Living After DeathMonochromatic
You have been a mostly wonderful audience. I say mostly if only because to say you are perfect would be to lie, and I rather think we are beyond that, you and I. Nothing in this world is perfect—not the sun, not the moon, not the stars and not even my beloved herself.
Nevertheless, you have listened, you have spoken, and you have accompanied me as I’ve weaved together a tale that isn’t really a tale at all.
A traditional story, you see, has a beginning, a middle and an end.
This one doesn’t.
I could very well stop talking right now, simply go quiet forevermore, and though you would not listen to the story any longer, it would be far from over.
Let me explain.
The swings complained as Twilight and I flew up and down in the air, the poor things not designed to carry the weight of someone much older than fourteen. The evening breeze accompanied us that night, brushing against our skin and our backs, as if trying to boost us higher still.
“Sweetie Belle asked me to write my biography today,” I said, the soles of my shoes brushing against the wet grass. “For an assignment at school.”
“Oh?” Twilight asked, slight confusion at the sudden unusual topic staved off by her infallible curiosity regarding anything and everything related to education and myself. “Have you done it yet?”
“No, but I’ve composed it in my mind just now. It’s quite brilliant, you know. Sure to win an award in literature.”
“Really?” she asked, waiting until our swinging coincided to playfully raise an eyebrow at me. “Let’s hear it.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Twilight,” I said at length, boosting myself ever so slightly so I’d be going just a teensy bit faster than her. “It’s really quite good. Too good, in fact. I’m afraid it might hurt your self-esteem. Wouldn’t want you realizing how inferior your essays to the lady are compared to my works.”
“Right.” Twilight laughed. “This coming from same person who tried to use the word ‘ominouslierest’ to describe someone beyond ominous.”
“Now, now,” I replied. “Nothing is a proper piece of writing until the English language is angrily crying.”
I don’t think I’d ever seen her roll her eyes quite that far back, but I still took pride in the grin on her face. Her small joys were my grand victories.
“Come on,” she insisted, and in her eyes I saw a challenge. “Let’s hear it.”
“Very well, very well,” I relented and cinematically jumped off the swing, turning to her with a twirl and clearing my throat. “The story of my life, dear Professor Whatever-Her-Name-Is, is the story of everybody’s life.”
“Of everybody’s life?” Twilight asked, tilting her head. “That… doesn’t sound right, Rarity.”
“But of course! After all, no one had a life before I was born!”
It wasn’t until the fourth time she’d swung back and forth that I realized she was not going to deign me with a reply. Which was fine, because I thought I was hysterical and honestly that’s all that mattered.
I cleared my throat and began to speak.
I started, of course, with the day of my dramatic birth in the Sunswept District’s public hospital. Dramatic because I was born several weeks too early and my life hung in the balance for my first months of life.
After that, I studied at the local public school all the way up until the day I went to Lady Celestia’s gardens and… well… on second thought…
“Okay. Let me— Okay— Wait—” Twilight swung to a stop and repeated what I’d said. “And you lived a ‘rather boring life’ until you took a job as a seamstress, and then you did that for a few years, and then you met me and now ‘here we are’?”
I smiled. “Yes.”
She blinked at me. “I… What?”
“Rarity! That’s not a biography!” she protested. “That’s a… a summary! A recap!”
“Yes, yes,” I replied dismissively, having realized that actually, I did not want my dear friend to know more about my life. I walked back to my swing and sat down. “I’ll work on it.”
Twilight shook her head. “Better than my essays,” she murmured loud enough for me to hear. “Right.”
We swung in silence for a few minutes after that, until I spoke up.
“We had to write epitaphs once when I was younger,” I said, pushing myself off the ground and resuming my childlike activity. “It was an assignment for school. We were supposed to pick a fictional character and write one for them.”
“Who did you pick?” Twilight asked.
“Myself,” I replied and at her questioning gaze, I grinned. “I thought I was far more interesting than make-believe people.”
“Well, what did you write, then?”
I swung one, two, three times before I replied.
“Here lies Rarity,” I said, “who obviously didn’t figure out how to live forever.”
Admittedly, I expected Twilight to laugh. I wanted her to be amused at my younger self’s ingenuity and creativity, and she would realize charm had been a trait I’d always possessed.
But she didn’t laugh. She didn’t say anything at all, in fact. She simply looked out into the horizon, her eyes slightly narrowed, and her thoughts already twenty steps ahead of me.
“Yes, you did,” she said instead, and offered no more explanation.
“Yes, I did? Yes, I did what?”
“Figure out how to live forever,” she replied as her swinging came to a stop. “Scientifically-speaking, if you died today, your consciousness would be gone, but your body would keep living as something else. If you’re buried in the ground, then you’d live as nutrients for the earth and then be the tree that would grow from that. Even if you were cremated, you’d still be something. The ‘you’ you think of as Rarity wouldn’t be alive, but the actual physical Rarity would still be alive, just as something else.”
I elected not to tell her that beside being a lady-killer, she was also a mood-killer. I snorted instead.
“Am I to believe that the tree standing over my grandfather’s grave is my grandfather, then?”
“In a way, yes.”
“But that isn’t my grandfather. It might be what he became next, but the grandfather I knew is dead,” I said. “Which will be the case when I die, and therefore I, Rarity, did not discover immortality.”
“Yes,” she replied. “Yes, you did. Well, maybe not immortality, but you’ll still be alive even after dying. At least for a few more years.”
“Darling, I hope you realize that makes absolutely no sense.”
“Yes, it does, because—” She cut herself off, her mind now fifty steps ahead of her mouth, and much to my dismay, she declined to elaborate. “Nevermind. It was just a thought,” she said suddenly, and a quick glance at her pocket watch only helped in pushing the thought further away. “And I’m late for supper!”
Ignoring my protests that the lady could wait, she jumped off the swing and gathered her things, bidding me a goodbye as hasty and abrupt as the end of our previous conversation.
“Wait, Twilight!” I called out until she turned around to face me. “You can’t just leave our conversation there! Tell me how that makes sense!”
Her hand gripped the strap of her bag, her eyes fluttering back and forth between the mansion in the distance and the woman on the swings, until she finally decided to make sense of it all and explained by not explaining a thing.
“Do you remember the first time we met?” she asked. “What you told me?”
“That a boy died on a bench?”
“No,” she huffed and then relaxed. “Actually, that’s somewhat related. But no, not that.”
“That you are a strange but fascinating individual?”
“No,” she replied again, failing to hide her pleased smile. With a sigh not unlike mine, she elaborated. “You asked me if I’d miss you when you’d be gone, and…” A blush crept up her cheeks and the hand grasping the strap of her bag tightened. “I will. I’ll miss you when you’re gone.”
Despite how immensely pleased that made me, my mind did not allow me to dwell on this much.
“Well, darling, I’m flattered, but that still doesn’t explain why I’ll live even after I’m dead.”
“Yes,” she said, with that particular little smile she always sported when about to say something that would keep me up at night. “Yes, it does.”
Hours later, just when the Sapphire Carrousel would be at its busiest, a young woman with bruised knuckles and ethereal wings made her way through the navy corridors until she reached a blue double door bearing a crescent moon.
“Boss?” called out my dear Rainbow, knocking on the door. “Hey Boss, we kinda have a situ—”
The opening of the doors cut her off and she stepped in, her sights set on the beautifully sombre woman sitting behind a desk at the end of the room. With all the grace in the world, the Lady of the Artistic and the Depraved put down the newspaper she was reading and stared at the Sapphire’s head of security.
“Is tonight’s rehearsal cancelled?”
Rainbow faltered. “Rehea— For the play? Er, no, that’s still good, but—”
“Then I’m not needed,” the Lady cut off, turning back to her newspaper.
“Boss,” Rainbow insisted. “It’s the lineup. Some fancy client asked for it, and now he’s all pissed off because the chick he wants isn’t there. She says she doesn’t want to do anything tonight.”
Lady Luna stared at her, and it wasn’t until a full minute had gone by that poor Rainbow continued.
“What do you want me to do…?”
“Why are you asking me?” asked Lady Luna, going back to her newspaper. “The lineups and related activities have nothing to do with my theatre. Whether one of the ladies desires to work tonight or not is not of my concern unless they’re also part of the play.”
Rainbow cleared her throat. “Yeah, so, er, okay, see, that’s the thing. Because I told this dude that she has rehearsal tonight, and he insisted, so I told him I’d go check with her just to shut him up, but when I went to see her, she like told me that she doesn’t want to do anything tonight—not even the play.”
Lady Luna was quiet for a moment.
“Who are we referring to?”
“Rarity,” Rainbow elaborated. “Rarity doesn’t want to do anything tonight.”
Lady Luna let out a weary sigh, closing the newspaper and pinching the bridge of her nose. Poor woman! I’d constantly driven her insane ever since I was a child, and yet she still put up with me.
“Why does she not want to work tonight?”
Rainbow cleared her throat. “Well.”
“Just to be clear, I told her it was stupid, but she—”
Rainbow cleared her throat. “Because she’s… she says it’s because she’s ‘in love’.”
Dear stars, what I would have given to see the expression on the Lady’s face.
“Because she is in love,” the Lady repeated. “With who?”
“I dunno,” replied Rainbow, crossing her arms. “Rose Petal thinks she’s in love with that one client—y’know, Blueface or whatever—and Big Mac thinks she’s just makin’ it up to get out of rehearsal, but I’ve been hangin’ out with her more than any of them, and I think it’s that one mage from the Sunswept District.”
In a single instant, all the weariness vanished from the Lady’s face and was replaced instead with an intrigue almost bordering on glee.
“With Twilight Sparkle?” she asked carefully. “The student of my sister?”
“Her, yeah, yeah!” Rainbow replied, but her attempt to gossip about my lovelife was interrupted when our dear Lady began to laugh, and laugh, and when Rainbow asked her what was so funny, the Lady grinned.
“It is most amusing,” she said, “how one cannot escape fate’s design.”
This Chapter, A Summary:
Twilight and Rarity get philosophical, while Luna enjoys some future schadenfreude.