’t figure out a solution to the present difficulties, so I’m leaving it up to you. I have copies of the humans’ history, in recorded and written form, violent and savage as it may be. I need you to peruse it, learn from it, and I hope save us. Otherwise–”

“Otherwise, we’ve had it,” Twi softly finishes for her Princess.

“I’m afraid so.”

So Spike and Twilight trade places for a few days; while the purple and green baby dragon alternatively spins in Twi’s big manager’s chair and barks random orders to cowardly, craven and churlish underlings, Twi hangs out at the mostly deserted Rarity’s Boutique, studying up on the former lords of the Earth when she isn’t fitting some occasional pony for a new dress or ensemble. By the end of the week she’s ready for her report to the Princess:

“Well, I see what you mean by savage and violent,” Twi begins. “Some of these wars they had, the carnage is completely unbelievable. Having said that, however, I think we’re more alike than we’re dissimilar. The thing about the humans though is they were never satisfied; nothing was ever good enough for them. Their greed was always their undoing; when empires got too big, they simply collapsed because they ran out of money. So maybe the occupation of Griffonland wasn’t the smartest thing we ever did.”

“Well if we recall the troops and pull out, then we have even more unemployment than we have now,” Celestia immediately rejoins and it's not just her pride talking here, since the occupation had been all her idea. “And if the Griffons can’t manage the show themselves, are we really better off letting them degenerate into chaos and anarchy? The Griffon Royal Family killed themselves all off; that wasn't my doing.”

Twilight abruptly stands. “I’m going to talk to Rarity; see if I can sound her out, talk some sense into her. Her and Fluttershy.”

So Twi cruises Griffonland, to find Her Majesty testy and self-defensive. “Good gravy you guys,” Fluttershy explodes for the nth time merely upon seeing Twilight. “I’m sick and tired of every pony walking on eggshells around me; I'm not some baby or emotional basket case. If Rarity wants to marry Spike, then just do it. I couldn’t care less.”

Rather than debate this point and provoke any more royal fury, T.S. starts out with, “Rarity, tell me about your dream.”

“Well,” the marshmallow-white unicorn slowly begins while the seared images play back in her mind's eye. “I wake up one morning and there’s all this acrid haze and foul-smelling smoke all over Ponyville; no one knows what’s going on and then you make a speech in the middle of town square saying that both Princesses are missing and presumed dead, along with Pinkie and Apple Jack, that all of Canterlot has been obliterated and that the Griffon royal castle has also been destroyed. After we hear that Fluttershy has married Discord.”

“As if,” the Queen fires off before any pony can comment otherwise.

“Well if it’s all the same to you, why don’t we just do that then?” Twilight pointedly inquires of Shy, tossing the proverbial kid gloves aside. “We’re in dire straights here guys; some pony has to do something.”

“Discord would never agree,” Rarity interjects before Her Majesty can manage an answer.

“Don’t be too sure,” Twi counters with Rarity in an equally determined fashion, to give Shy a much-needed break. “This whole thing is so off-the-wall it might appeal to his depraved sense of humor.”

“We can make it a double wedding,” Shy announces, the light finally dawning in her eyes. “With Celestia presiding, to make sure there are no hard feelings; the network will love it.”

“That’s it!” Twilight Sparkle exclaims in triumph. "You did it again, Shy!"

So, amid much pomp and circumstance, with extremely tight security, nuptials are prepared, televised and consummated; the only thing missing is Rainbow Dash and her sonic rainboom.

“Every other pony will be at the wedding,” Dash explains to Rarity. “Suppose something happens? I have to guard the fort.”

Indeed, the reception is interrupted when Discord receives an urgent message from R.D. that the Griffons are revolting and that he’s needed back there. Spike sees the change in Rarity’s expression when Shy tells her that she must also return.

“Listen, Rarity,” the green and purple dragon ventures. “I know we were supposed to have a honeymoon and all, but Fluttershy needs you now, more than ever.”

“Are you sure?” Rarity queries her new husband with tears in her eyes.

Spike nods. “Go. I have to watch the store for you anyway.”

“Thank you Spike!” Rarity gushes with honest emotion as she hugs him in farewell. “You’re the best!”

“So they tell me,” Spike mumbles to himself as he watches his new bride take her leave of Twilight and the rest of the wedding party.

“Happy wedding day,” Twi commiserates with Spike once Luna leaves with Rarity, to fly her back to Griffonland.

“Yeah,” Spike dejectedly responds as he downs the last of his champagne. “Hooray for me.”

“Cheer up Spike,” Twilight kindly offers in return. “You saved Equestria. And Griffonland, for that matter.”

“I saved Equestria,” Spike echoes in form and fashion while gesturing in futility. “Big freaking deal.”

Twi shrugs before she rubs noses with the little guy, to lift his spirits. “It is to some ponies.” When that doesn’t work, she ventures, “You know, if Rarity hadn’t agreed to this, some other pony would have gotten married.”

Spike snorts in derision. “Like who?” he demands, refusing to come out of his funk.

“Like me, maybe,” Twi confesses, blushing.

“And who would you have married?” Spike counters with. “Some alicorn maybe, with the initials P.L.?”

“Or maybe some dragon, with the initials S.S.”

“S.S.?”

“Spike Snot-face,” Twilight whispers in his ear. “Don’t worry; Rarity will come back.”

Spike nods in resignation to the truth, that no matter what, that marshmallow-white unicorn will always be part of his life. “She always does, doesn’t she?”


Dear Princess Celestia,

I learned a valuable lesson about problem solving from all this, as well as working with others and delegating authority when you realize you can't save the day. Thank you for trusting me with the truth; I'll keep it safely locked in my heart forever, along with all my memories of us together.

Your Faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle

P.S. We're back on the air! The fun has been doubled! Huzzah!


Apple Jack opens the employee’s door to the second toy factory at 7:30 am, half an hour before the first shift begins, to the crowd of enthusiastic workers, each happy to have his or her job reinstated. “Welcome back,” she greets the first pony in the dawn’s early light, and indeed each successive pony thereafter; the crisp morning air invigorating every pony's senses. “Welcome back.”

“It’s good to be back,” every pony earnestly responds in kind.

After Pinkie Pie passes out freshly pressed zap apple cider to each and every employee, she proposes a toast. “To pony toys,” she exclaims to cheers and applause. “Long may they sell.”

“Hear hear,” Princess Celestia softly repeats under her breath as she watches the festivities via the green-fire-rimmed viewing portal from afar, all alone once again in her darkened viewing room.

4 comments:

  1. wow that was awsome!!!U should make a story 'bout Spike and Rarity having a baby at their honeymoon.Hope u do,if so,i cant wait!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your compliment; I'm glad you enjoyed reading the story.

      Delete
  2. I really enjoyed reading this as well. I stumbled upon the comic on deviant art and was a bit dismayed to see that it had ended so abruptly. Please do continue this story. I really do like that the topic ventures into a different area- rather than another story about the characters that is happy-go-lucky, you explore a more true, unsettling situation, and introduce new aspects. Well done and bravo:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks as well; I wish I could continue it, but the artist I was working with seems to have taken a powder on me. However, if dA users such as yourself were to, let's say, drop her a note or otherwise comment on her dA page, maybe that might persuade her.

      Delete