The Light Never Goes Out
Applejack had always enjoyed the view from this window. She still did, there was nothing stopping her from doing this. As Applejack looked out of, she gazed upon Sweet Apple Acres and sighed to herself. Down below were some of her kin, working on her trees, bucking and collecting. Normally, this would make her happy, but not today. She turned away and made for her bed. A feeling at the back of her head wanted her to crawl back under the sheets and forget all about today. Sadly, she knew she couldn’t.
Crouching down, she pulled out a small, well made chest out from under her bed. She took it over to her writing desk and from a hidden compartment; she pulled out the key to the lock. Applejack held her breath as she unlocked the heavy duty padlock and only breathed out when she opened the chest.
It was a pink bow.
Well, it had been once upon a time. It was losing its colour; it was frayed around the edges. Sure enough, it had seen better days. But to Applejack, it had never looked better. With reverence beating the norm of royal weddings, Applejack carefully tied it around her Stetson and put it on carefully. Placing the chest back under her bed, she set off. Today was going to be a long day, so it might as well start now. She nodded to her family and her farmhooves as she left the farm grounds. They merely nodded at her and went back to work; they knew what this day meant as well.
The walk for Applejack hadn’t changed much over time. It was the same path she had used for far too long now. She knew every tree, every rock, and every bush. At one point, she used to run this path, desperate to get to its destination. And every time she walked it, the same words flowed through her head.
‘Next time, Ah’m going a different way...’ the words filtered across her mind, at the same point they did each time. Sure enough, there was the tree that looked like a cat was stuck in the branch. And she knew, sure enough, it didn’t make a blind bit of difference. She’d take the same path, again and again and aga- She shook her head. She was doing it again. It was this day, it had her all riled up, and Applejack hated that.
She finally reached the first stop of her journey. Once, it had been a quaint little cottage with so much greenery you almost thought it was a tree. It had bloated up in size since then, but somehow, still looked like a tree of some sort. The sort that devoured not just kites, but entire wagons and carriages. It still had its assortment of birdhouses, hutches, pens, runs and other animal based equipment around it. The door swung open and out trotted an earth stallion and a pegasus colt. The stallion had an extremely long blonde mane and slight orange coat. The colt by his side, which had a classic cross band aid on his flank, had a short pink mane and deep red coat. As the colt waved bye to the figure in the doorway, the stallion nodded its head to Applejack.
“Morning Auntie Applejack,” he said, his smile radiating pure sweetness. “How are you today?”
“You know full well Toffeeapple, so git ya hide outa here. Ya still not too old for a hidin’!” Applejack said a smile on her mouth. Toffeeapple had always been a sweet thing. It was a shame really...
She watched the two as she walked to the door, the young colt asking Toffee who she was, and then descending into the two playing about.
“Applejack, you’re earlier than I expected! Um, give me a moment!” The figure cried from the door, before fleeing from the doorway. Applejack sighed with a smile. Some things didn’t need to change, and Fluttershy was one. “Come on in! There’s still some tea in the pot!” the pegasus cried out from inside.
Applejack entered her friends house and went straight to the den. Sure enough, there was a pot of tea on the table with some unused cups. Normally Applejack didn’t drink tea, but Fluttershy was an exception. One of the reasons was because her tea was very good, even to her. This was partly because Fluttershy had been given a list of herbal teas by a relaxation expert called Smooth. She’d been an odd pony, but then, Applejack wasn’t one to comment.
“So, what was that? Ya great-grand colt?” Applejack called out as she sat down.
“You know that he wasn’t!” the light yellow pegasus cried back from upstairs. That was some shifting of objects from up there.
She poured herself a cup and sipped the warm tea. In an instant she felt a lot of stress disintegrate. Smooth had always looked half asleep but in total bliss. That pony could have found relaxation in the middle of an earthquake whilst it was storm season. No wonder she’d left her business to Fluttershy, she probably hoped that it would be the final way of helping her. Or as a joke, who knew?
Fluttershy came back into the room, carrying a chest of her own. It had a butterfly pattern on it. She set it down gently on the table and pulled the simple bow lock that was kept on it. Applejack half guessed what it would be as her friend pulled out one of the most precious things in her life. It was a golden band, designed to clip shut. The Earth pony knew full well there were two Cutie Mark engravings on it. The pegasus clipped the band around the joint on one of her wings and back and smiled.
Both their gazes went to the mantelpiece above the fireplace. On it sat a small, white urn. It had a simple plaque with one word on it; ‘Angel.’ Next to it was a large picture. It showed one of the happiest days in the two pony’s lives. Fluttershy in a white dress, her cheeks as red as her grooms coat. Big Macintosh smiled at his bride, their eyes locked, as he bulged in his smart suit, two sizes too small. In the background, Applejack, Pinky Pie, Rarity, Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash all beamed at the happy couple. They all looked fabulous, in Rarity’s specially designed wedding and bridesmaid’s dresses.
“I still miss him, even after all this time...” Fluttershy whispered, a tear coming to her eye.
“Ah know ya do sugah. I miss him too. We miss a lot of people.” Applejack responded, passing a napkin to her sister in law. She daren’t turn her head at the table of pictures. Every visit had more and more of them. Too many had little black bands around them for her liking. She’d tried that too, with her own family. She had to stop after the first black band...
The kind pegasus cleared away the pot and cups as Applejack composed herself. She lived with this every day as it was, why did this day feel harder?! But she already knew the answer. She left the house before Fluttershy, taking one last look at the picture. It was wrong. Fluttershy hadn’t aged a day, none of them had...
The sister in laws made their way to Ponyville. They passed the time chatting about their recent events. It mainly consisted of Fluttershy and her family and the current harvest at Sweet Apple Acres, in all fair honesty. Big Macintosh and Fluttershy had almost a dozen children in their decades of marriage. Toffeeapple was the youngest and had been, Affected. Applejack had a daughter that had been Affected like him, though she and her husband had only 3 children. The talking helped pass the time, until they reached the outskirts of Ponyville.
The outskirts didn’t used to be here. They used to be further away. But then time had passed, and a banner helped remind the two of this.
‘BICENTENNIAL OF PRINCESS LUNA’S RETURN AND SUMMER SUN CELEBRATION!’
“Two hundred years...” Fluttershy mumbled as they carried on.
“Doesn’t feel like it, does it Fluttershy?” Applejack replied. No, it felt more like two thousand...
Ponies nodded their heads in respect at the two for various reasons. The obvious ones were that the two mares were bearers of the Elements of Harmony, so this celebration also included them. Applejack was the town’s largest employer and exporter of goods for Ponyville, so had earned respect elsewhere. Many a desperate colt or filly could get some decent work experiences and hard earned Bit’s from Applejack, all year round.
Fluttershy meanwhile wasn’t just the best vet for miles; she was also the best midwife outside of Canterlot. Combined with being a good nurse, for some ponies the first and last things they ever saw was Fluttershy’s caring face, on call all the time. When she had few if any animals to tend to, she ran the old Relaxation shop Smooth had left her, annoying Toffee to no end as it was technically his now days. But he could never say no to his mother.
They stopped and sat down at a bench near the town centre. They looked around, waiting for the next member of their group, which was thankfully brief. Elegantly trotting down the street in the opposite direction was Rarity, her purple mane bobbing up and down. She smiled when she spotted them and was talking once they were within ear shot.
“Applejack, Fluttershy, darlings! It’s so good to see you. You know, you two must come to Ponyville more often, you’re so secluded out there!” the pony princess of fashion said, sitting down on the bench. The only thing that was different about Rarity was the fact she was wearing cuffs around her forelegs ankles. Neither Fluttershy or Applejack looked at them, they went out of their way not to.
“Well, ya know ah come here when the stall needs mah help Rarity! Ah got an entire farm to run!” the Stetson wearing pony cried. It was a feeble excuse, but unlike Rarity, she could barely stand the change of Ponyville.
“How’s business doing Rarity?” Fluttershy quickly interjected to avoid an argument. The timid pegasus knew full well these two could argue over the weather.
“Oh it’s fabulous Fluttershy! With this event coming up, Canterlot has been asking for a lot of older designs to fit in with, back then.” Her voice trailed off slightly, before she cleared her throat. “Gives me a break from designing all the time I suppose!” She smiled weakly at the two.
All three stared in the direction of the library as if expecting something. When nothing happened, Rarity sighed to herself.
“A ghost, watching its own demise...”
“Now what in the hay is tha’ supposed to mean sugah?”
“It was something Bright Eye’s once said, about our, situation...” Rarity explained. Applejack just looked at her confused.
“She means Derpy...” Fluttershy said, waving at a child that she had recently treated.
“Ooooohhhhh! Now why didn’t y’all just say that! What happened to her anyway? Any of her line still going on?”
“Died in her sleep dear. Only had Dinky, but then, she had a few foals herself.”
Applejack looked around and suddenly noticed that one or two fillies and colts had odd setting eyes. Some were very slightly off, other were almost to Derpy levels. She rubbed her eyes and decided to ignore it.
They sat there, apparently all conversation gone. Fluttershy continued to smile, wave and inspect passing colt and fillies, making sure they were okay. Eventually the unicorn and earth pony looked at one another and sighed.
“I wonder where Pinkie cou-“ they both started before being interrupted.
“I’m here silly fillies!” cheered Pinkie Pie, popping out from behind the bench. Applejack and Rarity just about flinched whilst Fluttershy froze solid with a gasp and fell over, not changing pose. The pink pony wore a golden locket around her neck which bounced around with its owner.
“Hey there sugah, how’s Sugahcube Corner doin’?” the orange mare asked as she helped Fluttershy back up.
“Oh its fine! We’re making lots of new cakes! We got a new store opening up soon in Stalliongrad. Well, I say new, the building was there before, but we bought it! I mean, DUH! They only had one of our shops! It’s so handy having my family helping as well! They all love it! Even little Floss! And she’s only 3 months old!” the pink pony babbled out. Applejack was in shock at all this.
“How many now?” She mouthed towards Fluttershy. Her jaw dropped open when Fluttershy silently responded with a double digit number. Between Fluttershy and Pinky Pie, slowly the whole of Ponyville was being squeezed of its old bloodlines!
‘Good job I bring in ponies from outside Ponyville to help...’ the farmer thought to herself as a filly hopped by, her coat bright pink, her mane long and light pink and one of her yellow eyes off centre...
Before anymore possible family based war’s could be played out in Applejacks head, a large coach came down from the skies, 4 pegasus ponies hitched to it. Once, these sorts of things would have been drawn by Princess Celestia’s royal guard. Now, they were rentable and no doubt, Rarity had once again paid for it. The four friends boarded the coach and made themselves comfortable for the trip to Canterlot.
The ride was comfortable for the 4 mares as Equestria sped past them, especially for Applejack and Fluttershy, having already walked most of the morning. Pinkie Pie sat with her face pressed up against the window as Rarity and Fluttershy discussed fashion briefly. Applejack just sat there, thinking to herself. She knew she should probably join in with the others; they were going through the same thing after all.
“You are more than the wielders of the Elements of Harmony. You six are the ponyfication of the Elements, their physical manifestations. As long as there is Loyalty, Laughter, Generosity, Truth, Kindness and Magic, you six will be there. You will be there for all of Equestria, and all of Equestria will be there for you...”
The words echoed through the farmers head. It had meant immortality in effect for the six of them. By that point, both herself and Fluttershy had settled down and married. They’re children had odd effects from it in the end. The common trait was much longer lifespan, but some were much hardier ponies than normal. Toffeeapple and her own daughter, Strudel, had been hit by slow growth, aging 4 times slower than their peers. Toffee looked like he was in his thirties, where he was in fact 140. Pinky Pie had so many children with so many husbands, it was wonder how she kept going...
Finally the coach made its landing in Canterlot, near the palace. The friends piled out and in front of them was large stone statue. The pegasus wore royal guard armour and carried a sheathed sword. His face was half covered by a bushy beard and in one hoof he held a single dove, which he seemed to smile at. Underneath it was a plaque with the engraving;
“Captain Ironhoof, Defender Of The Realm”
‘The Most Glorious Death Is In Your Bed, Surrounded By Loved Ones. Don’t Quote Me On That.’
The ponies trotted past it, looking up at the old figure’s face. Maybe he had been right? Who knew?
“What happened to his little filly? Tha’ one with only three good legs?” Applejack asked as they made their way to the palace.
“Silver Lining. She disappeared darling. Nothing ever turned up of her. Apparently she’s still on the guard roster...” the white unicorn said, thinking back to those days for a moment.
As their minds started to think back to those days, a rainbow streak crossed the sky. It snapped them from the thoughts and they watched the cyan coloured pegasus gracefully land in front of them. Her rainbow mane was windswept and she had an extremely wide grin. She wore what most ponies would now consider the classic Wonderbolts costume. To Rainbow Dash, captain of the Wonderbolts, it was the only true suit. The only difference was that there were two Cutie Marks sewn onto her flanks, neither of them were hers. One was a streak or spit of fire, the other was a purple horseshoe with movement lines around it.
“Now, was that cool, or was that cool?” She said, strutting up to her friends. Fluttershy giggled at her.
“Sorry Dash, but it needed to be about, 20% cooler?” the timid pegasus said, making the other girls laugh. Even Dash had a chuckle.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. I have high standards. Next time, you won’t believe what I’ve got planned!”
“Like what dear?” Rarity asked, checking Rainbow Dash’s costume. She was the only one Dash trusted to maintain the priceless clothing. She snorted at the best fashion pony in the land.
“Well, I was going to wait, but I might as well tell you know. I’m pregnant.”
For a moment, no sound was made. Four jaws dropped to the ground. Naturally, Pinkie Pie was the first to come round.
“Oh that is wonderful Dashikins! It’s about time you had a filly! We can have a filly shower, and our children and grand children and great grand whatever’s can all be friends! This is going to be fantastic! I’ve got to throw you a party!”
“Of course you can,” Rainbow chuckled as her friends moved round and hugged her. “I decided it was time to pass on my awesomeness.”
“Rainbow, you have to tell me, who’s the father! Is it anybody we know?” Rarity demanded with a tone that heavily implied torture devices were easily available. Dash rolled her eyes for a brief moment.
“Well, not really. It’s one of Scootaloo’s great whatever stallions. He’s got all her skill and grace. And I thought, why not? Improve perfection with more awesome after all! We’ve been together for a while now.”
The five friends began to chat when there was a sudden gentle cough. They turned and instinctively bowed down at the sounds source. Stood in front of them was Princess Luna. She had barely changed over the two centuries, her mane growing out but hadn’t reached the ethereal flowing of her older sister. She smiled at the group as they bowed at her.
“Please, you should know by now, none of you need to do that. I have something to ask of you though...” She looked awkward as the 5 stood back up.
“What is it Princess Luna?” the cyan Pegasus asked, stepping forward.
The regal alicorn looked down at her hooves and then stared intently at them all.
“I can never thank you enough for releasing me from the prison of my own making. But after two centuries, after all you have done, all you have gained and all you have lost, I must ask. If you had known what it would have cost you, would you have still taken up the task?”
The group went silent.
Applejack removed her hat and looked at the old bow on it...
“Applejack! Applejack!” Look! Look at me!” the voice cried from outside. Sighing, Applejack left the kitchen to find Apple Bloom stood in the yard, her face beaming.
“What is it Apple Bloom, you know Granny Smith needs her rest and you hollerin’ ain’t helpin’ her none!” The orange pony started, but before she could unleash her full barrage of punishment, she saw it. Apple Bloom’s Cutie Mark had finally come through. It was a single green and red apple with a large flower coming out of its centre.
“Mah special talent! It’s carin’ for plants!” The young Apple cried out as she was swept up in a hug by Applejack.
“See, Ah told you it would come!”
Fluttershy turned her head back to her wing and looked at the wedding band. A single butterfly met a half cut apple...
She sat in her bedroom, loudly crying. It was the worst news she could ever have been told. Tears flowed and dripped onto her swollen stomach where her future was growing. She didn’t even hear him enter the room.
“I’m, a, monster...” she whispered in-between sobs.
“No, ya the filly Ah fell in love with.” Macintosh responded, his voice making her jump slightly. She stared at him through blurry eyes.
“And how can you? Now you know that I’ll still be here, probably beyond our child...”
“Because Ah will always love you Flutter, and Ah will wait for you. In this life, or the next, Ah will never stop lovin’ or waitin’.”
She flung her legs round his shoulders and they nuzzled and hugged. He gently rubbed her back and wings as she caught her breath.
“Really Macintosh? You’d wait an eternity for me?”
Next to her, the white unicorn stared down at her hooves. Using her magic, she unbuttoned the cuffs round her ankles. Rarity looked at the scars across her ankles...
Rarity looked at the scars across her ankles. Even through blurry eyes, she could see that the surgeon had tried his best at a neat job. But then, who was up to her standards? And what was the point anyway? In her attempt and his? She sobbed loudly as she sat in Sweetie Belle’s old bedroom. It had happened here, her younger sister...
She had expected it, all those decades as they went by and Sweetie Belle got as famous as Rarity. And she had come down here to retire, to stay with her sister, until...
When she found the elderly body, cold and motionless in the bed, she had done nothing at first. Shock stopped her from crying until she had got to her work room, pulled out the largest scissors and sliced them across where she had hoped her arteries were. An hour later Fluttershy found her, late for the weekly spa trip. The unicorn had passed out, but when your immortal, blood loss means nothing.
She looked up at the dresser for the first time in a week. Tucked into the mirror frame was an envelope. She plucked it out and bought it over with her magic. It had ‘Rarity’ written on it. She opened it up and found a letter.
By the time you read this, It will have happened. Please, do not be sad, and do not do anything stupid. I love you, and I always have done, and always will do. Even through every argument we’ve had, I love you. Live your Generous life to its fullest, no matter how long it will be.
You’re Loving Sister
The unicorn sniffed as more tears flowed through her eyes. “Sorry Sweetie...”
An audible raspberry blowing noise was heard as Pinkie’s hair slowly deflated. She had lifted up her locket and opened it to look at the two small photos inside it...
“Are you really sure you want to give me this?” she asked the pair in front of her. They were stood outside of Sugarcube Corner on a bright sunny day.
“Of course we do dearie, who else would we leave our pride and joy too?” Mrs Cake said.
Her once bright and dark pink mane had turned to white and silver, and she was sat in a wheelchair. A hoof leant down and touched her own. Mr Cake was still standing, but was leaning heavily on his wife’s chair. His foreleg shook slightly, rattling the pair of glasses sat on his nose His orange mane had been gone to a receding mane line, but a few colourful streaks still existed.
“You’ve been running the place yourself pretty much these last few years. We thought, it best that we finally give it to you now, before, erm...er...” Mr Cake stammered on for a while.
“We don’t have time, dear?”
“Yes, thank you honey bun. Darn Alzheimer’s...”
Pinkie could feel her hair deflate slightly. She sniffed and hugged the old pair gently.
Sniffing and struggling, Rainbow glanced at the Cutie Marks on her suit, the ones she had requested Rarity to sew and maintain...
“Here she comes now” Dash said, pointing at an approaching dot on the horizon. The two ponies were stood on a cloud. As the speck got closer, they could see it weaving in and out of clouds with ease.
“Anybody can fly fast, you should know that Dash. I want to see her do some skills already...” said the other pony.
Suddenly the speck broke off its simple course and started corkscrewing around the clouds, twisting them out. It dove suddenly, dragging the clouds with it towards the ground. The two ponies watched as it got faster and faster, Dash smirking. At the last moment, it broke off its course, allowing the long column of cloud to smack into the earth. The clouds exploded outwards, creating a smoke and mist effect.
“What. The. Hay...”
“Told you she was good Spitfire.” Dash smirked at her fellow team member.
After several further tricks and ‘skills,’ the speck suddenly appeared in front of them. Panting and sweating heavily, her purple mane blown so far back it was almost merging with her tail, Scootaloo smiled at the two older ponies.
“I think you’ve got a very good chance kid.” The cyan pony said as Spitfire blinked back into the real world, nodding her head.
“Yes! I’m going to be a Wonderbolt!” the younger pony cried, back flipping off the cloud and flying about in glee.
“I shouldn’t have doubted you...” the Wonderbolt captain said, nuzzling Rainbow.
“I think I’ll forgive you...” she responded, gently kissing Spitfires cheek.
The silence hung around the group as each member stared at their little reminders. Worried, the alicorn stepped forward.
“Of course we would silly!” Pinkie Pie cried, her locket snapping shut and her hair suddenly inflating up to its normal insane self.
“What in tha hay stupid question is that, Princess Sugah?” said Applejack, pulling her Stetson back on firmly.
“We would never turn our backs on somepony in need!” claimed Rainbow Dash, her ego breaking though her memories. Fluttershy and Rarity both nodded, their throats too choked up to reply as Rarity fastened her cuffs once more.
“My little ponies, how you constantly remind me of the joy of Equestria.” A more regal voice claimed. Stepping down from the massive entrance of the palace was Princess Celestia; by her side was Twilight Sparkle.
“TWILIGHT!” the five ponies cried, rushing to their friend. Protocol be damned, it had been too long. Round their friends neck was a simple, purple scale, almost the size of her head. It had been almost 50 years since their last great adventure.
Spike had always joked about the group. When it was revealed they were by all rights immortal, he had livened up the common nickname they got. Ponies called them the ‘Eternal Six,’ leaving out Spike. It had been him to reason that as dragons live for much longer than most beings, and more often died from adventurers rather than old age, nopony really knew how old they would grow. So he came up with ‘The Eternal Six Plus One.’ It had been funny for so long.
Until almost 50 years ago. His death had been that of a titan, sacrificing himself to ensure that his friends could escape. Twilight had attempted to drag his warm body out with her bare teeth, tears flowing down her face. It took ALL of Applejacks and Rainbow Dash’s combined strength to wrench her off, a chunk of scale coming off in her vice like jaws. She screamed, hollered and kicked as they made their escape, his final words echoing through all their heads. “The Eternal Six, minus, one...”
She attempted so long to carry on in Ponyville, like her friends had done so with their own loses. Her friends comforted her; they were never too busy for her. But eventually, it was too much. Too many sights reminded her beloved assistant and to all extents, son. So she had decided to return to Canterlot, to study further under the Princess’ and to try and get over her grief. It had been far too long...
They hugged one another, some of them crying. They had been separated for long enough, letters not replacing the love she bought to the group.
“I’m, sorry for leaving you girls. I think I’m ready to come back now. We’ve got too much to catch up on.” Twilight said, raising her hoof to stop them from telling her she was wrong. “I’ve missed all of you.”
“And we’ve missed you sugah...” Applejack said, hugging her friend tightly. “Now, let’s go help you move ya stuff back home.”
A regal cough sounded out. Suddenly the six ponies remembered they were in the presence of the two most powerful beings in Equestria, who happened to be their leaders. They broke off from their hug and baring Twilight, bowed sheepishly to Princess Celestia.
“My sister is correct you know. After two centuries, you six have long ago earned the right to be above such protocols.
“Um, we were raised to do it, your majesty. If that’s okay with you though...” the Element of Kindness mumbled. After all the time that had passed, it still didn’t take much to make her embarrassed.
“Of course it is.” Celestia kindly responded as the Elements rose from their positions. “Now come along, we have to get ready for the morning.”
The elder alicorn waived a hoof and the Elements physical jewels phased onto their respective owners. Pinkie Pie’s necklace clashed with her locket for a brief moment. Ultimately the magical jewel lost to her memorial piece.
“Now do you remember your places from last time?” Luna asked as she prepared to raise the moon.
“Ah do, Ah just hope that Rainbow Dash remembers not to try and show us all up!” said Applejack.
“Oh come ON! That was an accident! Besides, this year I got something much more spectacular plan...” Rainbow’s voice trailed off under the glare of Twilight, her eyes piercing the pegasus’ bravado. The moon was rising behind her.
“No Dash, this time, we have to stick to our places. Please?” the unicorn pleaded, her voice softening a little.
The Wonderbolt looked sad for a moment before smiling softly and nodding. This Celebration was too important to risk ruining it. It would be the first without Spike...
Fireworks rose across the early morning skies. In a field in Canterlot a crowd stood waiting, staring intently at the dais; behind it was the royal tent. The flap to it twitched as one of the occupants peered out. It giggled when in the distance, around the general area of Ponyville, a giant pink firework detonated.
“Oooh! That had to be one of Streamers! She always loved giant fireworks!” the Element of Laughter cried out. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes with a smirk as Applejack stifled a giggle.
The two unicorns shot the pair a look that could seriously hamper flying and apple bucking as Rarity attempted to do something with Twilight’s mane with limited time and supplies. In the centre the royal siblings sat on cushioned thrones, their eyes shut in deep concentration. Hidden in the corner Fluttershy was sipping some tea she had requested and was losing some of her anxiety.
The night had been spent in two seperate parties. One had been opened for the residents of Canterlot, the other a more private affair for the friends to catch up. They had kept it as cheerful as possible for Twilight. Sadly time had caught them short, forcing them to the tent to await the sunrise.
Suddenly, the alicorns opened their eyes.
“It is time” Celestia stated as they both rose. The Elements moved behind their royal leaders. Each breathed heavily in anticipation. The flap to the tent was pulled open by the guard and the small procession trotted and bounced out.
One on the dais, Princess Luna stepped to one side allowed the six to surround her sister. The crowd looked on expectantly, it had been 50 years since the last event like this. Princess Celestia rose with her sun dramatically, the sun rising from behind the giant symbol of the sun. Once she was fully airborne with her charge, magic filtered through the Bearers of Harmony. One by one they rose around her, Twilight rising above the Princess alone. From each of the jewels shone a corresponding light of its owner towards the Princess. From her own regalia a rainbow burst out.
It stretched across the crowds, bathing them in the Elements. It spread across Equestria, every celebrating pony seeing and embracing it. The crowds around Sugarcube Corner in Ponyville were no different. The light seemed to linger a moment over a stone memorial shaped like a flame outside the library. It carried on to Sweet Apple Acres, Fluttershy’s cottage, the Everfree Forrest and beyond. They were there, for all of Equestria.
And Equestria was there for them. They felt it as the magic of this moment began to wear off. For every laugh, for every tear, for every act of generosity and kindness. For every truth told and loyal stand. All these magical moments helped them through the long years. Their hooves setting down with sun fully risen, it all seemed so magical again.
The six smiled to one another. The light of what brought them together two hundred years ago was still with them. And they hoped, no matter what the future may bring, that the light would never go out.
MLP and related characters © to Hasbro
Smooth, Ironhoof and Silver Lining © Myself
A big thank you to the Bronies of Everypony.com and EveryponyRadio for helping me with questions, random outbursts, the awesome music, reading my stories and trying to help improve the above sludge.
A massive thank you to Equestria Daily and all the Bronies that commented on my first story, and gave it 4 Stars. Another thank you to the first pre-reader of this story for Equestria Daily, who’s comment’s made me realise my mistakes and allowed me a chance to hopefully, avert it the problem.
Thank you to the reviewers of Ponychan for their help as well, especially Demetrius and Nick! of the board!
And thank you, for reading!
The Candle That Burns Twice as Bright
Sitting up in her bed, Twilight Sparkle gazed out of her bedroom window as the morning sun rose. Covering her mouth with a hoof, the unicorn let out a yawn. She had been awake for hours, unable to sleep due to nerves that had created an army of butterflies in her stomach.
Sliding out of the bed, the purple pony trotted over to her mirror and stared at a tired, sad looking reflection, red eyes meeting one another. Regardless the intelligent mare smirked.
“Well, I could look worse for a pony the wrong side of 200...” Twilight managed her voice slightly croaky. Ignoring the ill sounding voice, Twilight worked on trying to improve her physical appearance.
It had been two months since the Summer Sun Celebration and Twilight was now fully moved back in at the Library in Ponyville. Having not been there for almost fifty years, Twilight had been surprised to see how neat and tidy her home was.
But then that had hardly surprised the Princess; student. Although she left them, her five best friends had looked after the tree in her absence in some way or form. Fluttershy had arranged it so some of her animal friends would stop by and do some cleaning. (This had taken the returning by surprise on the first morning back. Having a squirrel trying to make the bed whilst your still in it isn’t the best way to wake up.)
At the same time, when her touring would allow, Rainbow would attempt to run the Library, but ended up reading, sleeping or dealing with fans. The Party pony of Ponyville Pinkie Pie had found limited success with book parties, until the others had got tired of cleaning up afterwards.
With Applejacks combined dislike to returning to Ponyville and relying on Fluttershy’s visits, the farm pony rarely saw the Library. The few times she had gone there was to help Rarity as the fashion conscious maintained and spruced up the abode.
Besides the needed maintenance, the house had hardly charged. It was her home, as it had been for 200 years and it was almost the same as when Twilight had first moved in.
Almost the same.
The purple unicorn couldn’t help but look at an old straw basket on the bedroom floor. The basket looked tatty and the blanket inside was succumbing to very old age. There was a sigh as the immortal mare sat down and gently breathed in near it.
“Fifty years since we said goodbye Spike. I’ve missed you.”
There was nothing but silence for a while. Eventually, after around a half hour, that was broken by knocking at the door. Its tone suggested a nervous creator but one who still had a job to do.
“The one morning I DON’T want visitors...” Twilight muttered as she rose from the floor. After pulling on a necklace which held a large purple scale, Twilight Sparkle descended to the front door.
Six mares moved as fast as they could. It had been a simple request from the Princess’; speak to Greyhorn, Ruler of the mountain realms as to why he was allowing uncontrolled weather patterns, mainly winter ones to hit ponykind. Whilst these had been dispersed easily by the weather ponies, they were becoming more frequent, and more dangerous.
What the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony had not realised was that Greyhorn lived in the Great Mare, the largest mountain in Greyhorn’s kingdom. Another fact that had been neglected was that Greyhorn was not an average pony; Greyhorn was the rare crossbreed of a unicorn and a dragon. The king of the mountains dwarfed Ursa Minors and had lived for almost two thousand years.
He had also gone insane.
This wasn’t known when the ponies had met the towering elder. His vast system of caves, whilst sparse, had seemed welcoming. Greyhorn himself had given off the aura of a friendly uncle. Refreshments had been offered and tales told of his long life. But anytime the weather issue was raised, the king dismissed the problem had changed the subject.
For three days they had been guests at the Great Mare and the cross breed had played the role of host well. But like they steady trickle of water on stone, the constant questions finally wore the old ones patience down.
“If you must know little ones, it is because I have seen through the Princess’ lies. Did you know I was once her most trusted confident when Luna was banished? The secrets that I alone know...” he had said, his voice going deeper with every word, changing from that of pony to dragon.
“The old girl thought that by banishing me here, she could silence me! Well, Celestia will see! When I cover half of Equestria and ice! Blot out her precious sun, freeze those puny mortals!”
“You need help sir.” Twilight had said, standing firm against the frothing stallion. “Princess Celestia would never do that! If you could just tal-“
And that was when the cry to flee had been yelled out.
Greyhorn had been unable to capture them with his magic, for too long he had focused on large projects. By remaining separated the monster couldn’t hit or capture the little ponies. At the same time, his claws couldn’t focus on a fast moving target.
Sadly for Twilight, over a century of book reading and studying meant she was one of the slowest in the group. As the shadow of a clawed paw towered over her, the mauve pony shut her eyes. But the smack she’d expected never came. When she opened her eyes, Spike was holding the leg up.
To travel the huge distance required, the group had asked their closest friend Spike. He lived just outside Ponyville now, being the size of a house. Regardless of that, the dragon was a firm favourite in the town.
There was a massive crack as the younger dragon shot up and kicked down on the leg at the same time. It was followed with a howl of pain as Greyhorn retracted his now broken limb. As his mentor continued to bolt away, Spike hovered in front of the mountain ruler.
“You know, you shouldn’t have tried that. She would have kicked your flank if you got her.” Spike said, his voice between regular pony tones and the gravelly voice of a dragon.
With a heavy scowl, Greyhorn lunged at Spike with his good foreleg. Age had slowed him though as the claws swatted thin air. Spike had flanked the aggressive being. Murderous thoughts raging, the pony part of the hybrid took over and attempted to buck Spike.
Initially this seemed to work as the rear hoof smashed into the cavern walls. Reality soon struck Greyhorn much like the young purple dragon. All the strike had done was trap the huge leg in place; Spike had simply moved away. Said dragon now dived from the ceiling, straight on the trapped limb. Whilst it failed to dislodge, it certainly managed to break as the cavern was filled with a roar of pain.
With that final blow, Spike chased his friends out of there. Whimpering on the floor like a foal, Greyhorn managed to focus in the flying dragon.
“I’m not done yet,” he managed, focusing his magic in his horn. “Not done, AT ALL!”
With his bellow, a concentrated beam of magic energy cast from the large horn towards the purple dragon.
The door to the Library swung open with the aura of Twilights magic. What the expert magician failed to see initially was her visitor, up until she heard a small gasp. The unicorns eyes darted towards the ground to spot a very small filly, leg still raised in mid knock. She was a Pegasus with a bright white coat and yellow mane. Twilight had heard about this little filly.
“Hello Surprise, what can I do for you today?” The older pony asked. For a moment the Pegasus suffered from bulging eyes and extreme nerves, but managed to power on through.
“Sowwy to distuwb you Auntie Twilight, but Gwanny Pie wants to see you.” Surprise managed. Pinkie Pie had a never ending amount of grand foals, all instructed to call her friends Auntie.
“I’m sorry Surprise, but Granny Pie should know that today isn’t a good day.”
“Gwanny Pie said you might say that, but Gwanny Pie says its super duper uwgent and if you don’t come along wight now thewe will be a huge pwoblem and an...”
“Okay! I get the message alwea- I mean already!” Twilight blurted out, shocking Surprise. The filly quickly recovered though and was soon leading Twilight to Sugar Cube Corner with the Pinkie Pie family hop.
Spike didn’t realise what Greyhorn had done but luck was on his side. Being such an old being, Greyhorn’s accuracy was far from perfect. The shot flew over the dragon and instead found its mark in the ceiling, smashing into it. Massive cracks spread across the mountains interior as the internal structure shook.
The ancient being could only stare as slowly the supports of the cave, walls that had formed naturally predominantly, crashed away. His eyes flickered up to see that the cracking roof was slowly collapsing. One extremely large piece above him was about to give way.
“Oh shoot.” Greyhorn managed as the house sized piece above his head plummeted.
To the fleeing ponies and dragon, the landing of this stone was drowned out by the rest of the rumbling mountain. By the time Spike caught up with the girls, the ceiling was increasing speed in its collapse. He was the first to notice a problem.
“Where’s Rarity? And Fluttershy!”
They turned back. Lying on the floor of the cavern was Rarity, looking extremely dazed. One of her cuffs that went around certain marks on her legs had been caught on a stalagmite, tripping her. Fluttershy had been the only one to notice the fashion ponies head smack into the ground. The pink mane Pegasus was attempting to lift the white unicorn up.
“I got them!” Rainbow cried before dashing towards them. Twilight’s eyes shrunk to pinpricks.
“The ceiling! They’ll never make it!” She cried. The magic mare attempted to focus her powers on the collapsing cavern. In an instant she was launched off of the ground and out of the huge entrance. Applejack and Pinkie Pie quickly rushed to her.
“Magic feedback, whatever he fired, it was powerful...” she managed as smoke rose from her horn. Twilights eyes focused back to the interior.
Despite having had nine children and forever looking after grand foals and residents of Ponyville, Fluttershy was still far from being a strong pony. By the time her fellow Pegasus had reached the animal lover, Fluttershy had only managed to half lift Rarity up. Wasting no time, the Wonderbolt Captain picked up the other half and led Fluttershy into the air.
For a brief moment, everything was perfect. That was up until the Element of Kindness glanced to the rock sky.
“Oh no!” She squeaked as the rock roof suddenly lurched downwards. Both girls shut their eyes for the inevitable. All sound seemed to fade as the expectation of pain took hold.
Except, it never came. Bar a few pebbles and sprinkling of dust, the trio remained uncovered. Opening their eyes, Rarity just coming too, this spotted that at the entrance Spike stood as tall as possible, holding the roof up with his shoulders.
“Oh my gosh, he’s holding the mountain up!” Rainbow yelled her mouth wide open. It was only thanks to Fluttershy’s nerves that kept them moving. As they went by him, they noticed he was shaking.
As Applejack went to helping Fluttershy with Rarity, Twilight went as close to the entrance as she felt safe.
“Come on Spike!”
Before she knew it, the dragon collapsed to one knee, the mountain shaking at the sudden drop.
The dragon looked towards the entrance, directly at Twilight as he slumped to his other knee. He smirked whilst gritting his giant teeth.
With another rumble, the dragon was on his scaled stomach and paws, elbows and knees just holding the ceiling up now. All six mares were now stood near the hole, Spikes head poking through.
“I think, this wasn’t, my best idea.” Spike wheezed. Finally the rocks gave way to the cracking. The young dragon winced with pain as the surface crumbled and tonnes of rocks collapsed on his body. The noise masked his bones being crushed as the mountain took its toll him. Spikes friends could only look in horror, tears falling around their faces.
The pain for Spike didn’t so much as subside but be a continuous agony, each part of him crying out for attention. One thing was for certain though; Spike could feel his life fading. He just about felt his mouth smile weakly.
“Told you it was a stupid idea. I think this is it, and goodbye, for now.” The dragon’s voice was weak, lacking the booming grand tones of before. Twilight rushed to his face.
“No! We’ll find a way! Just hang on a little bit lon...” Twilight was cut off with a gentle nuzzle by the dragon.
“You can’t fool your, number one assistant.” A broad grin formed on dying dragons face as his eyes started to close. “Heh, I guess that makes you girls, the Eternal Six, minus, one...”
With that, his eyes finished closing. The last of the assistant’s breath passed through his nose as a gentle sigh.
The purple unicorn took no notice of her surroundings from there. As she collapsed onto the slowly cooling face, her ears fell deaf to Pinkie sense pointing out an oncoming avalanche. The unicorn attempted to pull the dragon, failing to notice Applejack and Rainbow Dash flanking her.
Despite not being the strongest pony, Twilight managed to form a very strong grip on a scale with her jaw. The first tug from the farm pony and athlete failed to move her from the body. A second pull using both ponies strength tore Twilight and the scale away. Forced away, her eyes streaming, the mare could only scream into the scale as she was dragged away. Her eyes didn’t stop looking at Spikes smiling face, even when it was covered by rocks.
The Pegasus filly nudged the door slightly with her nose, and then stepped aside for Twilight. With a sigh, the unicorn stepped past Surprise and walked into Sugar Cube Corner. At that point, her jaw hit the floor.
The interior of the shop, the original of multicity brand, had been decorated with pictures of Spike through his life; from when he had just been hatched right up until a few weeks before his last adventure. In his older ones his grin seemed more sheepish, dealing with the local friendly dragon. More importantly, there was a crowd of ponies there. The norm for them was that of middle aged and over. This was broken by a certain five mares in the middle of the crowd.
“Wh-what is this?” Twilight stuttered, still taking it all in.
“Well, we realised we never had a memorial for Spike...” Applejack said, her hat tucked under her leg.
“And of course, we couldn’t just forget all the ponies Spike knew.” Chimed in Rarity.
“So rather than do something normal, I looked up a different sort of memorial. It’s called a Pónaí Wake.” The shop’s owner stated. Whilst Pinkie still sounded cheerful it was a lot more subdued.
“This way, we can celebrate his life.” Rainbow Dash added. Her pregnancy was showing now and was using up a lot of leave she had built up with the Wonderbolts.
The one silent friend only nodded her head. Twilight smiled at Fluttershy and looked at the ponies in the room. She sniffed as a few tears slipped down her cheeks.
“Yes, I think that’s what he would have wanted. So, where do we begin?” All eyes fell on a certain butter coloured Pegasus, which squeaked under the attention.
“Well, I remember when I first met Spike...” Fluttershy started beginning a party of warm memories of a beloved friend.
Back outside the Library, Surprise placed a small candle in front of a stone sculpture of a flame. It was one of two dozen candles, each one glowing with a bright green flame that rapidly burnt through the wax.
-Brian Blessed Pony
My Little Pony belongs to HASBRO