...she was standing on the far side of the library, her body straight and resolute, as she spoke across the dusty interior.
“You have learned more than mere magic, my good and faithful student. You have learned how to live, and how to be in communion with your fellow peers. That is the key to a special kind of magic that can never be learned in books, or from my very own lessons. In all the years that we've known each other, it had been my desire to teach you all the lessons in life by allowing you to teach yourself. And you have gone above and beyond my expectations, dear pupil. You are more than ready to be a master of sorcery, for you have so many blessed acquaintances to share your gifts with, as well as yourself.”
“But your Majesty,” Twilight Sparkle gasped, staring wide-eyed up at Celestia. “There's no need for you to do this!” The adult unicorn shuddered where she stood. The library wall behind her was covered with accolades and Equestrian medals, as well as various detailed photos taken of her and her close friends in Ponyville. “I've grown to understand so many things! I know all about the Rite of a Master's Journey! What I don't understand is what you hope to accomplish with such a ritual—or what you've ever hoped to accomplish!”
“My dear Twilight...” Celestia smiled gently as she trotted over towards her. “If you have lived as long as I have, then perhaps you would understand. There are some lessons that only an immortal can learn. And then there are lessons that are meant for mortals, that the likes of Luna and I will forever be alien to, for we must be.”
“It just doesn't make any sense!” Twilight exclaimed, her eyes turning moist. “Princess Celestia, because of your guidance, I've learned that friendship is the most powerful thing in the world! How can I believe that and yet accept that you must leave me?! I know you are my royal teacher but... but...”
“Shhh...” Celestia leaned over and nuzzled the adult unicorn. She wrapped a wing around her and murmured closely to her ear. “Twilight, our friendship will last forever, but our years together won't. I've made the mistake in the past of assuming that my apprentices could thrive on my wisdom and mentor-ship alone. But I was wrong, and when I sent them on their personal journeys, they had no other ponies to go to, for I had inadvertently encumbered them with all of my selfishness and need for attention.”
“You h-haven't encumbered me with anything, your Highness,” Twilight said in a wavering voice.
“That is because I let your spirit bloom with other ponies that love and cherish you as much as I do, my dear student, rather than lock you up within the bowers of my royal archives.” Celestia stood up and gazed lovingly down at her. “Twilight, I knew that this day would come, just as I knew that the moment would come when a single spark would imbue you with the magic to cleanse my sister Luna of her madness. Your magic is something built out of friendship, a harmony that is more beautiful and supreme than all of time itself.”
Twilight sniffled and gazed sadly up at her mentor. “A lot of that magic will die, your Highness, once you are gone from my life.”
Celestia's wings flexed, and for a brief moment her voice carried the neutral and majestic power of thunder rolling backwards. “Magic has always been and always will be. Cherish the few things that are eternal, especially when they've become a part of you.”
Twilight's lungs heaved a few times, but she slowly calmed down. She gazed over at the photos along her walls, at the many colorful faces of friends. She cracked a smile, briefly breaking the tributary of tears cascading down her face.
“Friendship...” Twilight cooed. “Has there ever been a more enchanting spell, your Highness?”
Princess Celestia held her breath. She gazed longingly at her pupil, savoring the eternal image of her, frozen in time.
“Never,” she said.