Applejack finished up a letter to Rarity, explaining everything there was to know about how and why she sold the farm, it also included her new address in Appaloosa. She pointed out to Rarity that she would be going to pick Applebloom during her next extended weekend, and planned to explain everything to her at that point. She then went on to finish packing up all her belongings, filling boxes marked according to what should be inside. She walked along her walls and hallways, taking all her pictures down as she past each one. With each picture she stopped for a moment to relive the memories tied to it. Applejack looked around the house, it was depressingly empty, the furniture was loaded into a large moving carriage. Applejack walked up to Applebloom's room. She had already packed away all her remaining belongings, but she knew Applebloom would always be a part of this room, as long as it stood. There were a series of small hoofprints on the inside of the door, a reminder of Applebloom's short temper and how she loved slamming her door to show it. Various stains and damages littered the room, a permanent reminder of its previous resident.
"I'm really gonna miss this place." Applejack continued to walk through her empty home, her lip quivered as she held back her emotions. She didn't need to deal with the movers outside attempting to comfort her.
With every box organized into the carriage, Applejack walked out of the house, staring into the seemingly endless rows of trees spread across rolling hills. She shuddered and stretched her legs, preparing for the long trip to her new home in Appaloosa. The sun had just risen, and her day would be wasted traveling. After a long trip, upon arriving at her new home, she met Big Mac and a few other orchard ponies. Applejack was assigned her new position among the orchard workers. She unpacked and set up residence in her new house, and drearily began her new life as an apple farmer. Not a big change career-wise, but this new location lacked the homey feel Sweet Apple Acres did, this was a job, not a home. Applejack let go of her old life, she knew holding on to it would only mean holding onto regret. This was who she was now, a nameless number in a large group of workers.
Rainbow Dash shielded her eyes from the rising sun. She wasn't ready to get up, a few hours of sleep after her long night of traveling didn't cut it. She decided she needed to get some real sleep, but she wasn't going be able to sleep in this sunlight, or with the noise of a waking city beneath her. Rainbow flew up into the sky, surveying her surroundings, this city has come such a long way in three short years. From the dainty western settlement, to this booming city. Equestrian economy is a strange thing.
Rainbow decided to go see Scootaloo today, it'd be hard, but it needed to be done, and she planned to take any form of punishment Scootaloo could throw at her. She flew down to the window with the hanging rainbow flag. No sign of Scootaloo within, but the window was still open. It was pretty chilly out last night so Rainbow wondered why it wasn't shut. She let her nosiness get the better of her and went inside uninvited. She snooped through her drawers, looking through various papers and report cards. Rainbow really wasn't looking for anything specific, she was just looking. Rainbow sat down on Scootaloo's bed, pulling her sheets and blankets off the floor and covering up. She hadn't felt so comfortable in a pretty long time, this small bed although firm, was much nicer than Applejack's spare bed.
"I'm sure Scoot won't mind if I take a quick nap here" With a long yawn, Rainbow was asleep.
Rainbow stirred slightly at the sound of a door opening. She opened her eyes, and met the stunned gaze of her once adoring fan.
"Rainbow?! Okay, I've completely lost my mind now. I'm just going to go over here and pretend I'm still sane." Scootaloo walked over to the corner of the room, assuming the fetal position. She wrapped her hooves around her knees and began rocking back and forth.
Rainbow wiped her eyes, "Scoot? Sorry to drop in on you like this. I was really tired though."
"Oh Celestia... You're talking to me now. This is probably bad. I need help." Scootaloo walked up to Rainbow Dash, swallowing her enthusiasm. She closely inspected the blue pegasus, bumping her with her hooves.
"You feel real." She leaned in closer, sniffing Rainbow.
"Alright that's enough kid." Rainbow pushed her away. "You know I'm actually here, I really needed to see you, I missed you and was worried about you. But you do seem to be doing fine, so I guess I'll be going now."
Rainbow jumped up and headed towards the window, but was soon stopped by a strong tug on her tail. Scootaloo tried to yell at her with a mouth full of tail.
"Where the hay do you think you're going?! You think I'm doing just fine?! Have you even looked at me?"
Rainbow turned around to meet her painful eyes. She saw that Scootaloo seemed to have a black eye, there was a small cut under her cheek with two small stitches.
"Have you been fighting?"
"No!.. Maybe.. But only when I have to. That's not the point. I'm alone here and I hate it. I want to go to Cloudsdale and live with you like we planned. Why did you leave? I missed you so much."
"You know why, I had to. I wish I didn't though, I thought about you almost everyday and I missed you a lot. I came here because I was worried. If you really need anything just let me know, even though I'm not really in a place where I can help you very easily." Rainbow recoiled as she thought about the fact that she was homeless.
"I'm not sure what you're dealing with here, but I'm sure you're a lot better off than I am right now, and I don't want to drag you into my messed up life quite yet. Can you hold out here while I get things in order at least?"
Scootaloo hated the thought of Rainbow Dash leaving so shortly after arriving. "I don't want to, I'll go with you and stay out of your way, I just need to get out of here, this place is awful. I'd rather be homeless."
Scootaloo looked down and paced around Rainbow Dash, she stopped and looked up at her with her wide eyes, silently begging her to say yes.
"No. Just wait a few more days and I'll come back for you okay? It's getting really cold out and I can't have you sleeping outside." Rainbow Dash let her maternal instincts guide her decision.
"Celestia help me Rainbow Dash, if you're not back in in exactly four days or less, I'll do something horrible to you!"
"I promise I'll be back, don't worry." Rainbow patted her on the head and headed off. She flew out the window and headed towards Cloudsdale.
Rainbow Dash expected Scootaloo to be much worse off than she was, she had a place to live, she was in school, and she seemed well off enough. Rainbow decided it'd be best for Scootaloo if she stayed out of her life for now, she had no intention of returning to see her anytime soon. Rainbow knew she was in no position to take care of anyone, hardly even fit to care for herself. Rainbow came to a sudden stop, allowing herself to roughly crash into a cloud. She tumbled across the top of it until she found her balance and stood back up on her hooves. She painfully smacked herself in the face with her hoof.
"Damn it!" Rainbow had forgotten to look at Scootaloo's cutie mark, but it was too late to go back now. She decided to let it go, and continued on her way. She soon found herself in the tattered ruins of her old home, which she hadn't seen in years. She decided to get her job at the weather factory back and start over here, a new life for a new mare. Her dreams and ambitions were just a distant memory in the back of her mind. All she cared about now was moving along in life, trying to find her way, and making peace with her past. Nothing else mattered anymore. She'd become a member of a corporation, a working class pony hoping only to climb the corporate ladder to make a decent living for herself. Who could ever realistically ask for anything more?
Twilight found it hard to exert any form of emotion other than sorrow. Her horn being gone was by far the worst punishment she would ever endure. On top of that she received a devastating letter.
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
Your recent actions and lack of judgement not only resulted in you getting hurt beyond imagination, but it resulted in the deaths of several ponies around you. These deaths include the death of Constance Donahooves, an irreplaceable and more than valuable asset to the research team here at the DOS. I, by the order of the Celestial-Lunar Court, am stripping you of your position as head of research. You no longer have a place in the Institute of Arcane Studies nor the University of Magic and Research. I know times must be hard for you personally, but I'm sure you'll cope, and I hope you understand that these actions needed to be taken immediately. Criminal charges have not and will not be filed by us, however any outside legal issues have not been shared with us and we have no concern or opinion residing over them.
~ Board of Chairholders, Research Division.
"Well this is just great." Twilight apathetically rolled over in her bed, prompting Rarity to attempt to console her.
"It's not all bad Twilight....... Well okay it's all bad, but I want you to know you can stay with me for as long as you need to. I'm here for you and I always will be."
"... Thanks Rarity." Twilight's words seemed emotionless and the ungratefulness in her voice made Rarity feel awkward.
"Maybe you should get some more sleep dear, you're tired and have had a lot to take in." Rarity kissed her on the cheek and returned to her chair next to the bed.
Twilight just laid there silent, she stared at the floor over the edge of her bed. She listened to her heart beating, hoping with every fiber in her body that it would simply stop and this nightmare would end. She attempted to use her magic again, she just wanted to see if she could make her sheet move. Even the slightest effort she put into using magic caused her to get a searing headache, as if ten thousand bats were shrieking simultaneously in her mind. Twilight knew she had a hard life ahead of her, she used magic literally every single day, all day in her day to day activities. She knew she'd habitually attempt to use her magic at times, causing this pain. She wasn't ready to deal with this new life, or her mistakes. She wanted to find peace, but knew it wouldn't come easily.
"Rarity, would you do me a favor?"
"Anything love, I'll do anything you ask."
"Leave please, and don't come back, just forget about me as hard as that may be." Twilight swallowed her emotions, keeping her tears locked inside. This sentence was just as hard for her to say as it was for Rarity to hear.
"Twilight, please. Just settle down and get some sleep, this is the stress talking. You need me, I can't leave you alone right now." Rarity hid her tears as well, she didn't want to let it show, but Twilight had broken her heart with that statement.
Twilight wanted to take it back, she wanted to beg Rarity never to leave her side again, but she didn't.
"Rarity, I'm thinking clearly right now, I'm not tired, I'm not medicated, I know what I'm saying, and I'm saying you need to leave now. I'm grateful for everything you've done for me, but I don't want to see you or be anywhere near you. So leave before I have to ask someone to escort you out."
Rarity was crushed, she felt like every once of energy had been drained from her body, and her heart was split in two.
"Twilight, why? Please tell me why at least. I feel I deserve that much."
"Well, you don't. Just trust me, we're both better off if you go." Twilight pushed a small button on the side of her bed, calling a nurse over.
As the nurse began to approach, Rarity stood up and grabbed her bag.
"That's fine Twilight, I'll leave, but if you change your mind about this you know where to find me." Rarity trotted past the nurse with tears pouring down her face.
"Twilight right? What can I help you with?"
"I just need some water thanks."
The nurse quickly returned with a pitcher of cold water. She poured a cup and levitated it to Twilight's mouth.
"Ya know you're really lucky to have a friend like that."
Twilight quickly gulped down the water. "What do you mean?"
"Well, she sat here for four days, hardly leaving your side at all. On top of that I over heard her begging the doctor to give you her horn, I mean, I'm a unicorn so I know she must really care about you to even consider that. I personally wouldn't give it up for anything. No offense."
Twilight felt terrible for treating Rarity the way she did, but she knew it needed to be done. "None taken, I honestly wouldn't have either."
The nurse trotted off, letting Twilight know she'd be near if she needed anything at all. Twilight felt more depressed than ever. She stood up and walked around her room, struggling to keep her balance. There was a plate of covered food sitting on the night stand next to her bed. Rarity must have forgot to mention it, it was probably hers, compliments of the hospital. Twilight was hungry, but didn't even consider eating. She ventured over to her window, looking up at the sun. The white moon was right next to it, passing just underneath. The Royal Eclipse Festival will take place in a few days. Twilight thought about how romantic it would have been to enjoy it with Rarity, and broke down. She went back to bed and buried her face in her pillows. She let the reality of the situation hit her like a ton of bricks, her life was over, there was nothing in this world left for her. She saw a glimmer of hope only a week ago when she reconnected with Rarity, but that meant nothing now. She'd only be a burden on her. Without magic Twilight had no talent, and no place in society. Her career as a teacher was no more, her knowledge was nothing more than a useless jumble of facts and research. All she had to offer to anyone now was information that was already known. Twilight felt herself sink into her bed, she tried to think of a way to fix everything but came to the same conclusion, she didn't want to live anymore. She had nothing left to live for, now that Rarity was gone. She severed her last tie.
Rarity stumbled through her apartment door, her home was empty again. Applebloom was back in school with Sweetie Belle. Rarity looked around for Opal, she was lying underneath the table grooming herself.
"Come here Opal I need someone to love me." Opal gave her a glance of disapproval and walked in the other direction.
"Well fine, you just abandon me too then, I see how you are!" Rarity went into her room and collapsed onto her bed, soaking her pillow in tears.
She also felt she had found a silver lining along the edges of her bleak and lonely life when Twilight showed up at her door a few nights ago. Now with that taken away, she found herself once again feeling alone, and more heartbroken than ever before. Rarity decided that this was probably inevitable and she would end up alone anyway, so she figured it'd be best to just continue her life the way she had been. Making dresses for whoever might want them, always looking out and hoping for a big break. Apathy washed over Rarity as she imagined the rest of her life while laying in bed. She soon cried herself to sleep, feeling that she'd lost all hope for a happy life. No other pony would ever be able to fill the void left in her life by Twilight, Celestia knows she tried the first time they split up, but nothing kept her mind off Twilight longer than a single night. All the drama wasn't worth it, she'd remain alone and focus only on her career.
"Love is just a filly's dream, nothing more." She thought this to be true for the first time in her life. She had a dreamless sleep that night, and woke up the next day feeling like she hadn't slept at all.
Three more days had passed, Twilight was finally able to leave the hospital, although she felt she had nowhere to go. With no job her rent wouldn't be paid, and she'd be evicted. She didn't even consider seeing Rarity again, instead she just made her way to her apartment's rooftops. She was surprised to find she was the only one there considering this was the day of the Royal Lunar Eclipse. She looked down on the streets, there were tons of ponies participating in parades and other celebratory gestures. Twilight found the empty rooftops peaceful, being alone was something she found strangely nostalgic.
Rainbow Dash left work early today, she wanted to see the First Annual Royal Eclipse Festival, even though she'd probably never want to see another one. She stood behind the crowds of pegasi, looking up at the moon as it slowly approached the sun. Her excitement was nearly nonexistent, she regretted taking time off work for this. But it was done so she might as well enjoy it.
Applejack was in the middle of her orchard, then she heard her coworkers begin to announce that the eclipse would be starting soon. She calmly joined them as the gazed up into the sky, admiring the brilliant moon as it approached the sun. The power of the princesses humbled Applejack, she couldn't even begin to imagine the power it took to manipulate such magnificent forces. She just looked on in awe as the event began to take place.
Rarity could hardly bring herself to even look out the window, the festival was a constant reminder of her utter failure. She decided out of curiosity to go attend the event, she wanted to see the dresses the princesses were wearing, she at least hoped they rivaled her designs. She walked out of her apartment and up the street to the parades. Upon arriving, she saw a huge regal carriage coming down from the palace. It landed on top of a golden stone monument, depicting the events of an eclipse at the base. The two princesses stepped out, each of them confidently wearing their new royal dresses. They were however in Rarity's opinion, quite mediocre and generic to say the least.
Celestia addressed the herd of ponies. "Welcome citizens of Equestria, to the First Royal Eclipse Festival! We are proud to announce that the New Lunar Law and Celestial Court are now united. We are a kingdom of peace and acceptance, and this festival will mark the end of an internal conflict that has effected all of Equestria for many centuries. We welcome you all to celebrate and enjoy this day of days."
Luna spoke next. "We will not only be united within the court, but within tradition. Things will be changing for all of us as we head into a new era. An era of love and toleration. A large series of laws will be passed today, same gender marriages will now be recognized by the Royal Court, discrimination of earth ponies in the educational system will no longer be tolerated, and foremost, the Cutie Mark Branding Administration will be hereby disband!"
Celestia put a hoof on Luna's shoulder, and gave her a nod of approval. Although Celestia didn't fully agree with all of Luna's ideals, she knew this union needed to be solid.
The two alicorns ignited their horns forcing the moon and sun to overlap. For a small moment of time the moon completely blocked out the sun. All the ponies below looked on in sheer amazement. The sun behind the moon seemed to radiate an intense fiery magic all around the moon, lighting the sky up in a way no pony had ever seen. The entire event was as beautiful and magical as it was hyped up to be.
Twilight looked at the magical event, appreciating the amazing talent it must have taking to pull this together. She stood up on the edge of the building, looking down at the dark ground beneath. She looked at Celestia and Luna, confidently standing side by side for the first time in over a thousand years. Things in the world were going to be fine, with the two princesses working together once again, no power would be great enough to stop them. The elements of harmony were no longer needed. Twilight thought about these facts, then she thought about her own life. It was the exact opposite. She sat down, letting her legs dangle over the edge of the building. She looked down, she wasn't sure but guessed she was about seventy floors above the ground. She closed her eyes and began to breath quickly.
"I love you Rarity, so much. I'm sorry..." She spoke quietly into the air, knowing very well no one could hear her. Then she was gone.
Applejack went back to her mundane life, the work never seemed to end, and she was fine with that. She knew the limits of her abilities, and they called for nothing more.
Rainbow Dash was less than impressed with the whole event, she returned to her activities. She wondered if anything would ever inspire her again, but didn't feel the need to go looking for any inspiration. She had what she needed and, and she didn't want to fill her life with anymore useless ambitions.
Rarity moped the entire trip back to her apartment, her head hanging low. She wondered if she'd ever see Twilight again, but forced those thoughts out of her mind. She knew Twilight didn't want to see her and that should be enough to keep her away. She went to her art table and began to sketch up a new dress. She felt completely uninspired, and found herself sketching a picture of Twilight's face. She crumbled it up and plopped down into her bed, staring at the now setting sun. She closed her eyes and imagined waking up with Twilight in her arms. Knowing it would never happen again broke her spirit, she drifted off into another dreamless sleep. She awoke the next morning, knowing she'd never find inspiration without love in her life, and without Twilight, she'd never again find love.