Farewell - Chapter one: Good Bye
Rain fell from the grey clouds above, completely blocking out what remained of the dimming sunlight. The chill wind cut to the bone, and howled sadly through the nearby trees, like the lost wolf howls when separated from its family.
The howling of the wind was met with the sniffles and sobs of ponies nearby. Hundreds of ponies both large and small stood at the foot of the small hill at the outskirts of Ponyville. Teary eyes, limp wings and shoulders, sorrow and grief was everywhere, present in everypony.
Atop the hill stood neither Unicorn, nor Pegasus or Earth Pony, but instead two Alicorn sisters; Princess Luna of the Night and Princess Celestia of the Day.
The celestial sister stood behind six near-identical graves with her wings half spread, as if to spare the tombstones from the rain. Her head was drooped down to her knees, and the rain drops mixed with her tears, making it look like she was crying so much more. A befitting illusion for mirroring the emotions she felt.
The dark-blue Princess of the Night stood beside the graves, her face held a schooled expression, one that only thousands of years of practice could bring. Yet, it wasn't quite enough. Tears threatened to break free. For the first time in millennia, Luna had to utilize her entire willpower not to break down into sobs and tears.
The six graves stood side by side, each engraved with a name, a small symbol and a few words.
Be it words of encouragement or critique, she would always speak the truth.
No one was ever left behind. She was loyal until the end
Always a giver, never a receiver.
Big or small, friendly or not, she would treat all with equal kindness.
No one was ever sad around laughter itself.
A truer friend was never born.
The Lunar princess turned her attention towards the still darkening sky, then brought it back down to the wailing crowds.
“Citizens of Ponyville” she started “We are gathered here today to part with the greatest heroes, and the greatest friends this world has ever seen. Today, we part with the bears of the Elements of Harmony.”
She was silent for a moment while trying to regain her composure. Her age and experience was all that kept her voice steady as she spoke again “A few days ago, everything was in jeopardy. Equestria stood on the precipice of disaster. An enemy more devious than Discord, more cunning than Chrysalis, arrived at our doorstep.
“Many were lost in the defence of our lands, just as many are mourned. Our last hope was the Elements, and as such my sister and I called upon them and asked them to bring this evil to justice. Brave as they were, they agreed and went to confront our enemy, but much to our disbelief; the elements alone proved inferior. This time, harmony itself was not enough. They were forced to funnel their very own essence of life into the elements in order to make them powerful enough to be victorious.”
The sounds of crying ponies, and a dragon, reached new heights at this.
Sweetie Belle stood beside Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, each of them doing their best to hold back the stream of crystalline soul running from their eyes. Behind them stood Big Macintosh, his usually stoic expression was twisted into one of grief. Beside the crusaders stood a small dragon, no longer quite a baby but still small. In his left claw he held a single scroll with a lavender ribbon.
“They did so willingly” the Night princess continued “And it is for this reason that we today stand here to bid farewell to those who protected us.”
“Applejack, the element of honesty; she was not only a friend to whom you could tell anything without the fear of being judged, she was also a sister and a hard worker. She loved her family as well as her friends, and most dear to her than anything stood her little sister. She was always ready with a word of encouragement to those who needed it, and an honest opinion to those who asked for it. With her; you could feel safe. She was a trustworthy companion and a wonderful friend.”
“Rainbow Dash, the element of loyalty; though she was brash and oftentimes lazy, she never ignored those who called for help. She lived her childhood-life alone, her parents dead at a very young age. She never had anyone to whom she could say ‘I will never leave you’, but she made up for that here. Scootaloo, while she was not a sister, was one of the ponies she cherished the most. That filly looked up to her like no other, and she responded in kind; she taught her how to fly even after she was told that she would never learn it. When the captain of the Wonderbolts came to her with an invitation to join their team, she declined saying that “I will never leave Ponyville hanging”. Despite it being her lifelong dream, and her own heart’s desire, she stood loyal to her friends and her home. She would never leave us for her own gain.”
“Fluttershy, the element of kindness; everypony in Ponyville knew of her; the timid Pegasus that lived on the ground together with her animal friends. She tended to whoever needed the help, and never once did she refuse to treat the critter or aid the pony in need of help. Ridiculed; she simply let it pass her, insulted; she accepted it. Fluttershy was as dear to us all as any member of our family. Her heart was as warm and large as my sister’s sun.”
“Pinkie Pie, the element of laughter; Know that, should you ever meet her on the street, smiles, and laughter was an inevitable thing; she was happiness incarnate and despite her dry foalhood, she conquered it and moved out of the dark she lived in. Were you ever to be sad, then you had just to seek her out in Sugarcube Corner, and the lost smile would swiftly return. The frown replaced by laughter. She was by far the bravest of the six; she laughed in the face of danger, but never once underestimated what she was up against. Her silly demeanour was never to be taken for stupidity.”
“Rarity, the element of generosity; the carousel boutique was open for whoever wished to enter. Be it for the sake of buying or simply to talk. It is well known that she was a giver. For her it was common to give a gift whenever she felt like it. She was always a giver and never a receiver. Her love for the precious gems that inhabit the rocky ground of the nearby mountains is not to be mistaken for greed, no. As the gem generously supplied her with gems needed for her works, she gave in equal measure to everypony and everyone.”
The sun had gone down and given way to the twilight. A dark-blue glow emanated from Luna’s horn and the white giant appeared in the horizon as well as the stars blinking to life on the, now dark, sky.
“And last, but not least, Twilight Sparkle, the element of magic and the protégé of my dear sister; Six years ago, she arrived here in Ponyville without the shadow of friends or even the faintest hint of what true friendship was, or felt like. It was on that day that she met five other ponies, the ones that would soon be known as the other elements of harmony. Of all the ponies I have met in my long life, she was by far the truest of friends. While she was the embodiment of magic, she also held the other aspects. She was honest about her feelings, as well as loyal to her friends and those she cared about. Twilight Sparkle was a pony that was not only known for her intelligence, but she was also incredibly kind and loving. I ask you all to remember her, not for what she did, but for who she was.”
The crowd of ponies clopped solemnly. The sound of hooves thudding against the muddy ground beneath them echoed through the young night. All the while, a small purple and green figure slipped away from the crowd and made his way towards the celestial princess. She hadn’t moved and inch since the beginning of Luna’s speech; her wings were still half-spread as if to stop the rain from hitting the graves.
“Princess Celestia…” Spike said while gently poking her leg to get her attention.
“Not now Spike. I-I don’t feel like talking to anyone right now…” Her eyes were still closed, and the streams of water still ran down her muzzle. Never before had anyone witnessed the princess of the sun in such a way. For the first time in millennia; her mask of divine composure had cracked and fallen apart.
“I-I don’t want t-to talk either but… Twilight made me promise to give you this” He handed her the scroll with the purple ribbon tied around it.
Celestia took it with her magic. She lifted her head slightly then turned to the small dragon beside her. “What is this?” she asked, the seal still unbroken.
Spike seemed to have problems uttering the words. Finally be swallowed and stuttered “I-it’s h-her” he paused to regain control of his voice “It is her final report on friendship, and also her last letter to you and Ponyville as one”
Celestia’s expression was now one of complete heartbreak. Never before had she felt so much pride and so much sorrow at the same time. The unicorn she loved as her own daughter, her student and friend. She had known about this? She had known that she wouldn’t survive and had written a letter for Spike to give her at this time? At that moment she felt like just locking herself inside her champers in Canterlot for as many years she saw fit, only to mourn the loss of one she viewed as her own daughter.
Stricken by grief as she was, she thought nothing of the ponies on front of her and broke the seal, but carefully wrapped it around one of her plumes. She started to read, not aloud, but silently. 'The other ponies can wait' her broken heart told her.
She didn’t notice that the sobbing and sniffling of the ponies had stopped, nor did she notice the other voice speaking. Her attention was on the wet piece of paper hovering in her own golden aura.
Dear Princess Celestia, Princess Luna and Ponyville
I write this letter together with Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Fluttershy.
In the years that we have been together, we have learned a lot about friendship. We have learned that friendship
“Is not just about helping others and accepting who they are”
But also that we must better ourselves to the best of our abilities, we must never forget that the bond of friendship that we share with each other is a brittle one, no matter what some may say. Friendship is only strong when we all strive to be the best we can, and even then we strive to become better.
“Friendship is like glass, hit it at the wrong spot-“
And it breaks. Hit it at the right spot and nothing happens, add more to it and it becomes stronger. We may seem strong together, but we can easily turn our backs to each other, Discord showed us that, but the more we are together in friendship, the stronger we are, brittle as we may be. But most of all
“Friendship is also about sacrifice; to give to your friends and get nothing in return. We were willing to sacrifice”
-Ourselves for you, because you were our friends. We knew well that the elements would not be enough this time. They elements told us as much. We knew full well that
“We wouldn’t survive, but we still did it. We sacrificed ourselves so that you may live on, so that you may show your foals and grandfoals what true friendship is, show them that they can find happiness everywhere, in even the darkest part of their lives. With this said, we bid you farewell, but remember. This is not the final goodbye. We will be gone, but our spirits will live on. The spirits of Harmony will never die, so long as you remember to stay friends and never let yourself or each other down.”
Your ever faithful friends
Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash
Celestia raised her head; her face twisted in even more pain and grief it that were even possible. She looked up and couldn’t believe her eyes. Ever so slowly she started to move, walked to the front of the graves. She had not been fooled by her own mind, the faces of the other ponies and Luna held the same disbelief that she herself did; In front of her, atop the graves, stood six well-known spectral ponies, all of them with a serene and honest smile on their lips.
“T-Twilight…?” Celestia whispered; disbelief evident in her widening eyes.
“Yes Celestia, we are here, but only temporarily. I believe that we each have a little something to say, Rarity?”
Rarity turned her head slightly towards Twilight and nodded her head in thanks. Celestia moved to stand beside her sister and Spike, all their faces wide with surprise. “Sweetie Belle, I am sorry that it had to come to this. I do hope that you understand why we did as we did. Equestria would not be safe had we not acted.” She turned her attention towards the crowd as a whole instead of just Sweetie Belle, “I thank you all for what you have done for me in my time here, I ask of you; treat Sweetie Belle the same as I was treated”. She turned towards the two princesses, but her gaze shifted quickly to the dragon. "Spike" she began "I am sorry to have never told you, but I always knew of your feelings. I felt that, should I breach the subject, I would be forced to let you down, and break your heart. I didn't want to lose the friendship you and I had. Please forgive me"
Spike only nodded. His scales appeared slightly paler after hearing those words. "I forgive you" he said.
Rarity stepped back and Pinkie Pie took a step forward. Her usual enthusiasm was replaced with a serenity not seen by her before. “Hello everypony” she said; a spark of her usual self lingered in her voice “I want to thank everypony for the best of parties I could have ever dreamed of. Please help Mr and Mrs Cake in the shop; they need it with two small foals to take care of.”
She too stepped back, and Applejack took her place. Her gaze instantly sought out Apple Bloom and Big Macintosh. “Big Mac, Apple Bloom. Ah jus’ wanna let ya know how much ya’ll mean to me. It’s only one year since Granny Smith passed away, an’ know it’s me too. Ah’m mite sorry Big Mac, Apple Bloom, Ponyville” she turned her head towards no-where in particular in the crowd. “Thank ya'll ev’rypony fer helping the farm and mah family.” She turned back to her two siblings “Take good care of the farm and mah nephew, you two.”
Fluttershy took Applejack’s place. She too held the serene look on her face. She looked much like herself though, except for her eyes that held a certainty they never had before. “I have always been shy and timid, I have never been very good at making myself known, nor have I been able to stand up for myself. Despite this, you all stayed the same to me. You took care of me and accepted me for who I was. As a final request, I ask you to please take care of all the small animals in my stead." she paused for a second to let out a breath, as the only one of the six bearers of harmony, she had tears in her eyes "And Big Macintosh; when Little Mac grows old enough, make sure to tell him the truth about me. Thank you." Big Mac mouthed one teary, albeit silent, 'Eeyup' as her eyes momentarily locked with his.
Fluttershy backed away again, back on top of her own grave. Rainbow Dash took her place, jumping forth with her wings spread wide. “Ponyville” she began, and a small grin appeared on her face “You’re awesome. Really guys, you’ve never say no to one of Pinkie’s parties, you all backed me up when I fought to become a Wonderbolt, and not one of you complained about the wasted efforts when I finally got the offer and turned it down. Even when you were angry at me because my Sonic Rainboom destroyed your windows, you quickly forgave and for that I am thankful.” She too had somepony special to her, that she felt needed encouragement in those difficult times. “Scootaloo” she said and shifted her attention to the filly while folding back her wings. “Thank you for everything. You were like the sister I never had. You were the one cheering the loudest, the one that backed me up the most whenever I was determined to see something through. I am sorry it had to end this way, and I know that this is a petty replacement, but I feel like you deserve it. It was my pride and my drive in all the years I strived to become a Wonderbolt.” She closed her eyes for a brief moment, and in a small flash of light; the golden grown she received at the Best Young Flier’s Competition, appeared on top of Scootaloo’s head.
She took it off of her head and held it in her hooves, disbelief, shock and happiness mixed with the already present grief, painted her face. She lifted her head to stare at Rainbow Dash, she only smiled and went back to stand in line with the rest of the Elements.
Finally, Twilight stepped forward, her gaze slightly wavering as she looked upon the crowd. She smiled and began to speak “Thank you, thank you for everything. I came here to Ponyville without friends, without anyone other than my mentor and parents to care for. I was alone, but you pushed that loneliness away. You filled the hole in my heart that I did not know I had. I too, am sorry that it had to end this way, we are no longer able to stay, but we will always be your friends both know and on the other side.” She turned her attention towards the two Alicorn sisters. Celestia was still crying, but she was smiling. Not the polite smile that she used in public, but one of pure pride. Luna too, had broken into tears; her quiet sobs were drowned in the mass of the others. “Celestia” she said “I have never said it, and I never will again, but I love you. You’re like a second mother to me and I would never want to replace you for anything. You took care of me when I was little, reassured me when I was in doubt. You are as much a friend to me as you are a ruler of the lands. And you too Luna” she turned slightly to the darker of the two sisters “You have done your very best to become accustomed to the ways of this age, and you have done so wonderfully. I am proud to call you my friend” She paused for a few seconds, then fixated her gaze on the dragon. "Spike" she began "My number one assistant. What would I have ever done without you?" she shook her head as the memories rushed back to her "I would have said that I loved you like a brother, but that would not do you justice.
"Spike, I love you like I would've loved my son. You helped me through my life like no one ever has. You cooked for me, you cleaned up for me, you helped me find the books that I misplaced, but most importantly; You were there. I never got the time to get a family of my own, but I never needed to; I had you."
A small smile played on Luna’s lips as Twilight trotted back to her own grave and faced the crowd. Spike was weeping openly. He never got to say it, but to him, Twilight wasn't just a friend or a big sister; she was his mother and now he was parting with her.
Twilight looked to each of her five friends, and they all nodded; they were ready. “Ponyville” Twilight spoke loud enough to get the attention of the ponies at the foot of the hill. “We thank you for everything you have done for us and our families. We ask only that you keep on living like you always have. For now, however,” Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy and Twilight opened their mouths and said in unison;
Their spectral bodies ignited in light and shot towards the sky. When everypony looked up, they could see six new stars forming a hexagon. It was formed by a Yellow, an Orange, a White, a Cyan, a Pink, and a Lavender star. One star and colour for each of the elements.
“Good Bye” Whispered Celestia, Luna and Spike as they looked up into the night sky. Their eyes fixated on the new constellation.