The Last Element
Night hung over Equestria, the infinite stars crafted with exquisite care by Luna glittered almost audibly overhead, and the bright shape of the moon cast long shadows in silver across the landscape. And a young dragon loped over the turf to where his beloved hopefully waited.
He moved with impressive speed, sometimes using his front claws to propel himself or check his balance. As he moved outside of the area surrounding Ponyville, he saw a small shape silhouetted against the sky. The shape still provoked a feeling of pressure in his chest, a shortness of his breath, an imperceptible vibration in his core; this pony always had been the most beautiful thing in the world to him. He drew near, and slowed his pace to a gentle walk. He cleared the last few metres, saying nothing. Rarity did not look over, still staring into the sky. He sat next to her and followed her gaze to the moon. He looked down at her face, and marvelled at how small she looked now. For Spike had grown up, and a dragon can grow up a lot. He now stood at almost the height of three ponies, and his shape had changed. His tail had grown out; his arms had grown almost as long as his powerful legs and his wings were just beginning to show where they would be. He had grown, and the world had shrunk. Especially this pony.
Rarity broke the silence; her voice sounded slightly weary, and the aristocratic tone was tinged with… sadness?
“It’s funny isn’t it Spike.” She sighed. “Sixty years, and look at it all. Still so perfect; Still the same old Equestria.” She looked at him for the first time, and he marvelled at the deep blue of her eyes. Even as her mane had whitened, the vividness of those eyes had never faltered. “And only the old ponies like me left over. And I look rather less than perfect these days.” She turned again towards the sky.
Spike had never heard this tone in her voice before, and leaned in, wrapping his tail around her. “M’lady?” She turned, a new smile on her face at being called that again. But even now some tears had formed in the corners of her eyes.
“Oh, Spike, I was just thinking how strange it feels. The last of the Elements of Harmony. What good is generosity without your best friends to share it with? I know I still have you darling, but…” She trailed off, and the first tear actually fell into the grass, shining in the moonlight. “Ponyville isn’t the same place anymore, or at least” she corrected herself with a toss of her blue-white mane; “It doesn’t have the same place for me as it used to.”
“M’lady, you still have your sister, and it’s not like you’re an outsider is it? Everypony still knows you’re the most beautiful pony in Equestria.” Spike was struggling to control his voice, and struggling even harder not to let his eyes moisten. Rarity rested her head on his side, closing her eyes.
“Spike, you can be so silly. I haven’t been that in a long time. I doubt I ever was.” Spike stared straight into her eyes, looking down into the moon reflected in those beautiful orbs that had first taken him all those years ago.
“I think you always have been. You know that.”
“Now Spike,” Rarity pouted, an echo of the old pride filtering into her words “a much as I adore hearing how wonderful I may be, you’re opinion is a little biased.” She sighed, slowly lowering her chest to the grass, careful both of her old bones, and of any dirt. “Pinkie, Twilight, Fluttershy, Rainbow, even Applejack. I never thought I would end up as the last of them.” She kept her voice very steady, and though the tears were steady now, she kept her composure. “And I don’t believe I have much time left myself. Just an old mare, without the best friends she ever had.” At the last couple of words, her shoulders began to shake with sobs, and she struggled to keep her face serene.
Spike said nothing. He didn’t trust his voice. He simply stood, bent over and gently lifted Rarity off the grass. She weighed so little that he barely felt her in his arms. He began the walk back to Ponyville. They passed the old orchard, bigger now, apples just ripening on the branches, waiting for the latest generation of the Apple family to begin bucking. Somehow Spike knew what Rarity needed to do. He carried his through the orchard, past the old barn, through Ponyville, past what had been Sugarcube Corner, where the family that now called it home had maintained the garish decorations. Both smiled at that, it was what Pinkie would have wanted. They passed the small statue of Rainbow Dash, the only Ponyville resident ever to get into the Wonderbolts. Past Twilights Library, where even now a light shone at the window, showing that somepony was still at work late into the night. Past Rarity’s boutique, now held by an enterprising colt from Canterlot who kept the name as a mark of respect. All the way out to the other side of Ponyville where Fluttershy’s cottage stood, looking sad and empty now. Neither could hold back the tears now, fuelled by happy memories of times gone by, and by the state of things today.
Neither spoke as Spike finished his tour of Ponyville, Rarity had held her eyes closed since leaving the cottage behind, tears still seeping out. The she felt herself being lowered to turf, but soft, short turf now. She looked ahead, and saw they had arrived. Ahead of them, separated from all the others except each other, stood five simple graves. Rarity didn’t need to read the names, nor look at the simple shapes carved into them- cutie marks and the shapes of the elements better known to her even than the world of fashion. She stood, and nuzzled each grave in turn. Before turning back to Spike. He tear streaked face bore a wan smile, and she rested against his kneeling form, slowly sinking to the ground. Spike stayed still, staring down at the form of the most beautiful pony he had ever known. He doubted he would ever meet one better, even if he lived for another thousand years, as he would do. He reached down to brush a lock of mane out of Rarity’s face, and she looked at him for the last time.
“Thank you Spike. Thank you.” She closed her eyes, teary smile still in place, and sank to the ground. Spike felt her go.
Spike had no idea how long he sat there, as he thought back over all the happy years there had been. There were no more tears to come, and somehow he felt stronger. He had hundreds of years to live, and he would live them for her. The last of the elements, the last of his best friends, the pony he loved.