|The Last Crusade|
Art by Paraderpy
|Date published||December 25, 2011|
The Last Crusade is a bittersweet short story by Paraderpy featuring the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
The story is narrated in the past tense and in the third person. The perspective shifts throughout the story between Apple Bloom's and Sweetie Belle's.
Apple Bloom has died. One winter, she caught an unspecified disease from which she did not recover. But her ghost is unwilling to leave and lingers. Only her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders can see and hear her, so she avoids going elsewhere in Ponyville. She especially avoids going to a place she only calls "the Spot", and has her friends come to her, for many weeks. The story takes place during the course of one such evening, with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo visiting Apple Bloom at their old clubhouse.
While Scootaloo has been told or figured out that Apple Bloom is dead, Sweetie Belle has not. She has told Rarity of their continuing adventures, but her big sister neither believes her nor tells her the whole truth. That's why Sweetie Belle doesn't understand why it's such a big deal when Apple Bloom announces her intention to visit "the Spot" after all; she feels it is time.
So the friends walk into Ponyville together; "one last crusade", Scootaloo calls it. As they near the town hospital, Apple Bloom starts seeing bright lights illuminating the night. She smiles, and when Sweetie Belle asks her why she's staring as if she's seen a pretty ghost, Scootaloo replies for her friend, while nodding towards Apple Bloom, that ghosts are pretty, indeed.
After that, it clicks for the unicorn as well, and she starts to cry. Apple Bloom tries to reassure her, says that she's happy with her decision and that it means "see ya later" more than it means "goodbye". Princess Celestia's disembodied voice also chimes in, saying she will take care of Apple Bloom. The story ends with the Cutie Mark Crusaders saying their final adieus.