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Hours of endless driving, at around 80mph. There is no feeling like it, the car responded to my slightest movements in my hands. I honestly believe the magic in the fuel is making this thin come alive at my touch! My right hand is bandaged up, I had torn a scrap from my already ruined shirt and wrapped my palm and knuckles with it. It still hurt slightly when I knocked it against something, but the makeshift bandage kept out most of the pain against the burn.
The tingling. It was maddening, it had steadily built up since I had left ponyville. Now with many hours between me and the town, it felt as though someone was stabbing me with a thousand little needles! I was on an outstretch of road set into a cliff, and it was climbing steeply. As I came out to the summit, I had to slam my breaks hard to stop myself falling off of the other side. The top of the cliff was impossibly thin. The car skidded and slid on the loose stones and dirt, coming dangerously close to what –to me- looked like the edge of the world. If I’d have been going any faster I wouldn’t have stopped in time, I heard the rocks I had pushed aside slowly fall down the chasm before be.
I panted breathlessly in relief. I turned to pull my keys out of the ignition, but they aren’t in there... then I remember how once I had poured the fuel into the car, it had come to life without the keys, eliminating the need for them. I took hold of the handle of the door and pulled it open. As I did the engine died, and a deafening silence rang out over the quiet mountain summit.
I had stopped with about 2-3ft spare from the edge. I gazed down into the chasm, it was deep and dark. And like in all tall places, a small voice in my head whispered “Jump!” I fought against the urge, and looked up to the horizon. I could see the road I had taken to get here, both physical and metaphorical. While I saw the dirt track that wound its way like a snake through the fields towards the blot on the horizon which I knew to be Ponyville, I also could see every decision i hade made to get me here in my mind’s eye.
Making the friends who were so dear to me, finding a job, obsessing over Dash, nearly freezing to death, accepting their gifts, running from Sweet Apple Acre’s, throwing the jacket aside, rejecting Twilight, running like a coward, leaving those “friends who were so dear to me.” When I looked at it in retrospect, I saw how terrible my choices had become as time had went on. I had permanently blocked that part of my life away now, they would never except me there again. Was Twilight having a good birthday? Probably not. I had rejected her one night, and fled the next morning, of course she wouldn’t be having a good time, I wouldn’t be surprised if she hated me.
The tingling was still there, and I eventually gave into my maddening impulses. With a deep breath, I let out a shriek that felt as though it should the cliff face I stood on. “COME ON OUT! CELESTIA! YOU’RE THE ONLY DAMN PONY WHO COULD FOLLOW ME LIKE THIS! I THINK ITS ABOUT TIME WE FINALLY MET GOD DAMNIT!” at first there was nothing. But then i heard wings, large and heavy approaching. I turned in time to see what looked like a miniature sun fall from the sky before me. With a flash of light it vanished and left the most elegant creature I had ever seen, her multicoloured mane seemed to float on an unseen breeze as did her tail. Her horn was long and pointed, far more intimidating yet also elegant than any unicorn’s horn I’d seen. As she stood before me, she folded in her wings, which I could see were massive.
It was the first ever time I had ever found somepony here who I could look in the eye without adjusting my height. (Except for big Macintosh) She seemed to emit a slight glowing aura. I stood straight, not caring if I insulted the Alicorn when I spoke. “A letter not good enough? Or do you prefer just watching strangers suffer?” She looked at me unfazed; her eyes were small, and purple. They reminded me of Twilight. A pang of guilt throbbed deep inside me yet again, but I buried it.
“I want to go home.” I stated, almost childishly. The princess merely lifted one eyebrow at me inquisitively. And then she spoke in a voice that was both calm and mighty at the same time.
“Then why don’t you?” She pointed a hoof to the horizon, at the little lump that was ponyville. “There it is, and your family await you there.” I grew slightly annoyed at her.
“You know what I mean, earth! I want to go back to earth!” The princess turned and looked to the horizon, the sun was beginning to dip in the sky. I was amazed she could be here talking to me, and still be able to control the day time too! Her mouth was in profile against the orange ball of fire, she glanced at me over her shoulder.
“We both know you don’t treat that place as home anymore. You haven’t for a very long time now. Ponyville, with Twilight, Applejack, your friends...with Rainbow Dash, that is the place you think of as home and you know it deep down.”
I fleetingly looked over at the distant batch of houses and trees in the distance, but I didn’t let it affect me in the slightest. I moved over to my car bonnet and lent against it, folding my arms across my chest in defiance against the grand Alicorn. “Earth, how do I get there?”
“You already know how...” This time she didn’t even bother to look away from the son when she spoke to me. “You went there, and heard the sounds of your home. You could have gone then, if your heart had truly wished it. But you still stand here in Equestria, which means your heart didn’t wish to leave. Just as it doesn’t now, so why listen to your mind which fogs your judgement with fear?”
“Fear? Fear of what?” I knew the answer, deep down I did, but I needed to hear it from someone else.
“To be hurt, you have already let hurt take so much of your heart away, and this is all caused by yourself. You’re insecurity, your lack of confidence in the one you love. They have all whittled you heart away to its bare minimum.”
“I’m only living the way my life taught me to live. I’ve been hurt before, but this would have been different. It would have killed me.” The Alicorn turned back to me, pity lined across her face.
“You must understand, there is a vast difference between our worlds. And though you come from one world, spending so much time here has made you adopt certain traits of its inhabitants. Not individuals, but generally what all this worlds’ people feel and believe. You fear the hurt you will receive from being passed over by the one you love. And you fear it more now more than ever because your feelings for that one living creature are ten times as strong as anything you felt on earth, so you dread that the pain will also be tenfold.” Allthough she spoke in a ridiculously complicated and old fashioned way, I understood her, because it was true. I saw that she had more to say, so I stayed silent and looked straight into her eyes.
“For the first time, you have truly fallen in love for a person out of the way she makes you feel and the way she acts. With the two of you from different worlds looks do not matter, the connection you feel with this pony runs far deeper because of this. It’s as much the mare’s soul you have begun to love as it is the mare herself.” She finished, and suddenly the cold inside myself I had felt for the past few days began to fade, replaced by slight warmth. The sun was still up, just peaking over the ground one last time before vanishing, so the area was still lit reasonably well.
The princess looked into my eyes, I could tell she was trying to read my face to see what I was thinking. I looked coldly back at her, and I told her the one thing I thought would shut her up,
“She chose someone else. I can’t be here anymore, it hurts too damn much!”
“Chose someone else? Now are you sure about that...” she was wearing a devious smile. Instead of warming my soul it made me feel sick, I wanted to through her off of this chasm for her ignorance at the facts!
The princess’s horn began to glow gently. At first I didn’t spot anything happening around me, then a glimmer of light shot across my face. I looked dazed up into the sky to see a glass ball, slowly lowering from the sky.
“Now,” the princess began softly, “You should know what this is.” I did.
“It’s the same kind of orb Twilight used to bring me here! Great, now open up a door and let me go back to”-
“You are forgetting the items true purpose. They are designed to record an event close by.” She explained in her melodic voice. “Take hold of it” she commanded me. So I did, it was light, almost as though it was hollow, like a fish bowl. “Now look into its core, and see what has already come to pass.” Her horn glowed again and I found myself drawn to the centre of the glass orb. It almost looked like static on a TV, nothing was happening at first. But then colour burst out, filling the orbs interior with an image of a field, a red barn could be seen just to the side. A mini Applejack and Rainbow Dash stood looking at one another, a miniature version of my jacket lay between them.
I tore my eyes away, I didn’t want to see what my desperate ploy to rid myself of Rainbow during my escape had caused. I felt a hoof on my shoulder, light, and warm. “If you do not watch the image, you will not hear what was said.” She stated calmly.
“Do ... I have to? I don’t want to see Rainbow hurt because of me.”
“I give you my word...you won’t.” With an unknown feeling of trust towards the great white Alicorn that was beginning to grow within me, I looked back at the orb. It seemed to whir for a moment, and then the image came back into focus.
“But if he left because of that... but why would he do that? Why would he...... care?” It had been Rainbow Dash who had spoken. What had just been said before? Left? So they were talking about me surely.
“He loves you too sugar cube, and he left ‘cos he couldn’t stand you sending him packin.’” Was Applejack trying to persuade Rainbow to change her mind?
“I tried to tell him, this morning. That I...” the blue pony paused, and my heart seemed to stop beating. All sound seemed to shut off.
“Come on now Darlin’... say it!”
“I lo”- The image cut out, back to the same static as before. I shook the small orb, but nothing happened. “She... what?” I croaked quietly.
The warm hoof was gone from my shoulder, I span on the spot to find Celestia. But she was still there, she was stood a few feet back. Her wings were unfurling once again. I staggered towards her, “There has to be more!” but the Princess shook her head, still smiling broadly at me. “I NEED to know! Show me what she said! Please!” I begged and pleaded, but the princess still shook her head. Slow, and almost mockingly.
“You know what she said, but if you want reassurance it lies over there.” She pointed one last time at the distant town.
My head was racing, what should I do? There was a chance that Rainbow had been talking about Soarin’, but then why would Applejack be encouraging her knowing how I felt about the Rainbow mare... in front of me, the princess stood ready to fly. But she waited, desperate to see what my decision was. My eyes were closed. My head held down in hard thought. There was silence... The princess began to open her mouth, to send me one last persuasive comment. But before she could, the engine of the car behind me screamed into life. She burst into a smile as my baby purred to get back on the road home. She took to the air, flapping slowly to stay airborn before me. She could tell i still had something to ask.
“So, if you had this...” I held up the orb without looking up at her. “Then why didn’t you come here as soon as I arrived and sent me back?” she chuckled softly, she had a beautiful laugh. She edged closer to me through the air, and spoke to me simply.
“Everything occurs for a reason. I left you to recover and learn about this world. But within weeks of being here you began to develop feelings for one of my subjects, and she the same for you and so I left events to play out. If you truly wanted to return, the next time you drove that vehicle behind you, it would have taken you back to earth. The magic of your arrival stayed within you, it is that magic that helps you adapt to our way of life here. It is the magic of this world: Friendship it is key to all things here, even the birth of love.” She flew right up to me now, with one hoof she lifted my chin to look at her. While with the other she pulled up my right/bandaged hand.
Her magic coiled around the cloth and began to unwrap it. “If you ever believe that this world is not meant for you again, this will always reassure you... you are home.” The bandage fell to the floor, I looked at my palm, nothing had changed. I turned my hand over to the burnt side, and at my sharp intake of breath, Celestia laughed joyously and flew in the direction of Canterlotte. My... hand......my............hand...................... My baby purred behind me, no my car was purring behind me. My baby was still in ponyville. I bolted for the door, her engine exploded with fury as it touched her handle. Her wheels screeched away before I even shut the door. Twilight had tried to introduce me to magic and I had simply failed it all. But that was obviously because I wasn’t being given the right tools for the job!