The Setting Sun
By Magnus the Blue
The sun glowed like an orb of gold on the horizon. Dawn slowly crept its luminescent fingers across the brightening sky, making everything tinted with a glow of soft pink. The clouds were wisps of gray flowing through the crisp morning air, and the twinkling dew began to evaporate into the breeze.
Sitting at the cusp of the waking morning was an elderly figure. Her black mane, which once ran with streaks of pink and purple, now ran with streaks of gray. Her lavender coat, though aged, still had traces of a youth long passed. She wore small glasses on her face, giving her a refined and gentle appearance. Streams of ever warming sunlight washed over her as she peered over her home, Ponyville, from the crest of a grassy hill.
All around her were flowers, pink and yellow, orange and red, white and purple, blue and black. The lavender unicorn cherished the feeling of resting in the damp spectrum of colors, the scent of their pedals, and the soft glow of golden sunlight that stretched itself across all the lands, near and far.
Twilight Sparkle didn’t mind the cold of the early morning. The gentle breeze of chilly air and the shade of the large apple tree nearby provided nothing but more cold, but that was okay. Nearby, placed around the apple tree, were five headstones, forming a rough circular shape around the tree, with room for one more. Upon each stone was a symbol. Three apples, three butterfly's, three balloons, three diamonds, and a cloud with a rainbow lightning bolt striking down.
Many flowers had been picked and made into beautiful bouquets, sitting at the base of each stone as symbols of the love that was once felt for the ponies who now rested there. In Twilight's mind, it seemed like only yesterday she and her friends had all been together, young and full of potential, the whole world laid out before them. Funny then that all they had ever wanted could be found right there in Ponyville. All they ever wanted was each other.
Twilight had shed many tears as each of her friends had passed, but now, the last remaining of what had once been an impenetrable bond of love, Twilight was nothing but happy. Happy that her friends had passed on, one by one, surrounded by those they cared about, and those who cared about them. Happy for all the times they shared, and all the memories they created together. Happy that through all the hardships they had faced, her friends now rested here, together, on this little hill. No tears were left but those of joy.
The dawn passed quietly, and before long the elderly mare found herself in the most gorgeous morning a pony could ask for. The glowing yellow sun stood strong as ever in the sky above the horizon. The clouds had become few and fluffy, and the sky was as blue as the open sea. Birds flew merrily, ponies awoke from their beds to prepare for the day, and life went on without concern.
Twilight rose slowly to her legs, having trouble in her age to not exert herself. The top of the hill was a vibrant, shining beacon of color, even in a world where beauty was not scarce. Overhead, the figure of Scootaloo zoomed by, clearing up any trace of clouds left in the sky. Twilight smiled at the site of her friend, and carefully descended the pleasant little hill.
As she made her way through the town towards her library, Twilight received many friendly greetings from the townsfolk. Twilight, in her days, had become an esteemed scientist and historian, renowned throughout Equestria. The streets were warm and comfortable, making every day feel lazy. Three familiar ponies approached Twilight as she walked. One, the famous fashion designer Sweetie Belle, other, head of Sweet Apple Acres, Apple Bloom, and the last, professional speed racer Scootaloo. They had grown to be strong, kind hearted mares.
“Mornin’ Twilight!” Apple Bloom exclaimed upon reaching her.
“Good morning to you, Cutie Mark Crusaders.” Twilight replied happily, offering them a genuine smile. Twilight always loved seeing the three friends, as close to each other as Twilight had once been with her friends, who once spent all of their time trying to discover their cutie marks. Those days had long passed.
“Where have you been?” Sweetie Belle asked. “Spike has been looking all over for you!” Twilight sighed and tried to look as upbeat as possible.
“I was...visiting their graves again.” Twilight explained with a tone of sadness. The three friends gazed at the elderly mare in understanding.
“Well, you had better go let him know. He’s been really worried.” Scootaloo added. It was then that they finally reached the library of Ponyville. The Cutie Mark Crusaders bid their farewell and continued down the street.
The old library glowed with an ancient magic, one that kept the large tree alive for all these many years. It too, one day, would pass on like all things, into the void of memory. Pacing around outside the great tree was a large creature, the size of a carriage, with a worried look on his face. His purple scales glistened and many green spines ran down his back. He looked up and grinned in relief as he saw Twilight approaching.
“Twilight!” He called, bounding over to her and wrapping her up in a hug. “I was so worried! You know you can’t go running off like that anymore. Where were you?”
“Don’t worry, Spike.” The elderly unicorn said in a kind, affectionate voice. “I wasn’t far. I just wanted to see them again. For old times’ sake.” Spike had a sad look, but smiled again as he hugged her. He couldn’t tell she was lying.
Spike could no longer fit through the door of the library, but over the years, many stairs had been built around the edge of the tree so he could climb along and talk to Twilight through the windows. Spike was a young man now, and he travelled many places over the years, but he always came home to Twilight again, saying that no place in the world was as good as home.
Twilight didn’t like lying to Spike, but she wasn’t ready to tell him why she had visited her friends that morning, nor did she tell him why she was going to do it again.
“Spike.” Twilight began. “I want you to send a letter to the princesses.” Spike nodded and grabbed a giant quill and paper from beside the library. The large notes never seemed to bother the princesses.
“Dear princess Celestia and Princess Luna,” Twilight’s note read. “I am writing to ask a favor of you. Today is a special day, and I wanted to ask if you two could join me for dinner later on today. I don’t want to impose, but I believe it is important that today is the day this happens. Your faithful student and friend-Twilight Sparkle.”
Spike wrote down the words and wrapped up the note into a scroll. With a burst of green fire, the note dissipated into a cloud of magical smoke and flew into the breeze.
“Is everything alright, Twi?” Spike asked, again looking concerned.
“Everything is going to be fine Spike. Don’t you worry.” She replied with a loving smile. It was a half truth, but was better than lying. Spike spent most of his time flying around in the areas outside Ponyville, but today, Spike spent most of his time talking to Twilight. They sat in the yard outside the library, while ponies went about their daily routines, reminiscing on days gone by. Twilight recalled many stories of the adventures her and her friends had gone on, the trouble that they got into, and the lessons they learned together. Lessons that carried on throughout their lives. Spike tried not to get teary thinking of the past, and it helped that Twilight was perfectly serene, thinking fondly of her memories rather than the fact that they had all come to an end.
Celestia’s sun rose to its apex and slowly crept downwards in the sky, Twilight and Spike having lost all track of time. It was then, mid afternoon, that two figures flew down from the sky. The everlasting forms of the two princesses soon landed nearby with a flash of light. Ponies on the street either bowed or looked in awe at the majestic goddesses before them. Celestia smiled deeply at the sight of her once young and naive student. Luna laughed and gave Twilight a friendly hug. The two princesses hadn’t aged a day, and were as magnificent as they had been so many years ago.
“I’m so glad you could come!” Twilight heartily welcomed the two monarchs. “You have no idea how much it means to me.” Celestia chuckled and nuzzled her cheek against her old friend.
“It’s our pleasure to see you, Twilight.” The elderly unicorn rose to stand, small in comparison to the regal forms before her. Twilight told Spike she would return later, and the three of them made their way down the streets of Ponyville. After a brief walk, Twilight lead them to a place all too familiar: Sugarcube Corner.
“I remember how much Pinkie Pie loved working here.” Twilight recalled as the three of them took seats at one of the outdoor tables, soaked in the sunlight of such a marvelous, warm day.
As the three of them sat and caught up on all that was going on in each other’s lives, Twilight's own mind drifted elsewhere. She began to think about the lives of all her friends in years past.
Applejack, head of Sweet Apple Acres with her brother Big Macintosh, eventually found herself in charge of the most renowned apple business in Equestria. She had then handed on her livelihood to Apple Bloom soon before slipping away one quiet morning. Pinkie Pie had been given ownership of Sugarcube Corner, and had loved holding parties for any number of reasons back in those days. Fluttershy never stopped caring for animals, and stayed at her little home on the outskirts of town till the very end. Rarity’s fashion designs became famous, and today, her little sister Sweetie Belle continues on her legacy. And, of course, Rainbow Dash, who had become the leader of the Wonderbolts and a legendary racer. She had gotten into a fatal accident during one of her races later in life, but at the hospital, in her final moments, said that she wouldn’t have wanted to go any other way.
Twilight spent much time vocalizing her conflicting feelings to the princesses. Part of her felt horrible that she had outlived all of her friends, and now lived on memories alone, while another part of her was happy to have led such a wonderful life. The princesses gave her as much support as they could, and it was more then enough to make Twilight happy.
As the afternoon wore on, the sun began to set in the west, and Twilight knew what she had to do.
“Get Spike, please,” She said in a tone both melancholic, and brave. “Then come to me at the grave site on the hill.” The princesses asked no questions, for they understood what was coming.
Twilight walked slowly through Ponyville one final time, not because it strained her to walk, but because she wanted to soak up every second she could in the little town. These streets held so many memories. Times she spent with her friends, the fun they had, the bonds they forged, and the love they felt. This town had brought them together like no other force in all of Equestria.
Twilight found that Spike was already gone with the princesses when she arrived at the library. She opened the door and looked in one last time. The books all around had guided her through many trials in her youth, and they would remain in this ancient tree as reminders to all future generations of the knowledge ponykind had accumulated. But the library was more than that. It was where Twilight had her first party during the Summer Sun Celebration all those years ago, the day she first met her friends. Twilight smiled and wished the old tree a fond farewell.
The sun was now setting in the west, a bastion of gold and red on the darkening horizon. The first stars could be seen in the sky, just barely, and not a cloud was in sight. Twilight ascended the little hill with minor difficulty, and soon found herself once again in the patch of flowers at the top. The dark light muffled the colors into warm shades, giving the place a somber glow.
Before the elderly mare were three figures. The sad faces of Luna and Celestia coupled with the confused look of denial in the expression of Spike. Twilight flashed them all a wizened smile before she came to rest in the field of flowers, just near the graves of her friends. A growing realization coursed through Spikes mind, and tears began to form in his eyes.
“T-Twi...Why did you bring us here?” Spike asked her. Twilight faced west, out over Ponyville, and into the infinite world beyond.
“It’s my time Spike. I could feel it when I got up this morning. Don’t be sad or sorry, nothing can be done. I am at peace.” Spike moved over and sat next to Twilight on her right, crying, as she closed her eyes and leaned on to him. Celestia and Luna came up on her left and sat, tears streaking down their faces as well. A gentle breeze flowed through the evening air.
“It is a good day for this, Spike. The most perfect day I could ask for.” Twilight whispered to Spike as she draped her foreleg over him. Spike sobbed in her loving embrace.
Celestia and Luna sat in silence, understanding that Twilight wanted only the sound of the breeze to guide her into the beyond. Twilight saw the images of her friends in her mind, each of them standing around her as the sun set over Equestria, it’s final rays casting themselves on the little hill. They were happy, and so Twilight was happy. She had a good life, good friends, and good memories. She had known true happiness, and she was ready to join her friends in eternity.
“Just remember me, Spike, Celestia, Luna, remember the times we spent together, and remember that I was always, always happy.” Twilight finally said, tears of joy rolling down her face. The sun was mid set in the west, blanketing all the world in its warmth. Twilight spoke again, one final time.
“And remember...that I always loved you.”
And with that, the image of her friends grinning faces waiting for her, Twilight exhaled her final breath, and went to join them in the endless sky above.